Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:12 pm

Alexander wrote:Done reading. Greil Marcus pretty much writes down what I ever thought about the book. Literary far better of course and far more factual but this was my feeling during the first and only time I read the book in the early 80s (I was a teen back then and disappointed that my father gave me this book, not the slightest disappointment in my hero though)...

Thanks for posting Doc, great article!


Thanks very much for taking the time. I posted the topic and related articles to once again complement the amazing amount of historical documentation that FECC contains on Elvis' life and career. And I made the effort -- it took a while to get these articles together -- because I love the man and his music, and enjoy sharing with all the good members here.

Now, unlike some of the big-mouthed misanthropes on this forum, there is no "hatred" for deceased, discredited biographer Albert Goldman. Elvis Presley is now a figure of history. We are simply looking back at a time when a small-minded man, armed with college degrees, a typewriter and an agenda, tried desperately to tear down the achievements of one of the 20th century's greatest icons.

He failed. ;-)

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:15 pm

fn2drive wrote:And let's not forget this man was a father to an 8 year old girl- his behavior was nothing short of child abuse/neglect.


We think you've said enough. Thank you.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:34 pm

fn2drive wrote:Goldman's book was the other bookend to the false image the Elvis machine portrayed for years with impunity. If we are honest about his career he produced little music of value between say 1962 and 1968 and after 1970/1. After sometime in 72 his live performances were stale and boring (acknowledging his personal charisma still could carry the day until 76). As a fan, I spent the last 4 or 5 years of his life waiting for an album I could be proud of and wondering would the next concert be different, a return to the glory of earlier in 70s while being treated to a steady decline in performance quality. What fan would take a non fan to a 1976 concert-I was embarrassed to even look at him in New Haven in 76 (cringe worthy). So crude or not when Goldman wrote 'Elvis Presley sh_ts the bed', I was shocked and disgusted. But then and over the years, true or just metaphorical, it didn't matter. What it really said was there was no bottom for this man who was the hero of millions. How much lower could you sink and not hear the wake up call-drowning in a bowl of soup, nearly killing a girl with cough syrup, sending a bullet through a wall while your girlfriend is in the bathroom, head being dunked in a bucket of cold water so he could get on stage and on and on.No drugging yourself to the point where you lose control of bodily functions is bottom. If that doesn't do it nothing will. Depression sure, destroyed the pleasure centers of his brain from years of drug abuse, likely but let's add to it he just checked out after his divorce. Elvis became the emperor with out any clothes surrounded by sycophants and losers. Albert Goldman got that call right which in many ways is the one that was the key to the decline. Felton Jarvis, Col Parker, Joe 'good show, good show' Esposito, RCA Records etc etc all sucking at his teet while all the while he was so self-aware that he knew and was too lazy, weak or damaged to care or fight.

And let's not forget this man was a father to an 8 year old girl- his behavior was nothing short of child abuse/neglect. So again Goldman was likely a despicable human being and his book may be as much fiction as fact but we lie to ourselves if we don't conclude that it paints an accurate picture of what Elvis" life became. I know it to rings true every time I hear My Boy or look at a concert photo from 76 and 77. While I have a lot of empathy for Elvis and his decline, I also have a lot of anger that he cheated me and millions of others out of the art he should have created. No doubt Goldman didn't understand Elvis was one of the greatest artists of all time. Albert Goldman does help to explain how Elvis really became Elvis and how Elvis killed Elvis and in many ways better than either of Peter Guralnik's great bios. I know my opinion may be controversial and for that I apologize. The Elvis machine deluded and distracted me from the truth when he was alive. I won't subscribe to revisionist history now that I know better.


Very interesting thoughts. Thank you for posting this.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:39 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Now, unlike some of the big-mouthed misanthropes on this forum, there is no "hatred" for deceased, discredited biographer Albert Goldman. Elvis Presley is now a figure of history. We are simply looking back at a time when a small-minded man, armed with college degrees, a typewriter and an agenda, tried desperately to tear down the achievements of one of the 20th century's greatest icons.



I love people in general - misanthropes hate people (you can check it out from Wikipedia). I just hate really stupid and smug people.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:50 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:Thanks very much for taking the time. I posted the topic and related articles to once again complement the amazing amount of historical documentation that FECC contains on Elvis' life and career. And I made the effort -- it took a while to get these articles together -- because I love the man and his music, and enjoy sharing with all the good members here.

Now, unlike some of the big-mouthed misanthropes on this forum, there is no "hatred" for deceased, discredited biographer Albert Goldman. Elvis Presley is now a figure of history. We are simply looking back at a time when a small-minded man, armed with college degrees, a typewriter and an agenda, tried desperately to tear down the achievements of one of the 20th century's greatest icons.

