Sunday, January 26, 2014

Joe Namath Long Bombs to the Hands of Time

CC riding with Ann-Margret
Until he appeared, professional sports strained to be wholesome, bursting with brush-cuts, white teeth and ponytails. Stadiums rattled under Romanesque, military vibrations, and the pre-game national anthem forged a linked between competition (war) and nationalism (war). Athletes were to appear humbled by their talents for—after all—accomplishments are attributable to clean living and supplication.

But Joe Namath didn’t give a hot damn about any of that. He was egocentric, boastful, drank, partied, bedded legions of women and—this is the spoiler—won games. In fact, as quarterback for the New York Jets, he QB’d the win for Super Bowl III in 1969. Not only did he win, but a few days beforehand, he, the underdog, predicted his team would win, an up-to-then outrageous and inappropriate attitude. It drove the Brush Cuts crazy. Hell, he even made Richard Nixon’s enemies list, and Nixon loved football.

His career? Namath tossed 220 interceptions to his 173 touchdowns and compiled a quarterback rating of only 65.5 – the lowest career rating for any quarterback who has ever won the Super Bowl. But why focus on that? Focus on The Game, sweetheart.
Namath lookin' good

With good looks and an ironic sense of humor, you have a guy that should be in movies, and he was, getting down with Ann-Margaret on motorbikes.

First, you gotta win
What the Brush Cuts didn't understand was that Namath, even with his pimp hat and fox-fur coat, his swinging bachelor pad and TV commercials, came a lot closer to embodying the Constitutional qualities of liberty and individualism than they ever did, with their ‘yes sirs’ and drip-dry beliefs. Namath was a Hail-Mary-throwing embodiment of the American Dream, a risk-taker, an innovator, a leader.

His legacy can be found on a tropical island, reclined by a beach, laughing with a sumptuous blonde, now and then standing to whip a long bomb over the waves, secure with the knowledge that it will always be caught by the hands of time.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Beatles: Forever On Their Way to Capistrano

"I think their music could only appeal to adolescents and retarded adults." - Shirley Mair, Macleans Magazine, 1965

There was so much talent that you ignored the raw ambition. How else to explain our willful disregard of their psychotic work regime backed by matching haircuts and suits. The first drip-dry, bespoke boy band.

In (less than) three minute segments, infused with jangling guitars and timpani, Lennon and McCartney delivered truffle-weight paeans to teenage angst. For a brief time, they were the best in the world at it.
Forever winging through the great cosmic clouds

But then something happened. The great space-time tidal bores of fate, talent and time criss-crossed like never before. Drugged-out rock musicians became prominent and respected social icons. And the Beatles reigned from the electronic Olympus of sound reproduction.

But against all expectations, they just got better and better. They actually improved. ‘She Loves You’ was subsumed by the layered dream scape of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ belonged not only to a different band, but a different century, than ‘I Am the Walrus'.

Massive WTF.

The Beatles were embedded gypsies of the day-glo, patchouli-laden 1960s, so hyper-responsive to both their temporal and secular surroundings, that they could move swiftly, without footprints, from Los  Angeles to Rishikesh, from the dank bricks of the Cavern Club to the swirling valleys of the Himalayas.
The absolutely last group photo

By the time an entire generation became lost and despondent on the long and winding road to nowhere, the Beatles themselves had vanished just as fast as they had arrived, leaving few clues to their genius, never to fully reform (anticipating the extreme fragility of collective memory).

Long after their peers have been sealed up silent in tombs of black vinyl, the Beatles are still heard, disembodied melodies, riding the backs of swallows winging through cosmic clouds, forever on their way to San Juan Capistrano. 

It's the next best thing to be...