Ricky Gervais Does the Impossible

I went to the Doctor’s on Monday to get an update on the shoulder (I start therapy later this month, looks like Surgery is off the table for the moment) and something amazing took place as I entered the x-ray room.

The x-ray tech was talking about the golden globes.

Now if you are my age you are old enough to remember when the award shows of Hollywood were a big deal, who can forget that moment when John Wayne finally won an Oscar.

But this century, and particularly over the last decade as Hollywood has become more disdainful of the people who actually buy the tickets interest has dropped to the point where absolutely nobody cares and so politically correct that a ten year old tweet can doom a promising comic.

Then came Ricky Gervais who came on the air Sunday to host the golden globes and gave an opening monologue for the ages.

I’m writing this post at 2:24 PM on Monday afternoon and as of this moment this video has over 2.3 MILLION views.

As you might guess this monologue didn’t please Hollywood, the response of Lorraine Ali of the LA times (via the Washington Examiner) was typical:

Well, you say you’re woke, but the companies you work for in China — unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?”

The commentary would have meant far more if Gervais himself had been brave enough to drop the tired agitator shtick and, for once, read the room.

In that critical moment Lorraine Ali revealed that she did not know who the room was.

Lorraine Ali thought his “room” was the assembled talented but self righteous celebrities who gain their wealth and influence by pretending to be what they’re not for the pleasure of the people who actually build and do the things to keep the world going. But that was not his room, nor is it the room of any TV host as I explained the next morning on twitter

For the first time in decades people are talking about the golden globes both the night of the golden globes and the next day and while I don’t know if the ratings improved as the night went on I suspect more than a few people tuned or streamed in to see if Gervias had more to say, he did:

And in fact in a post show poll over 71% wanted to see him come back next year.

Golden Globes viewers have spoken, and they want Ricky Gervais to host “every year.” A whopping 71% of fans who voted in our recent poll said he did an “amazing” job overseeing the 77th ceremony on NBC. To compare, 9% thought he was “good, but forgettable” while the remaining 20% of haters voted that he was “awful.”

The funniest reaction came from this fellow:

because NOBODY is more marginalized that Hollywood actors.

Now don’t let anyone be fooled, Gervais is a man of the left, he remains such a man but he was hired to do a job and part of that job is to produce buzz for this show.

If I’m NBC I would have make sure people were talking about if the would be signed next year and then with a month or two before the event sign him and watch the buzz begin and the ratings sour.

Review: The Two Popes

By John Ruberry

“I’m not familiar with this part of the garden,” Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) tells Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) as they enter an area overrun by brush and deadwood in The Two Popes. Benedict then asks the Argentinian, “Which way?”

That garden, at the Vatican’s Palace of Castel Gandolfo outside of Rome, could rightly be called Benedict’s garden, as he was the Pope. Yet Benedict asks the man who ends up as his successor, Bergoglio, who became Pope Francis in 2013, for direction. Oops, I mean directions.

Clearly the scriptwriters and the director of The Two Popes favor the liberal leadership under Francis–the garden scene neatly ties up that sentiment in a bow.

Later, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio decries inequality, repeated images of ugly walls are shown.

The Two Popes is largely fictionalized story centered on the theological divide between the 265th and the 266th pontiffs. After a limited theatrical release, including a showing at the Chicago International Film Festival, which was sold out, preventing Mrs. Marathon Pundit from seeing it, the film debuted Friday on Netflix. The Two Popes is worth seeing, whether you are a Catholic or not, or a believer or not. The Welshmen in the lead roles, Hopkins and Pryce, provide superb performances. Of course Hopkins’ career has been justifiably rewarded, including gaining four Academy Award nominations, and winning the Best Actor Oscar for his role as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. Amazingly, despite stellar work in such movies as Something Wicked This Way Comes, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Pryce has never been honored with an Academy Award nomination. He deserves it for his performance as Francis, but my guess is that the Academy will overlook Pryce again.

The interplay–and the arguing–is what keeps The Two Popes going.

As for the fiction, there is plenty of it here. There were no long meetings between Benedict and Bergoglio; the catalyst for their movie summit was an offer of resignation from the cardinal, which is harshly rejected as a challenge to Benedict’s authority. The future Pope Francis turned 75 in 2011, it is customary for archbishops to retire at that age. It can be assumed that the pair never discussed the Beatles or their Abbey Road album. And it’s quite likely that Benedict’s favorite television show is not Kommisar Rex, an Austrian detective program where a German shepherd solves crimes. This sidetrack is probably a sly reference to Cardinal Ratzinger’s long term as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican under John Paul II, where he picked up the nickname “God’s Rottweiler.”

There are numerous flashback scenes involving Francis, including his early romance, his call to the priesthood, his muddled legacy from Argentina’s “Dirty War,” his rise, then fall, and his rise again within the Argentine Catholic Church. 

In the garden walk scene, Bergoglio condemns Benedict’s handling of the pedophile crisis within the priesthood, which included confession of the guilty–he calls it “magic words.” Benedict’s retort is harsh and telling, “Magic words, is that how you describe the sacrament?”

The Two Popes gives viewers plenty to think about. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Trump impeachment leads my list of recent legendary flops

By John Ruberry

Here’s a list of great flops in recent times. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

Here we go.

Trump impeachment.
Battlefield Earth movie.
The XFL. (Yes, a revival is planned.)
Jussie Smollett’s hate crime.
Joe Walsh’s Republican primary challenge against Trump, as well as those of William Weld and Mark Sanford.
New Coke.
Cop Rock TV show.
Watermelon-flavored Oreos.
Heaven’s Gate movie.
Bernie Madoff.
Jar Jar Binks.
The Cleveland Browns firing Bill Belichick.
ESPN becoming woke.
Theresa May’s call for a snap parliamentary election in 2017.
Cheetos lip balm.
Paris Hilton.
The Big Ten conference inviting Rutgers to join.
Anything related to Anna Nicole Smith.
Mars Needs Moms movie.
Manimal TV show.
Jeremy Corbin’s term as head of the Labour Party.
Pontiac Aztek.
The San Diego Chargers move to Los Angeles.
Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign, “I was born to be in it.”
Google Glass.
CNN’s decision to become the impeachment network.
Rosie O’Donnell on The View.
Michael Avenatti’s presidential run.
Enron.
Motorola Rokr phone. (I was given one of these by my employer at the time. It was truly a dreadful device.)
Heinz purple ketchup.

Now some of these debacles can also double as hoaxes, such as the “racist assault on Smollett. And of course the impeachment of Trump, which of course is stumbling along despite the lack of evidence that a crime was committed.

Witch-hunter in chief in the House, Adam Schiff, dabbles in screenplay writing. Perhaps a Schiff-scripted movie might make it on a future list.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Entertainment under the fedora, False Whovian Hope, Davis’ Obama plan revealed, “respectable” Lesbian Porn returns, A Clinton Fantasy Departs and the SJW Ghostbusters aneurysm

Apparently all the hope among fans that Doctor Who would adopt a course correction after a year off was false, the series is back next year with both Chibnall and Jodie Whitaker.

The realities on the ground do not matter. No amount of actual failure can compel the BBC to allow the 1st Woman Doctor and most woke Doctor in history to be seen as a failure, Sort of like Barack Obama.


Speaking of Obama & Doctor Who you might remember that in Russell T Davies last episode for Doctor Who his plot suggested that Barack Obama had a plan to fix the economy that was interrupted by the Master taking over the world. After the latest jobs report we now know that the plan apparently was to have Donald Trump follow him in office and fix it.


More TV apparently the L Word is back. I’m slightly surprised. The show’s primary draw was to provide a way for men to openly watch lesbian porn, even with their wives, while pretending they were not. But with porn and particularly lesbian porn now so mainstreamed that you can find it anywhere if you want it I don’t see the point.


