- - Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ritual purity

“[Jodie] Foster and [Mel] Gibson have a long history — they appeared together in 1994’s ‘Maverick’ and co-star in the someday-to-be-released Foster-directed comedy ‘The Beaver.’ So it’s understandable that a director and star, one with a nearly impossible-to-promote movie, would want to do as much damage control as possible for her project. It’s even somewhat laudable to stand by a friend with a tarnished reputation.

“But when the friend in question is someone accused of spousal abuse, threats and the most vicious and appalling of sexual and racial slurs, maybe she’d want to distance herself a little. When said friend already has a colorful history of drunk driving and accusing the Jews of being ‘responsible for all the wars in the world,’ is that really the corner she wants to be in? …

“Yet Foster’s suspect loyalty to internationally acclaimed, unrepentant creeps doesn’t end with ‘the most loved man in show business.’ She’ll soon be heading to Europe to co-star in ‘The God of Carnage,’ directed by Oscar-winning child rapist Roman Polanski.”

Mary Elizabeth Williams, writing on “Jodie Foster’s baffling Mel Gibson defense,” on Oct. 21 at Salon

Truth, schmuth

“It’s true that, as we are so often told, Shakespeare adapted the facts of English history in the 14th and 15th centuries, insofar as they were known at the time, in order to make a better story. Falstaff was as much his own creation as the ‘Mark Zuckerberg’ of Aaron Sorkin, David Fincher, and Jesse Eisenberg is their own creation [in ‘The Social Network’].

“But it seems to me not an irrelevant consideration that Mark Zuckerberg is a living person — the fictional Falstaff and those who were said to have known him lay nearly two centuries in the past when Shakespeare gave them what life they ever had — and therefore a person who ought to have some rights of self-defense against misrepresentations of himself.

“So, for that matter, ought Harvard University, which is similarly made more movie-genic with the help of Mr. Sorkin’s trademark clever dialogue. But I fancy that Harvard might actually be pleased at its depiction here as a bizarre community of hyper-intelligent and insanely competitive sociopaths on the one hand and old-money snobs on the other.”

James Bowman, writing on “The Social Network,” on Oct. 21 at the American Spectator

Loving hate

“Since LeBron James … recently went public with some of the vilest of the racist crap spewed at him on Twitter while telling the press, ‘I just want you guys to see what type of words are being said toward me and towards us as professional athletes,’ I’ve had to take a long, hard look at my own position on this subject. My position regarding LeBron James and hatred could not be more simple or clear: I hate LeBron James. …

“I’m old enough to understand that my hatred of LeBron says more about me than him. After all, what sort of sad sack hates someone who is more or less … a stranger? … First of all, a hater is angry, hurt, and helpless to do anything about his anger, hurt and helplessness. But hurt and helplessness are not produced by hatred; they come from what often, as in this case, precedes hate: love. …

“It was Jesse Jackson who first played the race card for LeBron, in response to a letter from Dan Gilbert, the Cavs’ owner. The other day, when LeBron himself did it, he didn’t mention that he himself had encouraged the tweeting mass, that he himself called it ‘Hater Day’ and urged them on. As always with LeBron, he was not accountable for a poor result. He was a victim.”

Scott Raab, writing on “How I Celebrated LeBron’s ‘Hater Day’ on Twitter,” on Oct. 21 at Esquire

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