Make sure you have a full cup of coffee. This one’s going to take a while and it has nothing to do with today’s swill.
Today’s blog is all due to Neil Steinberg. Not that he has anything against Mariotti or anything like that. Except for one minor misstatement that I once heard on the radio, he has never said anything to me, or anyone else I know, that could be termed as disparaging toward Mariotti. In fact, for all I know he and Mariotti split a croissant over their morning lattes before ambling to their respective cubicles. With Neil contemplating how to fit the iambic pentameter of the second act of Twelfth Night to Casa fan tutte (knowing full well that he will have to lower the register to work around Sir Toby’s monologues) and Mariotti, well, with Mariotti polishing his already burnished ego with a mental chamois.
No, this had nothing to do with what Neil said about Mariotti, but with what he had to say, in a recent column, about Serbian Nationalists and their music. I figured if a bunch of stiff arm saluting, racial epithet spewing, losers could have a soundtrack for their lives - albeit a really pathetic one - then certainly Mariotti must have one too. Yes, you just got a glimpse inside the pinball machine I call a brain.
My first thought was John Philip Sousa. The idea of Dough Boys and Leather Boots seemed to fit well into the Mariotti motif. But two things immediately dissuaded me. First, I am friends with J.P. Sousa’s great-granddaughter, Suzanne Sousa (yeah, her parents are a tad whimsical) who is a sweet and wonderful woman and, second, Sousa’s music evokes an era of people who put God and Country before self. There is not a universe I am aware of that would allow Mariotti to relegate his ego to second class anything. So, that was out.
My next thought was the Oy band movement. White supremacists who play a mutant form of punk, very badly, to like minded individuals. Oy bands are incredibly stupid and socially myopic, so it seemed I was on the right track here. “How stupid?”, you ask. Well, let’s put it this way, they don’t se the irony in a bunch of Nazi wannabes being called Oy bands. Or, as Richard Roeper is wont to say, “(they are) are dumber than a sack of hammers.” But working Oy bands requires energy and effort. If for nothing else other than to keep their version of a mosh pit going. Those are two qualities never even explored by Mariotti, so this wasn’t the fit I was looking for either.
Next I thought of Wagner. This seemed closer. A known anti-Semite with a love of bombast seemed to be a good match. Certainly Mariotti’s casual racism would fit well here. His* constant praise for ‘good black people’ who wear ties and say “Yes sir” ala Jordan and Woods, mixed with his* screeching disdain of ‘thug life hooligans’ such as Rodman and Briggs, both fit his* overall theme that black people (in fact, all minorities) are meant to entertain, and show respect to, him*. Add in his* constant whine that only middle aged white guys should be coaches or managers (we will ignore the Mark Cuban thing for now as we don’t have that much bandwidth) and I was as close as I had been all day.
Quick aside here; I have met both Jordan and Rodman on separate occasions. Jordan’s entourage shooed me away, which is probably a good idea for someone that image conscience as I am one butt ugly swath of manhood. But Rodman bought me a drink each time he saw me. While it’s not like we exchange cards each Christmas, let’s just say “gimme the thug every time” and I’ll get along fine with the world.
Anyway, back on point. Like I said, it seemed that Wagner was a good match. However, upon reflection, The Ring Cycle requires a lot of patience. A quality Mariotti couldn’t spell, let alone espouse. Add in the facts that all opera requires a keen intellect, a knowledge of human passions, an appreciation of subtlety (yes, even Wagner) and an ear for nuance and you begin to see my problem. Clearly these are all attributes missing from Mariotti’s soul. For the sake of this blog, I will assume he* has one.
Now, before any of you presuppose that I am a misogynist, I hope you’ll understand how hard it is to write about Mariotti’s opinions on women. He* doesn’t seem to have any. Of course, when you have spent your whole life posturing as a social reptile, it is hard to wrap your image around something as beautiful and strong as a woman. However, I will note that all of the music I did find above does involve the subjugation, or in the case of Wagner - the complete immolation, of women. So maybe, subconsciously, I am on to something there.
Ah well, rambling ruminations aside, I still hadn’t found the right soundtrack for Mariotti’s life. Then it hit me. A group of Teutonic tunesters from Austria. They like to dress young boys in Hitler Youth shorts, have blonde haired blue eyed men frolicking in the mountains, are overseen by a stern - basso profundo - brunette male with a moustache and ...... you can feel the tremors from Mariotti’s quivering already. For a bonus, they rip away any pretense of melody or useless fodder such as harmonies. Their lyrical gruffness is highlighted only by incessant repetition and harping on simplistic themes. In their videos women are an afterthought at best (see above, I do believe I nailed this) and everything else can be summed up with the great Mariotti phrase, “man up.”
Yes ladies and gentlemen, I give you Laibach. Which Mariotti will mispronounce as “lay back”, only adding to the joy. The video above will show, clearly, why they create the only tunes that hum through the little mind of Mariotti. Their mix of faux Nazism and bafflement with the English language is the perfect blend of stupidity and silliness to enfold the literary scribbling of this site’s inspiration.
So, while you are spending the next couple of hours trying to get that damn song out of your head, come on in and join the fun!