Hep-Schmaltz Era is Dawning!
NEW YORK, July 4—Now that hepster Harry James has hit the heavy dough by hiring a flock of fiddles and blowing trumpet solos strictly from the sugar mill, and now that hepster Tommy Dorsey, in the heavy dough to begin with, has added catgut and a harp besides, the band biz finds itself in the throes of a trend. Said trend is more than the removal from the relief rolls of several dozen previously impoverished fiddle scrapers—it is the dawn of the hep-schmaltz era, as contrasted to the ragtime days, the jazz age, the heyday of the crooner, and the era of swing, all trends and all now dead. (Billboard, 11 July 1942 [viewable at google books])
I found this delightful paragraph while trying to track down the cultural/etymological reference that would have led the author of a work on children’s literature to refer to Lord of the Rings as “schmaltz.” It was written during the “hep-schmaltz” era, after all, and I’m reasonably sure that Tolkien was a big fan of catgut and fiddle scrapers.
Once you know the cancelled pilot backstory, it’s hard to deny the narrative logic of transformative fantasy; but what complicates matters, for me at least, is that the dinner party scene and the rest of the putatively real content shows a Camilla so cruel that the viewer is tempted to forgive contract murder. More likely is that the “real” content of the film originates with a fantasy of the waitress called Diane truly and Betty falsely, and her failed affair with the woman she switches apartments with. I’ve read a lot of Lynch scholarship lately, and if someone had advanced that interpretation without me realizing it, I apologize.
Much about the TLS annoys me, though I still subscribe. Here is one happy thing I found in the latest issue, a non-watermarked version of which I was unable to find elsewhere:
That’s “The Wanton Student” by Arie de Vois.
I’ve said this before, but the proper analogy between an alien intelligence capable of placing impenetrable spheres around the exact boundaries of a human township is not ants to humans, as in King’s novel, but a virus colonizing some type of formicative intestinal bacterium to Colette, say.
I’ve been amusing myself thinking of the type of apoplexy that Stanislaw Lem may have worked himself into when considering the consequences of the book’s premise, as in his essay on Roadside Picnic. I suspect he may have decided that the leatherfaced pueriles were in fact from futurity, conducting a chronoeconomographic experiment on the isolation of North America’s largest meth lab. Some work could be done on the ideogram as well.