Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Stop Mugging For the Camera and Entertain Me!

This is Will Rogers as a young cowboy hottie. He wrote, among other sentiments, "I have always noticed that people will never laugh at anything that is not based on truth."

I realized I'd have to cogitate and phrasify if I wanted to do my latest pop-culture rant justice. But what if I didn't do it justice, I thought? What if I gave it my normal slap-dash treatment? Why then I'd still have time to shower.

Here's what I read and what I thought about it.

Steyn comments on the PC hypocrisy of Hollywood and how it wrecks storytelling. Great, side comments on the lousy experience available at most cinemas today.

Henry Kisor reviews P.D. James' latest Dalgleish book which represents, to him, "stately irony and nuance...in a desert of bang-bang, boink-boink."

James Pinkerton of TCS compares the perspectives of Hugh Hefner and Maureen Dowd while reviewing her latest. He personally found it "lively and enlightening", but also noted, "Such cynicism and pessimism practically pour from the pages of the book -- no wonder it's not selling."

An avowed conservative shows up for a press junket in her Ann Taylor business casual to discover that the praiseworthy trend in L.A. journalist apparel is pricey hobo rags accessorized with hunger and anger.

James Lileks discusses the upcoming rash of world-destroying dystopia pics on the drawing boards. A result of Hollywood's own General Despair?

A Charlie Brown Christmas is still TV's biggest Xmas favorite, though once feared to be too quiet and simple to please. Robert Thompson, professor of pop culture at Syracuse (a post whose very existence I find depressing) says it's "Hip in just its absolute sincerity." Get your head around that oxymoron if you can. This article has a helpful guide to the viewing times for other crusty, holiday favorites and some horrible new ones. A Rugrats Kwanzaa isn't just a punchline anymore.

Reading all this made me realize how bored I am with the garbage of consumer-herd, PC consensus crap people want to sell me, and apparently, I'm not alone. I don't need sunshine blown up my hinder, but I don't need to be lied or condescended to about my failure to exhibit the appropriate pessimism.

I have hopes and reasons for them. I enjoy conversing with and am entertained by people who are enthusiastic about things, the kind of deep-running excitement and joy in their passions (whatever they might be) that make someone vulnerable to being harshly judged. Earnestness is commonly considered unhip, ignorant, or naive regardless of the bearer's intelligence or experience. But sue me, even in fantasy pictures, I like genuine emotion, not soul-dead, self-referential irony from people who can't think fast enough to make me laugh. I aspire to beauty, not its facile corruption in the guise of faux creativity. Cool, above-it-all posturing which, perversely, is about courting someone else's validation reveals incuriosity and insecurity, not the creativity or vision which is likely to truly delight.

Whatever it is, commit to making it really something, not a diluted, least common denominator without the quality to stir or fascinate. Comedy, drama, art, and music are best when they're played straight- invested with real risk and humanity. So there.

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