The Real-Life ‘Olivia Pope’ Got Pranked By George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush -- a known prankster -- pulled a fast one on the real-life Washington fixer who inspired ABC's hit "Scandal."

As anyone who's a "Scandal" fanatic knows, Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) is involved in a complicated and steamy love affair with President Fitzgerald Grant III (Tony Goldwyn). Pope, the show's main character, was inspired by Judy Smith, a real-life crisis management expert and co-executive producer of the show. In the early 1990s, Smith served as special assistant and deputy press secretary to Bush. The show is loosely inspired by many aspects of her biography -- but the affair is purely fictional.

Before the show premiered in spring 2012, Smith thought it would be a wise idea to inform her former employer that the plot line of the show would include Pope's affair with the president.

Speaking at a conference in Nantucket last week, Smith recalled that she had contacted Bush’s office and insisted on speaking with him “one on one.”

When Bush called Smith back, she was busy and could not pick up the phone. So he left her a message: “Love you. Want you. You left me! And by the way, this is the former leader of the free world. Call me.”

"So I called him back and said, 'See, this is why I'm calling you now. You need some talking points. You need to stay on message,'" Smith recounted.

"I'm going to confirm the affair," Bush replied, according to Smith. “I have young people working in my office now. They said I need to stay relevant. It’s good for my reputation.”

Watch Smith’s full account of the conversation above.
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The Worst Texting Crimes Guys Commit, According To Lisa Ramos

Lisa Ramos is making sure that you're sending the right message to the cuties on your contact list.
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Jimmy Fallon Says What We’re All Thinking About The ‘People You May Know’ Facebook Feature

During his "Thank You Notes" segment on "The Tonight Show" on Friday, Jimmy Fallon paid homage to possibly the most awkward Facebook feature there is.

"Thank you, 'People You May Know' feature on Facebook," he said, "for being the online equivalent of seeing an old friend in the grocery store and avoiding eye contact."

Other thank you note recipients included Dr. Dre, Attorney General Eric Holder, and dumplings, "for tasting way better than they sound."

Watch the full clip above.
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‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Episode 1 Recap: The Body Count Starts At Two

“How to Get Away With Murder” opens with a murder. No one is surprised.

After a dark and mysterious flash forward that features four 20-somethings whining about having killed someone, we get to the central force of the show: Professor Annalise Keating. Played by the magnificent Viola Davis, Annalise is fierce, authoritative, and yet shockingly vulnerable as a brilliant Criminal Law professor who is also one incredible defense lawyer. The show lives for her scenes, the physicality of her acting and the brilliance of her intonation.

A minute into Annalise’s first classroom appearance, it’s clear she’s ready to chew up and spit out Philadelphia University law student Wes Gibbins (Alfred Enoch from "Harry Potter"). Fresh off the wait list and doe-eyed, Wes shows up to the first day of class without doing his homework. The kid obviously never saw “Legally Blonde.”

Wes and his fellow students are tasked with helping Annalise with her latest case, defending a CEO's mistress from charges of attempted murder. The four students with the best defense ideas will get coveted spots at Annalise’s practice. And the top student gets what turns out to be the future murder weapon -- a miniature statue of Lady Justice.

Flash forward three months and four students (Wes, Connor Walsh, Michaela Pratt, and Laurel Castillo), are attempting to move a body across campus in a massive rug. They sweet talk a campus cop into thinking moving such a large rug in the middle of the night is normal, which accurately depicts the investigative abilities of most campus police.

Back in the classroom months earlier, Annalise lays out her fundamentals to winning her cases, which she puts into practice for the trial of the week. Through various deceptive means, Michaela helps discredit the witness, Connor illegally gets an email that introduces a new suspect, and Annalise herself buries the evidence by putting her love interest, Detective Nate Lahey, on the stand. Connor ends up winning the top student slot and Lady Justice, which is ironic considering it’s pretty clear the accused he helped set free is guilty as sin.

And as for that love interest, who Wes caught -- ahem -- servicing Annalise: he’s not her psychology professor husband, Sam. Because it wouldn’t be Shondaland if the main characters weren’t being unfaithful.

Due to their assistance in the courtroom or prowess in the classroom (or in Wes’s case, what he saw), Wes, Connor, Michaela, Laurel and C.O. John Bennett Asher Millstone land the (now) five spots at Annalise’s practice. They’ll be working with associates Paris Gellar/Amanda Tanner Bonnie Winterbottom and Frank Delfino. Annalise’s associates have plenty secrets of their own: Bonnie has the hots for Sam Keating, and Frank appears to be making moves on every coed who walks by (and eventually, Laurel).

While the premiere opened with a murder, the body count gets upped to two when a missing sorority girl, Lila Stangard, is found floating in her chapter’s water tank. Wes’s emo bartender neighbor, Rebecca, who we see fighting with the dead girl’s boyfriend, seems to have a few secrets to hide. But based on the final sequence, Annalise’s husband was most likely sleeping with the deceased. No one can keep their pants on in this show.

And as for that dead body the kids lugged into the wood and lit on fire? The ending shot of the episode reveals it’s Sam, Annalise’s husband. And all of this happened in the first episode.

Best line of the night goes to Annalise, as she’s pushing Wes to take the job at her practice: “You can spend [your life] in a corporate office drafting contracts and hitting on chubby paralegals before finally putting a gun in your mouth, or you can join my firm and become somebody you actually like.”

Three months into working at her firm, Wes and his partners in crime appear to have committed murder. That didn’t turn out quite as expected.

Odds and Ends:
  • According to the National Association for Law Placement, “Prospective employers and first year law students should not initiate contact with one another and employers should not interview or make offers to first year students before December 1.” Awkward. (h/t @carolynshanahan)

  • Does no law student wear their hair in a ponytail? Everyone has perfect hair for class?

  • So many Harry Potter Dean Thomas feels.

  • Did all four of them bludgeon Sam Keating to death? What, they took turns hitting him on the head with the statue?

  • No law professor has that good of a wardrobe.

  • And Asher is angling to be the Chuck Bass of 2014 -- who else rocks an ascot?


"How to Get Away With Murder" airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EDT on ABC.
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‘Transparent’ On Amazon Is Terrific And Belongs In TV’s Top Tier

"Transparent," which arrives Friday on Amazon Prime, is not just the best new show of the fall, it's one of the best new shows of the year.

Within the first few episodes, "Transparent" gracefully launches itself into television's top tier, and though Amazon has been dabbling in this realm for some time, it has finally found the program that will put its scripted offerings on the map.

What a lovely heart this show has, and what supple skills "Transparent" uses to explore the questions of identity and connection rolling around inside that wounded, hopeful heart. This is simply a great show.

Like so many bigger, brasher (and often blander) shows on traditional networks, "Transparent" has a hook. The show's not gimmicky per se, but there's an attention-grabbing story about gender that unfolds over the course of the first half-hour, one that you may already have read about.

When viewers first meet Jeffrey Tambor's character, he's Mort Pfefferman, a retired professor and the divorced father of three self-absorbed adult children. The show gradually allows the personalities of the various Pfeffermans (including Mort's ex-wife, Shelley, played by Judith Light) to reveal themselves, and that's one of "Transparent's" chief pleasures. Creator and director Jill Soloway ("Six Feet Under," "Afternoon Delight") has a keen eye for telling moments of human behavior and, thankfully, "Transparent" doesn't hammer points home with exposition and repetition. It observes.

The characters are so multi-layered and their stories so thoroughly tied to each other that "Transparent" achieves a pleasing denseness, but one of its signal achievements is that it breathes. This is the kind of story that can be told by media companies who are unmoored from most traditional commercial constraints: They can make television that feels artisanal, specific and organic in all the best ways.

"Transparent" ambles along, quietly building layers of characterization and gently poking into various layers of the Pfeffermans' relationships, but there is a well-constructed engine pulling the whole thing along. Unknown to the family, Mort has begun transitioning into Maura, and she is both terrified and overjoyed at the thought of re-starting life as the woman she has always felt herself to be.

There are many things to praise about "Transparent": Its pacing is assured and unrushed, and its characters reveal their messy humanity in a variety of ways -- some humorous, some ambiguous, some sad. But the positive response to the show begins with Tambor's performance, because none of "Transparent" works if viewers don't buy everything that Mort and Maura are going through. Handed the role of a lifetime, Tambor gives "Transparent" everything he's got, but he uses such restraint and such delicacy that Maura's hopes and fears might just break your heart.

Tambor is most well known, certainly in recent years, for his comedic roles on shows like "Arrested Development" and "The Larry Sanders Show," and it's fair to wonder if the actor chose to play up the more striking and attention-getting aspects of Maura's emergence. But Tambor is fantastically subtle here, and his ability to carry dramatic moments grew more impressive in each of the first four episodes. (The first season contains 10 episodes.)

Flashbacks show just how difficult it was for Maura to privately acknowledge her truths to herself when the children were young. Decades later, she's no longer tied to her former identities as a breadwinner, husband and educator, but she's still a parent, one who is coming to terms with a legacy that is mixed at best. There is an unfinished quality to the entire Pfefferman clan, and without making the question clumsy and overt, "Transparent" asks whether the secret at the core of the family prevented the Pfefferman kids from fully embracing their own identities as adults.

Critics often describe shows they like as "character-driven," but what does that even mean? It means that a show thinks one individual can be a universe: One person can be deep, contradictory, selfish, grand and surprising in any number of ways. Character-driven shows know that when shaggy, unfinished, evolving people (words that describe all of us) come into contact with each other, the results are unpredictable. As is the case with "Rectify," "Happy Valley," "Orange Is the New Black" and other wonderfully observational dramas that have come down the pike of late, this show is full of people who seem like people, not TV characters. That's not the only way for a show to approach its characters: I like melodramatic stories and outsized people as much as the next "Scandal" fan. But the array of strikingly detailed individuals in "Transparent" make the crop of characters on most of the new broadcast network shows seem even more pallid and forgettable by comparison.

