The weather in New Orleans has been weird even by our standards this week. Last Sunday and Monday, Tropical Storm Cristobal was a non-event in the city, but it was followed on Tuesday by torrential rain that caused flooding. On Wednesday, it was gorgeous: warm but with low humidity. In a word: weird.
This week’s theme song was written in 1974 by Al Green and Mabon Teenie Hodges. We have three versions of Take Me To The River for your listening pleasure: Al Green, Talking Heads, and Syl Johnson.
Now that we’ve been to the river, let’s take the plunge and jump to the break. I hear it’s dry on the other side; at least I hope so.
Before beginning our second act in earnest, here are two more river songs. They run wide and deep.
If you thought that was an oldie, this tune is even older:
Now that I’ve made y’all feel like characters in a John Ford film, let’s return to the 21st Century.
You Say You Want A Newsvolution: Change is sweeping through the nation’s newsrooms including the Gray Lady and WaPo. If only they’d give up on both-siderism.
Here’s the NYT’s link image doohickey to serve as a second subject header. Or is that second helping or second serving? It’s something as is former Buzzfeeder Ben Smith.
This piece was a helluva lot better than Smith’s takedown of Ronan Farrow. I wonder who ordered the hit? We might as well blame James Bennett since he was forced out due to general malakatude.
FYI, I still think Ronan is Frank’s kid. Here’s a flashback to Separated at Birth circa 4/28/18:
The last word of the segment goes to the Fab Four:
You Say Lucretia, I Say Lucrezia: Papal daughter Lucrezia Borgia has long been a subject of historical fascination for me. There’s a helluva swelluva piece about her by Anne Theriault at Longreads.com. It’s part of a series: Queens Of Infamy. Guess we need to seek that out or it will be a day which will live in infamy,
The episode of Peabody and Sherman featuring “Lucretia Borgia” is not online for free and I’m too cheap to subsidize your cartoon consumption. This Blood Sweat & Tears tune will have to do.
Gone With The Wind: Fabulous? I cannot believe I just made a Real Housewives of Atlanta reference. The show’s villain Kenya Moore claims to be “Gone With The Wind fabulous.” I wonder if she’ll change her tagline in the wake of HBO Max temporarily dropping GWTW.
The other day, Vulture’s Angelica Jade Bastien revisited a piece she wrote in 2017: What Are We To Do With Cinematic Monuments To The Confederacy. It’s a thoughtful take on what I’ve long thought to be either the worst great movie or best bad movie ever made. GWTW alternates brilliant passages and performances with cringeworthy and downright bigoted segments. A reminder: it’s drama, not history.
I agree with Bastien that Hattie McDaniel’s Mammy is the crucial character in the movie, not Rhett & Scarlet and certainly not Melanie & Ashley. De Havilland and Howard were great actors stuck in thanklessly sappy parts. Check Howard out in Pygmalion or Pimpernel Smith instead.
Bastien also nails the distinction between GWTW and The Birth of a Nation:
D.W. Griffith’s silent epic The Birth of a Nation is often spoken of alongside Gone With the Wind, given their shared qualities: innovation, controversy, and a dramatically dishonest portrait of American slavery. The Birth of a Nation is an unparalleled piece of propaganda that uses white actors in blackface to frame black people as savages and buffoons. It isn’t just vile, it has been credited with the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan in 1915. Where Birth of a Nation inspires violence and the perpetuation of virulent racism, Gone With the Wind inspires complacency — its mythology echoes today in a more casual form of bigotry that ignores the humanity of black people, while scrubbing white people clean of any wrongdoing.
I’m surprised that I missed this swell analysis of a great but problematical film when it first appeared in 2017. Better late than never.
Repeat after me: It’s drama, not history.
The last word of our second act goes to Sarah Vaughan and the Count Basie Orchestra:
We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: In a fit of laziness, I grabbed this pairing off the Tweeter Tube. Bruno Kirby is best known for his performances in When Harry Met Sally and City Slickers. Louie Dampier was a star in the early days of the ABA. He looks relatively dry, not damp in the picture below.
Time for more tall tales from the late, great Ken Galbraith.
The Weekly Galbraith: This week’s entry is dedicated to Dr, A. There are a lot of meetings in academia as Galbraith knew from personal experience. Imagine how windy Harvard faculty must be?
One of Ken Galbraith’s sidelines was writing movie reviews. I suspect the next list would have been to his liking.
The Classic Movie List: George Cukor was one of the most thoughtful and literate film directors of the Golden Age of Hollywood. He was widely considered to be a “woman’s director,” which is one of the reasons that Clark Gable got him fired as the director of Gone With The Wind. The other reason involves gossip of a salacious manner. Uh oh, I sound like Aunt Pittypat…
My Top Ten Favorite George Cukor Movies:
- The Philadelphia Story
- Adam’s Rib
- The Women
- Dinner At Eight
- David Copperfield
- A Double Life
- Born Yesterday
- It Should Happen To You
This was a tough one. I omitted two of Cukor’s most famous films, A Star Is Born and My Fair Lady because I wanted to plug some of his lesser known work.
Notice how I circled back to Born Yesterday even though I’m no longer Bad Company?
How about one more version of that song, this time Paul Rodgers with Queen live in Chile:
Saturday GIF Horse: I was a big fan of the Showtime series The Borgias. I also enjoy the absurdity of many dances of the past. The two converge in this GIF:
Where’s Pope Alexander? Is he off plotting? I captured one of my favorite moments in the series with this meme five years ago:
I don’t like cigars either but they’re not as bad as turds.
Weekly Vintage Videos: I’m still listening to a lot of Steve Winwood as a cure for crankiness. This week we have two Winwoody videos. The chancy one is trippy, man.
Let’s shut things down with some jazz with a capital J.
Saturday Classic: What’s not to love about an album featuring sax great Benny Carter and one of my musical heroes, Oscar Peterson? Not a damn thing, y’all.
That it for this week. The last word goes to Katharine Hepburn and George Cukor. They made ten movies together. Talk about a winning combination.