July 14, 1994 |
In a coup of career-pyramiding, Esquire has teamed Madonna with Norman Mailer. The two chat in the mag's August issue after which the writer, who made book hay off Madonna predecessor Marilyn Monore, declares the pop star "our greatest living female artist. " He repeated his conclusion on yesterday's Good Morning, America, telling TV audiences that she has a "severe talent. " Said he likes her because she's "not predictable. " That she's telling us that "life is very difficult . . . she's always searching . . . has spiritual courage . . . has the touch of genius . . . tries to fill the void (and)
September 8, 1993 |
Let me begin by making a confession that will set me apart from many of those who have commented on Joe McGinniss' latest work: I have actually read the book. I have read it and found it to be a finely written and insightful investigation, not only of Ted Kennedy, but of the way America creates and discards its heroes, of the way American politics works and of the role the media plays in those workings. Let me make a second confession: I am a friend of McGinniss'. As has been the case with a long list of other writers, I have benefited from his kindness and generosity in the form of jacket quotes, reading time, advice and recommendations.
August 25, 1993 |
The Daily News has joined the mainstream media attack on Oliver Stone by comparing him to Joe McGinniss. Stone's film,"JFK," is in no way similar to McGinnis' undocumented soap operas. "JFK" contains a great deal of factual information. Stone and co-writer, Zachary Sklar, have published a book titled, "JFK the Documented Screenplay," which clearly separates the facts from the speculation. It lists 340 research notes and many public documents supporting much of the dialogue in the script.
August 12, 1993 |
Yuck, another one of those flaps about some self-identified journalist who has Gone Too Far. This time it's Joe McGinniss, whose novel masquerades as a "biography" of Edward Kennedy. And this time, the "biographer" is so far Over The Line (stop me before I capitalize again) that the only question left is whether we have some obligation to admire his chutzpah in describing this pastiche as non-fiction. I am obliged to explain that I got one of those advance galleys of the first three chapters of the McGinniss book that were circulated by his publisher, but I refuse on principle to buy the whole book.
August 12, 1993 |
Joe McGinniss was a young newspaperman in Philadelphia when he began the book that made him famous. "The Selling of the President 1968" took a long, sobering pass at Richard Nixon and the image makers who invented his persona. The book was distinguished not so much by profundity or its writing, but by the meticulous and tireless nature of its reporting. McGinniss had managed to ingratiate himself with the Nixon people and had been given amazing access to his subjects. I am thinking now of one evening when I saw McGinniss on TV after the publication of "The Selling of the President.
August 9, 1993 |
The publication of Joe McGinniss' pseudo-biography "The Last Brother" has produced nearly unanimous denunciations by reviewers and commentators. McGinniss is more than a fly on the wall - he is a synapse in the brain of Sen. Edward Kennedy, knowing his thoughts, analyzing his motives and the motives of others, and describing incidents and feelings by liberally quoting those who interviewed the subjects, including members of the Kennedy family (McGinniss did not). When in doubt about the facts, McGinniss, some reviewers have charged, simply makes them up. Even if everything in McGinniss' book were true (and much of it apparently is not, if one is to believe the testimony of those who witnessed the events or who interviewed those who did)
August 8, 1993 |
Will Simon and Schuster never learn? The giant publishing house is already mired in controversy over its publication of The Last Brother, in which author Joe McGinniss puts thoughts in Ted Kennedy's head without ever having interviewed him. Now, unapologetically, the same company proposes to publish a book whose author strikes an even more flagrant pose of omniscience. It's "The Bible. " Yes, the Bible, King James version. At long last, God is getting the kind of major publisher's "big book" treatment formerly reserved for literary figures such as Philip Roth or Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.
August 7, 1993 |
When Jonathan Yardley, the Washington Post's book critic, calls Joe McGinniss' new biography of Ted Kennedy the worst thing he's read in "nearly three decades," he's saying something. Yardley, like all reviewers, has read books so bad, so trashy, so without literary or journalistic merit, that to single out one as the worst means that it has a quality that sets it apart. In the case of the McGinness book, it's dishonesty. The Last Brother is really in a league of its own. It not only purports to know what Ted Kennedy was thinking at this or that moment, but it also has the speechless Joseph P. Kennedy, a stroke victim, impart his earnest desire to attend the Washington funeral of his son, the slain president: "He'd seen enough of Jack's casket on television, enough of Bobby's and Jacqueline's somber but resolute expressions.
August 5, 1993
Maybe Devo, the rock band from Akron, Ohio, was right. Humanity is de- evolving, which could explain how we seem to get more stupid every year. How else to explain things like the USA Network's "Marilyn and Bobby: Her Final Affair," latest made-for-cable sleaze from the makers of the worst in imitation movies. These clowns outdid Joe McGinniss, who took a few facts from other writers and made up an entire biography. The bozos at USA even made up the "facts. " We are having more and more trouble discerning fact from reality, in large measure because lousy artists with big audiences (Oliver Stone is a good example)
August 4, 1993 |
It is a challenge of considerable proportion to think of one adjective to properly describe the USA Network telemovie Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair. Reprehensible comes quickly to mind. Odious might do as well. How about contemptible, despicable or vile ? Brummagem seems too mild. Marilyn & Bobby, tonight at 9, descends to a depth of irresponsibility that previous cable telemovies have not approached. USA's telemovies are usually sorry specimens of the form, but this one is the pits.