Tuck and Sissy enjoying the good life back in the day. David Simpson photos.
The way we were. These two pics flew in over the transom the other day from our friend and former bro-in-law David, who's been digitizing fleeting images of our mutual salad days for the ages. "The look of love" was our theme song then — Who could resist Tuck's adorable sideburns, not to mention his manly strategic brilliance at the game of Risk? We weren't so bad ourselves with those big brown eyes, dazzling smile and long, silky mane — and this bit about the songstress whose "blue-eyed soul sound" is "seared in our memory" struck a chord as we googled Dusty Springfield this morning:
Dusty Springfield in concert, 1966.
Her song "The Look of Love", written for Dusty Springfield by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, was featured in the scene of Ursula Andress seducing Peter Sellers in the film Casino Royale. The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. The sudden changes of world pop music towards the experimentation of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Summer of Love themes, and psychedelia left Springfield out of fashion.
Like the rest of our generational cohort, we had fallen at first for the Fab Four who fueled our adolescent fantasies of romantic love when they "turned left at Greenland" back in February of 1964, conjuring the furies of Beatlemania upon our shores. But our passion cooled as their style turned psychedelic, their "message" ever more vapid, "culminating" in the mind-numbingly naive and narcissistic "Imagine" (image and lyrics below). As our sis said in imail this morning:
The Beatles ended up being self-indulgent bores.
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace …
Which brings us to Evan Sayet's breathtakingly original take on "what happened" to the hearts and minds — and loyalties — of our generation in his provocatively titled "Bruce Springsteen: One-Hundred Percent Republican" at Big Hollywood, Andrew Breitbart's new group blog that premiered last week with a promise of changing the terms of the cultural conversation "to make Hollywood something we can believe in — again. In order to give millions of Americans hope." Sayet explains:
The “culture war” that we hear so much about is, to borrow Thomas Sowell’s phrase, a “conflict of visions.” Visions, Sowell explains, go deeper than mere policy – in fact they are the font of where we stand on the issues – and they are founded on some of the most basic and fundamental beliefs the individual holds about the nature of man and, in turn, the role and purpose of government, family, religion and all other influential forces that society has evolved. Sowell called the conflicting visions the “Constrained” and the “Unconstrained” and offered Jean Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith as primary examples of the visions in conflict [as we are forever blogging here]. More contemporary examples are John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen, the former holding the “unconstrained” vision (which I call here the Neo-Liberal view), the latter the “constrained,” or, in my term, Conservative take. Just to be clear, yes, I’m saying that, while Springsteen the multimillionaire, rock star with the mansion in Beverly Hills may be a Liberal, Bruce Springsteen the poet is one-hundred percent Republican.
Sowell recognizes that, at its most basic level, this conflict of visions revolves around what one believes to be man’s innate nature. Is it, as the Neo-Liberal believes, that man is born good and then corrupted by the institutions of society or, do the Conservatives have it right and man is born with a dual and conflicting nature — capable of good and evil and everything in between — requiring cultural forces to help him tamp down the darker side and cultivate the good within?
Lennon’s iconic anthem “Imagine” could not be a better representation of the Neo-Liberal vision.
We're no Springsteen fan, of course, but Sayet's comment section is full of fans, some of them quite steamed at the suggestion that their hero could be anything but "a quintessential liberal." Sayet appears to have hit a nerve. Let's keep on hitting that nerve, and maybe something true will eventually get through.
Related thoughts on the cause-and-effect relationship between pop culture and the way we are now, from our August 2005 post "Elvis: The most effective American anti-Communist ever?" based upon a Glenn Reynolds essay apparently no longer available online.