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July 28, 2005


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Illustration Friday -- what a great idea for an illustrators' website. A theme is announced once a week. Then, every Friday, illustrators from all over the world link to the visuals they've created in response to the week's theme. There's much in the way of amusement and bliss to be experienced in surfing these links. God bless self-motivated talents, eh?

* Broadcasting and Cable's J. Max Robins says that he's never seen the TV news business in such a state of disarray.

* I loved the French director Olivier Assayas' recent cyberthriller "Demonlover." (Fair warning: Lots of people considered the movie a pretentious bore.) It turns out that Assayas can write about movies as well as he can make them. He started out as a film critic, and in the Telegraph he offers a lovely and clear-eyed appreciation of the work of the great German filmmaker (and Friedrich von Blowhard fave) Fritz Lang.

* Sony laid out a lot of payola to turn cuts by J. Lo and Jessica Simpson into hits. Now Sony is having to fork over yet more -- a $10 million fine. Small question: Who the hell is Jessica Simpson, and why should anyone care about her? (Link thanks to ChicagoBoyz's Mitch Townsend.)

* I always want to spit when a critic comes out with the kind of over-large, over-categorical judgment that some critics can't resist: "Such-and-such is the best novel of 2004," for instance. Earth to critics: Since no one has read (or will ever read) every novel published in 2004, please do us all a favor by speaking a little more modestly. There is more to the arts than anyone shall ever know. Speaking of which, here's an amazing collection of photographs of Chinese watermelon carving. I know nothing whatsoever about the artform, but color me impressed and delighted.

* Plum has just about had it with the whole low-rise jeans thing. Plum is quite something. Her list of "100 Things You Don't Need to Read" is funny in itself; it also comes together as a cute and fast autobiography. My fave entry on Plum's list: "I have a crappy memory. If I don't write stuff down, I forget it when I see something shiny." #77's a winner too: "I worked in an art gallery when I got out of college, even though it meant I had to eat ramen." There's more life in this collection of short confessions than there is in some literary novels I've read. Plum seems to be one of those amazingly rambunctious and uninhibited young women it's hard not to notice these days. She's also a spirited, sweet, and funny blogger. (California-bred and now living in Pittsburgh, Plum writes a plaintive and touching little posting entitled "Fuck Winter! Fuck Winter Right in the Ear!") The mostly-gal crowd that visits Plum's blog is sweet, foul-mouthed, and funny too.



posted by Michael at July 28, 2005


Jessica Simpson is Daisy Duke in the "The Dukes of Hazzard." She was also on the cover of "Esquire" (or GQ?) wearing a red white and blue bikini while removing her blue jeans, with the headline "God, What a Great Country!" She is pretty in a very plastic and predictable way, stupid, untalented, and over-celebrated. She also seems to have a stupid but equally plastic-y goodlooking husband named Nick and they are constantly reported in "splitsville". (This was after letting MTV film their marriage is some type of reality show which I never saw). The entire fascination with her is a tribute to all that is tiresome and disappointing to most women about most men. I just cannot believe its women or young girls who buy her records...but maybe I'm wrong. Madonna seems downright talented, individualistic, and admirable by comparison to the current crop. Let alone Carly Simon, Carol King, Stevie Nicks, even Grace Slick, for goodness sake. Where'd they go? For one thing, none of the current bimbos have had the wit to record anything like "Material Girl" in their lives. They wouldn't get it. D'ya think J-Lo could actually write lyrics as clever as "You're So Vain." She'd just be pissed it wasn't about her.

Posted by: annette on July 29, 2005 10:27 AM

Oh, her, right -- I've noticed her on a few magazine covers. Simply in terms of looks, very pretty but completely uninteresting, unengaging, un-idiosyncratic. Do guys really dig her? Do girls? I can see why women would hate it if men do in fact love her. But how weird if she has her female fans too. Nothing there to sink your imagination or brains into, if that's an OK way to put it. Gimme someone interesting, dammit. Talented might be nice too.

It's funny with celebrity these days -- whatever machine it is that manufactures celebs-of-the-moment is putting it out on a frequency I'm no longer tuned into. Does reality TV generate stars? Do TV watchers really get involved with these people? This is probably just a sign of how out of it I am. But all the brouhaha about celebs these days -- all the media whoopdedo -- seems even more madeup than it used to, as though the whoopdedo is going to go on whoopdedo-ing even if no one's paying attention. Kabuki whoopdedo -- all form, no actual public enthusiasm.

But aren't I a grump?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 30, 2005 02:34 AM

Wow. Thanks for the pimpery!

Posted by: Spurious Plum on July 31, 2005 10:32 PM

Demonlover a pretentious bore? I thought it was a mess, and by the last half hour I'd lost all track of what the hell was actually going on, but I don't think I was ever bored by it.

Posted by: James Russell on August 1, 2005 10:45 AM

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