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Chat Room Review of America: A Tribute to Heroes

We almost didn't watch. We thought this show might be sick-making. Watching celebs give statements about their feelings on entertainment shows immediately after the bombing had been too much to take. We might be website-carrying members of a celebrity obsessed country, but at this point we really did not care how celebrities FELT! But this telethon turned out to be moving and extremely well-done. Finally, after umpteen benefits and pleas from Bob Geldof and Quincy Jones through the years, celebrities really checked their egos at the door! They actually did clerical work--they manned the call center (even Jack Nicholson was answering calls, causing great excitement for one obsessive fan known as Coolia)!

We gathered with loved ones in our respective cities: Gayle and her husband Travis in Chicago; Mary in PA; Traveling Jam in Arizona with her sister and brother-in-law; Julie, Molly, Alyssa, and Nova in Queens. And we gathered in the Ape Culture chat room to record our impressions of the event.

Coolia = Julie Wiskirchen
Nerdia = Mary Ladd
Gee-So = Gayle Soberg
TravelingJam = Traveling Jam
Nova = Nova Gutierrez
Alyssa = Alyssa Gutierrez
Molly = Molly Denver

[Fri Sep 21 20:00:38 EDT 2001] gee-so: american

[Fri Sep 21 20:00:49 EDT 2001] coolia: lee greenwood fan

<coolia> what up gee so

<gee-so> julz, you there? who's all wit ya?

<coolia> i'm here with nova and alyssa

[Fri Sep 21 20:01:27 EDT 2001] nerdia: wondering where cher is tonight

<gee-so> is this a new song springsteen wrote?

<gee-so> i like the somber beginning with candles and everything. properly respectful

<coolia> i have no idea, we were just wondering that. bruce is even crying

<gee-so> travis KNOWS bruce springsteen and he thinks it is

<nerdia>Bruce Springsteen looks haggard and peaked. But this man is a poet. They tend to look like that.

<gee-so> uh oh, juls, your favorite person

<coolia> Ugh. The brilliant Tom Hanks. he's acting right now. give him an oscar.

<nerdia> Tom Hanks is annoying. He talks like a voice-over all the time. But I liked what he said about merely being an artist and about honoring real heroes....actors are over-valued. How come poets are never over-valued?

<gee-so> stevie wonder! is everyone going to write new songs?

<coolia> i hope not. i want to hear some hits

<coolia> nova is eating hummus. that's so unamerican

<gee-so> what's jack nicholson gonna do tonight?

<coolia> jack's gonna do a lap dance on calista flockhart

<gee-so> why? will he mistake her for his own skin and bones sweetheart, lara flynn boyle?

<coolia> you know only U2.com mentioned jack..no other reports. i'm not getting my hopes up.

<gee-so> don't worry, it's a last minute production.

<coolia> they might mean for him to be a surprise.

<nerdia> Look! Jack Nicholson! He's standing by on the phones. That is the funniest thing I've ever seen. Between this and the Shining documentary--all my illusions of Jack-seriousness are busting up. Look Alec! Whoopee! Adam Sandler!

<gee-so> julie, call right now!

<coolia> ohmigod. There he is. can i call and keep hanging up til i get jack? i guess that wouldn't be very patriotic or charitable, would it?

<gee-so> they're all just talking to their friends. they have regular folks actually taking pledges. you just know it.

<coolia> with my luck, whoopi would answer and start talking about her favorite entenmann's

<gee-so> still, when would regular folks ever have a chance like this to call up and talk to real live celebs? somebody call and pledge. let's see for sure.

<coolia> that was a really good strategy to generate donations by combining peoples urgent need to help during this crisis with their rabid love of celebrities. was it you who guessed earlier today that celebs would be in the phone bank?

<gee-so> yep. i didn't think they'd actually do it though.

<coolia> you're like miss cleo

<gee-so> u2 is awesome. broadcasting from london. i love them. almost as much as chrissy loves them. but mine is a passive love

<nerdia> U2 look collectively peaked too. I find their performance inspiring. I really do.

<gee-so> juls? are you calling jack?

<nerdia>Look ! Al Pacino on the phones! How dreamy! I wish this were a phone sex fund raiser now!

<gee-so> i wish kelsey grammar could do dubya's speeches

<nerdia> Nice segment on the Muslim-American kids. this is very effective. we suck that we have to tell ourselves not to pick on Muslim kids. we so utterly suck.

<coolia> tom petty = hoosier. what's with the beard? he looks like an allman brother

<nerdia> He looks pretty fierce into the camera...like he's as mean as hell, if those terrorists are watching!

