Category Archives: Celebrity

UPDATED: Had Robin Williams Been Hopelessly Boxed In? (My Bad)

Celebrity, Film, Hollywood, Human Accomplishment

To be sure, Robin Williams was an enormous talent. This is reflected in the myriad interviews and standup routines playing on TV since his suicide. Although I’ve always enjoyed these impromptu exchanges when I caught them—I’m familiar only with the handful of dramas and thrillers in which Williams starred. And superbly so. As someone who despises silly slapstick like “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The Birdcage,” I have to wonder why a talent like Williams was typecast as the eternal clown. Perhaps this deadening dead-end made him so very sad.

The Williams of “One Hour Photo” was hypnotic in the depth of his portrayal of a lonely misfit’s unraveling. His role in “Insomnia” was less memorable, but nevertheless chilling, as it ought to have been. Roger Ebert panned “The World According to Garp,” but I loved Williams in it. I saw “The Night Listener,” too.

That’s as far as the Robin Williams oeuvre available to me goes. Sad that. Had Robin Williams of blessed memory been hopelessly boxed in? I suspect so.

Williams seemed a gentle soul. He had a sad, intelligent, twinkle in the eyes, and he always looked as if he was about to start bawling, for real.

UPDATE (8/16): My Bad. “Awakenings”: A doff of the hat to my young friend Kerry Crowel, who reminded me that “‘Awakenings’ starred Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro in a really heavy drama about a doctor caring for patients that have awoken from long comas, or something like that. I remember the critics loving it.” I loved it too. I saw it. Both actors were brilliant.


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UPDATE II: Joan Rivers: Antidote to PC Totalitarianism (‘PC Demands Deadly Seriousness’)

Celebrity, Communism, Political Correctness, Pop-Culture, Propaganda, The Zeitgeist

“Joan Rivers: Antidote to PC Totalitarianism” is now on WND. An excerpt:

WARNING: If you suffer from spineless conformity; a deformation of the personality often euphemized as political correctness—quit reading this column, NOW!

If you don’t quite know whether you are thus afflicted, ask yourself this: “Do I police what people say for political propriety? To the extent that I seek it out, do I scrutinize great literature, music, art, television or comedy for signs of so-called sexism, racism, elitism, homophobia, antisemitism and meanness? Am I incapable of appreciating a superbly written script or book; a sublime painting or symphony; a smart stand-up routine, if only because the material and its creator violate the received laws of political correctness?

Still unsure if you belong to the tyrannical, joyless tradition of cultural Marxism, read on. In the event that you convulse with laughter, give yourself a clean bill of health. If you foam at the mouth, fit to be tied, go away. And stay away.

Women who should make themselves scarce but won’t are the prototypical, inquisitor-cum-anchors plaguing leftist “news” networks. Acting anchor-enforcer for Fourth of July was CNN’s unremarkable Fredricka Whitfield. Fredricka What’sHerName’s would have left behind a sustained program of non-achievement. No longer. Henceforth, her claim to fame is that she attempted to re-educate an iconic comedienne, Joan Rivers.

Since cultural Marxists police speech for propriety, if not consciously, then reflexively, they will take pains to stigmatize and isolate those who violate standards set by the PC set. The term re-education is associated with this totalitarianism. It has been used in the context of both brainwashing as well as “reformation” induced in labor camps.

Through a series of loaded, snide taunts, coupled with unhinged body language, the prissy preachy Fredricka set about reeducating her featured guest about the rules of conduct in the post-personality era. “You shall not be mean” (*except to all men and all conservatives and authentic contrarians) is the latest monomania to grip the politically correct.

Alas, as the object of her pelting, Fredricka the fundamentalist was foolish enough to target the wrong funny lady. Rivers is too old and too independent for “rehabilitation.” …

Read the complete column. “Joan Rivers: Antidote to PC Totalitarianism” is now on WND.

Our German readers can now follow this column and other worthy writers in the JUNGE FREIHEIT, a weekly newspaper of excellence.

Editors wishing to feature the “Return to Reason” column in their publications, pixel or paper, please contact Bookings@ilanamercer.com. Or, ilana@ilanamercer.com

UPDATE I (7/13): Writes my mom:

“I so enjoyed your article defending that great American satirist: in bone and blood Joan Rivers is a satirist. In intelligence and wit and comedy she’s far above others, she is a great. Outrageous, I love her.

