Thursday, March 25, 2010
It's not exactly the death of Michael Jackson, perhaps not even up to the notoriety level of Jim Marshall (I always found "famous rock and roll photographer" to be one of the most intolerably pretentious distinctions around), who also died today, but I found the passing of classic oldies crooner Johnny Maestro a particularly sad and notable passing.
All this is based almost entirely (we also share the same birthday, May 7th, so it's always a bummer to lose a cosmic brother) on my absolute love of his signature 1968 smash hit "The Worst That Could Happen" (as Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge); a cheesy, horn laden, over-the-top pile driver of a ballad that hits all my guilty (then again do I even have a sense of guilt when it comes to the music I like?) pop music pleasure centers. Aside from the sublime joy of karaoking the song and the ridiculous amount of needless gravitas the singer puts on the situation (labeling the target of the song's marriage to be "THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN!"), it places the listener in a really intriguing (possibly confusing) situation with regards to the protagonist's intentions. The song goes along that extremely rare "I love you so much that I want to see you happy with another man...but really I still want you" route. The only other famous hit song I can think of off the top of my head that goes along that sort of conflicted path is Freddie Fender's 1975 country crossover #1 "Before the Next Teardrop Falls".
Actually before today's untimely death, I was bouncing around the idea of doing a post where I did an in-depth look at whether the protagonist from "The Worst That Could Happen" was actually being a romantic hero or just an unbelievable douche by telling his long time love about his feelings and how her marriage to another man would essentially ruin him (at her wedding no less). My view was that a positive or negative assessment would likely correlate with how much one was a fan of romantic comedies, since essentially the entire genre is distilled into the song's three minutes. The listener finds themselves at the tail end of a classic boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl story with the boy desperately attempting to complete that last step at the wedding . People who either actually wholeheartedly believe in the romantic comedy conceit or people who enjoy and appreciate the rule of the romantic comedy would find the protagonist's actions to be romantic and justified. People who despise the manufactured prefabricated nature of the rom com or who don't really believe in the concept of romantic love would think the protagonist's actions are whiny and unreasonable. I'm for the former but no perspective is inherently wrong.
Needless analysis of the song aside, "The Worst That Could Happen" also has a particularly special significance to me as I enter that point in my life where all my friends and peers are starting to get married. For perhaps the next decade or so, I'll likely be attending the marriages of various like-aged friends, acquaintances, relatives as they transition from their unhindered 20s to the domestic stability of their 30s. I may even end up as one of them before the decade is out (hey, anything's possible). I would be forever regretful that if, during this dynamic period of martial transitions, I didn't get at least one opportunity to sing what may possibly be the most inappropriate wedding song ever written (with the possible exception of "If You Wanna Be Happy" by Jimmy Soul) to the bride-to-be at an engagement party and have the entire reception fall into horrible awkward silence as I profess my unknown, burning love for them.
Now that would be the best that could happen.
Monday, March 15, 2010
...Donna Simpson, hopefully the next world's fattest woman. Sure the idea of rigorously attempting to become the grotesque living embodiment of gluttony and excess by consuming as many calories as possible while inversely limiting your movements down to the mere act of shoving more food down your gullet may seem unspeakably appalling. Perhaps it may be seen as an unconscionably obscene affront to all the millions upon millions of people going hungry around the world, and does nothing to shake off the ugly global perception that Americans wallow in fat, lazy, decadence let alone speak well of the kind of people that come from New Jersey. You may view the fact we as a society are not only allowing this occur, but are actually facilitating it by paying her through the internet; and thus should be considered silent but willing accomplices in her self inflicted death should her heart eventually explode in a supernova of cheese and butter.
All these would be valid initial reactions to reading the story, but after thinking about it for a second I'm starting I see the odd logic behind it all. As a morbidly obese, immobile, 600 lb woman you're just a fat person. As a morbidly obese, immobile, 1000+ lb woman, you are a world champion! After you reach a certain degree of bigness, really everything else is just (literally and figuratively) gravy. If you're going to be a lardo, why not be the biggest lardo. There's no denying that she's going to have a whole lot more fun gaining 400 lbs than losing 400 lbs and it's not like anyone's going to pay to see her eat right and exercise. If I were in her strained, gigantic shoes, I would do the same thing. So despite what doctors and other naysayers may say, you just keep on packing on those pounds Donna Simpson and to quote the inspirational words of the late Jim Valvano (replacing the struggle to survive a terminal illness with the struggle to eat more) "Don't give up, don't ever give up."