Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century,

Griel Marcus, Author, Greil Marcus, Author Harvard University Press $40 (512p) ISBN 978-0-674-53580-0
Marcus ( Mystery Train ) believes that rock songs of groups like the Sex Pistols filter into mass consciousness and subtly influence everyday speech and thought. His underlying premise is that pop culture, like radical protest, is capable of altering history. He traces a common thread presumed to link the rebelliousness of punk rockers, medieval religious heretics, the Dada antics of Tristan Tzara and Hugo Ball, the films of the anarchist group Situationist International and the anti-bourgeois ravings and graffiti of the lettrist movement in post-war Paris. Marcus contrasts what he sees as the spurious pop revolt of Michael Jackson with Elvis Presley and the Beatles, ``who raised the possibility of living in a new way.'' This deliberately meandering tour of countercultural high and low roads is illustrated with rock posters and handbills, news clippings, photographs, protest art. In this version of history, Little Richard's glossolalia has direct ties to the pre-Christian Essenes. Rock critic Marcus is consistently entertaining even if he doesn't prove his thesis. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
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