Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Worst Music Post Yet--The Blog is Now Officially in Crisis

I appear to be incapable of getting turned on by music that is actually great. Since I work in the health care industry and hear constant propaganda about the way that breakthroughs in genetic research and treatment are going to be able to change our fundamental beings within a matter of a few short years--and who needs his fundamental being changed more than I do?--I hold out hope that I will not have to live with this blinkered mind I have too much longer.

My wife hates this song, and yours probably will too. The Jack Jones version is better/more offensive but apparently no one has gotten around to posting a video of it.

I usually do a very good job of blocking the decade of the 70s out of my mind entirely, but for some reason this lodged itself in my head for several days last week; "Jimmy sits alone in the moonlight/saw his woman kiss another man/takes a ladder steals the stars from the sky/puts on Sinatra and starts to cry." This is not O.K. Nice video by the way, which does bring back the atmosphere of listening to music which prevailed among friendless losers in the LP era: prop up the album sleeve and alternate between staring at picture on the cover and watching the record spin around between bouts of crying for hours on end. This is how people lived back then.

I've decided that I like Ricky Nelson. In the end, the sound carries all before it. If any of my children ever decide to take up the guitar--not likely, since we unfortunately don't have much of a musical tradition in our family, and none at all on my side--I certainly hope they go more in the direction of the twangy, snappy, jangly, steel string sound rather than "the blues" which if I am out somewhere when the band starts playing them is a reliable signal to me that I can safely go home without missing any fun (not that I ever do of course), especially as I don't derive any enjoyment out of openly expressing my worship of musicians and unworthiness before them, which strikes me as a characteristic of blues-oriented concerts, intentionally or not. Back to Ricky Nelson--yes, the audience in "Lonesome Town" is a bit comatose, and it's hard to have street cred as a rocker when your parents are beaming proudly around their veneer coffee table at your song, but don't tell me you don't want to jump on those two girls on the sofa. They were there for Ricky, and they were enjoying themselves. I wouldn't trade the one on the left for forty Led Zeppelin groupies.

Speaking of guys who were just loved by the ladies, and always will be, Al B Sure! was The Man for about a month back in '84. I have to admit, it was never very clear to me why this should be the case. It's good to see that he has not been entirely forgotten.

I was reading some kind of "Generation X Turns 40" article the other day--naturally it was a comic piece, this age cohort being, apart from a few brilliant outliers, essentially a ridiculous group of people apparently--in which one of the top 5 causes of despair people (presumably the men) were having upon reaching this age was the realization they were never going to sleep with Winona Ryder. Not so fast, I thought. Now it is true, one's chance to sleep with the nubile incarnation of Winona Ryder is decidedly gone, but given her track record of lightning relationships and the circumstance that she has evidently has no interest in getting married, one cannot rule oneself out of the picture entirely yet. Writers, especially, if they can build up their cultural status, have a great track record of dating film actresses 30 years past their prime. Erich Maria Remarque got to be Paulette Goddard (one of my favorite's)'s fourth husband. I remember Philip Roth dating Mia Farrow, who never did much for me but seems to be irresistible to Jewish intellectual types of a certain age, when she was about 55 (when she was 20 she was going out with Frank Sinatra); given that many people consider him to be the greatest living American novelist, that fact that he has to get in line behind Woody Allen in the quest for babes gives you a hint as to how excited women are at the prospect of dating even world-famous authors. I suppose Arthur Miller, who seems to have something of a jerk in his personal relations such as is often appealing to women, married Marilyn Monroe when she was still fairly young, though after the great DiMaggio (who bailed quickly) and seems to have contributed mightily to driving her both insane and into the licentious arms of the Kennedys. But I am digressing.

I'm not sure when exactly Winona Ryder was identified as the quintessential Generation-X actress, but certainly by the time the mid-90s parody (it was supposed to be a parody, I assume) Reality Bites came out, she was the obvious choice to play the love interest. What a ridiculous movie it was! Her main attribute as a romantic lead other than that she is prettier than most people is that she seems earnest; like so many of her generation, she would like to be less mediocre, a little smarter and more educated (I read once that she had a collection of autographed first edition works of literature--no Paris Hilton she), a competent actress, have some understanding of what it would entail to be all these things, but she seems to lack the basic foundation of character, selfhood or whatever to build this upon. But this is where serious Art and Thought are concerned. In the world as portrayed by Reality Bites, she is the only argument (albeit a shaky one for the most part), against killing yourself put forth in the entire picture.

Winona is in any case no Teresa Wright (note: she isn't the singer, if you don't know her; she comes in at about 1 minute), though she is comparable to her, as both are strongly identified with a particular generation and epoch, in which lots of moviegoers looked at the star, or at least the types of characters the star tended to play, as a sort of dream girlfriend. Teresa Wright's is probably thought of more fondly by more people overall, but certainly everyone does not share the enthusiasm. Indeed, if I am to make good my New Year's resolution to really try to be more progessive and modern in my outlook on life, really feel where our society and the world needs to be going and become one with that viewpoint, my current infatuation with Teresa Wright, and the kinds of movies she makes, and the ideas she represents, are going to have to go. But she was just so adorable. Not to mention that she was probably a card-carrying FDR Democrat to her dying day, though that is just a hunch. She doesn't look like much of a Republican to me, though.

On a somewhat unrelated note, while I loved the film The Pride of the Yankees as a kind, and I am sure the tears would still flow at the speech when Lou Gehrig declares he considers himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth if I saw it today, the idea that he was the stammering idiot around woman that he is portrayed as being in this movie strikes me as rather implausible. The guy was a hulking athlete and national hero with legendary upper body strength--he is one of the very few sports figures of the 1920s and 30s who is considered to have the body and physical skill set approaching that of a modern professional athlete. I wonder if he was not actually gay (not actively of course, but by inclination), though I have never seen this brought up in mainstream baseball books, and I don't generally read a lot of gay-oriented media. He famously lived with his mother until he was almost thirty, and well into his baseball career, never showing much interest in women, then married a rather homely lady (she was no Teresa Wright herself), with whom he never had any children. He had attended college, which was fairly unusual at the time for baseball players, and was always depicted in the press as a gentleman and a sensitive fellow, again in an era when ballplayers were seen as, if not quite the barbarians they had been regarded as prior to World War I, generally rough and hard-living characters. I'm sure this has been picked up on before though.

I'm going to have to cut back on this stuff too

No comments: