Sunday, December 14, 2014

TV: Gross Obscenity from Torture to Peter Pan

In a nation of gross obscenity, Whoopi Goldberg still manages to leave behind key skidmarks.

This is the woman who, remember, explained on The View that a 45-year-old man drugging a 13-year-old girl and then anally entering her didn't qualify as rape or, as she infamously put it, "rape-rape."

Yes, as she gets fatter, she gets dumber -- and tubby was no genius to start with.

So there she was, obstructing The View as usual last week, when she decided to weigh in on the Senate Intelligence Committee's release of the report on torture.

"I think, for me," she began rasping, making sure the whole world knew it was about her personally, "with all of the things we have to think about --  in terms of, you know, being conscious of this and that --  holiday season seems an awkward time to me. I don't mind if you do it in January, but I really -- I think you guys made a big mistake to do it now when folks are vulnerable anyway to increase that vulnerability."

It was a strange argument for anyone.

Especially someone on ABC which elected to 'celebrate' the holiday on Saturday with a very special episode of 20/20 detailing how to hire a hitman to kill your spouse.

As Whoopi's never ending babble continued, it was left to Rosie O'Donnell to ask the question everyone was thinking, "Was there a conversation about when to do it?  Was that an argument or is that . . ."

Cutting her off, Whoopi offered her only honest moment in 2014, "I don't know."

For some, that admission would be the end of the matter.

Not Whoopi.

She continued to derail the discussion -- as she does day after day on that show with intense stupidity -- and prevent any real conversation.

And while that makes her a lousy citizen in a democracy, it makes her the perfect example of all that's wrong in today's society.

Saturday, NBC re-aired Peter Pan Live -- a recording of their previous live broadcast.

We'd ignored the original airing and maybe that's a mistake on our part, maybe we avoided truth telling?

So here's some truth telling.

Allison Williams is a nobody.

She's been on HBO for how long now and she's still a nobody.

She's 26-years-old and more Americans saw her play Peter Pan (badly) than have ever seen her in anything else.

If she had any leading lady in her, it would have emerged long before the age of 26.

Yes, Sharon Stone became a star at the age of 34 with Basic Instinct and Sandra Bullock at 30 with Speed but those are considered exceptions.

More importantly, if you dig into their work prior to those breakthrough roles, you find charming moments and real acting.  The foundation for a film career is there even before the stardom.

Allison Williams has nothing to attest to her talent.

Some like to point out that Carrie Underwood had no acting chops but NBC still cast her in the lead of last year's Sound of Music.

True enough.

But Carrie is a singer, a critically applauded singer, with a huge following.

And she wasn't cast to play the lead in The Elephant Man, she was hired to play a lead in a musical.

Whether she crashed or burned in terms of acting, NBC knew she could sing and knew she had fans who would tune in.

Allison Williams had nothing.

A fan base?

One million viewers is huge for the HBO show she acts on.

And, sorry, but a lot of people consider her show 'smutty.'  That's due to the language and the nudity so casting her as the lead in a family musical was huge, huge mistake.


She had no experience and she had no following.

She had no business starring in anything.

Because of who she is, there were suck ups.  (She's NBC News anchor Brian Williams' daughter.)

The elderly Mia Farrow Tweeted that she wanted Allison, as Peter Pan, to take her gay virginity.

No, that doesn't make sense.

But neither does Mia sexualizing Peter Pan.

Isn't this the woman who claims to be against pedophilia but here she is sexualizing one of the most infamous child characters?

Mia played Peter Pan years ago on TV.

She was a disaster as well.

Mia was a mouse.

Under Woody Allen's direction in the 80s, she blossomed.  But her entire body of work prior is a dull, drab country mouse.  She's an overpaid actress in one flop after another because the studios were unable to get their initial choices -- Ali MacGraw, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, etc.

When Peter Pan works, it works because the actress playing Pan sparkles with life, not with sexuality: Maude Adams, Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan, etc.

There were other problems.

Who thought Peter Pan was a family musical?

It's a musical for small children, to be sure.

Will small chidlren stay up or a three hour prime time broadcast?

Probably not.

Interesting sidebar here, we've noted some actresses who said yes to playing the role.

Who said no?

Katharine Hepburn.

She consulted with George Cukor about taking the role when it was offered.  The two had  alienated audiences in Sylvia Scarlett where  Kate played a young girl who cuts her hair and pretends to be a boy while causing various men to be attracted to her/him. It was felt, by Cukor and Hepburn, that Kate's charisma would sexualize the role and underscore a few details that might make older audiences uncomfortable.


Even in the closeted 30s, Peter Pan the musical read gay.

This was only more true when you cast Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.

Camp had its TV hey-day in the sixties with Batman and Paul Lynde.

