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James Wolcott's writing still packs a punch and a guffaw. It's forty years of astute, opinionated cultural criticism. There aren't many writers around who have such a wide range of interests and can keep you eating it up subject by subject.
Here, I was introduced to the slyly subversive humor of Mort Sahl, and reminded that Rock Hudson and Doris Day have a lot more to offer than a punchline to a joke about squares.
Critical Mass is chock-full of cultural milestones, from the infamous Norman Mailer v. Gore Vidal smack-down on the Dick Cavett Show to a fresh new band performing at CBGBs: The Talking Heads. Where else are you going to get such an immediate account of the New York art scene as it happened, as if it were happening RIGHT NOW?
Kevin T. Collin's narration has the air of seen-it-all, intellectual superiority and braggadocio of a long-time writer and critic. Wolcott holds some strong opinions, and Collins delivers them with conviction.
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...repetitious as collections of reviews over the decades can often prove to be. This is more so here than most. The book proves a series of diminishing pleasures. Sample regularly rather than one after another, and this will be less the case.