Greil Marcus is an erratic rock and roll and pop culture critic, a survivor of the early days of the counter culture who,through a combination of obsessed observation of the rapidly changing terrain of American life and outright careerism, has made himself into The Grey Presence of The Big Beat. I have always imagined him looking into the mirror trying to imagine himself as gnarly combination of Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche, thinking his duty is to rise the discussion of rock music and the other arts that follow in its wake from a mere cataloging of guitar riffs and hidden messages of baroque ,obscure lyrics to a concentrated hermeneutics aimed at clarifying the historical forces that inform the spirit, direction and sheer force of the new arts.
In his books "Lipstick Traces" and "Invisible Republic", Marcus has argued that the formerly divided parts of America, the separate strands of it's immigrant population, here by choice, persecution or brute force, were now merging over a long , arduous period, occurring less, he implies, as a decisions of individuals who would like a more interesting , varied, dynamic democracy in which to flourish and be creative, but as an inevitable consequence of processes engineered in the Heavens; History was going toward a long term destination, each period's style , innovations breakthroughs building upon the stale, innovations and breakthroughs of the period that came before it. You get the idea, I think. Marcus writes enthusiastically like a smart undergraduate who had done exceptionally well during a course sequence where freshman and sophomores were required to read and discuss the Great Books in comparatively short order who then sought to apply every basic concept he'd absorbed to every pop culture artifact that happened upon his radar.