KC over at Classic Movies was kind enough to send me this link to a blurb by Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein, who is apparently as flummoxed as I am as to why Big Hollywood’s John Nolte is convinced that universally despised TCM weekend host Ben Mankiewicz (“Is Ben Mankiewicz turning TCM into a worker’s paradise?”) is heckbent on bringing The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ to its sniveling pinko knees:
What Mankiewicz said was this: "In an era when the political commentators who shout the loudest or 'cry' the most generate the ratings, the prophetic nature of this 1957 classic enhances its remarkable timeliness today .... Did [director Kazan and writer Budd Schulberg] drive to 2009 and see a world where television celebrity trumps wisdom, thoughtfulness and reason?"
Not only does that feel like fair comment, but the last sentence -- about celebrity trumping wisdom and reason -- actually echoes a long-held conservative belief in upholding the standards of cultural civilization, even if it may be the conservatism of H.L. Mencken, William F. Buckley and David Brooks, not the conservatism of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. It's true that the "cry" reference seems clearly aimed at Beck, but Mankiewicz's other comment -- about commentators who "shout the loudest" could just as easily be directed at Chris Matthews as anyone on Fox News.
In all honesty, I have to say I was a bit overwhelmed by the reaction to my original post—I figured that I get one or two observations but I wasn’t expecting the volume of responses that I eventually received. I do want to say that I appreciated hearing from all comers and that while there is some disagreement as to whether Benjy’s editorializing was cricket (clearly I’m in Goldstein’s corner on this) I think we’ve all found a little common ground in our general dislike for Mankiewicz. (Who knows—maybe he’ll end up shilling for some pharmaceutical product like former AMC host John Burke is right now—I can’t recall the product name off the top of my head, but Burke remains as annoying as ever.) If I may take the time to quote Dave Mason: "There ain't no good guys/There ain't no bad guys/There's only you and me, and we just disagree..."
I also want to thank KC for directing me to this interesting post over at Rare & OOP DVDs, which lists quite a few of the 1929-72 Warner Bros. DVD titles that they are currently weeding out of their library. (I always wanted to know how it feels to be a red headed stepchild, and now my curiosity has been satisfied.)