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Agenda Bender
 
Saturday, October 18, 2003  

Extraordinary Contributions


Ben Affleck received the Spirit Of Liberty Award on Thursday night in Los Angeles. It was presented to Ben by People For The American Way, the organization that is Norman Lear's only funny joke. Ever.

The AP at least understood the historical import of the night:

Ben Doesn't Call J.Lo Fiancee in Speech

While USA Today diminishes us all with their snide take on the event:

Bennifer: Truth, Justice and the American Way?

The award is meant to honor:

individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to advancing the values and principles at the core of the American Way: freedom of religion, tolerance, civic responsiblity, and equal opportunity.

Ben did help blow up that comet that was on its way to killing us all, so I'd never say he didn't deserve the award. I just think it's weird that Ben alone won it, since arguably Steve Buscemi, and certainly Don Cheadle, had every bit as much and probably more to do with saving the planet as Ben, who was a bit of a hot shot and glory boy early on, though he matured considerably during the course of the mission.

The Spirit of Liberty is so on fire across the land that Norman's Peeps are handing out the trophies in three cities. LA was the first stop, natch, and then it's on to SF and DC. OK, well I guess it mostly on fire in a few coastal population centers. The usual metroplects.

Check out the Itinerary of Liberty here.

If that wasn't enough entertainment for one season, the Peeps are also presenting:

F Murray Abraham in TRUMBO!

"Trumbo!" A PFAW-assisted production based on blacklisted Dalton Trumbo's letters has returned for an open-ended run (Tuesdays to Sundays). It's at the Westside Theater, New York City.


And then there's the tribute to Andrew HEISKELL!

Heiskell was one of the first people Norman Lear approached when he decided to create a positive response to the growing intolerance and influence of the Religious Right. In the more than two decades since, Heiskell provided People For the American Way and People For The American Way Foundation with steadfast leadership as a member of the boards of directors, chair of People For's executive committee and an indispensable sounding board and advisor to every PFAW/F president. Heiskell also served as chairman of Time Inc. for over 20 years, where he refined a critical understanding of the value of knowledge and the persuasive power of free expression and a free press.

"To know him is to know that his vision, his heart, and his courage are as grand as his appearance," said PFAW and PFAW Foundation Founder Norman Lear. "There would be no People For the American Way as we know it without Andrew Heiskell."


The New York Public Library
Monday November 17th, 6PM - Formal Attire
Dinner and Entertainment

Special Guest Speaker, Paul Krugman of the New York Times


As grand as his appearance? Does he wear dowager drag to the board meetings? Nothing like those old skool grande dames to add a little blue blood fabulousness to the party.

Speaking of which, where is Ray Bourbon's Spirit of Liberty Award?

When can we expect to see:

F Murray Abraham in BOURBON!

And is Paul Krugman available for the tribute dinner?

Ray certainly isn't.

12:48 PM

Friday, October 17, 2003
 

Substitute As Needed


You Remind Me of...

An icy river disappearing into the hopeless mists

That holy morning in Bethlehem, re-lived in a sub-zero hell

A snow covered bench by a frozen lake, of no possible use to anyone for months to come

A small mountain hamlet, abandoned by the world, suffocating beneath the blizzard's remains

As the avalanche bides its time on the hill at town's edge, the warmth of the sun engendering fatal tensions that will trigger the final release

A broken, frosted twig, the sparrows fall noisier and more noticed than this lonely sapling's snap

An Aryan ice angel, as big as the sky, terrorizing the winter wastelands with her helicopter-sized smirk

You are my friend.


3:19 PM

 

World Series Called Off: Lack Of "Sexual Heat" Cited


Man, who cares.

If Manny Ramirez isn't swinging, what's the point.

Manny, the boy. The picture that graces this article is reason enough to do the NYT's registration if you never have before. Boy heroism at its humble cutest.

The Dominican Republic: Dominicanism at its best, Republicanism at its finest.

Like Columbus didn't know what he was doing.

