Do they still do that thing of growing mustached for prostate cancer awareness in November? My sober anniversary month, November 17th, is always stained with the rainy teardrops of shaking and quaking; it's the usual marker between my manic and depressive phases, such as they are. Rough times, man. October is my favorite month, November my least. But what is Heaven if not Hell finally accepted? The flaming beard of the sage is as a nest for the bird of wisdom. Rant against cigarettes and condomless sex still the cows come home, o Safety-First Clydes. Gives a flying fuck doth the sage? No sir. He accepts his pile of Hell fully it so it morphs into a slice of heaven. Or as Kristofferson put it:
"I ain't sayin' I beat the devil, but I drank his beer for nothing.Then I stole his song."In November all I do is sit around and watch World War Two documentaries and Vin Diesel (he's our century's John Wayne and don't make me prove it), Tennessee Williams movies, James Coburn, John Huston, Voight, Reynolds and the man with the best beard of all, Kris Kristofferson. (1) See, the man Kristofferson is from a different time. His beard is a different breed from the quirky hipster's. It's all there in the movies of the 70s when country songwriters could still be men. In the movies today the good old boys can only play extremes of the type, so they're either twitchy meth dealers who abuse their wives and children or serious, hard working sober Christians in flannel who just want to teach the son of the hot single mom how to fish, whittle, and tune a guitar before he has to ride into the sunset or take one last shady job to pay for the boy's operation. There is no middle ground today. There is no man who is both reveler and decent guy, spiritual seeker and hedonist, not a cliche'd everyman but a dude who's genuinely free, able to drink and smoke without the score or subtext condemning him. That's why LEBOWSKI would be nowhere without Sam Elliot to supply the narration and Saspirilla drinkin'. The sanctification of the country hombre, old Sam's the link we need. We'd never see the straight line woven along from Bogart's Marlowe to Gould's Marlowe to Bridges' dude to Phoenix's Doc. All we got now is Adam goddamn Sandler and his saintly manchild contingents.
Back before that manchild thing, back in the 70s, if you wanted to tell a story about a raunchy team in the flyovers you could make them hard drinking, brawling, smoking ten year-olds or coaches who'd just as soon call the game off and pass out than snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Those were real men! Even the twelve year-olds. I blame insurance companies, nanny state hyper-parenting, and academic overreach. It takes longer than ever to grow up.
"Do you suppose a man has to be a miserable son of a bitch all the time just to write a good song now and then?"
The hipsters today don't need to be miserable anymore, they got antidepressants and Cialis. They'd never be sons of bitches for the hell of it and they'll never get the nicotine and cyprine stained beards of the 70s dads and groovy football-when-it-was-cool older brothers, the beard that cares without being a pussy about it, the beard of a man had 'passed' his acid test and who was no longer that into looking young and gorgeous. He's above all, too lazy to shave.
So who gives a fuck about that little pisher Jesse Eisenberg throwing his lot in with the UWS bourgeoisie and their smug piddly ass New Yorker subscriptions and their tired tweed jacket self-importance and knowing chortles? Soon my kind will drop 'em down before we too drop, and the new generation of ten thousand talkin' and nobody listenin' will swallow them like the tide swallows the drunken bather. Kristofferson is still the coolest man on TV. And all you have to do is watch THE VOICE and how regularly lanky Blake Shelton wins against the crushingly insecure and narcissistic manchild Adam Levine. I'm no country music fan in general but between who I'd both pick to drink with and have as an AA sponosr, it's old Shelton. You just know he'd be able to talk about more than how you like his hair and what people are tweeting about him.
The 1970s dad was peaceful enough to understand the need for these sorts of outlets for his children and friends. In our more "enlightened" times no one is allowed to fight or have raunchy sex without consensual agreement in writing beforehand, and gloves on all contacting parts, or even the compulsive need to boast, overthink, drain the spontaneous joy out of it, and feel guilty afterwards, second-guessing and self sabotage all because we drank the nonsmoking manchild/perfect man dichotomy rom-com Kool Aid, which is exactly how European men describe the American woman's attitude towards sex. For all it's tossed-off clumsiness and Burt's intentionally shocking freedom with vulgarity and the N-word, SEMI-TOUGH is a rare document revealing that if only for a decade, we had sex like the French and fought like Americans instead of the sad reverse." (MORE)
COOLEST COUPLES: DINA SHORE and BURT REYNOLDS
We can see dim shades of it in Demi Moore and Ashton, but that's far more about, or seems about, two insecure narcissists desperate to connect. Modern Ashton and Burt in 1974 share a certain immature rawness, where you could understand an older woman going for it, because she knows she has something worthwhile to give them in return for suckling on their youth, more than money or maternal support they offer a kind of knowing sexual and professional wisdom. But there's no comparison beyond that because unlike Ashton, Burt was/is a real man. And here on Larry King he's being more emotional than Shore was, and that's why it's so brave, why it brings me almost to my knees to read that interview above because it reminds me of something our 21st century man has yet to find. Male sensitivity now is inescapable, and therefore worthless. What once was manly grace is now just passive-aggressive snickering boy nonsense wrapped in high-voiced ectomorphic pretentiousness. Dinah would bitch slap the lot of them, while Burt cracked up in the background, and because she's not here to do it, we all mourn. (more)
1. I should add I'm very unnerved by Kristofferson when he's clean shaven. I know laudable critics from Kim Morgan to David Thomson love the naked faced KK in films like PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID and CISCO PIKE... maybe I will too, one day.