I know when I came back to this space I vowed to reduce the number of clip jobs, but the thing is, it's the Fourth Of July, so as an American and a writer, I felt a weird obligation to make some kind of statement about national identity, or patriotism, or some damned thing.
Originally I was going to write about Westerns as a great and wholly American art form, and when I realized that was too wide-ranging for a relatively limited space, I thought I'd narrow it down to Sam Peckinpah's Westerns as an expression of a Great American Artist, and then I realized since I'd likely make some mention of The Ballad Of Cable Hogue, I'd be obligated to mention Stella Stevens' nude scene, which I decided I needed to watch again, which got me, um, distracted.
Which wasted too much time, so instead I decided to do a grab bag clip job of some of the music that makes America great. I found a killer version of Where Or When by Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee, and figured I'd toss in some Roger Miller, Art Blakey, Beastie Boys, Marshall Crenshaw and, what the hell, even some Weird Al.
But mostly I wanted to include something by Harold Arlen, because he's surely one of the greatest songwriters this country has ever produced, but which song to showcase? Come Rain Or Come Shine? It's Only A Paper Moon? Blues In The Night? A Sleepin' Bee? The Man That Got Away? Seriously, I couldn't decide--the guy just wrote too many great songs.
Then I realized time was getting tight, and it's time to head off to work. So here's something that really makes me proud to be American--Jerry Lewis! And sadly, this is pretty much what it looks like when I dance.