October 23, 2017

"A male feminist writer has been fired by the prestigious GQ Magazine after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her outside a bar."

"The writer, Rubert Myers, apologized to his accuser after she outed him on Twitter. Journalist Kate Leaver took to Twitter on Thursday to open up about her alleged experience with Myers. 'Ok, here goes. I haven’t told this story because I listened to the voice that told me it ‘wasn’t that bad’ or ‘worth talking about,' Leaver wrote. 'When I moved to London, I wanted to make friends. I met @RupertMyers on Twitter and agreed to go for what I thought was a friendly drink... I was very clear about not being romantically or sexually interested in him, once the subject was raised. I suggested we be mates … He said "I’ve got enough mates, I’d rather f--k you" and forced himself on me outside a pub in Fitzrovia.'"

Fox News reports.

"Male feminist" wasn't Myers's label for himself. In fact, no one at GQ ever uses the term "male feminist"...

... if I can trust the search function at the website.

Which I can't....

But I think conservative media came up with that descriptor to revel in the hypocrisy of a liberal.
Daily Caller reporter Ian Miles Cheong had harsh words for Myers, tweeting, “Male feminists who claim the moral high ground, who turn their noses up at the ‘misogynists’ below, are the very demons they claim to fight.”
Yes, of course, that's fun to do — and liberals often deserve it — but Myers seems to have written mainly about British politics, not gender. There is at least one Myers article in the gender category: "Men’s Rights Activists are cave dwelling idiots."
MRAs routinely deny the existence of what many feminists call "rape culture" by suggesting that failures to prosecute sexual violence are the result of endemic false rape allegations, rather than societal attitudes towards consent. When the founder of MRA site "A Voice For Men" Paul Elam wrote a piece entitled "Bill Cosby's victims? Or just a bunch of drug whoring star fuckers?" he was displaying an overt hostility towards women that characterises the movement. Over 50 women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. Yet Elam goes to bat for Cosby.
But who will go to bat for Myers? Any Men's Rights cavemen want to step up for this guy? He's all alone now. Sad!

What are the rules for going out for drinks with a co-worker? If they say they just want to be your mate, when is it okay to quip "I’ve got enough mates, I’d rather fuck you"?

Yesterday, in the context of discussing allegations against the film director James Toback, I put up this image from what seemed to me to be his most significant film:

That inspired the commenter tim in vermont to write:
Robert Downy doesn't need techniques to pick up women, a simple "wanna fuck" would probably work at least half the time for him. In Wedding Crashers, the PUA was Will Ferrel, that was more believable.
If you look like like Robert Downey Jr. in 1987, go ahead and quip "I’ve got enough mates, I’d rather fuck you," and I suspect the worst you'd get is a laugh and a no from a woman who feels flattered and still hopes to be friends. But here's Rupert Myers:

He does not have the looks privilege to say things like "I’ve got enough mates, I’d rather fuck you." Now, I think the woman could have briskly gotten the upper hand with the comeback "Rupert, you are not cute enough to work a line like that" and laughed at him. Maybe if she had, they could have been mates. I wish more guys had girl friends who can laugh and keep up with the jokes, including dirty jokes, if they're out having a drink after work.

I'm afraid too many women will recoil at sexual expression and hide too much away and nurture the notion that they are "broken" and "violated" (to use the words of one of Toback's accusers). Let's not fling ourselves headlong into a new era of sexual repression.  There's a big difference between the unsuccessful pick-up line "I’ve got enough mates, I’d rather fuck you" and taking a physical action.

I don't know the details that made Kate Leaver write "He... forced himself on me outside a pub in Fitzrovia." This was on a public street, so I'm picturing something like an awkward, resisted hug. Without knowing more, I can't think of what else to say except that conservatives who've been crying out about the lack of due process for men accused of sexual assault should not be gleefully enjoying this man's loss of a job. That would be hypocritical, and your glee is based on the notion that Myers is a hypocrite. That's double hypocrisy!

"I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband's name, and that’s what hurt me the most because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country why can’t you remember his name?"

Myeshia Johnson sits for an interview with George Stephanopoulos this morning:

Trump's response this morning is: "I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!"

Stephanopoulos began the interview with "I hope you're feeling the thoughts and prayers of everyone." Meade, who was listening and not watching, said: "He sounds like he's speaking to a child."

I said: "Well, he's modeling the kind of empathy that he wants us to understand that Trump failed to express. But he sounds smarmy and patronizing which shows how hard it actually is to do it right."

Johnson seemed most concerned with the facts about her husband's death and the treatment of his dead body: "They won’t show me a finger, a hand; I know my husband’s body from head-to-toe and they won’t let me see anything." She sounds troubled by doubt: "I need to see him so I will know that that is my husband."

I'm thinking that alternative response open to Trump is to do something to relieve Johnson of these doubts, but that might not be possible, and Johnson seems clear that she wants nothing to do with Trump. Prompted "Is there anything you'd like to say to the President now?," she says, "Nah, I don't have nothing to say to him."

So maybe it is best for Trump to leave Johnson alone. The anti-Trumpers are not leaving her alone.

At the end of the interview, the other "Good Morning America" host — her name doesn't appear on screen or in the linked article — says in a showbiz-sincere way: "Ugh! It's so powerful! And to have to go through all this while she's grieving her husband! Truly unthinkable, but she's a powerful woman." Well, who's putting her through this? Why does she have to go through it? Who's imposing this on her?

And I'm listening again to that line "I hope you are feeling the thoughts and prayers of everyone." You know, you can trash just about anything anybody says if you want.

I could say it's obviously disingenuous to express that hope, because there is no ability to feel the thoughts and prayers of everyone. It seems to express a belief — which I doubt Stephanopoulos holds — that prayer opens up channels of communication that flow to God and then out to the people who are prayed for. And it's absurd to say that "everyone" is praying for Johnson. It's even offensive, because many people do not believe in prayer.

"Mr. O’Reilly spoke on the record to my colleagues Emily Steel and Michael S. Schmidt..."

"... addressing the latest reporting on a $32 million settlement he reached with a longtime network analyst."

This morning's podcast from Michael Barbaro (NYT).

Steel and Schmidt wrote the article that went up on Saturday, "O’Reilly Settled New Harassment Claim, Then Fox Renewed His Contract In January, the Fox News host was said to have agreed to a $32 million settlement with a former network analyst, the largest of his known payouts."

What's in the podcast that's not in the article?  1. The sound of Bill O'Reilly's voice pleading victimhood, 2. The gay pornography O'Reilly allegedly sent to Lis Wiehl, the Fox News legal analyst who got $32 million, was gay male pornography, 3. O'Reilly's assertion that he'd do anything to protect his children and that he has knowledge that Eric Bolling's son is dead because of the news story that drove Eric Bolling off Fox News, 4. O'Reilly frames his victimhood in terms of harm to his children, and Steel and Schmidt observe that the Harvey Weinstein story has undercut O'Reilly's ability to characterize his problem as a liberal vendetta.

October 22, 2017

At the Yellow Tree Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(And please remember to use The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"What woes do not befall Chicago! That city has a debt of $6,000,000 which is increasing at the rate of a cool million each year."

"One Chicago newspaper gives a double-leaded opinion that the city has a 'prognathous City Council,' whose members accept bribes so quickly that Boss Tweed turns over in his grave," wrote the NYT on November 23, 1895.

By the way, $10,000 overcoat in 1895 corresponds to a $292,452 overcoat today.

