Remember when Seth Rogen was a hero of free speech and the American way?
It seems like just a couple of weeks ago that THE INTERVIEW, written and directed by Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg and co-starring James Franco, was the talk of the nation.
THE INTERVIEW, in case you spent the Christmas holiday on the moon, features Rogen and Franco as an entertainment reporter and his producer who get invited to North Korea by Kim Jong-un for an exclusive interview; the pair is then recruited by the CIA to use the opportunity to kill the crazed leader.
The North Korean government, oddly enough, took umbrage at the premise of the film, and promised grave repercussions if Sony Pictures went forward with the release; soon after that Sony’s computer systems were hacked, embarrassing private emails were released, theatrical releases were leaked to the Internet before they could be released, and the party claiming responsibility (the Guardians of Peace, or #GOP) promised more mayhem if the film was released.
I’m going to give you a list of names, and I want you to see if you can guess what they have in common: Nicki Minaj, Marilyn Manson, Cat Stevens, Fall Out Boy, Sleater-Kinney.
Stumped? That’s okay, because it’s a trick question. None of these names have anything at all in common other than belonging to musicians that breathe oxygen, and the fact that they were all featured on the cover of Rolling Stone that somehow infiltrated my mail slot a couple of weeks ago.
I came terrifyingly close to making a huge mistake last week. No one would have been hurt or anything, but my quality of life would definitely have been affected, and I want to discuss it a little this week because I suspect that most of you are making this mistake on a regular basis.
Monday night came and went, and then Tuesday, then Wednesday. It wasn’t until Thursday that I found myself in front of my TV, scanning my DVR inventory, and saw the season premiere of THE BACHELOR waiting patiently. And I don’t know what got into me, but I very nearly didn’t watch it.
Although it has brought me great amusement in the past, the side of my brain that writes, and performs, and took more Shakespeare courses than were required in college said “Come on dude, can’t we do better than that bottom-feeding tripe?” And for a moment, I almost listened to that stupid, stupid voice.
But the other side of my brain, the one that has no shame or compunction about things like this, the one that dips graham crackers into Nutella and finishes with a spritz of whipped cream straight to the trap said “It’s not like there’s anything else on.”
So I did it: I watched the season premiere of THE BACHELOR, and it was the smartest dumb thing I did all week.
It’s hard to think of any public figure I dislike more, or have less sympathy for, than Sarah Palin. Elevated in a weak moment by former Republican presidential nominee John McCain to become the most manifestly unqualified running mate this side of Tom Eagleton in 2008, after losing the election Palin then resigned as governor of Alaska and leveraged her name recognition, political experience, and cheekbones to move into the lucrative world of television punditry, appearing as a Fox News contributor and star of a couple of TLC reality shows.
Though she still pops up now and again to complain about “the lamestream media” (her favorite phrase), her star has fallen considerably: she has no influence on Republican Party policy, no one is clamoring for her endorsement, much less floating her name for any office above PTA secretary, and the only TV coverage she got last year was when her entire brood piled out of a stretch Hummer limo to start a yard brawl at a backyard barbecue. No longer pulling the big checks from Fox News or TLC, she’s been reduced to starting her own Internet channel, where she’s seldom heard from, which is just the way I like her.
But she’s back in the news this week because she posted a photo of her son using the family dog as a stepstool, and people are outraged, claiming animal abuse and poor parenting. Palin quickly fired back at her critics, pointing to a nearly identical photo Ellen Degeneres posted of a little girl standing on a Golden Retriever that won warm applause when Degeneres showed it on her talk show and calling PETA, who denounced Palin and had named Degeneres Woman of the Year in 2009, hypocrites along with everyone else who was piling on.
I strongly dislike everything about Sarah Palin, from her victim routine to her empty-headed demagoguery to her uninformed policy prescriptions to her ignorant fearmongering to the faux-folksy, condescending, snarky tone she uses for nearly everything, including her statement. Even her famously good looks are eroding much faster than can be blamed on Father Time; the hate and ugliness she so tirelessly pumps into the world seems to be reflected on her face, looking more and more like an involuntary, permanent scowl. This person is contributing nothing but negativity to our society and is provably, empirically wrong almost every time she opens her stupid yap.
Which is why it so pains me to say she’s absolutely right about this.