According to a new report, the roundly chilly response to James Franco’s Oscar hosting gig has hardly lessened his profile at Yale. In fact, the post-grad polymath — who is in the early stages of obtaining a Ph.D. in English from the Ivy League institution — was back on the East Coast mere hours after the Oscarcast ended, journalists in tow and mythology expanding by the hour.
“At 9 the next morning,” notes today’s NYT, “[Franco] was in a Starbucks in New Haven, hunched over a book and barely recognizable in a gray sweatshirt, but still wearing his tuxedo pants.” I mean, of course he was still in tuxedo pants. Just add it to the legend promulgated by Franco’s peers and faculty alike: (S.T. Vanairsdale, “Report From Yale: James Franco Still Likes Doing Things,” Movieline, 4 March 2011)
"journalists in tow and mythology expanding by the hour" is really good.
He, like Portman, speaks to our love of frenzied activity, of not sitting still, and routine daily acclaim; who will speak up for the benefits of leisure and contemplation, of great lasting deeds but perhaps-never-even-in-your-lifetime loud acclaim? (I hated seeing Crystal on stage -- an insult to Franco and Hathaway -- but it likely made me recall now that, unlike Franco, who wants you to know how much better he is than you [but not in any way you could ever pin him down on, of course] for being so unblanchedly able to reset to today's agenda even after yesterday's titanic undertaking, he was ready to admit spending good portions of time revisiting most of his jokes and their reactions the nights after his hosting the Oscars -- at genuine risk, we all noted, of making him seem needy and insecure -- affectable, injurable -- even though what he was surely just admitting to was as much just the kind of absolutely necessary processing of experiences we all need to do to actually grow from them).
Franzen tried, for years locking himself away from feedback while he tried to write true -- but despite all his isolation he never convinced with his finished products that he'd ever let himself out of the zeitgeist: a hutzpah that cows him and lowers him before his TRUE master and fellow isolationist, DeLillo. Gandalf's back again in a couple years -- maybe he'll do it. If not, perhaps just recall of the Shire, and therefore some also of the Inklings and their lifetime works.
Doesn't surprise me that Franco is not about to lose his charm amongst youth: THEY NEED to believe he can automatically reset after anything -- daring everyone reflecting on and obsessing over what he had already finished to risk in quick retrospect seeming laggard, strangely over-eager, and exposed -- so to believe their own resets are just as complete, provisioning, and other-balking. They identify with him too much to allow that he may have may have been substantively affected by this, which he likely was, and hence the prompt show of today's sufficient Starbucks study to ensure timely completion of tomorrow's ivy-league goals.