This may be the only one, or maybe one in only a teeny tiny handful, of any virgo-type posts anywhere with a sports tag. Even so, it’s actually a music post. A music post inspired by a television show at that. All of it inspired, in part, by Muhammad Ali.
So, theMad Men recap is Adrastos’ gig and I won’t tread there but I do have to glance off it a bit because this meditation washed up in the wake of this week’s amazing episode, as I kept flashing back to my very first memories of Ali.
Much like JFK was my “first” president, Ali was my first athlete, the representation of the role that first broke into my child consciousness, via talk around the supper table, newscasts, the playground.
The early sixties was a speedy, jumbled-up, complicated time to be a nascent little sprout sucking up American culture like water. Ali looms large in my recall of that experience, in some of my earliest conceptions about racism, religion, wealth, politics, war.
More than anything else though, I remember being astounded – who wasn’t? – just watching him move. Tuning into the iconic signal burst of that outrageous power, the grace and speed of it simply displaced the static of the cultural noise surrounding the man.
Appropriately enough then, today’s WWTFUS is a two-fisted offering. Two of my favorite songs by two of my favorite bands that capture that same instant in those hard times for the man not yet Ali. The young man still, but just barely still, Cassius Clay. In the first, Original Air-Blue Gown by the
Mountain Goats, boxer is metaphor:
Next, and no doubt somewhat improbably to anyone not familiar with the genius of Catherine Irwin, Freakwater’s Louisville Lip, about the legendary moment when Clay/Ali threw his Olympic gold into the Ohio River: