From the Correspondence, Love Letters & Advice section of Rolling Stone’s year end issue from December 15, 1988.
SAV-A-DISSERTATION '88: “Eastern to Mountain, third party call. The lines are down. The wise man built his words upon the rocks but I’m not bound to follow suit.” “A birdy and a hand for life’s rich demand. The insurgency began and you missed it.”
This is the year that could have delivered. This is the year that the humiliating blush of the state of America could have finally ground to its tepid demise, new-found jump start. This is the year that would have riots in the streets. This is the year that Mega-Advanced Imperious Techno-Machine would recoil and systems collapse under the strength of natural reclamation. This is a lot of big-word doo-doo. This is America, Clusterfuck, Media Colossus, 1988 style. This is the challenge, and mine is a small-to-tiny voice with a big thesaurus. Mine is the challenge that shows you the shape in the corners and it is yours to give them a color and meaning, a density and purpose. This is you, challenging yourself. I’m just the blast of weather that knocks you back a little and makes you see the equilibrium and balance. Not all weather need be harsh or extreme, or celebrated.
J. Michael Stipe, R.E.M.