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Kathy Shaidle

(KATHY SHAIDLE is a blogging pioneer who runs FiveFeetOfFury, now in its 14th year. She's been called "one of the great virtuoso polemicists of our time," by MARK STEYN. Her NEW book is Confessions of A Failed Slut (Thought Catalog, 2014).
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Turner (Cult) Movies: Queen of Outer Space (1958) Airs Tonight

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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It’s not all black & white “noir” and Criterion Collection classics over at TCM.

The channel also airs weird, obscure (or not) “underground” films and B-movies that are often (mis)categorized as “cult” flicks.

Tonight (and into this morning) TCM is showing movies all about space, “the final frontier.”

Along with predictable choices like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien, they’re playing that fondly remembered 1950s “sci-fi” quickie, Queen of Outer Space.

Contrary to the film’s own publicity materials, Zsa Zsa Gabor is not the titular “queen.” Instead, that much-married Hungarian beauty queen/Paris Hilton relation leads the resistance fighters who want to overthrow Venus’s ruler. (Whose mask looks like an aborted kindergarten project.)

Not surprisingly, life on this all-woman planet gets complicated following the arrival of three very male American astronauts: Oscar-Levant-Looking-Guy, Paul Rudd’s dad, and Eisenhower-era Matthew McConaughey. (It may be “the future,” but they’re still using Brylcreme, and lots of it.)

Queen of Outer Space could have been a cute Shavian satire on male/female relationships. Instead, it’s simply a colorful, confused but ultimately painless time-waster.

Blogger Kate McMillan likes to say that “if women ran the world, we’d still be living in caves, but with really, really fancy curtains.” Alas, according to Queen of Outer Space, the women who run another planet can’t even manage that. Astonishingly cheap sets that would have looked passable in black & white are rendered nakedly, comically putrid beneath the relentless gaze of CinemaScope Color.

(And sure enough, the women’s super-duper nuclear death ray is decorated with yellow polka-dots.)

Along with the awful set design, genre fans treasure the “giant spider” that’s the size of a kiddie pool (and slightly less menacing) and, especially, the racy costumes worn by what looks to be Sylvia Plath and her fellow Mademoiselle interns.

Then there’s Zsa Zsa, throwing awkward “sexy” shapes and breathlessly warning the astronauts that the Queen possesses “weaponsh made by her schientishtshs that can deshtroy da Earthsht.”

So set your PVR and, when you’re ready to watch, wear your drinking pants.

Or purchase Queen of Outer Space on DVD and enjoy the charming audio commentary by the “Queen” herself, B-movie regular Laurie Mitchell.

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What if Fandom Is Really Just Brain Damage?

Monday, June 2nd, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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So come to find out that — I hope you’re sitting down — almost everything they taught you in school about Phineas Gage (that olden days railroad worker whose personality “changed completely” after a spike flew through his brain) was agenda-driven baloney, even borderline-libelous.

Just more of that “settled science” we keep hearing so much about.

(In other news: polar bears…)

Maybe when they rewrite the textbooks, they’ll swap out Phineas Gage for Mr. B.

You see, Mr. B was “a 58 year old Dutch man who had suffered from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety since the age of 13,” and who didn’t respond to any of the usual treatments.

As a last resort, doctors hooked electrodes to Mr. B’s brain.

His symptoms noticeably improved.

So (at least in my opinion) did his taste in music.

Six months after surgery, Mr. B’s stopped listening to his old favorites, the Rolling Stones, and became a Johnny Cash fan.

A superfan, actually…

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10 of Kathy Shaidle’s Greatest Hits

Saturday, April 26th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Editor’s Note: This is a collection of some of my favorite Kathy Shaidle articles. These are both some of her most popular and hardest hitting, challenging conventional wisdom and smashing pop culture idols. Please make a point to make Kathy’s Five Feet of Fury blog one of your regular reads and also check out her new e-book Confessions of a Failed Slut. I devoured it in one sitting and will write more on it soon. Over the years Kathy has become one of the people I most look to for insights into understanding all sorts of subjects from outsider culture to humor to the evolutions in New Media to the mysteries of relationships and religion. These pieces are some of the best examples of why. For more, also check out “PJ Lifestyle’s Top 50 List Articles of 2013” which features a number of additional Shaidle gems, some of which will no doubt make it into volume 2, coming soon…

 - Dave Swindle

1. February 1, 2012:

Five Reasons Star Wars Actually Sucks

2. April 16, 2012:

3. September 20, 2012:

4. May 8, 2012:

5. April 12, 2012

6. April 30, 2012

7. April 16, 2013:

Jobs Are for Suckers: How to Be the Boss of You

8. February 8, 2014:

9. July 12, 2013:

10. August 7, 2012:

If I Were Queen: My First 3 Acts Upon Becoming Your Beloved Empress For Life

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‘Hurricane’ Carter: Fact vs. Fiction

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Believe me: If my mother-in-law didn’t live with us, the sights and sounds of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) would never pollute my home.

But for much of her life, there were only 13 channels, so she habitually switches to the state broadcaster when she can’t find anything else to watch.

That’s how I heard, on Easter Sunday morning, via various noises making their way from our living room television into my office, that Hurricane Carter had died.

Judging solely by the anchor’s somber tone, one would be forgiven for concluding that the deceased had been some great Canadian statesman or artist, not a notorious American boxer and ex-con.

For all their purported sophistication, the Canadian media is embarrassingly parochial. One particularly annoying manifestation of this inward-looking mindset is their habit of conveying “hono(u)rary Canadian” status to any celebrity foreigner with a friendly if tenuous connection to the country.

(Note that these same liberal media types happily mock the Mormon custom of baptizing dead “gentiles” — presuming they’re even aware of it.)

And so CBCNews duly informs us:

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former professional boxer who became an advocate for the wrongly convicted after spending 19 years in prison for a triple murder he didn’t commit, died Sunday in Toronto. He was 76.

Carter’s struggle for freedom and exoneration was made famous in a number of books, a Bob Dylan song and a Hollywood film.

Although born in the U.S., Carter had a special connection to Canada, where he settled following his prison release, which came about with the help of a group of Canadians.

It’s a one-sided, anti-American message the CBC has been pushing for years (using my tax dollars), even on so-called “investigative” programs like The Fifth Estate, which is Canada’s answer to 60 Minutes:

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3 Pro Secrets to Double Your Freelance Writing Income in 2 Years

Saturday, April 19th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Editor’s Note: this article compiles parts 1-4 of Kathy’s “How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years” series that ran this week from Tuesday through Friday.

No one needs a reminder that it’s tax time.

We Canadians don’t have to file until April 30, but that doesn’t lessen the sting for those of us who actually work for a living — especially if, like me, you run your own business.

My accountant just gave me the “good news, bad news”:

The bad news is, I owe a low five-figure amount to the taxman right now. I’ll also have to cough up quarterly payments this year on top of that — something I normally don’t have to do.

That’s because — and this is where the good news comes in — as a freelance writer, I earned more in 2013 than I ever did before, even when I was working at a “normal” cubicle job.

In fact, last year’s revenues were almost double what I earned as a freelancer in 2011.

Throughout this week, I’ll try to explain (to you and myself) how I went from making an average to an above-average income.

Believe me, none of these “lessons” will be terribly earth-shattering.

I certainly can’t promise that they’re universally applicable, either, or will even still work for me in six weeks or six years.

That said, they may still provide some food for thought at a time of year when we’re all forced to review our own individual bottom lines.

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How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years (Part 4)

Friday, April 18th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Here’s the last post in my series.

Today’s advice sounds pretty harsh, but I prefer the word “realistic”:

3. Trust No One (Not Even Yourself)

Seconds from now, that editor who gives you all those juicy assignments will be fired, or promoted to management, or sent to rehab.

That new client who seemed so easy to work with (and so flush with cash) will turn out to be stark raving mad.

The company you’ve worked with for years will go bankrupt. Or their office will go up in flames.

Not all these things have happened to me, but enough have that I never count on people, and circumstances, to stay in stasis.

An older, wiser writer told me recently, after I finished whining about my shabby treatment at the hands of a longtime colleague:

“These people are not your friends.”

The people you work for, and with, prioritize their own financial and personal well-being — as they should.

And those are the sane ones. You will also work for, and with, individuals who are unstable and untrustworthy.

(Although, if you learn to listen to — and obey — your gut, you’ll be able to keep most of them out of your life.)

(That is: ”Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”)

Diversify. Don’t spend money before you get it. A promise is not a contract.