He failed. ;-)


The way the book was ultimately 'forgotten' says all about how the contents eventually were valued. The biographies of Lenny Bruce, John Lennon and Elvis in the end were just a powerfull attempt to character assasination. He wounded those great icons but eventually - over the decades - he failed indeed.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:07 pm

Alexander wrote:The way the book was ultimately 'forgotten' says all about how the contents eventually were valued. The biographies of Lenny Bruce, John Lennon and Elvis in the end were just a powerful attempt to character assassination. He wounded those great icons but eventually - over the decades - he failed indeed.


Indeed.

And don't forget that nine years later, Goldman published a second book, called Elvis: The Last 24 Hours.

Did you know Presley committed suicide? What a tremendous biographer. His rent must have been overdue. ;-)

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:09 pm

His attempt to picture Elvis as a silly white-trash hillbilly with lack of taste and talent and without any real significance in history was mean. The impact of Elvis Presley and the magnitude of his work has however been rebuilt over the years by people like Ernst Jorgensen, Guralnick and even Alanna Nash.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:52 pm

It's a long while since I've read or had a copy of the Goldman book, so I don't want to comment on the contents of it. But I would like to make a few comments on the articles that the Doc kindly posted, and some of the reponses to them:

Firstly, I have to say that the first article from 1968 seems pretty much on the money (excuse the pun) when it comes to Goldman's comments about Elvis being a commodity and little else. That seems to sum up Elvis during the mid-1960s to me - and Parker's lifetime view of him. I see nothing untoward there. There seems to be more hatred towards his management than the man himself. And, as for the Vegas review, I don't see where that is far from the truth either. It's not an attack on Presley or his performances, but an attack on the possible lack of emotional depth in the show. He is basically attacking the Vegas showman element and barely even mentions the singing - and that's not unlike a number of people's views on here.

As Albert Goldman of the board said about Goldman (this is getting confusing, isn't it?), he is actually (going by those articles) a very good writer and (again in the case of the articles) has really quite interesting things to say and, in the case of the Vegas piece, probably said them earlier than most people did.

I'd like to quote Alexander:

The worst journalists are journalists who write without passion for the subject. Your analysis brings Goldman down to the lowest level of journalism. Like you said:

Albert Goldman wrote:
The problem is that he didn't love Elvis - or John Lennon - very, very much. Actually, he didn't even understand what rock 'n' roll was all about - and he was very, very mean towards something that he could not comprehend.


The point I want to take up here is that there is a difference about writing without passion FOR the subject and writing without passion ABOUT the subject. I would argue (again, going by the articles) that Goldman is passionate about his subject, just not for it. If he wasn't passionate about it he would never have written either of the articles or his lengthy book. A film reviewer might hate the film that he has just watched, but hating something can create just as much passion in a writer as loving something. In fact the dullest books about music and film are the ones where writers love their chosen director or actor or singer so much that they can't tell the good from the bad and it becomes a love-in. As an example, the wonderful film critic and writer Pauline Kael was 100% anti the auteur theory and thought it was ridiculous. But she still had a passion about the subject, even if the passion was in the negative - and she wrote and spoke with intelligence and passion on the issue.

The issue here is that there is nothing wrong with a writer writing a book about Elvis and actually hating everything the singer did, providing he has the intelligence and the literary prowess in order to argue his case and state why he feels that way. Should an author refrain from writing a book about Margaret Thatcher just because he has a negative viewpoint of her? In fact writers who go against the grain are often the most entertaining and enlightening; I'm sure many film scholars would love to read an intelligent piece from someone who thinks Hitchcock's Vertigo is a pile of trash. Going against the grain can stimulate discussion much more than just agreeing with the crowd, And, in the articles printed by the Doc, Goldman is writing intelligently and entertainly about his subject, even if he is writing in a negative fashion.

Another quote from a post, this time Mysterytrainrideson:

Thanks Doc. I have never read Albut Goldbums book...and from what i've heard and read about it, i wouldn't want to. He is a nasty piece of trash, who didn't desrve to be put on this earth. He's six foot in the ground now-which is the best place for him.


And this is where these boards fall down. How can someone trash a book that they have never read, just on hearsay? It's a ridiculous statement. The same can be said for people who accuses Goldman of being a bad writer on the basis of having read one book (and the articles above, if nothing else, prove him to be a very good writer).

The problem with the book is not that Goldman is a bad writer (he isn't) or that someone with a negative view of their subject shouldn't write a biography - if that was the case I'm assuming no biographies of murderers and despots would ever be written. No, the problem with Goldman's book, it seems to me, is that he went from writing those intelligent (albeit largely negative) articles about something he was passionate about, to writing a book that, from its inception was designed to make money from that negativity. I'm not sure he completely hated his subject, but he seems to simply have set out to have put his self-respect to one side to make a buck - and sensationalism sells.

