Drop that bone: Ted Barlow

Drop that bone
: Ted Barlow said it before I did but I had the same reaction he did reading Andrew Sullivan today praising Colin Powell’s performance on MTV (echoing, by the way, the New York Times — “With Candor, Powell Charms Global MTV Audience”). Said Sullivan:

Contrast Bill Clinton’s excruciating dialogue with MTV viewers not so long ago with Colin Powell’s masterful, engaged colloquy. No boxers or briefs questions. No attempt to pander shamelessly for votes. Just a principled and effective defense of America’s role in the world to a global generation that desperately needs to hear it.

Said Barlow:

I think that Sullivan should retire the word “Clinton” from his vocabulary, because it does funny things to his head. Two thoughts:

1. Funny how Powell doesn’t “pander for votes,” considering he’s not running for anything, huh?

2. How the hell is Clinton supposed to be responsible for the GODDAMN QUESTIONS THAT SOMEBODY ELSE ASKS HIM? Tell you what. I’m going to write to Andrew Sullivan, call him a doodyhead, then criticize him for getting email that calls him a doodyhead.

Think, Sully, think.

Said me:

Right on. I don’t intend to start another whinefest about Sullivan whining about people. But why must he always measure his world from the perspective of what he doesn’t like about Bill Clinton or the liberal du jour? What’s wrong with simply praising Powell? This incessant nattering is shrill and tiresome.

Sex is good
: And Oliver Willis said this before I could, though I thought the same thing he did. Man, I’m slowing down with age (and work). Willis on Bill O’Reilly attacking HBO for sex:

Bill O’Reilly grills HBO’s chief for showing graphic television? Has O’Reilly called up Rupert Murdoch, the guy who signs his paychecks? Fox is the network that brought us When Animals Attack, World’s Wildest Police Videos, Married With Children, and The Chamber, among others. Most of those way before HBO had become recognized for it’s creative output. Fox was Fear Factor when Fear Factor was a pre-coital sperm! I personally have no problem with those programs, hell nobody loves trash tv more than I – but O’Reilly’s posturing seems more along the line of pot-kettle-black.

Amen. There’s nothing wrong with the sex or violence on HBO. The world the Sopranos depicts is ugly and violent. The women on Sex and the City are pretty and sexy. That’s OK. Life has these extremes.

How about you Libertarians out there rallying to the defense of free speech for HBO and its artists and audiece?

What would O’Reilly have us do: let some official commission rule on what HBO can and can’t say? I can’t imagine he’d really want that.

I’m offended by the culture of the offended trying to cut everything in life and art down to a least offensive denominator.

You don’t hear people — at least people this side of Nazi Germany — saying these things about books; they say this about TV because they have no repect for the medium or its mass audience; they have no respect for our own ability to judge what we want to watch and what we find offensive; we don’t need O’Reilly or anyone else judging that for us, thank you.

I used to attend a church in my area and was asked to give a class on TV since I was then the TV critic for TV Guide. In my spiel, I said that one of my favorite shows of all times was Cheers and I got attacked by a church lady and then another because Cheers offended them. Why, ladies? Well Cheers has sex.

Well so does life, you shriveled prunes — or life for most people. I left that church and I don’t want to start attending O’Reilly’s either.

Gold medal in cynicism
: The mistake is thinking that sports is any different from business or show business or politics or religion or the academe: Each is a terribly human instititution prone to all our human sins of greed, ego, corruption, and politics for politics’ sake.

Baseball is not the All-American pastime and its players are not heroes; it’s a business and its players are, well, players who, given too much money, too often get in trouble with drugs and gambling and sex. Hollywood is all about power politics (just watch HBO’s Project Greenlight to see atomic aholes in action). I’ve watched churches collapse under terroritorial wars. The academe is, of course, about kingdoms. And politics is all about, well, politics.

So it’s no surprise, sadly, that the Olympics and their sports are just as corrupt as any other human organization — moreso, actually, since they aren’t honest enough to just negotiate the money and power and fame (as sports and show business do); they have to act above it all — and then get sneaky about getting what really matters: money and turf.

As Today’s New York Post puts it: <"What you have to understand is that the foofs have fiefs that must be maintained. The people who govern international sports federations are charged with the protection of the integrity of the competition. But how they really see their function is protecting their lifestyles and turf." The Globe & Mail says that the Canadian silver-skaters are likely to get gold medals and I say that’s great. But when it gets down to what really matters for them — their careers, their fame, their future — the truth is that they have already won. Jamie Sale is gorgeous and magnetic and David Pelletier is charming; the Russians are slightly freaky: she a kewpie, he’s goofy. The scandal is making the Canadians sympathetic and their agent says they are getting offers aplenty. They have star quality.

Meanwhile, NBC is making ratings off this.

It’s not about ideals, folks; hasn’t been for a century. It’s about money. That’s the gold that matters.

: Sale and Pelletier where just awarded gold medals. Some justice.

Face time
: Beliefnet complains about Greta Van Susteren’s facelift, arguing that we should live with the faces God gives us. Hooey. I didn’t live with the engorged thyroid lump God or fate gave me; I got rid of it. Greta got rid of the 10-gallon bags under her eyes because she’s on TV and wants to look better. And catch the irony: On the same Beliefnet page, there’s a big ad promising you’ll lose 10 pounds by March 18. But didn’t God give me those pounds?

: I don’t mean to be shallow and catty but, hey, I’m a cynic and I’m only talking about TV. Is anybody else slightly scared by the sight of Jim McKay on the Olympics? Some people get triple chins. He has triple jowels. As my colleage Peter put it, “He’s melting.”