Friday, June 4, 2010

The Suave Man: Does He Live On In Mark Simone?

I shared my thoughts about Golden Age Hollywood movie stars like Melvyn Douglas, who typified the Suave Man, here.

In that essay I argue that Suave Men are extinct.

Lately, I've been listening to New York-based, WABC talk radio personality Mark Simone. I think he may be a real, live Suave Man.

I heard him first on a rock 'n roll show that broadcasts songs from the sixties. He seemed to know every shred of trivia about that notoriously trivial decade. He'd partied with Mick Jagger AND Frank Sinatra AND Elvis and was there at Jim Morrison's funeral and dated Janis Joplin, or so it seemed. With all that night life, he also seemed to know the plot of every television show. I wondered if he ever slept.

I heard him subbing on other shows – he had the inside scoop on Tiger Woods' locker room temper tantrums. He talked politics with Frank Rich and Ann Coulter, culture with Dick Cavett … just heard him say, completely casually, "I was chatting with some oceanic petroleum engineers about this Gulf Oil spill…" And then he'll take a call from Jimmy Down-the-Shore who's planning weekend midget mud wrestling.

It's the casualness that gets me. Nothing seems to phase him, to cause him to raise or lower his voice or talk quicker or slower. And he's got a million dollar voice; he sounds like Bailey's Irish Cream.

The suave man may yet live in isolated pockets, including the studio from which Mark Simone broadcasts.

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