Sunday, January 29, 2012

Magpie 102, ABC Wednesday and Three-Word Wednesday


"C" is for "Commentary"
Ah, free association - what a tool for a writer.
I took what clearly seemed to be an apple in an abstract work of art (above), thought about it for a bit, then combined that thought with all the political shenanigans going on these days, and suddenly remembered a phrase from the past:
“Politics is applesauce.”
Then I recalled who said it – Will Rogers, of course.
It’s kind of sad that there’s a generation of folks these days who don’t know who Will Rogers was.

Well, Will was a guy from Oklahoma who started out making a living as a sort of vaudeville cowboy doing rope tricks and other such cowboy-type stuff.
He came to learn that he got a much greater audience response when he talked, tossing off jokes and witty comment in a detached way, than when he relied on just action, trying to lasso something, for example. That’s when his career surged and took off.

He got on Broadway, then went off to Hollywood. He became a world-famous political wit, humorist and actor – he appeared in seventy-one movies. (!) In the thirties he was not only the highest-paid film star, he was loved by the American people.
I’m old enough to remember, back when Will was off on one of his round-the world flights – in a small aircraft; no 747s then – that it was quite a jolt for me and for the entire country to learn of his death when the plane crashed in Alaska.
I think it’s kind of amazing, and also funny, that Will – eighty years ago – knew all about our 2012 political scene. Here are some examples of his commentary:
"Everything is changing. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke."
“A fool and his money are soon elected.”
"Everybody says this here thing we're involved in ain't a real war. Congress says it ain't a war. 'Course the guys over there getting shot at say it's the best damned imitation they ever saw."
“If stupidity got us in this mess, why can't it get us out?"
“Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate?”
And he could be serious too: "I hope there are some sane people who will appreciate dignity and not showmanship in their choice for the presidency"
Look out, Jon Stewart, Will’s gaining on you!
Free association; for a writer there’s nothing quite like it. It can turn Wassily Kandinsky into Will Rogers in a couple of minutes. :-)

46 comments:

R. Burnett Baker said...

Touché! If only we could stick all the Republican candidates onto a huge canvas willy-nilly, we could hang them in MOMA. In the old west they'd probably just hang them...

Rick

Roger Owen Green said...

Stewart may be a spiritual descendant of Rogers.
Re: Rogers' legacy- not only do people not know who he is, there's a general intellectual lack of curiosity about our past (except that the Founders were somehow perfect) that is terribly disturbing and unnerving.

Lyn said...

Wonderful how you picked up on this stream...Kandinsky should be smiling, too...

Kathe W. said...

man o man- this is great! I'm posting your link for more to read!
So appropriate for these times.

vicki said...

well, i think you are the first one to do just that! that was very informative. i don't really follow politics or care much - i think it's all applesauce too.

Karen said...

Don't know how you got where you did, but it was a good read.

Susie Clevenger said...

It is amazing where inspiration will lead...Will Rogers was an amazing man...your piece a great tribute to him.

Brian Miller said...

lol its always fun to see where you take these...there are certainly a few smashed apples and maybe a few rotten ones in this political season...just saying...

Cad said...

taking the comedians seriously

How I can agree with that statement! Ha ha!

Berowne said...

Karen: "Don't know how you got where you did..."
Not too sure myself. :-)
"but it was a good read."
That's what counts.

Berowne said...

Kathe W: "I'm posting your link for more to read!"
Great idea - thanks.

izzy said...

Good to know more of his humor!
almost makes politics bearable, only if he deflects them- You'll find me somewhere behind his wonderful horse-
(Stuffed though he is...)

jabblog said...

Many a true word spoken in jest - and all the better remembered for it.

booguloo said...

Enjoyed the piece and the history lesson.

keiths ramblings said...

That was quite a journey . Interesting!

jaerose said...

QED.. ;) Jae

Helen said...

What a wonderful profile of the brilliant Mr. Rogers .. I'm blessed to know who he was. Thanks for this.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Great lesson Berowne and love the last line.

Anna :o]

Paula Scott said...

It is a sad commentary that many do not know Will Rodgers. Heck, most people think that you need a passport for New Mexico!

