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I wrote of my adventures at the RNC, which included politely crashing Yianopoulos’ event over here at Playboy. Read that. Give them and me the clicks. However, considering that the professional troll has once again caused a university kerfuffle, I figure I’d post this to provide some helpful hints as to how unlibertarian this man is. My Playboy piece doesn’t include all.

Yes, much of the time college students seem to give him just what he wants, attention and horror. But that doesn’t make him worthwhile. Have you ever seen his writing? It’s juvenile, dull, makes Ann Coulter look like Christopher Hitchens, and it’s allegedly not even written by him. Yeah, he’s got a posh voice. Yeah, he can be perfectly polite in person, and was to me.

He still used to wonder if “Internet is Turning Us all Into Sociopaths” and then became one for attention. He actually turned off his sycophantic fans by taking a photo of someone overweight who was working out at the gym. And best of all, after being hosted by Young Americans for Liberty University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, he allegedly used a photo of a trans woman and named her and mocked her in front of an audience. Yeah, she might be a liberal, so no doubt libertarians disagree with some of her goals and expectations. But yeah, she had the audacity to want to use the locker room of her identity at her college. Yeah, she noted the contradiction in policing that— if you’re female-identified, are growing breasts, but still have a penis, where would they like you to change? Male locker room? Female? A broom closet? Far away from the scared, scared administrators?

You can say what you want, bring who you want to you college. yes I am glad the ACLU defended the right to march to Skokie. Yes, I am a worried about some college students’ respect for free speech. Booking a sociopathic bully, a professional troll, a man who speaks well enough to fool people into thinking he’s intelligent is not how you do that. Try harder. Expect more from people.

Or, you know, if he comes to your college, ignore him. Just ignore him. He loves the chaos of the event, and the hatred. It’s hard to know when to ignore, and when to challenge. If the person in question is a whore for attention, I lean towards ignoring. But it’s also good to know what he actually believes (well, nothing, but professes to believe).

In closing, here is my nine minute exchange with Yiannopoulos at his RNC party. I tried to neg him at the end about his accent, but he didn’t take the bait. He’s a completely disingenuous person who pulls off a sincere persona in person. He’s good. He’s not that good. I was three beers in.

*****

LS: I missed your remarks today, but can you talk about how you feel with Donald Trump as the official, not-presumptive nominee?

MY: Yes, it’s wonderful news. It’s wonderful news for gay people. He’s obviously the most pro-gay candidate in American electoral history.

LS: That’s a bold statement.

MY: Yeah, it is. But Hillary Clinton is funded by people who murder homosexuals. She has shown no indication whatsoever of stemming the tide of Islamic immigration, or stopping our mollycoddling, and pandering to Islam. These things are direct threats. Not just to culture, but to the lives of gay people in America. Donald Trump is the only person who has shown any indication — and not just out of the two of them, out of anybody who ran for president this year — that he is going to be tough enough to stop it. And his speech after Orlando, frankly, was magnificent. To be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t know he had a speech like that in him. He really nailed it. And that’s when he completely won me over.

LS: So when you say tough enough, what do you want him to do? Not get funding like Hillary Clinton, obviously, but what do you — ?

MY: Close the walls.

LS: Entirely?

MY: Yes.

LS: How’s that going to work practically? That’s going to take a lot of government work.

MY: You know what, the government does a lot of stuff that it shouldn’t do — the Department of Education, for instance. Most of the federal government could be shut down. I don’t think — TSA hasn’t worked for a very long time, nothing about immigration in this country — the whole Homeland Security system in this country is totally fucked. The best thing that could possibly happen is it’s swept away and replaced by something smarter, and better, and probably more expensive, and a lot tougher. And a points-based system like Australia has zero Islamic racial immigration

LS: Do you think the government is capable of pulling that off?
MY: I think it should try for the sake of women and gays, yeah.

