Taco Town, City on the Hill

December 7, 2007

Students of the history of religion in America are taught to be wary of the so-called “declension narrative”. When Perry Miller first initiated the study of the Puritans he reproduced that same group’s major myth. The founding generation, in the eyes of their descendants and their own were the New Israelites, exiled from their homeland in order to establish a city on the hill, a shining example for the misguided across the ocean. Having shown evidence of their election, the generations that followed often failed to give testimony to having been saved because of their inability to convince themselves and this great generation that they were worthy of God’s grace.

Many religious and political traditions have comparable narratives. In Judaism, every generation since the one privy to the Sinaitic revelation is said to be somehow lesser than the one previous (yeridat ha’dorot). Founding fathers always overshadow their progeny.

Nowhere is this the case more than with Saturday Night Live. The casts of the first few seasons are the stuff of legends. These casts of characters boasted such comedic talent all in one place and despite the occasional reprieve it’s been downhill ever since. Or so the story goes. But an honest assessment will show this to be poppycock. This is all by way of sharing this link which I just think is funny. Enjoy.

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One Response to “Taco Town, City on the Hill”

  1. Not with a bang Says:

    The sketch is pretty funny, along the lines of the other fake commercials that the show has featured in the last 10+ years (e.g. Three-legged Jeans, Gatorade Cookie-Dough Sport, KCF coleslaw shredder, and of course, Schmitt’s Gay). What’s notable is that these bits have often been much funnier than the “live” material on the show… while similar ‘commercials’ in the 70s (Super Bass-O-Matic, Creely’s Soup, Adopt John Belushi for Christmas) weren’t pre-recorded.

    So too, there’s been a fair gnashing of teeth about how few of the modern SNL repertory players have gone on to have careers after leaving the show (case in point, Jimmy Fallon). However, the success of Will Ferrell in branching out beyond his SNL persona (occasionally), and Tina Fey’s ascendancy as the doyenne of comedy serve to bolster Haverstam’s point, I believe.


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