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“Freakonomics” and Christian Rock

July is shaping up to be Contemporary Christian Month in Freakonomics land. First, Levitt was interviewed by Pat Robertson on The 700 Club. Now, in a Village Voice article called “Music for the Megachurch,” Josh Langhoff writes the following:

If you’ve skipped ahead to the abortion chapter in Steven Levitt’s ‘Freakonomics’, you know his controversial argument that Roe v. Wade decreased the number of unwanted kids, leading to a corresponding decrease in violent crime that America felt only 20 years later. Well, the same thing happened with CCM [Contemporary Christian Music], only on a shorter time frame: The CCM boom of the late ’80s/early ’90s is one of the legalized abortions of pop music, leading to the low-crime Hot AC [Adult Contemporary] and mainstream Christian music of today’s airwaves. Influence is an economist’s game, but ‘Heart in Motion’ is just as fiscally responsible as ‘Nevermind’ for the music Americans hear every day (though probably neither is as influential as ‘Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em’). ‘Heart’ showed CCMers and those Hot AC kids that they, too, could become big stars — to God’s glory, of course.

To be honest, reading this paragraph exhausted me. I may be wrong, but I tend to think that Langhoff has found the perfect instance of where it might have seemed sensible at first glance to apply Freakonomics-style thinking, but in truth it doesn’t make sense at all. Feel free to tell me that I’m wrong. And here’s the link to the complete article.

Finally: several years ago, the Village Voice stopped selling copies (I think the price was $1) and began giving them away. Back then, everybody I knew (novelists and journalists and actors, mostly) read the Voice. Today, I don’t know anybody who reads it. Did we all think that a paper that cost $1 was somehow that much more valuable than a free paper — or is the Voice something that you simply grow out of?