Well, today is the birthday of Quentin Tarantino, the oddball director who started out inauspiciously if oddly enough playing bit parts such as the Elvis impersonator who mystified The Golden Girls at Sophia’s wedding. So, I am permitting myself to be a little more goofy than usual. As if the weekend’s diversions had not been daffy enough, considering that I witnessed Kevin “Chicken Little” Covais laying his last egg on American Idol; watched Julie Walters in Acorn Antiques, the straight-to-DVD release of the West End musical based on a series of TV sketches poking fun at shoddy soap operas; and followed the misadventures of Depression-weathered Marie Dressler and madcapitalist Polly Moran in Prosperity (1932).
My folly did not quite end there. Since it had been disquietingly quiet of late here at broadcastellan, I decided to give the much-talked-of referral service Blogmad a try. Sure enough, a few more quick-to-click onliners came galloping through; but I doubt there were any more readers, let alone interested ones. This general attention deficit can be gleaned from my recent survey, which remained largely unnoticed this weekend. In the relative sanity of my pre-Blogmad days, four bored passers-by lingered long enough, at least, to let me know they did not care, a response option omitted in the current poll. After all, I can surmise as much from silence.
Now, I have no commercial interest in blogging and write chiefly for my own amusement, partially derived from exposing myself publicly, and periodically at that. As I put it in the imitation Chanogram I composed shortly after inaugurating this journal, “Blog like hothouse flower: Must blossom for anyone.” It seems that the flora is being trampled rather than feasted on during the present stampede.
Services such as Blogmad or Blogadvance (which just awarded me credits for a “direct referral” in which I took no active part) are undoubtedly of greater use to those who wish to cash in on the thorough commercialization of the so-called blogosphere. Should I have stooped to adding my profile to a site that inquires about my “maritial status” (sic)—without giving me the opportunity to answer appropriately—and promises me certain “benifits” (sic) which I recieve (sic) for joining?
Such mis-spellbinding prospects notwithstanding, I am beginning to realize that I am reconciled to being cast as a marginalien—a stranger tossing in asides from the sidelines. In other words, I am not sure how long I will be indulging (in) the madness.
Clearly, bloggers are more forgiving of flawed spelling than of flowery speech, of which I spout enough to bar this metaphorical hothouse from becoming anything resembling a hotspot. How much easier was it for Walter Winchell, the high-school dropout who rags-to-enriched himself to become the most influential of all radio reporters during the 1930s and ’40s!
However dubious its reportorial integrity or merit, his program sure added some colorful blossoms to America’s garden-variety dictionary. In the 1930s, Winchell was ranked among the top contributors to American slang, whether or not he actually coined the saucy euphemism “making whoopie.”
“Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea—let’s go to press,” Winchell greeted listeners on this day, 27 March, in 1949, bombarding them with quick and random-fire newsflashes about a North Pole rescue and a deadly tornado, about Notre Dame University honors for actress Irene Dunne and trouble for Lois DeFee, “tallest of the striptease stars,” who had “just reported being robbed of all her gems.” Okay, considering that the Amazonian Ms. DeFee once tried to floor Americans by marrying a midget, such a flash was probably no more than another publicity shot.
Amid all that trivia, however, there were disturbing words. Not so much news, but signs of Winchell’s whole-hearted support for the McCarthy cause and his willingness to assist in turning the Soviet Union into an enemy fit to fill the spot left vacant after V-J Day.
Winchell talked of “changes in the soviet top command” and warned that Russia, having “put the big squeeze on Sweden,” was “getting ready for a military move of some kind.” He delighted in being denounced as a “radio liar” by Russian propagandists who labelled him the “pen gangster from the Hearst band.”
There sure was method in such red scare madness, which was as much a machination of the West as it was a menace from the East. Admiring the flowers of rhetoric, one must be prepared to step right into dung heap of history.