Heilbut, Anthony. The Fan Who Knew Too Much. New York: Alred A. Knopf, 2012.
The most valuable part of this book is Heilbut's confessional essay "The Fan Who Knew Too Much" (304-328) with its recognition that a fan is "someone who's discovered an endless storehoue of personal satisfaction" (304), the satisfaction derived primarily from the ability of the computer to "dissolve all the familiar hierarchies" (305). A reader, however, can defeat the dissolving power of a computer by remembering that hierarchies did and shall once again exist.
The least valuable feature of this book is its lack of endnotes and bibliography, the minimal requisites if entertaining gossip about Aretha Franklin, the queer culture of gospel music, the Jewish contribution to the genre of soap opera, and quaint Jewish self-hatreds are to secure credibility. We expect better of an author who possesses a Ph.D. from Harvard. Perhaps we have no right to expect better from a man who has spent considerable time in the company of the gospel children. It is sufficient that he has been slain by the Spirit and transformed from a scholar into a fan. God is good and just.
December 16, 2012