A solid reference for punk scholars, though disappointing for the True Believers.

MY SO-CALLED PUNK

GREEN DAY, FALL OUT BOY, THE DISTILLERS, YELLOWCARD--HOW NEO-PUNK STAGE-DIVED INTO THE MAINSTREAM

How punk went pop.

Music journalist Diehl (Rolling Stone; the New York Times) deftly analyzes the ideologically fraught, stylistically Balkanized state of contemporary punk rock. Despite the author’s touching attempt to make an argument for the political and cultural legitimacy of the music as it is played today, the journey from the Sex Pistols and the Clash to Good Charlotte and Blink 182 is an inescapably depressing one. His case rests largely on Green Day’s widely lauded 2004 album American Idiot, and on the reckless charisma of Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle—pretty weak stuff. In fact, Diehl’s fixation on Dalle (a sort of Australian Courtney Love) threatens to overwhelm the narrative and turn it into a mash note—the Distillers are just not significant enough to warrant the space granted them here. Still, there is a bit of value, including cogent analysis of the various “scenes” that have formed in punk’s second and third waves (hardcore, straight-edge, emo, etc.); copious interview material from the major players; and a healthy ironic appreciation of the ways in which punk rock, designed to be culturally indigestible outrage, has been smoothly commodified and turned into a kind of instant identity kit for disaffected suburban kids, as hidebound and conformist as the social order Johnny Rotten and Joe Strummer strove to overthrow. There is an informative section on the history of the annual punk-themed Warped tour—a dazzlingly effective vehicle for spreading the gospel—and Diehl has intelligent things to say about the subjects of political activism and gender politics as they relate to modern punk. And yet, the bland mall-friendly likes of bands like Yellowcard and Simple Plan beg the question: Does contemporary punk deserve a book-length analysis? One comes away from Diehl’s treatment acutely missing the Ramones.

A solid reference for punk scholars, though disappointing for the True Believers.

Pub Date: April 17, 2007

ISBN: 0-312-33781-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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