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Monday, November 10, 2003

It's All About the Pollacks 

OK so let's keep everythings straight: David Kamp got cranky about NEVER MIND THE POLLACKS over the weekend. Then TMFTML comments about how Kamp's description of Pollack as "yet another doughy, 35-ish white man with a goatee and thinning hair" is somewhat unfair. Now Marc Weisblott offers a dissenting opinion of his own, much of which is based on the fact that before Neal started writing the book, he hadn't heard of many of the bands he was about to satirize. So if that's the case, why do it?

I suppose there are two kinds of satire: that which pillories a subject that the satirist knows a great deal about, maybe even loves; and satire for satire's sake. Pollack, it seems, falls somewhere in between. Rock criticism seems rife for satire, especially the "uber-serious" kind that sprung up in the early 70s by the likes of Lester Bangs & co. So having at least some knowledge of this, and wanting to write a novel, why not satirize the subject? So Pollack may not have had any real familiarity with the subjects he was about to mock, but that's why there's research. I'm already on record as having loved the book, but I also know that satire, and humor in general, is a very tricky bastard. What some find funny, others simply do not get at all.

Like Marc, I'm also looking forward to Marc Spitz's upcoming book, and as I said before, I would love to see Pollack write something where he doesn't have to try so hard, and be so out there and brash. He can write, and he has the chops; now it's time to really hone his talents.

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