Monday, June 26, 2006

When Docker Boy Met Diva . . .

There was only one entry this morning. Too many phone calls, too many complaining about Docker Boy's TV column in the New York Times. "You are going to write about it, aren't you?"
When Docker Boy Met Diva?

Yeah. First off, David Carr is entitled to whatever opinion he wants to have and share. It was a snide column (nothing wrong with that) and a few e-mails came in on it from members as well noting the tone. He's not usually so snide in print (friends at CBS will chuckle at that).

I have no opinion on Anderson Cooper and no statement to share. I've never watched Wolf Blitzer (and probably mispelled his name).

But to address the issue of Angelina Jolie and Cher.

There's a rude remark (and that's fine, it's not his usual style, but that's fine) making a comment about how entertainers drift or lose interest in issues. (Something to that effect.) (One might say something similar about papers that claimed everything changed after 9-11 but then spent week after week with front page stories on the Michael Jackson trial/circus. Word to the Times: not the most pressing issue of our day.)

Jolie's not doing a 'hard' political issue. She's doing what Audrey Hepburn and many others did and do and I think it's sad to question her committment to that cause. (Carr can be sad, it's his right.) He tries to draw a comparison between her love life and her beliefs in humanity so we'll assume that he's yet to have any romantic entanglements that were intense (in which case, Michael Douglas, option the rights to The David Carr Story -- he's a midlife crisis waiting to happen -- Deadly Dockers: The David Carr Story). I think he undercuts the point he's trying to make which is that he feels the news programming on CNN isn't serious enough. If the best he can do with regards to Jolie (who knows her facts) is to offer up her love life, the question tossed back to him is: "Are you being serious enough?"

On Cher. Ava and I always work in Cher at The Third Estate Sunday Review whenever we can. We love Cher. We know Cher. She's one of a kind. Anderson Cooper apparently made a comment ("gushed" may have been word that Carr used, I'm not re-reading, it will bring back the anger in the calls this morning) that her work on helmets and soldiers might be the most important thing she's ever done.

He makes a snide remark about "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves."

She's an Oscar winning actress. He has to dig back to the seventies? And how is bringing up that song demonstrating a lack of seriousness since there's no seriousness in his column.

For the record, "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" actually should be played while reading the column. He is the people screaming, "Gypies, Tramps and Thieves." He doesn't realize it, he doesn't grasp it, but that's the reality.

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves
We'd hear it from the people of the town
They called us
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves . . .

If he's not, in fact, bothered by the way Cher speaks, his column was badly written. If he is . . . Cher's never given a ___ what anyone thought. She speaks the way she speaks and that may not be good enough for Docker Boy.

It was good enough to get the issue of the wounded coming back from Iraq attention when no one in corporate media wanted to address it. When she called in to C-Span, it was news. Radio shows, websites, etc. all picked up on it. I doubt David Carr, speaking as nicely as he wanted, calling into C-Span would interest more than a few of his co-workers (and some enemies he has at CBS who would immediately call and ask, "Are you near a TV! Turn it on! This is hilarious! You've got to see it!").

So let's be clear, Cher's not all talk. She was out at Walter Reed. Not with cameras, not with a stylist. She was out there being her real self which is all she's ever been. There's no fake with her. She can put on the outfits and do what's required for a performance, but she's very down to earth.

Besides seeming to have a loose grip on her career, he also appears unaware of her work on issues. Children's Craniofacial Associates is something he's unaware of apparently. She gives her time to issues, it's nothing new. It's new to Carr apparently and Cher's a little too much (woman? exotic? adult? empowered? Cher?) for him.

I'm not sure he proves his point with his column. I disagree with his column (strongly), but he can write what he wants. I will note that this is the sort of column that led to the remarks here which led to a former public editor attempting to justify/address the arts coverage as he went out with a whimper.

I don't care about tone. I think the fact that he put on his snide gloves today suprised some. -- but he can do that. He can do that and not know a great deal about what he's writing. He should write whatever and however he wants. Today he wanted to mock people and that's fine but his barbs were weak and it read like a middle-aged stoner coming off a pot high. I'm not sure that's the impression he wanted to make. (But who but a baked out, middle-aged stoner would tell himself, "'Gypsies!' That's how I'll make my point! I'm not even advanced enough to do a more recent but tired joke about the Lori products and the infomercial! Oh, everyone's going to love this! I'm like Rex Reed, long after everyone stopped reading him!")

Use whatever tone you want. But try a little harder to update your references. The whole thing read like a tired piece from the late-seventies in terms of the "wit" and in terms of the point he was trying to make -- unless it was "I can be just as superficial as I feel CNN is being" -- he failed to make it.

Score: Cher still standing, Carr still with his face pressed against the glass.

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