Wednesday, January 25, 2006
"A man cannot be too careful in his choice of enemies"
I think of Oscar Wilde's quote as I take time to heap additional scorn upon fiction writer James Frey. After reading that he compared his tome to the great Jerzy Kosinksi's "The Painted Bird," I was left with no choice but to place Frey on my enemies list. Don't compare yourself to the author of "Being There," lest you incur the Malcontent's wrath.
Of course, there's always room for more on my list. For now, Frey joins:
*Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson --- Most of you probably enjoyed "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia." I found each excruciatingly pointless ... self-indulgence gone mad. "Magnolia" holds a particularly sour place in my memory. First off, why make a dying Jason Robards suffer so much in what turned out to be his last role? First he had to listen to Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character serenade him with some dumb Aimee Mann song. Then he has to endure a visit from his "son" Tom Cruise, who proceeds to weep and over-act while Robards just lies there, no doubt thinking: what did I do to deserve such enmity? Halfway through "Magnolia," I slammed my hand down in frustration on the seat next to me, causing my grandfather's ring to hurtle several aisles forward. I was trapped, unable to locate the ring in the dark. I had to sit through 20 minutes of credits before I was finally free. I learned a lesson, though: never give a hack a second chance.
*"Simpsons" writer/producer Ian Maxtone-Graham --- It's probably unfair to blame one person for the decline of what was once TV's best show, but IMG is behind most of the really bad episodes, the ones that emphasize sight gags and slapstick over clever humor and satire. I met his girlfriend a few times back in the late 90s, and she was as humorless as Graham's writing.
*My high school journalism teacher --- Not only did she advise me not to pursue a writing career, but she was also known to gossip about which students might have AIDS. She's still teaching, by the way. All hail our great public education system.
*"Media Matters" founder David Brock --- He started as a hatchet man for the right, authoring such "exposes" as "The Real Anita Hill." Now he's changed teams, but not tactics. The man who once butchered Hillary Clinton in print now sings her praises. Pardon me if I don't buy the conversion (which he's never really explained). Guess there's a lot of money to be made in character assassination.
*The Clintons --- Don't blame me, I voted for Bob Kerrey (back in '92). Having been raised a Southern Baptist, I was familiar with Clinton's kind. Politics aside, how could anyone stomach a man who famously said: "I feel your pain." Maybe he mistook pain for a woman's breast. Plus, he's a crook ... and so is his missus. Watch Elia Kazan's masterful "A Face in the Crowd" sometime and tell me if the Lonesome Rhodes character doesn't remind you of our former Commander in Chief.
*Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen --- I get it. You're a working mom. You're sensitive. You care. You feel. You have kids, and a job. We're so proud.
*Syndicated columnist Molly Ivins --- Because she once wrote a book titled "Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?" Unfortunately, she did.
*Sean Hannity --- No one preaches to the choir more blandly than the popular radio chat host. "You're an American hero, Sean!" "No, it's you listeners that are the real heroes." The reason I sometimes lower myself to listen to sports talk.
*The guy who plays the Indian caricature on "That 70s Show" --- It's not easy being more annoying than Ashton Kutcher, but Wilmer Valderrama pulls it off. Why haven't Indian (the country, not the people) groups ever protested this guy's "Amos and Andy" like portrayal? Nothing but fingernails on the chalkboard to this observer.
*Adam Sandler/Jim Carrey --- Nothing but fingernails on the chalkboard to this observer. When did behaving like a bratty 12-year-old boy become so funny?
*Evander Holyfield --- In a former life I worked as a valet parker. One night, Holyfield drives up with two women (neither being his wife) and, seeking a big tip, I gave him the red carpet treament. "I'll put you right up front, champ." I felt so dirty. And my thanks? Nothing. Not a g'damned dime.
*Barry Bonds --- Out of respect for one of my heroes, Hank Aaron. The idea of this wife-beating, steroid-abusing boor breaking Aaron's HR record makes me cringe. Bad karma aside, I pray for a career-ending injury before he approaches Aaron's magical number 755.
*Joe Simpson --- Shouldn't ministers who ogle their daughters be on everyone's enemies list?
*Tom DeLay --- You could fry bacon on that hair of his.
*Karl Rove --- For orchestrating the slanderous attack on John McCain during the 2000 Republican Primary, among other things.
*George W. Bush --- For playing along, among other things.
*Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson --- Duh!
*The Church of Scientology --- As gay baiting as any Baptist, but not beneath using well-known gays to proffer their warped message. And there's about 187 more reasons that I won't go into now.
*Ethan Hawke --- Because he continues to write books: I was staring at myself through the window into the driver's-side mirror; I do that all the time. I'll stare into anything that reflects. That's not a flattering quality, and I wish I didn't do it, but I do. I'm vain as hell.
*Closed political primaries --- Geeky, I know, but it's a major reason why we're always stuck with such lousy nominees for political office. If voters could cast their ballots for whomever they wanted in the primaries, John McCain would probably be president right now. In California, for instance, my vote for McCain didn't count because I'm a registered independent. This is why we're always forced to choose the lesser of two evils ... or Ross Perot!
Why do I get the feeling I'm leaving someone (many ones) out?