LS: What do you think about —

MY: Unless you want this country to turn into Sweden, or Germany, where no woman can walk out on the street beyond 11 o’clock without the risk of being raped now. In Western European countries, that is a daily reality for women in Germany, a daily reality for women in Sweden, it isn’t for the women in America, yeah? College campuses in America — these hysterical centers of crazy conspiracy theories about rape culture — are the safest places for women to be anywhere in the world. Now, some of the most dangerous places for women to be in the world are modern, Western, rich European countries. Why? One reason. Islamic immigration — it’s got to stop.

LS: I mean, stopping entirely like Trump said?

MY: Yes. I wish he hadn’t rolled back from it, I want him to do it. I want him to do it completely.

LS: Foreign policy-wise, what would you like to see happen?

MY: As little as possible. America has spent too long interfering oversees in too many other people’s wars, and too much other stuff. America’s got to look after America again. That means taking a realistic appraisal of who is actually at risk in this country, not whining feminists, or whinging Black Lives Matter activists, but gay people and women at risk from Islam. Also, so people in this country who have been treated badly, lied to and lied about. An honest appraisal of  who actually needs government attention in this country. And when all of that is done, then we can think about interfering elsewhere again.

LS: What about the fact that the Orlando shooter, a couple of the recent guys, have been American citizens? How do you resolve that, and how do you think Trump is going to resolve that?

MY: This is the other thing about Trump that’s great, the total anti-political correctness, it’s political correctness that killed in Sandy Hook, it is political correctness that killed in Orlando. People knew that these people were —

LS: What do you mean by Sandy Hook?

MY: People knew there was something wrong with this guy, and they didn’t report him. They said afterwards they didn’t report him for fear of being seen as racist or Islamophobic. People knew there was something wrong with this guy, and they didn’t say anything.

LS: Well, Sandy Hook the guy was kind of mentally ill, I think, but hadn’t done anything yet. That’s kind of a big civil liberties problem.

MY: Well, people said about him who hadn’t reported him said that the reason they didn’t was they didn’t want to be accused of Islamophobia and racism. That’s why they didn’t report him. They said that that themselves. The same thing with —

LS: San Bernardino. Sorry, you said Sandy Hook, so —

MY: Sorry, it’s been a long day, I apologize. Yeah.

LS: In terms of economics and trade, do you like Trump? You can argue that Clinton is actually more about free trade than Trump. He’s a bit more protectionist in some ways.

MY: Yes, but racial, globalist free markets hasn’t worked for everybody in America — hasn’t worked for at least the white working, or lower middle class in America don’t perceive that it has worked very well for them. It hasn’t served everybody, and a bit of protectionism — for many American voters — seems like quite an attractive thing. That’s not for me to decide, that’s for the voters to decide and many of them are saying, this slavish adherence to the cult of the free market that the Republican party has followed for decades isn’t what we want anymore. That’s not a question for me, that’s up to them. The voters seem to be voting with Trump.

LS: You like that, obviously, you’re —

MY: Yes, because I see it as wrapped up in the preservation of Western culture. And Western culture is what keeps women and gays safe, Western culture is what gave us Mozart, and Da Vinci, and Wagner, and Beethoven. Western culture is what is at risk from immigration from the Middle East.

LS: Doesn’t Western culture have a cosmopolitan, melting pot thing? If you get too isolationist, mightn’t you lose Western culture a bit?

MY: Well, the majority of Western culture came out of Europe, which is not comparable to America. It came out of nation states based on geographical and ethnic foundations. America is based on principles, a very different kind of country….The bottom line is Europe has an incredibly long, bloody history based on an excess of nationalism which has also created a lot of amazing art. The issue is that America also imported a lot of that wholesale, dropped it onto this other big continent over the sea, and that’s worked really well so far, but my view is that a little breather is necessary to make sure that — because Europe is about to fall, Sweden is going, Germany is going, France is going, America is going to be the preserver of that inheritance. And for that to happen, America’s got to take a break from foreign wars, and take a break from immigration.

LS: But again, what do you do with the Muslims who are already here — perhaps even citizens?

MY: If they’re citizens on terror watchlists, and there’s reason to suspect they might commit terrorists acts, they should be locked up or deported.

LS: But the watchlist and the no-fly list, the Democrats want to use that to ban guns and such, they don’t have due process.

MY: Yeah. My answer is lacking in subtlety, because I think the response has to be lacking in subtlety. There is a gigantic problem that an entirely new branch of government needs to be invented to fix. And I don’t know whether Trump’s the guy to do it, but he’s the closest of the field.

LS: What did you think about the rest of the convention besides Trump?

MY: Dull.

LS: Dull?

MY: Very dull.  Low energy. The fun things are the things I’m at, like this.

LS: How would you describe your politics? I know you’ve used different words over the years.

MY: In some degrees, libertarian. I’m socially conservative in some things. I don’t know a label that fits, honestly.

LS: In person you seem incredibly sincere. Obviously on twitter you seem to be a bit trolly.

MY: No, I like whimsy and satire, and that’s what Americans like so much about Brits. We bring subtlety and sense of humor that you sometimes lack. We have a very long history of importing Brits like Christopher Hitchens who are better at it than Americans are.

[drunk rando]: You know John Cleese.

MY: No, but the point is there’s something whimsical, satirical, and silly about British humor, which Americans have always enjoyed, and lots of us come over here because we have an audience of people who enjoy it.

LS: Do you have lots of American fans because your accent sounds so fancy?

MY: No, I’m losing it! Honestly, I spend three weeks here and I go Mid Atlantic. I sound like Madonna in 2008. Honestly, I don’t think it’s anything to do with it.

When I was a real newspaper journalist in ’04 with my own Sunday op-ed column, I made Internet enemies with the late Keith Olbermann, who was hallucinating about vote fraud in Florida and Ohio.116603122-e1424806219751

Olbermann, then a professional ranter on MSNBC’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” went to his grave thinking that Bush II stole Florida a second time.

Shortly before he passed away, I tried to set him straight with this:

Keith Olbermann’s Dan Rather moment

So, America, what’s sloppier?

Our shaky elections system or the jayvee journalism practiced on Keith Olbermann’s fake MSNBC news show “Countdown With Keith Olbermann”?

I cast all of my votes for Olbermann.

The recovering sportscaster is openly liberal and his irreverent, run-and-quip offense is easy to detest. But I kind of like him and his fast-paced infotainment show, which has the fatal misfortune to occupy the 8 p.m. time slot opposite Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Olbermann, however, really made a Dan Rather of himself last week.

He never directly charged that Republicans stole the election or demanded that Karl Rove should be picked up for questioning by the U.N. But for 15 minutes on Monday, Olbermann pointed to a “small but blood-curdling group of reports of voting irregularities and possible fraud” from across the country, topped it with some vague partisan innuendo from Democrat Congressman John Conyers, and acted like he deserved a Peabody Award for Civic Journalism.

On Tuesday I checked out some of Olbermann’s claims. Using a high-tech personal communication device professional journalists refer to as a “telephone,” I called an elections bureau person in Cuyahoga County, Ohio (greater Cleveland), where, as Olbermann pointed out, 93,000 extra votes had been inexplicably cast Nov. 2.

It turns out the votes were “a computer anomaly” that didn’t affect or reflect the official vote count. And those 18,472 votes Olbermann said were counted in Fairview Park, a Cleveland suburb that had only 13,342 registered voters• Absentee ballots from many precincts had been grouped together by the computer and credited to Fairview Park, where 8,421 voted.

But what about Florida, the Vote-Fraud State?

Olbermann had made a big sinister deal about 29 counties whose registered voters were predominantly Democrat “suddenly” voting “overwhelmingly for Mr. Bush.” He slyly left the impression that massive vote-stealing could have been perpetrated by ballot tabulating companies like Diebold, whose bosses were known Bush allies.

