In the early days of t.v., which is to say my generation, as youngsters, eyeballs affixed to the black and white screen, experienced a succession of celebrities, minor movie stars and character actors once regular visages of the big screen now finding homes on old game shows and back lot westerns like Rifleman and Rawhide. In the case of the TV westerns, you simply felt good, even as a child, that these old actors, pushed more or less from feature films, were able to continue to make their expenses by the plethora of work weekly dramas gave them.It may have been a lapse in status,but not in work. Paychecks are another matter, of course. For those who found jobs as permanent celebrity panelists on To Tell the Truth , What's My Line and the rest, I kept asking the grown ups who Arlene Dahl was, why was Tom Posten showing up drunk all the time, for the love of God, someone clarify exactly what an Orson Bean is?
This was the class of the Professional Celebrity, C.Wright mills category of human who was famous for being famous; something , in some faraway past, had caught the eye of critics and the public initially,there had to be some arguable contribution to the arts and therefor society they were making, but in the long run,they were given paychecks less for work than for their availability to be visible. Audiences, consumers, felt better when elements of their youth remained with them as they aged, gather deep lines and sagging chins, talking about the old days . The tradition of the Professional Celebrity continues. What you might say about Steven Tyler is that he's in the great tradition of technological show biz, in that he's a professional has been , more famous than we'll ever be and more irrelevant than even a Monkees reunion could withstand. All that griping, bitching and carping to the side, it's not the old musicians that make me cringe than it is the adults,the old dudes and hip grannies who allow the mediocrity to continue to sit on the collective counter space like an open jar of grey mayonnaise, something so foul even the flies are dropping from their dive bomb runs on the crumbs and morsels left behind on the gathered retching of best ideas.
Raging becomes something one does for its own sake; all of us have the ability make choices that ultimately can influence the tides, eddys and currents of will make the future, but , provided we don't die , we live long enough to realize we are powerless to undo what's we helped put into place. This president? This war? This number one album for 124 weeks ? Do we say we're sorry or become mumbling Methuselahs invoking names of cheap sequined gods in Cootie shades drinking from the tall glass of refined and spit polished discontent, looming presences in the background, lurking, hovering over the commotion of the latest mutual buzz, fading gradually, rattling chains and empty soup cans that make less noise the more we practice our disgust? Currently and forever, we realize that we are little more than tubes of toothpaste or some similar glop,squeezed from the bottom of the tube , rolled up to the aperture until there is nothing but off color residue ,congealed paste, finally dropped into the waste basket along with each musician, poet, professional cynic we might have fashioned ourselves after.