Monday, January 22, 2018

Jim speaks with Ava and C.I. about last week's edition

Jim: Okay, last week's entire edition was one article, "Media: 'It's very rude of him,' she said, 'To come and spoil the fun!'" by Ava and C.I.  We had a lot of e-mails and we -- Ava, C.I. and myself -- are going to address some of them.  This will be a rush transcript.  No tears for typos.

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Jim (Con't): We have no prepared artwork for this piece because it wasn't planned so we'll toss in things after we've typed it based on what we can find that we've used before for other stories.  First off, 20 e-mails note that you accused Bryan Singer.

C.I.: That's fair.  But they might want to read what we wrote last week and what we wrote in the Singer piece.

Jim: Okay, from last week, "We've called out Al Franken and we've called out Harvey Weinstein.  We did so because we know them and we know what they did."  And now from "TV: The gifted?:"

Pattern is important.

So is response.

And, sorry, but Bryan Singer's failed both.

He's failed to condemn the issue -- despite denying that he's abused any boys himself.

He's also much too connected to abusers.

We've noted his involvement in DEM and with Marc Collins-Rector and that he was in business with Collins-Rector and socialized and tub-partied with Collins-Rector.

Then there's Brian Peck.

He's another buddy of Bryan Singer and, yes, he's another convicted child molestor.

His conviction came in 2004.

Before the conviction, Singer cast Peck in a small role in X-MEN.  After the conviction, he cast him in a small role in X-MEN 2.  Singer and Peck also teamed up to do the commentary on the DVD of X-Men.

We're not seeing any revulsion on the part of Singer.

We're seeing someone who has been repeatedly accused of abusing boys and who has repeatedly chosen to surround himself with pedophiles.

No, we're not interested in reviewing THE GIFTED.

We're not interested in being like NICKELODEAN which also employed Peck and still employs an alleged child abuser (this one a man who targets young girls).

We're also not interested in smearing someone.  David Walsh (WSWS) has expressed concern about sexual McCarthyism.

We can see his point.

We also realize that a group of people pointing and screaming "Witch!" does not make anyone a witch.

Bryan Singer has every right to defend himself.  He has every right to denounce us as "liars" and worse.

We don't deny him that right.

But we're very troubled by what is publicly known and what is personally told to us.

Ava: What we wrote was that we called out Harvey and Al because we knew personally what they had done.  We didn't with Bryan Singer.  We knew what we were told.  But we had never observed anything.

C.I.: And I believe, further in the piece, we note a friend who has spoken to us about his abuse at the hands of Bryan Singer.  We don't claim to have observed it.  We didn't want to write the article, we had avoided THE GIFTED but we tackled the issue.  We offered our belief.  That's very different from Al Franken and Harvey Weinstein whom we repeatedly called out.

Jim: Okay.  Fourteen e-mails called out Ava for the Kirk Douglas raped Natalie Wood issue -- only three of those also called out C.I.  It's pointed out that you don't know.

Ava: I do know from her family members.

C.I.: And I've long noted for years now that I knew Natalie Wood.  So I'd assume the eleven calling Ava out but not me are assuming this is something I knew through my friendship with Natalie.  They would be correct.  Natalie was a friend.  And I have something else to say regarding Natalie.  I don't know if this is the place, it's about work, not assault.

Jim: This should be the place because outside of those 14, there were hundreds of e-mails praising you two for raising the issue of Kirk Douglas and, C.I., you specifically for your posts at THE COMMON ILLS.

C.I.: I wanted to scream at The Golden Globes.  I couldn't believe so many were standing -- not everyone did, thank goodness.  But when I typed that first thing on my  phone, it was that or scream.  Anyway, I see that Robert Redford is now trying to pretend he's all for women and their representation in his films.  Strange.  Because Robert didn't want Natalie in his films.  Oh, sure, he needed her to break into films and then, later, he needed her for a cameo in THE CANDIDATE.  But when Natalie needed him, she couldn't even get an interview for BRUBAKER -- for the part that Jane Alexander eventually played -- and played poorly but that's the story of Jane.  A friend did a profile on Robert years ago.  He came to me beforehand talking about the way Robert's p.r. maiden was making demands about this being off limits and that.  I said ask him why he's afraid of strong women.  And he did.  He asked Robert and Robert stammered and tried to point to his p.r. woman, the hideous Pat Newcomb, and then finally brought up that he had made three films with Jane Fonda.  "And Jane's strong."  At that point, it was over eleven years since he'd last worked with Jane.  Not only was he a dick about BRUBAKER -- and Natalie would have been a strong addition to that film -- but his films ignore women.  Look at what he's directed.  ORDINARY PEOPLE -- a kid, a doctor and two parents are the main characters -- that's one actress in the mix.  THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR?  14 main roles, only three are women.  A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT? A story about the characters played by Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer and Tom Skerritt.  And QUIZ SHOW had 19 lead and supporting characters.  Number of women?  Two, both supporting characters.  THE HORSE WHISPERER's a romance so the six main characters are three men and three women -- well two women and a teenage girl.  THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE -- deserves mention Robert finally finds a way to cast an African-American in a lead role -- too bad the role is degrading and insulting. Also deserves noting that there's one woman in the main cast of ten people.  LIONS FOR LAMB has a main cast of eight -- only one is a woman. THE CONSPIRATOR has a main cast of 32 -- only three are women and that includes the bit character of Mary Todd Lincoln who is barely present in a movie about the assassination of Abe Lincoln. THE COMPANY YOU KEEP has 2 main characters -- both men -- and fourteen supporting characters -- 10 are men, four are women.  That's how he sees the world.  That's what he's elected to create in films he directs, films where he controls representation.  Women are not agents of their own destiny, they have no power, they aren't even very interesting -- certainly not interesting enough to have a story revolve around them.  That's who Robert Redford is.

