Charlie provides an invaluable reminder of the weirdest case of journalistic fixation I can think of. Welcome note of what a rodent William Saffire was, too. I though he might be the last of a dying McCarthyite breed, but nooooooo.
The broadest explanation I’ve run across is a regional/cultural disdain that grows ever more repulsive: who do these Arkansas lumps — her with the fumpy dresses, him with the fast-food and shades and saxophone — think they are trying to run a country that’s crowned by Manhattan? They’re too seedy to not be guilty of something. And we’ll find out what that is if it takes 50 years and we have to make it all up.
Can’t be said often enough about a peculiar phenomenon I have never understood. The sex-terrified reactionaries of the ’50s wanted rock and roll to just go away — by banning if necessary. Send that monster Elvis into the Army. Send that threat to white women Chuck Berry to jail.
And damned if it didn’t work in a funhouse-mirror way. The rock of the British Invasion and later (up to a point) is annoyingly present (just consider the nonstop soundtrack we had to put up with while the car was worked on this Sat. — maybe the single most painful part was the inclusion of “I Wanna Be Sedated” like it was the hit it shoulda been). But the whole original wave of rockers is neglected except for oldies moments.
C’mon everybody (ahem), you can program that stuff right in with the Boss and related acts.
Sad to say, it’s still essential to get to know Herman Kahn. His masterpiece, On Thermonuclear War, is the most meticulously deranged book I know of.The horror just builds and builds. Of course we could get through an all-out nuclear war. My favorite suggestion is to feed the most radiation-contaminated food to the oldest people in the fallout shelter, since they’re gonna die soonest, anyway. Whether any sane person would want to live on in such a world is a question never asked. The utterly wacko tone hanging over it is, “well, you could get up in the morning and still salute the Stars and Stripes and that would make it all worth it.”
I despise fat-shaming, but I will say in this case, Kahn being gruesomely overweight added to the effect of his madness.
This very serious problem began in the ’80s with Goot’s rhetoric that, I realized one day, was describing his political opponents as outright enemies — evil people. This turn of language is inevitable once you accept a concept like the “moral majority” — those who don’t agree with this group’s ideology (whether they are a minority or not) are by definition immoral people.
I do despair more these days about humanity. All the predictable but ignored consequences down the line. This is as bad as the nonsense declaring that “money=speech.”