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Sunday, May 02, 2010 

Tremendous destruction

PopMatters: I want to go back to a review you wrote with Lester Bangs about Moondance for Rolling Stone in 1970, and a phrase that stuck out to me: Van Morrison’s "authenticity of spirit." I always get a little suspicious of that kind of talk, but this book seems to elaborate better on that idea.

Greil Marcus: Well, that was Lester’s line. I remember very clearly how that review came about and who wrote what. And over the years, I’ve not just become dubious about the notion of authenticity, I’ve become really angry about it. It’s caused tremendous destruction with people believing that once they were authentic and now they’re not, that there’s some grail you find that’s going to bring back your true spirit, that it’s something objective you can hold in your hand, or that some people are born authentic because of their racial or cultural or class background, and that some people are born to be inauthentic because they’re just walking commodities. It’s not a useful idea, and so I always try to find different words when I’m drawn to the concept that lies behind the word.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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