I experience a jolt of sad satisfaction in catching myself being two-faced about something.
I’ve listened to many of the classic crooners at one time, but not much to Frank Sinatra now. I think it’s because I stumble a bit in my effort to isolate art from persona. I wonder if it’s easier to do this with painters than with singers.
His reputation as vocalist and actor is towering. I know the voice immediately when I hear it. Maybe I’m intimidated by his reputed association with the organized crime community and with the Rat Pack.
Why the Rat Pack? Not sure. It summons for me a whiff of strutting male chauvinism that feels retrograde, but is still very much around. Sinatra was a product of his time and place, of course. Aren’t we all? That unoriginal assertion often acts as a placeholder for some kind of disclaimer, a sop to Cerberus tossed by an apologist or a waffling critic.
Still, the Chairman of the Board, Old Blue Eyes, would have been surrounded by manipulators who glom on to talent and ride it like barnacles. Who knows how much ill-considered advice he had to blow through with his morning coffee? It’s comforting to know that he’s serenely impervious to my spot of bother. If I had ever come face-to-face with the man, cheek would have given way to mute awe in spite of me.
This narrative has grown rubbery legs and risks going now from trivial to rambling. To wit: There are factions squared off currently over the question of whether or not character and behavior matter in politics. To summarize the debate cogently: Some say one thing, some say the other, and some now say the other thing who used to say the one.
Can a citizen in good conscience embrace elected officials’ public actions — policies, pronouncements, tergiversations — while ignoring their private actions, whether these be culpable or merely feckless?
[Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]