Tag Archives: James Franco

The SCOTT TOPICS™ Mailbag: On Blogging, Stephen King, & other assorted heartthrobs

“I really want to start a blog but I don’t know how. What should I write about? What if I can’t find something to write about every day? How do you do it?” ~ A.C.

Most bloggers I know of do not post every day. I don’t. I can’t, and don’t think I would if I could, time-wise, or wanted to. More power to those who do blog every day, but I believe that one should give your readers time to breathe, to recover from your pretensions and go enjoy someone else’s every so often, ya know? Nah, but seriously: write when you have something to share, about things you feel passionate about. I got another email from someone who asked why I didn’t post more “political” entries at Scott Topics™. It’s not that I don’t think about politics—in the “refudiate,” “health care as reparations,” snookered NAACP sense—it’s just that I don’t write that well about it, so why expose the world to my limitations like that when there are so many more peeps out there willing to do it? If you want to blog about books, do that; if you wanna blog about sports, do that. If you wanna mix it up, do that.  Or, here’s an idea: get a buddy or two and start a blog together. Neither one of you would be pressured to be on the grind every day, and you can switch off responsibilities. I blog, mainly, because I don’t have an outlet like journalism anymore, and because it’s such different writing from the main, “scholarly” work I’m doing now, blogging sorta clears my intellectual and emotional palate (or is it palette? can’t one of those be cleaned too?) before going back to that work. In other words I guess blogging is like a nice mint at a restaurant for me, only without everyone else’s germs all over it.

“I see that you’ve mentioned Stephen King often at your blog: So what’s your favorite Stephen King novel?” ~ R.T., Austin

The Stand. Sometimes I think its because, in Mother Abigail, it has the best Magical Negro of all of the ones that have Magical Negroes (or at least Good Morally Centered Negroes) in them, like The Shining, IT, The Green Mile, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (King can even make a real live person into a MN! That’s talent!)—heck, Misery opens with the words “Goddess / Africa.” But back to business: Yes, The Stand is my favorite: it’s epic in scope, just the way a good apocalyptic tale should be, yet has incredibly tender, intimate moments; it might show off King’s gift at building believable, relatable characters better than any of his books (other than maybe Christine, which is actually a quite touching book in some ways, mainly because of the finely-wrought teen-aged characters), and it has a hurtling sense of inevitability to it, like a prediction of things you only think you’d like to see come, if only just to say it was cool. I also think that The Stand contains one of King’s best characters in Harold Lauder, perhaps the most sincerely tragic figure in all of the SK novels that I’ve read.  Thanks for this note. I think it’s time to re-read The Stand again. Like I have time.

“I saw your tweets about James Franco. What’s your fascination with him?” ~ H.J. New Jersey

Um, I’m guessing, since you sent me this email last night, that you are alive, right, that you have a pulse? How’s this for a reason to be fascinated: He’s fine.  (Please don’t tell my girlfriend I said that.)

“On Facebook, you list your political views as “heteroflexibility” and your religious beliefs as “homoflexibility.” What do those words even mean????” ~ F.K.

See answer to the question above.

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Filed under advice, books, Mailbag, writing

GLEE: If I Cast Some Guest-Stars…

Yesterday I read that Javier Bardem will potentially be guest-starring on GLEE next season. He’s one in a growing list of celeb fans of the show who’ve either lobbied to be cast, been suggested by fan groups to Glee it up (a la Betty White on SNL) or just talked about while we all stand around the platinum-encrusted water cooler of discussion known as Industry Gossip.

During the first part of this past season, I was a HUGE “Gleek,” as the show’s rabid fans have been called, watching every week, DVR’ing, and re-watching, loving the show’s spiky mix of over-the-top pop, heartstring-tugging, and bitchy, witty one-liners. Any show that—in its first episode—cites Guys and Dolls and Beyonce, has a character use the word “irony,” and has its band of misfit characters harmonize Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” (far and away Journey’s best single and one of my all-time favorite songs) was destined for quick cancellation—but I loved it.

The second half of the season didn’t wow me as much as I’d hoped: theme episodes seemed a little too pre-determined; song choices (and performances—a Funky Bunch riff?) felt a little uninspired. There even seemed to be a dearth of really good and cutting Sue Sylvester material, almost as if the little show about high school outcasts felt somehow threatened by the mature mean girl on the set and sought to put her back in her (supporting actress) place for a little while. That said, when the show was good, it was really good: it even got me to appreciate Idina Menzel.

Which leads me to my next point: what really worked for me in the final few eps, more often than not, were the guest-stars.  Jonathan Groff, Lea Michelle’s Spring Awakening co-star, played the wonderfully named Jesse St. James with just the right amount of teen drama queen aloofness; Kristin Chenoweth returned as boozy April Rhodes; and best of all, Neil Patrick Harris played the bitter Bryan Ryan, falsetto-battling with Schuester in one of the best performances of the season. Harris would probably make a perfect Mr. Schu if he wasn’t already on a hit show, and if GLEE didn’t seem to need the glee coach to break into silly play-that-funky-music-white-boy-isms every so often (which Matthew Morrison, bless his Broadway-by-way-of-suburban-Cali soul, does so, um, energetically.)

So, in honor of the impending arrival of Bardem and the cute coupla appearances by Pink Lady Sandy (oops, I meant Olivia Newton-John), I’m making my picks for eventual GLEE guest stars:

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Filed under "Don't Stop Believin'", GLEE, theater, TV