… 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.
Then came the haters:
— DJ Rubiconski (@Rubiconski) February 23, 2015
On FB: People calling Lady Gaga a zionist devil-worshipper. OK.
— Erna Mahyuni (@ernamh) February 23, 2015
— KuddlyKalli (@KuddlyKalli) February 23, 2015
6 weeks after Israel killed 2000+ in Gaza, Lady Gaga said the world was wrong on Israel ’cause everyone was so nice to her @TerrinaMajnoona
— Julie (@NYCJulieNYC) February 23, 2015
— susi hoy (@palestininianpr) February 23, 2015
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.”
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 23, 2015
Academy applauds Edward Snowden, who even Sen. Dianne Feinstein says committed “an act of treason”.
— Senator Roger Wicker (@SenatorWicker) February 23, 2015
“Edward Snowden could not be here tonight for some treason.” I will forever love you NPH.
— Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) February 23, 2015
Perhaps a Snowden treason joke by NPH wasn’t the best idea after giving an Oscar to a documentary about disgusting government surveillance
— Devindra Hardawar (@Devindra) February 23, 2015
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.
This story broke a couple of weeks ago, but it’s worth a read. File under: you can’t choose your ancestors:
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:
Last week, I told you the sad news:
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.
This tweet says it all:
— Rahim Mohamed (@rmohamed_nc) February 17, 2015
Ezra Levant was arguably the most famous, daring and controversial of all Sun’s hosts.
Before joining the network, he became world famous for printing the “Danish Mohammed” cartoons (and being taken to “court” for doing so).
While doing his daily TV show, he wrote a number of books, and remained in demand as a public speaker.
Even before Sun News came along, I was comparing Ezra to Evil Knievel, and now that description seems more apt than ever.
He’s up and around already with TheRebel.media, a web-based media play that’s still in the very early stages.
For now, here’s Ezra Levant explaining what went wrong with Sun News — he calls it “the best job he ever had” — and what the future holds:
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.)
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.
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.
Over at the New York Times, gender feminist Sally Kohn chronicles her recent experience taking her five-year-old, princess-obsessed daughter to Disney World for her birthday. To read her account of the event, you’d presume the mother would’ve rather experienced a root canal without anesthesia than be forced to spend quality time celebrating her daughter’s birth. Every choice her five year old made, from wearing dresses to having her hair done at the Bippity-Boppity Boutique, drew nothing more than a cringe from her self-described “tomboy” mother, who whined and moaned through the article, oddly enough, like someone her daughter’s age:
I don’t know how it is that in the modern era, I still can’t get decent reception on my cellphone but somehow traditional gender norms are silently communicated and crystal clear. My partner and I certainly didn’t teach our daughter to like pink and ruffles and such. And I can’t fathom some genetic or biological nodule that predisposes my girl to like dolls while little boys like trucks. Baloney. But somehow, even in the midst of our hyper-liberal and hyper-diverse neighborhood with girls and boys of all kinds on display every day, it happened. Did I do something wrong? Is feminism mysteriously skipping a generation? Meanwhile, I have to bribe her to wear jeans.
People say it’s a phase and not to resist it or else Willa will just dig in longer.
If you’re looking for the loving, supportive parenting and expressions of affirmation and joy a mother would normally take in a child, you’ll need to scroll down to the end of the article to find the reason for the praise:
“But you’ll have to wait awhile to marry your prince,” one Fairy Godmother says to Willa.
“No,” Willa replies. “I don’t have to marry a prince if I don’t want to. I could marry another princess. Or I don’t even have to get married.”
The Fairy Godmothers-in-Training are momentarily speechless. And then, one by one, they start to applaud. One even pumps her fist in the air. Feminism didn’t skip my daughter, it was just hiding underneath all that pink and glitter.
Glad to know Komrade Mommy eventually did reward her good little Fem-bot. Even if it did mean stealing her tiara out from underneath her, the self-aggrandizing theft was done in the spirit of wanting “to be just like” her well-trained daughter. God help little Willa if she ever dares to make a decision of her own. That’s clearly not in Mommy’s gender feminism handbook.
Regular readers already know I’m a “Carolla-tard” (as Marc Maron dubbed us).
And I’ve written elsewhere that downloads of Dennis Miller’s radio show helped me survive my last cubicle job.
So I’m primed to enjoy a podcast co-hosted by both comedians.
The podcast is already #2 on the iTunes chart.
The first episode, below, saw Miller and Carolla getting to know each other a little better, and prepping listeners for what to expect in the weeks to come.
Given their great chemistry (and spectacular guest contact lists), this could shape up to be the next great comedy podcast, especially in a field crowded with boring lefties. (See, Marc Maron, above.)
You can subscribe free via iTunes or PodcastOne.
Hat Tip: Grabien
When it comes to our relationship with the Islamic world, even well-known liberals are starting to wonder what the Obama administration is trying to get at. During a recent appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, MSNBC pundit Rachel Maddow chatted with the renowned host on the state visit to honor the late Saudi king. Both personalities were puzzled at America’s strange relationship with an obvious ideological enemy, with Maddow commenting, “The list of people who they sent… I mean, it’s amazing that we weren’t there! …They went way down the list of people you’ve ever heard of in the pages of foreign policy. Everybody!”
Maddow and Letterman raise a good point. Saudi Arabia was the fountain for Sunni Jihad, Iran was the fountain for Shi’ite Jihad. Both strains of Islam harbor a virulent hatred for each other that is currently playing itself out in the Sunni-backed ISIS revolution against Shi’ite-dominated governments. It seems that the only thing the two Islamic parties can agree on is their hatred of the Jews and, by virtue of their Biblical relationship with Jews, Christians. So, what are the leaders of a traditionally Judeo-Christian nation doing sucking up to the Sunni powerhouse of the Middle East?
Historically speaking, Saudi Arabia is the West’s creation, Brit T.E. Lawrence’s romantic notions carved into a losing deal with the Saud family exactly 100 years ago this year. As with any other regime, moral disagreements have been set aside over the generations in favor of political alliances, economic deal making, and a lot of bowing to the student on behalf of the supposed master. Moralists outraged by social media evidence of Sunni Islam’s humanitarian crisis playing out in Saudi Arabia have less sway over ending America’s “creepy, totally dependent” relationship with the kingdom (as Maddow dubbed it) than do the changing dynamics in the oil industry. It would seem that very little has changed in a century.
After all, this wouldn’t be the first time celebrities used their star power to address ideological threats abroad. Hollywood’s stars spoke out against Nazism in the late 1930s and were warned to shut up by FDR’s lackey, lest they be blamed for antagonizing us into an unnecessary war. So, when two of the most liberal pop personalities begin questioning America’s moral imperative in the Middle East, how far will they get? Will we see Maddow, Letterman or the like championing the cause of Christopher Cramer, the U.S. defense subcontractor who mysteriously died last month while working for Israel’s Elbit Systems in Saudi Arabia? Or will he be yet another forgotten casualty in the Obama administration’s defense in the War on Muslims?
“American Sniper” has overtaken “Saving Private Ryan” as the top domestic grossing war movie of all time. The Clint Eastwood drama starring Bradley Cooper has so far earned $217.1 million at the U.S. box office, surpassing Spielberg’s film, which earned $216.5 million in 1998.
The Eastwood drama added 180 theaters in its third week of release, with “Sniper” now playing in 3,885 theaters. It overtook “Saving Private Ryan” on Thursday, and is on track to earn another $35 million to finish No. 1 at the box office for the third week in a row.
This should cause some in-between-sandwiches weeping and gnashing of teeth at Michael Moore’s house.
After complaining for a couple of weeks that “Sniper” glorifies war and seeing it become even more popular, the leftmedia hit the bandwagon has spent the last few days trying to claim that it is in fact an anti-war movie.
Sadly, the whining from the people who were never going to like the film will probably have an effect on its Academy Awards chances.
To paraphrase Lucky Ned Pepper at the end of True Grit. Here’s the story:
The Palme d’Or-winning director of the highest-grossing documentary ever has made it very clear today he does not like the Clint Eastwood-helmed Oscar nominee nor its subject, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. In a tweet Sunday, Fahrenheit 9/11 and former AMPAS Governor Michael Moore lashed out at American Sniper and Kyle, who has been credited as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history:
My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse
The film stars Bradley Cooper as Kyle, who was killed after returning from Iraq in early 2013 at a Texas shooting range by a former soldier with PTSD whom he was mentoring. The movie about his life scored Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screening nominations on January 15 from Academy voters. In a surprise snub, past Oscar winner and current DGA nominee Eastwood didn’t get a nom for Best Director. In a major consolation, the movie was a massive hit at the box office this weekend, its first in wide release, as it set box-office records for a January film (and for Eastwood’s work) with an estimated $105 million for the long holiday weekend.
On Twitter, Moore is currently waddling away:
Hmm. I never tweeted 1word bout AmericanSniper/ChrisKyle. I said my uncle killed by sniper in WWII; only cowards would do that 2 him, others
Speaking of True Grit, or lack of same, here’s the original version, with the Duke and, yes, Robert Duvall as Lucky Ned:
More on American Sniper at PJ Media:
Get ready for a good laugh. If you aren’t ready, file this story for when you need one. I did, and it hit the spot.
Online feminist mag Jezebel, which spends more time discussing Lena Dunham’s haircuts than anything actually relevant to feminism, featured a story on “human-baby activist” Alice Vincent’s complaint that Clint Eastwood used dolls instead of live babies for his latest box office smash American Sniper.
