What is immediately apparent are the abundant errors present in the text of this garrulous book. The typos and misprints are so numerous I am surprised Alexander Theroux allowed the trade edition to be placed for sale and remain in print. Critical of almost anyone that has had anything to do with a song being sung or a lyric written it seems Theroux would have been a bit more concerned with the accuracy of his own published word. It seems ironic to witness so many errors in a work that attempts to destroy one or more somebodies on every page. He never fails to point out an other’s errors and idiocy, relentless in his attacks on ugly, fat, and untalented speech-impeded celebrities. Theroux could easily be construed as cruel and mean if his attacks weren’t so absolutely absurd and bitingly honest.
Read within this circus season of North American 2016 politics, and the unlikely Republican nomination of an extreme jughead named Donald Trump, it would be wonderful having Alexander Theroux share the same stage with this bombastic businessman and contribute to a debate on say one of Bill Maher’s panels. Maher, no doubt, would gloat in this clownish entertainment and smirk in light of the simpleton’s intellectual prowess. Similarly, The Grammar of Rock
confronts head-on the obscene world we live in these days. It is frighteningly real and upsetting. Theroux rather adroitly demonstrates the ineptitude and bad taste absorbing our culture, and offers more than enough examples. Obviously the book’s title fails to expound on what actually will be gnawing away at us between his covers. Theroux bites hard, and often.
The jacket flaps claim the book is about lyrics, grammar, and the history of our songwriters, but for me it is a diatribe against what has become accepted in our country, and emerging around the world, as common speech in our communication with others. Alarmingly funny and digressive, this book is a must-read for those of us who utilize an adequate measure of reason in our lives, or at the least, spiritually want to. However, the errors of our ways are quickly pointed out by Theroux, expanded on, and solutions given as to how to correct this awful disease of the mouth and mind. Theroux is not simply screaming at us as other buffoons on the radio and TV do, and certainly he is not presenting Fox-like News as falsehoods made true that we must adhere our principles to. It is astounding to me how little we really do know as we fervently persist in our struggle to learn all we can. It is humbling to say the least.
Surprisingly, little has been written concerning Theroux’s seemingly hate-filled attacks flung at every sort of character in the public eye, and stereotypical to the degree of absurdity. Of course, there is the typical critical judgment offered that Theroux is a racist or a bigot, which always resembles sour grapes as far as I am concerned. If Theroux managed to attack only black people or gays or people with lisps then I might agree, but Alexander takes no prisoners and equally destroys every type of anomaly in the spoken word and most often includes a disparaging physical description of the subject to boot. Complaints have been raised over fact-checking and the number of errors and untruths discovered in the wordy works of this gifted writer. Not unlike the great performance artist Ray Johnson, whose last act was his own suicide, Theroux supersaturates his volumes of work with more details than possibly could be examined for factual accuracy. Even if his accountings are made-up the mere density of the text proffers extreme feelings of amazement. And he tenders nothing less than hostility and disgust which is what I suppose gives birth and fanciful credence to some claims of racism and bigotry, but in reality his paragraphs are simply personal rancor unhinged and uncensored against the entire human race.
But often Theroux is funny and extremely clever. I doubt any dissenter, besides a foolish Donald Trump, would want to go head-to-head with the man in an argument. Theroux is smart and knows it. And maybe that superiority comes through in his writing? Perhaps there is a bit too much grandiose and admiring countenance for who this writer sees reflected in his mirror. But he is not lazy, and by the sheer numbers of words he employs he insists his readers work as hard as he does. And maybe this book is his version of a cosmic joke and we all fools for thinking his work might be otherwise? I am novice when it comes to reading Alexander Theroux, but I intend to take a good look at most everything he has published. And if I live long enough to accomplish my goal perhaps I will have more to say about this authentic artist. Meanwhile I slog through his long-continuing diatribe and attempt to find a celebrity he may have missed skewering.