Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
Language warning: NSFW
Praised for her raw take on women’s body issues, comedian Amy Schumer hosted Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-Dreyfus for a sketch taking on Hollywood’s treatment of middle-aged women on the latest episode of her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer. It was a well-timed take on a rote discussion aired in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s declaration and the ensuing #HillarySoOld Twitter trend. Millennial voters barely old enough to remember Sally Field will never know that famed star Myrna Loy already covered this territory in the mid-40s when she went from being Cary Grant’s sexy career-woman love interest to his dowdy middle-aged wife in the span of one whole year.
Why has Hollywood never been kind to middle-aged women? For the same reason men get sexier as they age. Both have a lesser chance of being capable or inclined to reproduce. Angelina Jolie may have been more than willing to surrender her lady parts in the name of science, but the reality is that a lifetime of hormone replacement therapy will not be kind to her looks or her figure. (Fortunately for her she can afford to hide all that the way most menopausal women anxiously hoarding Oil of Olay in Wal Mart cannot.) At the same time, a man whose hair is embracing that touch of gray has gone from sexual threat to father figure. (See: George Clooney’s resume.)
This double standard is fueled by a goddess feminism obsessed with the idea that a woman’s ability to bear children is a biological curse that must be overcome if she is to obtain equality. Instead of embracing fertility, we drug it, abort it, or demand federal dollars to daycare it out of existence so we can get back to work, our beauteous forms intact. Therefore, why should it be any surprise that menopausal years are seen as our last “f**kable” golden hour of life before the only thing working in our favor — our beauty — fails us?
The grand irony is, of course, that one of the greatest cultural institutions presumed to support Hillary in 2016 will, once again, inevitably work against her. In the end, she just doesn’t fit their type.
In a video created in honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency features “Dunk,” a creepy ’70s-era mascot that encourages kids to recycle. In the eight-minute version, Dunk — a recycle bin — brags that “diverting items away from landfills has become a primary goal for NSA employees.” Seems like their “primary goal” should be protecting Americans, but perhaps I’m misinformed.
Dunk also reveals that the nation’s top spy agency “has operated recycling programs for decades” and that the agency recycles 13-14 million pounds of garbage every year. That’s a staggering amount of trash for a federal agency. With an estimated 30,000 employees, that’s around 325 pounds of trash per person.
I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation, but all I can picture in my mind is NSA employees spending hours each day shredding government files related to cell-phone snooping and demolishing hard drives and backup tapes containing information that would be damaging to elected officials. I’m sure it’s mostly soda cans and outdated government manuals. But really, why so much trash?
The Telegraph has picked up on one of the equity feminists breaking new ground in the War on Men, American Enterprise Institute’s resident scholar, Christina Hoff Sommers. With more than 2 million views, her Factual Feminist series is drawing some serious attention from a mainstream media bogged down by the likes of Jessica Valenti and her contemporary feminist man-hating ilk. How did these man-haters grab the spotlight? Hoff Sommers explains:
“…In the early 1990s, I – along with several other feminist scholars (Wendy Kaminer, Daphne Patai, Camille Paglia, Mary Lefkowitz, Katie Roiphe, to name only a few) – went to battle against hard-line, sex-panicked conspiracy feminists like Andrea Dworkin. My side won the arguments, but their side quietly assumed all of the assistant professorships. So colleges are now full of gender scholars who instruct students on the ravages of the capitalist, heterero-patriachal system and its ‘rape culture’. Everywhere we hear about ‘micro-aggressions’, ‘trigger-warnings’, and the toxicity of masculinity. It’s as if George Orwell’s Junior Anti-sex League has occupied feminism.”
So, with a host of feminists like Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia actively advocating for men, should conservatives simply toss off feminism as a man-hating movement that’s past its prime? The social media stats say it’s time to get on the countercultural feminist bandwagon.
According to the Columbia Journalism Review, apps like Meerkat are changing political journalism, putting the power of the message into the hands of the candidates, not the mainstream media. Mere days after its debut at SXSW, Jeb Bush jumped on the Meerkat bandwagon, livestreaming his appearance on the Hugh Hewitt show. Yet, the technology isn’t without VEEP-esque risk:
Still, the apps create opportunities to catch candidates in uncomfortable positions. Gaffes have become a business for accountability groups, like Media Matters and America Rising. The latter deploys dozens of ‘trackers’ to follow and film democratic candidates.
The better the information flow, the better the backbiting.
Love the name. Love Dad’s shirt. Love the Zionism in the Christian world. Yes, as a Jew, I proudly admit my fascination with the Duggars, TLC’s troop of 19-plus Bible Belt Christians from the backwoods of Arkansas.
Mazel Tov, Jill & Derick! And thanks for your support.
I should have known. Just this morning, I praised lefty standup comic Sarah Silverman for a new video where she encourages underpaid women to “ask for more.” It’s the perfect free-market antidote to perceptions of unequal pay.
In the video, from the Levo League, Silverman tells of a male comic being paid six times what she was on the same night, in the same club, for the same amount of work.
But the comedy club owner who allegedly underpaid Silverman back in 2002 tells a significantly different story about that night. He says Silverman actually got paid a little for what 99% of standup comics do for free.
Here’s the tale as Silverman tells it, in a video from the Levo League (below):
“I was doing stand-up, you know, just around town. And I did a show — I was out with my friend Todd Barry and we were doing sets around town together. And you know I was pretty well known already, and we both did back-to-back 15-minute sets at this club, the New York Comedy Club, and he paid me 10 bucks.
It was a Saturday night. I didn’t think anything of it, you know. And we were outside talking and Todd somehow brought up, you know, mentioned that he got 60 bucks. He just got $60, and I just got $10. We did the exact same time back-to-back in the same show.
And so I went back inside and I asked the owner, Al Martin, and I said “Al, you why did you pay me $10 and you gave Todd Barry $60?” And he, you know, it was so perfect: He goes, “O, did you want a $60 spot.” It was symbolic. I didn’t need $60. But it’s … um … you know, it’s pretty shitty.”
In a “wage gap” video for Levo League, comic Sarah Silverman tells a personal tale of wage discrimination. But the man she accuses of discrimination tells a different story.
On the phone Tuesday afternoon, Al Martin — who sold the New York Comedy Club about eight months ago, but still owns the Broadway and Greenwich Village Comedy clubs — said he and his wife remember that night about 13 years ago, because it was the start of a longstanding “grudge” he’s heard that Silverman still holds against him.
In Martin’s telling, comedian Todd Barry was booked, in advance, to perform a set that night, for which he would be paid $50. Barry arrived with Sarah Silverman, who Martin knew from their early days doing open-mic standup.
“We have a budget and he [Todd Barry] was included in the deal,” Martin said. “Sarah came in, saw we had a good crowd, and asked to do 10 minutes.”
The common practice in comedy clubs, said Martin, is if you ask to perform, you do it for free. Even big names never expect to get paid for guest spots.
Afterward, Martin said he looked outside: ”I see her [Silverman] outside talking to Todd Barry,” he said.
Martin assumed they were talking about how well they did with the crowd. He was wrong. Silverman came back into the club, and here’s what Martin remembers (written as dialogue so it’s a bit easier to follow.)
SILVERMAN: You didn’t pay me.
MARTIN: Pay you? It was a guest spot.
["So I gave her 10 bucks," Martin said. "I didn’t want to piss her off."]
SILVERMAN: What the f— is this?
MARTIN: What do you mean what the f— is that? It’s cab fare.
SILVERMAN: You paid Todd $50.
MARTIN: Todd had a booked spot.
SILVERMAN: I did the same amount of time he did.
MARTIN: If you did the same time, you went over your time.
“Ever since then she’s had a grudge,” Martin said. “My intention wasn’t to pay her less because she was a woman. My intention was to shut her up so she would come back.”
Martin said Silverman never came back.
“At the time that this even occurred,” he said, “she would not have been on my regular roster of people that I would have booked for a full-paid spot. She was a very different comedian back then.”
However, he added that later, as Silverman’s career took off, he would have booked her.
Martin said that on Monday when he saw the wage gap video, “I was shocked. I don’t get why she took things the whole wrong way. I didn’t think she equated this with a man-woman thing. She comes out with this video and turns it into a whole gender thing. It’s not believable. Everybody knows what the going rate is.”
Martin said he’s married to a woman, has three daughters, and he has hired many female comics at the full-pay rate over his 20+ years in the business.
Coincidentally, just last night his Broadway club served as the venue for an all-female comedy show, produced by a woman, called “Broadly Funny.”
NOTE: I reached out by email, Twitter, Facebook and phone today to Sarah Silverman, the Levo League, and Todd Barry, but have not yet heard from any of them. I’ll update this story if they respond.
John Oliver, HBO’s own version of Jon Stewart who hosts This Week with John Oliver (yes, HBO’s version of The Daily Show) managed to finally nail Edward Snowden to the carpet. Unlike every other journalist who treats Snowden as a modern day prophet, Oliver confronts the former NSA contractor for what he truly is: A computer geek who got his hands on the goods and saw dollar signs. I guess Snowden followed the Pelosi principle: You have to pass the information along you know, make it public, before you can read it yourself.
The sculptor responsible for the “frightening” Lucille Ball statue that’s been terrorizing local residents is now offering to fix it for free, admitting it is “by far my most unsettling sculpture.”
In a letter to The Hollywood Reporter, artist Dave Poulin writes, “I take full responsibility for ‘Scary Lucy,’ though by no means was that my intent or did I wish to disparage in any way the memories of the iconic Lucy image.”
The 400-pound bronze sculpture, which was privately commissioned and publicly displayed in Ball’s hometown of Celoron, NY in 2009, upset many locals and even inspired a Facebook group dedicated to its removal (“We Love Lucy! Get Rid of This Statue.”).
“From the day of its installation,” Poulin continues, “I have shared my disappointment in the final outcome and have always believed it to be by far my most unsettling sculpture, not befitting of Lucy’s beauty or my ability as a sculptor. Yes, in retrospect, it should have never been cast in bronze and made public, and I take complete ownership of that poor decision.”
Perhaps we should all take a moment and savor the fact that someone in the 21st Century is taking full responsibility for screwing up. We may not live long enough to see it happen again.
Poulin has offered to sculpt a new statue at his own expense to replace this one.
After the mind-warp that was Going Clear, HBO’s scathingly detailed examination of the Church of Scientology, you’ll need a really good laugh to recover your sanity. Check out this past weekend’s SNL spoof of the Church of Scientology’s now-infamous ’90s music video. Then remind yourself that the “religion” of Scientology is nothing more than the culmination of one man’s life-long goal to avoid ever having to pay taxes to the federal government.
In January, SkyMall LLC and its parent company, Xhibit Corp., filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with some $50 million in liabilities. The company’s assets were set to go up for auction in late March. The news led to a strong show of support for the in-flight catalog.
On Friday, a company called C&A Marketing bought SkyMall, with a winning bid of $1.9 million. The company’s leadership already is hinting that they’ll bring back the SkyMall catalog. NPR spoke with Chiam Pikarski, executive vice president of C&A, for details about the catalog’s return.
But are they merely teasing us?
There have been a few articles saying that you might bring back SkyMall. Is that to be believed?
Everybody’s saying “bring back my SkyMall!” — sort of an outcry. And it’s something that we will definitely take a very close look at. We would start by reengaging our conversations with the airlines, get their understanding of what it is they liked in the SkyMall catalog, what did work for them. Then we can align that with what didn’t work for SkyMall, and see if there is an opportunity to bring it back in one form or another. To bring back something in print, and physically to the airlines … there will be some kind of catalog in one format or the other, whether it’s in the airline seat, whether it’s exclusive for regular customers in the mail, or some combination of that.
I’m the reason for SkyMall’s failure. During a quarter century of flying to gigs I used it for my reading entertainment, and to entertain my daughter when she’s traveling with me, but I never once purchased anything.
Actor Sean Penn told the Daily Telegraph that he watches the ISIS beheading videos because “we are not seeing enough of real violence.”
Penn spoke to the Telegraph for the premier of his new film The Gunman, which is about a special forces sniper. The film is described as pretty violent, and when asked about it Penn responded, “I don’t think you can put something on a 40ft-wide screen with Dolby stereo and not be stimulated by it, whatever it is, a car going fast, a weapon firing. The only obligation of the film-maker is to show that there is a price to pay for violence. If it excites people in a negative way then I think that’s in the audience, not in the presentation.”
The actor went on to explain that people are being “anesthetized” by political correctness. He wants people confronted with the raw, violent truth.
“The problem,” he continued, “is we are not seeing enough of real violence. We are being anaesthetised when you don’t see the horror of war. In the Sixties, we grew up with the horror of Vietnam on our television screens every day. Today we have become anaesthetised by political correctness. The American news channels did this with the Iraq war; they wouldn’t show what it was about, they wouldn’t show the caskets coming home.”
To which the interviewer asked if he watches ISIS videos out of “moral responsibility”?
“Uh-huh. I’ve watched them. And anyone who sees them and claims that they were anaesthetised by violent movies, that they weren’t horrified by what they saw, on the most primal level, is intellectually dishonest or existentially unpresent.”
It might suit Penn’s political disposition to expose the public to the “caskets coming home” — but conversely, if the public were exposed to the real horror of ISIS by the news media, they might insist the president treat the ISIS threat seriously. It goes both ways, Sean.
Armando Iannucci, the British comic and satirist behind Emmy-winning HBO show Veep and its U.K. predecessor The Thick of It, has revealed that his next project will see him move into previously unchartered cinematic territories.
“It’s a sort of comedy about the death of Stalin,” he told an audience at London’s British Film Institute, where he introduced Woody Allen’s 1980 comedy-drama Starlight Memories as part of a series in which filmmakers discuss films that have inspired them.
Without going into detail on the upcoming comedy, Iannucci — who directed and co-wrote 2009’s political comedy In the Loop — added that the Stalin “sort of comedy” would be a film rather than a TV project, and that it was still very much in the planning stages.
At first blush, this might seem to add to the “Hollywood is out of ideas…” conversation but at least this isn’t the seventieth reboot of a Marvel franchise.
Any subject matter can be made humorous if deftly handled by a skilled comedy writer, even the death of a mass murderer. The older readers will remember that Hogan’s Heroes was a sitcom about a Nazi POW camp. That show ran in an era where people were still capable of suspension of disbelief and not as easily offended as the delicate souls of the digital age, however.
Kudos to Iannucci for thinking outside the box and really, really putting his skills to the test. Until we get to see if he was successful or not, here’s a little something from the mind of Mel Brooks to hold you over:
Mozilla could soon find itself at the center of a new controversy, as it just approved a Firefox extension, called Men Kampf, designed with the sole purpose of replacing so-called “radfem rethoric [sic] with nazi friendly alternatives”.
Men Kampf scans the page that the Firefox user visits for any words considered to be linked to feminism — certainly not radical feminism, as claimed in the description — and replaces them, on the fly, with said “alternatives”. As such, an article about feminism will quickly appear to be one about nazism. The developer behind the extension, Erim Secla, says that it’s all “just for fun” in Men Kampf’s description.
…Men Kampf is apparently inspired by a Chrome extension called “Man Kampf” (in reality, it’s called Men Kampf and is available in the Chrome Web Store), which is equally offensive. The Chrome counterpart “Turns SJW nonsense into pro-Nazi propaganda. Changes words such as ‘Men’ into ‘Jews’ to make any radical feminist post sound like something straight out of Hitler’s mouth!”, claims its developer in the description.
While Men Kampf is no longer available through Firefox, it is still available for download through Google Chrome where users have given it a 4.5 star rating.
The same day as the re-opening of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris, Israeli music artist Gad Elbaz released an English-language music video shot in the Jewish section of Paris. Dubbed by the Jewish Standard as “a fully remixed and re-imagined version of Hava Nagila – an early Zionist call to optimism,” the video features “crowds of Jews and other Parisians dancing through the city’s Le Marais historic Jewish quarter” to the classic Jewish folk song.
“We chose to record there to march as Jews in pride and with heads uplifted,” said Elbaz. “To say we are here to strengthen the Jews of France and Europe in their spirit and pride, not with protests and cries of war but rather with drums, dance and eternal Jewish singing that has been strengthening our existence for two thousand years of exile.”
Let’s be clear about one thing: The only time Kathy Griffin shows up anywhere is when her fellow D-lister Andy Dick is unavailable. And apparently even Andy Dick didn’t want to touch the hot mess that is Fashion Police in the wake of Joan Rivers’ untimely death.
The chaos began when the Empress of E! Giuliana Rancic lamely joked that Disney Princess Zendaya’s dreads smelled like “patchouli oil…or weed.” Because Zendaya is African American, the entire world jumped to defend her Marleyesque hairstyle, raking Rancic through the standard hot coals saved for politically incorrect commentators like herself. In the wake of the “scandal” Kelly Osbourne decided to leave the show and yesterday Kathy Griffin tweeted her resignation, commenting:
“…I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference. I want to help women, gay kids, people of color and anyone who feels underrepresented to have a voice and a LAUGH!”
Sounding more like Patricia Arquette backtracking after her Oscars flub about “gay people and people of color,” Griffin proved she’s no Joan. None of them are. That’s why Fashion Police couldn’t survive a day without her.
Gen-X and Millennial hacks the lot, watch Griffin and her crew run and hide behind their beloved “gays” and “people of color” like a human shield designed to protect their own inflated egos in the wake of the minefield of political correctness. Only Joan Rivers, born before all this post-1960′s liberation activist schlock could navigate this battle unharmed. In seeking out her replacement the only thing these doobs saw in Joan was a woman unafraid to offend. They didn’t see the honesty in her “Can We Talk” comedy because, to them, talk is nothing more than a media appearance and a quick paycheck. They’re too busy hiding behind the latest cause celeb to begin to attempt the kind of self-honesty Joan emoted with every barb.
Fellow narcissist Lena Dunham, a common victim of Joan’s silver-tongued quips, tweeted support for Kathy Griffin “saying enough is enough to intolerance”. Spare me, you Queens of Intolerance hiding behind a human shield of your own making. Come up for some air in-between Tweet praises and go shopping for matching outfits. You’ll need new camo when your beloved “gays and people of color” turn to you and say, “Can we talk?” Now that’s a show I’d watch.
Jimmy Kimmel asked President Obama on Thursday night if he planned to get rid of daylight-saving Time. “Will you get rid of the part where we have to wake up earlier?” Kimmel asked the president. “You can leave the other one,” he said.
“See, this is a California thing, because you guys are always getting sun,” Obama said. “In [sic] the east coast, you don’t mind losing that hour because that’s a signal that spring is here,” the president opined cheerfully.
And millions of parents across the country, whose children are still trying to adjust to losing an hour of sleep from the “spring ahead” time change, did this:
A dozen states are currently considering legislation that would allow them to opt out of the twice yearly time change, by remaining permanently on either daylight-saving time or on standard time.
Proponents of the time change say that it saves energy, while opponents point to studies that find it could actually result in increased energy use. They also say it causes health problems, results in increased traffic accidents, and reduces productivity.
Not to mention all the grumpy children — and adults — who spend weeks trying to recover from the altered sleep schedule.
Thursday, March 12th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
Soviet leaders just killed their enemies and told the world they went on extended vacations. American politicians prefer more Dallas-like drama — the Democrats do anyway. The latest accusation in the Hillary Clinton email scandal comes from Ed Klein’s “sources inside the White House” who claim the most powerful duo since Batman and Robin, Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett (you decide who’s playing who), is out to take down Hillary before 2016. Why? Simply put, she’s just not progressive enough.
Apparently the Clintons are aware that Hillary is “under not 1, but 6 investigations” prompted by the Obama administration. Basic cable channels everywhere wish they could get this kind of stuff on tape for a reality TV series, that is how delicious it sounds. Which makes one wonder if it’s really true. Ed Klein’s telltale book Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas has scored big in the charts for what has been dubbed its “stunning exposé of the animosity, jealousy, and competition between America’s two most powerful political couples.” But the journalist’s sources go largely unnamed and more than one anecdote hasn’t held up well under scrutiny. Does this boil down to more he-said, she-said fodder for popular consumption?
Then again, Hillary has been the whipping boy of the Democrat Party since Lewinsky (if not before). She is the epitome of Whittaker Chambers’ sad fact that Communists will never hesitate to take a personal hit for the sake of The Party. Whether the blue dress or Benghazi, Hillary has never hesitated to make a complete ass out of herself for the good of the gang. Which leads one to question: If Klein’s sources are correct, is this really a “feud” between the Obamas and Clintons, or yet another maneuver to entertain the masses while Jarrett and her cronies empower another up-and-coming radical progressive (think: Obama II: Spawn of Obama) ahead of 2016?
Comedian Sarah Silverman is politicking again, this time for Israel’s Meretz Party ahead of the contentious March 17 elections. A fairly typical Left-wing party, Meretz emphasizes social justice, advocacy for a variety of minority groups, and a two-state solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What makes Meretz so special in the eyes of the Jewish American comedian may have less to do with its politics and more to do with the fact that her sister, Rabbi Susan Silverman, is #20 on Meretz’s slate of candidates. Meretz’s greatest challenge comes from the Zionist Camp, a mashup of the Labor and Hatnua parties co-led by Boogie Herzog and Tzipi Livni that is proving to be Likud’s greatest contender in the race.
Silverman’s Meretz campaign has yet to mirror the tactics of her pro-Obama “Great Schlep” of 2008 in which she informed young voters to tell their Floridian grandparents they’d withhold visits if the seniors didn’t vote for Obama. As of now, El Al isn’t expecting a downturn in ticket sales if Meretz loses at the polls.
Like many survivors of the Holocaust, after World War II, Saul Dreier and Reuwen (“Ruby”) Sosnowicz moved to America, started families and careers, grew old, and retired to Florida. For these octogenarians, settling near Boca Raton could have been the last chapter in their story.
But then, last summer, Mr. Dreier, 89, decided to start a klezmer band, drawing upon the music he grew up with in Poland. Playing the drums, he teamed up with Mr. Sosnowicz, an 85-year-old Polish accordionist. This Op-Doc video profiles the two men and their group, which they’ve named the Holocaust Survivor Band. In recent months they have performed for audiences at venues ranging from local nursing homes and temples to The Venetian in Las Vegas.
…For them, music is catharsis. The Holocaust Survivor Band summons the bittersweet memories of childhood, but more than that, it is a celebration of life.
Seniors Dreier and Sosnowicz prove that life doesn’t stop and start at the convenience of a radical dictator or cultural norm.
If you’re looking for a way to introduce more women to the concept of shooting a firearm and carrying concealed, you might consider hosting a holster fashion show, which, as we found last weekend at the Firearm and Fashion Expo in Branson, Mo., appeared to be a great way to educate and entertain. The weekend’s events felt the brunt of yet another winter snow and ice storm that swiftly moved into the southwestern portion of the Ozarks on Friday afternoon and basically shut down travel.
For the few souls left at the Expo (including Yours Truly), the show must and did go on. Our models appeared and we worked with a small, although enthusiastic, crowd who came out to support this fund-raising effort for the Southwest Missouri Chapter of The Well Armed Woman (TWAW). Pictured below are a few of the holsters we showed onstage, and yes, that’s our Marti Davis in the mix. After the show, the audience could ask questions and examine the holsters that had been brought out from behind stage. We even auctioned a few of them off to raise money for TWAW’s non-profit status fund.
I’d have walked through the snow to see this. Uphill. Both ways.
Honestly, the mere mention of models and firearms compelled me to post this. Second Amendment women deserve a little something extra, they put in a lot of range hours and are more fun to be around. As is often pointed out, leaving something up to the imagination, like the caliber of a concealed weapon, heightens the experience.
Again, purely in the interests of expanding my blogging horizons and reaching out to female readers, I’ll leave you with another item from the fashion show.
Update: Photo via Femme Fatale Holsters, which donated items to the Branson Firearm and Fashion Expo, and promises “Elegant Concealed Carry Holsters for Women, Created by a Woman.”
Mark Cuban and Ann Coulter have joined the growing list of guest stars for the third TV movie in the phenomenon, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Launching in July, Sharknado 3 will be set in Washington, D.C., this time and, per Syfy, will “cause mass destruction in the nation’s capital” before it roars down the Eastern Seaboard.
Entrepreneur/Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban of Shark Tank will play the president, while conservative commentator/author Coulter will play the vp.
They join a rapidly growing list of guest stars set to cameo in the third film, including Bo Derek as May, the mother to star Tara Reid‘s April; Jerry Springer, appearing as Mr. White, a manic tourist; ‘N Sync’s Chris Kirkpatrick as a pool lifeguard; and Chris Jericho, who will play Bruce, a roller-coaster ride operator.
For those unfamiliar with the Syfy cult classic, picking up a cameo in the Sharknado franchise is roughly the equivalent of dropping into a George Romero movie, or Romero-inspired Brit spinoff.
It would seem like an odd place to find one of the most hawkish conservative commentators in America. Then again, it’s far more entertaining to consider the fact that political commentators who are also well-known actors, like Janeane “Where the hell did she go?” Garofalo, didn’t make the cut. Apparently it doesn’t pay to ditch your sense of humor for the sake of your politics after all. So much for being accused of embodying every nasty conservative female stereotype under the sun: Coulter proves she’s hipper and funnier than any liberal elite with a pop culture pedigree.
Let’s just hope this doesn’t turn into another Iron Sky. The 2012 Finnish schlock film that pitted moon-Nazis against a pseudo-President Palin has been accused of abusing the same old tired jokes about the former VP-nom. As long as the Sharknado team sticks to the camp sensibility that has turned a low budget TV movie into an international sensation, chances are Coulter will get a fair shake — and perhaps even a trademark dry line or two.
SNL did a spoof of the Toyota Camry commercial involving a proud father taking his daughter to meet up with fellow military recruits at the airport. In the SNL version, 50 Shades star Dakota Johnson played the daughter who, this time, joined ISIS.
I could get all uptight over this, but I’m not. The entire sketch played out rather well by SNL standards. It wasn’t too long, too overbearing, too improvised. It played on the fact that yes, young women in the West are joining ISIS, and it did so in a rather clever way, contrasting the proud military dad with the teary-eyed dad asking the ISIS commanders to take care of his daughter. All in all, why wouldn’t the sketch have been green lit for production?
The fact that the sketch also highlights the audience’s relative naivete and passive-aggressive, ultimately non-responsive attitude towards the threat posed by ISIS shouldn’t be dismissed as a typical conservative take-down, either. As a member of the generation who grew up with SNL, I am battle-hardened by the cynical, borderline nihilistic thread in the show’s ironic humor. We are the powerless generation, after all. Our baby-boomer parents gave up, gave in and didn’t give a crap about us, so why should we care about anything? The target audience might be so-called “hopeful” millennials now, but the dark Matt Groening/Kurt Cobain reality is what informed the show’s current set of writers and producers. Had they wanted to take the irony to a newer, funnier and even more relevant level, they would’ve had Johnson present the ISIS commander with a sex contract app via iPhone. But that’s still a little too 21st century for this obviously ’90s crowd.
SNL’s original baby boomer generation cast had their own ironic take for sure. But it was a hopeful one that mocked the system with the goal of improving it, if by no other means that simply inspiring thought-provoking conversation. Today we just throw our hands up at the threat, laugh and look around for that joint we keep misplacing backstage. And that’s the real shame of the now-infamous Dakota Johnson/ISIS sketch. Not that it wasn’t funny, but that its humor doesn’t really matter at all.
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld will be developing a new weekend program for the cable news network with a bit of an edge to it, with a “whimsical nature and political satire.”
Fox announced the new show for Gutfeld, currently in development, in a press release today. Fox News EVP of Programming Bill Shine said, “We are confident that Gutfeld’s distinct perspective and knack for humor will start a valuable dialogue and be a refreshing addition to the weekend line-up.” The show, Fox says, will “focus on his strong libertarian values and social commentary.”
However, this new role for Gutfeld means he will be leaving Red Eye, the late night Fox show he’s hosted since 2007. Fox News says “a variety of rotating guest hosts” will fill in during the transition period. Gutfeld will continue to co-host The Five and regularly appear on The O’Reilly Factor.
Good for Greg. He’s a good guy and deserves the widest possible audience.
… and perhaps to the nation’s unaccountable love affair with Viennese Voodoo:
The couches have gone cold on the Upper West Side.
Lying down and talking to a psychoanalyst, a practice once as synonymous with New York City as the street-vendor hot dog, has fallen out of favor thanks to shifting fads, pharmaceuticals and the Internet, experts say.
Of the 3,109 members of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the largest group of its kind in the country, the average shrink age is 66 — up four years since 2003. And shrinks’ average number of active patients on the couch has fallen to 2.75, according to a study of US analysts. Many of those surveyed said they meet with no patients.
One of the greatest intellectual frauds of the 20th century — Freudian analysis — seems to be falling upon hard times, and not a moment too soon. A profession that pretty much defines “quackery” has separated millions of Americans from their time and their money… and for what?
It’s a far cry from the height of Freud mania — with its egos and ids, subconscious, Oedipal conflicts, Freudian slips and death wishes — in the 1950s and 1960s, when everyone and their mothers were in therapy. In those decades, therapists would see between eight and 10 patients a day, according to analysts interviewed.
Analysts now struggle with competition from all manners of self-actualization projects, from yoga/meditation retreats to “The Secret” and, of course, everyone’s nanny and distraction: the iPhone…
“We are living in an age of narcissism. We think we’re so unique, so special, we know it all, we take our selfies,” Upper West Side psychiatrist Sebastian Zimmermann says. “This is very different from the world Freud was dealing with.”
Just how badly did Americans — especially, of course, New Yorkers — fall for this load of pseudo-intellectual codswallop?
At one point in the 1960s, according to Jonathan Engel’s “American Therapy,” there were more analysts on 96th Street and Fifth Avenue than there were in Tennessee, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Delaware, Minnesota and Vermont combined.
But shrinks and their constant excuse-making for bad behavior (root causes!) did give us one unforgettable moment in American musical theater:
If you weathered the Academy Awards last night, you may have been pleasantly jolted out of your seat by Lady Gaga’s pitch-perfect tribute for the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music.
After Gaga belted out her medley of the musical’s numbers in an uncharacteristically conservative chiffon gown, none other than Julie Andrews came out to give her blessing to the tribute and to give Gaga a big hug.
Despite intense pressure from the BDS movement to boycott Israel, Lady Gaga performed in Tel Aviv last September. “Put your hands up and cheer for yourselves,” she told the crowd. “You are strong, you are brave, you are confident, and I f*cking love you, Israel.”
Afterward, she stressed that “the world view of Israel is just not reality.”
“It’s in a beautiful place, the people are in good spirits. I had a very emotional show with those fans. It was wonderful.”
Who knew Edward Snowden would, in a matter of speaking, take home an Oscar for leaking information from the NSA?
Citizenfour, the story of Snowden’s leaks, won best full-length documentary at the Oscars last night. Accepting the award were director Laura Poitras, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay Mills.
Snowden, who was granted three more years of residency in Russia last fall to protect him from U.S. prosectors, issued his reaction through the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing him and asking President Obama to grant full clemency.
“When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant. I’m grateful that I allowed her to persuade me,” Snowden said. “The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honor and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”
The executive director of the ACLU, Anthony Romero, said the film “helped fuel a global debate on the dangers of mass surveillance and excessive government secrecy.”
In her acceptance speech, Poitras said the “disclosures that Ed Snowden revealed don’t only expose a threat to privacy but to our democracy itself.”
As the winners were leaving the stage, Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris quipped, “The subject of Citizenfour, Edward Snowden, could not be here tonight for some treason.”
Greenwald, naturally, didn’t find the treason joke funny.
“I thought it was pretty pitiful, given Hollywood’s fondness for congratulating itself for doing things like standing up for McCarthyism and blacklists. So to just casually spew that sort of accusation against someone who’s not even charged with it, let alone convicted of it, I think is, you know, stupid and irresponsible,” the former Guardian reporter told Buzzfeed. “But I’m trying not to make too much out of it.”
Citizenfour debuts tonight on HBO.
Tears in eyes of Julianne Moore & others as “Citizenfour” wins Best Doc. NPH ruins moment saying Snowden wasn’t there due 2 “some treason.”
Monday, February 23rd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
By the time most folks at home had passed out from boredom, or gone to bed because they have real jobs to wake up for on Monday morning, Patricia Arquette sobered up enough to use her Best Supporting Actress win to preach to the choir about wage inequality.
Snort, blink, roll over, resume snooze.
The speech stood in stark contrast to host Neil Patrick Harris’s earlier joke about the $160,000 SWAG bags being given to those nominated in the Oscars’ top 5 categories. After saying that the bags were loaded with such goodies as two vacations and a $20,000 astrology reading, Harris joked that the bags also contained “an armored car ride to safety when the revolution comes.” The stars clad in gold and diamonds responded with appropriate Marie Antoinette-style laughs and gloved claps.
Having won the Oscar, Arquette won’t be getting any SWAG. Those bags are only for the runners-up. Perhaps that’s what she meant when she referenced wage inequality among the rich and famous. Shouldn’t all the beautiful people get $20,000 astrology readings for free?
92.5 million of the Oscars’ potential viewers are currently jobless. For Arquette’s reference, that’s boys as well as girls. Those 92.5 mil and their employed compatriots just spent a week listening to their president tell them he could solve the problem of terrorism (not Islamic, just terrorism) by offering ISIS members (ironically notably all Islamic terrorists) the power of job creation. While the men of ISIS would argue that they already have jobs, I bet the women that have been kidnapped by ISIS and forced into marriages/sex slavery would really dig some income equality right now. Or perhaps just some equality in general.
But hey, Hollywood women suffer. They don’t get paid “as much” and they definitely don’t all get the SWAG at the parties. Thanks, Patricia, for addressing the economic inequalities in our society that, much like the revolution preached and fostered by your fellow stars, is the responsibility of none other than Hollywood’s favorite politicians.
Had Arquette really wanted to bring a much-needed laugh to the boring ceremony, she would’ve threatened that Hollywood’s women would join ISIS if their wage issues weren’t resolved. If there’s anything that can’t wear down radical, non-descript terrorists, it’s the incessant whining of spoiled socialists.
In the mid-1990s, near the end of the period during which she lived in Israel, Jennifer Teege watched Steven Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List.” She hadn’t seen the film in a movie theater, and watched it in her rented room in Tel Aviv when it was broadcast on television.
“It was a moving experience for me, but I didn’t learn much about the Holocaust from it,” she tells me by phone from her home in Hamburg, mostly in English with a sprinkling of Hebrew. “I’d learned and read a great deal about the Holocaust before that. At the time I thought the film was important mainly because it heightened international awareness of the Holocaust, but I didn’t think I had a personal connection to it.”
Indeed, it was not until years later that Teege, a German-born black woman who was given up for adoption as a child, discovered that one of the central characters in the film, Amon Goeth, was her grandfather. Many viewers recall the figure of Goeth, the brutal commander of the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland – played in the film by Ralph Fiennes – from the scenes in which he shoots Jewish inmates from the porch of his home. But Teege, who had not been in touch with either her biological mother or biological grandmother for years, had no idea about the identity of her grandfather.
The discovery came like a bolt from the blue in the summer of 2008, when she was 38 years old, as she relates in the memoir “Amon,” which was published in German in 2013 (co-authored with the German journalist Nikola Sellmair), and is due out in English this April under the title “My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past.”
Teege was born on June 29, 1970, in Munich, the offspring of a brief affair between her mother and a Nigerian man. At the age of one month, she was placed in a Catholic children’s home, and when she was three, she was transferred to a foster family, which adopted her formally when she was seven. That also marked the end of the loose ties she had had until then with her mother and her grandmother.
Wow. Have a look at this amazing woman and her story:
The Sun News Network, Canada’s only conservative/libertarian alternative to the state-sponsored Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and other equally liberal TV channels, went off the air after four years.
Because the media’s favorite topic is “the media,” you can imagine the avalanche of “analysis” that followed, from Canada’s pundits and papers.
(By “analysis” I mean “unrestrained gloating bordering on slander,” although I also saw former Sun employees on social media, thanking particular fellow journalists for their words of support.)
It didn’t take long, though, for that story to get pushed aside by another one:
The launch of a new media venture to take Sun’s place.
And it “didn’t take long” because the face of this new venture — called TheRebel.media — is Ezra Levant.
I always said I’d never get married, but that if I did, I’d walk down the aisle to Leslie Gore’s recording of “You Don’t Own Me.”
Well, time marches on. I got married after all, the Las Vegas chapel didn’t have much of an aisle to speak of, and now I’m hearing that the queen of the 1960s girl singers is gone, aged 68.
Girls loved Leslie Gore, I think, because her voice and songs (“It’s My Party” being the best known) aptly expressed the little dramas and heartaches of female teenaged life in the early 1960s, and beyond.
That voice was ringing, if a bit raw — all the better to belt out those songs, ones that sounded like Sylvia Plath’s journals set to AM radio-friendly music.
If so many of her song titles contained the word “cry,” it wasn’t just a way to cash in on that first monster hit. Gore’s voice, like her country counterpart Tammy Wynette’s, came complete with a natural, inimitable, soul-rending catch.
And if Gore wasn’t intimidatingly, show-biz beautiful, well, neither were the millions of girls who cried and consoled themselves as she sang, just to them, in their bedrooms, like a best friend.
Nobody knew then that Gore was a lesbian. Maybe she didn’t quite know either. I have no idea.
I do wish she hadn’t used “my” never-was wedding song in a “reproductive rights” PSA a couple of years ago, but there’s nothing I can do about that, then or now.
I prefer to remember her as my imaginary friend of sorts, whose singles can still quicken my middle-aged heart.
The only way to save the planet is to cull the herd of humanity.
That’s the threat facing a band of super-secret modern-day British knights in The Kingsman, an epic parody/tribute to (old) James Bond movies.
I’m not going to review the film, just note this: Despite its over-the-top brutal comedic violence, and dialog brought to you by the letter “F” and the number 3,723 (my estimate of F-bomb drops) — it may be the most effective take-down of the global climate-change cabal ever. I left the theater marveling that The Kingsman had survived the Hollywood development, funding and casting process.
In the story, a tech genius billionaire villain, played by a lisping Samuel L. Jackson, acknowledges to Harry Hart (Colin Firth) that no amount of environmental regulation can save the doomed planet, and so the only solution is to nearly wipe the planet clean of humans and start again.
“Mankind is the virus, and I’m the cure,” Jackson’s character says. World leaders, including a certain black American president, sign on to his final solution.
This is a most succinct statement of Leftist doctrine regarding man-made climate change. The final solution won’t be found in international carbon-reduction agreements, or even taxes, but in the reduction of carbon dioxide exhalers among our own species.
I don’t know, or care, about the politics of the film’s creators, but what they have wrought does more to expose the anti-AGW movement than a stack of National Review magazines, a subscription to Rush 24/7, or 713 hours of programming on PJTV.
I saw an interview with Mr. Jackson in which the reporter noted that he plays the villain. Jackson takes mock umbrage at the suggestion, and notes that his character is “just a guy who’s got a different agenda than everybody else.”
It’s a reminder that those who pose the greatest threat to us, typically believe that they yearn to perform a great service.
(Although I’m not contending anything about the ideology of the filmmakers, some might argue that a gleefully-violent scene that eliminates all of the members of a Westboro-like “church” is a slap at conservative Christians. I disagree. True Christian conservatives are more eager than most to witness the swift end of that vitriolic bolus of heretical idol worshippers — albeit by actually coming to Jesus, rather than by having Colin Firth smite them vigorously.)
Monday, February 9th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
Oh for the days when music was about music. Perhaps that hasn’t truly existed since the pioneers strummed banjos on their front porches, but hey we can dream. Anything is better than the farce dished out at this year’s Grammy Awards by the likes of sinner-turned-saints Katy Perry and Queen Bey and the Grand Poobah of Liars Barack Obama. Kanye was still Kanye, terrorizing the stage with his unwanted opinions, but at least he’s being true to his Messiah complex. The rest of them cracked open the Eau de Hypocrisie in their SWAG bags way too early.
On the Sunday night preceding the release of Fifty Shades of Grey in movie theaters nation-wide, the music industry famous for turning women into greased-up, slimmed-down sex objects suddenly decided it gave a damn about sexual assault. Not because they really do, but because sexual assault sells. Just ask Lena Dunham and that chick who lugs a mattress around Columbia U. Autism replaced AIDS and now that we’ve decided vaccines aren’t an assault on our children we’ve turned our collective head and trumped up statistics towards sexual assault.
Big Brother Barry broke into the awards show to lacquer us with the false 1 in 5 narrative before commanding us to hashtag our support for the White House’s campaign against sexual assault on campus. Cue “domestic violence activist” testimony neatly leading into a performance of “By the Grace of God” by Katy Perry sans beach-ball bikini and shark dancers. Beyonce, far from the wet, lap-dancing prostitute of last year, appeared in angelic white garb to sing “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” for the show’s holiest of finales. Pop-meets-penance, it was a spectacle worthy of a holy institution. The only thing missing was Steve Martin in his sparkling jacket promising to heal us all, at least the straight men, of their demon sexuality.
