Monthly Archives: June 2012

At 70, how would Brian Wilson answer his questions in ‘When I Grow Up’?

Brian Wilson, a man whose music reminds us of summers, surfing and youth, turns 70 today.

But long before he celebrated this milestone birthday, Wilson pondered what it would be like to be older in When I Grow Up (to be a Man), a song he co-authored in 1964 with fellow Beach Boy Mike Love.

Since summer starts today and the Beach Boys are back together, celebrating their 50th anniversary with a tour and a new album, I thought it would be fun to speculate how Brian Wilson might answer each of the questions he posed in When I Grow Up (to be a Man).

So here goes:

Q: Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid?

A: I’d have to say yes. At 70, after battling personal demons and legal issues that kept the band apart, Wilson is back doing what made the Beach Boys successful five decades ago. The set lists during the band’s 50th anniversary tour include many of the group’s earliest surf rock classics.

Q: Will I look back and say that I wish I hadn’t done what I did?

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The devil’s not in the details; the devil is the details

Progressives are having a lot of fun watching Mitt Romney avoid taking a stance on President Obama’s decision to refrain from deporting young people who were illegally brought into the U.S. as children. It reinforces a theme that has included hammering Romney for failing to provide details of his plans to reinvigorate the economy.

But there’s a lesson to be learned from New Jersey and the state’s 2009 gubernatorial election. Democrats criticized then-candidate Chris Christie for being vague about how he would fix the N.J. economy. As we know, Christie won anyway and now has emerged as a national figure.

Voters apparently were not troubled by Christie’s lack of specifics. He took advantage of the fact that, when the economy is bad, the man on the top gets the blame. It may not be fair, but that’s the way it is.

Before the Obama campaign and the president’s supporters get too giddy when Romney stumbles and makes gaffes, they would be well-served to recall the message that James Carville drove home during Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. It was the economy then – and it’s still the economy today.

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An Event that Altered the Dynamics between Politicians and the Press

(co-authored with Anne W. Lee)

Twenty years ago on June 3, 1992, during his first campaign for the presidency, Bill Clinton joined the house band on the “Arsenio Hall Show” and played a rousing version of “Heartbreak Hotel” on the saxophone.

Had Clinton’s appearance taken place today, it would not have made the impact it did two decades ago. In 2012, we have grown accustomed to seeing political candidates and elected officials conversing with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, joking with the cast of “Saturday Night Live” and slow-jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon.

But in 1992, candidates who wanted to be taken seriously went on “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation” and “Nightline.” They didn’t go on Arsenio Hall, and they certainly didn’t don sun glasses and rock out Elvis tunes with the band. Continue reading