I'll re-state, I haven't read the book since I was a nipper (well, maybe a bit older than that), but we must also realise that we are probably not the right people to give impartial judgements as to the merits or otherwise of a book that was designed to make fans feel negative towards it in the first place. This is no different to us saying that, of course, Elvis was the greatest entertainer who ever lived - because we would say that as fans anyway. And I'm sure that, on another board somewhere, Bon Jovi fans are saying that about their idol. What I'm trying to say here is that whereas Goldman wasn't impartial about his subject, neither are we.

I would very much like to read Goldman's book again, just to see what I make of it now, and will no doubt pick it up if I see it secondhand somewhere.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:20 pm

poormadpeter wrote:It's a long while since I've read or had a copy of the Goldman book, so I don't want to comment on the contents of it. But I would like to make a few comments on the articles that the Doc kindly posted, and some of the reponses to them:

Firstly, I have to say that the first article from 1968 seems pretty much on the money (excuse the pun) when it comes to Goldman's comments about Elvis being a commodity and little else. That seems to sum up Elvis during the mid-1960s to me - and Parker's lifetime view of him. I see nothing untoward there. There seems to be more hatred towards his management than the man himself. And, as for the Vegas review, I don't see where that is far from the truth either. It's not an attack on Presley or his performances, but an attack on the possible lack of emotional depth in the show. He is basically attacking the Vegas showman element and barely even mentions the singing - and that's not unlike a number of people's views on here.

As Albert Goldman of the board said about Goldman (this is getting confusing, isn't it?), he is actually (going by those articles) a very good writer and (again in the case of the articles) has really quite interesting things to say and, in the case of the Vegas piece, probably said them earlier than most people did.

I'd like to quote Alexander:

The worst journalists are journalists who write without passion for the subject. Your analysis brings Goldman down to the lowest level of journalism. Like you said:

Albert Goldman wrote:
The problem is that he didn't love Elvis - or John Lennon - very, very much. Actually, he didn't even understand what rock 'n' roll was all about - and he was very, very mean towards something that he could not comprehend.


The point I want to take up here is that there is a difference about writing without passion FOR the subject and writing without passion ABOUT the subject. I would argue (again, going by the articles) that Goldman is passionate about his subject, just not for it. If he wasn't passionate about it he would never have written either of the articles or his lengthy book. A film reviewer might hate the film that he has just watched, but hating something can create just as much passion in a writer as loving something. In fact the dullest books about music and film are the ones where writers love their chosen director or actor or singer so much that they can't tell the good from the bad and it becomes a love-in. As an example, the wonderful film critic and writer Pauline Kael was 100% anti the auteur theory and thought it was ridiculous. But she still had a passion about the subject, even if the passion was in the negative - and she wrote and spoke with intelligence and passion on the issue.

The issue here is that there is nothing wrong with a writer writing a book about Elvis and actually hating everything the singer did, providing he has the intelligence and the literary prowess in order to argue his case and state why he feels that way. Should an author refrain from writing a book about Margaret Thatcher just because he has a negative viewpoint of her? In fact writers who go against the grain are often the most entertaining and enlightening; I'm sure many film scholars would love to read an intelligent piece from someone who thinks Hitchcock's Vertigo is a pile of trash. Going against the grain can stimulate discussion much more than just agreeing with the crowd, And, in the articles printed by the Doc, Goldman is writing intelligently and entertainly about his subject, even if he is writing in a negative fashion.

Another quote from a post, this time Mysterytrainrideson:

Thanks Doc. I have never read Albut Goldbums book...and from what i've heard and read about it, i wouldn't want to. He is a nasty piece of trash, who didn't desrve to be put on this earth. He's six foot in the ground now-which is the best place for him.


And this is where these boards fall down. How can someone trash a book that they have never read, just on hearsay? It's a ridiculous statement. The same can be said for people who accuses Goldman of being a bad writer on the basis of having read one book (and the articles above, if nothing else, prove him to be a very good writer).

The problem with the book is not that Goldman is a bad writer (he isn't) or that someone with a negative view of their subject shouldn't write a biography - if that was the case I'm assuming no biographies of murderers and despots would ever be written. No, the problem with Goldman's book, it seems to me, is that he went from writing those intelligent (albeit largely negative) articles about something he was passionate about, to writing a book that, from its inception was designed to make money from that negativity. I'm not sure he completely hated his subject, but he seems to simply have set out to have put his self-respect to one side to make a buck - and sensationalism sells.

