Monday, August 29, 2011

When men wore pants: Chef Ramsay will save us

by Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 8/29/11

There is a world inside striving to find the will and intelligence to be born again. I noticed when my youngest son just entering college started listening to Tony Bennett and saving up for a suit.

The Fifties are here. Just under the surface. Just bubbling up. And “Mad Men's” Don Draper, the fictional shaman who created America in the 1950s (“America is everywhere I am . . . as far as I can see.”) has created it. Now come knockoffs of men in suits and women in uniform: Two new TV shows this fall: “Pan Am” and “The Playboy Club.”

Every athlete does not get a trophy in this world. Every book is not a great book. Every president and ex-president no matter how nuts or squalid does not get a Nobel Prize. That is Oprah world and it is fast dwindling. Chef Ramsey (“Shut up! What is that? Do it over! Stop crying!”) is the antidote; the anti-Oprah.

And Don is the anti-Timothy Leary, the anti-Jerry Garcia: Turn on? Don will take two. Tune in? Don sees everything. But never, ever, ever drop out.

You could see this coming with Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of Truman Capote in “Truman.” The return of mastery with both Hoffman and Capote. And in Ed Harris's portrayal and direction resurrecting “Pollock.” Warrior artists and writers from the fifties who have found no match. Warrior monks then as well: D.T. Suzuki, C.G. Jung, Nancy Ross Wilson, Walpola Rahula.

Recently, in a speech in Toronto, Shmuel Sackett, who speaks for an Israeli group which calls for Jewish leadership in Israel, asked why Israel at war in the 1960s found such strong support here in North America and finds so little today although the situations are not that different. But that was before Bono started writing opinions for The New York Times. Before the Bob Geldorf School of International Studies. I mean, who are you going to listen to, Lady Gaga or Hannah Arendt? And who is Hannah Arendt?

But it was then that a few men still wore pants and not jeans. And they are starting to again.

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