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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.

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

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“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.

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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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Miley and SNL: They Can’t Stop Embarrassing Themselves

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 - by Megan Fox

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On Saturday night, Miley Virus Cyrus hosted Saturday Night Live, and, like I’ve done for the past 20 years, I didn’t watch it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid their parody online of what the House Republicans might be doing during the government shutdown. As usual, it was an unfunny Miley dressed like herself (a slut) in a brown wig pretending to be Michele Bachmann while touching herself and writhing around on screen like the strumpet she is to a parody of her song “We Won’t Stop.” It also included some guy I don’t recognize pretending to be a very gay John Boehner dancing around in underwear and licking other men’s nipples.

We are currently living inside an issue of The Onion and all SNL can come up with is this? That wasn’t anywhere near as funny as it should have been. Obama spent money during a “crisis” when government employees are on furlough to erect a fence around the WWII memorial!

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Meanwhile, this is going on in the border states where no one can be bothered to erect even a mediocre fence.

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Now that is funny. To make it even more hilarious, the WWII vets decided to hell with the gates and moved them, and then security came back and wired the fences together! (Somebody please tell the federal government that these guys stormed Normandy. Wire clippers aren’t really a challenge.)

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3 Ways to Know if You’re a Crappy Parent, Courtesy of Dina Lohan

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 - by Megan Fox

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Mommy Wars are a huge part of parenting and are usually waged between working moms vs. non-working moms. But if you want to know who is really ruining kids, look to the philosophies of permissive parenting and moms who are more interested in being a friend than a parent. This trend is not only popular in Hollywood, but is trickling into suburbia, where mothers of teen girls are shopping at the same stores as their teens and hosting parties with alcohol for their underage progeny. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, congratulations, you are a crappy parent.

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3. Are you a stage-parent?

Dina Lohan’s first mistake was getting her little girl, Lindsay, into the entertainment industry. While commercials and off-broadway plays may seem harmless, it can lead to full-on Hollywood horror. Strangely, while Disney maintains the best place on earth for little ones, any child sucked into working for Disney usually doesn’t end up happy or healthy. Very few child stars escape unscathed. Aside from that, hawking your child like a money-making opportunity is just distasteful and I’m sure makes for uncomfortable conversation over holiday dinners while your child is trying to figure out how they ended up with a cocaine addiction to rival Richard Pryor’s. Stage-parenting is not the same thing as parenting.

A classic example is Lynne Spears, who allowed a Rolling Stone photographer to photograph her underage daughter alone in her room wearing only a bra and panties surrounded by her childhood dolls. Spears then wrote a book trying to explain that she was just naive and had no idea the entertainment industry would exploit her daughter in that way (even though it had previously exploited every other female it got its hands on). I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure if some creepy photographer tried to get my daughter alone in a bedroom he’d find himself out on the front lawn with a bloody nose. What kind of parent doesn’t protect her child from predators? A crappy one (ahem…Billy Ray Cyrus).

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Paula Deen’s Turnaround

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Paula Deen

To say that Paula Deen has had a rough year understates the difficulties she has endured this spring and early summer. I’ve reported extensively on the controversy surrounding her. On May 17, the celebrity chef testified in a deposition for a lawsuit against her that she used the N-word some time in the past. As a result, Food Network refused to renew her contract, and sponsor after sponsor dropped her. Despite the hatred coming her way from many corners, her fans throughout the South rallied around her.

These days, it looks as though things are starting to turn around for her. A new publisher has picked up her upcoming cookbook, and she has begun to pop up here and there. Last month, she appeared on MasterChef (in an episode produced long before the deposition), judging the contestants in a Southern cooking challenge.

Last week, the Houston Chronicle reported on Deen’s appearance at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show — her first public appearance since June.

Paula Deen fought back tears Saturday as she was greeted by cheers and a standing ovation from a crowd of about 1,500 during her appearance at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show at Reliant Center.

It was Deen’s first public appearance since late June, when news broke that she had used a racial slur.

“These are tears of joy, y’all,” Deen told the audience. “I’ve said all along that the one place I’d want to make my first step back out is Texas. Y’all’s hearts are as big as your state.”

Deen presented two cooking demonstrations and appeared with her two son, who are cooking stars in their own right.

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What We Taught Our Boys About Girls Like Miley Cyrus

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

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We were those parents — the ones who “sheltered” their kids from much of pop culture as they grew up. Though we didn’t go to the extreme of banishing the television from our home altogether, we strictly controlled the entertainment that we allowed them to see when they were young. Our kids “missed out” on the Disney Channel, the Cartoon Network, and other stations aimed at the younger demographic. We carefully read family movie reviews, not content to rely on the MPAA ratings, and screened the movies accordingly. Our kids did watch some PBS shows, like Barney & Friends and Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, as well as videos that we carefully selected. But we were so crazy-strict that we didn’t even let our kids watch the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake Super Bowl halftime show!

I know. We are so backward and old-fashioned and we deprived our children of a “normal” childhood.

One recurring problem was that we enjoyed watching sports as a family — the Indians, the Browns, the Cavs. We are true Cleveland sports fans and kept cable around so we could catch all of the games. We had no problem with the games themselves, but oh, my…those commercials! We could count on at least 2.5 ads an hour for male-enhancement products during a game and everything from hamburgers to beer being peddled in ads with scantily clad young women flaunting their sexuality to entice viewers to buy a product that usually had no sexual attributes (Danica Patrick pushing Go Daddy web hosting, for example).

We decided that we wanted to allow the good things viewing sports could offer but had concerns about our sweet, impressionable boys being bombarded with sexual images. Our Christian faith teaches the value of modesty (I Peter 3:3-4, 1 Timothy 2:9-10)  and that lust is a sin (Matthew 5:28). Our job was not only to protect our kids from exposure to these things when they were young and impressionable, but also to prepare them for a world in which modesty and purity of the mind are thought of as antiquated notions. After all, the culture teaches that lust is good — it should be indulged and even celebrated. But I reject the argument that we should celebrate the beauty of sexuality and the human body by parading it around in sexually exploitative ways. In contrast, human sexuality is right and good and blessed by God when it is enjoyed within the confines of marriage — not when it’s simulated on the world stage with a foam finger or used to sell hamburgers in a bikini.

So we taught our boys to look away — to avert their eyes whenever a scantily clad girl, intent on sexually enticing viewers, flashed on the screen. We explained that girls who provocatively showcased their wares on TV were not respecting themselves and that it is not respectful to gawk at them. We did not want them desensitized to our hyper-sexualized culture at a young age and wanted them to understand that what seemed common and normal on TV is wrong.

Prudish? Legalistic? Old-fashioned? Maybe. But it was important to us that our boys understood the incredible worth and dignity of women and that they grew up to be men who treated women with the respect they deserve — women who are fellow image-bearers of the God of the universe! We would not approve of the culture’s cheapening and prostituting of women in our home and in the minds of our precious boys. And we want them to someday be dads who cherish and protect their daughters. Any father who celebrates or condones his daughter engaging in behavior that encourages men to have perverse sexual thoughts about his little girl is a bad father.

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The Tale of Miley Cyrus in the Words of Allan Bloom…

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
allanbloom

Oddly enough, Allan Bloom died the same year Miley was born.

Once there lived a professor by the name of Allan Bloom (1930-1992). He wrote a book called The Closing of the American Mind. In this book published in 1987 he studied various aspects of youth culture, including rock music, through the lens of the great philosophers. Gather round, dear readers, as I present to you the words of Allan Bloom as illustrated by the musical artist and former Disney child star Miley Cyrus.

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Proud Member of the Cumberbatch Brigade

Saturday, August 24th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Benedict Cumberbatch … now move along, please.

Benedict Cumberbatch is sexy. Not because of his hipster name or “geek is the new cool” look (those are merely a plus). Benedict Cumberbatch is sexy because he’s got the guts to redirect the limelight on more important news than the shooting of series 3 of the BBC’s Sherlock.

“Go photograph Egypt and show the world something important,” he scribbled on a piece of scratch paper before encountering the paparazzi loitering around the set of the internationally popular television show.

A few days after his manual Egypt “post,” Cumberbatch once again crafted the paparazzi into his own personal Instagram staff by telegraphing more hand-written messages: “Hard drives smashed, journalists detained at airports … Democracy? Schedule 7, prior restraint. Is this erosion of civil liberties winning the war on terror…?  What do they not want you to know? And how did they get to know it? Does the exposure of their techniques cause a threat to their security or does it just cause them embarrassment?”

Britain’s Guardian newspaper took a typically classist view of Cumberbatch’s peaceful protest, most likely because the young actor openly criticized their handling of evidence in the Snowden case. Justifying their destruction of hard drives containing some of Snowden’s leaked documents, the Guardian responded by criticizing Cumberbatch for being a member of the “debased culture …the sort of people who might see the photos have such a lack of interest in anything else in the news that this is their only access to trenchant comment on the big news of the day.” To the newspaper snobs, “The signs hint – unintentionally, perhaps – that the world is divided into two discrete sets: people who already know about things such as Egypt and the Miranda case, and people who might be interested in set shots from the new Sherlock.”

In other words, that’s the snobby English hoi polloi way of saying, “You’re so bloody inferior.  Now, if you please, ignore the large mess of poo we’re standing in thanks to this uncultured Mister Cumberbatch.”

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Girls: As Famous as their Daddies

Sunday, August 18th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
From left to right: Zosia Mamet (father, David Mamet, screenwriter), Jemima Kirke (father, Simon Kirke, drummer of Bad Company), Lena Dunham (father, Carol Dunham, artist), and Allison Williams (father, Brian Williams, newscaster).

From left to right: Zosia Mamet (father, David Mamet, screenwriter), Jemima Kirke (father, Simon Kirke, drummer of Bad Company), Lena Dunham (father, Carol Dunham, artist), and Allison Williams (father, Brian Williams, newscaster).

Check out the first 10 installments of Susan L.M. Goldberg’s ongoing series dissecting HBO’s Girls:

June 6: A Biblical Feminist Confronts The Girls Goddesses, Part 1

June 16: Sex Mitzvah’d: Virginity Isn’t Easy for Girls

June 23: Money: Is That What Girls Goddesses Really Want?

June 30: Millennial Girls Are Easy: Sex, Power & Porn

July 7: Sex for Girls’ Sake: Porn, Art, or Both?

July 14: Single Issue Goddess: The War on Women’s Intellect

July 21: Her Body, Herself: The Right Size & Shape of Girls

July 28: Girls: Best Friends Forever-ish

August 4: Girl on Girl Action: Girls and the Female Gaze

August 11: Girls on Boys: The Body Politic of Goddess Feminism

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Lena Dunham is probably the one girl in the bunch with the least famous parentage. Nevertheless, she’s super-sensitive to the criticism that HBO’s Girls stars four white girls with super-privileged entertainment industry backgrounds:

“The whole ‘kids of famous people’ dialogue…that is one that I really can attribute to jealousy. Because, why else would anyone say that? Why else would you be so horrified by the children of creative people continuing on to do creative endeavors, unless you felt that there was something you were owed that you weren’t getting that they were getting.”

Her sharp commentary came off as rather, well, “Republican” in this era of entitlement. It also smacks of sheer blindness when it comes to the relationship between audience and auteur. What is it that we the people demand of our entertainment gods and goddesses? And why? After all, thousands of teachers are the children of teachers, as are lawyers, doctors, firemen, and policemen. In fact, inheriting your parents’ profession is nothing new. So, why are celebrities held to a different standard when it comes to making it big in their field?

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Matt Damon Questions President Obama’s Manhood

Friday, August 9th, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

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Matt Damon recently sat down with The Guardian to promote his sci-fi social justice thriller Elysium. The article notes that Damon “has been a passionate public supporter of Barack Obama and is confident that his healthcare reforms will rescue America from the iniquities Elysium dramatises.”

But at the time of the interview, Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations had just emerged and Damon experienced a bit of cognitive dissonance as he tried to absorb the fact that his beloved liberal president was spying on American citizens and perhaps infringing on civil liberties. ”It just seems to have taken this weird, Orwellian turn. It’s surreal. I don’t know where we are now.” Damon is probably a bit edgy about the NSA sniffing around his phone records.

Trying to reconcile the competing narratives of Obama as hero and villain, Damon offered a possible explanation:

“I think it’s tough for guys who weren’t in the military,” he says. “One, their manhood is kind of challenged on some level, I imagine, and they allow themselves to get bullied. And two, they’re just politically afraid of either looking soft or looking incompetent, so they overcompensate.”

Damon might be onto something with his overcompensation theory. A Cornell researcher actually did find that men overcompensate when their masculinity is threatened. He found that “ if you made men more insecure about their masculinity, they displayed more homophobic attitudes, tended to support the Iraq war more and would be more willing to purchase an SUV over another type of vehicle.” The study also discovered that ”masculinity-threatened men also reported feeling more ashamed, guilty, upset and hostile than did masculinity-confirmed men.”

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Carolla vs. Kindler: When Jealous Losers Attack

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 - by Kathy Shaidle

Andy_Kindler_in_2009
It’s supposedly one of the highlights of the annual Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal:

Some comedian named Andy Kindler (?) delivers the “State of the Industry” address, which, from what I can gather, is a sort of “roast” of other comics.

Except the “roaster” — that is, Kindler — clearly isn’t “just kidding.”

(My philosophy? “No one is ever just kidding.” No, not even comedians. Especially not comedians. It’s a motto that’s served me well…)

Maybe you had to be there, and I wasn’t, but Andy Kindler comes across as a bitter, nasty piece of work.

And who can blame him?

After all, his biggest claim to fame is that every year, he delivers an unfunny speech in which he insults other, funnier, more successful comedians.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say this arrangement is actually an elaborate, ironic, high-concept prank on Kindler himself, a la Windy City Heat.

This year, everyone in the business is talking about Kindler’s attack on author/podcaster Adam Carolla.

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Both Sides Now: Joni Mitchell Blasts Hometown, Deep South as ‘Bigoted’ — After Wearing Blackface

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Lank-haired, hatchet-faced Canadian songstress Joni Mitchell threw a tantrum last week.

Her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, wants to build a museum in her honor (seemingly oblivious to the irony, considering Mitchell’s quoted-to-death lyrics…)

Mitchell wants them to drop the idea:

There aren’t enough people [in Saskatoon] who know what I do. (…)

I feel that it’s very isolated, very unworldly, and doesn’t grasp the idea of honor. (…)

Saskatoon has always been an extremely bigoted community. It’s like the deep south, and the museum was one thing I thought would be beneficial for people. (…)

People don’t get me there. They don’t get my ideas. They just look at me like I’m famous. That’s a minor part of it.

The mayor of Saskatoon responded with sanguine diplomacy to these insults.

Some Canadians, on the other hand…

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Bad Advice for the Royal Baby

Thursday, July 25th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

Submit your questions to PJMBadAdvice@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice!

Every week, in addition to my Wednesday Bad Advice column featuring questions from you, the readers, I’ll be doing a Thursday advice column for fictional characters, celebrities, and anyone else who didn’t ask for it. If you have suggestions for characters or celebrities you’d like me to give Bad Advice to, send them to the email address above!

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Dear Bad Advice,

I’ve only just entered this world and I’m already a celebrity. There’s not much I can do about it because it’s in my blood. How should I deal with the attention?

- Royal Growing Pains

This is going to sound like bad advice, but let your freak flag fly.

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Will Michael Moore’s Divorce (Finally) Destroy His Career?

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Bad news:

Michael Moore’s boilerplate divorce complaint is the most boring thing he’s ever put his name on.

It even seems to be factually accurate!

Word that Moore and his wife of 21 years were splitting up generated plenty of news stories last week.

The “documentary” fib-maker doesn’t make as many headlines as he once did, of course.

Remember when Moore’s back-to-back hits Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11 made him famous enough to get mocked in other people’s movies?

Remember his sold-out international speaking tour?

His ubiquitous bestselling books?

And the cottage industry that sprang up on the “right” dedicated to debunking Moore’s toxic “facts”?

Today, Michael Moore’s Q Score is probably somewhere between Pokemon and Pogs.

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Save Our Celebrities!

