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The Conversation: The unpredictable Golden Globes

January 18, 2011 | 12:27 pm

Ricky Gervais

Forget the razzle-dazzle of Angelina Jolie's and Anne Hathaway's sequin dresses, or even who won awards at Sunday's Golden Globes. Two days later, people are still talking about the program's most unexpected moments. And by moments, we do mean Ricky Gervais'  jokes that left the room of celebrities squirming but viewers at home riveted.

Ricky Gervais' Golden Globes Insurrection, by Time's James Poniewozik: "The Golden Globes are most entertaining when watched in the company of someone who knows that the awards and the awarders are best not taken too seriously. Last night, that person was host Ricky Gervais, who — hilariously and to Hollywood's apparent discomfort — didn't so much host the awards as he conducted a three-hour roast of them." But, writes Poniewozik, there may have been one joke that went too far for comfort.

Gervais and De Niro make a bit of showbiz history at Golden Globes, by the Los Angeles Times' Patrick Goldstein: "For years, Hollywood has had a sham marriage with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., a motley group of little-known international journalists and critics. [...] On Sunday night, Ricky Gervais and Robert De Niro set politeness and decorum aside, and viewers across America were treated to a Golden Globes show worth watching. Not because the awards actually mean something, but because this was a bit of showbiz history in the making: a public breakdown in the carefully cultivated but thoroughly cynical "see no evil, speak no evil" relationship that Hollywood has with the HFPA."

Defending Gervais: Why Every Awards Show Should Now Hire the Caustic Host, by Mediaite's Colby Hall: If television programmers and award show producers are smart, they would consider Sunday night's broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards as an historic night. Much has already been made of the controversial comedic styling of host Ricky Gervais, and his brave choice of forgoing a predictably convivial route for a more caustic road less traveled in hosting the show. And God bless him for it. Not only did he single-handedly make an otherwise boring and predictable program seem surprising (if not dangerous?), but the viewership rewarded his bravado, scoring record ratings for the fledgling show."

Gervais wasn't the only unpredictable performer in the room. From our editorial pages, Best eccentric at an awards show goes to...  "Still, there were a few signs that the show hadn't lost all of its refreshing wackiness, such as Natalie Portman giddily noting that choreographer Benjamin Millepied, the father of her unborn child, really does like sleeping with her. And then there was Helena Bonham Carter. She wore two different colored shoes. Red and green. Bonham Carter, the respected actress who was nominated for her performance in "The King's Speech," often arrives at gala events dressed and coiffed as if she had tumbled in a clothes dryer just before she got there. But two different colored shoes is a new level of eccentricity even for her. Not since Bjork slung a fake swan around her neck and went to the Oscars has there been that high-profile a display of goofiness."

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-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Host Ricky Gervais during the Golden Globes show in Beverly Hills on Sunday. Credit: AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater

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Will Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier catch the first plane out of Haiti?

January 18, 2011 | 10:56 am

 

Tuesday's editorial about Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier's surprise return to Haiti said bluntly that the former dictator should get the heck out of town before he creates more chaos and corruption on the island already desperate for help. And it seems the editorial board might get its wish. Duvalier has been taken into custody, though there's no word yet on whether his detainment has to do with crimes he committed during his rule in the '70s and '80s.

It's good news for Haitians, who need less politicking and more action on their road to recovery. From Sunday's Op-Ed article "Haiti's political earthquake" by Amy Wilentz:

In Port-au-Prince and its environs, more than a million people are living in sordid, makeshift encampments vulnerable to flood and epidemic. These camps, which look temporary to outsiders, seem strangely permanent to those familiar with Haiti and its shantytowns, from which much of Martelly's support derives. Indeed, many of the shacks in the new camps seem more solidly built than the squalid lean-tos of stick and tin that were the architectural norm in the sprawling bidonvilles of the capital even before the earthquake. Meanwhile, a slow but steady cholera epidemic has killed thousands.

Among all this misery, the young, blond, carefree cadres of nongovernmental organizations skitter around in their SUVs, trying to fix a few small things. They start new orphanages; they feed a neighborhood; they erect a school; they make sure Bill Clinton, the U.N.'s special envoy to Haiti, gets from one event to the next. They go out to bars and restaurants in the better parts of town.

On the anniversary of the quake last week, the difficulty of the task ahead was clear. But the character of the Haitian people was also on display, and that in the end could be the nation's greatest asset, with competent and honest leadership.

Continue reading here»

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Martin Luther King Jr.: "Hatred paralyzes life"

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In cartoons, the weapons depicted just get bigger and more powerful

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-- Alexandra Le Tellier


Playboy deputy editor riles up our armchair opinionators

January 17, 2011 |  2:52 pm

Beck_Olbermann

Playboy's deputy editor, Stephen Randall, joined our Opinion pages Sunday with an Op-Ed about the current state of opinion oversaturation, which subsequently riled up our armchair opinionaters who've taken to our discussion board with opinionated comments about their right to opine.

imissreagan1911: Author Stephen Randall is hilarious.  Never heard of this person -- the deputy editor of Playboy.  Claims to be more intelligent then the rest of us and thinks that we have no thoughts worth sharing.  

