Tuesday, July 03, 2012

RIP Andy Griffith

Andy Griffith - actor, comedian, musician - died today at 86. He'll be remembered (hopefully) as a much more influential voice in American comedy than he typically got credit for, but most-immediately for his popular sitcom and career revival as "Matlock."

However - and I'm aware I'll be the 500th movie-geek to point this out today - he gave probably his best performance as Lonesome Rhodes in Elia Kazan's "A Face In The Crowd;" a movie made at the dawn of the television age that warned with eerie-accuracy about the danger of "average joe" political demagoguery. Viewed today, it's like a distress-call from the past trying to warn us about right-wing talk-radio, Fox News, Beck, Palin, the Tea Party etc...
Observe this scene, which depicts Rhodes' show (dig the faux-rural set;) wherein he invites a Senator he's in-cahoots with to deliver discussion staged-rant against Social Security. Key detail: Rhodes helping the Senator sell his ideology to "the people" by nudging him toward a smaller, "folksier" word than "obsessed." Update the clothes and this is a Fox prime-time show from right now:

Griffith's Rhodes was an alcoholic reprobate (today he's immediately recognizable as a straight-up sociopath) who turns out to have a natural talent for galvanizing and shaping the political behviors of "average Americans." His schtick makes him a national star and, soon enough, a sought-after ally for nefarious politicians; as the producers who created him come to realize that they may have unleashed something fundamentally evil into the world. In it's legendary finale, Lonesome proudly embraces exactly what he knows he is and who his "people" are:


Anonymous said...


Y'know, a proper remake of "A Face in the Crowd" would timely right about now.

Mr. Gone said...

"A Face in the Crowd" is probably the most underrated/overlooked movie ever. Definitely one of my top 20 of all time, and most people haven't heard of it.

James said...

Hey Bob, for all your bashing of "Average Americans", you know that you're pretty below-average, right? You just like to ACT like you're better than everyone else because you've got a fragile ego.

Anon1 said...

@ James
He talking about raising up people like Joe the Plumber as if to say this is the best we can offer. This idea that being average is better than extraordinary. Take the SOPA debates for example. Each time a congressman spoke, he preceded himself by saying a long the lines of "I'm no computer geek, but....." as if to say, why do more to learn what is expected of you to know and make a logical decision instead of one with your gut. Hell one of the biggest complaints of Obama as he was running is that he was an elitist (because apparently that is a bad thing from a leader in government.

So Bob is getting at. This idea that "street smarts" is better that book smart. That being average is better than being great.
But if it makes you feel any better James, I consider you an extraordinary douche.

Anon1 said...

*So what Bob is getting at is idea that "street smarts" is better that book smart or that being average is better than being great is a shameless pander to people.

James said...

anon: I have no problem with intelligent leadership. My problem is with corrupt leadership. Corruption has no intellectual boundaries.

My other problem is that Bob is such a narcissist that he considers himself superior to 98% of humanity. (Yeah, he said that on twitter.)

Anonymous said...

Being intellectual has nothing to do with class-order.

1424nathan said...

Only you would call Bob a narcissist when you post day after day, pouting like a child because he refuses to take time out for you every day to respond to you like you are the center of the universe.
Also for that statement that you probably took horribly out of context: I have heard Bob say something along the lines of "98% of people are shit". Bob has stated multiple times that he didn't have a good experience throughout school(especially High School). So if you grew being shit on during one of the most vulnerable times of your life and maybe you decide to make a little internet show and blog where some of the most constructive criticism goes along the lines of "you are fat and you suck" maybe you wouldn't have such a great outlook on humanity. So that statement isn't how great he is, it is the result of dealing with shit from people like you causing him to have a cynical outlook.
Now do want to know what your real problem with him is? You probably liked some of his videos and came across his blog. As he got more political, you disagreed with him more and more. And when he didn't respond to your posts you took it as an insult. So you came here expecting one thing and got another.
So don't ever try say your problem with his is over politics (because I am sure you don't go to all the other websites to yell at people you disagree with) and don't say it is because he is a bad person(because even you can admit there is worse people on the internet).
Remember when you said something (before Bob deleted it) along the lines of what you might be doing could be considered harassment or bullying, but it is okay because he deserves it? That is a line not taken out of context, those were your words and even as thickheaded as you are, you know only a real scumbag would say something like that.
You are not welcome here, go start your own blog if you must but your behavior is starting to be borderline psychopathic.

