Young at heart
Re Rob Harvilla's 'Let's Avoid Neil Young's Next Record' [December 24–30]: The title of this article is insulting, and the text is pure condescension. The writer obviously thinks very highly of himself. I can't believe the Voice would even publish this condescending trash.
Ignore the dimwits, Rob. This review was fabulous! The "enraged fisherman hooking himself" line was up there with the best of the Voice, John Lahr, and The New Yorker's criticism in its less precious mode.
I'll never forget having to sit with a desperate grin as a friend played me Neil's hamfisted anti-Bush album—what a talentless, buffoonish wreck Young's become! If someone wants a few decent old cuts, scan the Decade album; otherwise, everyone knows this is nowhere.
Your article pretty much sums up all the reasons that Neil's fans love him. Most everything that you mention as a negative, Neil's fans find positive and love him for.
It's too bad you didn't enjoy the concert; it appears from all the other reviews I read that it was amazing. But that's OK. I have a hard time explaining why I like Neil so much to my friends, too.
I think that is because Neil's music is not something that is easily tangible—his music is much more of a feeling. That is why if you don't understand or "get the feeling," you can't really write about it and make sense of it. Your review certainly did not get me upset; I'm very used to reading reviews like yours when it comes to Neil. It is the same type of review that was prevalent 30 years ago, when people did not understand who Neil was (is).
The writes of bloggers
Re Kevin Baker's 'Bloggers vs. An Author: No One Wins' [December 10–16]: Nobody is "bashing" bloggers. Yet, what do bloggers gain from bashing an author, from being threatening and anti-Semitic to a writer? If I were Darin Strauss, I may have responded to the faceless onslaught of amateur criticism in the same sophomoric-yet-understandable way.
It's a given that if you really want to get published, you need to be Jewish, live in the New York area, and very preferably be female. Or, if you can't manage those things, be famous or notorious.
As for book tours, they're passé. Went out with the Model T. Blogs are in, so better not upset the bloggers. I especially recommend not doing what I did: I sent a copy of my latest novel, an SF satire, to a female blogger who seems to have been a Bible-thumping raving feminist, and I was accused of being a "potty mouth" for daring to use words like "poo" and "pee" (sigh).
She obviously didn't appreciate my sly takedowns of born-again Christians. Which goes to show that you'd better research your bloggers before you send them your latest lump of recyclables.
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant piece. All you folks out there who covet "the writer's life," please take note.
Call me a hopeless romantic—or just call me hopeless—but I miss the literary feuds of days gone by. When Mary McCarthy famously pronounced that every word Lillian Hellman wrote was a lie, including "and" and "the," I knew that wit was alive and well.
Now what do we get? You can barely get Mary Karr to call a fraud (James Frey) a hack.
Darin Strauss is the biggest wuss on the Internet. No wonder he has to hide under his desk—he's probably crying out to his grandma: "Nana, please save me from the mean people in the computer! They hurt my feelings!!! [sob]"
Gregory A. Butler
Tooting his horn
Congratulations to Voice jazz critic Francis Davis, who's been nominated for a Grammy for his liner notes to Miles Davis's Kind of Blue: The 50th Anniversary Collectors Edition.
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