"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
In a world dominated by teenagers, it is easy to forget that popular culture once catered to adults, writes critic and author Mark Gauvreau Judge in a book that discerns in the swing revival a "rebirth of grown-up culture."
Much has been lost in the revolt against the artificial, the formal, the conventional. For Judge—and for my friends and me—swing dancing is about CLASS and style. It is about feeling, looking, and acting sharp. It is about responsibility, decency, and dignity. It is a reminder to keep a beat, follow the steps, and treat your partner as a human, not an object. Swing, it seems, is about saving civilization.
A few young men…rejecting the nihilism and brutality of pop culture in favor of cultivation, class, and courtesy, may be just what is needed to transform society. As Judge concludes, "We can go home again. It starts with a nice suit and a steady beat."
In addition to swing music, the author, grandson of Washington baseball great Joe Judge, has written on the 1924 Senators, marking him, from the Irish Elk perspective, as a critic with his cultural priorities in order.
* * * Cab Calloway's zoot suit might have been the grandfather of the hip hop clown pants of today, but it was a suit, and had a panache that oversized basketball shirts and sideways baseball hats do not. Cab had style.
First and foremost, there's only one reason for wearing a baseball hat backwards: you're the starting catcher.Obscurorant
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Martha Bayles has an excellent piece in today's Wall Street Journal on the cynical "neominstrelsy" of the hip hop industry, which degrades black culture while selling upwards of 80 percent of its CDs to whites
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Regardless of the precise style of the prole cap, it seems crucial that it be ugly. To achieve even greater ugliness, the prole will sometimes wear his cap back to front. -- Paul Fussell, on adjusto-strap baseball caps, in Class: A Guide Through the American Class System.
I wonder how Fussell -- or Zippy cartoonist Bill Griffith for that matter -- would view Scott Savol, the thuggish homie manqué who continues, inexplicably, to survive on American Idol, despite appearing as if he could go postal at any moment.
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Meantime, Dale Price and James Lileks react to the Fashion Bratz -- and now, Baby Bratz -- lines of dolls for little girls.
Bratz are the main reason I do not keep a supply of bricks around the house, because everytime the commercials come on I wish to pitch something kiln-fired through the screen so hard it beans the toy exec who greenlighted these hootchie toys. The Baby Bratz are as bad as you can imagine: “Bottles with Bling.” Judas on a stick, why not just refit the Bratz so they have Real Oozing Gonorreal Flow Action?
“They know how to flaunt it, and they’re keeping it real in the crib.”
What exactly is the penalty for failing to keep it real in the crib? Someone busts a cap in yo Pamper? I know I am old and so out of step it’s a wonder I don’t just appear as an indistinct smear, but was it really necessary to push the Age of Sultry Hussyism down to the infant stage? #