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 - by Andrew Klavan
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With everything going on in the news these days — I mean, didn’t Jennifer Aniston recently get a haircut or something? — this seems like a goofy thing to get annoyed about, but I have to confess it got to me. I saw this originally on Big Hollywood: Tom Cruise’s ex-wife Katie Holmes was walking with her 7-year-old daughter Suri and they were surrounded by paparazzi. And Suri both rightly and kind of cutely was telling these photog thugs to get out of her way and one of them — a grown man — started calling the child names! Another more human photographer tries to remonstrate with this lowlife — but the guy insists he’s in the right! Watch the video — I’m not making this up. The pap doubles down, explaining that no, the 7-year-old actually deserves to be catcalled and by golly he’s just the he-man to do the job! So help me, I’ll retire to Bedlam.

Hey, no one can accuse this blog of being soft on celebrities, but I’ve never subscribed to this idea that just because someone desires to win renown he therefore sacrifices every ounce of his privacy. I know we can’t really restrict the actions of photographers without compromising our First Amendment rights, but is it too much to ask we be allowed to tie them up in canvas sacks and toss them into the Hudson River? Or maybe with Eric Holder re-examining Stand Your Ground laws (for some reason), we might look into extending the meaning of self-defense to include confrontations between the rich and famous and these annoying lens-termites. We could even make special categories for those particularly afflicted. For instance, whereas someone like Tom Hanks — not usually hunted by swarms of paps — could only open fire on one when actually being hounded, someone like Angelina Jolie would be allowed to break into a photographer’s home, creep into his bedroom and smother him in his sleep without facing any legal consequences.

All right, I said it was silly. But really, how far do you have to sink before you start screaming insults at children? Yuck-o.

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Cross-posted from Klavan on the Culture

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5 Movie Stars Whose Careers Are in Trouble

Friday, July 12th, 2013 - by John Boot

Even in Hollywood, you have to deliver results if you want to remain employed. Every year stars fall off the A-list — ask circa 2009 Nicolas Cage about that — and find themselves in a shame spiral of B-movies, supporting roles, and eventually television (sorry, Robin Williams, who will be appearing in the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones, and as the dad, no less). Who is about to fall off the top of the perch?

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1. Tom Cruise

The success of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol less than two years ago gave his stock a bump, but apparently it was the stunts that were the star of that movie. In the three consecutive flops he’s made since — Rock of Ages, Jack Reacher and the aptly-named Oblivion – audiences didn’t even show up on opening weekend out of curiosity. Before Protocol, don’t forget, no one showed up for Knight and Day, Valkyrie or Lions for Lambs, either. Cruise is 51 years old, his boyish charm is finally gone, and he isn’t an action hero anymore. Audiences see him as their weird dad. He should give up on trying to rule the multiplex and start nosing around for more interesting roles like the one he had in Magnolia. Not that he’s fond of Paul Thomas Anderson anymore after Anderson made fun of scientology in The Master.

Next up: Fighting aliens next summer in All You Need Is Kill. Sure.

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Good News for Paula Deen: Looks Like Her New Book Will See The Light Of Day After All

Friday, July 5th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Paula Deen

There’s good news this week for beleaguered celebrity chef Paula Deen: not only will Hoffman Media continue to publish her magazine, but they will also pick up her new cookbook, Paula Deen’s New Testament, for publishing. Celebrity Cafe broke the news on Wednesday:

The company that publishes Paula Deen’s magazine will also publish her new cookbook.

Hoffman Media began publishing Cooking With Paula Deen six times a year beginning in 2005. The magazine reaches approximately 350,000 readers. Hoffman Media is one of the few companies that still support Paula Deen.

In a press release, the company stated:

In response to recent news coverage, Hoffman Media, LLC (HM), a leading special-interest publisher based in Birmingham, Alabama, and publisher of Cooking with Paula Deen magazine, today announced that it is continuing to publish the magazine.

Eric Hoffman, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Hoffman Media, released the following statement:

“Hoffman Media has worked closely with Ms. Deen since  2005.   The recent images portrayed by the media do not reflect the person we know on a personal or a professional level.

“In the eight years that we have collaborated with Ms. Deen,  we have  witnessed her consistent generosity toward numerous charities, from hunger relief and battered women to a Savannah-based orphanage, to name a few. Most recently, she launched The Bag Lady Foundation to empower women and families in their time of need.”

In closing, Mr. Hoffman said: “We are aware of the hurt that has been generated in the media in recent weeks. To be clear, Hoffman Media does not condone the use of offensive, discriminatory language or behavior. With that said, we feel that Ms. Deen’s apology for past indiscretions was heartfelt and genuine.  Our partnership will move forward with greater sensitivity and understanding.”

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Jimmy Carter Supports Paula Deen — Yes, You Read That Right

Monday, July 1st, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Jimmy Carter and Paula Deen
The Paula Deen saga changes every day, with sponsors coming down on one side or another and luminaries of all stripes weighing in. Deen received words of support from one of the most dignified sources — former President Jimmy Carter. That’s right, the 39th president and a fellow Georgian has spoken up on the N-word controversy, stating that the public should forgive Paula Deen. Coincidentally, this also marks the first time I’ve agreed with Jimmy Carter on anything:

Former President Jimmy Carter said embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen should be forgiven, arguing that while there’s no condoning the racial slurs she uttered, the well-known personality has been candid and apologetic.

“She was maybe excessively honest in saying that she had in the past, 30 years ago, used this terrible word,” Carter told CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux in an interview Friday. “I think she has been punished, perhaps overly severely, for her honesty in admitting it and for the use of the word in the distant past. She’s apologized profusely.”

[...]

Carter mentioned Deen’s programs in Savannah, Georgia, that benefit “almost exclusively oppressed and poverty stricken black people.” He advised her to get people she’s helping to speak up and “show she’s changed in her relationship with African-Americans.”

“My heart goes out to her but there’s no condoning the use of a word that abuses other people,” he said. “I’ve known Paula Deen quite well for a long period of time; I advised her to let the dust settle and make apologies.”

As sponsors continue to drop Deen and distance themselves from her, Deen’s fans are responding in unusual ways. Foodie site Stitches ‘n Ditches — whose creator is clearly in Deen’s camp — reports:

…fans of the host of three popular Food Network television shows have taken to social media, and U.S. mail in support of the Queen of Southern Cuisine. Pre-orders of Deen’s latest cookbook, “Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up” skyrocketed over the last few days [note: this was before Ballantine Books cancelled the book's publication - CQ] along with sales of Deen’s popular cookbook collection, kitchen and housewares, and home furnishings.

The Deen fan favorite Facebook page, We Support Paula Deen launched a Butter Wrappers for Paula campaign which begins today. The fan page has amassed more than 500,000 fans in the past week.

“It was a spur of the moment thing,” the founder of the fan page, John Schmitt told Stitches ‘n Dishes. “I was listening to what’s going on and thought, ‘this is ridiculous.’” Schmitt, 49, the lead night auditor for a major hotel chain in Indianapolis, Indiana recalled when fans sent over nine tons of peanuts to CBS when it announced the cancellation of “Jericho” in 2007.

“I thought everyone should send an empty butter wrapper to Food Network and Scripps,” he said. “And now I guess I’m doing some planning.”

With an increasingly large base of Deen supporters rallying together on the world’s largest social media platform comes an extraordinary force capable of delivering a very strong message to sponsors and partners who have parted ways with the Deen camp.

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What Do Southerners Think of Paula Deen?

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Paula Deen has become the talk of the country, just not for a reason she would ever want. I’ve written twice about her in the past few days, first about her deposition and the surrounding media coverage and then once the Food Network refused to renew her contract. Since then, Smithfield has severed ties with the celebrity chef, and QVC is evaluating its relationship with Deen.

But what do Deen’s fellow Southerners think of her? The question provoked a few discussions, and the verdict is decidedly mixed. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, David Gregory asked Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed about the controversy. (I can only imagine the discussion in the meeting. Let’s ask Kasim Reed. He’s from Georgia. And he’s black!) Reid said,

“I think it is very unfortunate. What she has basically said is she used language from her childhood growing up in the past, but we all have to change,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told “Meet the Press,” according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

“So I think folks are going to be hearing what she has to say over the next few weeks. I think she has apologized once, and she is going to continue to do that. It is very unfortunate and totally unacceptable,”  Reed said.

