“Jesus don’t want me for a sunbeam/Sunbeams are never made like me…” The Vaselines, Nirvana
An incident at the memorial service for my friend and former band mate, Mike, about whom I wrote a recent reminiscence, has been rattling around in my head for several weeks now. During that time I’ve finished reading the next to last book on the 2017 reading list, Reverend Emmett Barnard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Ripoff! It’s one of the first of the religious right’s attacks on rock music as the ruination of American youth as well as one of the early salvos in the culture wars that movement has been waging for over 30 years.
As an academic and scholar, my view of Barnard’s book, which he presents in the form of a scholarly monograph, is that it’s a terrible book. It’s poorly written, weakly sourced, and generally sloppy. Repeatedly, Reverend Barnard displays a profound lack of knowledge of his subject, and the work is rife with factual errors. Continue reading