Here’s a short political manifesto written by a Brookline-residing mom, titled “Why Caroline Kennedy and I are for Obama” and sent to me a few minutes ago: Her thinking is summed up in four words: “It’s about our kids.” It’s the most moving and concisely stated vote-for-Obama plea I’ve read since the primary season began.
“Remember when we were young idealists, 18 years old, voting for the first time? Who was your first? The first candidate I voted for was Jimmy Carter. I felt empowered, like my vote mattered, like together, we could change the course of history.
“That’s the last time I voted for the winning candidate. In the Reagan years I became increasingly disillusioned and felt completely out of touch with the rest of the country. I never liked Bill Clinton, although I liked his policies. He seemed sleazy to me, and has since revealed his base tendencies. But all that is beside the point.
“Our kids, Caroline and mine, are now of voting age and this will be their first presidential election.
“We brought these kids into a world where global warming, off-shoring, the shrinking of the American dream, housing priced out of their reach and failure of the safety net of Social Security and Medicare will be their reality.
“It’s our duty now to listen to them. This is their future and Obama is their candidate.
“He has shown that he can enlist the young en masse.
“In Caroline Kennedy’s words: ‘Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.”
“We’ve left a mess for our kids: they’ll never be able to own a home, they’ll never have job security and they’ll never be able to retire. Give your kids the President they want.”
Of all the actors Vanity Fair could have picked to stand in for Cary Grant in a restaging of the classic crop-duster scene in Alfred Hitchcock‘s North by Northwest, they chose (who else?) Seth Rogen. They even had the original makers of the sleek gray suit that Grant wears in the 1959 film, Norton & Sons of London’s Savile Row, to weave a near-duplicate for the somewhat out-of-shape star of Knocked Up and The Pineapple Express. This and other Hitchcock recreations are part of a special article in the Hollywood issue.
The easygoing, conservative-minded, regular-guy attitudes exuded by Jay Leno (and his conservative, regular-guy sense of humor) have always been more popular than the satiric-minded, vaguely jaded, oddball urban attitudes exuded by the effete smarty-pants David Letterman. So it goes among regular tube-watchers out there, who probably have more in common with Giants or Boston Red Sox fans than they do with theatregoers, book-readers or opera lovers.
N.Y. Times reporter Bill Carter has written that “after returning to regular shows on Jan. 2nd, Leno averaged about 5.2 million viewers on NBC while Letterman on CBS has averaged 4.1 million. Last week Leno pulling in 5 million viewers compared to 3.6 million for Letterman. It will always be this way. Johnny Carson was always vastly more popular than Dick Cavett, etc. This is Amurrica. Pass the mashed potatoes.
Solid, straight words about that Heath Ledger drug video from Village Voice columnist Michael Musto: “So a bunch of celebs came to dead Heath Ledger’s rescue at the behest of a publicist and partly as a result of the pressure, Entertainment Tonight dropped the video they had bought of the actor at an ’06 drug party. And once again, the PR industry succeeds in keeping the truth from the public.
“Flacks were suddenly outraged over the ‘bad taste’ involved in running such a video, but THEY’RE the class acts who accept large sums of money to obscure celebrity realities on a daily basis. Talk about bad taste!
“I’m not saying this was going to be a Pulitzer winning tape or even provide any concrete answers about Heath’s sad demise, but it certainly promised to be newsworthy and less coy than the OFFICIAL reactions anyone’s gotten about what happened. Let’s not forget the maid who spoke to an Olsen twin way before calling 911 or the various people stepping forward to downplay any potential self destruction involved, as if a 28-year-old could have suddenly dropped from natural causes. Strangely, they’re the same people lionizing Heath for having hated any form of b.s.! This tape couldn’t have truly hurt anyone. The truth — even in sensationalized form — can only heal.”
With Fox honcho Peter Chernin reportedly telling pals that the WGA strike is “over,” it feels good — secure, comforting, bucks-up — knowing that the splashy, tedious, quality-ignoring Oscar show will almost certainly happen on 2.24. And it feels good to contemplate once again the Vanity Fair Hollywood issue group-shot cover, as we all do every time this year.
Vanity Fair Hollywood issue cover, on sale February 12th.
One sure way to get hit by a shitstorm is to qualify that statement made last weekend on a Fox News political talk show by conservative pundit Bill Kristol, to wit: “Look, the only people for Hillary Clinton are the Democratic establishment and white women…it would be crazy for the Democratic party to follow the establishment that’s led them to defeat year after year…white women are a problem but, you know, we all live with that.”
The last part of this statement is obviously sloppy and offensive and misogynist, but (okay, bring it on) older white women are Clinton’s biggest supporters. More than any other Democratic voting bloc, they’re the ones standing in the way of the Obama wave because they feel so in league with Hillary and are so in love with the symbolism of a woman occupying the Oval Office, regardless of the massive Hillary negatives (unifying the right, voters not wanting to return to the psychodrama of the ’90s, etc.) and the polls showing she could very possibly lose to John McCain next November.
