Finally saw “Swingtown.” Snap judgment: It doesn’t have legs, but I give them credit for trying. There’s no reason to let premium cable have all the shows about adults; broadcast has to find something outside of the police/law procedural and the escalating CSI grossfest.
One of the things that bothers me is the ostentatious “hey, we’re in the ’70s now” shots. Sure, the people are going to wear ’70s clothes and the men are going to have ’70s sideburns and the women are going to drink Tab. But when I saw a quick closeup of these, I thought they were trying way too hard:
Closeups of shoes are for significant-to-the-plot shoes, and unless those Dr. Scholl’s Exercise Sandals are going to be very important in a future episode, this was just show-offy. I do have an idea of how Dr. Scholl’s might be the pivot upon which the plot turns; after all, like every other woman who was young in that era, I owned a succession of pairs. They were my default shoe all summer long, and I loved them beyond all reason.
You bought them in drugstores, along with other fine Dr. Scholl’s products. They cost $15, and had their own end-cap display, at the bottom of which was a series of molded plastic footprints you used to find your size. The “exercise” gimmick said that if you wore them, your feet had to clench the toe ridge with every step, thus exercising your legs. Huh. Whatever. I never noticed any specific toning action, but maybe I wasn’t clenching them correctly. For me, they were wooden flip-flops, and by midsummer the rubber had worn off the heel and everywhere you went, your shoes announced you before your arrival. In the era’s shag carpet, it was no biggie, but on wooden floors it was like beating a drum. I can still hear my friend’s grandmother’s crabby voice ringing in my ears, complaining about our “clompy shoes” as we came inside their summer cottage for our endless supplies of Dr. Pepper and turkey sandwiches.
Maybe the teenage-girl character who wears these will stumble upon her parents and their new neighbors in dishabille, struggling into their Qiana fashions after hearing her clomp-clomp approach. That would justify the closeup.
By the way, Dr. Scholl’s started making them again a few years ago. Back in the day they came in three colors — navy, red and bone. I was a bone girl. But in a spasm of credit card-enabled nostalgia, I just visited the Dr. Scholl’s website and I see they’ve expanded their color palette; now they’re available in such racy colors as Cheeky Pink and Wine. I thought about it for a long time and opted for tan. It was the only color on sale, and the shoes are no longer offered in bone. Once a bone girl, always a bone girl. (I suffer the Curse of Neutrals.)
So, some Monday bloggage?
Neely Tucker finds one of the oddest car clubs in America — for the misbegotten, better-off-dead Chevy Cavalier. I liked it because, down low in a lengthy story, he gets to the point of custom-car culture. It’s not about buying something fancy off the showroom floor. It’s about finding something cheap, something you can afford, and little by little, turning it into something all your own:
A quick history of customized cars in pop-culture America:
After World War II, GIs came home with a little money in their pocket and a new sense of working with mechanics. Out in Southern California, they bought old beaters, mostly from Ford. Like a ’29 Model A Roadster, or anything after ’32 with the flathead V-8. Something wasn’t right with the engine but, hell, they could fix that. Get out the tools, ratchet, ratchet. Honey, crank it when I tell you to. Right. Give it some gas. Good. Good. Slam hood, wipe hands on a rag. Take it out on the strip and turn the quarter faster than anything else alive.
The hot rod was born out of reworked junk. That was part of the glory of it, the great young male joke on respectable society.
We mentioned the Dymaxion House a few weeks back, so this seems apt: A New Yorker profile of Buckminster Fuller, which answers a lot of questions for me:
Fuller was fond of neologisms. He coined the word “livingry,” as the opposite of “weaponry”—which he called “killingry”—and popularized the term “spaceship earth.” (He claimed to have invented “debunk,” but probably did not.) Another one of his coinages was “ephemeralization,” which meant, roughly speaking, “dematerialization.” Fuller was a strong believer in the notion that “less is more,” and not just in the aestheticized, Miesian sense of the phrase. He imagined that buildings would eventually be “ephemeralized” to such an extent that construction materials would be dispensed with altogether, and builders would instead rely on “electrical field and other utterly invisible environment controls.”
Wow. I wonder what it would be like to take a shower in that house.
Cops storm a Detroit art gallery. It’s almost too rich with possibility for words, but it turns out, they were only looking for after-hours drinking. In commando gear. Because, you know, in a city like Detroit, after-hours drinking in an art gallery is a crime that requires a SWAT response.
You know why people think raising kids is so expensive? Because they read shit like this, about the nursery for the Pitt-Jolie royal twins:
They even installed two pink crystal chandeliers for the girls at a cost of $899 each.
I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t regret not getting a pink crystal chandelier for my nursery. She had to make do with one of those dumb infant-stimulation crib mobiles. But today she’s an A student. Let’s see where the Jolie-Pitt babies are in 11 years, eh?