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for December 4, 2002

See No Evil. Hear Some Elvis.
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Before Thanksgiving weekend becomes another blur in the rearview, let's check out the sights. Not the View - Heavens, not the View! - but what was available to be seen. Like us at parties, only with paid advertising.
Monday December 2nd was Britney Spears' long-awaited twenty-first birthday. Our pop princess may be a model Good Girl, but being good gets stale. Expect recriminations, sloppy drunk stories and charges to be filed by next Monday morning. That's the American way. Recently the Bush girls turned twenty-one. It's a miracle we're not at war with Tanqueray.
On Thanksgiving night, while you were helpless with L-Triptophan-induced lethargy, you may have viewed Elvis Lives on NBC. Were you less helpless, you probably would've bolted from the room when the Dixie Chicks, No Doubt and Bono drained the life out of Elvis' hits. Even host Chris Isaak, ordinarily a live wire, looked like he'd been blackmailed into playing this gig. The cartoon anvil dropped on viewers' heads was Bono reciting poetry, precisely enunciating until he slurred two words that could have been either "white knickers" or "white niggers." One hundred per cent of stunned Thanksgivers in one New Jersey living room wondered if Bono or the sound man needed hitting with a brick.
Our new mantra: "What did he say? Wait, what did he say?"
In 2002, we have been inundated with Elvis impersonators for more than twenty-five years. What did Elvis look like? Who remembers? Why do perfectly sensible friends go berserk when Elvis wannabes croon "Love Me Tender?" The imagination sometimes strains when picturing what could have incited this riot. Elvis? What could be less relevant than an over-the-hill, overweight, booze-soaked, gun-toting pillhead, dead since 1977? It's not as simple as that anymore. The person is lost in the politics, the history, the impersonators, the wedding chapels, the endless cycle of reissued hits. One redeeming thing Elvis Lives offered was footage of the very human, fallible person, struggling with dependency and time, Hollywood and a persona bigger than life. Elvis before 1970 leaps off the screen, so alive and challenging and sexual. Suddenly the myth makes a little sense. The continued hysteria makes sense. The impersonators ... you've got me there.
Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love uses commercial time wisely, which is to say does something besides watch commercials. Refills her refreshing beverage, perhaps. Makes out holiday lists. Quick calls to congresspersons when necessary. However, one eye-catching commercial made her sit up and take notice. For maximum impact:
Tape or TiVO the ad for Mellow Rock, a collection of songs best blotted out of music history;
Attend an exhausting family event during which toddlers talk without rest;
Contemplate the stain removal implications of silk tinged with cranberry sauce and the blood of a strange ten year old who ran into your infirm Grandpa;
Recline languidly in hopes that three hours of Changing Rooms will make life worth living again;
View commercial. Recoil in disbelief.
Kudos if you don't call the suicide hotline.
A curious thing: "It Takes Two" currently runs under commercials for both American Express and Applebee's. Myriad perky versions of "My Way" litter the airwaves. Follow the bouncing copyright laws!
Lest one entertain the idea that nothing amuses, Your Tetrazzini had a blast with TLC's Junkyard Wars marathon. As if that weren't enough, the Discovery Channel's weekend TV schedule was peppered with piquant Monster Garage. Seeing may still be believing.

©2002 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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