Tom of Finalnd

EXCLUSIVE: Tarantino Making Movie About Gheys & AIDS

In an appearance on an Australian radio broadcast the other day while promoting his Django Unchained downunder, Quentin Tarantino made a surprise announcement, which perhaps wasn’t so surprising for those of us who saw the obvious trajectory of his self-consciously subversive movies.  QT, as he is known to Scientologists who still hope to bring him into the fold, was making this appearance on a station notorious for causing a nurse to kill herself after they prank-called her while she was caring for the Duchess of Cambridge.  His goal? 

Adam von Rothfelder

5 Resolutions You Can Live With, Without (Too Much) Sacrifice

I’m going to begin with a hats-off to myself, via a bit of news that is seemingly irrelevant to this piece, but I’ll pick it up later on and weave it in like magic.  Promise.

A sensible thing happened this week, and it wasn’t the fiscal cliff compromise: My evil twin, Andrew Sullivan, was either booted out by Tina Brown at The Daily Beast, or he didn’t renew his contract on purpose, which seems unlikely to this Sully cynic.  He’s now going to charge for his content and go his merry way with his pooches and staff of seven.  Given the trouble Tina has had this year with Newsweek ceasing print publication and other internal upheavals—not to mention Sully’s embarrassing, unnecessary meltdown after Obama’s first debate, which singlehandedly un-pundited the super-blogger once and for all—I have a feeling he was a vanity case that could no longer be supported.

As a content creator, I wish Sully well, I really do.  He’s a smart guy, often misguided in his opinions, so blinkered in his observations that he is blinded (not a good trait for a pundit), not to mention as hysterical a queen as queens can get, but he works hard, thinks harder and deserves a measure of success.  I’m also sure this experience will transform him and balance him out.  Eventually.

So, in addition to my slogan, “Shoot your heroes,” I add another: Deflate all divas.  It’s for their own good.

Andrew Sullivan and Staff

Sully and staff put on brave faces for the year ahead. Tinsel and youth help.

Barack Obama Telephone

ELECTIONS 2012: Seeking That Objective Reality

From the viewpoint of my own particular reality, it makes no sense whatsoever to vote along party lines.  It’s a type of tribal thinking that I have never been able to grasp; it just seems so terribly wrong.  And when it comes to America in particular, with its leadership position in the world, it seems all the wronger.  As with any job, we hire a person based on qualifications, not party allegiance; that’s something China and Iran does, not here.

A piece I wrote over a year ago (shit, but this election has been endless!), “Do Republicans Dream of Electric Elephants?,” has been getting some traction recently on a political forum by way of a quotation of mine someone appropriately named Bonkers reposted.  I’d forgotten I’d written these words, but I stand by them even more today:

I guess my warped way of thinking just can’t embrace the notion of supporting a political party.  I understand the need for governance of some kind to maintain social order, I understand being conservative in your views, or liberal, but I question the whole concept of being part of a political organization when so many members of that party are so manifestly corrupt, morally subversive or just plain vile.  Why would you want to be part of anything that has even a little bit of rot in it?

Gay Angel

Halloween? Bah, humbug.

Don’t get me wrong.  The few times I was able to go trick-or-treating as a kid, I loved it.  The problem is Halloween wasn’t celebrated where I grew up, in Italy, ironically the birthplace of that most ghoulish of religion sects, Roman Catholicism.  The Day of the Dead on November 1st—is anyone even aware that this is what is really being celebrated?—was a somber occasion on which all of those witch-like little old ladies in black, and they were legion, went to the cemeteries and tended the graves.  But the night before was bereft of kids going around knocking on doors and asking for candy.  Nothing happened at all.  I guess all the little old ladies just got a good night’s sleep before getting up for hours of marble tombstone scrubbing.

My sister and I were forbidden candy and granulated sugar growing up, so we found ways to procure it, usually pinching a few hundred lire here and there and buying sweets when we walked the dogs.  I believe we were allowed to visit the American embassy compound once or twice after we first moved to Rome, but my parents were somewhat disdainful of lower-level embassy employees, Marine guards and the like, so the kibosh was put on that ritual as well.

Perhaps I can blame my sneering at Halloween on my upbringing and my parents’ attitude.  I’m sure Mum being an Aussie didn’t help much either; whatever she was raised without was good enough for us, too.

Troll Attack SWATH

Reddit Scandal: “Those Meaningless Internet Points”

For my money, the most interesting story this week wasn’t Obama’s unsurprising comeback in the second debate—I’ve always said he plays a street-savvy long game, to laudable effect—but the outing by Gawker of the internet’s most notorious troll, Michael Brutsch, a.k.a. Violentacrez on Reddit.  This brought into the spotlight an issue I have long had with trolling, or making any sort of controversial attack or negative comment online: If you wouldn’t have the balls to say it to my face (or anyone else you are vilifying or degrading) as who you are in real life, you shouldn’t do it online.

