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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Lower Mahnattanite Lays the Smackdown on the Oscars

Best Oscar for Inventing the Internet


Praise Lower Manhattanite for blessing us with this timely guest post. Also let me add PLEASE KEEP THEM COMING. Gilly may be in until Friday at this rate. Thusfar, I have two on deck for tomorrow; I would like to do at least 2 per day with the help of Jim our Webguy (who will tag shit up in my absence as I cannot post from work). Having said that...without further ado...the shazbit on the Oscars Nite from Lower Manhattanite, who gets the Oscar for Get your Own Damn Blog Already We Love Your Writing:

Oscar, Bitches!

It’s been a sh*tty weekend. I’ve been worried about Mr. Gilliard since Friday night when I checked in here for the first time in a couple of days and saw that big red cross Jen tagged up. Yikes!

I then had an unexpected financial expenditure yesterday that I was ill-prepared to handle. Cha-ching—and Goddamn.

And lastly, the weekend with the kids was truncated as my son’s asthma, normally in check, went on a berserker rage yesterday. As a typically irresponsible-at-times teen, he left his asthma pump at home and things deteriorated to where the ex had to come and get him home to his nebulizer so things wouldn’t snowball to the point of the all-too-familiar to readers here, hospitalization. So the kids left with their mom, and I found myself deeper in the dumps than that I figured I’d be before waking yesterday morning.

So, as the “Go-Go Gophers” theme used to go—“What can um’ do for fun?”

Lose myself in movies of course. Oscar weekend and all.

I waded into TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and saw a trilogy that stoked the cinephile in me something fierce: From Here To Eternity, Bridge On The River Kwai, and then Lawrence of Arabia.

Oh, they were killin’ it, kiddies. Made daddy wanna clean the gat and hop the next chrome bird to The Valley, looking for stupid, young, Varvatos-ed film execs to snuff. Willy-nilly. And stack ‘em like cordwood behind Rsocoe’s on Gower for the rats to nibble on during the night. See, I love good film. Love it like hell. But on this Oscar weekend, well…it’s the Goddamned Oscars themselves I hate.

When, pray tell did the Academy Awards go from a duke-it-out between the best, to a snipe-y, petty bitchfest? My friend ________, who’s working the Awards this weekend as a pre-show, rehearsal stand-in. called me last night from the Kodak on Hollywood Blvd, during a lull and joked about how people he knows were reacting to his working the show. “Verrrrrrrry bitchy”, he noted. “Catty sh*t. It used to be a horse race, and now it’s all Naomi-tossin-sidekicks-at-people. But you know what? I saw it coming the last couple of years at the Dot Chandler Pavillion. F*cking Joan Rivers—‘Who are you wearing?’ Bitch, what fetus’ placenta did you wear on your face for two hours before they wheeled you outta the house?”

He went on like that for awhile until they called him back to work, but his words stayed with me. I don’t remember the Oscars being so mean and bitchy in my youth, and I can go back as far as stuff like Cactus Flower and Midnight Cowboy being up for awards. So what happened? When did the hubbub around the awards get so f*cking petty for the viewers and reporters? I mean, I know it was a screeching, alley-cat donnybrook within the industry, but it seems to have bled out into the viewership and punditocracy. I place a lot of the blame on gits like Mr. Blackwell and Ms. Rivers and their ilk. Now granted, it wasn’t all sober-*ssed, Nobel presentation before, but this silly pre-and-post show analysis (actually with a telestrator a couple of years ago digramming hemlines!) on what the attendees look like, helps like buying a nodding, word-slurring Tom Sizemore another f*cking round. And that superficial pettiness has spread to commentators with as much knowledge of film as a f*cking bedbug. This focus on the superficial aspects swirling around the Oscars has seemingly validated the 28-cent, Pauline Kael-with-a-hatchet-in-her-cerebrum-natterings of almost anyone with an axe to grind these days.

Which brings us to the issue of one Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. If you dare venture into the fetid stink of Wingnutville, (bring a Costco-sized bottle o’ Febreze—your clothes’ll thank you for it), you won’t be able to miss a bitchy tone on Gore’s even being considered for an award, so intense that that if you placed the individual components of a martini on the graves of Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, walked away for 40 seconds and then returned, you’d find fully prepared drinks that James Bond ‘d happily quaff.

This is different from their “nyah-nyah, fatty-fatty” bench-jockeying of Michael Moore, (although much sport has been made of Gore’s recent ‘beefiness’ by the likes of Tucker ‘Nuryev’ Carlson, and Sean ‘The Diploma’ Hannity) because Moore in their eyes represents just another dirty, f*cking hippie Hollywooder. Gore-however, is a D.C. insider—a dude they saw every day galumphing about the halls of power ‘round the ‘ol Beltway. The guy who would’ve become President if only Clinton hadn’t felllated the entire population into swoony-eyed love the same way he did Monica---damn it to hell! And the idea that this so-called “stiff” will nab an Oscar—the ultimate validation the “arts” community can bestow--has pissed them off to Robin Harris levels of “pisstivity”. Final cut for the cheerleading squad and the plain, popular chick who knows the routine has beaten out the double-jointed, backseat-hopping bimbo who can cheer the loudest, but whose moves suck *ss. Let the “Mean Girls” bitchfest begin. It’s been funny, watching the likes of “Over Easy” Drudge go way above the bitchy call in his slams at ol’ Al. And the carping from the nutttiest wings of the right, like the aforementioned crump-dancer extraordinaire, Carlson, bring into stark relief a fact that recent weeks have brutally borne out—namely, the simple fact that the right has ghettoized itself in an ugly slum of artistic mediocrity. Thus truth—a truly inconvenient one indeed, has sent these poor wretches around the bend, and moved them to embarrassing stunts like the Gomez Addams-esque, head-on train wrecks of Fox’s “Red Eye” and “The ½ Hour News Hour”. And the bile-in-the-mouth public reaction to these twin bedpan misses on their part has really bruised our dear Nellie Olesens on the right. Thus, the catty Gore-slamming, and attempts to discredit the film, much the way they hissed about other films that displeased their kneejerk (emphasis on jerk) sensibilities—like 1999’s Hurricane, and The Cider House Rules, and ‘04’s Million Dollar Baby. But as much as those flicks bugged ‘em, along with the foot-stamping over Fahrenheit 911, Gore’s “Rock Star” ascension thanks to his film, has inspired a special venom and bitterness. It’s not even concealed. And it’s actually pretty damned funny. Especially as their shining knight Mel Gibson’s post-“Passion” yellow-star puking has removed him from serious consideration as a cinematic paragon. There’s no one for ‘em to hang their star on. And when you’ve got no one to love, you search for people vent “hateration and holleration” on—always an easier proposition in, as Mary J. Blige sang off-key—“this dance-e-ree”.

I’m reminded of Paul Simon’s famous post-win quote from the ’75 Grammys, I’d like to thank Stevie Wonder for not releasing an album this year , referring to Stevie’s having über-dominated the Awards the previous three years. Can you imagine the level of bitchiness we’d be contending with if the right’s regular Oscar whipping-boy, Spike Lee’s When The Levees Broke--the ultimate slam at all they hold dear—namely Bush and his tender nads in their mouths--had been eligible for consideration?

“Meeeeee-owwwwr! Saucer of milk at table three!” ☺