December 3, 2017

"Rolling Stone: Stories From The Edge... a bizarre documentary... immediately devolves into gratuitous naked-groupie footage..."

"... (although at least now we know exactly how those famous plaster-casts are made). Ostensibly because this was Rolling Stone’s first significant story? It’s not really clear. It’s actually less clear when we go from Jefferson Airplane’s San Fran mansion to Ike and Tina Turner’s living room, to delve into a RS feature story on the couple. We’re left with a troubling quote by Tina that she has to do what Ike says, and then we’re on to the first of many John Lennon interviews. Sure, we know how Ike and Tina turn out, but the cuts are discordant enough to be jarring.... Even more frustrating are the brief glimpses of the offices filled with overflowing ashtrays, and the typewriters, and the galleys, laid out using rubber cement and X-Acto knives; since today’s publishing world is a far cry from all that, a closer look would have been welcome...."

From "HBO’s Rolling Stone: Stories From The Edge is a hell of a puff piece" in the AV Club.

I got about an hour into the show before pausing, perhaps never to go back. I could not believe how they plunged into the groupie material. And there was absolutely no critique, no perspective on groupies. Just these young women, presenting themselves as culture heroes, charting their own course, which is, supposedly, having sex with as many rock stars as possible and — in the case of the Plaster Casters — doing their own art project and taking home trophies.

What could go wrong? Who's still alive and in any condition to speak of the aftermath? Nobody shows up to say the women's point of view presented in Rolling Stone was fake (like the recent Rolling Stone article about the UVa gang rape). And in the background — as if we're still living in 1969 and not in the days of The Reckoning — the music that plays is The Rolling Stones, "Stray Cat Blues." The lyric jumped out at me:
I can see that you're fifteen years old
No I don't want your I.D.
You look so restless and you're so far from home
But it's no hanging matter
It's no capital crime...
We're still adulating the Rolling Stones, despite their raucous celebration of sex with a 15 year old.

I'm happy to watch a documentary about Rolling Stone and the people it covered over the years, but can't we get some edge? It's all a soppy love fest — ironically the opposite of the style of journalism that made it worth doing a documentary about in the first place.

33 comments:

madAsHell said...

Gell-Mann amnesia.

Unknown said...

We're still adulating the Rolling Stones, despite their raucous celebration of sex with a 15 year old..

"Young stuff" is a constant theme in rock, or even pop:

"Young Girl" --- Gary Puckett

"Sweet Little Sixteen" --- Chuck Berry

"Young Blood" --- Coasters

"Will Power" --- Gary Puckett again

"Hey Little Tomboy" --- Beach Boys

"Go Away Little Girl" --- Steve Lawrence

"Once Bitten Twice Shy" --- Great White

Tim Wright said...

So, that was all part of the Woodstock Generation, was it? Herewith my campaign for a rectification of names: It was the Age of Manson and the Altamount Generation.

YoungHegelian said...

Have you never seen the Museum of Rock & Roll in Cleveland?

Same sort of revisionist happy-go-lucky aw-gee-it-was-all-in-fun historical bullshit.

I'm sorry, but if you ever expect the old rock & rollers to call down the righteous wrath of God down on themselves, we're all gonna be waiting a long, long time.

n.n said...

It wasn't just rockers. Hollywood also made an effort to close the age gap. As did feminists.

n.n said...

Your perfectly viable somehow got distorted in a progressive leap forward.

Earnest Prole said...

In the version of "Stray Cat Blues" on Get Your Ya-Ya's Out, she's thirteen -- or as Roy Moore calls it, "medium-well."

Michael K said...

The best thong about "Rolling Stone"was the movie "Almost Famous" and that was 17 years ago.

Hard to believe ti was that long ago.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I seem to remember a nascent movement in the 70s called "teen lib" that shared the same ideology as gay lib and women's lib. The idea was that like gays and women, teens were oppressed by the establishment, and the way teens could free themselves of this oppression was to become free of the rules the establishment had set for them. These rules were put in place to protect the establishment, not teenagers. You could join the army (with your parents' permission) at sixteen and be taught to kill people, couldn't you?
I suppose teen lib devolved into sexual abuse of minors pretty quickly and that is why it is not talked about much anymore.

George M. Spencer said...

If you read the new biography of Jann Wenner, you learn that he liked to go backstage at Rolling Stones concerts to put on Mick Jagger's pants, that he he rewrote review of their albums (and those of other artists) to give them positive play in the magazine to the disgust of his staffers, and that he played favorites with Lennon against McCartney for who knows what reasons, and that, in general, the magazine was an utter mess for years and somehow survived, and that he turned down an offer to buy his media properties for $1.1 billion dollars.

