You can be excused for thinking workplace sexual harassment is an evil exclusive to big time board rooms, movie producers’ offices and living rooms, US Senate chambers, or television studios. Corporate media coverage of the metoo movement seems to have focused almost exclusively on those scenes of the crime. In fact, the vast, vast, vast majority of cases of bosses wielding their might over working women in an effort to get their junk fondled takes place in the most modest, unassuming and all too common job sites — restaurant kitchens, break rooms, real estate offices, factory cafeterias, and all the other locales where tens of millions of women earn a sliver more than minimum wage.
Of course, those women aren’t glamorous or wealthy enough for the rest of us to give a single fk about.
At least, that’s what the decision-makers at the likes of CNN and the USA Today must think.
And that’s why people like Alissa Quart and Barbara Ehrenreich are invaluable to a land that likes to pat itself on the back for having a vibrant, free press. The two penned a recent piece in the New York Review of Books about the faceless victims of all the criminal extortions covered by what we now so casually refer to as metoo.
You’ve read me extolling Ehrenreich to the skies time and again in these precincts. Her books, Nickel & Dimed and Bright-Sided, are dead-on indictments of the moral, political, and financial rot at the center of our timid new world. I don’t know much about Quart at this moment but you can bet I’ll be reading up on her, in depth, sooner rather than later.
We had a neat Big Talk this past Thursday with Darran Mosley, DJ and KJ. In case you’re the biggest square on the planet who doesn’t know what a KJ is — as I was before I found out about it a couple of weeks ago — it’s a karaoke jockey. Note: If I have to explain what a DJ is, forget it — you’re beyond redemption.
Anyway, Mosley runs Misfit Toy Entertainment, an outfit he founded with the express purpose of making karaoke fun and dynamic, rather than the same old flotsam your dull-as-a-PBS-pledge-drive cousin thinks is wacky-creative because she sang “Afternoon Delight” at a karaoke bar Saturday night.
Darran’s various karaoke venues around town have given rise to a mad group of folks who call themselves the Misfits.
The Things I Do For You
Speaking of heroes (weren’t we?), I am one.
Yeah. For the greater good of this global communications colossus, I googled “Afternoon Delight” videos in an effort to provide the inserted media, above. As you can see, I actually found a karaoke version of the song. As always, I reviewed the vid before posting just to make sure it didn’t suddenly cut to an ISIS call to bomb the Trojan Horse or some golden showers porn — hacker kids can be so whimsical, can’t they?
So, at this moment in time, I’m suffering PTSD effects from listening to the song, in toto. I can state categorically that “Afternoon Delight” has to be one of the two or three worst songs ever committed to a master tape (it was recorded in 1976, before digital). I feel as though my life has been somehow diminished by hearing the melody, the lyrics — hell, everything about the goddamned thing.
Our state’s immortal literary icon, Kurt Vonnegut, once commented on the Comedy Central show “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” That was the ’90s, meta-critical schlock movie spoof wherein a guy and two robot friends sat in silhouette before a movie theater screen and made jokes about the dreck being shown. The movies included abominations like The Giant Gila Monster and Kitten with a Whip. Vonnegut was mightily offended by the premise of the show. Any work of art and, by extension, any artist, the great fantasist/novelist said, deserved respect.
Sorry, Kurt baby, you’re wrong. Some “works of art” belong in the garbage. And some “artists” ought to consider another line of work. It must be assumed Vonnegut had never been to the Museum of Contemporary Art, say. There are horrible paintings, execrable movies, and toxic songs.
Somehow, some way, the writer and producer of the aforementioned audio abomination, someone named Bill Danoff of the Starland Vocal Band, convinced a record company to finance his song, commit it to vinyl, package it in a fancy sleeve festooned with drawings, ship millions of copies of it all around the world, and pay him honest money for his efforts. Worst of all, millions of human beings around the globe actually purchased the disc, earning it a gold record.
I put it to you, dear reader: Listen to the video and try to tell me Danoff, Windstar Records, and the people who professed to like “Afternoon Delight” don’t deserve to be ridiculed and pilloried.
You can’t do it.
Now This Is Art
Nevertheless, writer’s gotta write, so Ross is releasing yet another tome to add to his previous collections of funny, heartbreaking, lovable, likable, soaring poems. Only this one won’t be strictly poetry — although I’ll bet he’ll figure out a way to squeeze in some meter somewhere along the line. The book is due out in February, 2019, and will be entitled The Book of Delights: Essays, released under the Workman Publishing imprint of Algonquin Books.
Dig this quote about Ross, uttered by none other than Pulitzer Prize winner and United States poet laureate Tracy K. Smith:
Ross Gay’s eye lands upon wonder at every turn, bolstering my belief in the countless small miracles that surround us.
Dang, mang. As I implied in this entry’s headline, Ross Gay is the real deal.,