Sunday September 12, 2010
- Are the Democrats serious? Listen, this is why I back Pres. Obama and this is why the Dems piss me off. If you cannot sell taxing the richest 1% to the other 99%, then you cannot sell anything and better get out of the game.
- After Jonathan Franzen landed on the cover of Time magazine a few weeks back, Craig Ferman did the hard work and figured out, decade by decade, how many other authors have been on Time's cover. The answer?
- 1920s: 14, including Conrad, Shaw, Kipling, Sinclair Lewis and...Michael Arlen?
- 1930s: 23, including Cather, Stein, Joyce, Mann, Dos Passos, Woolf, Hemingway, Malraux, Joyce again, Faulkner and...John Buchan?
- 1940s: 7 (a war was on, kids), including Sinclair Lewis (again), and...Kenneth Roberts?
- 1950s: 11, including T.S. Eliot, Frost, Thurber, Hemingway (again), Malraux (again), and...James Gould Cozzens?
- 1960s: 10, including Salinger, Baldwin, Lowell, Updike, Solzhenitsyn, Nabakov and...Phyllis McGinley?
- 1970s: 8, including Gunter Grass, Mailer, Vidal, Alex Haley, Solzhenitsyn (again), and... Richard Bach?
- 1980s: 4: John Irving, Updike (again), Keillor and Stephen King.
- 1990s: 4: Turow, Chrichton, Morrison and Thomas Wolfe.
- 2000s: 1: King
- 2010s: 1: Franzen
- As we expected, more or less. Authors were initially central to our culture and then not. But who's missing? No F. Scott Fitzgerald? No John Steinbeck? No Capote, Doctorow, DeLillo, Kundera, Orwell, Roth, Vonnegut? BTW: Is this a new direction for Time? The magazine, which is now also peripheral to our culture, is putting on its cover other things that are periperhal to our culture. Since, it could be argued, the only things central to our culture these days aren't particularly substantial.
- The second-richest man in America in 1986 is now dead. I mention it only because he founded Metromedia, and I used to watch one of those stations, Channel 11, in Minneapolis in the 1970s and '80s. In fact I still have its slogan in my head: A voice intoning: “Metro-Media-Television...” and then dreamily. “11...11...11...” It would be interesting to hear it... Wait a minute. Ah, YouTube. You rarely fail me.
- A great Onion piece: God Angrily Clarifies “Don't Kill” Rule. Money quote from the Lord: “Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don't. And to be honest, I'm really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand.”
- I had a discussion earlier this week on the birth/death/resurrection cycle with some FB friends, and while we were talking politics and the middle class, you could use that same cycle for “At the Movies,” the show that Siskel and Ebert gave birth to, Disney helped kill, and Roger and Chaz Ebert have now resurrected. The announcement on Roger's blog feels more press release than Roger but the clip of the show feels fun and familiar. The main hosts will be the AP's Christy Lemire and NPR's Elvis Mitchell, with MSN's Kim Morgan adding occasional noir/old-film commentary, and Omar Moore, whom I don't know, and whose delivery is a bit stilted compared to the others (but whose thoughts on Alomodvar's “Broken Embraces” post-theatrical success are great), chatting about online film commentary. Will it work? Is it a format whose time has come and gone? Not sure. But who doesn't love a resurrection story?
- Larry Stone, baseball columnist for The Seattle Times, apparently needed a fan at Safeco Field to tell him that the M's were last in almost every offensive category in the Majors. Reason no. 30 why Larry Stone shouldn't be a baseball columnist for The Seattle Times.
- Friday morning I read a piece by Rob Neyer on why no one will break Pete Rose's record of 4,256 career hits. He thinks it's one of the unbreakable career records of baseball—the 7th least likely to be broken, in fact. (Incidentally, his no. 1 is my no. 1: Cy Young's complete games. No one's touching this.) As for why Rose's record is unbreakable? Neyer says you need a guy who 1) gets a ton of hits, 2) doesn't walk much, 3) doesn't get hurt, 4) leads off. Those guys don't come around much. He mentions Derek Jeter and no one else. I'm thinking: “Dude, Ichiro. He's exactly that guy. He just happened to play the first part of his career in Japan.” Thankfully, that evening, Neyer amended his post with this one, in which he basically smacks his head and offers a mea culpa, or the Japanese version, and says, “Yes, of course: Ichiro, Ichiro, Ichiro.”
- Neyer, by the way, references this Rick Reilly piece on Rose, in which the disgraced Hit King makes some disgraceful comments about the Mariners' Hit King, arguing against infield hits and the legitimacy of Japanese baseball. I never liked Rose. He was a great player but a bully. Plus he had the worst haircut in baseball in the 1970s and that's saying a lot. Plus, you know, he bet on baseball. Interestingly, if Ichiro leads the league in hits this year, and he is at the moment, Ichiro will have led the league in hits the same number of times (7) in his 10 years in the Majors that Rose did in his 24 years in the Majors. How do you like them apples, Pete? But the worst line in the piece isn't from Rose but from Reilly, who, commenting upon the autographed “I bet on baseball” baseballs that Rose sells, asks, “Who else but Pete could turn shame into shekels?” Um... everyone, Rick. Go to any newsstand. It's practically the American way.
- Finally, are you asking yourself, as I'm asking myself, what Marion Cotillard is up to this week? Why, talking to Pip Clements of This is London, that lucky bastard. Takeaway: If she could enter anyone's dreams, she'd choose a lion's; she grew up in Orleans, near Paris, to parents involved in the theater; her teenaged years were “troubled” but acting helped; she had trouble letting go of Edith Piaf after filming “La Vie en Rose”; she likes Chaplin and the Marx Bros.; she's working with Woody Allen and Matt Damon, and her latest French film, “Les Petit Mouchoirs,” directed by boyfriend Guillaume Canet, comes out in France in October; and she's shy when photographed. Evidence: