December 03, 2022
Why bother with something true to life, dignified, and classy when you can create something untrue, cheap, and vulgar? While surfing through some channels looking for a black-and-white oldie, I watched something that I think is called Rogue Heroes. I’m not sure of the title because the TV film annoyed me so, I turned it off after watching it for less than ten minutes. And it took as long as that because the trash was based on a terrific subject, the war in the desert pitting the great Rommel against timid Monty.
What made the few minutes I watched seedy and sordid was the language. And no, I’m no prude and can swear with the best, but only in the right environment. In the trashy scene I watched, David Stirling, a gent and an officer in real life, approaches General Auchinleck and proposes that a guerrilla group attack Rommel’s supply lines. He uses the f-word nonstop when he meets officers he doesn’t know, like “Who the f— are you?” or when he needs to make a point he says, “I’m f—ing telling you that this can’t fail…”
Poor little upstanding Taki was outraged. I used to gamble with Bill Stirling, David’s brother and cofounder of the SAS, and have been a friend of Bill’s son, Archie, for fifty or so years. I never heard Bill Stirling use the f-word, even when losing a fortune at the Aspinall tables. Nor do I think British officers of the time used that word in public when being introduced to each other. I suppose it’s the trash urge that makes directors and writers include such stuff, or better yet, it is the lack of talent that demands it. And the actors were no better. They overacted and made faces to show intent as if it were a silent flick. What surprised me was Dominic West appearing in a brief role. He’s a good actor, so why go so down market?
What is more interesting is why today’s audiences prefer trash to good taste. Tom Wolfe named it “nostalgie de la boue.” The satisfaction trash offers to Brits and Americans does not transfer to, say, the Frogs or the Italians and Spanish. What many Anglo-Americans demand is trash, pure and simple, and when confronted with it, they blame conservatives and Christians who angled to ban anything offensive. But that’s bull, because people have been clashing over filth since time immemorial. I think filth is an acquired taste, and slowly but surely the porn industry and Hollywood have managed to infect us all.
In fairness, however, I watched this particular movie for only ten minutes, and have no idea who produced it, financed it, or directed it. The use of the ubiquitous f-word simply shocked me because officers of the time were more likely to use Twitter sixty years before it was invented than address a fellow officer with “Who the f— are you?”
And speaking of Twitter, I hope Musk makes it. I’ve never used social media and wouldn’t know how to start, but the obsessive engineer that is Musk intrigues me. He is now being accused of “Twitter poisoning,” a supposed side effect that appears when one acts under an algorithmic system designed to stress one to the maximum. “Total bull,” says the most famous engineer/computer whiz/social media expert Taki. The trouble with Twitter, according to the great Greek expert, is that it was selective, and is no longer. Musk believes in the right of everyone to participate, not only those whom the lefty, nerdy freaks who ran it agreed with.
Basically, Twitter is just noise. I hope that Musk can control the vitriol and lies spread on the medium, and if anyone can, Elon can. Musk was smart enough to enjoy and get rid of Amber Heard, unlike the fool Johnny, who went ahead and married her. After the divine Amber—she really turns me on—Twitter should be a cakewalk. I just spent Thanksgiving at the home of my friends George and Lita Livanos, and I gave George hell because of what he didn’t do on his private island.
It seems an artist’s son whom I know slightly brought Amber to Koronis some time ago. Everything was hunky-dory until the hostess had to leave for Athens and at two in the morning George’s telephone rang. It was Amber ringing to find out why some machine wasn’t working in her bungalow. So George, like the good husband he is, advised her to ring the island’s engineer in the morning, then hung up. When he told me the story I started screaming at him. “What the hell is wrong with you, are you gaga?” and things like that.
But Georgie Porgie is no fool. A little bird told him that, had he gone over to her bungalow at 2 a.m., it would not exactly turn out to be a wham-bang-thank-you-ma’am type of evening. George is a serious family man with five children, eighteen grandchildren, and one wife. He had smelled trouble and went back to sleep like a baby. I, of course, would have rushed over and fixed that bloody machine even if I don’t know how to start a car at times, but then that’s the difference between our No. 1 shipowner and yours truly.
Anyway, this was long ago and I had fun screaming about how Amber turns me on and how Musk will definitely make Twitter right after taming Amber.