Scoop! November 30, 2009 5:54 PM   Subscribe

MeFi Scoop! Two years ago, oneirodynia made this FPP about the Smothers Brothers. Tonight on Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed David Bianculli whose new book about the Brothers' career, Dangerously Funny, comes out tomorrow.

Bianculli is NPR's TV critic. The NPR link also features an excerpt (the Introduction) from his book.

The second link of oneirodynia’s post points to a video that has been removed. Ditto the link to “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” but another video can be found here, and there is a link to a working video for Keith Moon’s exploding drum kit down in the comments. The other links are all still good.

I enjoyed this FPP tonight as much as I did two years ago. Called out for being fabulous and fun.
posted by jaruwaan to MetaFilter-Related at 5:54 PM (29 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I am confused about what the scoop is.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:35 PM on November 30, 2009 [4 favorites]

I'm also confused, but then, that's generally my reaction to things.

My first thought was that oneirodynia turns out to be David Bianculli or, possibly, Terry Gross.

Of course, there's also the possibility that oneirodynia is one of the brothers Smothers, in which case the ban would have to come down.
posted by Kattullus at 6:39 PM on November 30, 2009

Man, if I banned Tommy Smothers my mother would never forgive me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:42 PM on November 30, 2009 [11 favorites]

Poop scoop.
posted by gman at 6:44 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I meant that oneirodynia scooped NPR.
posted by jaruwaan at 7:10 PM on November 30, 2009

Ha! I actually turned this on just before I got on MeFi and saw this post. It's only half over, but man, it's pretty interesting actually. The Pete Seeger bit is great, imo.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:24 PM on November 30, 2009

Scoop is really only applicable in the context cortex of a breaking story,

FTFY . . .wait, what?
posted by nola at 7:32 PM on November 30, 2009

I think jaruwaan might just have "scoop" confused with "Hey, news update!".

Also, I'm unapologetic about putting a period after quotation marks like that. It's just more logical that way so proper style usage rules be damned.

There shouldn't be a period at all, either before or after the quotation mark.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:38 PM on November 30, 2009

posted by Think_Long at 7:49 PM on November 30, 2009 [3 favorites]

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:52 PM on November 30, 2009


Also I heard the interview on NPR this evening and it was quite good. Crazy how censored broadcasts used to be. "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" is a fantastic song, it was a treat to hear a live version on the radio.
posted by ChrisHartley at 7:54 PM on November 30, 2009

posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:57 PM on November 30, 2009

In what sense did oneirodynia scoop NPR? I think you are confused as to what scoop means.

This is a very bad Meta post. It isn't really a followup of any sort. Shall we post to Meta every time Amanda Palmer gets interviewed? Or maybe next time Lady Gaga releases a new single? They've both been featured on the blue after all.
posted by Justinian at 8:08 PM on November 30, 2009

Popular social networking site *PALMFACE.*
posted by Atreides at 8:08 PM on November 30, 2009

Facepalm beach?
posted by The White Hat at 8:09 PM on November 30, 2009

Of course, there's also the possibility that oneirodynia is one of the brothers Smothers, in which case the ban would have to come down.

Oh it's true. I am really Oneirodynia Smothers. Kicked out of the Smothers Brother long, long ago for bringing an electric guitar to the 1954 International Folk and Skiffle Fest at Ted's Shish-K-Bob Emporium in Peekskill. I had even put a sticker on it saying "this machine electrocutes fascists", but the illiterate pinkos took away my gitanes and my tea shades and harmonica and tossed me out on the pavement. Dickey told me I wasn't as funny as him, and they had just let me in the group in the first place because I had a garret in the Village and a real espresso machine.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:08 PM on November 30, 2009 [6 favorites]

Am I the only one that doesn't get the Smothers Brothers? I mean, granted, I'm not an old fogey, but still. Or are we supposed to applaud them because they were "brave" and political? I posit that this thread is the perfect forum to discuss this important topic.
posted by dhammond at 9:13 PM on November 30, 2009


Old Fogey
posted by lukemeister at 10:14 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yo' smother so fat when she ......
posted by Rumple at 10:53 PM on November 30, 2009

I meant that oneirodynia scooped NPR.

...but I scooped oneirodynia, having actually watched on the show TV.

I would have posted about it at the time, but I couldn't get access to ARPANET.
posted by timeistight at 2:47 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

I meant that oneirodynia scooped NPR.

I haven't done any research, but I would be surprised if this is the first time Smothers-related content has ever appeared on NPR.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:05 AM on December 1, 2009

I would be surprised if this is the first time Smothers-related content has ever appeared on NPR.

No doubt, we've been completely Smothered.
posted by DU at 5:34 AM on December 1, 2009

Mom always liked the other Smothers topic better.
posted by inturnaround at 6:34 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Am I the only one that doesn't get the Smothers Brothers? I mean, granted, I'm not an old fogey, but still. Or are we supposed to applaud them because they were "brave" and political?

I'm certainly not "of the time", but I've tried to educate myself a bit about the Smothers Brothers over the past decade or so on and off. So none of what I'm writing comes from having really lived through it, however...

The SB were remarkable for a number of reasons. They grew out of the folk generation, started off being very mainstream and safe, and underwent a near Beatles-esque transformation during their career. They also ran into rather Lenny Bruce-ish pushback over the subject matter of their comedy and commentary. And they did all this in front of a television audience, which was still a rather new social force in many ways at the time. Tom's struggles against censorship, in particular, played out in VERY public ways, and in an age of cable and satellite television, it's easy to forget how different life was when there were only 3 channels to choose from.

Particularly, they used their show as a platform to make statements against The Man, such as bringing Pete Seeger back into the public eye after his many years of being blacklisted, or having Harry Belafonte sing, I forget the song, but against a backdrop of Vietnam war footage. They knew the power of their medium, and coming out of the folk tradition, they also knew the power of song and popular sentiment.

Were they "brave" and political? I don't know about the scare quotes there -- they WERE brave, for men trying to make a living in a time when direct censorship and even banning was practiced rather than just counting on the controversy to be lost in a sea of media. And they were certainly political. And they were funnier than nearly anyone else at the time, humor which holds up still today if you watch any of the old shows.
posted by hippybear at 6:37 AM on December 1, 2009 [5 favorites]

I saw them perform live once, at a county fair, but it was like 1990 or 1991 and so unfortunately predated the airing of Bart the Lover and I was thus denied the chance to respond to Tommy's yo-yo work with an obligatory "I bet they get all kinds of girls!"

Growing up, I was really only dimly aware of them in the way that I was dimly aware of a lot of acts that my parents paid attention to. The Smothers Brothers were just part of the weird fabric of post-hippie folk group culture that I grew up in, never really explained or given special attention but always there in the background, something my mom and dad could both laugh at despite otherwise having fairly different tastes in comedy. I liked them too; they did familial dysfunction without any awfulness, just sort of coring out the idea of conflict but making it quick and funny and not dragging it through the mud, which was refreshing sometimes for a kid to see.

By the time I knew who they were, I think they had come out the other side of the rough-charted waters hippybear describes above; they were just older guys enjoying (hopefully) the continuing moderate success of the legacy act, performing for an aging but loyal fanbase. It's only recently that I've become aware at all of the earlier arc of their career, and at that I don't know so much, so this seems like a good opportunity for me to get off my ass about that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:02 AM on December 1, 2009

I'm in the midst of reading Steve Martin's memoir Born Standing Up, and he gives them quite a bit of credit for allowing the creative freedom that helped him develop his own style. Before that, I had almost exactly the same experience of the Smothers Brothers that cortex did - my parents sang Mason Williams ditties to me growing up, and they seemed mildly funny, but it is very hard in retrospect to gain an appreciation of this kind of cultural transformation. You had to be there, or at least build some historical understanding that would give you a proper context for 'getting' what they were all about.

The same, to a lesser degree, was true as I learned to better evaluate personalities like Steve Allen and Bing Crosby. Since I knew them as 'legacy acts' for old folks in the late seventies and early 80s, it has been a gradual process of discovery to learn that they were once actually hip, and influenced the people who in turn influenced the performers of my generation.

I'll say no more about hipsters past because I'm in danger of revealing two FPP topics I've been sitting on for a while. Must get to those.

And no, I don't think this is in any way a 'scoop.' The Smothers Brothers weren't some kind of secret - they are pretty famous; and the cyclical washing-machine effect of pop culture, and anniversary observances, and book releases, means that we're going to hear about things multiple times. Also, ideas are in the air. If you don't talk about them, you can be sure someone else will. I can't tell you how many times I've sworn I would write a magazine piece or FPP only to see it pop up by someone else, since I didn't act on the impulse. It's also interesting to see the way that topics cycle through various media outlets. Things that appear in Harper's and The New Yorker and The Atlantic also often appear on NPR and on PBS and other TV stations. Sometimes they are triggered by an event, such as (in this case) a book release. Other times they just seem to be the topic of the moment, maybe spurred by some important original reporting that generates more attention, and sometimes just arising mysteriously from the zeitgiest. At any rate, MeFi's definitely in the "this is being discussed amongst aware people" mix, but others reporting on the same topics that appear hear is more often confluence of timing and interest, and coincidence, than direct inspiration. Sometimes it is direct inspiration, but when that's the case the bread crumb trail is a lot clearer.
posted by Miko at 7:16 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

I like the idea of a banhammer-immune Tommy Smothers getting an account here and just kind of wandering around, doing whatever he wants. Like 50% of all threads would begin with "FIRST!" posted by tommysmothers (even, or especially, if he's not actually first). And he'd sign all of his comments, and all his FPPs would be not just self-links but bloggy no-context self-links like "Had a great time meeting everyone at the show! Looking forward to tomorrow" and "tomorrow" is a broken link to a festival's website where the Brothers will be performing even though their appearance isn't mentioned anywhere on the site. He'd make MetaTalk posts warning MeFites of some virus hoax he just got in his email; he'd reply to people with the @ sign, though it turns out he just thought that meant it would be emailed to the person...
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:11 PM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

I hope jamaro is reading this thread because I think we have a capital idea as to what to do with user number 100000.
posted by Kattullus at 12:14 PM on December 1, 2009

I like the idea of a banhammer-immune Tommy Smothers getting an account here

"That was some fine writing in your FPP, Tommy."
"Why, thank you!"
"That wasn't a compliment."
posted by Spatch at 5:59 AM on December 2, 2009

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