Now, why am I reading this? It's not that I'm looking into Chicago's debt problems. Nor is it an interest in the word "prognathous." It means "Having projecting or forward-pointing jaws, teeth, mandibles, etc.; having a facial angle of less than 90°; having a gnathic index of 103 or more. Of jaws or a lower jaw: prominent, protruding." OED. I think the suggestion is that the Chicago City Council members are thugs. My Google image search on the word kind of freaked me out:

I was reading that 1895 article because I wanted to get a sense of when people started using the phrase "cool million" after trying to read this National Review article by Andrew C. McCarthy, "The Obama Administration’s Uranium One Scandal." It begins:
Let’s put the Uranium One scandal in perspective: The cool half-million bucks the Putin regime funneled to Bill Clinton was five times the amount it spent on those Facebook ads — the ones the media-Democrat complex ludicrously suggests swung the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump.
I thought it was funny to say a "cool half-million." $500,000 is not an awesome amount of money in this context, even if it's 5 times $100,000. Was "cool half-million" supposed to be funny or supposed to impress us with why Uranium One needs more attention? I found it distracting. You can see I'm not paying attention.

I'd rather talk about whether "the worst is worse than wienerworst" was once an idiomatic expression. You see it there in the second-to-last paragraph of the 1895 NYT article, where the issue of legalizing the sale of horse meat comes up. Attempting to google my way to an answer, I found this mindbending sentence:
For it must be remembered that at the time I knew quite nothing, naturally, concerning Milo Payne, the mysterious Cockney-talking Englishman with the checkered long-beaked Sherlockholmsian cap; nor of the latter's 'Barr-Bag' which was as like my own bag as one Milwaukee wienerwurst is like another; nor of Legga, the Human Spider, with her four legs and her six arms; nor of Ichabod Chang, ex-convict, and son of Dong Chang; nor of the elusive poetess, Abigail Sprigge; nor of the Great Simon, with his 2,163 pearl buttons; nor of – in short, I then knew quite nothing about anything or anybody involved in the affair of which I had now become a part, unless perchance it were my Nemesis, Sophie Kratzenschneiderwümpel – or Suing Sophie!
I love the "in short."

AND: What are "boodlers"? Chicago is "cursed by the reign of boodlers" and "the Man in the Moon turns up his nose as he sails over during a heavy wind." The OED defines "boodler" as "one who practises boodleism," and "boodleism" as "bribery and corruption, embezzlement of public funds." "Boodle" can mean counterfeit money or money acquired improperly, but it can also be a contemptuous way to refer to a group of people, as in this 1861 example (from the OED):
I motioned we shove the hul kit an boodle of the gamblers ashore on logs. 'Twas kerried.
We're more likely to say "caboodle" or "kit and caboodle," but "caboodle" is a corruption of the phrase "kit and boodle" — where "kit" is a kind of open tub used to hold water for washing or to carry something like milk or butter.

IN THE COMMENTS: Gabriel find this wonderful passage in "Great Expectations," by Charles Dickens (1860):
"Well, old chap," said Joe, "it do appear that she had settled the most of it, which I meantersay tied it up, on Miss Estella. But she had wrote out a little coddleshell in her own hand a day or two afore the accident, leaving a cool four thousand to Mr. Matthew Pocket. And why, do you suppose, above all things, Pip, she left that cool four thousand unto him? 'Because of Pip's account of him the said Matthew.' I am told by Biddy, that air the writing," said Joe, repeating the legal turn as if it did him infinite good, 'account of him the said Matthew.' And a cool four thousand, Pip!"

I never discovered from whom Joe derived the conventional temperature of the four thousand pounds, but it appeared to make the sum of money more to him, and he had a manifest relish in insisting on its being cool.
That pushed me to check the history of "cool" as a way to stress the size of an amount of money (which might have to do with the idea of the counting the money with an attitude of calmness). The OED traces this usage back to the 18th century. It comes up in "Tom Jones" by Henry Fielding, from 1749, when you only needed 3 digits to get to cool: "He had lost a cool hundred, and would play no longer." So the expression had been around a while before Dickens made comedy out of taking it literally and talking about temperature.

"Nothing more beautiful than everyone putting their differences aside to help humanity in the face of catastrophe."

"The Pick-Up Artist has finally met his match."

I knew the name James Toback, but I couldn't name a single one of his movies, after I read out loud the Daily Mail headline "More than 30 women accuse Hollywood director James Toback of sexual assault in disturbing accounts of him 'coercing them to his hotel rooms, dry-humping their legs, and masturbating in front of them'" and Meade said "Who's he?"

Maybe I'd just always remembered his name because back in the 1970s, I knew somebody else with that unusual last name. I'd thought Toback was kind of important, so I was surprised that he'd only directed 12 films (in a 40-year period). I looked for the most famous one to impress Meade that this was indeed a well-known director. I came up with "The Pick-Up Artist" and showed Meade the image and said, "That was back when Robert Downey Jr. look like this. 1987."
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, on several occasions Toback would invite women, usually in their 20s, to his hotel room where he would dry-hump them or masturbate in front of them, ejaculating into his pants or onto their bodies and then walk away.

Starr Rinaldi, who was an aspiring actress, told the Times that she was approached by Toback 15 years ago in Central Park. 'He always wanted me to read for him in a hotel or come back to his apartment, like, "How serious are you about your craft?" And the horrible thing is, whichever road you choose, whether you sleep with him or walk away, you're still broken... You have been violated."
Why are you "broken" and "violated" if you walk away from bad pick-up lines like that? This kind of post-Weinstein pile-on is going to dilute the righteous fury and end up boring us. There are so many people with so many stories, so many would-be actresses who never got to live out their dreams that nothing's going to stop the chatter. It's a good time to hurt and embarrass every unattractive guy who got a pretty woman to give him some time by portraying himself as a useful contact.
How could he even think he could have her if he didn't give some major career advancement in exchange!

"The deadly wildfires that ravaged communities and wineries in Northern California also severely damaged numerous marijuana farms..."

"... just before the state is expected to fully legalize the drug, in a disaster that could have far-reaching implications for a nascent industry. At least 34 marijuana farms suffered extensive damage as the wildfires tore across wine country and some of California’s prime marijuana-growing areas. The fires could present challenges to the scheduled Jan. 1 rollout of legal marijuana sales at the start of an industry that is expected to generate billions of dollars in revenue."

WaPo reports.

Supply and demand... in the interesting setting where you can't import from out of state. Jack up the price.
In many cases, owners have spent tens of thousands of dollars to become compliant with state law to sell the product. But because the federal government considers marijuana cultivation and sales a criminal enterprise, it remains extremely difficult, if not impossible, for most of the marijuana businesses affected by the fire to access insurance, mortgages and loans to rebuild. Even a charitable fund set up to help marijuana farmers was frozen because a payment processor will not handle cannabis transactions.
I boldfaced the word "considers" because, being an erstwhile lawyer, I think it's funny to be characterizing the government as considering something to be criminal. The government has written law that makes it criminal. It's not an opinion about whether marijuana cultivation and sale should be regarded as criminal. It simply is criminal, because of the statutes. There's no mind that is the federal government contemplating the matter and developing a conception. In fact, since these businesses are operating openly and the human beings working within the federal government aren't swooping in and prosecuting, it would make more sense to say that the federal government doesn't consider marijuana cultivation and sales a criminal enterprise. But I can see why businesses and other organizations not focused on marijuana — banks, insurance companies, payment processors — don't want to risk violating the law on the books.

"Have you seen the dumb ads with Trump-like handwriting scrawled on them?"

"'Mister police, you could have saved her. I gave you all the clues.' By the way, there are no fucking clues. This movie makes no sense and you’d drive yourself insane trying to figure out what it’s about. Did you know Michael Fassbender plays a detective named Harry Hole? Did you know that some Hollywood executive didn’t change that name because they’re somehow unaware of the juvenile laughing it elicits? Did you know Val Kilmer is in this movie?! And he’s somehow more insane in it than when he’s being pervy about Cate Blanchett on Twitter?"

From "'The Snowman' Is the Most Unintentionally Hilarious Movie of the Year/Michael Fassbender as a detective named 'Harry Hole.' A serial killer who puts snowman heads on their victims. How the hell did this get made?" by Ira Madison III (in The Daily Beast).

I have a more general question: Why is so much Hollywood talent and money thrown into glamorizing and entertaining people with sadistic, graphic violence against women?

