A month or so ago, I wrote a very long, very personal review of Rob Freedman’s excellent book, Rush: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence, entitled “The Saving Grace of Neil Peart.” In it, I offered almost nothing but praise for Freedman. But, I had two criticisms. The first was that he gave too much time and attention to Peart’s critics, and the second was that I felt Freedman should have discussed stoicism. There’s no need to go into the second criticism, but here’s what I wrote in the first:
As a lover of Rush, I have a few (very few) quibbles with Freedman’s take. Mostly, from my not so humble perspective, Freedman gives way too much space to such charlatans as Barry Miles of the English New Music Express who claimed Rush promoted neo-fascism in the late 1970s. Freedman, while disagreeing with Miles, bends over backwards defending Miles’s point of view, as it did carry immense weight in the 1970s and wounded the band deeply. From my perspective, there is no excuse for Miles. He maliciously manipulated and twisted the words of Peart—using his lyrics and a personal interview—which were as deeply anti-fascistic as one could possibly imagine (paeans to creativity and individualism) and caused unnecessary damage to the reputation of three men, two of whom who had parents who had survived the horrors of the twentieth-century ideologues, as noted above. Miles’s take on Rush is simply inexcusable and no amount of justification explains his wickedness and cthluthic insensibilities toward three great artists. Dante best understood where such “men” spent eternity.
So, reading back over this, maybe I owe two apologies to Freedman. First, what a goofy thing I wrote when I started my criticism with “As a lover of Rush. . .” Of course, I love Rush. But, then, so does Freedman!
Second, I’ve spent the last week reading every review of/article on Rush from 1974 to 1981—thanks to the Mighty Eric Hansen at http://2112.net/powerwindows/transcripts/Transcripts.htm. And, now, having read every review in chronological order, I see exactly why Freedman gave as much attention to Peart’s critics as he did.
Rob, my apologies to you. You were and are absolutely correct in the manner you dealt with the criticisms.
To New Music Express and Rolling Stone: I lift my hands to you. And, each hand has one finger held high. Just in case this is too subtle for your soulless, corporate, tapioca conformist brains. . . it’s the middle one.