Monday, December 05, 2016

Media: GOOD BEHAVIOR, Sally Field and truth telling

Last month, TV's best new hour long program debuted on TNT.

GOOD BEHAVIOR revolves around Letty (Michelle Cockery) who's a minor con artist and thief that can't manage the straight and narrow, not even to retake custody of her son.  Things only get worse when she's robbing a man's hotel suite and hears him speaking with another man whose hired the first to kill his wife.

She can just walk away with her latest haul or she can take a moment to save the woman's life.

What should she do?

She makes the decision to save the woman.

This puts her on Javier's radar -- the assassin.

What follows are nine episodes where Michelle Dockery's Letty is forced to assist the assassin Javier (Juan Diego Botto).

Thus far, it's a taunt and compelling thriller and easily the finest drama of the season.

GOOD BEHAVIOR's also what women are encouraged (enforced?) to display.

This is addressed in the Melissa McCarthy comedy SPY, especially in the scene where her character Susan and Susan's best friend Nancy (Miranda Hart) discuss Susan's childhood.

Nancy: Do you know what? You play it too safe. 

Susan: Oh maybe you're right. I just --  I still, you know, hear my mom's voice: "Well behaved women often make history." 

Nancy: Yes.  You do know the phrase is: "well behaved women seldom make history"?

Susan: Yeah that's never how she said it. 

Nancy: What were her others?  Uh --

Susan: Oh, "Just blend in, let somebody else win." 

Nancy: Classic. 

Susan: I got that a lot in high school. And there was: "Give up on your dreams, Susan." She used to write that in my lunchbox.

Women's behavior is policed -- legally and normatively -- and this is not a recent development.

The only way to end it is to fight it.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton ran a campaign where many of her supporters -- including us -- lamented her refusal to call out the rampant sexism.  In 2016, a number of observers -- including us -- watched in shock as she now attempted to insist this campaign was about (her) breaking the glass ceiling by enlisting a team of men.

In the time since her weaker 2016 campaign saw her lose the presidency, a few have taken to acting as if it's the end of the world.

Joan Lowy (SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE) reports, "Democrats across the country have begun quietly and grimly to assess the potential damage to their candidates and their party in the [. . .] election and beyond as a result of [. . .] Clinton."

It's an obvious move.  But Joan Lowy was reporting at the start of 1998.

And she was reporting about Bill Clinton.

Until Hillary Clinton this year, every Democratic or Republican party presidential nominee was a man.

Which means that every four years, one man lost and life went on.

As it does now.

We bring that up for many reasons including two time Academy Award winning actress Sally Field's desire to join the Twitter nation/globe.

  1. Today is the day I've decided to join twitter world. To pull my head out of the sand where I've been comfortably ensconced and reach out 1/2

Good luck to Sally, and we mean that, on Twitter but we're really not seeing how reTweeting the infamously sexist Keith Olbermann helps anyone.

What more is there to say? Resist, peace. We are inside The Snake Pit. How can we get out?

In fact, it goes to the general ignorance of so many.

Sally's a busy woman, we get it.

Olbermann's supposed to be our friend on the left.

Therefore, she reTweets him.

He's not our friend, he's never been our friend.

He has trashed women repeatedly.

He's also infamous for trashing Hillary.  In fact, let's drop back to ANGLACHEL'S JOURNAL for an April 24, 2008 entry:

Other blog posters have stepped around the obvious intent behind Keith Olbermann's recent verbal assault on Hillary Clinton. I know why. It's a hell of a step to take. I've spoken extensively about the irrational and boundless fury at this woman who has done nothing to deserve the outrages inflicted upon her. I've blogged before on the level of violence in the reaction to Hillary Clinton. I've blogged on how the shame of the Left when confronted by her - shamed by how she has been trashed, shamed by how badly she beats their darlings - underlies the demands that she be eradicated from politics, a symbolic honor killing.

I have sat in front of the computer for two hours, reading other blog posts, thinking it over, wondering how to talk about it. Maybe I could talk about it in terms of the times I have been in that situation, alone with a much stronger and violent male, and what a man suggesting putting her in that position does to me. Maybe I should talk about it just up to the edge of the extreme and stop with a knowing (virtual) look. Perhaps I could write again about expressions of violence against this person and put Olbermann into a continuum. Or maybe I could just put all the cards on the table and say what is staring us in the face.

What Keith Olbermann said yesterday is not symbolic. He flatly said a (male) Democratic super delegate should take Hillary Clinton into a room, and only the man should emerge.

Keith Olbermann is openly advocating the murder of Hillary Clinton.

We need to say this. It does not preclude talking about the other elements that may be subsumed under that final act, that she would also be battered and raped, but the clear message sent out by Keith Olbermann is he wants someone to murder this woman.