Yep. “Human-baby activist.” It gets better:
The film notoriously forewent actual child actors in favor of plastic baby dolls, presumably to avoid traumatizing real babies from the terror of being in the same room as director Clint Eastwood. A sagacious decision, but one that poised yet another dilemma: the plastic babies are milkfed and symmetrical, glowing in their perfection and delicately rosy cheeks, sweet and subdued, and will never encounter colic. The babies’ noses are flawlessly buttony, their cheeks absolutely round, their tiny lips distended in an unachievable bow. The babies’ tans are even, and a perfect shade of sunkissed white skin. Their very existence, the upholding of these babies as somehow the way all babies should look, exerts undue pressure on actual live babies to live up to this type of unachievable ideal, and ultimately sends the message to American Sniperviewers that if their babies are not as perfect as the babies onscreen, then they are not as worthy. It says that in order to be considered beautiful, a baby must be a doll.
Babies, beware. Even though you don’t yet have the cognitive ability to watch a film, Hollywood is out to harass and intimidate you with their impossible beauty standards. Jezebel ends their compelling coverage of this hot-button issue with a “plea” to the American Sniper gang:
We make a collective plea to Clint Eastwood and the cast of American Sniper for the liberation and visibility for all babies, not just ones constructed of plastic and rubber: of human babies, and of babies who are flawed, and babies whose shit and piss and puke is tangible, not just the kind scrawled out into a diaper with yellow and brown magic markers. We demand the depiction of normal, oxygen-breathing babies on our screens, in a show of solidarity that babies come in all shapes and sizes, all religions and nationalities, and do not have to be in possession of perfect diction or enthusiastic participants in nightlife to be good enough to be included in the cast of a film.
Clint, Bradley, next time you’re about to make an Oscar-nominated movie about a war hero, think about the babies!
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was a pioneer who stood alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the march on Selma and the fight for civil rights in America. And viewers of the film Selma will never know that fact, because director Ava DuVernay elected to eliminate Heschel from the film.
In an op-ed for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Heschel’s daughter Susannah writes:
The 50th anniversary of the 1965 march at Selma is being commemorated this year with the release of the film “Selma.” Regrettably, the film represents the march as many see it today, only as an act of political protest.
But for my father Abraham Joshua Heschel and for many participants, the march was both an act of political protest and a profoundly religious moment: an extraordinary gathering of nuns, priests, rabbis, black and white, a range of political views, from all over the United States.
…My father felt that the prophetic tradition of Judaism had come alive at Selma. He said that King told him it was the greatest day in his life, and my father said that he was reminded at Selma of walking with Hasidic rebbes in Europe. Such was the spiritual atmosphere of the day.
…What a pity that my father’s presence is not included in “Selma.” More than a historical error, the film erases one of the central accomplishments of the civil rights movement, its inclusiveness, and one of King’s great joys: his close friendship with my father. The photograph reminds us that religious coalitions can transcend and overcome political conflicts, and it also reminds us that our Jewish prophetic tradition came alive in the civil rights movement. Judaism seemed to be at the very heart of being American.
In an interview with the Algemeiner, Heschel commented further:
“I felt sad and I had moments when I felt angry,” she said of the omission, describing it as “tragic.” …“This filmmaker seems to want to try and change the narrative,” she told The Algemeiner. “It is about black people trying to do it themselves.”
“I understand this as a Jew, because that is what Zionism is about, but I know that we were helped by others, and the Civil Rights Movement was about coalition, it was about Christians and Jews coming together, marching together, and feeling at that moment in Selma that something profoundly religious and moral was taking place.”
According to the Algemeiner, “The film’s producer, Ava DuVernay, defended her inaccurate portrayals in an interview on PBS, saying: ‘This is art; this is a movie; this is a film. I’m not a historian. I’m not a documentarian.’”
Former Arkansas governor and potential 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Sunday that the Obamas are “great parents,” but he stands by his concern about the “cultural divide” in which the Obama girls are allowed to listen to Beyonce’s music.
In an interview about his new book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, Huckabee told People magazine that he doesn’t understand how the Obamas allow Malia, 16, and Sasha, 13, to be fans of the songstress and White House regular.
“I don’t understand how on one hand they can be such doting parents and so careful about the intake of everything – how much broccoli they eat and where they go to school and making sure they’re kind of sheltered and shielded from so many things – and yet they don’t see anything that might not be suitable for either a preteen or a teen in some of the lyrical content and choreography of Beyoncé, who has sort of a regular key to the door,” Huckabee told the magazine.
Today, Huckabee told ABC’s This Week that the book passage talking about Beyonce is written “in the context of first of all saying Beyonce is a wonderful talent.”
“My point is, she doesn’t have to do some of the things that she does in the lyrics, because it’s not necessary. She has nothing to make up for. She’s an amazing talent,” he said. “My point was, even in speaking about the Obamas — and I said about them in the book, they’re great parents. But it was President Obama in an interview with Glamour who said that some of the lyrics he won’t listen to with his daughters because it embarrasses him.”
“Well, here’s my point, if it embarrasses you then why would you possibly think it’s wholesome for your children to put it into their heads?”
