Patricia Sheridan (Scripps Howard Service) interviews one of the stars of Smash, Anjelica Huston:
Q You felt like you had no choice but to be in the family business.
A Yes, I did feel that way. I was kind of reluctant to accept what I thought were handouts, you know, charity because I was a Huston. I wanted to earn my own way, do it my way.
Q Now that you are writing your memoirs, does it feel as you look back that you've had multiple lifetimes?
A Very much so. At least nine.
Anjelica Huston is both an immense talent and a very nice person. I'm glad her show is a hit (and willing to check it out for her). I am sure her book will be a highly enjoyable read.
Speaking of stories, C.I. told one on me. Which is more than fine. But in terms of when United for Peace and Justice was using the Iraq Body Count number, I did complain loudly offline because the over one million figure had already been established by the study The Lancet published. I was not the only one working on the issue and C.I. was probably more valuable on it than I was. I did have several friends with UPFJ (notice the past tense? that's not an accident)). I did threaten, I did bully. Only after pleading didn't work. There was never an excuse for them to have used the IBC figures after The Lancet study.
Now I will tell a story on C.I. Sunny told me about an e-mail asking why C.I. hates journalists?
C.I. doesn't hate journalists. She's been very vocal this week about feeling the journalism programs at universities are jokes (she calls them general study mills with "journalism" stamped on the degrees). But that's because they act like idiots.
Let's deal with the torture thing first. Yesterday AFP did a stupid article -- highly ignorant -- on what the government of Iraq and the court's spokesperson were saying in response to what Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi charged (that they tortured his bodyguard to death). Check out yesterday's snapshot, not just to see C.I. call out AFP's ignorant article. Check it also to see how C.I. does it. The "HOW" is very important. The points she made yesterday? Check out today's Human Rights Watch release demanding an investigation into the death. C.I. is f**king brilliant. She always has been.
It's partly her huge knowledge base. She knows the law, she knows this, she knows that. Her memory is beyond photographic. But there's this thing, this state, she enters into when she's defending someone and it's grace-like and it's amazing and it can be borderline psychic. I'm not joking.
So she's not going to be clapping along with the press when it's not doing it's job. She's really not going to be impressed with mere competency either.
But in terms of the press, you have to remember that she didn't want to do journalism. Her family wanted her too. She was gifted at it and did it up through high school but she wasn't going to do it in college. They announced before the semester started, right before, that they'd only cover the cost if she majored in journalism. Her response? That she'd cover her own college.
She did too. She first figured out which jewelry she could sell and what the best price she could get. She started that, she began looking into any scholarships still available. There were a limited number. Two were in music. C.I. was playing piano shortly after she could stand (that's not a joke, when her mother was alive, she'd tell you as soon as C.I. started walking, she'd head straight for the music room and if she made it there, she'd go straight to the piano.) At the age of five, she began taking lessons and did so all the way through high school. She had no interest in studying it in college. But there was a scholarship so she went out for it and got it. The other music scholarship was voice and she nailed that as well. That covered tuitition and I believe half of the additional costs. She immediately found work -- and she'd never worked before -- and ended up with not one, not two but often three jobs.
She did all that to avoid being a journalism major. So when she gets in her remarks about the press, take that into account. Also take into account that a number of her very good friends have been badly burned by the press. C.I.'s never been because she keeps a wall up. She'll charm an interviewer but never mistake it for a friendship. She does have many friends who are reporters and columnists. She generally respects their work. She respects journalism in the abstract. But she has no use for the nonsense that so many waste our days with.
She also has the attitude that if she can do something, everybody else should be able to. That's because she's never appreciated how talented she is. So she has little patience for the bulls**t that is so much of the press.
She's also someone who can feel tremendous guilt. She's given a great deal of money to our college over the years. I'm an alumni and I do donate for various things but I mean she gives a lot more than I do and she's already giving a ton on children's charities.
I asked her about 15 years ago, when there was some campus project and I discovered she'd donate over 75% of the funding. Do you know why?
Because of those scholarships the first semester of college. She'd get several academic ones in the second semester and on through college. She feels no guilt there. But she feels tremendous guilt that, via piano and voice, she snagged two scholarships that other people might have needed. She took the music courses required for those scholarships, but she didn't major in music and she never planned to. So all these years, she's given and given to our old campus for that reason, to make up for taking two scholarships.
When she turned 21, her trust fund kicked in and she dropped all scholarships.
With the academic scholarships -- which she dropped when her trust fund kicked in -- no guilt because it was based on GPA. But the music ones were "auditions" and she'll insist that something other than skill got her the scholarships.
Beauty? She's beautiful but she has no idea. That's not an act. She was raised not to focus on her looks. She'll put it down to either charming her way into the scholarship (which she'll also call "manipulation" -- hence, the guilt) or sex appeal depending on her mood that day. (She is sexy and she has no problem admitting that but she'll tell you that sexy doesn't have to do with good looks.) (She'll also allude to being kidnapped by the crazy when she was a little girl and say that those who faced sexual abuse learn to respond sexually -- intentionally or not -- and that's where that comes from.)
So nah-nah-nah, I wrote about her. (It didn't bother me that she wrote about me and, in the middle of dictating the snapshot, she waived me over to make sure it was okay. It was fine. But I don't think that I deserve that much credit.)
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):