That’s Some Meteor

The NY Times Book Review tagline for Steven Tyler’s bestselling book states that it covers the “meteoric rise, fall and rise” of Aerosmith.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

8 thoughts on “That’s Some Meteor”

  1. “Bread-like rising, getting punched down, and second rising” just doesn’t seem to capture the rock and roll lifestyle, I guess.

  2. Maybe it was similar to one of those Apollo re-entry failure scenarios: a skip off the upper atmosphere and a very long return orbit.


  3. > “Rockin’ Rollercoaster” would have
    > been a more apt metaphor.

    In all seriousness Aerosmith dominated the airwaves and the high school parking lots from 1975-1985, then later made at least two comebacks[1]. Neither meteor nor a roller-coaster are particularly good descriptions.


    [1] Probably because they spent all their money from their earlier success.

  4. The cliche “meteoric rise” is a curious one to begin with. From where do meteors rise? What metors (or meteorites) seem to do mainly is fall.

  5. Well, yeah, but the horse is out of the chicken coop on this one. This paradoxical usage, whether or not factually correct here, is well established. Thus defineth “resembling a meteor in transient brilliance, suddenness of appearance, swiftness, etc.: his meteoric rise in politics. “

  6. Pedant alert!

    Meteors neither rise nor fall. They’re not rocks, they’re flashes of light in the sky that trace the passage of the rock as it passes through the atmosphere. If the rock hits the ground, it’s a meteorite.

    Some rocks that eventually become meteorites here on Earth do indeed rise: they’re launched into space from the surface of the Moon or Mars by impacts.

    “Meteoric” is apt for describing a brief, intense flash. “Meteoritic” would mean something that fell to the ground.

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