Monday, March 31, 2008

Some slaps for his taps

By J. Thomas Duffy

Boy, it's been Smackdown City lately.

The Garlic pointed out last week the much-deserved putdowns of Vice President Dick Cheney and the Other Senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman.

Now, a most delicious upbraiding comes along, courtesy of Patricia Ward Kelly, the widow of the great Gene Kelly, via Nicole Belle over at Crooks and Liars.

The Backstory

You remember, a few weeks ago, when Stumblin' Bumblin' John McCain was anointed the nominee of the Republican Party, and was to be officially dubbed it with the sword-tap-to-the-shoulder by The Commander Guy at the Bush Grindhouse.

However, Stumblin' Bumblin' Johnny Boy was running late (which may be the reason the cuisine for this grand occasion was hot dogs), leaving The Commander Guy, dangerously so, with free time on his hands.

So, Flightsuit Man starts jabbing with the assembled media and, suddenly, begins an awkward attempt at a soft-shoe tap routine.

Ha, Ha, Ha ... The President thinks he's a tap dancer ...

It was one of those things that the MSM finds so charming, catnip to the managing editors, meaning, it got heavy play on the evening news, cable news, et al.

Subsequently, Maureen Dowd writes a column, and serves up this:

The dollar’s crumpling, the recession’s thundering, the Dow’s bungee-jumping and the world’s disapproving, yet George Bush has turned into Gene Kelly, tap dancing and singing in a one-man review called “The Most Happy Fella.”

Well, Mrs. Kelly didn't find much humor in it

None, in fact:

Surely it must have been a slip for Maureen Dowd to align the artistry of my late husband, Gene Kelly, with the president's clumsy performances. To suggest that "George Bush has turned into Gene Kelly" represents not only an implausible transformation but a considerable slight. If Gene were in a grave, he would have turned over in it.

When Gene was compared to the grace and agility of Jack Dempsey, Wayne Gretzky and Willie Mays, he was delighted. But to be linked with a clunker — particularly one he would consider inept and demoralizing — would have sent him reeling.

Graduated with a degree in economics from Pitt, Gene was not only a gifted dancer, director and choreographer, he was also a most civilized man. He spoke multiple languages; wrote poetry; studied history; understood the projections of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. He did the Sunday Times crossword in ink. Exceedingly articulate, Gene often conveyed more through movement than others manage with words.

Sadly, President Bush fails to communicate meaningfully with either. For George Bush to become Gene Kelly would require impossible leaps in creativity, erudition and humility.

Patricia Ward Kelly
Los Angeles, March 16, 2008


That one has to leave some palm prints on the ol' kisser.

Maybe the Bush Grindhouse, to help him pay for the new digs, will put out a call to Karl Rove, have him work up some kind of smear campaign to get back at Mrs. Kelly.

Bonus Taps

There was a great documentary back in the late 1970s (1979), titled No Maps on My Taps. Direct Cinema Limited states: "This spirited film offers unique insight into jazz tap dancing as an indigenous art form. The spirit of tap in its heyday, shown in rare photographs and Hollywood film clips of the 1930s provides a backdrop for intimate portraits of three surviving 'hoofers.' Sandman Sims, Chuck Green and Bunny Briggs tell the story of tap as an expression of black heritage and culture. For all dance aficionados, NO MAPS ON MY TAPS is an indispensable historical record of this distinctly American art form."

Chuck Green "Caravan" -- Chuck Green in a film called "No Maps On My Taps" doing a song called Caravan

Sandman Sims


(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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  • i really love a good verbal smackdown. :) much better than the booing he received at the first pitch of the washington nationals even. :)

    By Blogger billie, at 6:15 PM  

  • What a brilliant reply from Mrs. Kelly.

    I missed this. Thanks for posting on it, JTD.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 10:37 PM  

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