Friday, December 26, 2003

Corsair 2003 Year End Awards:
The Pirates

Every blogger worth their salt has year end awards and "this thing of ours" is no different. It's in the kool aid that we all drink from. 'Tis the season to be snarky, and all that jazz (sorry Cindy Adams, that's jazz, not your annoying little lapdog Jazzy). So, without further ado, The Corsair presents The Pirates -- more credible than the Golden Globes, and able to leap tall publicists in a single bound -- my 2003 year end awards. Basta!

Most Embarassing Media Moment pirate goes to Paris Hilton beating the President's first post Sadaam interview. Howard Kurtz of the uber media program Reliable Souces on CNN read my little email at the end of his show:

"And Ron (Mwangaguhunga) says -- 'Of all I know that you Northeast corridor media types will give the victory to Jayson Blair scandal, the most embarrassing media moment for the rest of the country has got to be Paris Hilton beating President Bush's in-depth post-Saddam interview in the ratings.'"

Thanks, Howie: love to love you, baby.

Great Read pirate goes to the Village Voice's beloved columnist Michael Musto. Musto is damn fun to read. His voice is pure and his love of pop culture, served with a dash of snark and a side portion of gossip is downtown through and through. It's La Dolce Musto's world, we just live in it.

The Wierdest Hair pirate goes to Donald Trump. There's something (grimaces) ... something (frowns, shifts in chair) ... something not quite right about Trumper's hairdo.

Takes One to Know One pirate goes to blowhard defrocked (or left of his own accord, whatever) Catholic priest John McLaughlin. The vow of poverty left way behind (way, way behind), he once declared to George that he would love to come back in another life as the Sultan of Brunei. Continuing in that homage to tyrants and corrupt rulers, the pseudoconservative voted last Sunday on Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin as Person of the Year. His reasoning? "The person to lead Russia into the 21st century is a blend of despot and small 'd' democrat." Hmm. Takes one to know one, Father John.

The He's taken to Jebus pirate goes to Howard Dean. Superphilosopher Leo Strauss used to exhort his disciples to immerse themselves in the religions that they grew up with and use his rigorous method of examining texts to vivify their religious experience. After Joe Lieberman attacked Dean on his religion flank, Dean done got the lord in him. Which is a smart move as we all have a little bit of the puritain about us, whether Whitmanesque or Emersonian or even the Ginzberg-Kerouacesque hippie Buddhist. Why else would all the news magazines do those religious cover stories come springtime? Or Milton Bradley sell all those Ouija Boards to malicious high school kids wanting to freak out the repressed virgins in the crowd.

And on the subject of newsweeklies, the Dutch Trucker Hat of Obsolescence (worn backwards) pirate goes to US News and World Report. Does anyone read Mort Zuckerman's bronze medalist in the newsweekly marathon? Is this purely a vanity affair? Aside from affording the colosally boring Michael Barone a chance to dress up and play journo ("want to hear about FDR's postal reforms?") is there any other use for this? Semi glossy bird cage papering, anyone?

Best Blog pirate goes to Choire Sicha's Gawker and Elizabeth Spier's Kicker. Those two are the standard to which we all aspire. Thanks guys.

The Best Name Pirate goes to The New York Times' Jennifer 8 Lee. And I know whereof I speak: After graduating from college, I sent a snail mail letter (hey, it was 1994) to Roger Ebert asking advice on making a splash in the media swirl. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, that not to be cynical, (I) should emphasize my last name because it is memorable (well, how many Mwangaguhunga's do you know anyhow?). Well, so is Jennifer's.

With Great Power Comes Great Responibility pirate goes to Page Six. I love 'em, pure and simple (we also love the first power couple of NY Gossip Rush and Molloy, yang to the Page Sixer ying). Page Six is the hands down best daily gossip media organization. Ian Spiegelman went public, giving us some inside on the working of this great institution. They broke up Uma and Ethan and saved Nicole Kidman from making a biiig mistake. Richard Johnson, Chris Wilson, Paula Froelich and Ian can all take a bow. You guys rock hard: keep on keeping on.

The Ubiquitous as Ugg Boots pirate goes to David Brooks. The conservative sociologist "Brooks Brother" (I call him that) was everywhere this year, explaining Manhattanites to the Bush states. Did you know, for example, that in most areas outside of the Manhattan and DC and LA and Silicon Valley power nexus you can get a breakfast for under $2? Fascinating. I guess that's why our man Brookie thinks that the inhabitants of the heartland are more real than the mediaratti.

Although Brooks would scoff at the s-Ugg-gestion of being associated with such trendy footwear, we still love to read him.

The Jordana Brewster Career that Wasn't pirate goes to Jennifer Love Hewitt. Stalking the celebrity caravan at the outskirts, the self professed "Love" wasn't getting any. Hollywood is mean to starlets, ask Jimmy Woods' former chippie Heather Graham about that one. Once something of a movie star, Love is guest starring in unwatchable music videos and dodgy tv shows. Next?

The Mischief Maker pirate goes to Robert Novak. Look at this man. Observe him closely. His smile declares malice to the world. Good will towards man? Ha; more likely bad intentions! Very ... bad ... intentions. This man actually kind of scares me a little. It's those moist rat-like eyes that seem to twinkle in the downfall of a good politician. From the Chicago Sun Times and The Capitol Gang, the Prince of Darkness works his merry brand of mischief. Whether insinuating himself in the Valerie Plame affair or being lambasted by fellow conservatives as being an "Unpatriotic American" in National Review, Robert was as much a story as the issues he covered. When Novak scuttles by it is said one hears the unholy bleating of the goat, sulfurous malodors arise and the cacophanous echo of cloven hoofs striking marble abound.

The Low Down Dirty Dog pirate goes to Lenny Kravitz. Lenny would rather let his career rule over love. The far-ahead-of-her-time Britisher songbird Neneh Cherry warned all women in the spirit of sisterhood to steer clear from Mr. Kravitz with her musical diss "Buddy X," which described Lenny in all his hypocritical narcissistic glory, and how he broke the heart of Lisa Bonet, who risked her career to pursue their relationship.

Neneh sang:

"I don't care what you do/
But there's a hypocrite that lives in you/
Cause if your woman gave her love/
In the same way that you do/
You'd feel a-way/
You know you would"

And Page Six broke it all down for us, ninja-style, at the beginning of December, revealing that Lenny's relationship with Nicole Kidman was an elaborate publicity ploy -- or so he bragged to friends -- to raise his moribund career. I do hate the game, but in this case I don't very much like the playa, if you must know. I find Lenny a low down dirty dog for chosing, of all people, the most publicly jilted woman in the world, our Nic Kidman, who was divorced in the full media spotlight, immediately following a miscarriage. Outside of Euripedes' Medea, it's hard to thing of a more badly jilted celebrity. Great timing, and great show Lenny Kravitz, always adept at raising the image of black men in America -- asshole!

The Christmas spirit pirate goes to The Charlie Brown Christmas special. The Corsair isn't always snarky, but this year, for whatever reason, the old Xmas cheer just wasn't there. Nada; it wasn't happening and I couldn't, for the life of me, get into the whole commercial holiday drunken office party thing. I couldn't even put up a credible front. Then along came that darn Charlie Brown Christmas special.

I am not a pussy.I am not saying that I got teary-eyed, or anything like that. You wouldn't respect me if I made that fact known anyway. My snark web cred would be at zero percentage, sho nuff. Let's just say The Corsair got a little ocular moisture over said tv show, okay? And let's just leave it at that.

The Meta Network pirate award is a tie. My two favorite networks, Trio and VH1 win the honor. Both networks seem to subsist on commentary on the excesses of the established networks, the Golden Globes, the bad sit coms, the commercials, the beauty pageants, all that stuff -- and I love it. How meta is that? They take the thin gruel offered by the dinosaurs and rolls pop cultural sushi. In fact, the only cable channels that hold any water with me are Trio and Vh1. Michael Hirschorn and Laura Zalaznick, take your bows now, you truly deserve the applause.

