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Trying to Redefine Rock

November 15, 1987

Oh God, not again.

I thought Robert Hilburn was content producing his prodigious yearly total of lists. Now he's attempting to create new definitions ("Rock 'n' Roll: Is It Time for a New Term?," Nov. 8).

I have a little advice for Hilburn. Definitions, such as rock 'n' roll, come about organically. Rarely, if ever, does some calculated effort produce any long-lasting term people will regard as their own. His effort, as well as his Calendar editors, is an absolute waste of time.

Rock 'n' roll is ever-changing, but the form endures. It is Hilburn who is an anachronism. His criticism amounts to little more than intellectual masturbation.

I'm tired of his attempts at being a social scientist, and hope one day soon his superiors will replace him with a real critic--one who discusses the music.

JEFF SOFTLEY

Los Angeles

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