Are correct to praise Dizzy Gillespie's music...


January 08, 1993

THE EXPERTS are correct to praise Dizzy Gillespie's music. We would also like one of his other major talents not to be forgotten. He was the master of the witty put-down of journalists posing silly questions.

Once he was asked by an unimaginative interviewer how he would explain be-bop to an alien from outer space who had just landed in a flying saucer. He replied (rather sensibly when you think of it) that if he saw an alien space creature emerge from a flying saucer he would be too shocked or scared to say anything.

And when on another occasion a reporter asked, rather condescendingly, if his tiny goatee wasn't "an affectation," he quickly shot back, "no, it's a fetish."

* * * SPENT THE other night watching a movie on TV, entitled Running Man," a science fiction flick starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In the movie, Schwarzenegger's character is wrongly convicted of murdering innocent people. As is the fate of many capital convicts in the totalitarian society that America has become in the 21st century, he gets the opportunity to run for freedom in some bizarre game show sanctioned by the "entertainment division of the Justice Department." A studio audience, and it seems an entire bug-eyed nation, is swept up in laying bets on whether the lead character will evade a cadre of grotesque executioners. Oh, what far-fetched nonsense, scoffed a companion, a decided non-connoisseur of sci-fi.

How striking then was the newsbreak at the top of the hour:

"A governor's commission will study ways to speed capital punishment . . . but first a report on the new state-sanctioned gambling game to sweep Maryland, keno."

We slept with the light on that night.

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