Granted, it wasn’t as much fun as Billy Zane, Leo DiCaprio, The Heart Of The Ocean and that slinky flapper who was Claude Rains’ girlfriend in The Invisible Man… but this tuneful memorial to the sinking Titanic remains a wonderful tribute to the April 15th birthday of America’s colossal maritime tragedy.
This is Polly posting for Strange, who could not let Jonathan Winters’ passing go unremarked. Winters’ brilliance is perhaps no more perfectly illustrated than by the wild, multitudinous and instant characterizations he created, particularly the ones he wasn’t supposed to create while filming ads for products he was supposedly pitching, like the out-takes for Good Humor bars here.
One of Strange’s old flames was the daughter of the director who filmed Winters’ Hefty ads, and had a reel of such out-takes which so far seem not to have made it to You-tube, but which Strange was lucky enough to see. One sample line, from a rueful coach: “Fifty-six to nothin’ in the first quarter——somebody’s not doin’ their job!”
I don’t really want to prolong the picking over the bones of the Thatcher legacy, but since the American right seems desperate to exploit her passing to defend its post-Thatcherite concensus, as embodied in Reaganomics and all the other worldwide fallout from her time in office, I wanted to post this song, written by Elvis Costello and Clive Langer in response to the Falklands War, and sung by a one-time member of the Communist Party with the voice of a weary angel.
A lot of very vibrant, overtly angry music and art came out of the Thatcher years—along with a lot of biting satire. There’s plenty of anger and despair behind this song, but it proves that if you have the heart and you’re skilled enough, you can transmute those emotions into wry, timeless, deeply human beauty that stands on its own.
If you like, you can use this thread to continue boggling at the ludicrous claims being made about Maggie’s Farm by those who never experienced it in real life, suggest some other songs or clips from that era (and I’ll post them if they can be embedded), or talk about anything else whatever.
Update: New Youtubidity from the comments after the fold!
Steve Bell covers Thatcher’s resignation in 1990 (click to enlarge).
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
I despaired this morning when I heard the news that Margaret Thatcher was dead at 87. Not because her passing upsets me. I’d already celebrated that in late 1990, when her party finally realized the old bat was potty, the wheels had long fallen off the Iron Lady, and she was growing even more unpopular than her historically record-breaking low approval ratings might have anticipated, and she needed to be removed from office for their own good before she took them down with her.
I recall walking round the streets of Greenock that day, in something of a daze, overhearing a couple of old guys on a street corner in conversation: “She’s gone, then.” “Aye.” It had been a long, difficult era from her election in 1979, when as a politically inexperienced 19-year-old I barely realized what she was about to usher in, through the horrible early 1980s, protesting against the Falklands War and the UK and US’s saber-rattling in the face of the “Soviet threat,” then the Middle East adventures that were a pale prologue to those of the 2000s, and being subjected to none too subtle state surveillance for my troubles, to standing on my doorstep one morning faced with a court official who was threatening to send the bailiffs round to confiscate what little property I had.
That last event happened because Ms YAFB and I had had the audacity to do as we’d been encouraged by the government and set up a small business in the teeth of a recession, our industry—publishing—was being more than decimated, work had dried up, we’d submitted accounts the local council needed to decide whether we were eligible for some benefit to help pay our Council Tax (a.k.a. Poll Tax), and they’d somehow lost the papers we’d sent in (not for the first time). No court date for a hearing. A sheriff somewhere had heard our case among a slew of others some time earlier. We were never offered the opportunity to attend and put forward our side of the case. The first we knew was a lunatic demand in the post for immediate payment of an absurd amount of money we had no prospect of finding. And so I stood there as this besuited, rather shifty guy threatened me with sending round the heavies.
That was Thatcher’s Britain. Or a small series of snapshots of it. And we got off lightly compared to many. We survived. Survived to see Thatcher leave office in tears.
There’s so much seasonal WTF in this clip from FilmOn TV Networks (via Battlecam TV) which is going viral.
There’s a fairly graphic trailer near the beginning for their stunt at the weekend, when they plan to crucify a guy identified by a usually reliable source (Daily Mail) as Robert Garrison, “a 30-year-old sado-masochist from Florida,” so presumably as long they’ve found some card-carrying sadists to do the nailing, everybody’s cool with that.