Here's the thing, Sally, women need to be online.

A number were run off in 2008 for defending Hillary.

We understand that.

We were attacked savagely and received multiple threats.

It wasn't the first time nor will it be the last.

Life goes on.

But that's our approach.

Many others were left stunned and a number decided to walk away.

Where were you then, Sally?

So many of you show up late to the party and want to pretend like you saw everything that went down when, reality, you didn't see s**t.

Rape threats, death threats?

It can be shocking.

Bash the bitch, as we've long observed, is a national pastime in the United States.

Or maybe the Dixie Chicks said it best in their 2006 hit "Not Ready To Make Nice" (written by Marlie Maquire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Dan Wilson):

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don't mind saying
It's a sad, sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Saying that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over 

For all the whining -- we use the word intentionally -- of the effect Hillary Clinton's loss this year may have on female politicians in the future, it's strange how the sexism of 2008 and the women it left discouraged didn't matter.

We're talking about websites that closed down online.

We're talking about women hounded repeatedly by Barack's cult.

And now, Sally, you want to promote Keith Olbermann?



And no.

There are so many lies out there.

We hope Sally learns to navigate them.

First off, there's a difference between being left and being Democrat.

We're feminists.

We're on the left.

That means we try to speak truth.


Sadly, that's come to mean you lie, hustle and whore for a political party and a bunch of candidates.

We're on the left.

As feminists, the Democratic Party left us when they condoned sexism in 2008 -- when they refused to condemn it and instead often openly engaged in it.

Marie Cocco (WASHINGTON POST writers group) was among the few journalists to speak truth in 2008:

But I do wonder why a candidate praised for his rhetorical gifts talks about women in the way that he does. During the primary campaign, he said Hillary Clinton launched political attacks on him "periodically, when she's feeling down." He called a Detroit reporter "sweetie" when she was trying to ask him about job creation. Now he has incorporated a myth created by the right -- that women who seek late-term abortions should not be allowed to do so if they are "feeling blue" -- into his own lexicon. And this is enough to make me see red.

Instead of being rightly applauded, Marie's largely forgotten.

We covered this ground at the end of 2008 with, among others, "Yes, let's stop kidding ourselves (Ava and C.I.)."

We're not going to rehash it all now but we are gong to note that 2016 did not see sexism.

And we're gong to note that Democratic outlets like WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER and MS. MAGAZINE's online blog repeatedly let women down and let male sexism set the standard.

To be fair, left outlets whose primary audience wasn't women also let women down in 2008.

But those outlets don't promote themselves as being about improving the lives of women.

If Sally wants to be an online presence who's helpful to women, she needs to be honest.

And she needs to mix it up.

There's no point in playing nice.

We're encouraged to play nice and there's no reward for it.

We need to toughen up online.

Women are tough offline, to be sure.

And a lot of us are tough online as well.

But if we were truly tough collectively online Angelina Chapin's crap at HUFFINGTON POST last month would have been called out everywhere (one of us called it out here).

Want to harm women's political chances?

Be like the idiot Chapin and insist that an election can not be followed with discussions -- not even a week later -- about the results and the campaigns because we're too weak -- as a gender -- to handle it.

What a lot of crap.

Arianna Huffington is gone from HUFFINGTON POST so we won't blame her for the nonsense Angelina Chapin wrote and published.

But we will point out that, in 2008, Arianna was against Hillary for the Democratic Party's nomination and that she published many women who were against Hillary (including Nora Ephron) and that support for Hillary wasn't presented as a female norm.

Eight years later, Angelina Chapin is lying that "every liberal woman has broken down at some point in the past week" over Hillary's loss.

We don't need to be encouraged to be weak or weepy -- society has already done that to us for centuries.

Hopefully, Sally Field will use her online presence to strengthen women.

History is forgotten frequently.

For example, Rosalynn Carter, as First Lady, attended Cabinet meetings.  From 1983, Charlotte Curtis' "Criticism that still huts Rosalynn Carter" (THE GLASGOW HERALD):

Her attendance at Cabinet meetings was inevitable.  During the 1976 campaign, she said, "Jimmy would go out and say something and I'd say, 'How dare you say that! You didn't tell me!' That's when he said come to the Cabinet meetings".  She paused, then added, "I knew it was a man's world, but I needed to know.  I'd be damned if I'd leave."

Michelle Obama was pressured by the press to be a fashion plate and to carry out gender expected roles.

It didn't need to be that way.

Not if we knew our history and were conversant in it.

Need another reminder of reality?

Before there was Bill Clinton with his sexual affairs, there was Gary Hart, yes.

But Gary Hart's behavior in 1984 did not kick off the erosion of the wall between public and private spheres.

That wall was kicked down in 1974.

By a woman.