I'll re-state, I haven't read the book since I was a nipper (well, maybe a bit older than that), but we must also realise that we are probably not the right people to give impartial judgements as to the merits or otherwise of a book that was designed to make fans feel negative towards it in the first place. This is no different to us saying that, of course, Elvis was the greatest entertainer who ever lived - because we would say that as fans anyway. And I'm sure that, on another board somewhere, Bon Jovi fans are saying that about their idol. What I'm trying to say here is that whereas Goldman wasn't impartial about his subject, neither are we.

I would very much like to read Goldman's book again, just to see what I make of it now, and will no doubt pick it up if I see it secondhand somewhere.


Parker def saw Elvis more as a commodity than an artist and I'm not so sure Elvis felt differently after a certain period of time. That off the cuff remark about being a millionaire since he was 21 during one the recording sessions kind of says it all to me.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:25 pm

fn2drive wrote: I also have a lot of anger that he cheated me and millions of others out of the art he should have created.


Elvis didn't cheat you or any other "fan" out of "the art he should have created". That he may have cheated himself is a debate only he could answer.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:28 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:a small-minded man, armed with college degrees, a typewriter and an agenda, tried desperately to tear down the achievements of one of the 20th century's greatest icons.

He failed. ;-)


This.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:30 pm

poormadpeter wrote:It's a long while since I've read or had a copy of the Goldman book, so I don't want to comment on the contents of it. But I would like to make a few comments on the articles that the Doc kindly posted, and some of the reponses to them:

Firstly, I have to say that the first article from 1968 seems pretty much on the money (excuse the pun) when it comes to Goldman's comments about Elvis being a commodity and little else. That seems to sum up Elvis during the mid-1960s to me - and Parker's lifetime view of him. I see nothing untoward there. There seems to be more hatred towards his management than the man himself. And, as for the Vegas review, I don't see where that is far from the truth either. It's not an attack on Presley or his performances, but an attack on the possible lack of emotional depth in the show. He is basically attacking the Vegas showman element and barely even mentions the singing - and that's not unlike a number of people's views on here.

As Albert Goldman of the board said about Goldman (this is getting confusing, isn't it?), he is actually (going by those articles) a very good writer and (again in the case of the articles) has really quite interesting things to say and, in the case of the Vegas piece, probably said them earlier than most people did.

I'd like to quote Alexander:

The worst journalists are journalists who write without passion for the subject. Your analysis brings Goldman down to the lowest level of journalism. Like you said:

Albert Goldman wrote:
The problem is that he didn't love Elvis - or John Lennon - very, very much. Actually, he didn't even understand what rock 'n' roll was all about - and he was very, very mean towards something that he could not comprehend.


The point I want to take up here is that there is a difference about writing without passion FOR the subject and writing without passion ABOUT the subject. I would argue (again, going by the articles) that Goldman is passionate about his subject, just not for it. If he wasn't passionate about it he would never have written either of the articles or his lengthy book. A film reviewer might hate the film that he has just watched, but hating something can create just as much passion in a writer as loving something. In fact the dullest books about music and film are the ones where writers love their chosen director or actor or singer so much that they can't tell the good from the bad and it becomes a love-in. As an example, the wonderful film critic and writer Pauline Kael was 100% anti the auteur theory and thought it was ridiculous. But she still had a passion about the subject, even if the passion was in the negative - and she wrote and spoke with intelligence and passion on the issue.

The issue here is that there is nothing wrong with a writer writing a book about Elvis and actually hating everything the singer did, providing he has the intelligence and the literary prowess in order to argue his case and state why he feels that way. Should an author refrain from writing a book about Margaret Thatcher just because he has a negative viewpoint of her? In fact writers who go against the grain are often the most entertaining and enlightening; I'm sure many film scholars would love to read an intelligent piece from someone who thinks Hitchcock's Vertigo is a pile of trash. Going against the grain can stimulate discussion much more than just agreeing with the crowd, And, in the articles printed by the Doc, Goldman is writing intelligently and entertainly about his subject, even if he is writing in a negative fashion.

Another quote from a post, this time Mysterytrainrideson:

Thanks Doc. I have never read Albut Goldbums book...and from what i've heard and read about it, i wouldn't want to. He is a nasty piece of trash, who didn't desrve to be put on this earth. He's six foot in the ground now-which is the best place for him.


And this is where these boards fall down. How can someone trash a book that they have never read, just on hearsay? It's a ridiculous statement. The same can be said for people who accuses Goldman of being a bad writer on the basis of having read one book (and the articles above, if nothing else, prove him to be a very good writer).

