29 May 2011

The Jams



A fellow known as Laguna Beach Fogey recently referred to me as a "tattooed goombah from Boston who plays Preppy dress up." (the capitalization of preppy is his...I might have capitalized Goombah).  This might have been funny, if only the ensuing conversation hadn't led me to this. Wow.

So I thought about how I don't like to get political here, and how I like to write about clothes, and music and stuff, and how I should probably just leave this all alone. But when I read something so ugly, ignorant and racist, I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut.

So instead of flying off the handle and likely making an ass of myself, I settled my nerves with this incredible live performance by Curtis Mayfield from 1972. Seriously, Curtis with a small band and a Fender amp, sans string arrangement, is unstoppable.

I went to a Memorial Day parade today with my wife, kids and parents. I watched veterans and marching bands roll by, and I thought about what this all stood for, and I tried to give some small idea of it to my four year old boy. Then I came home and got rolling with all this Laguna racism crap and it brought me down, but only for a minute. As Curtis says:

"of all the soldiers who are dead and gone, if we could bring back just one, he'd say we got to have peace"

Go ahead and change the subject if you like...make cracks about the ugly 1970s clothes in the video, make this a conversation about me being a typical bleeding heart from Massachusetts, call me a goombah, it's up to you. I plan to "Keep On Keeping On"

Happy Memorial Day.

p.s. we'll get back to matters more superficial tomorrow...promise.

39 comments:

Jesse Thorn said...

One of my all-time favorites. I love Curtis with or without the strings. We should all be so blessed as to have this much love and kindness in our hearts and in our art.

Chris said...

Laguna Beach Fogey wears ankle bracelets. Nuff said! I really like you're site and your authentic DIY nature. Keep up the good work and to hell with the naysayers.

the gentleman tattooer said...

Listen fratello mio if they are hating you are doing something right.

Jho78 said...

Yikes! Add Laguna Beach Fogey's rant to the list of things I feel dumber for having read. Thanks for the Curtis, it was a terrific palate clenser.

Charles Lister said...

"The capitalization of preppy is his...I might have capitalized Goombah." That's wonderful. The only thing sharper than your clothes is your wit. Keep up the great work, this blog is always a pleasure...

GP said...

Curtis Mayfield is brilliant.

I'd encourage you to remember who you are: a husband & father, a friend, teacher, community member, writer... And if some old fogey is out there baiting people to join him in his sport of the past, I know you've shoulders strong enough to shrug him off. We're on your side.

Tom said...

Laguna Beach Fogey's observations are correct. What's racist about that? It is part of the PC brainwashing process that you are not allowed to voice what is obvious.

Anonymous said...

Guiseppe,

I read the fogey once in a while. The piece you mentioned was exactly as you so tersely and appropriately describe it and my reaction was the same as Jho78 — i felt dumber for having read it. Good call.

FLW said...

A very well-chosen song and an even better chosen response. Curtis Mayfield can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, I have found, so it is nice to see him here.

As for LBF, I find it tragic when people are so insecure and weak-willed that they must attack the work of others to give themselves a place. Creating some pseudo-intellectual pedigree/vintage that must be buttressed by superfluous comments about one's disdain for television or the HP series is one of the great tragedies of the internet age. If a diverse Hogwarts is a disease of the modern world, so is the dime-store soapbox that is blogger.com (no offense, G. You're a blogger of the first water).

I'm sorry, LBF, that we choose to depict black people obtaining an education. I am also sorry that you believe the world to be in a permanent state of decline. Finally, I am sorry that you labor under the delusion that, at some point in history, you were of some exulted status and special place in society. I hope the future finds you in better spirits.

Anonymous said...

The Impressions were nothing after Curtis left.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Poseur. You fuckin' fake.

Charlie G. said...

Tom,

LBF's observation was "correct" but the spike in criticism comes from the referring to people as "mystery-meat," not from stating the obvious. Mystery-meat is a derogatory term for delicatessen fare. When slung at a human being who has no control over who gave birth to him/her it becomes grounds for multiple blows to the mouth and face. We're all "mystery-meat" if you go back far enough so it's a toothless insult that makes the deliverer look like a short-sighted knobjob.

