Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010: The Year We Make Contracts (with special guest star Leslie Nielsen)

Many things changed near-simultaneously over the past several months (including the production schedule of a certain TV show), and it proved easiest to take down while sorting them out.  But in the end, here are ones worth noting:

•After getting the chance to work on a Tea Party-friendly TV show during its transition from an online show to a weekly cable show and now to a daily cable show -- at a very exciting time for such a thing, what with the historic mid-term elections -- I have now left Fox's FreedomWatch to do freelance and ghostwriting stuff that for the most part I won't mention on this site (sorry).

•I largely ignored press inquiries (including ones from Fox shows, which was weird) about my October appearance sparring with an ex on C-SPAN2, and (merciful person that I am) I don't plan to go into any greater detail about all that (nor to respond to any further press inquiries on that topic if they occur, though I think that's unlikely).  However, as a former philosophy student, I am (for good or ill) sometimes more fascinated by my critics than by my far larger legion of loyal supporters, so (almost without naming the original target of my C-SPAN2 comments and without revealing more than the quite-tiny glimpse of her life and psyche I already brought to light in those artfully circumspect comments) I do plan to make January on this blog a "Month of Haters" in which I examine the minds of my online detractors.  So there's something to look forward to, right?

•I hope to add more social media to the mix within the next couple weeks, at long last.

•I won't be organizing Debates at Lolita Bar, at least not for now or in their old form and maybe not at all, for various reasons involving time, creative differences, etc., etc.  However, I'll still be organizing the unrelated monthly bar gatherings called the Manhattans Project -- which in fact meets at Langan's tomorrow night (Mon., Dec. 20, 7-10pm).  More about changes in those events tomorrow. 

And while I was juggling media stuff, bar gatherings, and election news, one of my favorite conservatives passed away last month, I should pause to say: Leslie Nielsen.  He was one of the funniest men ever to appear on film -- and Airplane! proves that even uttering a superficially dead-serious line of dialogue, he cannot help but generate an anticipatory smile on the face of the viewer.  He may have been the best deliverer of deadpan we have ever seen and an inspiration to people who like their humor simultaneously dry and ridiculous.  (I even saw his mediocre final film, the heavy-handedly conservative Zucker comedy An American Carol -- on a date, as I recall.)

He was beloved, but not enough people remember that he did a fine job as the wholly-serious sci-fi hero in the 1950s film Forbidden Planet (which some may be tempted to rent for camp value, only to discover that it's a genuinely excellent film that holds up perfectly well a half-century on -- and a more respected variation on The Tempest than Julie Taymor's new film with the lovely and sometimes gun-toting Helen Mirren, alas). 

People should also recall -- or discover -- that Nielsen starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom Police Squad! before that spawned the Naked Gun movies (the movies featured Priscilla Presley, who reminisces about Nielsen in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, and featured O.J. Simpson, presciently depicted as a man caught up in a murder plot at one point).  I would argue the show was even funnier than the films, leaving us with countless surreal moments such as Nielsen, as homicide detective Lt. Frank Drebin, launching into a sad reverie about his long-ago gay lover, concluding with the line "They ran him out of town like a common pygmy."  But then, check out some choice Drebin quotes for yourself.

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