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Dan Neil

By DAVID CARR (NYT) 1138 words Published: April 8, 2004 To some in the critical community who encounter automobiles only when they take taxis, the awarding this week of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism to someone who writes about cars was enough to fog th

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 Dan Neil Biography

''If you write about cars, it is reportage,'' said John Simon, theater critic of New York magazine. ''It is not criticism, even though it postures as criticism. Cars are utilitarian things. You might as well be a critic of kitchen utensils.'' By winning the top prize for newspaper critics, Dan Neil of The Los Angeles Times -- who once found himself out of a newspaper job after writing a column about nonmarital relations in the back of a Ford truck -- earned $10,000 and the envy of all those who array discernment over theater, books, opera, films and a host of other fine arts. In serving as a vehicle for Mr. Neil's award, cars have extended their dominion over yet one more component of the cultural dialogue. The Pulitzer arbiters of critical excellence, normally preoccupied with those who define the merits of Off Broadway theater or building design, had suddenly legitimized the critical annotation of sheet metal on four wheels. In announcing the selection, the Pulitzer board lauded Mr. Neil's ''one-of-a-kind reviews of automobiles, blending technical expertise with offbeat humor and astute cultural criticism.'' The award was for a weekly column, ''Rumble Seat,'' that Mr. Neil began writing for The Los Angeles Times only last September, although he has been writing about cars for years. Donald H. Forst, editor in chief of The Village Voice and a member of the Pulitzer jury that reviewed the criticism submissions, found Mr. Neil's work not only outstanding, but also irresistible. ''Once his stuff is put in front of you, you couldn't help but laugh,'' he said. ''He made very good points about the cars, but the culture as well.'' Mr. Neil, 44, said he did not have an opinion on whether his award represented a moment of arrival for the automobile or an inflection point in the history of criticism. From where he sits, which is usually behind the windshield of whatever car he happens to be road testing, cars are a persistent and worthy obsession. ''Los Angeles is a society that has a lover's death grip with the car, and it becomes a thing that literally suffocates you,'' he said, referring to the smog that sometimes blankets the city. ''It really isn't even a good city to drive in, but people are willing to buy into cars as an object of prestige, a status symbol in the mechanical caste system. For them and others, cars are an object d'art. ''Criticism is about expectation and the fulfillment of expectation,'' he added. ''I write about what kind of expectations are created and whether something meets those expectations. That's the job of a critic.'' Mr. Neil writes, for example, of the banalities of an Acura sedan. ''The 2004 Acura TL will raise no one's blood lust, nor will it send anyone into an eye-lolling frenzy. The TL is Botox for the brain box.'' And he sighs at the glories of a 552-horsepower Bentley. ''At the drag strip, this regal and elegant, expressive and exclusive grand touring coupe eats Porsches like Emeril eats shrimp.'' With his gorgeous language and hilarious asides, Mr. Neil is a literary embodiment of Benjamin Franklin's maxim about moderation in all things, including moderation. ''I see myself primarily as an entertainer,'' Mr. Neil said. ''You can't tell anybody anything unless you get them to read. People have noted my rhetorical excesses, and I just see it as a way to keep people involved long enough to tell them what I want to tell them.'' Some critics, including some who have fought the battle to establish the seriousness of their own disciplines, greeted Mr. Neil's ascension into the front ranks of American critical writing as logical, if a little surprising. ''I have as little interest in cars as one can have and still live in this society,'' said Robert Christgau, who helped muscle rock writing into critical legitimacy four decades ago, mostly writing for The Village Voice. ''In principle, criticism is about cultural objects or phenomena, and I think cars qualify on both counts. There is a lot of great writing about architecture, and how different, really, are cars from buildings?'' Kim France, the editor in chief of Lucky -- a magazine that obsesses over many things, though not cars -- also found the Pulitzer board's choice refreshing. ''Cars are literally what connects the city of Los Angeles,'' said Ms. France, who spent significant parts of her career writing seriously about rock music and other cultural topics. ''I'm sure some people will clench their fists and decry the award as the end of our culture, but it seems like a completely reasonable choice to me.'' Speaking not for attribution -- one would not want to antagonize the arbiters of journalism's brass ring -- several critics noted that the Pulitzer board has demonstrated a historic bias toward the more physical expression of the arts. The very first Pulitzer in criticism went, in 1970, to Ada Louise Huxtable, the architecture critic of The New York Times. The runners-up in this year's competition wrote about architecture as well. The only previous criticism winner who did not write about the arts, television or architecture was David Shaw, the media critic of The Los Angeles Times. Adam Gopnik, a staff writer at The New Yorker, suggested that a critic's subject was less important than having a mastery of it. ''The worst thing in the world is to confuse values and categories,'' he said. ''If someone who is writing about cars embodies all of the values of good criticism, then it doesn't matter what category it falls into. We often find literary value in the strangest places, which is what makes reading interesting and exciting to begin with.'' As carmakers have used idiosyncratic design to drill into various niches -- think of everything from the Mini Cooper to the Hummer -- the task of teasing apart the intention and functionality of those efforts has taken on gravitas. ''Because people in New York don't drive, they have no idea that cars are a huge cultural phenomena,'' said Steve Spence, managing editor of Car and Driver. ''A car is the second-biggest purchase next to a house, and I think it's surprising that the Pulitzer's never looked before at critics of things automotive.'' Photos: Dan Neil, winner of a Pulitzer this week. (pg. E1); Dan Neil, left, celebrating his Pulitzer award at The Los Angeles Times with, among others, the paper's editor, John S. Carroll, right. (Photo by Associated Press)(pg. E6)

