“The Challenge Of The 50s — Years Of Crisis”

Doing some research for doll articles, I ran into this bit from the December 18, 1950 issue of Broadcasting Telecasting about a one hour, Chevrolet sponsored, CBS radio & TV program in which radio reporters from “all over the world” would discuss and present the issues.


The program was The Challenge Of The 50s — Years Of Crises, headed by Edward R. Murrow. The other 10 reporters were Howard K. Smith, Bill Costello, David Schoenrun, Richard C. Hottelet, Winston Burdette, Ned Calmer, Eric Sevareid, Charles Collingwood, and Larry Lesueur. (With names like that, one questions the accuracy of “reporters from all over the world.” Rather than imply international reporters, it should have been stated that the show was with “reporters stationed all over the world.”) These reporters would become known as Murrow’s Boys and the show would go on to be an annual program, best know as Years of Crisis.

For those of you who prefer to think of the 1950s as an idyllic time, one to romance over, there were issues and crises. In fact, one of them was regarding journalism itself, as the film Good Night, and Good Luck covered. This topic is illustrated clearly, if meekly, in the very same issue of Broadcasting Telecasting with mentions of Drew Pearson‘s being attacked by McCarthy and discussions of media censorship. You can click to read larger versions of the articles as needed.



The Televangelist Infidelity Matrix Scandal

Last week, Rachel Maddow mentioned that there was a mug featuring one on the show’s fabulous charts, The Televangelist Infidelity Matrix, was available at CafePress.



I went searching for it, but apparently the mug was pulled. Here’s the Google cache. While Rachel didn’t seem upset, likely MSNBC was and had it pulled.

Currently, there’s a hoodie available. Get it while it lasts? (I still prefer the mug. *sigh*) See Also: In The Name Of God.


Our Top Three Favorite Comediennes

If we do a survey on what men find attractive in women, we’re betting top of their list involves a great sense of humor. The Telegraph supports this claim by stating in an article that “men ranked a sense of humour as the highest priority, with a fun-loving nature third and playfulness fifth, while putting physical attractiveness only ninth”. Well, isn’t that surprising. Appearances ranked way below the list. Yes, comediennes hold all the aces nowadays, especially in the advent of great comedy programs on TV. Comedy is no longer male-dominated territory. What’s more, comediennes are not necessarily unattractive with their looks. They no longer have buckteeth or long faces just so they could be funny. Women in comedy are now attractive and sexy, their qualities heightened by the fact that they make us all laugh.

We’ve gathered our top three favorite comediennes, who are not only funny as hell, but are also very beautiful and sexy in their own rights. Here they are:

1. Penny (The Big Bang Theory, played by Kaley Cuoco) – She may not be part of the geeky club, but do not strike her off as someone stupid. What she lacked in intellectual advancement she makes up for with wit and heart that we can’t help but adore her all the same. She never surprised us more when she managed to beat Sheldon in the video game Halo 3. Of course, her style is more in the league of online gaming at sites such as http://da.partypoker.com/. Not because she looks like she belongs with the Vegas showgirls, but her adventurous side makes her more likely to play Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha Hi-Lo than battle games. Besides, she can play these games with Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Wolowitz by challenging them on online tournaments. The gang might be geniuses, but with great bluffing skills Penny can ace the card game. Aside from the challenge, players get the chance to compete in international poker events like the World Poker Tour, something not offered by your regular RPG.

2. Gloria Pritchett (Modern Family, played by Sofia Vergara) – One look, and you’ll definitely peg her as just one gorgeous package without substance. And you couldn’t be more wrong. She may look like she came right off the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine, but this hot momma is a strong, independent and ruthless woman. She’s someone who’ll protect her family no matter what. She stands out as having a thick Latino accent, and when she mispronounces common English words we just can’t stop laughing. Still, we can definitely learn from Gloria how to say what’s on our mind, despite odds not being in our favor.

3. Robin Scherbatsky (How I Met Your Mother, played by Cobie Smulders) – Where else can you find a wingman, news anchor, and former child pop star rolled into one? She’s so hot she’s got two leading men, Ted and Barney, all over her (although of course we know now who she ended up with). Her most endearing quality is being one of the boys, which is why she totally gets men. Whether she’s just chilling out in MacLaren’s pub or delivering the morning news, she’ll totally get your attention just by being herself. She’s tough, frank and funny; what more can we ask for?

What’s Wrong With OWN, Why Rosie O’Donnell’s Cancelled, & Why That’s Bad

I once was an Oprah fan. I even went to a taping of her show once with a group of friends, one of whom had a cousin on the staff, so we saw a bit more than perhaps the regular guests do/did. I was then impressed with her not-on-camera persona, chit-chat with coworkers (when I’m certain she didn’t know we could hear her) and her professional and kind decision not to air that actual episode because one of the young girls broke down and became too upset to remain on stage. But my affections for Oprah, as well as some respect, left when I experienced domestic violence and, like other survivors such as Alessia, who has written about this herself, discovered how willfully ignorant Oprah wishes to remain on the real issues of domestic violence.

*heavy sigh*

But I should try not to get off task.

A few days ago, Oprah announced that her television network, OWN, would not be renewing Rosie O’Donnell‘s show. This made me feel sad. I don’t know Rosie, personally, but I’ve always enjoyed her shows. Even if I didn’t watch more than three episodes of this latest TV show of hers (put a pin in this; more on it in a bit), it felt nice knowing Rosie was on the air. But my sadness turned to anger when I heard the comments about Rosie and OWN struggling too. Not just the ones made by the namesake of Trump’s Syndrome; that trash talk is expected. No, I was more offended by statements like, “Oprah fires Rosie: Seems another liberal network is failing. Gotta be racism or bigotry against fat women,or fat lesbo’s or something.” (A screenshot here, just in case said thread disappears; and to document the “supportive” comments in agreement.)

Now, you ask, how can I complain about such attacks when I took a shot at Donald Trump myself? I sure can dish it out, but I can’t take it, right?


The Donald’s hair is something which could be managed, should be managed, but the man apparently loves it as much as the attention it gets him. And while I have poked fun at his appearance (and that of his ill-fated children), I didn’t use that dislike of his physicality to deride the man’s character, his ability to be successful, or devalue him as a person. (I really don’t have to do that; in my opinion, Trump does most of that himself every time he opens his mouth in front of the media — and he pushes his way to microphones a lot.) The man is not his bad hair; his bad hair does not equal his worth in terms of money or his value to society. This is normally how it goes for men. Excluding gay men, of course; they, whether they like it or not, are treated like women because they aren’t considered to be “real men”.

