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Crispin Glover’s Gripe with Back to the Future

Friday, February 28th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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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.

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7 Famous Supporters of the Chavez Regime

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

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.

Barack Obama , Hugo Chavez

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Where Is It Still Acceptable to Be Homophobic?

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

frankoceanadvocate

Pop quiz: Which star appears to be losing out on work because he’s an out gay man? Haven’t heard about him? It appears that in some parts of the entertainment industry, namely the rap world, it’s still okay to be homophobic. Entertainment Weekly reports on rapper T-Pain’s comments on his fellow rapper, the openly gay Frank Ocean:

“I think the radio is getting more gay-friendly,” said the Auto-Tune champion/noted boat enthusiast. “I don’t think urban music is getting more gay-friendly because if that was the case, Frank Ocean would be on a lot more songs. I know n—-s that will not do a song with Frank Ocean just because he gay, but they need him on the f—ing song and that’s so terrible to me, man.

The rap world has long been known for its hostility towards the LGBT community, but it has been given a pass due to the fact that the majority of its stars are African American. While the American media gleefully points out the homophobia of every other subsection of the country and its residents, Americans of color continue to be given a pass.

During the controversy in California over Proposition 8, the Mormon Church was vilified for showing a financial interest in the outcome. The New York Times blamed its passage on the Mormon Church, but the Washington Post exposed the true culprits:

All five of California’s most populous counties — Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino and San Diego — voted in favor of Prop. 8 even as Obama was carrying four of the five in the presidential race.

Los Angeles County — the state’s most populous — is particularly interesting to look at. In LA County, Prop. 8 won a narrow majority of 50.1 percent. But, President Obama carried the county with a whopping 69 percent.

The discrepancy?  African American voters, who were overwhelmingly in favor of banning same sex marriage (70 percent supported Proposition 8) even as they supported Obama even more heavily (94 percent).  And, to a lesser degree, Hispanic voters followed that same trend — backing Prop. 8 by a 53 percent to 47 percent margin while giving President Obama 74 percent.

In an ironic twist, these voters who came out to vote with such enthusiasm for the first African American president were also responsible for passing Proposition 8. Perhaps it’s not so ironic, given the fact that President Obama had yet to “evolve” on the issue.

Other minorities are also apparently allowed to make homophobic remarks in public. The Bachelor’s Juan Pablo, who was quoted last month calling homosexuals “perverts,” has largely skated through the incident unscathed. While he has had to comment on the statements over the past month, the show is still on the air and no punitive action has been taken by ABC. Despite the comments, Entertainment Wise reports that he was greeted with cheers and screaming fans at Good Morning America yesterday. While the media has spent a good deal of time this week exposing Pablo’s womanizing ways on the hit show, the statements about “gay perverts” have slowly fallen off the nation’s radar.

What would the media reaction be if a country music crooner made similar comments or was quietly blacklisted? I think you know the answer.

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Our Bieber President Barack Obama: ‘I Can Do Whatever I Want’

Monday, February 10th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

 justin-bieber-president-obama-2011

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 NewsMichelle 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.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death: The Height of Selfishness

Monday, February 3rd, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

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:

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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.

Image: Jezebel

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Pop Culture’s Sexy Double Standard: It’s Elementary

Saturday, February 1st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The BBC/PBS Masterpiece series Sherlock wraps up its third season this Sunday, much to the chagrin of a fan base that has come to embrace the belief, as “The Woman” Irene Adler explained in season 2, that “brainy is the new sexy.” The self-proclaimed sociopath Sherlock Holmes is a character that has turned the otherwise average looking actor Benedict Cumberbatch into an international sex symbol; even religious readers of Christianity Today dig Sherlock’s sex appeal:

The show highlights a male hero who breaks our hypermasculine stereotypes while demonstrating qualities we also find in a mature Christian life: Sensitivity to those around us, friendships that support growth, investment into community, and a discerning focus on truth. No wonder he gets our attention.

The “spiritual is sexy” conclusion isn’t lost on the show’s creator/writer, either:

“The most attractive person in the room is not always the best-looking; it’s the most interesting.” …The showrunner emphasizes that his Holmes isn’t a Vulcan with no emotions – he’s simply decided that things like sex and jokes would interfere with his deduction. “It’s the decision of a monk, not an affliction,” Moffat says. “It’s an achievable superpower.”

