corruptive influence. I’m afraid I don’t get the point. IsnMick Jagger really a primary influence on contemporarynrock? It is easy to draw very unpleasant conclusions if wencompare Bon Jovi with Buddy Holly, but what if wencompare Tom Petty, Ian Anderson, and Dire Straits with thenTeddybears, Frankie Avalon, and the Shangrilas? A somewhatndifferent picture emerges. One remembers RobertnFrost’s famous remark that he didn’t want to be a liberal innhis youth for fear of becoming a conservative in old age.nTo a great extent rock music, like all commercial popularnmusic, is offensive junk. But in the 1950’s rock and roll, likenthe blues and country music that gave it birth, had a certainnspontaneity and authenticity. Now, both rock and countrynmusic are safely encased in a commercial shell of majornlabels, broadcast conglomerates, and MTV, and if thingsnstay the same, it is a very bad sign for a nation that has alwaysnprized individualism and entrepreneurship. Let me put thenissue as bluntly as I can: conservatives worry over whethernbusinessmen are selling the rope by getting involved in popnculture. The truth of the matter is that it is the other waynaround: rock music is not corrupting business, but businessnI set outnto taste of those thousandsnthe peddlers gloried over,napples they saidnwere strawberries to the nostrilsnbut sour in the eating,nor hinted of fennel,nor were best at the momentnwhen greennpales to yellow on the skin,nor the seeds darken,nor the natural waxes surface —nmeaning October, when sunnrelents and the fruit is racy,nstained with September evenings,nalready rusted by fogs, or hangsnpurple as ram’s hornnwhere a seedndropped in an ox turdntook its chances,nsprouted stubborn with thornsnin a far pasture corner, the budsnpartridge-trimmed untilnthere shoved from a juicynreservoir the one true scion.nI passed up new-grafted whipsnfor old trees fighting throughnlichen and scale, —onesnThe Pilgrim of Applesn(18th Century)nby Brendan Galvinnand commercialization have always corrupted rock and roll.nIt is all too easy to point the finger at disgusting rock videos.nMTV is as perverse as everyone says it is, but MTV is annessentially commercial enterprise run for profit, and thenmost disgusting things they show may be the same commercialsnfor Levi’s and Twix that appear on the Saturdaynmorning network programming for children.nMost of the diatribes against rock music stem fromnnothing more serious than nostalgia for the world of one’snchildhood. In fact, this is true of most criticism of life in then1980’s. But the problems in American life run deeper thannthe recent past of the 1960’s, and the attempt to fix thenblame on a single generation is as foolish as it is immoral. Tonlocate the sources of corruption in our public culture, wenshall have to go not just to the first generation that sufferednunder the welfare state or even to the generation thatncreated it. The sources lie in what for most Americans mustnseem to be the misty past of ancient history, the periodnbetween the Civil War and World War I. For it was then thatnthe modes of the music changed and the city’s walls werenshaken. <^nthe deer beat a path tonby nose alone— and atenoff the knife from fonts of earthnreturning to earth, savoringnlocal names: the Flavin Surprise,nthe Cheek-in-Bloom. You,nin your century, will havenRed Delicious, Granny Smiths,nand a few other perfectionsnfor the eye, but mushnon the palate, cores a dognrejects by ear for theirnwant of snap. They will benfenced against wanderersnlike me, and warehoused away,ngassed atrocities, waxworkncelebrities, but no OneidanSheepnose or WethersfieldnBeauty, no Garrett’s GhristmasnRevenge, nothing that has a storynwith it, nothing to resurrectnpapillae on the tonguenlike that apple I foundnin a wheelrut once, brownednby November frost,nand thawed in my pocketnand robbed of such winenthe northern lights swam in my eyes.nThis poem and “Apprenticed to the Bird Master” (p. 27) are from Brendan Gahin’s new collection,nWampanoag Traveler, published by Louisiana State University Press.nnnAUGUST 1989/13n