Sunday, July 30, 2017

TV: All the chattering stupidity

The wrong people are offering critiques.

That became obvious repeatedly last week.

a new illst

Like when TCM continued their flirtation with saggy, craggy faced Tina Fey and smug and surprisingly dainty for his size Alec Baldwin for "The Essentials."

The 'experts' were on to discuss SOME LIKE IT HOT.


As usual, neither appeared to know much about the movie that was showing.

While Alec tongue bathed Jack Lemmon, Tina praised Tony Curtis as "the revelation in this movie."

Well, Tony and Paul Frees.

Right now, Tina's going, "Huh?''

Paul Frees dubbed the voice of Josephine -- Tony Curtis' female character.

It's called a fact, Tina, learn one.

Next up, Tina comments on FLASHDANCE and praises Jennifer Beals for her amazing dancing?

(Marine Jahan did the bulk of the dancing in the film -- in addition, Beals had two other dance dubles: Crazy Legs and Sharon Shapiro).

Both Tina and Alec praised Billy Wilder.

They really didn't have praise for Marilyn Monroe.

"I was never very drawn to Marilyn," Alec whined.

He also went on about her being unable to remember her lines.

What an ass.

Marilyn Monroe played dumb in SOME LIKE IT HOT -- and she played dumb on the set to get her way.

Wilder had a different conception of the character.  Marilyn wore him down with the endless retakes.  And that's how she got the performance she (and Paula Strasberg) had prepared into the film.  Alec Baldwin can be a real sexist pig and that shows when he fails to grasp how Marilyn -- an artist -- refused to play the industry standard dumb blond because she saw Sugar Kane as something else.

Though much is made of her supposed inability to remember a line  -- a line written on a set prop -- "Where's the bourbon?"  -- she didn't have a problem remembering, she was wearing Billy Wilder down to get her portrayal into the film.

This started not with words, Alec Baldwin, but with a reaction.

In the scene where Sugar's flask falls to the floor, she gave a humane reaction.

Wilder called "cut" and demanded she look cartoonishly terrified and shamed.

They shot it again.

She did it her way.

He did another take.

Over and over.

The reaction she wanted is what's in the picture.

It's really surprising that at this late date, one year away from the 40th anniversary of the publication of Tillie Olsen's groundbreaking SILENCES -- about the additional struggles women have faced to create art -- Marilyn Monroe's is portrayed as an irritant when she was fighting for the integrity of her art.

Not once did Tina or Alec challenge the notion of 'great' Billy Wilder.

Billy Wilder didn't like women in movies -- "Unless she's a whore, she's a bore," he would repeat over and over.

And Billy didn't like working with women -- ask Kim Novak.

The only women Billy liked working with were chorus girls -- they were trained to take orders.  Shirley MacLaine, Barbara Stanwyck.  Great artists, no question, but not prone to disagreeing with directors.  But the problem wasn't Marilyn, it was Wilder.

Wilder couldn't get the film made without her.

He was going to have to adapt.

He'd never worked with a woman as powerful as 1959's Marilyn before. This wasn't the Marilyn of THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, this was an artist who'd grown.

While Alec was trashing Marilyn, Tina was again focused on women's bodies.  She tisked that Marilyn was practically nude in the film.  (Never forget Tina Fey's conservative streak goes far beyond holding onto her 'flower' until the age of 24.)

She shared, "I've warmed up to her, uh, over the years."  Then she wanted to ramble, "I read somewhere that she-she was -- she was reluctant to, uhm, to be shot in black and white.  She didn't want, she didn't want this movie to be in black and white because she knew that she looked great in color.  Uhm, but she looks pretty good in black and white too."

Uhm, Tina, having reduced Grace Kelly to your negative comments on her looks when discussing "The Essentials" about REAR WINDOW, and having now made your 'critique' about Marilyn's beauty, could you please stop focusing on looks?

We know you won't focus next week with Gene Kelly, even though he was one of your crushes, but you sure love to 'critically' reduce women to their looks and nothing more.

And, reality, Marilyn believed her contract specified that her films be shot in color. Wilder shot in black and white because he didn't think Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon would be believable as women in color.  By 1959, color films were the industry standard for prestige films.

