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Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Squawker family member is not in an 'Empire State of Mind'

So much for rapper Jay-Z's boast that he made the Yankee hat "more famous than a Yankee can." My brother never heard of him!

He emailed me this morning after reading my squawk talking about how Bill Madden messed up his Jay-Z reference to the anthem "Empire State of Mind" in the new "Steinbrenner" book. "I have never heard this 'song' and didn't even know he wore a Yankee cap," my brother wrote me. When I called him to ask him to elaborate on this, he said he could name lots of Yankees - A-Rod, and Jeter, and CC, and even Javy! But he didn't know anything about this Jay-Z character. Therefore, how could Jay-Z have made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can? Now there's a question for the ages!

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My brother also sent me a link to Michael Shapiro's review of "Steinbrenner" for the New York Times. The article illustrates one of my pet peeves about book reviews - they too frequently illustrate the reviewer's biases, more than they tell people if the book is worth reading. In this case, the reviewer clearly despises Steinbrenner and everything he stands for, so the article is more about his hatred for George than anything else. Shapiro does write this blurbish comment, though:
Reading the book feels like the literary equivalent of passing a traffic accident; it is all but impossible to turn away.
That tired old cliche makes it into the New York Times? C'mon now.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

2 comments:

Uncle Mike said...

About Jay-Z: He is a rapper. If braggadocio were impossible, rappers would have little to say. (Then again, so would a lot of us.) This is in sharp contrast to country singers/bluesmen (different races, different names for essentially the same kind of music), who seem to take pride in how miserable things are for them.

I'm glad Jay-Z is a Yankee Fan, but I'm also not happy that he's been part of the cabal that killed my NBA team. (Whatever else the new Brooklyn version of the team becomes, if the move happens as is now a near-certainty, they will not be the New Jersey Nets.)

About your brother: In the early 1950s, my mother and grandparents lived on East 9th Street on the Lower East Side. Just around the corner from them, on Avenue B across from Tompkins Square Park, lived jazz legend Charlie Parker. When I found out about this, 50 years later, and told my mother, she had no idea who he was. I guess it was because Parker died in 1955, while his pal Dizzy Gillespie lived long enough to get on TV programs as varied as the Ed Sullivan and Muppet Shows. (They then moved to Newark and lived down the block from Frankie Valli, which, due to their age difference, she also didn't know until I told her.)

About Michael Shapiro: There's an author by that name who's written some books on baseball, but they have a National League (pro-Brooklyn Dodgers, pro-Mets, anti-Topping/Webb era Yankees) bias. He may just hate the Yankees and everything associated with them, Steinbrenner included. That's understandable, but it's also terribly unprofessional to not put it aside to review a book for The Paper Of Record.

Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

Making a Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can is a very arrogant statement. Before this song, had no idea who Jay-Z was.

Fed up with the song and now I like better "Empire State of Mind (Part II)" just by Alicia Keys.