Saxophone great Charlie Parker builds a career in jazz while fighting drug addiction.
Dir: Clint Eastwood Cast: Forest Whitaker, Diane Venora, Michael Zelniker. TV-MA. 1:15 AM EDT. TCM.
Tomorrow night on TCM is billed as “Clint Eastwood Jazz” and it ends with what was obviously a labor of love — his biopic of Charlie Parker. In addition the Eastwood produced documentaries Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way (8:00 PM), Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (9:30 PM), and Eastwood After Hours: Live at Carnegie Hall (11:15 PM) are on.
First Wicked told us the story of the Wizard of Oz (or maybe Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead was first) from the witch’s POV now we have this book which gives us bedtime from those other put upon characters — the parents.
From New York Magazine is a mini-review of the book and an ode to the “F-word” in literature (as opposed to daily conversation) by Kathryn Schulz: (ed. f-bombs cleaned up by me for Google & Bing search purposes)
This is not a spoof of Goodnight, Moon. This is Battle Hymn of the Tired Father.
Unsurprisingly, plenty of commentators are using Mansbach’s book to reflect on the state of modern parenting. You’ll forgive me if I use it for a different purpose: I’d like to talk about our culture’s bipolar relationship with the word f***.
That word—which appears, like a crude jack-in-the-box, in the last line of every stanza—is why the book works, both creatively and commercially. Yet this popularity was not a foregone conclusion. Like sex, alcohol, nudity, and drugs, swearing sets off the great American seesaw of schoolmarmish horror and schoolyardish glee, and it can be hard to predict whether a writer who curses will wind up exalted or excoriated. I know, because I wound up on the wrong side myself.
When it comes to profanity, I hail from what you might call a mixed background. My father swears freely and exuberantly—although, when I was a child, he did so exclusively in Polish. In moments of paternal irritation, an entire shtetl sprang to life in our suburban home. Psia krew, cholera, curwa, szmata: excrement, cholera, whores, rags. (Predictably, that gritty archipelago of my father’s native tongue is all the Polish I ever learned.) My mother, by contrast, swears approximately never. Moreover, some years ago, she confessed that she hates it when I do so. I was startled and abashed, and cleaned up my act immediately—which is to say, I stopped swearing in front of her.
As that concession suggests, all cursing is contextual. My mother’s aversion to profanity has everything to do with being born female in the forties, and her primary objection to my own occasional expletive was that it seemed “unfeminine.” (In context, speaking of context, that objection struck me as faintly comedic and overwhelmingly kind: This is a woman who didn’t miss a beat when I first brought home a girlfriend.) My father, meanwhile, reverted to Polish to swear because he knew that imported expletives lose their shock value—which is, of course, almost all the value they ever had.
In addition to this mixed family background, I also enjoy a mixed geography of profanity. Like Mansbach, I live in New York, which surely deserves the prize for most foulmouthed city in the nation. (You Chicagoans can go f*** yourselves.) Profanity flows from New Yorkers as the East River flows into the sea: constant, filthy, strangely magnificent. It’s not just our ability to cuss each other out; it’s the blasé and cheerful vulgarity of everyday speech. I was once in a packed midtown crosswalk at rush hour when a guy next to me retrieved something from the street and sprinted ahead, shouting, “Yo, lady, you dropped your f***in’ wallet!”
In 1890s Louisiana, being 7/8 White was close enough to Black to be legally “colored” and thus qualified one for the Colored facilities under the Jim Crow laws then in place. In 1892 Homer Plessy (above), 7/8 White, boarded the White car on the East Louisiana Railroad and announced himself to the conductor as colored and refused to leave the train car. He was arrested and jailed. His case was overseen by a Judge named Ferguson who ruled that the Louisiana law was constitutional because it was limited to Louisiana. Plessy appealed that ruling in a procedure called a writ of prohibition which is how Judge Ferguson’s name became attached to the case. Thus the landmark case Plessy v. Ferguson was born. That case made infamous the phrase “separate, but equal” and helped to cement Jim Crow’s place in America for the next few decades. The opinion is here… read Justice Harlan’s dissent if you go there also.
Fast forward to the 21st century. Plessy and Ferguson meet again… in better circumstances…
Meet Phoebe Ferguson and Keith Plessy, who have joined up in an educational venture in New Orleans. The Washington Post has the story:
When Keith Plessy and Phoebe Ferguson decided to start a new civil rights education organization that would bear their famous names, they sealed the deal in a fitting local spot: Cafe Reconcile.
They represent the opposing principals in one of the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions, Plessy v. Ferguson , which upheld the constitutionality of Jim Crow laws mandating segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine. It stood from 1896 until the court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954.
