SLOUCHING TOWARD LAS VEGAS

Posted: February 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

I neglected yesterday to mention my favorite lyric from a Lesley Gore song. In “Judy’s Turn to Cry”, Lesley talks about going to another party–apparently a make-out party, not unheard of in those days–where, in her words, “I kissed some other guy.” The result was happiness: “Johnny Got Up and he hit him, ’cause he still loved me that’s why, so now it’s Judy’s turn”…etc. Surprisingly, it doesn’t mention that Lesley kneed Johnny in the groin. Evidently, an expression of love is the interpretation to be placed on the poor schlub who kissed her and then got his ass kicked by Johnny. Sort of a contrast.

But maybe I’m reading too much into the situation?

Anyhow, a few thoughts about the TV show M*A*S*H: a guy on local radio described the show as one of the worst of all time, as deeply inferior. I have little respect for this gentleman’s opinions in the best of situations, but I might argue that a few of their shows bordered on brilliance. Not Alan Alda’s syrupy liberalism, nor the death of Henry Blake, or any of the other filler: overall, this show tried out more stuff than any show I can remember.

The two episode news interview show, where the members of the cast spoke as if being interviewed by a reporter. The dreams episode. The death episode, where we see the cast through the eyes of a deceased soldier who hasn’t let go of life yet. The single perspective show, where we see the hospital through the eyes of a wounded soldier. The sex episode with Hawkeye and Margaret. Charles giving therapy to the professional pianist who lost a great deal of the use of his hands: ‘then let it be the pen, the baton, the classroom.’

I could go on. To be sure, a great deal of the show left a lot to be desired. But it will always stand out to me as a show that stood up to all manner of issues.

I had the opportunity to meet Alan Alda briefly at Disney World. I am not a person impressed by professional actors. As Wodehouse wrote, somewhat applicable here: “But I have no knowledge of mango-wurzels. Manure is a closed book to me.” I’ve met a lot of theatre people. The one that stands out to me is the great pianist who came to perform at the U of I, Van Cliburn. I found him gracious, kind, considerate and inexpressibly talented. Like Van, Alan Aldo was likewise humble and a great deal of fun.

May we always be gracious and kind to others, as well. To express that kindness and concern. To walk so that we show light in our speech, to enrich others through who we are and what we do. See you tomorrow.

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