Pop Culture
Pop Culture: Articles for the Scripps Howard News Service & "Seen, Heard, Said"

Why the top-365-songs list isn't a stupid idea

Actors sink their teeth into vampire roles

Gregory Corso: My encounter with a Beat legend

Golden Globes: Sleazy and proud of it

In the offing, Clinton continent looms

"NYPD Blue" opener: The misery continues

 New movie genre: Reclusive authors anonymous

"West Wing," "Ally," et al.: Words, words, words

When TV shows outstay their welcome

Film critics dig their own graves with "Angels" review

Great Robert Altman films you never
heard of

Famous folk, next week in the arts, show business briefs

"Time regained": Proust in the multiplex

Glitterati is dead, long live Popfocus

Carl Barks: The man who put the ducks in Duckburg

"Almost Famous": Lester Bangs rises from the dead

Liz Hurley wins in war of words with Jane mag

Douglas poses with Zeta-Jones, and baby-makes three

Weddings that aren't: Douglas, Zeta-Jones, Madonna, Ritchie

The Emmy War: A half-century of coast-to-coast feuding

Jennifer Love Hewitt plays the Iglesias odds

It's raining books by and about Trumps

What's in a mane? Blond woman in the news

Liz Hurley denies dissing ex-beau

Rock Hall of Infamy: Anti-heroes from Elvis to Eminem

Barbra tix bankrupt fans

Laurels for Kathie Lee to rest on

Hillary "In bed" with De Niro, Cruise, Kidman

How "Sopranos," "West Wing" will divvy up awards

This just in: Donald Trump is not a dope

Walter Matthau: A rumpled old dog in the heart of the city

Sampras to take a stroke at wedding bells

Who wants to host "Monday Night Football"?

Queen rewards Tina Brown for demoralizing American readers

How the Korean War cane to TV land 20 years late

Ivanka Trump: From catwalk to commencement line

Lester Bangs: The troublesome punk who wouldn't die

Rags clash over Ted Turner "romance"

With straight face, Trump deems Marla's move "tacky"

"Friends" re-up for another season of top ratings, top money

Madonna in denial, and rightly so

"Suburbia": The continental subdivide

Howard Stern, Sly Stallone in bizarre, apocryphal triangle

Easter video viewing: "Spartacus" to "Harvey"

Billy’s in the news: Bob, Joel in love but not with other

"Charles's Angels" movie: Dispiriting news for old-time fans

Innovative career move for 'NYPD Blue' co-star

Top model: Why I gave oldish rocker husband the heave-ho

Unpleasantville: The awful truth about old-time TV families

Tina Brown held captive in desert by demanding children

Anybody's Oscar: Unusually suspenseful awards show looms

Oscar telecast: Looking for a few good hosts

"Lambs," "Beauty": Oscar's love affair with unacceptable behavior

Brad Pitt, Oscar to be in same room at same time

Letterman bites guest-host bullet: Andrew "Dice" Clay, call your agent

Seinfeld eyes East Hampton manse: Where's the welcome wagon?

"Mod Squad" Immortal dishes couple du jour

Brad Pitt's second thoughts about Oscar

Mike McCurry praises "West Wing": It's not entirely demeaning,,,"

Memo to "Hannibal" producers: Get Najimy while the getting's good

Don't Invite Gwyneth and Oscar to the same party

True or false: Douglas, Zeta-Jones don't even know each other

Ex-Clinton honcho linked to ex-"Cheers" costar

Third party cited in Trump-Knauss breakup

 Gossip queen goes to bat for Talk mag

20th century's No. 1 hit: "Satisfaction" hits the spot

Statement: Spice girl's marital problems insoluble

Charlie Brown, Pogo and me

From Howdy to Charlie Brown, we hate to say goodbye

The Beatle George: While his guitar gently weeps

Jodie Foster's people in mild tiff with CBS

A Peanuts trivia Q&A

Publicist: Boyle still joined at hip

There's video in your future and future in your video

"The future is now": Hit rewind

Whitney Houston presides over confluence of talent

Jim Carrey's flack earns A "D," Cher's A "B-minus"

Geraldo: bye-bye, doghouse

Michael Douglas does nothing much, reporters go wild

Ricky Martin on Menudo: Look back in anger

How to outsmart Halloween crowds at the video store

Tom Cruise puts himself in harm's way, only not really

1800-1900: Steaming towards revolution

1700-1800: Liberty, equality and bloodshed

1600-1700: The earth moves; North America is settled

Trump mulls travel plans, from altar to White House

"Faces of Impressionism" Time machine made of canvas, paint

Major quakes aren't personal unless they happen to you

Brad Pitt gracious about character assassination

Director insists Harrison Ford is not a brainless hulk

Costner, Willis, Douglas. Branagh, Sting_ in that order

Streisand: Color her ready to plug her new album

Julia and Benjamin's rings devoid of significance, flack says

Literary mud wrestling, featuring Geri and The Spice Girls

Urgent news: Ford to replace Gibson on "GMA" eventually

She married a monster from outer space

Never mind Godzilla VS. Mothra, Here's Trump VS. Cronkite

Spurned by Pitt, Redford pays court to Damon

Celebrity coyness is bustin' out all over

"Detroit Rock City": Kiss of death

Talk is cheap? Not with Tina Brown at the helm

The Beats: Remembered, Lionized and Unread

Real estate beat, starring Woody Allen and Donald Trump

Mood Music, or how we learned to stop worrying

Sex in the cinema: From "Last Tango" to "Eyes Wide Shut"

Two easy steps to looking exactly like Ricky Martin

Close encounters of the Muppet kind

Upcoming Brad Pitt movie not garbage, insiders say

Kathie Lee's eyewear excites Islanders' ire

Back to the future, continued

"Wild Wild West": Buck Rogers in the 19th century

Sculptures by Roy Lichtenstein: Fun, Fun, Fun

An expert's verdict:" Austin Powers" is pretty neat

Click here for pointless celebrity gossip

P. Dempsey Tabler of the jungle: The many faces of Tarzan

Kirk Douglas' Ex tells all about Errol Flynn fling

New twist in TV programming: Ax profitable shows

Private jet fees spell the end for another celebrity union

Killer serials: "Flash," "Buck" and a boy named George Lucas

Top nonfiction books: A message from two old men

Celebrity Dream dreams: Monica, Donald, Barbara, Georgette

Two divas, publicist form bizarre show-biz triangle

Johnny Cash tribute: Ring of fire, ring of friends

Streisand employee really upset about rumors

Grande Dame Eyes MGM Grand Gig

Secretive celebs? Not by a long shot

NBC honcho bristles at notion that Brokaw is not a saint

Barbara Walters not keen on daily dose of Monica

"Seen, Heard, Said"

David Letterman, Donald Trump, Eddie Murphy, Elton John

Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Prince Charles, Maj, Ronald Ferguson, Fergie, Miranda Richardson, Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, Axl Rose, Stephanie Seymour

December 26, 2000

New movie genre: Reclusive authors anonymous

By ROGER ANDERSON Scripps Howard News Service

A recent spate of movies should serve to remind us that, believe it or not, there are great artists who don't want to be the subject of People magazine cover stories.

Two such artists are the legendary writers Cormac McCarthy and J.D. Salinger. Do you know how many interviews these famous scribes have granted between the two of them? The answer is zero.

McCarthy was that all too familiar phenomenon, a literary novelist whom critics praised till they were blue in the face but who never experienced a lick of commercial success. This was hardly surprising, given that the books he wrote ("Blood Meridian," "Child of God," "Outer Dark" and several others) are unbelievably grim affairs in which rural Americans become involved in degrading circumstances beyond their control.

Then, in 1992, McCarthy's  “All the Pretty Horses" garnered him a National Book Award, and suddenly he was rolling in fame.

The award was, of course, his cue to be lionized like crazy in the manner of such publicity-hound scribblers as Norman Mailer and/or Tom Wolfe and others who never miss an opportunity to hold forth on weighty matters in the pages of the nearest periodical. But McCarthy missed his cue, instead maintaining a policy of sitting still for no interviews whatsoever.

Someone did, however, prevail upon him to sell the movie rights to "Horses," which is now on screens as directed by Billy Bob Thornton and with Matt Damon in the starring role.

Another film reminding us that top-flight literature produces its share of shrinking violets is "Finding Forrester," with Sean Connery as a reclusive author.

No one could read a blurb for this movie without jumping to the probably very reasonable conclusion that it's a spinoff on the life of Salinger, famous for writing "Catcher In the Rye," which inspired whole city blocks full of anti-social boys to grow up to be anti-social men. Salinger, as all the world knows, has spent several decades being churlish enough to refuse to cooperate with reporters or publicists or, for that matter, moviemakers in the prosecution of their trades.

In recent years he's learned, presumably, what such reticence gets you: pilloried in unauthorized bios and memoirs written by former intimates and other people who don't mind sullying a literary icon who doesn't deign to reply.

The one highly sequestered author who currently is the subject of a movie but who didn't intentionally make himself unavailable to reviewers and the public is that fun French nobleman, the Marquis de Sade.

Currently the central character in the movie "Quills," Sade, whose deviant proclivities didn't endear him to the bluenose authorities of his time, spent a good many of his prime years in the Parisian hoosegow. There, instead of pressing license plates, he spent most of his time writing and smuggling out of prison whole volumes of the most scurrilous and demented literary pornography ever known.

All that we're missing presently in terms of movies about authors who steer clear of the limelight is one about Thomas Pynchon, who wrote "Gravity's Rainbow" and who has never once offered a few candid, or, for that matter, uncandid remarks to any journalist.

Legend has it that Pynchon, the literary master of paranoia, once was run to ground by Norman Mailer, who approached the house where Pynchon happened to be staying in hopes of having a heart-to-heart with him. The story goes that Pynchon, upon seeing the author of “The Naked and the Dead" coming up the walk, jumped out of a back window to avoid meeting him.

No doubt this is an apocryphal tale, but wouldn't it make a nifty scene for some movie?

Roger Anderson is arts and entertainment editor at Scripps Howard News Service.

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