Sunday, May 17, 2009

Westside Story and the fall of American Cities

A random rant, first in a series.

Arthur Laurents,Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim are responsible for the crack drug disaster of the late 20th century. László Benedek and Stanley Kramer also have a lot to answer for.

At a critical point in American recent history, when drug gangs were starting to make their selves felt on the inner cities of the both the rust belt and SoCal, a large part of White Bread America heard the term "Youth Gangs" and instead of thinking "this is some thing that needs to be done about RIGHT FREAKING NOW" thought "Westside Story" and blew it off. At worst they though "The Wild One", regardless, they didn't take it seriously. The result? Millions of lives destroyed, large parts of American cities made "No Go Zones", not to mention rap music and the whole hip/hop culture, a target of a future rant.

In real life the cycle of violence was not broken, in real life Maria would have pulled the trigger over Tony's body and the two gangs would not have ended their blood feud because of one crying woman. In real life their would have been a major gun battle. In real life Lt. Schrank and Sgt. Krupke are, or should be, the heroes, not a bunch of murdering thugs. As much as I would like to blame this one on boomers, I can't. They weren't quite in charge when the youth gang crises started. This, like a lot of other things, can be laid squarely in June Cleaver's lap. Why I said June, not June and Ward is also the subject of another rant.


The Scrub said...

You have a bit of a point, although I'm going to take it as a rhetorical point in casting all of the blame on the producers of these movies. If nothing else, I would think the producers of Bonnie and Clyde have equal culpability. In reality, these movies are a merely exemplars of the growing cultural trend, starting in the 50s, of lionizing criminals as rebels against a stifling system.

Mike Looney said...

Of course it's a rhetorical point. I even said it was a rant and I don't mean a Scottish reel or hornpipe with 4-bar, rather than 8-bar parts.

Mike Looney said...

Just for the record:
Rant:To rave in violent, high-sounding, or extravagant language, without dignity of thought; to be noisy, boisterous, and bombastic in talk or declamation; as, a ranting preacher.