The Music Fan’s Walk-In Clinic

DIAGNOSIS: History is based upon winners and losers, and you think just because a pop idol has won that all-important popularity contest that they are therefore the best artist.

ILLNESS: Hero-worship … A commonly held belief in our culture tells us we all need heroes, but it’s not true.

SYMPTOMS: T-shirts bearing the hero’s image, often in the context of a date of birth and death, if applicable. Other signs include obsessive libraries of the same hit song, including Pat Boone’s cover of “Hey Ya!” (if that exists), tattoos reading “Only God Can Judge Me,” thin and pretty girls who think they’re fat and ugly and general imitation of ideology, fashion and behavior (hopefully not in the vein of Cobain’s suicide).

PRESCRIPTION: Sonic Youth’s Confusion is Sex/Kill Your Idols, doses best taken in solitude late in the night. The louder the better, so a trip somewhere in the car is advisable. Anagnorisis (recognition achieved by the tragic protagonist of a drama) is due after “(She’s in A) Bad Mood,” followed by cold sweating between “Freezer Burn/I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Kill Yr Idols.” Treatment should be immediately followed by Bowie’s “Heroes,” especially in cases of prolonged disillusion. If sweating continues, apply Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars followed by the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack or Outkast’s The Love Below, as preferred.

PROGNOSIS: Hero-worship is one thing and admiration is another. The Glam genre confronts heroes with a sense of celebratory humor, which should curb most lingering resentment after the Kill Your Idols disinfectant. All break-ups take time to heal, so tread lightly on your next album; let it speak rather than preach to you.