I'm trying to understand the sentence "Did you know that some Hollywood executive didn’t change that name because they’re somehow unaware of the juvenile laughing it elicits?" There are so many negatives that I don't know what the reviewer is asking. I just feel prompted to say that I think Hollywood executives are juvenile men who get off using their power to get away with rude intrusions on the feelings of females.

Having said that, I'll now try to undo the excessive negativity and complexity of "Did you know that some Hollywood executive didn’t change that name because they’re somehow unaware of the juvenile laughing it elicits?"

A Hollywood executive accepted the use of the name Harry Hole because he did not see what's funny about it.

Is that what Ira Madison III is saying?

I don't believe it. I think the executive thought it was funny and operates gleefully within a culture where guys like him do things like that.

I went to IMDB to find out which executives were actually involved in this movie, and I happened to see this:
Harry's last name is consistently mispronounced throughout the film. As per the books, the correct pronunciation resembles the English word "holy."

About that couple found dead in Joshua Tree National Park and "locked in an embrace"...

Remember we were talking about Rachel Nguyen and Joseph Orbeso, based on reports that made it seem as though this loving couple had gotten lost and wandered around until they succumbed to heat and thirst?

It turns out that the two were dead of gunshot wounds (BBC):
Police said evidence at the scene suggested that Mr Orbeso shot Ms Nguyen before turning the gun on himself. It appeared they were low on food and without water, an official said. San Bernardino sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman told the BBC the couple was found under a tree and appeared to be embracing each other.
No, they were not "embracing each other." He was embracing a dead woman. 
She said Mr Orbeso and Ms Nguyen had positioned their clothing to cover their lower legs to protect themselves from the heat. Investigators found a handgun registered to Mr Orbeso at the scene, she added.
Again: He outlived her, so the positioning of the bodies and the clothing are attributable to him.
"The circumstances are really like no other search operation that we've been involved in," Ms Bachman said. "But there is no evidence that leads [investigators] to believe that he was intending to harm her."
How about the evidence that he shot her to death?

Why was this story ever reported without the obvious detail of death by gunshot wound? And doesn't it still sound like PR? The article ends:
Mr Orbeso's father said in an email to the Southern California News Group that he wants his son "to be remembered as a kind, caring and thoughtful person". "The way he was found beside Rachel holding her as they were seeking shade under the brush says everything you need to know about him as a man and as a human being," Mr Orbeso said.
It's understandable that a father would choose that interpretation, but the news should be the news. 

"In countries such as Ghana, the intended audience for the Nivea ad, and Nigeria – where an estimated 77% of women use skin-lightening products..."

"... the debate has so far, understandably, focused on health. The most toxic skin-lightening ingredients, still freely available, include ingredients such as hydroquinone, mercury and corticosteroid. It’s not unusual for these to be mixed with caustic agents ranging from automotive battery acid, washing power, toothpaste and cloth bleaching agents, with serious and irreversible health consequences."

From "Nivea's latest 'white is right' advert is the tip of a reprehensible iceberg/No amount of sophisticated branding can hide the fact that the messaging of such ads is as deeply poisonous as ever" by Afua Hirsh in The Guardian.
Shadism, pigmentocracy – the idea of privilege accruing to lighter-skinned black people – and other hierarchies of beauty are a complex picture....

"What explains Weinstein’s identification with progressive causes?"

Asks Thomas Frank (at the Guardian). (Frank is the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and a book that particularly on point here and that I read and liked a lot, "Listen, Liberal.")
Perhaps it was all about moral absolution, in the same way that lists of corporations-that-care always turn out to be led by outfits like Walmart, Goldman Sachs and Exxon-Mobil. In the world of the wealthy, liberalism is something you do to offset your rapacious behavior in other spheres. It’s no coincidence that, in Weinstein’s desperate first response to the accusations against him, he thought to promise war against the National Rifle Association and to support scholarships for women.
I don't think that's the reason. I think it's the culture of artists and quasi-artists to embrace liberalism. You'll look bad within your set if you don't. If you don't really believe in or care about politics, the easiest thing to do is to outwardly pose as liberal and throw some of your money at liberal causes. Hollywood is about exteriors. It's a visual medium about beautiful people. It's surprising that anyone there does anything other than espouse liberalism. Certainly, an ugly man seeking access to beautiful women would act out liberalism.

This makes me think of a scene in the movie "The Front" (script here), a 1976 movie about a blacklisted Hollywood writer. The character Hecky Brown (Zero Mostel) is accused of being a communist:
The question is, Mr. Brown, what have you done?

Nothing. I'm an actor.


Six years ago, I marched in the May Day Parade. I bought a Daily Worker subscription. But I never read it, not one word. Right from the mailbox to the garbage can. I was only trying to get laid. This communist girl, she had a big ass...

I am not interested in your sex life, Mr. Brown.

I was just telling you that girl was the reason.
Back to Thomas Frank. He says there's "something deeper" than expiating the sin of greed. This is something like what I said about, but again, it depends on these people having a conscience and needing to "rationalize" to deal with guilt:
Most people on the left think of themselves as resisters of authority, but for certain of their leaders, modern-day liberalism is a way of rationalizing and exercising class power. Specifically, the power of what some like to call the “creative class”, by which they mean well-heeled executives in industries like Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood.
I think vanity and self-interest explain more than guilt and conscientiousness — especially in the case of Weinstein! Frank must realize he's got a coherence problem here because he shifts from talking about moral absolution to hypocrisy:
That this strain of liberalism also attracts hypocrites like Harvey Weinstein.... This is a form of liberalism that routinely blends self-righteousness with upper-class entitlement.....
Vanity and self-interest.

October 21, 2017

At the Lakeshore Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

And please think of using The Althouse Amazon Portal.

Disaffectedly disarraying the funk of Sharon's rose.

 Today, the unlinkable OED is featuring these "recently published" words:
Funk. "Betwixt decks there can hardlie a man fetch his breath by reason there ariseth such a funke in the night that it causes putrefaction of bloud." W. Capps in 1623, quoted in Philip Alexander Bruce "Economic History of Virginia" (1896).

Disaffectedly. "A man in a magazine advertisement with his head turned disaffectedly away from a cup of coffee, saying: ‘Nope, I keep away from it. Keeps me up nights.’" Howard Nemerov in Harvard Advocate (1941).

Sharon's rose (a rare variation of what we normally call "rose of Sharon"): 1855 "That God is good and the rest is breath/Why else is the same styled Sharon's rose?/Once a rose, ever a rose, he saith." Robert Browning, "The Heretic's Tragedy"(1856).

Disarray (as a verb), meaning "To throw into disorder or confusion; to disorder, disorganize" or "To undress (a person); to divest of clothing or other attire; to remove clothing from, strip." In the first sense, from a 1765 translation (by Christopher Smart) of the Psalms of David:
In thee, O righteous Lord, I lay
The ground of all my creed;
Let not confusion disarray
My well form'd thoughts, but as I pray
My soul unto her safety speed
In the second sense: From an 1814 romance called "Alicia de Lacy," by Mrs. Jane West:
She had often been drenched with rain, while in the pursuit of pleasure, but she had not now, as was then the case, attendant damsels to prepare the bath, to help to disarray her, and present warm apparel scented with balmy odours.
And so we end this post where we began, with odor. First, the unbearable stench on a crowded ship headed to 17th century Virginia, and last, the aroma of a luxurious bath. In between, there's the smell of coffee and a flower. I like how, just by chance, the OEDs list of words yielded up quotes that emitted odors and that the odors are in order from bad to good.



I just learned that the original "Hippy Hippy Shake" was not by The Swinging Blue Jeans...

... but by Chan Romero:

Here's the Beatles version.

As noted in the meandering update to the Megyn Kelly post, below, the Chan Romero recording was the first song where we heard the word "hippie" (spelled "hippy" on the label).

The first in-print use of the word, according to the OED, is in the 1953 novel "Night Light," by Douglass Wallop: "Man, I really get a bellyful of these would be hippies."

According to Amazon, that's "A novel about a man's search back through a dead killer's life for motive in the world of jazz by the author best known for his baseball novel ’The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant.”"

Hey, that seems to augurate that today is the day the Yankees lose the pennant! It's either win or lose today, the 7th game of the American League Championship Series.

I thought I'd never heard of "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant," but it's the novel that got made into the musical "Damn Yankees."
Baseball lovers everywhere can identify with Joe Boyd, a die-hard Washington Senators fan who puts his soul in hock to help them wrest the pennant away from the hated, all-conquering Yankees. Transformed by the sulfurous Mr. Applegate's satanic magic into twenty-two-year-old phenom Joe Hardy, he leads the hapless Senators in a torrid late-season pursuit of the men in pinstripes. Joe has until September 21st before the deal becomes final―and eternal. With the luscious temptress Lola to distract him, he'll have a hell of a time wriggling out of the bargain...
Here's the trailer for the 1958 movie they made out of the stage show:

That's Tab Hunter in the lead role. Remember when movie stars looked like this:

That's Tab with Natalie Wood at the 1956 Oscars. Warner Brothers was teaming them up as co-stars at the time. The 1956 movie was "The Burning Hills":

Massive pulchritude!

"Some problems weren’t [Megyn Kelly's] fault..."

"... such as when a cameraman walked on-screen while Kelly was interviewing soccer player Carli Lloyd. The cameraman then could be audibly heard muttering an expletive, which wasn’t bleeped since the show is aired live. Other problems, though, fell entirely on Kelly’s shoulders. For instance, two days after a gunman killed 58 people and injured hundreds more in the Las Vegas mass shooting, she interrupted Tom Brokaw as the former 'NBC Nightly News' anchor spoke out against the NRA. Kelly spoke over Brokaw, saying 'Yep. Yep, got it. Gotta leave it at that, Tom. . . . We’re up against a hard break.'... Kelly is now reportedly having trouble booking celebrity guests, unlike the other blocs of 'Today,' according to Variety. 'I’m not booking anyone on her show,' one publicist, who requested not to be named, told the trade publication. 'I literally haven’t pitched anyone even from right out the gate. The buzz that is out there is so bad.'... [O]n many days, Kelly doesn’t have celebrities on her show at all, which is unusual for the 'Today' franchise. Instead, she often relies on lifestyle stories and pretaped features. One recent nearly five-and-a-half-minute segment, for example, followed Kelly and her real-life family as they went camping."

From "Megyn Kelly tries dancing for ratings as her ‘Today’ show continues to falter" in WaPo.

I posted the dreadful dancing clip yesterday, here.

If you want to see that expletive-muttering cameraman, here:

What a dismal slide for Kelly! Remember how high she was riding when she moderated that GOP debate? That was more than 2 years ago. She made a big leap that night, confronting Trump, and there was so much liberal hope for her when Trump went menstrual on her.

But Trump went on to win, and what use is she now? No use to celebrities, and now she can't get celebrities on her show, and what's a daytime talk show without celebrities? I don't watch daytime talk shows (or, really, night time talk shows). Because I can't stand the canned PR appearances celebrities do on TV these days. It used to be that celebrities might go on TV and be weird. I don't know — Marlon Brando, Bette Davis — I mean back in the day when we loved weirdness, real weirdness, not canned weirdness like Megyn Kelly pretending to find the beat to some overproduced pop music irresistible and just had to get up and dance....

What I did a year ago.

Facebook reminds me of what it calls my "memories," even though they aren't my memories, because I'd forgotten all this:
1. Wrote a lot. 2. Walked 2 miles to Hilldale and bought 2 pairs of glasses with Theo frames. 3. Met Chris and drank a pomegranate martini. 4. Walked 2 miles back home. 5. Watched the 1934 movie "Bright Eyes" on TV and Meade watched it just because it's what I was watching. That was sweet of him. And Shirley was sweet. We laughed at Jane Withers and I was delighted that the actor who played Uncle Ned was the same actor who played Mr. Muckle in "It's a Gift," one of my all time favorite movies. Also the dog that played Rags was the same dog who played Toto 5 years later in "The Wizard of Oz."
The actor is Charles Sellon:

"Police not notified after inmates planned to electrocute guard at youth prison."

Wisconsin State Journal reports on "the latest revelation of violent acts against staff members at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, the state prison in Irma for the most serious young offenders in Wisconsin."
On Sept. 25, a group of male inmates in one of the prison’s housing units dipped the cord of an electric fan into a cup of water, poured water in a wall outlet and spilled some water on the floor near the fan, according to sources with direct knowledge of the incident but who do not have permission to speak publicly.

Many of the inmates in the unit then asked the guard to plug the fan into the wall outlet. The guard would have done so if an inmate had not, at the last minute, warned the guard not to plug in the fan....
The police were not called, the guard continued to  work in this unit, inmates taunted him about how they almost succeeded in killing him, and no one was even punished.
In the last week, inmates have punched two other staff members, sending them both to the hospital — raising questions about the safety of staff at the facility.
The larger context is that there's a federal lawsuit, brought by inmates, alleging that the inmates have been abused, and there's a court order limiting discipline methods. There's also an FBI investigation. So you need to be somewhat skeptical about prison officials talking to the press about the inmates abusing the prison staff.

And here's a second, newer article at the Wisconsin State Journal: "Youth prison guard: 'I am afraid of getting killed'":
Inmates at the state’s youth prison have kicked in glass windows, stolen pepper spray and threatened to rape female staff members since a federal judge told state Department of Corrections officials to make drastic changes in how they manage prisoners’ behavior, records show....

The comments came after U.S. Judge James Peterson ordered prison officials in July not to keep inmates in solitary confinement around the clock for weeks, not to excessively pepper spray inmates and not to put them in shackles regularly.

“Kids now believe they have nothing to lose,” one staff member told Tiffany’s aides.

“I am afraid of getting killed by an inmate,” said another staff member who recently resigned.
How is it that the government hasn't figured out how to maintain discipline without round-the-clock solitary confinement for weeks, excessive pepper spraying, and routine shackling?! I feel sorry for low-level employees who suddenly face more dangerous work conditions, but it seems that it's the government's fault.

"North Koreans are allowed to wear only short hairstyles. There are 28 types of haircuts approved by the country's administration..."

"... 18 for women and 10 for men" — #11 on "Twelve shocking facts about North Korea," according to Pravda.

9. One does not allow [sic] to turn the government radio off even in one's own house. One can only turn the volume down a bit. There are special units that track down those who listen to forbidden radio programs, and this crime is punishable by death.
12. In the event of a fire, the first thing to rescue from a burning home must be portraits of DPRK leaders.
ADDED: What would you save if you have to rush out of your burning house? That's an old question, but the classic old answer doesn't work anymore, because we keep our photographs — including our photographs of beloved leaders — on some website. Grab your iPhone and your car keys and get out of there. Anything else?

IN THE COMMENTS: George M. Spencer writes:
Generally speaking, human life means little in Asia.

That's the first sentence of the Pravda article.

Isn't most of Russia in Asia!?!
I had to look back at the article, because I didn't believe that line would be on the news site, even at Pravda, but it is indeed the first sentence of the article.

It's true — in terms of land mass — that most of Russia is in Asia, but most of Europe is in Russia. 80% of Europe. In terms of population, only 23% of Russians live in Asia. I'm going to assume that Russians think of themselves as European, not Asian. The ones we see in the news certainly look more like other Europeans than like other Asians.

Interestingly, when I google russians think of themselves as european, the second hit is "The British are the least likely Europeans to consider themselves European."

Hmm. Some kind of pride thing?

"Putin is a good Russian president. Russia is lucky to have a president like him. If the country had someone weak as its leader..."

"... no one knows how everything would turn out for the country. The Russians have at least 5,000 nuclear warheads, and clearly, someone needs to keep an eye on the goddamned order. Putin has been good at it.... He is cool. Clearly, one has to get rid of someone at times, but I mean that the CIA also throws people under the bus, but, perhaps, they do it more accurately."

