From the barstool of the publisher
I was reading Chuck Klosterman’s Killing Yourself to Live this morning when the Zen God of pop culture once again burst my bubble and made feel even less cool that I already do.
Klosterman said, “Right now, most rock journalism is just mild criticism with a Q & A attached; nobody learns anything (usually) and nothing new is created (ever).”
Klosterman went on to point out that some time ago the former lead singer of Soul Coughing once “disregarded the entire career of Village Voice rock critic Robert Christgau by saying, ‘Let’s face facts here — what Robert Christgau does is write about his mail.’ And this is completely true; as a rock critic, you make a living reviewing your mail and anybody who disagrees with that assertion is kidding themselves. Thus, the deeper question that drives (and/or depresses) rock critics is this: ‘How important is my job?’”
I’d like to think that Klosterman was a geeky little kid who got picked on relentlessly from grade school through college. I really hope that he has suffered. That being said, however, I think it’s obvious that he turned inward during his troublesome formative years and developed a wit and knowledge that allows him now, as a hip author and senior writer for Spin Magazine, to come off as a cool mother fucker who can slice through my remaining shreds of dignity and hurt me. Hey, Chuck, I never picked on you as a kid, so stop making me feel like crap about myself, o. k.?
I am going to go down the incredibly self-defensive route of denial on this one and claim that what we do at The Marquee is important.
I believe that we’re more important than the news. Now, my co-publisher will certainly argue against me on this point, but I don’t care. If politicians botched the response to Hurricane Katrina, it’s not something that really affected me. Like most of our readers, I’m more concerned about who is signed on to play the benefit concerts in this area. “Yeah, bummer about that storm. I heard that they’re gonna put on an awesome benefit show for it. It’ll be sweet!” That is what impacts me, and thus The Marquee is more important than any political decision made in Washington, or elsewhere — argue all you want but that’s the point I’m sticking to.
So, yeah, I may write about my mail. I may present, as Chuckie-boy so simply put it, “mild criticism with a Q & A attached,” but I think people can and do learn from that — maybe not the most monumental facts in the world, but they learn nonetheless. And thus, I think Klosterman is just a sad little geek (albeit a cool geek now), still trying to get back at everyone who made him cry in the 1980s over his belief that Flock of Seagulls was going to revolutionize rock and roll.
See you at the shows.