He Needs To See "UP"

VDH on the culture, and why he's involuntarily dropped out of it. Me too, except for Pixar and the odd novel. He says things here Mr. W. & I say to each other so often the post made me laugh out loud, even though it's kind of dreary in a yummy way. It's a rainy day here, enjoy a good grump.

Re the dirth of Hollywood plots (everything is the evil, white, corporation --preferably the CIA-- carelessly destroying the good little guys):
Can’t they make one movie of the Lewis and Clark expedition or Lepanto, and one less with Tom Hanks as the anguished and caring postmodern man?
Then he says even with DVDs he tends to go back over and again to the Westerns. Shades of Mr. W's distaste for anything in color. (Nothing against the spectrum, just better odds of seeing something worthwhile.)
Today’s under thirty American male actors sound like they either have sinus congestion, or are trying to convince someone they are not as effeminate as their contrived appearance otherwise suggests. If my life depended on it, I could not identify any of the current leading actresses. The country needs a screen presence of a Burt Lancaster or Frederic March and it gets instead a Ben Affleck or Leo DiCaprio.
He adds parenthetically
(A Mickey Rourke, Gary Oldman, or John Malkovich are at least originals and, like real people, look the worse for it).
Amen to that. A month or so ago we watched an old (1986) British tv production of All Passion Spent. It was very good, but what was absolutely wonderful was the eccentric, craggy, beautiful variety of the actors' faces --faces that never turn up in a Hollywood production, even on the sick, elderly or malign.

On music:
One Otis Redding had more talent than the entire hip-hop industry.
Doesn't watch network news, can't keep the anchors straight, likes C-SPAN & Brian Lamb, but can't abide PBS & PR anymore:
The laudable shows are far outweighed by the race/class/gender agendas, usually someone in a soft drone, talking scarcely above a whisper, about some new heretofore unnoticed pathology of the US military, corporation, or government (pre-Obama).
Ha! I was listening to Saturday afternoon opera in the car yesterday, the beginning of the Fall Membership Drive, and the ads our local PR station ran for itself included clips of the "great" stories from the previous 6 months: three --three!-- different clips from their best shows about Al Franken's being seated as senator. Oh, and a bit of the late Teddy Kennedy promising us health care. ("How much is this worth to you?" Honey, any money I might have been tempted to send you for opera was just cancelled out by the reminder of what's on at every moment except Saturday afternoon.)

He's soured on sports. Me, too. The sad state of the Washington Redskins has something to do with it, but it's the absence of sportsmanship. Doesn't seem like a contest of human ability anymore, just like a bunch of cyborgs using the right combination of drugs and super uniforms to improve performance. I know that's not really fair, but that's the impression I have.

The two moments that killed it for me were the change of the Washington Bullets' name to "Wizards" (I will never understand how our race-conscious town let that happen), and the "Dream Team" we sent to the Barcelona Olympics. Magic & Kobe at an "amateur" competition? That just sucked the glory of the "miracle on ice" --our amateurs against a bunch of steroid-amped Soviet professionals-- right out. Now we were the ones sending steroid-amped pros out to stomp on the world.
Like most of America I do not read the New York Times
Nobel Prizes I stopped noticing a while back. Literature and Peace Prizes are awarded mostly on either race/class/gender considerations or utopian pacifism; that a Toni Morison won and a John Updike or Philip Roth (neither of whom I was all that fond of) never did, says all you need to know.
He has an odd postscript --and I wonder how many others are having this precise reaction to decline? He says as he becomes less engaged with the culture, he's become more engaged with politics and military decisions. And...
Lately more than ever I try to obey the speed limit, overpay my taxes, pay more estimates and withholding than I need, pay all the property taxes at once, pick up trash I see on the sidewalk, try to be overly polite to strangers in line, always stop on the freeway when I see an elderly person or single woman with a flat, leave 20% tips, let cars cut me off in the parking lot (not in my youth, not for a second), and patronize as many of Selma’s small businesses as I can (from the hardware store to insurance to cars). I don’t necessarily do that out of any sense of personal ethics, but rather because in these increasingly crass and lawless times, we all have to try something, even symbolically, to restore some common thread to the frayed veneer of American civilization.
Living well is the best revenge?