I remember back in the Bush years the West Wing was liberals wet dream about having the White House when they couldn’t win it in real life. Madam Secretary was the modern counterpart where they could have a pretend Hillary Clinton who was honest and competent and now they have finished the series with their pretend Clinton being elected president.

Alas Madam Secretary never was embraced as the West Wing was. Perhaps is more of the left dived into that fantasy they would not be acting so insane now over Trump in real life.


Finally I was going to close with a bit about Clint Eastwood’s new Film Richard Jewell which opens this week but this trailer for the Ghostbusters Afterlife movie….

…a sequel to the Original Ghostbusters movies as opposed to the woke flop reboot, has got the woke brigades in an uproar. Here is a typical tweet and my response:

This may or may not be a movie I end up liking but I can sure tell you one thing, I love the way it’s driving the left apeshit.

Review of Who, the new album by the Who

By John Ruberry

Forty years ago Sunday I saw my first rock concert–and a great way to start out–it was my 18th birthday and it was the Who at the International Amphitheater in Chicago.

Sunday morning I was headed to another midwestern city on another birthday of course, this time headed for Milwaukee to run in the Santa Hustle 5K. And from my iPod I pressed “Play” to listen to the latest, and probably last, album by the Who, entitled, simply, Who.

The Who always had an attitude–and they still do. Lead singer Roger Daltrey, 75, now a baritone, barks out Pete Townshend’s lyrics on the opening track, “All This Music Must Fade.”

I don’t care. I know you’re gonna hate this song. And that’s it. We never really got along. It’s not new, not diverse. It won’t light up your parade. It’s just simple verse.

Townshend, 74, who wrote all but one of the songs for Who, the exception is “Break The News” by his brother Simon, looks back at the past, as is expected by any old man. Townshend once wrote on his iconic 1965 classic, “My Generation” this boast, “I hope I die before I get old.”

Chronologically only drummer Keith Moon,died young at 32, but years of drug and alcohol abuse aged him quickly–he was a physical wreck when he died in his sleep of a drug overdose. Drugs killed bassist John Entwistle at 58, also in his sleep, on the eve of a Who tour.

The Who have taken us from “The Music Must Change” on Who Are You, the last album with Moon, to “All This Music Must Fade.” Moon, who died a month after that album’s release, was unable to play drums on “The Music Must Change” because it was in the 6/8 time measure. He was once considered the worlds greatest rock drummer

The surviving Who members, aided on some tracks by unofficial bandmates Zak Starkey on drums and Pino Palladino on bass, don’t embarrass themselves. But they don’t exceed expectations. So if you’re looking for a septuagenarian anthem to match with “I Can See For Miles,” or “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” you will be disappointed. With few exceptions, the aforementioned “Break The News” is one, Who is formulaic, it’s got just enough synthesizers to recall Who Are You and the other Townshend/Daltrey Who album, Endless Wire, and the Townshend backup vocals seem scientifically placed. And that’s a problem as Townshend and Daltrey never appeared in the studio together for Who.

Other elements of the past on Who include the album artwork, designed by Peter Blake, who also created the Face Dances album cover, and the song “Detours.” Who scholars know that the earliest incarnation of the band was named the Detours.

“Ball and Chain” was the first song released from Who. It’s about the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Townshend opposes it, and that’s all you can extract from the pedestrian lyrics, that is, to reference “All This Music Must Fade,” only “just simple verse.”

As one ages death often becomes a common thought, and Townshend explores mortality in several songs here. If you are looking for intriguing albums about death, I recommend instead Magic and Loss by Lou Reed and the later albums of the American series by Johnny Cash. If you are prefer something less morbid from an older person looking back, the two Americana albums by Ray Davies, the Kinks mastermind, will provide a much better experience than Who for you.

Let me obscure. The most moving song about getting old and having regrets is “Ghosts” by Randy Newman, from his largely forgotten Born Again collection.

Back to the Who.

But does any of this discussion even matter to Daltrey and Townshend? I downloaded the deluxe version from Apple Music, which contains “Got Nothing To Prove.” An unexpected throwback to the mid-1960s, when the Who was a great singles band, it would have been one of the best tracks on the album, had it not been ruined by James Bond-theme styled orchestration.

Yes, the Who has nothing to prove anymore.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Anthony Jay & Jonathan Lynn Prophets of Yesterday’s Impeachment Hearings

I was actually wasn’t all that surprised with what I saw when I saw the article above or watched the sample of yesterday’s impeachment hearings that I was willing to waste with.

That’s because the whole argument of the left against Trump was made on TV 33 years ago by two of the funniest men who ever wrote about politics in my favorite episode of the best sitcom ever about the political world:

Sir Humphrey: So what’s the foreign office worried about then Dick? Haven’t you got the Foreign secretary eating out of your hand?

Sir Richard: Oh yes completely house trained.
Sir Humphrey: Heh, so what’s the problem?

Sir Richard: The Prime Minister’s the problem. He’s starting to mistrust our advice when the foreign secretary gives it to him.

Sir Humphrey: Ah.

Sir Richard: He’s every beginning to question foreign office policy.

Sir Humphrey: Surely not?

Sir Richard: We even see a danger of the cabinet pursuing it’s own foreign policy.

Sir Humphrey: But that’s absurd the country can’t have two foreign policies!

Yes Prime Minister A Victory for Democracy 1986

As far as the deep state is concerning the government is theirs to pursue the policies that enrich them and theirs and pols in general and particularly one like Donald Trump in particular have no business interfering. How such people are viewed are summed up breifly at the end of that scene.

Sir Humphrey: You know what happens when politicians get into Number 10; they want to take their place on the world stage.
Sir Richard: People on stages are called actors. All they are required to do is look plausible, stay sober, and say the lines they’re given in the right order.

Donald Trump has this silly idea that he is not there to enrich him and his family, after all he was already damn rich to begin with. He has the idea that he is the president elected to do a job and intends to do it, with or without the help of the deep state.

Trump’s no fool, he has had to deal with these types all his life. That’s why they were always willing to praise him and he was always willing to grease them when they asked for decades. He knows who and what they are.

I suspect if the deep state kept their head down and even if they didn’t work with him simply allowed him to do his job then they would still be anonymously intact and nobody would know a thing about Hunter Biden & Co. or any of the other stuff that is going to come out when all of this is done. Their reputations would still be intact.

They choose to fight, it was a very bad call.

Fall of Berlin Wall anniversary offers lessons for misguided millennials

Blogger next to Berlin Wall slab at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in 2018

By John Ruberry

Saturday was the thirtieth anniversary of one of the most profound events of the 20th century, the fall of the Berlin Wall. What began as a bureaucratic slip became a people power moment as oppressed East Germans stormed the wall checkpoints and with the help of West Berliners, literally began hacking away on what Winston Churchill called “the wall of shame.”

It was also a wall of failure. The smartest and most gifted people of communist East Germany were more likely to seek freedom and prosperity in the West. The brain drain threatened the stability of East Germany, so after receiving permission from his fellow dictator, the USSR’s Nikita Krushchev, Walter Ulbricht ordered construction of the wall in the summer of 1961.

Just a few days ago Dennis Prager explained on his show that there is a difference between a dictatorship and a totalitarian state. Augosto Pinochet’s Chile was a brutal nation in the 1970s, but if you didn’t like it, you could leave Chile. Not so in the USSR, until its final days, where my wife was born, or in the absurdly-named German Democratic Republic. East Germans who tried to escape to West Berlin would have to conquer not just the wall, but also beds of nails, attack dogs, and barbed wire, as well as avoid sharpshooters in watch towers. The number of people killed attempting to escape in the 28-year existence of the wall is disputed–about 200 is a common estimate.

