21 October 2010

Those Were the Days

I was in the Queens, NY the other day. Passing through to a job interview in Brooklyn, so I ended up on the BQE. Those of you who know me will not be surprised that my mind follows certain pop-cultural associative trains, and while in Queens I naturally started humming to myself the opening theme song to the old television show "All in the Family."

This in turn led me to wonder about whether the lines fit together with the characters they are supposed to describe. Anyway, here is the song, just as a reminder. Supply the tune your own self.

Boy, the way Glen Miller played. Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.
Didn't need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.
And you know who you were then, girls were girls and men were men.
Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.

LaSalle was a division of Cadillac, and its last model came off of the assembly line in 1941. If either Archie or Edith rode in a Lasalle as a child they had come down in the world before the viewing public met them!

Glenn Miller's heyday was 1937-1943. He died over the English Channel in 1944.

So these two clues are mutually consistent. Archie and Edith are remember the 'good old days' of the late 1930s and the war years. We know from the show that Archie was a WW 2 veteran -- remember one's adolescence and/or army years fondly is unsurprising.

Yet the line about Hoover doesn't really seem to fit. Hoover was of course President from March 1929 to March 1933. The timing was unfortunate for his memory, surely. One can imagine Calvin Coolidge sneaking out of DC after the inauguration ceremony in March 1929 saying to himself "Apres moi, les deluge." Yet I'm wandering from the point. I'm willing to accept the notion that one or the other of the singers, Archie or Edith, grew up in a household in which Hoover's memory was held dear. Still, this refers us a 'good old days' (if one wants to call them that) several years porior to the good old days of the lines about Glenn Miller etc. Miller wasn't anybody in 1933. And there was no "Hit Parade" on radio before 1935.

This isn't leading anywhere folks, but thanks for coming along for the ride -- the one along the BQE and the one it incited in my head.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.