A polychrome pastiche that soars with delicious insights.

UTOPIA’S DEBRIS

SELECTED ESSAYS

Previously published essays by novelist, playwright and cultural critic Indiana (The Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt, 2005, etc.).

“In a dauntingly, often viciously anti-intellectual society, [Susan] Sontag made being an intellectual attractive,” the author writes in a 2004 obituary to his late friend. Much the same could be said of Indiana, who seems to take perverse pleasure in sectioning the underbellies of the world’s most sacred cows. None escape his scandalous, sobering, satirical pen in this new collection, which ranges from a biting lampoon of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial win and a review of the film Brokeback Mountain to a critical homage to Louis-Ferdinand Céline. As the writer explains in the preface, “We live in the wreckage of a century I lived through the second half of, a century of false messiahs, twisted ideologies, shipwrecked hopes, pathetic answers.” With this precursor, readers see the author critically sifting through that wreckage in an attempt to make sense of turn-of-the-century bedlam. Whether dissecting America’s increasingly narcissistic consumer culture or surveying the landscape of post-9/11 sensibilities, Indiana injects much of his own personality into his work, often contradicting his seemingly nihilistic point of view with a subtle if intense concern for humanity and for his readers. Unlike Let It Bleed (1995), an early roundup, this collection is heavier on analysis, lighter on the first-person and more intense in its urgency. Indiana’s thorough and balanced research coagulates into a convincing argument that the ills of the world are not natural occurrences like glaciation; there is accountability, and these people are responsible.

A polychrome pastiche that soars with delicious insights.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-465-00248-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2008

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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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