The Pfeffermans are frustratingly myopic, but each has wonderful qualities too. The youngest, Ali (Gaby Hoffmann), can't get her life together at all, but she's the only sibling who pays attention to Ed, Shelley's second husband, who has dementia that prevents him from speaking. Sarah (Amy Landecker) is hypervigilant to the point of exhaustion (at one point, she wipes barbecue sauce off Maura's face, as if she was one of her kids), but she's genuinely and painfully torn about a secret that lies at the heart of her life. Josh (Jay Duplass) at first comes across as a classic Los Angeles hipster douchebro, but slowly, "Transparent" reveals his wounds and makes you wonder just how deep his damage goes.

Here's a character-driven Maura moment: In a flashback, Mort sits in his office and takes a bag from a nice department store from a desk drawer. He takes a colorful blouse from the bag and ponders it. Given what we know about Mort and Maura at that point in the show's narrative, the moment resonates in any number of ways (and the sub-plot's coda resonates even more). Who do we choose to be, what spaces are safe for our most private selves, can people every truthfully see themselves or the people around them? "Transparent" explores these questions with conscious intent and thoughtful energy -- and it's funny too, because life is just ridiculous sometimes, whatever your secrets or sadnesses.

Every single one of the characters in "Transparent" is in transition: They're all confronting truths in their lives -- some of them painful, some of them liberating, many of them both. What's astonishing about the show is how compassionately Soloway treats all of these people while essentially putting them under a microscope. Soloway doesn't handle the Pfeffermans with kid gloves; they're not saints or tragic figures. Those making "Transparent" are simply curious about these people and what they'll do next, and that curiosity is addictive.

One word of caution as you tackle the first season of "Transparent": Don't binge. There's a lot to process and savor here. Like Maura, take it slow.

Season 1 of "Transparent" premieres Friday, Sept. 26, at 9:00 a.m. ET on Amazon Prime.

My colleague Erin Whitney spoke to Jeffrey Tambor, Gaby Hoffmann and Jill Soloway about the show. I also interviewed to Soloway earlier this year; that discussion can be found here and in podcast form. Ryan McGee and I discussed "Transparent" in the most recent Talking TV podcast, which is here, on iTunes and below.



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Rachel McAdams Is Still Rumored For ‘True Detective’ Season 2

Reports that Rachel McAdams will star alongside Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn have reached stage-5 clinger status. Three weeks after McAdams was first attached to Season 2 of "True Detective" in a Variety report on Justin Lin's involvement, the venerable Hollywood trade has once again connected McAdams to the HBO series.

According to Variety, HBO has offered McAdams the female lead role in "True Detective." A representative for HBO told HuffPost Entertainment that they had nothing to confirm at this time; emails to McAdams' representatives were not immediately returned.

If McAdams does join "True Detective," it'll turn the show into a backdoor "Wedding Crashers" reunion. McAdams and Vaughn, who was confirmed as part of the show in an HBO press release this week, starred in the 2005 comedy. Fans on Twitter were quick to note the connection after Variety's story published on Thursday afternoon:
















In addition to Vaughn, Farrell and possibly McAdams, Variety notes that Taylor Kitsch could also play a key role on the new season of "True Detective." HuffPost Entertainment contacted Kitsch's representative for comment on the Variety story; this post will be updated if and when the respond.

For more on "True Detective" Season 2, check out our exhaustive rundown of its many rumored pairings. The full story on McAdams can be found at Variety.
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Charlie Sheen Wants To Return To ‘Two And A Half Men’

#Winning? More like #Confusing. Charlie Sheen confirmed to Ryan Seacrest that he's planning a return to "Two and a Half Men," but the rockstar from Mars may have spoken too soon.

While on Seacrest's radio show, Sheen said that he came up with the idea of a return to the CBS comedy, and the first step was to get over what happened in the past:

I said, "Let’s bury the hatchet, but let’s also put a bookend on this thing." I think I owe it to the fans. I owe it to myself. There’s an aspect of closure involved. I think it will be a a nice send-off. I have one idea, they have a couple others. We will get together soon and figure it out how that makes sense. But not just to honor what I did, but to honor what they did after I left. I think that’s important, too.


The only problem is that it appears producers don't seem to know much about this. Though Sheen has been talking about a potential "Two and a Half Men" return for months, Warner Bros. denied a TV Guide report that the actor has been in talks with producers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The studio had no comment on Sheen's latest remarks to Seacrest when contacted by HuffPost Entertainment.

Most remember Sheen's epic fallout with CBS and series creator Chuck Lorre in 2011. It was around that same time we learned the actor also has tiger blood and Adonis DNA.

For more from Sheen, head to Ryan Seacrest's site.
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Sarah Hyland Gets Restraining Order Against Ex Matt Prokop Following Assault Allegations

"Modern Family" star Sarah Hyland has filed a temporary restraining order against her ex-boyfriend Matt Prokop, according to court documents obtained by TMZ.

Hyland says her 24-year-old ex, whom she dated for five years before they split in August, choked her, pushed her and threatened her life, and her "Modern Family" co-star Julie Bowen was reportedly witness to the abuse.

According to the documents, Prokop allegedly pinned Hyland against a car during an argument about her wardrobe back in May, yelling, "c--t, c--t, c--t" and choking her.

"His grip was so tight that I could not breathe or speak. I was scared and in fear for my life," Hyland, 23, explains in the documents. She reportedly suffered injuries to her voice and had a "very sore throat following this event." Hyland also says she asked her TV mom Bowen to come to her house to help "peacefully end the relationship." According to TMZ, she purchased a plane ticket to send Prokop back to his hometown in Texas, but when he arrived to Hyland's home and saw Bowen, among others, he freaked out and allegedly "ran outside into the backyard and began screaming." Hyland claims Prokop threw a lighter at her, which is when Bowen stepped in and told her to get out of the house.

Hyland also details other threats Prokop made against her -- and her dog -- in the documents, saying he threatened to set one of her houses on fire. "[He] relentlessly bombarded me with vile, threatening and emotionally disturbing texts and voice mails including his own suicide threats," Hyland explains.

According to the actress, Prokop entered a rehab facility in August, but was released on Sept. 21. An L.A. judge has now granted Hyland a temporary restraining order against Prokop after the director of the rehab center contacted the judge and told her it would be in the best interest to do so because of Prokop's mental state and attitude toward Hyland. Prokop is now required to stay at least 100 yards away from Hyland and her dog at all times.

"On Sept. 19, 2014, Ms. Hyland obtained a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order against Matthew Prokop," Hyland's lawyer Lee A. Sherman of CTSC Law writes in a statement to The Huffington Post. "The documents filed speak for themselves. Out of respect for the court, the process and all parties, I have advised Ms. Hyland not to comment on the matter. We request that you respect the parties' privacy during this time."

The Huffington Post has reached out to Prokop's rep for a comment and will update this post if more information comes through.
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On and Off the Record with Graham Nash (In Conversation with Mr. Fish)

2014-09-23-Nash_OffOnRecord.jpg



In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.
-Vincent Van Gogh

It took me three years to finally drip all the way out of college and I doubt that I would've been able to do it without headphones. That's me on the D bus at Rutgers University with hair in my face, filthy black horn-rimmed glasses and a Walkman clamped onto my head like forceps tasked with the dubious job of pulling me from the supercilious hole of cynicism that I'd been gestating in ever since leaving high school. I'm listening to an unreleased Beatles song called Watching Rainbows. John Lennon is singing, "Shoot me! Shoot me! Whatever you do you gotta kill somebody to get what you want, you gotta shoot me! You gotta shoot me! Please shoot me!" and I'm deliberately not standing up to get off at my stop to go to my Tuesday afternoon class on expository writing where I'd be forced to remove my headphones and listen to a middle aged woman in sensible shoes lecture me on how to bow at the waist and square dance politely with her syllabus. Or that's me not getting off the G bus to learn about third-person thesis construction because I'm listening to CSNY sing Blackbird at the Fillmore East in 1970, or that's me not getting off the L bus to make tree-rubbings and collaborative scrap paper collages with girls in top-siders and digital watches because Bob Dylan is telling me how, "Disillusioned words like bullets bark as human gods aim for their marks, make everything from toy guns that sparks to flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark, it's easy to see without looking too far that not much is really sacred."

I was like a lot of other kids unsuited to the minty austerity of a traditional classroom education, having graduated 12th grade with an 'A' in art and a long line of solid 'D's in Don't give a flying fuck about anything else. Unless the information was unmanicured and told to me internally by my own voice, preferably with a cocked eyebrow and a shit-eating grin, I wasn't learning anything. Graham Nash, according to his omnibus autobiography, Wild Tales, out now in paperback, suffered the same impatience for gratuitous conformity and refused to accept the conventional spectatorship of life. "Once rock 'n' roll got under my skin, it was all over for me," he explains in his book. "Instead of listening to my lessons at school, I began doodling... Daydreams took over, and I pulled myself toward those dreams. No matter what they tried to teach me, I knew where I was headed. Nothing was going to derail my dreams." His was a life saved by saying fuck you to those least likely to comprehend the concept of deliberate and uncompromising self-preservation. Even as a child, Nash, knew enough about the existential toxicity of straight society's relentless demand for total acquiescence not to stand up and to lift the needle off the Everly Brothers 45 spinning inside his beloved Philips record player, for to do so would've resulted in him succumbing to the common trajectory of all the similarly fated lads around him: an abbreviated lifetime spent toiling in the Salford cotton mills or the coalmines of Manchester, his only reward for following the rules and coloring within the lines being a pitying Jesus on weekends, the demented satisfaction of an early death and scarcely a pot to piss in.

I recently met with the artist on a rooftop terrace bar overlooking New York City to talk about politics, radicalism, indecency, hicks and critics, Yoko Ono and what Joni Mitchell might remember about one of the most significant moments of his life. Here is a portion of our conversation.

***

FISH: Let's begin with your book, Wild Tales [A Rock & Roll Life]. I want to talk about how the book begins and how it ends.


NASH: All right.

FISH: It begins with the sentence, "It always comes down to the music," and it ends with, "It all comes down to the music," which are two different sentiments. Phonetically, both sentences serve beautifully as bookends, but when you consider the content, one communicates a conceptual idea and the other a literal observation.

NASH: You're the only person I've spoken with who noticed that.

FISH: Well, I think it's a lovely detail. You begin by introducing an idea that, if left alone, could be interpreted as trite and so broad that it's sentimental, and you end with a nod to the weightiness of your narrative about what music is and why somebody's life might come down to it. Was that intentional?

NASH: Most of the things we do as human beings are intentional, so, to answer your question, yes. I also love to have things unfold, which happens in music all the time. You can listen to a piece of music for months and suddenly say, "Holy shit! I didn't notice that before!" Life is like that.

FISH: Life is like that, but music and art are different. With life, you give yourself the opportunity to eventually notice things that have eluded you before because life is all around you. [Life is] inescapable and happens everyday, relentlessly, but art needs to be sufficiently interesting for you to want to look at it again and again, or, with music, to listen to it again and again, because it is escapable and will only become 'all around you' if [it's] shared by enough people.

NASH: Unless you're creating it yourself - then it's all around you, fuck everybody else, it doesn't matter what anybody thinks.

FISH: Point taken.

NASH: Have you seen the Sigmar Polke exhibition at MoMA?

FISH: No.

NASH: Go see the Sigmar Polke exhibition at MoMA. It'll blow your mind, the amount of work he produced, the range. As a new painter, myself, it absolutely blew my mind.

FISH: New painter? I feel like I've read about your artwork before - I know your photography.

NASH: Well I did two paintings when I was with Joni [Mitchell], but that was forty-odd years ago and I never did anything since- except that book I started in '74, which was just me drawing to save my own sanity. But painting, in large scale? The ones I did with Joni were little.

FISH: A reflection of how big the place was in Laurel Canyon where you painted them-

NASH: More a reflection of how big my mind was at the time.

FISH: How committed are you to these new, large scale paintings? Are you losing yourself in the process in a similar way to how you create your music and photographs?

NASH: Absolutely, but it's different. With music, apart from the writing, I'm involved with other people, whether I'm making a record or doing something live, there are always other people involved. With painting there's nobody there but me and I don't give a fuck about what other people might think about it. I don't even know what I'm doing half the time, but I'm having a great time. And there's a certain focus that I get into when I paint that is unlike anything else. I can lose myself completely and it's a wonderful feeling. I love to be invisible - I don't want to stick out. I don't want to be [David] Crosby who can't walk 10 feet without being recognized.

FISH: That's what's so sacred about being a poet, isn't it? As a poet, whether we're talking broadly or specifically, you feel an obligation to avoid disturbing the moment that you're trying to write about and to remain invisible and not influence the emotional physics of what's happening around you. It's about being a witness and not an instigator. Plus, you let your guard down when you're inside your own head - there's less bullshit when you're your only audience and it's easier to tell ugly truths.

NASH: Right.

FISH: I'd argue that that's where most protest songs come from, from allowing that private moment of real outrage to inspire the creation of a piece of art that can then be shared with the public. Do you find that with a song like [Almost Gone] The Ballad of Bradley Manning, for instance, that when you perform it live and people walk out that they are reacting out of some obligation to not publically shame the United States government, where if you played the same song to them in private they'd more likely agree with your opinion about the injustice [of Manning's torture and imprisonment]?

NASH: I'd really like to talk to the people who walked out on us during our 2006 [CSNY Freedom of Speech] tour because we criticized George Bush and we sang that song Let's Impeach the President. I'd like to know what they think now - "What the fuck do you think about the Bush Administration and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and all those fuckers now, who lied us into the war and killed over a million people; what the fuck do you think about them now?" And, with all due respect, if you buy a ticket to a CSNY concert, what the fuck do you expect?

FISH: They were expecting a nostalgia show. [They] were not expecting you to behave just as you always have: as a relevant group dealing with contemporary issues.

NASH: I feel two ways about it. I respect their opinion [and] I don't need for them to agree with us. They have a right to walk out, but to walk out over that song - the song about the President lying? We didn't sing that song until about two and half hours into our show and that's the one that really pissed them off. None of the songs that Neil did about soldiers and how their deaths affect the family and how brave they are to go serve in a war that they might not agree with pissed them off. But to say we should get rid of George W. Bush for lying, they walk out.

FISH: I've always believed that the greatest threat to our survival is our manners and how dedicated we are to being polite.

NASH: I don't think people are polite enough!

FISH: I'm talking about the kind of politeness that prevents people from engaging in conversations about politics and religion because it's somehow inappropriate to challenge political or religious bullshit in certain settings. It's like trying to talk about politics or religion at Thanksgiving dinner. For most people it's never going to happen, because there is a time and a place to talk about Bradley Manning and that isn't it - it would be too impolite.

NASH: (Laughing) Got it.

FISH: Decency, in that case, is utterly indecent because it prevents people from engaging in some very important conversations about who we are and how we behave as a species.


