Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quick Review

Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop CultureMost Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Why? Well, that's harder to answer now I suppose than even before I read the book. I haven't watched his little talk show very often, or thought much of it when I did, I think the Housewives-brand he's produced for Bravo is not just unwatchable but reprehensible, and I can't say, having now read his autobiography, that there's much the man has to say that I don't think either insipid or just silly. That said, I kinda like the guy.

Again, why? His enthusiasms seem completely genuine, but they're not mine. His store of anecdote, with a few exceptions, is hardly stocked with names about whom I give a rat's ass (Susan Lucci? Diana Ross? Oprah? No, no, and nope.) He can be very funny; about the awkwardness of encountered celebrity, his time on a low-rent morning show, and at his best, when describing his own thoroughly endearing family. His voice, at least here, is charming; self-deprecating, earthy and unpretentious. He's forgiving of his youthful vanity, but unsparing in detailing his early mistakes, both personal and professional. He is however considerably more reticent about describing his personal life now and downright tight-lipped when it comes to sex or romance after achieving his professional success. We learn little or nothing from this book about his expansion social circle after he becomes a powerful producer and cable executive, and there's not a hint of who may or may not be in that much fabled and exclusive company of culturally significant or politically influential gays in which he presumably now moves -- other than one coy mentioned of his pal, Anderson Cooper. As for boyfriends, lovers, partners or fuck-buddies, famous or no, there's not a one that I could see here one Cohen gets to his present employer. Based just on the evidence in this book, one might assume the poor man hasn't gotten laid since the nineties. (There's an obvious irony in a man who helped invent a genre of reality TV made exclusively from the manicured but still unsavory exhibitionism of bored and boring rich women, being coy about who he's fucking now that he is himself rich.)

And yet... I like the guy. Yes, there's an intentional and irritating superficiality to both autobiography and subject, and he certainly can not be said to have used either his talent or his influence to do much good in the world, but he is a very visible gay man, who's signature personal and professional style, it could be argued, has had an impact on normalizing GLBTQ people for a certain segment of largely younger, middle class white women. That's not a bad thing, entirely. And he's clearly great fun to watch the Oscars with, now that he isn't tasked with luring reluctant stars to waste their mojo on a third-place network morning show.

Did I mention that he hates singing school children? Maybe that's reason enough.

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