Friday, September 15, 2006

Eric Alterman - When Political Writers Write About Music


I like Eric Alterman's political writing but perhaps sometimes people need to stick to their field of expertise. I read Alterman's post on Huffingpost.com and stumbled upon this bit:

It was obnoxious enough of the Times to send a reviewer, Sia Michel, to a David Gilmour concert who has nothing but contempt for Pink Floyd. But how about one who, together with his editor, is so lazy as to write this sentence of "Dark Side:" "It lingered on the Billboard 200 chart for almost 15 years and has sold about 34 million copies worldwide." Try 15 million. Gee that was hard. And if you tell me that it was a deliberate exaggeration, well, how the hell is the reader supposed to know that? By the way, yes, look at the list. People really are idiots.

The are two problems with this post. The first one is that the review that has Eric upset is for a Roger Waters show and not a David Gilmour concert. The second problem is that the sales figures Eric quotes for Dark Side Of The Moon are for U.S. record sales and not worldwide sales. I have absolutely no doubt that Dark Side has sold that many copies worldwide.

Eric is correct that the reviewer is not a Pink Floyd fan but I have read plenty of concert reviews where that was plainly obvious, so that that is not so unusual. He is also right when he says people really are idiots about music, but again, there is nothing new or unusual about that. But just because you wrote a book about Bruce Springsteen doesn't make you an expert about music either no matter how many shows of the "Boss" you have attended.

After all this I just want to say I am still a Pink Floyd fan ( Wish You Were Here and Animals are my favorites) and a fan of Eric Alterman as well, no matter what any reviewer or critic says.

Which is as it should be, no matter how much of an idiot someone else may think you are.
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