It rained all day yesterday — hard, cold and sideways — and now something hard and needle-like is falling on the skylight. Could it be? Yes it could: Freezing rain/hail! And spring is delayed another day or two.
Don’t mind me. I always liked the feel of a nice snug straitjacket.
A few notes/clarifications/follows:
My comments about Susan Boyle got linked here and there, and reading the comments on other blogs, it seems there are some who believe my contempt was aimed at her, not at those surrounding her. Nothing could be further, etc., although I do wonder why anyone, let alone a nice Scottish virgin (say that phrase in a Scottish accent — it’s fun), would willingly climb between the sheets with Simon Cowell — talk about your deals with the devil. But obviously there aren’t many producers willing to take a chance on a woman like Boyle, and if she wanted to be heard outside her Scottish village, this was probably the only way it was going to happen.
No, my problem is with the people who treat her like some sort of sideshow, and in so doing reveal their not-particularly-hidden contempt for anyone who dares break the mold of what’s considered acceptable in our culture.
One more note: Not long ago I heard something on public radio about John Philip Sousa’s reaction to Mr. Edison’s infernal invention, the phonograph. He saw in an instant what it would lead to — the loss of music as an amateur pursuit, that’s what:
…when music can be heard in the homes without the labor of study and close application, and without the slow process of acquiring a technic, it will be simply a question of time when the amateur disappears entirely…
In Sousa’s time, music belonged to anyone who had the minimal discipline to learn it. Everyone — or, at least, far more people — could pick out a tune on the piano, favor the group with a song, play the fiddle at a Saturday-night dance. When entertainment was scarce, everyone entertained. You lent your talent, whatever it might amount to, to your church choir, your community band, your local musical society. When the music business amounted to the sale of sheet music, it was a far more democratic institution. Music was like the local plant life — unique in a particular place, shaped by circumstances and geography.
Boyle is, I think, far more rooted in this older world than ours. While she’s obviously influenced by the musical theater and other modern institutions, she seems to have one foot firmly planted in a time when being able to carry a tune meant you were somewhere on the scale from normal-to-gifted, not a superstar waiting to be discovered.
Of course her new Svengali will help her make a record. Here’s hoping it enables her to spend her remaining years wherever she wants, in Scotland or on a beach somewhere, singing like a canary just for the joy of it.
Also, I saw most, but not all, of HBO’s “Grey Gardens” the other night, and I have to say, I was impressed. I thought combining the Edies’ backstories with their degradation brought a note of empathy to the whole sad and squalid affair, and the acting, particularly Jessica Lange’s, was outstanding. Just the right combination of needy and calculating, mama spider sitting in her web waiting for the right moment to wrap her daughter up in it for good.
Needless to say, the wardrobe was fabulous. Why don’t we wear cloche hats anymore? They looked good on everyone.
Congratulations to the Detroit Free Press for their well-deserved Pulitzer Prize. Unrelated: The other day I read about a prostitution ring in the metro area that relied on Craigslist, and the Free Press article said:
Sheriff Warren Evans charged Wednesday that Craigslist is major source of prostitution. He said the evidence will be sent to Chicago to bolster a federal civil case filed March 5 against the giant Internet firm by the Cook County sheriff.
“Giant internet firm.” I ask you. It is the truck that ran over our industry, and we don’t even know what color it is.
For what Wikipedia’s worth, the giant internet firm operates out of a nondescript house in San Francisco and has 28 employees.
And now I am off to mail the letter that will seal my summer in a nice package: I’m teaching a class this spring/summer term. At the university level, which I’m sure will give all you tuition-paying moms and dads pause. In internet journalism, at Wayne State. I’m as stunned as you are, but for now, I have to get my letter of offer back to them before the deadline. So I’m off, eh?