Geekery of all stripes

Not-so-nice article about Billy Joel

· David Bishop

being a contemptuous artist. {% fn_ref 1 %} The theory is that Mr. Joel has nothing but contempt for his audience. The best part of the essay is the absolute - yes - contempt that he holds for Billy Joel. For example:

{% blockquote %} It is a kind of mystery: Why does his music make my skin crawl in a way that other bad music doesn’t? Why is it that so many of us feel it is possible to say Billy Joel is—well—just bad, a blight upon pop music, a plague upon the airwaves more contagious than West Nile virus, a dire threat to the peacefulness of any given elevator ride, not rock ’n’ roll but schlock ’n’ roll? {% endblockquote %}

And later:

{% blockquote %} Plus, there’s always the chance we’ll see another of those “career re-evaluation” essays that places like the New York Times Sunday “Arts & Leisure” section are fond of running about the Barry Manilows of the world. The kind of piece in which we’d discover that Billy’s actually “gritty,” “unfairly marginalized” by hipsters; that his work is profoundly expressive of late-20th-century alienation (“Captain Jack”); that his hackneyed, misogynist hymns to love are actually filled with sophisticated erotic angst; that his “distillations of disillusion,” to use the patois of such pieces, over the artist’s role (“Piano Man,” “The Entertainer,” “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” etc.) are in fact “preternaturally self-conscious,” not just shallow, Holden Caulfield-esque denunciations of “phonies,” but mentionable in the same breath as works by great artists. {% endblockquote %}

My Dad knows how much I love to point out hypocrisy, especially when it comes to rhetorical devices. And having every word of an article about “contempt” dripping with the stuff is the very definition.

{% footnotes %} {% fn Anyone from my family knows where I stand on the whole “does Billy Joel suck or not” debate. %} {% endfootnotes %}