Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

January 12, 2009

Jarvis Watch (4):The horror! He's a Billy Joel Fan!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 11:55 am

Yes, it’s true the self proclaimed prophet of the media future, Jeff Jarvis, reveals something so devastating about his judgement in a recent postattacking the judgement of someone ten times smarter than he will ever be, the Times’ David Carr. He, Jeff Jarvis when thinking to name a favorite piece of music that he wants to listen only to the original of, chooses Billy Joel’s Allentown!

I’m not making this up. Here’s how he puts it: “If I can’t get Allentwon the original, I’m not likely to settle for a cover.”

(Yes, and with so many brilliant covers to choose from.)

Yes, because it’s such a brilliant song, by such a brilliant artist, who could possibly approach such Jarvis-level genius? Or maybe there’s a hidden guilty message here: since it’s a song about unemployment which Jarvis revels in. when it happens to hardworking newspapermen and their families, since it “proves” his thesis that any idiot can do reporting for free. Do his students know they’re being taught by someone whose idea of musical greatness is Billy Joel? Doesn’t that alone forever disqualify him from making pronoucements about culture and “content”?

It certainly makes sense though in a way. The medicority in his thinking and his musical taste is consistent. And here is someone who wants to tell us about the future of “content”.!

it just me feel even more strongly about everything I said in this post about Jarvis as a media guru. Yeah Jeff, gotta have the original of Allentown! Nothing less will do for our age’s media guru. I’m already hearing things about his book What Would Google Do?. I can’t wait to review it. Objectively, of course,



  1. For a second I was terrified that you too were a Billy Joel fan. Of course I would then have to ignore everything you have said in the past about Dylan, Pogues, Boss etc. Not only that, but I would have to spend hours banging my head against the wall in an effort to free my mind of everything I’ve learned of Shakespeare through your work.
    Yes, I may be a music snob, but I have as much respect for the music of Billy Joel as I do Spears, Simpson, New Kids, ‘NSync etc. Yeah, don’t like the music or this Jarvis clown. It does say a lot about a person when Allentown is the song they can not do without. So he would think this is THE blue collar working song. Good Night Saigon I guess would have to be THE Vietnam Song and Scenes from an Italian Restaurant would be what love and relationships are about. Maybe Uptown Girl is the best class warfare song. Billy Joel sucks and he and Jarvis are about as subtle as an Enzyte commercial

    Comment by Bryan — January 13, 2009 @ 10:22 am | Reply

  2. This is getting ridiculous. Media industries are collapsing and you journalists are busy criticising each other’s taste in music?

    No wonder your profession is doomed.

    Comment by Evil Pundit — January 13, 2009 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  3. When I was an undergrad at Yale in the early 70s, Michael Bolton worked behind the counter at Cutler’s Record Store, telling everyone he was going to be a star crooner. What is it with these bad male singers? For the antidote, go to YouTube and watch Johnny Hartman sing “Lush Life” across the decades.

    Comment by charlie finch — January 13, 2009 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  4. Yes, Billy Joel sucks. No musical ability. It is fine to put down an artist but is it fine to do it without saying why? Lazy respsonse.

    Comment by Bob Smith — January 27, 2009 @ 12:04 am | Reply

  5. Mr. Rosenbaum,

    Your article in Slate drove me to this (similarly unsupported) review of Jeff Jarvis.

    I’m not a frequent Jeff Jarvis reader, but I know a little something about Billy Joel’s music (both as listener and performer).

    You appear to be under the impression that Billy Joel wrote all one hundred and eighteen of his (album-released) songs simultaneously, and all of them after becoming one of the most successful musicians/performers in American music history.

    This poor assumption leads you to declare the retelling of real life experiences (many of them autobiographical) as “phony.”

    Allentown, for instance, contains Billy Joel’s thoughts on post-war Levittown, which was filled with a similar kind of angst.

    My full response to your diatribe, including the history behind some of the songs you so wrongly criticize is here:

    Comment by Brian Greenberg — January 29, 2009 @ 8:44 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: