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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
The Most Controversial Voice Ever in in the History of Recorded Music, Steve Taylor, is Back. And He’d Better Behave. (UPDATE)
Since I gave up hope of ever expecting to hear from Steve Taylor again, I felt a lot better. Because I blame Steve Taylor for pretty much everything.
Sure, I could blame myself for picking up his Meltdown record back in 1984. That was a fateful choice. But I was a kid. How was I to know how damaging that record would turn out to be?
Steve Taylor was already controversial back then. He had debuted in 1983 with a mini-LP (that was a thing in the 1980s, Google it), I Want to be a Clone, that made an awful lot of people mad at him. They had every right to be. In “Bad Rap” he seethed “You save the whales/You save the seals/You save whatever’s cute and squeals/But you kill that thing that’s in the womb/Would not want no baby boom.” Green Peace denounced it, but they couldn’t deny it. In the title song, he mocked “Be a clone and kiss conviction good night/Clone-liness is next to Godliness, right?/I’m grateful that they show the way ’cause I could never know the way/To serve Him on my own?/I want to be a clone!”
Then he did it again, in “I Manipulate.” There was pretty much no one and no issue that Steve Taylor wouldn’t write about. He’s arrogant like that.
To a 14-year-old Christian, Taylor’s mix of art, humor, rebellion, truth and nasal vocals was just too much to resist. “We Don’t Need No Colour Code” beat up on Bob Jones before it was a mainstream thing. The haunting “Hero” took the nice-boy notion of being something more than another corporate type and turned it all on its head. “Meltdown” burned the rich and famous long before the Kardashians showed up to beg for every thinking person’s derision.
Then, there was this hideous cover photo on CCM. It set the magazine publishing industry back 10 years. The music industry almost never recovered.
Steve Taylor taught me that it was possible to be right with God and still have a healthy skepticism for those who claimed to speak for Him, and that it was possible to make a difference in one way or another. What a jerk. I’d probably be rich and own a Gulfstream if not for him.
Taylor’s entire career is littered with wickedness. He ripped amoral state-run education in “Lifeboat” decades before CSCOPE and Common Core showed up. He tore up celebrity cults in “Jim Morrison’s Grave.” Then he got lost in “Sock Heaven.” I followed him the whole time, and even saw him wear a bizarre confetti suit in concert once. But it’s all his fault.
The reason I started caring about issues more than just having a regular job? At least partly Steve Taylor’s fault. The reason I started wanting more from the artists I support than just a good back-beat I can badly dance to? Also partly Steve Taylor’s fault. My collection of Flannery O’ Connor books? His fault too. Have fun Googling that one. The two years I wasted in the Hindu Kush searching for the perfect backup band? Totally Steve Taylor’s fault. The money I blew on yodeling lessons because he made the Swiss mountain call rock star cool? Absolutely, 100% Steve Taylor’s fault. I’ll never forgive him. Neither will anyone who’s ever heard me yodel.
So now he’s at it again. After 20 years of producing hits like “Kiss Me” with Sixpence None the Richer, being the shadowy hand behind the Newsboys (yep, they’re both his fault) and making movies, Taylor is going to inflict himself on the music world again. And I’m ashamed to admit that I’ll be right there with him. I’m already backing his next album on Kickstarter. I can’t help myself. If you know what’s good for you, you won’t join in. But I’m living proof that people who like Steve Taylor never seem to know what’s good for them.
Update: I’m not sure yet who deserves the most blame, but they’ve made their goal. There WILL BE another Steve Taylor album.
We're all slightly in shock at the size and speed of your generosity. I'll send out a video update later today. http://t.co/Am5B7kGwgh
— Steve Taylor (@theperfectfoil) November 27, 2013
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.
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.
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.
Julianne Hough probably didn’t think this one through. That’s the Huffington Post‘s take on the actress’s choice to attend a Halloween party dressed as a black character from Orange Is the New Black. As part of her transformation, Hough donned blackface. HuffPo reports:
The actress attended the Casamigos Tequila Halloween party in Hollywood with friends, who appear to have all gone as the cast of the hit Netflix series. No one in the group, however, seems to have given Hough a heads up about her offensive getup.
This comes during a persistent campaign to badger the Washington Redskins into changing their name. It also fuels the hand-wringing campaign to prevent “offensive” costumes from appearing on school campuses.
As a black man, I find myself wondering two things. First, why do I need white people to be offended on my behalf? Second and far more importantly, why should I be offended by something as trivial as a Halloween costume?
I’ve never quite understood why blackface should offend me. The act of wearing blackface does not harm me. It does not take something from me. It does not prevent me from acting upon my own judgment. It does not violate my rights. I accept that blackface offends some people. I understand that it may be distasteful. But I’m not sure why academics and journalists are so desperate to snuff blackface out of existence while ignoring or even advocating practices which actually harm black people.
Pastor Rick Warren, whose sermons, books, church org charts and teachings have worked their way into every nook and cranny of Christendom over the past decade or so, met recently* with Yusuf Islam.
Yusuf Islam is better known by the name he went by before he converted to Islam: Cat Stevens. Stevens converted to Islam in 1977 and changed his name to Yusuf Islam.
The singer of “Peace Train” has been known to espouse radical, even violent, Islamist ideas. In 1989, after the government of Iran issued a fatwa calling for the murder of author Salman Rusdhie, Mr. Islam rushed to back that fatwa. He said that if he knew where Rushdie was hiding, he would personally call up the Ayatollah to give that location away — which would have resulted in Rushdie’s murder. Islam has never recanted that, and remains a fundamentalist Muslim today.
Pastor Warren tweeted about meeting Islam on October 4. Robert Spencer captured this screenshot of the meeting and posted it at Jihad Watch.
But a Google search today reveals something curious: Warren has deleted the tweet.
“America’s pastor” may have been surprised by Stevens/Islam’s views when confronted with them online after his tweet, but Stevens/Islam’s radical views have been known publicly for years. Spencer notes that this isn’t the first time Warren has gotten cozy with Islamists. In 2009 he addressed a Hamas convention. In 2006, Warren also praised Syria’s “moderate” government. That government is currently waging civil war in which more than 100,000 have died. After controversy erupted following Warren’s visit to Syria, Warren blamed Rev. Franklin Graham and also journalists for reporting it.
*Originally I wrote that Warren met Islam Tuesday, but that was incorrect. Warren tweeted about meeting with Islam on October 4.
The Telegraph shares words of wisdom on how to survive a scandal from Mandy Rice-Davis, the former model who, as part of the Profumo affair helped bring down Harold McMillan’s government:
At the launch of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical about the scandal, Stephen Ward, Rice-Davies declared that Profumo’s error was lying about his affair with Christine Keeler: “Had he actually stood up and told the truth, he would probably have gone to the back benches, maybe.”
Rowan Pelling from The Telegraph adds that:
However, I feel Rice-Davies would have even more pearls of wisdom about the role of humour in extremis. One key difference between the blonde bombshell and the more self-contained Keeler is that Rice-Davies always had a joke on her lips and a wink to the gallery. It was she who perkily declared to a packed court, on being told Lord Astor denied having an affair with her: “He would, wouldn’t he?” The Welsh-born glamour puss looked like she was playing a leading role in “Carry On Profumo”, and enjoying every second of it.
I don’t know. I tend to think it is best not to be involved — much less caught in flagrante — in scandals of this nature, and that when caught one should have to pay no matter how charming or humorous.
However, I must say Rice-Davies’ approach seems preferable to our current public personages who seem to cover a scandal with a new and worse one.
Photo via Keystone.
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!
Meanwhile, this is going on in the border states where no one can be bothered to erect even a mediocre fence.
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.)
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Check out the first 10 installments of Susan L.M. Goldberg’s ongoing series dissecting HBO’s Girls:
July 28: Girls: Best Friends Forever-ish
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?
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.”
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.
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…)
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…
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!
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.
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?
Today, Michael Moore’s Q Score is probably somewhere between Pokemon and Pogs.