In addition to our labels of female &/or gay (quite often said with sneers if not using out-right slurs), we women, gays, lesbians, trans and bi folk are all judged on appearances. It’s more than just some male-gaze objectification reducing us to sex parts. We are our weight, our hair, our appearance and our non-male status — and those things are the reason why we are failures, things of little worth or value.

Now back to those things we put a pin in, beginning with my “Trump’s Syndrome” comment.

Yes, that statement at GetGlue is proof that I watch Celebrity Apprentice — even as I’ve admitted to not having watched much of Rosie’s. How might I reconcile that, at least to myself? Well this is where we pinned that first point.

While I do tell myself that Celebrity Apprentice is an exercise in studying human nature with the benefits to charity, it’s really a guilty pleasure — one that benefits from being a major network show; I am reminded often to see it while watching other shows on that channel. It’s not just that I’m some mindless sheep “the media” controls, but the fact is there are benefits to being part of a major network’s programming. For example, there are times when I “watch” a show because I’m busy researching or writing and not concerned enough to change the station, times when I just continue watching a channel because I like what comes on next and I don’t want to miss it, etc. These realities are the fundamental problems Rosie had with her show and why the whole OWN network is struggling.

There’s just not enough good programming on OWN. And I’m not the only one saying so. Here’s a screenshot of OWN’s main page with comments such as these:

Posted: Thu 3/22/2012 10:14 PM
Like many others, I am so sorry to see the Rosie Show go. It was almost the only show I watched on OWN. I can’t believe the shows that Oprah has chosen to be on her network. This was supposed to be a channel that would lift us up, but it has shows like unfaithful. It was supposed to be fresh but it has endless reruns of Dr. Phil.
I have loved Oprah tor so long and I wanted her channel to succeed, but I’m so disappointed!
O, where are you?

Posted: Thu 3/22/2012 9:44 PM
I’m a big fan of Oprah, and certainly want OWN to succeed, but there is almost nothing I want to watch on OWN at this time. It seems odd that Oprah, who is all about living your best life, has so many shows on her network about people in prison, people cheating on their spouses, murder, etc. None of that appeals to me. And to be quite honest, the Master Class series puts me to sleep, and Oprah’s new show where she goes and interviews people like Steven Tyler are a yawn as well. I think she needs a break from interviewing. Last year my favorite show was the “Behind the Scenes of the 25th season of the Oprah Show”, and I loved the Shania Twain series and Addicted to Food. Also the special Julia Roberts did where she interviewed interesting women. I attended the O Magazine conference in Atlanta in October and that was fantastic – inspirational and motivating. I know these are two completely different formats, but I don’t feel OWN is delivering the types of programs that appeal to your former viewers and magazine subscribers. Give us some Ali Wentworth, or Maria Shriver doing profiles on interesting women, like her interview in the magazine with the female poet. And mix in some new talent as well – not just your tried and true circle. You can do it, Oprah!

[I had no idea about some of those shows — sorry I missed a few of those. But then, since I’m not watching OWN, how would I know or remember?]

When I first heard Oprah Winfrey was going to start her own network, I may not have been the most excited person on the planet… But I was hopeful that it would have good shows. It’s own good shows. Negative comments on what it does air aside, the network lacks dynamic shows. I don’t mean the faux action and tension of “reality shows,” but good solid shows women want to watch about issues that matter. And Oprah needs to move past who she was in terms of her old show and those coaching shows like Lifeclass and Master Class — it feels more condescending than inspiring. Especially when sprinkled between such other “ick” pandering programming.Frankly, Oprah, your network’s shows run dangerously close to treating your stated target market like their physical and psychological attributes and “female” status — when you’re not feeding us crime shows or reruns of stuff we feel we could see anywhere, anytime. And that’s uber disappointing from a woman. Even if I’m not your number one fan, I want you to succeed, Oprah!

Listen, Oprah, a lot of your audience is older — we’ve been-there-done-that with you already. And younger women? Hell, thanks to you, Ms. Winfrey, they’re past what used to be too. It’s not (just) the Internet and new media that challenges you here for audience attention; it’s the old thinking.

If there’s one thing that the Internet should be teaching everyone in media today, it’s that, like the origins of newspapers, the productions of original thought — even if opinionated and “slanted” but with the integrity to disclose itself as such — gain followers. Why not focus on the one thing a woman’s network should never shy away from: Feminism. I don’t think I have to tell you that I’m not talking about Rush Limbaugh’s idea of feminism; but what’s wrong with taking a stand for the equality of women and giving us intelligent programing rather than approaching us like we all need the tv equivalent of chocolate for our periods? (Lifetime annoyingly already covers that.)

Go get Joy Behar; her show was aces but suffered between mindless HLM fear-mongering-hype drones. (Oh, the agony I endured just to make sure I wouldn’t miss my Behar!)

Give Roseanne Barr another talk show; her’s was one of the best ever but ill-suited to daytime when so many of us worked then. (I still wish I had that Mary Daly interview on VHS — why did I tape over that??!).

And then reinstate Rosie O’Donnell, let her have the show we need from her, and you’ll have a trifecta!

(Dare I dream you get Rachel Maddow and I might give up MSNBC completely in favor of OWN!)

As for what you do with the other hours of the day, well, I’ve got long lists. Have your people contact me. I don’t have people. …Well, I have family, but please don’t leave messages with them. Just email me direct at Deanna.pop.tart@gmail.com and I promise I’ll reply asap.

Jessica Savitch (Part One?)

I watched Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story, starring Sela Ward, tonight. During commercial breaks, I Googled Jessica Savitch. To my surprise — and major disappointment — there’s not really any website devoted to this groundbreaking woman who earned four Emmys, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award, and election to the board of trustees at Ithaca College.

If you start at Wikipedia (and I never trust Wiki completely, so please only let it be a starting place), the entry on the anchorwoman pretty much follows the made for TV movie. The Accuracy Project has basic bio info, but leaves a lot to be desired as it really only presents corrections, and a handful of them at that. And there’s this bio by Abigail Griffith (Spring 2008).

Reading all of those, there are odd discrepancies which mainly center on Donald Rollie Payne, a gynecologist in Washington, DC, who was Savitch’s last husband who committed suicide on August 1, 1981 by hanging himself in the basement of their home. Abigail Griffith says that Payne “committed suicide after becoming aware of a diagnosis of incurable cancer,” while Wiki says he was a “closet homosexual.” I don’t suppose that matters much to most of us, but I’m certain these things mattered to Savitch and possibly say a lot about her (continued) relationship choices.

For something that fills in more gaps, you can try this archived article from People magazine on Savitch’s death.

And in 1988, five years after her death, a Current Affair episode in which Savitch’s family calls Gwenda Blair’s book lies:

(Worth watching for so many reasons — we can discuss in the comments!)

But for my money, the most insightful piece about Jessica I found online was this article written by Maury Z. Levy when Savitch was still a broadcaster in Philadelphia.

