During a recent trip to San Francisco, this reporter had the opportunity to travel by cable car from Fisherman’s Wharf to Market Street. During this journey, it became apparent that we have been lied to. And by none other than Tony Bennett, who has built his career on a foundation of falsity as unstable as the liquifaction-prone shoreline of a certain heavily romanticized California city.
“I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” it turns out, is little more than a collection of dubious claims, backed by little to no evidence and based on a sample of one, with no controls.
While some would hold songwriters George Cory and Douglass Cross responsible, we’re placing the blame on the golden-throated fabulist who endlessly promulgates this set of misleading mythologies.
During the rickety ascent up Hyde Street, I noticed that far from “climbing halfway to the stars,” our cablecar rose skyward only several hundred feet – at best. Even if it went to the top of nearby Nob Hill, at 376 feet, that’s just a minute fraction of the distance to even the nearest star, Proxima Centauri. It’s 5.88 light years, or 24.9 trillion miles – that’s 131,577,000,000,000,000 feet away. Apparently we’re to believe that 376 times two is 131,577,000,000,000,000.
It just doesn’t add up, Mr. Bennett.
Unfortunately, that’s not all that doesn’t compute about the iconic crooner’s signature song. Let’s pry loose the lies, line by line:
The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gay
“Sadly gay” would have to be one of history’s most inartful oxymorons, and a coarse, untimely slap at the growing LGBTQIZ∆∇≠ώXΩ∞² community.
The glory that was Rome is of another day Gladiator, hello? Still a top-seller on Netflix. I’ve been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan
OK, Tony, now you’ve really jumped the shark. The population of San Francisco was 837,442 in 2013. Manhattan’s was 1.626 mil- lion. So your claim of being “alone and forgot- ten” in a place with nearly twice as many peo- ple as S.F. seems more like a problem of your own contrivance, Mr. Pouty Pants.
A word to the wise: to take this singer or his sentimental San Francisco song too seriously would be an act of supreme foolishness.
I’m going home to my city by the Bay
Then you’re singing about Fremont? San Mateo? Hayward? Richmond? Specificity, man – which of “your” cities by the bay do you truly own?
I left my heart in San Francisco
Well, apparently you alone among all humans can willfully dispose of your circulatory system’s central engine, and yet all you suffer is butthurt. Sounds like a scam to get meds, as any experienced physician will immediately recognize.
High on a hill, it calls to me
Indeed, a close reading of these lyrics does remove any doubt that someone involved was “high,” and the suggestion that a geographical location has conscious agency and can transmit any kind of data to an individual only affirms that conclusion.
To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars
Lies. Craven, craven lies (see above). And “little?” Cablecars weigh 15,500 pounds – perhaps 100 times Tony's weight – and measure 27 feet, 6 inches long by eight feet wide.
The morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care
Well why would you, in your penthouse suite at the Mark Hopkins? Never mind the bums out on Market Street – perhaps their visions of you singing a duet with Lady Gaga on a TV screen in the pawn shop window will warm them at 4 a.m.
My love waits there in San Francisco
With a restraining order and a palimony suit, we’re guessing.
Above the blue and windy sea
Finally, the kernel of truth that lends legitimacy to this pack of lies
When I come home to you, San Francisco
Personal pronoun used to address a municipality. Grammar fail.
Your golden sun will shine for me
Well that’s rather solipsistic, Mr. B. But then, you solipsists are all alike.
It appears that our friend Tony left more than his heart in San Francisco. His veracity seems to have become dislodged on some windy, winding street on the Left Coast as well.
So, a word to the wise: to take this singer or his sentimental San Francisco song too seriously would be an act of supreme foolishness.