Bloggers dish about the Oscars

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Feb. 25 2008 6:46 PM

Lights, Camera, Eye-Roll

Bloggers are dishing about the Oscars, the re-emergence of, believe it or not, Ralph Nader, and the latest Clinton-Obama spat.

Lights, camera, eye-roll: Bloggers say they're jaded about Sunday night's Oscar telecast, but that doesn't stop them from picking apart nearly every aspect of the ceremony.

During the red-carpet festivities, bloggers lampooned John Travolta's hair and the way Gary Busey barged into Ryan Seacrest's interview with Jennifer Garner and Laura Linney. On the San Francisco Gate's Culture Blog, Peter Hartlaub makes a subtle distinction: "I've seen Travolta's hair in both formats now, and it's slightly less hideous in HD. You can see the individual strands of hair, so it doesn't look so much like he's wearing a black swimming cap." AOL Entertainment Canada's Soraya Roberts writes, "Unfortunately, the actual watchability of the ceremony was virtually nil. Until Gary Busey appeared. The 62-year-old actor (best known for his roles in 'Point Break' and 'The Buddy Holly Story') showed up on the red carpet with the sole intent, it seemed, of crashing Ryan Seacrest's red carpet interviews."

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On Reason's Hit & Run, Jesse Walker quips, "The biggest winners this year were the writers, who were nearly shown up as superfluous. Without that tedious 'witty' 'banter,' we would have had the most watchable Oscar night in years." A Little More About Me's Annie T., a facility manager in Missouri, relishes Jon Stewart's hosting: "Who else would have the guts to say Gadolf Titler on live television with millions of people watching?" But Deadline Hollywood Daily's live-blogging Nikki Finke claims, "It was obvious that the Hollywood audience was nervous, very nervous, when [Stewart] launched into one political joke after another."

Formerly striking writer Ken Levine grouses about the large number of foreign winners: "We ended the writers strike for THIS? Jesus! The best thing I can say about this Oscarcast is that there were no shadow puppets this year." Celebrity snark-blog Gawker gets almost maudlin: "Then came La Vie En Rose star Marion Cotillard's emotional acceptance speech for best actress, and everyone got kind of teary and thankful the Oscars didn't get canceled after all, even though the speech was a little saccharine and melodramatic, just like this year's Oscars themselves.."

Read more about the Oscars. In Slate, Dana Stevens, Troy Patterson, and Kim Masters chat about the ceremony, and Julia Turner and Amanda Fortini play fashion police.

Going and Going: Ralph Nader announced Sunday that he will run for president. Again.

James Fallows writes warmly of being mentored by Nader but bemoans Nader's self-absorption and disconnection from the political climate: "That he stayed in the race in 2000 was tragedy. (See: Invasion of Iraq, 2003, and subsequent occupation.) That he came back in 2004 was unfortunate; his entry in 2008 is farce. … The fact that it won't make any difference in the outcome actually is sad." Expressing his wish for Nader's withdrawal, Fallows continues: "He is a better man than his recent decisions indicate."

Most bloggers are trying to tease out what impact, if any, Nader's decision will have on the Obama campaign. Wonkette's Jim Newell snarks, "[Nader's] opinions stand in stark contrast to those of likely Democratic nominee Barry Obama, who proposes the elimination of all taxes on the upper class, weekend indentured servitude duties for lower and middle classes, several new Wars in Iraq, and the overt transfer of legislative and judicial power to Jack Abramoff."

Analyzing Obama's reaction, the  Moderate Voice's Joe Gandelman  concludes that the candidate will handle Nader "respectfully but assertively." Daily Kos diarist Soitgoes muses, "Having Ralph Nader - Mr. Liberal - attack Obama from the left will only help Obama's cause (assuming Nader can get enough air time to have any impact whatsoever)." Captain's Quarters' conservative Ed Morrissey suggests that Obama has more to fear if NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg also enters the race. "If both Nader and Bloomberg enter the race, Obama could get squeezed from both sides."

And on TruthDig, Chris Hedges stands up for Nader's battle against corporate interests. He concludes, "This may be the twilight of American democracy.  And it is better to stand up and fight, even in vain, than not to fight at all."

Read more about Nader.

Dressing down: The Obama campaign has accused the Clinton team of "shameful, offensive fear-mongering" for allegedly circulating a photograph of Obama wearing Somali attire. Their concern is that the photograph will tar Obama as a Muslim. The Clinton campaign denies any connection with the photo.

The turban on Obama's head is a lightning rod for some. "There is a very good reason that you have to be born here to be President… and one that still makes sense to most of us, we want an AMERICAN running the US," comments Romeo 13 on conservative Hot Air. Pointing out that Obama spent many of his formative years outside America, Romeo continues, "[T]he question becomes does he have the same 'moral compass' as me??? ie, can I trust him??? So, to me, the picture is not a low blow, but a reminder of how he himself says he was raised."

Right Wing Nuthouse's Rick Moran notes, "When Calvin Coolidge was photographed wearing a Lakotan headdress, no one came out and said Coolidge was a devotee of The Great Spirit. Politicians wear all sorts of funny hats and clothes. It's part of Americana. For Obama to be singled out for honoring his hosts by dressing in traditional garb is the height of stupidity and my conservative bretheren should be ashamed of themselves."

Commenting on USA Today's blog, On Politics, Unsichtbarsieg wonders why the Obama campaign cares so much:"It is really him in the photo, he comes from a Muslim family, lived in a Muslim country during his early years, and Hussein is his middle name. Black Muslim leader Farrakan has just endorsed him. The Muslim connection is an inescapable part of Obama's profile. Since it does not seem to bother his supporters, why make a fuss about it?"

And on TPM Café, liberal Connie Manes expresses her disappointment at the Clinton campaign: "Do American's really want this kind of leader, one that will smear a candidate in anyway possible, in order to win the nomination?"

Read more about Obama in Somali dress. Slate's Trailhead predicts "we should see Clinton undress another staffer's career in a few days."

Bidisha Banerjee is the San Francisco-based co-author of a forthcoming Yale Climate and Energy Institute/Centre for International Governance Innovation report on scenario planning for solar radiation management. She is collaborating on a geoengineering game and has written about geoengineering governance for Slate and the Stanford Journal of Law, Science, and Policy.

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