John Grooms: The Will Moredock of Charlotte

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Yea, I'm sure John would prefer to think of me as the John Grooms of Charleston, but I'm writing this damned blog, so the headline stands.

Whatever he is, John is the left wing wise guy who calls out the conservative frauds and hypocrites in Creative Loafing, Charlotte's alternative newsweekly, which is published in the form and spirit of Charleston City Paper.

John has recently published an excellent collection of his finest columns under the title Deliver Us from Weasels, (I love that title) from Main Street Rag Publishing Company.

Along with several dozen of his weekly columns on politics and culture, Weasels contains several of ohn's autobiographical essays and feature stories that have appeared in Creative Loafing over the years. And there are also music reviews and cultural essays. Here are some excerpts from "The Ghost Has Left the Building -- Elvis' Legacy of Change and Rebellion Is Lost in the Commercial Glut," published in August 2003.


The original Elvis Presley has left the building. In this year of his 25th Deathiversary, with an avalanche of commercial "product" being peddled to cash in on, er, commemorate his legacy, you'll be hard-pressed to find a trace of the light-brown haired, still-pimply, half-scared-to-death 18-year-old Memphis weirdo who screwed up his courage enough to walk into Sun Studios to make a record for his mama....

Elvis' life is now generally summed up in the media by three main images — a) Fat Elvis the druggie; b) trim, Vegas karate chop Elvis; and c) Silly Movie Star Elvis. So who's missing? That would be the young Elvis, the important Elvis, the turned-the-world-upside-down Elvis, now largely drowned in a latter day jumpsuits, odd personal quirks, and inconceivable pill habits....

Some very learned, talented people have written about what Elvis means to our culture, what lessons are to be learned from his career, how he was a metaphor for the potential and the traps in the American system.

But what's really lost in the shuffle is how gutsy that kid was — the kind of guts that's often the property of the nderclass — growing up poor, living in public housing, with really nothing to lose anyway, so why not play a little white man's version of rhythm & blues? Nobody had really cared about anything he had ever done before anyway; why should it be any different this time? Of course, this time he was so good at what he was doing, things turned out to be very different.

This is 239 pages of stellar writing about some of the most important events and interesting people of our time. Go online and invest $14.95 in good writing and progressive journalism at http://www.mainstreetrag.com/store/NewReleases.php.

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