- - Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fighting hero

“So, no, I didn’t enjoy my matinee of ‘The Fighter.’ While the crowd cheered, I didn’t want Micky to win the fight. I wanted somebody more discerning than his sexy, bartending girlfriend to come along and rescue him from his family’s ignorance. And he wasn’t the only one I wanted to rescue.

“A man walked into the matinee 10 minutes late, bringing two daughters. I’m guessing they were five and eight years old. They sat next to me. As he quietly narrated the R-rated events to them, the little one started crying. He hugged her, but never once looked toward the door. The older girl sat wide-eyed as The Fighter’s two brothers fought back against the cops during their entirely justifiable arrest.

“The credits rolled. The father beamed with pleasure over the triumphant conclusion. ‘Daddy?’ asked the incredulous eight-year-old. ‘That man who beat up the cops … was he the hero?’ ‘Yes,’ said her father approvingly. ‘Yes, he was, sweetie.’”

Jeffrey Overstreet, writing on “Me Versus The Fighter,” on Jan. 25 at Image Journal

Idol backstory

“Wednesday’s auditions episode of ‘American Idol’ took place in Milwaukee — home of Danny Gokey, who now stands on the other side of the line of thousands of people and keeps the arena crowds alive with his comedy. As soon as I finish weeping about Chris Medina’s brain injury-addled fiancee and questioning what it all means and why I can’t ever appreciate anything I have, such as the abilities to type and snack … I will move on.

“[An hour passes.]

“Yeah, I’m still not over it. We’ve seen a lot of great singers at this point, but the high point of the first three episodes by far belongs to wise old loon Steven Tyler, who crouched over a young woman’s wheelchair, kissed her repeatedly in a compassionate dad way, got right up into her impenetrable personal space and made sure she knew: ‘He sings so well because he sings for you.’

Chris‘ audition will probably be something ‘Idol’ fans always remember. Check it out, here’s a song Chris wrote for Juliana on what would have been their wedding day. I can’t stop looking at the Facebook page her friends created for her. It all feels so invasive — what I’m doing now, what they did on the show — but I guess this is just what happens on reality TV (and the next day on the Internet). Every viewer knows the feeling. I’m so uncomfortable, but I just can’t stop!”

Annie Barrett, writing on “Now That’s What I Call a Sob Story,” on Jan. 27 at the Entertainment Weekly blog ‘American Idol’ Central

Daniel Bell, RIP

“The loss of [Daniel] Bell, besides being a tragedy, is also perhaps a unique event in today’s political environment, insofar as it is the loss of one of the few people still living who could simultaneously be classified as a ‘crypto-progressive RINO’ and a ‘Lieberman-style traitor to liberty, equality and fraternity-except-not-because-the-word-is-heteronormative.’

“That is, despite having described himself as a socialist in economics, a liberal in politics and a conservative in culture, Mr. Bell could scarcely be called a consistent socialist, nor a consistent liberal, nor a consistent conservative. Which is probably to say, he was a consistent thinker. And that, at world’s end, is all that matters.

“As with all thinkers who defy the epistemological and ideological boundaries of their time, Mr. Bell’s writing had the power simultaneously to infuriate, to sedate and to exhilarate. Unlike similar (lesser) thinkers, however, with Mr. Bell, one was sure that whatever one’s reaction to the assertions he presented, enlightenment was a given.

“This is not to say that Mr. Bell’s arguments were always correct — his theory in ‘The End of Ideology’ that technocratic distance would obviate the great philosophical conflicts probably looks slightly over-optimistic to our eyes. But even when he was wrong, he was wrong in such a way that one felt the need to puzzle over his chain of reasoning to see where precisely the flaw had occurred, and to appropriate the useful bits anyway.”

Brutus Halloran, writing on “Remembering Daniel Bell,” on Jan. 26 at the Frum Forum

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