Calvin Coolidge’s Katrina. The left goes begging. Plus, Sinatra greatest hits and much more.
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Editor’s note: Because Monday’s Reader Mail was posted late yesterday morning, it’s being held over today. The following letters are from Monday’s edition.
FLOWN TO THE MOON
Re: Paul Beston’s Between a Rock and a Sinatra:
I am from Illinois. I met my husband who was a Marine and found he was from N.J.
In my lifetime of 71 years I know/knew three of the most terrific men from N.J.: my Marine Corps pilot husband, now deceased, my middle son, and Ole Blue Eyes.
I can attest to the fact that at least two of my children were
conceived with Frank’s music playing in the background. Lovely,
— Jo Dermody
Sinatra is really of my parents’ generation, but I was fortunate
enough to see him perform twice. The highlight was “My kind of
town” on Chicago’s Navy Pier with a deep orange August sun
setting behind the skyscrapers. The most appropriate song in the
most appropriate setting that didn’t include a lady.
— Gary Duff
Paul Beston’s “Between a Rock and a Sinatra” piece ended with a short line that, for me…pretty much defines what music is to a lot of us: It’s a distinctive sound, lyric and personal rhythm that, in many ways, inspired and moved us along as we cruised life’s early food chain and headed toward that basic thing our folks always hoped for: seeing us all grown-up, and staying out of jail.
At the risk of sounding like I have a Ph.D in Fuddy Studies from the University of Barney Fife, our early musical memories, whether from a jukebox, vinyl, c.d. or iPod (or that thing called a radio), tend to hang with us for a lifetime. After all, listen to how many times you hear the good ol’ days bantered around over a cup of coffee and a platter of Mom’s muffins.
Beston wrote: “…it was you who knew better, and your poor old man didn’t know diddly.” Looking ahead a few years, I suspect some hipper-than-thou 17 year-old will be parked in front of the family TV along-side his grizzled ol’ dad; watching one of the 246 music award shows that get prime time every year. Take it to the bank that at some point, ol’ pop will reach up and scritch his graying corn rows, then kind of sneer at his all knowing adolescent: “Man, if you and your pathetic posse think that stuff you’re listenin’ to is music — then you guys don’t know Diddy.”
As The Who once sang: “Talkin’ ‘bout my generation.” And as those
generations continue their never ending squabble over who’s the
hippest and coolest, I guess it all kinda’ depends on…who’s
generation your talking about. Yours or…mine?
As much as I like the early-morning, tears-in-beer loneliness of
1950s Sinatra, his voice reminds me that a mobster threatened to
kill Tommy Dorsey, to get Sinatra out of his contract with the
Dorsey band. A discordant mixture of beauty and immorality —
that was Sinatra.
— David Govett
It is perhaps one of the indignities of time that Mr. Beston was born in 1966 rather than ten or so years earlier (I was born in 1953). Mr. Beston’s “generation” (for the lack of a better word) came into their teenage years glorying in “London Calling” of Punk Rock. Punk Rock turned out to be a bunch of phonies who, while rightly complaining about stale lifelessness of late 1970’s Rock, themselves could not deliver the goods. What we got was precisely the loud, self-centered, emptiness Beston attributes to Rock. On top of saying Punk Rock was phony, I also lay the charge that it was responsible for the musical backlash of the over-produced/ keyboard/ and drum-machine music that dominated the 1980’s.
As Mr. Beston says, things do not wholly translate well when history is lived backward. I was born during the early years of Rock. Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran and the like had no resonance with me until my twenties. As far as I was concerned, Rock didn’t begin until the first time I saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. In the same way, I suspect Beston doesn’t have the same kind or depth of affection for The Beatles, The Stones, Cream or even Led Zeppelin I have. Likewise, both those born in the 1950’s, 1960’s and afterword have difficulty hearing Sinatra “up close.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online