Sebastian said...

"I could not believe how they plunged into the groupie material" Why not? Until the day before yesterday, this was what the cool people did.

"Just these young women, presenting themselves as culture heroes, charting their own course, which is, supposedly, having sex with as many rock stars as possible" Are you implying their sense of autonomy and achievement was an illusion? If so, what else might be illusory about the liberated culture of the time?

"Nobody shows up to say the women's point of view presented in Rolling Stone was fake" Because it wasn't "fake"? Because most feminists eagerly embraced it? Because sexual liberation was the cutting edge of progressivism?

"We're still adulating the Rolling Stones, despite their raucous celebration of sex with a 15 year old." So if the adulation was always morally suspect, if the Reckoning opens your eyes to the moral bankruptcy of the transvaluation of values in the 60s, what other aspects of 60s culture are your prepared to disown? What other progressive advances in the culture now deserve a Reckoning?

Example: is abortion without parental involvement for a 15-year-old a good idea?

glenn said...

Well Ann, now you know why all those aging Boomers are such horndogs. Somebody told them it was OK.

And it wasn’t me.

rcocean said...

Has Althouse seen "Absolutely Fabulous"? Patsy Stone - constantly boasts of being with the "Boys" aka the "Mick and the Gang".

Point being, if you're over 16 and want to be a groupie, that's your business. I sure as hell wouldn't want my daughter to be a "groupie" but its rather silly to deny that lots of young women think having sex with Rock/Rap star (or someone famous/powerful) wins them prestige points with their peers.

Evidently Mao had "groupies" who literally lined-up to have sex with him, even when he was in his 60s. Hell, even Kissinger had "groupies".

miklos000rosza said...

I've been wondering when someone might notice the words to "Stray Cat Blues." And yes, in live versions Mick drops the age down to 13. It's maybe their dirtiest song.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miklos000rosza said...

Also, you can get attacked for bringing this up, but Ken Kesey and the Grateful Dead were notorious for dosing 13 year old girls with LSD and then taking them off for hours of whatever. I regard this as much more despicable than anything rock stars did with willing, eager groupies. The biography of Kesey a few years ago was heavily cut as a result of legal threats (a la Scientology) which scared the publisher to death. The 60s had a very ugly underbelly beneath the surface myths.

Darrell said...

Brown Shoes Don't Make It Lyrics
THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION
RELEVANT VERSES
You see in the back, of the City Hall mind
The dream of a girl about thirteen
Off with her clothes and into a bed,
Where she tickles his fancy all night long
His wife's attending an orchid show
She squealed for a week to get him to go
But back in the bed his teenage Queen
Is rocking and rolling and acting obscene
Baby! Baby! Baby! Baby!

She bites his fat neck, And it lights up his nose,
But he cannot be fooled, Old City Hall Fred,
She's nasty, she's nasty, She digs it in bed!Do it again, and do it some more!
That does it, by golly, it's nasty for sure!
Nasty-nasty-nasty! Nasty-nasty-nasty!
(Only thirteen, and she knows how to NASTY)

She's a dirty young mind. Corrupted, corroded...
Well she's thirteen today, And I hear she gets loaded
If she were my daughter I'd...
What would you do, Daddy?
If she were my daughter I'd...
What would you do, Daddy?
If she were my daughter I'd...
What would you do, Daddy?
Smother my daughter in chocolate syrup,
And strap her on again, Oh baby!
Smother that girl in chocolate syrup,
And strap her on again!
She's a Teenage Baby, and she turns me on,
I'd like to make Her do a nasty
On the White House Lawn!
Going to smother that daughter in chocolate syrup,
And boogie till the cows come home!Time to go home, Madge is on the phone
Gotta meet the Guerneys And a dozen gray attorneys
TV dinner by the pool I'm so glad I finished school
Life is such a ball I run the world from City Hall

Jack Wayne said...

I can’t agree that Rolling Stone was doing good journalism. I stopped reading the mag pretty quickly. Even Thompson was so over the top I thought I was reading a Burroughs novel. And I only read that after years of abstention because it was so breathlessly touted.

William said...

Would it be possible to make a documentary about groupies? What about all those girls who had a one night fling with Elvis or whoever. How did the experience change their lives? Is it a cherished memory or a traumatic experience or just another bump in the road to nowhere? Some groupies achieved a measure of dame, but just the fact that they achieved a measure of fame means that their experience wasn't typical. I don't think any of us have any real idea about how the groupies fared later in life.......My guess is that it's probably not a good idea for a teenager to have a fling with Elvis, but I would also venture to say that such a fling would not be the most traumatic experience of her life. Still, it's all just conjecture.

