« Commentary Magazine Podcast

All Culture, No Punditry!

2021-08-06 | 🔗
Today's surprising podcast doesn't feature the news of the day; instead, we talk about Smokey and the Bandit. And Last Exit to Brooklyn. And 42nd Street. And For All Mankind. And a Woodstock documentary. It's a weird show! Give a listen.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Some guy welcome to the Commentary Magazine Daily Podcast today's Friday August six, twenty twenty one. I am John Podhoretz, the editor of commentary with me. As always, activate iterate, a green aim, high Ass her associates editor nor Robin. I now John steam. Rosen is out. Today we had a recording disaster early this morning, so our friend down, forecasts had joined us for it. entire first podcast that was improperly recorded by Arbour. Working Programme, and so we are doing a SEC.
go round. Just this I stand, will join us next week some time and we will go through a fresh. The Daisy Programme with him so we had talked I gave a Newsome and his recall. We talked about job numbers. We talked about Corey Bush, maybe I think we're going to downshift and not do that as we know how to recreate the conversation that we are having because it was fresh and it was good and it's only going to sound worse on the second go round, and so it's we're going to be uninspired and have deja vu and it's going to be creepy and weird so one of the things that we ended up. What that we concluded with was conversation about just general. cultural stuff that we are going through and experiencing an eye Maybe that's what we are going to focus on now as we attack to entertain you for the next forty five
or or or fifty minutes ah so I will start because I want a and know it to be. Together, their thoughts and I'm gonna start out with the weird idea that what everybody needs to do is why, smokey and the bandit cause last night, I ended up watching smoking and the bandit movie that came out when I was sixteen years old and nineteen. Seventy seven was an unexpected jake. Gigantic smash it made really for when people when this is the way things worked for southern audiences and drive and audiences and it broke huge nonetheless, all the country. I believe it was the second highest grossing movie of nineteen. Seventy seven next to star wars, and it is in fun fizzy, exuberant, lay back by exciting and and
altogether fascinating cultural document that I comment. You very highly because If you remember the general storyline it's about it's about a young couple, guys who are basically trying to take a bunch of cases. Of course beer across they lines which, in the nineteen Seventys was bootlegging an illegal Bert Reynolds and his buddy, Jerry Red are gonna. Do it anyway, and along the way they pick up. I realms picks up as Hitchhiker Sally Field, who was a runaway bride, a former Broadway, this girl? Who is all set to marry. The idiot son of a sheriff Buford T justice played by Jackie Gleason run run a fleas him at the altar gets picked up by by birth rounds. his Trans am
there is then chase not only by the entire law enforcement. communities of all highway patrolman everywhere, but also by this enraged would be father in law, who is, who wants to get her back everything about this movie is not only so nineteen seventy. So of course I love that cause that's the year of my teens and you you, with than the stallion is just just inspiring, but but is a kind of cultural prediction of the american divide and and and and prediction of the of the coming of Reagan. Why? Because This is the fun side of the right, the fund, the fun libertarian playful. Ah, you know just
regular guy go along for the ride. Just wants to have a beer and not be bothered by the authorities right and as opposed to the kind of nineteen seventies, Sorry, as Jimmy Carter Center Liberal Perspective, on a map, and the kind of hippy Gross Hippy Post Hippy culture of kind of sybaritic access, dirty, Nelson and and any kind of ideological criminality. Vienna think it's funny, because popularly, that's not the way. I think a lot of american seeping save they look at Reagan. Haven't come come in. and so to spoil all the fun right and that that's the joke, of course, because what it Reagan say Reagan Said- and I can say this as I know the skies
I hope I wrote speeches form Reagan said I didn't leave my party. My party left me. I didn't leave liberalism Liberalism left me Liberalism was everything that I believe that it was pro american. It was pro yell believed in the advancement of liberty. It believed this. I believe that and then it believing in those things and action, started, acting counter to those things, and so the Reagan coalition was the wheels. America and we enjoy living here coalition and we don't think then it is your rapporteur. Lee damaged and in need of change. Its changed. it'll- will change some more. It should change for the better over time, but what it is that route is good, and here we are forty years later for five years after the release of of summer. in the bandit and we're having all these arguments and conversations again about the
reparable evil of American, the nineteen seventy it was that we went abroad and did huh. Oh monstrous things and we overthrew. You know. communists and weed, and we we assassinated people, and we were just terrible and we did the head this imperialist war in Vietnam, and we were irredeemably bad now, of course, is that where it irritates me bad at route because of our legacy of of of slavery, and that, in fact, that the whole purpose of America with slavery and and not not not anything else, So it's a lot of weight to put on the shoulders of this You know of this kind of light. Spirited slap happy increase, probably light hearted movie in which the stakes are actually very low per annum. nobody is really in aid in so clear that everything is just play acting. You know everybody is play acting because job
