Saturday, July 25, 2009

NOW DON'T YOU START ME TALKIN'!

Yes, I try to be calm, I try to control myself and act like nothing's happened, but I can't help it. My anger is strong, it grows and it will never subside until the cause of my turmoil is vanquished for all time of which there is a fat chance that will happen but I can dream, can't I? One time I felt so helpless, like what could I do, me bein' just another peasant in the dogpound of life but with the advance of technology (most notably the printing press, later on the internet) let's just say that the score has been evening up, even if only a tad but we're gettin' to the point where we all will be seeing eye-to-eye in the hopefully near future.

What got me (and this particular part of this post) goin' just happens to be this exchange I saw via TAKI'S TOP DRAWER a few days ago that was taken from an MSNBC "debate" for wont of a better term (it was more or less like a verbal knock-down/drag-out) between host Rachel Maddow and Pat Buchanan regarding current Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sodemayor. It's not that I usually watch MSNBC, but the concept of a discussion or whatever you'd wanna call it between Maddow (hey guys, you may think she is hot looking but don't ask her for a date because she's a shrub scout!) and the mostly right/sometimes wrong Buchanan was a bit tempting to say, or at least it is for political masochists like myself. Unfortunately the kerfuffle seemed to boil down to Maddow thinking that Sodemayor would be great for the court because she's Hispanic thus breaking down that good ol' boy barrier that's been up for quite some time (y'know, the one that gave us all of those stodgy WASP neanderthals who juristicted in favor of a wide array of social planner programs and laws that eventually putsched Maddow's ideology to the forefront of Amerigan gulcher) while Buchanan seemed to argue that Sodemayor just ain't a qualified chick as if a lotta the nominees from his side of the aisle necessarily were, but that ain't the point of this particular "edi-too-REAL". What is is Maddow's attempt at getting in the last word in typical above-it-all "I know the true meaning of life" progressive smugness by tossing what I assume was to have been an "insulting" parting shot to Pat, mainly admonishing him by telling the noted commentator "you're living in the fifties" as if this was the unkindest cut she could think of in the heat of such a hot-button subject.

That ain't the first time that phrase has been used as a derougatory shot at an unevolved member of the species oh so out-of-touch with that go-with-the-flow snazzy chattering class mentality that's been shoved down all of our throats for the past umpteen decades or so. Take the time when NYC Cardinal John O'Connor died and an obit in some gay newspaper celebrated his passing by (guess!) saying that the man was stuck in the fifties because of his particular anti-gay liberation views (as if the guy was a bulwark of right wing activism, but when you crusade against the holy liberal cornerstones of abortion and gay rights you're a thug no matter what else you may believe!). And really, I hate to bring this up again, but a good five years back when there was this certain blogpost on a site dedicated to children's music, a particular barb directed at yours truly derided me for liking the fifties because that was a time when blacks, women, gays and left-handed herniated Hopi Indians for all I know were "repressed" by people like me (assuming he meant second/third generation Americans who were certainlly being derided for their ethnicity by the same "protectors" I assume this commentator derives his own Euro background from). Leaving the whys and whatfores of this guy's own genetic makeup out of the picture let us concentrate on the main gist of what people like Maddow, the gay obit man and our long-forgotten bunsnitch are saying...that the fifties were some sort of dark ages evil period in life where "oppressed peoples" were struggling and kept under the thumbs of those oft-loathed "good ol' boys", all of these huddled masses just waiting for 1960 to roll around so we could all live in peace and throw frisbees in the park without being hassled by "the man". Or something like that. Most likely "nothing". Looking at history through pink rear-view glasses has always been a problem for the more blessed amongst us.

Gee, them "evil" fifties. As far as general entertainment and all-around fun times go, I couldn't think of a better place to be stuck in. OK, if you were poor or some sorta anti-social schmuck pervert I can see you hating them, but why punish the achievers and the adventurous and the better aspects of this thing we call humanity for wanting to revel in an era which gave us all of those great things from sleek automobiles to great television programs and wowzer movies anyway? These anti-fifties people just seem like the usual sore thumbs and ugly girls who were jealous of all of the well-doers and adventurous in life, and wanted to punish them for being so clean and intelligent and fun-loving when we all should have been wallowing in some pigsty mewling to each other in a little too politically-correct form of self-pity.

