"All fools have an itching to deride," wrote Alexander Pope in his "Essay on Criticism." Allan Bloom scratched that itch until it bled in his recent article "Is Rock Music Rotting Our Kids' Minds?" {Outlook, June 7}. I was enraged by his confused and reactionary essay -- only to find that my "rock addiction" should have left me incapable of such enthusiasm.

I am the target of Bloom's attack. He generalizes about America from his studies of first-year university students. I am a first-year university student. He asks us to pity the young man whose Walkman earphones are rotting the gray matter held in their debilitating grip. I read his article while listening to my Walkman. And, as a disc jockey, I am a part of the "rock business" to which he attributes "all the moral dignity of drug trafficking."

Force of reason erodes the foundation upon which Bloom builds his paranoid fantasy. Despite his academic background, he fails to examine historical trends. For centuries, each new generation of music has struck fear in the hearts of the traditional as both the cause and the harbinger of the new-found moral depravity of the age. First it was innovations in classical music that outraged the establishment. Then jazz came along, threatening with its sensual African beat and passionate blue notes to undermine the morals of society. The representatives of this new style, in the down-and-dirty clubs of New Orleans' red-light district, were no more immoral than the playboyish Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the courts of Vienna.

Musical entertainers have always given their audiences just a bit more than they were ready for. They are on the cutting edge, while we, the audience, lag behind, marveling without assimilating. History repeated itself when jazz and rhythm-and-blues fused to create Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. The nouveau establishment -- i.e. the jazz aficionados -- got all shook up as Elvis swung his pelvis to the throbbing beat. And now, baby boomers who grew up on the Ed Sullivan show decry the antics of hard rockers such as Ratt and sex symbols such as Madonna (who, ironically, emulated jazz-age goddess Marilyn Monroe), even as "classic rock" settles into respectability as "adult contemporary."

The lates wave of music will not destroy the young generation this time either. If the music is more widely heard today, as Bloom correctly asserts, it is not because it is a "nonstop, commercially prepackaged masturbational fantasy," but rather because of its availability and variety. Stereos are now good, cheap and portable as never before, and the term "rock" has expanded to include a plethora of fairly distinct genres of music, including new wave, punk, funk, classic rock, new rock, top 40 and, of course, "straight ahead rock 'n' roll."

In addition, Bloom doesn't know his music. He irresponsibly equates the darkest fringe of hard rock with mainstream (though passe') superstars such as Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger, commenting that "the essential character of musical entertainment is not changing." As Buddy Holly said, that'll be the day.

No, Bloom, rock music needed no "family spiritual void" to seep into my life. I love my family dearly, and they me. I learn from my parents about classical music and jazz, and they from me about rock 'n' roll. Don't forget that your pet demon, Mick Jagger, and his Rolling Stones, entertained two generations at their last concert here: parents and children together enjoyed the music that they had both grown up on.

I take my music without "the drugs with which it is allied." I neither listen to it at a volume that "makes conversation impossible," nor do I feel its "barbaric appeal" to my "sexual desire." And I pity you, professor, for the terror you must feel if you truly believe that rock music will dissolve "the beliefs and morals necessary for liberal society."

The writer is a student at Yale.