Huckabee stressed “that’s the point.”
“If you’re very concerned about what happens with your children, and the Obamas are. They’re great parents. They’re careful about making sure their kids get a lot of vegetables and eat right. That’s terrific. But what you put in your brain is also important as well as what you put into your body and that was my point based on what the president, himself, said,” the governor continued. “So, I think if people read the chapter they see that it’s about this cultural divide, the disconnect between the three bubbles of New York, D.C. and Hollywood versus the land of God, guns, grits and gravy, that’s where the title comes from.”
Huckabee said he plans to announce his presidential intentions “later in the spring.”
“The fact that I left the Fox gig, which was a wonderful, wonderful opportunity for me, to leave that, I didn’t do it just because I was tired of going to New York every week,” he said, adding that if he runs this time he’ll “raise more money, for one thing.”
“That was the big hurdle for us back in 2008. A lot of people didn’t take the campaign that seriously until we were winning states and winning primaries. I literally got by on a dime to the dollar of both John McCain and Mitt Romney,” Huckabee said. “So in some ways, we were a very green campaign. We got more miles per gallon than anybody else. But you do have to have a lot of money to be able to not only push your own campaign, but you have to be able to defend your record against all these crazy attacks that will come against you.”
After Irish-born actor Liam Neeson shot off his mouth about Americans’ fondness for guns — you know, the things he uses in his hit action movies — the company that provided the weapons for the latest installment in the Taken series decided it had had enough:
PARA USA regrets its decision to provide firearms for use in the film “Taken 3″. While the film itself is entertaining, comments made by its Irish-born star during press junkets reflect a cultural and factual ignorance that undermines support of the Second Amendment and American liberties. We will no longer provide firearms for use in films starring Liam Neeson and ask that our friends and partners in Hollywood refrain from associating our brand and products with his projects. Further, we encourage our partners and friends in the firearms industry to do the same.
And what exactly was it that Neeson said?
At an event in Dubai, Neeson said: “First off, my thoughts and prayers and my heart are with the deceased, and certainly with all of France, yesterday. I’ve got a lot of dear friends in Paris. There’s too many f—ing guns out there. Especially in America. I think the population is like, 320 million? There’s over 300 million guns. Privately owned, in America. I think it’s a f—ing disgrace.
Here’s a thrilling scene from Taken 3, starring some guy named Liam Neeson:
This could get ugly. An industry dominated by liberals just ignored diversity-inclusion rules in a purely subjective awards process?!?
Question: In a Hollywood-on-Hollywood social justice warrior outrage fight, who wins?
Lena Dunham used last night’s red carpet appearance to announce that she’d deleted her Twitter account in order to “create a safer space for myself emotionally” in the wake of the Barry One shakeup. That last part was understood parenthetically, of course, as “creating a safer space” obviously has nothing to do with having one less social media outlet through which to publicly bare your breasts.
What she failed to mention is that she didn’t really delete her Twitter account. After all, she’d just used it hours before to promote the 4th season premiere of Girls. Oh, who’s kidding who; without the bare breast pic, it was probably her publicist logging in under her username.
Leading neo-con John Podhoretz used the shout-out to promote his own writing praising Girls, while fans of the HBO star used Dunham’s statement to get angry, incite flame wars and block fellow Twitter users over nothing. What was that about deranged neo-cons again?
Just to set the record straight on those crazy neo-cons, the Free Beacon detailed Tweets sent by known neo-cons to Dunham over the past few years. Threatening, indeed, especially discussing Chinese hegemony in Asia. I know she went to Oberlin, but please, she was an arts major after all. Why are you threatening to discuss current events that will inevitably impact the female population with a self-proclaimed feminist? Don’t you know she’ll block you if you use too many big words?
Which makes one wonder why Dunham would bother making such a big deal out of her haters. She knows how to block them. Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t want to. In fact, this was her feeble, ultimately meaningless attempt to stick it to her critics from the safest and most public space imaginable. The neo-cons got better press out of this than she did, because the audience is sick of her incessant whining and the airheads hosting a red carpet show are too dumb to bite. They wouldn’t dare bring up rape (cue her tears) let alone her habit of lying about being raped on campus in order to sell books. They can barely wrap their mouths around, “What are you wearing?” In Lena’s case, they were probably impressed that she bothered to get dressed at all.
Cinemablend reports on the backlash over TLC’s My Husband’s Not Gay, a special focusing on Mormon men, both married and single, “who are attracted to men but who cultivate relationships with women”:
Over at Change.org, former Christian Josh Sanders wrote about his experiences as a gay man whose church convinced him to undergo reparative therapy so that he would no longer be gay. His petition calls for TLC to “stop spreading such dangerous misinformation” by canceling My Husband’s Not Gay.
GLAAD also backs up the petition, and the organization’s President and CEO made a statement this morning calling My Husband’s Not Gay “downright irresponsible”. Here’s the whole statement:
“This show is downright irresponsible. No one can change who they love, and, more importantly, no one should have to. By investing in this dangerous programming, TLC is putting countless young LGBT people in harm’s way.”