Accept more work than you think you can handle, because at least one of those gigs will implode.

(And if it doesn’t, you’ll discover you were capable of working harder than you thought…)

Don’t trust yourself, either. I hate my “clown car calendar” and my copious Post-It Notes and noisy alerts.

I hate having to write down even the dumbest, most obvious idea because if I don’t I’ll forget it seconds later.

That said, I hate myself a lot more when I can’t extract that brilliant sentence from my brain when I need it.

Newsflash: We’re all human. Your clients will let you down.

And you probably aren’t the effortlessly organized dynamo with the photographic memory you pretend to be.

If you accept your own limitations, and other peoples’, you may actually find yourself enjoying more success than you ever thought possible.

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How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years (Part 3)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Yesterday, as part of my series about how I doubled my freelance writing income over the course of about 24 months, I advised you to “Always Say ‘Yes’ (Except Sometimes).”

Today’s tip is also somewhat contradictory:

2. Be Prepared (But Not Too Much)

A while back, a fellow writer asked me to look over the outline/proposal/project scope thingie he’d just prepared for a client.

The client had hired my friend to write the copy for a ten page website.

My friend’s outline was… 40 pages long.

Whereas I’ve written the copy for 40 page websites, and the outline was five pages long. Maybe.

And I only create outlines (or whatever you want to call them) if a client asks me to (and I can’t talk them out of it.)

Otherwise I never write outlines. I’ve never had a business plan.

I do not make to-do lists. I avoid face to face meetings whenever possible.

Don’t get me wrong: My day, and therefore my week, is planned hour by hour, because my regular daily/weekly work routine rarely changes.

(As I said yesterday, my calendar looks like a clown car, and sounds like one too, thanks to the loud honking noises that remind menopausal me about my deadlines, even ones that have fallen on the same day of the week for years.)

However, my idea of “being prepared” involves, say, having two working computers (and mice and keyboards) at hand, at all times. And a LOT of batteries.

(And toilet paper and cat food, so I don’t have to interrupt my work day to restock those and other non-work-related necessities.)

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How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years (Part 2)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Yesterday, I talked about making more money last year as a freelance writer than ever before.

In fact, my income doubled in about 24 months.

I promised I’d try to explain how I accomplished this over the course of this week, so here’s my first “tip”:

1.  Always Say “Yes” (Except Sometimes).

At this juncture in my freelance writing career, clients and publishers approach me, not the other way around.

(Here’s how I got to that point.)

Today, one of my biggest challenges is knowing when to accept assignments and when to turn them down.

Mostly, I say “yes,” even if I’m (secretly) afraid to squeeze one more gig into my 14-hour a day, seven day a week schedule because my calendar already looks like a clown car, and I’d love to just veg out with a Criminal Minds marathon.

(Nope, The 4-Hour Workweek this ain’t. I don’t buy that gimmicky formula and neither does Timothy Ferriss or he wouldn’t be Timothy Ferriss…)

I’m able to say “yes” as often as I do now because a few years ago, I screwed up the courage to sometimes say “no.”

That’s when I’d first noticed a strange pattern:

The less someone pays you, the more work they demand from you — usually for free.

These “I need it yesterday!” types want multiple revisions and last minute changes, but they sure freak out when you add them to their bill.

Whereas my “high end” clients who are paying full freight are easier to work with.

They’re more satisfied with my efforts, and they pay faster, too.

So two years ago, I politely “fired” some long time clients who were still enjoying my old, low “just starting out”/”I’m afraid to charge too much” rate.

I also stopped writing for publications that weren’t paying me enough. (No, I never write for free.)

This left me more time and energy to devote to newer, better paying (and more enjoyable) clients and publishers.

Yes, I still work long hours, but now those hours are now less frustrating and more lucrative.

(Stay tuned for Part 3…)

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How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years (Part 1)

Monday, April 14th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

bullion-coins-stacked_303x259No one needs a reminder that it’s tax time.

We Canadians don’t have to file until April 30, but that doesn’t lessen the sting for those of us who actually work for a living — especially if, like me, you run your own business.

My accountant just gave me the “good news, bad news”:

The bad news is, I owe a low five-figure amount to the taxman right now. I’ll also have to cough up quarterly payments this year on top of that — something I normally don’t have to do.

That’s because — and this is where the good news comes in — as a freelance writer, I earned more in 2013 than I ever did before, even when I was working at a “normal” cubicle job.

In fact, last year’s revenues were almost double what I earned as a freelancer in 2011.

Throughout this week, I’ll try to explain (to you and myself) how I went from making an average to an above-average income.

Believe me, none of these “lessons” will be terribly earth-shattering.

I certainly can’t promise that they’re universally applicable, either, or will even still work for me in six weeks or six years.

That said, they may still provide some food for thought at a time of year when we’re all forced to review our own individual bottom lines.

So stay tuned…

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Updated: Click here for Part 2

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David Letterman Out, Stephen Colbert In

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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It’s official: Stephen Colbert is replacing David Letterman when the latter retires from late night television next year.

PJMedia’s Bryan Preston reacts:

I say it’s an odd choice because Colbert plays a character on his Comedy Central show. He’s parodying Bill O’Reilly. Does he bring that schtick to a full talk show at CBS, or does he leave it behind and re-invent himself?

Now, my antipathy towards David Letterman is familiar to regular PJMedia readers.

As well, I’m not a fan of Colbert’s schtick; yes, I “get” it, and no, it still wasn’t funny enough, regularly enough, to turn me into a loyal viewer.

In fact, Colbert’s character is so “ten years ago,” so Bush Administration, it’s been giving off an anachronistic odor for a while.

This new job gives Colbert a dignified and lucrative way to kill off his tired alter ego.

Because — and here’s the point — Stephen Colbert is perfectly capable of comporting himself out of character.

At least, he was when, for instance, he’d join the gang on Colin Quinn‘s Tough Crowd (speaking of “ten years ago.”)

Some will accuse me of using this post as an excuse to post a Tough Crowd clip, and while I admit that I do love myself some Nick DiPaolo, I really am trying to be, well, fair and balanced.

This isn’t a test of whether or not Colbert is really “left wing” or “right wing.” I’m just saying that the inside joke in Tough Crowd‘s title was that one’s fellow stand up comics were going to be the toughest crowd you’d faced in a long time. Participants who couldn’t keep up were crushed quickly and painfully. Colbert passed the test.

He impressed me when I found this old clip on YouTube. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but: Colbert may very well prove us all wrong.

Check out this clip and see what you think:

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Argh: Cat Stevens Allowed To Enter U.S. for Hall of Fame Ceremony

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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It’s bad enough that Cat Stevens — a.k.a. Muslim weirdo Yusuf Islam — will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday night.

(Don’t blame me — I tried to stop it…)

But I was hoping he’d at least be banned from entering America, based on his habit of wishing aloud for the murder of Salman Rushdie and such.

No luck there, either. Stevens performed on Jimmy Fallon’s show last night, so we know he’s in the country.

I can only wish that fellow inductee Gene Simmons of KISS — being Jewish and all — will at least diss Stevens during the show.

Of course, KISS have already been dissing the Hall, and each other, daily in the run up to the event.

(Yesterday, Paul Stanley accused Ace Frehley and Peter Criss of anti-Semitism [!?]. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.)

Andrew Loog Oldham, who is being honored as The Rolling Stones’ original manager, says he’s not showing up because, among other things, he says the ceremony isn’t as much raunchy fun any more now that it’s televised.

Meanwhile, surviving Nirvana members seem to be hinting that, for their Hall induction performance, Joan Jett will be taking the place of their obviously absent lead singer, Kurt Cobain.

Now, I have all the time in the world for Joan Jett, despite her asinine politics, but if true, this decision is just… strange.

Joe Strummer died shortly before The Clash’s 2003 induction, and no one in the band said, “Hey, let’s just shove Patti Smith up there instead.” They stayed classy and didn’t perform.

Having said all this, will I watch this stupid show tomorrow night? Probably.

After all, sometimes something fun happens…

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What Is Your Damage, Heathers?

Monday, April 7th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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“**** me gently with a chainsaw!”

I know I’m not the only one who reacted to the announcement of a musical version of Heathers — the bruise-black 1988 satire of teen angst — by uttering that line from the movie, one of the many memorable catchphrases in a film renowned for, among other things, its daring and original writing.

Heathers‘ many imitators, from the laudable Mean Girls to the forgettable Jawbreakers, can’t possibly recapture the sheer, shocking, radical newness of the original.