Of growing up in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, Mrs. Marathon Pundit told me this morning when I was discussing this post, “We were slaves, really.”

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll released last week shows that over one-third of millennials approve of communism, which betrays the failure of our schools and universities that seem much more interested promoting the 56 genders and waving their fingers at guys like me over “white privilege.” Oh, the founders of the communist movement, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were white dudes. As were the earliest communists in power, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky. All five of them came from middle class or wealthy backgrounds. They had white privilege.

OK, millennials!

The lessons of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the evils of Nazism obviously should never be forgotten. But what is overlooked by schools and society are the murderous regimes of Stalin (20 million killed, maybe more), Mao Zedong (65 million killed, maybe more). and Cambodia’s Pol Pot (1.5 million killed and perhaps more, roughly 20 percent of that nation’s population).

Another 30th anniversary involving a repressive communist regime passed this summer–the Tianammen Square protests in China that ended in the slaughter of pro-democracy activists. For 24 straight weeks there have been pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong. The more things change…

Ulbricht and his successors’ East Germany didn’t have the high death count, but it excelled in mental torture. Its KGB was the Ministry of State Security, commonly known as the Stasi, whose goal was to “know everything about everyone.” Two movies are essential viewing for millennials–actually for everyone–to learn more about East Germany. Both of them are available on Netflix, Karl Marx City, a documentary, and The Lives of Others, an Academy Award winner for Best International Feature Film. Fittingly, The Lives of Others is set in the year 1984.

Apologists for communism regularly point out that the reason these Marxist regimes failed is that the wrong people were in charge and “real communism” has never been tried. It is they who are wrong. People in power, for the most part, have one thing in common. They want even more power.

There are exceptions of course. King George III asked an American what George Washington would do now that he had defeated the British Empire. When told that the general would return to his farm, the king replied, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”

Is that lesson being taught in many American schools? I doubt it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Milo Counts

by baldilocks

The notorious Milo Yiannopoulos reviews Joker. I didn’t have plans to see the movie, and I’m still not sure if I will, but this excellently written piece definitely pushes me into the ‘probably’ category.

I have read a few dozen reviews of Joker by now. Not a single one is written as intelligently as the movie is, which is the opposite of how film coverage normally goes. At most publications, reviewing Joker has been farmed out to the junior women on staff. Perhaps the men are too overawed and incapacitated by it, like the rest of us, to dissemble.

More likely, their editors are up to something. I’ve been watching verified imbeciles sperg out about it for weeks. It hasn’t been an ordinary kind of sperg-out. When they hate something, but are not afraid of it, they go to war: You see op-eds, tweet storms, endless invective. But when our social justice overlords are truly, madly, uncontrollably terrified by something, they pretend to be bored by it. They affect indifference. Except, they do it in perfect unison—which is how you can tell it’s a lie.

Like masculinity itself, Joker is equal parts beautiful and terrifying. It is a warning about the consequences of a godless world of runaway capitalism and easy mood fixes. It is a movie about a society that has become corrupt and degenerate and turned in on itself, saturated with sex, pornography and prescription drugs. Young men have become completely dissociated from their own lives, and from any sense of worth. It is a society that many of us would recognize.

(…)

Symbologists will tell you that clowns point to the sacred, as fools and jesters point to the truth—obliquely, but with great force. Arthur Fleck is what happens when the disaffected male fails to find that higher calling and instead wallows in the destructive power of manhood, wrenching apart institutions and power structures for the sheer hell of it. But this is the future our rulers chose, by elevating the destructive forces of gender and race studies at the expense of beauty and truth. Joker is set at the exact time in history that these parasitic disciplines were taking over the academy and the sexual degeneracy of Foucault become normative for educated elites.

Read the whole thing.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Fifty years ago: The Kinks release Arthur (or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire)

By John Ruberry

Fifty Octobers ago a brilliant musical work was released that Rolling Stone called, “By all odds the best British album of 1969,” adding, “It shows that Pete Townshend still has worlds to conquer, and that the Beatles have a lot of catching up to do.”

