Wednesday, December 5

Slate Quarterly Has A Nice Ring To It, Don'cha Think?

1) Hey, it's nice to see Stephen Metcalf's rebuttal--make that debunking--of that William Saletan series The Negro Cranium: Deficient or Just Subpar? But A) it's fairly damning when you have to call in the adults to clean up your mess; B) it's especially damning when your whole schtick is Up Is Orange, No, Wait, We're Kidding, It's Seafoam; and C) It should have been caught from Saletan's opening sentence. Plus he still has a job. I guess the conclusion is, uh, Ha Ha Ha! You Fell For It! We Never Said Inaccuracy Is The New Accuracy! We Just Don't Give A Shit!

One is tempted to suggest that this is the real face of Saletan's "Liberal Republicanism", except a chimera has no face.

2) Does Hitchcock Get Too Much Credit?

Ans: Yes.

I'd prefer to leave it at that, but should the reader fell compelled to click on the resulting slideshow he or she will learn--SPOILER ALERT!--that in fact Hitchcock did not draw his own storyboards, thereby leading us to the astonishing conclusion that cinema is a collaborative art.

I don't suppose there's any chance they're going to bring in an adult to correct this one, so let's ask the real question: Does Hitchcock get too much credit because people like Andrew Sarris used the Cahiers du Cinema as a blanket justification for their own juvenile tastes, thereby encouraging a generation or two of movie buffs to imagine they were getting some extra value for their Hitchcock movie buck despite the fact that it had nothing whatever to do with what they like about them?

Ans: Yes.

I'll grant you two or three of his late British pics, plus, arguendo, Psycho: you name me another Hitchcock flicker that's better than it should be.

3) If Zep reunites, will they play "Stairway to Headphones"?
It also doesn't help that the lyrics appear to be an index of a confused mind. If, for instance, the lady at the beginning of the song is a fool (she believes, after all, that she can buy a stairway to heaven), then why at the end of this long and winding lyrical road is she shining white light and showing us how everything still turns to gold? Some critics have turned themselves inside out trying to prove that this must be a different lady. Cultural-studies theorists will see this is an "open" text. Industry bean counters will notice that its ambiguity is the key to its popularity.

And the rest of us will have to content ourselves with the free soporifics.

Fer chrissakes, it's Led Fucking Zeppelin. Lyrics? Lyrics are to Led Zep what guar gum is to ice cream. Assuming, that is, that major commercial ice cream producers steal their supplies of guar gum. Lyrics? I thought the point of Led Zeppelin lyrics was that otherwise Robert Plant would have had very little to do onstage.

Okay, they're sonic innovators. They also blazed a path in babydoll shirts for men, and those guitars that are, like, double guitars. If you're embarrassed by people holding flaming Bic lighters aloft and singing along with "Stairway", well, maybe you should be.

1 comment:

Julia said...

you name me another Hitchcock flicker that's better than it should be

That would be Shadow of a Doubt.

also: my captcha word is jnyyyzzy. I suspect if I say it out loud I'll be returned to my own dimension.