Deep Blue Something Or Other . . .

The one time in my life I've bought a new car — or at least a pre-owned vehicle but actually purchased from a dealership — we sat in a small, squat, glassed building in the sprawling lot and waited for whatever requisite paperwork had to be conjured up and assembled. The dealership was classy and anticipated needs, so they thoughtfully had a bank of flat-screen TVs (I'm actually assuming they were flat-screen TVs instead of actually remembering that fact, since that would be a touch they clearly had to fulfill) playing music videos.

I suppose someone somewhere must be on the hook for curating what music videos get played in the sales area of a car dealership; I don't think I'd want to be responsible for this. It's obviously a tricky task: nothing too edgy, for sure, but something would be called for that would encourage one to buy — or at least something upholding the virtue of car ownership or lease holding. I remember not much about what was played other than it was the same five or six videos played over and over and over and over. And of those I remember only one: Deep Blue Something's "Breakfast At Tiffany's."

To paraphrase the song, I think I remember the tune!

The song is kind of simple — the persona in the lyric is marking the dissolution of a relationship and remarking that even though they're seeing things differently and things are apparently over the two actually liked Breakfast at Tiffany's — or at least the counterpart of the relationship "remembers the film" and, well, that's one thing they've got.

It's a little bit of a bank shot — in the sense that we're supposed to pencil in a lot of stuff (or presumably) from this one detail — and then a little one-note in the sense that the entire fucking goddamn song is this one fucking tiny observation, but whatever: it's catchy.

And I don't totally understand how it's meant to reiterate the positive benefits of car ownership but whatever: interest rates for car loans are pretty low, and over the course of a five-year loan you're only spending another couple hundred bucks if you luck into a one-percent APR so cue up that '90s heyday and feel empowered . . . you deserve this . . . and now it's suddenly time to consider an extended warranty.

So in the video the lead singer is holding the book. Now about that book . . .

I actually couldn't remember if I had read the book before. In the end, I'm pretty sure that I did but I don't really have a firm memory of reading it. I blame the movie for this, of course. It's not really Audrey Hepburn's fault, but rather the machine that makes Audrey Hepburn. She made that role transcend the role, which is deft, obviously, but about that role . . .

Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's is an odd novella — seeming romantic but rug-pulling like the worst Springsteen excesses. Which is to say, knowing what we know now about Audrey Hepburn's big sunglasses, it's hard to square the "Moon River" la-de-la-de-la of the film with the character in Capote's book, who comes off as kind of a cross between Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle and, I don't know, maybe this lady or something.

Which is also to say, Did you realize what an unbecoming piece of shit Holly Golightly really was? The book is basically her maligning random races and ethnicities through the eyes of a somewhat sympathetic narrator, who people then go on to assume is a homosexual because of 1) Truman Capote and 2) the two characters' chaste relationship. To go back to her unbecomingness, Capote does a nice job creating this character who is not just unmoored from society (in an quasi romantic way) but also a stupid fucking hayseed of an idiot who is at turns racist and then goes and prostitutes herself to prolong a runaway's lifestyle in the big city.

In other words, she is nowhere near Audrey Hepburn, and the dissonance a reader experiences in encountering this character is not the fault of the writer but rather the Hollywood-Industrial-Complex that glosses over and makes anodyne complicated real characters.Americ

In the book, Holly Golightly is gross. In the movie, she's unflappable romantic, who would only deign to name a pet when she feels at home. In the book, she's a nasty narcissistic animal abuser who neglects her cat and then ditches the thing somewhere in Harlem before leaving the country. "Golightly" indeed, you fucking Eric Harris wannabe.

Why does this matter? It matters because of the outsized impression Audrey Hepburn makes on America — through no fault of her own, mind you — when the source material is so 180-degrees opposite. You can be excused for feeling confused reading the character in Capote's book with that fun-loving adorable manic pixie prototype in the film in mind. And you shouldn't need to square the blithely racist commentary of that character with her 1960s expression thereof.

I don't know (and don't really have time to Google) Truman Capote's response to how the moviemakers interpreted that story — in some ways, it's impressive that they did what they did. But they did a huge disservice to the book. And that's not even getting into Mickey Rooney's cheap, gratuitous laugh lines, which are legendary in their own right.

The book is a wartime-era dystopian view of American society, bent on criticizing the obvious deficiencies of the America of the time. Think about it: choosing to set a story during WWII and focusing on laze-abouts and various ne'er-do-wells is wonderfully transgressive. The movie picks up this thread and basically makes it the final season of Girls. And then you wonder how you get Mickey Rooney.

Another word about interpretation: I feel like people were making something of the main character's alleged sexual orientation, which in their minds hewed to Truman Capote's orientation. This seems a) facile, and b) not in line with the point of the story, which was that the main character wasn't that taken with Ms. Horry Gorightry as were others. Which is also to say, less Deep Blue Something and more "You Got It (Keep It Out of My Face)":

Posted: June 24th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Books Are The SUVs Of Writing | Tags: