George Trow died, I learned in the New Yorker this week. Rik Hertzberg has written a fine and moving piece about Trow, his career at the New Yorker, and his essay-turned-book "Within The Context of No Context." I can't stress this book enough; I wrote about it back in 2005. And the other thing I remember is thinking about telling Kevin about it, and then Kevin opened his bag in Japan or Hong Kong and it was there.
I hadn't known Trow had spent so many years at the New Yorker, so I went back to the DVDs tonight. Herewith, as example and exemplar and just a great piece of crankiness, his Comment from the August 13, 1979, New Yorker.
"Think about Country Time, a powdered lemonadelike product. The coming forward of Country Time has centered on a certain old man and hordes of eager children. Children starved for news of the past. For years, they ignored Grandpa. Tied him up in the barn. Laughed at his silly ways. But now, after reading Foxfire One through Five in their public elementary school, they crowd around, hoping he'll teach them how to make butter with a stick. There is a song, 'Country Time, Country Time,' etc. With this idea: SOmetimes you're real thirsty, blah, blah, blah, and nothing seems to do what you need to have done with your thirst, blah, blah, blah, and what you want is something real that will satisfy your thirst like good old-fashioned lemonade. That's right--the idea behind the Country Time powder-product commercial is that lemonade is a thing of the past. No one can get lemonade anymore. Only some rich people. Most people don't even remember lemonade anymore. Only Grandpa, who has been bound and gagged and dishonored all these years out in the desert, like the decrepit warrior in Star Wars, only Grandpa even remembers what it tastes like.
The rundown is like this: Lemonade died out when the Old Ones lost out to the Invaders. But some people with the knowledge of the Old Ones escaped to Mars, where they made a kind of synthetic lemonade, using materials available on Mars. It was a powder and became popular. In the meantime, life on Earth contracted. Now, in these recent days, adventurers from Mars, sensing our need, have travelled to earth with the powder. When the powder is given to certain of our remaining Old Ones, they are made happy and remember lemonade. The idea is persuasive. It cause you to forget that you can make lemonade any time you want by squeezing some lemons in some water and adding sugar. People don't know. They really don't know that you can make lemonade ay time you want. That's right. Lemonade is still available. Right now. Any time you want. Lemons are everywhere. You can make lemonade right now if you want to. It's great. Lemonade is still totally within our capacities."Posted by dbrown at December 05, 2006 11:59 PM