I have a confession to make. I love celebrities. I love movies. I love the popular media. Yes, I know, it sounds weird, but there is it. I think the whole realm of celebrity culture (a reality now referred to as "celebreality" by VH1) offers fascinating insight into what we, as Americans actually value and believe in.
At the same time, I can see, I hope, the celebrity world with a certain gimlet eye. I know that popularity wanes. It goes Sic Transit Gloria Mundi and that is all sorts of the gloria mundi you care to point it. Hence, when I find outlets that allow me to keep my finger on the pulse without at the same time have to actually watch a lot of stuff, I use them. A lot. Case in point: Leslie Gornstein.
Now, for delicate readers, I am not going to mention neither the name of her column on E! Online nor her satellite radio / podcast because it might give offense and distract from the real point of this post. I'll put it to you this way: the show is a q-and-a broadcast where readers write in questions that she then answers. She calls herself "The Answer 'Female Dog'", substituting a word rarely used in polite company outside of a kennel. I think the name is unfair given my email and Facebook interactions with her have been very pleasant and she seems like a nice person. And she's from Philly originally and that scores points in my book as well.
I have been listening to Gornstein for about 3 years. I caught her on the satellite radio while living in Alva and then kept up with her work ever since. What I like about Leslie is that she is a very good journalist and she loves the Hollywood scene without necessarily being bewitched by it. So many times she can read the situation concerning stars and studios, calling them out when she sees something fake. I think it is called objectivity.
She is assisted by a co-host who reads the questions and subjects himself/herself to Leslie's probably faux abuse. (It is faux, right, Leslie?) His name is Matt Donnelly and he is just great too. He can give it as well as he takes. He also hails from Philly and is a delight. He and I have talked via the internet. A wonderful pair of folks.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, Leslie, Matt, and I probably won't see eye-to-eye on all matters religious or political. That's fine. I have lots of friends and folks for whom that is true. I just don't want readers going over to the podcast or the column and being shocked.)
So, anyway, thanks to Facebook, I have been able to submit questions for the show. For the last two episodes, she has answered my questions and did a darn fine job of it. My first question dealt with my undying admiration for Pegg/Frost/Wright and their current projects. As a matter of fact, she and Matt were very gracious in explaining who I was and in answering my question. It was weird hearing a question I submitted read out. I kept thinking "That sounds familiar." The second question had more to do with why television and movies gets depictions of the Catholic Faith wrong so often. Surprisingly, there are consultants who could help Hollywood types get the depictions correct; unsurprisingly, as the producers et al. tend to do this at the last minute and therefore even if they wanted to do it right, there is no time to change the scene. Make of that what you will.
In particular, I want to thank Leslie for keeping my full identity on the downlow on that question. It might have smacked of favoritism to the clergy was my concern. When I sent it to her, it was a mess and unclearly stated and frankly, I didn't want her to have to deal with nonsense from others. I could see the post saying, "Who cares about that?! What about Spiedi?"
So, thanks, Leslie and Matt for taking the time to field my questions. Keep up the good work.