Posts from September 2003

What’s he smokin’?

What’s he smokin’?
: There’s quite a collection of nonsensical quotes from Tim Robbins appearing at the Venice Film Festival and talking about how wise and virtuous he was regarding war in Iraq.

Says the Guardian: “The American actor Tim Robbins broke his silence yesterday after being attacked for putting US troops ‘in danger’ by speaking out against the invasion of Iraq.”

What silence? He never shut up!

Agence France Presse had a different take: “Tim Robbins took a thinly-veiled sideswipe at fellow Hollywood stars who failed to follow his example and speak out against the US-led war on Iraq.”

What, trouble in paradise? Who didn’t speak out? Why?

Now back to the Guardian, where Robbins says they did speak out. I’m so confused.

Robbins, whose partner and fellow actor, Susan Sarandon, has also been criticised for her anti-war stance, said the cold shouldering they received had been “a gift” which had rallied liberals to the cause of free speech.

“It’s sparked a lot of people in Hollywood who would have spoken out and felt intimidated to say something,” Robbins said at the Venice Film Festival.

“Too often people abdicate their freedom in their minds and choose not to speak. But once you abdicate that freedom you may as well not have it.”

What the hell does that mean? Can someone translate and put subtitles under the guy?

And he keeps blathering. And blather, this is:

Robbins was persuaded to hire a bodyguard during filming for the first time in his career. But he said his anxiety had “no basis in reality”.

“People in the Middle East make a distinction between governments and individuals. They say they disagree with my government but not with me. I live now in a lot less fear, now I have turned off my TV,” he said.

Quick, call Bonnie Fuller and tell her to rip up The Star and shout, “Stop the presses!” We have a new wood for her: ‘HOLLYWOOD STAR SCARED OF TELEVISION. ‘I have turned of my TV,’ says a quivering Tim Robbins, who admits that he has ‘no basis in reality.’

Don’t call us victims

Don’t call us victims
: Glenn Reynolds stands back and notes the real issue with 9.11 anniversary coverage — it’s not about how much coverage but it’s how we’re portrayed: The hushed tones are turning us into victims of an attack, not combatants in a war. But we are at war.

… the coverage so far does seem to be in the

Props

Props
: Virginia Postrel appeared on CNN this morning to promote her book, The Substance of Style, which I’m eager to read. As she warned us, she was talking about stylish toilet-bowl brushes. But she also did something very smart: She brought the brushes. She brought props. And that means that she wasn’t just a talking head, albeit one with a winning smile. She engaged her questioner (who kept admitting which brushes she’d bought); she had fun; she made her segment memorable. Smart.

When celebrity, marketing, and media merge

When celebrity, marketing, and media merge
: Kathy Griffin on the Howard Stern show this morning said that she and other stars are frequently paid by marketers to make “media tours.” The idea is simply that they are paid to go on talk shows and cleverly insert a reference to the product. Kathy was recently hired by Heinz, for example, to causually mention their ketchup bottle’s neat new top.

Now this might appall you — until you think for a second: What, you thought until now that celebrities’ appearances on talk shows were genuine moments of humanity? We all know that stars only go on shows to promote something — usually their movie or record or book. But why shouldn’t they be paid to promote something else and get paid for it? It’s the ultimate product placement: Instead of placing it next to the celebrity in a movie or TV show, we put the marketing message in the celebrity’s mouth.

Everybody uses everybody in this game: The star uses the show or magazine) to promote the movie or now the product; the show or magazine uses the star to get audience. It is the virtueless circle.

So this is merely the logical next step for marketing, media, and celebrity, when they all merge into one, when you can’t tell when the marketing ends and the rest of life — whatever that is — begins.

No farts, please, we’re Swedish

No farts, please, we’re Swedish
: True news from Sweden:

There is no more farting amongst the staff in the Swedish national bank. ” We do not have a specific fart ban, but we have ethical guidelines and naturally, farting is simply not done here”, said Staffan Folke at the bank’s work environment office.

Yesterday computer technician G