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July 11, 1985 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1985-07-11

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Thursday, July 11, 1985


Page 6

The Michigan Daily

Wouk's immigrant-success theme bores
Inside, Outside Street and finally to the White House psychology, but without warning or intrusion into what is presumably a Ironically, the most compelling
By Herman Wouk as a Presidential advisor. Along the explanation reverts back to religious story about the Jewish-American ex- character in Wouk's novel is the an-
way Goodkind neither does nor says piety. There is no development in perience. tagonist, Peter Quat. Unlike the loyal
Little, Brown & Co., anything interesting. As a child he character, but merely a sudden flip- Goodkind's daughter, Sandra, is Goodkind, Quat rebels against his
644 pages, $19.95 always obeys his mother, he stays out flop which the author neglects to ex- another disturbing character. She is Jewist ancestry by writing obscene
of trouble as an adolescent, and is a plain. Similarly, Goodkind's tran- introduced as a staunchly anti-Zionist anti-Semitic books and plays. The
T HE THEME is familiar: an im- remarkably naive young adult. He is sition from a comedy writer to Wall New Leftist; complete with Arab character is despicable, not only in his
migrant, or the child of im- the "nice Jewish boy" carried to a Street lawyer is both unexplained and boyfriend of similar conviction; but bigotry and self-deprecation, but in
migrants, emerges from poverty to unbelievable. What is patently ab- his lewd antics as a womanizer. Quat
prosperity in America, the Land of surd, however, is Goodkind'ssudden makes millions peddling his schlock,
Opportunity. In recent years emergence as Special Assistant to the but blows most of it on wine, women,
___President. Wouk neglects to explain and song. Reprehensible though he is,
how Goodkind acquired the position or Quat is the novel's most realistic and
what his responsibilities were. Fur- believable character.
"thermore, the reader is clueless s to Wouk's style, like his politics, is in-
By Ron Schechter what factors converted the liberal trusive. Inside, Outside is written in
yColumbia idealist into a cohort of first person, in memoir form, as if
especially, authors have flooded the Richard Nixon. Goodkind tells his own life story.
bookstores with variations on this Unfortunately, Goodkind's position However, the author's frequent ad-
boostheme. Although most such novels in the White House is merely a vehicle dresses, such as "dear reader," are a
have been mediocre at best, they have through which the author inserts his constant and distracting reminder of
been infinitely popular in America, a political opinions. From the White the presence of a narrator. It is im-
nation of immigrants. In fact, it is House in 1973, Goodkind attacks the possible for the reader to become ab-
safe to say that an established author American people, whose "manhunt" sorbed in the novel because the author
is almost guaranteed a bestseller if he for Nixon and his accessories he keeps interrupting.
sticks to the immigrant-success "claims to be reminiscent of McCar- A further problem with Wouk's
theme. thyism. Similarly, Goodkind lashes style is his inclination toward
This is precisely what Herman out against positivists, determinists, cuteness, characterized by his ten-
Wouk has done, and the result is materialists, and Marxists, as if they dency to add "ie" or "y" to certain
disappointing. Inside, Outside is a Wouk were indistinguishable, calling them words. He refers to the French as
decidedly dull novel. Wouk's charac- soporific this time "cynics and reductionists." Goodkind "Frenchies," the Russians as
ters are sadly stereotypical and one - ' "s Wouk's parrot, and the intelligent "Russkies," and James Joyce as
dimensional, from the overbearing, ridiculous extreme. reader will immediately recognize, only a few days after arriving in "Jimmy Joyce." The effect is
domineering Jewish mother to the Indeed, the most interesting thing not to mention resent, the transparent Israel on a short visit, she sends home nauseating.
beautiful yet superficial Jewish about Goodkind is his inconsistent scheme. Wouk insults his reader by a letter declaring that she has made Based on the author's reputation,
American Princess. Israel David nature, a result of the author's delivering intermittant lectures on aliyah, that is, emigrated to Israel. there is little doubt that his next novel,
Goodkind, the novel's protagonist, is haphazard characterization. For in- Soviet-American relations, Zionism, Sandra's sudden conversion to whether an immigrant-success story
the dullest character of all. The son of stance, at Columbia Goodkind and political philosophy through the militant Zionism is ridiculous, even or not, will also be a bestseller.
Jewish immigrants, Goodkind rises espouses atheism asa result of his ex- voice of his milquetoast protagonist. for an impressionable college girl, Hopefully he will give his readers
from the Bronx to Columbia to Wall posure to secular philosophy and The author's political sermons are an and the reader is left dumbfounded. what they deserve.

