Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nude photo of 10-year-old Brooke Shields at London's Tate Modern museum.

Regardless of one's position on Roman Polanski's arrest and possible extradition to the USA, there needs to be some additional mention of the wink-wink attitudes regarding sexualization of young girls that was pervasive in the mid-to-late 1970s.

Currently on AOL's PopEater blog, there's an article on the display of a nude photo of a 10-year-old Brooke Shields in a gallery exhibit (with a warning about "challenging imagery") in London's Tate Modern museum:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Any nuanced discussion of the Roman Polanski arrest highly unlikely in USA.

It goes without saying that Roman Polanski's 70s statutory rape (it is rape, whether consensual or forced) of a 13-year-old girl (with a mother who wanted her to be a part of Show Business) was a crime.

And Polanski spent 42 days in Chino prison for "psychological evaluation." A plea deal was created ; the 42 days was to be the entirety of his punishment. Then the judge reneged upon the decision--and Polanski chose to flee the US.

Like him or not, Roman Polanski (in exile from both the US and the UK for over three decades) has been punished enough.

There are more recent crimes that the Los Angeles District Attorney's office should marshal its resources towards prosecuting--rather than trying to "win" an old case that (even the victim agrees) should be put behind us now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

60 MINUTES cheerleads for the war in Afghanistan.

Here's an excerpt from Matea Gold's article about the new season of CBS' 60 MINUTES in Sunday's LOS ANGELES TIMES Calendar section:
[Current executive producer Jeff Fager] said he plans to make Afghanistan a major focus on the program this season, eager to challenge the conventional wisdom that the public has tired of the war [my emphasis, not Ms. Gold's].

And to that end, last night's program led with General Stanley McChrystal doing his best Douglas MacArthur impersonation and croaking SURGE!!! SURGE!!! in an effort to manipulate President Obama into not appearing "weak" and giving McChrystal his extra mass of U.S. troops.

I was surprised that the lovely war-lover Lara Logan wasn't interviewing McChrystal. Instead the stenography task was handled by CBS national security correspondent David Martin.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mackenzie and Susan--aging boomer celebs selling their memories.

I'm guilty of being part of a flock of sheep.

I bought the Mackenzie Phillips book at Target a couple of days ago--not necessarily to read about the book's Big Revelation of alleged (and it should be treated as alleged, rather than 100% actual) incest with her father John Phillips, but to learn her views about more mundane matters such as her film/TV career.

And her fellow-celeb-who-needs-a-revenue-stream Susan Olsen is now giving the world a tell-all book about THE BRADY BUNCH VARIETY HOUR, of all things.

Perhaps it's the first of a trilogy with forthcoming tell-alls about other failed BRADY BUNCH
spinoffs such as THE BRADY BRIDES (sitcom) and THE BRADYS (drama).

SAG election results are in: The Richard Masur empire stikes back.

Just received an e-mail from the Screen Actors Guild--Ken Howard is the new president and Amy Aquino is the new Secretary-Treasurer.

Which means that the Richard Masur "merger with AFTRA is our only hope" mantra now rules the day with SAG.

Log onto to find out the rest of the election results.

Then take a look at to read the pro-and-con comments about the election. I especially enjoyed the comparisons of Ken Howard with George W. Bush and Masur with Dick Cheney.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I was sufficiently irritated by both the Glenn Beck promotional campaign (including stick-tongue-out TIME cover and being the just-announced online interview guest of Katie Couric) to post a YouTube video, which can be found at
Essentially, it makes the point that caricatured Punch-and-Judy GOOD TELEVISION is still so highly valued in both cable and Old Network News that, while "extreme" leftists like Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and Amy Goodman are shut out, buffoons like Beck and Coulter are endlessly put on-air because they get "ratings" and the lunatic fringe of conservatism must be exploited to that end.

To be honest, Championship Wrestling boorishness can be found on the Left as well as the Right--witness the MSNBC host I'm conveniently forgetting the name of [airs post-Scarborough and is styling himself as the progressive O'Reilly; think it's something like Dylan Hanraty] who, on his show last week, almost made me feel sorry for the female Birther he dumped on so viciously.

Yes, I know the Birthers waste valuable time (in court and when they go on television/radio) in trying to undo the Obama presidency. But how is the MSNBC anchor's behavior any different than O'Reilly, Beck and Coulter at their worst?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Re Kanye West, USA TODAY and the Gannett Newspaper chain.

I didn't watch last Sunday's MTV Awards "scandal" involving Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift's award acceptance, but I saw the clip later--plus the shrieking of CNN's Don Lemon and Kyra Phillips.

Yes, Kanye's interruption was not appropriate. But the media and celeb blowback seemed to be rather overscaled in terms of what he actually said (in effect, Beyonce should have won).

It's not as if Kanye West climbed onstage and went into a tirade berating Ms. Swift regarding her talent or her personality or her CD/download sales. If that had happened, I could understand (and agree with) outraged responses.

In fact, something of this exact nature happened three-decades-plus ago at the Country Music Awards (then telecast on CBS) when Charlie Rich apparently pulled out a lighter and set fire to an awards envelope because John Denver (considered too "pop" by some of country's then-Old Guard) won in a certain category.

Few people today remember Rich's outburst. Let's see if Kanye's behavior is referenced in the media, say, five years from now.
While I was in San Francisco last week, I saw one of the dumbest-ever editorial cartoons in an issue of USA TODAY.

The cartoon referenced the recent behavior of Joe Wilson, Serena Williams and Kanye West--lamenting the decline in "civility."

The punchline was someone declaring that he was going to lament the lack of "civility" by "trashing them on my blog."

It's rather pitiful when a newspaper equates public disruption by people in the news with writing blog entries criticizing people for disruption/lack of manners/lack of common sense.

But this must be the house philosophy at the Gannett newspaper chain, which gives us USA TODAY.

Back in 1988, Gannett still owned the Santa Fe, NM newspaper THE NEW MEXICAN. This was during the time that Garry Trudeau's DOONESBURY dared to take a week to satirize/criticize then-Arizona Governor Evan Meacham for objecting to a holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday.

THE NEW MEXICAN pulled the DOONESBURY strips. The newspaper received a lot of criticism for doing so. Then, THE NEW MEXICAN (or possibly Gannett majordomos) reversed its position and ran the Meacham series--but also added an irritated introduction (sort of "we hate to do this, but here they are").

Seems to me that there's no difference between Gannett Newspapers in 1988 and what remains of the chain in 2009.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wish I could get more excited about Joe Wilson and Ellen being chosen as AMERICAN IDOL judge.

[Before proceeding with this insignificant post, let's take a moment to remember the people who were victims of unspeakable terrorism in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania eight years ago today.]

Received an e-mail from MoveOn. Haven't opened it, but I'm sure it's asking me to make donations by using Wednesday's outburst from Joe Wilson (acolyte of legendary racist Strom Thurmond aka the Man Who Gave Us Spiro Agnew As Vice President, among other sins) as a fund-and-consciousness-raising tool.

Wilson said what he said. He's foolish--and it's time to move on and not make his bricklike obstructionism an endless media topic which distracts from the real concern post-Wednesday's speech: what President Obama's truly willing to stand for in terms of creating the final health care legislation.

On to a much more trivial subject--Ellen DeGeneres as the "Nice Judge" for next year's AMERICAN IDOL. Leaving the "jump the shark" arguments aside, Fox and 19 Entertainment have essentially signaled that continuing IDOL as a broad-based "television show" is more important than hiring a mainstream celeb who actually has some music biz experience.

For that matter, someone like David Hasselhoff (who works for Simon Cowell on AMERICA'S GOT TALENT)--with a former big-star-in-Germany recording career--would have been a more appropriate choice.

And probably with a lower price tag per season than Ellen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A modest proposal for both Apple Corps and Apple's iTunes concerning The Beatles.

I spent part of this afternoon listening to The Beatles' remastered now-2-disc PAST MASTERS and was impressed with the improved sound of various singles in either mono or stereo.

And, while awaiting more of the reissues in my mailbox, I'll offer a suggestion to both Steve Jobs' Apple and the various parties (including ex-Beatles and Beatle widows) who make up the Fab Four's Apple.

During this period of reissuing the original British versions of the albums on CD, demand could be carefully nurtured for the mp3 issues by an iTunes-only reissue of the Red (62-66) and Blue (67-70) compilations--using the newly-issued remasters for all the songs included on each.

And downloads for A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, HELP! and YELLOW SUBMARINE as well (a remastered LET IT BE would be great, but I worry that the revisionist opinion of the film as a keep-it-in-the-vault Mistake still persists at Apple Corps).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Watching Bruce Weber short films and getting depressed.

I just watched a quintet of shorts from filmmaker Bruce Weber [his recurring motifs include Hollywood glamour and an abiding love of dogs] currently airing on the Sundance Channel.

One short was dedicated to River Phoenix. And it's fascinating how Phoenix has been near-completely forgotten in the fifteen-plus years since his death. No definitive biography. No retrospectives. Not even a remote comparison to the attention paid to Heath Ledger since Ledger's passing (Ledger's final film, Terry Gilliam's THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, is likely to have a decent-enough opening weekend due to the curiosity factor).

The final short, LIBERTY CITY IS LIKE PARIS TO ME, is now spectacularly poignant and depressing. The viewer gets to watch African-American citizens of Liberty City, Florida celebrating the inauguration of Barack Obama--plus a dance number (set to a soundtrack recording of Sammy Davis, Jr. singing a PORGY AND BESS song) that, in a good way, resembles the song-and-dance interlude in Spike Lee's SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT.

But it's now clear that Obama's not the President and Leader of the Free World that the citizens of Liberty City (and other American towns and cities) hoped for. Instead, he's in the Oval Office to make sure corporate trains run on time and business interests aren't too disturbed by calls for the kind of oversight that decreases profits. And Obama, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod are willing to rope-a-dope liberals (or that antiseptic synonym "progressives") on health care and likely any other key issues until the folks on the Left are worn down from fruitless battle and are willing to accept toothless "compromise" because it's "something to build on."

Sort of like what businesses do when union members go on strike.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tom Hanks, like Richard Masur back in the day, wants Screen Actors Guild to awkwardly merge with AFTRA.


Richard Masur, when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild, was a tireless spokesperson for merging SAG with AFTRA (which handles both actors and radio/TV newspeople)--no matter how unwieldy and awkward the marriage would be.

Tom Hanks, who clearly cares a lot about his Playtone production company, is now espousing a SAG/AFTRA merger. With a merged SAG and AFTRA, it's safe to guess that AMPTP can demand more "reasonable" rates for hiring actors/background for filmed and videotaped "content."

If you're a SAG member, avoid voting for Unite4Strength unless you want to see your union become a pale whisper of what it began as in the 1930s.