The Summer of Stupid
From politicians to movies to academia, there’s been plenty to shake your head about lately
Some summers are so memorable they have their own name. I am old enough to remember the Summer of Love. I was in New York for the Summer of Sam, as in the serial killer Son of Sam, which was also the Summer of the Blackout. Good fun if you weren’t in the hospital.
How did this get to be the Summer of Stupid?
Already in June, there were indications that 2011 would be the summer that the possums scurried up the drainpipes, which is yahoo talk for a lot of strange things happening. Remember the tasered cow? New Hampshire police zapped a 500-pound heifer named Houdini because they could, I guess. Not so long after that, in Fall River, there was that story about the drowned woman whose body lay at the bottom of a public swimming pool for more that 48 hours.
That was the same month that Mayor Menino started gassing on about the
Beam to Menino: Dirt bikes don’t shoot people. People shoot people.
Here is an informal log of events that made this the incontrovertible Summer of Stupid:
Jamie McCourt, who was once a semi-respectable member of the Chestnut Hill plutocracy, copped to a $10,000 a month hairdressing habit in divorce documents filed in Los Angeles.
At least 40 million American moviegoers, myself excepted, paid hard-earned money to see “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,’’ a film that Wall Street Journal critic Joe Morgenstern called “a black hole of technology, talent and time.’’
In an inane feature on summer reading, Time magazine published this exchange with Wallace Shawn, who is probably best known for being the son of a long-forgotten New Yorker editor:
“Q: What will you be reading this summer?
A: Well that’s really not anybody’s business, is it? It’s very personal. It’s too personal.
Q: Is there a book you find yourself rereading in summertime?
A: Move on to the next question.’’
Thanks, Wally! Also from the not-quite-ready-for-literary-prime-time file, we find this puff piece about Boston’s Own Dennis Lehane, published in The Scotsman: “Look at the dialogue. Maybe it’s not up at the level of Elmore Leonard in ‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’ - what is? - but it’s not too far behind. This is the man with the Golden Ear: the ear for the street, for how blue-collar America talks to itself,’’ blah blah blah.
Earth to Edinburgh: Elmore Leonard is a swell writer, but George V. Higgins wrote “The Friends of Eddie Coyle.’’
Vivat academia! As of this writing, I am planning to attend the University of Chicago’s Conference on Jersey Shore Studies, “the first conference to interrogate the landmark MTV reality television show ‘Jersey Shore.’ Confirmed speakers include Candace Moore (University of Michigan), Alison Hearn (University of Western Ontario), and Brian Moylan (Gawker Media).’’
Is Harvard’s obscurantist Homi Bhabha too busy? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Another stake in the heart of Western culture: The Boston Lyric Opera invites a gaggle of blockheads to tweet about scenes from “Macbeth.’’
Sample: OMG #macbeth, we know you just want your money’s worth, but yur kind of a downer; quit h8ing on the midnight hags. They’ll help you, jerk.
Sample: The charm’s almost ready, but first: Double, double toil and trouble / Fire burn and cauldron bubble! Now, anyone seen my #baboonsblood?
“Transcendental Man’’ Ray Kurzweil, who has a plan to live forever, has spent the summer complaining to Newton officials about elevated enterococcus levels in the lake water outside his posh home. Plus rabble let their dogs swim there! Shocking.
Kurzweil, whom The New Republic has cruelly compared to Voltaire’s absurd Dr. Pangloss, professor of “métaphysico-théologo-cosmolonigology,’’ berates the city’s health commissioner in a recent letter to the local paper. Setti Warren - watch your back.
All this, and I didn’t even mention the rock ’n’ roller who robbed a
Alex Beam is a Globe columnist. His e-dress is email@example.com.