September 28, 2009

For some reason, people are interested in what Andy Williams thinks.

This story — "Andy Williams accuses Barack Obama of following Marxist theory" — is featured at Memeorandum and Drudge. Andy Williams is an 81-year-old singer. Here's what he was like in 1966:



In case you weren't around then and can't quite figure it out, let me assure you that this sort of thing was disturbingly square at the time. I'm laughing at it now, but I remember that back then, it would actually make me angry.

No one in the 60s, when he was popular in some quarters, would have cared what Andy Williams thought about politics. I can't imagine why anyone cares now. Really, that linked story looked like it belonged in The Onion.

76 comments:

Bruce Hayden said...

My only complaint, Ann, is that you didn't include a link to the Onion.

I have never understood why anyone listens to what actors, singers, and other entertainment celebrities thought about politics. They are typically fairly shallow and not very well informed.

Rosario said...

Hi Ann. I like your Blog. I followed your link to "Althouse2" I was wondering why you had to construct a second Blog? You made a comment about not having access to your Blog. What happened?

john said...

I think Donny got to him.

Or Marie.

traditionalguy said...

I fear that everyone who ever liked Andy Williams has passed away. Are Williams and Polanski being injected into the news vortex to distract us from the pain of the real news of the death of American exceptualism? What a total lack of relevance there is to hearing about those two ghosts.

john said...

traditionalguy -


I'm not dead yet.

George Grady said...

Haw-Haw!

john said...

This was always my favorite part of the Andy Williams Christmas Special.

blake said...

Gosh, some of my earliest memories are of Andy Williams.

And I think William Shatner performed Hamlet's soliloquy on one of shows. It was quite riveting.

traditionalguy said...

How are you feeling John? Exceptualism was an eggcorn for exceptionalism. John,do you remmber if the dancing girls in Andy Williams dance were still children? They reminded me of the child Gigi that a famous Parisian named Maurice Chevallier liked to thank God for.

Lem said...

.. this sort of thing was disturbingly square at the time.

In that case I'm not asking for the root causes.

john said...

All little giddy, but thanks for asking. Also, liked your tie in to Polanski/Chevallier.

JAL said...

That link
of John's reminds me of the plan for eldercare in the new health reform bill. Anyone else notice the similarities?

wv = buroped
European bureaucracy

Jeff Boulier said...

Here's Andy Williams singing a lovely version of"Scarborough Fair" with Simon & Garfunkel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWyPhQkZNLw

chuck b. said...

Hm. That song reminded me of Blur.

Girls who are boys
Who like boys to be girls
Who do boys like they're girls
Who do girls like they're boys
Always should be someone you really love...

Lem said...

Are the men wearing suits?

what a bunch of squares ;)

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dick said...

Strange that it was so popular then. Guess it was only square in the rarified milieu of the universities. Andy did not get rich being unpopular. Neither did Dean Martin who was also very popular at the time doing much the same thing.

traditionalguy said...

I grant that Andy Williams is a good traditional guy, but no one has seen him for forty years and he sang beautiful elevator music predating rock and roll. He was best known for his beautiful bad girl ex-wife with a French name. Help me out John.

Beth said...

This post reads like an Onion article - the Williams article reads like a lot of Althouse comment threads. Weird!

john said...

Claudine Longet.

Do you think her name was Gigi as a child? Could there be a link?

Lem said...

You will find the Andy Williams constellation somewhere between John Williams and Andy Dick.

(i'm kidding around folks)

Revenant said...

No one in the 60s, when he was popular in some quarters, would have cared what Andy Williams thought about politics. I can't imagine why anyone cares now.

Yeah. I kind of agree with him, even, and I still don't care what he thinks. He has inspired me to achieve levels of indifference I haven't achieved since Anne Applebaum demanded that Roman Polanski be set free. Which, admittedly, was only this morning.

LonewackoDotCom said...

The issue of his ex-wife is discussed here.

Apparently Althouse is one of those "youts", aka "hippie layabouts". Older people in my know do care what Williams thinks.

Regarding caring what celebs think, I've based my whole political philosophy on the conflict between the wise words of Instapundit and her and him. So far it's worked out OK.

Lem said...

OT

I just saw that Chicago video.. very disturbing.

Lem said...

I suspect Obama is going to have to say something.

paul a'barge said...

So, Andy Williams sucks because he speaks political thoughts but ... Cher and Susan Sarandon and the Dixie Chicks and Tim Robbins and George Clooney and ... well. You get the idea.

Liberal Horror-wood types are just soooo kewl when they spout their politics. But let a right wing entertainer crawl out of the closet and? Well, you know the story.

Greg said...

The only opinions that matter are whatever the baby boomers are feeling right now .... no other opinions really exist, do they?

zefal said...

He's just offering up his opinion like everyone is free to do. Does his opinion mean anymore or less than anyone else's? No. Does his opinion mean anything to me (I share his opinion, btw)? No. I do like his music and have his Christmas CD;-)

MnMark said...

Huh.

Actually I thought the song was kind of catchy. The girls were cute. The dancing was your basic dance number - kind of faggy, lots of prancing around. Isn't that the same stuff they have on Broadway now somewhere? Could you explain what made this really horrible and laughable, while something that a hippie in 1968 would have thought was cool isn't horrible and laughable now?

I don't see what's so awful about it, and I was prepared for it to be really awful because I remember seeing this kind of stuff on tv when I was young and being very bored by it.

And I have to say I'd rather watch this than watch "hip hop" stars grabbing microphones out of people's hands and Madonna kissing Britney Spears.

BJM said...

Andy Williams? Meh. Then & now.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Frankly, the only way I'd ever respect Althouse is if she listened to what this celebrity has to say. Sign the open letter!

The Crack Emcee said...

Damn, Ann, even I like Andy Williams. "Canadian Sunset"? "Can't Get Used To Losing You"? "Moon River"? Shit, that's MUSIC, baby.

Maybe, one of these days, it'll start being used by our ears again.

The Crack Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

This crap is still a big hit in France. I've seen young adult frogs (the "cool" people) regularly getting sloppy crazy when it comes on.

It's very bad music.

ricpic said...

Andy Williams was born in Iowa. He had (and still has) good even features. And a mild manner that is off-putting to some. Not me.

What's significant about his being from Iowa? Nothing really, except for me, because when I was sixteen I ran away from home, ended up in Iowa and got a job detasseling corn in northeast Iowa (the farms surrounding Waterloo) with a crew of teenage Iowans. It was my introduction to the real Amurrica. A great adventure which I'm grateful for to this day. So when I learned Williams was an Iowan it was significant to me because I had (and still have) a warm spot in my heart for Iowa.

The choreographer of that number, who put the guy dancers in those tighty whitey suits, was totally queer.

pst314 said...

"but I remember that back then, it would actually make me angry."

Funny how it was cool for rock musicians to express liberal and left-wing opinions, but unacceptable for any other entertainers to express contrary opinions.

I too remember just how intolerant the "sixties generation" actually was. Peace, love and understanding? Bullsh*t.

pst314 said...

"No one in the 60s...would have cared what Andy Williams thought about politics."

Which is very much like that movie reviewer saying "I can't understand how Nixon could get elected. Nobody I know voted for him."

AllenS said...

Andy Williams was well liked back in the 60's. IIRC he hung out with the Kennedy's, which might not make him cool, but nevertheless, he was well liked. Now, maybe you, the college bound chick, thought that his music was square compared to the new thing called the Beattles, but he had done quite well in life. What he thinks about current events, can be liked or not liked. His statements now are being presented as an old right wing fool. Which brings us right back to what you thought of him back in the 60's.

Mr. Forward said...

Andy Williams is the New Bob Dylan.

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2009/08/christmas-in-heart-will-be-47th-album.html

rhhardin said...

60s choreography seems very sloppy by today's standards.

Old people had Andy Williams on the TV, but then they watched a lot of TV.

The song seems correct. The regression stops at the girls watching the boys watching them.

The boys don't care whether the girls watch them watching or not.

Issob Morocco said...

Andy Williams an L-7? Ann did you grow up on a farm outside of Hillsdale?

That cat was the picture of cool, skiing in Aspen with Claudine Longet on his arm. Swinging with Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr. Partying with Robert Wagner, Jill St. John and Natalie Woods.

Get hep, chicka!

master cylinder said...

I love seeing you guys defend Andy Williams.

Pogo said...

I used to wonder how a generation of squares raised so many lefties and hippies.

To think Obama is now President because Andy Williams had mincing dance numbers.

I blame James Starbuck.

Jeff Gee said...

In her autobiography, Lauren Bacall says Andy Williams (then a teen ager) dubbed in the 'high notes' for her song "How Little We Know" in 'To Have and Have Not.' A lot of people think he dubbed in the whole song. That would be this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFfuUu5xmMA

I still don't care what he thinks, but I think if you dub in Lauren Bacall's voice you are de facto not a square.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm laughing at it now, but I remember that back then, it would actually make me angry.

Why? Because hot babes and prancing in minis? I'm not seeing a problem here.

But as for squaresville, hey it was the 60s. If it wasn't square its because you were stoned.

Photog714 said...

No one in the 60s, when he was popular in some quarters, would have cared what Andy Williams thought about politics. I can't imagine why anyone cares now.

You care enough to post about it.

Florida said...

No one in the 60s, when he was popular in some quarters, would have cared what Andy Williams thought about politics."

Really, Ann? you must not be much of a student of history.

"Williams was close friends with Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, campaigning for Kennedy '68 for President. Williams was present at the Ambassador Hotel when RFK was assassinated in June 1968. Williams solemnly sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at RFK's funeral, by request of widow Ethel."

Dan Riehl reads Wikipedia so you don't have to:

http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2009/09/ann-althouse-epic-fail.html

MadisonMan said...

Hoosier, I would say it made her mad because the girls are only there so the boys can watch them.

Just a guess.

MarkW said...

Yes, Claudine Longet...who murdered (or accidentally shot--depending on who you believe) her ski-racer lover 'Spider Sabich' (who was, at the time, famous enough to get rich on endorsements, build a place in Aspen, and meet Claudine Longet...oops) How could a little second-hand bad-girl cool not rub off on Andy Williams? Or, if that doesn't work, how about a little second-hand cool from Elvis Costello via Burt Bacharach? Still no?

Florida said...

Now, on to your question:

"I can't imagine why anyone cares now."

People care because Andy Williams has been a life-long Democrat. His record of political support for the Kennedy's is not unusual among artist types (many create music for Obama - will i am and so forth).

And so it is especially noteworthy that such a staunch Kennedy Democrat would come out so forcefully against Barack Obama, rightly calling him a Marxist.

So it's pretty easy to imagine why people care now.

LarsPorsena said...

"In her autobiography, Lauren Bacall says Andy Williams (then a teen ager) dubbed in the 'high notes' for her song "How Little We Know" in 'To Have and Have Not.' A lot of people think he dubbed in the whole song."

I don't think that Williams can hit the deep register of Bacall's voice.
Williams is what?? A tenor?
Bacall a baritone?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier, I would say it made her mad because the girls are only there so the boys can watch them.


And that's a bad thing? ;-)

MadisonMan said...

People care because Andy Williams has been a life-long Democrat.

From the linked article: Williams, a lifelong Republican whose hits include Moon River and Music To Watch Girls By,

We don't need no steenkin' fact-checkers!

jayne_cobb said...

Even after watching that I still have no idea who the hell he is.

AllenS said...

Jayne,

If you were a teenage boy in the 60's, Williams was someone who was nailing some hot chicks back then. However, now that I think about it, I thought the same thing about Rock Hudson, and that didn't turn out the way I had thought it would.

Pogo said...

Whoda thunk that gay choreographers would lead us to electing a Marxist Prexy?

If only Trotsky had paired with Nijinsky, maybe there would have been 100 million bad reviews for musicals across Russia and China in the 20th century, and not 100 million dead.

AJ Lynch said...

Althouse:
Back in 1966, no one gave a shit what any celebrity said or believed re politics.

Today, we have the media telling us about morons like Susan Sarandon and Shia LeBouf kissing Hugo Chavez's ass at the debut of a crappy Oliver Stone movie.

hillbilly said...

I wonder what Vic Damone thinks?

Florida said...

"We don't need no steenkin' fact-checkers!"

Lots of people claim to be Republicans, but are in deed Democrats.

I'm reminded of John McCain.

MadisonMan said...

Florida, what evidence do you have the Williams is a Democrat? Or even supports any Democratic policies?

Campaigning for family friends -- it's easy to overlook differences. Even my mother, a lifelong Republican, just like her parents, registered to vote as a Democrat when a family friend -- a Marine -- ran for Congress. (Alas, he lost, and was later killed in Afghanistan)

G Joubert said...

