HuffPo's Top Five Election Season Celebrity Blogs
(Note that we are eliminating certain famous names – Harry Shearer, Bill Maher, etc. – from the running since they are as well known if not more for their political satire as they are for work on The Simpsons or... hee, Cannibal Women In the Avocado Jungle of Death. Sorry, Bill, we can never turn down the opportunity to see that in print.)
1. Jamie Lee Curtis - "Debate, Not Relate"
An offspring of Hollywood royalty, a seasoned actress, erstwhile scream queen and sex symbol, even a noblewoman of British peerage (hubby Christopher Guest inherted a barony in 1996), Jamie Lee Curtis is nevertheless no stranger to philanthropic causes, including advocacy on the part of women in recovery. And it is from her position as a role model for other ladies struggling with overcoming addiction, as well as a working wife and mother juggling career with family, that she delivered a concise, logical and stinging blow to the notion of Sarah Palin as a relatable figure and therefore a viable candidate in her blog post on September 3: “The problem is I may be relatable and share some of your experiences and concerns but you don't want me as president of the United States… This isn't a test. We don't get a re-do. This is the hardest time this generation has ever faced and people are all scared about the economy, our health care and mostly our children's futures. That is what millions of Americans and I can relate to.” A fine addition indeed to the counterargument that, as Jon Stewart said earlier this year, didn't "elite" used to mean "good"? Brava, JLC. We totally forgive you for Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
2. Paul Reiser - "Yeah - You and Whose Army?"
Truth be told, we’re not sure we can really say we miss the hell out of Mad About You – it was a benign, affable sitcom elevated mostly through the superb work of its cast, headlined by the inimitably huffy Paul Reiser. On his best days, Paul Buchman could riff situational with the best of them; occasionally when he really brought his A-game, you felt as though if only Seinfeld were slightly less bitter, he might have made the transition down to the Lower East Side and found himself a nice shiksa and a dog to settle down with, too. It’s with exactly that sharply-honed kvetch that Reiser laid into John McCain’s hounding tactics in his September 12 blog: “We're in the 3rd grade again. The skinny, smart kid who just moved in to the neighborhood is getting roughed-up by the asshole bully. The kid who hits you in the head with your hand and says, ‘Why're you hitting yourself? Why're you hitting yourself?’.” Hilariously, scarily accurate, and yet Reiser wisely points out that turning the tables on the bullies really needs to happen on a grand scale: “I really have to believe we're big enough, strong enough and smart enough to reclaim what's ours. I love my children too much to let the assholes take over the school yard.”
3. Adam McKay - "Am I Crazy or was that an Ass Whuppin'?"
Though his name at first glance might not cast the gleam of as many marquee lights as some of his cohorts on HP, writer-director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers) is a major internet player now thanks to comedy video site Funny Or Die which he launched last year with Will Ferrell. Following the vice presidential debate on October 2, McKay published a blog singing the praises of the Democratic vice presidential running mate that turned the opposition’s Joe Six-Pack rhetoric straight on its head: “Not only do I want to grab a beer with Biden but I might even have three or four and maybe some onion rings.” Praising the Delaware senator’s criticism of McCain’s record as “…like drinking cold hose water on a hundred degree day after moving furniture up a four story walk up for ten hours (which is pretty much my metaphor for the past eight years)”, he gives Sarah Palin points for bravery but summarizes her skill as an orator in succinctly pop-culture-friendly terms: “If she had lived in Amity in the mid seventies the Mayor would hired her to tell the press the beach is safe for swimming and Roy Scheider is overreacting.” Extra credit for holding strong prior to Barack Obama’s surge in the polls with a reminder that it’s looking good, but “we could still lose this thing.”
4. Steven Weber - "Prop 8 = Prop Hate"
Remember back in July when the same-sex marriage act passed here in California, and the pundits were quick to predict it may be a major issue in the upcoming presidential campaign? Perhaps major is debatable given where the economy has gone and how the smear attacks have flown, though as recently as yesterday Palin was making headlines again for parting with her ticket on federal versus state marriage law. The issue’s still a hot one, and with a legislative ban on the ballot you expect to hear from well-known same-sex marriage advocates on the front lines (DeGeneres, Takei, we’re looking at you… and congratulations!)…but it’s important to also hear it from a straight, married father of two kids like Steven Weber, late of Without A Trace and Brothers & Sisters, who spoke out on October 10 declaring: “What the hell does it matter who the eff marries who, if they are sane and in love (usually but not necessarily mutually exclusive characteristics) and capable of leading productive lives in society? It seems that to people who live by certain stringent, arcane creeds, ones that define life in terms of heaven and hell and Them and Us, the idea of a same-sex relationship is tantamount to murder. Or worse: matching wardrobes.” Somebody better let Cindy McCain know, I swear she’s coordinating with the hubby’s ties lately.
5. Nora Ephron - "The Graph And I"
A stalwart of HuffPo since it first hit the bandwidth in 2005, director and screenwriter Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle) has been a reliably tack-sharp read all year long, especially during the primary season when she vigorously opposed many a battle cry of her voting block and called out the campaign tactics of a once-dominant Hillary Clinton. She’s continued to sound the alarm on aspects of the race that are begging for a good kick in the pants, and one of the most deserved and satisfying came on October 3 when she took on CNN and their debate coverage tactic of the swing-voters response graph, comparing it to New York City’s calorie count legislation for chain restaurants: “It's hard enough to figure out what you want to order without someone explicitly telling you that you're going to drop dead if you eat it. But more important, I don't believe those calorie counts. Who knows how many calories there are in a grilled cheese sandwich?... I was so busy watching the graph. I knew it was completely unreliable and irrelevant, and yet my heart sank and rose according to it.” A loose interpretation of the dynamic, perhaps, but Ephron drives home the point that what we should be focusing on is what’s being said and formulating our own responses, not lingering on someone else’s. At least until Anderson Cooper and the post-debate mob start their shenanigans when it’s over.
One caveat we feel the need to address: While we stand strongly behind our fondness for these high watermarks of the celeb blogosphere, we’re plenty aware that there’s little hoopla on HuffPo to match it coming from any vocal, right-leaning celebs. (Though they may be fewer in number, we know they’re out there dammit, and they’re not all the governor of California.) It could be said that Arianna & Co. have a ways to go in seeking out comparable famous conservatives to return so many Democratic-leaning serves, but we would warmly welcome the effort to do so. They could certainly start by bringing in frequent contributor Alec Baldwin’s brother Stephen, a staunch McCain advocate who has taken to announcing his plans to move to Canada should Obama win at every possible opportunity. Thanksgiving’s coming up, after all, and that’s got to be one of the most contentious family dinner tables in America.