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Bump on a blog

February 28, 2008
By RICK CHATENEVER, Maui Scene Editor
Last year at this time, this column was about the Oscars. Likewise for the year before. And the year before that.

This year it’s different. I’m a blogger now; things have changed.

As our online readers know, the new Maui News homepage includes blogs by various staff writers and editors. When the subject of doing one was first broached with me, I wasn’t exactly enthused. This column was as bloggy as I cared to get, thank you very much. It has always been called “Making the Scene.” What would a blog be about? Making “Making the Scene”?

Too much information. Not to mention, too much me. Until I was reminded the column was already a blog, just waiting to happen. It could just be cut and pasted. So why not? And, so, voila!

Some of my colleagues were stoked about staking out their territory in the blogosphere, being so much more now! and all.

I lean the other way. The fact that you may be reading these words in a blog means that the real now! has moved on. Folks like me are never going to get closer to it than five minutes ago.

It’s all about time. Which is, after all, all about change. If you’re talking about newspapers —which are less and less about news actually on paper — you could say, The Times has changed.

Forget that old staple and noble foundation of newspapering: the daily deadline. Everything happens in real time now. Instantly. In the 24-hour news cycle, as newspaper Web pages merge with video, the news never stands still.

It’s perpetual motion. Like novices in a shooting gallery, we journalists keep trying to hit the moving targets in the never-ending now.

Information is instant. And then it’s instantly erased to make room for the next information. Mental acts of weighing, or considering, or — heaven forbid, pondering — are just. Too. Slow.

Time feels like air in a scuba tank anymore. Like you can use it up and run out of it if you’re not careful. With this emphasis on instant everything, there’s precious little time left over for frivolous pursuits. Like memories.

Last year, and all those years before, this column would have been about the Oscars. So what if they had happened almost a week earlier?

You could still savor the afterglow. This year’s ceremony belonged to the ladies. The wholly unexpected, but thoroughly deserved, Best Actress prize for France’s Marion Cotillard as saint of the gutter Edith Piaf in “La Vie En Rose.” The brilliant tag team of actress Ellen Page and screenwriter Diablo Cody, who gave us the unexpected miracle of hope in “Juno.” “Enchanted’s” Amy Adams, who sang, danced and lit up the Oscars like an old-fashioned queen of Hollywood.

The women stood in market contrast to the bad boys who took home this year’s Best Actor prizes for unleashing pure evil, as horrifying as it was incomprehensible — Daniel Day Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” and Javier Bardem in Best Picture winner, “No Country For Old Men.”

And what to make of the dark tone of the nominees and the ceremony in general? They struck me as acts of weary rage from left-leaning Hollywood after seven years of George W. Bush.

But host Jon Stewart didn’t seem to know what to make of it, either. And with only nine days to prepare the show after the writers came back to work — he didn’t make much of it.

And so, as it turns out, Oscar memories weren’t worth the time after all. Luckily, the entertainment world didn’t waste any time getting over it, with a recent appearance by Ben Affleck on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night TV show.

They teamed up on a music video whose title is unprintable here. It describes an anatomical act you can do with Ben Affleck. It’s a rebound-revenge song, after Jimmy’s girlfriend, Sarah Silverman, made her own music video duet, describing the same act, only this time with Matt Damon.

(For details, go to YouTube, 8 milllion hits and counting, or The New York Times, which featured the story on its Web page earlier this week.)

There’s something jarring about seeing all these really big stars —with folks like Robin Williams and Harrison Ford joining the chorus — repeating the bleeping title, over and over in the refrain.

What’s going on here? It’s like entertainment has gone to someplace new where the old rules, not to mention standards, just don’t apply. It’s funny, it’s crude, it has a great beat you can dance to.

It also feels like no one involved — especially Ben and Jimmy in the Brokeback version —quite knows what he’s getting himself into. It’s dangerous and crazy and reckless and funny — just throw the bleep out there, and take the consequences when they catch up with you.

Kind of like blogging.

• Contact Rick Chatenever at


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