Thursday, September 9, 2010

The LA Times Shows Us How to Take Something Out of Context, With Susan Sarandon

Did you know the LA Times has a gossip/pop culture blog? No? Maybe that's because, if something posted there yesterday is any indication, it stinks.

Yes, I am rendering a judgment on an entire gossip/pop culture blog I've never even heard of before today based on a single entry. But I'm doing so to prove a point to (possibly only one of) the blog's writer(s) (remember, I hadn't even heard of it before today -- it might have, like, 20 writers for all I know).

The posting in question ran under the headline PREACH IT! Susan Sarandon tells us how we feel. The post is written in as sanctimonious a style as you would expect, given that snarky title.

Ms. Sarandon comes off looking like a privileged, narcissistic fool:
According to Susan Sarandon, the nation is going through a really rough patch right now, and not necessarily because, you know, we have no jobs. We weep, all of us, from Guam to Anchorage, because Sarandon and That Guy From "Shawshank Redemption" have broken up.

Sarandon discussed the breakup in the latest edition of New York magazine. She described it unto us thusly:

"The nation mourned," Sarandon said. "I did feel a sense of responsibility, because I knew that people had a certain idea of how I was and who we were."

For the record, Sarandon adds, “But on your deathbed, it's not really going to matter how those people felt."

As of Wednesday afternoon, Staples Center has not been booked for any sort of memorial; we also were unable to confirm any dates for a public service at Forest Lawn, though we are awaiting return phone calls from several local makers of gold caskets, and we can only assume that Jennifer Hudson will be singing something grand, probably backed by a local AME church choir.

In the meantime, let’s try our best to face our grief with dignity. The onetime couple that was Sarandon and That Guy From "Shawshank" would want it that way.
The writer really puts things in perspective for Ms. Sarandon, doesn't she? I mean, the breakup was so insignificant in the grand scheme of things (high unemployment) that she can't even remember the name of "That Guy from "Shawshank." (For the record, That Guy is Academy Award winner Tim Robbins, who directed Ms. Sarandon in the great film "Dead Man Walking," and also appeared in the great Michael Winterbottom film "Code 46". I know how to use google, and I'm not even an LA Times blogger!)

But, let's follow the link to the New York article in which Ms. Sarandon makes this ludicrous assessment of her own importance. You know, I have got to see for myself such arrogance in action.
Initially, she notes drily, “the nation mourned. I had a lot of people who came up to me and were not as upset as I was—but were definitely upset. I did feel a sense of responsibility, because I knew that people had a certain idea of how I was and who we were. And in that sense …” She cuts herself off. “But on your deathbed, it’s not really going to matter how those people felt.”
Oh wait a second -- that "drily" changes everything, doesn't it? Ms. Sarandon was herself noting the relative insignificance of the event. Yes, it was important to her. Some other people around her were upset about it, or told her they were upset about it -- but not as upset as she was. When a long term relationship breaks up, it certainly can feel like the end of the world to the people who had been in that relationship (Ms. Sarandon and That Guy from "Shawshank" had been together 23 years), even if they realize it's not as important to anyone else.

It can't be. So some people offered her sympathy, which is what your friends do for you. She appreciated, but kept things in perspective. It was not the end of the world.

She noted, drily. The LA Times blogger, you will note, not only cuts off the New York author's "drily,"she also cuts off Ms. Sarandon's "I had a lot of people who came up to me and were not as upset as I was—but were definitely upset." In this way, the blogger was able to imply that Ms. Sarandon was talking about the entire nation, from Guam to Anchorage.

But you can see for yourself what she really meant.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Ricky, you're only coming to Ms. Sarandon's defense because you have had a crush on her for years, and because her daughter was on the last season of 'Californication' and did all those nude scenes." I would say that you have a point about that, I have thought that Ms. Sarandon is one of the most beautiful women in the world (although I'd stop short of saying I had a crush on her), and I did enjoy her daughter's turn(s)* on "Californication," which is one of the best shows on television, but this post is about something bigger than just my own superficial interests.

There have to be standards. Even in something as seemingly emphemeral and immediate as blogging. You can't just deliberately take something out of context in the manner of That Blogger from the LA Times. Everyone makes mistakes, it's true, but as you can see from the way the blogger carefully cut and pasted the quote, and then cut it some more, this blogger was not simply making a mistake.

What she did, she did intentionally. She did it to gin up outrage about yet another clueless, narcissistic celebrity with absolutely no sense of perspective about her life. She did it generate hits for her blog.

And that's just low, especially for a blog with the highfalutin title Ministry of Gossip: The gospel on celebrity and pop culture. If she wants to generate hits for her blog, she should do what I do, and post photos of Lindsay Lohan nipple slips, Megan Fox tied up, and Erin Andrews.

 Let's see how many hits I get by posting this great picture of the very attractive Susan Sarandon and her very attractive daughter Eva Amurri. (By the way, the context for this image is that the two were at a fashion show, and Ms. Amurri leaned over to whisper something in her mother's ear, and then her cleavage started to spill out all over the place.) THAT'S how it's done, LA Times blogger.

*She played a stripper!

Susan Sarandon, Eva Amurri pic source.

UPDATE: 9/9/2010 @ 8:45 PM PST: At the website Big Hollywood, a person called Greg Gutfeld, host of an occasionally amusing Fox News Channel show called "Red Eye," runs with the story, as if it were real.
Yes, the nation mourned, indeed. It was so devastating, that I can imagine all of us remembering exactly where we were…when we first heard the news.
I was at the pharmacy getting a prescription refilled. I remember… I was so stressed out: the generic brand was cheaper, but would it stop recurrences?

How petty were my concerns! My own worries quickly washed away when my roommate Scott texted me the news: Tim and Susan…it’s over. Also: Pick up some Magnum Twisters.
And, yes, I mourned.
I imagined this is how my parents felt, back on November 22, 1963.
But, like always, our country, and our people, soldiered on. We absorbed the shock, we mourned, but we moved on.
But make no mistake…we…will…never…forget.
That is just effing lazy, and trying too hard, all at the same time. He couldn't spend five minutes actually reading the story to find out that Ms. Sarandon was joking? Or even googling it to find my blog in which I carefully lay out the salient facts? Come on.

This is a bit ironic, given the fact that "Big Hollywood" is run by Andrew Breitbart, who published that Shirley Sherrod speech at the NAACP that was taken out of context story a couple of months back.

And here's some more irony for you: I expect better from a Fox News Channel host.

Come on!

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