Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Reasons Why Nick Paumgarten Is A Genius

He was the second person to recognize my genius I mean, I knew. And I tried to get the fact printed in the New Yorker, but the security in that building is top-notch. Luckily, Nick Paumgarten came to the same conclusion that I did and did my work for me. I quote Steven Jay Gould on intelligence:

The surest sign of it is the realization of TotD’s genius. Also, fuck E.O. Wilson.

There you go.

This article The Grateful Dead were a joke. For years, decades: they were the dopey stoner band for dopey stoners. An easy laugh on a sitcom, a punchline on a talk show, and certainly not worthy of respect from the right publications and media corners. There was nothing prestige about them. They had no cachet in the culture.

NP (I’m calling Nick Paumgarten “NP” and there’s not one of you that can stop me) said to this general consensus, “Dead rules, suck my jewels.” He said it a little more eloquently, but you get the drift. Was this article the impetus of the high-toned, white-glove treatment the Dead now receive? Probably not, at least not entirely.

But it certainly was the first.

And then there’s this Enthusiasts, I will not lie to you (right now): this article about Father John Misty pissed me off. How dare I be forced to think of him as a human being just trying to create art. It was fulfilling, in a primal way, to detest a man based on listening to half of one of his records and skimming through a Buzzfeed listicle about his beard.

It’s not a hit piece! There’s no snark! Just sentence after sentence of words in the right order, and a man slowly fitting his entire head up his own ass. It is a wonderful read, and you should go do so now.

It also ends like this:

At the Roosevelt, though, he wasn’t much more than a “minor fascination,” as he refers to himself in “Leaving LA.” After a drizzle of applause, he made his way through the crowd, back to the patio outside his room, where Emma was waiting. “That’s what you call a partial debasement,” he said. “It’s kind of poetic that, the week I have a Top 10 record, I have to go back to my beginning of playing a party with no one paying attention.” A small party-within-the-party sprang up in his room, but it wasn’t long before Tillman felt a kind of depression coming on and began to gather his things. He invited everyone to stay as long as they wanted, and he and Emma headed out to their Jaguars and up into the hills.

There’s a great AP English question in there: “Why did the author contrast the first and last sentences like that?”

Genius, I tells ya.

1 Comment

  1. NoThoughtsOnDead

    July 1, 2017 at 1:22 am

    As a dopey stoner, that 2012 article rocked my world. I don’t actually think my mom read it, because who reads every article in every issue of The New Yorker? (Not me, not her.) But it certainly was well-written enough that, yep, somebody’s English-major mom did read it, and learned something, perhaps.

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