You know you’re some kinda hip when Rupert’s Wall Street Journal vouches for your rebel self. You’re just that much more the S&P 500’s Henry Rollins when it happens to be you they call to testify:
When did the culture become so coarse? It’s a question that quickly gets you branded as either an unsophisticated rube or some angry culture warrior. But I swear on my hard drive that I’m neither. My favorite movie is “Last Tango in Paris.”
It’s Mary Tyler Moore’s favorite too. zing.
I agree (on a theoretical level) with the notorious rake James Goldsmith, who said that when a man marries his mistress, he creates a job vacancy. I once thought of writing a book-length homage to the eff-word in American culture . .
How effin’ awesome would that be? But didn’t I just read, seconds ago, something about . .
“What’s celebrity sex, Dad?” It was my 7-year-old son, who had been looking over my shoulder at my computer screen . .
The eff-word popped out of TV programs we thought were friendly enough to have on while the children played in the next room. Ads depicting all but naked couples beckoned to them from the mainstream magazines scattered around the house . .
When did the culture become so coarse?
When did Doc Martens get so heavy? It would have been Lee Siegel himself to have written the academic standard for vulgarity – he’s that sort of fargeen icehole – except that word has become fairly foul. And he’s secured a Journal sinecure and so things have gotten complicated, not that that stops him from conjouring Grampaw on both sides of the – what is this anyway, an issue? I think it’s ‘culture.’ Anyway you read on, and the whole world has grown so very rough and/or tumble or perhaps so very wussy with the HBO and Red Bull:
I’m cool, and I’m down with everything, you bet, but I miss a time when there were powerful imprecations instead of mere obscenity—or at least when sexual innuendo, because it was innuendo, served as a delicious release of tension between our private and public lives. Long before there was twerking, there were Elvis’s gyrations, which shocked people because gyrating hips are more associated with women (thrusting his hips forward would have had a masculine connotation).
I think that’s what all the bothered young women were screaming about. “He moves like a lady!” they cried. “It’s very feminine AAIIYYEEE.” Not that this strange notion somehow crashed the essay, because the whole thing is suck.
The same went, in a later era, for the young Madonna: “Two by two their bodies become one.” It’s an electric image because you are actively engaged in completing it. Contrast that with the aging Madonna trash-talking like a kid:
Some girls got an attitude
Fake t— and a nasty mood
Hot s— when she’s in the nude
(In the naughty naked nude)
The n-ghty n-k-d n-de. Well, clearly she’s flown far beyond the fences. I might offer that vapid is also insulting, to some people. For Lee, though, Madonna as Our Provocateur: electric. Madonna as Our Madge: revolting. I can’t find any differences between the two mannequins myself. Maybe we should wait to see if one of them blinks?
Everyone remembers the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar,” whose sexual and racial provocations were perfectly calibrated for 1971.
Calibrated by greedy Brits employing classic racism, for profit. Agreed.
Few, if any, people can recall their foray into explicit obscenity two years later with “Star Star.” The earlier song was sly and licentious; behind the sexual allusions were the vitality and energy to carry them out.
To carry these out, like so:
Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in a market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he’s doing alright
Hear him whip the women just around midnight
Brown sugar how come you taste so good?
It would have been sly, if not maybe licentious, of Mick to have titled his subtlety “I Rape Your Chattel Ass,” but that would have crossed the thin line. And we wouldn’t want to have stopped Lee ‘Eff Word’ Siegel in his tracks perhaps as he skipped out on his Olive Garden tab, bad boy.