Saturday Open Thread

I’ll be gone tomorrow from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., so blogging will be impossible.  I did want to leave you with some food for thought, because I’d be interested in your comments on the two passages I quote below, both from James Kaplan’s Frank: The Voice.

The first quotation describes trumpet player and band leader Harry James:

Musical gods were different then.  For one thing, teenagers of that era didn’t demand that their musical idols be, or look like, teenagers.  By the spring of 1939, Harry James was a very famous, accomplished and self-assured twenty-three-year old — and with his hawk nose, piercing blue eyes, pencil mustache, and big-shoulder suits, he didn’t remotely resemble any twenty-three-year-old we would recognize today.  At twenty-three he looked as if he were well into his thirties.  (p. 73, emphasis mine.)

Here’s is Harry James, fairly early in his career, when he would still have been in his early 20s:

The second quotation describes trombone player and band leader Tommy Dorsey:

He was just thirty, but thirty was more like forty in those days, and coming from where he’d come from, and having done what he’d done, Tommy Dorsey had a hundred thousand miles on him.  (p. 85, emphasis mine.)

And here is Tommy Dorsey in the late 1930s or early 1940s:

Reading those passages, I was struck once again by the way in which we live in an era of perpetually extended adolescence, complete with chipmunk faced stars:

Biology (read:  pregnancy) often forces girls to mature, and their slut clothes give them an aged aura.  Too many modern boys, however, never seem to grow up, something manifest in the baby clothes they wear:  backward caps; over-sized t-shirts; baggy, falling down shorts; and unlaced shoes.  They go to school forever, they play computer games unceasingly, and, with the economy, they never leave their parents’ homes.  If 30 was the same as 40 back 1940, then in 2011, for too many young man, no matter what age they are, they’re still 13.