I woke suddenly in the middle of the night and, it being far too early to get up, did all the things you do to coax your brain back to bed, i.e. had a series of disconnected thoughts about things, but was caught short when I could not recall the name of an actress who had somehow slipped into the stream of semi-consciousness that I had hoped would lead me back to a state of slumber. Now, I have never seen any of this actress’ actual work — not her first film, for which she received an Academy Award nomination and which I had passed on due to a combination of Cameron Crowe fatigue and a disinclination to spend three hours watching anything that glorifies the middling arena rock of the Seventies, nor the one where she plays a magazine writer who has a certain amount of time to meet a guy and then have him break up with her, nor the one where she and Catwoman are best friends who try to ruin each other’s weddings. I’m sure she’s good at what she does, she just doesn’t tend to turn up in the kind of movies I go to see.
But I know who she is. I know that she was married to the dude from the Black Crowes and had a child with him. Also the dude from Muse. I know that she is the daughter of Goldie Hawn and some musician, but that she considers Kurt Russell, her mom’s longtime boyfriend, to be her real dad. I know that many New York sports/gossip writers consider her responsible for the New York Yankees’ 2009 World Series championship, because she was dating Alex Rodriguez, the game’s best-paid player, at the time and was somehow instrumental in his having a successful postseason. I know that her biological father was in a band called the… Something Brothers. The Holmes Brothers! Her name is Katie Holmes!
But no. Katie Holmes is the former “Dawson’s Creek” star who married Tom Cruise and had the baby with the name that sounds like the new iPhone assistant.
Here’s the thing: because of the ludicrous “career” I find myself in, I read a lot every day. I literally scan thousands of items throughout the course of the morning, and those are apart from the three local papers I actually look at cover-to-cover. Yesterday I read a long piece in the New York Review of Books which pretty fundamentally discredits Gretchen Morgeson’s disingenuous accusation — a favorite of conservatives, because it helps shift the blame from the financial sector to the state — that government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the real cause of the economic crisis, rather than an out-of-control banking industry that never saw a debt obligation it wouldn’t collateralize. In spite of its length, the article was clear, cogent and free of the kind of technical minutiae that often makes reading about finance such a chore. And yet I could not give you a simple summary of the thing, even after reading it again. But the actress? The one whom I’ve never seen act yet know more personal details about than I do most members of my family? I am willing to wager that even if you read considerably less during your day than I, you probably know just as many of those details. They are all around you, inescapable and permeating everything. They clutter up the space that could be better used for more important information about the way the world is really run and who is really running it.
And that’s why this whole “Occupy Wall Street” thing isn’t gonna work. Because Kate Hudson.