Enduring howling wind and freezing rain while pelted with a political message by a sanctimonious Hollywood has-been, at Yankee Stadium:
“Global warming” at Yankee Stadium
Last night I was at Yankee Stadium watching the Yanks exciting extra-inning playoff win. Along with 50,000 other shivering fans we had to endure a scoreboard message from Robert Redford sponsored by the National Defense Resources Council demanding that we lower our standard of living to stop global warming. The volume was turned on so loud that Redford’s voice could be heard above the howling wind and freezing rain of a mid- October evening in New York City.
While the irony of the message vs. the setting is palpable, the issue here is that we are now unable to escape politics.
Global warming at baseball, politics during church sermons, there was even a “tango for Obama” event last year. There must be someone out there who’s as fed up of it as I am. Writing about politics all day is enough for me, thank you. Please keep my entertainment entertaining.
Lately more than ever I try to obey the speed limit, overpay my taxes, pay more estimates and withholding than I need, pay all the property taxes at once, pick up trash I see on the sidewalk, try to be overly polite to strangers in line, always stop on the freeway when I see an elderly person or single woman with a flat, leave 20% tips, let cars cut me off in the parking lot (not in my youth, not for a second), and patronize as many of Selma’s small businesses as I can (from the hardware store to insurance to cars). I don’t necessarily do that out of any sense of personal ethics, but rather because in these increasingly crass and lawless times, we all have to try something, even symbolically, to restore some common thread to the frayed veneer of American civilization, to balance the rips from a Letterman attack on Palin’s 14-year-old daughter or a Serena Williams’s threat to a line judge, or the President’s communication director’s praise of Mao, civilization’s most lethal mass murderer, or all of what I described above.
I don’t fathom the attraction of a Kanye West (I know that name after his outburst), a David Letterman, Van Jones, Michael Moore (all parasitic on the very culture they mock), or the New York Review of Books or People Magazine (they seem about the same in their world view). So goodbye to all that.
Horace called this reactionary nostalgia the delusion of a laudator temporis acti, the grouchy praiser of times past for the sake of being past. Perhaps. But I see the trend of many ignoring the old touchstones of popular entertainment and life as a rejection of establishment culture—a disbelief in, or utter unconcern with, what elites now offer as valuable on criteria that have nothing to do with merit or value. I was supposed to listen to Dan Rather because Murrow once worked for CBS? I am to go to the Cinema 16 because Hollywood once made Gone With the Wind or On the Waterfront?
I don’t particularly like the idea that I want little to do with contemporary culture. But I feel it nonetheless—and sense many of you do as well.
Oh yes indeed.