I’m not quite done criticizing the Klosterman book. Part of me wants to make a joke about how I have not yet begun to bitch about this insidious book. Then there’s the part of me that remembers I’m a woman who is expressing an opinion contrary to a man’s so the bitching is probably implied.
In his new book, The Nineties Klosterman mostly ignores all the things women did in the 90s. Mostly, I say, because he does spend some time discussing Liz Phair and Alanis Morisette. He pits them against each other. Phair gets the indie cred and not so many sales. Alanis gets all the sales but her artistic integrity is questioned.
He even writes at one point, “Phair, conversely, had made a record for dudes who collected records about dudes.”
Yes. He is saying Liz Phair wrote “Exile in Guyville” for dudes. There are not enough rage/barfing emojis or metaphors to adequately express how angry that sentence makes me. Quit trying to kick women out of the music club, Chuck. For christ’s sake maybe not every single fucking thing in rock & roll has to be centered around your boner. Fucker.
He claims that what people wanted was young women who were talking about sex autobiographically. Not Liz Phair and Alanis Morisette as individuals, I guess? Any chick in a skirt would do?
Then he says the long term consequence was an artistic impediment to both of them because people were only interested in their sex songs. . . he does this while lumping them onto female songwriters who sing about sex. He does the thing he claims has been an impediment to their success. He’s right there doing it in the book.
If that’s not enough sexist bullshit from him, he also claims Morisette selling 33 million copies of “Jagged Little Pill” makes her too popular to tell the truth. However, Nirvana selling 30 million copies of “Nevermind” is music-history altering and generation-defining. If Alanis was a man named Alan, she would be as revered as Kurt Cobain.
At one point he says Phair cannot dismantle the patriarchy because the patriarchy has a crush on her. Because, of course, Liz Phair is responsible for men’s feelings. What kind of rape culture bullshit is this?
Oh, it’s the exact kind of rape culture bullshit he was spinning for Spin in 2003 when he included this sentence in an intro to a Q&A with Phair:
“And even though she’s now 36, Ms. Phair can still bring the pain: She showed up at our interview wearing the most distracting denim miniskirt I have ever seen”
In the same article he also asks her, “Do you ever exaggerate your interest in sex for artistic purposes?” and basically goes on to nag her about not making songs that are as sexy to him as her previous work.
Tell me again why he gets to keep writing books and be held up as some sort voice of a generation, a cultural critic? As far as I can tell he still can’t see past his own fucking boner to take Phair seriously as an artist (Morisette too for that matter).
Okay, I think I’ve said my piece now. Maybe.