Roundups

Morning Shots: Don't Annoy Brett Favre, Who Is Not Afraid To Retire

a cup of coffee
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The more talk I hear about the plans to replace Steve Carell on The Office, the more concerned I am that it's going to be the most overblown sendoff in television history — or it would be, except that this is also the final year of Oprah.

Hey, you know how the entire point of Joaquin Phoenix's "now I will be a rapper" thing, the thing that forms the basis of his new movie I'm Still Here, was that he was totally quitting acting? And you know how some people haven't been sure that this was an entirely real development in his life? Please enjoy this report on how, while he may have multitudinous issues, he has apparently not quit acting.

What I want you to know about these Jersey Shore Halloween costumes is that some publicist somewhere sent me one. In the mail. Opened my mail, and there it was. The one on the left. I really needed to tell someone.

You know who's tired of all the hype about Brett Favre? Brett Favre! Why can't a guy retire and unretire several times by way of many press conferences without everyone acting like his retirement or unretirement is some kind of big dramatic thing? Am I right?

The Guardian has this thoughtful piece about the weird popularity of the rape joke, and the subtle difference between comedy that's pushing boundaries and comics who "pose as plain-speakers and PC refuseniks in order to smuggle in the kind of misogynist comedy last seen in the 1970s."

Sure, it's early to start speculating about next March's Oscar races. It's also early to start dreaming about who will be best-dressed on the red carpet. That doesn't mean people aren't doing it.

The Wall Street Journal, swimming against trends elsewhere in the area of literary criticism in newspapers, is launching a new separate book-review section.

Speaking of which: Franzen, Franzen, Franzen! Yesterday on Fresh Air, Jonathan Franzen talked about Freedom, depression, novel writing, and the death of David Foster Wallace. And yes, he has this to say about a topic we've discussed in this space: "It seems like there's ... a feminist critique, and it's about the quality of attention that writing by women gets compared to the quality of attention by male writers. I actually have a lot of those feelings myself and have over the years." I, personally, think he's just jealous of himself.

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