Gilda, is a very good if not great movie that is sort of a great soap opera or dramatic comedy that has everything from mystery, to crime drama, to comedy even. But if you take Rita Hayworth out of the movie and replace her with an ordinary looking woman, or a woman who is pretty and maybe even sweet looking as well, but nothing special, I believe Gilda becomes a very mediocre movie. I believe there a lot of guys who could’ve played the Johnny character ( played by Glenn Ford ) and I believe Ford does a great job as well, but a lot of guys could’ve played Johnny.
Imagine Myra Breckinridge without Raquel Welch or Hart to Hart without Stefanie Powers, The Killers without Ava Gardner, they would still be good movies perhaps, Hart to Hart perhaps not because I don’t believe would be a good show without Stefanie Powers, but there certain actresses and actors that without them the complexion of the movie or show changes dramatically. Sort of like a great basketball team without a certain player on the team, because they have this presence that is not just memorable, but unforgettable.
Rita Hayworth wasn’t called The Love Goddess because someone in Hollywood went through a whole book of nicknames to give a random actress and decided that The Love Goddess was the best from the book to give any actress. She was The Love Goddess because millions of men in America and outside of America all wanted her and to be with her and be the Mr. Rita Hayworth the top pinup from the 1940s, a big reason why millions of American soldiers wanted to return from Europe and Japan in the 1940s and come back to America to see and listen to Rita Hayworth.
I’m not interested in Howard Schultz’s so-called potential independent presidential run at least for this piece, but more interested in what he created not just with Starbucks, but the broader pop culture in America. Starbucks, really since the late 1990s or so is not just just a coffee house, but it’s a fashion statement and status update. Americans, especially yuppies and hipsters not just like Starbucks coffee, but feel the need to be seen liking that coffee and feel the need to have everyone know that they like that coffee and go to if not Starbucks on a regular basis, perhaps some other popular coffee house in their community.
Starbucks cups are not just coffee cups, but their fashion statements. Hipsters and yuppies feel the need to not just walk down the street holding their Starbucks cup or another coffee house cup, even if their cup is empty, but feel the need to be seen either on their phone or looking at their phone, even if they’re not actually speaking to anyone or don’t have any latest texts or voice mails that they haven’t seen or listen to yet, while holding their coffee house cup at the same time.
Coffee house coffee whether it’s Starbucks or any other coffee, is to America and American pop culture, what tobacco was in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s before Americans figured out how addicting and how bad tobacco was for you. Except coffee house coffee and coffee you get at your local bakery or on the street, is a helluva lot better for you than tobacco and alcohol even. So you have a lot of hipsters and yuppies in America who know it’s not only cool to drink and be seen with coffee house coffee, but it’s not nearly as bad for you as tobacco or alcohol.
Starbucks, is not just a coffee house, but like with new technology especially smart phones they’re ways of living. It’s a way of life for them and way for people to be popular. “Look at Joe and Mary, they not only have the latest smartphone that just came out an hour ago, but they’re in touch with the latest celebrity news stories and scandals, addicted to reality TV, and are addicted to Starbucks coffee and coffee houses as much as we are. Even know every single Starbucks drink by heart. They must be as awesome as we are.” Which is how Starbucks customers, hipsters, and yuppies want to be seen. And Howard Schultz, is a big reason for this coffee house culture that we’ve been living with in America for the last 20 years or so. Whether he deserves credit or blame for that, I’ll let be the judge.
As someone who grew up just outside Washington in Bethesda, Maryland and still live there, I grew up a Redskins fan and still am, ( even though Dan Snyder makes it harder for me to remain a Redskins and NFL fan each and everyday ) it gives me great pain to say anything nice about anyone who has ever worked for the New York Giants. Especially someone who not just had great success with the Giants, but had great success against the Redskins while with the Giants. The Redskins and Giants, are great rivals.
The only team that the Giants hate more than the Philadelphia Eagles, are the Redskins. And the only team that the Redskins hate more than the Dallas Cowboys, are the Giants. Welcome to the NFC which is just one small, but great family where everyone hates each other. Which might not be that untypical of the modern American family, especially with the current political situation and division. The NFC East is one of those places that’s not that different from the modern American family. For example ( pardon my language ) you can all your brother an asshole or even make fun of your father or mother, but if someone else does especially outside of your family does, you want to kick their ass to set them straight. We don’t actually hate each other, we even respect it each other which makes it easier to acknowledge greatness from another team in your division when you see it.
When a car company makes a great car, you bet your life that your competitors will see that and respect that. Perhaps even take notes of what makes that car great and why it’s so popular. And when another team in your division does something great, or produces someone who is great like a player, or in Bill Parcells case a great head coach, other teams take note of that to see what made that coach so success with that team.
You could argue that what made Bill Parcells a great head coach was his knowledge for football and the NFL. A great ability to see talent and get the most out of the players that he had and of course that’s all true. There are maybe 10 different NFL head coaches that knew enough about football and both sides of the ball that they could’ve been either a successful defensive coordinator or offensive coordinator: Don Shula, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, perhaps Bill Cowher, maybe Bill Walsh who gets credit for being the great offensive mind that he was, but the man had a great football mind as well and the San Francisco 49ers played his defenses and defenders were his players, not the defensive coordinator’s. But one guy who really sticks out as a great football mind at least post-Tom Landry is Bill Parcells.
