james wolcott quotes


Like Andy Warhol and unlike God Almighty, Larry King does not presume to judge; all celebrities are equal in his eyes, saints and sinners alike sharing the same 'Love Boat' voyage into the dark beyond, a former sitcom star as deserving of pious send-off as Princess Diana.


What's happening to movie critics is no different from what has been meted out to book, dance, theater, and fine-arts reviewers and reporters in the cultural deforestation that has driven refugees into the diffuse clatter of the Internet and Twitter, where some adapt and thrive - such as Roger Ebert - while others disappear without a twinkle.


There was a time when idealistic folksingers such as myself believed that Reality TV was a programming vogue that would peak and recede, leaving only its hardiest show-offs. Instead, it has metastasized like toxic mold, filling every nook and opening new crannies.


Bad acting comes in many bags, various odors. It can be performed by cardboard refugees from an Ed Wood movie, reciting their dialogue off an eye chart, or by hopped-up pros looking to punch a hole through the fourth wall from pure ballistic force of personality, like Joe Pesci in a bad mood. I can respect bad acting that owns its own style.


A lost election can have the jolt of a drop through the gallows door, leading to a dark night of the soul in which the future presses down like a cloud that will never lift.


Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian would have left little more than lipstick stains in their passing had it not been for the sex videos that lofted them into reality-TV notoriety. Once notoriety has warmed into familiarity, celebrity itself becomes one big 'Brady Bunch' reunion, or a therapy session with Dr. Drew.


In the voyeurism of Reality TV, the viewer's passivity is kept intact, pampered and massaged and force-fed Chicken McNuggets of carefully edited snippets that permit him or her to sit in easy judgment and feel superior at watching familiar strangers make fools of themselves. Reality TV looks in only one direction: down.


'Hairspray' was a movie turned Broadway musical turned Hollywood remake, and that is the 'Lion King' circle of life as we know it in Times Square, the creative loop that swings for the stars and sometimes crashes into the upper deck.


The unhappy irony is that, while 'Glee' is hitting the heights, school arts funding is being slashed across the country due to the steep recession and declining tax revenues.


With Barack Obama as president and the super-happening Michelle Obama as First Lady, you would think a new tone, a new tune, a kicky new jazzitude, would have entered Washington discourse, but it remains a landlocked island unto itself, held captive by its tribal fevers.


On August 28, 2010, Fox News messiah Glenn Beck hosted a 'Restoring Honor' revival meeting featuring sexy guest star Sarah Palin, much as Bob Hope would roll out Raquel Welch in white go-go boots on his U.S.O. tours to give our fighting men a morale lift in their khakis.


What had brought me to New York in the autumn of 1972 was a letter of recommendation written by Norman Mailer, the author of 'The Naked and the Dead' and American literature's leading heavyweight contender, to Dan Wolf, the delphic editor of 'The Village Voice.'


I understand that one of the purposes of bipartisanship is to cram something difficult and necessary down the American people's gullets for which neither party has the fortitude to assume full responsibility. It's a way of turning a possible gangplank into a teeter-totter.


A typical 'Larry King Live' is a pastiche whose absurdism defies parody. Wearing his trademark suspenders and purple shirts, he looks as if he's strapped to the chair with vertical seat belts, unable to eject.


Historically, Hollywood comedy has arrived in skinny envelopes. From fence post Buster Keaton to herky-jerky Jerry Lewis to wiry nerve-bundle Woody Allen to hung-loose Richard Pryor to whippy contortionist Jim Carrey, its comics and clowns have tended to be sliced thin and bendable.


Mitt Romney - he had a Rock Hudson thing going, shoeblack hair and a well-hung resume, but even for a shameless, position-shifting phony he seemed a trifle insincere.


With 'Black Swan,' the ballerina saga flips its tiara and goes on a hallucinatory bender, a scary acid trip where transfiguration and disfiguration meet.


Slashing its way to the finish line, 'Black Swan' is the first ballet movie for highbrow horror fans for whom ballet itself signifies little to nothing. Those of us who know and love ballet can only look on it with a different kind of horror.


Pop music has been all but relegated to the remainder bin at MTV and VH1, where high-maintenance concoctions such as Paris Hilton, Flavor Flav, and Hulk Hogan's biohazard clan of bleached specimens provide endless hours of death-hastening diversion.


High expectations weren't nurtured in my neck of nowhere back then - children weren't fawned over from an early age as 'gifted' and groomed for a prizewinning future; self-esteem was considered something you had to pick from the garden yourself.


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