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May 31, 2003

In the new issue of

Daniel Radosh

In the new issue of The Nation Gloria Emerson begins her review of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis by saying, "It has never been a habit of mine to read comic books." It's good of Emerson to admit this, but why on earth did The Nation then decide to run her review anyway? If a critic bragged, "It has never been a habit of mine to read novels" or "biographies" or "political theory," a sharp editor would say, Maybe the reader would be better served if the writer had at least some passing familiarity with what she was talking about. This decision would have spared us Emerson's monumentally ignorant second sentence, "But she is such a talented artist and her black-and-white drawings are so captivating, it seems wrong to call her memoir a comic book." Got that? Comic books are crude and inconsequential. This is not crude or inconsequential. Therefore, this is not a comic book. So how do The Nation's music critics feel about this rock and roll thing all the kids are into?

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