Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Suck on That, HBO Fanboys

I hadn't heard about Frank Rich's new gig as a general creative consultant for HBO until I saw Jack Shafer's sophisticated and worldly column about it. Three thoughts, in no particular order:

(1) Where are the conservative fanboys who turn their noses up at BSG and Veronica Mars while insisting that HBO is where real television happens?

(2) Once again, I'm thunderstruck at how sweet life is if you're part of the lefty mainstream media. Oh sure, conservatives have their own ghetto, where, if you're good and doctrinaire, after 10 years you can get speaking gigs at places like Hillsdale College and CPAC. Sigh.

(3) What really, really mystifies me is why Rich is bothering to keep his NYT column at all. The HBO job is so much more interesting. Why would anyone stay in the political/journalistic world given the chance to do something cool that was actually culturally relevant?

Update: Galley Friend J.E. responds:

I think I know why he's bothering to keep the NYT gig. For one, it's steady, pays incredibly well, requires (as he's shown repeatedly these last few years) minimal time and thought, and offers notable ancillary perks. Two, he's undoubtedly mindful of what happened when Pauline Kael, who thought she knew better than everyone how to make a good movie and what was wrong with bad movies, took an indefinite leave of absence from the New Yorker and went to work at Paramount in development. It was, history records, a colossal failure. Someone who has spent his/her entire adult life criticizing the work of others without having the balls to enter the arena himself will find the going hard, if not impossible. A little voice will keep whispering in his ear, telling him how the Frank Riches of the world will see this particular work, and that will be paralyzing. Then, too, the other above-the-line people will likely find him insufferable as he only criticizes the work in front of him and offers nothing useful. Sadly, though, like Kael, when this is all over and he leaves "to go back to my first love, newspapering," he will have learned no humility. Or grace.

No comments: