Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Woody Allen in Today’s New York Times

A guy named Dave Itzkoff interviewed Woody Allen about Allen’s new movie (“You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”) and one quote stood out.

Itzkoff asked, “Were you prepared for the firestorm of media coverage you set off by casting Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in your next movie, ‘Midnight in Paris’?”

Allen said, “I was very surprised at the level of journalism that occurred in relation to her. She has a small part in the movie — a real part, but it’s a small part. And I shot with her the first day, and then all the papers said she was terrible, and I did 32 takes with her. Of course I didn’t even do 10 takes with her. This was just a magical number that some guy created in a room. Then they printed that her husband came to the set and was angry with her. He came to the set once, and he was delighted. He felt she was a natural actress and couldn’t have been happier.”

Nicholas Sarkozy is, of course, the current President of the French Republic, and Carla Bruni is, of course, the woman he married in 2008 after a torrid and public affair.

Allen went on to say, ”For some reason, the press wanted to say bad things about her. I don’t know if they had something against the Sarkozys, or it was a better way to sell papers. But the fabrications were so wild and so completely fake, and I wondered to myself, Is this is what happens with Afghanistan and the economy and matters of real significance? This is a trivial matter. That’s a longwinded answer to your question: I was not prepared for the amount of press that was attached to the picture because of Madame Sarkozy.”

I too wonder if that’s what the press does concerning matters of true importance.

Another trivial matter that makes one wonder about matters of real importance was a Versace ad on page 29 of the September 20th issue of "The New Yorker”. It had been so weirdly photo-shopped that the sleeve of the woman in white looked like she had elephantiasis. Probably the armpit of the woman in black had to be re-defined so that it didn’t melt into the woman in white…but still…in so doing everything got loopy and out of proportion and out of sync.

Our news is getting loopy, out of proportion and out of sync. It all started when reporters (or their editors and publishers) decided to change the old Who-What-Where-When formula of the lede paragraph of all news stories, to a paragraph that sounds like the beginning of an asshole’s idea of the Great American Novel.

Not a good change.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


But then…most religious disagreements are nutty.

That said, this one goes beyond reason, if one can reason about religion.

This morning, the New York Times reported (“Utah: Mormon Holocaust Survivers Reach Accord”): “The Mormon Church says it has changed its genealogical database to better prevent the names of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps from being submitted for posthumous baptism by proxy.”

That lede sentence is mind-numbing to start with. Take a moment to try to wrap your mind around it.


The short article went on to state: “In a joint statement on Wednesday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors said a new computer system and policy changes should resolve a yearslong disagreement over the baptisms. Mormons believe posthumous baptism by proxy provides an opportunity for deceased persons to receive the Gospel in the afterlife. The names used are drawn from a church-run genealogical database. Jews are offended by the idea that Mormons are trying to alter the religion of Holocaust victims.”

I have to admit, I laughed.

But, the fact is, the Mormons believe they can baptise people into their religion after they have died. This, of course, is to save those who weren’t baptized while living from eternally roasting in hell now that they are dead.

I, who am not noted for being all that compassionate towards people whose belief systems differ from mine, can understand that this is a deeply held belief of the Mormon religion and I can respect it. (Just barely, but what the hell.)

But for the Jews to get their undies in a twist over this belief of the Mormons is, by me, totally nutsoid.

It’s my understanding that the Jews do not hold with baptisms. It is not part of their belief system.

So fine. I, personally, like the idea of baptism…the rite, by me, is lovely, whether done to babies, or taken on by adults, I like it.

But what I don’t understand is:  Why do the Jews care if the Mormons baptise everyone who ever lived and who are now dead?

The folks are dead…so WHAT THE FUCK?

Oh well, maybe these Mormons and Jews don’t have enough to worry about. Maybe what is going on in the world of the quick is not sufficiently worrisome, so they are taking on the vast world of the dead to fill the void.

But to me, it is totally nutty. And even the détente is nutty.

But I will grant, a nutty détente is preferable to a nutty argument.