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  • HOW TO BOOK Dan Neil?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Dan Neil for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Dan Neil, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Dan Neil or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Dan Neil?

    Booking fees for Dan Neil, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Dan Neil, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Dan Neil?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Dan Neil for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Dan Neil for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Dan Neil or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Dan Neil or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

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Dan Neil

By DAVID CARR (NYT) 1138 words Published: April 8, 2004 To some in the critical community who encounter automobiles only when they take taxis, the awarding this week of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism to someone who writes about cars was enough to fog th

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Dan Neil Biography

''If you write about cars, it is reportage,'' said John Simon, theater critic of New York magazine. ''It is not criticism, even though it postures as criticism. Cars are utilitarian things. You might as well be a critic of kitchen utensils.'' By winning the top prize for newspaper critics, Dan Neil of The Los Angeles Times -- who once found himself out of a newspaper job after writing a column about nonmarital relations in the back of a Ford truck -- earned $10,000 and the envy of all those who array discernment over theater, books, opera, films and a host of other fine arts. In serving as a vehicle for Mr. Neil's award, cars have extended their dominion over yet one more component of the cultural dialogue. The Pulitzer arbiters of critical excellence, normally preoccupied with those who define the merits of Off Broadway theater or building design, had suddenly legitimized the critical annotation of sheet metal on four wheels. In announcing the selection, the Pulitzer board lauded Mr. Neil's ''one-of-a-kind reviews of automobiles, blending technical expertise with offbeat humor and astute cultural criticism.'' The award was for a weekly column, ''Rumble Seat,'' that Mr. Neil began writing for The Los Angeles Times only last September, although he has been writing about cars for years. Donald H. Forst, editor in chief of The Village Voice and a member of the Pulitzer jury that reviewed the criticism submissions, found Mr. Neil's work not only outstanding, but also irresistible. ''Once his stuff is put in front of you, you couldn't help but laugh,'' he said. ''He made very good points about the cars, but the culture as well.'' Mr. Neil, 44, said he did not have an opinion on whether his award represented a moment of arrival for the automobile or an inflection point in the history of criticism. From where he sits, which is usually behind the windshield of whatever car he happens to be road testing, cars are a persistent and worthy obsession. ''Los Angeles is a society that has a lover's death grip with the car, and it becomes a thing that literally suffocates you,'' he said, referring to the smog that sometimes blankets the city. ''It really isn't even a good city to drive in, but people are willing to buy into cars as an object of prestige, a status symbol in the mechanical caste system. For them and others, cars are an object d'art. ''Criticism is about expectation and the fulfillment of expectation,'' he added. ''I write about what kind of expectations are created and whether something meets those expectations. That's the job of a critic.'' Mr. Neil writes, for example, of the banalities of an Acura sedan. ''The 2004 Acura TL will raise no one's blood lust, nor will it send anyone into an eye-lolling frenzy. The TL is Botox for the brain box.'' And he sighs at the glories of a 552-horsepower Bentley. ''At the drag strip, this regal and elegant, expressive and exclusive grand touring coupe eats Porsches like Emeril eats shrimp.'' With his gorgeous language and hilarious asides, Mr. Neil is a literary embodiment of Benjamin Franklin's maxim about moderation in all things, including moderation. ''I see myself primarily as an entertainer,'' Mr. Neil