NASH: You're right - maybe those [performance] halls are our Thanksgiving table and maybe we're wrong to say what we say there-

FISH: No! That's the power of art and that's your responsibility as [artists], to provide people with an opportunity to think and feel things that polite society [seeks] to censor.

NASH: At least [those people who walked out on us] felt something, even though I disagree with them. At least they understood the point of what we were trying to say. At least they [had] opinions that they [felt] strongly about, God bless 'em.

FISH: And maybe, at least for some of them, their walking out inspired some conversation later on that went deeper than the kneejerk patriotism that told them to leave. Why did you walk out? "Because they said the President lied!" Well, he did lie. "Well, gee, I guess he did-" And that's the beginning of contemplation, which, in a way, gets us back to your book. There is a lot of emphasis placed on you and others looking for and finding harmonies together and the more [I] read the more [I realized] that your appreciation of harmony had less to do with music and more to do with camaraderie and a humanitarian yearning for how best to live a life. It's a very intimate study of how an artist thinks and feels.


NASH: Sure, [my] work is not just about what goes on at the Thanksgiving table, but also what goes on in the bedroom and it's personal. I can't speak for anybody else. I only know what I can do, or what I try to do. People are always asking me who the new protest singers are, or, more to the point, where the new protest singers are and I can't speak to that. Again, I only know my own passion for what I do. I am not responsible for other artists.

FISH: But you are in a position to speak to how art distribution has changed over the years, specifically how art is consumed by the culture. You have a terrific line in your book that addresses how perverse and insidious corporate [infiltration] of the industry has become, like when you compare the first Woodstock [Festival in 1969] with the 1989 version and you say that the later version was all about, "...corporations realizing that half a million people could be customers."

NASH: That's right. When you put half a million kids on a flat piece of concrete and you charge them $12 for a bottle of water, knowing full well that they'll need to buy it, that's cold.

FISH: Which, I guess, begs the question that so many people ask you about where the new protest singers are. Let me ask it: Where are the new artists, the ones who are being brought up in a world that is trying to normalize this new paradigm of corporate mega-control of everything, who should be inspiring a dissident, radicalized way of approaching the issue?

NASH: That's the point, is it radical? Is saying 'fuck, no!' to a corporation radical? I don't think it's radical at all. I think it's just common sense.

FISH: I'm glad you said that because I've always thought that the single most important feature of your work, particularly your work with CSNY, is your attempt to subvert the traditional idea of what is and what isn't political.

NASH: Yeah.

FISH: Most people, for reasons that I mentioned before, won't engage in political conversations with strangers, usually because it's considered impolite, but also because most people don't feel smart enough to get involved. It's the same thing with sports. I know the rules of baseball, for instance, and I've played the game before, but I don't follow any particular team and I don't give a shit about stats and I don't have a stake in which team wins over another, but if you and somebody else are engaged in a discussion about the players and why one is better or worse than another based on your team loyalty or statistics or whatever I'm shut out of the conversation. It's the same with people who have party loyalties and talk about politics like it's a sport. Those people are only interesting to their friends and nothing is being debated. You [and Crosby, Stills and Young] make the subject of politics feel safe in other peoples' mouths.

NASH: That's nice.

FISH: It's important! It's important to have an opinion about war, about Bradley Manning, about the NSA, about really substantive issues that should be talked about outside of Sunday morning circle jerks.

NASH: I agree, I agree.

FISH: So, yeah, become a musician, put those politics into songs and make those songs so terrific that people will want to listen to them over and over and over again, be inspired to share them with tons of people and suddenly saying 'fuck you' to the government won't be so controversial.

NASH: That's what we do.

FISH: And speaking of controversial issues, for decades now there's been a famous debate going on between you and [Stephen] Stills about the specifics of where [CSN] first harmonized together. Stephen says that it happened at Mama Cass's house in Laurel Canyon and you say that it happened at Joni Mitchell's house down the road.

NASH: I know that's where it happened.

FISH: I find it plausible, though, that, according to what I've read, Stills was too intimidated to play and sing anything in front of Joni Mitchell.

NASH: And my answer to that is that when you write a song like Helplessly Hoping the first thing you want to do is play it for a beautiful woman because it's fucking brilliant. Why would you not want to play that song, especially if you want to get laid?

FISH: Have you talked to Joni about it? What does she remember about [that night]?


NASH: That's a good question! I've never spoken to Joni about that - maybe I should.

FISH: Call her - call her right now and find out! We could put the whole controversy to bed with one phone call.

(Nash goes through phone contacts and looks for Joni Mitchell's assistant's number. No luck.)

NASH: I'll get an answer to that question and let you know.

FISH: I'd love to find out.


NASH: Yeah, me too! I'd like to know what she remembers!

(A few days later, Graham forwarded an email from a close friend of Mitchell's which stated: 'Well I finally had the opportunity to ask Joni about the first time CSN sang together. She said she thought it was at her house, she remembers that there was a gasp because all of you were so surprised at the remarkable harmony you three created. She said she knows that Stephen thinks it was a Cass's house, but his memory during that time was not always an accurate recollection of what had occurred.')

