Jewish World Review May 2, 2002 / 20 Iyar, 5762

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | April is the cruelest month, T.S. Eliot said, though it remains unclear what that means-- rather like U.S. foreign policy. Eliot did mention that April stirs dull roots with spring rain, but what's cruel about that?

But then it's hard to know what anything means these days, much less April. April is certainly the interface between winter and spring. Warm life emerges from the frozen dead. The old melts, the new grows. Things go and things come.

The Wall Street Journal got an April makeover, although botox was not involved. Wired Magazine is also revamping its look, perhaps even one in which you can actually read the articles amid the incoherence of its graphic design. April! The dull roots of text once again sprout, stirred by the spring rain of an economic downturn.

The New York Sun resumed publication after being off the stands since 1950. The New York Sun is best known for first publishing the essay, "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." And yes Virginia, it looks like Penthouse Magazine is folding up its centerfold and sashaying gently into the good night.

In a related item, perhaps, ships will no longer be called "she." They will just be more "its."

And the single, once the mainstay of the music industry, is being phased out. There will be no more one hit wonders like Dexy's Midnight Runners or Question Mark and the Mysterians. Gone with the snows of yesteryear.

But beleaguered Napster, where singles poured down on music lovers like gentle rains, is still in business. The German conglomerate, Bertelsman is seeking to buy Napster, to turn it into a for-pay service. Strangely, BMP Records, a division of Bertelsman, is suing Napster for copyright infringement. So if the deal goes through, Bertelsman could be suing itself. Sounds like a Penthouse pictorial to me!

Too late. Like Penthouse, Kenny is dead, and will remain so. Bryant Gumbel is leaving the Early Show, but Phil Donahue is returning to television. The X Files, Allie McBeal, and Felicity will soon frolic together on the ash heap of history. Yet Ozzy Osbourne emerged from fading reality of reality-based television to become teevee's favorite Dad. Go figure, or as Eliot put it, talking about a different wasteland: "What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?"

The Oprah Book Club folded, botox was approved by the FDA for the removal of frown lines, too late to save Penthouse, and Christina Ricci admitted that she learned to become anorexic by watching movies on Lifetime.

The Pope called sex abuse by priests a crime, showing us all what infallibility is all about. And it is no longer sad when cousins marry. Comedians everywhere are weeping as they cross that line off their list of put downs.

Finally, in April, when a "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-millionaire" contestant declined to appear on a San Francisco morning radio show, the jocks called her a "skank," among other things, on the air. She sued, and lost. The California Court of Appeals declared that the word is "a derogatory slang term of recent vintage that has no generally recognized meaning." Kind of like April. Only Penthouse knew the true meaning of "skank," and Penthouse is as mum as T.S. Eliot.

Still, as Paul Simon said, "April, come she will." Or it will, I suppose.



JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.

Up

04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/14/02: IN THIS CORNER SUSAN LUCCI AND STEPHANIE ZYMALIST!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/31/01: I COPY, THEREFORE I AM
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales