The week (August 25th): Nobody asked me, but…

To borrow from that great columnist Jimmy Cannon, nobody asked me, but…

WAS THERE A FULL MOON this week? World wide? Why would any passenger on an intercontinental flight (even an American college student) check in baggage that contained dynamite?

THE NEW “PERFUME CRITIC” for the New York Times is a writer named Chandler Burr. I wish this story represented an elaborate hoax, but I am afraid it is for real.

The Guardian quotes Diane McNulty, a Times spokesperson: “Perfume is an art form just like other art forms from theatre to painting to music, so we’re excited to be the first to cover perfume in this way.”

This from a newspaper that recently trimmed news staff! When many American newspapers and magazines are reducing staffs and skimping on international news coverage, why would the Times so publicly squander resources on critiques of the “art form” of perfume. What on earth can they be thinking on West 43rd Street?

NEW ORLEANS MAYOR RAY NAGIN will never be mistaken for a diplomat. Responding to criticism of the pace of clean-up in his Katrina-damaged city on television’s “60 Minutes”, Nagin responded: “You guys in New York can’t get a hole in the ground fixed, and it’s five years later. So let’s be fair.”

Count me in as a Ray Nagin fan. Not a lot of impulse-control with the Big Easy’s mayor. But what would editorial page cartoonists and late night talk show comics do without characters like Nagin?

CHRIS CUOMO, newly named ABC news anchor for “Good Morning America” appears to be confused about the role of a journalist (if that is how he sees himself). Cuomo told the New York Times that he would have to reveal more about himself in his new role: “You have to be willing to give yourself to the audience…There’s an expectation of intimacy.” Cuomo added that the audience needs to “understand that I really care about what happens in their lives.”

Huh? What does “intimacy” and “caring” have to do with reporting the news? Nothing. But it has a lot to do with high “Q” ratings, and Cuomo understands that if the viewers don’t “like him,” then he won’t last very long. Makes one long for a truly expressive anchor, like Max Headroom.

“DEAD PIG DANCE faces criticism” reads the BBC News headline. “Naked performance with dead pig branded ‘sick'” exclaims Reuters and adds:

Animal rights activists have described as “sick” a live art performance involving a naked woman cradling a dead pig for four hours.

Kira O’Reilly’s show, called “Inthewrongplaceness” will be performed at the Newlyn Art Gallery in Penzance, southwest England, later on Friday.

James Green, the gallery’s director, defended the show, saying that the audience would be controlled, with one person at a time watching the performance for up to 10 minutes each.

Of course Ms. O’Reilly is being subsidized by the taxpayer, the show put on “with the help of £30,000 from Arts Council England,” according to the Sun newspaper.

No, it’s also not a hoax, although I’ve often wondered whether performance art could exist without government subsidies. Who would actually pay for it? By the way, (courtesy of the Sun) here’s O’Reilly’s view of here performance:

“It left me with an undercurrent of pigginess, unexpected fantasies of emergence and interspecies metamorphoses began to flicker into my consciousness; making fiercely tender and ferocious identifications with the pig as stand in, double, twin, doll, imaginary self.”

Interspecies metamorphoses?” O’Reilly clearly missed her calling—a fully tenured professorship in literary criticism at a major American university would be a fitting reward for this sort of intellectual acuity.

THE RELATIVE SILENCE OF the Boston Globe about Big Dig critic John J. Keaveney the unanswered questions about his background, credentials and credibility is disturbing. The Globe‘s decision to rush a front-page story into print based on an alleged 1999 memo by Keaveney questioning safety practices on the massive highway project now appears to have been a major journalistic mistake.

MUSIC FANS CAN BE TOUGH: just ask Texas alt-country singer Pat Green. His latest album “Cannonball” is taking flak from some Lone Star loyalists who, according to Apple Music Store postings, think Green has “sold out” to Nashville in embracing mainstream country.

They’re too picky: true, Green’s latest offering is a bit more produced, but it still retains his distinctive sound.

LOOK FOR THE U.S. NATIONAL BASKETBALL team to win the FIBA world championship. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has the three best young players in the world (Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James) and enough former Dukies (Elton Brand, Shane Battier) and role players to make his team-oriented style stick.

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Copyright © 2006 Jefferson Flanders
All rights reserved

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