Said Dolph Lundgren, quoted in Pravda. I hadn't clicked on my Pravda bookmark in a long time. I'd had it squirreled away in a lesser folder — labeled "other news," as opposed to "main news," which are both under "news." I was surprised to find something bloggable (and new).

Lundgren was born in Sweden, and English is not his first language, but he's been living in L.A. for a long time. He's been famous in the U.S. since 1985, when he got to punch Sylvester Stallone in "Rocky IV":
"I walked in to a Westwood movie theater as Grace Jones' boyfriend and walked out ninety minutes later as the movie star Dolph Lundgren. I was shell-shocked for years from the mind-boggling and daunting experience of being a student-athlete from tiny Sweden suddenly having to live up a new action-star persona."
So he speaks English. I think he knows what he's saying. You see what he's saying here: "Clearly, one has to get rid of someone at times, but I mean that the CIA also throws people under the bus, but, perhaps, they do it more accurately." That implies: Sometimes the government must surreptitiously kill an inconvenient person, and the only difference between Putin and the CIA is messiness. 

And while I'm looking at Putin news, I found this in The Hill, something Putin said at the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia, on Thursday. Responding to a question, he talked about the disrespect for President Trump in the United States:
"Inside the country, disrespect is shown for him. This is a regrettable negative component of the U.S. political system," Putin said. 
He's right that disrespecting the President is an inherent part of the American system. Every President is disrespected. It's what we do in a democracy. Myself, I don't regret it or regard is as negative. I'm an American. It's what we do. I'm not going to disrespect the disrespect. I observe it. It's our culture. I'm a little blasé about it, because I've been observing it since I was able to get the gist of newspaper headlines and it took the form of saying all Eisenhower does is golf.
[Putin] continued, saying that "one can argue but one can’t show disrespect, even not for him personally but for those people who voted for him."
Of course, we can show disrespect, and we do. But he means one shouldn't show disrespect. And he makes something of a good point, and it's close to something I think: The people who preferred Trump won, a legitimate victory means a lot, and those who lost should try to understand their own country, not demonize their fellow citizens.
"Mr. Trump was elected by the American people. And at least for this reason, it is necessary to show respect for him, even if you do not agree with some of his positions," he added.
Trump is getting respect for this, just not complete respect and not from everyone. 
The Russian leader told his audience that those who ascend to the highest office in the U.S. possess a "certain talent" that allows them to survive America's bruising political process. "I believe that the president of the United States does not need any advice because one has to possess certain talent and go through this trial to be elected, even without having the experience of such big administrative work. He [Trump] has done this," the Russian leader said. "He won honestly."
I assume Putin knew those last 3 words were inflammatory, coming from him, and that he got a bang out of saying them, tweaking the Trump-disrespecters who jump at clues of collusion. Even as he's lecturing us about settling down and accepting the reality that our system produced President Trump, he's agitating the haters and resisters.

October 20, 2017

Afternoon walk.


"It’s highly inappropriate for the president to write a check to the father of a slain service member."

Writes Alison Buckholtz at Slate.
There’s no way to know what goes on within a family, but if the slain service member designated his mother to receive a payout for what is basically the calculated value of his life, and decided his father should not receive any benefit from his death, there was a reason why....

More alarming, though—and separate from the role of the beneficiary—is that President Trump’s personal payment to this Army dad may ultimately threaten the unity of American military families.... The feeling that we’re all in it together... is imperiled by Trump’s offer of a payout to one individual...

The existing system of compensation works. The status quo satisfies. If it doesn’t, then there’s a real conversation to be had....

How bad are things going on that new Megyn Kelly show?

It's hard to believe it can be this bad:

AND: I'm just noticing the lyrics on the song: "I know you want me." But she knows we don't want her. Sad!

What would it mean for Harvey Weinstein to take "sex addiction rehab" seriously?

The headline at Page Six is "Harvey Weinstein doesn’t seem to be taking sex rehab seriously":
The source told us, “In one group therapy session, Harvey arrived 15 minutes late. Then, when it was his turn to speak, he launched into a speech about how this is all a conspiracy against him.”...

Another source close to Weinstein says... “He insists he never raped or assaulted anyone, and that all the encounters were consensual. He realizes he has acted like an a–hole, but he still insists he’s not a rapist...."
Much of what people are accusing him of is criminal. How is he supposed to participate in group therapy if frank, sincere discussion would entail confessing to crimes? Both sources seem to be revealing that Weinstein is doing something I would regard as taking it seriously: being defensive against criminal liability. I'm sure that defensiveness is annoying to everyone else, especially if they think he's lying. But that doesn't make him unserious. It just makes him serious within a frame of reference that isn't how to stop being addicted to sex.

I haven't looked deeply into the evidence question, but I think generally the patient has a privilege to prevent other members of a therapy group from testifying, but the particulars are going to vary from place to place. You lawyers who are reading this: What would you say to someone in Weinstein's position who's trying to rehabilitate his business reputation by appearing to take his "sex addition" problem seriously, but who will be talking about things that could be used against him in a criminal (or civil) case?

And who are these people leaking information about what went on in group therapy? How can anyone feel secure about opening up in these sessions? I note that the Page Six article quotes the second source as saying that Weinstein doesn't do group sessions anymore — "for obvious reasons." If it's so obvious, why did he ever do them?

At the Red Leaf Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

And you can shop through The Althouse Amazon Portal.

50 years ago today: Bigfoot!

I can't believe in Bigfoot. I can't even believe how long the Wikipedia article "Patterson–Gimlin film" is.
The Patterson–Gimlin film (also known as the Patterson film or the PGF) is an American short motion picture of an unidentified subject which the filmmakers have said was a Bigfoot. The footage was shot in 1967 in Northern California, and has since been subjected to many attempts to authenticate or debunk it....
The film was shot 50 years ago today, if you can believe the filmmakers' account, but even that is questioned.
Patterson said he became interested in Bigfoot after reading an article about the creature by Ivan T. Sanderson in True magazine in December 1959. In 1961 Sanderson published his encyclopedic Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life, a worldwide survey of accounts of Bigfoot-type creatures, including recent track finds, etc. in the Bluff Creek area, which heightened his interest....
"In 1962 he visited Bluff Creek and talked with a whole host of Bigfoot-believers. In 1964 he returned and met a timber-cruiser named Pat Graves, who drove him to Laird Meadows. There Patterson saw fresh tracks—for him an almost unbearably exciting, spine-chilling experience. What a tremendous feat it would be—what a scientific breakthrough—if he could obtain unshakable evidence that these tracks were not the work of a prankster, but the actual mark of a hitherto unknown creature! If he succeeded, he would be famous! And rich!..."
Almost unyetiably exciting. No it isn't. I can't possibly read this, the most overlong article I've ever seen in Wikipedia. I am out of here....

Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film

"Natasha De Alencar, the widow of Army Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, released video of her conversation with President Trump."

This is not the phone call that's been talked about in the news, but it does give you an example of how Trump handles these phone calls:

"I could have hit him, I could have hurt him ... but something in me said, ‘You know what? He just needs love.'"

Said Aaron Courtney, a 31-year-old African-American high school football coach, about why he hugged a man who was wearing a swastika T-shirt. At the link is the viral video of the hug, with Courtney saying "Why don’t you like me, dog?"
“I had the opportunity to talk to someone who hates my guts and I wanted to know why. During our conversation, I asked him, ‘Why do you hate me? What is it about me? Is it my skin color? My history? My dreadlocks?’” he told the Daily News.

But the man simply looked off into the distance and brushed off his questions as Courtney pleaded with him and grew increasingly upset.
It should be noted that before this happened, the man, Randy Furniss, was "surrounded by a crowd of protesters who screamed, punched and spat on him."
“After beating around the bush, and avoiding my questions, I asked him, I pleaded with him, I almost broke out in tears, growing increasingly angry because I didn’t understand,” he said.... The crowd around them immediately reacted and when Courtney pressed him again, asking “Why do you hate me?” Furniss finally answered, “I don’t know.”

