Wen I was a child, my mom would tell me to look out the window whenever we were in the car. We made the trip together once a week, sometimes twice, between San Leandro and San Francisco. In her wise adult words, she would say that looking at the greenery would be good for my eyes. Not that there was much green to look at on the 880 highway. She hated when I would bury my face in a book, convinced that I would get motion sickness and throw up.
I took the LIRR to Roslyn, NY today and was stunned by how green it all was. While on the train, watching the forests and fields go by, I couldn’t help thinking back on those car rides with mom.
In his small, airless apartment the sportswriter served local wine, cheap Scotch, and beer. His wife, and the other sportswriters’ wives, four of them pregnant, two not apparently so, sat in the bedroom, drinking the Almaden, with ice. They discussed rents. The sportswriters, hitting the Scotch and the beer, sat in the living room, talking of books they planned to write but never would. The pressures were wrong. There was just enough money and not enough time. No one was rich. No one was poor. No one was ever going to do anything of any consequence. We were talking about No, No, Nanette. I said I thought there was such a thing as an Angry Bravo—that those audiences who stand, and cheer, and roar, and seem altogether beside themselves at what they would instantly agree is at best an unimportant thing, are not really cheering No, No, Nanette. They are booing Hair. Or whatever else it is on stage that they hate and that seems to triumph. So they stand and roar. Every bravo is not so much a Yes to the frail occasion they have come to make a stand at, as a No, goddam it to everything else, a bravo of rage. And with that, they become, for what it’s worth, a constituency that is political. When they find each other, and stand and roar like that, they want, they want to be reckoned with.
Joe said, Isn’t it possible they just want to say that they are having a good time? It’s possible; one ought perhaps to take into account that it is fun to be part of an audience that wants to roar. Norma asked whether Joe had seen it. He said no. Norma said, “Well, then you don’t know. It’s not a musical audience roar. It’s not an avant garde roar. It’s a march roar. A rally roar. A parade roar.” Joe said, “You mean a lynch roar.” Norma said, “Now that’s going too far.”