I called Baker County, Fla., Olbermann’s first example. Yes, twanged the cheery election lady, 69 percent of voters in her rural county on the Georgia border are registered Democrat. Yes, “Mr. Boosh” got 78 percent of the vote and trounced Kerry, 7,738 to 2,180.

This was nothing new or untoward, she said. Folks in Florida’s Panhandle are conservative, especially on social and moral issues. They mostly register as Democrats and vote that way on local issues, but in national and state elections, they go Republican. Been doing so for years.

I heard the same explanation from election ladies in the tiny and large counties of Calhoun, Lafayette, Escambia, Highland and Liberty, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by as much as 9 to 1. Yet Bush beat Kerry in every one.

If they had cared, Olbermann and the producers of “Countdown” could have discovered these facts before they began flogging their sloppy Internet-spawned conspiracy Monday and Tueday nights. Non-Republican journalists on Salon.com and Slate.com. had no trouble explaining/debunking it. Nor did bloggers.

By Wednesday, Olbermann’s fever had cooled. But he had abandoned the Florida conspiracy angle, explained Cleveland’s oddities and mostly was yukking it up about a Unilect computer that ate 4,000 votes in North Carolina.

Still, he and his guest enabler from the grownup world of journalism, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, were concerned about the wussiness of the news media. Why had no major print or electronic outlet pursued this shameful story•

I don’t know, boys. Maybe it’s because before they start making wild charges of “vote fraud,” real journalists pick up a telephone.

If anyone knows where Keith is buried, please tell me so I can put some of my old baseball cards on his grave.

The Pittsburgh Three Rivers Arts Festival could book Nickelback from 2017 until the end of time, and I would forgive them, because in 2013 they booked Ralph Stanley, and I got to see him sing, and to shake his hand and fawn over him.

He was frail already, but it was still one of the finest concerts I have ever seen. That voice will not come again.

“Ralph Stanley is not immortal. In spite of refrains — at least half a dozen at the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Arts Festival alone — of his status as a “living legend,” Stanley is 86 years old and frail. One half of the first-generation-of-bluegrass duo The Stanley Brothers, as well as a solo artist in his own right, Stanley might have just a few years left in him. He already can’t play his famous clawhammer-style banjo. On Saturday, his band, the Clinch Mountain Boys, gave Stanley a lyrics sheet so he could remember the words to “Angel Band”, a song which someone in the crowd requested. A song he must have sung hundreds of times.”

Read the rest.

I know Andrew Kirell from his former tenure as Mediaite’s Ed in Chief, and now for the Daily Beast. I also know him to be refreshingly scornful of politics and the worst people in media. I also know him as that guy I met twice, and wish I could hang out with more because he’s pretty legit.

I heard whispers for several years that Kirell had musical yearnings and talents, and I was curious to hear what he sounded like. If you talk to someone a lot, but you don’t know their musical self, it feels mysterious. They could be a secret Bowie or Britney Spears or Paul Simon. You just don’t know.

A few weeks ago, Kirell had me listen to his song “On My Own” and it was completely not what I had expected, in a fun way. I knew Kirell had great taste in music — Townes Van Zandt and Bob Dylan and all — but I didn’t expect him to sound like the alt country Ian Curtis. He does. He sounds like the alt country Ian Curtis, and it is awesome. Go have a listen over at his Bandcamp page. I’m excited to hear what he does next.

esq-megan-fox-cover-0213-lgShe sits across from you in the dark, bright, busy, empty restaurant cafe bar. Her familiar face from that number one critical darling TV show movie is so beautiful you would weep if you weren’t a man. She’s got a personality, so don’t feel guilty or anything. She contains multitudes, which you see reflected in her soul when she plays the fearless, nagging, comforting wife of a damaged spy soldier cop each week.

She expresses opinions and also she does a kind of exercise every day. She has voted. But that’s not really the point, is it? The point is that she is deep, like chocolate or wine.

By her, we mean her face. And tits. Not that the magazine that once published Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and The Falling Man would be so indelicate as to mention those lightly shaded mounds peeking out from the top of that girl next door, rock star, sex kitten blouse. Those breasts like femininity in 2015 America.