<gee-so> i'd rather hear johnny cash sing his song for him

<gee-so> stop showing close-ups of him! i'm scared. we should drop thousands of photos of tom petty into Afghanistan

<gee-so> god these stories are amazing. no matter how many i hear, they get me every time

<nerdia> Faith Hill reminds me, where has Shania been all year?

<gee-so> enrique iglesias can be my hero. hubba hubba

<nerdia> Son of Iglesias! What are you singing? That's a love song, you ninny!

<alyssa> I'm obsessed with enrique

<coolia> we're all about to cry here after those stories and now neil young

<nerdia> Neil Young singing "Imagine": this is almost perfect...a great performance. No one else could sing this John Lennon song and not sound and look lame. Where Neil switches the pronoun is so effective and humbling: "Imagine there's no possessions...I wonder if you can!" I LOVED it!

<gee-so> travis says one of the major radio conglomerates has banned its stations from playing "Imagine" (one of about a hundred)

<coolia> along with "Sunday Bloody Sunday." why ban "Imagine" though?

<gee-so> i'm telling you, those stories get you

<coolia> even the escape stories get me, like that blind man was on larry king last night with his dog...the dog led him down from the 78th floor

<gee-so> i hope someone compiles a book of all the stories

<coolia> molly's on her way. she had a manicure appt

<gee-so> i have to laugh at that. it seems almost surreal to imagine new yorkers going to beauticians and stuff right now

<coolia> life goes on. rudy said go spend money.

<coolia> is that stevie nicks? cher? no, its alicia keys

<gee-so> who's that singing pink floyd?

<coolia> fred durst of limp bizkit and the singer of goo goo dolls

<nerdia> "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd. This is GREAT! Perfect, off-the-beaten-song choice.

<gee-so> travis isn't convinced. he asks, "weren't the goo goo dolls formed by the drummer of nirvana?"

<coolia> no, thats Foo Fighters. foo not goo

<coolia> nova bought an issue of soldier of fortune

<gee-so> why ever would she do that?

<coolia> she wants to get a gas mask

<gee-so> well, she IS contributing to the economy. just don't wear it in public and add to the paranoia

<alyssa> Here's Billy Joel. Is he going to add to his "we didn't start the fire" song?

<gee-so> great idea!

<nerdia> "New York State of Mind": perfect song for Billy to do, but I wish he would have just sang the damn song. Don't try to jazz it all up. The song does all the work. He tries too hard. Nice to see the old band together again, though.

<coolia> i'm going to buy this telethon cd

<coolia> i wonder what the odds of getting a celebrity are if you call?

<gee-so> try it and find out

<gee-so> i hope all these celebrities are not just donating their performances. i hope they are dipping into their own considerable millions.

<coolia> someone shouldn't be wearing that outfit....

<gee-so> dixie chunks

<nova> that dixie chick should be a lane bryant model. She's pretty, just a big girl.

<gee-so> i feel robbed, that as a gen-u-ine country girl, i never learned to play the fiddle

<nova> Dave Matthews. All the frat boys are calling now.

<gee-so> don't. like. him.

<gee-so> julie, call jack

<coolia> phone delays may occur. we're drinking cider here. i'm working up my nerve.

<gee-so> you need something stronger than that. someone get her some vodka or something.

<coolia> that haircut of Sarah Jessica Parker's was a mistake

<gee-so> i disagree. i think it's been fifteen years in coming

<coolia> look at how happy jack looks! he's chatting. do you think he'd have phone sex with me?

<gee-so> if you told him you weighed 82 pounds

<coolia> mariah doesn't sound a bit like someone who's had a nervous breakdown.

<nerdia> Liked Mariah doing "Hero." She looks like such a normal person (who loses her mind from time to time). She looks good as a fleshier diva. I like where she let the backup singers sing "Survive"...that was nice.

<coolia> ray romano coulda dressed up a little

<gee-so> classic bon jovi. real american stuff

<coolia> i'm relieved they're not doing "wanted dead or alive." I've seen that Bin Laden wanted poster on some SUVs around here along with the flags.

<gee-so> i'm singing along the way it's supposed to sound, not all ballady.

<gee-so> see, even that prissy city girl can fiddle

<coolia> i have to say this is really tastefully done, this whole show.

<gee-so> yeah. not at all what i expected. i'm actually enjoying it

<coolia> jack really seems to be enjoying himself too.