SteveR said...

Rolling Ston had good records reviews and was a good source to be ahead of the curve back in the dark agesp

William said...

I read a Hollywood Babylon kind of story about how Ava Gardner and Lana Turner went out for a drive. They stopped at a gas station and took a fancy to the attendant working there. They asked him to come with them. They went to a motel and had hot, steaming sex for a few hours. Then they said goodbye and never saw him again......I hope the story is true and not aprochyful. If true, I wonder how it affected his life. His friends probably thought he was the biggest bullshitter on the face of the earth. Maybe he found true love and realized how shabby a few hours with a couple of sex goddesses is when you compare the experience to that of true love. Right, I'm sure that's what happened,

Earnest Prole said...

We're still adulating the Rolling Stones, despite their raucous celebration of sex with a 15 year old.

I take it you've never really listened to "Brown Sugar."

Ken B said...

Tim Wright
People forget stuff. Back in the late 60s early 70s the Liberal position was strongly against the incest taboo, and for legalization. This was actually pretty prominent for a while. I recall debating it in high school in the early 70s.
People forget other stuff. Like what music was actually popular. In 1967 the Monkees outsold the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, *combined*. In 1969 the top seller was The Archie’s, Sugar Sugar. The top song of the era was In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry .

Ken B said...

William
Best 6 hours of my life.

Shouting Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shouting Thomas said...

Old ladies disgusted with young women giving it away. Thus it has always been.

I'm 67 and I know better than to do the ridiculously stupid things I did when I was 15. This does not mean that my hard earned wisdom will filter down to another generation of 15 year olds.

When I lived for a while in a band house on campus with the boys, we were swamped with underage runaway girls. They lied about their age and some even had fake IDs. We threw them out. They came back. They pleaded with us to fuck them, to not call the cops and send them home.

You can bet that another generation of underage girls will give you the finger for telling them they shouldn't go in for raunchy fucking with strangers just because they play guitar. I'm not endorsing this, just observing reality.

Darrell said...

They pleaded with us to fuck them, to not call the cops and send them home.

So what's a fella to do?

eddie willers said...

So what's a fella to do?

Completely rhetorical.

Jay Elink said...

Perhaps Ms. Althouse could instruct us in the difference between malum in se, and malum prohibitum.

It may be "illegal" now to have sex with "underage" girls, but that's not a universal belief.

When most people died before they were 35 it made perfect sense for pubescent girls to marry and have children, before they too died.

Today? not so much.

Clucking tongues over the immorality of having consensual sex with "underage" girls just begs the question: why, in the past was such behavior NOT considered so?

Unknown said...

Like what music was actually popular. In 1967 the Monkees outsold the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, *combined*. In 1969 the top seller was The Archie’s, Sugar Sugar. The top song of the era was In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry

I wouldn't have guessed the Monkees outsold the Beatles & Stones, but I certainly haven't forgotten they were very popular. And at their best, they were very good indeed. And I kind of think you are suggesting that the Archies & Mungo Jerry were not deserving. So what the Archies were a studio group: "Sugar Sugar" is still a great record. So what Mungo Jerry never made another classic: "In the Summertime" is still a great record.

Daniel Jackson said...

So, Roy Moore was a rock star?

Darkisland said...

Blogger rcocean said...

Point being, if you're over 16 and want to be a groupie, that's your business. I sure as hell wouldn't want my daughter to be a "groupie" but its rather silly to deny that lots of young women think having sex with Rock/Rap star (or someone famous/powerful) wins them prestige points with their peers.

Evidently Mao had "groupies" who literally lined-up to have sex with him, even when he was in his 60s. Hell, even Kissinger had "groupies".



"When you are a celebrity women let you grab them by their pussy"

I still don't understand why Trump got hammered for making a factually true statement.

(Before anyone hammers me, not true of most women but of a lot of them)

John Henry

Darkisland said...

Re The Monkees I have a compilation CD that my son gave me perhaps 10 years back. The music hold up pretty well. Better, for me anyway, than a lot of Beatles and Stones stuff.

A couple of them were musicians but a couple were not. All the music for the Monkees was done by studio musicians, including Glenn Campbell.

See the Netflix doco "The Wrecking Crew" which is the story of a group of studio musicians who basically made the music of the 60's. Mike Nesmith actually was a musician. He was very pissed about not being allowed to play. Threatened violence against a producer but was still not allowed to actually play.

There is also a book of the same name that is also very good. Don't forget Ann's portal.

John Henry