Also, if I remember correctly, LBF called Giuseppe a "real American" who wasn't like the other immigrants or something of that nature. Funny how quickly that opinion changed when G didn't agree with LBF's world view. So G was a stylish, all-American guy in the LBF's eyes until they didn't agree on something, then he turned into a Goombah with tattoos. Why are you defending him again?

LBF also completely ignores the likelihood that the producers of the HP franchise probably wanted to make the HP franchise as accessible as possible to as many viewers with a disposable income around the globe. Pure economics. No insidious master plan. With such brief and rose-tinted hindsight and distorted foresight it's amazing that LBF hits his marks in investment banking. He has the paranoid white supremacist market cornered no doubt.

Tom, would you like to see segregation and miscegenation laws back in effect as well? Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

Do "stand" and "men" rhyme?

Anonymous said...

if you are a "goombah", I am a pair of yellow striped pyjamas.

Sum

Giuseppe said...

I am my own man, Laguna, take it or leave. Proudly Italian, devoted to my family, and with a superficial penchant for Brooks Brothers. I don't think I've ever claimed to be anything more or less. I think your definition of poseur is a bit skewed.

As for the rest of your comment, what kind of gentleman are you?

Thank you, however, for helping me make my point.

Take a deep breath, relax...

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

You're a boring, street-level fake.

I've never claimed to be any kind of 'gentleman' (quite the contrary), and that's what has you agitated.

You're simply a poseur. You know what that means.

Giuseppe said...

Explain. Without name calling, like an adult please.

Wrenkin said...

It's pretty straight-up racist. Mystery meat, the imagery of "masses" of black and brown people, the possibility of the indigenous people of Britain (The Picts? Ancient British?) facing genocide, the non-ironic use of the word miscegenation, the idea that one ought to "do something about" changing demographics, since such real life characters are "unwanted". Or is that not obvious? One would have thought when away from Blighty one leaves the Daily Mail out of mind.

Anonymous said...

LBF is the real posseur. He acts as if he is a member of the gentlemanly class but by his actions and his language shows his true lineage. He cannot even muster an iota of noblesse oblige which is the hallmark of the class he claims.

Fergus said...

Why do these right wing nutjobs like LBF always come across as, well, right wing nut jobs?

I'm all for a well argued thesis but LBF and those who agree with him on his blog all seem to be ranting about liberal conspiracys and the decline and fall of western civilization.

Chaps - there's no liberal conspiracy and the world is a better place than ever. Hope that clears it up for you.

Lee said...

I think LBF's commenter LAS said it best when s/he wrote, "Holy shit, man. This is so blatantly racist."

Anonymous said...

This isn't worth your time, Mr. G. There's an important debate to be had over immigration, demographics, and culture (and a less important one over whether you're a poseur) but this isn't the man to have them with. His post makes it clear that he despises non-whites ("mystery meat") and loathes racial mixing (complaining about "blatant miscegenation"). And there's his ridiculous conflation of demographic shifts with genocide.

The man's nuts, and you shouldn't waste your time arguing with him.

Jay said...

The sentiment is really gross and offensive, but really LBF's post is just a sad man ranting about wizards...

RulingPart said...

It seems to me that this dispute is very instructive. Anybody with any sense will surely recognize that Mr. LBF's behavior is unjustifiable, based in a deeply held insecurity and absolutely base. There is something very "street-level" about it indeed. It displays all the trappings of gentility and none of the substance, which is far worse than stupidity combined with no attempt at good taste at all in so much as it is deceptive.

This blog's author, in contrast, has never claimed patrician heritage. He likes the style, he likes the refinement, and he's had the courage to do exactly what the hell he wants to, bigots and snobs be damned.

Western culture, if it has any value, and it does, is not based on a skin tone but rather an ideal. Miss that and you miss everything.

Any random look, moreover, at the sort of person strolling the streets of Milan or Rome will display people who look and dress very much like this blog's author. Furthermore, the whole East Coast preppy aesthetic is really itself an attempt to ape upper class British style. Witness the 300 odd American heiresses marrying into impoverished British noble houses at the turn of the century and you get the idea.

A final note: Italians and Greeks created Western culture. A strange thing indeed to mock a man whose veins pump Roman blood.

notesandbeats said...

