Friday, June 18, 2004

May the Tour de Force Be With You

I wrote yesterday about Perlman's boast that he, as journalist, could take pride in writing faster than those who wrote better and better than those who wrote faster. Today in Tim Goodman's TV column in the Chronicle. We see, perhaps, a manifestation of that kind of bravado:

In the following paragraphs, this column will run at break-neck speed toward a pommel horse, hit it at full stride, vault into the air, deconstruct a terrible Stephen King movie starring Rob Lowe, rotate counterclockwise, compare the vampires in that movie to rapacious television executives, and stick the dismount while telling the sad story of Jordan Levin, entertainment president of the WB, who just got his head handed to him -- all without twisting an ankle.

Either that, or fall down and blow out a knee trying.

That's the idea. We are making haste and if we are making waste, then let's see you do it! It also could reflect the columnist's sense of being limited by his alloted space -- so much bad television and so little time, though I must mention Goodman's own particular strength or affliction, you take your pick: He loves his own bumptious voice -- he rants, proclaims, ducks in and out of exposition -- and sometimes you do wish he could better distinguish between his own navel and that TV set on the other side of the room. He really does have a subject matter, and you do wish he paid more attention to it.

But then look at Molly Ivins, who back in the day struck so nice a balance between her sense of fun and her sense of outrage. Seems to me that today she feels the urgency of what she has to say so fiercely she rarely has the patience to say it in a diverting, entertaining way. I suppose she thinks it's self indulgent and even cold-hearted to be as sly and inferential as she is capable of being in this, the Dark Night of the Fool King. She's not the columnist she was.

I concede there are so many neocon lies which one wishes to swat like Gandalf going protoMedieval on some troll's ass. But good golly, Miss Molly. "Just the facts" is so Faux Cold War, so Jack Webb. ( Don't forget she's fallen among pundits. Pundits wear cotton underwear and drink mineral water. -- Eds.)

I also concede that maybe I'm just feeling residual resentment about how thoroughly Ms. Ivins blew me off when I tried to interview her when I was undergoing the death of a thousand footnotes during my tenure quest.

All politics is local. All writing is personal.

Here's the Goodman link.

Goodman Flips

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice one today. So round, so firm, so fully packed.

Allow me a ramble. I just got back from Dallas where I was a "guest" at an advertising convention, of all things. Unreimbursed by the University - but that's the way things are going these days.

Anyway, they took us to party - sponsored by the Dallas Morning News - at someplace called Eddie Deen's (sic) Ranch out back of the Convention Center (I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried) a kind of Home Depot building with the hardware and lumber pulled out and replaced with a western movieset motif around the perimeter

Where, after a Lone Star or two, I decided to mosey, pardner, toward the mechanical bull. I watched a couple of women and a young buck ride - gals was OK, YB got his ass kicked - and smelled the wind.

And took my chances. Signed the extensive and legal Release From Harm Form (yeah, that should have been a prophalaxis against stupidity) and clumsily mounted the leather/steel/hydraulic beast.

Beast Operator clearly set the transmission on Rockin' Chair, because while it was a challenging ride, it was in no way threatening.

I dismounted - boots first - my sceptical colleagues now impressed. Which was the whole point of the adventure.

But I had the good fortune to hang around a bit and watch a few other geezers get the same "grandpa" treatment. Oh, I get it. Gray hair (and the date of birth on my signed release) had profiled me. Insight gained.

Next day: overheard another graybeard bragging to a (OK, much younger) woman how he'd ridden the bull "all the way to the horn."

Point coming, point coming.

Somewhere in the early 60's, a teenage me was up late watching the Steve Allen Show featuring, as it was promoted, one of my heroes, Jonathon Winters. JW, as expected, went off on an amazing riff. As he spun progressively more and more hilariously out of control, he suddenly stopped dead, turned to the camera and said, "This is no good. I'm startin' to believe my own stuff."

Tim Goodman wasn't old enough to have seen that show. Molly Ivens is, but apparently didn't.

They'll have to find that particular epiphany for themselves and elsewhere.

As for me, I consider myself blessed by Jonathan Winters and have accepted him as my personal lord and savior.