Sunday, December 14, 2008

TV: Left In The Dust

Any other week and Shane (Paul Blackthorne) showing off his lower back/crack hair on NBC's Lipstick Jungle in the midst of a fight with Wendy (Brooke Shields) might have been the most cringe inducing moment.

Any other week.


This week it and so much more -- including Taylor Swift on NBC's "Christmas" special Friday, creating her own little 'melody' for "Silent Night" and offering 'crackling' falsetto -- got left in the dust.

That tends to happen when you air a live broadcast of Apartment 3G. Only someone recast the roles. That's the only explanation for CNN serving up Wolf Blitzer, James Carville and non-descript (male) Republican to determine whether behavior was either insulting or sexually threatening to women. The 'gals' let the country know that, as women, they saw nothing offensive in the actions of noted party boi Jon Favreau.

Wolf, finding the whole incident so damn amusing he couldn't keep a straight face, declared, "James, it's fascinating to see how stuff like that could get blown up. It's but I guess it's a sign of the times." So very nice of CNN to allow the 'moderator' of the discussion to determine, before any discussion took place, that the incident was 'unimportant' and "blown up." It may or may not be a sign of the times but, Wolf, that's certainly not a sign of journalism.

Then it was time for James to speak and for all the gasbags driving their BMWs up and down the chat & chews over the dreaded return of the Clintons, no one's stopped to consider that the most frightening thing from the Clinton era was always James Carville's head. He's gotten thinner and it only makes him look more disturbing. While he made time to lose weight, he never made time to learn how to improve his speaking abilities, as was quickly evident.

James Carville: I don't know what it is. It's a piece of cardboard, stupid. That's all it is. And this New Agenda crowd, they need to get a new agenda. The new agenda of women that are losing their jobs, the new agenda of battered women out there, the new agenda of women that are victims of self di-- of sex discrimination, and not this kind of silliness. This guy was just having a good time. He did absolutely nothing wrong. And [unintelligible] . . . People look at this and they say is this really what we're talking about and Mr. Favreau is a very talented young man and he was doing something that 27 year-olds, heck, I hope when I'm 67, I'm doing that. He was enjoying himself, he-he was having a good time. He-he hurt no one, I don't even think he did anything inappropriate.

Somehow we don't believe the above is an example of what Tom Petty called "my own way of talking" in "Southern Accents."

The discussion lasted approximately three minutes and Jimmy Corn Carville was bound and determined to string as many words together -- whether they fit or not -- as possible.

James Carville: But-but-but-but-but-but I mean to go back to to what it is -- how how does a guy having a good time at a party does that -- that doesn't have anything to do with the president elect or Mr. Favreau's talents as a speech writer or his future and I just think that -- that, God, what all of the the people that put this up on Facebook or YouTube -- or whatever it is -- these are really sick people that go around and put this stuff up, they need to go -- they need to go check themselves into -- get themselves some psychiatric help.

Dropping back to "Southern Accents" again, Petty also sings: "The young 'uns call it country, the Yankees call it dumb." If Jimmy Crack Corn Carville is the example, we think we'll have to side with the Yankees.

We found it rather interesting that when James Carville meant to bring up sex discrimination, he started to say "self-discrimination" and caught himself off "self-di". Could Carville clear that up? How he could confuse "sex discrimination" and "self-discrimination"? We really don't think he needs to clarify that, we believe his remarks provide all the clarification needed.

The people who need help, the Flatulent Cajun argues, are the ones who post photos like the ones of Favreau to Facebook or YouTube.

Along with everything, Jimmy's age is showing. Photos are not posted to YouTube (it's a video outlet). But if Carville feels that Favreau has done nothing wrong, why should it be a problem if anyone posts photos of his actions?

This is the sort of action that Carville prays he'll be participating in when he's 67-years-old. So what's to be ashamed of? (And, for the record, 67 isn't off in the distance for Carville, he hits it in October of 2011.) If it's all so wonderful and charming, why be upset anyone posted photos of it?

Because it's not wonderful and charming and it's highly inappropriate.

jon favreau

That's the photo and, as many have already noted, photos of people 'funnin' with cardboard Baracks led to punishments. But, as we pointed out last week, ". . . women are the canary in the coalmines. Hate and prejudice aimed at all women could never be aimed at any group of straight men without being called out. It is in navigating how much abuse it can get away with towards women that society sets down its markers for others. And week after week, that remains one of the biggest lessons of 2008."

A never-ending lesson in fact.

And it's apparent in Carville's sneering discounting of what message the photo sends. It's apparent in his attack on New Agenda. In fact, it is especially apparent in his attack on New Agenda. James Carville, not a woman, thinks he has a right to determine what a woman's organization should focus on? Talk about a sense of entitlement, talk about a lack of respect. Here's the first tip for CNN, when your guests and 'moderator' think an issue is a laughing matter, maybe you've booked the wrong people? That should have been apparent from the fact that three men were discussing whether or not women had a 'right' to feel offended, appalled and/or outraged. But for future reference, when all of your guests in a discussion not only agree with one another but are all amused by an issue that is getting so much traction you have to now cover it, that's your clue that you've booked the wrong people.

They could have booked Dee Dee Myers. Myers isn't press shy. In fact, she was the first woman to ever serve as White House Press Secretary and last week, at Vanity Fair, she weighed in, "He isn't putting his hand on her 'chest,' as most of the articles and conversations about the picture have euphemistically referred to it. Rather, his hand--cupped just so--is clearly intended to signal that he’s groping her breast. And why? Surely, not to signal he finds her attractive. Au contraire. It’s an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration."

Here's a question for CNN: You think Dee Dee Myers might be more qualified than The Flatulent Cajun Carville to speak on issue regarding women?

To The Contrary's Bonnie Erbe also didn't find the photo to be a laughing matter, writing at US News & World Reports, "According to, President-elect Obama's chief speechwriter was photographed groping, quite inappropriately I might add, a stand-up photo of secretary of state nominee Sen. Hillary Clinton [. . .] If this is what the website claims it is, a picture of incoming White House speechwriter in chief Jon Favreau, I agree with writer Amy Siskind that the guy ought to be fired."

It's worth noting that, along with New Agenda, PUMAPac and The Confluence have led the coverage and the calls to activism. Where's everyone else?

We're not referring to individual websites (which have been very good at covering the issue), we're talking about 'leadership,' feminist 'leadership.'

Women's Media Center published an essay on December 10th and the intro for it noted, "Sixty years ago on December 10, the UN adopted a promise to guarantee the dignity of each individual. Today, women are at the forefront of the continuing struggle for human rights. The author, an international leader of this campaign, encourages us to make a personal commitment to its goals." We've read over and over the essay but we cannot find any request for "a personal commitment" to be silent. Strangely, Women's Media Center acts as if they have found such a request. Robin, Gloria (and assorted other worthless WMC women -- including the two sued for paying men more than women -- two, not just one) is this how you intend to go through the next four years? Always being silent when it's time to stand up?

Gloria, remember these words: "In short, pornography is not about sex. It's about an imbalance of male-female power that allows and even requires sex to be used as a form of aggression." Gloria, you wrote those words, remember? Those words describe the photograph where we see not sexual desire, but aggression used to devalue women. And yet you['re silent. Are Outrageous Acts And Everyday Rebellions just activities for when a Republican is in the White House?

And Robin, isn't your life's work (certainly the final years and we do mean "final") all about the violence against women? But you want to be silent now. You want to duct tape your mouth for some sort of Homeland Security: Barack Style.

It's disgusting. So are Favreau's actions and they go to what he thinks is acceptable behavior towards and among women. That's the scariest thing. And, Carville's ranting aside, it's not private behavior because he's at a party and he is posing for photos. Would he behave similarly at an office party? Would he behave similarly in the work environment. And drop his big baby feelings out of the picture long enough to grasp what Carville couldn't: Favreau is not the victim. The victims are the women who will have to work with him.

Little Kim Gandy can't say a damn word either. Strange considering that she wrote the following back in June:

Yes, Hillary Clinton persevered to win contest after contest, despite the ridicule, scorn and derision that was heaped on her by the frat-boy commentariat, and we salute her courage and determination not to allow the self-important pundit class to drum her out of the race with their endless name-calling. But will that treatment be the norm for women who run in the future? Has it become acceptable?

Frat-boy commentariat? That describes what CNN offered last week in their 'discussion' of the issue. And has it become acceptable, Kim? It certainly has and it will continue as long as women like you refuse to stand up and call it out.

Barack created this environment. His speech writer could feel safe in that appalling behavior because his boss repeatedly okayed it, never called it and, in fact, participated in it publicly. Back in June, we explained:

Seeyle and Bosman's article notes that Howard Dean now takes it seriously (that would be a change, as Mike pointed out last week) and is calling for a national dialogue. That might seem like a good thing . . . until you read on. In the fifth to last paragraph you confront a woman who, for those women who still have the scars of Miami, will seem very familiar. She has a different name and a different face but any woman at the 1972 Democratic convention will damn well remember how pathetic George McGovern stabbed women in the back and then hid behind women who had no self-respect and were more invested in McGovern's run than in the cause of equality. From the article:
In response, the Obama campaign directed a reporter to Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida who supported [Ms.] Clinton but who is now speaking for the Obama campaign. She said Mr. Obama had no specific plans for a speech on sexism, partly because he already incorporated themes of discrimination as a societal problem in his speeches.
So Howard Dean says we need a national dialogue and Barack, who allegedly wants women's votes, says there's no need to speak about the topic. He's talked about "discrimination" in other forms. And he's going to get away with that?