he Gleason is the voice of a thought. It always is the sword, the villain and, of course, is just to serve delightful funny wise ass guy. Who recognizes that you know this girl? Might a point running away from his son, because he says at some point when it send sunset something particularly stupid There is no hey there, no way that you sprung from my loins there is no way that you sprung from my wines and then he spits at his tobacco. Until the side of the road anyway, No, are you: are you self that you haven't seen smoking. The bandit for for many but you also sought as a teenager, though of course, twenty years after I was a teenager, and all I recall from that movie were- was Gleason's perform a barely remember Sally, feel I have almost no
recollection of perennials, but police and stands out absolutely as the heavy but also as just an inspiring comic performance so may I was thinking in him, but maybe that the reason why can I would stands out to you and it's differently now from when you viewed it as a teenager? Is because your perspective, little differ, and obviously it is because you see tremendous historical weight and pay in political, political location in this. Otherwise, irreverent. Say, slap, happy performance by tat I mean that's all I recall from from the film I guess I mean the washing enormous box office successes. That day in that way, will we talk about that? That means you know we're talking about things that that are like, Both I hits as movies and hits as television shows Mass together like they made Annette.
Unimaginable amounts of money that now only you know in relative terms that now only a marvel superhero movie can make and yet it will be like this did not cost a lot of money, and so the question you ask yourself if you're somebody like me, you ve been doing this for so long as what? What did it cap? or in a bottle. What was it about this That comes out of nowhere and kind. Becomes a sensation entirely on its own. It's not the marketing budget, it's not the tv commercial, it's not a promotion Everybody tells everybody else. You gotta go see this and then people like it somewhat that they see it again and again, which was the case with me. I think I saw it six or seven times when you know when it when it was out in my local theatres, because I loved it so much. What is it that causes that kind of enthusiasm and that's where you can start to sus out the key, whether or not
some national mood, some national spirit, something that connects to people in a larger way that was not intended by the people who made it none the less was going on there and that you would do well to heed. You would do well to understand star. Wars was like that, by the way that star wars also could could have been taken as a kind of heart sure of it a change in the national mood because it was a provocation of the western good guys bad guys. Darth Vader is a is trappers from the Virginia. He is a guy in a black suit. With a black hat him, there is HANS so and the end and loose Luke, Skywalker, Skywalker, dresses and white and dark better dresses and black the and Darth Vader is more powerful and and totalitarian and Ok, just as our guy from the frontier and
he faces and down and take them out, and this is a Lucas, counterculture Guide George Lucas was counterculture guide, didn't know that this was what he was proffering, but he was profit an optimistic message about the victory of good over evil. in the universe that that resonated with the country and helped explain to people what was going on in nineteen eighty, when the Soviets were you know, on the march in Afghanistan and the Iranians were taking our hostages and stuff there were by guys in the world we still needed to fight face down, and people had, that message has been received from in popular culture that this is something that people you know it was very much in people's hearts and head even so, don't feel as if, during that time movies in popular culture items,
What more about reflecting? What was going on well way in which serve the american mind as opposed to instructing it, which is now what its consumed with entertainment? Now as it is all about instruction, moral instruction, political construction, while I'm in a lot of successful entertainment isn't about enemy, is now about nothing. I mean that's part of what is interesting. Is that You know, Hollywood in particular had allegations of things it was trying to help runs. It was training had singles illustrating doubles. You make smoking the bandit, that's to make a quick about in certain regions of the country, and then it it it. It defies your expectations and becomes a national sensation, and so there are a lot of different kinds of messages that that that are going out now are they tried to do was hit home runs like they're, not interested me. Thou art house there, their world specialty worlds that that do
yes, but I don't think that culture pop culture is, the ceremony more more didactic, I think a lot of the pen jammed or of culture, and the people who sort of recommended to people are only interested in the didactic. Progressive moral instruction stuff! That's why ruined so crazy about the handmaids tail or about you know I don't know where the underground rail, road or whatever it is of whatever per product. There is the people you know, oh go crazy over that that that that that lays out the latest theory, but ah I don't know. I mean it's a servant, interesting thing and and and it sir. It just is fun as it as it was back. Then, what One thing also that came out comes out to me, as we were talking about. This
so the movie was conceived and directed by a stunt. Man named how Needham, who then became a very successful director directed did the same with Cannonball run, which was another book Reynolds serve like a box office, triumphant abundant their things in the eighties, how Needham wrote it a memoir called stunt MA. That I highly commend the people. It is just The jaw dropping american story, a personal transformation. This kid from incredibly, poor hearts rabble expire, variances living off literally road killed at his mother of wood, with what would cook so that they could they could eat, as a as alignment in the San Fernando Valley, kind of stumbles, almost literally onto a movie, sat says he can do that when some there's a stunt to be done,
