Category Archives: Les Miserables

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Friday

THE QUOTE

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” — Rebecca West

West

NYAH, NYAH

So, the Republicans now have their pound of flesh.

Feeling all sissified by the results of the November election, the political decision makers within the Party of God racked their brains for a few days and then hit upon a forward course.

Does it include becoming more inclusive toward black and brown people, women, gays, the poor, and those whose IQs are north of 30?

2012 Republican National Convention

Republicans

Well, no. At least not yet.

How about a concerted effort to purge the party’s ranks of antediluvian racists — both crypto- and overt? Or accepting the fact that geologists, zoologists, biologists, and other learned souls just might know a little bit more about the nature of our physical world than do bizarrely-coiffed backwoods Bible-thumpers?

Nah.

Our friends the Republicans have decided their best first step forward was to stand firm against that greatest threat to our nation’s very existence: the putative nomination of Susan Rice to the post of Secretary of State.

Rice

Susan Rice

And whaddya know? They scored big time!

Rice, the current Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the United Nations, has informed her boss that she’s withdrawing her name from consideration to replace the outgoing S of S (and 45th President of the United States-in-waiting), Hillary Clinton.

Rice’s boss, the anti-Christ Barack Obama, was in for a bruising mud wrestling match had he tabbed Rice to don Clinton’s sash. And when all is said and done, even if Rice’s nomination were indeed approved by the Democratic-majority Senate, she’d have been viewed around the world as a weak PR agent for this holy land simply because so many fought against her.

Woo-hoo, we showed him, the Republicans are now telling themselves.

And guess what — the likely rebound nominee is said to be John Kerry.

Imagine that! The Republicans have indicated they’d be four-square in favor of approving Kerry. You remember him, don’t you? The traitor who protested against the war in Vietnam, only after he’d committed fraud to gain a pile heroism medals while there? The Republicans saved us from him in 2004.

Kerry/Lennon

Dangerous Johns: Kerry & Lennon

Now they love him. And why not? He’s a white male.

ANNIE’S LITTLE SECRET

The republic has survived yet another threat to its very existence. We’ve awakened four mornings in a row and discovered that the Earth remains in its orbit even after actress Anne Hathaway’s cooter was viewed by all concerned Monday night.

The temporarily-gaunt star of Les Miserables wore a gown made of coffin lining as well as some S&M accoutrements, all of which pass for haute couture, to the premiere of her big new blockbuster in New York.

She arrived at the red carpet in a positively presidential-looking SUV limousine. Her bodyguard leaped out and helped her exit the vehicle. She swung her legs out in an oh-so-ladylike fashion. Sadly (or not, depending on your level of sexual and emotional maturity) her knees separated and, thanks to a strategic split in her gown, her external reproductive organs were exposed and, within a nanosecond, were illuminated by a camera flash.

Hathaway 20121210

Naturally, the image of her fancy bit immediately flashed around the planet.

Just as naturally, Anne Hathaway is aghast even as tens of millions of adolescent boys are furiously masturbating to the point of pain.

“It was devastating,” she told Vanity Fair’s Ingrid Sischy.

Fair enough.

Hathaway — whom, by the way, I intend to marry should The Loved One ever come to her senses and throw me overboard — went a step further on NBC’s Today Show: “… I was very sad that we live in an age when someone takes a picture of another person in a vulnerable moment and rather than delete it and do the decent thing, sells it. And I’m sorry we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants….”

Fair enough again. I guess.

Only we’re not talking about powerless young girls being bought and sold in the Middle East (see chart). Nor are we talking about someone pointing a camera through a hotel room peephole so he can peddle nude pix of an unsuspecting sports reporter.

From the Woman Stats Project

Yes, it’s a crying shame that pix of Hathaway’s Little Secret should turn out to be such a valuable commodity but isn’t she being a tad disingenuous here?

I mean, I love the woman. She’s well on her way to becoming the Meryl Streep of the 2030s. She’s generally considered dignified.

But she has a knockout body and she knows it. And she trades on it. Google images of her and you’ll see tons of her flesh. Nothing tasteless, mind you. But anyone who cares to can examine her breasts and other parts of her anatomy.

Again, she’s no Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan but, still, she understands what exposed female flesh means in Hollywood. It’s like a being a lawyer and having been a member of the right fraternity in college.

Anyway, it was Hathaway herself who went commando. Which is usually harmless, except when you’re wearing a gown that’s slit some eight and a half yards from talus to ilium.

Hindsight is 20/20 but from this outpost, her best bet would have been to ignore the breathless and puerile questioning of the likes of Matt Lauer and let the incident pass without comment. She should have let the whole issue die a deserved death.

