Author Archives: Roy Christopher

Twentieth-Century French Philosophy: Key Themes and Thinkers

Alan D. Schrift has hereby done a great service to anyone interested in French thinkers and their thought. Twentieth-Century French Philosophy (Blackwell) chronicles the lineage, the history, and the context of all of the major thinkers and thought of France in the last hundred years. This includes a succinct chronology, brief biographies, and a lengthy historical narrative — the latter of which might seem anathema to most French thinkers, but helps glue everything together here. And when we’re talking about Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, Barthes, Blanchot, Sartre, Bataille, Bourdieu, Althusser, de Beauviour, Levinas, and Kristeva, among many others, we need as much cohesion as we can find. (more…)

Read More

LINT by Steve Aylett

Steve Alyett‘s LINT is a biography of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood figures in modern science fiction. Easily on par with Philip K. Dick in brilliance and influence, Jeff Lint scrambled through SF and indeed his existence in a tornado of alternating “blasts of merit” and “blasts of truth.” He toiled away at otherworldly satire throughout most of the late twentieth century dodging mean and bitter critics and rivals, and maniacal, adoring fans in equal measure. (more…)

Read More

Led Zeppelin IV by Erik Davis

I’ve never been a big Led Zeppelin fan. I completely missed their lengthy reign on arenas and male libidos. You see, my parents aren’t into music, and I have no older siblings. This left me to my own devices as a young lad in search of music, and for some reason, Zeppelin was always at the periphery of my sonic gaze. (more…)

Read More

Why Societies Need Dissent by Cass R. Sunstein

In Why Societies Need Dissent, Cass R. Sunstein illustrates the powers and dangers of dissent through a clear and concise exposition of three basic phenomena: conformity, social cascades, and group polarization. His epistemological view of conformity shows how we tend to learn less first-hand than from what others think and believe. Social cascades occur when […]

Read More

Dig! Directed by Ondi Timoner

Ondi Timoner’s Dig! is the story of a musical revolution, which may or may not have happened, depending on your perspective. The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Worhols were friends before either had any modicum of fame, and they were determined to change the world — or at least the world of music. They took separate paths toward this change, and the onset of two types of fame turned them into rivals of the oddest sort. (more…)

Read More

Underground Sounds

“Big wheel, big spin, big money, no whammies
Don’t save me a seat when you get to the Grammys” — nomadboy

So, against my better judgment, I watched the Grammys the other night. This viewing experiment reminded me both of how much I love music and how far away my tastes are from “Grammy material.” I made a quick trip to Lou’s Records in Encinitas, California prior to the show, and my purchases there should prove more than my point. (more…)

Read More

Love All the People: Letters, Lyrics, Routines by Bill Hicks

This is it, folks: the definitive collection of Bill Hicks stuff all in one book. Interviews, letters, lyrics, live routines, etc. are all compiled inside. For the uninitiated, Bill Hicks was the best comedian to ever jump on stage and bless the mic with his wisdom. Constantly railing against governmental idiocy, corporate control, censorship, and the indolence of America, among other things, Hicks took on all the evils of the world and the enemies of the open mind. You’ve heard him — even if it came from someone else’s mouth, you’ve heard his brand of intelligent, caustic wit. Nothing and no one is safe in the range of Bill Hicks’ comedy. (more…)

Read More

Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing by Benjamin Nugent

Better than even Kurt Cobain, Elliott Smith provides a case study of the effects of fame. Though his rise was just as mercurial, the changes wrought were more profound and more eerie. Benjamin Nugent treats this flight to fame with a delicate touch, showing as many sides of Elliott as he was able to access. The result is a book about the pitfalls of the rise to public attention, its effects on friendships, and a man who fought against everything to maintain the one thing he truly lost: control. Nugent’s book follows Elliott from his growing up in suburban Texas, where his tumultuous home life pushed him inward and toward music, to his beginnings as a performer in Portland, Oregon, then through his chaotic brush with mass consciousness, to his unfortunate suicide in Los Angeles. (more…)

Read More