Pushing Back on Push-Back

As I recall from college history courses, French philosophers, such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, were hugely influential on Thomas Jefferson’s writing of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, going back to the Pilgrims, there has been an intellectual dialogue going back-and-forth between America and Europe, from politics to popular culture and fashion.

Perhaps the most important outcome so far while the Groper-in-Chief holds the highest office in the land is the #metoo movement. Trump is, as yet, untouchable in any way, including his admitted sexual assault. Harvey Weinstein got nailed instead, and it stuck. Finally, the old “he said, she said” trap was broken! Then came the allegation landslide, with Al Franken rather than Trump paying the political price.

I have no doubt at all that most assertions of sexual misconduct are true, with the accused having no acceptable excuse. Putting it all out in the open is good, from the horrors of the Catholic Church’s abuses of kids, to movie stars exposing themselves to women. I also have no doubt there are minor offenses where a sincere apology should suffice. Although I think that “slippery slope” arguments are often overstated, the distinction between abuse and harassment seems to be getting blurred, and if it continues to the point where normal social interaction is affected, we’ll be heading back in the direction of the Puritans.

Catherine Deneuve

In France there has been a call for a more nuanced dialogue regarding the dynamics between men and women, where some behaviors may not be socially acceptable, but are privately enjoyed by both parties. And yet in the United States, even that call to clarify the definition of harassment is considered by abuse victims to be offensive, and it has been met with a forceful rejection. So the back-and-forth between the cultures continues.

I’m not expecting women in the United States to adopt the more generous tolerance of men that is held by Catherine Denueve and other women in France. François Mitterrand’s funeral was, after all, attended by both his wife and his mistress. France’s inexplicable appreciation of Jerry Lewis aside, here is something that was hugely popular in France, that elsewhere might be considered unacceptable, even exploitative, entertainment.

Chicago’s Animated Frames of Reference

I was born in Evanston, Illinois, bordering Chicago. Evanston was where Stephen Colbert attended Northwestern University, and where his sometime collaborator J.J. Sedelmier was born. On Facebook, Sedelmier recommends a new Web site, still under construction, about an illustrator and animator from a hundred years ago.

Edwin G. Lutz wrote a book on animation that was used as a reference by Walt Disney at the start of his slightly successful career, as explained by Sedelmier at this link. Note that animation insider J.J. refers to Mike Barrier’s book about Walt Disney, rather than Chicago native Neal Gabler’s much more widely read biography of Walter Elias, who was likewise born in Chicago.

(I strongly encourage reading Michael Barrier’s wonderful book, “The Animated Man” University Of California Press 2007. I’ve used Barrier’s book to put together a brief sketch of Disney’s early years.)

Despite the success ten years ago of “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination,” and Gabler’s other books, he has been struggling financially, as featured on the PBS Newshour in 2016.

Futzing Around

I had said my next little retirement project would be getting the Sony 300-disc CD changer working again, but doing that is going to be a more complicated job than I feel like tackling right now, as I recuperate. So instead I freshened up the walnut veneer finish on my 45-year-old Dynaco A25 speakers.

Dynaco A25 with “Aperiodic” port behind the non-removal grill cloth.

The Dynaco’s were made in Denmark, so I felt obliged to use Watco Danish Oil, and I’m very pleased with the results. The speakers still sound great, and now they look pretty good too.

Disney Girls Gone By

Shelley Fabares and Doreen Tracey

Annette is gone, and so is my favorite Mouseketeer, Cheryl Holdridge. Being concerned with things closer to home recently, I failed to notice the passing of Doreen Tracey last week. Doreen was one of the Mouseketeers who made the cut to the teenage material Disney produced later, that introduced soap opera elements of romance and conflict between the kids.

The only Disney Girl in this picture I didn’t have a crush on was the one every other boy lusted after — Annette. Shelley Fabares was a regular in the cast, and she became BFF with Annette. Shelley is, thankfully, still with us, having survived a serious illness that required a liver transplant.

Cheryl Holdridge, Shelley Fabares, Annette (no last name needed), Doreen Tracey