Re: Greg Gutfeld’s A Rotten Affair:
After all these years, I still find it difficult to believe we are seriously supposed to take Never Mind the Bollocks seriously. Johnny Rotten may be fearless in speaking his mind; but slamming “hippies” in 1977 was much like firing a few rounds into the carcass of a dead horse. “Hippies” had largely disappeared from the earth 1973 — much to the relief of millions.
Yet “hippiedom” did have the salutary effect of demonstrating to one and all what happens when you dispense with societal mores and supports. It went more than having bad body odor. These children of nature began to show up in medical clinics with diseases not seen since the Dark Ages. As they aged, parents and contemporaries became less and less inclined to help them out. And the Age of Aquarius revealed its dark side as many of “peace and love” generation began to delve into the specters of the night.
While I try to be polite and open, I finally can’t help but feel sorry for those who were born some years after I did. By the time the Sex Pistols arrived on the scene, rock music had grown stale and lazy. Punk was largely a reaction to what had become Rock’s aristocracy. The world didn’t need any more “laid back” music or record albums whose chief virtue was supposed to be the lyric sheet.
The problem was Punk (Sex Pistols included) could dish it out but didn’t deliver the musical goods. “Peace, Love and Rock and Roll” held more sway “London Calling” could ever muster. Even at his most self-indulgent smarminess, there was not one “Punk” fit to tie Paul McCartney’s shoes. Sorry, just a fact.
So, what would I give a young person today? Where do I begin? The Beatles, of course. Any of their albums from Rubber Soul to Abbey Road. The Rolling Stones: everything from Beggar’s Banquet to Exile on Main Street. The Doors: their self-titled first album, Morrison Hotel and L.A. Women. All of the Cream: particularly Disraeli Gears. Then we can go into The Allman Brothers Band, Traffic, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and others.
I would point to them all. But at the top of the stack would be two albums: Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominoes. (Do I have to point out that “Derek” was really Eric Clapton?)
If you really want to shake that young man’s world, give him those two albums first.
— Mike Dooley
It is good to see in print what I have known in my heart for 30 years– that much of punk rock was a deeply conservative force. I wasn’t much of a punk in the 1980’s (hell, I looked like an explosion in an Orvis catalog), but many of my friends and classmates joined me in listening to groups like The Sex Pistols. We were all History majors and involved with ROTC and the college rifle team and such, but the music was a breath of fresh air that was irresistible. Gone were the self-satisfied songs of the 60’s and the awful, mawkish droning of the 70’s. Instead, there was “Bodies,” the most effective anti-abortion statement I have ever heard.
I’m married to an opera singer now, so my copy of “Never Mind The Bollocks” is no longer in heavy rotation. Still, I pull out the old cassette every so often, when my wife is away and the house is quiet, and I think, “Take that, hippies!”
— Andrew Batten
HEARINGS THAT FOREVER ECHO
Re: Jeremy Lott’s Thomas-Hill Revisited:
Jeremy Lott, you have brought back in vivid detail all my thoughts and feelings that October Saturday when I watched the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. If I were to trace my conversion to true-blue conservative, it would be that day as I watched those degenerate Senators as they beat up on a black man for his beliefs. From that day, Clarence Thomas has been one of my heroes.
Thank you, Justice Thomas, we all owe you a great debt of gratitude.
— Judy Beumler
THE BOY REGENT
Re: George H. Wittman’s Bill Clinton, World Regent:
Bill Clinton justly deserves the appellation Governor of the United States. Contrary to his uncontrollable large appetites and ego, he governed small; with a risk averse tenure that included the underwhelming and fallacious 100,000 cops on the street, and wiring schools to the internet. Such vision surely warrants consideration for Mt. Rushmore. Oh wait, I forgot, he sucked up to the terrorist-in-chief, Yasser Arafat, in hopes of a Nobel Prize, my bad.
When not shamelessly plagiarizing from the Contract with America;” the era of big government is over,” he cowed to the emerging threat of radical Islam. What World Trade Center? Best call it a criminal act, rather than an act of war, after all, wars are messy and can do great damage to one’s legacy. So as he preens around the world with his grandiose, talk is cheap “Global Initiative,” the rest of us can only wonder why his exploits in the Oval Office were so less than global.
— A. DiPentima
As America’s greatest President said, “There they go again.” Awash in a sea of irrelevance and suffering from an inferiority complex bigger than his wife’s ambitions, Bill Clinton has been compelled to stage an event to advertise his “significance.” One wonders if like America’s worst President, Jimmy Carter the midwife of today’s Islamic imperialism, Clinton we’ll be out on the huckstings praising Muslim terrorists, making nuclear deals with megalomaniacal dictators and endorsing Latin American despot’s to burnish his trivial legacy? Reality tells me no matter how undignified Clinton must become, he’ll continue trying to rewrite the history of his failed Presidency (in two Presidential elections he never garnered a majority of the popular vote) to event the elusive legacy his shallow ego demands. Why isn’t he content with a stained blue dress, impeachment and 9/11? How big or small is his “ego”?
What’s he compensating for?
Hopefully, his less than personable and churlish wife will win the Democrat nomination and lead the Copperheads to ruin. Then, just maybe his media sycophants and aging liberal groupies will bury the overblown Clinton mystique in the sewers of history.
— Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
This essay crystallizes all the we know about King Bubba the First.
My wife, an ardent Republican, used to tell me that Bubba is just “a very ordinary person.” She said he reflects his background, which is one of poverty; drugs and alcohol; and a longing to be important.
I would add one other aspect of the Clinton political journey. Bubba was the first President who sought the office to become rich. He and his wife capitalized on every aspect of money making from the Presidency they could think of.
