Picks and Pans Review: Whatever It Is, I'm Against It

updated 10/08/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/08/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

edited by Nat Shapiro

The author accurately describes this entertaining volume as "a distillation of venom from the pens of great misanthropes throughout history and in our time." Gore Vidal said in 1973, "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little." Sir Thomas Beecham, the conductor, described the sound of a harpsichord as "Two skeletons copulating on a galvanized tin roof." Ronald Reagan is quoted: "A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah." William Faulkner is supposed to have said, "Henry James was one of the nicest old ladies I ever met." Benjamin Disraeli wrote, "Every woman should marry—and no man." Lin Yutang said, "Neckties strangle clear thinking." There's something diabolically pleasureful in reading about people letting off steam, whether it's with wit and ingenuity or just plain spleen. The author has edited a number of other books with popular music as their subject. (Simon and Schuster, $17.95; paper, $8.95)

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