Saturday, July 30, 2011

James Lipton - Spectacularly Wrong

James Lipton has never been one of my favorite television personalities. It's not that he's annoying, just a bit pompous. Not that there's anything wrong with that. At least if your pomposity has some justification, like being right virtually all the time.

Last night, Lipton was a sort of host at the SF Symphony's night of movie music, part of its summer series. Two things happened that cemented my opinion of Lipton as a public personality. First, when he stepped on stage, he discovered his TelePrompter was not working. When he realized it was going to take more than a minute to get it operational, instead of chatting with the audience -- or ever greeting us -- he stood in stone silence as the tech crew assembled to get things running. Finally, after a few minutes, the conductor got the symphony playing something to fill the silence.

But the worst of his offenses came in the last of several commentaries about the music the symphony was playing. These were mostly interesting, but in his comments about "E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial," he spoke with great conviction that it was the "willpower" of Elliott and his friends that made the bicycles fly. Poppycock! It's clearly E.T.'s powers that gets the bikes airborne. He uses his powers earlier in the film to refresh a faded flower and to heal a cut on Elliott's finger. Plus, during that sequence, Spielberg puts the camera on E.T. to show his eyes narrowing in concentration. It's SO completely wrong-headed. I just can't imagine how he got it so wrong.

And this is my outlet for my indignation.