“I believe that was his sincere answer. He really doesn’t know,” Courtney said.
Furniss was surrounded and in a physically dangerous situation. What could he do? And that hug was a big physical encroachment on him. Even loving hugs should be consented to, but it's not clear — I've seen the video — that the hug expresses love. I think if I were in that situation — not that I'd wear a swastika T-shirt...
... I would experience the question "Why don’t you like me, dog?" as threatening.

I am not so naive as to believe that a distinct line exists between love and hate.

"After the assault, the woman said Burd asked her to give him 'a little time before you contact the cops so I can down a couple beers before I go to jail.'"

"He also told her to tell police to care for his mother's ashes. Burd was arrested a short time later and charged with first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree rape, second-degree burglary and third-degree kidnapping."

Daily News.

"The mere thought of tangling with the Trumpster’s foul, prevaricatory, sneering tweets offends Obama’s own sense of civil discourse between politicians."

"This revulsion is just another form of self-indulgence... It isn’t as if Barack Obama doesn’t realize what he is doing and what is happening in this self-enriching bubble he has shaped, post presidency.... He can’t seem to help himself."

Wrote Ralph Nader, quoted in "The far left’s attacks on moderate Democrats get old," by Paul Fanlund, editor of Madison's Capital Times.

"For the first time in its 64-year history, Playboy magazine will feature a transgender Playmate..."

"... a decision that Cooper Hefner, a top executive at the magazine, said on Thursday was in keeping with its founding mission of embracing changing attitudes about sex," the NYT reports.
Selecting [Ines] Rau “very much speaks to the brand’s philosophy,” said Mr. Hefner, 26, Playboy’s chief creative officer. “It’s the right thing to do. We’re at a moment where gender roles are evolving.”

Mr. Hefner said he selected Ms. Rau to be a Playmate two months ago because she’s “lovely” and has “a remarkable personality,” but also to resolidify the magazine’s voice. “This is really a moment for us to take a step back and say that so much of what the brand stood for in the early years is very much still alive in culture.”
Resolidify. I didn't know what to do, so I looked up "resolidify" in the Oxford English Dictionary, where I go to resolidify. It means "To make (something, esp. a melted substance) solid again; to solidify (something) again."

In other words — to speak more Playboyesquely — to get hard again.

Speaking of stiff... Hugh's dead.

Watch out what's on your mind when you pet the dog.

Here in Wisconsin, I see that Republican state Rep. Andre Jacque has introduced a bill to make animal abuse a felony (instead of a misdemeanor) and to "close a loophole changing the definition of sexual contact to be more inclusive of contact with any part of an animal for sexual gratification."

"The only way to assuage my feelings of isolation are to absorb all the traditions, classes, make them mine, me theirs. Taken separately, they’re unacceptable and untenable."

Wrote Barack Obama to his girlfriend Alexandra McNear, in one of the excerpts from letters, dated 1982 to 1984, that were released from the collection at Emory University, reported at WaPo.
“I must admit large dollops of envy for both groups, my American friends consuming their life in the comfortable mainstream, the foreign friends in the international business world,” Obama writes McNear in one letter. “Caught without a class, a structure, or a tradition to support me, in a sense the choice to take a different path is made for me.”...

“I don’t distinguish between struggling with the world and struggling with myself... I enter a pact with other people, other forces in the world, that their problems are mine and mine are theirs... The minute others imprint my senses, they become me and I must deal with them or else close part of myself off and make myself and the world smaller, lukewarm.”
Speaking of lack of warmth, his attitude toward McNear was, as WaPo puts it, "cooling." As Obama put it:
“I am not so naive as to believe that a distinct line exists between romantic love and the more quotidian, but perhaps finer bonds of friendship... but I can feel the progression from one to the other (in my mind).”
Poor McNear! McFar.

I went looking for a picture of Alexandra McNear and found this Daily Mail piece from 2012: "First picture of Barack Obama's first serious girlfriend... and how she went on to marry a Serbian boxer who is now one of New York's most famous bartenders":
A friend of Miss McNear [said]: "Alex is so embarrassed about this coming out right now. She has a family and is a grown up, for her to be called somebody's 'girlfriend' is really making her cringe. It was all in the past but her family still tease her about it. I know her sisters say they would have liked to have been in the White House, but ce la vie [sic]. To think she could have been First Lady, and she married a boxer instead. You couldn't make it up."
IN THE COMMENTS: MathMom said:
"The only way to assuage my feelings of isolation are to absorb all the traditions, classes, make them mine, me theirs..."

I had to stop reading there. My heart began to pound, my hands began to sweat, I felt dizzy and disoriented...I was reading about intentional cultural appropriation, and that by a revered statesman! Our former president!

I'm getting the vapours...must take to my fainting couch. Words fail me.
And sykes.1 said:
What Obama was unconsciously pointing out is that multiculturalism is not a goal. It, like anarchy, is a tool to break down the existing society. The goal is a totalitarian socialist dictatorship. Socialism insists that all individuals are literally identical, and it adopts policies to make sure that they are identical. These policies are, of course, brutal. There can be no White or black persons, no Jews or Christians, no Hispanics, etc. Socialist man is a single, homogeneous thing.

"What I did was marginalize the incidents. Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse."

Said Quentin Tarantino, accepting responsibility for continuing to work with Harvey Weinstein. Tarantino knew some — who could know all? — of what Weinstein did. He made choices that were in his self-interest at the time, and it has now become so obvious — Mira Sorvino was his girlfriend — that it's also in his self-interest to do a mea culpa now.

Here's the article about him, in the NYT.
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” he said, citing several episodes involving prominent actresses. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”

“I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard,” he added. “If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”
Done the work? Is that psychotherapy talk or is he using the term in some other way? He admits that anything he says now sounds like a crappy excuse, so he knows "if I had done the work" is a crappy excuse.

I think, reading the article carefully, that "done the work" means that he should have taken the parts of the story he knew were real — Sorvino, Rose McGowan, and another actress the NYT doesn't name — and inferred the existence of "a larger pattern of abuse." I'm sorry, I don't believe that 3 solid data points plus all the rumors don't force an intelligent person to hypothesize that there is a modus operandi. I think Tarantino would have had to have done work to distance himself from the obvious and to view the 3 things he knew as isolated instances.

I put the right 2 sentences in the post title. He tells us the "work" he did: "What I did was marginalize the incidents."
When Mr. Tarantino read the articles about Mr. Weinstein, he was horrified by the scope and severity of the alleged abuse, especially the rape accusations, he said. But some of the accounts were deeply familiar to him. “Everyone who was close to Harvey had heard of at least one of those incidents” chronicled in the first few articles, he said. “It was impossible they didn’t.”
Everyone who was close to Harvey facilitated him. 
Now Mr. Tarantino said he regretted not taking the women’s stories seriously enough. “I chalked it up to a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk,” he said. “As if that’s O.K. That’s the egg on my face right now.”
Oh, please! He's talking about the late 90s, four decades after the era of laughing at the image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk. The use of the corny old expression "egg on my face" is a tell. There's no way he wasn't up to speed on what sexual harassment and sexual assault are. I cared about his movies back then. "Pulp Fiction." "Jackie Brown." If I had thought at the time that he had the mindset he's now claiming to have had, I wouldn't have been interested in that idiot's movies. But he is not an idiot. He's a man who did what was in his interest then, and he's doing what's in his interest now. 
Asked how the news about Mr. Weinstein would affect how the public views his own record and body of work, Mr. Tarantino paused. “I don’t know,” he said. “I hope it doesn’t.”
It does.

"I hope it doesn't" is the last sentence of the article, and I wondered whether the NYT, having given the man a nice platform for his mea culpa, was ending with a nudge to the reader to react the way I did: This changes the meaning of your movies.

But one thing makes me think this was not the intent of the NYT: They've disallowed comments.

ADDED: The NYT does allow comments on its other big Harvey-Weinstein-related interview published the same day, "Lupita Nyong’o: Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein."

