Two Cents


"One hour before the Oscarcast, ABC aired its annual Barbara Walters special. This time she chatted with movie stars Ben Stiller and John Travolta as well as that noted movie legend Faith Hill, who has starred in several short live-action features. You can see them on Country Music Television."

-Aaron Barnhart, and Kansas City Star

"The Academy Awards have become a television event of such gigantic proportions and packaging that even the commercials are now hyped as premieres, Super Bowl style."

-Caryn James, The New York Times.

"The reason we have a debate is because this is the first subject we know anything about. All the rest of it is canned speeches that the staff gives you, and you come out and you talk about Kosovo, you talk about the defense budget, or you talk about the environment, and you read scientific statements and everything-but we know about money. Oh boy, do we know."

-Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.), speaking last week on the Senate floor on campaign-finance reform.

"Alzheimer's is God's blessing to them, that they don't have to see what their children have done to them when they're older."

-A nurse confiding to the driver on HBO's Taxicab Confessions.

"It is a relatively cheap form of entertainment when recessions or economic downturns hit. The more luxurious forms of entertainment, such as going to the movies or the theater, those types of things go first."

-Keith Kennebeck, a cable analyst for the Strategis Group in Washington, extolling the virtues of pay-television services in times of recession, as reported in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"The problem is that no one watches a sitcom to explore 'the complexity ... of close friendships.'That's what Oprah is for. Sitcoms are for cheap, fulfilling laughs, and they're at their best when they play to our intelligence but don't require much brain activity."

-Andy Dehnart, critiquing ABC's new sitcom What About Joan.

"Joan and Melissa, your rules make me yell/What made you the experts, I can't really tell/After all, your faces aren't so au naturel/And your celebrity seems to be waning./At least one nominee had the guts to rebel/ 'Twas Bjork, whose dress looks amazing."

-Verse excerpted from USA Today reporter Whitney Matheson's poem For Bjork, Whose Dress Looked Amazing. Much to the disdain of certain critics, the Icelandic singer wore a dress embellished with ostrich feathers.

"They killed my column. I was told this topic was not an appropriate one for my commentary."

-Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara, during an interview on The Dennis and Callahan Show on sports station WEEI-AM Boston, as reported in the rival Boston Herald. McNamara's unpublished column criticized the newspaper for banning sports writers from appearing on the station's Dennis and Callahan Show because of its "offensive content." McNamara, however, is a general columnist, not a sports writer.

"I used to tell people stories about talking to my mother, and I got endless laughs with the shocking things she said-how she made a mandate of 'I have to speak my mind' and 'Do you think you're going to change me now?' and 'I'm no phony,' all under the banner of honesty. I remember she told me, in front of my wife, 'You'll get bored with her.' We're married 33 years. ... I felt sometimes that she was like a performance artist and her act was her level of pessimism about everything."

-David Chase, executive producer of The Sopranos, explaining how he modeled the role of Livia Soprano (played by the late Nancy Marchand, pictured) after his own tough-as-nails mother, from the April 2 edition of The New Yorker.