About that silly reworking of Handel’s Messiah, Dan Bilefsky of the New York Times writes:
Writing in The National Review, the American conservative magazine, Kevin D. Williamson likened the production to hijacking “medieval Catholic imagery for an episode of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’”
No, he didn’t.
You can hijack medieval Catholic imagery for an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but you can’t really repurpose an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race for anything of any lasting interest, because there isn’t really anything of substance to hold on to there. That’s why this only happens in one direction: You aren’t going to see a bunch of traditionalist Catholics looking to put a Tridentine spin on Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
The article in question isn’t a review of that production; it is an essay on the irresistibility of Christian (and, particularly, Catholic) imagery for professedly secular or even anti-Christian artists. It asks a question that Dan Bilefsky could not be counted on to answer; neither could anybody else writing for the New York Times, for that matter, as far as reading attests.
Also, another memo from the copy desk: The name of this magazine is National Review, not The National Review.