Reader Mail Round-Up: The Boozehound Cinephile / Ted Boynton
Boozehound Cinephile | September 5, 2008 | Comments ()
With all the changes happening around the ‘Jibaverse this week, it seemed an appropriate time to tweak the format of The Boozehound Cinephile™ as well. I’ve felt terribly constrained by my entirely voluntary choice to follow a certain formula week after week, and this time I said, “Enough, Pajiba Overlords, with your editorial tolerance and laissez-faire attitude about my creative shortcomings.” The collective Overlordian shrug was all the license I needed. Also, there are only so many ways to compare the flavor of fine alcohol to the tasty orifices and protrusions of the various bangalicious paragons of hotness who provide boner fuel for the Pajiba SexyTram. (I’m looking at you, Patricia Clarkson. No, really, I’m looking at you through binoculars. Have you been working out?)
One of the perks of writing Boozehound is that readers occasionally e-mail comments, questions, fuck-yous, and the like. These contacts have not only carried my MySpace page into double-digit friends, they also make me feel slightly more relevant, as if I were a helpful and not-at-all creepy uncle, or at least the slacker burnout who hangs out behind the high school dispensing insights into the best kinds of paint thinner for huffing. Some of these e-mails are even of a sexual nature, and for you 16-year-old girls and sexually confused young men out there, I will continue to respond privately. Where topics are of general interest, however, I thought it might be helpful to respond to the e-mails here.
As always, readers are invited to e-mail me with questions or topic ideas, along with the various unpleasantnesses you all seem to think I enjoy.
Dear Boozehound: You spend a lot of time talking about gin drinks, even though you said bourbon was your favorite alcohol. What’s your favorite drink, and is that the same drink you would take if you were stranded on a desert island? Longtime Lurker, First Time E-Mailer
Dear LL: Great question, because they are two different things. For my all-time favorite cocktail, I’ll paraphrase the inimitable Mary Roach, whom we interviewed in this space several weeks ago: “Gin martini, dry, two olives, up.” It’s an elegant drink that makes me feel better as soon as the bartender sets it in front of me. The anticipation of that first ice-cold kiss never gets old. If I had to limit myself to one drink over a long period of time, however, I would go with bourbon. The rich flavor and the satisfying, complex palate are comforting and suitable for drinking at any time of the day, really. Bourbon on the rocks mid-morning on a vacation day? Sure thing.
Hi Ted: Any overarching impressions about the Republican National Convention this week? Yours Truly, Disappointed Again
Dear Disappointed: As we watched the RNC this week, I kept muttering the same line our first real estate agent recited about finding the right neighborhood in Oakland: Caucasian, Caucasian, Caucasian. Mrs. socalled spent the entirety of Wednesday evening viewing and re-viewing the convention footage like it was the Zapruder film, counting off the meager collection of darker-than-alabaster faces in the crowd. After finding a total of ten in the first hour, she began to get a little desperate, resulting in a rather irrational insistence that Senator Fred Thompson and his aggressive self-tanning were in fact an extra from Monsoon Wedding. “There’s another one!” she cried the next day, victoriously stabbing her finger at the screen, only to harumph in frustration a moment later when the person pulled out an anti-war sign, revealing herself to be an uninvited intruder. Albino polar bear frozen inside an iceberg during a blizzard? Meet the 2008 RNC.
Mr. Boynton: You write about gin drinks a lot, and I’ve tried gin martinis but just can’t get into drinking them. What’s the big deal? Unimpressed So Far
Dear Unimpressed: It’s taken me a lifetime to realize that some of the best experiences really are acquired tastes. Just like junior high school girls won’t like single malt scotch no matter how many times I try, a complicated flavor like botanically complex gin won’t automatically show up on your iFlask favorites list. James Joyce, Baz Luhrman, the Assblaster 5000 … no one just wakes up one day enjoying these things. Starting your gin habit with a dry martini is a bit like starting your crack whore binge with Amy Winehouse; both of you are likely to get hurt, but the gin will probably live through it. Start out with G&Ts - more the Lily Allen of crack whores - and slowly lower the tonic content to get used to the gin. Alternate with the occasional French .75, which showcases gin’s ready amenability to intermingling with other desirable flavors, e.g., lemon and champagne. If it just doesn’t happen for you, it doesn’t mean you’re stupid or a yokel. It just means you’re genetically inferior, and that’s really more your parents’ fault.
