Critic at Large: Leno discourse, night at Globes point to cultural limbo

Limbo is a nice word, a harmless term generally signifying “a place or state of restraint or confine

Limbo is a nice word, a harmless term generally signifying “a place or state of restraint or confinement — a state of uncertainty.”

As a nation, we are in a state of political and emotional limbo.

Meanwhile, we are eager to see whether Jay Leno is history. Or if he’s funnier at 11:30 than at 10. He’s been hosting the same guests for decades, asking the same questions (“Hey! I heard you were . . .” or “Tell me about . . .”) Investigative inquiries planted by publicists eager to kiss up to their clients. It’s amateur hour for professionals, these late-night talk shows, and we fall for the ruse. This deck of cards has been waiting to fall for decades. Surprised it lasted.

In the world of entertainment, welcome to cultural limbo. Has anyone something new to say or reveal? We are stuck, marooned in an oasis of neglect and oblivion. Are we turning into a nation of bores?

It’s look-in-the-mirror time, kiddies. Anyone want to hang with “The Bachelor”?

Where’s the sincerity?

Consider the spectacle called the Golden Globes. Observe George Clooney as he falls into a self-induced torpor. Watch with discomfort as Matt Damon fakes a smile. Hold on as a bored Rickey Gervais pumps out a dreary line. Paul McCartney show ups with a new song, but I didn’t detect any joy in his heart.

The entire Golden Globes spectacle is forced, contrived. It’s a jaded affair, celebrating foreign journalists, many of whom are star gazers. It’s Hollywood hype for bores, an obligatory fashion show, with a few notable exceptions — like Mo’Nique, who freshened the evening with her natural presence.

In the race for the Oscar, what is Sandra Bullock, as sweet as she may be, doing in the winner’s circle? Bullock over “An Education’s” Carey Mulligan? As for the likes of “Avatar,” welcome another devastating technical triumph with half the heart of “The Wizard of Oz.”

“The Hurt Locker” still has a chance, as does “Precious,” talking of “heart.” Have we forgotten “Up in the Air,” with its wry observations about jobs and financial stability? We want jobs, but are we willing to survey the landscape and assess the realities?

Witness the Republican victory in Massachusetts. We are a flip-flop nation, begging for direction. Who will take the reins? How much energy have we wasted? Is Jennifer Aniston dating Gerard Butler?

It’s a virtual limbo out there.

Reach Dan DiNicola at [email protected]

Categories: Life and Arts

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