FISH: Let's talk about the recent release of the 1974 box set, which contains music from [the CSNY] 1974 reunion tour. What I find remarkable about those recordings is how you're able to maintain that intimate Laurel Canyon feel on songs like Our House and Lee Shore and Helpless, despite the fact that you're playing to tens of thousands of people, while other tracks, such as Chicago and Ohio and Black Queen, are absolutely blistering and raw.

NASH: That's why I chose that image for the cover [of the box set]. I showed the image to Neil and told him that this is what I want to see for the cover because for me that sums it all up in a twentieth of a second. And he said, "Nah, absolutely not." And I asked him why not and he said that it looked like we were aggrandizing ourselves, that we are pumping ourselves up too much. And I said, "Okay - so we didn't do that. We didn't do that for 31 shows, we didn't play to 80 thousand people - that's a Photoshop?" And he said, "You have a point."

FISH: The other thing that is captured perfectly by the recordings is - when do you think the 1960s really ended?

NASH: Nineteen-seventy ... four.

FISH: Precisely.

NASH: When Nixon left.

FISH: And the Vietnam War ended, which is what also makes the [1974] recordings historically interesting. Very similar to Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue in '75, your tour in '74 definitely signaled a shift from young idealism into something harder and world weary and ... I wouldn't necessarily say masculine-

NASH: It's definitely a coming of age sound and we were ballsy - we were a ballsy band. Take, for instance, the song by Neil, Goodbye Dick, which lasts a minute and a half and was only ever done once. Me and David and Stephen never heard it before he did it live in front of us. I had also written a song one morning [during the tour] for Calli Cerami, my girlfriend at the time, that I wanted to do in front of I don't know how many thousands of people and you can hear it on tape. I'm saying, "I wanna sing my song!" And Stephen's yelling, "What are the chords, Willie?!" And I'm saying, "Well, you go from D to B-flat minor, I think, and I don't know what the name of this chord is but it goes like [this]..." and we do the song. Now that's a fucking ballsy band.

FISH: That's the same spontaneity that you had when you played on the BBC In Concert series with David [Crosby] in 1970. It's obvious that you guys had smoked a ton of weed and came out with no set list or any idea of what you were going to do and it was brilliant.

NASH: (laughing) You're right, you can tell from the tape that we were completely unrehearsed.

FISH: And, as a result, the immediacy and the ease of the performance could not be better.


NASH: We were very high, that's how it was.

FISH: I'd also argue that the [CSN] Demos record that you released in 2009 is among the best music you've ever put out for the same reason, not because you were high when you recorded them, but more because of the spontaneity and the unrehearsed quality of the songs. I think that some of the demos are better than the official versions.

NASH: There's something about demos - you can't beat them. They're usually recorded within an hour of when the song was created and there's something pure about them that can't be duplicated later. Often times there's a syndrome when you're in the studio and you're chasing the sound of the demo and there's a certain point when you say, "Fuck! We can't beat this!" And then you decide that maybe it's time to move your silly little 2-track over and overdub some drums or whatever.

FISH: I know that [John] Lennon was something of a collector of what he called "pirated" Beatle recordings, which were just bootlegs, the sort that Dylan now releases as legitimate music through his Bootleg Series. Did you ever get into collecting pirated recordings of your work or anybody else's?


NASH: Me and my friend, Dan Curland - who has a great vinyl record store (Mystic Disc) in Mystic, Connecticut - we do have a huge collection of bootlegs. But do I collect them to listen to? No.

FISH: Are there any plans to release more CSN demos?

NASH: Well, there are a lot more to release for sure, but at the moment, having spent the last four-and-a-half years working on [the 1974 box set], I'm kind of done with CSN music for a while. I'm working on a couple of very interesting albums right now, one with me and Crosby singing with a bunch of other people, plus there are the jazz concerts we did with Wynton Marsalis right here at Lincoln Center.

FISH: How was that experience?


NASH: At one point [while playing with Marsalis] Crosby says, "Hey, we're playing with the grownups!" - and he's seventy-two.

FISH: Wow.

NASH: Yeah, I'll never be able to finish all that I want to do - hopefully.

FISH: Having been around for a while now, what kind of perspective can you offer as to how the culture has changed, particularly how the younger generation deals with its role in influencing politics?

NASH: About twenty-years ago I was asked to do a couple speeches at colleges and the first one was at Kent State.

FISH: And when was this exactly?

NASH: This was '85, somewhere around '85. And I asked [the students] about [the Kent State massacre] and none of them knew much about it. So I explained to them that there is a history of political change coming from universities - it came from the Sorbonne in Paris, it came from Berkeley, it came from Columbia, it came from students who were getting fucking pissed off and speaking their minds. And I said, "The fact that you're at Kent State and you don't know what I'm talking about is appalling to me!" It upset me greatly. I could understand if I was at Georgetown University, but this was fucking Kent State!

FISH: I think people at Georgetown are responsible to know what happened at Kent State, too, quite frankly. That said, whose responsibility is it to inform students of events like the shootings at Kent State - specifically of events where innocent life was lost at the hands of state power?

