If a ghost had come up to me at my high-school graduation ceremony and urged me to consider a more positive attitude, I might have been less of a sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll type of guy in my early to mid 20s. But it all turned out okay in the end, thanks to the internet turnover in the mid ’90s.
Two and a half hours ago Indiana-based activist and writer Bill Browning posted a short Huffington Post article containing four reasons why he believes Barack Obama will announce Evan Bayh as his vice-presidential pick on Wednesday morning, plus one other.
One, BHO will want to announce before the start of the Beijing Olympics. Two, Obama and Bayh are coming to Indiana on Tuesday afternoon, and the press has been told they’ll stay in the region until Wednesday afternoon or evening. Three, click on ObamaBayh08.com and it takes you to a Democratic Party site. And four, Browning “just got an invite from the Obama campaign to attend an appearance on Wednesday “that isn’t on Obama’s official calendar. Why not? The campaign said, ‘I can’t tell you what the event is about, but we want to make sure you have a ticket so you can cover it for the Bilerico Project. We want Bilerico Project to be there for this one.'”
By neglecting to mention (a) my knock-knock, plain-as-day comments about the wisdom of hiring the right actor for your movie regardless of his/her political affiliation, a view that all first-rate filmmakers have long adhered to, and (b) my having thoroughly considered claims of liberal Hollywood prejudice against Hollywood conservatives in a fair-minded article for Los Angeles magazine that ran in late ’94, Washington Times columnist Andrew Breitbart has shown himself to be an obedient conservative loyalist by sticking to the regimented attack line. But it’s nice of AB to call HE “influential.”
Washington-based columnist Robert Novak has described his health situation following the diagnosis of a brain tumor as “dire.” He’s immediately retiring in order to submit to treatment. Novak is now the second legendary Washington player who’s been around for decades looking at a very tough deal, the other being Sen. Ted Kennedy. One gathers there’s some kind of linkage between Novak’s diminished condition and his claiming not to have seen or noticed a pedestrian that he hit with his car a couple of weeks ago.
You have to hand it to TMZ.com — they’re always the guys to go to when somebody runs their car off the edge of a road and flips it “several times,” like Morgan Freeman did last night around 11:30 pm near Ruleville, Misssippi . TMZ may be the spawn of satan, but when stuff like this happens, they’re right there (sometimes within minutes), they’re on it and they keep digging, etc.
Freeman and passenger Demaris Meyer, both of whom were seat-belted, were banged up. One source told TMZ that Freeman has “broken several ribs and injured his knee.” But he was reportedly alert and talking to the cops at the scene. Either Freeman and Demaris had both fallen asleep at the same time, or some sort of activity distracted Freeman from focusing on the road…right?
“The most striking thing about the new Batman movie…is its emphasis on sado-masochism as the animating element in American culture these days,” writes James Howard Kunstler in his “Clusterfuck Nation” column. “It must appeal to the many angry people in our land who want to hurt others, even while they themselves feel deserving of the grossest punishments. In other words, the picture reflects the extreme depravity of the current American sensibility. Seeing it all laid out there must be very validating to the emotionally confused audience, and hence pleasurable, in all its painfulness.
There is finally “the derivation of all this sadomasochistic nihilism out of a comic book,” he concludes. “How appropriate, since we have become a cartoon of a society living on a cartoon of a North American landscape, that the deepest source of our mythos comes from cartoons. We’re so far gone that real human emotion is beyond us. We’re too far gone — and even without shame — to care how this odious movie portrays us to the rest of the world. It is already making a fortune out there.”
In explaining his decision to leave the L.A. Times, William Lobdell concisely lays out the basic reasons why so many newspapers are going south. But he gets in a good one with a recent quote from a friend: “Bro, face it — you guys are the 8-track cassette of news.”
“The business model for newspapers is broken,” Lobdell writes, “and no one has figured out how to fix it, probably because it can’t be fixed. The smaller the newspaper, the longer its life span in print (four exceptions: the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, Washington Post and USA Today). Technology has run laps around the print media — giving readers instant news, open-source journalism, no barriers to become publishers, and an infinite news hole.
“The idea that your daily news is collected, written, edited, paginated, printed on dead trees, put in a series of trucks and cars and delivered on your driveway — at least 12 hours stale — is anachronistic in 2008.” Yup, that point has certainly been made.
Then it gets interesting starting with #11, and pretty much stays that way through #42.
It was early and I hadn’t had yet the coffee, but my first reaction to the Pitt-Jolie twins photo, which People and Hello! reportedly paid $14 million for, was that Brad is starting to acquire a little bit of that puffy-faced, man-did-I-tie-one-on- last-night, Nick Nolte thing. In profile, at least. The second was that Vivienne Marcheline, whom I presume is on the left, is now the third family member to have those lips that launched a thousand ships (along with mom and Shiloh). The $14 million will be donated to charities.
In an 8.3 N.Y. Times piece about Judd Apatow and David Gordon Green‘s Pineapple Express (Sony, 8.6), writer Mark Harris notes that “pot comedies seem to be flourishing lately, so much so that the genre is subdividing. Those who will always view the Cheech and Chong ouevre (particularly 1978’s Up in Smoke) as archetypal can find their natural heirs in the high-and-higher flavor of the two Harold and Kumar comedies (with a third in the works).”
Harris mentions two or three others, but ignores Curtis Hanson‘s Wonder Boys, which I’ve long considered one of the most aromatic “light stone” pot movies ever made.
Getting ripped has been a standard youth rite since the late ’60s. Every generation of high-school or college-age students has been toking up since, at least on an every-now-and-then basis before growing out of it or deliberately putting it aside because, as anyone who’s ever turned on knows, pot “gets in the way” of having a semi-disciplined, semi-organized, semi-productive life. Still, the only people who have never turned on are the 65-and-older geezer generations, or the ones who grew up in the early 1960s, ’50s, ’40s and ’30s. And even a percentage of them have probably sampled here and there.
The population of the US of A is therefore 85% “experienced” these days, and there is nothing all that wild or provocative or envelope-pushy about pot comedies as a result. They’re funny (i.e., Pineapple Express) but in a “sure, okay, whatever” sort of way. They’ve acquired the taint of normality.
The more those oil guys suffer, the more likely the top-dog reactionaries are to eventually give up on denial and realize that global warming isn’t kidding around. It’s literally like Yul Brynner‘s Ramses refusal to set free the Jews and suffering one plague after another. “And yet Pharoah’s heart was not moved.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn had 89 tough, proud years on this planet, and surely knew before his death earlier today that his legacy as one of the great all-time ballsy writers of the 20th Century was unassailable. The 1973 publication of The Gulag Archipelago, a scalding account of Soviet prison camps, led to the Soviet Union giving him the boot the following year. This eventually led to a decampment in Vermont and an 18-year period as a Russian expat. His BBC obit notes that “while living [in Vermont] as a recluse, he railed against what he saw as the moral corruption of the west”…hah! A malcontent and a truth-teller wherever he hung his hat.