Also her face is symmetrical. Which is literary. It’s like a lyric essay, how her face is like that. The symmetry of it speaks volumes about late capitalism. She says things out loud, but it is her face that speaks in deeper, more fundamental tones, like a cello or your mom’s comfort food.

You see her in her underwear on the cover, right? But you didn’t see how comfortably she posed in that dripping, transparent tanktop. You, because you don’t know her and also live in Middle America, will never truly get that she is just as luminous while bare-assed in our studio as she is up on the big and also small screen.

She is poetry. Her thighs especially. They’re like molasses and cream and your first tentative erection. You haven’t studied poetry since high school because real poetry is in the calluses on your hands when you hold your son’s hand and you’re both playing baseball. But her skin and lips are the kind of literature that we have today in 2015. Metaphorically, you will study her vagina in English class tomorrow. Also literally.

We put her in that unbuttoned man’s shirt and loosened tie and nothing else because we know — we know — about the tumultuous state of gender roles in 2015. We see her laughing refutation of the archetypical American pinup girl, and we want to fuck her even more for it, and then give her another Oscar.

But we would fuck her respectfully. No — with reverence. Because she’s a sonnet about a lost, sexy deer, and she is a rich Bearnaise sauce. We would fuck her like we did in our minds while she fiddled with her phone in that cafe, almost like a person would. But she is not one. She is an essay. She is a limpid-eyed, babbling brook that you and your grandfather visited as a child. A strangely arousing painting of Elvis. A vintage sports car in a black and white portrait. A wounded sparrow you would totally do.

He is standing manfully, staring at other manful actions like maybe a pickup sports game or a beer tasting happening a short distance away. He would join in with lithe confidence, if he weren’t being profiled right now by the magazine that published The Falling Man and Frank Sinatra Has a Cold. Look at him relaxing, yet vigilant. He’s dripping with masculinity there in a t-shirt and jeans that you can purchase for 1500 dollars. Look at his face. His jawline is being a man today. Because he’s strong. But the kind of strong that exists in 2015, with its myriad post-feminist complexities and hunger for perfectly cooked meats.

He does stuff. It’s movie stuff, or possibly niche TV stuff, but by God he is just DOING THINGS ACTIVELY all day long. Now he’s leaning, and also standing with his legs apart, and also sitting confidently — like a man who knows how to play Mass Effect while wearing an eight thousand dollar suit and eating a rare steak. A man who has read Gravity’s Rainbow and feels it in his entire being as he lifts. A man who doesn’t hunt, but totally could.

He’s a metaphor for masculinity, this man. Manning about there. He’s kind of like Hemingway. But someone way less trite than that. Steinbeck, maybe? Yeah, he’s the kind of man who could wear a mustache like Steinbeck. The kind of man who invented mustaches. No, he’s someone more truly American than that. He’s like Captain America watching Humphrey Bogart wrestle Steve McQueen. But also like a cowboy detective racecar driver. But less hick than that. Because the essay on the decline of the American farmer, and what it means about your father, and all our fathers, is actually on page 68.

Anyway, he’s a man.

Manhood in 2015, can we ever dissect it? Can we — or he — ever figure out masculinity in a post-9/11, post-Obama, post-bailout, post-man America? Maybe. But that would be too navel-gazing for him. He’s thoughtful, but not in a way that would distract him from going skydiving while wearing jeans and a blazer that’s surprisingly appropriate for work or the bar afterwards. He knows manhood in his fingers, which he can use to please any woman, especially the ones you lust after. But he wouldn’t brag about that, he’d celebrate it with confidence.

Fundamentally, he is too much of a man to stop being a man today. He is manhood in the most fashionable past, and also its bold, unpredictable future. That’s why we took his picture in black and white for the cover! In short, he is you in all your contradictions and nuances. But better than you. But also surprisingly humble and also every single other man in 2015. Whiskey is great, isn’t it?

