Standup comic Cho continues her reinvention as mouthy leftist radical, with mixed results.
Most comedians make a big show of being politically incorrect, trying their best to outrage what little rectitude is left in today’s jaded audiences, and few have been more successful at it than Cho. A potty-mouthed Korean-American worshipper of drag queens and trash pop culture, she’s taken an act based on shock value and impressions (mostly of her mother) and refined it over the years into a self-actualizing ritual of rage and rebellion directed at anyone who would try to define or limit her. Unfortunately, what can seem hilarious and liberating onstage frequently looks pedantic and whiny on the page. Her book certainly aspires to be more than the usual quick-and-dirty collection of warmed-over stage material padded with lots of white space and large typefaces. Refashioning herself into a political radical, the author eschews “people are stupid” complaints in favor of rants about the white male power structure, the idiocy of the media, George W. Bush and his cronies and on and on. In fact, rants are pretty much all she offers, running from topic to topic in no particular order. Her kamikaze approach, akin to that of Aaron McGruder’s faux-radical Boondocks comic strip, can work for a few pages at a stretch, but it doesn’t add up to much in the end. Here and there, Cho gets off a zinger, but for every good line, there’s plenty of blatantly obvious blather and the occasional shopworn accusation, such as calling Bill Cosby an Uncle Tom.
More or less a transcript from an Air America show on the verge of being cancelled.
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").
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)