The Who issued Tommy that spring and the Beatles’ last recorded album, Abbey Road, was released in September.

What was that “best British album?” Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) by the Kinks, written and produced by Ray Davies.

To celebrate, the Kinks, who broke up in 1996, but the surviving original members appear to have re-formed, last week released a twelve disc vinyl collector’s edition filled with remixes, demos, mono versions, new songs, and a never-released Dave Davies solo album.

There’s shorter version also available too. On Friday I downloaded the 1 hour 22 minute edition on Apple Music, with mono versions (why?), some alternative cuts, and one new song, “The Future,” credited to Arthur and the Emigrants (with Ray Davies).

Arthur is a great as I remembered. But the album was released at a troubled time for the Kinks. Fed up with the band’s lack of success, bassist Peter Quaife left. In 1965 the Kinks were banned by performing in the United States by the American Federation of Musicians. The ban, which to this date was never explained, was lifted in 1969, but much had changed by the end of the 1960s. The Who, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles had expanded their fan base–it was always large for the Beatles–and they also expanded the breadth of their music.

Meanwhile, the Kinks were in a way marooned in England. Like children forbidden by their parents from playing outside after a blizzard and the usual resultant bitter cold temperatures, Ray Davies and the Kinks were locked inside and forced to rely on what they could find at home musically to entertain themselves. Much of their mid-1960s output owed much to British Musical Hall, the tunes of their parents. Music Hall in Britain is what Vaudeville was to America, only it spawned a distinct musical style that centered on spirited singing and catchy melodies that begged for sing-alongs. Famous, or used-to-be famous Music Hall songs include “Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay,” “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag,” and “I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am.” That last one was a 1960s hit for Herman’s Hermits. That band scored another hit with “Dandy,” a Kinks song.

The Kinks first American hit was “You Really Got Me” in 1964, that tune and similar early Kinks aural assaults inspired two genres, punk rock and heavy metal. In 1967, the Music Hall-inspired “Mr. Pleasant” was the last Kinks single to break the Billboard Hot 100 until “Victoria,” the opening track of Arthur.

The Kinks clearly were back as hard rockers with “Victoria,” but there are still are Music Hall influences on Arthur. This is a concept album meant to be the soundtrack to a television play that never aired. Even in success they failed. When introducing a song on their last album, the (mostly) live To The Bone, Ray laments, “It kind of summarizes everything we’re about, the Kinks. Because everyone is expecting us to do wonderful things and we mess it all up, usually.”

The Arthur narrative centers on an elderly English suburbanite who symbolizes the disappointment that in 1969, Britain was not a classless society, as was hoped for after World War II ended.

From the album’s liner notes (courtesy of the Kinda Kinks site):

Arthur? Oh, of course–England and knights and round tables, Excalibur, Camelot, “So all day long the noise of battle roll’d among the mountains by the winter sea.” Sorry, no. This is Arthur Morgan, who lives in a London suburb in a house called Shangri-La, with a garden and a car and a wife called Rose and a son called Derek who’s married to Liz, and they have these two very nice kids, Terry and Marilyn. Derek and Liz and Terry and Marilyn are emigrating to Australia. Arthur did have another son, called Eddie. He was named for Arthur’s brother, who was killed in the battle of the Somme. Arthur’s Eddie was killed, too–in Korea. His son, Ronnie, is a student and he thinks the world’s got to change one hell of a lot before it’s going to be good enough for him. Derek thinks it’s changed a bloody sight too much–he can’t stand England any more, all these bloody bureaucrats everywhere, bloody hell, he’s getting out. Ronnie and Derek don’t exactly get on.

Families split along political lines? You mean like now? Brexit versus EU? Donald Trump versus Elizabeth Warren?

