Thursday, March 23, 2006

I'm The Man

A while back, a politically correct acquaintance said to me, "Why do you like The Rat Pack? They were a bunch of sexist homophobic drunks. Why are you complicit in your own subjugation?"

My immediate answer was, "Go sit on a tack." But I thought about it, and I realized that when I'm enjoying Frank, Dean, Sammy et al., I'm imagining that I'm them, or the image of them. I'm not imagining that I'm one of the wives, or the broads they screwed around on. Although the alimony would be spiffy.

Twenty years ago in a comedy improv class, we had an exercise where you pick one of your heroes, somebody you admire, and you do your improvised scene as them. I chose a guy comic whose work was influential to mine at the time. During the critiques, where we had to reveal our sources, people were surprised to hear that I'd chosen a man. One classmate said, "You just seemed like you, only more assertive."

When I'm inspired by Elvis' sneer or Mick Jagger's strut, it's not like I wanna shoot my TV set or impregnate a whole bunch of women. It's more like when primitive hunters would eat a small piece of the heart of the beast that they killed, to give them the courage of that animal. Only it's a whole lot less bloody, and hopefully I'll use that power for Good.

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