Williams Goes Gatlin

I grew up on Andy Williams.  He was my mother’s favorite singer in the early 1960’s.  Indeed, that time was Williams’ era: he was young, handsome, had a glorious pop tenor and a weekly TV variety show that was particularly famous for its Christmas installments.  I have to add that Williams’ Christmas shows were not devoid of religion, but some things just seemed normal in those days that don’t anymore.  In any case, it was not worthy of comment at the time.

If you’re young, you must be thinking, “wow things were really different.”  And they were.  Williams was a crooner in the last days of the crooners; a true Kennedy-era star (and — it now appears, somewhat ironically — a friend of Bobby Kennedy).  In its heyday in the early 1960’s, the Williams show was a pleasant, milquetoast affair that featured Williams, occasionally his brothers, and the Osmonds as well as various other inoffensive types in ugly sweaters (“casual”), and business suits (“crooner”).  And everyone looked forward to those Christmas specials.  I even remember one with a figure skater in it.  Or maybe it was a bunch of them.  And then we’d get to hear Williams hit that high note in “Oh Holy Night.”

But by the late ’60’s, that culture was fading.  By the early 1980’s, I’d totally lost track of Andy Williams; the last I recalled hearing of him was that he stood by his ex-wife (a ’60’s sex kitten named Claudine Longet) during her murder trial; she’d allegedly murdered her lover.  The whole affair sort of exposed the ugly underbelly of the age of innocence with which Williams had been so closely associated.  I remember seeing photos of him at the time and thinking, “what a shame he is a has-been.”  There was no place in the world in the 1980’s for an Andy Williams and he looked as if he knew it — tired and old.  (I just found out that Ronald Reagan gave Williams some sort of special honor in those years.  No comment there.  If you know my attitude toward Reagan, perhaps none is necessary.)

After that, for a long while I thought Williams must have died.

Then, several years ago, he resurfaced with a vengeance (and without the top of his vocal range) in Bible Entertainmentville, Branson Missouri.  Alarm bells went off in my head.  I knew he was possibly a Republican, but there’s a difference between being merely Republican and being off-the-wall Branson material.  “Has Andy gone right-wing?” I wondered feverishly, even as I also wondered where his high notes had gone.  Well, anyway…the guy was approaching 80.  Such things are bound to happen.  But going wingnut?  That’s not inevitable.  At the time I did not know about Williams giving the Fat Man permission to use his recording of “Born Free” with gunfire tagged on at the end; that is to say, he was long gone down this road before I knew he was on it.

Last week I happened across a video of Williams singing “Moon River.”  The video was from his ancient television show.  Underneath it were comments from viewers.  One attempted snideness by equating being a “progressive” with noting that Williams was getting old, which was what another commenter had just done.  I remember thinking this was typical right-wing pretzel logic.  “You think Andy Williams can’t sing anymore, therefore you are one of those mean progressives who thinks they are so smart, nyah, nyah, nyah.”  Never mind that there is no clear connection between criticizing an aging crooner and being a progressive; in fact, don’t even bother trying to make the connection.  Just serve it up like a tossed salad.  That’s enough when you’re right-wing.  I learned that a long while back when I was being attacked as a “liberal” (and they said it like it was a bad thing) for criticizing that kind lady Ann Coulter.

I still didn’t know that Williams had gone all the way wingnut and was dismayed that he was now apparently attracting scores of the word-salad crowd.  I blamed it on Branson.

Then this week I went to one of my favorite non-blogs, You Are Dumb, only to find an article that confirmed my worst fears about Andy Williams:

“Don’t like him at all. I think he wants to create a socialist country. The people he associates with are very Left-wing. One is registered as a Communist. Obama is following Marxist theory. He’s taken over the banks and the car industry. He wants the country to fail.” – Ancient and irrelevent songmeister Andy Williams, proving to everyone that he’s still alive, senile as fuck, and thinks the shit he hears on WorldNetDaily’s radio show makes sense.
Andy Williams wouldn’t know a Marxist theory if he popped a half-dozen Viagra, checked out the mint-condition copy of Das Kapital from the Branson, MO public library, had wild, old-man intercourse with the gap in the binding, and woke the next morning to find it had fallen open to one of the pages explaining Marxist theory. And then, if by some feat of magic, the book came to life, cooked him breakfast, and sang him Marxist theory to the tune of “Moon River”, he STILL wouldn’t know a damn thing about it.
“He’s taken over the banks” is one of the most mind-bogglingly stupid talking points the wingnuts have going these days, which is an impressive feat in and of itself. Nobody’s taken over the banks. They’ve been given hundreds of billions of dollars, in exchange for which they’ve handed out bonuses, pretended they’re profitable, and come up with dozens of new ways to siphon money from their customers. That’s not a government takeover. And if it WAS a government takeover, it still wouldn’t have been Obama that did it, because, and all you wingnuts look at the giant, phonetic cue cards and do your best to read along with me here, BUSH STARTED THE BANK BAILOUT. Not Obama. Bush. Dubya. Chimpfucker. Your bestest buddy after Ronaldus Magnus. Get it? Got it? Of course you don’t.
You Are Dumb.net

Ouch.  So it’s real.  Andy Williams has become Larry Gatlin.  Both lost their voices and then their logic.  It must be an epidemic among formerly extremely famous male pop singers.  I guess when you’re tumbling downward, the only thing to do is to learn to bottom-feed.  But it’s just too bad that some really good entertainers are getting swallowed up by this crap.

After all, things haven’t been the way they were for several decades.  Yes, we’re talking several decades.  Things started changing radically when Barack Obama was a toddler, and I daresay it wasn’t his doing, Andy Williams. 

In fact, some of it may have been yours.

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