Now don't get me wrong, I was and remain out of the loop of genetically and mentally functional denizens of this world but that doesn't mean I still can't appreciate the finer things that Ameriga at its best gave us, like chintzy rock & roll groups, drive-in restaurants, fuzzy UHF television stations you couldn't tune in in a million years and comic books that fall apart in your hands whild you're reading them. And yeah, the fifties either gave or promulgated all of these wonderful things and much more, which is why when I hear people like Maddow and that anon. poster not to mention a whole generation of pampered puerile namby-pambies put down the fifties I wanna nadram 'em all in a way that would even give Mickey Spillane the shudders!

Let's face it, the fifties were perhaps the greatest period within the past few milleniums to be alive, and I don't mean fifties in some stupid HAPPY DAYS revision way in which you had to do more than a little squinting to make it seem semi-real, but the fifties in that boss fashion where America was coming outta World War II prosperous and rarin' for action and kids had loads of fun things to do and best of all there seemed to be this great bond between parents and kids and some sort of community between neighbors and when you tuned into the boob tube after a good day of work and lawn care you didn't have to worry about your beliefs and credo being slammed incessantly by the likes of Maddow not forgetting a load of "comedians" who haven't produced a laugh in years. At least back then we knew right (life and energy) from wrong (International Communism and those who couldn't tell it from shinola) before decades of blurred moral vision seemed to make everyone as muddled as a typical MR A crowd scene!

First let's talk tee-vee! Back then it was really fantastic stuff, that is if you could drag in one of those fuzzy low-budget UHF stations that now run nothing but infomercials and cheapo "network" news. Back then they were airing all sorts of fun and rare programming that you now have to dish out the dinero for via some internet DVD company. Of course even the regular stations were really on-target with all of that hot network programming that intellectuals seem to begrudgingly admit to liking these days. Face it, whether it be old movies, local kiddie shows or even the CBS network feed tee-vee couldn't be beat in the fifties because even with its share of dull PLAYHOUSE 90 quality shows there were five OZZIE AND HARRIETs making up for it!

(Oh yeah, and I remember some crybaby liberal in the papers once complaining about the lack of blacks and Jews on fifties television as if they were somehow invisible and verboten to the vast majority of whitebread Ameriga. I guess whoever this horse-blindered person was she wasn't aware of AMOS 'N ANDY, BEULAH, Molly Goldberg or Doberman from SGT. BILKO. Of course that would've ruined her entire hissyfit rant, but let's not let facts get in the way of a good thrashing of all that is right and just.)

Lessee what else was boss about the fifties? How about politics? I mean, back then people knew right from wrong, and you couldn't get wronger than the communists. Sheesh, there was a time when even upper-class democrats like Bobby Kennedy were working with Joe McCarthy because they too knew that once the communists would get in their source for Chivas Regal would dry up, and thankfully when the big communist putsch was in full gear Amerigans weren't clouded by shades of grey in every moral situation to come upon them or else we'd all be speaking New Yorkese!

Of course some people will bring up the race situation in the fifties. You know, that time when President Eisenhower sent in troops to calm down the upheaval in Little Rock and all that. Never mind that Eisenhower didn't particularly care for black people and thought them inferior to whites, but it wasn't like he was just sitting around acting as if these people did not exist. Of course all of the turmoil in the South at the time was cause for indignation amongst Northern elites who were so aghast at the racism beneath the Mason/Dixon line, until riots broke out in such decidedly Northern cities as Detroit in the sixties at which point they all seemed to clam up at least for a few minutes. And true, many blacks, like many whites, weren't exactly having the best go at it, but at least the families were stable and the illegitimacy rate wasn't skyrocketing through the roof and crime wasn't as rampant. I'm sure someone will be able to spin all of this in some sort of negative light, and if so feel free to do so. Just not on my blog!