James said...

1424nathan: I didn't have a good experience through school either. Or through a lot of my life. I tried to commit suicide twice because of how bad things got. That didnt' give me a cynical outlook, or make me think that everyone other than me and a select few others were superior beings.

You are right, though; I used to be a fan of Bob's work. But his attitude, his ego, and his intellectual dishonesty drew me away. It wasn't him ignoring my posts that caused me to lash out, but rather his responding to me, when he admitted that he thought most of humanity sucked. I despise cynicism; I think it's one of the worst traits of society. And I find it abhorrent that Bob and other douchebags like him are promoting cynicism and arrogance as though they're positive traits. So yeah, until Bob changes his attitude, I will continue to call him out for it.

Fallen Angel said...


And until you change yours, Jimmy boy, Bob will continue to (rightfully) ignore you.

Does it help if I say I'm a cynical bastard, too? Will you come after me, as well?

James said...

Fallen Angel: I won't bother with you unless you say something stupid like "most of humanity is inferior to me" or "it's okay for peoples rights to be violated if it suits my agenda" or something similar to that kind of idiocy Bob has voiced in the past.

Anonymous said...

EVERYONE, SERIOUSLY: James has no intention of actually discussing anything in a rational manner and is clearly based around the Fox News punditry of drowning out any possible discussion with their exact same alarmist, ad hominem buzzwords. You're wasting your time. Just ignore him. Thank you.

Aiddon said...


Like those shitty dramas that try to idealize a man "going back to his roots" after supposedly finding success and wealth a gilded cage. I remember Bob saying it'd be nice for someone to make a drama where a guy who's successful ends up depressed for some reason, goes to his hometown, finds out it was a shithole he left for a good reason, and decides he's better off without it

Andrew said...

All I'll say is that political demagoguery from the far-left is just as damaging as that from the far-right. And I notice that few people seem to mention that.

Really though, this isn't about politics. This is about an amazing actor who we are all unfortunate to lose. RIP Andy Griffith.

Anonymous said...

@ Aiddon

The funny part about that plot framework is how in order for the people to even make that film, they have to have a lot of ambition to begin with. Nobody ever got a job in Hollywood by deciding that their hometown roots outweigh the allure of a jetsetting lifestyle. Sweet Home Alabama, in particular, is really awful in that the hometown sweetheart is an abusive creep and the guy she engaged to is a genuinely good human being that even takes the protagonist's rejection in good humor, but the film acts like she was always supposed to have a simple life in hicktown (seriously, fuck that movie so hard).

Aiddon said...


It's just pandering to the demographic who likes to think staying in a comfort zone is always a good thing. Ambition, creativity, and independence are way too often thought to be vile things. I mean, sure, you shouldn't emphasize any one of those to the point of being arrogant but just having them should not be considered bad.

1424nathan said...

So the cure to cynicism is harassment of Bob and his coworkers? You are not calling him out on anything when you do spam post, and oh did I mention you harassed his coworkers? Don't sit there and pretend you are doing any good with your behavior. Anything you have to say is irrelevant since you decided that bullying is okay. What is exactly your end game here? Do you honestly think that Bob will all of the sudden go "Oh I was wrong, Thank you James for derailing every post I ever made". This might be some blog where you can vent out your anger to you, but this is Bob's personal life here.

So why don't you go away, you are not welcome here.

Joshua the Anarchist said...

"A Face in the Crowd". Man, I haven't thought about that movie in so long. I saw it on TCM years ago. I should watch it again.

Anonymous said...


What you said before about a movie where the successful guy realizes he left his hometown for a reason, there is an episode of "The Twilight Zone" called "Of Late I think of Cliffordville" that has a similar plotline, regarding the misleading nature of nostalgia