Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Dusty Metaphor

Pity the poor employees of The New York Times, who apparently have so little time to leave their ivory tower, they evidently believe Oklahoma is still in the throes of a dust bowl. Witness this ostensibly benign review in The New York Times Review of Books for a new book about Oklahoma's alt-rock band, the Flaming Lips:

"[Author Jim] DeRogatis, the pop music critic for The Chicago Sun-Times and the author of a biography of Lester Bangs, does a nice job rendering the 60's and 70's cultural dust bowl that produced these alt-rock lifers ..."

Huh? Is it possible for The New York Times to get past Oklahoma's dust bowl?

Maybe not. From a Jan. 14, 2004, feature in the Times about Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips:

"Onstage [Coyne] usually dresses in a white suit and an open-collar shirt, looking something like a charismatic New Age guru. More than anything else, though, he and his bandmates come across as Dust Bowl Everymen with Bible Belt work ethics."

Is it possible for any major metropolitan newspaper to write about the Flaming Lips without conjuring up the 70-year-old specter of the dust bowl?

From The Chicago Tribune on March 26 of this year:

"It was just another day at the office for the Flaming Lips, whose improbable 24-year journey has taken them from Dust Bowl hicks who could barely play their instruments to festival-headlining shamans who will be headliners at Lollapalooza this summer in Chicago's Grant Park."

Then again, perhaps this is what you expect from cities that gave us the "Son of Sam" killer and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Tom Joad .... yesterday and today


At 9:38 AM, Blogger Daniel Gale-Grogen said...

Yeah, whenever I think of Chicago, I think of Mrs. O'Leary's cow setting a city on fire and Abe Beame-style "Ford to New York: Drop Dead" bankruptcy, respectively.

Wait -- no, I think of Cabrini Green and the Triangle Factory fire.

Wait -- no, I think of the riots of '68 and the Bensonhurst race wars.


At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Chase -- My friend and editor, Thomas Conner, sent me the link to your blog. Fear not: The words "cultural dustbowl" never appear in my book. And as for the Chicago Tribune, you'll never hear me say a kind word about that paper. All the best -- Jim DeRogatis


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