The other night I saw The Beetle music group on television again, and this time they were phoning in a talentless parody of a classic vaudeville act. Lately I’ve barely put up with the whatever drole passes for popular music these days, but to see these flash in the pan hacks butcher the music I enjoyed in my time? I could hardly stomach it.
I bring this up because this morning I was enjoying an ice cold phosphate beverage at my local drugstore when I overheard a few youngsters twittering over their sugar-loaded milkshake glasses about the supposedly dreamy young Pete McCarthy fella, bass fiddleman of the aforementioned Beetle group.
Maybe it was the gin I slipped into my beverage, but I was compelled to arrogantly intrude on their conversation to find out whether these young people were even aware of the classic vaudeville performers the Beetle folk clearly plagiarized on their recent television appearance.
To my shock, their faces only rested blankly on every name I dropped. I even mentioned the Denver Nightingale himself, Billy Murray, who I clearly remember and listened to all through my adolescence and definitely did not look up on a publicly accessible encyclopedia. Still, nothing.
I realized, in absolute horror, that these Beetle fans did not know who Billy Murray is.
My first instinct was that they were horribly mistaken, and must have some recollection of the singer’s ample and impressive discography, so I rattled off a whole list of obvious song titles, like “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag,” and “Clap Hands! Here Comes Charly!” and “Give My Regards To Broadway,” but no, they were offensively ignorant to the music that I value and objectively consider superior to whatever is happening currently because the present is a place of nothing but attention starved, immoral, reckless delinquents who can’t bother to trim their hair above their ears.
I conceded that perhaps they just haven’t engaged with the music of their parents enough to appreciate the fine tastes of the vaudeville era. Nay, the children told me, they knew their parents record collections quite well. I pressed for an example of the shellac 78s that might be found in their collections, but they still laughed at me and said their parents mostly listened to jazz.
JAZZ. The arrhythmic noise of [racist comments redacted].
I didn’t think I would live to see it, but clearly we are in the end times. Human history seems destined to forget the genius of the musical dandies of my age, when everything was better and never for a moment sullied by the psychological purifier of nostalgia.
We’re going to hell in a filthy beatnik-woven handbasket, if you ask me, and the noisy, electronic guitar-saturated soundtrack will be scored by none other than Pete Flippin’ McCarthey, fiddleman for the insufferable Beetles. I fear the future, I really do, because how dare young people find themselves in an entirely different pop culture zeitgeist than myself and my own obviously superior generation. Rock and roll is not real music. It is a fad, and it will never last the decade.
- Open letter from notorious racist and old person Thaddeus D. Oldstufferer, dated the week after whenever the Beatles did that vaudeville thing on tv. Probably 1963. Who cares.