What else...how about automobiles although my favorite period has to be roughly 1959-1963 which was an era that was still running on fifties gas fumes anyway. There were some beauties coming out of the body design firms of Italy throughout the fifties as anyone who has laid eyes upon a Chrysler Ghia could tell you. How about food? Yeah, all that great tasting and unhealthy stuff you'd find in fry joints, not to mention the all-new wonders appearing on the shelves of supermarkets nationwide you just don't see anymore! And if you were a kid, man life was made for you! I mean, look at all the hot toys there were, plus there were better choices for you tee-vee-wise than there are even today, and with a maximum of only a handfulla stations to choose from! And really, if I were a kid I'd rather come home from school to THE ROCKY SHOW than I would Oprah!

But most of all, how about the music? Lotsa hot stuff going on in the fifties music-wise and most of it led to the big noise upheaval we call the sixties, but not the sixties of love and flowers and the American Dream including Indians too. Talking stuff like the hot, early avant garde jazz of Ornette etc., not to mention all of those great hard blues records that were creeping out at the dawn of the decade as well. Of course there was also good ol' rockabilly and yeah, even the early roots of all of that garage band punk rock you like was birthed in them evil fifties as any listen to Link Wray, the Rock-A-Teens or a slew of BACK FROM THE GRAVE unknowns will lead you to believe. And what about the big guns of fifties music like Elvis, Chuck, Bo, Buddy, Ricky, Screamin' Jay and a few dozen other winners? I'll take any of 'em next to your introspective sixties/seventies folkies and boring hippie groups that, contrary to logic, never did fizzle out like they shoulda.

So what else can I say other than I sure hope that all of those commentators bemoaning how the sworn enemies of heavily modulated progress are "living in the fifties" will change their cliched tune about those great times. Or at least they were times I sure wish I coulda lived through and enjoyed even if kismet would've probably stuck me in the middle of a dirt poor family who couldn't even afford a cardboard box to live in! But even then, why should I begrudge the middle-class tee-vee watching, record-spinning and Dinky Toy-playing kid his right to engage in some hot fun and exist in a crime-free, hot suburban environment ranch house existence anyway? I know it might not be as exciting to the Maddows and anti-BTC commentators of the world as feminist workshops and college Marxist studies, but in the long run it sure benefits the human race a whole lot more, if you know what I mean. (Really, I shouldn't let these Daughters of Belitas types get the best of me!) And if ya gotta complain about anything how about the sixties, with all of those smelly hippies and mudfests and pampered college kid riots and lousy television (at least on the net level '67 on) and whining feminist bitches (wait, that was 1970!)...sheesh, if it weren't for the Velvet Underground and Stooges I don't think I'd want to live through those years at all!

***
Yes, I'm still rarin' to write about some more of the big batch of booty I have received o'er the past week or so even after that soapboxing screed of mine, so midoudt further ado here are a few items of worth that you probably wouldn't care to know about anyway, but I find 'em keen nonetheless...
***
CHRISTIAN VANDER ET LES TROIS JEFFS CD-R (Palm)

Another one from the Shute burn file, a rarity of rarities featuring the noted Magma leader doing the Coltrane thing with three French guys named Jeff, they being Jeff Saeffer, Jef (no sic) Catoire and Jef (ditto) Gilson. Albums like these were only spoken about in hushed tones back in the early-eighties, now they're readily available which I guess would get a few people who dished out the moolah for these back then a little more'n upset. If you're as game for the sixties-styled free splat you certainly will enjoy this even with the white European flavor. Vander's drum solo closing this disque out is a marvel to behold even if you don't particularly care for such clang and burn.
***
Andrea Centazzo-ICTUS CD-R (Ictus)

This is my first go 'round with this Italian percussionist, and from what I understand this '74 album was Centazzo's first go 'round as a leader to boot! That said, I didn't quite go for this particular session which sounded rather staid in a Euro sense and at times bordered on what I would call Italian-styled prog rock with a few fusion moves tossed in to make it copasetic with the jazz community. Not exactly my cup of dago red, though to be all nice and fair about it some of it does tune into my blinkered sense of what is barely engrossing soundscapading.
***
THE MARZETTE WATTS ENSEMBLE CD-R (Savoy)