And he got away with it. And women have to live with the results of that. And will continue to have to until 'leadership' starts standing up with the grassroots. Now there's a publication we never mention by name, we always use "*" in place of some letters of its name. Why is that? Because that trashy rag goes after women non-stop. One woman it went after was Gloria Steinem and it invited 'readers' to pin cocks on the photo of Gloria. Gloria was rightly offended by that and she expected, and received, the support of many women. Women collectively objected to that. But Gloria now wants to play silent? She thinks she doesn't owe a debt to all women? She thinks she can be silent cause it's hard for "democratic-socialists" to call out a Christ-child?

That's not cutting it. Either announce your retirement and leave the public stage or find some of that radicalism that you've spent over thirty of the last years talking about. It's all a bunch of yackin' if you don't start standing up. It's all a bunch of "Do this" orders from the woman who refuses to lead. We don't believe that's how you intended it but you better understand that is how it will be judged today. At a time when Ms. is on round three (or is it four?) of desperate mailings to those women who refused to re-subscribe and instead sent a loud F.U. to the cowardly magazine that refused to stand up in 2008, 'leaders' better start paying attention to issues like legacy.

The December 11th snapshot observed that Ms.' "Feminist Wire . . . managed to note violence against women has 'increased attention in Angola' but fails to raise objections to Favreau and his friend/male lover's attempt to prove they can get it up by (at best) disrespecting women." Why are so many subscribers fleeing and ignoring one mailing after another? If 'leadership' is truly confused, they are beyond out of touch.

Out of touch and out of time, fat baby, would be Jesse Jackson Jr. The member of the US Congress most famous this decade for spewing lies and hate at Hillary and for going under the knife because he lacked the discipline to lose fifty pounds. Poor fat baby.

Apparently bound and determined to be this century's Susan Hayward, Junior showed up on our TV screens last week (we caught it on MSNBC). Pursing his lips, Junior snapped, "Well the next time I introduce legislation, I hope all of you show up."

The news was that anyone at all would show up for a press conference held by Junior and, two weeks ago, they wouldn't have. But that was before Illinois saw their governor facing serious charges, calls to step down, and a scandal over who offered what to get their way with regards to the now empty Senate seat once held by Barack. Junior is accused of being Senate candidate number five in the federal criminal complaint against the governor. That would be the one who was willing to pay-to-play and it doesn't help that Junior's people did, in fact, get busy on the fundraiser and Junior met with the governor to discuss the seat he lusts after.

"I was shocked and saddened to learn that Illinois Rod Blagojevich was arrested yesterday by federal law enforcement officials," Junior declared at the televised press conference.

He was looking everywhere while he said it. Forget shifty-eyed, he was shifty-faced. And he wasn't speaking off the top of his head but reading from lengthy prepared remarks (the conference lasted around eight minutes). That is astounding when you consider that his denials were written ahead of time and no one thought to take out this lie by Jesse Junior, "That's what I shared with Governor Blagojevich on Monday when I had the opportunity to meet with him for the first time in four years. I want to repeat that, I met with Governor Blagojevich for the first time in four years on Tuesday."

He can repeat it as often as he likes, it won't make it true. He's actually met with Blagojevich many times in the last four years but we enjoy what Rick Pearson (Chicago Tribune) described as Junior's "hug fest" August 27th. The video is priceless as Junior minces around playing the hug fairy. At 2:27 into the clip, Junior and Rod come together. Amazingly in an eight minute speech on the governor, he never found time to explain how his brother was a former business partner of Blagojevich's.

But along with his nervous licking of lips, his refusal to make eye contact and his humorous historical revisions, one section really stood out: "Clearly the people of Illinois deserve better. They deserve to have their trust and their confidence in government restored. In light of yesterday's criminal indictment, I believe that the governor, in the best interests of our state, should resign . . . "

Those are the sort of words that can come back to haunt. For example, should Junior find himself charged, those are the sort of statements that tend to get tossed back in a person's face. As in: "You are now charged with attempting to bribe a public official. When it was the governor charged, you stated that 'the people of Illinois deserve better.' You declared, and we quote, 'In light of yesterday's criminal indictment, I believe that the governor, in the best interests of our state, should resign,' so, Rep Jackson, when will you be resigning?"

Again, the remarks were written ahead of time -- even if no one appeared to have used that additional time to think through the ramifications.

With drama queens like Carville and Jackson parading like peacocks across the screens, scripted TV just couldn't compete last week.

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