Barbara Walters, on THE TODAY SHOW in February, 1974, interviewed Lady Bird Johnson and asked her about the late President Lyndon B. Johnson's interest in other women.

Why was that a good moment?

It took a woman to grasp that this game where a man can be a serial adulterer and the press will protect the man only protects men.

More to the point, it usually harms women.

Barbara Walters stood up to the nonsense of separate spheres.

We hope Sally will grasp that.

And that she'll grasp that small things can lead to big moment.

An August 10, 1970 AP report noted a women's liberation event:

The turnout was fewer than 200 Saturday at the home of Mrs. Robert Schull, wife of an art collector and taxi fleet owner.
[. . .]
The sponsor, Gloria Vanderbilt Cooper, was among the more than 400 others who were invited but did not attend.
[. . .]
Betty Friedan, author, leader of a major faction of the women's lib movement and originator of the idea of the strike, attended, as did Gloria Steinem, a journalist, and Rep. Patsy Mink, D-Hawaii, the gust of honor and main speaker.
Mrs. Friedan told the guests she expected the Aug. 26 strike which calls for women to withhold services for one day at work and at home, to be a bigger success than the Vietnam moratoriums.

And Betty Friedan was right.


On August 26, 1970, in New York City, thousands of women participated in the strike.  NOW had asked the city's mayor John Lindsay to close Fifth Avenue so the women could march.  He refused.  That day, as the women began moving forward, police on horseback tried to keep them on the sidewalks.  But there were too many of them.  They spilled onto the avenue, unfurling a banner that crossed three full lanes: "Women of the world unite."  Betty Friedan linked arms with eighty-two-year-old Judge Dorothy Kenyon, and the march began, Dorothy Kenyon had been a young woman when suffragists won the right to vote.  NOW had offered a car to ride in during the parade.  She preferred to walk.  At one point, Friedan jumped up and down to see the end of the parade.  She couldn't.  Later estimates would confirm that as many as twenty thousand women had joined the march in New York City.
Some women carried posters.  Some women carried their babies.  "Don't iron while the strike is hot" read one poster.  "I am not a Barbie doll" read another, protesting the images in women's fashion magazines.  "Storks fly, why can't stewardesses?" read still another, questioning the policy of major airlines to force airline stewardesses who became pregnant to quit their jobs.
In Rochester, New York, women did more than toss aside their dish towels.  They broke their dishes in a public demonstration.  In Berkeley, California, women did not leave the dirty pots and pans in the sink but instead tied them on their backs as they marched down the street.  In Boston, Massachusetts, a secretary wore a large cardboard typewriter over her clothes.  In a New Jersey shopping mall parking lot, a mom wearing a sleeveless sundress and high heels wheeled her baby daughter in a stroller.  On the stroller handle was a hand-printed sign that read, "Will I ever have the chance to be president?"
Women held banners high in Detroit, Michigan, and Saint Louis, Missouri:
"We have the right to vote (for the man of our choice)."
"We are the 51% minority."
"Housewives are slave laborers."

This is a great time to be online if you want to make a difference.

Women truth telling is very powerful.

Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) has really shined, for example, such as here:

Obama’s legacy is in tatters, and that is good news. Donald Trump’s victory was not just a win over Hillary Clinton, but against Democratic Party policies that silenced the rank and file. For years Democrats became convinced that the only means of keeping Republicans at bay was to go along with their party leadership without complaint. If they wanted to expand trade deals that stole workers’ jobs, so be it. The people who marched against the invasion of Iraq folded their tents when Democrats became the party of endless war. When Obama promoted austerity and “grand bargains” with Republicans not a word was uttered. Even Black Lives Matter refused to point out that the Obama Justice Department left killer cops unpunished.
Barack Obama is nothing if not consistent. While Democrats take to the streets in protest against president elect Trump, Obama declares that the man he once called unfit is not an ideologue, but a “pragmatist.” No one should be surprised about the conciliatory tone. Obama never had a problem with Republicans. They may have obstructed him, but he was always happy to assist them because he wasn’t really opposed to their policies.
The most obvious example of Obama’s lack of substance was his relationship with black Americans. His disdain and contempt for the people who loved him the most was clear to anyone who paid attention. Jokes about “cousin Pookie” and parents serving fried chicken for breakfast should have been seen as the racist screeds they clearly were. But the desire to see a black face in a prominent place endures to our detriment.

Does Sally have the strength for that kind of truth telling?

Only time will tell.

But she'd be smart to realize that the public square is not a quilting bee and that no one wins points for being genteel.  Women who've survived online have done so for one of two reasons -- they were the token in the circle jerk (Mud Flap Girls, we're talking about you) or because they were brave and outspoken.

It's the latter group that can make the difference.

We'd love to see Sally be a part of that group but good behavior won't get her in.

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