About Michael Gerber

is Blogmom of Hey Dullblog. His novels and parodies have sold 1.25 million copies in 25 languages. He lives in Santa Monica, CA, and runs The American Bystander all-star print humor magazine.

A quick note about celebrity journalism

By |2021-12-04T15:22:59-08:00December 4, 2021|Uncategorized|

Starting in the mid-50s, television has fundamentally shifted the balance of power in the US. Other people would have to talk about other countries, but here all power now resides in the hands of celebrities. The impacts of this shift on our culture are practically incalculable. In politics for example, it began with JFK; the famous factoid is that people who listened to the Kennedy-Nixon debates thought Nixon had won, whereas people who watched them were strongly for Kennedy. The story of the 60s, 70s and 80s was an unprecedented mixing of celebrity with traditional sources of power. Whether it's John and [...]

“Get Back” Halftime Report

By |2021-11-27T15:21:15-08:00November 27, 2021|Uncategorized|

Folks, I've watched roughly half of "Get Back," and had a few thoughts and impressions that you might be interested in. It looks gorgeous, doesn't it? Great sound, great image quality, and that alone makes it a huge gift to the canon. Before I do, however, I want to link to a Dullblog post I wrote in 2014, "Let It Be: A Missed Opportunity." Re-reading it today I think it's quite prescient. I am not saying that Peter Jackson or anyone at Apple needed to read my lil' ol' post to figure out what a better documentary might look like...but I'm always [...]

“Get Back” open thread

By |2021-11-25T16:48:41-08:00November 25, 2021|Uncategorized|

Folks, I'm rushing out to Thanksgiving dinner, but here's the promised open thread on the Peter Jackson film. Put any thoughts/observations in the comments. For all my grouchiness, I'm really looking forward to seeing it. Enjoy!

What happened in India?

By |2021-11-11T18:06:36-08:00November 11, 2021|Uncategorized|

Reading one of a flood of pre-Get Back reviews just now; the premise of the piece, in The New York Times no less, is that the breakup of The Beatles had multiple causes and is a topic of debate even today among Beatle fans and scholars. Its big reveal is that, thanks to a new film, maybe the Get Back sessions weren't utter misery (despite Lennon calling them "hell" and Harrison "the winter of our discontent"). In other words… Fear not, aging Boomers increasingly sentimental about your salad days! John, Paul, George and Ringo were as happy to be Beatles as you [...]

The Compleat Beatles (1982)

By |2021-11-03T23:30:32-07:00November 3, 2021|Uncategorized|

Following some mention in the comments, I was able to find a very nice VHS transfer of the pre-Anthology Beatles documentary The Compleat Beatles, streamable on the Internet Archive. I post it here for several reasons. When people talk about "the standard narrative," this is it. The Compleat Beatles is a well-told, extremely concise rendition of The Beatles' story as most fans knew it before the Anthology in 1995. In other words, from 1970 to 1995 this is what people thought, and even today I suspect that this version of the story is the most defensible. One thing I noticed is that [...]

The Beatles and India documentary

By |2021-10-25T11:32:01-07:00October 25, 2021|1968|

Folks, I just got a press release for something very interesting: The Beatles and India is a new documentary about, well, just what it says. Those of you in the UK (and India?) can stream it now; the rest of us will have to wait a bit. There is also an album of covers. Two things come immediately when the topic of the Beatles and India heaves into view. The first is how strange it was for something like this to happen. The world's most famous pop group decamping from the West—in the middle of the Cold War—to go sit at the [...]

“Let It Be,” “Get Back,” and History as Art

By |2021-10-22T13:42:27-07:00October 21, 2021|Uncategorized|

[Folks, I responded to a comment from @Erin this afternoon, and felt that I was able to express some complex, important stuff in a reasonably concise way, so I'm surfacing it here. But before you read that… Whatever else they might be, The Beatles are an historical phenomenon; which means two things. First, each fan must create their own idea of the group out of the scraps that speak to them; all fans do this. But loving an historical thing means each fan's mental fabrication, made-to-measure and drawing from the fan's own preferences, moods and emotional needs, is more and more idiosyncratic, [...]

A few words about the latest Rolling Stone list…

By |2021-09-23T21:08:18-07:00September 23, 2021|Uncategorized|

I noticed a few commenters had mentioned Rolling Stone magazine's recent "500 Best Songs" list, and since I had a few thoughts about it myself, I wanted to set them down in the quickest and dirtiest fashion. Don't take any of this too seriously, please. I have a headache and am avoiding work. What is Rolling Stone, anymore? I'd argue that this latest iteration is no more classic Rolling Stone than if I scratched out "Hey Dullblog" and wrote "Rolling Stone" on my screen in grease pencil. It's a different publication in a different format, with different readers and a different relationship [...]

Reader Question #1: George Harrison and Beatlemania

By |2021-10-06T23:17:48-07:00September 13, 2021|Uncategorized|

Reader David wrote me to ask: "Some thoughts I've had recently with George Harrison's behavior within the Beatles particularly when the true Beatlemania kicked in. Do you think that kind of insanity going on around him, the crush of the crowds, the screaming, being chased and attacked...could all of that made him feel threatened, vulnerable, perhaps that his life was in danger? Ringo is on record talking about loving the experience. Paul certainly seemed to love it...John eventually I think stopped caring for it though he wasn't a deer in headlights over it. George on the other hand, if you look at what [...]

Beatle Memories from Marijke Kroger of The Fool

By |2021-08-23T12:32:42-07:00August 23, 2021|Psychedelia|

Artist Marijke Kroger of the Dutch art collective The Fool shares some wonderful memories here, including lots about our fellas. I've posted about the psychedelic moment in art and culture before, and what always strikes me is how brief it was. It began in earnest no earlier than 1965, and by 1968 was rapidly being replaced by a harder, more ironic, more intellectual style that is still in vogue today. After 1968, the post-Pop part of Warhol that made him dismiss Yoko Ono as "corny" became the dominant flavor of contemporary art. But the psychedelic moment was so powerful and distinctive that [...]

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