becomes America's foremost stunt man and then becomes a friend of Reynolds who, whose stunt man he is. This is kind of like the once upon a time in Hollywood story, if you're may, if they feel see. What's mine, Simon Hollywood, there's you know, there's a leaner Dicaprio is Is this: are fading actor and Brad Pitt Assistant man? This is kind of not the paralysis, fading, but at that time, but that this is the relationship between how Needham, em and burnt Reynolds and and what a way, this book is about serve like how in America anything is possible, like literally anything, is possible. The idea this kid would end up, you know as well as our as a Hollywood creative force. first is so beyond the bounds of anything You could have imagined if you'd seen him when he was fifteen. and in the home movies like, I know, we're burbled, sorry as a kind of method
stage actor in New York, and then he was kind of like a kind of low burn. Ten couples two or three tv series, the nineteen sixties and then whole heartedly and very deliberately unconsciously turned himself into we star Sally Field who were started out as Gilgit and war as a kind of joke in Hollywood through sheer force of, will turned herself into a major american actress winner of two Academy awards Jackie Gleason, who was a boy as comedian ends up becoming an early tv star than you now becomes like a great dramatic actor with a hustler and then sixteen seventeen years later. Does this wild turn. As this this southern as the southern sheriff, so there's a lot of american transformations going on there that are better than also part and parcel of the story that you're not allowed to tell any more because, of course, you know
now, the only people who do well in America, people of privilege, according to accordance everything, were told, speaking of America. What you need to understand that America? We have really good job numbers today and if you want to understand the job numbers today, you are going to go to our friends at the bonds and group the DC today, dot com dividend cafe dot com there to news letters produced by, it's three billion dollar under management financial service firm by David Bonham these newsletter. earth DC. Today's daily dividend, cafes, weekly, providing with all the analysis that you'll ever need about ITALY, stats changes in the market. What the FED is doing, what the federal government, doing how to understand these job numbers that came out today. All of that go to dividend, CAFE calm sign up for these new letters. Let them fly when to your inbox. Let them educate you, that's the bonds and grew the antidote to the intellectual spaghetti of the fund
until services and management industry Abe. You have in sampling, the cultural, where's, Transgresseth, cultural where's that that use. We consider the great Idiot logical bulwark against the horrible bourgeois middle class soup, of America in your finding something pretty interesting in them. Well, yeah in particular, I just finally Red Hubert Selby Juniors last exit the Brooklyn Bridge, it's kind of a novel kind of absorbing linked short stories, his debut book, I think, came out in the early sixties, but it's about the lower classes in Brooklyn in the nineteen fifties, and yet was it solely for decades been embraced, as this kind of.
Document of you know how America guess grinds grinds the small people down or something, but I was struck from the first page, the last by the fact that no right wing writer could have come up with a more damning picture of what it means to live without purpose to live a life whereby you simply succumb to all your appetites. Without a moral code to live outside, I accepted norms amid paints, a a really repulsive picture of what what what it means to live there. And even beyond that, there's a deserter chapter, a kind of an novella within that the novel itself. That's all about
union struck and also the main character, and that segment is also going through a bunch of serve sexual grotesquerie says as our people throughout the other than the book, and then that in that sense you know, I guess it's. It's. It's not it's, not conservative in what it was. Selby saw fit to write about explicitly, but even their purpose is to make you require with horror. Nevertheless, its depiction of unions is just a straightforward, telling of unions being corrupt, greedy bullies useless. Sure destroying workers, spirits, so it was just ass. I was it was an amazing reed I mean I enjoy the book and and
at the very least it clearly Selby thought that man was not perfect able, which is. Certainly, I am more conservative outlook on things Do you ever you found this with other? works of the last, like thirty herb the years that that day, they tell a tale a different from the. I feel that the people who writing them more making them or whatever think think they tell about about the world's that they that they are retraining. I have a lot at but unfortunate because I forget everything: I've read it and watch what you knowing about a month after I don't recall the many times and I have but yet because it is usually, you know, there's some sort of like a suspect. Recital I social big product,
and where there is supposed to be some sort of greedy. He privileged you know force in society that keeping the other people down there. There's always another way to look at it where you know it's like will know actually is it's the micro management and through bureaucratic, do gooders, who are actually destroying things, but I get. But I I aside from the framework, I can't remove but I have I have found that alot. Yes, yeah I understand this, but then I realized, if something else, I could talk about go ahead culturally. Go I also adjust to read a book called a reality is not what it seems by Carlo Revalue, whose a physicist this- and this is not of fiction. What all this is a book about anything that used by three years ago about tracing, serve