The descendent of the man who tested Louisiana’s law requiring separate railroad cars for whites and blacks and the great-great-granddaughter of the judge who upheld it met in 2004.
The truth is, no reconciliation was required.
“The first thing I said to her,” recalled Plessy, “was, ‘Hey, it’s no longer Plessy versus Ferguson. It’s Plessy and Ferguson.’?”
Her first reaction was to apologize.
“I don’t know why,” she said in an interview. “It’s just that I felt the burden of it, this great injustice.”
“I said, ‘You weren’t alive during that time. I wasn’t either. It’s time for us to change that whole image.’?”
So the Plessy & Ferguson Foundation was born, and on Tuesday it will celebrate another anniversary of Homer Adolph Plessy’s decision to buy a railroad ticket for the June 7, 1892, train trip from New Orleans to Covington, on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain.
The organization seeks to highlight the historic moments in New Orleans’s struggle for racial equality and hopes to remind the public of the story behind the famous case. It was, Plessy and Ferguson said, a forerunner of the legal strategies and civil disobedience that took root in the civil rights struggles of the 20th century.
UPDATE: The above photo is not Homer Plessy… it is Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback the first Black Governor of an American state (Louisiana in 1872). PBS Pinchback was head of the Citizens’ Committee which sponsored Plessy’s action. Whoops… whom to blame? Oh yes.. this site… where I got the pic and where it was mislabeled. Thanks to Lauren in the comments who caught the mistake while researching the case.
Wankette | Tuesday, 7th of June 2011 at 03:15:42 AM
So last night on Hardball (*snicker* there’s funny everywhere with this), Chris Matthews hit bottom, then dug a hole, when he wondered aloud if perhaps Weiner’s wife was partly to blame for the Congressman’s current trouble.
Well, I dunno about Weiner, Chrissie, but I can guarantee the trouble you’re in now, will be because of Huma. To put it in vernacular appropriate to the current conversation: You are a dick.
I confess to following this story, via Ace of Spades, all last weekend. For hours. A real-time trainwreck; I couldn’t look away. Until I had to look away. To shower.
To Huma Abedin: No matter how any covering-for-your-husband, journalistic mouthpiece-of-trash tries to spin it, this is not your fault. Whatever was going on in your marriage, you did not deserve this.
To Tony’s Girls: Some of you are porn stars. Some are military vets. Most of you appear to be under 30. For you, and anyone else pining for pillow talk with The Rich & Famous, I offer the following Immodest Proposal:
1. Imagine anything you Tweet as a headline in tomorrow’s paper. With your name attached. If you’re satisfied that’s a test it can pass, twerp away.
2. If you’re getting unwelcome messages from anyone, de-friend/de-follow/de-lurk…BLOCK. Report it to the appropriate authorities. Because when the p.r. bus rolls along in the wake of any scandal — and rest assured, it will! — you will be nothing to the driver but a bump on the road to recovering his image. Your new identity will be the publicity-hungry slut who coaxed a Good Man away from his Good Woman. And that’s just what they’ll say on The View.
Oh, and Representative Weiner: When you said you were doing x to protect your wife, just know the bullshit detector rang so loud, the Midwest is now deaf. You wanna “protect” your wife? Find another hobby.
Outlaw13 | Monday, 6th of June 2011 at 12:51:38 PM
Me likey! Looking forward to this.
The funny thing about this and the comic is that Audie Murphy (the most decorated American Soldier in history) was about the size of the scrawny Steve Rodgers and was rejected by the USMC before he was accepted for service by the Army.
Some Came Running (1958)
A veteran returns home to deal with family secrets and small-town scandals.
Dir: Vincente Minnelli Cast: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine. TV-PG. 10:45 AM EDT. TCM.
This is an underappreciated gem in Sinatra’s film canon (Minelli’s too). It’s pretty gritty for the time — even the movie posters blared “Not Suitable For Children”. McLaine and Arthur Kennedy were both nominated for Oscars. Also on tomorrow are prior CPODs Ocean’s Eleven (1:15 PM), Great Expectations (8:00 PM) and Black Narcissus (10:15 PM). Also check our 4 For Texas (3:30 PM) and Robin and the 7 Hoods (5:45 PM) as TCM celebrates Frank Sinatra.
“If, in order to receive welfare, all able-bodied, adult recipients were required to write a personal letter to a specific taxpayer, or group of named taxpayers, thanking them for the loan, and outlining what they will do to pay it back to the system, I bet the rolls would drop by 50% or more, overnight.”
Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment — let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Hopefully they haven’t already captured our Richard Trzupek to begin his tattooing process. To Mr. Glover, please just stop with that “on second thoughts.” If you really want to beat your head against the wall (or forgot just how intolerant the “tolerant” left really are), be sure to check out the whole column.
Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.
Not necessarily on the forehead; I’m a reasonable man. Just something along their arm or across their chest so their grandchildren could say, ”Really? You were one of the ones who tried to stop the world doing something? And why exactly was that, granddad?”
On second thoughts, maybe the tattooing along the arm is a bit Nazi-creepy. So how about they are forced to buy property on low-lying islands, the sort of property that will become worthless with a few more centimetres of ocean rise, so they are bankrupted by their own bloody-mindedness? Or what about their signed agreement to stand, in the year 2040, lashed to a pole at a certain point in the shallows off Manly? If they are right and the world is cooling – ”climate change stopped in the year 1998” is one of their more boneheaded beliefs – their mouths will be above water. If not …
OK, maybe the desire to see the painful, thrashing death of one’s opponents is not ideal. But, my God, these people are frustrating. You just know that in 20 years’ time, when the costs of our inaction are clear, the climate deniers will become climate-denial-deniers. ”Who me? Oh, no, I always believed in it. Yes, it’s hard to understand why people back then were so daft. It’s so much more costly to stop it now.”
That’s why the tattoo has its appeal.
You all are probably aware that the press has been trying to confirm the idea of Sarah Palin as doofus by trying to say she made a mistake when she noted that Paul Revere warned the British as well as his fellow colonialists of impending conflict. Who’dathunkit but the press was wrong. And this — from The Los Angeles Times no less:
You may have heard recently something about that Sarah Palin telling a reporter that Paul Revere warned the British on his famous rousing revolutionary ride.
Now, that so many Americans have wallowed in their smug confirmation that Palin is an idiot unqualified for anything but Paul Revere thinks about something paulreverefactsdotcomrepeating sixth-grade history, how far, wide and fast do you think the contradictory news will spread that the former governor of Alaska was indeed correct?
That the Republican non-candidate, in fact, knew more about the actual facts of Revere’s midnight ride than all those idiots unknowingly revealing their own ignorance by laughing at her faux faux pas? How secretly embarrassing this must be, to be forced to face that you’re dumber than the reputed dummy.
As it happens, though, such phenomena are regular occurrences in American politics, reminding consumers of news to be wary when some fresh story seems to fit contemporary assumptions so absolutely perfectly.
The well-known fable is Revere’s late-night ride to warn fellow revolutionaries that….
…the British were coming. Less known, obviously, is the rest of the evening’s events in which Revere was captured by said redcoats and did indeed defiantly warn them of the awakened militia awaiting their arrival ahead and of the American Revolution’s inevitable victory.
Palin knew this. The on-scene reporters did not and ran off like Revere to alert the world to Palin’s latest mis-speak, which wasn’t.
Like a number of famous faux gaffes in American politics, the facts of the situation no longer really matter.
The initial impression was eagerly grabbed by so many, starting with the reporter and millions of others gleefully sharing the story that reinforced their beliefs and/or desires.
I love Sarah Palin. I’m not convinced she should be President — though she’d be a damn sight better than the current occupant — but damn does she get in their heads. I love to watch all these liberals who know no American history other than dead Indians, barefoot and forcibly pregnant wimmins, and enslaved Blacks — eat crow. Eat it Liberals and J-school grads — and the crow too.
Outlaw13 | Monday, 6th of June 2011 at 03:50:54 AM
A few months ago outgoing Defense Secretary Gates said in a speech and various articles that DOD needed to find ways to save money across the board…wherever possible. Apparently in a move that verifies Warrant Officer’s views of Sergeant Majors everywhere, the Marine Corps Sergeant Major didn’t get the word…or chose to ignore it for petty and prideful reasons.
… Army officials have said they want soldiers to wear the best possible camouflage — even if that is the MARPAT. But Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton Kent says don’t count on it.
The Corps owns the rights to MARPAT and wants to retain it for its own use, Kent said late last year. Marine officials said they have no beef with anyone researching and testing MARPAT, but they want Marines distinguished from other service members on the battlefield…
Radio Free Threedonia, Mach V (maybe VI, I’ve honestly lost track), 4-6 PM PST, and we promise no experiments in jazz odysseys. We do, however, guarantee the usual free-form controlled insanity you’ve come to expect over the last couple years.
Guests Tom Amenta from Ranger Up, Paul Strange from the band Strange Karma scheduled in first and second hours, respectively. Mystery guest calling in around 5:40 PST, too. Might be Coach Joe, we’re just not sure at this stage. It was Coach Joe, unhinged as only he can be.