The Que Pasa USA? pirate goes to the Latino people, who surpassed African Americans as the largest minority in the US. Let's have some love for our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters. And higher representation on the magazine covers and tv programming, okay? A one time only Salma Hayek issue in which the terminally unfunny Dame Edna blasts latinos doesn't count, Graydon ... and take that Winston Light out of your mouth when I'm getting all righteous!

The She ran for Governor of California to become the Mayor of Hollywood pirate goes to Arianna Huffington. Crazy like Swayze. As Ahrnold made his leap from Hollywood to Politics, Arianna made a simultaneous leap (watch you're heads, fellas), thus terminating the vacuum left behind, from Politics to Hollywood. Somehow, Arianna Huffington came out of her quixotic independent party run for governor as the cool political voice of the Hollywood set, heir to all their influence and affluence and radical chic. How did that happen and did anyone even observe its occurence? The woman is smooth ... Sade made that sultry song about her -- she's whip smart, a devastating rhetorician, a formidable reinventor of self and she is dark. Greek dark. Admiring Arianna is like admiring the guy who picks your pocket beneath your notice, under your radar, on the DL. If Arianna were a man, she would be in the Senate, possibly in a leadership position, or maybe even Prime Minister of England, where she spent her college years.

Six Million Dollar Woman pirate goes to every young man's older woman fantasy, Demi Moore. Undergoing what can only be described in Pravda, of all places, as "massive plastic surgery," Demi went from being pretty, to some kind of wonderful. Demi gave new meaning to the Golden Globes. She is our bionic woman, a real life analog to the hyperadvancement in technology. She is bigger technology news than the blackberry pager. One imagines, with tongue in cheek and a heart full of mirth, the conversation at that historic moment when the plastic surgeons conducted their Wierd Science on her:

"We can rebuild her. We have the technology.
We have the capability to make the world's first Bionic woman. Demi Moore will be that woman. Better than she was before. Thinner . . . bustier . . . tighter."

When you get tired of Ashton, Demi ... call me?

The Six Pieces of Bubblegum Diet Award goes to Dylan Lauren. I find Dylan, the socialite owner of Dylan's candy store, to be immensely fascinating. She's sweeter than an Alexander the Grape!

Although she sells 50,000,000 calories of candy in a year, she remains rail thin, like most Upper class Upper East siders chicks. How does anyone working in a candy store come off looking, well, to be frank, a little anorexic (and I mean that in the nicest possible Nan Kempner kind of way). In the Your Body section of the January 2004 Harper's Bazaar, written up by one Jacqueline deMontravel
she gives up the goods and reveals her eating habits to us, the readers. Sweet fucking Jesus I never knew that rich women go through such deprivation!

The diet is as follows:

"Ninety percent of my diet consists of healthy foods, 10 percent of indulgences.
8:30 A.M. Large bowl of mixed fruit (half a melon, an orange and one cup of blueberries)
9 A.M. One-hour run (6-8 miles)
10 A.M. Stretching for 15 minutes
10:05 A.M. 8-oz. Emer'gen-C ElectroMix electrolyte-fortified sports drink, liter of water
10:30 A.M. Omelet with six egg whites, one cup of broccoli and spinach, and fat-free cream cheese
1 P.M. Liter of bottled water with lemon
2 P.M. Salad with 3-oz can of tuna, ginger dressing, a multivitamin, 8 oz. Of diet Coke, 10-15 gummy bears
3 P.M. Liter of bottled water
4 P.M. One medium grapefruit
6 P.M One-hour session of weight training
7 P.M. Six pieces of bubble gum
8 P.M. 8-oz. Glass of water
8:30 P.M. Half a roasted butternut squash, 4 oz. Of steamed Chilean sea bass, stalk of steamed kale, spoonful of Birthday Cake ice cream
10 P.M. 8-oz. Cup of hot water with lemon
Total calories consumed: Approximately 1520"

Six pieces of bubblegum at 7pm, huh? Well, as The Corsair is writing this at around one, poor Ms. Lauren is half way between bottled water and her tuna salad and gummy bear break. Let's send good vibrations her way, huh peeps: you can do it, Ricky! Resist the smell of those everlasting godstoppers. Beauty is pain!

The Thug Life Born, Thug Life Bred Award goes to Harvey Weinstein, the good natured "indie" studio exec, who appears to have the thickest skin of any media personality in the world. Michael Wolff skewered him in Autumn of the Moguls, calling him "grotesque," "a thug," "a great and gross manipulator." Wolff added, for good measure, "he is generally thought to have good taste. He's kind of kitsch."

Ouch. Thems fighting words when applied to a pseudointellectual like Big Harv, the man who inflicted Roberto Benigni on Western civilization.

Weinstein returned fire by actually attending the book party at Michael's restaurant. Like water rolling off a thugs back ...

The Girl, Interrupted Award goes to Paris Hilton, who finds answering her cell phone to be of greater imperative than pursuing good vibrations by way of Rick Solomon. Well, that's showing us that the girl has her priorities in order.

The Jenna Dewan pirate award goes to Fisher Stevens. Every so often a chestnut bubbles up from the oozing cesspool that is the eternally adolescent mind of Howard Stern, who, mirabile dictu, was seen dining with Steve Martin at Coco Pazzo. They must have been discussing Picasso's late erotic paintings.

Anyhoo: one such magical Sternian chestnut is the Jenna Dewan Game. It goes like this: name a "celebrity" whose name you know but really shouldn't. And if you say Ron Mwangaguhunga, I'll be heartbroken. Jenna Dewan is famous for dancing for Justin Timberlake and then dating him. The Corsair would like to add the august name of Fisher Stevens to the Jenna Dewan game. Why did I spend much of the last quarter of the year on the ex-Mr. Michelle Pfeiffer? I don't know ... I really don't know, but for a second there, it was as if Fisher Stevens was busting loose, breaking all bounds, about to reach the media heavens, as if everything was finally going to go right with him and he wouldn't have to hang out anymore with unsavory past-their-expiration-date type seedy "stars" such as Matt Dillon. But no, false alarm. Fisher's still just fisher.

The Has Been pirate goes to California's former Milk dud munching gerbil faced geek of a governor, Gray Davis, who showed us that he has Vice Presidential levels of charisma lazily wobbling out of his veal-like torso. Proving he did not have what it takes to govern the fifth largest economy in the world, Gray Davis put on a campaign so lackluster that it made Al Gore's 2000 bid look like Napoleon at Jena. Fuck!

The Never Was pirate goes to Vincent Gallo, auteur du cinema. That rat's ass can polish his pirate award like Coolio and his Grammy as far as I'm concerned because this will be the last goddamn honor he will receive. Ever! (shouts, shakes fist at computer screen) The vole-like "star" put out the verminy-titled film Brown Bunny in which he receives the most talked about blowjob since Monica blew Bill from Chloe Sevigny, whose current dental condition might make for a fascinating reshoot.

Anyhoo: Sleazy creep Gallo -- aptly named -- whined about Roger Ebert's bad review of his unwatchable "work."

Why? Even Gallo remarks that he made a stinker. He was 'Le scandal de Festival' at Cannes. Why do we still talk about him? By now he should have beat out Fisher Stevens for the Jenna Dewan award!

The Dance Move of the Year pirate is a three way tie. Neve ("First off it's pronounced Neve, not Ne-vee!")Campbell wins for her surprisingly graceful moves in The Company.

The other ties are Al Sharpton, who threw down some serious foot magic on SNL, impersonating his one time mentor, James Brown.

The third and last tie award goes to Calvin Klein, whose substance-abuse feuled sprint to courtside to pitch woo at Latrell Sprewell exhibited a surprising grace. The things one does for love ...

