Friday, September 11, 2009


I wrote a brief piece not too long ago about paparazzi and celebrity obsession and or stalking.

Now, you all know by now what a honk for Blue Oyster Cult that I am. Recently I was listening to their "best of" CD in my car when I heard "Joan Crawford". That kind of brought back a similar vibe to that old post called "Celebrity Jibber Jabber".

Back in the early 80's Christina Crawford wrote a memoir about being the daughter of screen legend Joan Crawford. The book, "Mommie Dearest" depicted the alleged startling and grotesque abuses Christina supposedly suffered at the hands of her mother.

There were detractors to Christina's claims, and the cries of doubt were very loud, and often confirmed by those "in the know".  But it didn't stop the noise the book and subsequent film made here in the United States.

In the film, Crawford, played by "It" girl at the time, Faye Dunaway, was depicted as nothing more than a raging, blithering, psychotic sadist. The atrocities Christina suffered at the hands of the actress were frightening. Wire hanger beatings, forced abusive chores and horrid verbal cruelties were in abundance.

There was only one problem.

As I stated, there were too many people out there that vocally doubted the allegations and publicly stated it.

The movie went forward anyway and was instantly controversial. It made a monster out of Crawford, and Dunaway's notoriously over-the-top hamming only made the possible doubt about Crawford's abusiveness seem more credible. However, Hollywood doesn't like it when one of their own trashes another, particularly a deceased legend, and Dunaway's career was derailed into b-movies and direct to video fare. Oh, how tinseltown is a vindictive, savage and vengeful beast.

So, Long Island New York legends Blue Oyster Cult recorded "Joan Crawford", a satirical piece beginning with a gorgeous classical piano intro before growing into a classic rock jam.

It creates a parody of Crawford's tarnished image painting a picture of the starlet rising from the grave, her visage so horrifying that "policemen are hiding behind the skirts of little girls", and mass hysteria among the populous is created.

It sounds like Crawford is being bashed by the song, but if you listen, it's actually defending her memory in a way, from a media-driven world that is a little to ready to absorb and amplify what may be character-slaughter for profit. A world that has a tendency to to overglorify some, and demonize others. As we continue to do, say with Michael Jackson. What is he this week?

Blue Oyster Cult, always one step ahead and little bit smarter than their contemporaries.  Much like the Stranger in "The Big Lebowski", I take comfort in that.

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