Archive for October 5th, 2009


Today’s Moron: Rosie DiManno

October 5, 2009

If you’ve lived in Canada over the past 25 or 3o years, you have read at least one piece by Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno. I’ve read a lot of them. I’ve liked one or two. I particularly liked the piece she did the time she violated Olympic security, snuck into the athlete’s village residences, and wrote about what was going on behind the scenes. I thought that was funny and demonstrated an interesting disregard for the rules. Mostly, though, I have found her work a little too tabloid-based for me. And now she’s proven it.

Rosie never plays it safe. She is paid a serious amount of money to write a handful of columns a week, and she’s given free reign to Be Rosie. She’s one of the few Canadian “personality” journalists whose byline is a brand of its own.

She picked up a lot of new readers today when The Star published her take on the suicide of accused child molester David Dewees. After acknowledging that the paper erred in reporting charges against Dewees, Rosie goes on to point out that since libel laws don’t apply to dead people, she’s free to decide that he was, in fact, guilty, and she goes on to pillory him in paragraph after paragraph of assumption, non-libelous libel and sloppy, self-rightous writing.

The outrage is ripping through the Internet. The fact is, David Dewees was accused of a crime. This does not make him guilty. We know that many men are accused of these crimes unjustly, and we know that we have a court system that analyzes the evidence before passing judgment. We also know that newspapers have to be very careful about reporting these things; this is where the word “alleged” comes into play. This is basic journalism. And while it doesn’t apply to dead people, and Rosie is right about that, there’s still a thing called decency. She ignored that today.

Maybe David Dewees did it. Maybe he didn’t. The world will never know for sure, and neither will Rosie DiManno, despite what she tells you. She has, with one piece of writing, kicked print journalism in the balls and sent its already teetering reputation down into Fox News territory. I’m a print journalist with more than 20 years in the ink, and what she wrote made me grit my teeth and shake my head. It will take a long time to recover from her stunt.

It gets worse. The news aggregator site picked up DiManno’s column, and within a few hours almost 1,000 people had chimed in with their comments. Most of these are typical reddit slams, loaded with childish attacks, but some of them include some well-written letters to DiManno pointing out their concerns. These writers are repeating what they say are responses they got when they e-mailed Rosie to complain. Some of them posted screenshots of their correspondences. Others just quoted Rosie’s responses to them:

“Oh great, the pedophile constituency heard from.”

And another:

“Ah yes, the pro-pedophilia constituency heard from. Your email is being forward to police.”

She sticks to a theme there, and in many others: if you are upset about her assumption of a dead man’s guilt, you must be in favour of pedophilia. Cheap, nasty and amateurish, it avoids the issue people are pointing out in their complaints. It’s the kind of response I would expect from college newspaper hacks, not from a writer for the country’s largest newspaper.

Note: This is nothing new, really.


Black October 5: Child’s Play

October 5, 2009

While I own a copy of this, I haven’t watched it in years, perhaps since it came out. I used to have Bride of Chucky on DVD, and watched that a few times for its sheer ludicrousity, and also to indulge my Tilly fetish. But the original, which was a real buzz film in its day, has pretty much faded from my mental film vault.

So I’m sitting down to watch it again. I’m going to cheat a bit; killer doll Chucky will do his thing on a small screen while I paint the kitchen. This will mean I am not giving the movie the attention it deserves, and may miss out on nuance of plot and those little cinematographic tweaks that are the difference between good cinema and schlock horror. Wait, I forgot I was talking about Child’s Play, the story of a doll possessed by a serial killer.

  • Note: About an hour into the movie, I paused it while I waited for a coat of paint to dry. I thought there was a good joke there but there wasn’t, so I just went and read the paper.

Child’s Play is better than I expected. I had forgotten how funny Brad Dourif is, and I had forgotten about the giant-sized “Good Guy” the kid watches on TV; that’s one creepy creature. The kid is kind of creepy, too; it’s the kind of bad child-actor performance that takes me out of movies. Let me check this … okay, the actor who plays him is on IMDB, and it appears he’s been in more “Where Are They Now” shows than actual movies.

Yeah, I’m going to have to amend that last paragraph. It gets off to a good start, but the more this movie plays, the more I think the doll is the best actor in it.

Does it offer thrills, chills and bloodspills? Sure, but in that 80s cheese way. I get the impression the producers knew kids would see this film, so they toned a lot of it down, but then went back after initial testing and added a few more gory bits. The whole thing is disjointed and clumsily made, which is no surprise.

The only reason to watch this again is for nostalgic purposes, or if you’re a diehard Chucky fan. Or if you always kind of thought Dinah Manoff was the cuter sister. Which I kind of did. So there’s that.


Ryan Reynolds and his Webophobia

October 5, 2009

Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds doesn’t like to Google himself. Here’s what he said about this recently: “One was ‘Make Ryan Reynolds Your Biatch’. I didn’t get into it too much because I know there are going to be PhotoShopped pictures of me with a ball gag and nipple clamps.”

PhotoShopped. Sure, Ryan. Those pictures were made with PhotoShop.

Ah, I’m just kidding. I actually like Ryan Reynolds a lot. Let me think of some positives:

  • He has played two comic-book characters already (Hannibal King and Deadpool), is set to play a third (Green Lantern) and would still play a fourth if possible (The Flash). Green Lantern is my favourite super-hero of all time, and I think Ryan can pull off Hal Jordan perfectly.
  • He’s got that smartass sense of humour I enjoy, but we don’t always get to see it. He reins it in when necessary, such as in a little movie called The Nines. I recommend that one. Even when he’s in stupid movies like The Proposal, he’s acceptable. I’ve yet to see a bad performance from him. I’ve yet to see a great performance, but nothing overly horrible.
  • He married Scarlett Johansson.
  • He was Macro on The Odyssey. Bet you didn’t know that. The Odyssey is a weird little slice of Canadian television; it was about a kid in a coma whose mind travelled through a bizarre parallel world occupied only by kids. If you follow that link, Ryan’s the guy in the military uniform.
  • He was in a really weird and cheesy TV series called Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, but he made it work and was pretty funny on a consistent basis. Later, it became Two Guys and a Girl, but strangely starred three guys and two girls. I stopped watching it when it became Two Guys, and starred only five women. That made no sense.
  • He was funny in the underrated shot-in-Canada movie Just Friends. He led a great cast that included Chris Marquette and Anna Faris; this movie never fails to make me laugh. And I don’t much like comedies. He and Faris were in Waiting together too; that’s a good little movie.
  • He married Scarlett Johansson. In Canada.

I know a lot of people find him smarmy and cocky and smug, and don’t like him because of that. I understand, and I sympathize. But please bear in mind that he’s probably still hurting a bit from the clamps.


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