Anyway, I'll be reading this book when it appears. Here's an excerpt from the interview.
Fact: Let’s turn now to your rehabilitation of 'rockism'. You situate the book as picking up the story where Rip it Up left off, but the attack on 'rockism' originated with post-punk. Is the reclaiming of 'rockism' an unlearning of post-punk orthodoxy, or can your take on rockism be seen as in some ways continuous with post-punk?
SR: A complicated area. Obviously, the idea of rockism as a bad thing, a blinkered mindset, was a really useful initiative when first mooted in post-punk days, and it carried on being salient and productive for some time after that. There are many aspects of rockism that remain worth attacking - privileging of the electric guitar; any approach that fixates on the song and sees rock as form of surrogate literature, the songwriter as story teller; limiting notions of authenticity, et al. I would agree with those who argue that rockism actually limits one’s understanding of rock music itself, of where its power lies. And those died-in-the-wool rockists still lurking out there who dismiss disco/rap/techno/etc aren’t “real” music are reactionary fools who deserve our scorn.
That said, the anti-rockist polemic that resurged this decade seems to have developed a kind of runaway momentum, a malign logic that some people followed through to absurd places. You started getting people arguing that singling out a figure like Timbaland as an auteur and an innovator, that is rockist. Or that if you allowed your sense of the artist’s personality - their intent and integrity - to interfere with your enjoyment of a record, that meant your mind was still shackled by rockist hang-ups. There seems to be a drive towards eliminating all axes of judgement beyond pure pleasure, the supposed purity of the consumer’s unmediated experience of the pop commodity. The distinction between “urgent” and “trivial” is obviously a no-no for these heroic anti-rockists, but you even get people seriously debating whether distinctions based on quality - good/bad - are rockist and should be jettisoned. The most recent test case figure for this lunatic fringe of anti-rockism is Paris Hilton. When you’re developing elaborate validating analyses of Paris Hilton, that ought to be a sign that you’re gone too far!