Friday, June 26, 2009

Eddie, Woody, & Michael: Do We Even Care About Genius Anymore?

On Gawk (I'll have some more MJ unpacking later/soon. Still processing ...):

Eddie Murphy, Woody Allen, Michael Jackson: All indisputable geniuses in the 80s. Hit-or-miss in the 90s. And, at least before the outpouring of adulation for Jackson today, you probably wouldn't want to trade reputations with any of them.

Everyone should have a go-to quote to come off like a learned smarty-pants. Mine is from Nietzsche who said, "the only proof of strength is excess of strength". I love it because in our current link-don't-tell culture it speaks to how proof of brilliance needs to be hyperlinkably obvious. For Woody, Eddie, and Michael this was never an issue. No one ever calls into question their obvious excess of talent. But yet, reading the news and reviews from the past week or so, and it seems being a genius doesn't seem to hold the same water it used to. At the least, critics and journalists appear to be challenging the statute of limitations on genius privileges like never before:

Eddie Murphy: This post was seeded by Brooks Barnes in the NY Times (who also was involved with NYT coverage of MJ) wondering how/why Eddie Murphy still had so much Hollywood clout, despite being the butt of more jokes than he makes these days. In the sidebar they list his top 5 box office grosses, totaling up to $780 million. If you throw in Coming to America and a couple of his middling performers like, say, Boomerang and Harlem Nights, you're approaching a billion dollars in box office bank before you even get to ten movies. Murphy is the #2 man all time at the box office, right behind Tom Hanks and ahead of names like Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise. So, what's the question again? Asking Hollywood why they keep going to Eddie Murphy is like asking why the Yankees keep putting ARod in the cleanup spot (despite inconsistent production).....

Eddie, Woody, Michael: Do We Care About Genius Anymore?

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