The Saharan dust has arrived in New Orleans. The good news is that it’s a two-edged sword. It fucks up our air quality but hinders tropical development in the Gulf. So it goes.
Bruce Springsteen wrote this week’s theme song in 1978. It was the title track of his fourth studio album. It’s a winner, I tell ya
We have two versions of Darkness On The Edge Of Town for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 2009 live version.
The rest of this week’s post can be easily found after the break.
Before moving on, a more recent song about darkness. I suspect there’s a town involved; probably in Minnesota.
We begin our second act in earnest with an odd couple.
When The Boss Met Bobo: The odd couple is Bruce Springsteen and the NYT’s David Brooks, not Oscar and Felix. Bobo interviews the Boss about protest songs for The Atlantic. Bruce provides a playlist to Brooks who is unlikely to be up on left wing music. At least he’s never called a critic a bedbug like his fellow Timesman Bret Stephens.
Here’s Bruce’s playlist via Spotify:
Speaking of protest songs, this is one of my favorites:
It’s a pity that Bruce didn’t include any tunes by his sidekick Little Steven Van Zandt. Let’s remedy that omission with a 1984 song about human rights abuses in Argentina:
Gardner was an interesting figure. Perry Mason was an idealized version of himself as a lawyer. Who among us wouldn’t want to win every case?
After Monday’s review, my friend Fredo informed me that there’s an Ozzy Osbourne song called Perry Mason. I’m neither an Ozzy nor metal fan so I missed it the first time around:
Documentary Of The Week: The top two protest songs on the Springsteen list were written by Abel Meeropol. Bruce was a bit vague on who he was. For one thing, he was the adopted grandfather of Ivy Meeropol. She, in turn, is the biological granddaughter of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Her 2004 HBO documentary Heir To An Execution told her family’s story brilliantly.
She’s back with a companion piece, Bully. Coward. Victim: The Story Of Roy Cohn. Cohn was a member of the Rosenberg prosecution team and often bragged about framing the so-called “atom bomb spies.” Once an asshole, always an asshole.
In addition to discussing Cohn’s role in railroading her grandparents, Meeropol focuses on his life as a New York lawyer and fixer. I particularly enjoyed the tales of Cohn’s life as a closeted gay man. It seems that everyone except Cohn knew he was gay. John Waters is hilarious on the subject of Cohn’s Provincetown exploits. One might even say divinely hilarious…
Seeing pictures of Cohn’s entire life, I’m struck by how ugly he became as he aged. While never a matinee idol, he was not unattractive as a younger man. The hatefulness showed on his face the older he got. That makes Cohn the anti-Dorian Gray:
Here’s the trailer:
I give Heir To An Execution 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A. I give the new documentary 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+. They can be viewed on a variety of HBO platforms.
Bully. Coward. Victim. closes with the obvious song. If it’s good enough for Ivy Meeropol, it’s good enough for me:
We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: From the co-founder of Spy Magazine who knows from SAB pairings.
Separated At Birth, Upper Midwest Right-Wing Freak Edition
South Dakota governor Kristi Noem…and former House member Michele Bachmann pic.twitter.com/p3GMAubWA1
— Kurt Andersen (@KBAndersen) April 15, 2020
That’s a helluva scary pairing. We need to lighten things up pronto.
The Weekly Galbraith: Like most cynics, Ken Galbraith was a disappointed idealist as you can see from this week’s quote.
Classic Movie List: This list poses an interesting problem. Some of these movies have topped other people’s top tens: Shane for example. I’m ranking them with a laser focus on Jean Arthur’s performance. That means Shane will not top this list. Brandon de Wilde will just have to be disappointed yet again.
My Top Ten Favorite Jean Arthur Movies:
- Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
- The Talk Of The Town
- Only Angels Have Wings
- A Foreign Affair
- The More The Merrier
- Mr. Deeds Goes To Town
- The Whole Town’s Talking
- Easy Living
- You Can’t Take It With You
The key to Arthur’s distinguished career was working with great directors: Frank Capra and George Stevens thrice and Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder, and John Ford once. Easy Living is the outlier on the list, but it was written by Preston Sturges.
I seem to have missed my calling. I should have been a TCM host. I still miss Robert Osborne, not to be confused with Ozzy Osbourne.
It’s time to put some Springsteen back in your step with our next segment.
Saturday GIF Horse: I know quite a few people who admire Bruce’s butt as much as his music. I am not among them: Mongo straight.
I mentioned Mongo, who among us can ever get enough of this lagniappe GIF?
Mongo move on; play more music.
Weekly Vintage Music Video: This 1988 Patti Smith tune made Springsteen’s protest song playlist.
We started things off with the Boss, let’s give him the last musical word.
Saturday Classic: Here’s a complete show from the Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour. It happened on 9/20/78 at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey. It’s one of the great town names, just say Passaic.
That’s it for this week. Let’s close out with some serious star power: Jean Arthur, Ronald Colman, and Cary Grant in The Talk Of The Town: