Jewish World Review Jan. 16, 2004 / 22 Teves, 5764
Global warming at a glacial pace; targeting pop culture; Is 'the price of loyalty' too high?
How cold was it Thursday when Al Gore gave his speech on global warming?
It was so cold that even I who tends to slip into a coma at the mere mention of the Kyoto Agreement
was overjoyed to escape the 0-degree windchill on the Upper West Side for the warmth of the packed Beacon
An audience of 2,500 listened to the former veep speechify at vast length about Mercury pollution, CO2
and slowly melting glaciers while showing 144 slides of the aforementioned glaciers (as well as repeated views
of earth from space, a mushroom cloud, a cartoon frog, diagrams of toxic gasses in the atmosphere and a
short Matt Groening animation of a little girl suffering through a stern lecture from a stupid teacher).
"Thank you for coming here on the coldest day of the year to talk about global warming," Gore told the
huddled masses supporters of various Democratic presidential campaigns, environmentalists and members
of the liberal activist Internet group, Moveon.org, all wearing heavy overcoats. "What better day to talk about
The 55-year-old Gore, looking considerably more substantial than when he ran for president during the
last century, eschewed Alpha-male earthtones for a tight-fitting blue suit.
Near the front of the auditorium were wife Tipper, daughter Karenna, son-in-law Drew Schiff, magazine
mogul Jann Wenner and budding liberal radio talk show host Al Franken.
It was a long speech not quite Fidel Castro, but still and after an hour and a half, I stood up, risking
dirty looks from the Moveon types, to step over a rapt listener and make for the frigid outdoors.
It was a few minutes after Gore called President Bush a "moral coward" who was letting rapacious
corporate polluters have their way with our fragile little planet.
"I wasn't looking at my watch, my friend," Franken chided afterward when asked how long it lasted. "I
was listening to a substantive speech. I'm sorry, but I have an attention span."
TARGETING POP CULTURE
"Law & Order: SVU" star Richard Belzer who's also a standup comic, gimlet-eyed political observer
and dazzling conspiracy theorist tells me he's struck a deal with Madonna's production company, Maverick
Films, to make a $5 million-plus satire of American popular culture.
"It will be a savage, hysterically funny sendup of American pop culture, covering everything from fast food
to gay and straight politics to music to television movie trailers to American's addiction to the Internet," said
Belzer, who plays Detective Munch on the hit NBC series. "It will be a long and dark look at how we got to be
the way we are our mindless celebrity worship and penchant for turning everything into show business. The
premise is that we will be an equal-opportunity eviscerator."
Should gossip columnists worry about being eviscerated?
"No, because everything is gossip," Belzer said. "History is gossip. Headlines in the New York Times
Of course, you can't lampoon pop culture without spotlighting Madonna, who has refused to leave the
scene for more than two decades. So Belzer, who plans to have a finished screenplay later this year, hopes to
persuade Madge to play herself in the movie.
"I think she's a very good actress," he said (and, no doubt, a generous and visionary producer).
But what about Ben and J.Lo? Will they ever get married?
"I don't think I could care any less," Belzer sniffed. "There is probably no branch of physics that could
measure the minuteness of my interest."
IS 'THE PRICE OF LOYALTY' TOO HIGH?: I hear that New Yorker editor in chief David Remnick was
feeling dissed a few months ago when Ron Suskind decided to do a book about former Treasury Secretary
Paul O'Neill instead of a planned New Yorker article. According to my sources: Suskind told Remnick he
wanted to write for the distinguished weekly, and Remnick suggested he do a story about the controversial
O'Neill. Suskind obtained a colorful interview with O'Neill and told Remnick he was ready to write. But Remnick
encouraged Suskind to keep talking to O'Neill and produce a richer narrative. No contract was ever signed,
and Suskind went off to do more research. The next thing Remnick knew was that Suskind had snagged a
big-money deal with Simon & Schuster and the O'Neill article was dead. I hear that in November, Remnick
believing the book too one-sided for the New Yorker, and troubled that Suskind allowed O'Neill to vet every
word passed on a chance to publish an excerpt and join Suskind's publicity juggernaut. On Thursday,
Remnick declined to comment. Suskind's agent, Andrew Wylie, told me: "I don't want to deprive you of a good
story . . . I know that everything is very friendly. The book is selling well, and it's a good book, so I'm pleased."
IF YOU SAY SO, MR. STEWART!: Under close interrogation by "Queer Eye" guy and Us Weekly
columnist Carson Kressley, Rod Stewart is at pains to deny rumors that his daughter Kimberly is doing the
nasty with Ozzy offspring Jack Osbourne. "That's bollocks," the windblown rocker insists. "They're just mates.
Jack's a good, polite guy. He comes around the house a lot; it's always 'Mr. Stewart this' or 'Mr. Stewart that.'"
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10/28/03: It's Cher calling!; Brown Alert
10/27/03: Paparazzi uncensored!; where's Aaron Brown?; postcards from the middle; invasion of the party snatchers?; House flooded when not afire?; suspenders of disbelief?
10/23/03: Ace up Howard Dean's sleeve; Woody's ordeal; Paul Simon's kid makes good; the non-beginning of a beautiful friendship?
10/22/03: Showing the flag; Joe Frazier, smokin'!; see Carville bruised-up sort of
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10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
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07/21/03: White House smear?
07/17/03: Yet another intern scandal; it's her party and she can pay if she wants to
07/14/03: On the auction block: JFK'S boxer shorts; love bytes the maestro
07/10/03: A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth
06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
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06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
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© 2003, Creators Syndicate