The feeling couldn’t have been more different outside The Lady and Sons, Deen’s restaurant in Savannah, GA, where supporters (and regular patrons) lined up Saturday well in advance of opening.

Most of the diners in line on Saturday morning were white and more than ready to defend one of their favorite cooking stars. But at the very front was Nicole T. Green, 36, an African-American who said she had made a detour from a vacation in New Orleans specifically to show up in support of Ms. Deen.

“I get it, believe me,” Ms. Green said. “But what’s hard for people to understand is that she didn’t mean it as racist. It sounds bad, but that’s not what’s in her heart. She’s just from another time.”

[...]

In the line Saturday, some pointed out that some African-Americans regularly used the word Ms. Deen had admitted to saying.

“I don’t understand why some people can use it and others can’t,” said Rebecca Beckerwerth, 55, a North Carolina native who lives in Arizona and had made reservations at the restaurant Friday.

[...]

“You still hear people talk that way if people think they are in a group of like-minded people,” said Richard Hattaway, 56, who lives just outside Savannah.

He said his grandfather used the word often and without rancor in referring to African-Americans. But Mr. Hattaway’s own parents forbade its use. It is an evolution common to many white families in the South, he said.

“She obviously didn’t get it but I think they are kind of blowing this up,” Mr. Hattaway said.

He was particularly bothered by a commentator on a national news program who suggested that Ms. Deen should have atoned for the pain of slavery, given credit to African-Americans who helped influence some of the country food that made her famous and offered a stronger statement against racism.

“She’s a cook,” Mr. Hattaway said. “She’s not a Harvard graduate.”

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Food Network Cans Paula Deen

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 - by Chris Queen

Paula Deen Off the Air

I suppose it was bound to happen. Fox News reports the details:

The Food Network said Friday it would not renew the contract of the celebrity chef, who has admitted using racial slurs in the past.

The announcement came only hours after Deen issued a strange video statement on YouTube — that was then removed – in which she repeatedly apologized, but failed to specifically address the racist comments she made in a recorded deposition.

“I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I’ve done,” she said in the short, emotional video. “I want to learn and grow from this. Inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable.
“I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but I beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners, I beg for your forgiveness. Please forgive me for the mistakes that I have made.”

There was no immediate explanation for why the video had been taken down and a call to Deen’s representative asking for an explanation brought no immediate response.

The Food Network issued a one-sentence statement late Friday saying, “Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month.”

Reactions ran wild on both sides of the debate, from hashtag games on Twitter involving “racist” recipes to a Facebook page in support of Deen boasting over 25,000 members.

Fox News Radio reporter and commentator — and unabashed Southerner — Todd Starnes tweeted Friday, “What a coincidence @foodnetwork — I ended my relationship with you today, too.” Starnes has also posited that anti-Southern bias is at the heart of this controversy, and he has questioned the double standard that allows films like Django Unchained to use the same word so liberally in public that Deen has been castigated for using in private.

There’s no doubt more to come in this controversy. We’ll keep you posted.

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Uh-oh: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Daughter’s Name…

Friday, June 21st, 2013 - by Ed Driscoll

kim-kardashian-2-600

“It’s North West! Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s daughter’s name is confirmed as birth certificate is leaked,” according to the London Daily Mail:

TMZ witnessed a signed birth certificate with the name North West signed by Kim, 32, and Kanye, 36, at Cedars-Sinai hospital.

People magazine confirmed the news with a source close to the Kardashian family.

And a source told UsWeekly that the couple have already given their daughter a nickname — she will be ‘Nori for short’.

They added that the child has no middle name.

The name North had previously been suggested as a possibility for the child, although many Kardashian fans had dismissed the idea as a joke.

Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock could not be reached for comment.