Meanwhile, within the sub-genre I’ll call the “Blow Up Your School” movie — which dates back to Vigo’s Zero de Conduit (1933) — Heathers ranks somewhere below that near-masterpiece …if (1968) but above its direct predecessor, Massacre at Central High (1976), which failed to live up to its terrific premise, and promise.

That Heathers musical is now playing off-Broadway, timed to coincide with the movie’s 25th anniversary.

The review I read of it left me doubly confused.

Not only did the critic not seem to (want to) understand the point of Heathers, but neither, apparently, did the team who staged the darn musical.

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How to Go Galt: 5 Controversial Tips For Enjoying America’s Coming Collapse

Sunday, April 6th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in in March of 2013 as “5 Controversial Ways to Enjoy the Decline of America“  It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months… Click here to see the top 40 so far and to advocate for your favorites in the comments.

Is America in decline?

I’ve been hearing the United States compared to the Roman Empire since around the 1970s, and I’m sure those apocalyptic sentiments were being expressed long before I was born.

However, it’s difficult to read and watch all the depressing stuff posted here on PJ Media and elsewhere and not conclude that, this time, it’s on.

America’s going Gibbon.

Some books propose possible ways to avert this catastrophe.

Aaron Clarey’s Enjoy the Decline isn’t one of them.

As his subtitle suggests, this book is about “accepting and living with the death of the United States.”

It’s full of counterintuitive, amusing, and sometimes infuriating advice:

What country should I move to?

What should I pack in a bug-out bag?

Why don’t black people go to national parks?

This book features something to offend everyone.

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It Happened To Me: I Agreed With Something at xoJane (Sort Of)

Friday, April 4th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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xoJane used to be Jane, a print magazine along the lines of Sassy and Bust and Bitch: that is, a Clinton-era publication aimed at women but more likely to print stories about RiotGrrls and extreme knitting than diets and makeup.

Today, the xoJane website does talk about beauty and fashion, because they finally accepted, sort of, that that’s what most women like to read about.

They still have an edge though; the editorial policy is extremely, faddishly leftist: “green” this and “trans” that and “slut shaming” whathaveyou.

(They have one story up now called “IS THAT EVEN LEGAL? 6 Rude Things Not To Say To Your Gay Friends Who Are Getting Married” and I thought for a second they were suggesting that it might be illegal to say rude things to gay people because, hey, Mozilla, right?)

One of xoJane’s most popular features is “It Happened To Me,” first person accounts of First World, (mostly) White Woman “Problems”:

“I Accidentally Dated a Racist/Republican/Jock,” “I Worked My Way Through College as a Pole Dancer and Refuse to Apologize For That, SO THERE!,” and endless variations on a theme that’s dear to my heart (given that it’s the subject of my new book):

“I Keep Hooking Up With Strange Men and Now I’m Depressed, Single and 35 and Don’t Understand What Went Wrong.”

Maybe I should submit this pitch:

“I Agreed With Something at Jane XO!”

Because that’s what happened to me today.

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Agent Mulder Vs. Charles Manson

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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That’s not a slash fiction premise or a rejected X-Files scenario, but more or less the concept behind the forthcoming NBC crime drama, Aquarius:

Aquarius will be set in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, and Duchovny will play a police sergeant whose personal life is more troublesome than his job, [sic] at least it was until he sets his sights on Manson, who at that point was just released from prison and starting to build his Family of easily swayed hippies. (…)

”The twists and turns of a complicated undercover operation will lead Duchovny’s character and his young partner to the brink of Manson’s crimes that will eventually lead to the Tate-LaBianca murders in subsequent seasons.”

The backstory to the infamous murders certainly gives the folks behind Aquarius some juicy, colorful stuff to work with:

Most people know that career-criminal Manson was also a frustrated singer-songwriter.

He’d pinned his hopes for fame and fortune on his acquaintance with Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, who’d in turn introduced him to Terry Melcher, a record producer who happened to be Doris Day’s son.

Melcher also resided at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon — or had, until he made way for new tenants: Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate…

What most people don’t know — because the Baby Boomers who run the world don’t want you to — is that the Manson’s Family were full-fledged players in the California counterculture.

Even after the Tate-LaBianca murders…

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Confessions of a Failed Slut

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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I (finally) have two new books coming out this year.