I'm sure that every BLOG TO COMM reader worth his weight in unsold back issues already has Watts' ESP-disk album in his possession (and loves and cherishes it as well!), but I'm equally positive that very few of these same readers have a copy of Watts' second album on Savoy in any configuration. A surprising rarity considering how Savoy wasn't exactly an under-the-covers label, but I'm sure a little searching will lead you to the rapidshare link of your choice in order to obtain this great late-sixties free sesh. Good in that subdued, unfettered style with Watts and a good backup (including such big names as Juney Booth, Bobby Few and Steve Tintweiss) playing two Ornette Colemans, one Bill Dixon and three originals with Patty Waters making her (almost two decade) swan song from recording with up-and-comer Amy Sheffer attempting to take up the torch, and doing an admirably well job at it as well.
***
HAWKWIND CD (EMI England)

Here's the debut spinner from everyone's favorite space-age raves Hawkwind, a group that in retrospect seem too good to have come out with even two albums but stranger things have happened. Y'know, I can't see how people could lump these guys in with the Moody Blues, Yes and the rest of the aerie-faerie flitter brigades. They were always more high energy knock-down-drag-out rock as most of their albums would attest to, including this one which ranges from post-psychedelic frazzle to hard-edged Deviants drone. Surprisingly subdued especially when compared to the group's recorded output released during they heyday, though I did catch a nice theme that would be reworked with Robert Calvert lyrics for "Spirit of the Age" off QUARK, STRANGENESS AND CHARM a good seven or so years later.
***
The Golden Dawn-POWER PLANT CD (Charly, UK)

Not having this International Artists album in my possession I was a tad curious about exactly how these Thirteenth Floor Elevators-influenced Texan teenage rockers would hold up on this, their sole album. Well, although the results weren't exactly knock-me-down I will admit that the Golden Dawn were a pretty good psychedelic band playing in the same sorta strata as Roky and company with maybe a bit less lysergia in the mix. Sounds fun enough in a lower dosage way even if it ain't anything the Texas Rangers woulda wanted to bust 'em over. What's really boffo about this particular reissue is that it comes in a package that looks like a hard-covered book complete with an insert history/interview just chock fulla rare pictures and the like! Really nice even if the only place you can store it is on the kiddie bookshelf next to your prized editions of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and PINOCCHIO.
***
Of course there's more, but you'll have to wait to read all about it. I mean I gotta have something to write about next week, eh???

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Besides THE GOLDBERGS and Doberman, you forgot to mention that two of the most prominent names on American '50s TV were Jews: Milton Berle and Sid Caesar.

Also, if we're talking obviously ethnic whites on '50s TV sitcoms, forgetting about MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY and LIFE WITH LUIGI?

AMOS 'N' ANDY is still controversial but mainly because it's little seen these days. There are African-Americans who greatly defend it to this day, especially those who came from acting families, and its influence on later black sitcoms is very clear. If it was shown more there probably would be less of a hubbub about it.

And one didn't have to live in a ranch house (ranch houses didn't exist pre-WW2 outside of San Diego so obviously most people in the '50s who weren't living in new or relatively new housing didn't live in them) to find growing up in the '50s wonderful - Pete Hamill's autobiography A DRINKING LIFE makes growing up in NYC during that period seem BTC-worthy (whatever you might think of Hamill's subsequent views) and there are two books called MANHATTAN and BROOKLYN (both by the author, but they're interviews with people who grew up in '50s NYC) that paint a pretty idyllic picture of New York before the Lindsay-era acceleration of the city's problems.

Anonymous said...

Boo-hoo. Whinge whinge whinge. Get over it, cry-baby.

Christopher said...

Whinge?

Anonymous said...

obama and sonia are gonna cut your nuts off, white boy.

Christopher said...

From the intelligence of your comment, I guess they already did a number on you!

Anonymous said...

Please! What kind of jazz did Obama listen to while he pondered re-signing the Patriot act, escalating the Afghan war and it's common civilian casualties, trying to expand the death penalty in Illinois, bailing out corporations while printing less and less useful money? Nothing as rad as what is posted here, bootlickers! Peace, PhilthyRex

Anonymous said...

"Oh yeah, and I remember some crybaby liberal in the papers once complaining about the lack of blacks and Jews on fifties television as if they were somehow invisible and verboten to the vast majority of whitebread Ameriga. I guess whoever this horse-blindered person was she wasn't aware of AMOS 'N ANDY, BEULAH, Molly Goldberg or Doberman from SGT. BILKO";you are so funny Chris, your humour is certainly cutting edge.