Then there’s the increasingly tetchy mobile unit interview between Joe Fioranelli of FilmOn TV and David Phelps—which, for the by now no doubt growing increasingly nervous, I’ll excerpt below, but sounds like it’s an outtake from SNL.
As the scene begins, Phelps—who starts off the interview as grumpy as Hell, and doesn’t get any sweeter as it progresses—kicks off with the charming opener, “I’m David Phelps. And God hates fags. If you hear nothing else I say, I need that message to get out.” Then Fiorelli cites biblical reasons for some skepticism about Jesus’ heterosexuality, which doesn’t go any way toward making make him Phelps’ BFF.
Phelps: This is a mockery. It’s been a mockery from the very beginning. Is this what you plan for your mock crucifixion as well? Fioranelli: It’s not a mock crucifixion, we’re actually crucifying the guy. I mean, he is actually gay. Phelps: Do you have any idea, do you have any idea what it is to receive the payment for your sins from a wrathful, an angry God? Romans 12 says He will pile it on your head like hot coals from a fire. ... May God bring His wrath in a way that all will know it comes from Him.
Things don’t get any better from there on in for Phelps as he makes a bid to abandon the interview, and the fate that awaits him may have made him pray for a visitation from a nice cozy bushel of hot coals. Whatever, he will verily have been in no doubt that It hath come from Him, who moveth in mysterious ways.
For at this point (at 1:30 for the impatient), yea, a 500-pound stark naked ex-wrestler MC by the name of Billy the Fridge emerges from the closet (imagery!) where he’s been waiting and lurches ominously toward Phelps.
Phelps: What do you want?
Now, in the circumstances, most of us might agree that’s not the sort of leading question you want to be asking. Never mind, since Billy ignores it anyway.
Billy the Fridge: THE LEVIATHAN! WE WILL GET YOU! LEVIATHAN! THE LEVIATHAN! WE WILL GET YOU!
At this point Phelps makes an extremely rapid getaway through the door, with Billy in hot, hot pursuit. Over to the Mail again:
An eye-witness later claimed that he saw Phelps being pursued down the street outside the mobile studio by a naked fat man.
Rob Cutler, from Topeka, Kansas, where the church is based, said: ‘I was amazed, first I see David run out of a motor home and the next thing I know he’s been sat on by this giant naked man who is screaming “who’s your daddy now Davey?”’
The way the Phelpses have been bailing out of the hitherto lucrative family cult over the past few years, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Davey—his cherry now well and truly popped, possibly along with some vital organs—and Billy are an item. Happy Easter.
Really this is one of those stories where you don’t know whether to laugh or cry ROTFLMAO.
According to Joshua Green at Bloomberg BusinessWeek, heading into the Michigan primary, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who at that point still had some sort of chance in the race, hatched a plot to combine forces and run Romney off the road:
As Mitt Romney struggled in the weeks leading up to the Michigan primary, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum nearly agreed to form a joint “Unity Ticket” to consolidate conservative support and topple Romney. “We were close,” former Representative Bob Walker, a Gingrich ally, says. “Everybody thought there was an opportunity.” “It would have sent shock waves through the establishment and the Romney campaign,” says John Brabender, Santorum’s chief strategist.
“Oh noes” we are supposed to say in retrospect! Such a stupendous charismatic pair as Serial Adulterer Newt and Colossal Dick* Santorum could totally have upset OBamz apple cart and WHERE WOULD WE ALL BE TODAY!!
Well, we know it didn’t happen and Romney pulled out a squeaker win in Michigan. The coalition collapsed and, as much as anything, from the stupendous weight of their own egos.
But the negotiations collapsed in acrimony because Gingrich and Santorum could not agree on who would get to be president. “In the end,” Gingrich says, “it was just too hard to negotiate.”
And the rest of us were denied the spectacle of a truly great clown show of a campaign, surpassing even that of Grandpa Grumps and Klondike Barbie. If only.
*Thanks to Charlie Pierce for the oh-so-apt moniker.
