Monday, June 06, 2005

Mr. Jaw, may I introduce Mr. Floor.

I have to admit that I pretty much wrote John Podhoretz off as a complete moron when he said this a few years back, about Aaron Sorkin:

I don't know about you, but frankly, I don't need any lessons on theology, destiny, public service, job creation, pay equity, or conservative ideology from a crack addict.

One would imagine that Podhoretz has no problems taking such instruction from noted pain killer addict Rush Limbaugh, however.

But I digress. Here's Podhoretz yesterday:

Tonight, on the Tony Awards, an actor named Bill Irwin won the Best Actor award for his performance in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." Irwin is best known as a so-called New Vaudevillian -- a post-modern clown, is the best way of putting it. (Parents may know him as one of the two people who play "Mr Noodle" during the "Elmo's World" segments on "Sesame Street.") This isn't very interesting, except for the fact that Irwin was one of the first people to win a MacArthur "genius grant" two decades ago.

Which means that he may be the only Genius Grant winner ever to amount to anything after getting his $250,000 prize.

Oh, really. Here's the complete list of MacArthur Grant winners since 1981, listed by field. I see more than a few familiar names there of people who have most certainly "amounted to something" after winning the prize.

Oh, and John? You say the prize is $250,000? Get your damned facts right. From the MacArthur FAQ:

The stipend for the MacArthur Fellowship is currently set at $500,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years. There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, and we impose no reporting obligations.

Wrong and stupid, all in the same sentence. You don't find that combination all that often, folks. (Now, the MacArthur Fellowship hasn't always been $500,000, but Podhoretz's wording above makes pretty clear that he thinks it has.)

(Hat tip for the above to TBogg.)

Oh, and since I actually bothered to scroll upward through The Corner while I was over there (don't worry, I'm showering later on), here's Podhoretz today:

For all you Star Wars ROTS fans who have e-mailed me to denounce my assertion last week that the movie's box-office drop-off indicates a general dislike of the film, I offer the following quote from today's Variety in support of your position: "Though it dropped in the rankings, Fox's 'Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith' is still doing massive biz. Its weekend result of $26 million won it the crown for the fastest pic to gross $300 million. George Lucas's sci-fi finale hit the rarefied mark on Saturday, its 17th day of release, which is a day sooner than previous record-holder 'Shrek 2.' With a cume of $308.8 million, 'Sith' passed the 1977 original's $307 million haul and is now the second-biggest grosser in the series, behind only 'The Phantom Menace's' $431 million run."

Here's the thing, though: If it had actually been a genuinely good movie instead of a graded-on-a-curve movie, it would have made $400 million by now.

Ummmmm...John, if your assertion is that quality can be directly pegged to box office performance (which almost everyone agrees it can't; The Shawshank Redemption was a box-office flop), then you can't admit in one paragraph that the film in question has set a new box office record and then in the next paragraph move the goalposts just because you're just so gosh-darned desperate to be right about something.

And Podhoretz gets paid to produce stupidity on a regular basis. It's amazing, I tell you.

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