Admittedly, it doesn’t take much, but Baldwin satirizes and critiques our sensitive, insensitive President with panache, raising himself to the role of America’s Deflator in Chief.
Inside Air Force One moments after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963:
“Judge Hughes has been found. She is on her way.
“In the passenger cabin, Stoughton, the White House photographer, approaches Liz Carpenter and Marie Fehmer. He is sweating and ashen. ‘You must go in and tell the president,’ he says, still trying to catch his breath, ‘that this is a history-making moment, and while it seems tasteless, I am here to make a picture if he cares to have it. And I think we should have it.'”
Via Travelreads: Chris Jones on the unique culture of Japanese baseball and 16-year-old pitching phenom Tomohiro Anraku, seen as “a real-life Sidd Finch, his story so impossible that he’s been spoken about only in whispers or exclamations”:
“There has been talk in America that Anraku’s arm had been destroyed weeks earlier, in April, stripped of its powers at Koshien — a high school tournament that happens twice a year in Japan, in spring and in summer. Robert Whiting, author of You Gotta Have Wa and one of the West’s principal translators of Japanese culture, has a hard time capturing the meaning of Koshien, first held in 1915. ‘It’s like the Super Bowl and the World Series rolled into one,’ he says. ‘It’s the closest thing Japan has to a national festival.’ In the spring, 32 teams from across the country arrive at Koshien, the name of a beautiful stadium near Kobe but also the de facto title of the tournament that’s played there. (In the summer, 49 teams participate, one from each of Japan’s 47 diverse prefectures, plus an additional team from Tokyo and Hokkaido.) They meet in a frantic series of single-elimination games until a champion emerges. At any one time, 60% of Japan’s TV sets will be tuned in to the drama. More than 45,000 fans will be packed into the stadium, and if the games are especially good, many of those fans will be weeping.
“‘It’s not just baseball,’ says Masato Yoshii, who pitched in two Koshiens long before he joined the New York Mets. ‘It’s something else. It’s something more.'”
[Not single-page] The magician Teller (of Penn & Teller) discovers a copycat has taken a trick that he’s been performing since 1975:
“When Teller filed his lawsuit, it made news: ROGUE MAGICIAN IS EXPOSING OUR SECRETS!!! read the TMZ headline. Teller did not like the coverage. The publicity might have sold more tickets to the show, but it misunderstood his purpose. Most of the stories suggested that he was suing Bakardy to protect the secret of his trick, the method. ‘The method doesn’t matter,’ Teller says. He has performed Shadows over the years with three different methods, seeking perfection. The first involved a web of fishing line that took a painfully long time to set up; the second version required rigid, uncomfortable choreography; the third, today’s version, he has never revealed. Bakardy, who said that he had seen Penn & Teller’s show, almost certainly didn’t use Teller’s present method. He knew only the idea and the effect it had on the audience. He felt the crackle that runs through the otherwise silent theater when Teller wields his knife; he saw that some people start to cry, little soft sobs in the dark; he heard that some people make strange noises and other people try to make noises and fail. What Bakardy stole from Teller wasn’t a secret. Bakardy stole something that everybody who has ever seen Shadows already knows.”
One of the greatest athletes of all time faded into the background while his wife and daughters became reality TV stars:
“Fathers suffer a curse, and Bruce Jenner knows this curse better than most: The day you become a father, you stop being who you were. In the eyes of your children, your life began when theirs did.
“The strange thing about Jenner, now that he’s sixty-two years old: It’s not just his glorious past that has disappeared. It’s as though all of him, every previous incarnation of him, has been flooded out of view: by the fame of his adopted family — his third wife, the former-and-sometimes-still Kris Kardashian, her son, Rob, and her collection of daughters, Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall, and Kylie, the last two also Jenner’s — by the glib demands of reality-TV story lines, by dubious plastic surgery and eyebrows plucked to oblivion. Even in his own home, that familiar Spanish castle with the fountain splashing out front, you have to look hard to find those few traces of his existence. (‘My mom’s house,’ Kim calls it.) All of the photographs are of the children; all of the memorabilia and props are the product of their successes, not his. There is no red singlet in a frame; his gold medal is nowhere to be found. For the most part, Bruce Jenner, Olympian, has been banished to the garage.”
In thirty-eight years, The Price is Right never had a contestant guess the exact value of prizes in the Showcase showdown. Until Terry Kniess outsmarted everyone — and changed everything.
It has been nearly four years since Roger Ebert lost his lower jaw and his ability to speak. Now television’s most famous movie critic is rarely seen and never heard, but his words have never stopped.
For one suddenly tortured cynic, at least, it’s close to home. Because if there’s not a geek playing a hound playing a perfect man in your family, the one being wrung out by the tabloids has still laid bare a new power for men who cheat: the power of the truth