RANTING AGAIN

Cable TV satirist Miller (The Rants, 1996) is throwing his barbed tantrums again, dispensing some seriously smart-alecky stuff between his patented opener, “I don’t want to get off on a rant here,” and his closing tag, “that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.” Generally, of course, he is not wrong. He’s not supposed to be. The outrage is often common sense, but with an attitude. With the ephemeral topicality of a Will Rogers and the no longer arresting vocabulary of a Lenny Bruce, Miller (with his writers) expresses unique scorn for typical targets like lawyers, kitsch, and O.J. Simpson, as well as bad habits (“You’ve got bad eating habits if you use a grocery cart in 7 Eleven, okay?”) and Senator D’Amato (“waste of an apostrophe”). He’s against bad guys. He is, it seems, on the side of Mother’s Day, feminism, and the pleasures of parenthood. Often, he verges on the politically correct. Hey, so he’s not the counterculture iconoclast his way out hip scat riffs would indicate, okay? His preaching is founded on pop culture, so forget about the deep semiotics; he’s just got the rants (or, as he calls it, “pay cable rant syndrome”). Style is all, and it’s quite sufficient. Figures of speech, from irony and hyperbole to metonymy and synecdoche, abound. Once and future nonentities who may or may not have once appeared in the ‘zines seem to be cited simply for the musicality of their names. Trent Reznor, Lance Henricksen, Elsa Klensch—these are household names? It’s all very trendy and, as we know, trendy is hip. And Miller, the old philosopher, is nothing if not hip. As luck would have it, he’s also pretty funny in these in-your-face monologues. His patented sarcasm machine produces another caustic and clever, albeit impermanent, little volume.

Pub Date: June 5, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-48852-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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