Why doesn't Lupita Nyong’o get the same protection from comments undercutting her opinion that the NYT gave Tarantino? What bargaining goes on behind the scenes as these famous names give their stories to the newspaper? Maybe the difference is just that Nyong'o will be seen as a victim and the prediction was that comments will praise her for her courage in telling her story now, but Tarantino looks like a facilitator and there was a real risk that commenters would say things like what I've said here.

Nyong'o concedes that she was part of "the conspiracy of silence that has allowed this predator to prowl for so many years." Her excuse is that she "felt very much alone" and "blamed myself for a lot of it," but now can tell her story because she can see it and explain it as "part of [Weinstein's] sinister pattern of behavior."
Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage.... I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation. Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door... I opened the door and stood by the frame. He put his shirt on and again mentioned how stubborn I was. I agreed with an easy laugh, trying to get myself out of the situation safely. I was after all on his premises, and the members of his household, the potential witnesses, were all (strategically, it seems to me now) in a soundproof room....

I didn’t quite know how to process the massage incident. I reasoned that it had been inappropriate and uncalled-for, but not overtly sexual. I was entering into a business where the intimate is often professional and so the lines are blurred.....

[On another occasion, at some bar or restaurant in NYC] Harvey arrived and the assistant immediately disappeared... [H]e announced: “Let’s cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal.” I was stunned. I told him I preferred to eat in the restaurant. He told me not to be so naïve. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing. He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them.
She declined, and he backed off, saying "Then I guess we are two ships passing in the night,"* an expression she'd never heard before. He told her to go, and she did. She worried that he would hurt her career, but she offers no evidence that he did. Not long afterward, Nyong'o appeared in the movie "12 Years a Slave," and she won an Oscar. She never worked on a Weinstein project. She adopted a "survival plan" of "avoid[ing] Harvey and men like him at all costs." And that plan worked for her, but now she wants to be part of "a sisterhood — and brotherhood of allies" that can outweigh the power of individuals like Weinstein.

I wrote all that before reading any comments. They do — as I think the NYT could predict — praise Nyong'o lavishly. The top-rated comment is: "What an incredible young woman who can say, 'I would not be able to sleep at night if I did what you are asking...' This is exactly what a mother wants in a role model for her daughter. Absolutely brilliant."


* Is this — like "egg on my face" — a Hollywood thing? When they need to get some distance, do Hollywood guys use corny clichés? Do they retreat into blatant uncoolness or is this some kind of ironic hipster pose? By the way, "ships that pass in the night" originates in a Longfellow poem, "Tales of Tales of a Wayside Inn/Part Third/The Theologian’s Tale/Elizabeth":
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.

October 19, 2017

I believe that it's wrong to give this story air, but you might want to talk about it.

So I will give you the video:

If you were relying on the "hipster racism" fad 10 years ago...

... prepare to get raked over the coals of social media now.

"Actor David Cross’ excuse for ‘racist’ joke to Asian American actress raises eyebrows" (Twitchy):
“Arrested Development” actor-comedian David Cross recently found himself in hot ham water after Asian American actress Charlyne Yi shared an uncomfortable memory with her Twitter followers:
Charlyne Yi ✔ @charlyne_yi
I think about the first time I met David Cross ten years ago & he made fun of my pants (that were tattered because I was poor). Dumbfounded I stared at him speechless and he said to me "what's a matter? You don't speak English?? Ching-chong-ching-chong".
She must hate him to dredge that up out of context now. You can read the tweets that followed and Cross's effort to explain. It happened in Shreveport, and I must have been referencing Shreveport by doing a Southern redneck racist character, not my actual self.

I did enjoy the "hot ham water" link.

And if you've forgotten about "hipster racism," here's the Wikipedia article on the subject:
Hipster racism, is engaging in behaviors traditionally regarded as racist and defending them as being performed ironically or satirically.... Van Kerckhove used the term hipster racism in an article, "The 10 biggest race and pop culture trends of 2006" [PDF]...
See? 2006. Cross was on trend when he performed what I believed was hipster racism 10 years ago. Is David Cross a hipster? I actually googled that. I found a 2015 interview in which he deplored hipsters:
There’s this smug elitism to it; this cultural elitism. The whole thing is, You’re perpetuating this. This thing you report to hate and you think is such a bad example of our culture, that exists because people like you talk about it with detached irony, yet you’re still supporting its very existence.

At the True Love Café...


... talk about whatever you like.

(And show some love for this blog by shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

John McWhorter goes on an epic tirade against Ta-Nehisi Coates (and the white people who make a show of embracing him).

This is really something:

Disallowing the disappointable flâneuse to augurate.

The OED homepage has a list of "recently published" words. Right now it's:
augurate, v.
disallowing, n.
disappointable, adj.
flâneuse, n.
Try to use them all in one sentence.

"Augurate" is familiar as 80% of the word "inaugurate," but it's more easily understood by seeing the word "augur," which means to predict the future using signs and omens. I don't see why you'd ever need "augurate" when you have "augur," but it's in some old books, so you might need to look it up. But I wonder how "inaugurate" got started. The etymology does go back to using "omens from the flight of birds, to consecrate or install after taking such omens or auguries."

"Disallowing" is one of those words that, if you use it, some pendants will inform you, is not a word. But the OED found lots of old examples, e.g., "A petition..against the disallowing of the drawbacks on calicoes and foreign linens, was offered to be presented to the house" (1764).

"Disappointable" needs no explanation. Example: "Idealists..are very disappointable people—disappointed in themselves for failing their own high expectations and in others" (Colorado Springs Gazette, 1985).

"Flâneuse" is easy if you know "flâneur" and understand French endings. A "flâneuse" is "A woman who saunters around observing life and society; a leisurely woman about town." There's an example from 1879, but I like that the OED has a quote from just last July (in the Sunday Telegraph): "Elkin has written a delightfully meandering study of Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys and other female flâneuses who dared to stroll." The italics seem to indicate that the Telegraph believed it was using a French word. But the OED is proclaiming it an English word.

Now, I want to get out and saunter around, observing life and society in Madison, Wisconsin, but I invite you to use the 4 newly official English words in one sentence.

IN THE COMMENTS: tcrosse asked:
So has "fuckable" yet been admitted to the Language of Shakespeare?
As a matter of fact, it has:

"The fly agaric is the quintessential mushroom of fairy tales."

"Its big, bright fruiting bodies scatter in great numbers across mossy forests of North America and Europe. They emerge from the soil first like white eggs, abandoned by some mysterious creature of the woods. They can grow up to a foot tall, as warts appear on the cap. The mushroom often blushes red in the process. Finally, they crack open and flatten into a polka-dot disc that would make a gnome’s perfect dinner plate...."

Writes Joanna Klein in the NYT.

The photos of the mushrooms are very cool, but this is what caught my eye:
They are called the fly agaric because in some places, people lace milk with bits of it to lure and kill flies. The insects become inebriated, crash into walls and die, according to the blog of Tom Volk, a mycologist at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.
Click on that word "blog" to see some eye-searing retro website design (from 1999) that might cause you to become inebriated and crash into walls. You will not die, but you will be sucked into a past that is a place you will find hard to believe ever existed.

Klein tells us that the chemicals in the mushroom, ibotenic acid and muscimol, can cause "dry mouth and rapid heartbeat to euphoria, hallucinations, feeling closer to God and fear."

I had all those effects just looking at the mycologist's website.

ADDED: I remember where I've seen those mushrooms. On this nutty book from that caused a freakout in 1970:

"[John Marco] Allegro argues, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, and many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the fresco of the Plaincourault Chapel to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria [fly agaric] as the Eucharist. Allegro argued that Jesus never existed as a historical figure and was a mythological creation of early Christians under the influence of psychoactive mushroom extracts such as psilocybin."

Here's that Fresco:

"Perhaps the longer a violation persists, the greater the affront to those offended."