He sold the Communist Chinese our most advanced super-computers. They have paid him for that many times over and continue to front huge money for his wife’s campaign. He permitted the Japanese to sell the secret design of submarine propellers which gave us the silent edge over the Soviets. The Japanese repay him to the tune of a million or so a year for his speech making.
He opened the White House Motel (One also presumes, in view of his nocturnal trysts, that it was “The No-tell White House Motel.”) renting rooms to political donors if they had attractive wives.
This a real American entrepreneur. A slippery and slimy one, but an entrepreneur nonetheless.
— Jay Molyneaux
THE BRADY BUNCH
Re: Reid Collins’s Bastard:
Like you, I have been amazed at the decline of the importance of marriage in our society. When I encounter a young couple with children, or a young woman pushing a child around in a carriage, one of the first things I look for is a wedding ring on the hand of the parent(s).
I believe that the other contributing factor to the decline in shame for an out-of-wedlock birth is when “making love” became “having sex” in our society. In my mind, “making love” is the result of a commitment between a man and a woman, after marriage, to spend their lives together and to use physical intimacy for the purpose assigned to it by our Creator — procreation. Conversely, “having sex” requires no more commitment than the response to any of our other bodily functions, breathing, etc.
Thanks for bringing us back to our senses on this issue. Incidentally, I’m sure you know that Oprah is no supporter of marriage either — not hard to guess why she is celebrating Halle Berry’s decision.
— Ron Kohl
A minor point, but there are no bastard children, only bastard parents.
— James Wilson
Re: Quin Hillyer’s Good Sports:
You failed to mention Craig Biggio, recently retired from the Houston Astros.
He spent his entire career of 20 years in pro baseball playing for the same team, played as catcher, second baseman and outfielder as his team required, and was very active sponsoring and participating in charitable events for disabled children. He did all this by being married to one woman and raising 2 children
He is the perfect example of the “good guy” sports figure.
— David Smith
BLAMING THE IMMIGRANT
Re: Tom Bethell’s Freedom of Immigration Acts:
1. What is wrong with cheap labor? Teenagers used to get their introduction to the work world with after school and weekend jobs. The moral training and introduction to the work ethic that goes along with those jobs has been lost because the jobs are being done by Mexicans.
2. The fact that workers are undocumented means that they work without protections (safety, abuse, civil rights, worker’s comp, unemployment insurance) which we, as a society, have declared that we should have in place. We have a two-tiered standard of law. Those who hire illegals can break the other laws and those who don’t hire illegals get busted when they violate the law. Meanwhile illegals die and are maimed in unreported workplace accidents.
3. The conservative argument is: First enforce the border, then we can move on to the other issues. After we agree to another amnesty, we will have no handle to convince big business liberals to enforce the law.
4. Criticizing a “welfare entitlement” attitude doesn’t make it go away. It’s still there and it still will cost money.
5. Kolbe’s argument is that if we increase border security, we will cut the illegal immigration problem way down, probably to manageable size. That is precisely the argument that Bethel attributes to conservatives, yet Kolbe is not a conservative.
6. The fact that France has a worse problem doesn’t make our issues any better.
7. Mexico will probably move to a more capitalistic system. However they have had recent insurrections. They may have more. From our perspective, things may get worse before they get better.
8. The two sides to this debate are really big business and non-big business. Bush, Pelosi, Kennedy, Cheney, and the other big money people want cheap labor
— Yakoov “Jim” Watkins
DUKE OF DODGE
Re: Larry Thornberry’s Listen to This, Pilgrim:
I always enjoy hymns to John Wayne’s patriotism, such as the one posted by Larry Thornberry earlier this week. I wish more of Wayne’s admirers would, however, admit that their man absolutely shirked his duty during WWII. A lot of other big Hollywood stars Wayne’s age served (Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable prominent among them), yet Big John kept dodging and weaving about joining up.
If you want the details, read Print the Legend the biography of John Ford, the director Wayne called “Pappy,” that was published a few years back. Ford, who was exempt from service because of his age, nonetheless joined up and came under fire directing official Navy film crews. He kept badgering Wayne about joining and Wayne always put him off. The truth was, Wayne had only just become a bankable star when the war broke out (unlike Stewart and Gable) and was plainly concerned about the impact service might have on his box office bona fides.
People who worked on films with Ford and Wayne after the war noticed that, whenever Ford wanted to put Wayne in his place (which was often) he would bring up his own experiences in wartime so he could watch Wayne shuffle his feet and try to change the subject.
I guess I am a little passionate about this because my own dad was born the same year as Wayne–1907. My dad was 34, had two kids (my brother was born December 7, 1941) and a job with a public utility, but he joined the Navy immediately and spent more than 3 years on aircraft carriers, surviving kamikaze attacks and serving in the greatest sea engagement in history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
This, while Wayne was dodging blanks filming Sands of Iwo Jima.
— Jack Purdy
HARD TO KEEP DOWN
Re: Ken Shreve’s letter (under “Rejecting Realism”) in Reader Mail’s Passage to India:
Ken Shreve nailed it in his first, sixth and final paragraphs. I think he only left out three or four words to best describe Dobson, et al.
Sanctimonious, pontificating and totally obnoxious come to mind. The audacity of that bunch is appalling. And, yes, I’ve got to agree that “power” is their ultimate aphrodisiac; sink the ship (whatever ugly, leaky thing it may be) and they may then gaze into their collective mirrors with that plastic smile of gross insincerity, and feelings of vast superiority to we “unwashed.”
Make me want to puke!
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