by Tyler Cowen
on November 2, 2010 at 8:18 am
1. How digital reports get out of North Korea.
2. Good but brutal analysis of Bruce Springsteen.
3. The swing voter's curse.
4. Is this election information or war?
5. Dunkin Donuts abolishes the penny, sort of.
6. Once Upon a Title.
7. Keynes vs. Hayek, rap part II.
Starostin's analysis of Springsteen makes sense in the context of him growing up in Communist Russia. Bruce's songs that romanticise the everyday-ness of middle class life would probably strike a suffering Russian as unacceptably complacent.
I wouldn't call him a local phenomenon though. He's big in the UK, Western Europe, Spain and the Scandinavian countries.
He's also the only guest that I've seen on The Daily Show where Jon Stewart was genuinely starstruck.
Analysis of music that goes beyond the sound and considers things like what the lyrics "mean" always goes off base. Music is just sound. Springsteen's mock profound observations and his whole ersatz working man shtick are indeed lame. That's true of basically all artists who have a "message," largely because there aren't enough lyrics in an entire album to make and explain an important and original statement about life. Not that critics cannot write interestingly about such things — many can — but it doesn't help me discover the only thing that determines what I want to listen to: Does it sound good?
#2 – he's put a lot of effort into it, but I wouldn't call it good, unless the good stuff is somewhere after the 80th – the point at which I decided I was no longer going to endure charcoal text on a lime green background. C'mon, people, I don't care if you're not a master web designer, but basic legibility guidelines are simple and (should be) obvious.
Agree with Andrew1's comment.
Also that guy badly needs an editor. Takes pages to say what could be reduced to a sentence or two.
To everyone slagging Starostin's writing – how well can you write in a foreign language? That doesn't mean you need to read George's posts, but unless you're Joseph Conrad or Nabokov cut him some slack. And for all that, he DOES write better about music than most native born American music critics.
The Dunkin Donuts shop I go to use to set his prices so that the after tax amount always ended in $0.05 or $0.10 so he never had to use pennies.
But in recent years he has dropped this practice as he has started raising his prices by a set percentage once or twice a year.
The problem with Bruce Springsteen found in the term, "used to".
As in "he used to be good."
The comment, "Can you recommend some sites that publish junior high essays?" is right on the money!
The new records sound like a band covering the old Bruce Springsteen. Including every cliche he "used to" use. Plus some new ones I must have missed.
"That's true of basically all artists who have a "message"…"
The scare quotes boggle my mind.
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