The first is a short-and-not-so-sweet Kindle edition that was commissioned by Thought Catalog.

Confessions of a Failed Slut expands on themes I’ve explored at Another Conservative Web Site, where I accidentally — almost by default — found myself working the “sex” beat.

Which is odd because I’m the least likely “sex writer” around.

I’m 50, I’m married and — as I admit in the book, “my ‘number’ (as the kids call it these days) is so low that in certain Australian provinces I would still be considered a virgin.”

I write as a one-time Catholic school girl who never managed to shake off that early formation entirely — thank goodness.

The book looks back at the old timey kings of porn like Hefner and Guccione, and the whole toxic “do your own thing” ethos of my formative years, the 1970s.

Fast forward to today, and I try to make sense of “dinosaur erotica, slut shaming and robot hookers of the near future.”

I invite you to check it out — there’s already a review at Amazon! — and incidentally, you don’t need a Kindle to read Confessions of a Failed Slut; you can just download a free Kindle reading app from Amazon and read it on your computer or smart phone.

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6 Classic Songs That Almost Didn’t Exist

Saturday, March 29th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in two parts in February of 2013 as “6 Classic Recordings That Have No Business Existing.” It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months… Click here to see the top 25 so far and to advocate for your favorites in the comments.

Today, when every computer ships with GarageBand-type software, sour notes can be sweetened with Auto Tune, and radio stations broadcast focus-grouped computerized playlists, there seems to be no room for the serendipity — – or sheer incompetence and confusion — that helped create some of the greatest records of all time.

For instance, the ultimate irony of the urban legend that “Louie, Louie” is a “dirty” song (there’s a whole book about it) is that today you can just about make out what the FBI(!) couldn’t back in 1963:

The Kingsmen drummer’s frustrated “f-word” at around the 0:55 mark.

What you can’t hear are the backstories: the flukes, accidents, misunderstandings, coincidences, white lies, and willpower that wrenched classic songs from crazy recording sessions.

What you know about a particular recording can change the way it sounds.

If you’re my age, you’ve heard Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” about 10,000 times, which may be 9,999 times more than you ever wanted.

But you may not realize that lead singer Brad Delp “actually hits those high notes; there’s nothing electronic helping him.”

One of the more remarkable vocal pyrotechnics on an album where Delp’s singing gives Scholz’s guitar work a run for its money is on the passage where Delp’s ever-rising tenor rides into the first notes of the signature guitar solo, a move Boylan says was planned and executed flawlessly on virtually the first take.

You may also not know that Brad Delp committed suicide in 2007.

Now, give that 1976 recording one more listen.

See if it sounds… different.

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Meet the Famous British Liberals Who Support Government Control of the Media

Friday, March 28th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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I braced myself as I scrolled down to the list of names.

Who would break my already fractured old heart?

Who would I have to add to my already lengthy “You’re Dead To Me” list?

You see, over 200 British authors, actors, musicians and other bigwigs have signed the “Hacked Off” petition, “urging UK press owners to embrace the cross-party Royal Charter on press regulation.”

The English press is legendarily ruthless:

Most reporters ensconced in Florida’s “Tabloid Valley,” where the National Enquirer and other supermarket tabs were headquartered, were British ex-pats.

(See also Evelyn Waugh’s barely fictional satire Scoop.)

But in 2011, critics said, British journalism hit a new low, when reporters at Rupert Murdoch’s loathed (and now defunct) News of the World were charged with hacking into the cell phones of 9/11 victims’ families — and, not incidentally, those of some celebrities, too.

Now — led by hacking “victim” and (admittedly adorable) whoremonger Hugh Grant — some celebrities and other leftist power brokers are pushing back, with great success:

While celebrities and victims of hacking fronted the campaign for tighter regulation of the press, it has been the liberal and left-wing intelligentsia and media that have driven the crusade to curb the popular press. It was they who formed Hacked Off, used the hacking scandal to demand and get the Leveson Inquiry into the entire ‘culture, practice and ethics’ of the UK media, and wrote the report’s demands for statutory-backed regulation.

Now more than 200 prominent members of what are sometimes called the chattering classes have publicly signed up to the demand for the press to bend the knee to the Royal Charter. It would be difficult to overestimate the abandonment of liberty that represents. The Royal Charter deal, stitched up by all the main political parties in an infamous late-night meeting with Hacked Off, seeks to impose a regulator using the ancient anti-democratic instruments of the Crown, the royal prerogative and the Her Majesty’s Privy Council. (…)

It evokes grim shadows of the old system of Crown licensing of the press, started by Henry VIII in 1529 and expanded under successive monarchs, under which nothing could be published without official permission.’

Those who defied the Crown licensers could expect to be sent to the Tower or the gallows.

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Is Oprah Winfrey Running For President?

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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I’d call Steve Sailer “the Malcolm Gladwell” of the Right except Sailer is a smarter, better, braver writer with a better “accuracy” batting average.

Today, he shares an email from “a reader who is either paranoid or brilliant or both.”

The reader wonders if Oprah Winfrey’s upcoming “The Life You Want” tour of America is really a presidential Trojan Horse:

As one of the few surviving men to have experienced being in the studio audience of an Oprah show while free stuff is being given out, [the reader] writes:

“Oprah POTUS … I think this is a trial balloon and the Canada tour [in 2013] was to polish her game. Lots of red, white and blue, stars and strong suggestion in that article image! … I don’t think Hillary can get it done in 2016, but we will know better after this November what the general sentiment is toward the real conservatives. I am closely watching the “other O” for signals and this is a bit conspicuous to me. On the backside of 2003, I am pretty sure Oprah can get a huge chunk of white-woman votes.”

“Having spent about 15 seconds in The Presence in 1987,” Sailer adds, “Oprah remains the greatest natural politician I’ve ever met.”

The trouble is, the “red, white and blue” article image (above) that has Sailer’s correspondent so exercised is just an exaggerated photo-illustration cooked up by the Hollywood Reporter.

In fact, the “Life You Want” campaign’s — I mean, tour’s — real color scheme is yellow and orange, very Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt.

So, based solely on these flimsy semiotic tea leaves, I’m going to have to go with “paranoid.”

Although, like Sailer, I certainly think Oprah would have been a better “first black president” than Obama.

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Dead Celebrities Pitch Beer, Chocolate, and Bad Taste

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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A while back, I interviewed an executive at Q Scores after they released their semi-regular Dead Q Report.

Corporations pay Q Scores big bucks to determine which celebrities are “most wanted — dead or alive,” then figure out how to leverage these superstars’ popularity in products and ad campaigns.

For whatever reason, this month we’ve seen an uptick in the number of famous dead people hawking stuff on TV.

First, a pixilated, pixie-cut “Audrey Hepburn” stars in a glossy Dove Chocolate spot that the Los Angeles Times condemned as “the creepiest TV commercial ever made.”

I was relieved to find out I wasn’t the only one who finds the practice of virtually reanimating deceased celebrities ghoulish and tasteless.

Now, I realize society is on an extended zombie kick.

However, this particular sun drenched, madcap production — in which Hepburn is chauffeured through the Uncanny Valley portion of the Riviera — is arguably more disturbing than the goriest “living dead” scenario, precisely because it so blithely denies the reality of death.

A la Norman Bates and his mother, pretending dead people were still alive used to be a sign of insanity.

Now it’s the premise for a sales pitch.

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Rock Around the Clock: How 2 Movies Made Musical History

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Baby Boomers have a vested interested in pushing the myth that America in the 1950s was boring, sanitized, conformist and deeply unjust.

“You rubes should be grateful we finally came along to liberate you!” Boomers chirp at every available opportunity, as if Woodstock was Omaha Beach with brown acid.

Yeah, thanks for disease, divorce and the Grateful Dead.

One of the most offensive movies I’ve ever (almost) seen wasn’t Hostel or Cannibal Holocaust but the smug, simple-minded Pleasantville (1998) — “almost” because its arrogant, ham-fisted Promethean concept infuriates me so much I can’t sit through it.

Even Boomer and unrepentant leftist David Macaray scoffs:

Everything that the boomers believed happened for the first time during their coming-of-age years actually happened a decade earlier, and in a more disciplined, modest and elegant fashion — the critical difference being that these remarkable phenomena didn’t affect the masses or spill out dramatically into America’s streets. That wouldn’t happen until the turbulent 1960s.

Lenny Bruce, anybody? James Baldwin? Sylvia Plath? Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer?

Even if you don’t care for them, they were the originals whom lesser talents spent the 1960s (and beyond) emulating.