Wrote 4th Circuit Judge Stephanie D. Thacker, responding to dissenting Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory, who said that the fact that the 40-foot cross had gone unchallenged for 90 years is a reason to let it stay where it is, on a highway median in Prince George’s County.

WaPo reports.
The initial challenge in Maryland was brought by the American Humanist Association, a Washington-based group that represents atheists and others. The group did not dispute the monument is a memorial, but said in court that a giant cross on government property sends a message of exclusion in violation of the First Amendment....

At oral argument last December, Thacker and Wynn suggested the legal issues could be resolved outside of court by moving the site of the cross — or by cutting off the arms of the cross to form an obelisk.
What message is sent by the government's cutting off the "arms" of a cross?! Talk about a cure worse than the disease. Were these judges joking?

I'm linking to the Washington Post because that's where I first saw the story, but I was confused by its statement that the cross "has marked a major intersection in Prince George’s County for 90 years" and "had been public property for 50 years without a constitutional challenge." Here's the actual judicial opinion, with the statement "the Cross has stood unchallenged for 90 years."

If the Post is leaving such glaring mistakes, what does that suggest about about the things that are hard to notice and check? The linked article has been up since 2:57 PM yesterday. Does nobody over there at least try to clean up embarrassing shoddiness?

Also, now that I'm reading the opinion, I see that the idea of cutting off the "arms" of the cross seems to have come not from the judges but the appellants. Footnote 7:
Appellants later clarified their desired injunctive relief as removal or demolition of the Cross, or removal of the arms from the Cross “to form a non-religious slab or obelisk.” [Joint Appendix] 131.
This question of giving special respect to old monuments goes back to something Justice Breyer wrote in one of the 10 Commandments cases in 2005. Breyer's vote was the deciding vote, and as I explained back in 2011, when issue of the day was "Big Mountain Jesus":
Justice Breyer quoted the 1963 school prayer opinion written by Justice Goldberg: "[U]ntutored devotion to the concept of neutrality can lead to invocation or approval of results which partake not simply of that noninterference and noninvolvement with the religious which the Constitution commands, but of a brooding and pervasive devotion to the secular and a passive, or even active, hostility to the religious."

And Breyer concluded that taking down the old stone monument in Texas would "exhibit a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions" and "encourage disputes concerning the removal of longstanding depictions of the Ten Commandments from public buildings across the Nation," which would "create the very kind of religiously based divisiveness that the Establishment Clause seeks to avoid."
That's the prevailing Supreme Court precedent to which we can compare the new 4th Circuit case. Think about that quote in the post title: "Perhaps the longer a violation persists, the greater the affront to those offended." But the longer the monument persists, the more taking it down feels like a message of hostility to religion.

Or do you think the people watching the arms cut off a cross would see the symbolic meaning as the enforcement of Establishment Clause values?

By the way, the obelisk originally "symbolized the sun god Ra, and during the brief religious reformation of Akhenaten was said to be a petrified ray of the Aten, the sundisk."

"Joseph Sells Grain" by Bartholomeus Breenbergh (1655).

The struggle to purge religion from public view will go on forever, because there is just too much religion embedded everywhere. To try to remove one thing is to create something else:

"Virginia Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Ralph Northam omitted any mention of Justin Fairfax, the party’s African American candidate for lieutenant governor..."

"... from about a thousand pieces of campaign literature, a move Fairfax called a 'mistake' and that has stoked tensions within the Democratic ticket and threatens to alienate African American voters three weeks before Election Day. The palm cards with photos of Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring (D) were produced for canvassers with the Laborers’ International Union of North America, which asked that Fairfax be excluded because it did not endorse him. Fairfax has spoken critically of two proposed natural gas pipelines that the union supports."

WaPo reports.

It's a "mistake" only in the sense that what they did completely intentionally has received attention and made them look bad. And do you even believe the explanation for why they did it? These were palm cards with photos. I would guess that the party is afraid that black people who see a photo of a black face will decide that's the one to vote for.

ADDED: I'm misreading this, so my guess there is wrong. Northam is the only Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. So the Democrats can't be accused of trying to redirect black voters to a white candidate. They may be trying to hide the black candidate from voters who don't like or are skeptical of black candidates, but I'm willing to believe the union's argument: they don't like his position on pipelines and didn't mind risking alienating black people (until it got too much attention).

IN THE COMMENTS: cubanbob said:
So the Democrats are hiding the candidate the union rank and file would be against since he is against their interests. That's the problem for the Democrats; too many interest groups to placate and many of them at cross purposes.

The Cake Artists brief says our right to freedom of expression is a strong as the right of artists who work in media other than cake.

I'm noticing the BRIEF FOR CAKE ARTISTS AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF NEITHER PARTY (PDF) in the pending Supreme Court case — Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Phillips — about whether there's a religious freedom exemption to the requirement not to discriminate against gay people.

I love this brief. It says what I believe I've been saying in numerous posts. It's not a question of whether people with a religious objection to same-sex marriage can refuse to sell all manner of goods and services to gay customers. Nor is about about whether the cakeshop is forced to "bake a cake" for the wedding. It's about whether it must decorate the cake — apply icing and other materials to the surface of the cake to shape images and write words that say something substantive about the wedding. 

From the brief:
Amici take no position as to which party should prevail in this specific case. Their interest lies in making a single point—that their work, like that of petitioner Jack Phillips, requires artistic exertion within an expressive endeavor to generate works of art. Many of the amici listed below would gladly have prepared the cake that respondents requested—but they would have done so by accepting a commission to create a work of edible art. Amici wish to illustrate—literally, through the images of their own work in this brief—that cake design and preparation is an art....

Cakes for every conceivable occasion, ranging from the grandeur of weddings to abject apologies, can convey articulable messages. Sometimes words are used to assist in conveying those messages. But the art of custom cake design and creation is not so limited. Other times, the art behind a cake is simply sheer beauty or the technical mastery that it required. Cake artists must be adept at a multitude of artistic endeavors beyond simply “baking.” They must have visual-arts skills to design a cake that is pleasing to the eye—painting, drawing, and sculpting. They need the skills of an interior de- signer to create a unified whole from a series of individually artistic elements. They require the grace and technical powers of an architect, so that the final product moves from the theoretical to the real....

[C]ustom wedding cakes—even of the traditional variety—typically involve subtle elements that reflect the personality of the new couple (and perhaps the artist).... Cakes can still be instantly identifiable as part of the wedding genre yet involve stunning and unique elements that appear only as part of a special design.

The argument continues in this vein, with many more photographs of cakes, so please go to the link and see.

At one point, the argument turns to "America’s multi-cultural traditions" and shows an example of a very distinctive cake celebrating a wedding and the couple's Indian cultural heritage:
Even as a wedding cake carries a message about the wedding, the photograph of the cake conveys a legal argument: Art can come in cake form and the expression contained in cake can be complex and even — bonk you over the head, liberal Justices — multi-cultural.

This has me thinking that gayness is also a culture within "America’s multi-cultural traditions." A cake for a same-sex wedding might be a generic cake, but the Cake Artists wouldn't give this couple just another cake. They'd get specific. Yes, I'm seeing the brief goes in this direction at page 16. Some of the Cake Artists on the brief make cakes for same-sex weddings, and they make them a specific expression of gay pride. I'd been thinking of the expression in terms of the icing and other stuff on the outside of the cake, but the brief describes a cake with coloring in the batter, so that the cake-cutting at the reception would be a performance: revealing a rainbow.

That idea of performance is used, later in the brief, to counter the argument that cakes are transitory food:
But the fact that any given cake is a vanishing work does not distinguish it from artistic performances on the stage (or, indeed, protests on the street). Nature’s beauty is no less revealed through the flower that blooms for a single day than through the tree that lives for a thousand years; likewise, an ice sculpture is not inherently less artistic than one carved from stone....
That's getting poetic. Are legal briefs art?

The conclusion is not about who ought to win the case, but only "that cake artists are indeed practitioners of an expressive art and that they are entitled to the same respect under the First Amendment as artists using any other medium."