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Notes, items and innuendo - THE COMMENTARY

By Joseph Planta

VANCOUVER -- Because I haven’t done it in a while, and because I haven’t used the word ‘because’ to start a column, let alone a paragraph, in a while, some notes I’ve run across in my travels through the print, web and radio media over the last little while.

First up, if you’ve got $150,000 dollars and are willing to out bid one Theo Caldwell of Toronto, you could be the new owner of the infamous Central Canadian rag, Frank. Frank Magazine is one of the most hated publications in the Greater Toronto area, as it attempts to be the tabloid, gossip and innuendo mill for the jet-set of Rosedale and its surrounding areas. The pols at Queen’s Park and the media types in Toronto and Ottawa are fodder, and though they hate seeing their names insinuated in the pages of Frank, they all read it. Alas, that’s about it when it comes to their readership: 13,000 of the most overfed and sometimes oversexed socialites, media types and movers and shakers of Hogtown. A piece in the Toronto Globe and Mail yesterday claims that Caldwell will retain Frank’s “dark side”, but will sort of revamp the project to be more tasteful as an old good-natured Friar’s Club roast. Michael Bate, the controversial owner and editor of Frank, will remain its media watchdog, scribbling about the missteps of journos like Allan Fotheringham, Christie Blatchford and of course, Mike Duffy. The rotund Parliament Hill bureau chief for CTV News, once sued Frank when something libellous that was printed about him. Frank, if you’ll recall, once ran a faux contest where the object was to deflower Caroline Mulroney, the daughter of then prime minister Brian Mulroney. Mulroney was said to have been so livid that he publicly threatened to go to Frank’s headquarters and deal with Bate and Co. with a gun.

Late Friday came word that Oscar winner and head of the National Rifle Association, Charlton Heston has come down with symptoms akin with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Heston, the unabashed conservative and proponent for lesser gun control in the United States, is being commended for being so public about his condition, and he claims he’ll remain active in the acting field and in politics. His last picture was the disastrous Warren Beatty starrer Town and Country. Some of Heston’s detractors may have taken some humour in some of the headlines that appeared in Saturday’s papers across the US like: ‘Heston suffers from brain disorder’. I bet Rosie O’Donnell and left-wingers of her ilk will claim they already knew that.

The Anna Nicole Show debuted last Sunday to record ratings, and it could spell the end of reality shows that star celebs. Though numbers were good for the debut, critics have panned the show en masse and media watchers are watching if the numbers will remain for episode two slated for tonight. I hope they decline, because from what I’ve seen on E! it’s obvious that it’s crap. I concur with one of the voices on the Imus in the Morning program, who said on Friday, “He’s the dumbest woman I’ve ever seen.”

I’ve been watching the American radio show Imus in the Morning, on MSNBC as of late. It’s a live telecast of the radio show hosted by that controversial talker Don Imus, and two weeks ago there was a heated exchange between Jerry Nachman, the obese Editor-in-Chief of MSNBC, and Fred Dickers, an editor at the New York Post. Dickers claims that during the early 1990s when Nachman was an editor at the Post, stories and pictures concerning then New York mayor David Dinkins were effectively killed and not reported. Dinkins, if you didn’t know, is black and had a string of affairs. Dickers had some information on such stories and Nachman, as Dickers claims, quashed the stories. Dickers made the accusation on the Imus show, and Nachman replied saying Dickers was fascist and “a turd”, who did hits on people as ordered by the Post’s owner, Rupert Murdoch. It’s gone back and forth with no resolution, and it’s getting ugly. Now let’s suppose that the Post did publish those pictures of Dinkins with questionable women, would it as Dickers claims, have incited race riots in New York? Would the opposition candidate, Rudy Giuliani, have won the election instead, and been mayor of New York sooner?

There is a move a foot to lobby the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to move the Oscars to New York in 2003. Director Spike Lee, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Robert De Niro and Mayor Mike Bloomberg are mounting a campaign for the Academy to show solidarity for September 11th and move the Oscars to the Big Apple. Alas, I believe there is a contract with Kodak to have the Oscars remain at that new Kodak Theatre on Hollywood and Highland for some time. Word I’ve seen in Variety says that the Oscars will stay put, though a portion of the telecast could be done in New York City.

Jennifer Aniston, as those who’ve slept with her will attest, is a chronic sleepwalker. But the real juice on Aniston is that she’s unhappy with hubby Brad Pitt’s new beard. Pitt has gone on to call the beard, grown for a movie project, his “bin Laden,” and has even attached beads to it. Quote of the week from the actress who plays Rachel on Friends: “Everybody always asks if we’re happy. Give me a break. We’re married two years. In Hollywood years, that’s forever.” Hmmm.

Speaking of Friends, word from CKNW’s gossip hound Darren Parkman, is that David Arquette is in town and has been spotted at joints like Il Giardino with a significant blond, whilst wife Courtney Cox has been spotted at events in Los Angeles alone.

Finally, Al Gore, besides the editorials I’ve read in the New York Times and elsewhere, that he should not seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, is still making news. This time is word that people around him pressured organisers of a Bruce Springsteen concert for free tickets for him and his family. When the Springsteen people could only oblige with tickets at a discounted rate, the Gore’s reportedly refused to attend. When word got out to the press, the Gore’s claimed that they were going to the show all along, and that they never asked for free tickets. Eventually the Gore’s did attend and did pay for their tickets. I guess it proves that no matter how high up you can get, you’d still want something for nothing.

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