2:23 PM

Thursday, October 16, 2003
 

The Guest List


I was reading a Libertarian Party press release that wondered where all the drug warriors and zero tolerators have been since Rush Limbaugh announced his drug addiction. The release makes special mention of Bill Bennett's cat snatched tongue. Poor Bennett, he only began his own media rehabilitation recently, and now his buddy Rush tumbles. Bill's gonna have to make himself scarce again for a while. I recalled seeing Bennett holding back tears while talking about Limbaugh's wedding on C-Span once. I vaguely remembered that Bennett had been Limbaugh's best man, so I asked google to confirm that for me. Google couldn't do it, though. I only got reassurance that Bennett was a guest that day (and that Clarence Thomas was the joiner-togetherer). But Google did cough up this factual furball-- a day in the life of the Juice, from those blue sky days just before that wet red night in the condo shrubs:

Re: May 27, 1994
From: Kari
Date: 5/28/03
Time: 11:31:00 AM
Remote Name: 66.82.9.16

Comments
So, O.J. Simpson first plays golf with President Clinton, then goes to Rush Limbaugh's wedding, then he writes the letter about how Nicole can't claim she had been living at Rockingham, and then he goes to a dinner for Mrs. Rabin and The widow of Anwar Sadat. Mrs. Rabin was not yet a Widow.


And O.J. was not yet a sort of widower. He would kill Nicole and Ron Brown three weeks after golfing with Clinton, attending Limbaugh's wedding, keeping up with his correspondence, and toasting the Rabin/Sadat better-halves at their tribute dinner.

The Pope and Mother Theresa mustn't have been in town that day. Which is a shame since O.J. did have some breakfast availability.

Update: Hold onto your ditto hats. I just checked the post previous to the one I quote above:

From: charlie
Date: 5/27/03
Time: 7:51:19 PM
Remote Name: 209.240.198.62

Comments
Add this date to the 94 timeline.

Learned today that this is the wedding date of Rush Limbaugh---the wedding that OJ attended in Florida that year. Nicole was to attend with him but never heard whether she did or not.

This is less than 3 weeks prior to the murders.

charlie


So, Nicole was on the G-list too. Killers, addicts, gamblers and the murdered. The damn thing was some kind of shopping list of horrors.

3:06 PM

 

The Sporting News


I'm thinking of starting a sports section:

Sample lede:

If the Boston Red Sox make their way to the World Series by winning the seventh and deciding game of their already legendary showdown with the New York Yankees, for the first time since 1986 the cheers of a World Series crowd will be the soundtrack for the night's sexual athletics in that other Fenway park. The reeds and bull rushes that provide cover for the un-Mosaic amory rituals of Bostonian Uranians are in easy earshot of the Red Sox historic, neighborhood ballpark. The roar that greets a successful double play in Fenway stadium will also be greeting the equally, but differently, successful double and triple plays being executed a short distance away under the very same magical night time skies. The pitching and catching rosters of the World Series contenders will be mirrored by the...

etc etc etc

Let's go to the map.

1:25 PM

Tuesday, October 14, 2003
 

A Symmetry of Dunces



Again we attempt to set the broken left and right wings of the needle park pigeon that is American ideological politics.

Right:

Rush is wrong about his non-heroism. The denial and emotional jujitsu on display in his Friday farewell-for-a-month were on an heroic scale. The tarp gets ripped off the secret life Rush has stashed in the basement the last 5 years or so. He sits revealed in his EIB chair ($500 at the web site) as mega-mucho-ditto pill head because his supplier/maid got caught in a vice squad drugnet. She proceeded to use Rush as her stay-out-of-jail card with the cops, and her build-a-new-life chit with the National Enquirer. And Rush's advice to us all is to resist the temptation to call him a hero, to celebrate his courage and to hold him up as a role model like we do with junkie athletes (like we did with, uhm,...well, you know). We should restrain ourselves from our understandable inclination to glorify his name and person for nominally acknowledging that he's been nailed, screwed and welded to the floor like the moveable goods in a hot sheet motel.

OK, big guy, we'll try. The always trying Corner klatch is having a hard time of it, though. I could hardly believe there existed a sucker powerful enough to scarf up this Rushmore of bullshit, but the Corner's K-Lo is as a wet/dry shop-vac of the gods.

