2.13.2005

celebrity interviews as news

this weekend, there were two notable celebrity interviews done on two major television news programs, 20/20 and 60 minutes. on 20/20 corey feldman recounted his near molestation experiences with michael jackson to noted michael jackson documentarian (that last phrase is meant to be extremely ironic) martin bashir. on 60 minutes jose canseco talked to really really old guy, mike wallace about the prevalence of steroids in major league baseball. it was an interesting study in both of them had lurid stories to tell about their respective scandals, but at the same time, they were stark contrasts to one another.

and the oscar does not go to...corey feldman, who even when not acting, is a horrible actor. when i had first read the reports that corey feldman was coming clean with some questionable childhood experiences with jack-o, i was pretty excited. the revelation that there may have been some porn involved really piqued my interest. but then after watching about five minutes of the interview, i decided that corey feldman is a sorry human being who is only trying to exploit an already tragic event for his own gain. could his answers have been more pre-rehearsed and overdramatized. if you didn't see it, he basically took about 10 minutes to say one sentence. christalmighty, who talks like that? it reminded me of kato caelin's testimony at the oj trial. you know, trying to look like his answers were being carefully thought out and his words equally as carefully measured, but instead he just ends up sounding like a foreign tourist who is trying to ask for directions. in other words, both kato and corey were employing their decidely awful acting skills in an attempt to sound earnest. and then we had to endure footage of him in the recording studio, acting like he's just a hard working artist with no ulterior motives. here's my theory, feldman, in addition to being a general publicity whore (which we learned from season one of the surreal life), is desperate for attention and thought it would be a good way to try and promote his album. couple this with the fact that michael jackson had basically cut him out once corey wasn't so attractive as a potential molestation victim (do you think that michael jackson's playpals work like menudo, you know, once you reach 14, you get kicked out and replaced by another 10 year old?), and you have all the pieces in place for revenge by dredging up some half truths about his time with jacko and got martin bashir to interview him on national tv. and there's the coup de grace if you think about it. bashir is the classic manipulative interviewer. at one point after the revelation about looking at the VD book with michael jackson (on a sidenote, i think that's the worst possible way to molest a kid. if you want to get it on with a kid, you don't show him pictures of cauliflower.), martin bashir says something like "he shows you pornography, that doesn't prove that michael jackson is a child molester." now of course, in a court of law, that's true, but i'm guessing that everyone rational person watching was thinking to him or herself, "yes it does." bashir is a genius, because for most of the public who has watched this interview and bashir's first documentary on michael jackson, there's just no way that michael jackson hasn't touched little boys. unfortunately, feldman was so bad, i went away thinking, "well if this sorry sonuvabitch is making stuff up to promote his crappy album, then surely there are some people who are willing to make stuff up to make a pretty penny. i'm not saying that michael is innocent, but just from watching bashir's work on jackson, which is what most of us will do, you'd probably bet on jackson being guilty.

mike wallace on the other hand, is a bumbling interviewer who is so hopelessly out of touch with what constitutes news anymore that he was reduced to repeating things that jose canseco has already said to canseco and then waiting for an inarticulate canseco to answer. in other words, he sucks as getting his interviewer subject to say anything interesting. that's not to say that canseco didn't say interesting, cuz he did which i'll get to in a sec, but anything interesting that did come out of canseco's mouth had nothing to do with mike wallace. now, canseco's revelation that he stuck mark mcgwire, raffy, pudge, gonzo, and giambi in the ass is most definitely an interesting thing. jp asked me the other day if this was interesting because it appeals to the homo-erotic nature of sports. and i answered that probably not, that it was a more violation of public trust thing, but to hear canseco say that he and mcgwire used to squirrel away into a men's bathroom stall and drop trou to stick needles in each other's butt, well, sounds pretty homo-erotic to me. anyways, canseco himself was an interesting study. he was stumbling a bit for answers, but anything he said didn't sound forced or fabricated to me. in fact, his mannerisms and his reactions to questions seemed all very legitimate to me. for example, when wallace asked him if he injected giambi with steroids during his second stint with the A's, he answered "all the time", in the same way you would answer a question that was completely obvious to you, almost like he's surprised that you didn't already know. so either canseco is a great actor, or he's telling the truth. now i must confess that i was taken aback when he named some of my favorite texas rangers, but themore i think about it, the more it makes sense that they're juiced too. although he didn't say it, it seemed that canseco, after being shunned by the baseball establishment, just said, "well screw them too, if they're going to make me look like the bad guy, i've got plenty of ammunition to make them look like hypocrites." which is exactly what he has done.

in any case, it was interesting to see these two interviews in such a short period of time. both contain two people with beefs with someone and a confluence of events that allow them to strike back at people. but both interviews, in my opinion couldn't have been more different.

one more quick note, tony larussa, the manager of the A's when mcgwire and canseco were there was really sorry when he accused canseco of lying. he said something to the effect of canseco wasn't a hard worker, and mcgwire was, so obviously canseco used roids and mcgwire didn't. i guess he's standing up for his guy, but if he didn't know canseco was on roids (and also didn't do anything about it), how could he have possibly known if mcgwire was on roids or not.

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