Some time ago, I was having a drink or three with my friend Fionn, and as we raised our glasses I insisted that a toast was in order.
“First toast is to the Queen,” says Fionn.
“Katherine Hepburn,” say I, not missing a beat.
We used that toast many times, but I've been living without the toast because we've been living without Ms. Hepburn. I've solicited friends' opinions about who qualifies as Queen of America. In deference to the peculiar traditions of American culture, she's most likely a film star, like Ms. Hepburn.
I've had Isabella Rossalini suggested, and she does have a regal quality, not least because she has become more beautiful with each passing year long beyond the span that would seem possible. But she is just not American enough. In recent discussions, Susan Sarandon has come up as a possibility: vividly public, perhaps not quite so regal, but very American.
But I think I'm close to declaring for Sigourney Weaver. For some reason, a blog post from John Holbo about the scene in Alien Resurrection in which she sinks a basketball by throwing it over her shoulder tipped me over the edge.
Apparently the shot was real. As Jean-Pierre Jeunet puts it: "Seegournay Wayver, you know, vaz so proud, to do evryzing hairself, she vanted absolutely to put ze ball inside ze basketball wizzout ze special effects. And I vas vary warried about zat because, OK, ve are going to make ze 200 takes." As the digital guy then explains, a little more clearly: "This shot was supposed to be digital, of course, because what Jean-Pierre wanted was to make an impossible throw. And Sigourney did it for real." How many takes? Six takes.
John's post is pretty fun for other reasons, too; he has some things to say about DVD commentary tracks.
Update: Peter Kurth of Dissident voice nominates Angelina Jolie.
Not only does America need a monarchy, but, in my opinion, it needs an absolute monarchy.
Not one of those squishy “constitutional” numbers they have in England, for instance, but an honest-to-God, autocratic, crack-the-whip, Russian-style despotism, with all power invested in a single person, whose will is law and who is, in the end, inseparable from the State itself.
And this person would have to be a woman, because, let’s face it, a woman as dominatrix is easier to sell.
Under Bush, most Americans have proved beyond a shadow of doubt that they don’t care a hoot about democracy, but those few remaining holdouts are a hard nut to crack, and only a woman with iron lips can do it.
But the real beauty of Angelina Jolie as queen of America is that her reign wouldn’t change a thing.
Not convincing. But Kurth does address an important point well.
I rush to assure you that, as queen, Angelina’s husband, Brad Pitt, would play no political role apart from Prince Consort and farm stud.