Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Could Be a Bigger Geek, If I Tried a Little Harder, I Guess

My weekend was made in the following manner. Faced with an impending salon visit (color! thirty minutes' processing time!), I found myself digging through dusty piles of books I've either read, have no interest in reading, or couldn't finish when I tried to read them the first time. So I went to the library and browsed fiction until I had found an armload of novels that I'd never heard of but that may, eh, be good, we'll see. It's always a crapshoot when you go in without a list or a plan, isn't it? At checkout, the dude behind the counter told me something I had requested a while ago had come in. Indeed, my eight-hundred-page book on the impact and legacy of Richard Nixon arrived! Woooo!

Why, yes, I may tell you about it. Not having experienced the sixties and having been but a tiny tyke during the seventies, I have absolutely no frame of reference for how people experienced all the social upheaval that happened during that time. And of course, understanding Nixon and how he (and Republicans evermore after him) manipulated the backlash helps to put the current state of politics into a larger context.

And do you know that experience where several things you're reading at a time or a spate of movies you watch in a sequence coincidentally have echoing themes, characters, or strange details? I just watched this Andy Griffith film, which was very good--an unexpectedly dark look at human nature, the impacts of fame, and the manipulative ends to which some can put "wholesomeness" and a "just folks" persona. It seemed eerily prescient to me of Nixon-style politics, given that it was released in 1957. Ah, but I learn from this book that the film was in fact inspired by Nixon's "Checkers" speech.


erik said...

mule in the stable,/corn on the table,/just plain folks!

i love that movie!

Laura said...

Creepy: Andy Griffith (!!!) leering at the drum majorettes. I didn't realize until a friend pointed it out, but Betty Lou was played by Lee Remick. I thought she looked familiar.