Dear Mr. Boynton: This might be a little off topic, but I’m a 44-year-old businesswoman who is being considered for a major promotion to our company’s vice president position. My initiative to improve our workplace focused heavily on personal accountability and ethical behavior in the workplace, but then my 17-year-old daughter was caught reverse cowgirling one of our sales reps in the men’s room. Any advice on how to salvage my promotion? Sincerely, Juneau.
Dear Juneau: Your story sounds familiar, but I can’t place it. Anyway, the best defense is a good offense, so I’d start out with a 20-page company-wide memo extolling how wonderful your family is and how your life with them prepared you for the promotion. Then, as soon as someone mentions a negative aspect of your family - for example, your daughter’s inability to keep her knees closed despite your constant moralizing - go into batshit banshee mode about the intolerable invasion of your family’s privacy. If anyone has the gall to question whether your offspring’s trailer trash pregnancy implicates your success as a parent, respond with this: “Well, you fascist, I’m sure your thirst for teenage abortions will be a hot topic of discussion when you’re roasting in hell.” You’d be surprised how many top executives - and I mean top - are able to build entire careers out of belligerent, non-sequitur responses to straightforward questions. Most important: Accept zero responsibility for the abject failure of your moral standards in your own household.
Hey Boozehound: Any movies coming up that you’re especially looking forward to? Exoskeleton
Dear Exo: I’m pretty excited about RocknRolla, Guy Ritchie’s latest British gangster flick. Despite his career nosedive over the past few years, I have a really good feeling about that one. I’m strangely unmoved by Burn After Reading, the big Coen brothers release with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Frances McDormand, among others. Tilda Swinton is in it, and she’s usually a pretty reliable indicator that a movie will be interesting at a minimum, but the spastic trailer and the formulaic, contrived plot summaries I’ve seen have me worried. I’m probably more excited to repeat two films we saw at Sundance, the adaptation of Chuck Pahlaniuk’s Choke and Alan Ball’s latest film Towelhead. I had a decidedly mixed reaction to Towelhead the first time I saw it, based on the heavily sexualized presentation of the teenaged protagonist, but it’s a very well-made film, and I want to see how I feel about it the second time around.
Dear Boozehound: I’m an English Lit professor at the fictional University of Ottawa. Even though I’ve achieved recognition in my field for my groundbreaking intellectual work, the pig male professors in my department constantly make misogynist references to my physical appearance. Some are just obvious clichés like “sexy librarian” and “the Anais Nin of Ontario experts on the lesser known works of Emily Bronte,” but they put valuable creative time into some of them, like “Anne of Men’s Cables,” which is not only insulting but pretty attenuated considering that book is not even about a grown, fiery-hot woman constantly walking a tightrope of smoldering sexuality and genius-level insights. So I’m a cross between Salma Hayek and Tina Fey; I still want to be taken seriously. What should I do? Ogled in Ottawa
Dear Ranylt: It is the curse of you Eva Green types that your ability to slink around a Monte Carlo casino in a painted-on designer gown obscures your intellectual prowess. This can lead to high levels of tension - just the other day, Dustin, Dan and I were debating whether you needed just a backrub or a full, all-over body massage - so make sure to get some me-time. Sometimes the best advice is simply, “Learn to live with it.” In this case, however, the correct answer is, “Through a series of seemingly unnecessary intimacy exercises, I can help you learn to live with it.”
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Dear Lainey: I thought you said that happens to everyone and that we would keep it between us.
Ted Boynton is a dedicated sot who plans to leave his barstool to stalk Whit Stillman, now that someone has found Whit Stillman. Ted also manages to hold down a job and a wife, three hours each per day, whether they need it or not. Readers may scold, hector, admonish or taunt Ted by e-mailing him at email@example.com.