March 5, 2011 § 1 Comment
I would have preferred to publish this column this morning so that you’d have plenty of intellectual roughage to chomp on throughout the day but alas, I missed my self-imposed deadline. I need a cigar-smoking, bellicose editor breathing down my neck, ensuring some kind of punctuality on my part. No matter; I hereby provide you with some grist for your Friday night conversational mill.
WHAT CHARLIE SHEEN AND JARED LOUGHNER HAVE IN COMMON
We must stop this habit of doling out media coverage to people who not only aren’t deserving of it, but who’ve also indulged in monstrous and/or unacceptable behaviour in order to procure that same media coverage. This terrific New York Times article op-ed piece explores how Sheen’s denigration and abuse of women hasn’t seemed to prevent most so-called journalists from slurping up to him in presumably paid-for interviews. Maybe if we all ignored the guy and stopped rewarding bad behaviour, he and other idiots like him might try something else. Either way, it’d mean less intellectual pollution for all of us.
STEVE HARVEY ON THE FEUD
I’ll admit it- this show has always been a guilty pleasure, but since Steve Harvey took over as host it has gone to a new level. The questions have always been tremendously leading, ie. “name something that a couple does in their bedroom at night with the lights off that involves touching each other- 10 answers on the board!”; the difference is nowadays the contestants aren’t trying to be cute with their answers, happily covering drug use, sex and prostitution in their attempt to win the game. The priceless part of all this is Harvey’s responses: he possesses one of the great deadpan gazes in game show history.
COCKTAILS AT THE GENIUS BAR
I don’t know if the folks at the Apple Store are geniuses, but I do think the people who design these places come close. If you haven’t been to a Genius Bar yet, it’s worth spending the two grand on a mac just to be able to do so. Geeky-looking computer nerds patrol the space, Ipads in hand, ready to help. I had to go twice this week; on both occasions the experience was far too quick. I felt like one of those old hypochondriacal old ladies who have a crush on their doctor and show up every few days, telling the handsome young medic that they don’t feel well. Did they fix my computer? Doesn’t matter.
REMEMBERING THE OLD PENN STATION
Anyone who’s visited or lived in New York has not experienced the city fully until they’ve taken a walk through and around Grand Central. Train travel is as relevant as ever and with flying becoming more and more painful and expensive by the day, high-speed rail covering distances
of 500 miles or less should be an easy alternative, if we ever decide to build it in this country. So it was with great sadness that I took a look at some pics of the old, magnificent Penn Station, which was demolished in the early 60s so that a soulless office building and the “world’s most mediocre…er, famous- arena”, Madison Square Garden, could be built, enriching corporations at the expense of the public. Let this be a lesson to all of us: before we decide to allow companies to have their way and destroy a great landmark, because it has ceased to be “useful”, we might want to examine what is and isn’t useful from a broader perspective, so that we might preserve structures which nourish our soul and add beauty to our day-to-day lives, not to mention moving us around efficiently at an affordable price.
OBAMA THE POLITICIAN
He’s a politician, people. Yes, he’s a good man at heart, he has good intentions and if he had his way and could operate as a benevolent dictator, I think we’d have universal healthcare, strict environmental laws and abolition of corporate personhood…
But he isn’t. In addition, having watched We the People, the documentary about Obama’s rise to the presidency, I now have a new and more tolerant attitude toward the man and a greater understanding of why he has compromised so much in his short time as President: he wants to continue to win elections. The movie is very revealing in that sense, showing him not as a present day Dr.King, fearlessly crashing through societal and political resistance, but more of a hybrid of Bill Clinton in public and Dennis Kucinich at the dinner table with Michelle. What the movie illuminated for me is that his inner Kucinich will only ever be visible between the lines because guess what? The man wants to win. Understanding that, my expectations can be a little lower and my appreciation of his small victories greater.
I wish I had a button for this. Can’t think of one and you’re all waiting for me to finish so you can venture out into this balmy Friday evening. Who am I to stop you.
Pictures, from top: The beautiful original Penn Station.
Obama the professional politician.