In fact, Sherlock’s female-skewed fan base flies in the face of pop culture’s obsession with the Greek-god-like male form:

“It wasn’t like, in all fairness, anyone was salivating over Benedict before he was Sherlock Holmes,” he told the University Observer when asked about the newfound popularity of the show among women. “It’s a meeting of part and actor I think that makes geeky sexy.”

The show’s writer went on to admit that this is probably the first time the Sherlock Holmes audience has been “female skewed” despite the fact that more traditionally attractive actors have taken on the role in the past.

Pop culture goes on to obsess over all things geeky, praising Big Bang Theory and Comic-Con to the skies, while establishing a new double standard when it comes to the intersection of gender and sex appeal. Sure, geeky guys can be cute, but it isn’t as if Amy Farrah Fowler look-alikes are trolling geekfests to be drooled over. Sherlock may be breaking new ground when it comes to depicting the sex appeal of an intelligent man, but women are still expected to house their brain in their booty.

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Boycott, Divestment & ScarJo: Pop Culture Questions #BDS

Thursday, January 30th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has been the stuff of universities, investment groups and the American Jewish community until now. Thanks to the stardom of Scarlett Johansson the BDS battle has made its way into the mainstream. While pop culture addicts more attuned to the size of Kim Kardashian’s rear end will pass by the politically fueled story, chances are that the more intelligent among us, including ScarJo’s Avengers following, may take a second look at the morality behind the latest #BDSFail.

The players in this story have drawn a more definitive line in the sand than Walter Sobchak, with left-wing Jewish American sources like the Forward throwing early punches at Johansson’s presumed first move into the political realm:

…Johansson would do well to realize that “normalizing” the Israeli occupation is a bad use of her celebrity.

Justifying the sucker punch with statistics from the openly biased “Whoprofits.org” (“a project that researches and exposes ‘the commercial involvement of Israeli and international companies’ in the occupation”), the Forward got its own slap down from the Israeli leftist paper Ha’aretz, which lives too close to the facts to avoid them completely:

It is true that SodaStream employs hundreds of Palestinians under terms they probably wouldn’t get at a similar Palestinian firm and Birnbaum, to his credit, was willing even to embarrass the Israeli president in defence of his Palestinian workers.

ScarJo’s decision to leave OxFam was the star’s reaction to BDS movement leaders who demanded the international non-profit organization cut ties with the SodaStream spokeswoman who defended the Israeli company, saying:

SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.

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Who Takes Parenting Advice From Billy Ray Cyrus?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

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.

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There Isn’t Enough Booze in the World, Dennis Rodman

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

North-Korean-leader-Kim-Jong-Un-and-former-NBA-star-Dennis-Rodman-hug-on-Feb.-28-2013.-Photo-via-AFP.

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

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Who Are More Psychotic? Swifties or Beliebers?

Saturday, January 18th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

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:

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Padalecki is now incurring the wrath of the Beliebers, receiving countless screeching death threats from Bieber’s legions of fans.

bieber tweet

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?

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The Gosselin Twins Get Some Payback

Friday, January 17th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

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.

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7 Media Stories From 2013 We Would Be Lucky to Never Hear About Again

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 - by David Forsmark

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.

Via Instagram / http://instagram.com/p/irOWreEyXT/

Via Instagram / http://instagram.com/p/irOWreEyXT/

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.

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Hercules Slams California Tax Proposal

Friday, December 27th, 2013 - by Walter Hudson
You're gonna tax what now?

You’re gonna tax what now?

Kevin Sorbo, the actor best known for his role as television’s Hercules, apparently likes to rage against government on Facebook. Who knew?

In one of his latest posts, the Californian takes umbrage with a decree from self-styled Olympians governing from Sacramento:

Oh, did I mention that the State of California, where I reside, has a bill on the table to tax/fine anyone who decides to leave California for another state or country. True story. Fine you for moving to another state!! WTF!! Maybe I can sneak out on a boat to Mexico.

In a cursory search, I was not able to find anything to substantiate this claim, though I have no trouble believing it. Such a proposal has been made before, and the Left has demonstrated on more than one occasion their willingness to punish or ban interstate relocation. Recall the National Labor Relations Board strong-arming Boeing when the aircraft manufacturer sought respite from Washington state’s smothering labor climate in right-to-work South Carolina? That ended only after Boeing capitulated to the NLRB’s extortion and threw a bone to the unions.

