Mr. Wow Opines:
I’m not particularly a fan of Paula Deen. Although I love her buttery, fat-drenched food. Which, by the way, she has never encouraged people to eat everyday. I always thought she was a bit much with her constant “you’ alls” and she is obviously a tough cookie under the cholesterol. Well, she’s a woman who made herself a multi-millionaire. Of course she’s tough. As nails. She has big hair, too. Which is always a good thing, in Mr. W-land. The higher the hair the closer to God, as the saying goes.
Now she’s out of her job on Food Network and other sponsors threaten to drop her, because she admitted that back in the day (1986, she says) she probably used the “N-word.” This came out—via the National Enquirer—because she’s currently being sued by an ex-employee for all sorts of alleged harassment.
Again—not a fan. But I am soooooooooooooooo tired of people being fired and censured; driven out of work because they exercise the right of free (if sometimes repugnant) speech. Ms. Deen did not use any racial slurs publicly. She admitted to having used the word a long time ago, and added that times have changed and her family doesn’t tolerate such talk and she has moderated her vocabulary. She was perhaps too honest in her deposition. After all those years, a simple “I can’t quite recall” might have sufficed.
I’m not worried about Deen financially. She has millions. But I am increasingly worried that speaking one’s mind—even if it’s the worst thing in the world—is cause for loss of employment.
Look, make these bad-speaking people—or more likely their lawyers and PR staff—draft an apology and accept the fact that the apology is probably not sincere but the existence of it and the furor has raised some consciousness. In the privacy of their homes these bigots will rant as is their right. But they won’t be careless in any place they might be “caught.” Not a perfect solution but prejudice is not going away—I hate to burst anybody’s bubble on that one.
I certainly wouldn’t want to judged on my words—and especially my actions—of almost 30 years ago. (Or even yesterday, to be honest. I had a very frank conversation with two friends regarding Europe, and the Mid-East and Muslims that would not stand up at any respectable—or hypocritical—liberal dinner table.)
I also find it hilarious, in a gallows humor way, that The Food Network, which is almost lily white, in terms of its hosts and chefs, got rid of Ms. Deen for her “racist” views. How about a few more black people stirring the pots at FN?
By the way, if somebody called me a “faggot” I wouldn’t sue them or expect an apology. I’d pray to the God I’m not sure at all exists to free hatred from people’s souls.
The first time I watched all of fugitive Edward Snowden’s video interview to The Guardian—from Hong Kong– I thought, “What a smug, narcissistic little shit.” Events since then have only hardened my opinion. As I write this he is ensconced in Moscow, asking for asylum in Ecuador. He claims to be a freedom fighter, raising awareness of the extreme security measures that have taken place and continue since 9/11. Invasive and intrusive security measures, by his reckoning. He worked for the NSA, stole info, and leaked it. He signed a confidentiality agreement before he took his job. Like when you have sex with a famous person—they make you sign something, to avert blabber-mouths. (Well, the smart ones, do, anyway.)
Was I shocked and surprised that we’re “being monitored” Of course not. Look, all empires, dictatorships, democracies, monitor its subjects. Whether it’s the guy in the silken stockings putting his ear to the wall of a bedroom at Versailles or our e-mails and phone calls on tap, it’s all the same thing. Do I think my own e-mails and phone calls are up for investigation? Nope. Tho anyone who tracked my Internet history would get a fine lesson on Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, old movies, and gay porn.(Oy, the porn!) I don’t expect privacy these days. And why should anybody? I’m not even a part of the social network. Not on Facebook, not on Twitter. But I’ve got this here. And the real Mr. Wow could certainly be tracked down and confronted—“You were a whore and an alcoholic!” Ooops. Caught.
Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke Snowden’s story in The Guardian, thinks Snowden is a hero. Really? Tell that to Nelson Mandella (who might be dead by the time this appears.) He went to prison for his beliefs. Tell that to Daniel Ellsberg who broke The Pentagon Papers. Tell it to the young men and women who fought (and were beaten and jailed) outside The Stonewall bar, ushering in, in one night, gay liberation. Tell it to the black men, women and children who were hosed and brutalized and lynched and bombed, who sat at lunch counters and were spat at.
Snowden is an opportunist. And if indeed he carries with him, laptops full of top secret information he is dangerous and needs to be stopped. Even if he has no intention of sharing this vital info, what is to prevent any power unfriendly to the U.S. to wrest it from him? (And please note, as of this post, he has only popped up in countries not in sync with U.S. policies.)
It continues to be a perfect storm of controversy and “scandal” for President Obama, barely into the first year of his second term—Bengazi, the IRS, the NSA, the AP debacle. I wonder—does he regret getting re-elected? He’s grayer, that’s for sure. But as timorous and careful as ever. Too much for my taste. I know—well, I think and hope—he’s on the right course, on the right side—but he can’t convey righteous indignation, real passion, a true sense of governing. (As much as any president really “governs.) He can’t “act.” Obama is a man of reason in a job and an atmosphere that confounds all reason. (Thomas Jefferson called the presidency—then in its infancy–“painful and thankless.”) Obama will leave office in 2016 as one of the most relieved and justifiably embittered Chief Executives ever.
Snowden? Brought back to face the music. He did the crime…etc.
Oh, and I loved Glenn Greenwald’s huffy, sanctimonious response to “Meet The Press” David Gregory’s question—should Greenwald himself be charged with a crime, now that Snowden is wanted for espionage? Did he aid and abet Snowden’s worldwide flight? Instead of saying, “I didn’t aid and abet anything,” Greenwald attacked Gregory for even asking the question. Ummmm…Glenn, if nobody asked a question, you and your friend Mr. Snowden wouldn’t be famous, and the nefarious doings of the NSA—at least as you see it—wouldn’t be out there.
Take it like a man and answer like a man.
P.S. I am on board with the drones. Yes, there are going to be civilian deaths. Yes, those civilian deaths will harden the feelings against us. But, let’s be real. Nothing but the complete withdrawal of every American troop and American government entity will soften how the mid-east views us. It is either drones to kill terrorists or troops on the ground. And when there are troops on the ground, do you think atrocities and “collateral damage” still doesn’t happen? As far as I’m concerned, let the mid-east implode on itself, by itself. We have no business there. This world we want to democratize, America-style, will never be ready for it. Bring our men and women home. Let’s save Detroit. Let’s rebuild our infrastructure. Let’s have a few billion extra dollars for the poor and needy and the youth of this country. Leave the rest to Allah.
Let me take a great big leap here. George Zimmerman will be acquitted of the murder of Skittle-armed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Or there will be a hung jury and another trial. (Although with only six jurors, the latter seems unlikely.)
I think Trayvon would be alive if Mr. Zimmerman had done what the police asked and not followed the boy. (“They always get away with it” Zimmerman muttered to the cops as he reported Trayvon’s movements—which was just getting back to his father’s house.)
But, Zimmerman is alive and Trayvon is dead. Nobody saw the final confrontation. Who threw the first punch, who first exchanged words? Zimmerman will claim he didn’t know Trayvon was on his way home with Skittles. But nobody can speak for the dead youth. What did he think was going on with some guy following him at night? Didn’t Trayvon have a right to “stand his ground?” as Florida law permits?
The only trump card for the Martin family is Trayvon’s mother, who has been a model of dignity. It was unfortunate that she allowed herself to be aligned with the disreputable MSNBC “anchor” Al Sharpton, but desperate times call for desperate measures. She is a far more appealing and compelling figure than Zimmerman (who seems to be a dolt) or his brother, who seems to be a smart, arrogant prick. (They were not close until this crisis.) Both Trayvon’s mother and Zimmerman’s brother I am sure will be called to testify. Perhaps dignity will win out over arrogance, but the justice system is what it is.
If Zimmerman is found not guilty, I hope he has cry-babied and begged enough cash from his supporters to leave the country. Best for him. And best for us. I don’t want him on my neighborhood watch. I often wear hoodies.
And now for the entertainment portion of the evening:
Watched “The Pirate” the other night on TCM. Way too extravagantly campy to have been a success in 1948. Gene Kelly was a big ham (as the role required) with an impossible-to-ignore perfect ass in tight pants and killer thighs in short shorts. Miss G. was not in Kansas anymore. She was hot and funny and deliciously strident. She wasn’t the girl next door. She hadn’t been for many years. Well, she was the girl next door who might invite you over for a drink—or ten—and some fucking. But nobody knew that yet about MGM’s top moneymaker.
Cole Porter’s score for “The Pirate” is sub-par but Judy does her best with truly inferior material. And she is so modern and madcap. She has fainting scene that to this day, makes me laugh out loud.
It turned out like crap for Judy—she made a lot of her own crap, too, despite her iffy horror stories of abuse. But she was a true genius, and we have so much left of that genius to appreciate.