Frankly, I Don’t Give a Damn
By Patrick F. Cannon
At the end of Gone with the Wind, Rhett’s final words to Scarlett – who begs him to stay – is the classic: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” It’s hard to believe now, but that was pretty racy stuff for 1939.
I know how old Rhett felt. At my age, I find that there’s a lot I don’t give a damn about anymore. There’s music, for example. Much of contemporary music, both popular and serious, doesn’t make sense to my ears. There are exceptions, but I find most rock, hip hop and rap vulgar and sometimes incomprehensible. I understand it takes talent to do complicated guitar riffs, but must they always sound the same in the end? Is a lyric a lyric if it’s not lyrical?
Modern “Folk” music sounds as if it were composed and sung by the same person. Both the male and female performers play and sing as if real melody and poetic lyrics had been banned upon the death of Woody Guthrie. Listen to “Folk Stage” any Saturday evening on Chicago’s WFMT and you’ll see (and hear) what I mean. I’m not a fan, but Country music at least seems understandable and melodic. Finally, so-called serious composers have been indoctrinated by their teachers to believe that any sound is actually music, and that beautiful melody and regular rhythm are passe. Much of jazz has fallen into the same rut.
The visual arts seem caught in a market-driven quandary. What is selling? What might be selling tomorrow? I kept up with the art scene until people like Andy Warhol and later Jeff Koons were taken seriously. Art as a factory; art as repetition. And while I can admire some its practitioners and their work, hasn’t abstract art run its course? Isn’t much of it just design, rather than fine art? By the way, if you want to read mostly incomprehensible prose, try art criticism. Thank God the museums haven’t taken down the work of those old white men (yet).
As to the movies, I went more or less regularly before they closed. They still make movies about human beings and their struggles, but the real money comes from blockbusters based on comic book super heroes, and even super heroines. I stopped reading comic books when I was about 12, and see no reason to start again. But I am thankful that some directors are still concerned with the struggles of actual humans, so I will continue to seek these movies out.
I know good and serious works of fiction are being published, but I no longer feel obligated to read them. I tend to read non-fiction, or reread favorites from my younger days. There is a tendency to devalue even great works of fiction because attitudes and beliefs in them don’t square with the so-called “woke” culture of today. Not to read Hemingway, Steinbeck and Faulkner – Nobel Prize winners all – because they sometimes expressed beliefs and attitudes we might now find distasteful, is to deprive oneself of some of the high points of American literary achievement.
Which brings me back to Gone with the Wind. Apparently, when it is shown on television in the future, it will be preceded by a preface explaining that its depiction of African-Americans was an unfortunate reflection of a more racist time. I think it was the 1960s when I saw it for the first time. Amazingly, nobody had to tell me that it had been condescending to its black characters. I was educated enough by then to figure it out for myself. But if most people need to be protected against their historical ignorance, well, frankly, I don’t give a damn.
Copyright 2021, Patrick F. Cannon
8 thoughts on “Frankly, I Don’t Give a Damn”
I enjoyed reading this essay. You gave a very, very clever ending.
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BRAVO PAT I thought it was just me being an old foggy.
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Old fogey? Just people of elevated taste!
Pat I really enjoyed this one and feel as you do especially to music – I don’t turn the radio on in the car which is probably one of the things I actually know how to do – Prefer my own and put some of it on a thumb drive to play in the car until something went wrong and it didn’t work anymore – nothing worked – I could still turn the car on and off and operate the locks including the trunk (I’m really getting good with that). Never was much on art – I know what I like but that’s it.
Take care love to you both!
*Judy, Riley and MiMi* *Happy Trails and **”May the Good Lord take a likin to ya” * sent from my Chromebook Duet
On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 4:08 AM cannonnadedotcom wrote:
> patnettecomcastnet posted: ” Frankly, I Don’t Give a Damn By Patrick F. > Cannon At the end of Gone with the Wind, Rhett’s final words to Scarlett – > who begs him to stay – is the classic: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a > damn.” It’s hard to believe now, but that was pretty racy” >
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If art imitates life, we are in the doldrums.
Picasso may have marked the end of abstract art. Since him, visual arts have atomized into ever more abstract, sterile expressions. Are Andy Warhol’s surface renditions of celebrity portraits and famous objects more than stylized posing and gimmickry?
An occasional catchy tune pops out of popular music now and then, but since the Beatles it’s been mostly caterwauling mating calls for rutting singles, heavy metal sexual assaults or rap rape fantasies.
I haven’t been in a movie theater since the 1990s. True, I’m not much for sitting with strangers in dark rooms with sticky floors and recoil at the smell of fake-buttered popcorn, but films have become predictable, tailored to market demographics like TV ads, and often didactic exercises in modern-day moralism. What films won Oscars the last several years? Have no idea. I don’t ask for much, but I do like to be entertained. Thanks to Hulu’s film archive, one can watch films where even minor characters could act.
The last important writer of American fiction may have been Tom Wolfe. But I wouldn’t know as, like you, I read mostly non-fiction these days.
Fortunately the vast collections of Western art and music haven’t yet been incinerated in a bonfire of the vanities by our antifa-inspired intelligentsia. Say what you will about the Church and the aristocracy, but they knew their art. Let’s be honest, if you are going to create art for the glory of God and Creation, you are not going to get far with a (damn) balloon dog.
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I’d forgotten about Tom. And who remembers poor Dos Passos, who committed the sin of getting wise to the Commies.
And I had forgotten about Dos Passos. Time for a revival.