Fundamentally, only one difference exists between such actions and the Soviet Union’s construction of the Berlin Wall. That difference is a matter of degree. A tax on relocated wealth or an NLRB fine acts to deter escape from progressive utopia. The Berlin Wall merely dropped the pretense and made imprisonment within political borders obvious.

Those who propose such taxes, or otherwise seek to keep individuals and companies from voting with their feet, ought to be aggressively challenged utilizing the Berlin Wall comparison. Why did the free world oppose the Berlin Wall? What made that wall immoral? How does that differ from any government action to punish expatriation? Modern tyrants must be thus exposed.

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Nomenklatura on Free Speech: Duck That!

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

duckdynastymeme

Unless you’re fortunate enough to prefer reading or still be avoiding the Facebook trend, you’ve been bombarded with arguments over Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson’s statements regarding homosexuality published in the most recent edition of GQ magazine.  For the record, here’s what the guy actually said after being prompted by the GQ reporter with the question, “What, in your mind, is sinful?”

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality,  sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he  says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the  adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the  greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the  kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

… “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell.  That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about  Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out  later, you see what I’m saying?”

Bottom line: The nomenklatura outcry is over a man who quoted a Bible verse and backed it up with the philosophy that anyone is as free to live his life as he is to live his own and we should all love each other. The nomenklatura supports Obama, who prefers to negotiate nuclear war with Iran, a country that openly persecutes homosexuals as “diseased.” Yet, the nomenklatura denies a maker of duck calls the right to free speech. According to openly gay Camille Paglia, the culture war erupting here is a battle between freedom of speech and the return of the Soviet empire on American soil:

“I speak with authority here because I was openly gay before the ‘Stonewall Rebellion,’ when it cost you something to be so,” she said. “And I personally feel as a libertarian that people have the right to free thought and free speech. In a democratic country, people have the right to be homophobic as they have the right to support homosexuality — as I 100 percent do. If people are basing their views against gays on the Bible, again they have a right to religious freedom there … to express yourself in a magazine in an interview -– this is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, OK, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades. It’s the whole legacy of the free speech 1960′s that have been lost by my own party.”

In the ultimate example of framing, the American nomeklatura is using one man’s words as a weapon against him in the war over what is constitutionally permitted versus what is nomenklaturally popular. Interestingly, this battle in the culture war is illustrating what history has already proven true: The best weapon to defeat the Stalinist nomenklatura is the free market.

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Free Association for Some: The Hypocrisy Fueling the Duck Dynasty Flap

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 - by Walter Hudson

duck-hunt-dog

As the drama surrounding cable network A&E’s suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson enters its second week without losing steam, our analysis of the incident becomes more refined by critical thought. Where emotional reactions at first prevailed, we now see thoughtful consideration of why this episode matters so much to so many people.

Caring about Phil Robertson and his ordeal says something about those who stand with him. It reveals a solidarity informed by shared values, and similar experiences. For Christians in today’s increasingly secularized culture, there exists a persistent subversion of our religious expression. While it often takes the form of private censure, as it has in Robertson’s case, the influence of the state can be sensed bearing down on private decisions.

Perhaps that is why figures like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck have mistakenly represented the suspension as a violation of Robertson’s free speech rights. As reported in City Pages, the Minnesota chapter of the ACLU sought to set the record straight in a blog post last week:

The Constitution protects you from the government violating your rights. Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty, has not been arrested or charged with a crime for his comments about gays (nor should he be), he has been [indefinitely suspended] by a private employer for making these comments.

Phil Robertson has the right to make whatever homophobic or racist comments he wants without fear of going to prison for it, however he does not have the right to have his own TV show, or to say what he wants without negative reactions from his employer or people in the community.

While this interpretation proves correct, we need not look far to see how unequally it is applied. What if, instead of Phil Robertson expressing his Christian view of homosexuality, A&E had suspended a gay reality show star for coming out of the closet and advocating for gay marriage? Would the ACLU and City Pages and their allies on the Left be so eagerly reminding us of the cable network’s freedom of association?

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You Might be Sick of Hearing About It. But You’ve Been Hearing About It for a Reason.

Friday, December 20th, 2013 - by Walter Hudson

nsa duck dynasty

Reacting to a phenomenal wave of activity across social media in the wake of cable network A&E’s suspension of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson for expressing his Christian view of homosexuality, many liberty activists have voiced frustration with the amount of attention a reality show can garner while — in their view — far more pressing issues persist. Some have even suggested that the entire drama has been orchestrated by the media to divert attention from issues like the implosion of Obamacare or the expanding NSA spying scandal.

