Saturday, April 16, 2022

Mae West

They made two films about Jean Harlowe, two feature films.  Judy Garland got a film finally (and Renee Zellweger won an Oscar for plaing her).  There were also many TV films about Judy.  Marilyn Monroe has had multiple feature films and many TV movies about her -- actresses like Michelle Williams, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvina, etc. have played Marilyn.  

But Mae West?  

She was one of the biggest film stars of the 30s and she saved PARAMOUNT from bankruptcy.  She came to film from Broadway where she was a huge success and scandal.  She knew how to get publicity.  

As a film star, she carved a role for women that did not really exist.  And there would be no Bette Midler, for example, if Mae had not paved that road.

She wrote her own lines and her own scripts.  I'M NO ANGEL, SHE DID HIM WRONG, GOIN' TO TOWN, GO WEST YOUNG MAN, KLONDIKE ANNIE, BELLE OF THE 90S, EVERY DAY'S A HOLIDAY  and MY LITTLE CHICKADEE -- those are some of her comic gems and film classics.

Tonight, I watched MAE WEST.  It is a TV movie from 1982 and, I believe, it is the only film about Ms. West that has been made.  

Ann Jillian gave a great performance -- one nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe.  Piper Laurie also deserves praise for playing Matilda West, Mae's mother, and James Brolin and Roddy McDowell also delivered strong performances.  

But where is the feature film?

Is Ms. West too threatening even in the 21st century?

It is not as though her life is not interesting.  This is a woman who lived on her terms and who did not play the virgin.  This is a woman who led an exciting life and achieved tremendous fame.  She was pro-gay when the world was homophobic.  

How do you not make a film about her?


This is C.I.'s "The middle finger snapshot:"

Friday, April 15, 2022.

Let's kick it off with a long section of Anne Sexton's "For John Who Begs Me Not To Enquire Further:"

Not that it was beautiful,
but that, in the end, there was
a certain sense of order there;
something worth learning
in that narrow diary of my mind,
in the commonplaces of the asylum
where the cracked mirror
or my own selfish death
outstared me.
And if I tried
to give you something else,
something outside of myself,
you would not know
that the worst of anyone
can be, finally,
an accident of hope.
I tapped my own head;
it was glass, an inverted bowl.
It is a small thing
to rage in your own bowl.
At first it was private.
Then it was more than myself;
it was you, or your house
or your kitchen.
And if you turn away
because there is no lesson here
I will hold my awkward bowl,
with all its cracked stars shining
like a complicated lie,
and fasten a new skin around it
as if I were dressing an orange
or a strange sun.
Not that it was beautiful,
but that I found some order there.
There ought to be something special
for someone
in this kind of hope.
This is something I would never find
in a lovelier place, my dear,
although your fear is anyone’s fear,
like an invisible veil between us all…
and sometimes in private,
my kitchen, your kitchen,
my face, your face.

An e-mail asks: "So you're not going to repost Jackson Hinkle's show at your site anymore?"  No.

I have ethics.  Jackson offers little more than a cheering section, usually for Jimmy Dore.  It's not like he was leading on any issue.

Which is perfect for this topic, by the way.

Let's pretend that Jackson Hinkle is an expert on something.  Let's pretend that he's the only one in the world who can speak to Russia.  

And let's say I have a show and can invite him on.

While Jackson is an expert on Russia, turns out that he's also been arrested three times for trying to get (trick?) underage girls online into meeting up with him for sex.   One time, he got off on a promise that he'd never do it again -- yes, sadly, the justice system was that pathetic in the '00s.  The second time, he got probation.  The third time he got sent to prison.  He is now a registered sex offender.

He is the best and only expert on the topic of war with Russia.

Do I bring him on my YOUTUBE program?

See, I'm not visualizing such an internal debate taking place for Fiorella Isabell or Richard Medhurst aor any of the other people putting Scott Ritter on their programs.

For me? 

Hell no, I'd never put someone like that on a program.  It's called ethics.  

As I noted on Wednesday, if someone wants to disagree about whispers and claims, that's fine.  Have that person on.  But if someone's been arrested multiple times and been convicted, that's not the same thing as someone being targeted with a whisper campaign or someone involved in a disputed situation (i.e. he said-she said, he said-he said, she-said-she said, they said-he said, they said-she said, they said-they said).  

We can disagree about Michael Jackson or whomever.  We weren't three.  We form our best judgments based on the abilities at reasoning that we've been given.  Michael was never convicted in a court of law.  There was the opportunity to do so and it didn't happen.  So we can disagree.  And I may roll my eyes over this or that person being on a broadcast but that's all I'm going to do.

Scott Ritter, like Harvey Weinstein, has been convicted.  The court has ruled.  

This is not disputed.  He did time in prison for what he did.  

And he is a threat to girls everywhere since that's who he stalks.

No, I'm not going to put him on a program.  

It's not even open to debate.  Why would I put other females in jeopardy?

Now Queen Bees like Fiorella, they're on their own.  There's a reason she has no female friends.  There's a reason she does a program that is nothing but men, men, men.  She's Patty Hearst.  She's been in the closet and conditioned into hostage mentality. 

As for the men involved, if this is new to you, let me say, "Welcome to our sad world."

I'm so sorry if no one ever told you that working to end a war and working for the rights of all led to the second wave of feminism precisely because too many men don't give a s**t about women.  I'm sorry that I have to be the one to impart that hard truth on you.

But it was the rank sexism in the movements of the sixties that led to the rise of second wave feminism.

Their bias is based on many things including a lack of understanding.

They don't get the way some people are targeted -- that's women of all races, that's people of color, that's the LGBTQ community.  

Ignorance, we can deal with.  We've all been ignorant of something and you address ignorance by sharing.

It also shouldn't be that hard today because it is a different world.  

The sixties had a huge shift, the seventies as well, every decade has brought us closer as a people.  

Sharing and listening has led to greater understanding.  

But ignorance was only one aspect.

And let's not just point our fingers at the men.  

Let's use Fiorella.  She's doing nothing to help other women -- that's pretty much her entire work.  She won't and the reason being is she's a Queen Bee (as defined by Gloria Steinem in REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN).  She's got to be the only woman in the room.  Otherwise, she doesn't feel special.  She wants to be the token because she's allowed herself to embrace defined standards that were imposed by a male dominated culture and I'm going to come back to that at the end, by the way, that topic and we're gong to address WSWS on a different but related topic.

But Fiorella surrounds herself with men because she hates women including herself.  She hates them, she thinks they aren't worth anything.  So she will gladly do her part to hold the rest of us down.

Her chit chatting and smiling and laughing with a man arrested three times for pedophilia -- let's call it what it is -- and a man who was sent to prison for it?

That's just fun for her.

"Look how tough I am," she's beaming not realizing that she doesn't look tough, that she looks tragic and pathetic.

So there are women like Fiorella out there.

There are also men out there that need to be called out.

"Identity politics.''

We are constantly forced to hear that term and hear it with derision.

That, we are told by various men, is what is holding the left back.

WSWS wants to tell you that it's all class issues and that's what we need to focus on.  By focusing on other things -- gender is their direct target because they know they have to whisper when they're targeting race -- we are drawing lines between one another that prevent us from working together as a group and effecting change.

We are the bad ones, they insist.  If we'd just drop our 'issues' and go along with what they deem important, there would be no problems and we'd all have Medicare For All by now, for example.

I fully support Medicare For All and I think everyone should have it.

But it hasn't happened in my lifetime and there's a good chance it won't.

However, rape has happened in my lifetime.  Girls have been kidnapped in my lifetime (including me).  We've been raped.  We've been beaten.  We've been violently murdered.

And that's not an isolated moment.

I hear the horror over gun violence -- the constant bleeting.

Gun violence is appalling.

But women and girls are the victims of violence more times a day than gun violence.  And it's just shrug and pretend that's okay?

We may never get Medicare For All.  I'm happy to work on that issue but I'm not dropping other issues.  And I'm certainly not gong to sacrifice women and girls to get Medicare For All.

If we're not all free, none of us are free.

Decrying abuse is not deflecting from larger issues.  The personal is political worked as a slogan because there is so much truth to it.  You can use Judith N. Shklar's works to back that up -- whether it's FACES OF INJUSTICE or THE QUEST FOR INCLUSION (others as well but I'd recommend those two).  

When someone who is being mistreated can grasp that this is not 'personal' in the ways that Benjamin Barber's  sad work has implied over the years, and not just their lot in life, that person can see other levels of oppression and can move from point A to point B or further as a result.  Once they see that it's not their fault or 'just you,' they are radicalized and see links and a system that needs to be taken on.  

