Thursday, February 27, 2014

We'll miss you, Alec

Did you read the long piece by Alec Baldwin in New York Magazine?  The one where he's saying goodbye to public life?  It's here.

I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Made me feel sorry for the guy, to some degree.  I have no doubt that much of what he says about getting a bad rap in the media is true although, at the same time, much of what he complains about is, at least partially, his own fault.

Me?  I'm like the Pope.  Who am I to judge?  My favorite paragraph is about MSNBC.  It reads ...

I watched MSNBC, prior to working there, very sporadically. Once I had signed a contract with them, I wanted to see more of what they were about. It turned out to be the same shit all day long. The only difference was who was actually pulling off whatever act they had come up with. Morning Joe was boring. Scarborough is neither eloquent nor funny. And merely cranky doesn’t always work well in the morning. Mika B. is the Margaret Dumont of cable news. I liked Chris Jansing a lot. Very straightforward. I like Lawrence O’Donnell, but he’s too smart to be doing that show. Rachel Maddow is Rachel Maddow, the ultimate wonk/dweeb who got a show, polished it, made it her own. She’s talented. The problem with everybody on MSNBC is none of them are funny, although that doesn’t prevent them from trying to be.

Wow.  Pretty well said, although he gives Rachel Maddow a good bit of shit later in the piece, which makes me sad because I like think of Maddow as a kind of perfect, artificial thing, existing on television for one hour a day, five days a week, designed to make me, a Democrat, feel better about being a Democrat.  I don't want to know what she's like in real life.

I used to really like Morning Joe, but a year or so back I got sick of it and stopped watching.  Recently I decided to start watching it again -- my thinking being that they were at their best during election-year cycles, and we've got the mid-terms coming up in November.  So I thought it might be a good time to get back on board.

Except I hated it.  So I've stopped watching again.  Maybe when we get closer to the elections I'll switch back in, but I have my doubts.  Joe has transitioned from a slightly-endearing pant-load to a narcissistic bully.  And Mika seems to have switched roles too -- from that of mistress to that of nagging mother -- and I find the new Mika to be extremely tiresome.  They sent Willie Geist to The Today Show (God bless the poor man), and Morning Joe is a less enjoyable place without him.  I sometimes think he was the glue that held the whole thing together.  The rest of the usual group -- Meacham, Rattner, Todd, etc. -- seem to be on autopilot.  Where's Mike Barnicle?

Mistress, you're asking?  Well, let me answer a question with a question.  What, exactly, do you think was going on with those Joe/Mika psychosexual erotic slash slash slash dramatic photomontages in the bumpers?  (Bumpers are those quickie segments that take you into and out of commercials).  Those didn't make you want to just go take a shower?  Seem just a little creepy?  They seem to have toned them down when I tuned back in, but in the early days the BDSM subtext was off the dial.

Here, just for the record, is Russell Brand taking no prisoners ...

The line "So this is what you people do for a living?" is one of the great Morning Joe moments ever.  Followed a few minutes later by his comment about the way Mika is holding her water bottle.  Priceless.

Anyway, I'll miss Alec.  He's probably a way better guy than his public persona suggests.  He would certainly have you believe that.


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