Incidentally, since I’ve been meaning to post a link to this all week, this is as good a place as any to post a reminder that when it comes to pop “music,” Time magazine sure can pick ‘em: In August of 2005, a Time magazine cover story dubbed West (Kanye, not Adam or Leslie) “Hip-Hop’s Class Act…Why he’s the smartest man in pop music.” The following month, West would prove he’s neither of those traits, as he dynamited an NBC fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina victims with his racist rant against then-President George W. Bush, despite the fact, as DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile recently noted in CNN, “Bush came through on Katrina.”

Three years later, Time would run a story titled “Lil Wayne: The Best Rapper Alive.” This week, as Breitbart News noted, “Lil’ Wayne Stomps on U.S. Flag, Calls Country ‘Godless America.’”

We should have seen it coming; though perhaps we can predict future pop culture self-immolations. Who else has Time dubbed the best/smartest/classiest in their pop culture genres? Their implosion is likely just a matter of time.

*****

Cross-posted from EdDriscoll.com

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The Dark Side of Paula Deen?

Friday, June 21st, 2013 - by Chris Queen
Paula Deen, center, and her sons Jamie Deen, left, and Bobby Deen

Paula Deen, center, and her sons Jamie Deen, left, and Bobby Deen.

Here in the South, the closest thing we have to living royalty is Paula Deen and her family. We love our Southern cooking, and Deen embodies it — as do her sons Jamie and Bobby and, to a lesser extent, her brother Bubba Hiers. Paula Deen has cashed in on her knack for perfect Southern cuisine and her ebullient personality and become a genuine celebrity. And we all know that one of the pitfalls of celebrity is that no part of a star’s life is completely private.

Radar Online and the National Enquirer have gone through the videotaped deposition Deen and Hiers have made in the lawsuit against them from a former employee. Both media outlets use exploitative headlines, the Enquirer breathlessly boasting, “WORLD EXCLUSIVE COVER STORY: PAULA DEEN RACIST CONFESSIONS” and beginning their story with “CAUGHT ON VIDEO—PAUL [sic] DEEN’s secret confession – her racist rant EXPOSED in a bombshell ENQUIRER WORLD EXCLUSIVE!”

Radar Online’s story summarizes the deposition in this way:

Celebrity chef Paula Deen has admitted to using the N-word and telling insensitive racial jokes during a May 17 deposition that was videotaped — and also confessed to her brother’s cocaine, pornography and alcohol addictions!

Paula, 66, admitted to using the N-word and wanting black waiters to play the role of slaves at a wedding party she was putting together, a new bombshell report from the National Enquirer claims.

“The personal disclosures uncovered have stunned Paula’s family and could mark the collapse of her entire empire,” a source told the tabloid.

The Emmy-winning kitchen queen was questioned for three hours because of the $1.2 million 2012 lawsuit in which the former General Manager of their Savannah, Georgia, restaurant, Lisa Jackson, claimed use of the N-word by Paula and sexual harassment and infliction of distress and assault by her brother Bubba Hiers.

When asked by Lisa’s Atlanta-based attorney if she’d ever used the N-word, Paula responded, “Yes, of course,” and gave examples of times she used the offensive term.

The Enquirer also makes issue of Hiers’ abuse of cocaine and alcohol, both of which were already public knowledge.

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Sex Mitzvah’d: Virginity Isn’t Easy for Girls

Sunday, June 16th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

VirginityLosers

Click here for Part 1

I love The 40 Year-Old Virgin for the same reason Shoshanna Shapiro quickly became my favorite character on Girls: not because of her personal virginphobia, but because in a world threatened with terrorism, hunger, and the pending threat of Obamacare, virginity remains one of the greatest crises of our time.

Thanks to the goddess feminist revolt of the sexy sixties, bedroom activities have risen to the top of the pops when it comes to ratings-driven conversation. As a result, virgins have become stigmatized as uncool goods. It’s no wonder, then, that pop culture-obsessed Shoshanna is neurotic enough to spend an entire season trying her best to lose her virginity so she can catch up to her “adventurous” female counterparts like Jessa (who came to the states for an abortion) and Hannah (who has recently been diagnosed with HPV).

How did feminism come to embrace promiscuity as a form of empowerment? Is the “adventurous” woman treating her HPV really happier than the biblical feminist who resisted the culture and waited until marriage to have sex?

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