Once a Dick, Always a Dick

Today we mourn a death, but shall also ridicule a life. Or perhaps a career would be a better term although I’m not so sure that Dick Clark really did anything resembling an actual occupation. A human life has passed and with that comes the inevitable weight of sadness even as many of us had assumed that he died decades ago. Perhaps, just professionally. As his spirit passes to a place of peace, let us look, examine and pick apart the sham of a legacy that he left behind.

In his heyday, Dick Clark could be heard by anyone flipping around the radio dial at any given time. His inane Top Ten pop rock snooze-fests were practically unavoidable. They’re the shows that celebrate the singers that were most willing to trade in their musical integrity for fortune and fame. Granted, Dick’s over trained phony-ass voice provided the perfect narration to showcase bands whose lameness equaled his own. If ever shoe polish graced a hearty turd, it came in the form of Dick Clark proudly announcing the week’s number one song to kill yourself to. Far worse than his ability to puss-ify the airwaves was his weekly presence on the American Bandstand TV show where viewers were subjected to his pasty face as he played records and represented rock ‘n roll rebellion while wearing a suit and leaning a phallic microphone against his lips.

It is Dick Clark’s celebrity and iconic stature that I call into question not his place as a human being. I’m sure his wife loves him; possibly him and Ed McMahon at the same time. Those two guys probably split a Viagra every Valentines Day when their old ladies start beggin’ for their bloopers. It’s just that Dick Clark’s cultural relevance is totally unbeknownst to me. All of my life I’ve heard this tommyrot about the guy being so young for his age. The phrase “America’s oldest teenager” seems to pop up every New Year’s Eve like the inevitable hangover and herpes rash. Lemme tell ya… plastic surgery could de-prune his testicles for him but it wouldn’t make him any younger. He’s had more facelifts than Cher’s ass, doesn’t smell as nice and doesn’t have any tattoos.  How uncool is that? Besides, any significance the guy had half a century ago has long since terminated. In fact, his freshness date expired about 15 minutes after his emergence as a “personality.” He was a lousy disc jockey on his best day. No technical ability was ever evident. He didn’t even cue up the records that he announced and sure as the hell couldn’t scratch like Jam Master Jay, that’s for sure. His place in history should be noted as nothing more than a precursor to Wolfman Jack, who in turn served as the blueprint for ditto-heads like Casey Kasem and eventually Ryan Seacrust. I pray these tomato cans won’t be the next batch of pseudo-celebrities heaped with undeserved idolatry for the next fifty years (open mouth, insert gun.)

Besides, it’s not as if Dick Clark was a musician at all. Sure, he’s played the skin flute and pink clarinet, but never professionally. I’ve heard his name uttered as being “synonymous with Rock ‘n’ Roll.” I feel embarrassed for him whenever I read that phrase. The fifties ushered in icons as diverse and talented as Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. Their names will be lionized for eternity for their impact on the music world, and deservedly so. All because those guys had the balls to muster some attitude, pick up a guitar and change the world. All the while, Dicky Boy did nothing more than squeeze his lemon on their groupie leftovers. He’s the kind of guy who as a kid always “managed” the local band because he wanted to get laid but had no talent and couldn’t rock. He probably trimmed his crotch hair just to make his microphone look bigger, too.  Doesn’t sound like an worthy legend to me. Dick’s head would probably explode if he listened to any music newer than his first hairpiece.

And let us not forget Dick’s other meaningless claim to fame, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve when once a year he proves that he can count from one to ten backwards. Impressive way of showing the world he’s still a vital force in pop culture, eh? He’ll be waving at the camera and flashing his capped teeth, all the while cursing the wind for giving flight to his toupee. And I’m not convinced for a minute that he’s wearing earmuffs because it’s cold. Those bad boys were hiding a hearing aid and reinforcing the rug. I can’t believe the guy never graduated to coffee commercials. Decaff, of course. Yet, he continued to prop himself up and dangle over a microphone as if it were Pat Boone’s schlong. Dick Clark dry-humped the rock ‘n’ roll cash cow for fifty years and gave nothing back. Rest in peace, dude. I’m sure you were a great guy in your private life, worthy of a mother’s love and a buddy’s handshake but as a celebrity, you’ll always be a Dick to me.

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3 Responses to Once a Dick, Always a Dick

  1. Longshot says:

    I guess when one doesn’t have an ounce of talent in any respect nor any self esteem or have brought any joy to anyone ever. You become you.

  2. Chris says:

    LOL!!! I thought this was too damn funny!!! You made me see this windbag known as Dick Clark in a new light- I always considered him like a piece of unnoticed furniture. I could never understand what the big deal behind Dick Clark was. I mean, what did he actually DO? I think his passing and the big deal made out of it is, in part, a reflection of the narcissism of the Baby Boomer generation and the incredible nostalgia they feel for their cultural touchstones. Dick Clark was eminently replaceable- I feel like anyone could have filled his suit. Furthermore, as this piece points out, he took no risks in introducing the saccharine, trite crap associated with his show. I guess as long as there are brilliant minds generating new ideas and taking all the risks, there’ll be guys like Dick Clark waiting in the wings to ride the coat-tails and try to get some dough out of them.

    Keep ’em coming Ant!!!

  3. antsrants says:

    lol, I hear ya Chris. I guess it’s the over-inflated hype that always bugged me about him and other pseudo-celebs. I’m sure he was a nice guy and woulda been a decent neighbor (nice lawn, not parking in my driveway and all that, lol) but people seem way too infatuated with his contributions to music. I mean, I get it. He produced television shows and was very successful at it. But when you boil down the persona to actual talent and ability, there just wasn’t much there. I think it’s a shame when we look back at past decades we find his diluted presence somehow overshadowing truly revolutionary musicians, people that had something real to say and an entertaining way of saying it. Jello Biafra, Joe Strummer, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti… these are/were guys that deserve/d to be heralded for their contributions to music and society. These guys felt society shifting around them and they reacted to it. They didn’t just fall like a square peg into a square hole. They went against the grain and opened the eyes of people everywhere. Even the late Don Cornelius of Soul Train fame made a more meaningful contribution to Music by not only giving a “voice” to an under-represented demographic but helping to bridge the color gap that existed among music fans and people in general. Dick Clark was a successful businessman, I grant him that. But nobody will ever convince me that taking the path of least resistance, watering down rock ‘n roll at every turn and selling it to pad his own white little world is worthy of respect. Peace!

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