There are weapons that are simply thoughts. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy.
So, Ed Schultz, Bill O’Reilly, Chris Matthews and Sean Hannity walk into a 12th grade Catholic high school Advanced Placement English Classroom and proceed to have Sister Mary Norbert beat them for lousy vocabulary, poor argument, abysmal grammar and general illiteracy. The world is a better place as a result. It didn’t happen…
Rod Serling Interview
Rod Serling was a TV writer and producer in the 50s and 60s. He got fed up and since he was rich, he kind of left it all and spent a lot of time on his yacht going up and down the Erie Canal and the Finger Lakes as well as other places. Used to berth at a Senaca River Restaurant outside of Baldwinsville and drink beer and talk Syracuse Football with my Dad in the 60s and 70s after the Twilight Zone went off the air.
The Twilight Zone was his major TV product as well as a ton of independent TV productions. He gave the censors fits, unintentionally at first, by trying to write stuff that was intelligent, current and culturally challenging. I found an excerpt of this interview online and decided that the whole thing was worth providing. Public intellectuals used to speak this way — imagine Ed Schultz and Sean Hannity having to use this level of logic, clarity and vocabulary. We are all fellow travelers in the great conspiracy of mediocrity. The story of the time that Lassie had puppies and the show got hate mail over showing puppies and the miracle of birth is worth the cost of admission alone, especially since it’s free.
(I pulled the interview from The Internet Archive. I generally use it to look for and listen to concert footage, but it’s an incredible asset — kind of like browsing a really good library or book store with a lot of everything. It’s one of my leading bookmarks, and I recommend it to anyone who might suddenly want to watch an Eisenstein film with the Greatful Dead playing in the background. https://archive.org/)
Speaking of public intellectuals, one that very few people think of that way is Ray Davies co-founder of the Kinks and cultural provocateur. Davies and his brother Dave made the Gallagher Brothers and the Everly Brothers look like the Brothers Four with their fights, feuds and general hair-pulling. However, they well deserve their place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Ray has just been elected to the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. This was a 2006 commentary on “Yob culture” and fits with Serling in an odd way…
“Jack the lad has become Oscar Wilde
And the followers of style say, “It’s the latest thing”
And William Shakespeare is the schmooze of the week
And anyone who says different is a fuckin’ antique
And Noel Coward has become very hard and the comic says
“Bullocks” and everybody laughs and that’s that
“Style, I mean, never was much, never has been
But the little bit that was was all that we had
And the clown does a belch and we all belch back
And that’s that..”
Ray Davies “Stand Up Comic”