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Straight out of the headlines

And back to the Old Skool

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"It is 'Anchorman,' not 'Anchorlady' -- and that is a scientific fact." -- Champ Kind (David Koechner)

We must really have issues. This week, Katie Couric takes over as the anchor for CBS News -- and how exactly is that a big deal? Every popular cooking show is hosted by an increasingly unfashionable metrosexual dude, and Bangladesh has a woman Prime Minister, but somehow we're all a-twitter because a woman who's been on television since Jon Stewart's Bar Mitzvah is going to start reading the news that I already read on www.cnn.com this morning? I guess so.

For the country that brought you existentialism, crème fraîche, and an ever more accurate assessment of Western prospects in Iraq, this has turned out to be the summer of "Coup de Boule" -- a mega-hit (watered-down Afro-Beat) anthem commemorating the head butt heard 'round the world administered by French soccer icon Zinédine Zidane to Italian nemesis Marco Materazzi in the final of the World Cup. The most infamous racial incident in French history since the Dreyfus affair now has a soundtrack. The lessons here: 1. Don't talk smack about Zizou's mama or you will be getting punk'd in front of a billion viewers. 2. French people aren't as cool as we thought. First we find out that they like McDonald's, and now this.

Under the general heading of "maybe you do need a plot after all," Snakes On A Plane is barely hanging on in the Top 10 -- despite predictions that the long-awaited summer blockbuster was finally here. Is it because self-parodying camp only works if your core audience is in on the joke, or because the critics' pet theory about Snakes' subtext didn't grab hold of anyone? A couple of major magazines have (semi-seriously?) advanced the theory that Snakes plays to our fears about in-flight terrorism. If so, why stop there? Do the snakes have to be the only metaphor? What if the plane represents Earth and the snakes represent every Islamic fundamentalist cell across the globe, and what if Samuel L. Jackson is Indiana Jones and ... well ... sorry ... you get the picture.

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