Anonymous slander, stalking, offense, intimidation, humiliation et al. is cowardice, pure and simple.  When it becomes harassment and bullying of weaker people, it is downright dangerous—we’ve all heard stories of suicides resulting from the lethal psychological effects of the egregious behavior of what Anderson Cooper calls “little people,” which is the term he used in reference to Brutsch for a special segment on the Reddit scandal.  Anderson is someone I have made fun of myself a few times in these pages, but (almost) always as myself, the notable exception being when I posed as Tom Cruise to offer Anderson advice in The Tom Cruise Guide to Gay Sex in Your 50s.  When I am spoofing a celebrity, which I’ve done twice as Cruise and Lady Gaga, it’s pretty clear to readers that it’s me, and if it isn’t then I will cheerfully own up to it.

Christina Aguillera Dominatrix

S & M, With a Side of Fries

Bullying is so tragically unhip these days that “bully” has become the new insult. Why, even Joe Biden was a bully for mocking poor ole Paul Ryan as the young congressman tried not to answer any questions during the VP debate earlier this week. From the looks of things, bullies are going the way of the woolly mammoth. Let’s make sure we burn all the bully DNA, too, in case some crazy scientists get the idea to clone one.

Ah, but humans are a sadistic lot by nature, and we still have to get our kicks. No matter the dictates of popular culture, some of us want to abuse people, and some of us want to be abused. Two of us formed the Eurythmics and wrote a song about it. The rest of us just like to watch.

Imagining Lagerfeld: “There Is No Excuse for Fat.”

“This is absolutely ridiculous!” huffed my imaginary best friend Karl Lagerfeld when I conjured him up to meet me for a workout at Golds Gym Hollywood this afternoon.  I immediately thought he was pissed because of the outfit I’d dressed him in: little black tennis shorts, knee-high white socks, black patent leather Nike high tops, a tight white tee shirt with CHANEL emblazoned across the chest in black, and of course his signature black aviator sunglasses.

“Sorry,” I said.  “I thought you would feel comfortable like that.  Much more showy than a tracksuit.  Or is it too showy?”

Billie Joe Armstrong flipping finger

Green Day: Too Much is Not Enough. Or is it?

My hypothesis on the real reason Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong smashed his guitar on stage at the iHeartRadio festival this weekend: He was preemptively trying to earn back some rock-and-roll cred after agreeing to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show this Thursday. Billie Joe is quoted as saying, “I’m not fucking Justin Bieber, you motherfucker!” before wrecking his Les Paul. If I ever get so worked up that I smash my guitar, I’ll probably say the same thing.

Ha ha. Green Day was going to perform live on Ellen, the least rocking show on TV since Midday Live with Bill Boggs in the late ‘70s. I guess the band’s members feel they are missing out on the stay-at-home, liberal-but-still-Christian mom/grandmom audience. I see a cross promotion with JCPenny in their future.

Kristen Leanne: Green Day fan?

Kristen Leanne: Green Day fan?

Wendy Rene

Wendy Rene: The Girl Who Walked Away

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She was sampled by Wu Tang Clan on their groundbreaking 1993 album, Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers). She’s been covered by Alicia Keys. But, to most of the world, Wendy Rene is best known as the girl who decided not to get on an airplane.

The plane in question took off on December 10, 1967, carrying soul music legend Otis Redding and a group of musicians to a gig in Wisconsin. Rene, Redding’s protégé, was supposed to perform her farewell show that night, but she changed her mind and they left without her. A couple of hours later, the plane went down, killing all but one on board.

Lost in the tragedy is the unusual fact that a budding star and gifted songwriter was to play her farewell show, by choice, at the age of 20. As if taking a cue from the hit tune “Walk Away Renee” by Left Banke – released that same year – Wendy Rene up and quit the music biz, voluntarily relegating herself to obscurity while the small catalog of recordings she made for Stax Records gathered dust in a vault (other than the odd track on a collection, bootlegs, or old vinyl singles owned by record collectors).

Eva Longoria

Thou Shalt Not Vote for Obama

The Democratic Convention brought out the flowery idealist in me this week. Not because Eva Longoria or Scarlett Johansson touted Barack Obama as the best guy for the job of overseeing our inert economy. Not because of the President’s tepid speech, either. He seemed distant and professorial, which pretty much sums up his leadership so far. No, I was jazzed by the guest list. Specifically, by one name that was not on it.

You know who I’m talking about.

The Democrats’ official party platform for this election did not include mention of God. At least until there was a last-minute ruckus about it, but that had more to do with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict than religion. So they ended up sticking old Yahweh back in for now. But that’s all right. You’ve got to walk before you can run.

God

Okay, God. If you’re going to be a baby about it, you can come in and watch. But this is the last time.