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Rock & The Ivory Tower

September 13, 1987

Usually I do not agree with Robert (Springsteen is God and U2 are Jesus) Hilburn, but I have to reluctantly admit liking his piece.

Hilburn, however, only briefly mentioned Bloom's "penchant for easy targets" other than rock. In his book "The Closing of the American Mind," Bloom also uses another easy target to blame the ills of American education: the late 19th-Century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

Like the great rock artists, Nietzsche has been blamed for a wide variety of cultural ills, from moral breakdown to World Wars I and II. Especially in Britain and America. Bloom despises Nietzsche and Mick Jagger because he deep down inside knows that he is inferior. He could never produce such works as "Beyond Good and Evil," "The Will to Power," "Beggar's Banquet" and "Let It Bleed."

"The Closing of the American Mind" is hardly even comparable to "Black and Blue," "Emotional Rescue" or "Tattoo You," inferior works by the Stones in decline. Its rock equivalent must be Phil Collins. Like Collins, Bloom rehashes old ideas; not Motown, but Plato. Bloom, like Collins, also has repackaged these worn-out ideas into a highly inoffensive, safe package which has become phenomenally popular.

I could go on with this forever, but let me close by saying that Bloom's book would have been just as intellectually sound and more fun if Geraldo Rivera had done it instead.

MICHAEL SNIDER

Los Angeles

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