The problem with the book is not that Goldman is a bad writer (he isn't) or that someone with a negative view of their subject shouldn't write a biography - if that was the case I'm assuming no biographies of murderers and despots would ever be written. No, the problem with Goldman's book, it seems to me, is that he went from writing those intelligent (albeit largely negative) articles about something he was passionate about, to writing a book that, from its inception was designed to make money from that negativity. I'm not sure he completely hated his subject, but he seems to simply have set out to have put his self-respect to one side to make a buck - and sensationalism sells.

I'll re-state, I haven't read the book since I was a nipper (well, maybe a bit older than that), but we must also realise that we are probably not the right people to give impartial judgements as to the merits or otherwise of a book that was designed to make fans feel negative towards it in the first place. This is no different to us saying that, of course, Elvis was the greatest entertainer who ever lived - because we would say that as fans anyway. And I'm sure that, on another board somewhere, Bon Jovi fans are saying that about their idol. What I'm trying to say here is that whereas Goldman wasn't impartial about his subject, neither are we.

I would very much like to read Goldman's book again, just to see what I make of it now, and will no doubt pick it up if I see it secondhand somewhere.


Another great and intelligent post that I enjoy reading. No googling, no easy quotes from Marcus or Guralnick, no cheesy rethoric, no black (evil) and white (good). You don't need anybody else to do your thinking for you. Thank you.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:33 pm

Man, you can see nothing but disdain for Elvis in everything he ever wrote. That's the most unmistakeable thing about him. I wonder why people who think the book is pretty truthful are here on this message board. Why do you care to write about such a sad and despicable person as Elvis.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:33 pm

Why should i read a book thats had pretty much bad reviews from nearly every writer/reviewer since its publication. I have read quotes that have come from the book, and from what i've read is enough for me to think that this is trash. The reviews that i've read about the book are from reliable writers who tell as it is. I did read a few pages of the one he did on John Lennon and i remember thinking "this is rubbish". So do i need to read the Elvis one....NO!

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:36 pm

mysterytrainrideson wrote:Why should i read a book thats had pretty much bad reviews from nearly every writer/reviewer since its publication. I have read quotes that have come from the book, and from what i've read is enough for me to think that this is trash. The reviews that i've read about the book are from reliable writers who tell as it is. I did read a few pages of the one he did on John Lennon and i remember thinking "this is rubbish". So do i need to read the Elvis one....NO!


No. You need to read the book itself. Or do you want to live your life talking for granted what is good and bad on the say so of others?

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:37 pm

stevelecher wrote:Man, you can see nothing but disdain for Elvis in everything he ever wrote. That's the most unmistakeable thing about him. I wonder why people who think the book is pretty truthful are here on this message board. Why do you care to write about such a sad and despicable person as Elvis.


I have yet to see one person say that they think the book is pretty truthful.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:45 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
mysterytrainrideson wrote:Why should i read a book thats had pretty much bad reviews from nearly every writer/reviewer since its publication. I have read quotes that have come from the book, and from what i've read is enough for me to think that this is trash. The reviews that i've read about the book are from reliable writers who tell as it is. I did read a few pages of the one he did on John Lennon and i remember thinking "this is rubbish". So do i need to read the Elvis one....NO!


No. You need to read the book itself. Or do you want to live your life talking for granted what is good and bad on the say so of others?

Whats the point? The trash he wrote about Lennon and the style he wrote it in he does the same to Elvis....so why bother? Guralnicks two masterpieces is all any fan needs.....

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:47 pm

poormadpeter wrote:It's a long while since I've read or had a copy of the Goldman book, so I don't want to comment on the contents of it. But I would like to make a few comments on the articles that the Doc kindly posted, and some of the reponses to them:

Firstly, I have to say that the first article from 1968 seems pretty much on the money (excuse the pun) when it comes to Goldman's comments about Elvis being a commodity and little else. That seems to sum up Elvis during the mid-1960s to me - and Parker's lifetime view of him. I see nothing untoward there. There seems to be more hatred towards his management than the man himself. And, as for the Vegas review, I don't see where that is far from the truth either. It's not an attack on Presley or his performances, but an attack on the possible lack of emotional depth in the show. He is basically attacking the Vegas showman element and barely even mentions the singing - and that's not unlike a number of people's views on here.

As Albert Goldman of the board said about Goldman (this is getting confusing, isn't it?), he is actually (going by those articles) a very good writer and (again in the case of the articles) has really quite interesting things to say and, in the case of the Vegas piece, probably said them earlier than most people did.

I'd like to quote Alexander:

The worst journalists are journalists who write without passion for the subject. Your analysis brings Goldman down to the lowest level of journalism. Like you said:

Albert Goldman wrote:
The problem is that he didn't love Elvis - or John Lennon - very, very much. Actually, he didn't even understand what rock 'n' roll was all about - and he was very, very mean towards something that he could not comprehend.