A too long production, with an unknown (and untalented) lead and littered with gay subtext would always be a hard sale as a family musical for anything but the single-digit age set.

It was a bust in the ratings.

Critically, people tried to spin the C-minus grades Williams received for acting, for dancing and for singing.

'See, she was okay!'


Not with the money and time NBC wasted on the production.  To justify what was put into the production, Williams needed to get more than average grades.

Maybe next year, they try something different?

The Sound of Music started life as a Broadway musical, true.  But it's lived on as a movie and NBC knew it was popular because they air the movie every year during the Christmas season.

With the exception of Mary Martin's Peter Pan special, sponsored by Pepsi-Cola with a holiday message from Joan Crawford, the musical's never brought in numbers on TV.

Maybe the answer for NBC is to look at popular holiday fair and turn them into musicals:  It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street,  etc.

Or maybe they just sidestep the family aspect and produce popular Broadway musicals?

Rent, Hairspray, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Pippin, The Producers, Thoroughly Modern Millie, My Fair Lady, Hello Dolly, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Wicked, The Wiz, Mame, Annie Get Your Gun, etc.

Some of the above have gay subtext.

That's not a problem.  Gay or straight sexuality isn't a problem unless you're dealing with children's fare which shouldn't be sexualized -- no matter how much a pervert like Mia Farrow pretends otherwise.

NBC airing Peter Pan Live once was sad.  Airing it again on Saturday qualified as torture.

Torture.  Above is the criticism we should have offered last week on Peter Pan Live!

Updating Edmund Burke, we'd note that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing or, worse, to derail the conversation.

The Whoopi nonsense of turning the torture report into a discussion of the timing of the report is nothing but an effort to derail the issue.

The issue includes rectal feeding of prisoners, being chained naked on concrete and dying from hypothermia as a result.  The report offers examples of prisoners being threatened, told they would never see a day in court, that they'd leave only in a coffin, their families being threatened and so much more.

While Whoopi was acting the fool yet again, Senator Patrick Leahy was declaring, "As Americans, we cannot sweep our mistakes under the rug and pretend they did not happen.   We must acknowledge our mistakes.  We must learn from our mistakes.  And in this case, we as Americans must and will do everything we can to ensure that our government never tortures again."

The report indicts the government and various officials.

But the current president, Barack Obama, insists we all just 'move on.'

Sara Fischer (CNN) reports today:

A defiant former Vice President Dick Cheney doubled-down on his defense of the extreme interrogation techniques used by the CIA on detainees in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Sunday, saying, "I would do it again in a minute."

A leading criminal goes on live television to brag, "I would do it again in a minute."

Maybe if there was accountability, he'd crawl under a rock.

Instead, he walks free and he feels no shame over his action.

The torture report was not accountability.

It was an accounting, to be sure.

But there has been no accountability.

And there won't be because Barack isn't anti-torture.

As Angus Stickler (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) reported:

President Barack Obama’s government handed over thousands of detainees to the Iraqi authorities, despite knowing there were hundreds of reports of alleged torture in Iraqi government facilities.
Washington was warned by the United Nations and many human rights organisations that torture was widespread in Iraqi detention centres. But the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal the US’s own troops informed their commanders of more than 1,300 claims of torture by Iraqi Security forces between 2005 and 2009.
In July 2010, the US completed the handover of 9,250 detainees to the Iraqi authorities.
It would be a clear violation of international law, drawn up by the United Nations Convention Against Torture, ratified by the US in 1994, for any government to transfer detainees to a regime at whose hands they face torture or other serious human rights violations.
However, the 1,365 cases of alleged torture by the Iraqi authorities found by the Bureau, raise questions as to why the US government handed over detainees to these authorities.

And there's the Guantanamo prison Barack has refused to close.  Alpha Winston (ICH) notes the torture and the 'shock' by some in the media:

And yet the nation’s political debate on the CIA report only serves to contrast against the overwhelming silence regarding the human rights debacle that is Guantanamo Bay. We pretend as if we’re shocked and awed by the crimes catalogued in the CIA report, while at the same time ignoring the indefinite detention of those at Guantanamo, many of whom were simply guilty—and I’m not joking—of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Keep in mind these men are still detained there, and in some cases have been held for over a decade.

The report documents crimes -- in many cases known crimes.  When you break the law, you're supposed to be prosecuted.

Barack had to stick his big news into Ferguson.  Why?  Because he thinks his opinion is needed on every issue.  His opinion, for those who've forgotten, is that the grand jury examined the evidence and found no reason to level charges.  He stated we were a nation of laws and laws must be respected.

So why isn't he demanding prosecution for torture?

Because he embraces torture.

Because he's a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do creep.

The wrong people keep going on trial while the guilty never see the inside of a courtroom, that's the gross obscenity of the United States today.

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