And those were the radicals.

Below, check out the two most popular, highest paid — and therefore most mainstream — entertainers of their era, in action.

Yeah, the 1950s were so bland and uptight…

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Why The 3 Best Monty Python Sketches Aren’t Necessarily the Funniest

Sunday, March 16th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in January of 2013. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months… Click here to see the top 25 so far and to advocate for your favorites in the comments.

Monty Python saved my life.

I was ten years old in 1974, when the Buffalo PBS station across the lake began airing the iconoclastic BBC comedy series every Friday night.

Being stuck in a cheap, dinky apartment that overlooked a burned-out church, with my bullying alcoholic stepfather and a meek, “see no evil” mother, surrounded at school by more extroverted, rough-and-tumble classmates — and very likely, without knowing it, clinically depressed — that half hour once a week sitting two feet from the TV was one of the only things I felt I had to look forward to.

Maybe ever, I thought at the time.

Ironically, my crappy stepfather was the one who turned me on to the show.

The first night, he “made” me watch it, the same way he was always trying to “make” me get a suntan or take up horseback riding or keep all the closet and cupboard doors in the house either open or closed depending on his inscrutable whim of the week.

My pouty resentment faded fast. For whatever reason — the cool accents, the breathless pace, the tame “naughtiness,” the “question authority” iconoclasm, the ineffable cuteness of Michael Palin — I got hooked on Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

In high school, I finally met a couple of girls who shared my passion, and we became those insufferable sorts who communicate almost entirely in Python (and SCTV) catchphrases.

I bought all the Python’s albums and books by and about them, and repeatedly signed out hard to find titles from the library, like the one detailing their lawsuits and censorship battles.

(Which I suppose helps explain my enthusiasm for trouble-making and my relative indifference to being sued and otherwise denounced and condemned.)

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Adam Carolla’s Cool New Series Brings Bad Contractors to Justice

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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I’ll be 50 years old this year and I’ve never lived in a house.

OK, that’s not true:

When I first moved away from the apartment I grew up in, I shared a house with a bunch of people for three months.

We were broken into. Twice.

I wasn’t surprised.

Apartments — I just knew from personal experience — were safer than houses.

Too high to get flooded.

Too big to get swept up in Dorothy’s tornado.

Too tall for any kidnapper’s ladder.

No spooky basements or attics.

If you lived in a house, Dick and Perry would get you, or maybe the Manson Family.

The creepy covers of The Amityville Horror and Where Are the Children? — damn you, Wendell Minor — confronted me at every checkout counter.

No matter that my formative years coincided with The Towering Inferno, and the efforts of Roman Polanski, J. G. Ballard and David Cronenberg to shift the locus of horror from the small town Victorian haunted house to the 20th century urban apartment.

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Happy 59th Birthday, Nina Hagen

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus rip her off without even realizing it, as do countless teenage (and older) girls around the world.

She probably helped inspire Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the last great musical of the 20th century.

She wasn’t just a defector from Communist East Germany:

They kicked her out.

She found the perfect refuge in mid-1970s London, a city that has always embraced eccentrics, and her timing couldn’t have been better.

Raised in an atheist environment, she was baptized in 2009.

And this week, child opera prodigy turned punk pioneer Nina Hagen turned 59.

Hagen’s views on faith and politics are as blunt and unorthodox as her music and style:

The books by Huxley and Orwell with their terrible visions of the human race being genetically manipulated, in which there is a slave race and everything is controlled, everyone has chips — we are growing into such a horror scenario right now if we don’t inform ourselves and unite. My pastor and I wrote a book called “Vorboten der Zukunft — wie wir die Welt verbessern” (Harbingers of the Future — How We Can Improve the World). That’s exactly what I’m talking about. There are many civil initiatives coming together and joining forces — beyond party lines. It has nothing to do with political parties because they offer no solution. They only want to achieve power but no one is addressing our problems.

Nina Hagen would fail any conservative or libertarian purity test, as would most individuals raised in welfare-state Europe instead of America. Shaking off that utopian worldview is harder than many of us can appreciate.

And like a lot of Protestants, she really doesn’t like the Catholic Church (because she doesn’t understand it.)

But as an energetic embodiment of individuality, I’ll take Nina Hagen over pretty much anybody who spoke at CPAC this year, or who plays insipid Christian “rock.”

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