If you're an emotional type -- i.e., you get mildly choked up when you see the look in the eyes of those caged pups in the Pedigree dog food commercials as David Ducovny offers some poignant narration (as alluded to in this space quite recently) -- then maybe your own compassion did a complete and immediate 180 once you saw Jason McElwain making the rounds today.
Apparently, we're somewhere near that point on the calendar which marks the one-year anniversary of The Great American J-Mac Autism-Related B-Ball Hoax of '06.
That's right ... the 180-degree turn that we talked about deals with the about-face from "compassion" to "contempt" -- and, if Doug Flutie's son "Dougie" (one of America's most-notable autistic kids) is capable, he's throwing things (anything ... everything) at the TV.
Look ... it's not J-Mac's fault. He didn't ask to be whored-out by his handlers.
In fact, the only thing J-Mac's handlers haven't done is make him jump through a ring of fire during some sort of contrived "Jump Through A Ring of Fire To Cure Autism" gala.
Most of us simply ain't buying the implication set forth by J-Mac's handlers -- that, somehow, the publicity stunt of a year ago (not to mention subsequent publicity stunts) are helping to (use your fingers to create air quotes here) "create a greater awareness of autism."
To make that connection is comparable to saying that Barbaro gave us a keener sense of thoroughbred racing ... or that Lisa Nowak provided insight re: the inner workings of NASA ... or that Vickie Lynn Hogan (a.k.a. Anna Nicole Smith) supplied us with "family values."
What America did, as it turns out, was to objectify an autistic high-school senior, a racehorse, an astronaut and a no-talent, topless dancer.
If Elton John won't write another candle-in-the-wind song, then the least he can do is re-work that lyric ... "Hold me close, now, topless dancer ..."
There's no folk song in the works (yet) for J-Mac -- but Earv Johnson's movie-production company has already bought the rights to J-Mac's life story, so America had better brace itself for a film full of pathos.
As per which actor will play the lead of J-Mac, we received barely more than a hint when that life-sized, cardboard-cut-out named Ann Curry sat down with J-Mac on "Today."
The friendly B.S. was harmless -- but, not too insightful, since all we got outta J-Mac was that he wanted Matthew McConaughey to portray him in the movie.
Actually, does not this seem more likely a role better suited for Jet Li or Wesley Snipes?
Or, maybe Jason Statham from those "Transporter" movies?
The Jason-Jason angle really works.
It's box-office gold.
Run with it!
Say, what about Dustin Hoffman in the lead?
True, it was almost 20 years ago when Dusty was Raymond Babbitt, winning our hearts with his famous "Five minutes 'til Wapner" catch-phrase and, yes ... Hoff will turn 70 this summer and, ummm, it is true that not too many 70-year-olds have portrayed teenagers on the big screen.
Then again, Dusty is such a legendary master of the acting craft that it wouldn't take him very long to learn how to sink six-of-10 three-pointers.
The role calls for someone to shoot the J.
It didn't take J-Mac long ... and that dude's got autism.
Besides, if Dusty misses a shot, it's, "Let's do it again from the top! Take two!"
Our greatest fear is that Earv's Hollywoodland treatment of J-Mac won't answer any of the questions which Ann Curry (conveniently) forgot to ask J-Mac's handlers, such as, "If J-Mac scored 20 points in four-plus minutes, how come he didn't earn a start in the next game?"
After silence from that bastage coach (that pimping son of bastage named Jim Johnson), Ann Curry could've been a (air quotes here!) "journalist" (and not a prop) and immediately asked, "Was it because, if he'd played another game, J-Mac might've done something silly or stupid? Was it because he might've 'gotten in the way'? Or was it because autistic kids are good at handing out towels, but cannot be trusted to do much else?"
Again ... silence.
"Say, let's talk about the movie!"
America has that funny feeling that the movie will NOT deal an "issues" as weighty as autism.
In America, the only controversial issues we like to discuss are whether the scene wherein Dakota Fanning is raped is presented "tastefully."
Either way, the motion picture "J-Mac 20" (unless, as we specified, Jason Statham lands the lead role and they call it "The Transporter 3" wherein a lone transporter overcomes autism and delivers not only a "package" but also breathtaking martial arts skillz to eliminate 50 or 60 bad guys) is one that Dougie Flutie ain't gonna watch.
Not even when it comes out on DVD.
Seriously ... what do people expect from a so-called "entrepreneur" who dazzled us all with his hosting of "The Magic Hour" late-night talk show? Earv himself said that his movie-production company will look to portray an ordinary kid doing ordinary things.
America sez: "BORRRRR-RINNNNNG!"
For someone who invented "Showtime," Earv don't know squat about the First Amendment of Filmmaking 101.
"An ordinary kid doing ordinary things ..." -- that's what webcams are for. If that's what Earv's brainstorming has yielded, then J-Mac might as well make the movie himself.
Y'know ... "the J-Mac-umentary."
Scene One: The alarm clock sounds, J-Mac rises from his bed, showers and then brushes his teeth. "This is my bathroom," he tells America. "Welcome to another day in 'McElwainia'!"
Scene Two: J-Mac reads a comic book ... while pinching a loaf.
(In the theater, a little girl whispers to her Mommy, "When are they gonna show the autism?")
Seems about as dull as "ED TV" (hey! that was a Matthew McConaughey movie!)
Anyway, movies are most compelling when they portray ordinary kids doing "extra"ordinary things.
Oh, and hilarious/slapstick-ish situations always get major thumbs-up reactions -- as we saw in films about ordinary people such as "Borat" and "Norbit."
Maybe we shouldn't be so cynical and pessimistic. The movie might, in the end, win us over.
That is ... if J-Mac is allowed to defeat Apollo Creed for the heavyweight title.
Or if he defeats -- in a merciful manner -- the undefeated Tigris of Gaul in the center of the Coliseum.
Or if he teams up with Maverick and Goose and Iceman as the foursome fly their jet fighters, blah blah, blah.
Something tells us that J-Mac might be depicted as Jason Bourne in "The Bourne 3-Pointery" ... this summer's smash-hit follow-up to "The Bourne Identity" and "The Bourne Supremacy."
That Jason-Jason angle really works.
It's box-office gold.
Run with it!
It might be fun to see what J-Mac's gonna do when he learns that The Professor didn't really die in that field in Germany or that Wombosi -- the assasination assignment which J-Mac blew in the first place before The Professor cleaned up J-Mac's mess by gunning down the African activist -- is still alive, too.
The difficult part might be getting Clive Owen to reprise his role as The Professor and for Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje (you also remember him as "Mr. Ekko" from ABC's "Lost") to return from the dead as Wombosi.
Either way, The Professor and Wombosi are gonna be pissed at J-Mac.
These days ... who isn't?
Well, until Magic gets that movie made and until this J-Mac full-length feature comes to a drive-in near you, is it reasonable to expect that this J-Mac "story" will vanish so that the real friends of autism can do what they do best?
Such as assist the autistic?
The longer it takes to get this movie made, the older Dustin Hoffman gets ... and the harder it will be for him to portray an Alzheimer's patient who shoots three-pointers from his wheelchair.
The script calls for "autism," not Alzheimer's.
Alas, such are the liberties that are taken in the movie-making "process."
Take, for example, a movie such as "Pride of the Yankees." The problem with that script was that never once did we see the scene where Lou Gehrig invented Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Then, Lou was gone.
And, with him went the cure for Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Hooray for Hollywood.
See ya at the premiere ...