A few words from the enlightened minority

A few words from the enlightened minority
                        

I’m not saying I know more about the Beatles than most folks, but I probably do.

And I’m not saying I know more about Notre Dame football than everyone else, but I probably do.

I’m pretty good at the humble-brag thing too.

In recent days, however, those two areas of my expertise have become feeding troughs for the uninformed, and I feel duty-bound to contribute modestly to the public debate.

In short, most people are just wrong, and I’ll tell you why.

Let’s start with my alma mater.

Unless you’re part of what Notre Dame is all about, there is no way you have any conception as to what sets us apart.

Call it arrogance, call it blind faith, call it being fiercely independent, call it Catholic exceptionalism, if you must.

Just don’t pretend to understand what you simply can’t.

There’s a reason nine out of every 10 applications for enrollment end up generating form letters that begin, “Thank you for your interest in attending the University of Notre Dame.”

And I know what you’re thinking.

“Well, if you got in, it’s obviously not all that difficult.”

I couldn’t agree more. In fact, for the longest time after I was accepted, I kept an eye on the day’s mail, believing somewhere along the line a serious error had been made.

I pictured a kindly white-haired grandmotherly type, a holdover from the days of Prohibition and Knute Rockne, being summoned to the inner sanctum of the admissions office, where she was confronted by the board of trustees, all of whom wore scowls.

“How,” said the chairman, brandishing a piece of paper between his forefinger and thumb, “do you explain this monstrosity?”

Nothing of the sort happened, of course, and I graduated four years later to begin a rather undistinguished career in journalism. Still, I’m part of Our Lady’s family, and not everyone can say that.

But that doesn’t keep the uninformed from weighing in on coach Brian Kelly’s decision to leave ND for LSU. Everyone has an opinion, and it creates in me a maddening sound of buzzing static, a feeling of being held under water by unseen, unclean hands.

For relief, I tell myself in calm, measured tones, “Forgive them, for they know not of what they speak. Welcome any and all seekers.”

Who am I kidding? I want them to shut up, now and forever, amen.

I have the same problem with the recently released “Get Back” documentary, the one that shows how the Beatles spent January 1969 working on what would eventually become the "Let It Be" LP.

Widely considered the weakest of their albums, it’s always had the reputation of being a rush job, an unpolished mishmash of slapdash outtakes and overdubs that was made even worse when Phil Spector got his grubby, little hands on it and made it more mediocre.

Using schmaltzy strings and other sacrilegious studio effects, he ruined perfectly fine tracks like “Across the Universe” and “The Long and Winding Road,” much to Paul McCartney’s chagrin.

None of that, however, finds its way into Peter Jackson’s three-part series, just released on Disney-Plus. Instead, the viewer gets nearly eight hours of endless rehearsals, culminating in the “Rooftop Concert” sequence, not exactly a wow finish, merely a flat one.

But what did I expect from a guy who turned “The Lord of the Rings” into a similarly labored endurance contest? Even the phlegmatic Sam Gamgee would grow weary of Yoko’s shrieking.

Not that there aren’t utterly amazing sequences in “Get Back,” including those featuring Billy Preston, who, by dint of his sheer talent and boundless enthusiasm, rescues the entire bloated project before it collapses under its own ponderous weight. We already knew about his keyboard contributions, but I daresay few of us realized just how important his gregarious presence actually was.

And what of the Fab Four themselves? Well, it’s impossible to overstate how bad it feels to watch John and Paul casually — almost cruelly — dismiss George’s earnest efforts to share his ideas, only to come to the realization they’ve been doing it for years.

It’s not an easy thing to witness until one remembers that at the same time he was being barred entrance into the snobbish Lennon-McCartney fraternity, he was sitting on a mother lode of awesome compositions that would eventually become "All Things Must Pass," without question the finest of all post-Beatle albums.

Am I pleased I invested in a one-month Disney-Plus pass?

Sure. “Get Back” is a towering achievement, a milestone, a document of historic import, if you believe most folks in the know.

Having been a fan since I was in the third grade, I was expecting better, but like being an ND grad, I’m in the enlightened minority.


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