Another week, another Frank Rich column (nearly) juxtaposed with a conflicting ad. As reported here last week, The New York Times ad sales department should read Frank Rich’s omnibus Arts & Leisure column before it places its ads. This week’s Rich column, The Rush of the New Rat Pack goes a long way to put forth the thesis that with the Gropinator in the Governor’s mansion in California and Bill Bennett playing the slots in Vegas, the staid old G.O.P. has absorbed some of the Rat Pack’s ring-a-ding-ding mojo. Not a terrible idea, but when Rich searches for contemporary examples of Rat Pack revival, he comes up a bit short: Ashton Kutcher and P. Diddy calling each other “Dino” and “Frank” between reach-arounds? Dubious at best. That weird “Sinatra: His Voice, His Way” thing at Radio City Music Hall? A bit manufactured. Maybe if Swingers had just come out and people were still smoking cigars and drinking Martinis on the cover of Esquire Rich might be able to fill his three-times-a-trend quotient for the week. (Why Rich didn’t mention the Japanese commercial director who urged Bill Murray to be more like the “Lat-a pack-a” in Lost in Translation is beyond me.)
But just as I concluded that Rich’s case was too weak and licked my finger to change from page 19 to 20, there it was on the very next page: an ad featuring Frank, Sammy, and Dino for Live and Swingin’ “The swingin’est 2-disc collection ever!” Ring-a-ding-ding, indeed.