Treatment Day 18: Saturday Autobiographical (on Wednesday).
May 11, 2011
The Saturday Autobiographical , back by popular demand. On Wednesday. Some have suggested a name-change, so it’s not so confusing when – as has been the case two out of three times – this recurring theme is published on a day other than Saturday. The person who made that suggestion was a recovering drug addict. Like I’m gonna take their advice. There’s only room for one cuckoo in this clock.
To review: three likes, three dislikes, with links, explanation and commentary. The sweet tea has never materialized, but you never know.
Same qualifications as always. It’s gimmicky. It’s hokey. It is fantastically self-indulgent. It’s not particularly creative – I’ve seen ads for law firms with more subtlety: “Call us, get rich. Don’t, and die a horrible and disfiguring death.” However, as I indicated last week, my shareholders demand page-views – you know how advertisers can be – so I’m gonna do it anyway. Editor’s Note: I have neither shareholders nor advertisers.
Three things I like:
1. The Beastie Boys: Three New York Jewish guys with punk roots who seemingly on a lark gave up punk and threw their collective hat in the fledgling hip-hop arena. If your goal is to master an artistic medium in which you are virtually an ethnic and racial outsider, achieve critical and commercial success, and do it all with tongue firmly planted in cheek, then these guys are your heroes. Archetypal, iconoclastic and ironic. Hip, goofy, and gifted. Their music will be studied for generations, even though we were never really sure if they were serious. The Beastie Boys are almost like a 20-year long episode of Punk’d. They also provided the theme song of my youth. And I did indeed have to fight…for my right…to Par-TAY.
2. Coffee: It’s all I have left, dammit!
3. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill: I have been an Anglophile most of my adult life, and he was the greatest Anglo of them all. He is the subject of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, a three-volume biography, during the writing of which Mr. Manchester passed away.
This man gets much of the credit – and deservedly so – for his countrymen’s stiff upper lip while London was bombed by the Nazis day and night during WWII. He recognized Hitler (discussed below) as a threat while most of Europe was still under his spell. He was a master of the language, and used that gift to steel his nation’s resolve during WWII. He could have been speaking for all of western civilization when he said:
… we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
And had a wit without match. An example is as follows:
Lady Astor: Mr. Churchill, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink.
SWC: My lady, if you were my wife, I would drink it.
Three things I unlike:
1. Hitler: Sometimes it’s good to cover the basics. You need this box checked to call yourself a member of civilization. It must be in your repertoire. I’m glad to get it out of the way, to be honest. Stalin, on the other hand? Misunderstood.
2. “Think Outside the Box:” Along with all the other overused expressions I object to in this space, this was a useful, clever expression for a time, but that time has long since passed. It’s greatest offense is overuse. It’s been used so often – so, so often – simply using the expression “think outside the box” demonstrates an inability to think outside the box. Irony of ironies, the expression is now very much inside the box. And it doesn’t work anyway.
3. Inanimate objects that hate me: They’re everywhere, things that are out to get me. Umbrellas and newspapers combined with wind are common offenders. Computers, video games, car parts. Electronics. Kids toys (some assembly required is Chinese for “stupid American with enormous hands never figure out toy ha ha”). Ikea, that diabolical little European instrument of torture, will get its own mention in a future Autobiographical. The worst part is that inanimate objects don’t scream when you beat them with a hammer or throw them at a wall, and they have a tendency to break your hand when you hit them. They are altogether unperturbed when you scream at them, and I have a feeling they are laughing at me on the inside when I get red in the face and shout incantations at them in an attempt to destroy them with a hex, or – failing that – at least shoot them with lasers from my eye-sockets. I came by this honestly. My Dad yells at objects, too. And my brother. I already see signs of it in my sons. The men in my family have a real feud with objects going on, but in fairness to us, they started it.