Since her death, Jessica Savitch’s been inducted into The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia’s Hall of Fame, and the Park School of Communications at Ithaca College hosts a Journalism Lecture Series in her honor as well as named an on-campus television studio in her honor. There should be some sort of official website in her honor.

I bet Jessica would have loved the Internet, even if it/we would have had a field day of speculation and fun at her expense with the gaffes (largely exaggerated in the movie and historical footnotes) made on her last broadcast — just 20 days before her death. So someone, give her her due.

How Much To Put On An Authentic Beverly Hillbillies Play?

The Beverly Hillbillies, A Comedy In Three Acts, Based Upon The Television Program “The Beverly Hillbillies” Created By Paul Henning, Adapted by D. D. Brooke, 1968.

This was published by The Dramatic Publishing Company, Chicago — and that’s just who you’d have had to pay if you wanted to put on a performance of the play: $35 for the first amateur performance, $25 for the second, and $20 for each subsequent performance, providing arrangements were made in advance.

As a writer, I love the simple copyright information:

This law provides authors with a fair return for their creative efforts. Authors earn their living from the royalties they receive on the book sale and on the performace of their works. To copy parts or give performances of a royalty play without paying royalties robs the authors of their livelihood.

I’m giving this vintage play away on Listia as a collectible; it does not come with any permission to perform the play. (If you don’t yet know what Listia is, check out my review.)

Spotting Memories In Retro Radio Ads

Still nostalgic thinking about the old days in Milwaukee radio, I’ve been hanging out consuming The Halcyon Daze (I prefer using the “classic” interface for navigation, in case you visit here, Scott Beddome — aka rock’s Scott “The Kid”). I’m particularly smitten with this post of 1984 TV commercials for radio — especially this classic WKTI spot:

Not only does it feature Reitman & Mueller, and the Booze Brothers — but that’s Warren Wiegratz on the keyboards!

Having stalked Oceans for years, I’d know. My Oceans following began in 1984 or so, when my biological sister’s foreign exchange “French sister,” Christine (Oh, so tempted to talk trash about Christine and her visit; but I will behave.), came to stay with us and she wanted to hear a jazz band. So my parents took her to Sardino’s. After an early crush on Duane Stuermer (somewhere around here I have signed ticket stubs from Duane, and, possibly, his brother Daryl), I eventually forged a friendship with drummer Ernie Adams — who’s dad, it turned out, worked with my mom. Small world. It became even cozier when Ernie and and dated; but I don’t like to kiss and tell. *wink*

In Which Gardasil & I *Almost* Make The News (Or, Ethics In Medicine & Media)

Last week I watched The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library. I found myself astounded by the fact that these people with limited intellectual reasoning, if not limited intellectual functioning, were in positions to actually be running for President of the United States of America. I’ve more to say on that subject (expect another post soon), but for now, I’m just going to focus on the one subject in which I found myself even more shocked: the one time when I found myself agreeing with some of the things the potential candidates said.

Faux Vintage Gardasil Ad

The subject was mandatory use of the Gardasil HPV vaccine; something I’ve long considered dangerous — especially as it’s equated with crony capitalism. Now, to be clear, I’m not one of those who thinks that preventing a disease which is linked to sexual behavior is akin to giving young women (or anyone) a Go Out & Screw card; you should know by now I’m not that kind of silly. But I’ve been concerned for a long time about the dangers of Gardasil, a drug pushed through quickly and forced upon young women and their families who are kept ignorant of the dangers — including deaths — of the vaccine. However, as I was soon to be traveling, I decided I didn’t have time to write about this subject again. Until…

Not long after I arrived home last night, my father in law called me. A reporter, Kristin Helgeson from Valley News Live, had left a message for him, asking if he was related to a Deanna Dahlsad. Yes, he is; yes, I called the phone number Helgeson left, and left her a message. But it wasn’t until this morning that the reporter and I connected.

Seems Michelle Bachmann stepped in it again, this time taking one individual and unverified comment and making the claim that “Gardasil led to mental retardation,” and Helgeson, having found my coverage of Gardasil at my other blog, wanted a comment from me. However, now that it was the next day, the story is “over.” While Helgeson was interested in pursuing the information I had, her boss, News Director Griff Potter, felt new and more accurate information wasn’t warranted — at least not enough to continue the story on air. Instead, Potter feels that I should just add a comment to the news story on their website.

It’s here that my story turns, for the moment, from one of the dangers the Gardasil vaccine, to that of the problems of The Media.”

In Valley News Live‘s coverage of the story, they reported:

On their website, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a review page for this vaccine. None of the serious side effects have been linked to the vaccine and there have been no reports of mental disability. In fact, the most serious side effect they found was fainting. They now ask patients to sit down for 15 minutes after they get vaccinated.

This may be true — but it’s clearly not the whole story! As I’ve uncovered, there are deaths linked to Gardasil — in the US and India.  While Valley News Live may not find their omission “retraction worthy,” surely they should present the other information that the public ought to be informed about.  And they should do so in the same format as their original coverage.  One hopes that the folks at Valley News Live know that their television viewers are not necessarily those who will turn to the Internet and look for updates on earlier stories (or trust the comments left by some “kook” like me); if there was something important to add to the story, they’d show it on the news right?  Wrong.

I want to be clear here and state that Helgeson wanted/wants to proceed with the story.  And I did call Mr. Potter to voice my concerns too; as of this writing, he has not returned my call.  I hope he is out to lunch in the literal sense, not metaphorically, and that I will hear from him — or from Helgeson, saying Potter has reconsidered.  But until then, this whole thing just makes me so angry.

How long will the arbitrators of news continue to dismiss the issues in this story?  How long will they continue to discount women — not just as part of their audience, but in general?  For cutting or ignoring the facts from stories like this only perpetuates the problems of poor ethics in everything from medicine and politics.

For more, see my other related posts, at varying sites:

Is Medicine At Odds With Women’s Health?

Controlling Parts Is Controlling The Sum Of Its Parts

The Dark Side Of Medicine

What If Everything You Knew About The Corset Was Wrong?

And do see my Gardasil coverage.

MTV Cared About Your Breasts

Over a decade before Rethink Breast Cancer & MTV News Canada launched (to public outcry; video), and the Women Rock! Girls & Guitars breast cancer benefit too, MTV had the High Priority campaign against breast cancer.  (You can be cynical, and view MTV’s interest as self-interest — be it sexist preservation of the sweater-puppets which jiggled in videos, or a way to combat judgement that rock videos and music television would be the end of civilization, but whatever MTV’s motives, they’re active in PSAs.) The campaign began in 1984, but my thrift store find is the 1987 High Priority album.

(I say “find” because up until spotting for $1 at a thrift shop I was ignorant of this MTV effort. In my defense, we didn’t have cable; our family only managed to get a color TV in the late 70s or early 80s — but we were the first to have a microwave oven. My parents only got a video player after I moved out; and they just got cable two or three years ago. So that tells you something about our family values. And why, even if we had cable, I would have likely opted to read anyway instead.)

The profits from this album went to the AMC Cancer Research Center. The album cover featured unfinished, yet signed, art by Andy Warhol on the front; monthly self breast exam info and other cancer prevention tips on the back; and ten songs from leading female performing artists of the time:

Side One

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves; Aretha Franklin with The Eurythmics
Manic Monday; Bangles
I Can’t Wait; Stevie Nicks
You Give Good Love; Whitney Houston
Time After Time; Cyndi Lauper

Side Two

Oh People; Patti Labelle
Le Bel Age; Pat Benatar
Nothing At All; Heart
I Feel The Magic; Belinda Carlisle
Slave To The Rhythm; Grace Jones
More Than Physical; Bananarama

While the High Priority Campaign holds no “remember when” significance, the songs and artists do.  So I’m lovin’ listening to it. Grrl power!!

Want it? Infrequently posted on eBay; less expensive at Amazon.

Happily Ever After?

In Wedded Blisters, Neely wonders if marriage is something she even wants to enter into. With the media, as she writes, “depicting marriage as this energy-sapping, miserable way of life, where husbands have to practically beg their wives for sex and wives feel like they’re not being validated enough by their husbands” she’s not enthusiastic:

But what about this daily bombardment of television shows and movies, depicting marriage as the root of all evil? The truth is that these comedies and films play off of real life, and we know this to be the case because we laugh at their humor. We laugh because we recognize truth. People love shows like Everybody Loves Raymond because a depiction of an average guy dealing with the daily struggles of marriage is true to the way it is outside of that rectangular, silver screen. Unmarried couples may not entirely relate to the humor but they understand that this is what they’ll eventually encounter once they walk down the aisle. Are we destined for the same path as Ed and Peggy Bundy, we wonder.

So we turn off our televisions, looking elsewhere for signs of encouragement, only to be bombarded by another reality check on the state of marriage today: the nation’s divorce rate, which towers over us at all times, giving us very good reason to doubt that we will escape the odds.

The media’s reflection of our marital problems may be exaggerated ~ but as Neely points out, it’s funny because it’s true. Marriage is a tricky thing, and certainly our libidos aren’t magically put in sync just because we live together. But if I were to look at our media for answers regarding how we’ve got to this place where Ed and Peggy Bundy are more typical than representative of our greatest fears, I’d say the problem lies with the fantasy of marriage.

From early on we are fed fantasies wherein once love is found they ride off into the sunset. If the story is supposed to be saying “and they lived happily ever after,” they never show it. In film, finding one’s mate is the end of the story when in truth it should be just the beginning.

While we often are entertained by (and feed-off of) the drama of ‘the chase’ and the obstacles faced in the pursuit, we forget that ‘ever after’ is a story complete with dramas of its own. There are obstacles, chases and pursuits to be found in every marriage and I think we should thank our lucky stars for that ~ for each one is a chance to reaffirm our love and dedication.

In the romantic movies, our heroes and heroines do not crumple at the first (or even the 10th) problem presented ~ instead they keep their eye on the prize and fight for the chance at true love. Shouldn’t we view and pursue our marriages with the same ardor, passion and dedication?

Work, bills, children, household chores ~ surely none of these is as difficult as the matter of finding, competing for, and securing your mate. (And in truth, now that we are a couple we can attack these problems together; it’s you and me against the world, kid.)

He’s a morning person while she’s most definitely not, he’s stressed out at the job, she’s afraid she’s not as lovely as she once was ~ surely these will yield to the holding of hands, a quiet shared look in a crowded room, a secret slap on the bottom…

We are presented with a myriad of opportunities to sweep our partners off their feet, seduce and charm our ways into their beds, and show that obstacles mean nothing in light of our love.

We need not be complete drama lovers and go overboard creating chaos or imagining things ready to tear the marriage apart, but we can view the problems, difficulties and obstacles with more passion. We can treat each obstacle as the romantic lead does: as a chance to prove our love and win our mate.

And of course, at the end of the day we should be as eager to fall into bed.

Image via.

The Sexual Segregation Of She-Ra; Or, Why I Love Thundarr

I’m too old to claim to have logged hours of watching She-Ra or He-Man — or any childhood memories from that MOTU period. But that won’t stop me from having an opinion.

In The Problem With She-Ra as a Feminist Text, Renee Martin considers the retro ass-kicking cartoon vixen in terms of various female identities:

As adult, I can look at She-ra and still appreciate the positive role that she filled for some young girls. I say some, because as a WOC, She-ra is not a show that I would particular encourage my children to watch, and even more so if I had a daughter. You, see when feminists start talking about women’s advancement, my first question is which women are we talking about? If we’re honest, no matter how many times the great unified sisterhood is pitched by feminism, there are always going to be some women, who somehow don’t fit the mold, because they are poor, of colour, trans, lesbian, older, disabled etc.

…I love her even though she is flawed and continues the erasure I feel as a marginalized woman in many spheres, but I will not dismiss her, because I don’t have the right to take away heroes from little White girls, who need their heroes too. Even though their challenges will be much different than mine, I will not deny that these challenges exist, and by so doing erase the threat that they pose to me. There are very few positive role models for young girls of colour to look up to but erasing the few White images will not change that.

When I read Martin’s post, I found myself nodding my head in understanding and agreement; however…

I’m still struck by something Hillary DePiano, author of The She-Ra Collector’s Inventory: An Unofficial Illustrated Guide to All Princess of Power Toys and Accessories, said in my interview with her:

Interestingly enough, I started somewhat backwards. He-Man predated She-Ra by quite a few years and as a kid I just LOVED He-Man. I had quite a few of the toys. But when the spin-off show, She-Ra came out, my parents decided that since there was now a “girl version” that I had to give all my He-Man figures to my brother and that he would play with them and I would get the She-Ra. God, was I bitter about that. I think there is some feminism lesson in there.

I can’t help but wonder, then, if She-Ra was a means of sexual or gender segregation.

She-Ra was part of the Master Of The Universe world but she was relegated to her own corners of it, kept out of the “Males Only” areas just because they had lady parts. (The usual over-emphasized comic book figure lady parts, of course. He-Man had his own exaggerated maleness too; it’s the earmarks of such works.)  I can’t say that watching the complete She-Ra series and all the He-Man episodes, we could count how many bubblers water fountains She-Ra and crew couldn’t drink from, how many buses these sheroes rode in the back of; it’s far worse than that.

The simplicity of making an “all female version” of the popular Saturday morning cartoon series completely removes coexistence. Women on one side; men on the other — the original side.  Almost like parallel universes, really. What does that say about gender equality?  Not much. Especially if parents, the kids’ overlords, were interpreting these two shows and their accompanying toy sets as “one for boys, one for girls.”

(If there were any super-cross-over MOTU episodes, those might be more interesting; but I doubt I’d be surprised.)

That’s maybe (partly) why I liked Thundarr The Barbarian. There may not have been complete equality, but at least Princess Ariel and Ookla the Mok existed along side leading man Thundarr.

Sadly, there were no Thundarr The Barbarian toys. *heavy sigh* Which means I cannot discuss the parental interaction. Nor can I collect the toys.

PS For the record, I was — and forever remain — an Ookla fan. Ookla was a formerly enslaved a leonine humanoid with fangs and yellow eyes. Whatever a Mok may be in this cultural equation, I guess that’s how I’m identifying.

While Ookla’s guttural, growling language may seem unintelligible, and therefore not appear well suited for blogging writing, “he” is also, according to those who know, “the most likely of the heroes to charge right into an enemy attack or to be enraged by unusual nuisances or threats.” And that, my friends, is how I see myself. (Plus, I will also go quite out of the way to avoid water on my face as well.)

Image credits: Photo from Hillary DePiano’s book and used with permission.

We All End Up Paying For It, Celebrities Or Not

Gawd I love Roseanne. There are about one million reasons to; here’s one more.

A very special quote from a very special article, And I Should Know, Barr had published at NYMag:

Based on Two and a Half Men’s success, it seems viewers now prefer their comedy dumb and sexist. Charlie Sheen was the world’s most famous john, and a sitcom was written around him. That just says it all. Doing tons of drugs, smacking prostitutes around, holding a knife up to the head of your wife—sure, that sounds like a dream come true for so many guys out there, but that doesn’t make it right! People do what they can get away with (or figure they can), and Sheen is, in fact, a product of what we call politely the “culture.”

After seeing one episode of Two and a Half Men, I (no prude, mind you) was aghast that this subject matter was on during the first hour of prime-time, a slot usually reserved for family programming.  Even if I didn’t have children, or it aired later at night, I wouldn’t have watched it because I don’t enjoy misogynistic television.

I also eschewed the show because I dislike Sheen. I knew the allegations about Sheen and his abusive behavior were true. Even before I experienced domestic violence in my first marriage.  And I have no problems not backing an abuser, no problem refusing to add my consumer clout to a celebrity brand — especially when they refuse to get help, continually mock their victims, and act entitled to their “right” to control and harm others.

And I don’t understand why more people don’t do this, don’t refuse to line the pockets of violent losers who hurt people.

I don’t know what Sheen’s entire problem is; and I really don’t care because he has a wealth of resources and people to support him in his hour lifetime of need. But even if it’s only due in part to the “culture” Roseanne refers to, we all end up paying for it; so why perpetuate it?

Once Upon A Time… There Was The Storyteller

I don’t spend my time listening to TV show announcements, and I admit I know even less about comics — but I do read a lot of blogs. So that’s how I found out that ABC has just announced that they have picked up a new series entitled Once Upon a Time, which is similar to Marvel’s Fables comic book series in that the fairytale characters will be set in “today’s world.” (Poor things.)

For some reason, this reminds me of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, even if ABC’s show will have actors and (apparently) no puppets. And isn’t set in the past.

I’m looking forward to the new ABC television show… But I would welcome the return of Muppets, or any puppets, really.

“There’s nothing gays hate more than when people treat us like women.”

Cameron:There’s nothing gays hate more than when people treat us like women. We’re not. We don’t want to go to your baby shower. We don’t have a time of the month. We don’t love pink.
Mitchell: You love pink.
Cameron: No, pink loves me.

I had mixed emotions about this past week’s episode of Modern Family… I don’t think gay men are women or should be treated like them, but the attitude about women was practically sneering, as if, again, there’s nothing lower than being a woman.

BBC Resumed Clowning Around

We Americans (at least those who watched NBC) had Marjorie Hellen, color TV “identification girl”; across the pond, BBC watchers had “Carole and the clown” test pattern.

The test pattern, featuring eight-year-old Carole Hersee, was broadcast between 1967 and 1998, amounting to 70,000 hours of screen time — and in January of 2009 that test pattern returned. The BBC has rescanned the original transparency in high definition to help consumers set up the latest TV sets.

Below is a photo of Carole Hersee in 2009, when she was 49.

Marjorie Hellen: “Identification Girl” The Ultimate Objectification Or Not?

Featured on the cover of People Today, September 22, 1954, was “Marjorie Hellen… TV’s Golden Girl.”

Her story begins on page 55, filed under “People In TV,” Hellen’s story is titled She’s ‘Compatible’ Marjorie Hellen Is Strawberry Blond Trade-Mark on Color TV.

If that’s not intriguing enough, check out the caption under the photo: “Marjorie And Her Rival Black-And-White Test Pattern (rear)”.

From the article:

Millions of NBC-TV viewers are getting slightly frustrated whenever the smiling image of lovely Marjorie Hellen flashes on their black-and-white screens with her quiet announcement: “The following program…will be broadcast in color …” The reason: Around 10,000 TV sets in the U.S., costing between $495 and $1,100, are showing the same girl as she appears on PEOPLE TODAY’S cover–gray-eyed, strawberry blond.

Marjorie, who doubles as a live test pattern for sensitive color cameras, is the “identification girl” for NBC Color TV, which has scheduled 39 90-minute “spectaculars” for its compatible system (the shows can also be received in black-and-white) during 1954-1955.

The article credits “an attack of anemia” for Hellen getting the gig — not specifically for her coloring (though only her doctor knows for sure), but for her availability:

It kept her from going to school, made her available when Claude Traverse, manager of NBC’s color unit, selected her from photos as having the “ideal flesh tone” for lining up color cameras.

Hellen may be more familiar to you as Leslie Parrish; she changed her name in 1959.

We Love Betty White Because She’s Blue

Betty White is my idol. I’ve been a fan my entire life — even when my beloved grandmother stated her dislike of Ms White (which was weird, because my grandma was sooooo like her!).

I thrill at every chance to watch her, especially when, in 2006, Family Guy included her as the book-on-tape voice of Peter’s erotics novel, or Peterotica:

Welcome to Peterotica on tape! I’m Betty White reading The Hot Chick Who Was Italian, or maybe Some Kind of Spanish by Peter Griffin. Chapter One: “Oh God you should have seen this one hot chick. She was totally Italian. Or maybe some kind of Spanish….

But I digress.

As you all know, Betty White was on Saturday Night Live this weekend. The show drew the biggest ratings since November 2008, pulling in somewhere between 12 million and 13 million viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen estimates, some of whom said the show was too blue — but what the heck did they think Betty White was going to do? She’s been risqué, the queen of delivering double entendres, for decades! And it’s one reason we all love her.

I was especially heartened to see the huge number of former SNL female comedians who returned to perform with Betty. I choose to believe that upon hearing that Betty White was scheduled each & every one of them called and asked to be on the show too. I have no proof of this — and don’t contradict me; I prefer to enjoy such thoughts.

If you missed SNL this past Saturday, you can get yourself on over to NBC.com to watch the entire episode — as well as three sketches which were cut from the show due to time. My favorite of the cut sketches is the “Debbie Downer does a suburban lingerie party.”

The other cut sketches: Joyologist and Bronx Beat.

The View From Here, Part II

So, like Stacy (who gave birth during The View), I’ve spent the last few weeks as a Brand Ambassador for The View and thought I should share some of my thoughts on the experience. I’ve blogged about a few of the shows, but I think the most interesting conversations were those I had with friends and family.

Most of my closest friends are internet friendships — not only because my life as a freelance writer keeps me glued to my monitor, but because these friendships have been formed on mutual interests and issues. As a result, we all seem to have the same likes and dislikes about The View — most especially our feelings regarding the ladies of The View. For example, we love and trust Whoopi, Joy, and Barbara as steadfastly as we pity and mistrust Elisabeth and Sherri. However, I have several family members who feel exactly the opposite.

Perhaps most interesting is that after all these years of watching, after all the Hot Topics discussion, we each continue to remain rather married to these feelings, beliefs and attitudes despite our firm belief that it’s through this discussion, both the ladies on the show and our less public personal conversations, that we not only can but will learn, grow and change.

Yet, I remain as heatedly fixed on Hasselbeck’s righteous fear-based stupidity (yes, “stupidity,” because she cannot claim ignorance) applied as fear mongering to limit and control others as I’ve always been.

Heck, I still get hot about Hasselbeck‘s confusion between love and sex, her insistence that fairy tales are sex education, and her preaching that the only way we can be saved from the realities of the world we all live in is to stick our heads in the sand — including forcing everyone to join her under said sand and limiting the rights of others even further; she discriminates and insists we all do it with her! That was years ago and my ire won’t die. Not until such stupidity is gone and done.

But neither does the support of Hasselbeck’s position.

So does The View really do what we all believe it will?

Perhaps not — if the only way one measures the importance of such talks is a change in position. But if you consider the benefit of talking in other ways…

Most of the time we take the high road and agree to disagree, taking it to the extreme of avoiding such conversations out of respect. But the cost of doing so is that we avoid the issues.

With The View, we have a frame for the conversation, a table to sit at, and, perhaps best of all, a time frame for discussion. If we listen and talk with each other and then move along to the next thing — be it an issue we agree on, a celebrity interview, or some shopping thing — we have set limits and prove that we can discuss, agree to disagree, and still connect on other issues. Our conversations can be challenging but our relationships need not be challenged.

This, however, is thwarted by The View‘s time slot.

Too many people work days when The View airs. Watching “together” even though miles apart isn’t the only problem; TiVo space and hours in the day not being infinite, intentions of watching later may pave the road to hell. Even watching episodes online is problematic… Even if these family members of mine use the internet (and many of them don’t use it beyond email & photo sharing), it’s just not the same viewing experience.

Maybe ABC should consider giving The View an additional evening showing.  Who wouldn’t rather watch it than another same-old Jay Leno dealio?


As a Brand Ambassador for The View, I am a participant in a Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other The View branded items to facilitate my review; as you can tell from my long-winded posts about The View, the tote or whatever I may get is not my priority, but I mention it to be ethical.

Too Many Babies, Not Enough Babies, WTF

The ladies of The View were not immune to the irony of having a show about infertility one day after the show with Nadya Suleman aka the Octomom. In their Hot Topics discussion (always my favorite part of the show), Whoopi noted it and there was brief discussion on why Suleman arouses so much heated debate.

At first I was surprised when Hasselbeck defended Suleman — I expected her to be a hard-line republican on the welfare business at the expense of fetal life, even though that fetal life was a medical “opt in” not a manual one — and by a single mother yet. And I was more than a bit surprised by Whoopi as well. I wasn’t surprised at her talk of responsibility in having so many kid so much as what was missing from the conversation.

See, what bothers me the most about all the Octomom haters is the lack of compassion and tolerance. Not just for the buckets of crazy that motivate having so many children, but for outrage expressed at her while folks like the Duggars (of 101 Christian Pups & Counting) continue to skate — even past Jon & Kate Plus 8 before the marital drama. I vented about all this before, but here it is again:

Before watching the Dateline interview of Nadya Suleman, my only interest in this story was the passing thought of, “Will this family replace Jon & Kate Plus 8??” I honestly had no idea of the squawking & hostility towards this mother of six who just gave birth to octuplets. In fact, I was surprised to hear of it — and that’s what drew me towards the show.

(Personally, I’d like to lay a large part of this concerned indignation from our nation on the bitterly infertile; but even the fertile seem to be pissed off. So it’s larger than that… Hit a larger American nerve.)

What I saw was an articulate young woman who managed to keep her own anger at bay, who seemed understanding and forgiving of people who do not accept her decision, and was composed yet passionate as she tactfully mentioned her beliefs about the sanctity of life. But it was her earliest statements, regarding other large families, which seemed to lie at the root of all of the hullabaloo.

When two parent families give birth to &/or adopt other children, people seem to respect them. We’re fascinated, yes; we’ve got television shows, both series and ‘specials’, dedicated to such large & extraordinary families. But we treat them with respect in those shows.

However, few seem to respect this woman. As they said on Chelsea Lately, single, unemployed moms who aren’t entrenched in their community church aren’t cute. Funny? Sure. But too true; and that’s what’s not funny. As were the comments Chelsea Handler made tonight (Tuesday, February 10th) about a new mom having a French tip manicure — seeing those nails near such paper-fragile premature baby skin made me whine and wince. And yes, there are some questions about where the money for manicures and whatever is going on with mom’s new lips… But would these statements be made with such heat about other new moms?

Would we trust the judgment of children? When her older children are questioned on Dateline, they mention ‘squishy’ (aka crowded living space) and crying babies. Those may be true things, and even un-coached or non-parroted statements they heard from adults; but are children known for their unselfishness? Not all children welcome additional siblings period. Does that mean parents or persons considering becoming parents take the advice or sentiments of their children to heart and not increase their family’s size because their children complained?

I’m no pro-lifer, but as the mother of special needs children are the plethora of haters (& Dateline) actually saying that it is irresponsible for a family to increase in size because they have special needs children? And sure, special needs kids come with extra bills — but I don’t see anyone worried about me and my family struggling to care for my special needs kids… Where’s the concern for us?

I’m not saying I think Ms. Suleman has all answers or answers that I’d like to hear when it comes to caring for her children; but then, see, that’s the point: This is not my family, these are not my questions to answer, I am not the judge. I’m not a Christian, but I think that’s supposed to be the Christian way; to leave the judging to God.

This is not to say that I, or anyone, shouldn’t care about the welfare of this family, these 14 children — but then most of the people worried are freaking out about the word ‘welfare’ so maybe I shouldn’t use that word…

We currently have no test or licensing practices for parenthood; even adoption has few rules if one has enough money. And don’t let money fool you either; money doesn’t free any family from neglect and abuse — which is what most everyone is talking about in defense of their questioning this woman’s right to a large family.

But it seems to me, too much emphasis is this woman’s single status. It seems to be the bottom line of all the upset reminding me of the old fuss about Murhpy Brown having a baby; a big moral debate about choosing to be a single mom.

Have a two-parent family who keeps popping out children because they don’t believe in birth control, and few take them to task for their lack of common sense, even when they live on the government dole, or in a house that is ‘squishy’. Extra points if they evoke God a lot. And when they have specific religious or church affiliations, no one dares to really berate them because they have religious protections & a coven of church brothers and sisters.

You want examples? Fine. Those annoying Duggars (of 17 and Counting) take their kids to a “wild life refuge” and allow/encourage their kids to feed animals pasty white bread from their mouths, run & chase animals despite the “do not chase the animals” signs — and when asked, bozo dad Duggar says he wasn’t worried about his kids. Apparently God will protect his kids from his own stupidity. Plus they do all sorts of impractical and stunting things to their kids in the name of religion — so we aren’t supposed to judge. Even my beloved Kate of Jon & Kate Plus 8 totes & promotes her faith.

Most egregiously of all, the Murphy family, headed by John and Jeanette Murphy, who, already the parents of four, opened up their home — aka privately adopted — 23 children with Down Syndrome and were the subject of Our 27 Kids. If you want to talk about what’s fair to the children you already have, where’s the outrage that they placed upon their young biological children (two who existed before they began adopting, and two born after) the burdens of special needs siblings? It’s not just the daily grind either — it’s for the lifetime of those children they’ve adopted. As a mom who has had to deal with the safety of one child’s future — aka legal guardianship — in light of other children’s needs, I can’t imagine saddling children with 23 such responsibilities.

But we don’t talk about these issues. Or their economic dole. The Murphy’s admit they too take food stamps, like Ms. Suleman; Jon & Kate likely don’t need them due to their TV deal, their church, etc.; and I bet the Duggars took food stamps & more — at least before the TV deal — and their children, ill-prepared for the real world, are destined to return to such public assistance in the future. But we don’t talk about them because these are two parent families who evoke the name of God & their idea of His vision of morality when speaking of their large families. In the case of the Gosselins & the Murphys, their marital status is a tacit approval of God for most of the gossip-mongering public so ready to judge Suleman.

I guess Suleman should get all kooky with an old time religion and marry a man; preferably the man who biologically fathered her kids — the man her mother claims offered to married her. Then would everyone just shut up about her — or at least just talk about the blessings and realities of raising so many tiny babies? Judging isn’t going to diaper and feed those eight babies. Or her six other children. Nor is is going to help a new mom with her stress. It’s just empty finger pointing.

Well, it’s not completely empty finger pointing… Every finger pointed at Suleman has three more fingers pointed back the the finger pointer. And maybe those people should start there, looking at what makes them so judgmental.

Whew. I’m glad to have that all off my chest. Again.

But back to The View.

(Not that this whole discussion wasn’t about The View; it was. Like I said, Hot Topics is my favorite part of the show, primarily because it’s just like how women talk. But it’s time to leave the Octomom alone and move along.)

Yesterday’s episode was a “special episode” about infertility. While I am not without my sympathies for this issue (something my sister and most of her friends have had to deal with), I am waiting for today– Friday’s — Hot Topic fallout regarding the segment with Bill and Giuliana Rancic. (I know it will be there — especially as Joy mentioned it on her HLN show this evening.)

The short version, for those too lazy to click the above link and watch, it that Giuliana stated that her doctor advised her to gain 5 to 10 pounds to assist conception — and Giuliana resisted.

Now I get that her career is to be a thin woman-child waif on the red carpet etc., and that such a gig requires her to be thin, plus lose an extra 10 for the camera. But her reluctance seemed to have exposed a resentment that she should have to do such a thing in order to have a baby — as opposed to the more sane response that her career ideal weight would be so low that it would interfere with her basic biology.

Giuliana and Bill are both to be admired for sharing their intimate problems for, as they state, the ability to remove the taboo from fertility issues. So I don’t want to sound too harsh or kick folks when they are already down. But…

Giuliana’s statements regarding her earlier career-formed impressions that as a 20-something watching 40-somethings having babies had led her astray, given her the wrong impression about how much time she and her biological clock really had. So perhaps it’s time for Giuliana to see that she too is sending unfortunate messages to women.

By resisting those baby-needed 10 pounds, by emotionally fearing the horrid industry standard of “fat” rather than be horrified by just what those standards do to her and other women who aim to be so slim, she is not only receiving the wrong message, but sending it too.

She would do herself and those who view and idolize her better by accepting the literal baby fat and making a stink about the fictitious and unhealthy standards.


As a Brand Ambassador for The View, I am a participant in a Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other The View branded items to facilitate my review; as you can tell from my long-winded posts about The View, the tote or whatever I may get is not my priority, but I mention it to be ethical.

The View From Here

Last week I became an official View Brand Ambassador, part of the Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime. This means you’ll be hearing more from me on The View and while I will receive a tote bag or other The View branded items for &/or to facilitate my commentary &/or reviews, I’m really excited to have the opportunity to participate in the discussion about and promotion of one of my favorite shows — yup, one of my favorite shoes, not just a daytime favorite.  It doesn’t hurt that we’re supposed to get some face or ear time with show producers either.

In short, being an ambassador for the show means I now have a legitimate reason to watch shows uninterrupted and a larger motivation to talk about them too.

So consider this post a disclaimer — and warning of things to come, both here and at my other blog, Motherhood Metamorphosis. (Heck, it might even show up at other places, depending upon the topic!)

If you’re a fan of The View, right now Mom Central has an exciting contest: The View Sweepstakes. The prize for one lucky winner? A trip to New York City to watch a taping of The View! The sweepstakes is open until February 28th and I encourage you to enter — but I hope I win!

PS If you join Mom Central, befriend me here!

