Over at the Tumblr fandom categories post, an interesting and lively discussion is taking place about Beatle biographies, and our expectations of and assumptions about authorial intent and accuracy. I thought the topic warranted a closer look. Are journalists and biographers simply writers "who are paid to tell a story that sells", as Mike Gerber contends, or should they be held to a higher standard because their work, as Ruth contends, is presented and consumed as history? Should biographers be held to the same journalistic standards of factual reporting which govern the Fourth Estate? Here are some basic elements: Reporters are expected [...]
Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian 288 pp. Simon & Schuster, 2013 Reviewed by Devin McKinney Note: This review was first posted, precipitately, on July 22nd, after review copies of John McMillian's book were sent out; it was difficult for the reviewer to resist reading and responding to it immediately. Now that the book is publicly available, we repost the review, without any changes. A character in Jonathan Lethem’s novel The Fortress of Solitude claims that every small-group dynamic found in fiction or in life is comprehensible via the Beatles model of organizational relationships: “The Beatles thing is an archetype, it’s like [...]
Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian 288 pp. Simon & Schuster, 2013 Reviewed by Devin McKinney A character in Jonathan Lethem’s novel The Fortress of Solitude claims that every small-group dynamic found in fiction or in life is comprehensible via the Beatles model of organizational relationships: “The Beatles thing is an archetype, it’s like the basic human formation. Everything naturally forms into a Beatles, people can’t help it.” He illustrates this theory by applying it, convincingly, to Star Wars and The Tonight Show. (For the record, the archetypal roles—or “four sides of the circle,” as the title of a Beatles bootleg once [...]
Midnight Rambler DEVIN McKINNEY • A friend sent this link to a Guardian article titled “31 Songs That Changed My Life,” in which a variety of English creatives (actually, not enough variety—only six are women) name and briefly describe a song they found in some way determinative of their personal development. Per the EW “best album” commented on by Mike, I don’t like such lists yet I almost always look at them. This entry caught me: #15, by Scottish crime novelist Ian Rankin: Midnight Rambler by The Rolling Stones I have chosen this from my favourite Rolling Stones album: I’m [...]
DEVIN McKINNEY • For the enjoyment of anyone with the requisite interest and 45 minutes, here's myself and a friend, music writer Tom Kipp, debating the question at the Experience Music Project Pop Conference, EMP Museum, Seattle, this April 20 past. Can anyone here guess which album I picked? That's bon vivant Sean Nelson as our m.c., and H. B. Radke running the A/V.