Here’s a sample which exemplifies the sentiment of many:

I really wish people got half as outraged about things that actually matter as they do about stuff that happens on reality shows. I am so tired of it!

And another:

If you’re more upset that Phil Robertson got kicked off of A&E than you are that a US Drone bombed a wedding in Yemen last week killing 15 civilians, you might be part of the problem.

There’s an irony here which ought to command our attention. The essence of liberty emerges as the principle of individual rights, the recognition that each person retains the prerogative to form their own value judgments. The political left rejects that principle, insisting that individuals surrender their chosen values and adopt those deemed superior by an elite ruling class. Their willingness to wield force and compel others to forsake chosen values metastasizes from an initial conviction that people ought to think a certain way. Getting upset about how upset someone else gets about something you don’t think they should be upset about… it really says more about you than it does about them. It manifests from a latent bit of tyranny which would make others reorient their values.

These are friends of mine making the above comments. And God knows I’ve made similar comments in other contexts. While that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all a bunch of tyrants, it should trigger a thoughtful consideration of why people value the things they value.

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Nazi Is the New Sexy

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

tilatequilahitler

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.

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What Is to Blame for Paul Walker and Roger Rodas’ Car Crash?

Monday, December 2nd, 2013 - by Becky Graebner

paul-walker-died-alongside-former-racer-roger-rodas

Actor Paul Walker and racer Roger Rodas are dead. The cherry-red Porsche Carrera GT they were in on Saturday is now a burned-out carcass.

The link between Walker in The Fast and the Furious series and the manner of his death is of course ironic, thus feeding the news frenzy. His claim to fame was portraying an illegal street racer. He broke the rules and lived on speed.

In real life, he was a 40-year-old dad and car enthusiast. He died in a car driven by Rodas, a racing buddy and personal friend. Rodas was an experienced race car driver, but something went horribly wrong.

Humans seek truth. We want to know why. We want to know how. We investigate and piece together clues in hopes of solving mysteries, allowing ourselves to sleep better at night. In this case, two men paid with their lives and we are wondering whom, or what, we can blame.

Joy-riding and Human Error?

Some articles on the fiery crash are suggesting that the existence of rubber around the crash scene indicates that Rodas and Walker were doing doughnuts and that goofing off might have led to the crash. The local sheriffs have also stated that they believe “high speeds” were also a factor.

I am uneasy with the quick assumption that idiocy was to blame (especially since the existence of rubber in figure 8 patterns still seems unconfirmed). We don’t know the cause yet. The car may have failed! Something snaps, something else bursts, and there go the brakes. Even the best drivers are sometimes no match for velocity + a stationary object.

Legendary driver Ayrton Senna was probably one of the best F1 drivers to live and he was killed in his race car. It is believed that his car’s suspension failed and pieces hit his helmet. His visor was also punctured—possibly by a tie rod. Even thought he was one of the greatest drivers, there was nothing he could do to save himself.  In the end, he died doing what he loved.

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The Most Controversial Voice Ever in in the History of Recorded Music, Steve Taylor, is Back. And He’d Better Behave. (UPDATE)

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

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.

taylor-cover

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.

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The UK Should Ignore the Mediocrities and Listen to the Pretty Lady

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 - by Spyridon Mitsotakis

Lucy Pinder 1st housemate evicted from Celebrity Big Brother

Earlier this month Ronald Radosh told us of an ongoing controversy stirring in the UK over the Marxist upbringing of Labor Party leader Ed Miliband. To be sure, after reading Mr. Miliband’s conference speech I could find nothing as offensive to Americans as Prime Minister Cameron’s remark that Obama “pressed the reset button on the moral authority of the entire free world.”

The free world, under the leadership of the United States, never lost moral authority – despite what some people nostalgic for the days of Saddam Hussein would like to think.

But his proposals – tax hikes, price controls, ecotyrany, nationalizing private property (“so we’ll say to private developers, you can’t just sit on land and refuse to build. We will give them a very clear message — either use the land or lose the land, that is what the next Labour government will do.”) — are a threat to liberty and the economic foundations of British capitalism (or, what is left of it).

