Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America

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9780671729653: Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America
From Publishers Weekly:

This collection of 40 essays on music, literature, art and politics confirms Tate's role as a chief progenitor of a New Black Aesthetic, what Gates calls "a body of creativity unfettered by the constraints of a nationalist party line." Consistently interesting, often brilliant, Tate--a staff writer for the Village Voice --modulates funkadelic street argot with a fierce intellect, taking on subjects as diverse as Miles Davis, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and Lee Atwater's embrace of black music. Reviewing the rap group Public Enemy, he observes, "To know PE is to love the agitprop (and artful noise) and to worry over the whack OK w-out comma?/no comma/pk retarded philosophy they espouse." Some music essays and a foray into hermeneutics may be heavy going for the uninitiated, but Tate skillfully enlivens writers like black SF fabulist Samuel Delany, and deftly criticizes essentialist curators who deny the "ambiguity and complexity" of black visual art. The political pieces cut to the bone, sparing neither a white power structure that devalues black life nor blacks who cry racism to excuse sexism; too many blacks, he says, "get more upset over being disrespected than they do over being disempowered."
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

The latest entry in the Rock Bowl Parade of pop music/culture critic readers features the most strident voice and is, alternately, the best and worst of the lot. Village Voice columnist Tate distinguishes his work from the floats of Stanley Booth ( Rhythm Oil , LJ 2/15/92), Chet Flippo ( Everybody Was Kung Fu Dancing , LJ 10/15/91), and Kurt Loder ( Bat Chain Puller , LJ 10/15/90) by his contextual and academic analysis of black music, popular culture, and politics and through his perspective as a black writer. The essays, dating from 1982-91, are divided into three sections: a large one on music and two smaller ones on art and literature and on New York City politics. In a form-follows-function approach, Tate's prose is a discordant juxtaposition of hip-hop new-jackhammer slang with a thick, academia-inspired effusiveness rife with semiotic and aesthetic overlays. Devotees of the pop culture intelligentsia will probably get off on Tate, but others might just want to wave.
- Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., Tex.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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