By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
THE CHATTERING DEAD
Without "positive reinforcement" from honest, perceptive critics, it's musicians themselves who are going to suffer the most. The days of a unified discourse are over -- today music is too fragmented -- but I wouldn't abandon all hope about the Net. Music nowadays occupies a whole different space, and fulfills a different function, in people's lives, when compared to the '60s.
The last thing we needed was another piece celebrating the wild rock & roll exploits of Richard Meltzer. He is one of our finest writers period, and yet he keeps getting pigeonholed as some sort of badass rock critic. He hasn't been a rock critic for about 30 fucking years! Why no mention of Meltzer's recent "Autumn Rhythm," a funny, beautiful and knockout of a piece about growing old?
Still, it's always good to see him in the spotlight.
Alec Hanley Bemis' cover story contains a number of minor factual errors, most of which I can live with without wincing, but one major one calls for comment. His remark that "Meltzer frequently received death threats from female readers of his column in the L.A. Reader . . . outraged by his perceived lack of feminist sensibility" is patently ridiculous. The only death threats I got while at the Reader (or, for that matter, ever) were from fire-and-brimstone Christians pissed at my two-part response to a right-wing born-again screed that had appeared in a local slick. What makes this passage particularly irksome, sequenced as it is with some admittedly sexist bullcrap I'd written a full decade before, is the fact that one of my primary goals at that particular nexus was the overcoming of such bullcrap. Several of my Reader columns from that period were given over quite specifically to the dismantling of any lingering macho sensibility on my part.
As Casey Stengel used to say, you could look it up.
I am delighted by Alec Hanley Bemis' passionate writing about rock criticism and Richard Meltzer and myself. No argument there, but I would like to correct a tiny error. My new book of essays about rock in the '90s is called Back to the Miracle Factory, not Return to the Miracle Factory.
THE SPINNER SPUN
Re: "To Protect and To Spin" [June 14-20]. It is revealing that David Corn is so skeptical of Mike Ruppert while taking so little of the official story to task. After all that has happened since 9/11, this is not intellectually defensible, especially for someone who considers himself to be a serious journalist with long-standing connections in the "national-security community." Corn dwells too much on the messenger. Whatever one believes about Ruppert personally, his analysis still raises questions that demand further investigation, in public. If a real investigation took place, Ruppert's claims could be scrutinized, and who is a kook and who is on to something would come out in full view.
We live in a culture that routinely dismisses and derides "conspiracy theorists." Why, one wonders, does Mr. Corn feels so compelled to expose them for being exactly that? By continuing to point the spotlight at Mr. Ruppert, Mr. Corn only gives him wider exposure, and by railing against him as if it mattered, he only energizes Mr. Ruppert's paranoid but cunning suggestion that David Corn has ties to the CIA.
In any case, I think both David Corn and the L.A. Weekly missed an opportunity to explore a larger and more interesting story, which is why so many people crave the kind of information Michael Ruppert delivers. Mr. Ruppert may indeed be out to lunch, but people are interested in what he has to say because they know they aren't getting the truth from more mainstream sources. Instead of debunking the fringe, Mr. Corn might be better employed challenging the official "spin."
I would like to know why Mr. Corn is so juiced up by such a crackpot theory. Ruppert has had it tough. Now he has found a way to make some money and have some social interaction. Let him. We seem to forget that we listen to a guy like Ruppert for the same reasons we read a spy novel -- pure entertainment.
In his demeaning article on Michael Ruppert, I can see why David Corn gets accused of being a disinformation specialist. At the very least, his own work is shallow and serves his own prejudices, clearly stating his skepticism as to whether the Bush administration would "allow the murder of thousands of Americans to achieve a political or economic aim." Many would find this a plausible characterization of the Vietnam military policy of two former administrations.
Corn also disbelieves that "any government agency could execute a plot requiring the coordination of the FBI, CIA, INS, FAA, NTSB, Pentagon . . . " yet seems to forget that his own theory of the events of 9/11 (the one we’ve been handed) is that of a conspiracy that didn’t require the coordination of these agencies. Why should American complicity require it.