Downloading a Cole Porter classic, “You’re the Top,” to Spotify, I realized how much the lyrics have changed. Some verses were altered, others just dropped, because they’d only baffle people. Take for example my favorite—a verse now extinct, because it’s well-nigh unrecognizable:
You’re the top! You’re a Ritz hot toddy.
You ‘re the top! You’re a Brewster body.
You’re the boats that glide on the sleepy Zuider Zee,
You ‘re a Nathan Panning, You’re Bishop Manning, You’re broccoli!
The blogsite of Hemmings Motor News sees fit to post my 1982 article on Brooks Stevens, along with a gratuitous opinion: “Perhaps Richard Langworth’s tendency toward purple prose in this profile of Brooks Stevens in Special Interest Autos #71, October 1982, is appropriate, given the picture he paints of the legendary designer.” Aside from the fact that Hemmings paid only for first rights and is therefore in copyright violation, it’s nice to be remembered.
Reactions: A onetime editor of SIA wrote: “I see nothing purple—it reads like an essay in The New Yorker.” (Ah, if only Hemmings paid New Yorker rates!) A Packard Club colleague wrote: “Naah, not purple, maybe faint mauve.” A blog reader wrote: “Ugh, I can’t read it.…