From "The Today Show"

Matt Lauer Grosses Out The Universe While Interviewing Hathaway

And maybe — just maybe — we’ll all grow up and stop tee-hee-ing when somebody’s business gets exposed.

A LADY LEXICON

The fun gals at feministing.com have provided us with an invaluable guide to the euphemisms for the human vagina.

That’s the technical term for it, of course. Vagina comes directly to us from the Latin, meaning a sheath for a soldier’s sword, which our old pals the Romans called a ferrum — literally, iron — but commonly used the word to refer to the penis.

Cicero and Co. had a way with words, no?

Marcus Tullius Cicero

“Sheathe Your Swords, Men Of Rome.”

So do we. Our words reveal our fears and distastes. Apparently, the vagina is scary and distasteful to far too many sword-bearers around this funny globe. Dig how many terms confer frightening, weird, and/or disgusting connotations on that place we’ve all passed through.

Study this. There’ll be a pop quiz later this semester.

From Feministing

SHE’S A BAD MAMA JAMA

By Carl Carlton, this song rocketed up the Billboard soul chart in 1981.

She’s poetry in motion/

A beautiful sight to see.

I get so excited/

Viewin’ her anatomy.

At least he wasn’t being a sneak about it.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Acting is a nice childish profession — pretending you’re someone else and, at the same time, selling yourself.” — Katharine Hepburn

IMMORTAL

Quickie rec: David “Sonny” Lacks, son of Henrietta Lacks speaks at the Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union at 7pm.

He’s the son of Henrietta Lacks, who was the subject of Rebecca Skloot’s bestseller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” The story of Lacks mere brings to life issues of cancer, medical malpractice, stem cells, race, scientific research, individual dignity — you name it, the book has it.

Sonny Lacks will discuss his mother’s story and how it affected the Lacks family — as well as the rest of humanity — for generations to come. He’ll also sign copies of the book.

ACTORS AND THEIR SCALES

Just a thought: Why do Hollywood actors feel it imperative to lose or gain massive amounts of weight for the roles they play?

I understand it all has to do with what seems to be the illogical evolution of method acting. You know, the discipline that made Marlon Brando (or vice versa) some 60 years ago — live the role and be the part. I get it.

Brando, Getting Into A Part

That’s why pretty boys who are slated to star in cops and robbers dramas ride along with real police officers before shooting begins so that they can pretend they know what it’s like to to carry a badge.

The latest two stars who’ve turned themselves into broomsticks for their roles are Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey, who are appearing in “Les Miserables” and “The Dallas Buyers Club,” respectively.

Hathaway & McConaughey, Sans Flesh

This trend goes at least as far back as 1979 when Robert De Niro was working on “Raging Bull.” He packed on approximately three-quarters of a ton of lard, the better to portray Jake LaMotta as a bloated 50-year-old.

A Meaty Role

De Niro won the Oscar for his portrayal but it wasn’t because he jammed cream puffs into his face for several months before production began. De Niro arguably was the best actor of his generation. He’d have won the Academy Award if he’d never even touched a bag of Cheetos®.

Now, Hathaway and McConaughey are capable actors, although neither breathes De Niro’s rarified air. I’m willing to bet they’d be convincing in their parts no matter what size their waistlines are.

A lot of this has to do with what we like to think of as reality. In a nation where significant portions of the population believe in angels, UFOs, ghosts, and three-year-old kids going to heaven and coming back to tell about it, yet don’t believe in man-made climate change, the movie-going public demands “realism” in its entertainment. We’re all mixed up.

So, I suppose Hollywood actors are giving us what we want. Which is heaping piles of bullshit.

It reminds me of a famous, if apocryphal, bit of acting advice offered by Laurence Olivier to Dustin Hoffman, his costar in “The Marathon Man.” Hoffman, the story goes, stayed awake and ran himself ragged for several days before shooting a key scene. Olivier asked him why he was putting himself through hell. Hoffman replied that he wanted to be convincing.

“Try acting, dear boy,” Olivier said. “It’s much easier.”

To Which Hoffman Replied….

SPEAKING OF BRATS GOING TO HEAVEN

How many times do I have to harp on this, people?

The latest New York Times Non-Fiction Trade Paperback Bestseller list is topped by “Proof of Heaven,” and “Heaven Is for Real.” Again.

The Burpos, On Earth

It’s the second week in a row the two fever dream retellings have ranked one and two on the list. (And let’s leave aside the obvious problem: These books are not nonfiction.)

What’s going on? Are the fundamentalist Christians who voted against Barack Obama trying to console themselves by fantasizing about a fab afterlife?

