Monday, April 8, 2019

From the Top of the Hill # 18: February 19, 1948

Another edition of John D MacDonald's 1947-1948 Clinton Courier newspaper column.

Box-Pleated Language Overlaid with Tulle:

Ever since we read Gibbon's Decline and Fall we've kept an uneasy eye on New York City for signs of mad decadence.

In a spirit of pure research, we have been dipping into the current issue of Vogue. The only trouble with criticizing such a periodical is that you are somehow placed in the position of a coarse character of the "dese, dem and doze" type.

Those people frighten us. Since they are the spear-laden phalanx of the "new look," the "thirteen inches from the floor" type of person, we have been looking furtively into the magazine.

One ad says, "For your grand manner, gentle lines, eloquently underscored, reach their crescendo in a skirt!" How about that? Slip into your crescendo, lady.

Happily they tell us, "Yours is a fragile, delicate beauty." How did they know? And they try to sell us a "butcher type rayon." We wonder if that's a weave designed to wrap meat. We are told to "follow spring around the corner on happy, dancing feet." In Clinton those happy dancing feet would freeze solid going around the corner.

Did you know that "fashion dictates veiled loveliness for Spring"? We assume that if you're minus the loveliness, you merely select a slightly heavier veil.

Editorially the magazine says, "There is more than one way of dressing; one method may be as good as another, always provided it is a method." That's pretty profound, you know. Our method has always been to get the clothes on as quickly as possible.

They admire a debutante of the current season, because she believes "that day clothes must be purisms, very casual, very simple." Our self confidence is vastly improved, as nothing could be more casual or more simple than this wool shirt and G.I. pants we wear during the day. But from now on, we call the shirt and pants "purisms".

One ad says, "Picture sheep grazing on a sunny slope. That's the beginning of this important fashion story." With their curly locks hanging thirteen inches from the ground, we assume. Can't say we'd approve of the silhouette.

Did you know that there is a new fashion for smoky, grey taffeta after five? That pink lipstick belongs in any wardrobe involving grey? That a little-bistro evening with red-checkered table cloths demands violent debates, gentle reminiscences, and artistic flights of fancy, and that bird-brain chatter simply falls to the sawdust and gets lost?

Next time we find ourselves in such a little bistro, we'll check on the feminine customers and see if all of them are restraining their bird-brain chatter, keeping the crumbs off their smoky grey taffeta, gooing up with the pink lipstick, smoothing the wrinkles out of their crescendos, scuffing their happy, dancing feet in the sawdust, and wearing their fragile, delicate beauty with the proper grand manner.

Free Stuff:

The other night our favorite radio comedian, Abe Burrows, was talking about the welter of modern songs which talk about all kinds of things being free. Birds and moons and June and love and wind in the willows and such. Abe says, "You ever stop to think that in that whole list of free stuff there isn't one thing you can put in a sandwich?"


Had you listened Sunday night you would have heard Dick Cantino win again, provided you could have stomached hearing the name of a cigarette mentioned exactly thirty-seven times. We counted.

Who Made That Goal?

Ed Stanley says that there are only about a half dozen more games scheduled for the Clinton Hockey Club this year. Thus it is a little late for us to be starting this program. At least we'll mention it and get your reaction.

The games in the college rink -- both the CHC games and the college games -- would be a great deal more enjoyable for all spectators if there were an adequate Public Address System. Goals and penalties could be properly announced, as well as substitutions.

An adequate Public Address System would cost in the neighborhood of eight hundred dollars. It is apparently up to the citizens of Clinton who enjoy the games to get this idea rolling. If you show that you are interested we will set up a committee to rake in the voluntary contributions -- with representatives from the faculty and student body of the college, as well as the town. One buck apiece from 800 ardent hockey fans will make all games in the college rink next year more enjoyable. What do you say?

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See you next week.

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