Sunday, August 21, 2011
Respect for elders.
That last one bubbled to the top recently when it was announced that the Muscular Dystrophy Association was no longer "associated" with Jerry Lewis.
If you're over the age of forty, no back story is necessary.
If you're under the age of forty, here's a couple of links to provide the background.
Truth be told, I've never been a Jerry Lewis fan. There are moments in his work that I have enjoyed, most recently in a poignant turn as Munch's Alzheimer's afflicted uncle on "Law and Order, SVU".
For the most part, though, I've never been partial to his particular blend of juvenile coated slapstick/Vegas Rat Pack hipster.
And why the French think the guy is a genius remains, like Stonehenge, one of life's little mysteries.
Let's face it...the original "The Nutty Professor" isn't exactly Francois Truffaut.
All of that said, MDA's treatment of a guy who has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for them over nearly fifty years redefines the term low class.
And unless it comes to light that Jerry has been having a life long affair with the MDA CEO's wife, there is no reasonable justification for this episode of "here's your hat, what's your hurry?"
Time marches on.
All good things must end.
Out with the old, in with the new.
Like birth,death, puberty, adolescence and finding out that Leno and Letterman actually tape their shows at four in the afternoon, the passing of batons is an inevitable part of life.
But showing the old the door without so much as a "thanks for stopping by" from the new is, at best, rude and, at worst, deserving of protest and petition.
If you feel moved to donate this Labor Day for the benefit of the kids, knock yourself out.
And while you're on the phone with the volunteer, let them know you'll double the donation if they sack the sorry asshole(s) who decided to dis the guy who started raising dough for them forty nine years ago.
I am not a hypocrite.
For months now, in print, online and on the radio show, I've made no secret of my disdain about, dislike of, dismay regarding and disapproval at any and all things Kardashian.
A whole lotta dissin goin' on.
And dis I freely admit.
Today, the "breaking news" spaces are filled with the banner headlines that the eldest of the botox/implant crowd's answer to Moe, Larry and Curly has jumped the broom with that basketball guy hard core NBA types think is famous and everyone else has to Google if curious about who and what.
Here's a link to the basics of the story if you're curious and/or getting a scrapbook started.
Best wishes to the happy couple. Mazel tov. Live long and prosper.
Back to my earlier claim.
I am not a hypocrite.
My work, through, the years has been, in not just some small way, about dealing with, reporting on the various comings and goings of, and talking about, and even to, a variety of celebrities.
And to a C student who pretty much has yet to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up, being able to talk about the people I've talked about, and even to, is, admittedly, a source of pride.
(ED. ADVISORY: Brief, self serving burst of name dropping about to happen)
Jamie Lee Curtis.
Jamie Farr (Klinger from "M.A.S.H).
Mike Farrell (B.J. from "M.A.S.H.".
Mike Love of the Beach Boys.
Al Gore's daughter Kristin.
Olympic skating champion Sasha Cohen.
Tony Barrow, the press officer for The Beatles in the 1960's.
David Carradine (just prior to his little hang up shuffle off the mortal coil.
Ken Jennings, that whiz kid guy who won all those games on "Jeopardy".
Stu Cook from Creedence Clearwater Revival....
and my prized trophy chat...
Just a few of the famous and pretty much famous I've had the chance to interview and those just in the last few years.
(ED. ADVISORY...Smarmy self aggrandizing showing off concluded. Thank you for your patience)
And add to the mix that I grew up in a household that saw a pretty much weekly incoming flow of various tabloids, gossip rags and, back in the day, even those good old fashioned movie magazine/fan worships.
Anybody remember "Modern Screen"?
How about "Photoplay"?
Ahh, you can't buy memories like that.
Well, actually, you probably can if you look on EBay or other collectable sites.
But I digress.
With all of that celebrity awareness and recognition in my resumes', both personal and professional, you'd think that all the comings, goings, laughing, crying, affections, rejections and/or injections experienced by the silicone/sushi crowd's non musical answer to the Dixie Chicks would be a source of constant interest to me.
And, more than once, of late, I have been accused, both subtly and blatantly, of the aforementioned hypocrisy owing to the fact that I never speak a sentence with the word Kardashian in it without using a derisive tone and/or including a discouraging word.
Though my skies are not cloudy all day.
I doth protest that accusation.
Every celebrity in the celebrity culture, up until a brief few years ago, that I have talked about or to had "earned" their celebrity by achieving, at least, some small measure of "work", for lack of a better term.
Farr, Farrell, Curtis and Carradine were and/or are all accomplished actors with a long resume of stage and screen work to their credit.
Love and Cook were, and are, both accomplished musicians/singers/songwriters with a long resume of hit songs that are part of the American musical lexicon.
Barrow was responsible for handling the world altering media frenzy that was Beatlemania.
Sasha Cohen won Gold at the Olympics.
Ken Jennings was, and is, the uber nerd made good.
Even Al's little girl Kristin is a published author and respected TV and movie writer.
And the name Bill Cosby speaks for itself.
As for the Triple K?
TV stars after the fact.
Three pampered princesses of privilege who have yet to write and/or act in a classic movie, have yet to write and or perform a seminal piece of American music, who may have mastered the double take but haven't come close to a triple axel, who have yet to prove they are capable of anything more erudite than "uh, we'll take Collagen Treatments for fifty, Alex", have yet to write, let alone publish, anything that doesn't begin with something like "Dear Diary, today the sushi just wasn't, like, fresh"...
and, once again, the name Bill Cosby speaks for itself.
