May 21, 2004

Getting old, with Nick Hornby.

Can someone explain to me why the NYT saw fit to print what looks to be the longest op-ed of the year on the subject of looking for good rock music to listen to as you get older and older? That is, I think that's the point of this seemingly unedited ramble by Nick Hornby. Is some high editor on the Times related to a member of the rock band Hornby is promoting in his piece that whines: Please let me be the new Jon Landau proclaiming that I saw rock 'n' roll future. (It's name, conceivably, is Marah.). Here's a snippet:
Youth is a quality not unlike health: it's found in greater abundance among the young, but we all need access to it. (And not all young people are lucky enough to be young. Think of those people at your college who wanted to be politicians or corporate lawyers, for example.) I'm not talking about the accouterments of youth: the unlined faces, the washboard stomachs, the hair. The young are welcome to all that — what would we do with it anyway? I'm talking about the energy, the wistful yearning, the inexplicable exhilaration, the sporadic sense of invincibility, the hope that stings like chlorine. When I was younger, rock music articulated these feelings, and now that I'm older it stimulates them, but either way, rock 'n' roll was and remains necessary because: who doesn't need exhilaration and a sense of invincibility, even if it's only now and again?

Oh, come on, isn't this drivel, devoid of any original thought? (Other than that hope might feel like chlorine, that is.) Surely, it could have be edited down! It's not exactly overflowing with ideas. Are they just so pleased to get a piece by Nick Hornby? Is there some sense that Hornbiness necessarily entails a flood of verbiage? It seems to me that if your problem is that you're getting old--he's turning 47--going all longwinded is not the best way to try to recapture youth, especially if the subject you've decided to blabber about is how old you're getting and how you remember how things were when you were young and oh these young people today, etc., etc.

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