I’d like to issue a sincere apology. It’s the thing to do these days — everyone’s sorry for something. For example, Benedict Cumberbatch apologized recently after he had the gall to advocate for minorities in show business. His great crime was using the unacceptably outdated term “colored actors” instead of the utterly unrelated and vastly dissimilar approved phrase “people of color.” For this unpardonable sin (formerly known in less enlightened cultures as a “slip of the tongue”), Cumberbatch was rightly commanded to abase himself at the stern and glorious altar of public opinion.
But Cumberbatch obviously isn’t the first — apologizing is so hot right now. It’s practically a spectator sport. Jonah Hill, Alec Baldwin, Christian Bale — they’re all buying into the craze. That many glamorous people can’t possibly all be wrong, so today I’d like to get in on the fun. I’d like to say that I’m really, really sorry.
But the thing is, not all apologies are created equal. You can’t just bat your eyes insincerely and put on your poutiest face. That is certainly not what being a celebrity is all about! No, to really apologize with the big dogs, you have to get down on your knees and beg for mercy. Luckily, The Atlantic is here to help: when Cumberbatch performed his act of penance, Atlantic staffers took the opportunity to enlighten us about how to really repent at the feet of the American press. So I’m going to use the Atlantic’s doctrine to make sure I get my own apology right. After all, Our Journalistic Overlords know best (peace be unto them).
For one thing, when I’m apologizing, I won’t dare suggest that the media goons howling for my blood over a transitory non-issue might be the tiniest bit hyper-sensitive. “Implying that anyone who took issue . . . was overly touchy” is just another way of trying to weasel out of taking responsibility for your filthy, reprehensible crime, explains The Atlantic. Saying “I’m sorry if you were offended” implies that the Left might not have every right to be outraged at your despicable bigotry. After all, it’s your fault if people are ripping you to shreds for using a term that is literally in the name of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. You’re the one who had the audacity to be white and say words.
And I definitely won’t “walk into the chagrinned-white-person trope of referencing [my] non-white ‘friends’” when I make my apology. I wouldn’t be caught dead trying to pretend that routinely being kind to people of other races in any way excuses me from the charge of virulent racism. What a laughable idea! Obviously loving your neighbor is nowhere near as important as using the precise terminology that our Great Thought Masters deemed intellectually sanitary and appropriate all of five minutes ago. As Cumberbatch himself said while undertaking his cleansing ritual of contrition, what matters most is the “need for correct usage of terminology that is accurate and inoffensive.” In other words, it’s no good actually being a decent human if you don’t let the Left tell you exactly what words to say at all times.
So when I make my apology, I’ll make sure not to say “I’m sorry” to any real live human beings whom I could actually have conceivably hurt. Instead I’ll be issuing my apology to a nameless, faceless collective known as “Anyone Whom I Offended.” That way I will forever remain at the mercy of an undefined mass of people whose imperious outrage gives them the right to judge my every thought, word, and deed at any moment. I will reach out into the beyond to address Anyone Whom I Offended through their divine oracles and representatives on earth: mainstream journalists and late-night talk show hosts. These exalted keepers of the sacred mysteries are the only ones fit to evaluate the worthiness of my repentance.
“Now Spencer,” you may well ask, “what are you sorry for?” I know — it’s difficult to imagine what it could possibly be. After all, I’m awesome. Could it be that, like Cumberbatch, I committed the grievous offense of saying an unapproved word? Or, like Billy Crystal, am I guilty of the thought-crime of holding a “socially engrained attitude” towards homosexuality “in the gut rather than the intellect”? After all, according to The Atlantic, thinking forbidden thoughts is “part of the same phenomenon that causes discrimination, suicide, youth homelessness, and murder.” So no matter how scrupulous I am, I probably thought something bad one time, and that’s the same as killing someone. I’d like to apologize. Here goes.
To Anyone Whom I Offended within the mysterious ether: I am desperately and passionately sorry for my impure thoughts. I offer my frantic apologies to all of the innocent babies who were slaughtered mercilessly in their sleep by my wayward words and feelings. I know that I can never undo these deplorable acts because I am myself a scourge on the very universe, lowlier than a worm. However, as a symbol of my righteous self-loathing, I hope you will accept this speech, which I will recite nightly on my knees before the twin altars of People magazine and The Tonight Show. I also promise to wear a hair-shirt under all my runway suits for the duration of my career, and to offer five Our Fathers a day to Al Sharpton, to whom I am apparently accountable for some reason. I will embrace suffering like a lover and pain like an old friend, to the eternal glory of Progressivism. Amen.
I feel better already. If you’re reading this out there, beware! You may have unrepented sins (such as saying something mean about Lena Dunham or thinking unflatteringly about Perez Hilton) on your conscience. I implore you to make amends by posting a heartfelt apology in the comments section of this article as soon as possible. And may Jimmy Fallon have mercy on your soul.
This essay is part of an ongoing dialogue between the writers of PJ Lifestyle and Liberty Island regarding the future of conservatism and the role of emerging counter-cultures in restoring American exceptionalism. See the previous installments in the series and join the discussion:
- Sarah Hoyt, March 22 2014: Interview: Adam Bellow Unveils New Media Publishing Platform Liberty Island
- David S. Bernstein, June 20 2014: What Is Liberty Island?
- Adam Bellow at National Review, June 30 2014 kicking off the discussion: Let Your Right Brain Run Free
- Dave Swindle on September 7, 2014: Why Culture Warriors Should Understand the 10 Astounding Eras of Disney Animation’s Evolution
- Dave Swindle on September 9, 2014: The 50 Greatest Counter-Culture Films of All Time, Part I
- Dave Swindle on September 19, 2014: The 50 Greatest Counter-Culture Films of All Time, Part II
- David S. Bernstein on November 19, 2014: 5 Leaders of the New Conservative Counter-Culture
- Dave Swindle on November 25, 2014: 7 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Will Be My Last Day on Facebook
- Dave Swindle on December 2, 2014: My Growing List of 65 Read-ALL-Their-Books Authors
- Mark Elllis on December 9, 2014: Ozzy Osbourne and the Conservative Tent: Is He In?
- Aaron C. Smith on December 22, 2014: The Villains You Choose
- Paula Bolyard on January 1, 2015: 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Conservatives
- Susan L.M. Goldberg on January 1, 2015: The Plan to Take Back Feminism in 2015
- Kathy Shaidle on January 4, 2015: Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part One)
- Andrew Klavan on January 5, 2015: In 2015 The New Counter-Culture Needs to Be Offensive!
- Clay Waters on January 5, 2015: The Decline and Fall of Russell Brand
- Mark Ellis on January 5, 2015: How Conservatives Can Counter the Likable Liberal
- Audie Cockings on January 5, 2015: Entertainers Have Shorter Lifespans
- Aaron C. Smith on January 6, 2015: How Mario Cuomo Honestly Defined Zero-Sum Liberalism
- Stephen McDonald on January 10, 2015: Why the New Counter-Culture Should Make Strength Central to Its Identity
- Stephen McDonald on January 16, 2015: The Metaphorical War
- Kathy Shaidle on January 19, 2015: Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part Two)
- Frank J. Fleming on January 20, 2015: What if Red Dawn Happened, But It Was Islamic Terrorists Instead of Communists?
- Mark Ellis on January 21, 2015: Adam Carolla: The Quintessential Counterculture Conservative?
- Aaron C. Smith on January 29, 2015: Objection! Why TV’s The Good Wife Isn’t Good Law
- David Solway on February 2, 2015: For a Song To Be Good, Must It Tell The Truth?
- Mark Ellis on February 6, 2015: President Me: Adam Carolla Vs. the Scourge of Narcissism
- David Solway on February 6, 2015: ‘Imagine’ a World Without the Brotherhood
- Aaron C. Smith on February 10, 2015: Kick NBC While It’s Down: Use The Williams Scandal to Set the Terms of the 2016 Debates
image illustration via here
In one of his most memorable roles, as the eponymous character of Tim Burton’s 1990 film Edward Scissorhands, Johnny Depp plays a semi-human manboy with shears for fingers, stuck in eternal youth as those around him wither. I thought of this film last week, as I watched a fifty-something Depp, drunk and clad in his usual get-up of randomly placed crosses and scarves, stumble to the microphone at a televised awards show and deliver a slurred “speech” in which he giggled, cursed, rocked, and swayed his way through a painful two minutes. Here was another manboy on display, albeit one lacking the charm and innocence of Burton’s creation.
It was a shame to see Depp, a genuinely talented and by most accounts kind and gentle man, reduce himself to this display. He is well into middle age—not that any age is an appropriate time for public drunkenness. I suspect his career won’t be dented much, if at all, by the episode. This is not just because he is a celebrity. One can’t imagine, say, Morgan Freeman stumbling onto the stage, delivering a gin-soaked introduction, and walking away with his career totally intact. No, it is Depp’s enduring “bad boy” image that affords him the extra latitude. Those crosses and scarves go a long way. If you can set yourself up as some kind of outsider, those on the inside will start to think they’re caged animals and become desperate for your kind of freedom. The bad boy’s appeal comes from nonchalantly scuffing the social rulebook with his cowboy boots and daring us not to like him because of it.
Making fun of Al Gore, Michael Moore and Tom Friedman is getting stale.
Those liberal hypocrites are all so… ten years ago.
Luckily, veteran English fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has stepped into the breach, providing us with a brand new clueless, tone-deaf progressive do-gooder millionaire to make fun of.
Westwood first rose to fame in the 1970s, when she and then-husband Malcolm McLaren opened the King’s Road boutique Let It Rock.
Under various names — Sex, Seditionaries — the shop became one of two where British punk germinated, the other being Don Letts’ Acme Attractions.
Westwood created the rude, ripped, rubbery clothing forever associated with the movement, while McLaren tended the musical side, cobbling together a house band to publicize the store. (Hence the name Sex Pistols.)
As the group’s lead singer, Johnny Rotten (ne Lydon) recalled:
Malcolm and Vivienne were really a pair of shysters: they would sell anything to any trend that they could grab onto.
Fast forward to 2014, and imagine, say, Jimmy Swaggart getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That’s how weird it should be that Vivienne Westwood was named a Dame of the British Empire by the queen in 2006.
But no one seems to think it odd at all that “shyster” Westwood remains a powerful cultural force, having switched sides from pseudo-rebel to Establishment figure.
Or, to put it more accurately, for being both things at the same time.
Via NBC News:
Talented actress Penelope Cruz can add another notch to her fame. The Spanish beauty has been named Esquire’s “sexiest woman alive.”
The star of Spanish movies like “Volver” and English-language movies like Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is the 11th woman to be given the title by the magazine. Esquire’s previous honorees include Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Rihanna, Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansson.
Sad that Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are anti-Semites, but not unexpected given Spain's sky-high Jew-hatred http://t.co/ajnvalRqP0
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 29, 2014
Consider one of Esquire’s previous choices… The Independent in January: “Scarlett Johansson hits back at Oxfam after charity criticises ambassador over Israeli campaign deal with SodaStream“:
But the 29-year-old actress refused to back down over her campaign, stating that she “never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance”.
“I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” she added in a statement released to The Huffington Post on Friday.
“SodaStream is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbours working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.”
Google is a hypocritical company that victimizes women and enables “habitual pervert predators”… so claim more than a dozen female celebrities who are now threatening to sue.
The women are outraged that Google refuses to remove the various hacked nude photos from their search engines and various sites.
In a scathing, threatening letter — obtained by TMZ — Marty Singer, the legal pitbull repping the women, lashes out at Google, claiming their motto, “Don’t be evil” is a sham because that’s exactly what they are by turning a blind eye to the hacking.
Three weeks ago, compromising images of dozens of celebrities – including model Cara Delevingne and Jessica Brown Findlay – emerged online after a hacker reportedly gained access to their iCloud accounts and stole their pictures.
While it appears that she was unaffected by the attacks, actress Cameron Diaz recently expressed her thoughts on the scandal while in London to promote her latest movie Sex Tape.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning in the UK, she said: ‘Whoever has done it, they will be caught and made examples of. This can happen to anyone. If these guys can do it to this group of people then everyone’s vulnerable to it.
‘I think that people really need to look at… how would they feel if it happened to them?’
Last month, actress Kirsten Dunst became the first celebrity to publicly criticize technology giant Apple when she posted a sarcastic message on Twitter.
The Spiderman star tweeted ‘Thank you iCloud’, the day after naked photos of her were published online.
A nasty showdown erupted on the set of The View last Thursday when the show’s moderator Whoopi Goldberg and co-host Rosie O’Donnell got into a heated spat in front of the studio audience.
Rosie was upset because Whoopi cut her off on a ‘Hot Topic’ subject that O’Donnell indicated she was passionate about backstage before the show. The segment ran out of time and Whoopi had to cut to a commercial, a show insider tells MailOnline exclusively.
The ‘Hot Topic’ was on spanking and the segment was running long, so producers told Whoopi it was time to go to commercial break in her ear. Rosie refuses to wear an ISD monitor in her ear so the control room is unable to speak to her.
‘Well I just don’t appreciate you saying that you were going to do something and not doing it. It makes me upset and I just don’t want to have to go through this,’ O’Donnell continued.
Goldberg, looking annoyed, shot back: ‘I said this was not the time Rosie.’
Not phased by the Oscar winner’s petition to leave matters alone until after the show, the 52-year-old comedienne continued to vent about Whoopi’s actions.
The View moderator then fired back to Rosie: ‘F*** it, I told you to leave it alone and you just don’t want to listen. If you want to go there Rosie, I will dammit. I’m really sick of your s***!’
A hush fell over the studio.
Let’s push the pause button on politics, to note the decline and fall of what was a great civilization.
Have you seen this show, Dating Naked? It follows similar cable fare such as Discovery’s Naked and Afraid. These shows have “naked” in the title, which is a dead giveaway of what they’re about.
They’re about regular people getting naked for basic cable. Duh. That ought to be clear. It’s censored but still R rated stuff.
Dating Naked is a twist on earlier highbrow fare like Love Connection. Only, the daters are naked together on the first date. And they have a full crew around them shooting every word and every move in every contrived situation. And there are editors who will go over every frame of footage to condense hours of nakedness into a 30-minute show, with the naughty bits blurred out to keep the show’s maturity rating below the Hustler level.
When a person signs on to appear on Dating Naked, they’re taking enormous risks. But those risks are pretty obvious.
For one, a whole lotta people are gonna see you naked. If there’s even one mistake, one innocent error, a whole lot more people are gonna see you naked.
And what if any of the raw footage leaks onto the forever Internet? Game over for whatever might be left of your privacy and dignity.
The risks weren’t obvious to Jessie Nizewitz, 28. Her naughty bits weren’t blurred for a couple of seconds that aired. So she wants an apology, and by the way, millions of dollars. Because of all the hurt it caused her.
Jessie Nizewitz, 28, says she was repeatedly promised by the producers that her private parts would be “blurred out” during the show’s third episode in May.
So she stripped down to her birthday suit with wet beach sand covering parts of her body and performed a WWE-style wrestling move on her date while the producers egged her on, according to the $10 million suit filed in Manhattan by her high- powered lawyer, Matthew Blit.
“I felt lied to, manipulated and used. I was horrified,” Nizewitz told The Post, explaining that she was brought to tears.
When the episode aired on July 31, Nizewitz became the butt of jokes on YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr, the papers state.
“…butt of jokes…” We see what you did there, New York Post.
Even the runway model’s family caught an eyeful.
“My grandma saw it. I saw her this week and she didn’t have much to say to me. She’s probably mad. My parents are just annoyed,” Nizewitz lamented.
She says that the seconds of accidental clarity cost her a budding relationship with a boyfriend. Seeing her prancing around butt naked but mostly blurred on national TV — not a problem!
“He never called me again after the show aired. I would have hoped we could have had a long-term relationship. He was employed, Jewish, in his 30s and that’s pretty much ideal,” Nizewitz said.
You know what’s not ideal? Starting off a relationship with a lovely young woman who you really like, only to turn on the TV and see that she’s willing to romp around naked in front of her grandma and your family and everyone else, for a few thousand bucks.
To some people — horrible prudes stuck in the Victorian era, no doubt — that might even be a deal-breaker.
10. Americans are all obese.
From the messy buildup in the fat folds of Mama June’s neck (affectionately known to her children as “neck crud”) to Honey’s proclivity for bathing in mayonnaise, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo embodies the myth that everyone in America weighs a minimum of 300 pounds. One of the best episodes involves Mama June dumping a 5 pound bag of sugar into 2 gallons of lemon juice in order to make homemade lemonade. For the record, 64% of Americans are not obese. But with shows like HHere Comes Honey Boo Boo, The Biggest Loser, Extreme Weight Loss, Shedding for the Wedding, Thintervention, Dance Your A** Off, Celebrity Fit Club, I Used To Be Fat, and Ruby, we’re just a bunch of big, fat Americans.
We’ve all heard of the horrors of Cop Rock and Manimal, but after receiving a reader tip on one of their worst TV shows of all time, I did some digging and uncovered these utterly classic samples of bad television that would make great material for Joel McHale or the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
10. Bucky and Pepito (1959)
Produced by Sam Singer, “The Ed Wood of Animation,” Bucky and Pepito was a typical story of an “ambitious” white cowboy and his “lazy” (literally, they sing about it in the theme song) Mexican buddy trolling the old west on a zero budget. According to Toonopedia, “Cartoon historian Harry McCracken once said the pair ‘set a standard for awfulness that no contemporary TV cartoon has managed to surpass. They were great at what they did, which was being bad.’” Thanks to Bucky and Pepito, cartoonists have debated creating a Sam Singer Award for truly bad animation.
Maybe Whoopi Goldberg should stick to parsing the nuances of the word “rape.”
The View-er is now under fire for shrugging off Justin Bieber’s use of the “n-word” in a recently surfaced old video.:
You know, Canadian words — I’m going to say the word so get ready to beat me. N—-r doesn’t mean anything in Canada.
Goldberg knows this because she “did a movie last year, in Canada.”
That’s know-nothing celebrity smugness on the level of (bad) satire.
She played a nun once, too; I look forward to Whoopi’s exegesis on Humane Vitae.
I’m a 50-year-old Canadian. I have never uttered the N-word. I don’t think my mouth can form the letters.
When I was a kid, once in a while some boy would call Niagara Falls “N***** Falls.” He’d be rewarded with groans. It was considered a “low class” thing to say even in my “low class” environs.
The word has always been a slur in Canada, and a particularly virulent one at that.
After all, that’s the context in which Bieber was using it. He wasn’t referring to one of his “posse” in cringe-worthy “wigger” fashion. He was joking about cutting black people up with a chainsaw.
That makes Goldberg’s defense that much more idiotic.
She’s right Canada doesn’t share America’s history of slavery, but only because God made the place too cold for cotton — something I thank God for every day, as I’m forced to listen to you guys whine and fret about race relations 24/7.
Don’t get me wrong: Canada has its own smaller-scale “original sins.”
For the most part, however, they have been exaggerated and exploited by professional victims who are jealous of the mileage American “civil rights” hustlers have gotten out of playing the race card.
(These professional victims are the same people who love to boast about how much better we are than Americans — even though Canadians are the ones who, for example, invented school shootings…)
Alas, Goldberg’s comments will be used to bolster the already-toxic anti-Americanism that is the connective tissue of the moral preen-ers on the Canadian left, some of whom are congratulating themselves on their own wonderfulness in the comments at the National Post.
That our nation’s “moral superiority” is mostly an accident of climate and geography never occurs to them.
Back to the Future actor Crispin Glover sat down with IGN recently to talk about his experience filming the classic time-travel adventure. Glover only worked on the first film in the franchise, though his likeness and select footage from the first film was used in the second.
In his interview with IGN, posted above, Glover explained some of the creative differences which contributed to his leaving the franchise. He objected to what he called “propaganda” in the film promoting “corporate interests.” Specifically, Glover felt that the ending of the first film, portraying the McFly family as happier and notably wealthier than when it began, sent the wrong message.
The happier was fine to me. And the idea of the characters being in love, I thought was excellent. But I thought – I saw that if there was a kind of a financial reward, where the son character cheers because he has a truck in the garage – I thought that the moral aspect ends up being that money equals happiness. And I questioned that, and that was met with a lot of hostility and upset.
Glover recalls watching old movies in revival houses as a teenager in Los Angeles, films which he felt “were questioning things.” He apparently did not want to be complicit in a film which takes for granted that “money equals happiness,” a message he felt deceived moviegoers into sacrificing their interests to that of corporations.
Propaganda is essentially fooling people into believing that there’s something good for them, but it’s actually in the interests of the corporations. I mean, you can call anything propaganda. You can say what I’m saying right now is propaganda. I mean, you’re saying – it’s propagating an idea. But the kind of propaganda that I’m speaking of, that I think is very damaging, is the propaganda that is making people at large feel that what’s being put forth to them is good for their own interests. But in fact, it’s actually best for the corporate interests and it ends up hurting the people at large.
And unfortunately, I think – even though there are very positive things about Back to the Future – there’s very good story structure. There was good writing within it. My argument was, if we just take out the element of wealth as a reward – and it was only that the characters were in love, I would like the film altogether wholly.
The philosophical notion fueling Glover’s objection was that money should not matter if you pursue those things which you love.
As Ukraine burns, our attention has unfortunately shifted away from the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, a potential revolution over a decade in the making. The New York Times gave a good quick summary of the situation today for those unfamiliar with the country:
Behind the outpouring is more than the litany of problems that have long bedeviled Venezuela, a country with the world’s largest oil reserves but also one of the highest inflation rates. Adding to the perennial frustrations over violent crime and chronic shortages of basic goods like milk and toilet paper, the outrage is being fueled by President Nicolás Maduro’s aggressive response to public dissent, including deploying hundreds of soldiers here and sending fighter jets to make low, threatening passes over the city.
President Maduro is the successor to Hugo Chavez, a man loved by the socialist Left in Hollywood and the fringes of the Democratic Party. Most observers place the blame for the situation in Venezuela at Chavez’s feet. While Chavez and Maduro have the same base of support and the same policies, Chavez possessed a political ability to keep tensions at a simmer, unlike Maduro, who has seen them boil over. As we watch dozens of Venezuelans die in the streets, struggling to save their country from the brink of disaster, this is a good opportunity to point out who on the Left in the United States helped legitimize Chavez during his time in power.
1. President Barack Obama
During the Clinton administration, amid negotiations with Yasser Arafat, the White House became consumed with hugs; specifically, how President Clinton could avoid Arafat’s famous bear grip handshake that would become a full-on embrace. There’s an amusing anecdote about how the White House practiced and choreographed how Clinton could avoid appearing too chummy with Arafat in front of the cameras (“Clinton would squeeze in underneath the biceps and block him.”). Why did Clinton’s staffers spend hours practicing how to avoid an Arafat hug? Because they knew that optics matter.
This is a lesson that President Obama has yet to understand, and this photo, widely circulated around the globe, including inside Venezuela, lent Chavez enormous clout.
Ben Wolfgang at the Washington Times today:
President Obama has taken heat recently for working around Congress whenever he thinks it necessary to, among other things, delay Obamacare mandates and trim immigration enforcement.
But the commander-in-chief on Monday boasted of how, as president, “I can do whatever I want.”
Mr. Obama made the tongue-in-cheek remark as he toured Monticello, the Charlottesville, Va., estate of Thomas Jefferson, with French President Francois Hollande. The visit is part of Mr. Hollande’s three-day stay in the U.S. this week.
The president delighted in his ability to “break the protocol” and view the Monticello grounds from a private terrace.
“That’s the good thing as a president. I can do whatever I want,” Mr. Obama said.
Richard Nixon in 1977:
At the Washington Post today, again the Obama administration breaks the law by delaying a key part of Obamacare:
The Obama administration announced Monday it would give medium-sized employers an extra year, until 2016, before they must offer health insurance to their full-time workers.
Firms with at least 100 employees will have to start offering this coverage in 2015.
By offering an unexpected grace period to businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, administration officials are hoping to defuse another potential controversy involving the 2010 health-care law, which has become central to Republicans’ campaign to make political gains in this year’s midterm election.
Even the nation’s largest employers got a significant concession: They can avoid a fine by offering coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95 percent starting in 2016. Under an earlier proposal, employers with at least 50 employees would have been required to offer insurance, beginning 2015, to 95 percent of those who work 30 hours or more a week, along with their dependents.
At the New York Daily News: Michelle Obama advises Justin Bieber’s mom to ‘be very present in his life right now’
The mother-of-two offered some advice for the pop star’s mom, Pattie Mallette, after Bieber has been involved in a string of questionable activities.
“I would be very present in his life right now,” she continued. “I would be probably with him a good chunk of the time, just there to talk, to figure out what’s going on in his head, to figure out who’s in his life and who’s not, you know.”
She added that the 19-year-old singer, who was recently arrested on DUI charges and may face sanctions associated with the egging of his neighbor’s home, is “still a kid, he’s still growing up.”
Obama, 50, spoke out about the troubled Canadian star in light of a current petition aimed at deporting him.
Again: welcome to single mom nation. Bieber is 19 years old. Obama is 52. Neither of them ever had fathers who taught them the difference between Good and Evil.
At the Hollywood Gossip last week: Justin Bieber, Father Deemed “Extremely Abusive,” Totally High on Private Plane Ride
Sources tell NBC News that Justin and his dad were among a group of about 10 on a chartered, private plane ride for Canada to New Jersey and that father and son were “extremely abusive” to a flight attendant on board.
She actually had to take refuse in the cockpit to get away from their rude remarks and behavior.
Moreover, law enforcement officials allege that Bieber and company were smoking so much pot that the pilots had to don oxygen masks.
“The captain of the flight stated that he warned the passengers, including Bieber, on several occasions to stop smoking marijuana,” says the official report of the incident. “The captain also stated he needed to request that the passengers stop their harassing behavior toward the flight attendant.”
The stewardess in question has refused to work any future flights involving Justin or Jeremy Bieber.
America’s chickens are coming home to roost.
Over the weekend, Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment of an apparent drug overdose. Immediately, stars and fans began to express their remorse over the loss of an incredibly talented, Oscar-winning actor. One star, however, bucked the trend. Supernatural star Jared Padalecki tweeted:
He very quickly deleted the tweet after massive backlash, “clarifying” his stance by saying, “I didnt mean PSH is stupid or that addiction isnt a reality. I simply meant I have a different definition of ‘tragedy’.”
It’s a shame that Padalecki buckled to the outrage police, because he was one of the few prominent voices calling Hoffman’s death what it was. While Hollywood and the media were mourning the loss of an actor, three children — aged 10, 7 and 5 — lost a father yesterday.
Hoffman’s friends and family were alerted to something being amiss yesterday morning when he didn’t arrive as scheduled to pick up his children. During the subsequent investigation by the NYPD it was found that Hoffman had 50 bags of heroin in his possession at the time of his death, with TMZ assuming that the star was planning to go on a long binge.
With all of the adjectives thrown around regarding Hoffman’s death — tragic, sad, and so on — I would suggest a politically incorrect alternative: selfish. Hoffman, despite battling his addiction, and beating it for decades, plunged back into drug use, falling hard off of the wagon. The night before the star was set to spend the day with his young children, he purchased dozens of bags of herion, about to go on a bender that would end up taking his life. It’s no secret that heavy drug use can lead to death and that drug addicts don’t make for great parents. Despite being a father, despite the plans he had made to spend Sunday with his children, Hoffman planned to spend his Saturday night on a binge. While it’s appropriate to mourn the loss of a talented actor and father, it’s also time for Hollywood to stop making martyrs out of the fallen drug addicts in their midst.
In light of pop star Justin Bieber’s unfolding meltdown, Miley Cyrus’s father is desperately trying to milk his 15 minutes out of the whole situation. Bieber’s exploits are tabloid and bandwidth fodder (why else would I be writing about him?), and Cyrus wants a piece of the pie, which led to this hilarious quote:
“A lot of people do ask me for parenting advice,” Billy told Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson, at the Grammys when she asked what advice he would give the troubled teen star.
I won’t even bother sharing with you what the advice was. Would anyone want their child to turn out like Miley? Sure, she’s famous and wealthy, but she also suggestively licks metal while half naked and put the word “twerk” into the phrase of 2013.
While writing about the epidemic of vaccine refusers and the link between this horrible parenting decision and ex-Playboy Bunny Jenny McCarthy I came across this incredibly depressing statistic: 24 percent of American parents trust celebrities for parenting advice.
So there you have it. The beginning of the end of Western Civilization. When we all start dying of whooping cough or venereal diseases caught while sitting half naked on wrecking balls, we can all look back at this moment and know why.
It’s an excuse as old as time. Got caught cheating on your wife? Tell her you were drunk. Unplanned quicky wedding in Vegas? Yup, drunk. Unplanned pregnancy? People have been blaming their state of inebriation for that for thousands of years. But palling around with a genocidal maniac? Well, congratulations Dennis Rodman, that’s a new one.
Shortly after returning home from yet another trip to North Korea (not to the gulags or frozen homes without electricity, just the stadiums and luxury accommodations), Rodman finally realized what we’ve all been saying for months: He’s lost his mind. CNN reports on the basketball star’s new home for the next month: rehab.
“Dennis Rodman came back from North Korea in pretty rough shape emotionally. The pressure that was put on him to be a combination ‘super human’ political figure and ‘fixer’ got the better of him,” his agent, Darren Prince, said Sunday in a written statement. “He is embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused.”
Prince said Rodman is at a facility in New Jersey, one with a “28- or 30-day” program. He said Rodman drank heavily in North Korea during a recent tumultuous trip to the secretive state to play a basketball game with some former NBA stars against national team players from the regime.
“His drinking escalated to a level that none of us had seen before,” Prince said Saturday.
Rodman — the colorful basketball Hall of Famer who won five NBA titles while the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls — said alcohol was one reason he shot from the lip earlier this month and told CNN that an American imprisoned in North Korea since 2012 may have done something to deserve his sentence of 15 years’ hard labor.
After Kenneth Bae’s family complained, Rodman apologized, saying he was under stress and had been drinking when he was interviewed on CNN’s “New Day.”
Sorry, Dennis, but you may have been able to blame the tattoos, the outfits, and the girlfriends on booze, but not this. I’ve written extensively on the horrifying human rights situation North Korea for Commentary and The Federalist, and have unfortunately spent more time than I ever would have otherwise intended writing on Rodman’s “basketball diplomacy” in the Hermit Kingdom. It’s about time that Rodman wised up to the fact that it isn’t always the case that “any publicity is good publicity.” CNN reported that Rodman told the media: ”I’m sorry for what’s going on in North Korea, the certain situations.” But he didn’t apologize for his visit.
“Certain situations”? Really? Let’s hope that the rehab facility Rodman is in has a 12-step program. If it does, Rodman owes it to the victims of Kim Jong-Un to make amends.
Image source: Raw Story
Serious question: did Beatles fans get this insane when someone mocked their favorite rockers? The last few days haven’t been good for Swifties (Taylor Swift fans) or Beliebers (Justin Bieber fans).
At the Golden Globes earlier this week, Tina Fey made a hilarious swipe at the teen star. ComplexPopCulture delves into the spat:
The “controversy” here (that word is used lightly because this is notremotely a controversy) all began last year, when Fey and Poehler first hosted the Golden Globes and, in a joke on stage, said that Swift (who was in the audience) should take some time to focus on herself rather than dating around. It was a lighthearted jab like most jokes at awards shows, but apparently Swift didn’t see it that way—in an interview a month later, Swift commented the following: “You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved, that said, ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’” So, she basically insinuated that there’s a special place in hell for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Yikes.
Fast-forward to last night. Swift was, once again, an attendee of the event, and the subject came up at one point when Poehler was announced as the winner of best actress in a TV comedy: As Fey congratulated Poehler on the win, she joked, “There’s a special place in hell for you.”
So, of course, now Taylor Swift fans think that Tina Fey is the worst person alive, and have been launching a crusade against her on Twitter.
And on the Justin Bieber front, he just can’t seem to stay out of trouble for more than a few days at a time. This time, after egging a multi-million dollar mansion, causing thousands of dollars in damages, Bieber may even be vulnerable to deportation (fingers crossed!). CW star Jared Padalecki tweeted earlier this week about the incident:
Padalecki is now incurring the wrath of the Beliebers, receiving countless screeching death threats from Bieber’s legions of fans.
What is it about Swift and Bieber that makes their fans this devoted, bordering on psychotic? Is this a new phenomenon or were teenyboppers always homicidal? Can parents somehow encourage their teens to adjust their priorities and channel their energies into a more constructive hobby?
Wow, this was painful. The oldest of the Gosselin twins, Mady and Cara of Jon & Kate Plus 8 fame, publicly humiliated their mother on national television this morning. While I normally would never cheer such behavior, Kate deserved it for clearly dragging her daughters onto TV, where they spent their entire childhoods, to force them to proclaim that they loved being reality TV stars and would happily become ones again.
The New York Post’s headline for the trainwreck, “Kate Gosselin’s Twins Freeze Up on ‘Today’ Show” doesn’t do the moment justice. They clearly didn’t freeze up in a moment of panic; there was genuine and palpable hostility between the daughters and their mother. Growing up in front of cameras may not have been the healthiest of environments, but it certainly acclimated the girls to the spotlight. The 13 year-old twins were asked to lie on national television about the impact of having their childhoods, and later their parents’ very messy divorce, play out in public. To their credit, they refused to bite. The Post lays out just how tense the moment was:
“This is their chance to talk. This is the most wordless I’ve heard them all morning,” red-faced mom Kate Gosselin said.
“I don’t want to speak for them. But Mady go ahead, sort of the things that you said in the magazine – that years later, they’re fine. Go for it Mady.”
Mady responded: “No, you just said it.”
The Gosselin girls spoke to People magazine earlier this month, explaining that their parents’ decision to put them TV wasn’t a damaging experience.
But given the chance to repeat that line, Cara and Mady went virtually silent.
Savannah Gunthrie asked the girls how their family, bruised and battered by divorce, was doing. It was this question the teenagers refused to answer. Later in the segment Mady did speak up, rather unconvincingly, about the damage (or lack thereof) that being reality TV stars did to their upbringing. Given which questions the girls refused to answer, and which they did, it appears that they may not lay the blame for their childhoods at reality TV’s doorstep. Having family vacations televised probably wasn’t quite as damaging as watching, along with the rest of the country, as their parents divorced and then galavanted across tabloid pages with their new flames.
Media frenzies are now the norm. There’s no use complaining about them; we can only grade them.
With something like the Boston Marathon bombing or the Newtown school shooting, a certain amount and type of news coverage is obviously justified. But with the following media stories, I would say they were worth a Bret Baier Grapevine segment at most, but many made top 10 lists of the year’s media stories.
The Phil Robertson kerfluffle didn’t make this list—yet. I’ve only watched Duck Dynasty once. I thought it was better than I expected, but not appointment TV. But I like their family a lot. Robertson made some substantive points—and the one that everyone says was “gross” is something that has crossed every straight male’s mind at some point. And I mean every one.
Also, the discussion has been valuable—even when some of the commentary is not—as a Rorschach test for the pop culture and a measure of how many Americans are following the party line.
The rest of these, I would argue, don’t come close to that standard.
7. Paula Deen
Paul Deen is getting referenced again in the controversy around Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. Yeah, let’s compare apples and cinder blocks.
Paula Deen, if it’s a story, is a story about lawsuit abuse. It’s a story about the media feeding frenzy. But Paula Deen herself should sell cookbooks and stay out of my newscasts.
Granted, she didn’t try to get there. She was minding her own business on the Cooking Channel (which was why I had never heard of her) when some former employees sued her. They lost the lawsuit in slam dunk fashion, but not before Mrs. Deen fell all over herself in a deposition in which she had to answer questions about whether she (or her hiring practices) was racist.
Not that I’m condoning perjury, but what special kind of fool blurts out something in a deposition that only a spouse could sell them out on—especially since doing so would hurt the spouse financially in equal measure? Did Paula really think that if a lawyer asked her husband if she said “ni**er” a lot, he would say, “Hmmmm, well back 20 years ago after she was mugged, I think she called that guy bad names…”?
Paula Deen then proceeded to show up on morning shows and give tearful apologies that would make Tammy Faye Bakker cringe.
But other than being really bad at being in the national spotlight outside her cooking show bubble, I can’t for the life of me think of what Paula Deen did wrong—or why anyone should care.
D-List reality star Tia Tequila has re-branded herself as Hitia Tequila in a move to give Adolf Hitler the voice she feels he so rightly deserves.
Based on the celebrity’s YouTube video playlist, the decision comes after releasing a year’s worth of conspiracy theory videos, a.k.a. “Truth Vlogs,” in which the Singaporean-born American model “exposes” the Freemasons, the Bildebergers, the Illuminati, and various groups employing “mind control” techniques including “Hollywood“.
Dubbing herself “the Goddess of Love and War” Tequila posted, ““I am She, the Queen who hath come to save you from this dark world filled with NWO [New World Order] parasite invaders,” on Facebook this past Monday. The description captioned a photograph of Tequila wearing an S.S. hat and Nazi armband while posing in front of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.
Responding to fan criticism, Tequila clarified:
I am not going to sit here and say that I hate Jewish people because that is not the case nor is this about Jews… It is about Hitler and his side of the story that was never told since he was not the victor. However, those of you with a closed mind can think I am being anti-semite all you want because I already told you that I am not, nor will I repeat myself again.
Reports also indicate that “Tequila also refers to herself as “Hitila” in a new song she posted online on Sunday, which features the lyrics, ‘Jewluminati motherf*ckers hate me,’ and, ‘Worldwide genocide, blame it on the Jews.’”
Tequila’s “conversion” to Nazism comes 2 years after her conversion to Judaism, and one year after suffering a brain aneurysm after a drug overdose, and revealing that “…she suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, claimed her Twitter page was ‘hacked’ by her alter ego Jane, who, she described on her MySpace page as ‘crazy’ and someone who ‘always wants to kill me.’”
Jane was not available for comment at time of publication.
Tequila’s sexification of Nazism is the latest in a pop culture trend stretching back to Nazi exploitation films made popular in Italy in the 1970s. Last year’s San Diego Comic-Con welcomed Hot Nazi Chicks promoting Iron Sky, a sci-fi thriller about Nazi aliens attacking America from their home base on the dark side of the moon. There is no word yet on whether or not the Illuminati, Bildebergers, or Freemasons were responsible for the writing of the script.
The Most Controversial Voice Ever in in the History of Recorded Music, Steve Taylor, is Back. And He’d Better Behave. (UPDATE)
Since I gave up hope of ever expecting to hear from Steve Taylor again, I felt a lot better. Because I blame Steve Taylor for pretty much everything.
Sure, I could blame myself for picking up his Meltdown record back in 1984. That was a fateful choice. But I was a kid. How was I to know how damaging that record would turn out to be?
Steve Taylor was already controversial back then. He had debuted in 1983 with a mini-LP (that was a thing in the 1980s, Google it), I Want to be a Clone, that made an awful lot of people mad at him. They had every right to be. In “Bad Rap” he seethed “You save the whales/You save the seals/You save whatever’s cute and squeals/But you kill that thing that’s in the womb/Would not want no baby boom.” Green Peace denounced it, but they couldn’t deny it. In the title song, he mocked “Be a clone and kiss conviction good night/Clone-liness is next to Godliness, right?/I’m grateful that they show the way ’cause I could never know the way/To serve Him on my own?/I want to be a clone!”
Then he did it again, in “I Manipulate.” There was pretty much no one and no issue that Steve Taylor wouldn’t write about. He’s arrogant like that.
To a 14-year-old Christian, Taylor’s mix of art, humor, rebellion, truth and nasal vocals was just too much to resist. “We Don’t Need No Colour Code” beat up on Bob Jones before it was a mainstream thing. The haunting “Hero” took the nice-boy notion of being something more than another corporate type and turned it all on its head. “Meltdown” burned the rich and famous long before the Kardashians showed up to beg for every thinking person’s derision.
Then, there was this hideous cover photo on CCM. It set the magazine publishing industry back 10 years. The music industry almost never recovered.
Steve Taylor taught me that it was possible to be right with God and still have a healthy skepticism for those who claimed to speak for Him, and that it was possible to make a difference in one way or another. What a jerk. I’d probably be rich and own a Gulfstream if not for him.
Taylor’s entire career is littered with wickedness. He ripped amoral state-run education in “Lifeboat” decades before CSCOPE and Common Core showed up. He tore up celebrity cults in “Jim Morrison’s Grave.” Then he got lost in “Sock Heaven.” I followed him the whole time, and even saw him wear a bizarre confetti suit in concert once. But it’s all his fault.
The reason I started caring about issues more than just having a regular job? At least partly Steve Taylor’s fault. The reason I started wanting more from the artists I support than just a good back-beat I can badly dance to? Also partly Steve Taylor’s fault. My collection of Flannery O’ Connor books? His fault too. Have fun Googling that one. The two years I wasted in the Hindu Kush searching for the perfect backup band? Totally Steve Taylor’s fault. The money I blew on yodeling lessons because he made the Swiss mountain call rock star cool? Absolutely, 100% Steve Taylor’s fault. I’ll never forgive him. Neither will anyone who’s ever heard me yodel.
So now he’s at it again. After 20 years of producing hits like “Kiss Me” with Sixpence None the Richer, being the shadowy hand behind the Newsboys (yep, they’re both his fault) and making movies, Taylor is going to inflict himself on the music world again. And I’m ashamed to admit that I’ll be right there with him. I’m already backing his next album on Kickstarter. I can’t help myself. If you know what’s good for you, you won’t join in. But I’m living proof that people who like Steve Taylor never seem to know what’s good for them.
Update: I’m not sure yet who deserves the most blame, but they’ve made their goal. There WILL BE another Steve Taylor album.
We're all slightly in shock at the size and speed of your generosity. I'll send out a video update later today. http://t.co/Am5B7kGwgh
— Steve Taylor (@theperfectfoil) November 27, 2013
Julianne Hough probably didn’t think this one through. That’s the Huffington Post‘s take on the actress’s choice to attend a Halloween party dressed as a black character from Orange Is the New Black. As part of her transformation, Hough donned blackface. HuffPo reports:
The actress attended the Casamigos Tequila Halloween party in Hollywood with friends, who appear to have all gone as the cast of the hit Netflix series. No one in the group, however, seems to have given Hough a heads up about her offensive getup.
This comes during a persistent campaign to badger the Washington Redskins into changing their name. It also fuels the hand-wringing campaign to prevent “offensive” costumes from appearing on school campuses.
As a black man, I find myself wondering two things. First, why do I need white people to be offended on my behalf? Second and far more importantly, why should I be offended by something as trivial as a Halloween costume?
I’ve never quite understood why blackface should offend me. The act of wearing blackface does not harm me. It does not take something from me. It does not prevent me from acting upon my own judgment. It does not violate my rights. I accept that blackface offends some people. I understand that it may be distasteful. But I’m not sure why academics and journalists are so desperate to snuff blackface out of existence while ignoring or even advocating practices which actually harm black people.
Pastor Rick Warren, whose sermons, books, church org charts and teachings have worked their way into every nook and cranny of Christendom over the past decade or so, met recently* with Yusuf Islam.
Yusuf Islam is better known by the name he went by before he converted to Islam: Cat Stevens. Stevens converted to Islam in 1977 and changed his name to Yusuf Islam.
The singer of “Peace Train” has been known to espouse radical, even violent, Islamist ideas. In 1989, after the government of Iran issued a fatwa calling for the murder of author Salman Rusdhie, Mr. Islam rushed to back that fatwa. He said that if he knew where Rushdie was hiding, he would personally call up the Ayatollah to give that location away — which would have resulted in Rushdie’s murder. Islam has never recanted that, and remains a fundamentalist Muslim today.
Pastor Warren tweeted about meeting Islam on October 4. Robert Spencer captured this screenshot of the meeting and posted it at Jihad Watch.
But a Google search today reveals something curious: Warren has deleted the tweet.
“America’s pastor” may have been surprised by Stevens/Islam’s views when confronted with them online after his tweet, but Stevens/Islam’s radical views have been known publicly for years. Spencer notes that this isn’t the first time Warren has gotten cozy with Islamists. In 2009 he addressed a Hamas convention. In 2006, Warren also praised Syria’s “moderate” government. That government is currently waging civil war in which more than 100,000 have died. After controversy erupted following Warren’s visit to Syria, Warren blamed Rev. Franklin Graham and also journalists for reporting it.
*Originally I wrote that Warren met Islam Tuesday, but that was incorrect. Warren tweeted about meeting with Islam on October 4.
The Telegraph shares words of wisdom on how to survive a scandal from Mandy Rice-Davis, the former model who, as part of the Profumo affair helped bring down Harold McMillan’s government:
At the launch of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical about the scandal, Stephen Ward, Rice-Davies declared that Profumo’s error was lying about his affair with Christine Keeler: “Had he actually stood up and told the truth, he would probably have gone to the back benches, maybe.”
Rowan Pelling from The Telegraph adds that:
However, I feel Rice-Davies would have even more pearls of wisdom about the role of humour in extremis. One key difference between the blonde bombshell and the more self-contained Keeler is that Rice-Davies always had a joke on her lips and a wink to the gallery. It was she who perkily declared to a packed court, on being told Lord Astor denied having an affair with her: “He would, wouldn’t he?” The Welsh-born glamour puss looked like she was playing a leading role in “Carry On Profumo”, and enjoying every second of it.
I don’t know. I tend to think it is best not to be involved — much less caught in flagrante — in scandals of this nature, and that when caught one should have to pay no matter how charming or humorous.
However, I must say Rice-Davies’ approach seems preferable to our current public personages who seem to cover a scandal with a new and worse one.