said. ''You can't tell anybody anything unless you get them to read. People have noted my rhetorical excesses, and I just see it as a way to keep people involved long enough to tell them what I want to tell them.'' Some critics, including some who have fought the battle to establish the seriousness of their own disciplines, greeted Mr. Neil's ascension into the front ranks of American critical writing as logical, if a little surprising. ''I have as little interest in cars as one can have and still live in this society,'' said Robert Christgau, who helped muscle rock writing into critical legitimacy four decades ago, mostly writing for The Village Voice. ''In principle, criticism is about cultural objects or phenomena, and I think cars qualify on both counts. There is a lot of great writing about architecture, and how different, really, are cars from buildings?'' Kim France, the editor in chief of Lucky -- a magazine that obsesses over many things, though not cars -- also found the Pulitzer board's choice refreshing. ''Cars are literally what connects the city of Los Angeles,'' said Ms. France, who spent significant parts of her career writing seriously about rock music and other cultural topics. ''I'm sure some people will clench their fists and decry the award as the end of our culture, but it seems like a completely reasonable choice to me.'' Speaking not for attribution -- one would not want to antagonize the arbiters of journalism's brass ring -- several critics noted that the Pulitzer board has demonstrated a historic bias toward the more physical expression of the arts. The very first Pulitzer in criticism went, in 1970, to Ada Louise Huxtable, the architecture critic of The New York Times. The runners-up in this year's competition wrote about architecture as well. The only previous criticism winner who did not write about the arts, television or architecture was David Shaw, the media critic of The Los Angeles Times. Adam Gopnik, a staff writer at The New Yorker, suggested that a critic's subject was less important than having a mastery of it. ''The worst thing in the world is to confuse values and categories,'' he said. ''If someone who is writing about cars embodies all of the values of good criticism, then it doesn't matter what category it falls into. We often find literary value in the strangest places, which is what makes reading interesting and exciting to begin with.'' As carmakers have used idiosyncratic design to drill into various niches -- think of everything from the Mini Cooper to the Hummer -- the task of teasing apart the intention and functionality of those efforts has taken on gravitas. ''Because people in New York don't drive, they have no idea that cars are a huge cultural phenomena,'' said Steve Spence, managing editor of Car and Driver. ''A car is the second-biggest purchase next to a house, and I think it's surprising that the Pulitzer's never looked before at critics of things automotive.'' Photos: Dan Neil, winner of a Pulitzer this week. (pg. E1); Dan Neil, left, celebrating his Pulitzer award at The Los Angeles Times with, among others, the paper's editor, John S. Carroll, right. (Photo by Associated Press)(pg. E6)

FAQs on booking Dan Neil

  • How to book Dan Neil?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Dan Neil for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Dan Neil, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Dan Neil or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Dan Neil?

    Booking fees for Dan Neil, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Dan Neil, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Dan Neil?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Dan Neil for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Dan Neil for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Dan Neil or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Dan Neil or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Dan Neil is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Dan Neil for your event is available upon request. Dan Neil generally travels from and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Simon Lovell, Sebastian Faulks, Ashley Kahn, Stephen Fry and David Bornstein. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Dan Neil for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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