The Cinemablend article expresses the bias made common by activist groups like GLAAD in their own explanation of the show’s premise:
UK Guardian writer Peter Ormerod
…tells NPR’s Arun Rath that he’s not at all against gratitude. His argument has more to do with the spirit of the thing. “It’s really because gratitude is so important to me. I don’t, however, think that forcing children to write what’s often quite formulaic letters — I don’t think that’s necessarily the best way of helping children develop gratitude.”
Instead, he thinks the emphasis should be on getting kids to feel and experience gratitude, rather than just make a show of it. And once they feel it, he says, they can express it in fun or creative ways, “ways that feel much less like a chore.” That could involve drawing pictures, taking photos or baking. Ormerod says he’s even written songs for people.
Ormerod tags thank you letter-writting as an “anachronism” and an “exercise in lying” designed to “maintain respectability” among parents because no one wants to have a child who is an “ingrate.” So, would you dear parents of America choose to let your child feel gratitude by baking cookies or Instagramming their gift? In this social media age, where we share photographs of our meals and ruminations on our work lives, would expressing thanks through a written message add much needed veracity to an otherwise seemingly meaningless milieu? Would a handwritten note express deeper, longer lasting emotion than a public message? Or is it better to follow Ormerod’s advice and simply have the kid do nothing at all?
If “nothing at all” is the answer, take a look at the statistics. Not saying “thank you” in a written note may cost you big time down the line. According to a recent survey conducted by the Royal Mail:
New research by Royal Mail has revealed the true cost of not saying thank you for Christmas presents. Of those people expecting thank you letters, over half (52 per cent) say they would reduce the cost of their gift by up to £10 next year if they did not receive a thank you letter.
A further 10 per cent said they would cut their budget from £25 to £21 if they were not thanked properly in writing.
The survey also found that 20 per cent would be so offended that they would not bother buying their loved one a gift again.
Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of those surveyed said it was important for children to say thanks via a note, while over half of adults (53 per cent) think thank you letters are important too.
Note that for all of his heavy-handed philosophizing about parenting, Ormerod is childless and bases his theory in having to arduously write out thank you notes as a child. If you’re looking to exemplify “petulant” to your child, have them read his screed. They’ll thank you, if not now then definitely later.
Over at Salon, the apparent temple of all things sex-worship, Tracy Clark-Flory chronicles “The Year In Sex Writing,” explaining in part:
I read about sex, constantly. At least five days a week, I do a Google News search for “sex.” It’s one of the first things I do each morning. …As I look back at the year in sex writing, these are the pieces that stand out, the pieces that most validated that daily sex-news slog. (I’m excluding myself and Salon in general from the list, because to do otherwise would be lame, wouldn’t it?)
Some of the less graphic stories highlighted include:
“The Japanese Firm Selling Videogames to Women, Using Sex” by Daniel Feit
Synopsis: A journalist reports on a Tokyo gaming convention, where women line up for the chance to interact with actors modeled after characters in hugely popular dating simulators.
Choice quote: “‘We’re basically hitting on them, without being too forward,’ said Kyle Card, an actor and model who lives in Tokyo. ‘A lot of the reactions are hands over the face, unable to speak, laughing to themselves. Lots of silence.’”
“For Women In Porn, The Personal Is Political And Profitable” by Susannah Breslin
Synopsis: A look at how women are faring in the new porn industry landscape.
Choice quote: ”‘Women control the industry,’ she opines. ‘They just don’t realize the power they have.’”
A growing number of pop culture outlets possess an evangelistic zeal for the act of sex. Whether it is through ever-more visible bodies on network television or full-fledged sexually oriented nudity on premium cable, shows like Californication and Masters of Sex now compete with basic cable’s Sex Sent Me to the E.R., Strange Sex and Let’s Talk About Sex. Sex was so prevalent this year that Slate declared 2014 to be a “banner year for sex on television.”
An article in The Washingtonian about the downfall of David Gregory at Meet the Press details how Comcast has become a major political player in Washington ahead of their proposed merger with Time Warner. The company hired legendary political fixer David L. Cohen, who previously worked as chief of staff to Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell. Cohen tripled the company’s Washington lobbying team and increased its lobbying spending more than five-fold between 2002 and 2009 when the merger was announced. And then there was this little gem:
Comcast also had an even more personal way of sucking up to Washington. Its government-affairs team carried around “We’ll make it right” cards stamped with “priority assistance” codes for fast-tracking help and handed them out to congressional staffers, journalists, and other influential Washingtonians who complained about their service.
A Comcast spokeswoman says this practice isn’t exclusive to DC; every Comcast employee receives the cards, which they can distribute to any customer with cable or internet trouble. Nevertheless, efforts like this one have surely helped Comcast boost its standing inside the Beltway and improve its chances of winning regulatory approval for its next big conquest: merging with the second-largest cable provider in the country, Time Warner Cable.
