I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.”
ANSWER ME THIS
Dear Stuart Goldman:
I have just been handed a copy of
the September 20 Reader with your article,
“A Declaration of War” in it, and I’m forced
to rather begrudgingly admit that I agree with
a lot of what you say. Still, I must ask myself:
many of us have troubles, problems, things that
elicit anger and rage such as you express. Yet we carry on in the face of this. There are, you see,
ways to change things, through awareness and through political moves; yes, Mr. Goldman, the system. If we all must live in this society under the same laws and rules, what gives you particular right to express your revolt, your anarchy in this fashion? While the rest of us sit in our “dreary little apartments” until our end comes not with a bang
but a whimper, why is it that you shoot shotgun
blasts at all these many targets. Answer me that,
my outspoken young friend. Why? WHY YOU?
Take more valium (with some Vicodin if possible), then go straight back to bed.
Tell them to shut the fuck up. Then go to bed.
Cover Rocks a Conservative JournalMagazines
February 23, 1989|GARRY ABRAMS | Times Staff Writer
National Review readers didn't expect to see him there, either.
They've been writing letters in much greater than normal volume to protest the cover--usually reserved for such beacons of right political light as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher--and the accompanying article, "That Old Devil Music" by Los Angeles writer Stuart Goldman.
The story in the Feb. 24 issue has been noticed in other quarters too. Editors at Rolling Stone magazine Wednesday were pondering whether to publish a response to the diatribe against current rock music and its support systems, including MTV and the magazines Rolling Stone, Spin, Rip and Heavy Metal.
Furthermore, a rebuttal by national GOP Chairman Lee Atwater, a guitar player, has been rumored. But a spokesman at the Republican National Committee said that Atwater hadn't been asked to write a reply. National Review staffers were keeping quiet about their plans and whether they involved Atwater.
Meanwhile, author Goldman boarded an eastbound jet Wednesday, headed for the Secaucus, N.J., studio of insult television impresario Morton Downey Jr. Goldman will be taping a program to be aired March 1, a Downey spokesman said.
Before he took off, Goldman, who once free-lanced at the Los Angeles Times, said reaction to the story has surprised him. "It's gone cuckoo," he said, estimating that he has been interviewed by about 20 radio stations--and a Rolling Stone writer investigating the possible counterstrike.
Goldman, a former country and rock musician, confessed that he is out of step with many, perhaps most, of his contemporaries. "One of the reasons I quit being a musician is because I hate nightclubs and I don't like to go out," he said.
But the central point of his National Review article isn't an attack on dissipation and odd hours. Rather, Goldman argues that rock music has lost every shred of creativity. Rock "died in 1977 with its first god, Elvis Presley," Goldman writes. "What exists today is something else--a cheap imitation of the original model. In place of the musical vitality that inspired the pioneers, there is now merely the debased desire to shock and titillate," he writes.
Condensing his theme, Goldman said, "I'm just saying basically . . . I listen to what's out there and it's garbage."
Old rockers take a shot from Goldman too. Noting that George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne recently teamed to form a group called the Traveling Wilburys, Goldman writes, "Fortunately for the band, which is decidedly mediocre, Orbison expired last month, giving it some much-needed cachet."
This and similar comments have prompted more mail--about 25 letters--on a single article than National Review associate editor Geoffrey Morris has seen in the 14 months he has been dealing with the magazine's letters. Morris said the letters, which are still coming in, are "mostly con" regarding the cover and Goldman's essay. "They just thought (the cover) was grotesque," Morris said. Other readers criticized Goldman on the grounds that "watching MTV is not the way to go about judging the whole music industry," he added.
To the editors:
I was watching TV on a recent Saturday,
and noted that your writer, Stuart Goldman, was
the featured guest on “Good Day L.A.” Having dismissed Goldman as a raving lunatic—after having read several of his more virulent diatribes in your paper—I was surprised to find him an articulate, bright, rather soft-spoken young man.
My question is, is Goldman merely constructing his vicious in-print personality to cater to his fans, who obviously delight in watching him while he takes shots at everything within jabbing distance?
