On ThenRighteousness ofnRock’nHow disappointing it is to confrontnsomeone as forlornly hip as Gary Vasilashn{Chronicles, August 1987) providingnyet another trenchant overanalysisnof the cultural implications of rocknmusic, finding again in its groovesnonly the seeds of parasitism and joylessntitillation. (One might be tempted tonask; If one can only be titillated joylessly,nwhy be titillated at all?)nSiding with Robert Pattison’s ThenTriumph of Vulgarity (and also perhapsnAllan Bloom’s The Closing of thenAmerican Mind), Vasilash proves withnpanache that even those who shouldnknow better can sing the lyrics thesenintolerant snobs repeat: that rocknmusic is somehow corrosive to thenfragile development of youth. But asnVasilash points out, even those mostnoffensive youth of the Woodstock generationngraduated from eating Cheeriosnwith their hands to respectable andnrewarding positions in modern society.nSuch maudlin preaching wrongly attributesnthe behavior of youth to somensort of herd instinct or moth-eatennHegelian concept of “universal will”ninstead of properly recognizing andnexpecting youth to be individually responsiblenfor their actions. Some lessonnthis teaches.nRock lyrics bespeak whatever worldnviews, hackneyed love rhymes, or simplensillinesses its songwriters can propelnto success and radio overplay.nWhile Jefferson Airplane combinednworld views and silliness in 60’s sloganeeringnand drug references, a newngroup like the Rainmakers can makenfun of government cheese distribution.nThese new windblown wholesale condemnationsnlaughably intellectualizenrock music and lyrics into some grandncultural force rising to bring about thendecline of the West. All this, out of “Indon’t want to work /1 just want to bangnon the drum all day”?nRock music is merely a developingnart form, like any other form of music.nIts riffs or beats are not inherentlyncorrupting. Vasilash should imaginenthe likes of Pattison and Bloom reddeningnat the lyrics of country, reggae,nor God forbid, folk. When BrucenCockburn sings “you’re a bright shiningnstar, Nicaragua,” now that’s subversive,nrj,. ,7 r^ 1n— 1 imothy CrahamnArlington, VAnMr. VasilashnRepHesnI hardly know where to begin. FirstnGraham throws compliments at me:nan association with Allan Bloom; andescription as “forlornly hip.” Doesnthis guy write reviews for RollingnStone, or what?nSo far as I can discern, he seems tonbe saying that I should leave rocknalone because, to borrow a phrasenfrom an early Who tune, “the kids arenall right.” After all, rock is harmless,nand the youths of today should ben”individually responsible for their ownnactions.”nI seriously doubt that the kids ofntoday are all right—I suspect that myncolleague Bryce Christensen, editor ofnThe Family in America, could supplynstatistics about drug abuse and pregnanciesnthat would curl Tina Turner’snwig. And while I do not think thatnthere is individual responsibility, Inhave trouble with the role models thatnare in great evidence in recordings,nvideos, television, and film roles.nSpend a few minutes with MTV,nwatch Poison, Cinderella, and their ilknin action, extrapolate what actions onenmight take as a result of their words,npostures, and positions, and then wencan perhaps figure out why the kidsnaren’t all right.nGraham implies that various otherntypes of music are equally “nasty,” asnJanet Jackson might put it, which maynbe true. However, isn’t that the exception,nnot the rule? I don’t think, asnGraham seems to, that folk music isnthe ne plus ultra of subversion. Youncould make any supergroup collectionnof folk singers — Pete Seeger, JoannBaez, and even bring Woody Guthrienback from the grave—and not makennearly the dent in the social behaviornthat Jon Bon Jovi can and does make.nWho has more of an effect: JoninMitchell or Madonna; James Taylor ornPrince? I don’t think that Joni couldnbecome a superstar even if she didncavort about in an S&M outfit, a lansome Wanna-bes, and while Taylornmay have seen fire and rain. Prince,nalong with Sheila E., Vanity, and thenmasses that worship at the throne.ncould show him things he’s nevernimagined.nGraham’s argument comes straightnfrom Jagger and Richards: “It’s onlynrock and roll.” But then he undercutsnthat by claiming it’s a “developing artnform.” In either case, it’s implied,npeople should not critically examinenit. But as a recent story in Forbesnnoted, what may be “only” rock isnactually helping reduce the trade imbalance;nit’s far from trivial in anneconomic sense. And if we should bennice to “developing art forms,”nshouldn’t we be even nicer to thennovel, which some say is in a terminalnstate, or the visual arts, which seem tonbe suffering the effects of schizophrenia,nor the theater, which could be innthe throes of senility?n””zrr””n1B..UBUCAT,â„¢NOn.I3I7M8UI0nn. H.ckf.l-a In.IImt. Ml »o,tt min St HocUoH IL 61103-7061 ” ‘ ‘n„. .„„„6 …,i,„.. «. ,.„. ».„ S6:, »,„.,a. ,6 eii„3-,06in12n;, DATE OF FILINGnio;i;a;n’^•^=:r ^n'””ITirslTrr”””â„¢””â„¢!!^… so. «=«h «.i» st R„kf„a » mnnE?S~HE55HSa=S£H=~=Sn” «”==—=,”-n• ™°.tr;sss”.,;sâ„¢;s….,,. .,.,n• ;s’.~~….n’ss-s-r/s””””””””””â„¢”n0. TOT.L ».. .„ „ .- .— ,„:.„„. .. ,….jyi^n” -f:rrs=:s^n«F…35!«,B..1!B1nnnts?s’£(^pysfG”n10,136n785n6,U5n6,930n1,391n8,3;in517n1,298n10,136nr,cnr .m.; NnJ’s’^sL’E’puBUsifE’o^NEiHl’s’T’^TQn12,500n1,600n9,6 70n11,270n1,067n12,337n153n-n12,500nDECEMBER 19871 59n