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Ed Driscoll

Perhaps Marsellus Wallace Could Have Joined in with His Blowtorch

April 18th, 2014 - 9:11 pm

The other night, after staying up too late watching an episode of Rumbole of the Bailey on the Acorn channel on my Roku set-top box, I clicked over to the Vemo channel. Acorn is devoted to classic British TV series, such as the Poirot murder mysteries, Brideshead Revisited, Edward & Mrs. Simpson, and the aforementioned Rumbole, starring veteran British actor (and occasionally scenery devouring over-actor) Leo McKern in the eponymous role. Vevo is an entirely different channel, one that also has a large YouTube presence, as a repository for rock videos old and new. At the start of the week, while listening to Sirius-XM on headphones while working, I heard Aerosmith’s “Jaded” song from 2001 for the first time in ages, and Joe Perry’s riff, which sounds inspired by Jimmy Page’s sharp-suspended fourth riff on Led Zeppelin’s “Dancin’ Days” rapidly became an earwig, playing over and over in my head.

So I thought I’d check out the video for the song, since Vevo generally does a very good job with running the videos in HD with full-range audio. And really – who doesn’t conclude a segment from a 1978 Thames Television show about an aging British barrister by saying, “Well, now that I’ve seen Rumpole of the Bailey, it’s time for some classic Aerosmith!” But I’m me, and that’s how my brain works, after years of having been badly mutated through massive Chernobyl-level  overdoses of pop culture.

While Vevo’s clips are free to watch, they’re often preceded by commercials for various products that sponsors believe would be appropriate for a rock video audience. However, in this case, the video was not preceded by a commercial, but by a public service announcement (PSA) designed to encourage young people to stop smoking.

Through the use of the most disgusting imagery possible.

The PSA began with a young man entering a convenience store and asking for a pack of cigarettes. Plunking a five dollar bill and his ID on the counter, he asks the clerk, “This enough?” Whereupon the clerk says, “Nope, there’s one more thing I need” – and proceeds to rip the customer’s front teeth out with a pair of pliers.

As James Lileks would say, pure 100 proof nightmare fuel.

Once the pliers came out, I averted my eyes until Steve and Joe and the boys began playing. I understand that not everyone realizes that excessive smoking can have injurious effects on a person’s dentition — and that Seinfeld is no longer on the air to remind them of this fact. At which point the juxtaposition was grimly hilarious, considering that Steve Tyler and Joe Perry used wear T-shirts in their rock videos describing themselves as “the Toxic Twins” – by the late 1970s and early ‘80s, before they went through maximum-strength rehab, puffs from a Marlboro 100 were by far the healthiest thing they were putting into their bodies.

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All Comments   (16)
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20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is there a companion paperback that explains WTF this article is about?
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Would you like me to fingerspell it into your palm?
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Leo McKern's Rumpole is one of the best things about modern culture; American inspired rock is one of the worse.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh gosh. The sick 'buzzed driving' radio PSA, two chicks from a party, car crash, you get to hear bone grinding in one girl's broken arm.

"But we gotta show 'em bad stuff, is, like, bad!"
Immediate ruined mood, sticks in the head like a bad jingle
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
No one commenting on "she who must be obeyed" ...

More interest in Rumpole (and Leo McKern) than lame-oid PSA's.

Good.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Liked Rumpole. Saw it back upon a time when it ran on PBS's Mystery series. And the unique ironic plot device in the first season (SPOILER FOLLOWS): He wins NO cases except the last one -- and it's revealed in the end that he was hired for the last case because he was expected to lose.

Hmmm. Looks like the anti-Nazi farce Private Schultz has resurfaced. Must watch....
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
the link in blue has rumBole. it's rumPole. it's a joke, not just an odd name.

a fan of your work, btw
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Before Mark Steyn went to court against "He Who Must Be Obeyed", there was Horace Rumpole! Ed, you've hit the Rumpole-World At War-Civilisation Trifecta. Spend your winnings wisely. But as to public service ads, the radio stations here in the Puget Sound area don't seem to run many PSAs. There's no time for it between testimonials from happy recipients of testosterone therapy and City University of Seattle (which is in Tacoma, not Seattle).
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wish more people would focus on the Left wing wealthy elites wanting to pull up the ladders behind them so nobody else can acquire anything.

It's not that they believe electricity is evil, oil is evil, meat is evil.

They just think they're the only ones who should be allowed to have it.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
You might be interested in this, Hikaru. (You too MRG) "New fascism Obama style" or "Free, white, 21, and loaded with inherited, soon-to-be investments in truly Librul Democracy." I bet cfb would be too.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/fashion/white-house-hosts-next-generation-young-and-rich.html
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think it may be more accurate to say that wealthy elites and the famous are driven to promote eco-extreme policies because:

a) they believe the pallet of things that have so dramatically improved the standard of living for the rest of us are now "bad for the planet" based upon some vague logic and the constant hectoring of the AGW academia-business-government complex.

b) vocalizing against these things is excellent PR given the masses of people who will then see them as caring and compassionate

c) and because no matter how much prices rise, no matter how many jobs are lost, no matter how much opportunity is lost for the rest of us, they are set for life and can afford as much as they want whenever they want without any personal impact.

One can barely tolerate someone like Ed Begley who drives a Prius and lives his convictions. But the rest of them are just dupes or hypocrites or both.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's Rumpole of the Bailey...
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
You beat my correction to the punch, and I hadn't even read Ed's piece past the first sentence.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
mine, too. first sentence.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Me too. Me too. I had a bit all worked out. It started Rombole in the jungle or Rompole of the Bailey...

Well it's a half rhyme sort of.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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