Now there is excess in everything and sometimes "the personal is political" devolves into a lot of nonsense and an excuse to right about nonsense while pretending that this nonsense -- often 'reality' TV -- is worth recapping.  A very strong and revolutionary look can be taken at 'reality' TV -- and could even result in finding some good in that genre -- but I'm not referring to that.  I'm referring to websites that try to present as weighty when they're not.  They're not even able to use the excuse of first principles.  And, when it comes to feminism, we've had more than enough first principles writings.  We've all gone to pre-K now and are ready for weightier topics and more evolved discussions.

So the personal is political should not be used as a cop out that allows you to avoid dealing with actual issues.  

Sadly, it sometimes has been.

But the slogan still works because it is embedded with truth.  The student in class noting that she's not called on and that others of her race are not called on by the TA, is making connections and grasping that it's not just her and that there is a system of oppression taking place.  

We applaud that in other areas.  We're allowed to as leftists.  But we won't applaud it when it comes to racial consciousness and if it results in gender consciousness or sexuality consciousness, we'll outright hiss as a leftist collective.

And we think that makes us look cool.

Really, it makes you look stupid.  

You're not just a pothead comedian in your basement, you're a moron who doesn't know the first thing about anything and maybe shouldn't be hosting a program due to your extreme stupidity.

This shared consciousness, this awakening that leads to change?  Karl Marx addressed it.  The term wasn't coined  when he was writing about it but that's the whole point of the worker grasping that he has shared grievances with another worker.  That's what's behind the concept of class consciousness.

If Marx were alive today, hopefully, he'd be addressing the barriers to class consciousness.  Those do include that some can't see beyond certain identifiers -- meaning that their inability to relate to what a transgendered person or a young gay teen has to endure creates a barrier that prevents working as a collective.

Identity politics is not the problem for all the derision heaped upon the term.  The derision itself is a sign of discrimination.  Certain people -- men and, yes, sadly women as well -- feel that their 'improtant' issue is getting less attention or none at all because this or that 'fluffy' issue is getting attention.

You saw that with the reaction of some to what happened to Chris Rock.  You saw a lot of writers on the left -- at DISSIDENT VOICE for example, insist that time was wasted on the topic.

A man was assaulted.  Now, yes, Chris Rock is my friend.  But that doesn't change the fact that he was assaulted on live television at a global event.  That was broadcast around the world live and now lives on forever on YOUTUBE and elsewhere.

A man was assaulted and that's a distraction?  Talking about it is a distraction?

A Black man was assaulted for the 'crime' of offending a woman's 'honor' and that's not worth addressing?  Even with the historical practice in the US of justifying assaults on African-American males on the grounds that some woman's 'honor' had been besmirched?

I'm so sorry that your little pet issue -- in the case of DISSIDETN VOICE, a program that's been going on for over a decade but that the writer had just discovered that week -- didn't get the attention you felt it deserved.

Welcome to my world where Iraq is ignored completely in the US.  

We are the country that destroyed Iraq.  You can say the UK and Australia helped.  But we are the country that destroyed Iraq.  Our government's actions ensured the destruction -- and it's an ongoing destruction.  They are a land of orphans and widows. 21 is the median age in Iraq and that's not the result of a baby boom, that's the result of the massive deaths that have resulted from this war.

An ongoing war.  US troops remain on the ground.  The US continues to occupy Iraq.  

How many Iraqi politicians will it take to say the US needs to leave before the US leaves?

A major report on the ongoing assault on Iraq's LBT community is released this year and everyone in the US ignores it.

The 19th anniversary of the ongoing war took place last month and the US couldn't be bothered.  

So, yeah, I get your frustration.

But don't pretend that the assault of Chris Rock wasn't actual news and didn't deserve actual discussion and actual analysis.  

The US destroyed the rights of women in Iraq.  

I have called that out here.  If I don't call out this Scott Ritter nonsense, what message am I sending?

I'm first off saying that he's a good guy and trust him and remember that when he rapes you so that you can pursue me as an accessory to that assault since I not only refused to identify him as a convicted sex offender but also used my platform to promote him as someone to listen to and to trust.

Second, I'm saying that it's okay for women to be assaulted and we should just take it.

Iraqi women have showed real bravery and strength throughout this ongoing war.  

But I'm going to back off from calling out a bunch of pampered men for bringing a convicted sex offender on their program and promoting him?

What message would that send?

So ____, no, I don't need you to "smooth things over."  One of the YOUTUBERS who has been promoting Scott wanted me to know in an e-mail that they could fix this and if I'd just agree not to mention it again, everything would be okay.

What will be okay?

Do you really believe i want to be a part of your circle jerk?

Kid, you're not that important.  Equally true, DAILY KOS and others tried to make me a part of their circle jerk almost two decades ago.  Nope.  Didn't want it.  A friend mentions me on their NPR pgoram and my response was, "Please don't eve do that again."  Or when ALTERNET was linking to us and I'm the one who tells them to me off their blogroll.  

You're under some foolish notion that I'm in fear over this topic having fall out.  That I'm afraid this site will be harmed or I will be if we don't have your support.

The only thing I'm in fear over regarding this topic has nothing to do with you or your other YOUTUBERS.  As I said in the roundtable last night for the gina & krista round-robin, I'll address it tomorrow, late tomorrow.  I'll sleep in.  I'll work out.  Then I'll write it myself, type it, not dictate it.  I'll take my time posting it.  Because I'm just too damn sick of having to relive.

I was assaulted.  

And I was lucky because there was no debate on it.  I was young (single digit age), I was kidnapped from my school and I was taken off and assaulted.  There was no way to play blame the victim.  I was lucky in that regard.  

A lot of people aren't.

But I really don't like having to relive this and certainly not on someone else's time table.  

I have no fear of calling out Scott Ritter.

I know he needs to be called out and I have had to do so over and over since 2004.  But, no, it's not something, the topic itself, that I want to spend each morning with.  

Tina and I have talked about how your day can be gone, shot to hell, Tina Turner, when you're forced into these conversations about abuse.  And I feel forced into it now.

That's why I am appalled that it has to be me yet a-damn-gain.  Just once, I'd love to see one of you supposed strong and brave men step up and call out Scott Ritter on your platform.  Just one damn time, it would be great to hear you say that what he did was wrong and that it is appalling that elements of the left are embracing him.  Instead, I have to victimize myself -- that is what it feels like -- and relive an experience to call out what needs to be called out.

If the YOUTUBER e-mailing me truly wanted to 'help' me, he'd be using his program and platform to state he was wrong to bring Scott Ritter on his program and to promote him.  He'd be saying that he stands with those who have survived assault and not with the convicted sex offender.

But he can't relate to that and so he can't relate to me.  And his ignorance is the real barrier preventing us from all working together.  It's not identity politics that's the problem, it's that he's more comfortable identifying with a convicted sex offender than he is with the survivors of assault.

I watch from the US amazed at the way the Iraqi girls and women keep fighting for their rights and against various assaults.  They are inspiring and they will avenge the injustices that were imposed on their country.  The US government was fine to make them the sacrificial lambs.

And, sadly, in the US some elements of the left are happy to make females here their ritual sacrifice as well.  It's not right and it's not liberation and it's not about building a class consciousness. 

Alice Walker has spoken often about how she uses her work to create the world we could have and it's a shame that far less talented people can't see that using their platforms to promote a convicted sex offender is not creating anything of value.

Yet they bring Scott on their programs.  They don't identify him as a convicted sex offender. They joke with him and smirk with him and sometimes they even lie for him: 'Scott was banned by the media because he spoke out against the Iraq war!'  No, Scott was kicked off corporate media when they learned the truth.  It's up here, in real time.  A CNN friend called me and said not to note him, that CNN had just learned of his arrest for attempting to meet up with a young girl for sex.  And that CNN was further shocked to learn that this was his second arrest for it.  He's now got three arrests and he's been sent to prison for it but keep repeating the lie that his speaking out against the Iraq War is what got him kicked off TV.  You look like a cheap whore but then, outside of a carnival, most mirrors reflect reality.

I've had to deal with this topic repeatedly this week including Tuesday in a snapshot that I dictated but scrapped.  

I will note that is it very disappointing what so many are doing.  It's especially sad with regards to Jackson Hinkle because he's only 22 yet not only has instilled the worst of an oppressive patriarchy, he's also bound and determined to actively participate in furthering the worst.  How sad.

And I'm pulling a section.  It'll go into Saturday's entry.  There was a need originally to include it -- it's related and it would ensure peak readership for this post that I want people to read, I want the word out on Scott Ritter.  But as I look over the snapshot, I'm seeing that it will actually overwhelm what came before, or stands a good chance of doing so.  It'll go up Saturday in whatever I post that night. 

We opened with Anne Sexton and we'll wind down with her again, from "Flee On Your Donkey:"

Anne, Anne,
flee on your donkey,
flee this sad hotel,
ride out on some hairy beast,
gallop backward pressing
your buttocks to his withers,
sit to his clumsy gait somehow.
Ride out
any old way you please!
In this place everyone talks to his own mouth.
That's what it means to be crazy.
Those I loved best died of it—
the fool's disease.


The following sites updated: