Death Wish, the 1970s, and Daubers (New Substandard)

• March 15, 2018 11:04 am


In the return episode of the Substandard (subscribe, tell your friends, leave a review!), we discuss vigilante films and the awfulness of the 1970s. Sonny heaps praise on the Death Wish reboot (another reviewer liked it too). JVL takes us back to the original starring Charles Bronson and reminds us just how bad were the 1970s, which is what the first movie tapped into: panic and a sense of helplessness. I remember witnessing a subway attack—a deranged man assaulting another man who was minding his own business, reading the newspaper. I remember upon immediately exiting the Holland Tunnel on the Manhattan side, squeegee guys coming over to the car and my father waving them away. You actually ended up paying these guys to wipe off the dirty-brown water they just splashed onto your windshield. And of course Times Square was porno theater central. (Was that really a bad thing? I kid!) We also give a shout out to David Frum's must-read How We Got Here: The 70's.

But wait, there's more! I provide a Lenten sacrifice update and ponder which is the greater sin: gluttony or waste? During the day I try to maintain a spartan diet low in carbs. But after dinner, I genuinely hate throwing away the food the kids can't finish. As my late friend Michel Richard once said, "Don't waste the bread!" But maybe I should've picked something else to give up, like Civilization.

Finally, Sonny reveals his latest obsession: shoe maintenance. But did he really need to buy $80 worth of polish, cloths, trees, and daubers? Apparently he did—as it turns out, Sonny has a walking problem. Many of us do (check your shoe heels to see which side is more worn). I told him if he's going to go all out with the shoe products, at the very least he needs a shinebox in which to place them. Then we can call him Spitshine Sonny!