Friday Open Forum!

Or “open lines,” if you like anachronisms.

Assuming high schools can still do musicals, will be allowed to or want to, I wonder how the four classic high school musicals (all about high school) will fare. I’ve seen ’em all. “Grease” is tied with “Hairspray” for the worst (but is arguably the most fun). “Mean Girls” had its Broadway run prematurely killed by the pandemic, but the show is pretty slick and the book is the best of the four. That show’s biggest problem is the problem of the majority of hit musicals since the Seventies: the technical requirements to make it work are beyond the capabilities of most high schools (and community theaters as well).

That leaves “Bye-Bye Birdie,” the oldest of the shows and over-all, probably the best. But the Elvis craze is ancient history, high school girls don’t scream and faint any more (that’s progress at least), and much of what makes the show funny are references to Fifties cultural touchpoints (Ed Sullivan?) that today’s teens won’t appreciate or even understand. “Bye-Bye Birdie” also has a movie version that has aged badly, and was never that hot despite a great cast. Ann-Margret was never believable as an innocent high school girl. Not for a second.

All four shows are also very white—can’t have that! Rated by diversity points, the shows stack up as “Hairspray,” “Mean Girls,” and then the other two in a distant tie in Systemic Racism Hell. I suppose you could have Conrad Birdie, the Elvis character, be black, or even play him as a parody of another icons-of-color like Little Richard or Chuck Berry, but his songs would be stylistically alien to those singers.

26 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum!

  1. Here is something worth discussing.

    • I’ve been asked for assistance by people at Wal-Mart in the past. And I wasn’t even wearing a Navy blue shirt.

      It’s unfortunate that every annoyance by a black person is now seen as a presumption of racism. Never attribute to malice what can be better ascribed to stupidity.

        • You know, Bill, I was trying to think of the term to describe this type of projection. Years of previous customer service experience has taught me how the American consumer has perfected the art of projection. The customer comes in with an attitude and then accuses the nice-as-pie cashier of rudeness when the customer doesn’t get what he or she wants. It’s a way to deflect blame or to justify a rant/tantrum.

          White people are not immune to being confused for employees or to being helped last in a large crowd of people that don’t seem to know how to stand in a line. These things are part and parcel of life in the U.S. Why does it seem that those of color think that being treated the same way is a mark of hostility?

      • When I was in my 20’s, I was confused for an employee every time I walked into a store. It was comically absurd how often this happened. (It would probably still happen, but I’ve so rarely stepped into large stores this past year, and would usually have a shopping cart full of stuff when I did.)

        It got annoying, but I never attributed to malice. What a sad way of life when you see malice in every stupid misunderstanding.

  2. Prince Harry thinks the First Amendment is “bonkers”

    There are many articles I could link to so why not link to the one with the impossibly stupid headline?
    https://www.newsweek.com/prince-harry-calls-first-amendment-bonkers-conservative-backlash-armchair-expert-1592067

    Because, apparently, backing up the First Amendment is something only Conservatives do now. Or something.

    I’m not sure whether this is the result of Woke progressivism or his extraordinarily privileged life in the United Kingdom that makes Harry so ignorant and unappreciative of the unique and envied First Amendment that has allowed him to go on television and the web to throw his family under the bus. I wrote when Harry and Meghan moved to the U.S. that he clearly didn’t understand American freedoms if he thought he was going to get more privacy here than in Canada or the UK. Freedom of the Press is far broader here than what he’s used to and no U.S. news agency has an understanding with Buckingham Palace regarding royal coverage. One would have thought Meghan would have explained that to him, but, as she can’t be bothered to google the lyrics to “God Save the Queen”, her ability to educate her spouse on American traditions and liberties is somewhat suspect.

    Assuming she appreciates and believes in them herself, which I doubt.

    Any American citizen who nods and agrees with Harry that our First Amendment is “bonkers” should sue his or her school district for malpractice. How ironic that there are some Americans who will let a member of the British Royal Family lecture us on how wrong we are to allow freedom like that.

    It wouldn’t have been too long ago that editorial pages in every major U.S. paper would have condemned Harry’s remark.

  3. Never saw Mean Girls, didn’t like Hairspray. But I enjoyed Grease (even the movie), and was in a production of Bye-Bye Birdie when I was in high school.

    I think Birdie could be re-imagined and updated for current times, without a whole lot of difficulty. It could be like a Time Warp High School – there are probably still at least a few of them in existence today, in flyover country, perhaps in one of the smaller big cities’ ‘burbs. By TWHS, I mean kids carrying on like the white ones were stereotyped in the 1950s (especially with the “fossil” music), but with a more diverse student and faculty population, cell phones, etc.

