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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Cosby’

Bill Cosby. Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Matt Lauer. Charlie Rose.

#metoo #TimesUp

Lawsuits. Tears. Criminal complaints. Job loss.

It’s been raging in the news cycles for months now. Like it’s something newly discovered or recently created. Nope. Just finally hit critical mass, with enough of us shaking our heads in frustration and declaring, “I’m done with this shit!”

In truth, we’ve been done for generations. Millennia, even. Before technology, we were individuals trapped in our own little corners of the world with no way of knowing there were thousands – millions – out there in the same boat. The larger and stronger have always lorded themselves over the smaller and weaker in the animal kingdom. And, lest we forget: humans are indeed animals. The male of the species has been a total shit to the female on a pretty consistent basis throughout history. Even today, women across the world are still considered little more than broodmare property to be traded accordingly. Why you want to subjugate half the human population and accuse them of causing all the sins the other half actually does is beyond me. Especially when that latter half wouldn’t even exist without the former.

 

No Men = Happy Women

Someecards.com

 

Then there was Social Media and many things changed.

Well, what really changed was that the crappy things done to people by other people in the shadows of thousands of years now had light shown upon them and declared to be horrible things that no one should do, and if we had only known sooner we would have done something to stop them.

Yeah, I call bullshit on that play. The “casting couch” has been a long running “joke” in the entertainment industry. And it’s certainly not exclusive to Hollywood. Women have been subjected to that special kind of abuse in all walks of life, in all kinds of places, in all sorts of businesses. Any successful woman in any field will tell you stories of how coworkers are convinced she “slept her way to the top,” or at least had some serious dirt on the boss, because it certainly couldn’t be because she was actually good at her job.

And if you’re one of those people who thinks we need to boycott every person, every product, every company that has ever been touched by sexual harassment claims, then you might as well strip naked and run off into the woods, because there is no one no where that is angelically pure of this sin. Why should I be pilloried for watching Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects or Bill Cosby in Himself? Am I not allowed anymore to separate the performance from the performer? I think that’s for me to decide, and for you to just deal.

People like Spacey and Lauer were dropped like hot potatoes not because management was shocked and horrified to learn of such behavior, but because they were rats escaping a sinking ship. They didn’t want to be caught in the crossfire, or – worse yet -implicated for their complicity. Which of course is the case for most of them. That’s why celebrities and politicians and corporations have PR firms, to protect their cash cows from such torrid issues becoming public knowledge. It’s called spin doctoring. And if things really get out of hand, you call a fixer. Eventually, though, even the fixer is out of options, and you end up where we are now.

 

Ray Donovan

http://www.sho.com/ray-donovan

 

A strong, opinionated man is an assertive leader. A strong, opinionated woman is a demanding bitch. It is society as a whole that has condemned the female of the species to her unwelcome position. We have been conditioned since birth to believe that boys will be boys and girls just have to watch out for themselves. Almost weekly there’s some uproar from some school about dress code violations. It is always some young lady wearing something purportedly scandalous, and when you look at the picture you think: “Wow, I see kids wearing that all the time.” And it’s no more scandalous than what I’m wearing right now as I write this. (For the record, flannel Walking Dead PJs and a sweatshirt.) Never have I seen a young man pictured. Never.

Because it’s never about the behavior of the boys/men and always about what the woman should/shouldn’t do. From the first hue and cry, the apologists have been demanding, “Well, why didn’t she say something? Why didn’t she tell him no?”

Why?

Because a man in a position of power threatening your health and career if you don’t do what he says should be taken seriously.

Because you never know when that guy is the guy that’s going to beat you to unconsciousness.

Because you don’t want to die, that’s why.

Go do a simple search on the Internet and you’ll be bombarded with the stories of women who said no. Here, start with this article from a couple years ago. You’ll note the victims are all from the USA. Yeah, the country that prides itself on its progressiveness and touts equal rights for all is killing women just because they turn a guy down for a date. It’s that sense of entitlement by men – and abject fear by women – that has led us to this point.

That, and smart phones.

And while social media can be a positive force, allowing us to instantaneously shine lights into the dark corners of our world, it can also be the digital equivalent of a lynch mob. Al Franken is out as a Senator because of incidents from when he was a comedian. No, they weren’t appropriate and he probably shouldn’t have done them. But, fercryinoutloud, people: he was a COMEDIAN. They aren’t known for being appropriate. And, by all reports, there were no complaints from his time as Senator. But the feeding frenzy just got caught up in itself and the popular chorus demanded blood for their efforts, so off he went.

More recently, Aziz Ansari has been caught in the splatter, in a controversial report depicting a sexual assault or just a bad date, depending on whom you’re listening to. That one grey-area incident does not come close to the decades of penis waving and threats exhibited by the likes of Weinstein, but it is exactly what most women have experienced, and where our conversation really needs to start. Both sides need to be clear on what they want and expect, just as both sides need to listen and respect.

 

Communication

Memesbot.com

 

I have been lucky in that my size and strength has allowed me to avoid most of the issues many of my female friends have experienced. I don’t get catcalled or groped, and any physical relations I’ve had have been clearly consensual. But I have had mechanics feed me a line about “fuel injector coils” (when dealing with my ’74 Comet), had doctors tell me my migraine problems are just because of anxiety so here take this Valium (despite having a neurological report of abnormalities), and been paid significantly less than a man doing exactly the same job. One other annoying issue is that people (of all genders) talk to my boobs instead of my face. Yeah. I know I got big ‘uns, and I know I’m a head taller than most of you, but at least make the effort, for fuck’s sake. Be part of the solution for a change.

We can all agree that making employees watch while you wank off at your desk is egregious behavior. We also can agree that women need to be able to say no without fear. What we need to work on is the blurred lines in the middle. Part of that work needs to include not just the victims having their say, but the perpetrators as well. I want to see formal investigations, not just the Court of Twitter and a pink slip. I don’t want the Weinsteins and the Spaceys and the Lauers of the world to just slip off into the shadows mumbling platitudes about their perceived wrongs. I want them in full light, wriggling uncomfortably in their chairs as they face their victims and explain why they did what they did. I need to witness their education and contrition, not read about a week in “therapy” like it’s going to make everything all better now. Behavior like that is going to take a whole lot longer than a week to fix.

Just like this problem as a whole. We just need to keep talking.

 

 

PS: Some light reading:

http://time.com/4286575/sexual-harassment-before-anita-hill/

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/10/13/_1956_casting_couch_expos_shows_little_has_changed.html

http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/you_must_remember_this/2015/11/eddie_mannix_mgm_s_fixer_and_the_scandal_of_patricia_douglas.html

 

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I’ve never considered myself very funny. I’ve DONE things that were considered funny, usually inadvertently, and usually when I was really trying to be dead serious. And every now and then I can come up with a zinger that most people around me appreciate. But stand-up comedienne I’m not.

Despite this handicap, I’m trying to find more humor in my life, if only to distract me from all the bullshit these past couple years have thrown at me. The problem I’ve discovered is that what I think is funny, most people around me don’t get, or vice versa. Case in point, my husband – a middle-aged man who’s carried a gun for a living for most of his adult life – finds farts hilarious. Especially if one has just been inflicted upon someone else in a confined area. This is apparently a common reaction from most men. I had the foolish notion that a responsible adult would leave that pre-school idiocy behind, but it seems that men are always five years old when it comes to farts.

Then there’s the Three Stooges. I was watching one of the “Lethal Weapon” movies the other day, and was reminded of their abusive version of humor. I don’t get it. I don’t get ANY of those types of comedic rampages. Insulting, degrading, belittling, and hateful acts are not funny. The obvious and crass are just that. While I can appreciate from a historical perspective the contributions of Larry, Curly and Moe (and occasionally Shemp) to the early field of film comedy, my subjective funny bone lays dormant whenever they’re around. Though poking a few bill collectors in the eye while declaring “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!” would give me a great deal of personal satisfaction.

The truth is I’m more of a Marx Brothers kind of girl. As a child I loved their wackiness, (even if I didn’t get most of the double entendre until I was much older), and was really drawn to Harpo and Chico and their musical interludes. Music was my first love and even when very young, I delighted in real musicianship (Harpo was a masterful concert harpist, and his recordings are still available, if you look around). I was especially intrigued when they would riff on a theme, or pretend to be really bad when it was obvious they weren’t. This appreciation went on into Bugs Bunny and his Wagnerian escapades, all the way up to P.D.Q. Bach and the Muppets. And, yes, I think Weird Al Yankovic is hysterical, because you have to be a badass musician to parody fellow musicians. And with an accordion, no less. Pardon me while I go laugh myself silly.

Good comedy makes you think. It takes you out of your comfort zone and then throws you right back in, twisted all around so you see the true absurdity of it. Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Robin Williams, Jon Stewart, Eddie Izzard and Craig Ferguson are some of the best at combining sharp political commentary in juxtaposition with equally eccentric observations of the human condition. And since dark comedy seems to be a popular expression for the latter two, I can only imagine the commentary they would come up with when viewing the soap opera that has been my life this last year.

But combine comedy and music, and you have me trapped. Whether it be Victor Borge, Harpo Marx, the “classical” group Pagagnini, or the “rock god” Tim Minchin, I’ll be there, eyes glued to YouTube, getting lost in time and space. It allows me a level of escapism that one or the other by itself can’t manage. A double hit of feel good. It doesn’t work for the musically challenged, though. Just ask my mother. To this day she still doesn’t understand why I pee my pants laughing every time I hear Peter Schickele’s version of Beethoven’s 5th. Sorry, inside jokes don’t work for everybody. But thanks for supporting my bizarre mind anyway, Mom.

So instead of being mired in self-pity, trying to figure a way out of this deep, dark hole that has no possible exit at this time, I’m going to go get lost for awhile in musical comedy, or comedic music, or whatever the term is for laughing your cares away in the key of D minor. It won’t solve anything, but maybe eventually I’ll be able to look back at this point in my life and see the black humor in it.

© 2013  Cheri K. Endsley  All Rights Reserved.

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There’s been a lot in the media lately about sacred versus secular, faith versus fact. The public debate continues and since I’ve already made my stance on those issues clear (Zealots at the Door), I don’t feel the need to continue bashing on that poor, long mummified equine.

No, today’s ramble is far more important. It’s still about faith, but a more ethereal and cherished version, a version we can all agree on.

Dictionary.com has the following definitions for the word “faith:”

Faith [feyth]

noun

1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.

2. Belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

3. Belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

4. Belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

5. A system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

You’ll note that the religious version doesn’t show up until the third definition, and appears in only two of the five. The first definition, the one we can all understand and accept, is the definition we need to be following, regardless of our actual political, religious, or sports team affiliations.

My circle of friends encompasses a wide range of ideologies, religions, political viewpoints, ages, job descriptions and hobbies. With some of them, I’ve made a pact: there are topics that we have agreed to disagree on, and usually don’t talk about. I’ve even done this with my husband, that Kansas-Redneck-Republican-Marine-Christian-PC using albino gorilla who tends to be almost as stubborn as I am. That is the faith that goes with friendship, that “confidence or trust in a person.” I may stand on the opposite side of the protest line from some of my friends, but when the shit really hits the fan, I know each one of them would do their best to be there for me.

Looking back on the high points of my life, I realized that faith played a much larger part in things than I had previously acknowledged. My parents always supported me in my creative endeavors, even as it seemed they didn’t really understand why I needed to do those things. They gave me the leeway to explore and allowed me to take the opportunities presented. They let me be me, having faith that I would be a good person and make the right choices, and being there to help pick the pieces up when things didn’t go as well as planned.

When I chose a college half the country away for my undergraduate degree, they weren’t all that keen on the idea and made me defend my choice. Given that it was one of the best schools in the nation for the degree I wanted, and even paying out-of-state tuition there was cheaper than the in-state schools I’d looked at, it wasn’t really a hard argument. Once done, they supported me. Not having my own children, I can only imagine how hard it must be to see your first-born go off into the cold, cruel world, but they did it, because they had faith in me.

It was a similar situation when I was accepted to the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Back in the mid ‘80’s LA was experiencing a lot of negative press because of regular smog alerts, gang violence, racial tensions and corruption. Okay, maybe not so much different than now, but my family had never lived in a “big city” before, and the seedy mystique of LA plagued our minds. My mother really didn’t like the idea of me living on my own in La-La Land, especially when I was going to be involved with the entertainment industry, long a bastion for free-thinking, boundary-shredding, rules-breaking hedonists. I had to convince her that the opportunity was more than worth it, that the fact I had won a spot over hundreds of other applicants to one of the most prestigious film schools in the world (the Hollywood Reporter has it listed at number one these days) meant I had something special and I would always regret not at least trying. It took some convincing, especially given the cost (twenty years of student loans, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant…), but she finally agreed.

She visited for a week during the year I was at AFI. She sat in several classes with me, listening to Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner discuss how they worked on The Bill Cosby Show, which they were executive producing at that time, and watching me nearly run over Michael Landon in the hallway between lectures. She left that week realizing I had made the right choice, that the opportunity did indeed far outweigh the price. Her faith in me had been affirmed.

There have been other times when such support has been forthcoming from family and friends. The most recent has been from my husband. When we finally sat down and had that talk about what I really wanted to do and how I just couldn’t handle going back to an office environment, I was all set for a lengthy discussion. I had all the pros and cons already weighed out, had the financial battle plan drafted, even had job listings at the ready if he just couldn’t see it my way. What did he do? He said okay. Right from the beginning. Nothing like being ready for a fight and not getting one.

His only explanation is that he knew I could do it. He had FAITH in me. He accepted me for what I am and gave me the unconditional support to go be that. It is because of him, and the fact he goes off to bust his butt at work every day, that I can sit here with my bare feet up, typing away on my wireless keyboard, sipping hot tea and blathering on to whoever will read about the things rattling around in my head.

So everyone around me has shown me what faith is, what believing in someone despite the lack of proof to their abilities can do for their world. Just imagine what could happen if I had faith in myself…

© 2012 Cheri K. Endsley. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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There were a number of reasons for doing this blog:  trying to develop discipline as a writer;  sharing my experiences as a middle-aged, unemployed fat woman working on a new career and getting not-so-fat in the hopes of helping/inspiring others; keeping friends and relatives updated without actually having to talk to them.  The usual stuff.

What I ended up with is cathartic expressionism; rage against the political machine; shouting at the devil; and the occasional post that actually makes sense, on a haphazard schedule.  That whole discipline thing is still a work in progress.

In looking back at what I’ve done so far, too much of it radiates my emotional state of mind, namely, depression.  Given what I am, it’s not exactly a surprise, but I was hoping as part of the exercise to try and develop a more neutral tone, and to find humor in my situation.  Something in the vein of Erma Bombeck or Dave Berry.  Sadly, and probably not surprisingly, I’m not coming anywhere close to the five-year-old down the street with his fart jokes, let alone those two stalwarts of humorous commentary.

There are people in this world who just seem to have a knack at seeing the absurd in the ordinary, the funny in the sad or the pratfall in the tragedy.  I grew up listening to life’s observations from Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, George Carlin, Robin Williams and Richard Pryor.  From trips to the dentist, budget airlines, heart attacks, drug abuse and even setting oneself on fire, those guys were able to give us a laugh even in the midst of the most mundane or the most troubling settings.  Their wits are light years ahead of the rest of us, and sometimes I just look at the dust they left me (and most of the rest of us) behind in and can’t help but be awed.

My humor is limited to a handful of musician or lawyers jokes, repeating Monty Python movie lines as if they were religious mantras, and watching the Muppets.  My husband introduced me to Pinky and the Brain so I can claim understanding most of that as well, but it came to me late in life and thus didn’t have any influence on my humor function’s growth.  And, most of today’s comedy just doesn’t work for me.  As the old joke goes, I’d say it’s sophomoric but that would be insulting to sophomores everywhere.  Talking about your “ho” in a sentence filled more with graphic expletives than actual words or making a movie that’s basically just one disgusting bodily-function-gone-awry scene after another is not my idea of humor.  Being rude, insulting, prejudicial or hurtful to other people is not funny.  Making poignant observations about the human condition in such a way that we all see ourselves mirrored in the story, while also showing us the absurdities of how we live, now that’s funny.

So today’s exercise is to try and find the funny in my life.  Not exactly an easy task, given that it seems my life is presently a perfect storm of disaster headed for the brink of a cliff.  But if Richard Pryor can laugh at almost burning himself to death, and get us to laugh with him, then there’s got to be something I can tap into for my own little drink of silliness.

Having animals would make for some easy pickings, if mine ever actually did anything.  The dogs don’t even know how to play fetch, fer cryin’ out loud.  Husbands are usually good for a few laughs, too, but the one thing about mine that really makes me laugh can’t be discussed in a public forum.  The cars work fine, the neighbors are boring, and my friends would probably kill me if I ratted them out on anything.

So that leaves me, and, sorry, but I just ain’t funny.  I can write good stories, play several musical instruments, build things out of wood, weave and sew and embroider, and can  organize the hell out of your office, but making you laugh isn’t in my programming.  The best I can do is try to be less of a depressive while standing on my soapbox beating my chest, raging against the machine.

I am writer:  hear me mew.

© 2010   Cheri K. Endsley.  All Rights Reserved.

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