I once sat through an hour of James Earl Jones talking about politics.

Deborah Solomon-Steve Martin 92Y Talk Ends in Refund (New York Observer via Joe Randazzo)

Onion editor Joe Randazzo just tweeted a link to a New York Observer article.

I think we can all agree to hate EVERYONE involved in this story.

I don’t know about everyone necessarily, but it certainly appears that New York Times Magazine writer Deborah Solomon has decided not to let Maura Kelly run away with the award for “Best Print Media Reporter in a Role That Really Makes Her Look Like a Pretty Odious Person.”

Here’s what you need to know: Apparently, Steve Martin recently released a novel about the art world from 1997 through the modern day. Which sounds just thrilling. But before any of you go rushing out to Barnes & Noble, I should warn you that The Internet says the book may not be terribly good. To wit, this review from ARTINFO.com. After ticking off a litany of Martin’s many hobbies (banjo player, children’s book author, art collector), the reviewer says:

He is the living embodiment of the phrase “spreading yourself too thin.” With his third novel, Martin merges two of his hobbies — art and fiction writing — and spawns a limp, hackneyed saga of New York’s culture scene from 1997 through the present day.

Oh, but if only limp and hackneyed were the only problems with this book. No. Unfortunately, it also contains some really pretty awful descriptions of sex, which I’m about to share with you, because I need someone else to be as horrified as I am right now. At some point in the book, the following happens:

Claire moved her underwear to one side and his fingers slipped in effortlessly, as though they were being drawn up by osmosis.

Good. God. Let’s move along, shall we?

So, yes. Apparently, earlier this week, Deborah Solomon hosted a discussion with Steve Martin at the 92nd Street Y. People paid money to see this, which, you know, whatever. Steve Martin isn’t my cup of tea, but as a person who has paid a lot of money over the years to see a lot of bands whom a lot of people would probably rather go blind and deaf than have to see live, I won’t judge the events people pay money to attend. And after all, he is Steve Martin. He has had one hell of a comedy and acting career. I’m sure he’s got some amazing stories to tell, and he’s probably pretty funny telling them.

But wait. People left disappointed. I wonder why that might be?

At the center of the disappointment was the fact that [Deborah Solomon and Steve Martin] did not discuss much of Mr. Martin’s acting career. The discussion instead centered on the art world, which is the subject of Mr. Martin’s latest novel.

This is where I flash back to some time in the mid-90s when I sat through an hour of James Earl Jones talking about … politics. We’d waited in line at the student center to buy tickets for this discussion. We thought it was going to be *awesome*. We thought we were going to hear about Darth Vader. We thought he’d talk about Mufassa. We thought maybe he’d say “THIS <dramatic pause> is Notre Dame.”

But he didn’t. He didn’t talk about any of the interesting stuff because he didn’t. And he didn’t say, “THIS <dramatic pause> is Notre Dame,” because he couldn’t. (Apparently it’s part of his frigging contract with CNN that he can only “THIS <dramatic pause> is CNN.” He can’t ever say “THIS <dramatic pause>” is anything or anyone else. Stupid contract.) No. Instead he talked about his vision for the 21st Century or some such nonsense. It was horrible.

So I appreciate the disappointment felt by the people who turned out to the 92nd Street Y thinking they were going to hear about Saturday Night Live and Father of the Bride and hosting the Academy Awards. You know who doesn’t appreciate it, though? Deborah Solomon, that’s who. Will you get a load of this email she shot off? (To who? I don’t know, and you can thank the New York Times frigging pay wall for that. Grumble, grumble.)

Frankly, you would think that an audience in New York, at the 92nd Street Y, would be interested in hearing about art and artists.

Well, well, WELL! If that isn’t hilariously passive-aggressively and snotty! You hear that, 900 people who paid $50 a head to watch this thing live and lord knows how many who tuned in to the satellite broadcast of the discussion? You’re supposed to be interested in “art” and “artists.” Losers.

But that was only her opening salvo. Ms. Solomon has a few choice words for the people who organized the event, too:

I had no idea that the Y programmers wanted me to talk to Steve instead on what it’s like to host the Oscars or appear in ‘It’s Complicated’ with Alec Baldwin. I think the Y, which is supposedly a champion of the arts, has behaved very crassly and is reinforcing the most philistine aspects of a culture that values celebrity and award shows over art.

And do *you* hear *that*, 92nd Street Y?? Just because your loser audience doesn’t want to hear about a crappy art fiction novel doesn’t mean you should kowtow to their complaints! How dare you attempt to reward people for wanting to hear about a remarkable comedy career and ground-breaking television shows when there is “art” and “artists” to talk about? Oh, I loathe you Deborah Solomon; you and people like you. I bet you don’t care about Justin Bieber’s and Tom Brady’s respective hair news, either.

Anyhow. This seems like a really weird story. Here’s a full review of the evening.


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