Wigboldus: Oh, I see. We need to go back to the "good old days" when the media were the gatekeepers on information and opinion.  

susangate: Oh the liberals will tell you that is no measure of quality, and just means more people are stupid, uneducated rubes. The liberals are afraid to admit the majority of people don't think like them and don't want their agenda. So calling the majority of people stupid just shows how smart they are, don't you know...wink wink.

the gods must be crazy: I love an opinion dedicated to telling everybody else they have too many opinions, their opinons are unintelligent, and thus somehow invalid.  Classic.  

Allen Osborn: Allow me to opine:  I find it strange that the old-guard (newspapers) don't want anyone else to have opinions.  I guess they have entitled themselves to be the lone thinkers -- but that's just my opinion. 

RonaldGeiken: I only hear a small portion of all the opinions going around, and am not concerned about whether they are political correct or not. After all we have Free Speech which is a precious commodity. I have better things to focus on than whether there are too many opinions out there. Who is to decide whether an opinion should be allowed? Just because liberals don't pay attention to conservative opinions in the media doesn't mean that they don't pay attention on Election Day. The people have spoken for the moment, and things are going to become different than the Status Quo of the recent past. Actually it is interesting to read the comments whether they are ultra liberal or ultra conservative or somewhere in the middle. I don't enjoy reading flippant comments that don't make any sense. Any opinion should be back up with the facts!!!! 

jack43: I had a hard time getting past the first line of this editorial: "You think too much." Actually, I think that we don't do it enough. We substitute opinions for thinking, especially other's opinions. What's worse is that parroted opinions are at the high end of discourse, especially in discussion threads following on line editorials and news items. Many simply cast bromides, platitudes, and superflous cliches at each other's opinions like stones thrown at windows and we end up with public discourse degenerating into public vandalism.

GregMaragos: For those experiencing acute vexation or ennui over the deluge of high-octane arguing and opining that goes on in our headache-inducing 24-hour news cycle, please forgive me as I once again point out the obvious:

Modern televisions are equipped with two fool-proof safety devices that enable viewers to filter out any and all offending material, so as not to annoy the adults or corrupt the children.

1) The Channel Changer

2) The on/off switch.

Go fishing.  You'll feel better. 

 

You're dying to weigh in, aren't you?

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-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Glenn Beck, left, and Keith Olbermann. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times, left; Reed Saxon / Associated Press


Martin Luther King Jr.: 'Hatred paralyzes life'

January 17, 2011 | 11:52 am

MLK-Bus

In this photo from Dec. 21, 1956, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. rides a newly integrated bus in Montgomery, Ala., a momentous occasion that vindicated Rosa Parks after she refused to sit in the back of the bus in 1955, marked a civil rights victory and sent a powerful message of hope. So, it is particularly heartbreaking to read "Black man's burden," an Op-Ed by Judy Belk that recounts how just 10 years ago (and 45 years after the above photo was taken) her 13-year-old son came to understand  racism while on public transportation. 

Racism is like that. A dripping faucet of sorts. You ignore it until you can't anymore. I so desperately wanted to slow down the inevitable. Stop the drip. Couldn't he have just one more year of innocence in which he could believe that his black skin was nothing more than what it is — a physical attribute rather than the definition to others of who he is and what he can or can't do.

But Ryan was already one step ahead of me in coming up with coping strategies.

"Don't worry, Mom, I figured out a solution. I just take out a book and start reading, which seems to make everybody relax." One woman, he said, even asked if he was enjoying a particular book as much as she did.

As a black woman who loves two amazing black men -- my husband and 23-year-old son -- I have seen again and again how society either assumes the worst of them or treats them as an exception to their race and manhood. It is a minefield black men must navigate.

Thinking of Belk's personal story, especially on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, serves as a powerful reminder that we ought to do more than honor King with a day off from work; we should actively keep his dream alive by continuing his mission in our everyday lives. To celebrate King, here are...

Photos: Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. [Framework]

Murals: Art that conjures the great man and his enduring dream [Camilo Jose Vergara]

Video: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in His Own Words [Democracy Now]

Quotes: 10 memorable MLK quotes [The Christian Science Monitor]

Tribute: Why one Chicago school keeps students in class on Martin Luther King Jr. Day [Huffington Post]

Reminders: More than just a man who gave a good speech [Rachel Maddow]

 Photo: Montgomery, Ala. — the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., center, rides a newly integrated bus on Dec. 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court's integration order went into effect. Credit: Associated Press


Golden Globes' Sunday versus 'Friday Night Lights' -- whose football is it?

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