Monday, February 06, 2006


Shame on the nucka who crack a Boo-Yaa joke

Cass Elliot - "Make Your Own Kind Of Music" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Looks like Klosterman got his wish last night. And I suppose I am happy, for similar reasons. Feelings toward Chuck the writer and overstatement of random acts of kindness aside, I agreed with his last kernel from the aforelinked post: "Humanity deserves respect, rockers."

See, his yarn about Pittsburgh Safety Troy Polamalu reminded me of one of my dad's stories back when the ol' man was a salaryman (or, at least the equivalent in the architecture business). One upon a time in the '70s, he went out with some co-workers to celebrate some work-related achievement of theirs at a low-key establishment in Hollywood. They had a rather large party, which worked out because the restaurant was relatively empty. Anyway, to properly liven up the mood, they ordered champagne and chatted each other up, congratulating each other on their achievements.

One of the few other parties in the restaurant was a middle-aged couple sitting across the way. The man, a slender fellow with dark hair, peppered with the first traces of grey, took notice of my father's group for three obvious reasons: 1) they were a big group in a small joint; 2) they were making all the noise; and 3) they were all Asian (mind you, this was the '70s -- I still only see packs of Asians in certain parts of town). He sauntered over, and, like a complete gentleman, pointed out the champagne and asked them what the nature of their celebration was. My father, ever the social butterfly, explained that it was a business-related affair and proceeded with the details. The man listened, smiled and gave his congratulations to the group on behalf of his wife and himself. My father's group thanked the man for the kind words and he returned to his wife.

Shortly thereafter, my father and his co-workers received another bucket of champagne -- the waiter explained that it was a gift from the man and his wife. Warmed by the gesture, my father invited the couple over and the extended party kept each other company through the night, talking mostly about nothing.

Gradually, the group dwindled down to my father, one other co-worker, the man and his wife. The four closed out the place and finally parted ways, the couple walking up the Hollywood Hills toward their home mere blocks away, my father and his colleague back to their respective cars. Not until after this entire episode did my father learn who Bob "Gilligan" Denver the celebrity was.

Which I suppose doesn't matter a great deal. What mattered was that moment when a couple strangers met and enjoyed each others' company. There was no talk of celebrity, life in the abstract or disreality; just human things.

Which brings me back to Klosterman's final point about humanity. Perhaps it is crotchety and naïve to discuss such touchy-feelyness in the context of popular music or popular culture, arenas that stress product and processing of product -- anyone catch Chappelle on Oprah? No matter, youtube got you covered: Part 1; Part 2; and Part 3 (links via Spine). I bring up Chappelle because a similiar thought crossed my mind regarding his wishes and ideals. Wouldn't it be nice if BET could follow-up one of its Black History Month spots with something beside a shoot-em-up video game comercial? Wouldn't it be d'lovely if networks could get over chop sockyness? And for all of his complaints about celebrity and its associative anxieties, what was he doing on Oprah of all places airing it out? Then again, perhaps it is also a liberating and relaxing reminder to hear this. A reminder of what matters most.

So, hats off to Polamalu and the crew. Just don't go and have this kind of celebration.


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