The Most Irrelevant Magazine pirate goes to Rolling Stone. I am of two minds on the subject. First, May 3, 1998, to me, was the day the music died. Rolling Stone Magazine, the embodiment of hip counterculture colluded with the Giuliani adminitration as a corporate sponsor for "Family Day" to displace the Million Marijuana March from Washington Square Park. No lie.

Also: putting April Lavigne on the cover of March 2003 was a very sad reminder that even though the music has died at Rolling Stone, the stink still lingers like a fucking puddle of stillwater at 1290 Avenue of the Americas.

The He Kept Us On Our Toes pirate goes to Michael Wolff. Oh you can love the man (and we do) or you can hate the man, but if you care about the media, you have to keep you eyeballs firmly affixed to Michael Wolff. Unlike Tina Brown, Wolff appears to be genuinely thoughtful, capable of expounding on politics and media in something other than "synergetic" buzzwords. Whether it was that crazy little Centcom fiasco, or his tome Autumn of the Moguls, his will-he-or-wont-he-buy New York -- the man has style. He is one of the best interpreters of the media, and, simultaneously one of the canniest players in the media.

The Jill Clayburgh Older Women are the New Black pirate goes to Diane Keaton. Looking for Ms. Goodbar? An older, more mellow blend of nougat, you say?

Older women are veering around the national landscape like Calvin Klein in hot pursuit of Latrell Sprewell. Why? Is this a delayed reaction from the popularity of The Golden Girls? No. In the case of Diane Keaton's meteoric rise to sex symbol from author of a book on bad Clown art is the most surprising. What is even more surprising is that Keaton actually likes the bad Americana clown art. Taste isn't everything, I guess.

She's got "it" says the Sun Herald. She's portrayed as "passionate" and "desirable" says the NY Times. The Washington Post goes so far as to call her a "babe."

And she is in a manner of speaking, to be frank. Her rise comes at the tailend of a year where Tinseltown said: it's okay for older women to be considered sex symbols. Look at Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, for one example, and even, the not old Cameron Diaz, 31, who is dating Justin Timberlake, who is 23. Then, of course, there is the 12 year age difference between 50 Cent and Vivica Fox. Hey, it's all good.

From older women-younger men it was a short hop skip and jump to older woman as sex object, when you think about it.

So, jumping bones with Diane Keaton? I don't know, but I'd definitely like to have some coffee with her and ask her about her absurd position on clown art.

The I Wanna Be Vice President pirate goes to Senator Bob Graham of Florida. Jesus Christ, I have never seen a man lust after the Vice Presidency in my life. Like Golem chasing after the ring of power("my preccciousss!!!"), Graham wants this thing. I mean, what is there so grand and swishy about the office, huh? You get to go to rubbery chicken fundraisers. You get to go to funerals of dead heads of state in remote but politically important nations. You get to speak at fascinating places like -- yawn -- the Daughters of the American Revolution, and such.

So why has Bob Graham gone out of his way -- no, strike that -- gone way the fuck out of his way to get the post. First he ran a quixotic campaign which no one believed he was in to win. Then pulled out just before he had to burn bridges by campaigning negative. The he quit his extremely important Florida Senate seat, making him that much more important to keep on the Presidential ticket in order to keep the state.
God, this man has a love jones for the Vice Presidency and The Corsair cannot for the life of him figure out: why?

Runner ups in the chasing the ring of power contest include Newt Gingrich chasing after Secretary of State, James Baker chasing after Secretary of State (hey, Colin Powell is laid up recovering from prostate cancer -- als fair in love and politics!) and George Pataki, chasing after fellow Yalie Dick Cheney's position on the ticket.

The Hey, I Really Am Black pirate goes to Michael Jackson. Like OJ before him, Michael found his black roots just in time for jury selection in his criminal case. Now he's Muslim and giving an interview to Ed Bradley and, we imagine, BET to prove that he really is black, although the visual seems to contradict the fact. Coming soon: Michael proclaims his innocence on the labels of the bean pies!