Leader Appraising, Stargazing, and Pop Culture-Crazing
The nutshell: Cultural critic Dery offers his thoughts on Lady Gaga (she’s no David Bowie), Madonna’s big toe (a sex symbol), suicide notes (rarely eloquent), and the power of positive thinking (it obfuscates) in these essays about the past 15 years of pop culture.
Literary lovechild of: Camille Paglia’s Sex, Art, and American Culture: Essays and Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto.
You’ll find it on your bookshelf if: You carefully curate your RSS feed.
Cocktail party fodder: The Scottish decapitation machine—the precursor to the guillotine—was called the Maiden.
For optimal benefit: Read with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, sung by Dery’s hero, David Bowie, on repeat.
Snap judgment: These off-kilter essays don’t take themselves too seriously but shine an entertaining and sometimes insightful light on the corners of pop culture.