The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Long live Bowie’

Matt Boutilier | Monday, November 15, 2010

It is an incontrovertible truth that David Bowie is the greatest singer that the world has ever known and will ever know. It is also an objective fact that Brooks Smith has quite an abysmal taste of music.

In his recent article “David Bowie is Dumb,” (Nov. 11) our Mr. Smith commits the logical fallacy known as reductio ad Eno — that is, denigrating a beloved artist on the grounds of association with the musician Brian Eno. Bowie’s Berlin phase, during which he worked extensively with Eno, was anything but unprolific. During this phase Bowie churned out some of his greatest music. The album “Heroes” is innovative and catchy, and features Bowie at his most creative. His following “disco” phase, as Mr. Smith refers to it, is as edgy as anything Bowie has created and embodies the spirit of the ‘80s! Any fanbase shared by Bowie and Coldplay is an unfortunate coincidence!

The article groundlessly posits a false dichotomy of artistic self-promotion — indeed, a “pompous theatrical flair” — and profuse musical talent. Bowie’s eccentric styles and intelligently crafted characters throughout his career contribute to his greatness rather than mask any deficiency. (Nor is Bowie’s commendable acting career indicative of anything but genius!) Brooks Smith wishes he could wear platform shoes and a kimono to work. Fashion, one might say, only adds to fame.

Bowie’s intuitive feel for the strange and his penchant for shocking novelty have enabled him to continuously adapt his music to the times. He was not, as Mr. Smith alleges, merely associated with the glam rock fad of the early ‘70s. He founded it. The “Ziggy Stardust” album of 1972, in its own right and in tandem with its successor “Aladdin Sane,” constitutes the greatest musical achievement that the world has ever seen (or heard)!

Brooks Smith has no idea what he’s talking about! Long live Bowie!


Matt Boutilier


Duncan Hall

Nov. 11