My ultra-brief tenure at Salon.com came to a screeching halt with the non-publication of this, my third and final short piece for the play-it-safe-unless-it’s-vulgar online rag. I didn’t bother to watch the Academy Awards ceremony (I haven’t for several years), yet when Andrew O’Hehir asked the correspondents of “Film Salon” to chime in with their respective 2 cents, I penned the following. The timid O’Hehir refused to run my commentary, preferring instead a collage of totally unmemorable opinions, none of which have stood the test of time. Shortly thereafter, the democratic atmosphere of “Film Salon” bit the dust. Instead of being home to divergent voices, it became the near-exclusive enclave of O’Hehir and his hamfisted-buffoon-in-arms, the much beloved (though not terribly perceptive or eloquent) Matt Zoller Seitz. Leaving aside — for the nonce — how being a popular critic amounts to being no critic at all — here is what the rest of you were denied the opportunity to read:
Suggested headline: After party turns deadly when Streep whacks Bullock with a French silk.
No, but seriously, Andrew, the best picture win by Hurt Locker feels as though it were decreed by our betters at Halliburton, as a means of conditioning sheep-like Americans into acceptance of an endless state of war as the new “norm.” Obama hasn’t and won’t do anything to right the wrongs of the Cheney/Bush legacy he inherited; the Republican who’ll be elected President in 2012 won’t either. This anointing of the apolitcal Hurt Locker, a movie essentially about guys just doing their jobs, thus indicates the futility of questioning why — why, why, why those jobs need to be done in the first place. In laymen-speak, it’s about keeping the U.S. economy permanently crippled, stupid, while the patriotic myth that our military keeps America “safe” waxes mindlessly, senselessly on. Ask anybody who’s ineligible for unemployment benefits how safe he or she feels knowing that our boys are blowing stuff up in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On the capacious topic of mindlessness, Academy members who voted for the reptilian-faced Republi-sweetie Sandra Bullock were more or less voting for her cleavage. It would have been nice to see Streep win, and to win for a comedy, no less. Sandy, at least, ought to have had the good taste to remember John Simon in her acceptance speech. Without his praise for her off-Broadway endeavors 22 years ago, she might still—deservedly—be waiting tables. — NPT
March 8, 2010