surrender # 6 Being the sixth issue of Surrender: A Journal of Ethics

Thursday, November 13, 2003 :::
If It's All the Same to You, I'd Rather Rock

Either despite or because of the sheer ridiculousness of it, I do intend to continue with my self-imposed burden of writing little snippets here about every book I finished in 2002. I might then get around to doing the same for 2003. Bear in mind that I will be writing about books not even physically available to me and that I finished well over a year ago, with a good hundred other books finished in the meantime.

Speaking of in the meantime, while I wait for that elusive book review muse to find me again (I've been traveling a lot, I don't blame her--have spent fewer than 15 nights in the past six months sleeping in my own bed) (and she spends most of her time sipping tea with strangers in Great Britain), let me share with you something I wrote to my old friend Patrick Hughes--whose always worthwhile writings can be found these days on a blog at

He and I were, like veterans remembering D-Day, discussing the Village Voice's Pazz and Jop poll. I challenged myself to compose--without worrying in the slightest about meaning--a couple of automatic-writing-style blurbs of the sort one might see pull-quoted in that venerable jizzwarehouse for thoughtlessly baroque rockcritspeak. I tried to make sure they were about bands and records I had never even heard, at least at the time. And this is what that particular muse sent me. Patrick made me proud when he wrote that reading this bullshit made him feel as if Ann Powers' big meaty thighs were choking the life out of him.

"It took half the year for it to sink in: Bright Eyes was staring at me. Sure, any kind of success is subterranean in this post-Napster world, but Oberst's seemed more sunk than most--heavier than the 'Mats, post-Pixilated, like Nirvana was a place to wander around and change the curtains instead of, you know, a band that had changed the world. It had nothing to do with hip-hop and even less with whatever Avril thought was so complicated. Clean, unnuanced, helping prepare us for a millenium in which it's only rock n' roll, but we might not even like it."

"With Beck jacked up and Missy wacked up, it seems like post-9/11 was really post-911: beyond rescue. But with sweaty young white boys with guitars haunting the back alleys and Nas hitting hard on Main Street, it seemed like the possibilities couldn't be better for a post-Napster satori. And, fa shizzle my nizzle, it happened: Eminem lost himself (if not the rest of us) and Wilco played the pale quiet one blues all the way down on Baker Street. It didn't make up for Brit and Justin, but close."

::: posted by Brian at 6:36 AM


Being the sixth issue of Surrender: A Journal of Ethics

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