Cary Grant earned the title of film icon through a legacy of classic movies, his imitable but not duplicable mid-Atlantic accent, pratfalls honed from years in vaudeville, and the best comedic double take in the business. And like most film icons, he’s been the focus of a variety of posthumous rumors, the most persistent being that the five-time husband was gay. Other Hollywood stars like Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson hid their sexuality from the movie-going public, so the idea that Grant too had a secret life isn’t without precedent. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Controversy (61-70 of 84)
Last week, 60 Minutes announced allegations that Greg Mortenson’s best-selling memoir, Three Cups of Tea, was inaccurate and at least partly fabricated. CBS aired its investigation last night, and Viking Press, Mortenson’s Penguin Group-owned publisher, released this statement Monday morning:
“Greg Mortenson’s work as a humanitarian in Afghanistan and Pakistan has provided tens of thousands of children with an education. 60 Minutes is a serious news organization and in the wake of their report, Viking plans to carefully review the materials with the author.”
Among other accusations, the newsmagazine claimed that Mortenson’s non-profit organization, the Central Asia Institute (to which President Obama awarded $100,000 of his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize money), didn’t actually build some schools in the Middle East, or that some schools were at least built by someone else. 60 Minutes also suggested that Mortenson was not actually kidnapped by the Taliban, as he claimed in the book.
Ex-Sarah Palin aide Frank Bailey has gone rogue. An imprint of Simon & Schuester announced today that it will publish Bailey’s Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin, a “chilling expose” about the author’s experience working for Palin during her tenure as governor of Alaska and her vice-presidential run, on May 24. Thriller writer Ken Morris and Alaskan muckraker Jeanne Devon also helped Bailey write the book, according to an Associated Press report.
Former Sarah Palin adviser plans tell-all
The inspirational New York Times bestseller, Three Cups of Tea, may be rife with inaccuracies, alleges 60 Minutes in a report due to air this Sunday on CBS. The 2006 memoir was co-written by Greg Mortenson, a mountaineering humanitarian who co-founded and directs the Central Asia Institute, a non-profit that’s supposedly built 170 schools in rural Afghanistan and Pakistan. But the CBS newsmagazine is claiming many of the schools the Institute built were either built by someone else, or simply don’t exist.
After attempting to climb K2, an exhausted Mortenson says in his book that he stumbled upon a Pakistani village, and hospitality and warmth he experienced inspired Mortenson to build a school there. Into the Wild author Jon Krakauer is one of Mortenson’s doubters who 60 Minutes will cite in its broadcast Sunday night.
Penguin, Mortenson’s publisher, did not return EW’s requests for comment.
On the Books Apr. 12: Gay penguin book tops list of controversial books, Amazon offering ad-supported Kindle, and more
And Tango Makes Three once again waddles into the top spot of the American Library Association’s Top Ten List of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2010. The adorable children’s book tells the true tale of two male emperor penguins in the Central Park Zoo who find an abandoned egg and raise the chick together. For the past five years, the book has had human parents up in arms due to its positive portrayal of same-sex bird parents and has been banned in school districts around the country. Other books on the list: The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Brave New World. READ FULL STORY
I posted my disdain for the comic book industry’s penchant for killing iconic superheroes for the sake of spurring sales and media attention, especially when those deaths don’t stick and are reversed by equally ballyhooed resurrection stories. The latest culprit: Marvel Comics, which not long ago murdered/revived Captain America, today publishes Fantastic Four #587, which will bump off a member of the crime-fighting quartet. Mr. Fantastic? Invisible Woman? The Thing? The Human Torch? The answer is for sale — sealed in plastic (no free peeks!) — at a comic book store near you…or available on the Web, via news outlets who’ve decided to spoil the news. If you wish to be spoiled, I direct you to the very cool Geoff Boucher of The Los Angeles Times, who has an interview with the comic’s writer, Jonathan Hickman. READ FULL STORYLast week,
When EW first reviewed Amy Chau’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother — a controversial chronicling of her decision to raise her two children according to “the Chinese way”– we wondered what her two daughters Sophia and Lulu (who, we learned in the book, were never allowed to have play dates, sleepovers, or get anything besides A grades) thought about it all.
The New York Post tracked down Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, now 18, to get her side of the story, written as a letter to her mother. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Chua-Rubenfeld takes the opportunity to vigorously defend her mom’s actions. She even even brings up those homemade birthday cards that Chua rejected! Says Chua-Rubenfeld, “Everybody’s talking about the birthday cards we once made for you, which you rejected because they weren’t good enough. Funny how some people are convinced that Lulu and I are scarred for life. Maybe if I had poured my heart into it, I would have been upset. But let’s face it: The card was feeble, and I was busted. It took me 30 seconds; I didn’t even sharpen the pencil. That’s why, when you rejected it, I didn’t feel you were rejecting me. If I actually tried my best at something, you’d never throw it back in my face“
Okay, so there you have it! But we’d be remiss if we didn’t also point out that Sophia was the one described in the book as being the more obedient daughter…
You be the judge: Is 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother' author Amy Chua a great mom? or a terrible one?
