Monday, November 16, 2015

Everybody's Linking for the Week

I know, it's Monday.  I'm bummed too.  Let's do this thing and hopefully feel a little better informed as we count the days until the next weekend, shall we?

In Entertainment...

-On Saturday the Governors Awards took place in Los Angeles, as the likes of Gena Rowlands, Spike Lee, and Debbie Reynolds won their long overdue Oscars.  Spike Lee urged Hollywood to embrace diversity, particularly from a business perspective, and AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs echoed these sentiments in her opening remarks.  Gena Rowlands was the major hit of the night, sharing a cute story about Bette Davis (it always pays to name-drop a Hollywood legend or two in a speech, particularly if you're a Hollywood legend yourself), while Debbie Reynolds was too ill to be able to attend, so her granddaughter Billie went in her place.  Congrats to all three, and here's to hoping both for a speedy recovery for Reynolds and for the three of them to be at the very least presenters (perhaps Best Picture?) at this year's Oscar ceremony.

-Due to the attacks in Paris, episodes of Supergirl and NCIS: Los Angeles that focused on terrorism-related plotlines were replaced by other episodes.  I do, of course, want to be sensitive to those directly affected by the tragedy but part of me becomes very uncomfortable when studios do something like this.  These episodes don't pose a security risk like the cancellation of live concerts and film premieres, but instead are just episodes of television, and as a result by not airing them aren't we giving the terrorists a victory?  I get that CBS doesn't want to suffer the backlash, but part of me wonders if a simple "we're not going to let terrorists dictate our freedom of expression" would be a better byline for the network.  In related news-should I be watching Supergirl?  I feel like it's a pretty populist hit, but no one I know is watching-is it any good, and what is it comparable to?

-Salon's Sophia McClennon wrecked Trevor Noah in an epic takedown, saying he can't hold a candle to Jon Stewart and points out that his approach will ruin The Daily Show's sharp position in the public debate and its place as a former of national opinion.  Clicking over to the link, it's easy to see her point-Noah is a voice of fresh air in the light night talk game, but more so because he's intensely handsome and has a wryness that lacks in comparison to the earnestness that dominates network late-night.  However, he hasn't really advocated for anything other than SNL level parodies, and that's SNL when it isn't acing it.  His show hasn't really done anything except cruelly malign Iowa (but not in a way that came across as anything other than regional stereotyping) and say Donald Trump was an African dictator (something that Stewart could have done in three jokes).  While McClennon is correct to point out that Stewart wasn't a great hit out-of-the-gate, in a media landscape where John Oliver is sharply gaining points and Jon Stewart is poised to be creating another show on HBO, Noah doesn't have that long to wait before he becomes old news.

In Politics...

-Politico, whose magazine may be the best thing on the web these days (their general site occasionally turns into a beltway gossip column), gives a remarkably thorough investigation into the months preceding the 9/11 attacks, particularly spelling out that (based on evidence provided by former CIA officials) President Bush had received numerous warnings about impending attacks from Al-Qaeda and hadn't heeded those warnings.  This is particularly timely both in comparison to how Bush was treated over 9/11 and how Sec. Clinton has been treated in regard to the attacks in Benghazi, as well as in the wake of the tragic events in Paris this past week.  I thoroughly recommend reading through the full article if you haven't yet.

-Speaking of Politico Magazine, Bill Scher raised yet another article wondering if Jeb Bush is still in the presidential game, but instead of calling back Sen. John McCain's triumphant return to the spotlight in 2008, he instead decided to compare him to a different comeback kid, John Kerry in 2004.  While the Bush camp would be loathe to compare themselves to the man who spent a year vilifying his brother, behind closed doors I suspect they are studying the Kerry campaign.  After all, like Bush Sen. Kerry was down in the mid-single digits before the Iowa caucuses (actually down less than a month by those kinds of numbers), and 2004 was more about a man who never had held office (Wesley Clark), a first-term senator who had become the establishment's new favorite (John Edwards), and someone from the fringe of the party that seemed to have inexplicably caught fire (Howard Dean) rather than longtime party stalwarts like Kerry, Dick Gephardt, and Joe Lieberman.  It's worth noting that Bush is actually mimicking in many ways the Kerry camp, not really succumbing to the urge to be outlandish or change his tune, but instead staying in and hoping that the others implode in a way similar to Kerry's challengers (when Dean, Clark, Edwards, Gephardt, and Lieberman, all of whom had a strong shot at the nomination throughout that campaign, ended up being unacceptable choices for a general and the establishment went to the longtime war-hero senator).  Some may mention that Kerry, of course, lost the White House (as did John McCain), but right now the goal is emerging victorious out of the primary-Bush doesn't care about Hillary Clinton until then.  He'd gladly settle for the hand that John Kerry got dealt at this point.

-While there were a number of retirements announced this past week from Congress (including Sam Farr, who is another close Nancy Pelosi ally who could be indicating that Pelosi will eventually resign from the next Congress should she lose out on the Speakership next November), perhaps no one set off a potential firestorm quite like Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.  With Lummis, a relatively quiet Republican whom I thought would just bide her time until Mike Enzi retired in 2020, announcing a surprise retirement, we are likely to see the return of Liz Cheney, who last cycle ran an embarrassing and nasty campaign against Enzi, which she ended up withdrawing from in the wake of a 50-point voting deficit in the state.  Cheney is unlikely to have the field to herself, however, as more seasoned politicians in the state like State House Speaker Tim Stubson and House Majority Leader Rosie Berger are looking at the contest (openings in Wyoming don't come around every day, and whomever wins here will have right-of-first-refusal in 2020 when Enzi is expected to retire).  Considering the bad blood that Cheney had with the Wyoming State Republicans (as well as Lummis and Enzi, both still powerhouses in the state), and her father's still considerable profile in national politics, this could be one of the most intriguing primaries of the next House cycle.

Shameless Self-Promotion of the Week...

-I am loving the second season of The Leftovers (which, while lacking the wandering nature of the first season, still manages to take a look at the harshness of faith, tragedy, and dependance on others), but why do they have to make Matt so insanely stupid?  I won't share what he does (please be watching the show if you aren't-I can't lose this and Looking in the same year), but if you're watching sound off in the comments on Matt's story arch.

YouTube Video of the Week...

-The best video that Shane Dawson has done probably all year was his Fifi Fierce character (parodying the banal nature of YouTube beauty gurus), and thankfully she's back.  This is audibly NSFW, so keep the headphones on, but it's probably the sharpest satire Shane has done:

Just One More...

-HuffPo did a rundown of this past season's art auction highlights, which if you've been paying attention hasn't been particularly exciting outside of the insanity of Mondigliani's Nu Couche getting $170 million.  HuffPo is a little kinder to the auction houses than others in the art world have been, but it's definitely a worthwhile read if you're an art/museum lover and haven't been keeping up with the scene.

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