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June 14, 2011

Getting drunk with Captain America

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/getting_drunk_with_captain_america_20110614/

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I’m really excited to see “Captain America.” The trailer looks like Marvel does “Inglourious Basterds,” which sounds pretty awesome. And so I was intrigued to read this GQ profile of Captain America himself, actor Chris Evans.

The “profile” was, to say the least, interesting. I was definitely engaged, and I learned a little about Evans. But I don’t know that I’d call it journalism. Here’s where writer Edith Zimmerman had had me furrowing my brow and looking over my glasses in that you-can’t-be-serious way:

Since we’re both single and roughly the same age, it was hard for me not to treat our interview as a sort of date. Surprisingly, Chris did the same, asking all about me, my family, my job, my most recent relationship. And from ten minutes into that first interview, when he reached across the table to punctuate a joke by putting his hand on top of mine, Chris kept up frequent hand holding and lower-back touching, palm kissing and knee squeezing. He’s an attractive movie star, no complaints. I also didn’t know how much I was supposed to respond; when I did, it sometimes felt a little like hitting on the bartender or misconstruing the bartender’s professional flirting for something more. I wanted to think it was genuine, or that part of it was, because I liked him right away.

It’s not that this story was too self-indulgent. Just that it was more gaga than gonzo:

So the story of my lost Saturday night, which Chris first told me alone and then to the whole packed car: After the club, he and his friends and I went back to his house. And here is where I’d describe his house, except…I don’t really remember any of it. It was definitely…clean. And spacious. But cozy, not too stylish. There were things on the walls. Framed stuff. Pictures. There were…carpets? I’m sorry. I sincerely wish I remembered this better. It definitely had a pool table, because at some point there was a “jump over the pool table” contest, not that I have any recollection of what that entailed. In the car, Chris is enjoying explaining to everyone that at some point I decided to crawl out a window and wander off into the night. “So then my buddy’s like, ‘I think your friend is having some trouble,’ ” Chris says, “and I look over, and there’s Edith in the gutter!” (Not lying in the gutter. This I remember. Sitting on the curb, trying and failing to call a cab.)

So he corralled me back to his house, put me in a guest bedroom to sleep it all off, and told me he’d drive me home in the morning. In the span of ten hours, we’d fast-forwarded from complete strangers to people who let each other pass out in their houses—except, again, he couldn’t really kick me out, because then I’d say, “Chris Evans kicked me out of his house” here in the piece. We were friends, in other words, but not quite. When I awoke at 5:30 a.m., I slipped quietly out the front door, Googling “cabs la,” “taxis los angeles,” “help me california,” on my phone. I was still kind of drunk and had no idea where I was, but there was something peaceful about the heavy, flowery air and the fog and the birds chirping and my heels clicking. No cab companies answered, and no cabs came by. But eventually a very pretty, blonde, possibly Asian transsexual and her much younger male friend pulled up to make sure I was okay and, instead of raping and murdering me, were very sweet and drove me back to my hotel.

To be sure, I really liked this part of the story, which came toward the end. But I couldn’t settle it with the even the new journalism that I love. Of course, it’s at the top of GQ.com’s most viewed.

That conflict probably explains why I’ve felt the need to share this article today. When I shared it with a colleague at GetReligion, I asked her (that narrows the field) whether she could imagine someone on the Godbeat drinking themselves under the table and then going home to crash on their interview subject’s couch.

“Could you imagine someone doing this interview with, say, Rob Bell,” I said. “Or some Christian celebrity.”

And while I searched my head for a Christian celebrity, I realized there was a Christian celebrity that a Godbeat reporter could have such a night with.

Mel Gibson.

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