Let’s see if we can do this, OK? Let’s see if we can go one day, just one day, without mentioning The Thing That’s Happening. Come on, let’s try. It’ll be good for our mental health. And I’ll start:
One of the things I did in my midwinter madness this year was re-watch “Mad Men” in its entirety, which of course gave me a powerful hankering for all things mid-century, but certainly the TV of my youth – the commercials, anyway.
So I was delighted to find this Terry Teachout roundup of some of the most memorable spots of the ’60s and early ’70s, including, yes, the flying couple whom Hertz somehow installs in the driver’s seat.
First realization: They’re mostly a minute long. Second realization: You need that long to set up the punch line for the Volkswagen ad, and it would be a crime against a rather lavish production budget to limit Ann Miller to 30 seconds.
Also, while I don’t often look to the Tablet for pop-music criticism, this takedown of Billy Joel is well worth your time. I always appreciate a writer who goes for broke, even when it doesn’t succeed; it’s like watching a waiter run behind a teetering pile of plates:
“From the very beginning,” Alana Newhouse wrote recently in Tablet, “there was a tacit agreement made between this country and its Jews: You, America, give us liberty and freedom from the extreme degradation and oppression we experienced everywhere else and, in turn, we Jews, will gift you with our … Jewishness. With Jewish thinking, and Jewish reflexes. With the ideas and impulses, honed over thousands of years, that could help a country create an unmatched economy, unparalleled creative industries and artistic and literary cultures, social and civic organizations, and more. America, at least so far, has kept its side of the bargain. But we have not.” Instead, we’ve practiced passing, an insidious art few have mastered more than Joel himself. When asked—in Germany, of course—about his Judaism, this is what the lyricist had to say: “I had the snip and I had nothing to say about it. I’m still a little pissed off about that.”
Finally, let’s just confine our commentary on this photo to the fashion it depicts — a prosperous middle-age couple coming back from vacation, relaxed and ready:
Don’t compare it to any recent photos out of Palm Beach or D.C. You’ll jump out a window.