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Beatles or Stones? August 17, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood had once again dragooned our friend Ben into watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s travel/food show, “No Reservations.” Why Silence, a passionate vegetarian, is so obsessed with this show, which seems to focus entirely on killing and eating meat, I can’t say. Whole episodes pass in which not a single vegetable is consumed. The show’s host loudly and constantly abuses and despises vegetarians. I can only conclude that one of Silence’s life goals is to cook for Tony and force him, not to convert to vegetarianism, but to recant as far as his antipathy to all things vegetable is concerned. 

At any rate, this episode was a bit different from the others we’ve seen in the series in that Tony interviews four “contestants” at the start of the show to determine where he’ll go next (in the event, to Saudi Arabia). At one point, interviewing a musician who’s trying to lure him to Buffalo, NY, Tony asks: “Beatles or Stones?” When the musician answers “Beatles,” it seems to seal his fate as a non-contender.

This of course set our friend Ben and Silence off bigtime. If Tony Bourdain had asked us this question, the answer would have been an unhesitating “Zeppelin.” We despise the Beatles’ hokey, self-indulgent ballads. Our friend Ben almost committed murder when taking acoustic guitar lessons after the instructor announced that the lessons would be based on the Beatles’ thump-thump playbook. (Silence does acknowledge that George Harrison became pretty cool once he managed to escape from the band.)

As for the Stones, our friend Ben simply found them discordant, loud, and boring (the latter trait shared with the Beatles), but Silence was totally revolted: “Vile, vulgar, ugly, and gross! Who would find that attractive?!” The Stones don’t give us no satisfaction, for sure.

Give us Led Zeppelin any day. Great music, great drama, no sappy, sentimental whining or pathetic pseudo-macho posturing disguised as music. Zeppelin was genuinely sexy. And it made genuinely fabulous music, thanks in large part to musical genius and founder Jimmy Page. If there’s another song from the entire rock era that can even approach “Stairway to Heaven,” we’d like to know what it is.

So, Tony, take your Beatles and Stones and eat them. Then listen to some real music. And think about expanding that famous “no reservations” attitude to include some vegetarian fare. It’s not brown, boring “health food” any more. And you don’t have to apologize* for killing a baby camel or trembling, terrified armadillo to enjoy it.

* Not that we’d expect a meat-eater to apologize for eating meat, but for whatever reason, Tony does so fairly often on the shows if the animal is killed on-air before being prepared and served, especially if it’s inherently appealing.