NASH: It's everybody's responsibility! We have to all keep reminding each other of what happened because there's such an incredible rate of forgetfulness in this country. The headlines change everyday and people are expected to care just as much about Justin Bieber's fucking monkey as they do about the missing Malaysian airline - right? There's very little focus on the history of how we got to where we are.

FISH: Is it because the fractured narrative that we're fed [by the media] is preventing us from contemplating our fate and reflecting on yesterday and comprehending who we really are and where we're headed?

NASH: Absolutely - we're too busy with our Google glasses trying to get porn to give a shit about much of anything else.

FISH: Let's take a minute to talk about some of the people who were NOT in your book, starting with Pete Townshend and The Who.

NASH: I have great respect for Pete. He's an incredibly important member of this musicians' society. He's a man who tries his best to speak truth. I didn't read his autobiography, though I'd like to - I'm a fan! I liked [The Who] back before they were The Who, when they were The High Numbers on Ready, Steady, Go! in England.

FISH: What about Leonard Cohen?

NASH: Obviously, Leonard is a great writer. There's a certain part of us all that writes to get laid, but Leonard is in a class by himself. (Laughs) No, but he is a brilliant poet and a very serious man and I'm happy for the amazing resurgence he's had. He never did play to the Royal Albert Hall and fill it, but he's doing that now and that's fantastic. Fuck, he's older than me!

FISH: You mention Joan Baez [in your book] but you don't talk about her music.


NASH: I've never been a great admirer of Joan. I understand her place in history and I understand her sense of purity in terms of voice, but her voice does nothing for me. I'm probably opposite to a lot of men but she just doesn't make me cry like Aretha does.

FISH: Have you ever heard her version of the Phil Ochs song There But for Fortune?

NASH: No.

FISH: That makes me cry.

NASH: I need to hear that, because I have great respect for her as a musician but her voice doesn't do it for me. Send it to me.

FISH: Brian Wilson.


NASH: I've never met Brian. I have the ultimate respect for him. I think the man is a genius, an absolute fucking genius. I sorry that he got waylaid there when he did, but I can understand how a person might collapse under the pressure of being a genius and all your peers knowing that you're a fucking genius. He's written some of the greatest songs in the world, most when he was just a kid.

FISH: You mentioned in your book how, when you first came to New York, you hit a bunch of record stores in the Village and picked up some Lenny Bruce records.


NASH: Yeah.

FISH: Did you ever have any interaction with Bruce?

NASH: Nope.

FISH: Never saw him perform?

NASH: I never saw him perform, no. I think David [Crosby] did, a couple of times. But to be crucified for saying the word 'fuck' and talking about tits and ass and rocking the boat is tragic.

FISH: And assuming that the 1st Amendment had functionality, which he did.

NASH: Justice doesn't really exist.

FISH: Where were you when John Lennon was going through his immigration troubles in the mid-70s? I ask because you became an American citizen without a hassle and Lennon spent years fighting Nixon and the FBI-

NASH: And John Mitchell, right. No, I didn't have any interactions with John when he came to the States. All my dealings with him were in England. He was an interesting guy. He always had this underlying anger and, oddly enough, an underlying insecurity about who he was.

FISH: I know that Crosby spent some time with him during his famous Lost Weekend in LA - did he keep in touch with him? I know that he hated Yoko.

NASH: Well, in many ways, Crosby's stupid. How can you hate Yoko? She saved [Lennon's] life and he really loved her. How can you hate Yoko Ono, that's just a silly thing to do. You can disagree with her and not like her music, but hate? That's way too strong a word. She blew my mind - I saw her about ten years ago. I was at some Grammy event here in New York and she and I were at the same table and she looked over at me and said, "Thanks for the ride."

FISH: What does that mean?


NASH: When [The Beatles] were doing Sgt. Pepper John had to stay to do overdubs and she wanted to go home so I drove her home. So when she said 'thanks for the ride' I knew exactly what she was talking about, it was wild! After all that time! (Laughs) Thanks for the ride.

FISH: So, just to bring us full circle, let me ask you this. If, like you say, 'It all comes down to the music,' are you confident that we've taught our children well the right chords to play and the right harmonies to share and the right combination of humility and courage to be able to sing together?

NASH: My son, Jackson, runs a blog called Superforest and in one of the articles that he wrote he talks about something that I'd forgotten about. When he was about 12-years-old I took him to the movies and we went to take a piss right before the movie and the bathroom was just disgusting so I cleaned it. He never forgot that. In other words, the only teaching that we can do is to lead by example.

FISH: And there's lots and lots of shit to clean up - always.


NASH: Right on.
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Ken Jennings Of ‘Jeopardy!’ Fame Tweets Awful Wheelchair ‘Joke’

Ken Jennings may have won big with fans on "Jeopardy!," but his latest tweet may lose him a lot of followers and respect.

Known on Twitter for his smart and snarky tweets, Jennings tweeted an apparent "joke" on Monday that mocked people in wheelchairs:




It is unclear if Jennings' account has been hacked, but his followers have already tweeted their disgust at the 40-year-old television personality and author:













HuffPost Entertainment contacted Jennings to see if he had any comment on the tweet; this post will be updated if and when he responds.
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