Monday, January 23, 2023


Trina reviewed a book last week:

Ellen Sander's The Lifestyle That Classic Rock Unleashed

I read Ellen Sander's The Lifestyle That Classic Rock Unleashed & Other Stories -- stopping the title there.  Too many times I found myself wishing Ellen Sander had learned to stop when a stop was needed.  Instead, she goes on and on and on.

Ellen started writing about music (or something) in the sixties.  I thought I would enjoy this collection.  I love the writing of Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, for example, and of Ellen Willis.  Like Sander, those two women wrote about music in the 60s.  They produced some seminal writing.

If Ellen Sander did the same, she did not include in this collection.

"Is Pop Dead?" is an essay that captures her typical writing.  She thinks she's asking a high minded question.  Then she turns in the most superficial garbage in the world and we're supposed to be entertained as she repeatedly name checks (is this a gossip column) while never actually backing up her argument or, let's be honest, building an argument.

This essay is her supposedly responding to music writer Richard Goldstein's pronouncement that pop is dead.  

"No" is her answer.

She then uses a lot of words while name dropping but neither makes nor shapes an argument. 

This is the sort of pseudo bulls**t that people pull when logic is too much for them.  

I'm not a professional writer and don't pretend to be.  But were I music critic and responding to the claim that pop was dead, I would be able to construct an argument.  I would be able to make a case.  

Ellen writes as though it's all about word count.

I've never been more disappointed in a book supposedly about music.  

I would strongly recommend that you skip this book and instead read Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's Rock Chick: A Girl And Her Music or Ellen Willis' The Essential Ellen Willis.  Those two women knew how to write.  You can read them writing about an album that you've never even heard and they can bring it alive because they know how to write and they know how to construct an argument.  Ellen Sander just knows how to spit out words.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday:

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