Published on: February 15, 2008
So it ends up that in the politically correct era in which we now live, even Monty Python has gone through sensitivity training.
The news was on the wires this week that Python Eric Idle, who created the Broadway show “Spamalot” based on the group’s movie, ‘Monty Python & The Holy Grail,” was changing a lyric that referred to Britney Spears.
“Because we don't laugh at sad people,” Idle said, noting that “we think that it's now too sad. Britney Spears is being tortured to death and we don't want to be on that side."
The lyric in question, sung by the Lady in the Lake, used to be:
“I am sick of my career
Always stuck in second gear
Up to here with frustration and with fears
I've no Grammy, no rewards
I've no Tony Awards
I'm constantly replaced by Britney Spears
It's been replaced by:
“My love life is a mess
I've got constant PMS
My career is about as hot as ice
They hate me there backstage
They say I'm too old for my age
They're trying to replace me with Posh Spice
With Posh Spice!!”
This sort of reminds me of what CBS late night host Craig Ferguson announced some time ago that as a recovered alcoholic, he found it distasteful ad mean to be making jokes about substance abusers…and since Spears is someone with an obvious problem, he would no longer be making jokes about her because it was just too mean.
I guess this is all a good thing, that people get more sensitive about people’s problems and not make fun of them. Though I think a bit of mockery of public figures is a healthy thing, and I hate it when certain people are declared “off limits.”
But here’s where I come down on this issue.
I would find it difficult to make fun of Britney Spears because I know next to nothing about her situation. I know her face has been on a bunch of magazines lately and that she seems to be in a certain amount of trouble. There’s something going on with her kids and her parents, and I remember she sheaved her head sometime back.
And that is about the extent of my knowledge. I don't read those magazine stories, don't watch those TV shows, and couldn’t give a damn about her personal problems. She is irrelevant to my life, and, in fact, is just plain irrelevant to the culture, at least in my humble opinion.
If we all spent less time worrying about Britney Spears and more time talking a walk or reading a book or whatever, the world would probably be better off. And I’m just guessing about this, but I suspect that she’d be better off, too.
“Atonement” is a really good movie. Based on the Ian McEwan novel (which I’ve not read), it essentially is the story of a lie – how a young girl in pre-World War II England sees an act of intimacy between her upper class sister and the housekeeper’s son and turns it into an act of violence that has a tragic impact on all their lives.
Saoirse Ronan, a young Irish actress, plays the girl with a haunting quality, and James McAvoy plays the victimized young man with just the right amount of romantic dash. And Keira Knightly is spectacular as the sister – gorgeous and tragic and at once fragile and rock hard.
It is a wonderful piece of filmmaking.
Google “Indiana Jones” and “trailer” and you’ll be able to see the first trailer for the new movie, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” due out this May.
And then tell me you don’t get a little thrill when you see the man in the hat and hear that great theme song…
One of the things I like best about travel is the food and wine I get to try when I’m on the road, but sometimes there are really nice surprises just around the corner. When we went to see “Atonement” with some friends, suggested that we all have dinner at a place called the Fat Cat Pie Co., which I’d never heard of before and is only a few miles from my house.
And it was terrific – simple, yet really innovative. They basically serve two things – salads and thin crust pizza, but the toppings and various versions gave the place a nice edginess that wasn't at all off-putting. There was a great crowd there, a real mix of ages, that was comforting with just the right amount of noise. It was a great lesson in how, to use a phrase that Sobeys' Bill McEwan once used in a different context, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
And, best of all, Fat Cat had a wonderful wine list – which leads me to my two recommendations for the week…which you won’t
be able to buy unless you go to Fat Cat in Norwalk, Connecticut:
• The Fat Cat 420, which is a 2005 wine with a Carignane base, which is sort of a cross between Pinot Noir and Cabernet. (I did a little research a found out that Carignane is usually a blending agent for jug wines, but I thought this was just wonderful…with enough backbone to stand up to the onion and pepper pizza.)
• The 2005 Cat Rotie Syrah, which is a robust wine that was also great with pizza.
My point in recommending two hard-to-find wines is that they are both private label products…they are both small production wines made for Fat Cat by California’s Peterson vineyards. (They know a lot about wines because the group that owns Fat Cat also has a couple of small wine shops…and there is a wonderful intermingling of the two businesses.)
I love it when restaurants – or any other business, for that matter – specializes in quality own-label products that nobody else can duplicate. (Probably why so many of my clothes are from that famous designer, LL Bean.) Done right, this approach gives businesses a differential advantage and even temporary unassailability. (Because in the end, everyone is assailable.)
Bottom line – I have a new local restaurant that I like a lot. And a new wine list to explore.
Doesn’t get any better than this.