Missing Elvis

Tiger Woods is in the news for refusing to disparage Donald Trump in response to questions posed to him after the final round of the Northern Trust about his relationship with him. This the left and its media adjunct cannot abide. Now Tiger can become the subject of CNN’s perpetual hatefest for a few hours this morning.

Having answered the call to serve in the Army at the height of his career, Elvis Presley had his views about patriotism and the hatred of the United States on display in the antiwar movement of the 1960’s. His patriotism suffuses his music. One can see his views nakedly on display in the handwritten letter he wrote to Richard Nixon as he sought an audience with him in December 1970, a story I recounted in “When Elvis met Nixon.”

The news about Tiger puts me in mind of Elvis’s deft handling of questions regarding his view of antiwar (Vietnam War, that is) protesters when he returned to performing live concerts in 1969 and the early 1970’s. The video clip below shows Elvis’s June 9, 1972 press conference at the New York Hilton preceding his four sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden that week. Vernon Presley is at his side. One cannot miss the euphoric mood of the press conference and Elvis’s mastery of the situation. I’m posting it this morning just for the sheer pleasure of the thing.

According to Graceland, the shows at the Garden made for Elvis’s first live appearances in New York since since his television appearances on the Dorsey Brothers, Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan shows in 1956 and 1957. The euphoric mood of the press conference carried over to the New York Times review of Elvis’s show: “He looked like a prince from another planet, narrow-eyed, with high Indian cheek bones and a smooth brown skin untouched by his 37 years,” Chris Chase wrote in the Times. “When Elvis started to work with the mike, his right hand flailing air, his left leg moving as though it had a life of its own, time stopped, and everyone in the place was 17 again…Elvis used the stage, he worked to the people. The ones in front, in the best seats, the ones in back, and up in the peanut galleries. He turned, he moved, and when a girl threw a handkerchief on the stage, he wiped his forehead with it and threw it back, a gift of sweat from an earthy god.”