Physics from the ancients, through Einstein's relativity and then quantum mechanics into the feel that now known as quantum gravity and ate it is great and in its his retelling of ancient mathematicians and really kind of ancient physicists what what what they were up to that stuff is really magisterial. What starts to emerge in the book. The tide of the title again, reality is not what it seems. Ok, what's starts emerged on the book as he as he gets close two of the modern age is he's, got a very strong, anti religious bias,
it doesn't matter. What he's up to the way it does with someone like Richard Dawkins, I mean you know, I think darkens wishes, you know he could. He could survive right as well as as rebellion and serve his. That is ideas for his interesting, but what it does do his this. The anti religious bent for me is that, when he's talking about things like relativity and quantum mechanics it saps alot of the magic out of it. He did you doesnt, get into how strange those things really are and in the end and what they revealed- and I think that's unforced- and then somebody Balsamy gets a quantum gravity which is which is up for to try to marry a general rule
activity and quantum mechanics, and it's about the very nature of what space is made of, not not matter but the stuff in which matters swimming everywhere in the universe I dont know. If I can sort of trust him there I don't know anything about that. I know a little bit about relativity and about the quantum mechanics and- and if you know, if he's wouldn't Is left out a lot of the magic there, so he may be leaving it out of the quantum gravity stuff as well, I'm impressed that you read beyond the introduction, so that alone it is already here. It's ok still still you were here. I hear your capacity for that stuff is. Is it. It is amazing, caused you now, I read it and then I literally forget what I read the previous paragraph, and then I have to go back and read the previous a rough again. And then I don't remember what was in the past
When I read this is my own. perceptual gap when it comes to you know when it comes to an end, thing outside of UNICEF, fictional or power? One thing I will mention you watched for the second street, the old movie. You told me like last weekend which is sort of like the and it is nothing as you discovered, as I discovered a year ago when I watch it also, it is nothing like the way people, remember it It is actually a greedy, it was it was conceived, having thought of as a greedy backstage story, it's not a musical. It shows me Nicole numbers, it's about the staging of musical. It is not itself a musical and its up. It's a very deep.
Melodramatic peace. What bloom I wasn t the director, the man that the role of the director whose putting on this fictional musical Is overtly gay and I don't mean gay stereo typical way. Is not at all these not remotely serve. You know simplified or or what I would. However, you know the homosexuals been produced. On values. These very masculine unmanly, but there comes a point on eve of B of the of their opening night, where he said This is a system director and says: if you have any plans to night and assisting directors is now only says, I'm feeling a film very lonesome. Would you would you would you come home?
and then I went online as we all do next, what I looked up, forty second street gay, and it turns out that he did that the novel on which the moon was based this this this was absolutely intended and was even fleshed out. Much more- When I was the nineties, their numbers were discovered that the novel by Bradford Ropes is how it was not a year ago when I went looking for it available on Amazon and a weird kind of pdf form and I downloaded it. And it is. It is a shockingly interesting but mildly, Anti Semitic Reserve casually anti semitic book, but very, very explicitly, racy dirty we know
characters who are you know, just kind of like fun, loving girls, EDA, fun, high, Stepan You know Sassy a course: girls in the movie arm r, R r out now hooker an alcoholic in the in the novel, and there is this explicit homosexual. Current anyway. This just interesting because it's more like I don't know what it's like em, it's more like flash. ants or something like that, then it is like you know like up. You know like that. Like the musical, you think it is well you're going out there a youngster but you're coming back star. You know who did she goes into the star. You know, that's actually a darker thing in the show in the moon. We then it is in our in this than the stage version that was done like fifty later awaits very well worth seeing its on HBO Max, where,
yeah and so on? if you see a little surprise, you cause it's not now what you think it is And you know what else isn't what you think it is the world right now dealing with corona and one things are going to be like post corona and if you want to know what the world's going to be like most front of you, got to download the post to run a podcast, then see nor from Google play in stature and wherever good podcast are sold, His latest, as with the hormonal ARI on one of the leading economic economists time number to pin co a former key at key, a key figure. World Bank The Harvard hedge funds. Now, as the President Queens College at Cambridge and discuss inflation and the latest episode, and they are both worried about it. Our end is very worried about inflation. He does not think it's transitory. He thinks that efforts to redefine it. as transitory
fools airlines that are just get out. There are gonna, come back to haunt the people who want to pretend, That's not a serious problem as it is, and so please, by all means. If you haven't started subscribers to dance here, was corona. Which I've been on a couple of times you here, Billy B of the upland athletics. You can hear Madame Grant from Wharton Neil Ferguson, Any number of of of great people talking about what we can as in the world, is going to be like when we get ourselves out of the shadow of the virus. That's the post grown a podcast, get it. today, no are you You have been watching something on Apple tv plus. Well, yes, as regular listeners now I have no time to myself anymore, finishing, get it in the book moving for some minutes.
the real reason, but that was a good idea very little downtime SAM, I read a book for fun was not incidentally, when I was on vacation and I was on Jesse Norman's biography of Adam Smith, when she does a very good job, and you did something very similar with Edmund Burke in which he did both the life and times and how they formed his opinions and then moves on in the second half of the book to us. The theory philosophies Eddie espoused were to give you some idea about this thinking mature involved in the course of his life and very good great. Offer is also minister, Parliament's written in that. However, when I get time myself in his rare, it's it's popular media products and the public products and manage to consume. I have recommendations, ones good, and what's that the first is apple, TVS drop drama, the two opportunities outlet, so you have to have an opportunity to see it for
Mankind really, clever, revision is history. Alternative history, in which the Soviets beat us to the moon by weak and nineteen sixty nine and a premise establishes an alternative timeline and which the space raise never ants and weakened. They want to the moon, establishing our presence on the moon and engage in geopolitics on the moon and, as are its very clever, very well. Written very well acted there's a little better of modernist present, as am I think in the narrative. Nevertheless, It is still very clever piece of of culture, cultural artifact. I like you. A lot is also because it's it's it's science fiction wish space which appeals to me about it, not science fiction all, because it takes place here in the past and tries to position than arrogant and that in Thus, in the body believed, at the time of the technology, wasn't the time. So it's very good. I recommend it
its thumbs down, which are nevertheless also recommend so that you will watch it and suffer along with me as a network documentary on Woodstock. Ninety ninety nine now those are secondary, sexual Woodstock and ninety nine, the navy. Now I was kind of a debacle, but the documentary doesn't doesnt actually done human events as they occur, It is a revisionist perspective on What's that, ninety nine from A moral framework that is prevalent today among the forensic left and analyze the events and ninety. Ninety nine, as one word from the perspective of twenty and twenty one way. A framework that you see on display on the progressive left night would set things. Ninety nine was bigoted was racist, was sexist, was massage earnest. It was obvious that that them a progressive lesson days against today and all
These ethos, be that that day, reply here and there in the criticism that they apply here from an ethical framework that did not just at the time, was not enforced at the time. So it is entirely revisionist If I find the origins of trumpets zoom in the concert in which everybody was young and centre left at the time. It is. It is shocking in, As far as it is an effort to four this event to comport with them. Moral standards that prevail today on the progressive left, which is indicative of a full. The fear is that is very prominent. Today, which cannot abide historical Canada by history. All history must be forced into a prism that view. That does not abide by the kind of the ideals that prevailed at the time it does not. It does not apply by the idea and the
this is applicable across history. Doesn't it by the idea that these people are in? in their own time. There was a difference perspective that was applied, and not only that, but that it was, it was accepted That's a sort of thing that is applied to the american founding. It is applied to the night century. It is applied across the or there is no room for the notion that the EU is the answer, that prevailed today. We're not the other that prevailed a decade. For two hundred years ago and, in that, there is a lesson for the modern progressive in so far as their ethics want apply forever someone will come along to review this period of history and they won't be very kind. I suspect. So, yes, evidence is not a documentary. It's not it's, not a review of what happened. It's. In view of how they wish things would have happened, and that it happens in ways that they don't like, makes it
much more much more a display of these people preening and putting on a performative the display of their own virtues, rather than reviewing history as we under, Stan it, which is the way a lot of popular culture. Is action. Going, but in that sense the very interesting or effect and worth watching just hate watcher. He want Thing is good and and some people I hate, listen to this podcast and the We are going to spare them of further pain. Because we are not entirely sure whether this even successfully recorded. We are gonna cut. This short in hopes that it was, and if your hearing my voice, was and you're going to be able to listen to it and what we need
the color of cut our locked us, is and will be back on Monday with Christine rose and who will be, will be returning. We again thanks and apologies to damn cas we're wasting his time, and with that I am, for aid and no, I am jump onwards, keep the camera.
Transcript generated on 2021-08-06.