While today’s New York Times’ op-ed page affords Nigel Hamilton the opportunity to less-than-methodically imagine a world in which JFK was never killed, somehow Hamilton managed to overlook the obvious impact Kennedy’s un-assassination would have on the entertainment industry. Well low culture is here to fill in the blanks, following in the Times’ illegible footsteps.
In honor of Jonathan Ames‘ week-long diary of his trip to Club Med on McSweeneys.net, we here at low culture would like to announce our First Annual (Ever?) Jonathan Ames Write-Alike Contest.
Please use our comments area to post your entries. Extra points awarded for use of Yiddish, references to Scott Fitzgerald, detailed descriptions of bodily functions, and in-depth questioning of your sexuality. All entries not in the first-person will be automatically disqualified.
Winning entry will be printed out and hand delivered to Ames who lives two blocks away from me. (Or his mailbox: see nonexistant rules for further information.) All entries must be submitted…whenever. Must be 18 years or older to enter; only one winner per state, sorry Tennessee.
I snoozed on this all week, but this comes from Wednesday’s Times article,
Remains of Dean’s Long-Missing Brother Found by Jodi Wilgoren and Michael Slackman:
Every day on the campaign trail, Howard Dean wears an unfashionable black belt that belonged to his younger brother Charlie, a silent memorial to the man who vanished while traveling the Mekong River 29 years ago… Dr. Dean has worn the black leather belt with the large, silver-rimmed holes for at least 20 years, and counts his brother’s death as a watershed that made him more serious about his own future.
How many middle aged men can say they’ve been able to wear the same belt for 20 years? Oh, and it’s a shame about his brother, too.
[Yes, I know that the belt on the left is brown with a brass buckle.]
Being a journalist is hard work. You have to pound the pavement in search of sources, burn the candle at both ends to write engaging sentences, and worst of all, you have to read the whole blurb on the dust jacket of a book for that deep, deep background.
Ask anyone writing about super producer-turned-alleged murderer, Phil Spector. This comes the back cover blurb of Mark Ribowsky’s 1989 book He’s A Rebel: Phil Spector, Rock and Roll’s Legendary Producer: “Phil Spector created the ‘wall of sound,’ produced the Beatles’ last record, persuaded the Ramones to go ‘pop,’ made the Righteous brothers sound respectable, and was a millionaire by age 21.”
If that last part of the sentence sounds familiar, then you’ve been paying attention:
“As songwriter, guitarist and backup singer for the band, which hit the big time with To Know Him is to Love Him, he became a millionaire by the age of 21.
“‘To Know Him Is to Love Him’ and made him a millionaire by age 21.”
“By the time he was 21, Spector was a millionaire.”
“ Spector was a millionaire by age 21, and his music career exploded after he came onto the music scene as a member of the band the Teddy Bears.”
“Spector had started his career as a musician with a band called the Teddy Bears before embarking on a songwriting and production career that made him a millionaire by the age of 21.”
“Spector was only 21 years old, and he was a millionaire.”
“…the youngest record company head and a millionaire age 21, dubbed Tycoon of Teen.”
“Spector got his start in the music business in 1958 as a songwriter, guitarist and backup singer for the Los Angeles group the Teddy Bears, which had a hit single with ‘To Know Him is to Love Him’ and made him a millionaire by age 21. ”
Spector began promoting, producing and creating bands when he was in his teens, and was a millionaire by the time he was 21.”
“Phil Spector, the legendary but reclusive American producer who invented the ‘wall of sound’, hit No. 1 with his very first single and was a millionaire by 21.”
“By 21, Spector was a millionaire and a maverick dubbed the ‘teen tycoon’ by author Tom Wolfe.”
I don’t know, know, know about you, but I broke into a sweat just summarizing it.
President Bush, despite his being a longtime proponent of repetitive mantras, really ought to look into hiring a new set of speechwriters, lest we have to endure, yet again, his uttering the following lines when asked about protests against his administration’s policies.
November 20, 2003, on London’s protesters:
“Freedom is beautiful,” Bush said today, adding he was happy to be in a country where people were allowed to speak their minds freely. “All I know is that people in Baghdad weren’t allowed to do this until recent history.”
November 17, 2003, anticipating London’s protesters:
“I am so pleased to be going to a country which says that people are allowed to express their mind. That’s fantastic. Freedom is a beautiful thing,” he told the Press Association.
May 21, 2003, on Berlin’s protesters:
“That’s good. That’s democracy,” Bush said of the protests. “See, I love to visit a place that is confident in her freedom, a place where people feel free to express themselves, because that’s what I believe in.”
February 15, 2003, on worldwide protests:
“The president views force as a last resort. He still hopes for a peaceful resolution and that is up to Saddam Hussein,” White House spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo said. “The president is a strong advocate for freedom and democracy. And one of the democratic values that we hold dear is the right of people to peacefully assemble and express their views.”
Have we reached saturation yet?
Welcome to multimedia corner here at low culture!
In keeping with this week’s visit to the United Kingdom by President Bush, the British comedian- cum- scandal-artist -cum-filmmaker Chris Morris has re-posted his two “Bushwhacked” cut-and-paste parody collages of the President’s 2002 and 2003 State of the Union addresses.
While these have circulated as audio files since, well, a few days after the initial speech(es) were made, those of us with “digital divide-less” broadband connections are now treated to the full audio-visual experience, which is a vast improvement on the nearly year-old MP3s.
To borrow a phrase that the papers seem so fond of citing, “nearly seven months since President Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq,” there’s something quite perverse about seeing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi grin wickedly at Bush’s butchered announcement that “the American flag stands for…cutting out tongues…and rape.”
Among the 150,000 protesters who greeted President Bush in England this week were the members of The Lefty Spice Girls. On the left (naturally) we have Fiona (aka ‘Anti-Globalization Spice’); in the middle is Johri (aka ‘Stop War Now Spice’); and in the back is Alex M. (‘Environmental Justice Spice’). Not pictured: Alex G. (aka, ‘Workers’ Rights Spice’) and Miranda (aka, ‘Legalize Marijuana Spice’).
Tell me what you want, what you really, really want… If you want my future, correct your past/If you wanna get with me, end the slog real fast…
Sidebar: What is the deal with photographers only shooting pretty girls at protests and rallies? I mean, that has to be the oldest scam in the book: “Hey, why don’t you give me your number and I’ll give you a print of this. You know, I’m pals with the photo editor at the paper, I can definitely make your whole sign visible…”
Check it out: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5. I could go on forever here. Don’t make me go on forever, okay?