Gary Lewis and the Playboys probably the sole work of his that
most people recall - even if they
- Greatest Hits (Rhino) don't remember he recorded it.
Gary Lewis and The Playboys was Lewis' style was pretty typical of
but one of the hundreds of shortlived the product being spun out at the time
pop sensations of middle '60s who with safe, white-bread pop tunes that
warrant but a brief mention in the relied on all the stock harmonies and
Misc. section of pep/rock history but melodic tricks of the day. If there was
who don't deserve to be completely any characteristic quality to Lewis'
forgotten either. This new Rhino songs - which he didn'twrite anyway
collection of their singles succinctly - it was their pervadingly wimpy,
summarizes Lewis and company's self pitying quality. This quality gets
small body of work, and is about as more than a little grating with
definitive a final word on the career sustained exposure, especially when
as one could want. it lapses into sheer masochism - as in
Lewis and band had only one great "The Loser." I mean, these guys were
single, the whiny but enduring "This resident band at Disneyland for the
Diamond Ring" which was his first summer of '64 for crying out loud, how
record, his only number-one hit, and exciting could they really get?
"Diamond Ring" sounds all the bet-
CORRECTION ter with the passage of time, the
nostalgic glow obscuring most of
On Wednesday, 10 the Dail pathetic sense of tragedy. "Jill," a
y, y mildly psychedelic-influenced ditty -
ran an ad for Ralph's Market ad- that was stillborn on the charts - is
vertising their weekly specials. The kind of catchy too.
prices quoted were incorrect. The
correct prices are: The bulk of Greatest Hits is pretty
but soulless stuff, more worthwhile as
Baked Ham $1.99 lb. '60s ambient noise than as an essen-
Bologna $1.59 lb. tial collectable. A reminder of when
We are sorry for any inconvenience pop was alot more innocent and a lot
this may have caused. dumber.
ByronL: Bull

Various Artist -Gotcha! /
Original Soundtrack (MCA) isn t one real song under it all.
As far as bands with anything of a
Just the latest in the seemingly en- name, the album hasn't much going in
dless avalanche of shabby pop collec- that direction either. Joan Jett -
tions masquerading as a movie soun- remember Joan Jett? - surfaces, un-
dtrack, only slightly worse than comfortably decked out in garish
average - which is really not saying techno-glitz garb consistent with the
much. record's textural fascination, while
Nik Kershaw's - oh boy - cut is sim-
The album opens with one Therezg ply yanked off his last album. Bronski
Bazar singg "Gotcha!'' - sort of Beat's "Smalltown Boy" is the one
"theme song" - i a voice that soun- bona fide biggie - commercially
ds more than a little like Cyndi speaking - though it was hot long
Lauper's against a roar of generic before it showed up here, which was
synth trappings, which is the per- probably the result of the producers
vading style most of the album's splurging on this one song just so they
songs are draped in. Likewise the could claim - in a shifty kind of way
successive "Never Too Late," with - to have a genuine hit single on the
someone named Gregg Giuffria affec- album.
ting Steve Perry's voice backed by a
busy but uninvolved background of
gouging guitars, drum machines, and The record is filled out at the end
boistrous chorus. with two little instrumentals by Bill

The emphasis here is not on content
but on style, on the sound of the
material versus the actual quality of
content. The production is, yes, cer-
tainly professional, but coldly
professional, and the sounds
duplicated on the various pieces are a
good reflection of what you hear on
the radio but nothing more. There

Conti (Rocky, The Right Stuff) who is
listed in the film's credits as the ac-
tual composer and who lays out first a
lame little clone of Harold Falter-
meyer's "Axle F" and then a clunky
number that sounds like John Barry
- who scored most of the Bond films
- being tormented in disco hell:
Coming soon to a cutout bin near you.
'--Byron L.-Bull

...decked in techno-glitz

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