The day before Halloween — the finale of my Month of Horror — I saw David Lynch footage on one of those little TVs they have in the back of the taxi cabs here now. But it wasn’t a thriller set in the Pacific Northwest. No, the David Lynch I speak of is wine critic David Lynch — and on the cab TV was my college acquaintance David Kamp, co-author with Lynch of The Wine Snob’s Dictionary, part of the series of “Snob” books Kamp has written with various co-authors, covering Rock, Film, Food, and Wine, respectively. In the video clip, he says one wine has a hint of “pipi de chat,” so there is still a college humor writer within him.
Kamp also wrote a book about America’s increasingly gourmet tastes, The United States of Arugula, which would have been perfectly timed if it came out when Barack Obama was being accused of being an elitist for mentioning arugula — when Obama should simply have been accused of being a politician who doesn’t learn from history, given that Michael Dukakis was faulted during his presidential campaign twenty years ago for urging Midwest farmers to grow arugula. This does not make them un-American — though I will note that my spellchecker doesn’t know “arugula,” so maybe it’s weirder than I realize. They are, of course, both socialists, but more on that tomorrow, as we segue back into politics as usual after two months of nominally sex- and horror-related blogging.
Speaking of media and sinister, alien lifeforms, today is the anniversary of Orson Welles’ infamous War of the Worlds broadcast that scared some people into thinking a real alien invasion was taking place (comedian Steve Allen attested that when he was a child, his household thought it was really happening, so people who pooh-pooh the panic are wrong). Adding a layer to the confusion, the movie Buckaroo Banzai cleverly introduced the idea that the broadcast was a fake fake — a cover for a real alien invasion.
Perhaps even more bizarrely, I’ve read that there was a short-lived, mediocre War of the Worlds TV series a couple decades ago — and its second season was produced by people who admit they never even watched the first season, with strange, jarring continuity errors resulting, character behavior radically changing, and the alien race suddenly having different motivations and a different history. And this was happening in a series that was already playing around with the idea that the Welles broadcast was somehow being misremembered by those who heard it, possibly due to a Banzai-style cover-up or mass hypnosis. I pity the brave few who probably exist out there somewhere who slogged through the whole series, trying to fit the pieces together. And you thought reconciling elements of Star Trek continuity was sometimes tricky.
Here’s hoping people start to become more attentive to the continuity errors in the non-fiction broadcasts, though, particularly around election time. But again, more on that tomorrow.