December 26, 2019

"Prison must agree with him...That's the least creepy he has looked in years."

The highest-rated comment on "EXCLUSIVE: Phil Spector is pictured sporting a goatee, bald head and hearing aids in his latest mugshot revealed a day before his 80th birthday after spending ten years behind bars and wearing a selection of wigs during his trial" (Daily Mail).

At the link, there are lots of photographs of Spector, including the different weird wigs he wore during his trial. A woman had died, it was a murder trial, so it was not an ideal occasion for lightweight mockery of wigstyles. I remember getting a call from someone at a TV or radio network. Blogging was a big deal, and I was a conspicuous blogger and law professor, and I would get calls from media and need to try to figure out what they thought they could get from me. I'm no expert on criminal law, but it became apparent that they wanted to fill out time with talk about Spector's hair. They were filling in their airtime and Spector was coming in with different wigs. Weren't they funny? But funny in the context of a murdered woman? Did they want to talk about that, how he was perhaps trying to make people think he was lovable or inept and whether he's deviously playing us? I asked, but I didn't get a straight answer... or an invitation to do on-air commentary. It was pretty obvious that what they wanted was to fill out time on the subject of hair: Wasn't it really weird and silly? Are you a source of multiple words that could more or less say that over and over for the amusement of our audience? If I'd spluttered out a lot of synonyms for "curly" and "big" and "weird" very quickly, I'd have gotten the part, and I could be regretting how dismally I leveraged my transitory blog-fame back in the '00s.

ADDED: I think the reason they called me was that I had blogged about Phil Spector. The post, from September 2007, was titled, "The news is a freak show":
We've got O.J. back in the news. Pushing him out of the headlines is upstart Taser-boy Andrew Meyer. Phil Spector is rearing his ugly head again as jurors cannot make up their minds about whether he's a murderer. Pictures of those 3 characters dominate the front page of The Drudge Report right now, with one more right in the middle: Hillary. This is what we are paying attention to now. Oh, we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves. The presidential candidates have been in the news too long. Are we really supposed to stop everything and study the provisions of Hillary's health care plan? Would we be more virtuous if we did?
But when they called me, it wasn't because they wanted my metacommentary on their commentary. They wanted me to be part of their freak show. Luckily, I couldn't do freak-show style on command, or my only defense would have been virtue.

26 comments:

Amadeus 48 said...

Why did I read that headline and think "Daily Mail"?

Laslo Spatula said...

The mugshot makes me think of Charles Manson's happy-go-lucky brother.

I am Laslo.

Darrell said...

I thought he killed the woman by inserting a gun in her vagina. Her teeth flew out, implying an intricate journey.

Darrell said...

Perhaps he did that with another woman--without pulling the trigger. The MO is still associated with him.

Big Mike said...

Phil Spector will be remembered as long as people play Simon & Garfunkel music. “Folk rock!”

Annie C. said...

Althouse, (Althaus) have you ever traced your family tree back as far as you could? I only vaguely recall you mentioning the origin of Althaus, but could not find anything in your other Althouse link. And I'm sorry, you have so many posts it's needle-haystack to find the reference.

Would you have any interest in tracing back? Maybe not.

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse, (Althaus) have you ever traced your family tree back as far as you could?"

I wouldn't do that myself, but others in my family have done it, and I have their accounts. The name Althouse was a respelling of Althaus, done for the obvious reason: If you say "Althaus" to people in America, they'll picture "Althouse." They hear a very common word, "house," and that's what the word is in German too. "Alt" is also a common word, but English speaking people don't recognize it, so the temptation to respell that part of the name wasn't present. "Alt" means "old" in German, but plenty of Americans think "alt" means "high" (as in "altitude").

Anyway, I've got the Althouse line traced back to a person who arrived in on William Penn's second voyage and before that. They're not recent Germans, but American going back to the 17th century. That is, I come from the people called "Pennsylvania Dutch." That's on my father's side.

Amadeus 48 said...

This old Althouse.

Amadeus 48 said...

Benjamin Franklin had some interesting observations about the Pennsylvania Germans--and the Quakers--in his autobiography. They both were powerful factions in Pennsylvania that made reaching a consensus very difficult. It hit me as an early example of the problems with identity politics.

William said...

I think Franklin wondered what side the Pennsylvania Dutch would be on in the French & Indian War. They were not particularly pro British or anti-French. Fortunately the Indians along the border massacred a few Dutch families and that helped to concentrate their minds.

William said...

Phil Spector actually murdered a woman. So far as I know, there's never been any effort to ban his music as they have done with Michael Jackson or R. Kelly....I don't think listening to Michael Jackson music will in any way encourage pedophilia, nor does Phil Spector's music encourage murder, but it's interesting to note the different response.....The victims--or anyway their parents--were to a certain extent complicit in the crimes of Michael Jackson. That's also true of Weinstein, Cosby, R. Kelly and some of the others. It does seem that it is necessary to damn those criminals who enlisted the cooperation of their victims.

Ralph L said...

They both were powerful factions in Pennsylvania that made reaching a consensus very difficult.

Then the rambunctious Scots-Irish came. Whether it was too much diversity or not enough land, some from all three groups decamped to the NC Piedmont. The PDs and the Moravians kept their church services in German until the 1850s, trying to keep themselves separate from the unkempt Other.

Ralph L said...

They don't allow wigs in jail, so his wild hair didn't end up his ass.

My name goes here. said...

As I read your post the thing that stuck with me the most is:
"The post, from September 2007, was titled, 'The news is a freak show': We've got ... Hillary."

She really will not go away will she?

BUMBLE BEE said...

Watched the induction of Darlene Love into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame yesterday. I had forgotten the huge influence of the Spector "Wall of Sound" on my life. That was 2011, and she poured it on Phil for his support of her music. At one point he was "good bad, but not evil".

bagoh20 said...

He was just born too early to be a "wife guy", but he was an innovator and did things his own way, which was batshit homicidal crazy.

rcocean said...

Phil Spector is one of those evil freaks that will live forever. He'll be out on Parole in 2025, and like Ruth B. Ginsburg will live to a 100.

Lucien said...

One strives never to put oneself in a position where one’s only defense is virtue.

rcocean said...

Dutch, as is well known, is a corruption of "Deutch". "Dutch Courage" was the need to drink in order to be brave in battle. The Germans were thought to be bad soldiers in the American Civil War, believe it or not.

rcocean said...

manson lived to be 83 and Roman Polonsky is still grooving on at 86. Wasn't there a TV show/movie where everyone upon reaching 40 was killed? Maybe we need that now. Reach 80 - and its curtains.

tcrosse said...

Sonny Bono apprenticed himself to Phil Spector.

Lurker21 said...

Where he is now the walls aren't made of sound anymore.

mikee said...

Freak shows can pay big bucks. If you aren't making out like a bandit being an on-air freak, it isn't a freak show. It's just a sad little side show, with entry priced at a quarter per rube, who are huslted in and out and get maybe a dime's worth of freakiness for their ticket.

walter said...

Hair we go again: Man in shorts!

AZ Bob said...

I worked in that courthouse at the time and knew many of the lawyers involved in Spector's two trials. One of his lawyers told me he tried to dissuade Spector of his manner of dress but lacked what is commonly referred to as client control.

The wigs were only one aspect. He also wore garish suits and platform shoes. The entire effect was bizarre.

narciso said...

logans run, the age was originally 21, they moved it up to 30, in the film,