Saturday, March 28, 2009

Freelance Trash Talkers

The proliferation of rabid conservative trash talk against
First Lady Michelle Obama would be funny if it wasn't so
mean-spirited, unwarranted and just plain sad. Right
wing pundit Burt Prelutsky at is so deeply
perturbed by the fact that "everytime (he) turns around,
there she (this exceptionally poised and photogenic woman)
is on a magazine cover" that he just has enough saliva to
spat "
The burning question in my circle is: if the First Family
gets a female dog, will she be the First Bitch or will she have
to settle for second place?"
Oh, no, he didn't!

Prelutsky's seems oblivious to the fact that magazine editors
put certain people on magazine covers because they sell
magazines. There is no altruism in that business. If Mrs.
Obama is on so many magazine covers it is because she
is moving copies. If she wasn't, somebody else would be
on those covers. Which makes spittle-mouthed Prelutsky's
next statement even more ridiculous:"Naturally, the
left-wing media is now trying to convince us that this
James Brown-look-alike has all the allure, glamour and
fashion sense of Jackie Kennedy." Yep, that must be
the case except for the inconvenient fact that anything
almost wholly owned by the likes of Rupert Murdock,
Summer Redstone, GE and the Disney Corporation is
anything BUT left-wing.

Prelutsky believes in respecting the Office of First Lady but
does not hesitate to disparage First Lady Obama because she
"attended the same racist church as her hubby for 20 years."
As Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" would say, "How convenient!"

But let's put that aside for a moment and consider
right-wing radio host and commentator, Tammy Bruce,
who had the temerity to call Michelle Obama "trash" in
reaction to the First Lady's visit to a Washington D.C.
public high school. Inspiring inner city students to speak
the "King's English" and to strive for excellence made
the First Lady "trash." Really?

I said earlier this would all be funny if it wasn't so sad. And it
is sad because this is not the first time in my life I have seen
the wife of a popular President vilified by a rabid press and
largely impotent opposition after a major sea-change in the
national political climate.

It was nearly thirty years ago and that woman was Nancy
Reagan, a refined and graceful woman who suddenly morphed
into the Wicked Witch of the West after her enormously
popular husband was elected President in 1980.

There is another simularily between the Obamas and the
Reagans: they are couples where both parties clearly
adore one another. So how do political scoundrels hurt
an enormously popular President? By attacking the
person nearest and dearest to his heart.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Watch the Watchmen

Watchmen is big and gorgeous with plenty to say and the
misanthropic chutzpa to say it.
Rarely has such a fully realized
alternative future reached fruition on the big screen.
I gloried
in the opening montage where cherished cultural touchstones
were embraced even as they were twisted and perverted.
howled inside when Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous “V-J Day in
Times Square” photograph was subverted by the sailor being
replaced by the super butch super heroine Silhouette (Apollonia
The use of such hoary but hilarious devices as the
ersatz but dead nuts on John McLaughlin Group (featuring a
faux Elenor Clift and a fake ass Pat Buchanan) to advance
story and provide context is inspired.
Every frame of the
movie is chocked full of information (if ever a movie would
reward frequent viewing,
Watchmen is it).

Watchmen is the movie The Dark Knight is reputed to be.
While The Dark Knight is just a big fat comic book, Watchmen
is true to its lineage as the first graphic novel to win the Hugo
And while I loved it, that is not necessarily a good thing.
A real movie about real guys in tights, Watchmen doesn’t show
any inclination to don super suits.
Which is kind of a problem,
this being a superhero movie and the first rule of Superhero
Club is to dispense with the exposition and cut to the chase.

Not only does Watchmen violate that rule, it trammels it,
exposition leaking out of every sweaty, blood soaked pore.

Built on the simplest and most sturdy of narrative chassis,
Watchmen opens with a splashy murder and then follows
a sad sack detective - Jackie Earle Haley in fedora and
rumpled trench coat - on a lonely but relentless search
for the truth and justice (if not the American Way).

Haley is a revelation as Rorschach the human ink blot.

He inhabits his deeply flawed, psychologically damaged
but relentlessly “moral” avenger with a steely humanity
that is often thrilling.
His one man against many stance
while incarcerated is an exhilarating set piece.
His mission
statement: “I am not in prison with them; they are in
prison with
ME!” is tattooed on my consciousness. In
many ways Haley’s performance is as impressive as
Health Ledger’s turn as the Joker in
The Dark Knight.

Equally impressive is Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the
Comedian and Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan.
blue-skinned Dr. Manhattan is a marvelous construct
and Morgan’s sweaty, hormone oozing, cigar chomping,
pure id performance as an opportunistic soldier of
fortune with a heart of lead is the messy glue that
holds this dystopian narrative together.
The duplicity
and complicity of Morgan’s character both informs and
His and Dr. Manhattan’s jingoistic stomp
through the killing fields of Viet Nam won my heart
and my mind.

At its core, Watchmen is a Superman movie where
Lex Luthor (Matthew Goode as Ozymandias, the smartest
human on earth) wins.
It also takes the notion of the all
powerful superhuman to its inevitable conclusion.
frankly, it’s more than a little disconcerting.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The ScarJo Hotness Meter

Gentlemen (and Ladies), today I announce the birth of the ScarJo
Hotness Meter. To determine the relative hotness of a respective

actress/singer/celebutante, you must add or subtract their position
on Maxim's annual Hot 100 list from Scarlett Johansson's current
position. Further, to enable one to apply the ScarJo meter without
getting slapped, the ScarJo is scored like a round of golf. You add (a
stroke?) for each position a woman is below ScarJo on the list.

ScarJo is number two on the 2008 list.

Which means (on the ScarJo Meter):

Marissa Miller is a -1
Scarlett Johansson is even par.
Eva Mendez is a +5
Hayden Panettierre is a +11
Beyonce is a +12 (I demand a recount!)
Rihanna is a +13
Jennifer Love Hewitt is a +18
Eliza Dushku is a +36
Zoe Saldana is a +40
Gabrielle Union is a +71 (blasphemy!)

Since both Halle Berry and Rosario Dawson are not on this list I can only conclude that they are literally OFF THE SCARJO HOTNESS SCALE(obviously too hot for the ScarJo meter to measure).

Gentlemen: the comment line is on the left.
Ladies: the complaint line starts to the right.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Be Real Black for Me

I had an ah-ha! moment this weekend while reading a Sean Penn interview in Rolling Stone Magazine. Penn quoted Cleve Jones, the former lover of Harvey Milk, as stating that liberal heterosexuals think the only difference between them and homosexuals is the sex while, in fact, the only thing heterosexuals and homosexuals have in common is the sex. I believe the same thing can be said about white Americans and black Americans: the only thing we have in common is the sex.

This said, I applaud President and Mrs. Obama for continuing to be their "natural black selves." I have fought for nearly a quarter century on the battleground of workplace discrimination. I have seen black people play the corporate game every which way there is and I have come to the conclusion that this is the only course of action that works is to retain your essential black selves - no matter now pervasive the pressure is to co-op one's self.
I adore that Michelle defiantly continues to show off her well-toned arms - heck, she worked hard for them and what woman should be denied the pleasure of showing off what she considers here best parts? - further, I love that the Obamas blithely ride the fine line between propriety and parody by both ignoring and embracing the stereotype of black folks cluelessly taking over and putting a children's play area behind the Oval Office, replacing a tennis court with a basketball court and having barbeques on the south lawn.

Hosanna Obamas!