Monday, December 22, 2008

"Dean Martin: The Ultimate Man"

I’m snowed in tonight, listening to Dean Martin’s “Christmas With Dino” album. Christmas Day will be the 13th anniversary of his timely death and I find myself pining for a time that was long dead before I was born. Dean Martin was the coolest of the cool; a suave, cocky, talented son-of-a-bitch who dropped out of school at 16, delivered bootleg liquor and rose to stardom by his own merits. An all around ‘Jack of Trades’, he could sing, act, fuck and fight better than most; he was idolized by Elvis Presley and summarily dethroned the Beatles from their chart position at the height of Beatlemania. Dean Martin was a man’s man. That may mean little today but back then it was a badge of respect that could not be scoffed at. It was an elite position reserved for the Bing Crosbys, the Frank Sinatras and the John Waynes of the era; men who were not afraid to take a stiff drink and throw a solid punch, the Cool Cats of Grooviness. Who are the UberMen of today? Justin Timerlake? Lil’ Wayne? A warm Christmas smile crawls over my face as I imagine Dino cracking their two heads together before embarking on a swingin’ threesome with their respective women, like a reverse Oreo cookie.

The album is pretty damn cool. It’s good Christmas Music. It did, in fact, exist at one time, long before the production got sappy and the strings got faggy. ‘White Christmas’ melts into your skin like warm snow. The background singers are chaste and Aryan in a Lawrence Whelk sort of way. This is the soundtrack for a night of hot cocoa, warm sweaters and cool, groovy lovers. The fireplace is responsibly tended to before they retire to the bedroom for a traditional session of missionary sex under the covers. It’s Christmastime, baby. I chuckle a bit as Dino goes through the chorus of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’; who else but Dean Martin would have the balls to call him ‘Rudy’? They must go way back. “Christmas With Dino” has all the standards that you want and a few obscure picks that you’ll instantly dig. It’s hip. Buy it.

I can’t imagine anyone today possessing the masculine gusto to record such an album without it seeming like a put-on, without them sounding like a complete prick. It’s too bad, really. This world could use some more Dean Martins, it could use some more shining examples of manhood and chivalrous fisticuffs not prompted by heroin addiction or mommy issues. This world could use some Men. But until that Second Wave is bred and ready to polish their own shoes, anachronous individuals like us have little recourse but to sit back, mix ourselves a groovy cocktail and listen to the ghost of Dean Martin sing of an era prematurely gone.

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