Elvis 77: Final Curtain

 

Final Curtain: The Boxed Set

I was lucky enough to have received this set for Christmas and have been overwhelmed with the amazing quality that I looked for the official hologram sticker to keep and had to remind myself it wasn’t an official product!

 

While I haven’t finished reading, listening and watching either, I was impressed and surprised. The image of Elvis as a bloated jump suited parody is far from the reality of 1977.

Elvis’ weight fluctuated with his moods – and again – compared to the average weight of people now, Elvis’ peak weight wouldn’t draw a second glance. He continued to have inspired performances right up to the final show.

I watched the bonus disc of newscasts first and found it interesting to compare the style of news programs then and now.

One thing that was really driven home to me is how much more is known about Elvis than during his lifetime, or maybe how lazy news researchers were to get so many basic facts wrong. Including one newscaster who referred to Priscilla as Elvis’ childhood sweetheart and said Elvis got into recording as a lark when he did a demo at Sun when he was 25!

I have a disc of TV broadcasts from Memphis the week of Elvis’ death and the contrast between the more national broadcast and the local ones is startling. You really can’t watch the Memphis ones without crying in response to the anguish the news casters showed, while the national broadcasters are in that Dirty Laundry mode of not really responding to the terrible news they are informing us of.

But, I think Elvis’ last months of his life and career are as important as the first few months and year of his career – watching Elvis go from struggling to bring a new sound to the world to struggling to just maintain at the end.

Elvis remains so culturally powerful and relevant because his life was one of such dramatic contrasts, that he can stand as a symbol for any meaning or lesson needed to be highlighted – American Dream turned American Nightmare, personal humility with a public image of excess, and perhaps most importantly, an object lesson about managing power.

Elvis, had he maintained control over his career and life, would have had a very different path. More then likely, on his own, he would not have served as a regular soldier, he would have gone the entertainer route. Perhaps even remaining in the US for recruitment campaigns. He also probably would have continued down the Flaming Star/Wild in the Country path of movies and not the Presley musical travelogs.

Elvis, as the biggest celebrity, could have written his own career, but, for really unknown and unclear reasons, instead, he took the path of least resistance and allowed Parker to manage his career and his father to poorly invest his money.

Perhaps this is what the most amazing thing about Elvis was – he was willing to allow other people power regardless of the consequences and cost to himself. That’s a level of selflessness we are not likely to see again.

I think it’s telling that Elvis’ concert riders were a case of a particular brand of bottled water, while other performers at that time and more so now, have pages and pages of demands from Van Halen’s infamous no brown M&Ms, to divas who demand re-painting of dressing rooms, all manner of specific flowers, foods and other over the top demands.

Elvis’ career accomplishments seem to have been in spite of his management, and I have to wonder what more he could have accomplished or how much longer he would have lived, had Elvis wielded the power his talent earned him.

 

Always the Crowd Pleaser

It’s sad to think that maybe it was the unconditional love of his fans that made Elvis desperate to never disappoint us – and perhaps it was that fear that caused him to listen to the powerful appearing Col Parker. Never realizing that it was Elvis’ own power co-opted.

 

One Nation, Many Gods

“This country was founded by and for people who believed in God and the Constitution declared we are “one nation under God”. People wake up!!! Only nations that were dictatorships and communist denied people the right to honor God. If we continue on this path we will lose all our freedoms.”
Any Godbot

*Offer only good for people who beleive in said god*

How come people who think that they are “real Americans” (aka No True Scotsman Fallacy) and trumpets the constitution, never seem to have read any further than the pre-amble? Don’t know that  “under god” was not original to the pledge, it was added when McCarthism was in charge – talk about your zealot dictatorships.

If these are “real Americans” why do they know so little about their country’s history, that the Founding Fathers were deists, not theists who were largely scornful of Christianity and that the idea that America was founded on was the freedom of the individual.

That said, several Founding Fathers expected the US to rejoin with Britain and all of them expected a further generation – and not too far off – to hold another revolution and change the social system again.

Aside – Also, the story of the Cherry Tree is a lie told to explain why truth is so important.

Probably something profound in that about the American psyche.

There is nothing preventing any person from believing what they want nor preventing them from teaching those beliefs to their children. Have you noticed that the very religious parents demand that schools not act as parents when it comes to teaching sex and tolerance towards others? But these same parents tend to want their religious beliefs imposed on all the school children, as if they are better parents than the other parents?

Seriously, did these people miss the class on sharing, working well and playing with others? The major laws of the land do not end at the preamble.

Government cannot establish or endorse any religion or over other or over non-belief.

If a person wants to live in a country where the government forces one religion on the people, because there’s no separation of Church and State – then America is not the country for you.  Go live in a Theocratic nation, but you’ll have to convert to another religion.

Not allowing government to control people. That’s as American as it gets.

 

Groupthink: empowering the individual to bully

Is sexuality a choice? (via SkeptiSys)

Funny, that none seem to realize that anti-gay sentiment  makes the idea that anyone would choose to be denied rights, socially demonized and a frequent target of violence completely ridiculous.

Many people think homosexuality is a choice – until they are confronted with simple logic.  Watch this fascinating little video: Read More

via SkeptiSys

We’re Here, We’re Queer: A Gay Vulture’s Lament (via Current Instincts)

More than 1000 species of animals have been documented in homosexual relationships – or just having sex.

If we’d discovered these little darlings: http://songweaver.com/info/bonobos.html

before we came across chimps – we’d have developed a much more relaxed attitude towards sex.

up with sex, down with religions that make sex bad

We're Here, We're Queer: A Gay Vulture's Lament Nothing ruffles my feathers more than human stupidity. Coming from a vulture, that's saying a lot, since I primarily feed on the carcasses of dead animals. But then again, you guys count this crazy person as one of your own, so I'd say we're about equal. In any event, there is one thing we vultures understand above everything else: love. Beautiful, pure and honest love. And that's what makes this whole sad situation with my good friends – and fel … Read More

via Current Instincts

What I learned from playing video games

As an 80’s teenager who enjoyed video games, I always felt a little stung by the criticism that video games were a waste of time with no educational value.

At the time, my response was that playing video games  improved hand eye-coordination and problem solving on the fly.

Those little line drawing graphics and the boxy 4 colour pixel characters with the never ending levels, also taught patience and, if you paid enough attention, you could crack the pattern of game controlled monsters.

The day I rolled over a million points in Asteroids and learned the one patter to eliminate every row of Space Invaders – and hit the bonus ships – was when I felt I was done with video games.

Well, until Nintendo. With the 254 cartoony characters and backgrounds anyway. But, I put console gaming away and played computer games.

Here’s where the educational value of video games was more apparent. Especially with the emergence of games like SimCity, Civilization and any games that included resource management and trade to expand the game beyond mere make a city, build an army and attack the next guy’s city.

Games where you have citizens that extract resources and other citizens who can turn those raw resources in to products for trade teaches an important lesson that any gamer knows, but politicians seem to not grasp the concept.

We not only get more money for refined and manufactured goods than for raw materials like logs and crude oil – but we also ensure more employment and a diverse economy.

With a more diverse economy, we become less sensitive to economic shifts, with more people employed, there’s not only taxes to collect, but their spending as consumers returns money to the economy and into other industries.

With a policy of exporting raw materials, we aren’t only exporting those materials for money, we’re also exporting employment for no return.

Perhaps future economic policy advisors should spent time playing video games and less time in classes.