The Onion's rave review of Robert Pollard's new album, From a Compound Eye, begins with this puzzling sentence: "Given Robert Pollard's profligacy, it's only natural to greet his 26-track, 70-minute post-Guided By Voices 'debut' solo album with skepticism."
The first definition of "profligate" is (from Random House Webster's Unabridged) "utterly and shamelessly immoral or dissipated; thoroughly dissolute." What might this mean?
1.) Duh, Mr. Safire, the writer was looking for "prolificacy," since Pollard has put out like 4,000 records and in the process bored all but GBV diehards. It's a tiny usage error, not unlike those you've made in print, asshole.
2.) Mr. Pollard is known to imbibe heavily of Satan's brew onstage. Drinking is a sin, Jesus' moderate consumption of wine notwithstanding. The Onion will not tolerate sinfulness even from the rock and roll musicians it covers and does not want to encourage dissolute behavior among its youthful readers.
3.) Mr. Pollard is prolific--too prolific. His extravagant output can in fact be called intemperate and it is clearly a sign of deep vanity ("vanity of vanity; all is vanity"!), which is also sinful.