Melissa said...

Awesome post!

Pearl said...

What a wit he was.

Pearl

helenmac said...

Wonderful tribute to Will Rogers, who I am old enough to have heard of and admire! Just as Will helped my parents through the Depression Jon Stewart is helping me survive the current session of making applesauce.
HelenMac
ABC Team

Gigi Ann said...

I think one of the things that make a great writer, is that their words are timeless, just like you showed us with the Mark Twain quotes.

helenmac said...

P.S.
Oh my, yes, remembering Will Rogers, WHOM I, etc. :)
Ditto to Roger's astute comment concerning general intellectual lack of curiosity, except (parenthetically) concerning our perfect Founders.
HelenMac
ABC Team

chiccoreal said...

Dear Berowne: Did not realize that Kandinsky was aware of free association of Freud. Although this would make sense; definitely! Will Rogers is a hoot, what wit and wisdom~!Love how you free associated here~!

Kay L. Davies said...

I just love to read and re-read the things Will Rogers said. He was like Mark Twain in that he could put so much truth into just a few well-understood words.
K

Hildred and Charles said...

I remember very clearly when Will Rogers and Wiley Post died and the great sense of loss there was. People had more than admiration for Will, - a great fondness for his wit and his commonsense.

Trellissimo said...

Anything 'free' appeals to me... even association!

Nicholas V. said...

Free association, wonderful stuff. I'd love to see what you would do with a Rorschach inkblot! :-)

Isabel Doyle said...

I believe the secret is in the 'W'
Isabel x

PatioPatch said...

Not only remember Will but have a couple of his cowboy films. Not as courageous as Shane but his acute witticisms crack Congress like a walnut (That's how it looks this side of the pond though we're drowning in that there applesauce)

Berowne said...

What a lineup: izzy, jabblog, booguloo, keith, jaerose, Helen, HyperCRYPTICal, Paula S, Melissa, Pearl, helenmac, Gigi Ann, chiccoreal, Kay L D, Hildred and Charles, Trellissimo, Nicholas V, Isabel D and PatioPatch. Thanks to all for dropping by and for your most encouraging comments.

Dave King said...

Politics is Apple sauce? I hadn't heard it before. The trouble with using a phrase like that is that guys like me go away remembering that alone! Politics is apple sauce? Wow!

Laurie Kolp said...

I guess things will always be the same when it comes to politics.

http://lkharris-kolp.blogspot.com/2012/02/wednesday-offerings.html

Other Mary said...

Ah...what a very quotable man. One of my favorites is something like, 'I'd rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge, than the man who sold it.'

Berowne said...

Laurie K: "I guess things will always be the same when it comes to politics."
Yes, you gotta love "A fool and his money are soon elected." (!)

Berowne said...

Other Mary: "I'd rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge, than the man who sold it."
A great line, new to me - thanks.

Berowne said...

PatioPatch: "(That's how it looks this side of the pond.")
Good to know that Will is still remembered over on the other side of The Great Swamp. :-)

Sheilagh Lee said...

Will Rogers was something special

oldegg said...

Politicians have great fear of comedians, as we laugh at the funny man we laugh at them too.

Doc FTSE said...

As usual, first rate writing and a most interesting read. Your second quote takes the biscuit "A fool and his money are soon elected." I'm sure you weren't thinking of your Mr. President before the present one. Were you?

Berowne said...

Doc FTSE: "I'm sure you weren't thinking of your President before the present one. Were you?"
Oh, it would apply to him and a few others... :-)

Mojo Writin' said...

The first example you gave was so on the money. Nothing much changes I guess. I didn't know much about Mr Rogers so this was an education for me :o)

Mel Cole said...

he sounds like a good man. thank you for adding this to my USA history knowledge. i also like his conservative thoughts about politics. visiting from ABC Wednesday.

Berowne said...

Mel Cole: "I also like his conservative thoughts about politics."
I'm not sure we could rank Will as a conservative...

ds said...

Please...keep up the free association! Applesauce...such a polite way to express it. Thanks, Berowne!

 
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