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Rock & The Ivory Tower

September 13, 1987

Allan Bloom knows some history but no rock 'n' roll. Robert Hilburn knows some rock 'n' roll but no history. Put them together, and they are apt to come up with something just as profound as any lyrics penned by Paul Revere & the Raiders.

Listen, Bobby and Al. Children, rock 'n' roll is the music of rebellion against the patriarchal institutions of family, school, politics and business. The music is also unsparing of women who have developed their own wiles and manipulations as a response to centuries of male domination--"American Woman, get away from me / American Woman, mama let me be." Beautiful!

Cute little rock 'n' rollers, of course, do not comprehend the true depth of their rebellion and continue to wallow in the mire, even though it is no time to do so.

The "classicism" Bloom wishes to reinstitute was already a spent force when Shakespeare and Cervantes introduced the now-defunct "modern" drama and novel. Our aesthetic and political sensibilities increasingly fail to answer our needs because the agrarian patriarchy which initiated them (way back when we quit being hunter-gatherers) is of no relevance to the age of agribusiness, cybernetics and gene splicing.

Perhaps what we need is a matriarchy (but not of the confused kind championed by Boy George, Prince and Michael Jackson, and certainly not of the kind by women with souls similar to Bloom's.)

BEHROUZ SABA

Los Angeles

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