Since we have a representative democracy in the United States, let me suggest how this is perhaps supposed to work: Comcast is obviously acknowledging with these cards that their customer service is often really lousy (there’s a reason it’s one of the most hated companies in the country, after all). So when — not if — when you receive crappy customer service from the company, you’re supposed to call your congressman, who can then refer to the special code on his magic VIP “We’ll make it right” card. He can immediately call the “No-Wait Hotline” and lobby Comcast directly on your behalf to implore them to give you something resembling adequate customer service. Maybe even get a premium channel or two thrown in for your trouble. He should at least have enough clout to get you out of their hellish customer service maze.
Or maybe Comcast could work on improving customer service company-wide instead of only for those with the lucky VIP cards.
According to Refinery 29, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s oldest biological child, Shiloh, has decided to identify as a male at the tender age of 8. The painfully politically correct story attempts to paint a picture of the child, who now refers to herself as “John” although born a girl, as gender-confused at an early age:
Jolie told Vanity Fair in a 2010 interview that John has been exploring their identity since the age of three. ”She wants to be a boy,” Jolie said. “So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys’ everything. She thinks she’s one of the brothers.”
Here’s the actual quote in context:
“She wants to be a boy. So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys’ everything. She thinks she’s one of the brothers. Shiloh, we feel, has Montenegro style. She dresses like a little dude. It’s how people dress there. She likes tracksuits, she likes [regular] suits. Shiloh’s hysterically funny, one of the goofiest, most playful people you’ll ever meet. Goofy and verbal, the early signs of a performer. I used to get dressed up in costumes and jump around,” the actress explains.
Stylists at the time balked at Jolie’s attempt to coin the term “Montenegro style” stating, “she was trying to say something intellectual or funny, and it just sounded dumb.” Probably about as dumb as the Advocate grasping at straws via the stale tale of Shiloh Pitt, who apparently has been dressed in boyswear and given boyishly short haircuts by her parents since she was a toddler. Four years later, why wouldn’t an 8-year-old girl think she ought to be called “John”? If anything she’s aiming for a more defined gender identity than her parents have yet to give her, either through her name, her hair, or her clothing, let alone the gender-neutral pronouns being used to identify her in the media. As the Advocate explains:
Editor’s note: This article uses “they” as a gender-neutral, singular pronoun in an effort to respect the young Jolie-Pitt’s gender identity, whatever that may end up being.
A California Democrat has formally invited Sony Pictures to screen The Interview on Capitol Hill.
Sony made a last-minute decision to offer limited release of the Seth Rogan and James Franco film that sparked a hack attack from North Korea. Rep. Brad Sherman told CNN yesterday that he may not get to see the movie on opening day, but thinks it should be screened at the White House and for Congress.
In a Monday letter to the studio, Sherman, who represents the San Fernando Valley and chairs the Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus, said lawmakers should “stand in solidarity with Sony Pictures and the American film industry.”
“Threats from a dictator in North Korea should not stop Americans from seeing any movie. We have a responsibility to stand up against these attempts at intimidation,” Sherman wrote. “This is also about educating Members of Congress. Everyone is talking about The Interview. I think it’s important for Congress to know, and see, what we are talking about.”
Screening the film on Capitol Hill would “demonstrate the U.S. Congress’s support of the freedom of speech,” the congressman added. “This is about our right to live without fear, and knowing that our values will not be compromised by the idle threats of a despotic regime. Good or bad, Americans should not be deprived of the opportunity to see this movie.”
“It is now the responsibility of the U.S. government to allocate the necessary resources to ensure moviegoers’ safety. We must help Sony Pictures, movie theater owners, and moviegoers regain the confidence to go see The Interview.”
Sherman is advocating North Korea receive a “double dose of free speech” by doubling up Voice of America broadcasting to the reclusive communist country.
“Currently Radio Free Asia and Voice of America reach North Koreans eleven hours each night, at a cost to American taxpayers of $8 million annually (or roughly one tenth of what it cost Sony to make and advertise The Interview). We should ramp this up to $16 million,” Sherman said in a statement.
“Dictators like Kim Jong-un fear nothing as much as the truth and it is time to bring a maximum supply of truth both to the North Korean people, and to the elites which form the core of the regime’s support,” he said. “We also maintain websites aimed at North Korea, but we do not provide television broadcasts. Our web efforts should be aimed at undermining Kim Jong-un among these elites, who have internet access.”
A Dec. 8 report from the Broadcasting Board of Governors showed that current streaming falls short of the 12 hours per day goal, but Sherman said that goal should be 24 hours a day.
“The Broadcasting Board of Governors is seeking to construct its own medium wave transmitter in South Korea at a location optimally suited to reach the North Korean people. This effort should be funded and expedited,” Sherman added.