The point I want to take up here is that there is a difference about writing without passion FOR the subject and writing without passion ABOUT the subject. I would argue (again, going by the articles) that Goldman is passionate about his subject, just not for it. If he wasn't passionate about it he would never have written either of the articles or his lengthy book. A film reviewer might hate the film that he has just watched, but hating something can create just as much passion in a writer as loving something. In fact the dullest books about music and film are the ones where writers love their chosen director or actor or singer so much that they can't tell the good from the bad and it becomes a love-in. As an example, the wonderful film critic and writer Pauline Kael was 100% anti the auteur theory and thought it was ridiculous. But she still had a passion about the subject, even if the passion was in the negative - and she wrote and spoke with intelligence and passion on the issue.

The issue here is that there is nothing wrong with a writer writing a book about Elvis and actually hating everything the singer did, providing he has the intelligence and the literary prowess in order to argue his case and state why he feels that way. Should an author refrain from writing a book about Margaret Thatcher just because he has a negative viewpoint of her? In fact writers who go against the grain are often the most entertaining and enlightening; I'm sure many film scholars would love to read an intelligent piece from someone who thinks Hitchcock's Vertigo is a pile of trash. Going against the grain can stimulate discussion much more than just agreeing with the crowd, And, in the articles printed by the Doc, Goldman is writing intelligently and entertainly about his subject, even if he is writing in a negative fashion.

Another quote from a post, this time Mysterytrainrideson:

Thanks Doc. I have never read Albut Goldbums book...and from what i've heard and read about it, i wouldn't want to. He is a nasty piece of trash, who didn't desrve to be put on this earth. He's six foot in the ground now-which is the best place for him.


And this is where these boards fall down. How can someone trash a book that they have never read, just on hearsay? It's a ridiculous statement. The same can be said for people who accuses Goldman of being a bad writer on the basis of having read one book (and the articles above, if nothing else, prove him to be a very good writer).

The problem with the book is not that Goldman is a bad writer (he isn't) or that someone with a negative view of their subject shouldn't write a biography - if that was the case I'm assuming no biographies of murderers and despots would ever be written. No, the problem with Goldman's book, it seems to me, is that he went from writing those intelligent (albeit largely negative) articles about something he was passionate about, to writing a book that, from its inception was designed to make money from that negativity. I'm not sure he completely hated his subject, but he seems to simply have set out to have put his self-respect to one side to make a buck - and sensationalism sells.

I'll re-state, I haven't read the book since I was a nipper (well, maybe a bit older than that), but we must also realise that we are probably not the right people to give impartial judgements as to the merits or otherwise of a book that was designed to make fans feel negative towards it in the first place. This is no different to us saying that, of course, Elvis was the greatest entertainer who ever lived - because we would say that as fans anyway. And I'm sure that, on another board somewhere, Bon Jovi fans are saying that about their idol. What I'm trying to say here is that whereas Goldman wasn't impartial about his subject, neither are we.

I would very much like to read Goldman's book again, just to see what I make of it now, and will no doubt pick it up if I see it secondhand somewhere.

Let me start by saying I have read the book... and regardless of how long it's been, I haven't forgotten what and how he wrote.

I'm not really sure what your point is here pete? Do you think people are too critical of Albert Goldman? Are you trying to justify what this man did? Your comments brush with fairly broad stroke... saying Goldman's article regarding the 1968 special is on the money??? And then you narrow it down to a single, specific comment he made??? And what's the significance of him being "a very good writer"? There are many very good fiction writer's in the world... there are good writer's that write for magazines and newspapers like the National Enquirer and The Star... that's why they have jobs
The issue here is that there is nothing wrong with a writer writing a book about Elvis and actually hating everything the singer did

How can that produce an unbiased, factual record of events? If you hate someone (and he truly had a hard-on for Elvis in the hate department), that hatred will most certainly have an impact on what you write about the subject... how is there nothing wrong with that?

Do you think you sound intelligent by saying you would very much like to read his book AGAIN? Albert Goldman was a man with an agenda... and jealousy spews from every vile word he writes. He was motivated by money and notoriety. If you're interested in reading the works of great writer's, there are far better fodder to choose from.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:55 pm

elvis-fan wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:It's a long while since I've read or had a copy of the Goldman book, so I don't want to comment on the contents of it. But I would like to make a few comments on the articles that the Doc kindly posted, and some of the reponses to them:

Firstly, I have to say that the first article from 1968 seems pretty much on the money (excuse the pun) when it comes to Goldman's comments about Elvis being a commodity and little else. That seems to sum up Elvis during the mid-1960s to me - and Parker's lifetime view of him. I see nothing untoward there. There seems to be more hatred towards his management than the man himself. And, as for the Vegas review, I don't see where that is far from the truth either. It's not an attack on Presley or his performances, but an attack on the possible lack of emotional depth in the show. He is basically attacking the Vegas showman element and barely even mentions the singing - and that's not unlike a number of people's views on here.

