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01 April 2008

Scream, shriek, wave big flags, bumble, scare everybody 24/7/365 VS. dance sublimely & think deeply / Perfectionism VS. Catastrophic Failure

Irascible Small, a.k.a. I.M.Small, is an occasional Comment Leaver on Vleeptron, and there is always something in what he writes that reflects a Very Big Head with Lots of Important Stuff Inside. I have no idea Who or What or Where he is. Somewhere in the USA is as close and crisp as I've been able to fathom. In particular, he knows Important Stuff from the Past which just about everybody else in Cyberspace and RealityLand have forgotten or never knew in the first place.

Apparently he had nothing to say Publicly To Everyone On Earth last week, but he dropped me this e-mail about the letter in The New York Times from Gene Kelly's widow Patricia, complaining that columnist Maureen Dowd had linked Gene Kelly's marvelous dancing to some Public Oaf & Dummy named Bush.

The moral of this story is that people who read and think a lot eventually manage to send messages to each other. Some of them even send beautiful messages with their feet and legs, and others easily understand these messages.

Critics usually regard "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) as the best original musical comedy Hollywood ever cranked out. The title song got an unhappy but brilliant reprise as the song Alex the Violent Teenage Music-Loving Sociopath gleefully sang as he beat and kicked a woman to death in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" (1971). Kelly's original version played over the closing credits of ACO. The actor Malcolm McDowell seems to have come up with the idea of singing the song while they filmed the brutal scene.


----- Original Message -----
From: Irascible Small
Sent: 3/27/2008 11:54:51 AM
Subject: Re: from "I.M.Small"

I'm so glad you posted that letter from Kelly's widow. I saw it the day it came out (I was looking for the text of Obama's speech). It's a fantastic piece of writing and needs to be much better known. Impossible leaps indeed!



Yo Irascible --

Me and the Missus are addicted to listening to NPR's quiz show "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" on Saturdays, and the special guest last week was Maureen Dowd. They discussed her column about Bush singin' and dancin' while the world groans and cringes, and mentioned Patricia Kelly's remarkable letter to The Times.

I live in a region in Western Massachusetts my old newspaper pals call "The Bubble" -- possibly a reference to the futuristic compounds in Boorman's movie "Zardoz." Never mind what the rest of the nation thinks of Bush and the Iraq War, never mind how the rest of the USA votes. In The Bubble, a huge percentage of everybody is Single Payer Health Plan and Stop The War Now and Impeach Bush and Make Love Not War and (I guess my favorite) Somewhere In Texas A Village Is Missing Its Idiot. Last primary day, Kucinich had already dropped out of the race, but was still on our paper ballots, and I put my [X] next to Kucinich -- and the newspaper said I wasn't nearly the only one.

Fox News and CNN have the horribly corrosive power to make us lose perspective: That, like Patricia Kelly, a huge mob of the most highly educated and the most thoughtful Americans are disgusted beyond retching at what's happened the last seven years -- a dozen if you date it back to that sordid "Contract With America" fundie takeover of Congress.

Those who have filled their heads for a lifetime with books and ideas -- so much knowledge that it spontaneously ferments to Wisdom -- tend to be somewhat quiet, a bit shy, and cannot compete with the blaring ceaseless warlike screaming lies that flood our eyes and ears. I guess I crank out this dumb blog because I just don't think the world's Huge Issues should be decided by who screams the loudest and ceaselessly.

I hadn't known about Kelly's economics degree. I knew he grew up in Pittsburgh, and his parents ran a dance studio which all the Vaudeville acts passing through town used to hone and rehearse their acts. It's really somewhat remarkable that a single human being has room simultaneously to put so much important crap in his head AND learn to dance so sublimely. Like Astaire, he had a very unremarkable vocal instrument, but had the dramatic magic to put any song over with authentic "I believe this guy" sincerity and romance. But even in a seemingly "ordinary" musical like "Singin' in the Rain," you can see his 5000-watt intellect shining behind his eyes in every frame.

Strangely enough, you need to understand John Maynard Keynes to sing that well, dance that sublimely, and do comedy well enough to make the audience laugh. Groucho Marx had that kind of brain, and ended up dining at T.S. Eliot's house -- they were mutual admirers.

Violent anger in so thoughtful a person, exploding in the finest written words, is a really remarkable and beautiful thing to read. Reading her letter gave me great hope that Fox and CNN really don't matter all that much -- Bush's legacy, and the legacy of all the liars and scoundrels who have done so much harm to the nation and the world, have long ago plopped to the bottom of the outhouse, and nothing Fox News or the Murdoch Empire scream can turn this shit into silver. What a tawdry, sad, shameful temple the Bush Library is doomed to be for as long as it stands. This guy makes Nixon look good.

So happy you're still tuned into Vleeptron! We aim to please! Be less shy, gift us with one of your Comments now and then!


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