Monday, August 26, 2013

The good ol' days weren't always good, and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems...

After reading all these comments about Miley Cyrus and the MTV VMAs (no, I didn't watch the clip), I am tempted to go on a curmudgeonly rant worthy of Andy Rooney.

But, no. Let's do something else.

Most of you know that I'm a proud, nostalgic, old soul. My favorite two singers are dead. My favorite movie was released 44 years ago. My favorite dramatic TV series was canceled in 1988 and my favorite sitcom was canceled in 1983. My favorite sport is no longer the true national pastime.

By and large I do think that popular culture is a vast wasteland. But that doesn't mean that everything old is spectacular and that everything new stinks. Far from it.

Example of the former: "The Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini."

Example of the latter: Michael Buble

You have to sift among the dross more than you used to, but it's out there, if you look.

Woody Allen is still churning out good films. Brian Stokes Mitchell is one of the most talented singers of any era. Two of the best biographies I have ever read (James Kaplan's "Frank: The Voice" and Paul Hendrickson's "Hemingway's Boat") were both released in this decade. "Mad Men" is one of the best television shows I have ever seen, and "Downton Abbey" is just as addicting as was the original "Upstairs Downstairs."

All this being said, the crap outweighs the quality. It's tempting to say it keeps getting worse.

Last week, I saw a few minutes of a revolting show in which two people roam around naked while trying to survive in the wild. I'm not a prude about nudity, but I hate everything about so-called "reality TV," from the fact that networks like them because they can make them on the cheap (which means you don't need writers) right down to the fact that it has taken voyeurism to a new low.

Some of these folks should know better. Jimmy Buffett, for example, has cut a single with Toby Keith (a guy I liked in the '90s who has long outstayed his welcome) that is actually called "Too Drunk to Karaoke."

Somebody should check to see if cracks have appeared in Hank Williams' grave.

(Note to Nashville: I'm pretty sure Hank DIDN'T do it this way...)

But, I try to keep remembering a line from a Billy Joel song:

"The good ol' days weren't always good, and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems."

When all else fails, I just put on my records or surf over to YouTube and get "Lost in the '50s Tonight."


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