- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Cold deadline

“In 1966, Truman Capote published ‘In Cold Blood,’ an account of two drifters who murdered a family of four in rural Kansas. …

“‘Capote’ … tells the story of how Capote wrote his book. … [W]hen authorities capture the killers, he connects with them … particularly Perry Smith, a brutal murderer with a sensitive side.

“Capote empathizes with the prisoner — possibly falls in love with him — and hires him a good lawyer. The two end up using each other: Smith trying to escape execution, Capote trying to get good material. The appeals go on for years. But Capote can’t finish his book without an ending, and his publisher is pressuring him.

“With the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Capote ends the legal fees, clearing the way for Smith’s execution. … The movie shows that art, like murder, can be committed in cold blood.”

— Gene Edward Veith, writing on “Capote,” in the Nov. 12 issue of World

Gun-free 007?

“There is no necessity for a movie actor, in his private life, to exhibit any behavioral resemblances to the characters he plays. Marlon Brando (‘The Godfather’) was not a man of intense family loyalties; Dustin Hoffman (‘Rain Man’) was not an idiot savant; James Mason (‘Lolita’) was not a child molester; Charlton Heston (‘The Ten Commandments’) claims no extraordinary relationship with God.

“We should therefore, perhaps, be neither shaken nor stirred by the news that the latest actor to play Bond, James Bond, hates handguns. Says 37-year-old Daniel Craig: ‘Handguns are used to shoot people and as long as they are around, people will shoot each other.’ Sporting issues aside, this misses the point that, as James Bond himself understood perfectly well, there are people in the world who need shooting.”

— From “The Week,” in the Nov. 21 issue of National Review


“The comedian known as Larry the Cable Guy (Dan Whitney) is the newest … in a noble line of redneck philosophers. Following in the tradition of ‘Hee Haw’s Junior Samples, the humorist Lewis Grizzard, and his own colleague Jeff Foxworthy, Larry gives a voice to his dyspeptic corner of the South. … Larry is an anachronism in the New South. He and his comrades from the film ‘Blue Collar Comedy Tour’ have revived the ancient art of rednecking, one of comedy’s most venerable forms.

“It’s tempting to view the success of the ‘Blue Collar’ troubadours — the others are Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Ron White — as a triumph of savvy packaging. But the comedy speaks to a broadly American condition: the feeling of being left out. ‘Blue Collar’ was mounted as a rejoinder to ‘The Original Kings of Comedy’ (2000), a film directed by Spike Lee that featured four black comedians. As Foxworthy explained to the New York Times, ‘[T]hat show left out the people who were not hip. They’re the ones who wake up every morning and go to work and go to war, and, dadgum, there’s a whole lot of ‘em out there.’ …

“Larry has staked out a few moral principles. Onstage, he refuses to say the f-word or take the Lord’s name in vain. In a new book, ‘Git-R-Done,’ he lists some other principles: support for the National Rifle Association; worship of John Wayne and Lynyrd Skynyrd; an interest in bird-huntin’ and four-wheelin’; sympathy for the Confederate flag; being ‘first and foremost an American’; and a belief in Jesus Christ.”

— Bryan Curtis, writing on “Larry the Cable Guy,” Nov. 2 in Slate at www.slate.com

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