Derek and family’s move to Australia mirrors the Davies’ sister Rosie and her husband, Arthur, relocation to Down Under a few years earlier, which inspired the 1966 Kinks’ song, “Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home.” That tune, as with many Kinks songs, is also a story. While watching Ken Burns’ Country Music series on PBS, one of the commentators mentioned that many of the greatest country songs involve stories, sometimes dramas. Which deep down is why I love the work of the Kinks. Their music is compelling. The tales they tell even more so.

One story from Arthur, a Music Hall romp, is “She Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina.”

She’s bought a hat like Princess Marina’s
To wear at all her social affairs
She wears it when she’s cleaning the windows
She wears it when she’s scrubbing the stairs
But you will never see her at Ascot
She can’t afford the time or the fare
But she’s bought a hat like Princess Marina’s
So she don’t care.

He’s bought a hat like Anthony Eden’s
Because it makes him feel like a Lord
But he can’t afford a Rolls or a Bentley
He has to buy a secondhand Ford
He tries to feed his wife and his family
And buy them clothes and shoes they can wear
But he’s bought a hat like Anthony Eden’s
So he don’t care.

The saddest song I know of, from anyone, is another story from Arthur, “Some Mother’s Son.”

Two soldiers fighting in a trench
One soldier glances up to see the sun
And dreams of games he played when he was young
And then his friend calls out his name
It stops his dream and as he turns his head
A second later he is dead.

Some mother’s son lies in a field
Back home they put his picture in a frame
But all dead soldiers look the same
While all the parents stand and wait
To meet their children coming home from school
Some mother’s son is lying dead.

The music on Arthur rises to the occasion too. Unlike many late 1960s efforts, the horns compliment, not dominate, the songs. And the Kinks, led by lead guitarist Dave Davies, are at the top of their instrumental game here.

Arthur was not a hit but it enjoyed modest sales, unlike its pastoral predecessor The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, which wasn’t able to crack Billboard’s Hot 200 Albums chart. The stage was set for the Kinks’ return to well-deserved prominence one year later with Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. That album of course contained “Lola,” their biggest American hit since 1965’s “Tired of Waiting for You.”

The Kinks were back.

But then it was time to “mess it all up” again. There wasn’t a Part Two of the Lola album. The next year the Kinks released a country rock collection, Muswell Hillbillies which began another decline in popularity. Only this time their time in the wilderness would last much longer.

Oh, one more item. After 50 years, the play Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire will finally be performed. That will happen later this year on BBC Radio.

God Save The Kinks!

John Ruberry blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Sodom and Gomorrah 1962 Where’s the Sodomy?

Today I watched the 1962 Movie Sodom & Gomorrah staring Stewart Granger, Pier Angeli and Stanley Baker and noticed something that was rather amazing to me.

The movie is pretty good, a great battle scene a few excellent subplots and as you might guess a big finish. As as you might guess there are some liberties taken, the famous exchange between Abraham and God becomes an exchange between the imprisoned Lot and the two angels. Instead of only Lot and his daughters hundreds of Hebrews escape with him. This type of thing is not much of a surprise but there is one big thing missing.

There is plenty of licentiousness, torture, fornication and even a hint of lesbianism, but not a hint of the one thing that Sodom is known for: Sodomy.

Now in fairness this movie was made in 1962 and I would not expect a biblical epic of the time to do a whole lot with the subject, but just as the lesbianism was implied in the form of the queen and her “favorites” you might have thought at a movie about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah would at least give the slightest him of what was going on in there.

And of course the movie ended with Lot’s wife (a 2nd wife who was once of Sodom) turned to salt for looking back and no hint that the next event in the bible was his two daughters getting him dead drunk and sleeping with him because there was in their mind no prospect of any other men around. Of course with hundreds of men escaping that whole rationale is out the window.

Now in an age when the Bible was itself still well known perhaps it wasn’t considered necessary to bother with this stuff, it was only a movie and people understood that liberties might be taken.

But if it was me, if I was going to make a movie like there would be at least some hint as to the sin that destroyed Sodom

Given the history of the next 60 years I think such a warning might have been worthwhile.