Posts Tagged ‘Bye Bye Birdie’

Quips and Quirks

Posted in General on June 15th, 2011 by Eugene Finerman – 3 Comments

Is being me a chronic condition?  Apparently so.  A friend just reminded me of an incidence from 40 years ago.  A group of Hispanic activists stormed into the college newspaper office.  They demanded to know why the Daily Illini was not giving more coverage to Hispanic issues.  A certain features writer quipped, “We supported the Moors.”

The activists didn’t get the joke…or the additional coverage.

And now the latest manifestion of my condition. 

I recently wrote a magazine article about the Salem Witch Trials.  Now, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from this story.  You certainly can see that America has a long tradition of sanctimonious hypocrisy.  (Most of the victims happened to be political opponents or commercial rivals of Salem’s leading family.)  And if a clique of  Mean Girls can terrorize 17th century Massachusetts, you should be amazed that you somehow survived high school.  You might also have some premonitions of Sarah Palin’s presidency.

But I saw intriguing similarities between “The Crucible” and “Bye Bye Birdie.”  They both center around hysterical teenagers, and if Paul Lynde isn’t a witch who is?  “What’s the Matter With Kids Today” is applicable to either show.  And imagine Dick Van Dyke as Cotton Mather performing an exorcism to “Put on a Happy Face”! 

Peter Sellars is called a genius for coming up with ideas like this.  I’d be lucky to get a Brooks Brothers’ straitjacket.   

p.s.  Let’s not forget the historic significance of this day: