"[Ellen] Willis’s partisans aver that she got out [of rock criticism] while the getting was good, while [Paul] Nelson’s mourn the loss of his genius. I believe the opposite. Nelson was right to get out. Rock’s hero quest has been a dead end since circa 1980 — there’s Springsteen, that’s one, and then there’s, well, Bono, who it’s impossible to imagine Nelson taking seriously for a host of reasons good and bad. But I think Willis would have been better off staying. She was a powerful thinker, and though she never wrote enough she almost always wrote well when she did. But as someone who spent 15 years extricating himself from her politics and is so glad he did, I say continued attention to her beat would have changed those politics for the better, sensitizing her to mass pleasures, countercultural anxieties, class antagonisms, and racial contradictions she lost touch with. Mere attention wouldn’t have done it, though — she would have had to enjoy it. And it’s my guess that for writers as gifted as Willis and Nelson never to have found language to describe music means that in the end they didn’t enjoy music for all it’s worth. When Ellen and I were feeling our way through the music of the ’60s, we scoffed at such notions. But we were wrong."
— Robert Christgau, in his article “Pioneer Days,” just published online at the Barnes & Noble Reader. This leaves me completely breathless. He’s not my favorite writer for nothing.