Jon Replaces His 8 Plus?

Rumor has it that Jon (of Jon and Kate + 8) may be doing a “reality show” dating the Octomom. I heard it on some TV show or other, but Christine Navratil’s talking about it too.

What I don’t get is how they could even hope to apply the word “reality” to such a show. Everyone knows Jon’s not interested in settling down again (even the chick he professes to love can see that), let alone to a woman with kids; Jon can’t handle responsibility.

Oh, I’m sure Jon would sign the contract and do it, even have his kids participate (you remember his kids, the ones he’s saying shouldn’t be on TV now); but then it’s acting. Or whoring. Not really dating.

Women Who Want Sex Are Still Novelties

We women who admit we want sex must still be novelties if a national television show is putting out a casting call for us:

Women, what are the reasons that you have sex? Do you do it because it’s fun? Do you do it because you are truly in love with someone? Do you just do it just to make someone else happy or jealous? Will you have sex with someone you might not necessarily be attracted to just because you can? Do your spouses and partners understand why you want to have sex? Do you wish they could understand your needs better? We are looking for women to talk about why they want to have sex. Write in and tell us about it.

Aside from the sexploitation angle, why would this be done? You don’t see a need for TV to “document” men who want sex — that’s a given, right? But women who want sex, well, that’s downright odd. Heck, please tell us, odd woman, why do you want sex? We promise to marvel at your uniqueness! *snort*

Being Frank About Female Insecurity

“If I had as many love affairs as you give me credit for, I would be speaking to you from a jar at the Harvard Medical School.”
~ Frank Sinatra ~

Ahh, Frank. Everybody loves the Frank. Or at least he was convinced of that.

Is anything as suave & steeped in romance as Frank crooning to you as you eat spaghetti? Maybe… But at least you like pasta, right? Or at least eating…? No? Well, you can’t please everybody.

So even if Mr. Sinatra had as many women as rumored, he wouldn’t have pleased all of them either. And he likely wouldn’t have cared.

But women care. We can please 4,566,782 people, and we worry about the one we didn’t please. Why is that?

Thinking about all that just makes me want some pasta. Or Frank, crooning in my ear as I swirl around a dance floor…

…I hope I dance well enough… that guy over there is looking at me funny…

See? Even in my fantasies, someone isn’t thrilled with me.

That’s why, I guess, we see women’s magazines & television talk shows pander to and exploit female insecurities. Even while they profess to be helping women get over their self-loathing, they sensationalize — ridiculing the person, mocking the appearance of the body part they already are insecure about. Sometimes they even make fun of the women who are proud of the way they or their body part appears. Just look at these casting calls from the past two days:

Can a Snuggie or long nails or body fat really be such a relationship problem? I argue that whoever thinks these things are (or can be) relationship problems is the one with a real problem. And I don’t say that glibly.

Whoever gives the status of the Snuggie so much importance that it not only becomes a “constant source of arguing in your home” but you’d be willing to go on television and argue it some more clearly has a carnival-fun-house-mirror view of reality.

If this is how you see yourself, you have a toxic relationship with yourself.

If this is how you see and treat your spouse, you have a toxic relationship with them.

And clearly the media that exploits these people for (they hope!) the money in our pockets has a toxic relationship with their guests and their audiences.

And if you can see just how distorted that is (and I pray that you do!), then you ought to be able to replace the word “Snuggie” with “hair,” “weight,” “fingernails,” or whatever silly appearance-obsessed insecurity-driven show topics show up in casting calls later this week.

I refuse to watch these shows, to prey on the insecurities of others as entertainment. And whenever someone in my fantasies starts to look at me funny, I give them the boot.

I may not be as full of myself as Sinatra was; but I sure as hell won’t be so insecure with myself (or my spouse, for that matter) that I’d consider myself freakish enough to participate in one of these shows — or be in a jar at the Harvard Medical School.

How Rude!

An “Emmy Award Winning Talk Show” has placed the following casting call: I May Break-up With You…Because You’re TOO Rude!

Is it just me, or is the person who responds to this equally — if not more — rude as the person they are complaining about?

Even if the casting call insists, “Don’t write in unless both of you are willing to appear on a national TV show,” can you imagine that conversation?

“Uh, honey, we need to talk…”

Sighs as they silently think, “Oh crap!” — but replies, with a tentative, “Now what?” (Or maybe because they are in fact rude, they reply with “Crap, now what?”)

She continues, “We need to talk… On national television.”


“About how rude you are.”

“How rude I am? How rude I am?! What the f***?! Can you even spell irony?”

Criminal Cause Celebre

I don’t write about celebrities who get busted for domestic violence, rape & assaults because I don’t want to give them any attention and, if I may say so, press coverage. But…

In my thinking that as celebrities they are their own brands and that by the “any press is good press” philosophy by mentioning them I’m helping to promote them — but in reality, by not calling them on their crap am I somehow supporting them?

Recently, when an actor on one of the many popular crime scene science shows was busted, I thought about this all… I wondered if I should be pointing it out — if not calling for a boycott of the show &/or contacting advertisers, then implying same by letting readers know about it. My original thinking was that the actor is only one ingredient of the show, and that while he may be (at least allegedly) creepy & bad, the show isn’t “him.” He isn’t the only actor or participant; nor is his life &/or philosophy what frames the content or the messages of the show.

Yet, if his name is the billable one, if he’s the investment, the property, the celebrity which draws the audiences, then do I — do we — have a responsibility to act? Do we have the right to impact negatively upon his livelihood (as well as those of the cast & crew, etc.) based on his personal life?

If this man or the male singer who hurt Rihanna were regular Joes, we would be limited in what we could do & say. To disparage him & diminish his paycheck, even after the courts have found him guilty, could result in legal problems of our own. As employees, average Joes have protections to keep their jobs. If it didn’t happen at work, it’s not the employers business; if jail time affects work, employers may have to hold jobs for them (regardless of how the employer feels about it). But when celebrities have placed themselves in the fishbowls we have different expectations & results…

We collectively place upon celebrities (albeit slim in some cases) standards of decency in exchange for their fame. Entertainment contracts have clauses for this (whether they are “used” is another issue). Celebrities are given perks in exchange for being “role models” and so they are (sometimes) taken to task for their crimes (bringing attention to societal issues); other times they are so beloved their fame blinds people with a “he couldn’t have” or minimizes the crime in general so as to keep the hero a hero (resulting in additional victim blaming & diminishing the societal concerns for issues such as rape, domestic violence and abuse).

In a society in which we are all supposed to be equal, just where do celebrities fit in? Just how much are we allowed to hold them up? And when are we supposed to tear them down?

And does talking about them by name help or hurt their brands? Help or hurt the victims? Help awareness or hurt the causes?

Please do tell.