There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Stunt journalist Joe Queenan is a traitor to his generation. He admits this in his unpleasant new book, Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon: Joe Queenan’s America, a tour of the shallow waters of mainstream culture. As his peers were “involved in a heroic effort to depose Bob Hope, John Wayne, Lawrence Welk, Sammy Davis, Jr., and all the other cultural icons,” Queenan “defected by [his] 21st birthday,” because he “recognized almost immediately that Cat Stevens and Iron Butterfly were not all that much of an improvement over Shecky Greene and Liberace.” One could argue that they were much worse, but they were his. Just as succeeding generations will have to deal with the embarrassment of Adam Ant, Hanson, and tongue studs, there is no moral high ground to be claimed by pretending you weren’t there or by becoming your parents. “I am, and always have been, a prick,” Queenan proudly proclaims on page 71 of this slim volume, and he proves it by setting up obvious and easy straw men to be “demolished” by his masterful wit. Queenan discovers that—gasp!—Joan Collins is not Willa Cather, Kenny G is—egad!—not Sonny Rollins, and—amazing!—Red Lobster serves uninspired food. And on and on, with a startling bitterness far out of proportion to the supposed crimes of his targets. We already know that John Tesh is lame, but comparing him so earnestly to Adolph Hitler only prompts sympathy for Teshie. Queenan doubtless expects no sympathy and deserves none. Heckle him at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, at Olsson’s, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Dave Nuttycombe)