Workin’ for the Weekend #35: The Pinball Wizards, Megyn Kelly’s Shamrocks, and Helping Moynihan Find the Clitoris
Also: Catch Kmele debating race Monday night in NYC, if you can!
Some weekend roundups are bigger than others. Some weekend roundups’ mothers are bigger than other weekend roundups’ mothers…. Pour yourself a tall one, sit back, and enjoy. And a reminder to our new freebie subscribers (welcome!)—the always-worth-reading comments section, from which several of these links are harvested, is just an upgrade away….
* You may know my colleague Austin Bragg as the bearded, dead-eyed weirdo behind such Reason TV perennials as Great Moments in Unintended Consequences, Crime Squad, and What Should Have Happened at the _______ Hearings. You may also know Meredith Bragg as the quieter, smoother-faced brain behind much of what Reason TV has done over the years, in addition to being quite the indie musician. The rest of the world, beginning Friday, got to know the Brothers Bragg—Fifth Column listeners both!—as the creators of a new movie that The New Yorker just called “better than all ten of the Best Picture nominees” of 2022. The movie is Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game, and here’s a taste of Richard Brody’s review:
[“Pinball” has] unusual spectrum of artistic virtues that I found myself admiring—and admiring again, on a second viewing, purely for pleasure. It has a coolly confident yet tenderly fragile tone and a built-in, self-critical humor. It daringly reconstructs the recognizable past on a manifestly low budget. It has precisely calibrated and gleeful performances and a strong and wild yet fine-grained story, one that pulls the movie ahead vigorously but with winking digressions. In short, “Pinball,” written and directed by the Bragg brothers, Austin and Meredith, is the latest entry in the rare and precious genre of the pisser: a movie whose very existence is amazing because it dramatizes small-scale real-life events that have a vastly outsized historical power.
The real-life event in question is that time in 1976 when a struggling magazine writer and true-blue pinball aficionado named Roger Sharpe helped overturn pinball prohibition in New York by demonstrating to buttinsky politicians that it was a game of skill and not chance. From a good Christian Science Monitor feature, written by the also-familiar-with-Fifdom Stephen Humphries:
The often-comedic “Pinball,” available in select theaters and to stream starting March 17, is about the two great loves of Mr. Sharpe’s life. It recounts the writer’s budding romance with the woman who became his wife. It’s also about his obsession with the venerable arcade game. In a bold gambit to change New York’s law, Mr. Sharpe set up two pinball machines inside City Hall. He had one shot to demonstrate to city council members that it’s a game of skill. The movie is a classic story about the little guy standing up against an unjust system. […]
When Mr. Sharpe visited the set, he was struck by the brothers’ assured approach as they sculpted the details of each scene.
“I believe they have an incredibly brilliant future ahead of them,” he says.
* As mentioned two weekends back, Kmele this Monday night at the Village Underground in NYC is taking the “Yes” side in a live Intelligence Squared debate with New Georgia Project CEO Nsé Ufot on the question of, “Is America Too Obsessed With Race?” The debate is being moderated by Nick Gillespie (SD 72, #379), and I presume tickets at this point are scarce, but you know what they say about 80 percent of success, etc. It’s a safe bet there’ll be some nearby post-gaming, official or non-.
* Two-thirds of the Fifth (so more like 13.3% overall, amirite?) showed up for our monthly turn on The Megyn Kelly Show Friday, talking about what looks to be a Stanford rape hoax, the great Jussie Smollett re-enactment, DEI sad-faces, Kamala Harris’s absolutely cringe NCAA locker-room speech, and, of course, Moynihan’s eternal search for the clitoris. (“It's like the the ark of the covenant to me,” is an actual quote.) Here is the whole episode:
* Props to Allison Schrager for her star turn econsplaining the bank crisis in #398. Schrager’s 2019 book is An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk, which Nick Gillespie interviewed her about upon release.
* Members Only #156 ringer Nancy Rommelmann (#79, #198, #203) has been ramping up the Portland content over on her Substack in anticipation of another reporting trip and other long-term projects; encouragements no doubt welcome. Our favorite baker went on The Remnant podcast with Jonah Goldberg (#182) last month to talk all things Rose City, as she did (with me) 11 days back on Compound Media’s Mornin!! show w/ Joanne Nosuchinsky & Bill Schulz (#79, SD 72):
* Also referenced in M.O. #156 was my ancient (and very class-rageaholic!) Reason piece, “Song for Dan Rather: No critic could hate Diamond Dan more than he hated himself...and the rest of us.”
* Re: some of the insane Stanford stuff we talked about in #398 and w/ Megyn Kelly, beloved listener Gabrielle G directs our attention to this “absolutely epic Advisory Opinions episode” with Sarah Isgur and David French (#191, #325, #365).
* Ever-alert listener L Brown also points us to this Financial Times conversation between Gideon Rachman and former guest Nadav Eyal (#382) about the ongoing constitutional/political crisis in Israel, a subject we will likely take up soon.
* Comment of the Week goes to Terms of Service:
It is funny that you mentioned "Jingle All The Way." That movie sucks. Although I am biased because Arnold's stunt man stole my girlfriend, who was an extra in that movie.
I guess all is fair as I stole her from her boyfriend, who was a cop that I sold weed to.
She worked her way up to an Italian fashion designer boyfriend and I ended up with a wonderful wife that is not a sheisty bitch. I think I got the better deal.
And in honor of tonight’s elimination World Baseball Classic matchup between Mike “Captain America” Trout’s U.S. and A. squad and the scurvy socialists from Team Venezuela, the closing music is a favorite patriotic tune from that R.E.M. spinoff band, The Baseball Project:
You should have Matti Friedman on about Israel, or Lahav Harkov. Noa Tishbi who was on Maher last night was pretty great too. Or me if you want to not learn anything but have fun.
Serious question: do y’all think Jesse should give Katie the keys?