The Santa Monica Ice rink has opened and in Australia the citizens are getting all enthusiastic about Tuesday's Melbourne Cup race. It's their version of America's Kentucky Derby. Many women go to work on the first Tuesday of November dressed up as if they were going to the opera. Bets are made during the day, and by five minutes after three in the afternoon it will all be over for this year. Do Americans care about that bit of foreign culture? Should we write about that, or can we find a new take on the Bush wars?
In Los Angeles, the morning of November 1, 2009 was a living advertisement for the rich color saturation characteristic of Kodachrome film -- or it would have been if you could still buy that type of film -- because there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it seemed like a perfect summer day was beginning. There were various and sundry bits of evidence that another Halloween had been celebrated, and they subtly suggested that perhaps it would be a good day to write a column about ghosts, such as the specter of repeating Vietnam era mistakes.
A quick check of the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times showed that the only topics they found worth considering were a portrait of President Obama, a tough talk piece on Iran by Doyle McManus, the possibility of fraud in Afghanistan's runoff election, and two assessments of economic challenge faced by the state of California.
Speaking of Shepard Fairey's version of the Obama portrait, do you think that someday someone will write about about the AP image just as one has been written about Alberto "Korda" Diaz Gutierrrez' famous shot of "Che" Guevarra titled "Che's Afterlife: The Legend of an Image" (written by Michael Casey)?
A few weeks back, while we were staying at the Hostel California, in the Venice Section of L. A., and we noticed that one of the young folks bore a striking resemblance to Ernesto "Che" Gueverra. We asked the others if they saw the resemblance to the Cuban rebel leader, and the reply was: "Who is Che Guevarra?"
Luckily a laptop was nearby, and a quick Google Images search produced a picture; the young travelers were delighted to see that the resemblance was quite striking, especially when the young man was shot in a way that would duplicate the famous "Guerrilero Heroico" image. Cameras were activated and the one young lady who got the best shot promised to send a copy to this columnist. Unfortunately, it hasn't arrived in time to be used as an illustration for this column.
Just a few days ago, we were recounting that incident and when they didn't respond to the name of the place where it happened, we gave them a clue via a line from an Eagles song: "you can check out anytime, but you can never leave. . . ." Some of the young folks knew who the Eagles were (no, not Perth's West Coast Eagles), and that song in particular, but some didn't.
Hah! Isn't it ironic? The peacnik hippies, who were on the young side of the Vietnam era's "Generation Gap," are now explaining that era's cultural references to today's younger generation. Could it be that thanks to Rush Limbaugh, today's college students are pro-war and the older hippies are still advocating Peace, Love, and Brotherhood?
Yikes, do the students at Berkeley, who protested budget cuts last month, know the origin of the line "the kids still respect the college dean"?