10/23/09

A Hodgepodge of Friday Thoughts

I've spent the evening uploading more WWII-era songs and watching Looney Tunes propaganda cartoons. I think the fascination at this point is that I've never studied an era where audio and visual primary sources were possibilities. Not so many songs and movies for the Old West or medieval Europe!

Unfortunately, reading the YouTube comments to those videos is a threat to my sanity. People spend precious moments of their lives using YouTube of all places to argue about racial stereotyping, as if their snarky gripe that the "Tokyo Woes" video is racially hideous somehow breaks new intellectual or observational ground. I say to them, "Well, duh, my good fellows." Now let's talk about the Louisiana judge who denied a mixed couple permission to get married, which happened last week. It's very easy for us to look back at and deride extreme versions of the bigotry that still takes place today.

That said, we do have President Obama. Yesterday, Juliette wanted to know how it is that some people have darker skin and some people have lighter skin. She couched her questions in evolutionary terms, in that skin color is just another physical feature like spines on a dinosaur or fur on a cat. I'm pleased that it's not about race to her; it's about quantifiable science. So I used Wiki to pull up pictures of Obama and his mother and father. Voila! Say what you will about the president, but he makes explaining genetics a snap. How cool is that?


Anyway, back to WWII. I noticed that a huge number of songs from the era give lead billing to the band leader--let's say Tommy Dorsey--and then a "featuring" credit to a singer such as Frank Sinatra. This reminds me of producers today, guys like Timbaland and Mark Ronson, who command full albums of the music they produce, with Justin Timberlake or Kasabian, respectively, garnering a mention as the featured artists. It's all getting back to its jazz/blues/R&B roots.

What a bizarre post. OK, I'll end with the trailer from HBO's March 2010 10-part miniseries "The Pacific," from the folks who brought us "Band of Brothers." Color me excited. I know very little, comparatively, about the ETO and eagerly await seeing it brought to life by these filmmakers. Here I noticed 600% more color, 300% more kissing, and 500% more female cast members than "BoB." I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they handle any romantic subplots well.

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