UPDATE II (7/14): Jack Kerwick has a lovely column on same topic. A quote: “For certain, much of life demands seriousness, but our culture’s prevailing zeitgeist—what we commonly refer to as ‘Political Correctness’ (PC)—demands not seriousness, but deadly seriousness. … Contrary to the conventional wisdom, racial, ethnic, and religious ‘stereotypes’ are most decidedly not fictions sprung from thin air. They reflect enduring patterns among a significant number of a group’s members—even if (as is almost always the case) it is only a significant minority. When these stereotypes reflect positively on a group, all is good. When they are negative, though, there is no end to the inter-group conflict that they can so easily fuel. …”


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I Still Remember Franz Beckenbauer

Celebrity, Sport

As a small child growing up in Israel, I still remember watching the great footballer Franz Beckenbauer playing The Netherlands for the world cup soccer finals. On the political front, commendable is the classy manner in which “Emperor” Beckenbauer stood up to- and put an American inquisitor in his place. My soccer allegiances for the World Cup 2014 are still with the work horses of Europe, Germany (“perhaps the best team in the world”), as well as with the US, of course. (Portugal is too socialist to support. The team’s star is good looking in an oleaginous way, as are the fans, but that’s neither here nor there.) I’ll be pleased if either Germany or the US wins.


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Go Alweady, Bawbawa Walters!

Celebrity, Intellectualism, Journalism, Left-Liberalism, Media

Barbara Walters has promised to retire. But then so did that lip-licking lizard, Larry King. You can’t take them at their word.

In my journalism-school days one looked up to the brilliant and brave late Oriana Fallaci. Now, it’s mediocrities like colorectal crusader Katie Couric and Barbara Walters who’re considered cutting-edge clever. And they’ve sired a new crop of cretins. Can you believe that talking coifs such as Brook Baldwin and Erin Burnett of CNN are regularly asked to address university graduates? There is NOTHING these people can say that can edify or enlighten. Nothing. They are walking cliches. The same goes for the Fox News crop, with some exceptions (Gerri Willis, Elizabeth MacDonald, Melissa Francis).

As the author of America’s “Most Fascinating People List,” Barbara Walters had redefined the concept of “fascinating.” The detritus of humanity paraded by the reality TV racket is where the boorish broadcaster turned for “fascinating” figures. She was thus an integral cog in a coarsening culture. Some of her past picks for the List included Paris Hilton, Victoria and David Beckham, Kim Kardashian and Justin Timberlake.

All Walters’ interviews make the flesh crawl. Paris Hilton’s porn debut, in which the woman made narcissistic love to the camera, (i.e. herself) was transformed by Walters’ syrupy “journalism” into a PG-rated tale of innocence betrayed.

And the Walters empathic posturing concealed a good deal of cattiness, even cruelty. Her idea of getting to the guts of a story: Bringing a supremely vulnerable celebrity to tears. The wicked Walters once prefaced an interview with singer Celine Dion by pronouncing, “You are not beautiful.” She then watched gleefully as tears welled in Dion’s beautiful eyes.

The only person to rival such bitchiness is sly Katie Couric. She once interviewed Hillary Clinton while drunk with love for Obama. Couric’s below-the-belt barbs and blithe probes about Obama—but not the issues—made Hillary appear elevated by comparison. Clinton was courteous where Katie was cruel. “Someone told me your nickname in school was Miss Frigidaire. Is that true?” Couric asked. “Only with some boys,” Clinton said, laughing. The answer was quick and classy.

Good newsmen are a dying breed. Good newswomen are mostly dead already. By the time she died, Oriana Fallaci had long since been buried professionally by mediocrities like Barbara Walters. For her contempt of Islam, Fallaci was forced to flee her native Italy. She came to America, where, needless to say, she did not make it onto Barbara’s List or as a “CNN Heroes” nominee.


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Hag’s ‘Humanitarian Posturing’

Celebrity, Foreign Policy, Gender, Neoconservatism

Someone has provided a much needed pictorial corrective to the “humanitarian posturing” evinced in the “#BringBackOurGirls” “hashtag campaign,” conducted by Michelle Obama and the gormless glitterati.

Writes William Norman Grigg:

“Michelle Obama spared a moment between lavish tax-victim-funded vacations and celebrity outings to join this year’s version of the Kony campaign, which seeks military action in Nigeria to liberate 276 Christian schoolgirls who were abducted by Muslim militants.”

The Twitter campaign — in which people pose with signs reading #BringBackOurGirls — is not directed at the terrorists and kidnappers, whose hearts will not be softened by such entreaties. The intent is to cultivate public support for a “humanitarian” military operation conducted by the same kind-hearted folks who have slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people during the past twelve years, and who are lending financial and military support to Jihadis in Syria who are committing atrocities every bit as vile as those carried out by Boko Haram.

