Tom Smucker

Tom Smucker has been writing about pop culture and politics since the 1960s and wrote the chapter on the Carpenters and Lawrence Welk in the current EMP anthology. His novel An Inconvenient Amish Zombie Left Behind The Da Vinci Diet Code Truth was published in 2011. Abstract:

"When Bobby Went Bob: Darin's Muddled Dylan Turn, The Assassination of RFK, and the Collapse of Ring A Ding Urban Masculinity."Rock, Pop, Swing, Country, Folk, Calypso. Bobby Darin’s career—a string of simultaneous identities rather than artistic periods or phases—is often made coherent by simplifying him into a kind of male Judy Garland, tortured and devoted to the higher call of show biz. Yet the one constant was his politics.A poor Bronx Italian kid with a father doing mob related jail time, Darin did not drift to the right with his Rat Pack role models, but identified with the civil rights movement and campaigned with and turned Bobby Kennedy on to Blowin In The Wind.After RFK’s assassination in 1968, Darin abandoned Rodeo Drive, moved to Big Sur, released late sixties protestish music on a self-owned label that didn’t sell, grew a mustache and sideburns, called himself Bob instead of Bobby, and played the Troubadour.Before he died in December, 1973, Darin made an accommodation with his core audience and a comeback of sorts on television, in Reno, and Las Vegas. According to the standard storyline, he had returned to his true identity and regained the loyalty of his fans.But what if his biography is understood as an honest enactment of the collapse of a certain post-war, urban male confidence, and the inability of that persona to utilize the Woodstockian Retreat as a signifier of social and psychological assault? Then Darin’s career can be placed alongside Bobby Kennedy’s suggesting answers to the question left by both their deaths. Why weren’t either one replaceable?

My Speakers Sessions

Sunday, March 25

9:00am EDT