The three movies—and the hours of extra footage, interviews, commentary, and assorted bonus features—of course speak for themselves, and this is not aThe three movies—and the hours of extra footage, interviews, commentary, and assorted bonus features—of course speak for themselves, and this is not a film review site. The included 40-page glossy color booklet adds little. Broken into three parts, tracking the cinematic trilogy, it is mostly cobbled together from snippets of press coverage: music and film trade magazines, entertainment rags, and newspapers large and small. In the end, it reads rather like a medium-form advertisement for the box set itself, which is rather unfortunate since you have to have it already before you can read it. I recommend that anyone coming into the package for the first time, on reputation alone and sight unseen, start with the booklet rather than wrapping with it, to get a bit of an advance grip on just what they've gotten themselves into. ...more
I'm glad I read it and it was not a waste of time, so that earns two stars right there. Still, there were some significant problems with this book.
FiI'm glad I read it and it was not a waste of time, so that earns two stars right there. Still, there were some significant problems with this book.
Firstly, I don't know where Myrie is from, but the combination of b-boy slang and the Queen's English pervading even the narrative text renders more than a few passages nearly incomprehensible. I cannot fathom why the "First American Edition" would not be properly edited for the target market.
Secondly, while the story generally does follow the expected chronological flow, and while various threads overlapping in time will naturally require a bit of jumping around, I found there to be too few temporal markers in the text to reliably keep my place. This is not helped by casually mentioning someone by nickname several chapters before they are formally introduced. It would take a deep fan to follow this without confusion, and perhaps it was expected that only such fans would bother.
Finally, this is clearly labeled "Authorized Story." The upside to that is surely access—it seems like Myrie got to speak directly to all the major players, and most of the minor ones. The downside is that it reads like a panegyric. Of course, he doesn't ignore the controversies and difficulties for which PE is famous, or he'd be left with a marketing pamphlet, but neither is this in any way "hard hitting." More like cushy.
I'm looking forward to the chance to compare it against the other Public Enemy biography if I ever manage to track it down, because Don't Rhyme did at least demonstrate what I expected: that this story is almost as interesting as the music it produced. ...more
So far I'm finding this frustratingly sketchy and, despite the author's allegedly academic background, unscholarly. Questionable assertions frequentlySo far I'm finding this frustratingly sketchy and, despite the author's allegedly academic background, unscholarly. Questionable assertions frequently are made without any attribution, and very little background is given on the meaning or history of any of the supposed gnostic symbolism, or what the titular "Hermetic Code" is. "Scholars have identified more than fifty principle themes in The Garden of Earthly Delights...." Well, thanks for naming neither the themes nor the scholars; that's very helpful indeed. The brief chapter on Da Vinci is hardly even worthy of Dan Brown, whose readership is more clearly the target audience than any true adept or student of the mysteries.
Some of the speculations are just outright wrong. For example, in the chapter on Rembrandt's Belshazzar's Feast, Frers writes: "the Book of Daniel... must have been the work of many authors, considering the dubious existence of a patriarch with this name." What's dubious about דניאל as a Hebrew name? And even allowing for that, how does this lead to a conclusion about authorship, singular or multiple?
A more minor quibble: the color plate references in the Painting section are wrong more often than right, though usually decipherable, and hey, at least they included many color plates, which are essential in a work of this nature. In a few cases, though, the way the plates are inserted obscures much of the point to including them—often the most interesting detail winds up buried in the binding as a picture spans pages.
Bottom line: I cannot recommend it, even for the conspiracists for whom it is intended. I am only glad I got it on clearance, and that it includes some pretty pictures of possibly esoteric art, for which it gets a one-star bump....more
This is the updated edition that adds chapters up to Zappa's death, and is therefore a reasonable overview of the entire project/object, with an emphaThis is the updated edition that adds chapters up to Zappa's death, and is therefore a reasonable overview of the entire project/object, with an emphasis on "time and those waves." That said, I found it a bit disjointed, in part because the addition were just that: tacked on rather than revised throughout. While this does track more closely to Zappa's own use of his archival material before and especially after breaking up "the best band you never heard in your life," somehow it seems to work better in music than in prose. I also found that it did not go particularly in depth, which is to be expected given the brevity of this opus in comparison to the breadth of the subject's work, but unless you are a fan to the level of having the entire oeuvre memorized, I suggest you have a wide sampling of it near to hand for comparison....more