RE: RUSH [Kathryn Jean Lopes]
Heard his announcement while in a NYC cab as he was going off the air. I was struck by how intent he was on taking responsibility; "I am not a victim." "I am not a role model." It's just what we'd expect from him.


Yes, just what we'd expect of the both of you.

Left:

E.L Doctorow, that always predictable man of Manhattan lefters, must have been overwhelmed with a desire to see his name in the New York Times Book Review (you'd think that particular high would have leveled out for E.L. by now). How else explain the letter printed there over his name this past Sunday. The letter's kernel of upset is a quibble of such disappearing- into-itself retrograde infinitium that I think the real gist of it can fairly translated into natural language as, "Hey, over here, remember me, E.L. Doctorow? The diggety-diggety doctah! Ragtime? The Waterworks? My gracefully downward arcing career? I wrote a para-Rosenberg kids novel, hmmm, 30 years ago, too. I don't mention it here, but c'mon, that would be a little too obvious. They made a movie of it. Timothy Hutton? Not a big hit. Ragtime was bigger, so really not a big hit. It was no Billy Bathgate, at any rate. Anyway, yeah I wrote the book. Just wanted to remind everyone I was still kicking. Been a couple months since my name was in here. So, you know, I found a hook and hung myself on it, ha! Can you blame me? Gotta keep the drygoods in front of the paying customers. Well, I'll be going now. Probably check back in when you review a Sanford White bio or something. Claim the reviewer got it all wrong in some invisible-to-ordinary-humans way. Uh, ok, later."

Doctorow's causus belle lettres:

To the editor:

Regarding "An Execution in the Family" by Robert Meeropol...

I'm sorry that Dorothy Gallagher would see the occasion of a published autobiography by a son of the Rosenbergs as an opportunity to review the actions of his parents. She makes the case that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were justly accused Soviet spies, but it would have been just as much of a misdirected review to make the argument that they were political martyrs.

...Of course he would see his parents as idealists. But as I read the book, his analysis of the Venona transcripts, rather than being a an act of self-deception, concludes that his father was quite possibly an active spy for the Soviet Union though perhaps not guilty of passing the nuclear secrets for which he was executed...


The reviewer of an autobiography by one of the Rosenberg sons makes it a point to review the actions of his parents too, i.e. mention that they were in fact Soviet spies. This is such a shocking irrelevance in a review of a book that apparently makes only a grudging and partial acknowledgment of this fact, that E.L. stirs himself (lest he stink) to write a letter. A letter which recapitulates the son's thoughts on the very question that makes his life story of an interest at all. The very question the reviewer was wrong to introduce in any kind of judgmental way.

You see, it would have been just as misdirected if she had avowed their innocence. Join me in my christ-like generosity in believing that E.L. would have found his way to the typewriter in the event of that sorrowful abuse of the critic's license, too.

Upon this rock.


7:44 PM

Monday, October 13, 2003
 

A Chair Is Still A Chair


I hope the stories of Luther Vandross's continuing improvement are legit. The progress seems miraculous given the earlier reports of the severity of his stroke. There are few entertainers who've ever owned a stage like Luther does. I can't even imagine the thrill that would surge through a crowd seeing a resurrected L.V. step back into the spotlight. I just know I'd love to be there to see it. I could use a thrill.

Sept 10th 2001: Luther was inexplicably teamed up with scrub team boy band (98 IQ? something like that) the chief expired-freshness-date boy of which is now married to Jessica Simpson (she's got Homer's brains and OJ's house) at the tribute concert that Michael Jackson threw himself to celebrate his 80th year in show business and his 40th year in space. The concert that was a harbinger of 9/11 and the end times in general.

So there was Luther, this glorious, stately queen, towering (in every way) over the tiny, perfectly formed, thoroughly unsexy and mildly singing, youngish white dudes. The caucasian pseudo-boys were doing the deference-to-their-elders routine, which is usually an insult, but even more so with Luther. You don't defer to he who commands, since deference implies a choice and posits a rough (or perhaps future) equality between deferer and defered to, and those guys had no choice but to shut up and step back. And Luther wasn't charmed enough by them, they definitely were not his type (he's an artist, afterall), to go easy on them.

More moments like these please, Mr. V.


7:41 PM