It’s Friday, and not just any Friday, the Friday after a short week which can only mean one thing:
Time for the Hollywood Outsider! (Okay, it probably means more than that, but whatever). This is twodaymag’s weekly look at all things news and pop culture from a guy who clearly knows and cares about none of it!
This week, round two of the Platitude Olympics (also known as the Republican and Democratic National conventions) wraps up and the Outsider has you covered with stupid things from both sides. However, like any sporting competition, we first must rise for our national anthem.
This week marked the official beginning of Fall in America by kicking off the 2012 NFL season. In fact, the Outsider believes that Fall represents what the F in NFL stands for (he has no idea what those other letters mean, it’s probably Spanish for something).
The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants took center stage in the Meadowlands Wednesday night to all the fanfare and pageantry an over the top sport like a American Football commands, and to get things going, the national anthem was sung by none other than Her Royal Highness, Queen Latifah.
Latifah did a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that had a very gospel feel to it, complete with background vocals and a drum machine. One really has to hear it to understand (http://www.opposingviews.com/i/sports/nfl/video-queen-latifah-s-national-anthem-performance-was-interesting) how awful it was.
To put the awful into context it goes:
3. Pearl Harbor
4. Queen Latifah’s Star Spangled Banner
5 .The Boston Massacre
Couple this with the irony that the most important song to a nation that was founded on anti-monarchistic principles was sung by someone who uses “Queen” in her stage name.
Here’s the thing, everybody is entitled to their opinions when it comes to things like art and music. A good artist can take a classic song and add his or her style to it in a cool and unique way. This line of thinking does not apply to the national anthem. The national anthem is not God Bless America, America The Beautiful or any other patriotic song. When people are asked to rise and remove their hats, it’s a sign of identifying with that nation. It is the one song that is legally associated with the country.
Latifah’s version sounded more like it belonged on a bad contemporary Christmas album.
To her credit, she sang the song very well, she was on pitch and her tone and timing were all fine, but the issue is the arrangement. Sure, the song is not as catchy as Call Me Maybe, it’s not even the Call Me Maybe of national anthems (that honor goes to Canada, have you head O’ Canada? Try getting that sucker out of your head) and there have been many poor performances of the song, most notably Christina Aguilera forgetting the words before the Super Bowl.
But that’s somewhat forgivable because Aguilera meant well and everyone knows she’s a little bit... frittata. Latifah’s musical abomination was purely intentional.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s play ball.
The Platitude Olympics
Every four years Americans are subjected to its leaders and people who represent them shouting at them like they are stupid for a few months. This culminates in the respective party conventions where they get on stage and high five each other and talk about how the other side is full of jerk-faces.
Here are a few of the Outsider’s observations from the two conventions:
1. Humble Beginnings: There is some kind of rule amongst politicians that the quality of your leadership is directly related to how poor you were as a child. Listening to the wives of the respective candidates was very illuminating. First, Mitt Romney’s wife Ann told a story about after they got married, they used an ironing board as the dinner table. Presumably because they were too poor to hire a butler, and usually it’s the butler that goes out and picks up the furniture.
Not to be outdone, First Lady Michelle Obama told a story that a young Barack had so little money that his best pair of shoes was a size too small, “Barack had holes in his pants that had to be sewed up with whatever material he could find.” Said the First Lady, “Old Patches Obama, they called him. He had to cut the toes out of his shoes like a dirty hobo.”
2. Scheduling Conflicts: There is something about a message that is so tightly controlled that makes any bit of spontaneity stand out incredibly awkwardly. The Republicans scheduled their convention in a seaside city during the peak of hurricane season and SURPRISE! They got hit by a hurricane and had to cancel a day.
On the other side, the second biggest speaker at the DNC was former President Bill Clinton and his speech was scheduled during the opening game of the NFL, so naturally nobody watched it.
3. Awkward Moments: This time around an actual celebrity who wasn’t John Voigt spoke at one of the conventions. Clint Eastwood made a surprise visit to the convention and “surprise” was probably the best way to put it. Eastwood decided it would be best to speak in a convention filled with people who speak for a living without preparing at all. “Fake it till you make it” is a great philosophy to adopt if you want to get through college, but probably not the best when filling a primetime slot at a political convention.
Eastwood’s speech employed an old vaudevillian tactic of having an empty chair on stage and talking to it as if a person was sitting in it. Aside from implying that the President of the United States would tell his opponent to go fuck himself, Eastwood’s speech was nothing short of a stuttering, rambling mess. By the end, he had a few sound-bite-worthy platitudes, but the trip there was a difficult one.
One the other side, the Democrats had some trouble getting their delegates to agree on their platform. When they took a vote on some revisions to their platform, there was no clear vocal majority. Eventually the convention chairman (after three attempts) decided that the “yea’s” had it by a 2/3 majority.
The Outsider watched the tape a few times and could not for the life of him figure out how he arrived there, until a photo surfaced that showed the outcome of the “vote” written on the teleprompter. The Democrats apparently have Nostradamus writing for them.
As for the speeches by the candidates themselves, well, the Outsider is going to stay out of that realm, it’s too messy even for him.
And he’s willing to do some messy stuff...
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