I don’t remember if I’ve ever written here about my love for the Monkees. If I have, it’s been a long time since I’ve brought it up. It’s not that I’ve forgotten about them. They are on every playlist and I’m always happy for them to pop up in my shuffle. But they had a hipster revival a couple of years ago and I felt like their relevance was well covered by more prolific people.
But now Davy Jones has died. He is the first Monkee to go. To me, that feels significant (other than the obvious, “a man is dead” significance). The Monkees are definitely the first manufactured boy band. But they are also, in many ways, an alternative to the Beatles. I’m not saying they are BETTER than the Beatles, or even as good. But to me, they are more important. If I had to choose to listen to one over the other, I would choose the Monkees. Maybe it’s because I like a little whimsy in my psychedelic 60’s pop. Maybe it’s because it’s like listening to several great artists at once. Neil Diamond and Carol King each wrote some of the group’s biggest hits. Mike Nesmith eventually convinced the Powers That Be to let him write some songs, and what he came up with was some of their best work.
Mike was the most musically inclined. Peter was the weird one. Micky was the voice and Davy was the face. They were never as good alone as they were together.
It’s not exactly a John Lennon situation. 66 is young by today’s standards, but it’s not like he was in his prime or anything. Was he even recording? He’d be the last Monkee that I’d want to hear a solo album from. This is like Ringo dying first in terms of its impact on actual production of music. Personality-wise, it’s like losing George first.
Davy is dead. That means the Monkees are also dead. Even though they’ve been gone for a while, it really feels real now. From now on, whenever I hear their music, it will be a little sadder than it was before. There will be a ghost in the song.
Dennis Hopper was a great fucking actor. He made every speech he uttered an instant classic. I will miss him. Here are some of my favorites Hopperisms. They’re long but totally worth it.
“I now pronounce you The Devil and his Shorty.”
“I read a lot. Especially about things…and history. I find that shit fascinating.”
“One thing I can’t fuckin’ stand is warm beer, it makes me fuckin’ puke!”
Hamm’s hairy potential is hinted at on “Mad Men” with his occasional five o’clock shadow and glorious chest hair. But here is Hamm’s face in full bearded glory.
Fantastic. I’m also a fan of the sexy crow’s feet. This is what a man looks like, people.
For the record (and by record, I mean “my blog”, which is a sort of record in this day and age), here’s what I think about that whole Roman Polanski mess. Yes, Roman Polanski raped a 13-year-old girl. Yes, it was “rape-rape”, as it involved alcohol, narcotics and an underage girl. Given the presence of narcotics, it still would have been rape-rape if she’s been of legal age. He also made some of the most amazing films of all time. These two things are, for the most part, mutually exclusive.
When the crime was committed, Polanski should have been tried and sent, not to jail, per se (though maybe for a little while), but certainly to a psychiatric prison where he received help. Because this man was not well at the time. His life till that point was filled with darkness that included the Holocaust and one of the most notorious serial killers in history. Both of these things directly effected his life. And he wasn’t coping with it well. Perhaps he’s somehow exorcised those demons since. Perhaps not. But at the time, he was definitely mentally ill. I have no doubt that had his wife and unborn child NOT been murdered by the Manson family, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.
But since he wasn’t treated for his mental illness at the time of the crime, we are having this discussion years after the crime was committed. There are people who think they should just let it go (victim included). There are people who think he should be tarred and feathered for it. I think that since they did go through all the trouble of arresting him (finally), they should probably give him a trial. But if “temporary insanity” is not brought up, it is not a fair trial. I’m not saying he should be let off. I’m just saying sometimes fucked up circumstances make a person behave horribly and with whatever punishment he receives (or doesn’t receive), I hope they take that into consideration and get the man some help.
RIP: Patrick Swayze. You made the world a little more radical.
In light of this recent story about a woman who is suing “Illusionist” David Copperfield for sexual assault, I would like to share a childhood memory.
When I was a little girl, I went with my family to see David Copperfield perform live at the Richmond Colosseum. During the show, he called on several volunteers from the audience to help with his little tricks (That’s right, I called them “tricks”). The audience was full of kids who eagerly waved their arms, hoping to be chosen. However, he only chose young, blonde women and flirted with them ferociously throughout their time on stage. I called bullshit on him at that moment. I was officially creeped out. And thus, my lifelong distrust of and objection to magicians began.
Blah blah blah “Thriller” blah blah blah important contributions to pop music. Fine. That shit is true. I loved that record and I tried to do that dance in my living room when I was a kid just like the rest of the world.
What is also true is that Michael Jackson molested children. I don’t care that he was never convicted. Everyone knows money can buy a guilty man a bill of innocence and he certainly spent a lot of his money doing just that.
Michael Jackson was completely batshit looney and who knows how many years of therapy his kids are going to have to go through to avoid becoming drug addicts, sex offenders or worse. I realize that he had a tough childhood. But so did a lot of people. They got help. Or were forced to get help. Or went to jail. Or killed themselves. But Michael was instead allowed to isolate himself further and further until he had absolutely no sense of reality left. And he didn’t just hurt himself. He hurt other people. And he got away with it because he wrote some really good songs. This would not have happened if he had been just some dude who worked at Target. Is everyone gonna be super sad when O.J. dies too? What about Charles Manson? He’s a musician…
What I’m trying to say is that when our idols let us down, it’s OK to be angry. We shouldn’t let fandom blind us from acknowledging a person’s character flaws. It’s OK to feel disgust toward someone you once loved if they deserve it. And he does. Maybe those closest to him share the responsibility for not getting him help before it was too late. But ultimately, he made those choices. It’s too bad he died before he could make different ones. But he was still a fucking child molester.