Prior to this tent revival escapade, Madonna touched on the music industry’s pagan affair with lusty sexuality in her trademark style. Clad as a matador, men dressed as faceless bulls with Satanic horns danced around her while she declared her ability to rise up (via harness, apparently) and “live for love” despite being “knocked down” by previous lovers. Lyrically she hasn’t generated anything unique since the ’80s and the techno-pop beat was more worthy of Cher or Kylie Minogue than Madonna at her most innovative. But her visual style paid homage to the reality of a Hollywood soaked in bizarre, painful sex and enjoying it thoroughly.
Were honest statistics and less theatrics used in addressing the real issue of sexual violence, the Grammys would have seemed more authentic and less like damage control following Rolling Stone‘s massive faux pas when it came to reporting on the campus rape epidemic that isn’t. When Perry and Bey quit getting naked on their knees, call me. Until then, regardless of how many layers of white they wear they’re just dancing in the shadow of Madonna, the music industry’s reigning pagan priestess.
Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
Jordan’s King Abdullah has vowed to go all Clint Eastwood on the Islamic State.
Abdullah met with lawmakers on the Hill yesterday, after ISIS released its gruesome video of the fiery murder of air force 1st Lt. Muath al-Kasaesbeh. The king was in town for a week; yesterday morning the U.S. and U.S.-Jordan signed a bilateral assistance Memorandum of Understanding at the Four Seasons hotel.
The White House added a last-minute meeting to President Obama’s schedule yesterday, inviting the king to the Oval Office for a 20-minute conversation. Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden were in the room as well.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who was in the House Armed Services Committee meeting with the king, told Byron York that Abdullah vowed “retribution like ISIS hasn’t seen”:
“He mentioned ‘Unforgiven’ and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, and he actually quoted a part of the movie.”
Hunter would not say which part of “Unforgiven” the king quoted, but noted it was where Eastwood’s character describes how he is going to deliver his retribution. There is a scene in the picture in which Eastwood’s character, William Munny, says, “Any man I see out there, I’m gonna kill him. Any son of a bitch takes a shot at me, I’m not only going to kill him, I’m going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down.”
“He’s angry,” Hunter said of King Abdullah. “They’re starting more sorties tomorrow than they’ve ever had. They’re starting tomorrow. And he said, ‘The only problem we’re going to have is running out of fuel and bullets.’”
“He’s ready to get it on,” Hunter added. “He really is. It reminded me of how we were after 9/11. We were ready to give it to them.”
Hunter said there was no mention of President Obama during the bipartisan meeting, either by King Abdullah or by any of the lawmakers in the room.
Hunter confirmed on Fox that the monarch’s focus is “retribution.”
“ISIS is now going to regret this, I think, more than anything else, because King Abdullah is not Barack Obama,” the congressman said. “…And hopefully, they will lead from the front and they will crush ISIS. That’s what’s happened here. That is what the king said that they are going to do. They are going to go in and crush ISIS to the best of their abilities.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said the king wasn’t asking anything of Congress in his Hill meetings.
“He was, as always, talking about what we need to do in the region. He is a great friend of the United States. He has been someone who has tried to bring the Arab community together against this,” Corker told Fox. “Obviously what he showed was tremendous resolve and there were questions about unity inside the country.”
Obama’s response was, shall we say, more mellow than Abdullah’s.
In the early hours this morning, Jordan hanged two terrorists, including Sajida al-Rishawi. Jordan had been weighing a deal for the release of the Iraqi awaiting the death penalty for her role in the grisly 2005 bombing of a wedding reception at the Radisson in Amman. But the kingdom demanded proof-of-life of the pilot, which ISIS didn’t provide.
Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Momani vowed that “Jordanians’ wrath will devastate Daesh’s ranks.”
“As JAF mourns the brave pilot, it asserts that his spilled blood will be avenged and the punishment that will be inflicted on the tyrants of Earth who assassinated Muath will be proportionate to the magnitude of the tragedy of all Jordanians,” the Jordanian military said in a statement. “And soon will the unjust assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take.”
The movie reference is no surprise from the England- and U.S.-educated King Abdullah. The confessed Trekkie got an uncredited walk-on in a 1996 episode of Star Trek: Voyager, but didn’t speak in the cameo because he doesn’t have a Screen Actors Guild card.
It was one of the most memorable Super Bowls of all time but, in terms of the commercials, it was more like a blowout that was over by halftime. “There were some of the worst Super Bowl ads I’ve ever seen – that really missed badly,” said David Steinberg, CEO of Zeta Interactive, a New York-based digital marketing firm.
“It was a somber, very emotional year. There were no epic standouts,” said David Shoffner, senior public relations strategist of Pavone, a Pennsylvania ad agency. An ad that was a particular downer to many people was a Nationwide Insurance spot advising parents to protect their children – or they’ll die. “There’s a time and place for those kind of ads, but the Super Bowl isn’t one of them,” Shoffner explained.
As a hardcore football fan, I’ve long loathed the focus on commercials and half time shows surrounding the Super Bowl, so I’m glad that the people who tend to “only watch for the commercials” had an awful night.
Sports are supposed to be escapist entertainment. We don’t need to be taught life lessons during a football game. The notion that some kind of depth can be conveyed via television advertising during a sporting event is rather pathetic, actually.
The Nationwide ad was extraordinarily awful and was met with almost universal derision. Instead of admitting that it whiffed with its attempt, the company doubled down and issued a statement saying that it was attempting to start a dialogue about home accidents and child deaths.
Um, no, you were trying to scare people into buying insurance.
It did inspire a new slogan for the company which spread throughout social media: “Nationwide Your Kid Has Died”.
Nationwide also started a Twitter hashtag game that I’m sure isn’t the kind of publicity it wanted. If you have a minute, check out #NationwideAMovie.