As Albert Goldman of the board said about Goldman (this is getting confusing, isn't it?), he is actually (going by those articles) a very good writer and (again in the case of the articles) has really quite interesting things to say and, in the case of the Vegas piece, probably said them earlier than most people did.

I'd like to quote Alexander:

The worst journalists are journalists who write without passion for the subject. Your analysis brings Goldman down to the lowest level of journalism. Like you said:

Albert Goldman wrote:
The problem is that he didn't love Elvis - or John Lennon - very, very much. Actually, he didn't even understand what rock 'n' roll was all about - and he was very, very mean towards something that he could not comprehend.


The point I want to take up here is that there is a difference about writing without passion FOR the subject and writing without passion ABOUT the subject. I would argue (again, going by the articles) that Goldman is passionate about his subject, just not for it. If he wasn't passionate about it he would never have written either of the articles or his lengthy book. A film reviewer might hate the film that he has just watched, but hating something can create just as much passion in a writer as loving something. In fact the dullest books about music and film are the ones where writers love their chosen director or actor or singer so much that they can't tell the good from the bad and it becomes a love-in. As an example, the wonderful film critic and writer Pauline Kael was 100% anti the auteur theory and thought it was ridiculous. But she still had a passion about the subject, even if the passion was in the negative - and she wrote and spoke with intelligence and passion on the issue.

The issue here is that there is nothing wrong with a writer writing a book about Elvis and actually hating everything the singer did, providing he has the intelligence and the literary prowess in order to argue his case and state why he feels that way. Should an author refrain from writing a book about Margaret Thatcher just because he has a negative viewpoint of her? In fact writers who go against the grain are often the most entertaining and enlightening; I'm sure many film scholars would love to read an intelligent piece from someone who thinks Hitchcock's Vertigo is a pile of trash. Going against the grain can stimulate discussion much more than just agreeing with the crowd, And, in the articles printed by the Doc, Goldman is writing intelligently and entertainly about his subject, even if he is writing in a negative fashion.

Another quote from a post, this time Mysterytrainrideson:

Thanks Doc. I have never read Albut Goldbums book...and from what i've heard and read about it, i wouldn't want to. He is a nasty piece of trash, who didn't desrve to be put on this earth. He's six foot in the ground now-which is the best place for him.


And this is where these boards fall down. How can someone trash a book that they have never read, just on hearsay? It's a ridiculous statement. The same can be said for people who accuses Goldman of being a bad writer on the basis of having read one book (and the articles above, if nothing else, prove him to be a very good writer).

The problem with the book is not that Goldman is a bad writer (he isn't) or that someone with a negative view of their subject shouldn't write a biography - if that was the case I'm assuming no biographies of murderers and despots would ever be written. No, the problem with Goldman's book, it seems to me, is that he went from writing those intelligent (albeit largely negative) articles about something he was passionate about, to writing a book that, from its inception was designed to make money from that negativity. I'm not sure he completely hated his subject, but he seems to simply have set out to have put his self-respect to one side to make a buck - and sensationalism sells.

I'll re-state, I haven't read the book since I was a nipper (well, maybe a bit older than that), but we must also realise that we are probably not the right people to give impartial judgements as to the merits or otherwise of a book that was designed to make fans feel negative towards it in the first place. This is no different to us saying that, of course, Elvis was the greatest entertainer who ever lived - because we would say that as fans anyway. And I'm sure that, on another board somewhere, Bon Jovi fans are saying that about their idol. What I'm trying to say here is that whereas Goldman wasn't impartial about his subject, neither are we.

I would very much like to read Goldman's book again, just to see what I make of it now, and will no doubt pick it up if I see it secondhand somewhere.

Let me start by saying I have read the book... and regardless of how long it's been, I haven't forgotten what and how he wrote.

I'm not really sure what your point is here pete? Do you think people are too critical of Albert Goldman? Are you trying to justify what this man did? Your comments brush with fairly broad stroke... saying Goldman's article regarding the 1968 special is on the money??? And then you narrow it down to a single, specific comment he made??? And what's the significance of him being "a very good writer"? There are many very good fiction writer's in the world... there are good writer's that write for magazines and newspapers like the National Enquirer and The Star... that's why they have jobs
The issue here is that there is nothing wrong with a writer writing a book about Elvis and actually hating everything the singer did

How can that produce an unbiased, factual record of events? If you hate someone, that hatred will most certainly have an impact on what you write about the subject... how is there nothing wrong with that?