Alec and Tina also whined about all the time Marilyn kept the crew waiting.

Poor babies.

Though Tina showed no sympathy for Jack and Tony's complaints about the pain of waiting around in heels and dresses (good for her on that), she had no sympathy for Marilyn's pregnancy.

Or did she just not know about it?

It could be the latter since she knew so damn little.

Billy Wilder knew about the pregnancy.

He could have done the sensible thing and reworked the call times.

He didn't.

This is all Marilyn's fault -- in Alec and Tina's eyes -- the supposed eyes of supposed experts presented by TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES to discuss "The Essential" films.

But they don't know a damn thing.

Alec wanted to reference the Academy Awards -- strange since the film (a) wasn't about the Academy Awards and (b) didn't win any big ones (Orry-Kelly alone won an Academy Award for the film -- for designing the clothes Tina was so appalled by).

If all Alec had to offer was statistics, he might have gone with the Golden Globes.  After all, Marilyn Monroe won a Golden Globe for her performance as Sugar Kane in SOME LIKE IT HOT.  Also winning for the same film was Jack Lemmon and the film itself.

But that would require knowledge and neither Tina (a two-time co-host of the Golden Globes presentations) nor Alec feel they need to posses it or even to prepare ahead of time.  Yet they contemptuously appear to believe their tired banalities are a delightful treat to the world -- pearls tossed to swine.

They are the spawn of the insta-experts of the incestual world of the chat & chews which preach the extreme.  Journalist Ellen Goodman told PBS' FRONTLINE in 1996:

Whenever you're called to do a program like "Nightline" or really any of these shows, its always a very nice young eager booker who calls up and usually her first comment is -- we're doing a show on this subject, we'd like to know whether you have an opinion on this or what your thinking is about it. I have discovered over many years that if it's a show that is on very early in the morning or late at night, the easiest way to get out of doing it is to say "Well I have mixed feelings about this." And you can hear the phone go down, because these shows don't do mixed feelings. What they do is they take ambivalence, they divide it out and one person represents one side of the issue and one person represents the other side of the issue. But you never get what it is that people experience, which is both sides inside their own gut, so that the viewers watching have this impression that everything is polarized. Where they actually experience life as complex and two-handed or eight-handed if you want to go with the octopus.

These cheaply made -- and cheap and tacky -- shows used to confine themselves primarily to Sundays on network TV.  Sadly, today they invade and proliferate on a daily basis -- the bed bugs of basic cable.

It was Demi Moore's Jules in ST. ELMO'S FIRE who laid out a game plan which included "retire a massive disgrace, write a huge best seller and become a fabulous host of my own talk show!"

So many took it to heart -- including George Stephanopoulos -- a self-admitted huge fan of the film.

George's disgrace was the Clinton administration, his best seller was ALL TOO HUMAN and, in 2002, he became the host of ABC's long running Sunday talk show THIS WEEK.

Talk show hosts -- that's what they are.

Rachel Maddow tries to pretend she's a journalist.

She's not.

She's a gabby talk show host selling drama and heated rhetoric, outrage and sanctimony

That's pretty much all of them.

They are not offering discussions of issues.

Reasonable talk doesn't generate ratings.

They are hacks inciting anger and outrage and enriching themselves in the process.

They and their guests usually know little of value.

Again, to quote Ellen Goodman on FRONTLINE in 1996:

My sense of what's a real problem is the instant analysis. ...You end up becoming thoughtless. People who write very well and with some sensitivity, suddenly they're on one of these programs and they are doing knee jerk commentary on subjects about which they know very little and would never write about. You ought to have some sense of humility that you actually cannot know enough to have a reasonable opinion on Bosnian policy on Monday, on healthcare reform on Tuesday, on welfare on Wednesday, and on Mexican monetary policy on Thursday. It's ludicrous.

And CNN proved it last week when they decided to address the issue of transgendered person serving in the military by speaking with . . .

Chelsea Manning?

Chelsea's a transgendered woman who served in Iraq.

She would have some value to add to the discussion.

In fact, any transgendered person could have spoken on the issues they face and how that would effect the military in a positive or negative manner.  (For the record, we support allowing those who wants to serve to join the military.)

But CNN didn't interview Chelsea.

They didn't interview a transgendered person.

They interviewed a gay man.

Gay and transgendered are not the same.

It's insulting to imply that they are.

No gay person, at present, is facing a risk of being denied access to public restrooms.

The same cannot be said for transgendered persons.

That's far from the only issue.

Yes, gay men and lesbian have been persecuted in our society.

But the persecution facing a transgendered person has different qualities and it was incredibly insensitive -- as well as stupid -- for CNN and the guest to create that segment.

It reminds us of X.

For many years, we mocked X here because whenever a CNN or MSNBC or whatever needed to put a veteran on the air, there he was.

It didn't matter, for example, that the issue was assault in the military.

He had never been assaulted (we do not use the term "sexual assault" -- rape is not about sex and using the term "sexual assault" perpetuates the myth that it is about sex).

But there he was weighing in on this issue effecting female serving and that issues effecting him.

We used his real name then.

He's apparently processed the criticism because he now uses his media time much more wisely and allows other veterans to speak on issues he does not have experience with.

So we'll just call him X in this and thank him for grasping the point.

Others haven't.

If there's one thing worse than the idiots on the chat and chews, it's the ones who play like they are experts on Twitter.

As usual, where there's inherent stupidity, there's Debra Messing.

BIDEN slaps down Trump-

There was no reason for Debra to reTweet that crap.

Or for Adam Khan to Tweet it in the first place.

Debra's a failed actress who's returning to a WILL & GRACE reboot where she will most likely once again be outshined by her three co-stars.  Adam's a public beggar.  In about a month, he grabbed $14,000 of other people's money so he could Tweet full time -- he may even write a book.  We'd suggest he title it: HOW I WASTED MY LIFE.

His Tweets are so bad he's been likened to Glenn Beck and called a conspiracy theorist -- and that's just from left outlets like BUZZFEED.

What he Tweeted a few days ago?

An October 21, 2016 CBS NEWS clip.

Adam and Debra are idiots who've embraced their stupidity -- cultivated it, in fact.

In the clip, Joe -- who voted for the Iraq War -- a fact Debra and Adam 'forget' expresses anger at Donald Trump.


In the clip, Joe gripes, "This guy says 'The only reason why they did it -- meaning move on Mosul -- is because she's running for the office of president and they want to look tough."

Oh, that stupid Donald Trump!

Except . . .

August 1, 2016, POLITICO published Mark Perry's "Get Ready for Obama's 'October Surprise' in Iraq: If Iraqi and Kurdish troops -- with stepped-up US support -- retake Mosul as planned, it could be a big boost for Hillary."

We know about that -- and noted it in real time -- because we actually pay attention to topics we discuss.  We're not insta-experts.  We do the work required and only explore topics we can speak to.

On that, from 2009 until she resigned as Secretary of State, we were accused by some readers as being an "apologist for Hillary" Clinton because we repeatedly drew a line between her and Iraq policies.  We stated repeatedly that she was not over Iraq (other than the training of Iraqi forces -- a mission that began at the end of 2011 and quickly ended due to lack of support from the Iraqi government).

We noted repeatedly that Joe Biden, Vice President of the US, was over Iraq and had input from Samantha Power.

We bring this up because the clip Debbie and Adam are popularizing also features Joe self-bragging, "I have been put in charge of Iraq going back to 2009."

Just as we said.

We also repeatedly noted that Hillary couldn't be in charge of Iraq.

Which led some readers to think we meant because Hillary voted for the Iraq War so they'd write to inform us that Joe did as well.

That's not why Hillary couldn't be in charge.

We do the work.

Unlike the insta-experts, we do the damn work required.

We were at the 2008 hearing where Hillary publicly called Nouri al-Maliki a "thug."

She was right.

But because of that remark, she could not be the US lead on Iraq while Nouri remained prime minister (he finally was replaced in the fall of 2014).

Insta-experts never like to work but they sure do love the sound of their own voices.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }