“Andy” Griffith is discorporate.
Normally I do not pay a great deal of attention to entertainment “celebrities”, mostly because they are imbued with activities that they have no credibility for. Acting, yes, political and/or social causes, no. They are only exercising their opinons which IMHO are inherently no better than mine. In fact, in many instances, less than mine since most entertainment celebrities are more bog than geek or nerd. But they do this and because of their connectivity to the Rich And Powerful, and money they receive vastly disproportionate attention and unconscionable influence.
I fondly remember Andy Griffith not for his acting but for his humor. One of the first LP records I received, as a gift, while an early teenager, was Griffith’s “What it Was, Was Football” album. I was oblivious to all but a few entertainment celebrities in those days, limited to the aged ones my mother yammered about and the ones I saw in Saturday morning children’s specials. Mostly western and science fiction (misnomer) actors. And a few television actors. But not Andy Griffith.
I rather suspect my parents gave me the album because they were concerned that I begin to assert my individuality now that I was a teenager. Looking back, I am not sure this goal was not adding flame to a fuse. But Griffith’s album certainly enhanced my individuality, and awakening proper disrespect for false authority. I recall four pieces on his album. One, the monologue commenting on a popular (?) song of the day about silhouettes on a shade was wasted on me. In later years I would comprehend the metaphor but at that time it was wasted. Being a typical nerd my only concepts of sexuality were based on what I had read in teenager guidance manuals and a couple of psychology books. Nothing in the way of locker room banter or peer group gossip since I had never been in a locker room nor did my minuscule peer group discuss such. We were all equally orthogonal to teenage sexual storming.
The second, and most telling, was Griffith’s monologue on a football game. I attended football games, mostly at the behest of my parents and a bit of a push from shule. I did not enjoy them. They were wasted times often with great and unnecessary stress. But Griffith’s monologue confirmed for me that they were, in fact, utter nonsense, a manifestation of the boggish, mindless wastefulness that humanity is prone to and will eventually seal our extinction. But I also realized that attendance was a mandatory (in a sense) social activity and so I attended some football games through high shule and into undergraduate shule. But I attended not because of the competition or any shule “spirit” – neither being either relevant or important – but because of the interest of friends that I gained benefit from the association.
The other two bits are closely related, monologues about ballet and opera. At the time I had only heard records of operas and seen bits of ballet on television. Neither was interesting and neither appealed to my sense of art. No dancing is appealing to me, I have since found, probably because I cannot dance myself, despite the efforts of numerous dance instructors, girlfriends, and FD SCP. I am a dance klutz and cannot see any beauty or grace in the activity because I have none myself. SCPdatter studeid ballet and I attended her recitals, but that is rather different. It was a learning activity for her, and I took pride in her accomplishment. I also got into trouble for violating some unwritten parent rule that I was not suppose to leave the recital once SCPdatter had done her bit. Evidently I was supposed to pretend to enjoy the bits of other children as well. If someone had told me this I should likely have complied but being bogs those parents could only punish, not communicate.
I have never attended an opera. I have attended symphony concerts that featured an opera singer as guest artiste. Horrible. To me the singing is technically admirable but lacking any attraction. I fear I am blood and bones attracted only to band music, pipes, and folk, and mostly only folk of the ’50′s and ’60′s. The modern folk of today is mostly rubbish and noise. But opera is just poor communication begging to be excused by excellent singing of rather sadly inadequate verses. The voice is wonderful, but the content is abysmal. The exact opposite of folk where the voices are often pedestrian but the content is all. To me opera, and ballet, are just as wasteful and irrelevant as football, and lack the ingredient of interaction with friends.
So this I owe to Andy Griffith, this accurate and true (if I may abuse the word) perception of the social environment that is fitting to my overall social philosophy of Proper Disrespect for False Authority. I do not know how much I owe to Mr. Griffith. I cannot know. experimentation is and was impossible. I may only reason and rationalize. So I recognize a debt to Mr. Griffith of magnitude unknown. And I acknowledge it, with a bit of shame that I had to wait for his discorporation. In that I am indeed human and a part boggish.
I did not care for Mr. Griffith’s acting. His political movie was unintelligible to me, and No Time for Sargents was too unbelievable – at the time. Later working for the Yankee army I recognized its accuracy but never really enjoyed it. I did not greatly enjoy the Andy Taylor role until I became old enough to appreciate what it lauded, a man who knew what was meaningful in life and had to contend continually and constantly with those who did not. It now ranks with MASH in my enjoyment. His later portrayals were not to my liking even though they tried to continue that model. IN my opinion they were only limited successes. But no matter. The Taylor role was enough and more.
I also did not object to many of Mr. Griffith’s activisms because they were apparently honest. His commercial endorsements I dismissed as I do all such, celebrity prevarication for hire. But I do not dismiss him for such cravenness. Everyone has to have money in this capitalist society to live.
What he did wrong and mediocre I ignore. What he did right I treasure and celebrate. Thank you, Andy. You shaped my life more than most and for that I am indebted and appreciative. You will be missed.