When EW reviewed Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, we wrote that we thought there might be some, um, spirited debate. And it sure seems as though readers are reacting to this memoir about parenting in what Chua calls “the Chinese way”: Children must never make a grade lower than A. They may not have sleepovers or playdates, or watch TV or play computer games. They must focus exclusively on schoolwork and parent-selected extracurricular activities.
No one can claim that Chua didn’t warn us — on the very cover of the book it reads: This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.
Whether Chua really regrets any of her actions — which included threats of favorite burning stuffed animals if one of her daughter’s piano playing didn’t improve — is uncertain: after all (as she’s quick to point out in the book) both her daughters did become terrific students and musical prodigies. Meanwhile, here are a couple of our favorite passages.
After her young children presented her with handmade birthday cards:
I gave the card back to Lulu. “I don’t want this,” I said. “I want a better one — one that you’ve put some thought and effort into. I have a special box, where I keep all my cards from you and Sophia, and this one can’t go in there.”
“What?” said Lulu in disbelief. I saw beads of sweat start to form on Jed’s forehead.
I grabbed the card again and flipped it over. I pulled out a pen from my purse and scrawled ‘Happy Birthday Lulu Whoopee!’ I added a big sour face. “What if I gave you this for your birthday Lulu- would you like that? But I would never do that, Lulu. No — I get you magicians and giant slides that cost me hundreds of dollars. I get you huge ice cream cakes shaped like penguins, and I spend half my salary on stupid sticker and erase party faovrs that everyone just throws away. I work so hard to give you good birthdays! I deserve better than this. So I reject this.” I threw the card back.
After her daughter’s beloved paternal grandmother Popo died, Chua insisted the girls write a short speech to read at the funeral. Both girls refused (“No please, Mommy, don’t make,” Sophia said tearfully. “I really don’t feel like it.”). Chua insisted.
Sophia’s first draft was terrible, rambling and superficial. Lulu’s wasn’t so great either, but I held my elder daughter to a higher standard. Perhaps because I was so upset myself, I lashed out at her. “How could you, Sophia?” I said viciously. “This is awful. It has no insight. It has no depth. It’s like a Hallmark Card — which Popo hated. You are so selfish. Popo loved you so much — and you — produce–this!”
So what do you guys think? Do you agree or disagree with Chua’s methods? And does all the controversy make you want to read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother?
What is a word worth? According to Publishers Weekly, NewSouth Books’ upcoming edition of Mark Twain’s seminal novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will remove all instances of the “n” word—I’ll give you a hint, it’s not nonesuch—present in the text and replace it with slave. The new book will also remove usage of the word Injun. The effort is spearheaded by Twain expert Alan Gribben, who says his PC-ified version is not an attempt to neuter the classic but rather to update it. “Race matters in these books,” Gribben told PW. “It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”
Unsurprisingly, there are already those who are yelling “Censorship!” as well as others with thesauruses yelling “Bowdlerization!” and “Comstockery!” Their position is understandable: Twain’s book has been one of the most often misunderstood novels of all time, continuously being accused of perpetuating the prejudiced attitudes it is criticizing, and it’s a little disheartening to see a cave-in to those who would ban a book simply because it requires context. On the other hand, if this puts the book into the hands of kids who would not otherwise be allowed to read it due to forces beyond their control (overprotective parents and the school boards they frighten), then maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge. It’s unfortunate, but is it really any more catastrophic than a TBS-friendly re-edit of The Godfather, you down-and-dirty melon farmer? The original product is changed for the benefit of those who, for one reason or another, are not mature enough to handle it, but as long as it doesn’t affect the original, is there a problem?
What do you think, Shelf-Lifers? Unnecessary censorship or necessary evil?
Nine years after a media storm erupted over comments Jonathan Franzen made in relation to his novel’s inclusion in Oprah’s Book Club, the Queen of All Media invited the author to her show today to discuss his new book, Freedom, as well as the kerfuffle now safely in their rearview mirror. You could have subtitled their discussion The Corrections; both Oprah and Franzen appeared eager to set the record straight about the sorta-feud. The two were a little tense during the minutes dedicated to going over that period in their shared history, with a commendably not-quite-contrite Franzen citing his unpreparedness with the soundbite-obsessed, controversy-hungry television media cycle as part of the reason why this particular molehill was turned into a mountain. “It was probably the big thing I learned from the experience, which was to have more respect for television,” he told Oprah. When asked about the impression of him as a “snob” he replied that he isn’t one at all, but rather a “Midwestern egalitarian.” Although, I’m not quite sure whether using the phrase “Midwestern egalitarian” actually helps or hurts him on this point.
Things were a little less awkward when they discussed the present day, hitting topics like Franzen’s 20-minute conversation with President Obama and his solitary writing process. For her part, Oprah was effusive in praising Freedom. What do you think, Shelf-Lifers? Happy to see the reconciliation, even nine years after the fact?
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