Friday, January 20, 2006

Something I Like

I like to read James Wolcott. Everyday.

And man, I hope he's never pissed off at me. He has a talent for making the people he dislikes appear to be utter buffoons--exposing their inanities, deflating oversized egos, and the like. I suppose it helps that many of these people are, in fact, buffoons to begin with, but the point remains--he will provide a written beatdown of epic proportions should you ever be foolish enough to step to him. He will also grind you into the dust if you just really deserve it, as does prominent tongue-clucking tool Michael Medved.

With its win at the Golden Globes, Brokeback is now projected on a stronger Oscar path, and that's what's bothering Medved and likeminded lightweights, the growth of gay acceptance. Making the same pained, turd-squeezing facial expression he always makes when relieving himself of a more-in-sorrow-than-anger sentiment, Medved lamented that the other winners at the Globes included Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote and Felicity Huffman for Transamerica.

What's his point? Is he saying that Hoffman (brilliant in Capote) shouldn't been nominated, or won, or both? who was better? Hoffman's main competition in the category was Brokeback's Heath Ledger, and his win wouldn't have made Medved happy either. Does Medved think that Capote's screenwriter should have erased its protagonist's sexuality from the script (never mind that it's given from less stress in the story than Capote's friendship with Harper Lee, beautifully embodied by Catherine Keener), or is he saying that the movie shouldn't have been made at all? Are gay characters only permissable if they stay on the margins of movies, and become problematic when they occupy the heart of the screen? (Because putting them at the center confers a legitimacy homosexuals don't deserve because their behavior isn't normative, according to the Gospel according to Medved.) As for Transamerica, I haven't seen it, aren't much inclined to (I'm not that keen on "road" movies apart from Paul Mazursky's Harry & Tonto), but Felicity Huffman is a proven quality as an actress, and there's no reason she shouldn't earn as much praise for playing a transsexual as Tom Wilkinson did playing a family man pursuing a sex change operation in the moving HBO film Normal.

I mean, really, what's Medved's point? That it's okay for gay-themed works to win awards as long as they don't win too many? Is there a gay-content quotient he'd find acceptable, or is it permissable for gay-accented movies to win prizes as long as they don't Flaunt Themselves at the podium?

Man, that's bloody. I almost spit out my coffee when I got to the "pained, turd-squeezing facial expression" bit. Okay, so that's a lie. I didn't have any coffee at the time. But, had I a cup of joe in hand, rest assured I would've been spewing the life-giving elixir over the screen. Or at least seriously thinking about it.

Wolcott's got quite a talent for writing, one I could never hope to have. So I'm glad he uses his superpowers for good, not evil.

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