Do you think you sound intelligent by saying you would very much like to read his book AGAIN? Albert Goldman was a man with an agenda... and jealousy spews from every vile word he writes. He was motivated by money and notoriety. If you're interested in reading the works of great writer's, there are far better fodder to choose from.


My point was to comment on the articles, which I did, and comments which others had left. Which I also did. There is nothing wrong with wanting to read such a book again - and check out for myself the content of the book rather than relying on past memories and the opinions of others.

You write the following:

How can that produce an unbiased, factual record of events? If you hate someone, that hatred will most certainly have an impact on what you write about the subject... how is there nothing wrong with that?

Would you have the same problem if a fan wrote an Elvis book? If you're a fan of someone, that love will most certainly have an impact on what you write about the subject... how there nothing wrong with that?

Isn't THAT true as well?

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:57 pm

mysterytrainrideson wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
mysterytrainrideson wrote:Why should i read a book thats had pretty much bad reviews from nearly every writer/reviewer since its publication. I have read quotes that have come from the book, and from what i've read is enough for me to think that this is trash. The reviews that i've read about the book are from reliable writers who tell as it is. I did read a few pages of the one he did on John Lennon and i remember thinking "this is rubbish". So do i need to read the Elvis one....NO!


No. You need to read the book itself. Or do you want to live your life talking for granted what is good and bad on the say so of others?

Whats the point? The trash he wrote about Lennon and the style he wrote it in he does the same to Elvis....so why bother? Guralnicks two masterpieces is all any fan needs.....


You base this on "reading a few pages" out of around a thousand. You're an adult. Read the damn thing yourself instead of relying on letting other people tell you what is good and bad.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:14 pm

poormadpeter wrote:Firstly, I have to say that the first article from 1968 seems pretty much on the money (excuse the pun) when it comes to Goldman's comments about Elvis being a commodity and little else.


What is most striking is the article says almost nothing about the TV special, which one presumes he was paid to watch and preview for the readers of the New York Times.

We read of no songs, or of how unique it was that Elvis was featured without any guest stars. We do not heard about his performances at all, because this would force the man to acknowledge how dynamic Presley was.

And all of his references to Elvis are condescending and crude, and more than a little sexist (another unseemly trait of his writing).

The 1968 article foreshadows what was to come, just 13 years later.


poormadpeter wrote:The issue here is that there is nothing wrong with a writer writing a book about Elvis and actually hating everything the singer did, providing he has the intelligence and the literary prowess in order to argue his case and state why he feels that way.


Correct. And as should be evident by the scathing 1981 Village Voice review, Goldman completely failed in his role as biographer, hateful or no.


poormadpeter wrote:I have yet to see one person say that they think the book is pretty truthful.


Read with care. This is not the first time I've asked this of you. This appears on page 1 of this topic:

I did buy the book then, still have it and most of what is written was true ...

http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=76177#p1151293

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:20 pm

Many apologies for not reading all the posts - just incase I am reiterating a point already made.

I have read the Goldman book, albeit a number of years ago now. I am pretty sure that the book ends with something like 'Presley was the biggest con-artist of all time... he couldn't even sing'. Can anyone confirm this? If my memory is correct about this then just about sums up the Goldman book.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:24 pm

LesterB wrote:Many apologies for not reading all the posts - just incase I am reiterating a point already made.


No worries.


LesterB wrote:I have read the Goldman book, albeit a number of years ago now. I am pretty sure that the book ends with something like 'Presley was the biggest con-artist of all time... he couldn't even sing'. Can anyone confirm this? If my memory is correct about this then just about sums up the Goldman book.


It's basically the thesis for the entire book.

Goldman, the authority, did indeed claim that Elvis could not sing. Take a gander at the outlandish, and amazingly ignorant quote Greil Marcus cites in his review, which I uploaded on page 1.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:35 pm

Many thanks for confirmation of this Doc. I am having some ipad problems with pictures on the posts but will endeavour to have a look later on the PC.

I seem to remember that the March 1970 Goldman review was also cited by Elvisly Yours mag some years ago but dated 1969??? I'm having a feeling of Déjà vu here - have we discussed this before.

Re: Albert Goldman --> The Evil That Men Do

Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:39 pm

LesterB wrote:Many thanks for confirmation of this Doc. I am having some ipad problems with pictures on the posts but will endeavour to have a look later on the PC.

I seem to remember that the March 1970 Goldman review was also cited by Elvisly Yours mag some years ago but dated 1969??? I'm having a feeling of Déjà vu here - have we discussed this before.


Confirmation? This only confirms that neither Doc or you have not really read the book. The biography does not end in such a claim!