My work requires that, in not just some small way, I deal with, report on the various comings and goings of, and talk about, and even to, a variety of celebrities.
And by the strictest definition, and current totally low to the ground set bar standard, of the word, the K3 of the Traveling Sisterhood requires my attention and observation.
But I do it only begrudgingly.
With a little of dis and a little of...well, more dis.
But it's not because I deny their celebrity.
It's because I resent it.
Celebrity, like respect, used to be earned.
These days, it's simply handed out like a flyer in a parking lot.
On that scale, the sisters, for me, rank somewhere between "Garage Sale Today" and "LOSE WEIGHT NOW...CALL THIS NUMBER..."
So, once and for all, let the record show.
I am not a hypocrite.
I'm a snob.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Make no mistake.
Three little words can touch a heart, change a life, plant the first seeds of a new family.
Two little words can crush a friendship, end a relationship, break a heart.
Especially if they are accompanied by that infamous finger.
This morning, though, I was touched by four little words.
Last night, TCM, paying tribute to Jimmy Stewart with a mini marathon of Jimmy Stewart, ran the iconic 1962 western, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" in the prime time, "Essentials with Robert Osbourne and Alec Baldwin" slot.
If you have seen this film, enough said.
If you have not seen this film, see this film.
As the opening credits rolled, I happened to be lap-topping in my typical multitasking mode (yeah, it sounds like efficiency, but, truth be told, its just usually more the perfect storm of my ADD, OCD and Asperger's duking it out with each other), bouncing around between CNN.com, EBay, IDMB and Facebook when I felt moved to post a quick say hey on the FB wall of Vera Miles.
If you have seen the film, enough said.
If you have not seen the film, Google away.
That moment of "reach out and touch someone" was possible because of the remarkable technology that allows everyday people like you and me to "know" well known people like Ms. Miles via social networking sites.
"Know", of course, a relative term, as I have never met the lady and found her in my FB friends list as a result of the friend knowing the friend knowing the friend, et al....
Then again, isn't that the whole point of social networking?
But, I digress.
A movie/TV buff since kidhood, I thought it remarkable that, through this technology, I had actually been given the opportunity to "connect" with a lady who had played a part in so many of the films I had enjoyed through the years from "Psycho" to "The Searchers", not to mention the tons of appearances in the TV shows of my upbringing years, "The Fugitive", "The Twilight Zone", "The Outer Limits", ad infinitum.
And while I've been in, and around, enough celebrity in my work through the years to know how to respect the fine line between admirer and restraining ordered wack job, I wasn't hesitant, in that lap topping moment, to post that quick tip of the hat.
A simple "watching Liberty Valance, nice work, congrats.." thing.
This morning, four little words greeted me on my page.
Life will be business as usual today, from world unrest to political melodrama, good news and bad news and the everyday comings and goings and doings of another day and Ms. Miles will go on with her life and I will go on with mine.
For a couple of seconds, though, we shared a moment.
I typed a few quick words of hello and congrats.
She typed back four little words.
"Vera Miles likes this".
Saturday, August 6, 2011
"Name Three Obsolete Things.....Black and White TV....Eight Track Tape Players....Respect for Our Elders...."
Politics makes strange bedfellows.
Politics, and blogs, make strange bedfellows.
...and Jerry Lewis.
Jerry, of course, is in the news because he has been, for all intents and purposes, kicked to the curb by the Muscular Dystrophy Association after forty five years and close to two billion dollars in funds raised.
That's billions with a b, by the way, not millions with an m.
First up, I'm not a knee jerk advocate/fan of Jerry Lewis. While I respect what he has accomplished professionally through the years, his sense of humor/movies have always left me underwhelmed and his air has always seemed to have just the tiniest aroma of "holier than thou".
And, to this day, I can't figure out why the French consider him an iconic "comedic genius".
Then again, this is a country that thinks cheese is one of the two major food groups, lactose intolerance be damned.
Admittedly, I don't know the man personally and he could be the nicest guy on the planet. In fact, of late, I found myself sincerely impressed with his work, a season or two back, as the aging, poignantly afflicted uncle of Richard Belzer's character on a very well done episode of "Law and Order-SVU".
And, credit where due, he did father Gary who, unknowingly, helped me score a modest grope or two in the sixties, by giving my teenage garage band such chick pleasing favorites to play such as "This Diamond Ring", "Everybody Loves A Clown" and, the sure fire melt their resistance piece de' resistance, "Save Your Heart For Me"
Regardless of personal taste or opinion, though, nobody who plays fair in life can be anything but disgusted at the MDA's seemingly callous showing of the door to Jerry without so much as a rubber chicken dinner or gold watch to express much deserved gratitude and appreciation.
That said, their action, while both class, and taste, less, is a predictable point in the timeline of life.
Out with the old, in with the new.
Here's your hat, what's your hurry?
Your old road is/ Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one/If you can't lend your hand...
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, performing the theme song from the forthcoming "The Jerry Lewis Story"....
Pretty prophetic, there, Bob.
Watch your back, though.
You turned 70 this year.
Jerry, on the other hand, might find himself yet another career.