This isn’t to say that the everyone who has enlisted in this hashtag campaign is a cynical war-monger, opportunistic politician, or trend-sucking celebrity. The heroic Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel nominee who survived being shot in the head by Taliban gunmen as punishment for promoting education for young girls, has joined the movement as well. Malala’s moral authority comes not merely from what she suffered in Pakistan, but from her willingness to confront the Nobel-winning murderer in the Oval Office over his continuing campaign of state terrorism. …

MORE.


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UPDATE II: Sycophant’s Supper 2014 (Guffaws and Genuflection)

Barack Obama, Celebrity, Critique, Ethics, Government, Journalism, Left-Liberalism, Politics

The Hollywood Reporter tells of why there will be fewer wealthy, worthless people at one of the most sickening specters of the year: The annual White House Sycophants’ Dinner, where the most pretentious people in the country—in politics, journalism and entertainment—convene to revel in their ability to petition and curry favor with one another, usually to the detriment of the rest of us in Rome’s provinces.

The pretty people don’t want to be “pawed” by the politicians. That’s the official line. The real reason: this trashy Idiocracy is losing interest:

… one Hollywood insider, who asked not to be identified, tells The Hollywood Reporter that the lack of swoon-worthy A-list movie stars shows that the lure of the event has faded dramatically.

Those gathered at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner are not the country’s natural aristocracy, but it’s authentic Idiocracy—a group of people who make their living pretending to be something they are not. Poseurs and parasites all.

Granted, actors do not coerce the citizenry to patronize their (mostly) lousy flicks. However, when they use their celebrity to push unconstitutional, naturally unlawful policies—then they are acting as enemies of the people.

Mostly, I find Hollywood disgusting. Every time I turn around a “celebrity” is preaching and propagandizing for the leftist cause du jour. Some of these tarts and tards were using their tushes and other assets to tell their betters (YOU) to be good and do your “duty” to support this or the other of their pet policies.

Like nothing else, the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner is a mark of a corrupt politics. The un-watchful dogs of the media have no business frolicking with the president and his minions. This is co-optation. And when did the phonies of Hollywood become a fixture in this event?

The toxic “tradition” began in 1920, and, as far as I know, is sponsored by THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ ASSOCIATION. The “White House Correspondents’ Association was formed in 1914 as a liaison between the press and the president.”

The event and the invited tell a great deal about the Association, its ethics and code of conduct.

That aside, I happen to think Obama can be a very funny guy, but his political exploits have marred his ability to make thinking people laugh at any of his jokes, no matter how self-deprecating.

UPDATE I (5/4): On CNN, the SS (Sycophant’s Supper) turned into another excuse for a no-news, day-Long occasion to guffaw and genuflect to CNN “reporters” and to the Gilded Ones. In its broadcast of the SS 2104, CNN proved that it deserved to be the butt of jokes from the president and comedic host Joel McHale.

Speaking of whom, Obama’s writers were clearly better than McHale. The president’s routine was funnier. Bar a few good lines, I didn’t find McHale especially witty.

* I did like the McHale gibe at George Clooney: “Every year, the White House doctor checks the president’s colon for polyps and George Clooney’s head.”

* On Obama in a “Paul Ryan” sort of way: “yet another inner-city minority relying on the federal government to feed and house your family.”

* And every joke at CNN’s expense was grrreat. (The fixed, sour look on Wolf Blitzer’s face was worth it.) “On CNN’s Malaysia 370 coverage: 100 years ago, CNN was only searching for the Wright Brothers plane…CNN is desperately searching for something that’s been missing for months: their dignity.”

* CNN has been “desperately searching for something they’ve been missing for months: their dignity.” (It was at this moment the C-SPAN camera chose to focus in on a noticeably emotionless Wolf Blitzer.)

Funny Obama jokes:

* “And I’m feeling sorry — believe it or not — for the Speaker of the House, as well. These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black.”

* “Let’s face it Fox, you’ll miss me when I’m gone. It’ll be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.”

* Obama on CNN’s wall-to-wall coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 – a frequent target of the night’s jokes: He noted that he had just returned from a trip to Malaysia. “The lengths we have to go to to get CNN coverage these days,” Obama said, adding, “I think they’re still searching for their table” at in the Hilton ballroom.

* “MSNBC is here, they’re a little overwhelmed. They’ve never seen an audience this big before.”

Jay Leno’s routine at the SS 2010 was the best, because he’ was way smarter and certainly more politically astute.

UPDATE II: IT WAS BAD.


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