The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Who the hell is Griff, anyway?


For those of you wondering at a vague theme running through today's posts, it behooves me to mention that we here at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . . are somewhat celebrating the life, work and pulp ethos of Samuel Fuller, born on this day in 1912. Ex-newspaperman, professional infantryman, pulp novelist and screenwriter, and the author of a corpus of cinema that still . . . despite the prodigious effort of critics then and now . . . eludes precise quantification, Fuller unleashed a wholly private madness upon one genre after another, made a fetish of the name Griff, and kept American filmmaking honest.

Of how many artists, I ask you, can this be said?

4 comments :

Vanwall said...

That Griff - what a character. Or what character? Or what? - character? We need more Fullers in this world. Nice tribute!

Tom Sutpen said...

Thank you Rob; not only for the kind words, but also for your repeatedly fine comments on this and all other days.

Many salutes!

Vanwall said...

I'll take that as an incentive to keep commenting, thanks! Seriously, the never-ending parade of evocative images are unguent for sore sclerotics, the always smart commentary (not particularly mine!) is pure brain candy, and the off-the-beaten-path references to popular culture - like finding loose C-notes blowing past on a breezy day - make this site go down like a good stiff shot of Talisker, intoxicating, bracing, and with a nice bit of ageing to flavor the experience. Keep up the good work!

Brent McKee said...

I will confess to no being a huge fan of Fuller's work, with the major exception of The Big Red One which, despite some moments of incredulity - I'm thinking the party in the Italian square; if the war has left these people so poor and starving where did all the food come from - is a great evocation of the survivors of an infantry squad. The Omaha Beach sequence, illustrated by the watch on the dead soldier's wrist may not have been as all encompassing as Saving Private Ryan but it shows the story of those horrendous landings without a cast of thousands. And possibly Mark Hammil's best acting role as Private Griff.