Good for you,

Peter

Christopher said...

Uh Peter, care to explain yourself to me and those regular BLOG TO COMM readers who tend to agree with my opines regarding fifties television? All you did was make a comment about me being funny and "sashayed" off without telling me exactly what it is that I said in the above quote that was cause for the jollies on your part, and why it was so "cutting edge" as you put it.

I dunno how much fifties television you have watched, but I assume it is very little which doesn't surprise me considering how few pre-196X shows are being aired today. But really, there are more examples of blacks and Jews (as well as other non WASP entities) on television than I have given in the above defense. I recall an episode of the early-mid-fifties series RACKET SQUAD which featured a black woman as a whistleblower on a crooked day care racket, while in an early-sixties vintage HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL (also featuring Robert Blake and William Talman during his suspension from PERRY MASON) there was a black character with a particularly large role in a tension-packed drama featuring Blake as a running amok bad guy that this black actor and Talman are protecting unaware of his true identity. Maybe he does ham his role up a bit (the part where he sees Paladin taking Blake away and utters how he hates seeing a man in chains was perhaps way too overwrought), but for the time and place it probably was a bit more daring than having him play a butler!

More tee-vee blacks, how about the one in Sgt. Bilko's platoon who later on mugged Phil Silvers and said that ol' Silvers was fine, but the rest of the cast were pigs! And for Jews, who could forget Judy Hennsler, that irritating classmate of Beaver's who gave him so much grief???? OK, maybe that one wasn't so positive after all!

Anonymous said...

Chris,
I could not make it, alas, but last year the GOLDEN DAWN re-formed for an Austin gig where they played the complete "Power Plant" album in order live ! A shame it got very little publicity at the time...maybe someone recorded it and it's on the internet somewhere?

BILL S.

Anonymous said...

you ain't fit to lick obama's shoes, white boy.

Christopher said...

I had a really good putdown for you worthy of a classic NATIONAL LAMPOON or John Morton at his most scabrous, but I really do not want to misrepresent myself. But as far as licking goes, obviously nobody can beat a champ like you!

Anonymous said...

Like this troll isn't white! I hope I'm not fit to lick anyone's shoes! Speaking as a registered Democrat (but not a partisan flack), besides him passing the pro-abortion litmus test, what do you like about him? He has stated he is against homosexual marriage, so what is left for you to like? His personality? I thought serious progressives wouldn't stoop to such trivial quantifiers. He's the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with right? Right? Yeah, right. Pax, PhilthyRex

Anonymous said...

Chris: Was the black actor on that episode of Have Gun Will Travel you're referring to Bill Marshall? Marshall coming from a Shakespearean background did have a tendency to ham it up, which was used well in BLACULA. He was a regular on '50s/'60s TV and even starred in a short lived TV show in the '50s, HARLEM DETECTIVE. Those who think of '50s TV as "WASP only" - despite the examples you, I, and others have cited - haven't seen much of it. Claiming there were no Jews on '50s TV is ridiculous - they'd have to selectively ignore most of the comedians...

Christopher said...

The actor in question is Hari Rhodes, whose television career I believe was pretty limited limited since the only reference to any other roles I can find of his was DAKTARI. And I don't mean Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion either!

Christopher said...

I don't know how the extra "limited" got in there. Please take it out for me!

Anonymous said...

Harry Rhodes/Hari Rhodes (he used both spellings during his career) worked mostly in TV from the late '50s to the early '90s. Besides "Daktari" he also was in "The Bold Ones" although he's probably best known for "Roots" and one of the Planet of the Apes movies. He did guest appearances on just about every show on the air in the '60s,'70s, and early '80s, often playing cops, military officers, or other authority figures. IMO his best guest role was playing an astronaut on The Outer Limits who encountered alien life- quite a few years before there actually were black astronauts!

Christopher said...

Was that OUTER LIMITS episode the one with James Shigeta and Martin Sheen by any chance? I was working my way through the first season of that show until my box set got misplaced somewhere...

C Rhodes said...

I am soo happy that Ive found so much info and blogging,etc on my dad. I miss him so much, he was the man! Thank Everyone for keeping his memory alive!

Courtney Rhodes