America and the world is expressed,ndiscussed, and analyzed.” His cause isnthe “intrinsic value” of rock ‘n’ roll, itsn”fruitful cultural tradition,” and itsnpolitical potential for dragging “thenunwanted and faceless, the pissed-offnand brokenhearted into the spotlight.”nMarsh’s primary theme is that “thisnis the day of the Big Lie, not just aboutnthe meaning of the music but aboutn. . . the heart of America itself” Fornthose in doubt about the pervasivenessnof the Lie, Marsh supplies plenty ofnevidence: he accuses Ray Charles ofn”criminal behavior” for singing “withnthe bloodthirsty and jingoist Reagannregime” at the Republican NationalnConvention; he declares that the riotnafter Diana Ross’s Central Park concertnwas “inevitable” in a city “wherenonly 10 percent of the minority youthnhave full-hme jobs”; he complains thatnbecause the U.S. Postal Service hasnnot issued a commemorative ElvisnPresley stamp, “there is absolutely nonsign that Presley . . . will ever be honorednin his native land.”nMarsh explains that one of then”driving forces” behind American popnmusic is “the need for those who suffernmost in our segregated, unequal countrynto express their particular reality onntheir own terms.” Within these terms,nMadonna’s fame is “historic necessity”nand Prince’s “art” with a beat culminatesn”an American tradition that goesnback to Walt Whitman,” a traditionnthat “deserves an honored place in thenclassroom, both for its intrinsic valuenand as an educational tool.” Somenparents may object to the messages innrock ‘n’ roll, but “shielding our childrennfrom images of sex and violencenwill only warp their outlook and makenthem ill-equipped to deal with the realnworld.”nPronouncements can be found onnalmost every page of The First Rock &nRoll Confidential Report, a book bynMarsh and his associates, who publishnRock & Roll Confidential (“The Voicenof the Undesirable Element”), anmonthly newsletter for the seriouslynserious. In “Paperback Writer,” andated article from this book, one SandranChoron writes that the B. Daltonnchain, in a move to eliminate overstock,nis removing many of the rocknbooks “glutting the paperbacknshelves.” Thus, book chains “are determiningnwhat will be read.” As anresult of this “devastating” decision,nbuyers can no longer “count on finding”nNowhere to Run or The Big Beatnor Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n Roll (annaffectionate book that Choron labelsn”scabrous,” probably because authornNick Tosches indecentiy claims thatnrock ‘n’ roll “flourished because itnsold” and that its heroes “all had onenthing in common: they liked Cadillacs”).nThe consequence is that profithungrynbooksellers “curb the literarynmarketplace in a manner that is nothingnshort of artistic suppression, a clearnviolation of the spirit, if not the letter,nof the First Amendment.”nWhat is interesting here is the InCan’t Make Sense So Fll Make Noisenmethod of argument, which is distinguishednby the substitution of indignationnfor logic and volume for clarity.nTo make it work, start with anconclusion—one that does justice tonyour natural sense of outrage (booknchains engage in artistic suppression).nThen close your eyes and lurch backwardnuntil you bump into an assumptionnthat feels like proof (certain booksncannot be found). Now stumble onto anshocker that surprises no one but youn(businesses are interested in profit).nFinally, flop down on the FirstnAmendment, open your eyes, and feelnproud of yourselfnIn addition to half-baked ideologynand collective intellectual expediency.nThe First Rock & Roll ConfidentialnReport offers up Dave Marsh the writer.nIn his introductory essay. Marshnplaces rock ‘n’ roll in its proper culturalncontext: “In an urban, industrialnsociety, people can only make (andntransmit) culture by using the technologynprovided by that society. A BignMac is a hamburger; it’s not a ‘realnhamburger’—that’s a conundrum evidentnto everyone who has ever enjoyednthe taste of both. Such distinctions arenultimately useful mostly (if not only) tonthose who despise hamburgers in general,nprobably because burgers are vulgar.”nHe winds this up with a warningnto “pay attention to the fact that, in thengood stuff (music as well as burgers),nthere’s a kernel — or a nugget—ofnsomething bigger.”nIf that’s not enough to turn you offnrock journalism and hamburgers fornlife, Mr. Analogy deepens this conundrumnwith another kernel (nugget?):n”Within the bloodstream of the mar­nket, rock and its associated subculturesnfunction like a herpes virus, sometimesndormant but periodically eruptingnwith embarrassing, disfiguring,nand, worst of all, unpredictable consequencesn(aggravated by stress). Likenherpes, rock isn’t immobilizing to thensystem it inhabits—but it can be contagious.”nIs there a doctor in thenhouse? An editor?n”Rock saved my life,” Dave Marshnhas written. And here is the beginningnof his confusion. Leaving aside the factnthat melodrama suits the selfabsorbed,none could conclude fromnhis declaration either that rock ‘n’ rollnpossesses inherent life-saving properties,nor that Dave Marsh has the kindnof personality that could be haulednback from the brink by The Who.nBut by making himself his own bestnand constant proof, Dave Marsh hasnbecome an ideological nag, which innturn has made him a fraud as a critic, anbroken record of gripes. He boughtninto the wheezing rock myth that thenmusic “came into the world fightingnfor its life,” and from that myth developednthe proposition that rock ‘n’ rollnis a social catalyst, a political umbrella,nand meaningful comfort to thenoppressed. It didn’t, and it isn’t.nRock ‘n’ roll sprang up in the 50’snlike a big goofy weed in the pop musicngarden, and far from fighting for its lifenMOVING?nLET US KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!nTo assure uninterrupted delivery ofnChronicles, please notify us in advance.nSend change of address on this form withnthe mailing label from your latest issue ofnChronicles to: Subscription Department,nChronicles, P.O. Box 800, Mount Morris,nIllinois 61054.nName_nAddress_nCitynnnState_ -Zip_nJUNE 1986/39n