Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reese Witherspoon's Sensible Stand, or How Fred Thompson Could Have Rocketed to the Presidency

Three stories about Hollywood Actors from yesterday's news:

Story 1:
Hollywood Actor #1 withdrew from the race for President yesterday after failing to win - or finish higher than fourth - in a single Republican primary. No word yet on whether or not he will return to his role on NBC's Law & Order.
Story 2:
Hollywood Actor #2 was found dead in his apartment at 421 Broome Street in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon. He was reported to be naked and surrounded by pills.
Story 3:
Hollywood Actor #3 won't pose for sexy photo shoots to promote her films.

"If [actresses] take their clothes off, they objectify themselves," she tells the UK edition of Glamour. "I am flabbergasted by how many legitimate actresses do it."

Hollywood Actor #3, 31 – who shares custody of Ava, 8, and Deacon, 4, with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe – adds that she tries to avoid the pitfalls of a Hollywood lifestyle. "I am a role model for my children," she says.

"Hollywood is one of those endless competitions," she says. "It's a race towards nothing. I just want to be the best version of myself that I can be."

Hollywood Actor #3 credits her 2005 Best Actress Oscar win for Walk the Line with opening up a range of film roles. "I would never have been offered these kind of roles," she says. "There was also a lot of pressure after [winning an Oscar]. People wanted me to do a really big movie and I just wanted to do something more sort of personal and real."

Yesterday, Hollywood Actor #3 denied being engaged to boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal.
Hollywood Actor #1 is Fred Thompson, whose not-so-surprising move to bow out of the Republican race is only helping to pave the way for my Oscar the Grouch '08 campaign. With Thompson out of the race, Oscar can capitalize on the crotchety old man demographic, which he sorely, sorely needs if he's going to stand any sort of chance at all.

Hollywood Actor #2 is, or rather was, Heath Ledger, who got famous after he made out with Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie Brokeback Mountain, and who died yesterday in New York, naked and (I'm guessing) unashamed of it.

Almost swept away by that story was the principled stand of Hollywood Actor #3, Reese Witherspoon who, oddly enough, got famous before she made out with Jake Gyllenhaal, disproving the graduate thesis I wrote at the London School of Economics two years ago. Perhaps, and I'm going out on a limb here, Ms. Witherspoon's march against the forces that would disrobe all of Hollywood would have been better served if, instead of being interviewed for a piece in Us Weekly, she had died a suspicious and untimely death in a Manhattan apartment, clothed only in the nudity that she is apparently too shy to expose.

Of course, she's right, you know. Appearing nude or scantily clad would undermine the integrity of her body of film, which includes such inestimable bastions of taste and decorum as Twilight (where she appeared nude in a sex scene, but in a totally dignified and businesslike way), Cruel Intentions (where she showed up in a bathing suit, but totally didn't mean for that to be sexy), and the incomparable Legally Blonde, in which her character, a ditzy blonde (duh?), buys her way into Harvard Law School so she can chase after a man, and then wins the big case because of her knowledge of the Prada shoe catalog and the fashion senses of the gays. Nudity would TOTALLY have degraded all of those movies - except Twilight, because she already was nude in that one.

Is there a certain irony to the fact that Ms. Witherspoon's not-at-all-trite-or-meaningless crusade got upstaged by Heath Ledger, who died in the nude? Not at all! But there are the makings of a joke lesson in this for Fred Thompson, who probably thought he was SO SMART for picking an almost incomprehensibly slow Tuesday in the middle of January when no albums were coming out, and no special edition DVDs were being released, and only a handful of Major League Baseball players were being subpoenaed by Congress, to compete with his announcement. And the lesson is this: {Insert corny joke making references to being young, nude, and/or dead in order to get headlines here.} You're welcome, Fred Thompson. Better luck four years from now when you'll probably be dead and naked yourself.

Oscar '08 For The Win!

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