But you can’t say this without being accused of crude thinking or offending all these women voters and thereby deepening their Hillary support. The only truly safe and inoffensive thing to say about older white women voters supporting Hillary is….they don’t exist. Except they do. Kristol was wrong, yes, but not entirely so.
On January 8th, New York‘s “Vulture” page ran a short piece about how “I drink your milkshake” (the Daniel Day Lewis line in There Will be Blood) had become a sort-of goof-off phrase that people were kicking around in bars, parties and ticket-buying lines.
On January 9th I wrote two milkshake items, one of them urging Paramount Vantage marketers to use this as a marketing hook (“get on the milkshake train!”). Some were writing even then that the milkshake thing had jumped the shark, which I thought was ridiculous. A cultural catch phrase being dismissed by guys who sit in front of their computers all day in their underwear usually means it’s just begun to get traction with Average Joes.
Now, almost a full month later (an eon in terms of the “moving train”), USA Today‘s Scott Bowles and his slow-on-the-pickup editors are finally slurping it up. Bowles mentions that Kevin Kunze‘s Milkshake video (posted 1.13.08) has been watched 60,000 times, and the existence of IDrinkYourMilkshake.com. Old hat, all of it.
Except for Paul Thomas Anderson‘s telling Bowles that “he’s puzzled by the phenomenon — particularly because the lines came straight from a transcript he found of the 1924 congressional hearings over the Teapot Dome scandal, in which Sen. Albert Fall was convicted of accepting bribes for oil-drilling rights to public lands in Wyoming and California.
“Fall’s way of describing [oil drainage] was to say ‘Sir, if you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and my straw reaches across the room, I’ll end up drinking your milkshake,’ ” Anderson says. “I just took this insane concept and used it.”
In a 2.3.08 N.Y. Times column about irrational Hillary haters, inspired by Jason Horowitz‘s GQ piece about same in the January issue, Stanley Fish notes two rational reasons for being against the New York Senator: (1) Believing that “her personality [is] unsuited to the tasks of inspiring and uniting the American people,” and (2) believing “that if this is truly a change election, she is not the one to bring about real change.”
Then he mentions “the next level” — i.e., “personal vituperation unconnected to, and often unconcerned with, the facts.” One permutation is the obsession among some with the “strangeness” of Clinton’s eyes. (Horowitz’s piece says that “analysis of [her] eyes is a favorite motif among her most rabid adversaries.”) I always stand by reasons #1and #2, but the deep-down truth is that her eyes bother me also. They bring back an almost primal reconnection with the eyes of a particular eighth-grade teacher who used to get on my case and give me detention and bring levels of misery into my 13 year-old life that I didn’t know existed.
It’s deeply unfair and hurtful, really, to bring up a facial feature as a sticking point, but it’s also fair to say that your basic attitude and spiritual essence starts to work its way into your features once you pass 40. Because it does.
That TV ad for Juno with Mott the Hoople‘s “All The Young Dudes” on the soundtrack is driving me insane. It’s playing over and over and over on the tube, and I’m hating the big Juno “sell” because it’s not selling the movie but a huggy-sensitive ad agency version of it. I may be the only person having this reaction, but the ad is exerting an almost Norbit-like effect. If I hear the words “the best thing you can do is to find a person who loves you for exactly who you are” one more time…
N.Y. Times media columnist David Carr has tapped out an interesting zeitgeist-snapshot piece about how and why the N.Y. Post decided to endorse Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton.
“Tabloids thrive on heat,” he states. “They love a running story, but they also get bored easily. Col Allan, the editor of the Post, is someone who lives and dies by understanding the moment. And it is his opinion, and that of [owner Rupert] Murdoch, that this moment does not belong to the Clintons.
“In its purest form, the Post functions as a kind of mood ring and mirrors the public√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s lack of enthusiasm for a package presidency that has Bill Clinton in campaign mode again. The Post has lost its appetite for Mrs. Clinton for the same reason that they lost interest in Paris Hilton: that wasn√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢t the story their readers wanted.”
By hiring Joe Johnston, a respected high-grade hack, to take over the direction of The Wolfman in the wake of Mark Romanek‘s sudden departure, producers Scott Stuber and Mary Parent have essentially announced to the industry and to fans that they’re playing it “safe” and that no one should expect anything more than a slick, proficient, hack-level popcorn movie. Perhaps on the level of Mike Nichols‘ Wolf (which I liked until the end), and perhaps not. But definitely in focus! And with great special effects!
The plus in this equation is star Benicio del Toro, who always upgrades. The downside is the script, which allegedly needs work but can’t be worked on until the WGA strike ends, which may be presently.
Johnston’s two best films — Jumanji and October Sky — came out in ’95 and ’99. The notion of Johnston being a hefty-paycheck, Spielberg-aspiring slick operator began to take over with his direction of Jurassic Park III (’01) and Hidalgo (’04). No one despises Johnston — he’s “fine” — but he brings a slight nod-off, good-enough factor to the project.
The truly ballsy move would have been for Stuber and Parent to hire John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Schlock), the godfather of the modern ravenous biped genre.