“We should explore using satellite television broadcasting. If television broadcasting into North Korea is practical, then later next year we should broadcast The Interview dubbed in Korean.”
According to The Wrap, Sony is set to release its notorious depth bomb, The Interview, after all:
Sony Pictures is set to release the cancelled Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview” in theaters and on video on demand, TheWrap has learned. The plan is apparently to release the film simultaneously in participating theaters and via video on demand. The Plaza theater in Atlanta and a theater in Austin have now said they will distribute the film.
The studio is expected to announce the planned release on Tuesday, according to an individual with knowledge of the studio’s plans. Momentum has been growing across the country to reverse a decision to cancel the movie’s Christmas Day theatrical release after threats and a cyber-hack by North Korea
This has been either the most shameful episode in the history of motion pictures or the greatest marketing campaign in history.
Not every HBO woman is one of Lena Dunham’s girls. Seventeen-year-old Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams made a brilliant observation about contemporary feminism in a recent interview:
We talk about actor Emma Watson’s recent UN speech, in which she talked about her reasons for becoming a feminist, and the need for men to be onside; Williams says she is impatient with this kind of “first-world feminism”. “A lot of what Emma Watson spoke about, I just think, ‘that doesn’t bother me’. I know things aren’t perfect for women in the UK and in America, but there are women in the rest of the world who have it far worse.”
Self-identified feminist or not, Williams appears to have fallen into a trap of, well, totally taking for granted the gains western feminism has made. The assertion that the inequalities that persist in the UK and United States “don’t bother her” is a milder version of women against feminism rejecting the progress wrought by the women’s movement only as they bask in it.
Kutner then lists a series of first-world feminist issues that Williams and feminists everywhere are obviously required to care about: “pay inequality” (myth), “restricted reproductive healthcare access” (myth), “rape culture” (BIG myth, BIG – like Rolling Stone big) and “institutional sexism” (that creates a hostile environment for men as much, if not moreso, than women). She then uses her own big, white, first-world feminist journo privilege to paint Williams’s honest observation about the inequalities within the women’s movement as an example of that ugly buzzword “privilege”:
The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said the hacking attack against Sony is part of a longer-running plot — and the administration has had “no real policy” to face such attacks.
“This is part of a much bigger picture. It really began in 2008 with robberies by cyber of both the Royal Bank of Scotland and Citibank, to the tune of about $8 million and $10 million, respectively. It has gone on and graduated to the point where most companies have been attacked one way or another. In the last two years, we have JPMorgan Chase, we have Home Depot, we have eBay and we have Target,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told CNN today.
“What’s different to me about this attack is the monumental size of it, and secondly, there is extortion involved with it. In other words, the North Koreans are saying, unless you do this, we will do that. And this is where it becomes extraordinarily dangerous.”
She added that “in the six years that have gone by, we have no real policy to handle this.”
“Now, right now, you can look at North Korea, taken off the terrorist list, you can see this attack is in a sense a terrorist attack. You could put them back on. You can levy financial sanctions against them,” Feinstein continued.
The State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism only includes four countries by this point — Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria — and the Obama administration is considering taking Cuba off the list. President George W. Bush took North Korea off the list in 2008.
“But the big problem is developing an international agreement with teeth to stop this kind of behavior because we’re going toward bloodshed, I believe, if we don’t solve it. We have tried to pass a cyber information-sharing bill,” the senator said. “…We’re getting into the arena of major attacks. Right now, it has to do a great deal with private industry. But the cost for private industry is now in the trillions of dollars. And it has to be stopped.”
President Obama said he wished Sony had consulted him before yanking the film from theaters, but Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton told CNN he did consult with the White House after the threats.
“This is a complicated matter. And there is the question of liability. If something were to happen, who is liable for the loss of life?” Feinstein said.
“Now, this attack took place almost a month ago. So, we’re 3 1/2 weeks into it and still going back and forth as to what might be done or who should have done what. And this can’t continue to happen, in my view. This is a problem that’s going to be with us for a very long time. And so, we have to get certain structures in place and the ability to handle it.”
Whatever the administration decides to do, the senator stressed, “I would hope that we can convince the North Koreans that this carries a very heavy price.”
“Certainly, we have attacks from China. We have attacks from Russia. We have attacks from Iran and we have attacks from within our own country. So, it has become a very sad way of life. And at some point, we face a disastrous attack. And this is what we must prevent.”
Kate Upton, that is:
Mirror mirror on the wall, Kate Upton is the Sexiest Woman of all. So says People magazine.
The mag crowned the Sports Illustrated model, 22, with the title of “Sexiest Woman” on Thursday night during its first People Magazine Awards show in Beverly Hills. Hunky Eric Dane, no slouch in the sexy department himself, presented Upton with her award, saying, “There are a lot of reasons why Kate is sexy. Style, career, achievements, sense of humor, personality – oh and did I mention her … looks?”
Did somebody say looks?
God Bless America.
President Obama said at his year-end press conference that he would have told Sony not to cancel the Christmas release of The Interview, had the studio consulted him first.
“Sony’s a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced,” Obama said. “Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake.”
“In this interconnected digital world, there are going to be opportunities for attackers to engage in cyber assaults, both in the private sector and the public sector,” he continued. “Now, our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place.”
Obama said he long ago deployed a cyber-security interagency team “to look at everything that we could do at the government level to prevent these kinds of attacks,” including “coordinating with the private sector.”
“But a lot more needs to be done. We’re not even close to where we need to be,” he said. “And, you know, one of the things in the new year that I hope Congress will is prepared to work with us on is strong cybersecurity laws that allow for information-sharing across private sector platforms, as well as the public sector, so that we are incorporating best practices and preventing these attacks from happening in the first place.”
“But even as we get better, you know, the hackers are going to get better, too. Some of them are going to be state actors. Some of them are going to be non-state actors. All of them are going to be sophisticated and many of them can do some damage. We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don’t like or news reports that they don’t like. Or even worse, imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended.”
Canceling the movie after a hack from North Korea, he said, is “not who we are. That’s not what America is about.”
“Again, I’m sympathetic that Sony as a private company was worried about liabilities and this and that and the other. I wish they had spoken to me first. I would’ve told them, ‘Do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks,’” Obama said. “Imagine if, instead of it being a cyber threat, somebody had broken into their offices and destroyed a bunch of computers and stolen disks. And is that what it takes for suddenly, you to pull the plug on something?”
“So we’ll engage with not just the film industry, but the news industry, the private sector around these issues. We already have. We will continue to do so. But I think all of us have to anticipate occasionally there are going to be breaches like this. They’re going to be costly. They’re going to be serious. We take them with the utmost seriousness. But we can’t start changing our patterns of behavior any more than we stop going to a football game because there might be the possibility of a terrorist attack; any more than Boston didn’t run its marathon this year because of the possibility that somebody might try to cause harm.”
The president was asked if he would watch The Interview in solidarity with the censored filmmakers.
“I’ve got a long list of movies I’m going to be watching,” Obama replied. “You know, I never release my full movie list. But let’s talk to the specifics of what we now know.”
“The FBI announced today that — and — and we confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack. I think it says something interesting about North Korea that they decided to have the state mount an all-out assault on a movie studio because of a satirical movie starring Seth Rogen and James Flacco.”
That’s James Franco; Obama’s goof of the actor’s name sent “James Flacco” shooting to the top of Twitter trending topics.
“I love Seth. And I love — and I love James. But the notion that that was a threat to them, I think gives you some sense of — of the kind of regime we’re talking about here,” he continued. “They caused a lot of damage. And we will respond. We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose. It’s not something that I will announce here today at a press conference.”
“More broadly, though, this points to the need for us to work with the international community to start setting up some very clear rules of the road in terms of how the Internet and cyber operates. Right now, it’s sort of the Wild West.”
George Clooney gets it right. Via Deadline Hollywood:
The most powerful people in Hollywood were so fearful to place themselves in the cross hairs of hackers that they all refused to sign a simple petition of support that Clooney and his agent, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, circulated to the top people in film, TV, records and other areas. Not a single person would sign. Here, Clooney discusses the petition and how it is just part of many frightening ramifications that we are all just coming to grips with.
DEADLINE: I’ve been chasing the story of the petition you were circulating for a week now. Where is it, and how were these terrorists able to isolate Sony from the herd and make them so vulnerable?
CLOONEY: Here’s the brilliant thing they did. You embarrass them first, so that no one gets on your side. After the Obama joke, no one was going to get on the side of Amy, and so suddenly, everyone ran for the hills. Look, I can’t make an excuse for that joke, it is what it is, a terrible mistake. Having said that, it was used as a weapon of fear, not only for everyone to disassociate themselves from Amy but also to feel the fear themselves. They know what they themselves have written in their emails, and they’re afraid.
Be sure to read the whole interview; this exchange is priceless:
DEADLINE: What kind of constraints will this put on storytellers that want to shine a critical light on a place like Russia, for instance, with something like a movie about the polonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the KGB officer who left and became an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin?
CLOONEY: What’s going to happen is, you’re going to have trouble finding distribution. In general, when you’re doing films like that, the ones that are critical, those aren’t going to be studio films anyway. Most of the movies that got us in trouble, we started out by raising the money independently. But to distribute, you’ve got to go to a studio, because they’re the ones that distribute movies. The truth is, you’re going to have a much harder time finding distribution now. And that’s a chilling effect. We should be in the position right now of going on offense with this. I just talked to Amy an hour ago. She wants to put that movie out. What do I do? My partner Grant Heslov and I had the conversation with her this morning. Bryan and I had the conversation with her last night. Stick it online. Do whatever you can to get this movie out. Not because everybody has to see the movie, but because I’m not going to be told we can’t see the movie. That’s the most important part. We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all f*cking people.