Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Book Reviews

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2015), 9, (1), 113–120.


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Book Reviews George McKay, Shakin’ All Over: Popular Music and Disability. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-472-07209-5. 242 pp. $80; pbk 978-0-47205209-7, $37.50 Owen Barden Liverpool Hope University Book Reviews In pointing out opportunities to crip popular music, George McKay has written an accessible and illuminating book that will be of interest to disability and popular music scholars alike. There is of course a long history of academic critique of the music industry, stretching back at least to the Frankfurtian Marxist analyses of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in the 1930s, yet this book can claim to be the first monograph study of the intersection of popular music and disability. Somewhat like Michael Bérubé pointing out that disability is everywhere in film if you know where and how to look, McKay makes a case for disability being overlooked and almost hidden in plain sight in the popular music industry, even though “There are identifiable and powerful links between popular music and the damaged, imperfect, deviant, extraordinary body or voice, which can be, and surprisingly often is, a disabled body or voice” (1). After an introduction that carefully and explicitly locates the book within the field of disability studies with reference to a number of canonical writings, most prominently Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s Extraordinary Bodies, as well as work by Lennard Davis, Tobin Siebers, Sharon Snyder, and David Mitchell, McKay evinces a light touch with theory. He uses it deftly to illuminate possibilities for “cripping” pop music theory, without labouring points or over-abstracting the analysis. He provides a cultural, rather than musicological, account although there are brief passages of very close examination of how the semiotic modes of voice, music, lyrics, gesture, and movement combine to construct, perform, and also sometimes to conceal disability. In fact, McKay draws attention to a number of apparent paradoxes: the way the music industry both hides and flaunts disability, provides a simultaneously enabling and disabling site of cultural production, creates disability, and also campaigns on disability issues (including those it helps to create). In the introduction, McKay justifies studying popular music and disability together in part because “they were invented at the same time” (3), highlighting the way popular music became an industry as a consequence of the urbanisation and commodification of life engendered by the Industrial Revolution, Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 9.1 (2015) ISSN 1757-6458 (print) 1757-6466 (online) LUP, JLCDS 9_1.indd 113 © Liverpool University Press doi:10.3828/jlcds.2015.8 02/03/2015 10:13:08

Gallagher, Hugh Geoffrey. FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal it from the Public. Arlington, VA: Vandamere P, 1994. Print. FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal it from the Public Google Scholar

Long, Vicky. The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914-60. London: Palgrave, 2010. Print. The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914-60 Google Scholar

Schweik, Susan. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public. New York: New York UP, 2009. Print. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public Google Scholar

Gallagher, Hugh Geoffrey. FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal it from the Public. Arlington, VA: Vandamere P, 1994. Print. FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal it from the Public Google Scholar

Long, Vicky. The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914-60. London: Palgrave, 2010. Print. The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914-60 Google Scholar

Schweik, Susan. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public. New York: New York UP, 2009. Print. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public Google Scholar

Gallagher, Hugh Geoffrey. FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal it from the Public. Arlington, VA: Vandamere P, 1994. Print. FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal it from the Public Google Scholar

Long, Vicky. The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914-60. London: Palgrave, 2010. Print. The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914-60 Google Scholar

Schweik, Susan. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public. New York: New York UP, 2009. Print. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public Google Scholar

Gallagher, Hugh Geoffrey. FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal it from the Public. Arlington, VA: Vandamere P, 1994. Print. FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal it from the Public Google Scholar

Long, Vicky. The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914-60. London: Palgrave, 2010. Print. The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914-60 Google Scholar

Schweik, Susan. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public. New York: New York UP, 2009. Print. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public Google Scholar

Gallagher, Hugh Geoffrey. FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal it from the Public. Arlington, VA: Vandamere P, 1994. Print. FDR's Splendid Deception: The Moving Story of Roosevelt's Massive Disability—And the Intense Efforts to Conceal it from the Public Google Scholar

Long, Vicky. The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914-60. London: Palgrave, 2010. Print. The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914-60 Google Scholar

Schweik, Susan. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public. New York: New York UP, 2009. Print. The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public Google Scholar

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Author details

Barden, Owen

Tweed, Hannah