The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum

The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Billz Classics: The College Years

While in the process of putting together an application, I started to dig through my old college papers.  In the fall of sophomore year, I took a class entitled "America Circa 2000."  From what I recall, the professor led us through an examination of American culture and society at the turn of the 21st century.  Deep within an old hard drive, I found several very short response papers which I wrote for that class.  Unfortunately, the descriptions of the original assignments have been lost to the ages.  So I'm not sure exactly what I was responding to.  What I wrote for the first assignment made me laugh out loud and I thought it suitable for a fresh edition of Billz Classics.  You will find the original one paragraph paper below, followed by my usual commentary.

(Name Redacted)
January 16, 2002
America @ 2000
Prof. (Redacted)

If I could live a life other than my own, I think it would have to be during the 1940's.  I would live in Hollywood, California and be employed by MGM or Warner Brothers as a studio writer.  I would write films for talents such as Jimmy Stewart and perhaps even direct them, in the style of Frank Capra.  My office would be modest and cramped, consisting mostly of a desk and an old Underwood typewriter.  I would be about 26 years old, single, and an ever present part of the LA night scene.  Of course I would have a college education and be fairly well off on my studio salary, but a simple apartment would suit me.  I would be in good health although I'd like the obligatory Camel cigarette or shot of Jack Daniels as much as any screenwriter of the time.  I would not lead a life unmindful of my civic duties.  During the Second World War, I'd serve in the Army's First Motion Picture Unit, making films for propaganda and training purposes.  It would be a pretty interesting and romantic life.

Commentary: First off, I note with sadness that I am now several years older than this 1940s fantasy version of myself.  I guess at the time I thought I would reach my professional peak by 26?  Also, the 1940s me sounds like he is in better physical shape than the real world me of 2010.  I have to commend him for his service to our nation, by the way.  I wonder if he met Jimmy Stewart during his stint in the Army, or if they knew each other before the war?  Did he meet Reagan?  

College student Bill made a good call by incorporating the Underwood typewriter.  He'd also need one of those old fashioned fans with a wire cage around the blade.  I'm also envisioning a tall filing cabinet and his (my?) name in letters on a frosted glass pane in the door.  The cliche loving me of 2002 had not seen much film noir, but he would have crapped himself during a viewing of the sublime D.O.A.  (Which is seriously underrated, by the way.  And it's available to stream now on Netflix.  Stop reading this and go watch it, NOW!  Ok, you can finish reading this first.

It's amusing to note that my infatuation with the style of the 1940s started so long ago.  It wasn't until 2009 when I bought my first fedora!  And started reading The Fedora Lounge message boards.

Ok, now that I'm done with my little flashback, I have a fun website to recommend that focuses on another relic of the past: vinyl records.  LP Cover Lover features sometimes gorgeous, sometimes strange album covers.  Check out this ridiculously creepy French offering.

1 comment:

  1. I like that you redacted your name from the paper. Funny.
    the 1940's does seem to be an exciting time to be alive.

    Keep rockin' the fedora!
    I hope 1940's you would write a great part for 1940's me to play. I'd just be 17 years old. I could play Clark Gable's little sister