Amy's Reviews > Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung

Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs
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's review
Mar 21, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from February 07 to March 21, 2010

Lester Bangs, like Howard Hampton and Luc Sante, takes reviews of media and injects humor, crass, honesty, and a glimpse into his personality. Bangs is likeable because he's a smart asshole, but there's no shortage of self-deprecation in his writing. I also like his writing style because it often contains the same sentiments as a first album: angsty, energetic, youthful (even when he's being curmudgeonly), and somewhat vulnerable. It helps that he loves the Stooges, Velvet Underground, and music that others write off as abrasive. I don't agree with all of his stances, but there's always enjoyment to be found in the essay. With all of this praise, there are a couple significant missteps: The excerpt from his "novel" (Maggie May, 1981) is atrocious and the essay about racism in the New Wave scene comes across as ignorant and self-congratulating (even though he puts his own racism on display). However, even these pieces have some merit is providing a comprehensive representation of Bangs' work, and you have to love how he always seems on the search for something meaningful.
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