Who is this clown? What he wrote WAS blatantly RACIST. Wrenkin makes that clear. If you want some truly fly Curtis, cue up "Miss Black America." If that doesn't make you cry, you're not human.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

I-Gents. That's what you are. You do know, don't you, that people are laughing at you?

Giuseppe said...

I hope you can figure out what your real problem is someday. It must be awful being so full of hate for strangers all the time.

Let them laugh all they want, Fogey. Beats all Hell out of what they're saying about you, old chap.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Depends on who's doing the saying. In this case, it's a total bore. ::yawn::

Oh dear. It looks as if mobs of trads, preppies, and WASPs have been rioting in Boston again:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/05/31/fights_break_out_at_carson_beach/

Yo G, try to get your homies under control.

Claude said...

Shame on you LBF.

I think that it is worth pointing out how well Guiseppe does at keeping AAW primarily focused upon "superficial trivialities". Honestly, of the few other blogs I read I find my impression of the man behind the writing to be a head and shoulders above others similarly inclined, from my perspective. If it makes a bit of difference my ancestors were likely just what you'd prefer, but I would have Guiseppe at my table in a second compared to someone with such an apparently negative attitude as yours. You sound so threatened. Fearful.
I have a strong hunch that neither Guiseppe, nor anyone with a pair of GTH pants, is concerned if people are laughing. What a telling remark!
I think it's a shame to launch personal attacks of this sort, particularly for such silly reasons. And that you clearly revel in it, really now.

@Tom- If by "PC brainwashing process" you mean "ability to perceive the experiences of others as culturally distinct from your own" then perhaps. Good luck with your shared social objectivity.

@Guiseppe, that pink chambray jacket would have been amazing, sorry I missed that one.

Anonymous said...

In hindsight it's absurd that I would feel shocked in discovering that the ranks of those who worship the style and iconography of an early-20th-century privileged class would include those who actually cling to the ugly ideology of the era as well. I must admit, however, that I am indeed shocked.

He's right on one level, though: his world, the world of white privilege, is in decline. The color of his skin is no longer a guarantee of his worth. Brown and black and yellow faces - and women, and gays - appear as more than just caricatures and bit players in a white man's narrative. More and more Americans, myself included, have the blood of many races in their veins. The terrified ranting of LBF and his ilk reflects their weakness.

While I'm appalled by his bigotry, therefore, at the same time I love his fear. It fills me with hope, because what frightens that sad child is a world that is more inclusive, more tolerant, more equal.

-A Well-Dressed Mongrel

Jho78 said...

Just wait until he find out about Dumbledore...

Charlie G. said...

Well said WDM.

Giuseppe said...

Tom,

Calling this guy a racist is stating the obvious.

Using the demographics of a fictioanl wizards school from a series of poular childrens books as a platform for a racist tirade is is not.

Anonymous said...

Wow. If this was an 80's movie, LBF would be named Blaine.

notesandbeats said...

I read some more of this guy's blog and found out that he supposedly went to South Africa after the black majority won freedom in order to help the white minority fend off the black oppressors. Where was this maniac when the whites were crushing the blacks? Isn't it the crushing that we are supposed to hate? Psycho. Plus, I'm not sure I believe this guy at all.

2buttonswag said...

I absolutely LOVE Curtis Mayfield......and I will now be going and putting an album of his on my turntable. Great read!

Anonymous said...

That's some pretty rascist crap. Unfortunatley, I have a large section of my family who hail from the OC. They are all super prejudiced, bigoted people. Sad. We can admire preppy taste in clothes, but not their views on the rest of humanity. Invite him down to the North End of Boston or other such "Goombah" enclave, buy him alot drinks and then leave him to fend for himself and find his way back to his hotel in the middle of the night...

Max said...

Let's be real. Fashion is basically dress-up for grownups. If we were strictly concerned about function, we'd all be shopping at REI and wearing head-to-toe polyester performance clothing.

That said, at least you're honest about being a Bostonian wine-seller who likes getting well made, slightly flamboyant clothes on the cheap.

This racist douchebag is running around Laguna Beach spouting off about eugenics and trying to impress us with how rich he is. I'd take his derision as a compliment.

Anonymous said...

How can this guy (LBF) like Iggy and Bowie yet be such a complete d-bag?