The Huffington Post turns ten this week.

It’s seen by lots more eyeballs and it’s much better looking and reading than it was at its birth, when it was nothing but a lot of hype and hope and the political scribblings of celebrities. But the HuffPo is still just a liberal pimple on the big conservative ass of the Drudge Report.

I wasn’t going to celebrate the birthday of Arianna Huffington’s love child, but over the weekend The Today Show, or whatever it’s called by NBC, apparently spoke my name during its celebration.

I didn’t see or hear what Today said about me to the whole nation.

I hear they took a line or two out of context from the critical but fair and balanced magazine column I wrote about HuffPo’s birth to show what a big dummy I was for failing to predict it’d live to see its tenth birthday.

I forgot what I wrote on May 15, 2005,  but I looked it up and here it is:

Huffing & Puffing & Disappointing

Matt Drudge can sleep easy.

Arianna Huffington’s much ballyhooed “Huffington Post” — a new Web site whose chief gimmick is a Malibu Beach party’s worth of celebrity bloggers — is no threat.

If you haven’t heard, huffingtonpost.com features the daily blathering of scores of La-La-Landers — Rob Reiner, Bill Maher, John Cusack, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, et al. — and scores of savvy inner-Beltway politicos such as David Corn, Mike McCurry, Joe Scarborough and Danielle Crittenden.

From the advance hype, you’d have thought that the multiblog site, which debuted Monday, was going to do for the blogosphere what CNN did for TV news. It won’t.

It’s way too early to declare it a flop. But it’s easy to see why the media criticism has run from brutally cruel to “Could this possibly be this dull and uninformative forever?”

Not every celebrity embarrasses himself.

Quincy Jones’ rumination on Michael Jackson’s sordid decline is wise, but contains so much God-talk he may have his star on Hollywood Boulevard removed.

“Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David’s defense of U.N. Ambassador-designate John Bolton as a fellow abuser-of-employees is clever satire.

Rob Reiner’s ranting about the news media being stooges of the Bush administration and voters being misled on Iraq, etc., etc., would make a great sendup of a demented Hollywood liberal, except he’s being serious.

Reiner’s meat-headed rant gives credence to L.A. Weekly Nikki Finke’s conspiratorial suspicion that Arianna is now “a conservative mole.” Finke, a business/political columnist, covering entertainment, wrote in her Huffington Post-trashing column that the Greek-born author-pundit “has served up liberal celebs like red meat on a silver platter for the salivating and Hollywood-hating right wing to chew up and spit out.”

Finke could be right. Maybe Arianna — who has morphed from the right-wing conservative spouse of a multimillionaire Republican congressman to a divorced big-government progressive do-gooder — is a double agent for her mid-’90s pal, Newt.

There’s no doubt celebrities are going to be eaten alive by the pros — the politicians, pundits and journalists — Arianna invited to her 300-ring circus. Byron York has already bitten into sports guy Jim Lampley, who opined in his blog that he still thinks Bush stole Ohio last fall.

And conservative Danielle Crittenden, who knows how to mock Hollywood, blogged a clever parody memo to President Bush that plugs a new movie whose heroine is a brave, pro-life Republican congresswoman who fights for family values.

Assembling scores of celebrity bloggers in one place sounds like a really good idea — until you go there and find it’s mostly just a bunch of people with little to say talking to themselves.

At huffingtonpost.com , more is much less. There’s no strong single point of view, which is what all the best blogs have. There’s virtually no interaction or squabbling between libs and conservatives. Libertarians, as usual, apparently weren’t invited.

Arianna’s got lots of tinkering to do before she provides anything close to “a tantalizing mixture of politics, wit and wisdom.” She has to learn how to be an editor and a better ringmaster.

Maybe she’ll figure it out. Meantime, her Internet Free Hollywood may do America some good by forcing the cloistered Hollywood community to debate some nonliberal arguments and ideas it’s not used to even hearing.

Reads pretty good to me.