The crazy was on at CPAC today. Some of the more bizarre doings for your reading, ah, pleasure, I guess:
Because the Tea Party is so totally not racist, the Tea Party Patriots group put on a session called “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” Well, after all, who wouldn’t be? The session was led by a black conservative named Carl Smith who urged attendees accused of racism to refer to themselves as “Frederick Douglass Republicans”. Unfortunately things went downhill when the audience started shouting back with accusations of “white disenfranchisement” (because nobody is discriminalized against as much as white males!) and support for slavery because, hey, free food & shelter and stuff. So we know for sure now that Tea Partiers are totally NOT racist.
Even a little crazier was a speech given by none other than The Donald. Apparently the crazed ramblings were so epic even his audience left scratching their heads. I, for one, am certainly looking forward to seeing that great ballroom addition to the White House that Trump’s completely gonna build!
Last, but not least, Rick Santorum (and to paraphrase Charlie Pierce, have we mentioned recently what a colossal dick the guy is?) chose to politicize the tragic death of his nephew the day before from an unnamed disease.
“Yesterday he was not the one in pain,” Santorum said, describing the “surreal” scene at the hospital. “Medicines were effectively blocking all his physical pain — we were the ones in pain.”
And he considers this an effective segue into a condemnation of gummint for wanting to block the pain of ordinary citizens who are just trying to get by in this world. In fact big gummint has robbed us of so much suffering and pain that we are in greater suffering and pain because of it! Because we have been robbed of the “why” of America. And so in conclusion government must . . . give us more pain?
I sympathize fully with his family. I too lost a family member to a disease that caused him a lot of pain and I was also grateful that, thanks to Medicare, he had the pain medications that kept him from suffering. I simply can’t conceive of using this as a platform to say other people should suffer pain. And that Medicare and Medicaid should not be there for them, that they should not have the safety net that keeps people from sleeping in the gutters and begging for a living. But I guess that’s why Santorum is a colossal dick and I am not.
Stay tooned folks. The crazy can only accelerate from here. Klondike Barbie is coming up!
UPDATE: Jim Newell chronicles the crazy today. Highlights include Sarah Palin’s boobs joke and Breitbart’s panel of the uninvited - those so far out there that even CPAC doesn’t want to be associated with them, famously including Pammy Shrugs.
A regular favorite of the blog, former Senator Scott Brown, has become gainfully employed after the manner of non-politicians, in the field of law. And this sounds like such a good thing, after all. After being in the US Senate, lawyering is an excellent trade, practically a form of rehabilition…
WASHINGTON—A new short-term budget bill introduced on Monday by House Republicans includes a bizarre provision banning federal funding to anti-poverty group ACORN, despite the fact that the group has already been stripped of federal funding—and has been defunct for nearly three years.
ACORN leaders announced that the group was disbanding in March 2010, after Congress cut off all federal funding to the organization. The provision in the current GOP budget bill [PDF], buried on page 221 of 269, would duplicate legislation that has already passed, to target an organization that does not exist.
ACORN, also known as the Alliance of Community Organizations for Reform Now, came under heavy fire in the fall of 2009 after conservative provocateur James O’Keefe released a set of selectively edited videos that appeared to show employees of the organization offering advice on tax avoidance related to prostitution and child smuggling. Independent investigations by the California attorney general, the Massachusetts attorney general and the Brooklyn, N.Y. district attorney would later clear ACORN of criminal wrongdoing, and an investigation by the Government Accountability Office would clear ACORN of charges that it mishandled federal funds.
So, in actual “reality-reality”, ACORN was defunded and disbanded three years ago due to a pretty much now-mostly-discredited (I hope!) RW faux journalist who smeared them all over the place. In the mainstream (because these are elected officials, mind you) Republican bubble reality, ACORN is still an ever-present threat that is probably registering legions of zombies to vote in the 2014 mid-term elections even as we speak.
But I also think it’s about an almost magical need to “repeat often” in order to banish the evil spirits of liberalism. Every now and again, resolutions need to be made to ensure that abortions aren’t federally funded (though they aren’t except in cases of rape and incest) or to ban gay marriage (no matter how many times it’s been resolved, previously) to make damn sure people remember that, while your GOP elected representative might not seem to be doing anything for you in the way of making sure your government works well, or at all, they will reinforce the bejesus out of your biases until the cows come home.
I’m not sure why their base is heartened by these things, but, hell. Maybe they are.
