Rocker Duncan Sheik answers back in print to Jonathan Franzen's skewering of his alleged watering down of Spring Awakening. (A spat I first covered here.) In a letter to the editor to NY Magazine--where Franzen, in an interview a few weeks ago, elaborated on the critique laid out in the preface to his new translation of the original Wedekind play--Sheik rails:
The dexterity [Franzen] displays in simultaneously riding our coattails and stabbing us in the back certainly proves him quite the limber ‘populist.’ Though his apparent conflation of Chloë Sevigny and Avril Lavigne drew a chuckle, it serves less as a critique of the musical than as evidence that, very much like all the adult characters in Spring Awakening, Mr. Franzen is hopelessly out of touch, mired in his own self-interest, and just doesn’t get it. His confusion about pop culture aside, I’m delighted it’s now a matter of public record that not only is Franzen a world-class curmudgeon, but he’s a baldly opportunistic one at that.
For the Avril/Chloe stuff, see Franzen's original NY Mag quotes--where any "stabbing" is pretty front-on, I'd say, not concealed.
All this "opportunism," "riding coattails" and "stabbing in the back"--I mean, it's not as if anyone needs Sheik and his colleagues' permission to translate a modern German classic, do they?
Franzen's response to the response?
It is Mr. Sheik’s and Mr. Sater’s production that is riding on the coattails of Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening. Whether the musical also stabs the play in the back is up to theatergoers to decide.
Let's see if it ends there.