Music critic Ben Ratliff put together a piece on a couple of Beach Boys-related tomes for the New York Review of Books, and one of his observations caught a few eyes:
But time and social change have been rough on the Beach Boys. Their best-known hits (say, “California Girls,” “Help Me, Rhonda,” “I Get Around”) are poems of unenlightened straight-male privilege, white privilege, beach privilege. It is hard to imagine that they helped anyone toward self-determination or achieving their social rights.
"Beach privilege"? That's a new one.
Reacting to Ratliff's take in National Review, Katherine Timpf has this to say:
Okay. First of all, what the hell is “beach privilege”? Seriously, on what planet could that be a thing? Definitely not on this one, because here, pretty much everyone — regardless of class or social status — has been to a beach or at least had the opportunity to go to one. I’m sure there might be some exceptions to this, but to say that hanging out on a beach makes you some sort of fancy blueblood is perhaps one of the most absurdly incorrect things I’ve ever heard.
Ratliff doesn't appear to unpack his straight-white-male-beach-privilege assertions in his review. And given they're ensconced in the realm of literary criticism, he's not exactly obligated to do so.
But it should be pointed out that the Wilson brothers by all accounts grew up under habitual abuse, both physically and mentally — particularly at the hands of their father, Murry.
Oldest brother Brian Wilson — the group's leader, songwriter and composer — caught a wide swath of it. “I had a good childhood," he once said, "except for my dad beating me up all the time.”
The elder Wilson's heavy handedness reportedly continued even after his sons became world-famous young adults. Finally, he was stood up to sufficiently to be dismissed as the group's manager.
Therefore one might argue that aspects of such "privilege" — even attached to a sunny southern California beach — are things everyone can do without.
(H/T: Truth Revolt)