by Burt Prelutsky
These days, the group of people I find the most annoying are those who feel compelled to defend the FBI against the mounting evidence that those in leadership positions at the agency have colluded with the DNC not only to get liar-Hillary Clinton elected, but, having failed that, to bring down Donald Trump.
Those who feel called upon to insist that the majority of the 30,000 agents are hard-working patriots who don’t have a partisan bone in their collective bodies are missing the point. It doesn’t matter if the foot soldiers are as pure as legendary Ivory soap claimed to be, which, as I recall was 99.44/one hundredths percent pure. It’s that 56/one hundredths — people like Robert Mueller, James Comey and Peter Strzok — who have destroyed the agency’s reputation for impartiality by openly targeting the President; managing to expand an alleged investigation of Russian collusion into a no-holds-barred barroom brawl, in which kicking, gouging and lying, are all acceptable, so long as it’s being done by federal agents.
To defend the FBI on the basis of the agents being honest is as pointless as arguing that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union weren’t so bad because most Germans weren’t Nazis and most Russians weren’t members of the Communist Party. Go tell that to the 80 million people killed by those two regimes.
What’s more, the FBI apparently joined liar-Hillary Clinton in financing a phony dossier used to discredit Trump and the members of his campaign team. Lest it escape your attention, those are American tax dollars the FBI used in its bizarre attempt to help elect “Crooked” liar-Hillary.
But why should we expect better of these partisan bureaucrats? After all, the IRS used its unlimited powers to make life unpleasant for millions of Americans for no other reason than that they were conservatives who opposed liar-nObama’s radical agenda. And the last thing I heard was that Lois Lerner was receiving her pension, facing no jail time and was given a bonus of $129,300 of our money as a parting gift.
● If Roy Moore or any other guy in his 30s tried or, worse yet, succeeded in getting a date with a 14-year-old, it would serve him right if she insisted he take her to a boys-band concert. But what it wouldn’t be, assuming that rape isn’t on the agenda, is a case of child-abuse.
Anyone who thinks a typical 14-year-old American girl is an innocent child is probably too stupid to be trusted around sharp, potentially lethal, items, which would include kitchen knives, hatchets, axes and 14-year-old girls.
● Being a short Jewish guy, I can’t help noticing that it has been a particularly bad time for short Jewish guys. Off the top of my head, I have in mind such notable shrimps as Harvey Weinstein, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen and Al Franken. In just the past few months, they have all been unmasked as sexual reprobates.
I keep feeling I should confess to something. I just can’t think what. But just to be on the safe side, these days I’m not even removing my pants when I take a shower.
● Speaking of Jews, you’d have to be stone-hearted not to sympathize with Israel’s plight. Their enemies, who also happen to be America’s enemies, keep attacking the tiny nation, and every time that Israel emerges victorious against seemingly impossible odds, instead of being congratulated, Israel is assailed. It’s deemed an oppressor and its enemies feel entitled to dictate the terms of Israel’s surrender.
Most despicable of all, the morons on our college campuses, faculty and students, alike, feel free to call these survivors of the Holocaust, and their descendants, Nazis.
● There are those, inevitably those with no creative talent of their own, who believe that creative types shouldn’t expect to profit from their efforts, that the reward should be in the work itself. I know that when the members of the Writers Guild went on strike in 1988 for nearly six months and it interfered with scheduled programming, it was the writers who received the brunt of public outrage, not the studios and networks who had forced the issue by refusing to negotiate a new contract.
Apparently, a lot of people in the viewing audience assumed that the actors in the movies and on TV made it all up as they went along, and couldn’t quite figure out how a bunch of schmucks walking a picket line could bring production to a grinding halt.
It got even worse when the public found out how much the schmucks were getting paid to write the stuff; stuff, the folks at home were convinced they could write much better if only they knew how to type.
It is true, having been sort of a creative person most of my life, that there are satisfactions that have little or nothing to do with money. There is also recognition, which is generally denied to those who write for the visual mediums. Even if you’re lucky enough to win an Oscar or an Emmy, the only folks who won’t take advantage of your acceptance speech to go to the bathroom or the refrigerator are the writer’s immediate family.
The single most bitter creative person I ever met was a composer named Harry Warren. Born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna, he Americanized his name and musicalized the movies in a way that nobody ever had, and nobody ever would again.
During his astonishing career, Warren was nominated for 11 Oscars, winning three for “The Lullaby of Broadway,” “You’ll Never Know” and “The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.”
In all, he composed 800 songs that were used in 300 movies. They included “42nd Street,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby,” “Jeepers, Creepers,” “We’re in the Money,” “That’s Amore,” “An Affair to Remember” and “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” which was the first gold record in history, signifying sales of at least a million copies.
He had 42 songs on “The Hit Parade,” 21 of them in the top spot.
Not even the likes of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern and the Gershwins, came close.
But, when he was in his 70s, I interviewed him in his Beverly Hills home and you would have thought that his dreams of having a songwriting career had been dashed somewhere along the way, and he had wound up selling used cars or aluminum siding.
Forget the Oscars. Forget the endless stream of hits. Forget the money. All that was on his mind was how unfair it was that everyone knew the names of Berlin, Porter, Rodgers, Kern and the Gershwins, but nobody, he was convinced, had ever heard of Harry Warren.
Even I could see the injustice of it, even if I could recognize that the songs those other fellows wrote often had something that seemed to be lacking in even the best of Warren’s tunes. His tended to be nice and bouncy, but none of them had even a hint of the genius one found in the likes of “Long Ago and Far Away,” “Embraceable You,” “If I Loved You,” “How Deep is the Ocean?” “In the Still of the Night,” “Begin the Beguine,” “Younger Than Springtime,” “All the Things You Are” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.”
Normally, I would be a little more sympathetic to his complaint, but I just saw an old Vitaphone short from the 1930s in which a young Harry Warren is filmed playing a series of his hits and chatting with onlookers at a staged party scene. And not once did he even mention any of the lyricists, such as Mack Gordon, Leo Robin, Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer, who provided words to his notes, thus giving the likes of Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers, Eddie Cantor, Don Ameche, Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda, Judy Garland and countless recording artists, the opportunity to do something besides hum his melodies.
Once, when George Gershwin and Oscar Levant were on a train from New York to L.A., Gershwin took the lower berth as if it were his birth right. When Levant asked why he should be stuck with the claustrophobic upper berth, Gershwin replied: “The difference between talent and genius.”
Levant, who was neurotic but fair-minded, accepted the truth of the statement and climbed, uncomplainingly, into the upper berth.
If Harry Warren had been in the compartment with Gershwin, he might have also wound up in the upper berth, but I can promise you Gershwin would have had a fight on his hands.
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