I just am not up to putting together a critique of Obama’s pretty darn good SOTU speech, which addressed climate change, gun control, and raising the minimum wage—all things quite timely and appropriate; nor am I concerned with poor Senator Marco Rubio’s long day, which started with voting against VAWA and ended with a speech where he complained that the President (who mentioned lowering the deficit, like a million times) was trying to create bigger government and boo-hoo’d over the notion that any Democratic president might ascribe motives to the GOP based on the logical outcomes of their policies as opposed to assuming in good faith that they believed their talking points. I just want to focus on what everyone will focus on, and are already all about on the Twitter engines:the Big Sip.
It’s a thing of so much awkwardness, and the water bottle is so tiny. He moves in for it like maybe, if he moves fast enough, we won’t even notice he had a case of cottonmouth and naturally, took a drink during a speech (LIKE PEOPLE DO!). (JUST NOT SO AWKWARDLY!)
Anyone want to share their impressions? Open thread.
Bill Maher reports on The Donald’s decision to sue him for $5 million for alleging on air that Trump’s the progeny of his mother and an orangutang. (There’s a short ad at the beginning, but you can skip it after 5 seconds or so.)
Donald Trump has made it clear ... his legal war with Bill Maher isn’t just about the money ... it’s personal—telling TMZ the comic CROSSED THE LINE when he suggested Trump’s mom banged an orangutan.
Trump just appeared on “TMZ Live” and explained why he’s confident he’ll emerge victorious in his $5 million lawsuit against Maher ... claiming he doesn’t believe Bill was joking when he appeared on Leno earlier this year and challenged Trump to prove he isn’t the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.”
Donald says he vows to defend his parents’ honor—telling us, “What he said about my father is disgraceful ... and what he said about my mother, who’s deceased, was in a certain way, even more disgraceful.”
“I’ve never heard anything like that said about my parents ... who were truly great people.”
It appears that the Bush Family (yes, that one) got hacked recently, causing several personal emails and pictures to come floating out where people can see them. I don’t endorse this kind of thing, myself. I think everyone should be entitled to some privacy. However, I can’t resist commenting on the two works of the hand of former president George W. Bush because there’s something so solitary and bath-centered about them.
I’ve tried not to read other art criticism regarding the pieces because I like to keep my impressions fresh, and I’m sure there will be no small amount of speculation over the subliminal “coming clean” motif due to the pictures both involving Bush in the state of, well, becoming clean. It should be noted that as these are self-portraits, one might expect the painting to reveal something about the artist—I don’t know that it does. The bath portrait reveals legs mostly submerged in water. The shower portrait is more oddly composed, giving the viewer the perspective of gazing over the subject’s shoulder, yet being able to glimpse his face at an odd angle in the reflection of a shaving mirror. It is hard to refrain from speculating about what this says regarding the psychological state of the artist, himself. I will note that the bathroom is the one place where people can find themselves truly alone, the bath or shower where one finds oneself naked. It is a place where one performs daily rituals of hygiene, but it is also a place of vulnerability.
But the choice of the bath or shower for the settings of Bush’s self-portraits could also mean no more than that, in retirement, he’s simply taking a heck of a lot more showers and baths. He has the time to be clean now. The inner self of the artist remains a puzzle. If it exists, at all.
I’m sure our Roasters can derive more insight into what is here than I have, however, so I’ll leave it to you.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to report that FauxNews has dropped Klondike Barbie’s contract! Yes, she has become too whiny, resentful and uninteresting even for Fox viewers!
What will she do now? Well, according to a source *close to Palin* “She remains focused on broadening her message of common-sense conservatism across the country and will be expanding her voice in the national discussion.”
*scuse me just a jiff* *SNORT, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! wipes eyes, sighs*
That is all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.
Big band colossus Woody Herman didn’t cover hack songwriters or marquee bands. In fact, he preferred to duplicate the songmaking of artists whose fame and talents rivaled his own. That became apparent yet again when Woody dedicated half a vinyl album to a cream-of-the-crop selection of Steely Dan tunes.
Herman’s Dan collection was hard to find (and expensive once you found it) when I acquired mine 15 years ago. I don’t know whether that situation has improved in the intervening years. But just in case the tracks are still fugitive, here’s what Polly and I excavated on YouTube. Enjoy the signature Fagen/Becker medley of American blues styles, with a steaming dollop of woodchoppers’ winds and horns on top!