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January 30, 2007

The "Debate" Continues

Babble has published my response to Lisa Carver's anti-Alternadad piece. Please go read and comment on it if you feel inclined. But while the publication allowed Carver's piece to appear unfettered, they didn't give me that privilege, immediately stacking atop me a piece by editor Ada Calhoun.

Which side are you on? Eh. Who gives a shit?

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Comments

Sir, despite a 1,200 word respond, you have not responded to Ada Calhoun's more interesting claim. Did you or did you not position yourself as "the grup poster child?" What the hell IS a grup poster child?

It may or may not be important, but in the editor's positioning for the hipness award she happened to let slip that she can't imagine anything more indie than one of the most mainstream bands on the roster Atlantic Records, the band that gets millions of teenage girls steamy under their glasses. Hmmm...

Them folks take themselves way too seriously. They seem to have to compartmentalize their perceptions to the point that "humor" and "serious" can't meet unless there's roadsigns that point out all the jokes and all the sincere parts. That first chick's article read like a Dennis Miller screed. The editor's letter read like a missive from the world's most boring person.

How do you get to the point where in everyday life, in every conversation you have there's an appropriate amount and type of humor to be had? We're not talking cancer jokes at a funeral here but mundane stuff like, well, a kid pissing in a barrel of monkeys. What kind of mind does it take to weigh every expression on some sort of absolute scale of seriousness? Irony here, joke there, humorless twattery there and never shall the twain meet.

Cripes! How did "having a good time via humor" become the unfunny because it's not serious and lame references, insults and ham-fisted irony become the funny because it's got a clapboard hanging around its neck letting you know it's OK to laugh?

Since forever?

Eeks! She really doesn't like you, bro. I wonder if she read your book with even a shred of objectivity. Doubtful. Even so, she's kinda hot in a way. I'm just saying...

Most of those nay-sayers (and theres' only about 4 of them) are just a bunch of bitter, jealous, neurotics, and it drives them CRAZY that Neal is getting some attention. I mean really, go and read those comments - bashing him because of where and how he grew up?! Babble sucks, and they're not getting the readers, so they're trying to drum up a war. They look pathetic.

I think it was a mistake for you to respond. Even though the article was somewhat insulting and desultory, you should have let it slide. It was poorly written and not well reasoned. I think your response gives the "debate" an air of legitimacy that it would not otherwise have. You let that editor frame a dust up where there would have been silence by this point. As you say, though, who cares? It's not as if millions of people are reading Babble.

punkerdad, you're wrong. She didn't read the book. Neither of them did.

All I can say is all of this is making me want to go out and buy the book, even if it is $23.95. I guess any publicity is good publicity!

Excerpting my comment posted over at Babble, for dem dat didn't go poking around themselves:

Alternative=Hip=urban=urbane=ironic=postmodern=judgmental= "above it all", almost by definition. And yes, I'm simplifying things. But hasn't "tastemaking" and a lot of journalism been about all those things for decades now? Beatniks had kids. Hippies had kids. Neal had a kid (a risk in itself to his hipster reputation)... Irony may well be the main technique that my generation uses to hide, or to deflect serious issues. But there's a lot to hide from, and I suspect Pollack represents a large portion of the uncomfortable middle class who also grapple with what it takes to "grow up" nowadays.

What is the Babble ethos? I can't figure it out. They seem like a bunch of NYC egotards.

Carver Carver, Lisa Carver, what a dull blade it is you wield...deliberate and glinty, slicing through the likable, the palpable, reaching for still silence with words that fall heavy into a dark place, where bottom lips protrude beneath sniffling noses, where small arms cross to be clenched forever and ever. Your essay, far from holding up your argument, merely casts shadows on your side of the street. And the darker you are, the brighter Neal Pollack becomes, or at the very least more worthy of curiosity. I wouldn't doubt you've boosted sales of Alternadad...

Lisa Carver has earned herself a place in my pantheon of the damned, that's for sure.
Just to spite her, I'm going to have a child and use Alternadad as a parenting manual. That'll show her.

Just finished your book Neal, and I loved every minute of it. I became a dad in Oct, 2005, then again in Oct, 2006. I also LOVE the Ramones!

Lisa Carver is clearly a waste of time. I'm already regretting reading her article against you.

The book is called AlternaDAD, if you hate men, don't buy it. The pierced rubber ducky and black cover are a pretty good sign that the book('s author) has an edge - that's why I loved it.

I wish you and your family all the best!

Don't forget to drop by and have a listen to our show!

Cheers,
Dave

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