<gee-so> a lot of them do

<gee-so> no madonna yet. i'm very disappointed in her.

<coolia> she donated a whole concert, isn't that enough?

<gee-so> no, it isn't. she's the quintessential new yorker!

<coolia> she's from detroit!

<gee-so> she's old enough now to have lived in ny longer than detroit. given that--you and molly and nova wouldn't be real new yorkers then

<coolia> she's a citizen of the world. remember? junior? are you there? this is madonna. call me in miami.

<gee-so> melanie griffith should do a small bit from working girl

<gee-so> look, they're passing phone calls to different people!

<coolia> its not fair!

<gee-so> you can call too you know. if you call and donate one hundred dollars, i pledge that i will give you twenty of that hundred. see if molly and nova and alyssa want to go in

<coolia> what? do you have to give $100 to talk to a star?

<gee-so> then they know you're for real. not just a drunk fan taking advantage of a national tragedy.

[Fri Sep 21 22:38:42 EDT 2001] TravelingJam: desert rose

<coolia> well its about damn time

<TravelingJam> I made it guys! sooory... my sis was on the phone.

<gee-so> Traveling Jam, tell julie to call jack

<coolia> doesnt your sis understand the importance of journalism?

<gee-so> did your sister call a celebrity?

<coolia> i'm dialing now

<TravelingJam> dude, ever since neil young I've been crying.

<gee-so> good on ya juls!

<coolia> its busy

<TravelingJam> doesn't it say at the bottom of the screen "delays may occur"??

<gee-so> keep giving it the old notre dame try

<TravelingJam> so what have i missed?

<coolia> i have to use my cell phone since i'm online

<TravelingJam> can i ask why there were no moments of silence during Bosnia, Ethiopia etc.?

<coolia> paul simon! we saw him at ND

<TravelingJam> he's cool.

<coolia> here in the queens telethon viewing room, we're arguing about flag overload. molly likes it. that much nationalism scares me.

<TravelingJam> we are the only country in the world who worships the flag

<gee-so> i like it too. it'll wear off. but at least it unites people.

<TravelingJam> i think the energy is misplaced.

<gee-so> where should it go? into terrorizing mosques? i think it's a healthy outlet

<TravelingJam> No, but promoting peace--the candle vigils, volunteering to help, donate blood

<coolia> its an injury to the whole civilized world, its not just about us. our arrogance in naming things like "operation infinite justice" is why they hate us.

<TravelingJam> I think the US is a pretty united place already. compared to other places i"ve been.

<gee-so> no it isn't

<TravelingJam> but we always pull together no matter what the crisis

<gee-so> we're all united in our materialism. but we have no tolerance for each other

<coolia> i cant get through to jack. it's just busy

<gee-so> and the flag helps to pull people together in times of crisis! it was born of that.

<TravelingJam> i think you'll have a tuff time getting through to jack

<gee-so> don't give up!

<coolia> i don't mind the flag so much. it's the souvenirs that i mind, the t-shirts and crap.

<TravelingJam> I just don't get it is all. I've never been into the flag, and I'm still not.

<TravelingJam> souvenirs??

<coolia> on every corner in nyc there is a t-shirt stand

<gee-so> yeah. i saw t-shirts for the first time the other day and stormed into the store to tell them they should be ashamed of themselves. but then saw they were donating the proceeds

<coolia> well, most of these street corner vendors aren't donating it. they're making money off it. I don't mind the plain patriotic ones, but i saw one that had the towers on it and said "i cant believe i got out!"

<TravelingJam> YOU'RE KIDDING!?!?!

<gee-so> that's sick. but you're never going to stop that. crises also bring out bad things

<coolia> the canadian is singing "god bless america"

<TravelingJam> i noticed celine singing that. symbolic. america does actually include canada & mexico.

<nerdia> I think Celine Dion's version is stirring. How can such a big voice come out of such a small mouth?

<gee-so> she's american too. north american

<TravelingJam> whoa G ...same thought, same time.

<TravelingJam> South americans also consider themselves american. they always say Estados Unidos not America

<gee-so> do we?

<coolia> everyone's american right now. you're either american, or you're a terrorist

<gee-so> juls, you sound like dubya

<coolia> what's wrong with clint eastwood's coat?

<molly> i think he's hiding a colostomy bag.

<TravelingJam> i noticed. is he still mayor of carmel?

<alyssa> it's a very ill-fitting jacket

<gee-so> clint's ooohld. he probably remembers pearl harbor

<TravelingJam> clint is too famous to have ill-fitting jackets

<nerdia> Clint said there are 300 million of us! Wow! That's a lot!

