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Real to reel

The exquisite artifice and lasting weirdoid-ness of Roxy Music
Even now, after Greil Marcus’s Lipstick Traces and Simon Reynolds’s Rip It Up and Start Again , the rock-star-as-vector-of-ideas is still something of a challenge for us.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  April 01, 2008



Super Roots 9 | Thrill Jockey
Certain sounds were not made to mix, in my view: a brass section should never be blowing over heavy-metal guitars, and you should never play drums behind a choir.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  March 18, 2008


Pants afire

Fakeries and the faking fakers who fake them
The ratio of falsehood to truth in the universe has not, of course, altered one jot since the world began.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  March 13, 2008


Everybody’s Irish?

Tommy Tiernan, Lil’ Bush
Tommy Tiernan is an Irishman, a son of Erin.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  March 04, 2008


Recovery school

Celebrity Rehab  does it all for you
Dr. Drew Pinsky himself, sleekly acerbic co-host of radio’s Loveline , wields his diagnostic jargon like a switchblade.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  February 20, 2008



Axl Rose, Albert Goldman, and the renegade art of rock biography
I think it may have been sometime in the 1970s that the term “unauthorized” became sort of cool.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  May 26, 2009


Shots in the dark

Joe Carducci recalls the real price of punk
Naomi Petersen was not famous. Neither was she semi-famous, almost famous, post-famous, or notorious.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  January 29, 2008


21st-century man

Fear and lying on the campaign trail
I’ve been there, I know what it’s like to be outnumbered, marching toward Calais.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  January 23, 2008


Fractured fairy-tales

How George Saunders, Hans Christian Andersen, and a trip to Fairyland can keep you sane
Somehow, somewhere, we seem to have forgotten the meaning of the fairy tale.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  January 23, 2008


Dancing queens

BBC America’s Torchwood
Conceived as a spinoff from the vintage BBC kids’ show Doctor Who , Torchwood has since come into its own
By: JAMES PARKER  |  January 22, 2008


A philosopher in bunny ears

Steve Martin’s new memoir unlocks the freaky logic of his comedy
Martin’s new memoir, Born Standing Up , grants us our best access yet to this remote and brilliant figure — the cool architect of the comedy.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  December 31, 2007


The bottom of the barrel

Could be verse: the wrenching finale
Lines upon the suspension, for reasons astrological, mechanical, and dietary, of the ‘Could Be Verse’ franchise.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  December 16, 2008


You light up my litter tray

Could be verse: poetry ripped from the headlines
Lines upon learning that South Korean scientists, by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, have produced cloned cats that glow in the dark.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  December 19, 2007


Don't tase me, bro

The year in would-be catch phrases
2007 was the year that viral humor hit critical mass.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  December 21, 2007


They shall not pass gas

Could be verse: poetry ripped from the headlines
Lines upon learning that scientists have recently isolated methane-mitigating microbes in the intestinal lining of the kangaroo, and plan to replicate them in cattle to reduce the emission of “cow-created” greenhouse gas
By: JAMES PARKER  |  December 16, 2008


To winter

Lines upon the death of the year
Lines upon the death of the year
By: JAMES PARKER  |  December 16, 2008


Mutiny in Heaven

Philip Pullman ’ s fantasy novels are condemned as a crash course in militant atheism. But one BU professor thinks otherwise.
It is a truth now well established that the idea for a series of books about a schoolboy wizard did not , in fact, originate with its author, J.K. Rowling (as she has naively claimed), but was piped up red-hot and stinking from Below.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  December 06, 2007


His pants were so on fire

Could be verse: poetry ripped from the headlines
Lines upon learning that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan will be publishing a memoir in 2008
By: JAMES PARKER  |  December 16, 2008


Hell on earth

The Devil and Darfur
How does the Devil get his work done? With the greatest of ease, seems to be the answer.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  November 27, 2007


Without a stain on his character

Could be verse: poetry ripped from the headlines
Lines in defense of Judge Roy Pearson, who lost a $54 million lawsuit against his dry cleaner and has now lost his job
By: JAMES PARKER  |  December 16, 2008


Agent Zimmerman

Bob Dylan? A CIA spy? Wait . . . now it all makes sense. (Or as much sense as his lyrics make, anyway.)
I had just removed his hand — gently, I hope — from my knee when the man in the off-white linen suit told me that he was the one who recruited Bob Dylan into the CIA.
By: JAMES PARKER  |  November 20, 2007

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