The immortal Michael Ledeen, once — in pre-PJM days, in The American Spectator, April 1998 — wrote that:

These are decidedly bad times for Europe, and for those of us who have long looked to Europe for inspiration. Unlike the enormously creative generation or two following the debacle of the Second World War, today’s Europeans suffer from an enormous sense of taedium vitae. The postwar Europeans gave us great theater, great cinema, great novels. Back in the mid-fifties, when I and my highschool pals dreaded ending up in grey flannel suits and living a boring existence in the suburbs, the Europeans gave us sexy women, sexy movies, even sexy philosophers. The French and Italian existentialists, and those angry young Englishmen were surrounded by intellectually fascinating and physically luscious girls, while we made do with dreams inspired by Grace Metalious and Harold Robbins. They had great cuisine and fine wines, we had hot dogs, hamburgers, Coca-Cola, bourbon, and bad beer. Joie de vivre was theirs, not ours. Europe offered pleasures of the flesh and of the mind, and, above all, Europeans incessantly pondered the meaning of it all. …

No more. They’re burnt out, and they know it. Only a masochist would voluntarily attend what now passes for an intellectual salon most anywhere from Paris to Rome, because such conversation is more an exercise in group therapy for the depressed than a spirited inquiry among people expecting to shape the world.

[emphasis mine]

This essay, titled “The Sick Men of Europe,” was prophetic. It predicted with remarkable precision the rise of a continent-wide, mediocre ruling class, and the unbelievable corruption and devastation brought on by the European Union. (Thatcher may have been able to save the UK from the latter, but, sadly, the former took over once she left.) However, Mr. Ledeen may have been too quick to stipulate the extinction of everything he so fondly remembers. Some of it certainly did survive.

Meet Lucy Pinder: 5′ 5″, English, Glam superstar…

More on the next page.

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A Comedy Legend Pays It Forward

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Carol Burnett

If you watch the November 24 telecast in which legendary comedienne and actress Carol Burnett receives the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, chances are you’ll see a roster of notable entertainers onstage to honor her, but you probably won’t recognize one woman on the program. Burnett specifically requested that voiceover artist Rosemary Watson appear at the ceremony. Why would someone of Burnett’s stature think of a young relative unknown like Watson? It’s because Burnett has publicly expressed her gratefulness for the breaks she has received in her career, and she has chosen to pay it forward.

Watson tells the story as only she can:

I was driving along, five-year old in tow, and my cell phone rang. The number said, ‘BLOCKED’. I picked it up (admittedly without a headset on) thinking it was my son’s father and I’d quickly hand the phone to my boy in the back seat. It was not his dad. I put the phone on speaker and the familiar voice said, “Hello Rosemary? This is Carol Burnett.”

The world went into slow motion. (And this, children, is why you should never talk on your cell phone and drive!! Your idol might call you and you could freak out.)

But the weird part is, I knew why she was calling and, I was expecting it even though I was unprepared. A week or so earlier I had written a letter to Ms. Burnett at 2 am. I was unable to sleep that night and I started thinking about my life and how I had come to be doing mostly voiceovers for a living (albeit a rocky one).  I thought about my childhood and the years I spent mimicking Carol Burnett and her vast characters.

[...]

She graciously pretended that I wasn’t acting like a moron and said, “I got your letter, and I just went to your website.”  I began trying to suck air from the atmosphere.  I told her I needed to pull-over. She felt badly….”Oh, you’re driving”. “No it’s okay.” I pulled into the strip mall. She continued to talk about my videos and singing and I think she said the words “you’re” and “amazing” or “terrific” together? I don’t quite remember but let’s just say adjectives were used and they sounded pretty good.

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What’s More Offensive than Blackface?

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 - by Walter Hudson
Julianne Hough and friends dressed as the cast of "Orange Is the New Black" for Halloween

Julianne Hough and friends dressed as the cast of “Orange Is the New Black” for Halloween

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.

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Pastor Rick Warren Embraces Islam — Yusuf Islam, to be Precise

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

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.

RickWarrenCatStevens

But a Google search today reveals something curious: Warren has deleted the tweet.

warren-tweet-gone

“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.

*****

Cross-posted from the PJ Tatler

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Surviving a Scandal With Humor and Aplomb

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt
Mandy Rice-Davies, left, and Christine Keeler, pictured in 1963.

Mandy Rice-Davies, left, and Christine Keeler, pictured in 1963.

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.

Photo via Keystone.

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