Beginning to See the Light: Sex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll by Ellen Willis

By Ellen Willis

From the New Yorker’s inimitable first pop tune critic comes this pioneering choice of essays by means of a conscientious author whose political realm is either radical and rational, and whose major preoccupations are with rock ’n’ roll, sexuality, and specifically, freedom. the following Ellen Willis usually captures the fun of track, the disdain of authoritarian tradition, and the rebellious spirit of the ’60s and ’70s.

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But blues, unlike rock, was free of identification with the dominant society. Its sexuality and rebelliousness were undiluted, and it was about people, not teen-agers. Besides, the Negro, always a dual symbol of suffering and life force, was gaining new political importance, and folk blues expressed the restlessness of activists, bohemians, declasse intellectuals. Since younger Negro performers were not interested in preserving a genre they had abandoned for more distinctly urban forms, white city singers tried to fill the gap.

I've stared across the great divide between people who do and don't have children (and the gap between C. P. Snow's two cultures is scarcely more daunting) from both sides now. I experience the passion (in all senses) of child rearing from the parent's standpoint (my own and my mother's) and the child's (my daughter's xxxiv Introduction to the Second Edition and my own, through memories that years of therapy hadn't dredged up). I see marriage from the perspective of someone who, in the manner of the man old enough to be responsible for his own face, has been with my unlicensed spouse long enough so that he, in all his otherness, is part of who I am.

Jones (the pop equivalent of Mr. Charlie) for committing squareness: "The sword-swallower he comes up to you and then he kneels/. . and he says here is your throat back, thanks for the loan/ and something is happening but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. " "Desolation Row" was Dylan's final tribute to the Gotterdammerung strain in modern literature—an elevenminute freak show whose cast of losers, goons, and ghosts wandered around in a miasma of sexual repression and latent violence underscored by the electronic beat.

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