And another thing. What’s with the debate team topic titles? Are these people trying to convince us?

Or themselves?

HEAVENLY CRASH

Here’s a trivia bit that’ll make you a hit at the next holiday party.

The following bands and acts have recorded songs entitled, simply, “Heaven”:

  • All Saints (natch)
  • Better Than Ezra
  • Bryan Adams
  • Carly Simon
  • Hanson
  • Ice Cube
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Joan Armatrading
  • John Legend
  • Psychedelic Furs
  • Simply Red
  • Suicidal Tendencies
  • Talking Heads
  • The Rascals
  • The Rolling Stones

Heaven?

  • Uncle Kracker
  • Warrant

Want more? Okay. Here’s a list of selected movies with the word heaven in the title:

  • “Kingdom of Heaven”
  • “Just Like Heaven”
  • “Between Heaven and Earth”
  • “Pennies from Heaven”
  • “Days of Heaven”
  • “Heaven and Earth”

  • “All Dogs Go to Heaven”
  • “Far from Heaven”
  • “Heaven Can Wait”
  • “Heaven Only Knows”
  • “Heaven with a Gun”
  • “Heaven”
  • “My Blue Heaven”
  • “Back Door to Heaven”
  • “7th Heaven”
  • “Gates of Heaven”
  • “Chance at Heaven”
  • “All This and Heaven, Too”
  • “East Side of Heaven”
  • “Heaven Is a Playground”
  • “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison”

What Could Steve Martin Have Been Thinking?

Believe it or not, some of these films are good. Many of them, though, are dogs. Perhaps the bow-wow-iest is “My Blue Heaven” in which Steve Martin tries to play a “Goodfellas”-type mobster for laughs. I love Steve Martin but he made his biggest mistake by simply opening up this script.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallGuest Recital: Jonathan Biggers on organ; 12:15pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Art MuseumNoon Talk Series: “The Light Fantastic,” Presented by Rob Shakespeare; 12:15-1:15pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallArtist Diploma Recital: Nathan Giem on violin; 5pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — “Posters from the Revolution: The Anthropology of Graphic Arts in Cuba,” Gerrie Casey talks about her collection; 5pm

WORKSHOP ◗ Monroe County Public Library, Auditorium — “Serve IT: Get Engaged!” Program to help non-profits use social media; 5:30pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallSchool of Music Lecture Series: Steven Zohn on “Norality, German Cultural Identity, and Telemann’s Faithful Music Master“; 5:30pm

ASTRONOMY ◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryOpen house, Public viewing through the main telescope; 6:30pm

DISCUSSION ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumDavid Lacks, son of Henrietta Lacks (subject of the bestseller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”), speaks about his family’s experiences; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Bloomington High School NorthFall Concert, Performed by the BHSN Concert Bands; 7-8:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — SOLD OUT: “On the Road“; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center Recital HallSenior Recital: Anastasia Falasca on violin; 7pm

PERFORMANCE ◗ Unity of Bloomington ChurchAuditions & rehearsal for Bloomington Peace Choir; 7-8:30pm

ROUNDTABLE ◗ IU Ballantine Hall — “Elections 2012: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and Where To From Here?“; 7:15pm

STAGE ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, in the Rose FirebayDrama, “The Rimers of Eldritch“; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubAfro Hoosier International; 7:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn HallMedieval Studies Movie Series: “Ostrov (The Island)“; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts CenterSymphony Orchestra, David Effron, conductor, Gulrukh Shakirova, piano; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallContemporary Vocal Ensemble, Dominick DiOria, conductor, Mason Copeland, organ; 8pm

DANCING ◗ Harmony SchoolContra dancing; 8-10:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallDoctoral Recital: Daniel Bubeck, countertenor; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdThe Personnel; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopMaserati, The Young, Majeure; 9:30pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Threads of Love: Baby Carriers from China’s Minority Nationalities“; through December 23rd
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
  • Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
  • Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits through December 1st:

  • “Essentially Human,” By William Fillmore
  • “Two Sides to Every Story,” By Barry Barnes
  • “Horizons in Pencil and Wax,” By Carol Myers

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits through November 16th:

  • Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf
  • Small Is Big

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits through December 20th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners
  • Gender Expressions

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibits:

  • The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library“; through December 15th
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections from the Slocum Puzzle Collection

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibits:

  • Doctors & Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical Professions
  • What Is Your Quilting Story?
  • Garden Glamour: Floral Fashion Frenzy
  • Bloomington Then & Now
  • World War II Uniforms
  • Limestone Industry in Monroe County

The Ryder & The Electron Pencil. All Bloomington. All the time.

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