Kidding on the Quad

academia2

It was just over twenty years ago that the physicist Alan Sokal pulled off his famous hoax—writing a mock paper on how the physical universe is just a social construct and sending it to Social Text, a hipster academic journal. Social Text, of course, published the absurd thing.

The One Book Music Lovers Have to Read

The Beatles play a concert in Seattle in 1964 / AP

As a teenager, David Hajdu owned a large collection of “nearly unplayable” 45s that his mother acquired for him from the jukebox at the diner where she was a waitress. One of his favorites was Tommy James and the Shonells’ “Hanky Panky,” which he “treasured as the filthiest thing I had ever encountered.” Working as a music journalist three decades later, he had the chance to interview Romano Mussolini, the jazz pianist and son of Benito, who, he said, “had a standing order for Blackshirt troops to confiscate any 78 rpm records that they found in enemy encampments.” Il Duce “didn’t care for” the American swing music his troops were pilfering on his son’s behalf, but he was happy to pass the records along because “he knew they would give me happiness.”