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From NPR:

"While it is true that Barack Obama did not actually invent the light bulb, no one has ever thrown a switch quite like him."

They did not really say that. I made up that line.

But this story this morning about how Barack is going to make reading cool again is in that vein.

First, let me remind you that I really do like this fellow. I do think he is smart and cool and am convinced that he loves his country. I concur wholeheartedly with President Bush's statement of the obvious: "we are rooting for his success because his success will be our national success." Also, I am impressed with the President-elect's love for words. I enjoy his writing (his memoir and his major speeches in which you can clearly see his hand and style coming through).

However, sometimes the breathless mainstream fawning just goes a bit too far.

"Barack Obama is a reader."

How refreshing.

Not only that, he is a writer: "You actually have both a writer and a reader in the White House who is articulate and eloquent in his own right."

Wow. He really is the new Lincoln.

Another expert commentator observes: "And it's clear that he reads not just for entertainment, but to stimulate whatever gifts he has that make him the incredible speaker that he is."

So, he won't just be reading
My Pet Goat.

While the NPR story mentions the claims that the current president reads a lot, we certainly understand why this is going to be totally different. And while Laura Bush gets an obligatory mention as a "former librarian and voracious reader," NPR reporter Lynn Neary neglects to mention that Mrs. Bush, in partnership with the Library of Congress, initiated the National Book Festival back in 2001, which, in actual fact, has become a substantial institution to promote interest and excitement in books. A fact, evidently, not germane to the story of the new President and his potential to positively change our reading habits for the better.

As NPR suggests, maybe Barack really is the new Oprah.
Category: Media and Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
And the award goes to:

Alec Baldwin

"30 Rock"

Tina Fey


And if you don't think they deserve all these accolades, awarded by snarky Hollywood insiders, who love knowingly quick-witted shows about snarky Hollywood insiders, then you can "suck it!"

"30 Rock" is, in fact, a cute show. Yes, the gag gets a bit strained, especially if you don't work in the entertainment industry--but, no matter, it is smart and funny, worth watching (relatively speaking), and it deserves to stay on the air despite its traditionally anemic ratings.

But, come now, this evidently insatiable desire to exalt "30 Rock" and Tina Fey over obviously more-deserving shows and stars is growing tiresome.

We get it. You love Tina Fey. You love how she put Sarah Palin in her place. You love Alec Baldwin. You admire his politics. You swoon over his hip sense of ironic detachment. You love the show about doing a network show. We get it. You really love yourselves. Now move on. There are some truly brilliant comedies out there ("The Office" to name one).

A note on Tina Fey: I really hate this, but I just don't have anything for her anymore. Too bad for me. She was a real favorite (an intellectual brick house: smart, sexy, and funny--the ultimate winning hand). But no more. The crush is over.

And, of course, it was the Sarah Fey-lin gag that killed that loving feeling. By the time it was through, the whole bit was just so "played." When I first heard Tina Fey was going to do Palin I had my doubts. Tina Fey is a comic genius--but she is not a great actress. She is great playing Tina Fey--but anything more than that is a real stretch. But, on that first night, she hit Palin out of the park. It was a pitch-perfect tour de force. But she went down hill from there, pushing a one-gag bit way beyond its viability.

If you listen carefully, she does not really sound much like Palin (her impersonation is actually a lot more Bob and Doug McKenzie than Sarah). Upon closer inspection, Tina Fey is not nearly as attractive as Palin. Over the long haul, the Tina Fey character was thin and tinny. The gag relied way too much on a beauty contest Sarah Palin entered in her late teens. Because of her limited acting ability, Tina Fey's Sarah Palin increasingly drew on a generic dopey bubble-brained bimbo stock character. By the end of the run, there was nothing left in the tank.

And what did Tina Fey do when there was nothing left? She kept coming with the cartoon, piling on the hackneyed sexist stereotypes to camouflage the lack of penetrating content. Why? Because her friends kept laughing. And she was on the side of the angels. Maybe this wasn't completely fair--but it was for the cause. Sometimes you have to be a "mean girl" when the whole world hangs in the balance. And Sarah Palin had it coming. She had dared to insinuate that Barack Obama's stint as a community organizer had not prepared him to be President of the United States. She was fair game.

Anyhow, when I look at Tina Fey now, I no longer see a sharp attractive woman at the peak of her creative powers with a heart for the underdog. Now, I only see the bully, willing to slash and burn to be popular. It worked. Congratulations, Tina Fey. You are the toast of town.