Frank Sinatra to George Michael on coping with fame: "Swing, man"


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/26/frank-sinatra-to-george-michae.html


#2

I’ll assume Frank Sinatra meant well, but he’s operating on the fallacy that “My brain operates this way; therefore, yours does, too. So suck it up.”


#3

Good advice on being greatful for your good luck.

Oh, he certainly was.


#4

I couldn’t help but read it in the voice of Phil Hartman doing Sinatra. Man, Phil really had him down.
Sinatra Group
http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/the-sinatra-group/n10008
This flash player seems really choppy, sorry, and apologies to non-US people, I’m sure it’s region locked and all that bullshit, but DM and youtube don’t got it except little reaction snippets:

This sketch is lightning in a bottle and is my favorite thing ever


#5

It’s nice that fame worked out so well for Sinatra, but assuming that everyone famous has a fabulous life and should never complain or be the slightest bit depressed is just ridiculous.

And c’mon, Frank, if you want to berate someone for being sad, you don’t do that as an open letter to mock them to the public. That’s a dick move.


#6

Yeah, it does smack of “everyone cares what I think” insular fame, because in his world, everyone really did care about what he thought (even if just sycophantically). He was just used to it, I guess. But in his mind, he thought he was helping. As a guy who escaped the modest–if not outright lower-caste–means of Hoboken, I really do think he’s being honest. He just can’t fathom that his unsolicited opinion is completely unwarranted and, yes, dick-ish.


#7

That was the best. There was also a sketch with him as Sinatra and Carvy as George Michael right after that letter came out but I can’t find video of that. That era of SNL was their apex.


#8

You know, this makes me think of celebrities like Bill Watterson. Granted, he wasn’t a stage performer, but he’d always managed to maintain his privacy and still retain a healthy fanbase.


#9

What what what!? How do I not remember this? I really thought I saw all those episodes as they aired back then. I must see this.


#10

Yeah, the experience of fame as a closeted gay man in the 80s was probably very different than the experience of fame as Frank Sinatra. Have some perspective, Frank.


#11

Well, that’s certainly a possibility. Except, Sinatra’s responding to an interview that George Michael gave to the LA Times. So, it’s not exactly like George discussed the stress of fame with his third-aunt-removed in Little Wallop – he’s more or less broadcasting his opinion to the world. And the two subtextual cues we might get from that are: he has to know that other celebrities will read it (or at least hear about it), and he’s still acting like an A-List celebrity at the top of his game. (It’s hard to imagine Dexy’s Midnight Runners or Don Most giving a similar interview).

If George Michael were truly serious about retirement, because the stress of fame had become too much of a burden, it’s hard to think of a worse venue for airing that opinion. It strikes me as a kind of cry for help (“Hey world, I have a problem!”), and not a heartfelt, soon-to-be-acted-upon conviction (“Screw this, I’m out”).

Edit: corrected typo.


#12

Just in case you were in any doubt this is one more evidence that Frank Sinatra was a prick.


#13

And, you know, for being Sintatra-esque advice, it’s not terrible. “Try being more like me!” sure sounds like something he’d think is helpful. But this was right about when George Michael was in all the tabloids for his cottaging incident and coming out as gay; “suck it up” is something you tell him in a private letter, rather than mock him publicly.


#14

I can’t find it anywhere, which is weird. There are couple screen caps that are Getty Images. There’s also video of Carvey (spelled that wrong in my first comment) as George Michael on Weekend Update talking with Dennis Miller at a time when he was actually funny.

As for people wondering about the letter from Sinatra - he was a 75 year old man at the time who spent the last 50+ years being told he was awesome. I wouldn’t expect anything else from the guy. And of course he was a prick. That’s not news.
Though I love this line from Wiki - “Sinatra was buried in a blue business suit with mementos from family members—cherry-flavored Life Savers, Tootsie Rolls, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, a pack of Camel cigarettes, a Zippo lighter, stuffed toys, a dog biscuit, and a roll of dimes that he always carried”

Really sucks about Michael, though. He was a talented man with an amazing voice, IMO. This year can suck it.


#15

I’m no defender of Frank Sinatra. The guy certainly was a putz. All the same I could imagine him thinking he was helping Michael. Advice always tells us more about the giver than the target. This mishmash of “count your blessings,” “smell the roses,” and locker-room pep talk is what you’d expect from a guy who fought his way to the top, then fought to milk his success for all he could. Sinatra knew nothing about Michael; his advice amounts to, “Hey, kid, here’s how you’d do it if you were me.” Offering such advice in public was of course stupendously insensitive, but like we said, the guy was a putz.


#16

The “© 1990 Frank Sinatra” at the end was a nice, classy touch.

I actually felt rather annoyed reading this as if it were the overbearing father figure imploring their disappointment of a son to, “suck it up buttercup.”


#17

I always listen to advice and encouragement assuming there’s an unspoken preamble that goes: “This is what worked for me, maybe it’ll work for you.”

Reading a few of the comments here, I may be in a minority.


#18

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