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Jim: Okay.  We had a few e-mails arguing that you should have held your piece until everyone was finished.

Ava: It's now over two hours since we should have been asleep.  We're both tired of this s**t.  We have to be up and on a plane in less than six hours and yet here we are again wasting our Sunday nights/Monday morning.  Sorry, we wrote our piece for this edition and finished it long ago.  I'm going to be really honest, Jim, I'm getting sick of the fact that we can't get this together and under control.  It shouldn't take this long.  I'll also point out that when our pieces do not go up on time because the rest of the edition isn't finished that means we have to try to work everyone in to our Monday evening schedule and the first hour of that we'll be nonsense.  And then maybe we'll get to work on something or maybe we won't and we'll get together over the phone on Tuesday.  It's not fair.  If you'll want to do that, do it.  But we've done our part and our week has started.  I am damn tired of spending hours and hours on a Sunday and not having an edition up.  It's why I want to quit, it's why I wish the site would go dark.

C.I.: And, as Dona pointed out in this week's roundtable, if our piece had not gone up when we wrote it, we would have had to add to it throughout the week until THIRD was finally ready to publish.

Jim: Of those complaining about the edition being only your work, Gilbert offered, "You two" Ava and C.I. "seem to think you are THIRD."

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C.I.: Based on?

Ava: Sorry, Gilbert, you're wrong.  We're perfectly fine with doing nothing but a TV piece.  Please note, we never get a week off from this site, never. Ever.  We were supposed to be off Christmas week but then, Jim, you had problems -- family issues -- and we had to come back and oversee that edition.  We never get a week off.  If we are THIRD -- and I don't say we are -- it's because we're always here, week after week, and no one else of the core group that makes up THIRD -- that would you, Dona, Jess and Ty besides us -- can say that.  We've never claimed we're THIRD.  We'd love to take a week off.

Jim: What if Dylan is telling the truth wondered five people.

Ava: What if she is?  I don't believe the story.

C.I.: And watching her last week, it's clear that she's not so sure herself.  It was there in her voice, it was there in her movements.  For the first time ever, even Dylan's not sure.  She won't admit it yet but that day may come sooner than anyone thinks.  Mia was a lousy mother and that's something Dylan's having to deal with now.  Dylan's story has never made sense.  Until Dylan began attacking others, we ignored it.  We overlooked it.  I know Dylan.  I know Mia.  I supported both.  But by the time Dylan became an adult the story was in trouble.  It doesn't make sense.

Jim: Maureen Orth says it does.

C.I.: Tim Russert's wife is as questionable as Tim.  And she's also saying she's not friends with Mia -- this despite her passing on tidbits to Janet Malcolm and others about her friend Mia.  Tell another lie, Maureen, maybe the ones who don't know you will believe you.

Jim: ______ doesn't believe Woody Allen.

C.I.: Take her name out of the story.  I'll talk about her if you do.  She doesn't know Woody.  She doesn't know Mia.  She's come under attacks herself for the last few years.  Which is the only reason I've held my tongue.  But, Woody Allen attacker, I must be the only one in the industry who listens and everyone tells me their problems.  Point being, Woody Allen attacker that we're not naming here, I'm fully aware of pictures taken of your then-11-year-old daughter, was it, that were considered child pornography and that you were very lucky the government didn't get ahold of.  In other words, while you're acting all high and mighty riding that high horse, I'm perfectly aware that you let your man take photos of your 11-year-old daughter nude, photos that were almost turned over to the feds because they were, in fact, kiddie porn.  Don't play high and mighty.  I've held my tongue but I can only do that for so long.  There are so many people attacking Woody Allen who might want to tend to their own gardens.  And, for the record, I was Mia's friend.  I've never spoken to Woody since the two broke up.  I don't speak to Mia anymore because she's a War Hawk who doesn't support abortion rights.  But when I say Dylan's lying, I'm not saying it because I'm Woody's friend.

Jim: Kevin Spacey.  You are both defending him to the surprise of some readers.

Ava: According to media reports, there is an investigation into one case.  If that investigation concludes wrong doing on Spacey's part, so be it.  Until then, we're not seeing any incident that proves conclusively that he's some appalling person.  We noted that we believe Anthony Rapp's story.  But we also point out that Anthony should consider how it appeared to a drunken Kevin Spacey -- Rapp says he was drunk.  A party guest has gone into Kevin's bedroom.  It's after midnight, the party's over.  Kevin comes in, drunk, to find a guy on his bed.  He made a pass.  As many a drunk person -- male or female -- might.  When Anthony broke away, Kevin asked if he was sure and Anthony maintained he was.  Kevin didn't then run after him or try to stop him.  That is not a story of rape or attempted rape.  It's a story of a drunken person finding someone in their bed after midnight and wrongly assuming that the person was there wanting to have sex.

Jim: Three people e-mailed that you wrote that his statements describing what happened seemed homophobic and they want you to know that Rapp is gay.

Ava: We know he is.  That's not a secret.  But it's also true his revulsion, read his statements, about the photo of Kevin hugging a man and his description of Kevin picking him up "like a bride" are made in a very anti-gay manner.  Read them.  It's like "Let's create a frenzy around gay men!"  Kevin makes passes at adult males?  Oh my heavens! Let's clutch the pearls!  No, I don't care if he makes passes.  If he sexually harasses someone, if someone loses a job or is punished because they don't put out for Kevin, I care about that.  Otherwise, it's his business, it's not a book I care to buy or open.

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Jim: You two also defended Ben.

C.I.: Ben Affleck is someone we both know.  We could have done a better job of defending him but we were limited in what we could say.  What we tried to get across was that this was a guy who'd been a teenager and then a young man who felt not good looking, who felt like women looked at everyone but him, then, after a stylist gets ahold of him, women are suddenly humming around him, buzzing like bees.  And he responds in a manner that's not gentlemanly and, yes, is inappropriate.  But he dealt with it and redirected his behavior.  Did so long ago.  Grabbing a butt is not the end of the world.  There are issues surrounding his brother.  Those are issues for Casey Affleck to address.  They are not issues Ben has to address nor do they go to Ben's own actions.  Kirk Douglas is vile and disgusting.  My believing that does not mean I believe that Michael Douglas must be guilty of charges against him because he's Kirk's son.  I hope Michael's innocent of the charges and I have no reason to believe that he's not.

Jim: A woman, Margaret B., e-mailed that last week's piece seemed to be you two saying what Matt Damon said.  She writes, "Why did it take you a month to weigh in?"

Ava: It didn't.  If you go back to December, you can read "Media: Dialogue" which we wrote in our first piece after Matt Damon made his remarks.  We don't like Matt.  We did give him the benefit of the doubt.  We cover the media in some form week after week.  Our views are not fixed and they can evolve.  We try to observe trends and comment on them.  I think we've done a pretty good job.  And it's a hard job.  A lot of people thought, after we'd carved out our space online, that the could copy us.  They soon gave up.  Often quickly.  Because it's not a fun job.  You're not throwing roses, you're throwing rocks.  You're having to hit on important issues and call people out.  Sometimes that means calling out our own friends.  It's not easy.  I wish it were.  I wish it were so that people would be doing it all over the net.  But even the brief phase of intense copying of us didn't last very long.  I think the longest feminist who hung it made it 18 months.  We've been doing this since January 2005.  It's hard work.  We're not perfect, we're going to make mistakes.  But crucify us for what we've actually done, not what you mistakenly think we've done.

Jim: Two e-mailed stating they didn't know why they were e-mailing, it's not like you'd read it anyway.

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Ava: You yourself have said our priority is getting material up at the site not being pen pals.  We're both busy.  Unlike so many at websites today, we realize the Iraq War continues.  We're still speaking out to groups -- women's groups, students, you name it -- about the wars every week.  We do that.  I also have a young daughter to raise.  And C.I.'s got THE COMMON ILLS to take care of.  And we have our own lives.  And, no, we don't have time to read the e-mails that come in.  I wish we did.  I wish every weekend wasn't about us wondering, "How are we going to think of what to write this weekend?  What can we cover?"  But that's how it is.  And there is not time to read e-mails on top of that.  When everyone takes off and we have to steer an entire edition?  Those are the weeks we also have to read the e-mails.  And whether we read them or not, they are read.  Ty usually reads them, Jim you read some of them.  We hear about them.  But there are hundreds each week and there's no way we have time to read them ourselves every week.  Sorry.

Jim: This edition, you do a lower expectations piece.  That's your usual pattern when you feel like you've hit hard to come back with something different.

Ava: Because we can't sing the exact same song every week.  We need to do things differently.

C.I.: The only reason we had something to write this week was because of the Whitewashing of casting Catherine Zeta-Jones -- and not a Latina actress -- to play a Colombian.  That's appalling.  It's disgusting.  It's those moments, that's probably a paragraph out of the whole piece, that make it worth it to us.

Ava: Exactly.

Jim: Now the bulk of the e-mails, the majority by a landslide, were praising the piece you wrote last weekend, I don't want to give the wrong impression.

Ava: I don't think you have.  And we've had our say, we're fine with you having your say.  We want a dialogue, we're not trying to control a conversation.

C.I.: A feminist viewpoint, that's what we try to present.  Not "the" feminist viewpoint.

Jim: Okay, I guess we'll wrap up with that so we can get to work on the editorial.

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