In his 80s he may be getting a little long in the tooth now to keep up the pace, but for almost 20 years his theater has been the hottest ticket in Branson. Before Andy Willams opened his theater Branson was mainly a country-western place, but they say Andy Williams single-handedly kicked it wide open for all kinds of acts.

William said...

He has the most heard, least loved version of Moon River....I don't think anyone ever looked to Andy Williams for guidance, which is as it should be. I'm annoyed that at one time I thought a pathogen receptacle like Mick Jagger had valid and useful insights into the nature of life. My earlier indifference to Andy Williams seems validated by the passage of time.

bagoh20 said...

Although, I don't entirely agree, I find his views then and now preferable to those who would be angered by this entertainment.

Which is really a more ridiculous world view?

Sorry for going O.T. His pants are to short. There.

Andrea said...

In 1966 I was only three, but I remember when I got a bit older my mother and I used to watch him on tv. We were both a bit in love with him. He had a gorgeous voice, and I still think he does, now that I'm old enough not to worry about being "cool." (And is it wrong of me to say I actually liked that Billy Paul video? I didn't know he was still around. Anyway, he made "Your Song" actually sound interesting and upbeat, and the Elton John version now seems weak and dreary in comparison.)

I guess I've turned into my parents. Oh well. Get off my lawn! As for what Andy Williams thinks of Obama -- somehow I get the feeling if he had come out in favor of The One's policies we wouldn't be hearing about how a harmless dance routine made Ann mad back in 1966.

Fred4Pres said...

Fellow bloggers are not rushing to your defense Ann. Calling Andy Williams square? How could you.

Photog714 said...

Andrea said: somehow I get the feeling if he had come out in favor of The One's policies we wouldn't be hearing about how a harmless dance routine made Ann mad back in 1966.

I get the feeling that if a girly dance routine hadn't made Ann mad back in 1966, we wouldn't be hearing about Andy's criticisms of Obama today.

kwood said...

The video is 100% spot on. In the grand scheme of things, there is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE between a guy and a girl discussing some intellectual nonsense in a bookstore cafe and a pair of dogs sniffing each others asses.

THIS is what makes the world go 'round. Not good analysis, critiques and law degrees.

If the video angers anyone, it's because it brings this uncomfortable (for some) truth to light.

reader_iam said...

A former colleague and later (now also former) co-blogger of mine once described Andy Williams as "the robotic ’60s easy listening singer with the eyes of a James Bond villain."

Now, I have no problem with Andy Williams myself, either in the past or now, but I must say that made me laugh--almost as much as tweaking Callimachus from time to time about his passionate dislike of the song "“Happy Holidays/It’s the Holiday Season, written and performed by Andy.

downtownlad said...

This is what happens when you refuse to hire gay choreographers and set designers . . .

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

While searching for something else just now, I came upon this rhhardin verse about females and males.

Richard Dolan said...

Ansy Williams - what an odd walk down memory lane. There are lots of things about the '60s that, in retrospect, run hiliariously contrary to the countercultural image of that decade. And Andy Williams was hardly the worst on the vapidometer. Lawrence Welk always got my vote.

I saw another odd post that related to crooners-of-old. When Paul Kirk was appointed to the Senate, a few bloggers (e.g. the Anchoress) noted that he was the grand-nephew of Cardinal O'Connell, former archbishop of Boston. Around the time when Andy Williams was starting out, O'Connell made some waves when he blasted crooners like Bing Crosby: "No true American man would practice this base art. Of course, they aren't men...If you will listen closely [to crooners' songs] you will discern the basest appeal to sex emotion in the young." Hard to imagine anyone having that reaction to Fr. Going-My-Way.

What a time warp. Better than science fiction.

reader_iam said...

It's unfortunate, but a video Althouse linked in this October 2007 post appears no longer to be available. But in the run up to posting the video, Althouse wrote: So let's roll it back a few years to a better era of male style..., referring to Robert Goulet and two other male singers, including *guess who."

(Note: Althouse is consistent about disliking certain types of musical production numbers on back-in-the-day TV.)

reader_iam said...

Link for earlier reference to description of Andy Williams.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm more interested in what Andy Williams thinks than I am in what Bob Dylan thinks. Not that that's saying a hell of a lot.

Jeremy said...

Paul Zrimsek said..."I'm more interested in what Andy Williams thinks than I am in what Bob Dylan thinks. Not that that's saying a hell of a lot."

You're right.

It isn't.