<coolia> why end with Dirty Harry? vengeance? wait, willie nelson!

<gee-so> oh my god. what a group

<nerdia> Willie Nelson!! I love Willie! There's nothing more American than a long haired, hippie country star. Look at those celebrities! They don't know the words to the song. Jack knows! Mariah knows! Robin knows! Al doesn't seem to know. Well, this is a hard song to follow. Even Willie is reading off the prompter. Who wrote this song anyway?

<TravelingJam> who's answering the phones?

<coolia> we are the world

<coolia> goldie looks like trailer trash

<nerdia> Ew! Goldie and Kurt PDA!

<TravelingJam> Good choice using Willie

<nerdia> The government should give Willie some of his taxes back for this wonderful contribution of service!

<gee-so> think the celebs will still answer phones after this is over?

<coolia> no, the celebs are probably going to an after party

<TravelingJam> did you guys not totally cry when Neil Young sang?

<coolia> they're making the tv stars stand in the back

<gee-so> does jennifer have to stand in the back without brad?

<gee-so> tom cruise is in the back. and he can't see over the shoulders of everyone in front of him

<gee-so> al pacino is actually singing.

<coolia> marky mark, take your shirt off

<gee-so> willie nelson, take your shirt off

<TravelingJam> I do like Willie, man.

<TravelingJam> I'd like him more without his shirt

<coolia> you'd like willie without his shirt

<TravelingJam> have you seen him w/o shirt?

<coolia> I hear willie's got washboard abs

<TravelingJam> Reeally?

<gee-so> those are his ribs

<gee-so> why is mariah screaming?

<TravelingJam> she shouldn't do that. she changed dresses.

<coolia> wow. that was really good

<TravelingJam> that was SOooooo good

<coolia> no egos

<gee-so> well, i have to give them a hand for that show

<TravelingJam> yup. very very tasteful

<coolia> i'm watching the e! post show now. e! is going to talk to the celebrities about their feelings now

<TravelingJam> and the songs were very well chosen--love peace etc. (sorry the hippie in me is comin' out)

<gee-so> that's ok--they finished with the ultimate hippie

<coolia> thank god they kept celebrity feelings out of the show. that made it work.

<TravelingJam> thank god indeed. simple is best

<nerdia> My favorite celebrity blurbs were done by Robin Williams and Julia Roberts. Julia actually made me cry. Robin's whole message about what courage means--being afraid but going on anyway--that was nice.

<TravelingJam> OK i'll ask again--did you guys cry? or am I just on an emotional precipice?

<coolia> i didn't cry, but its possible that like Lisa Lisa, i'm all cried out. if i'd been by myself i probably would have but there was too much joke making going on here in our attempt to return to normal life per the mayor's commandment.

<gee-so> i didn't cry, but was very very touched.

<TravelingJam> man, Neil young started it, then Alicia Keys...the "One" montage got me started again. Sheryl Crow...yet more tears.

<nerdia> Sheryl Crow's song: dug it!

<coolia> i think i was focusing more on chatting and i have 3 guests, that's why..its not that i have a heart of stone!

<nerdia> Sting singing "Fragile" was another super-touching moment...message so important to hear. He did a wonderful job. Those moments of silence all around the world were really moving.

<coolia> i wanted to cry when i saw that dixie chick in the unfortunate short skirt

<TravelingJam> i thought the shirt was worse

<TravelingJam> Here in AZ, they are showing it again on the big channels, even Telemundo.

<TravelingJam> I have to go eat dinner. sorry about my tardiness. as Dave L. Roth said "I don't feel tardy, gimme a pencil man"

<coolia> well put

<coolia> VH1 is airing an old "Concert for America." garth brooks is singing "come on people now smile on your brother everybody get togther try to love one another." hey man, is that freedom rock? well, turn it up!

<gee-so> he's doin' a medley--now it's "american pie"

<TravelingJam> Rudy G. for prez

<coolia> yes!

<gee-so> even i'd vote for him

<coolia> but we have to keep him as mayor a bit longer first

<TravelingJam> Is it true he will get a 3rd term? does he WANT a 3rd term?

<coolia> Rudy's being vague, but I bet he wants it, and they're probably going to make an amendment to allow it

<TravelingJam> i hope rudy stays--I was pretty ambivalent about him when i lived there. his way of cleaning up NYC was suspect, but damn he's proven himself.

<coolia> and nyc is safer, we can't deny it. well, before last week i mean.

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