Gorgeous George and Muhammad Ali proved a long time ago that all the world loves a tough guy—especially when he has a big mouth. But you might advise Goldman that were he to write in a style more akin to his TV self, he’d find an audience that went
far beyond the cheap shot groupies who are presently feeding his ego.
The taxi dance halls raise a number of
issues, which, fortunately or not, I'll
have to leave for someone more sociologically
inclined than myself. Still, it would seem that
the most important question is, are the dance
halls a world unto themselves, or are they simply
a microcosm of the world outside? And is
there really any separation?
According to Janet, there isn 't. " Listen," she
says matter-of-factly. "The other day I went to
this restaurant in Beverly Hills to have lunch,
and the first thing you know some guy comes
up and starts hustling me." Janet emits a harsh
laugh. "It's all a gigantic hustle, inside the clubs
or out of them. It doesn't make any difference."
Well, maybe. But if that is, in fact, the case,
then is Bridgette's point of view inevitable? "I
used to have all these fantas ies, these dreams of
how life would be," she says. " But no more.
They're just gone. This is reality . . . this is how
it is. Sure, I wish I could feel young again and
have the dreams I used to but I guess I've just
seen too much. It 's shitty, but what the hell.
That's life, I guess."
Of course, there'll be those who will argue
the point. But Bridgette and Janet aren't listening.
Too many miles down the road. Where will
they wind up? It 's hard to say, reall y. But one
thing's for sure; no matter where they go after
they get too old for the dance halls, there'll be
new girls to take their place on the red naugahyde
couch, and to take part-for a few years
anyhow-in the endless one night stand of the
taxi dance world.
Inside the Flamingo, Dee sits in the dressing
room fLxing her makeup before going
out onto the dance floor. She's quit for the second
time this momh, and this i her first night
back. Though it's only been two weeks since
I've seen her, she looks somehow older.
It 's raining outside. Dee lights a smoke and
looks out the window. The red and green from
the club's neon sign blinks ofT and on in the oilslicked
"Much as I hate this place, I keep coming
back," Dee says fl atly. " I hate to adm it it, but
I guess I'm addicted. I dunno, maybe it's because
.. . well, I don't really have any friends
on the outside. At least here I'm not alone.
"The thing is, the longer you stay here, the
harder it is to quit. I guess maybe I'm stuck. It 's
not something I'd recommend to any friend of
mine. I mean, this place'll make you crazy. Any
girl that comes in here, she's got a problem. If
she don't have one when she comes, she's got
one when she leaves. See, in a funny way, the
club keeps you hoping. People work here 'cause
they need money, they need friends, they need
an old man. They need sometlti11g . . . and they
think they're gonna find it here."
Dee flips her cigarette out the window, poofs
her hai r, and gets up. "One thing's fur sure,"
she says before going out the door, "th.:n· ain't
nobody that's here just for kicks."
—Excerpt from “Private Dancers”
I went through a red light today. A man with wild popping hair pulled up next to my car. He was gritting his teeth. They were yellow.
"DID YOU KNOW YOU JUST WENT THROUGH A RED LIGHT!" the man screamed.
"Yes" I replied.
The guy just sat in his seat glaring at me. You could tell he was trying to think of something very clever to say. I smiled at him.
"I'M GOING TO GET YOUR LICENCE NUMBER AND CALL THE POLICE!" the man yelled, spittle shooting from his mouth.
"THANK YOU VERY MUCH," I said. The light turned green. The man sat there for another moment more. There were a bunch of cars lining up behind him but he refused to move. The guy behind him leaned his head out the window.
"MOVE IT, YOU STUPID SONOFABITCH!" the guy in the other car screamed.
Pretty soon all the people behiind the angry guy were honking at him.
I put on my turn signal, and turned right. The guy sat there for a moment more. He didn't know what to do. He was obviously deciding whether or not to turn right and follow me.
The car behind the angry man, honking his horn angrily, sped around the angry man.
"FUCKING MORON!" the man yelled at the moron.
By the time I had turned right at the next street I could hear a chorus of honking horns and people yelling at each other. I wondered if any one of the angry motorists had a gun in his car.
I turned on the radio in my car. It was a song by Etta James.
I figured it was going to be a fine day after all.