    Hugo and Kim could be a bi-racial couple. Hell, Kim’s parents could be bi-racial, or at least bi-ethnic. Mr. Mac could play an uptight Catholic middle-class protective Dad, while his wife could be a neurotic Jewish Mom who wants Kim to hit the Big Time in show business. Conrad could be like a winner on “The Voice” or “American Idol” who has been found-out and is under threat of being deported ostensibly because of his “undocumented” status (but in reality, because he’s a patriotic Russian who knows how to hack the Big Tech giants’ systems and turn people’s votes for Biden into votes for Trump).

    Albert Peterson? Come on! Picture a black songwriter-promoter-agent who’s a Momma’s Boy. Hilarious! Rosie could be ANYbody, ANY race or ethnicity – even “occasionally gay” – who finds a way to charm Albert’s Momma to where the Albert-Rosie union is “blessed.”

    Well, that’s enough. I’ll stay in my lane, and let you, Jack, take it from here.

  4. Here is another comment worth discussing.

    https://www.quora.com/Will-conservatives-try-and-take-credit-for-BLM-and-Antifa-in-50-years-like-they-do-for-other-good-liberal-causes-in-the-past/answer/Aaron-Early-5?comment_id=200802043&comment_type=2

    Only neo-fascists have a reason to oppose anti-fascists.

    The GOP has effectively placed themselves on the same side as the Nazi’s with their staunch opposition to Antifa. The Nazi phrase “Lugenpresse” is remarkably similar to the “fake news” shouted by so many Trump loyalists. Both phrases were used in the exact same context, by both the GOP and the Nazi’s. The Nazi’s had a failed coup as well. If the GOP tries another coup, that’ll just be another act of mirroring the Nazi’s.

    Here we see a typical white nationalist Trump support wearing a shirt that says “6MWE”. That stands for 6 Million Wasn’t Enough; in reference to the Nazi Holocaust. Another Trump loyalist with a “Camp Auschwitz” hoodie! Another glorification of the Nazi’s.

    So if you’re on the right wing, these are your people. Its a part of American history now. These people are the face of the GOP. If you don’t think this is a problem, you have no place to criticize anyone else.

    I’m betting you think Ashley Babbit being shot while crawling through a broken window of the Capitol was wrong.

    – Aaron Early

    • He’s an idiot. Anti-fascist does not automatically equal pro-democracy. The East Germans called the Berlin Wall the “Anti-Fascist Protection Barrier” because it was supposed to protect them from all those Fascists on the other side of the wall.

      To someone like Early, who probably thinks the Soviet Union was the greatest thing since sliced bread, I don’t suppose it matters, but he shouldn’t be in a position to pass on his ignorance to others.

      • “Antifa”, especially in the U.S., is a motte and bailey, just like BLM. It’s like the KKK trying to mask its nature by claiming the initials stand for “Kindness to Kids and Kittens”…and who could oppose that?.

    • I find myself commenting less and less often online or in person about my beliefs. I wouldn’t have imagined we’d reach a time when saying “I think we should invest more money in American people and American causes before spending money on foreign people and causes” would invoke cries of racism, fascism, and white supremacy. But, here we are, living in a time where attacking fellow countrymen for supporting fellow countrymen is viewed as fundamentally abhorrent.

      • Yeah, I have to agree, ME. I try to limit “can you believe this idiot?” commentary, because they could easily eat the blog. The guy’s an idiot. I wouldn’t waste time taking to him, and I won’t waste time thinking about him. It’s just masochistic.

  5. Is it unethical to bemoan that you weren’t more of a jerk to an innocent stranger who asks you a question? A tweet (and follow-ups) that is not being well received in responses, but with an unfortunate number of likes:

    Brittani James, MD (@DrBrittaniJ) Tweeted:
    Minding my own business shopping and a middle-aged white woman asked me if I work there.

    When I looked at her blankly and answered back in a deadpan voice “no”, she giggled it off and said “I was just wondering where to put this shirt back”.

    But I’m a bad person if I go off. https://twitter.com/DrBrittaniJ/status/1393623371322122240?s=20

  6. Call me cooky but I think a sitting mayor of any city might have an ethical obligation to resign when her house is raided in a “massive” drug bust. What say you, oh most venerable and legion Ethics Alarmists?

    For you consideration is a Daily Wire report on the most unfortunate incident:

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/watch-democrat-mayor-after-drug-raid-on-home-husbands-arrest-attacks-are-political-i-wont-resign?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=mattwalsh&fbclid=IwAR38ypbjXPEBbpzW-JktkibgRLBt5-C8Y6PsN7C4INwZIoW7-SdemS6CFdw

    jvb

  7. People may want to read Red, White and Black by Bob Woodson and 28 other black scholars. It is the black rebuke of CRT and the 1619 project.

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