Friday, November 18, 2022

The Lost Age of Hype

Sam Cohn
Are you familiar with the personality type who’s always running for office? They live in a world hyperbole in which everything is a superlative. You never really know truth from afflatus. During the age of Leiber and Stoller, the Brill Building on Broadway was loaded with “producers” who would pipe forth. Even Phil Spector, who later was convicted of murder, might have exhibited this kind of bravado at the start, but how to separate the wheat from the chaff. One of the selling points of a commercial product, particularly a creative one, is that it’s the best and that behind its humble creator is a million dollar deal. Back in the 70s when Howard Cosell regularly sported his toupee on Sixth Avenue, everything was show biz. The CBS Building at 51 west 52nd Street, still known as Black Rock today, was full of sirens both from passing police cars and fire engines and also the kind Odysseus faced. There was something comforting about the age of hype where everything was ICM or CAA and a legendary agent named Sam Cohn purportedly chewed up contracts. Then you felt free to refer to Mario Puzo as your "dear friend" even if you only met him once at book release party on the Upper West Side. Now artists and inventors live in an age of “disenchantment” to use the word Max Weber coined for the triumph of the material over the transcendent. TV shows are the product of focus groups and movies are dreamt up by committees who envisage the marketing campaign before they even have a finished piece of work .

read "The Cosmists" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "If I Could Build My Whole World Around You" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

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