But as great a football mind that Bill Parcells was in the NFL and especially with the Giants where he won 2 Super Bowls in 5 years in New York ( or New Jersey, depending on your perspective ) and his knowledge of the game both defensively and offensively is an important factor, there’s one more factor that I believe is more important and a bigger reason for his success in the NFL and that’s his honesty. Like with the Giants ball control power offense where they almost told the defense what play they were going to run, because they only had a handful of both running and passing plays, there was no deception with the Bill Parcells Giants, they were either going to power run or perhaps pull a sweep outside with Joe Morris or someone else, or QB Phill Simms would go play action and hit a post to his TE Mark Bavaro or WR Lionel Manuel and there was also no deception or bullshit ( to be frank ) in how he treated his players. They always knew where they stood with him.
The classic Bill Parcells quote where he’s on the sidelines I believe talking to his offensive line during a game and he’s trying to motivate them and get them to play harder and he says, “this is why you lift all them weights, this is why you do all that shit!” Telling them the reason why Parcells makes his players work as hard as he possibly can, is not to punish them and to wear them down, but to make them as strong as they can and to make them as great as they.
It’s that old Chuck Knox quote when he was the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams in the 1970s when they were at practice and he tells one of those players, “to be a champion, you have to pay the price.” Coach Knox, was also famous for working his players very hard. Bill Parcells, wasn’t interested in being popular even in New York, but wanted to build champions and he did that they only way he knew how to which was through blue-collar bluntness and hard work and he was very successful with his approach.
As someone who is Agnostic and proud of it who believes in reason, science, facts, and only has faith in people, things, institutions that I trust based on the evidence that I’ve seen from being around them and talking to them, I can actually see why people would be attracted in religion. As someone who believes in the First Amendment which includes the Freedom of Religion in America, ( sorry Hippies, I’m not spiritualist and I’m not a Communist either ) I can see why people would want religion, be involved in America, and even need it. I guess the difference between an Agnostic and an Atheist, especially a fundamentalist Atheist ( and yes, there is such a thing ) like a Communist to use as an example.
This is not an official definition, but that might only be because there isn’t any official definition of religion, but my personal definition of religion is basically basic set of moral values that people believe and follow, as well as the belief in God. Now, depending on what religion you are a member of determines what moral values that you believe in and follow that helps you in your life. I can easily see how people can get positive benefits from being a part of a religion and get positive benefits from attending church and listening to their religious leader every week give a sermon, especially when they’re going through rough times and need help getting through those tough times. Even though religion is not for me and I prefer to use evidence and reason to get through those tough times in our lives.
Elaine Pagels, lost both her son and husband in the span of a year back in 1987-88, apparently wasn’t very religious before those tragedies in her life, but found religion after that and I can understand someone who goes through those tragedies especially in such a short period of time would feel the need to get help from religion and learn about that and try to figure out for themselves why they’re being put through those tragedies one following by another. Religion, has been used by alcoholics to get over their alcoholism. It’s been used to help career criminals who are doing long-term prison sentences get their life going on a positive track so once they’re finally out of prison they can become positive members of their community once they’re free. As much as I might hate religious fundamentalism in all forms, ( and trust me, I do ) people should also understand and beware of the positive aspects of religious life as well.
At risk of sounding partisan and this is not the first time I’ve taken this risk as a blogger: as much as the Christian-Right and broader Far-Right in America, especially Christian-Nationalists put down and critique Saudi Arabia and other Islamic states for their interpretation of Islam in their government and Islam in general, they actually have a lot in common with Islamic-Theocrats and the Islamic-Right in the world and have for a very long time. 50 plus years or longer and share very similar if not identical cultural and religious views, especially when it comes to women’s place in the world.
And why do I mention this? Because really from the time the American Republic was founded in 1776, up until 1963-64 or so America was the Christian-Right utopia for them when it came to the women’s place in the world. They were basically servants of men who were raised to grow up, meet a good man who could take care of them financially, but spend their lives taking care of him at home, as well as their kids. As Joe ( or whoever the man was ) would go out in the world and make a career for himself and earn a good living everyday, while his wife Mary ( or whoever the woman was ) would be at home waiting for him managing the home and taking care of their kids.
According to the Christian-Right and the broader Far-Right in America, we as a country have been going to hell since the mid 1960s and have been destroying their utopia. With personal freedom and individualism running rampant around the country with so many Americans of all races and ethnicities, as well as religions, both men and women daring to have the freedom to make their own decisions. And no longer feel trapped and having to live in their parents cultural basement and feeling the need to have to live the way that their parents and grandparents lived in America. With women wanting to go to college and then get themselves a good job and get married and have kids later on, instead right away, she now had the cultural freedom to do that.
If men didn’t want to get married at all and not have kids, or perhaps have kids and raise them, but not get married to the mother of his kids, he could now do that, because he had that same cultural freedom. And the same freedom for women as well. This piece from Nora Johnson from 60 years ago and this video covers that. Women now had the same freedom as Americans as men do with the same freedom to run their own lives. Decide for themselves if they wanted to go to college and get a good job, or get married early and stay home to raise their kids. Wasn’t like women were now required to get educated and go to work, it’s just that now they had the personal and cultural freedom to make that decision for themselves.
In 1963 or so with Baby Boomers graduating high school and now in college, they were let out of their parents basement and this cultural closet that they were living in now had the freedom to be Americans and live their own lives, regardless if their parents and grandparents approving of their lifestyles or not. And with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which made it illegal for employers to discriminate against people based on race, ethnicity, but gender as well we saw millions of American women of all races and ethnicities now entering the workforce. The sitcoms of the 1970s with show like Mary Tyler Moore and Maude illustrated that with how America was changing culturally and we haven’t looked back ever since and probably never will.