Monday, December 06, 2021

Media: The stupid and the liars choose to serve corporations, not people

Stupid people can be liars.  And liars can be stupid.  But for many with those flaws, one of the two tends to predominate.   


The stupid are always with us and generally frothing at the mouth.  Having listened to Sabby Sab justify transphobia when she decided to offer her 'expertise' on entertainment, we decided to never watch her program again when her topic is film, TV, popular arts, etc.  It physically hurts us to hear someone that stupid pontificate.


We'd hoped that would be the low when it came to lefties with YOUTUBE programs in 2021.  And we were in the last month, the final stretch, when Bri-Bri decided to go for the gold in The Stupidity Olympics.  DISNEY+ has a new documentary on the Beatles.  We're not watching it.

We like the Beatles, we listen to them.  We both know Yoko Ono -- one of us knew John Lennon and George Harrison.  The Beatles were John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney.  Yoko Ono became John's partner in life and music.  The Beatles were artists.  They hold many records and they've written many classic songs -- "Yesterday" was the third most played song on US radio in the 20th century (the Beatles had two other songs -- "Let It Be" and "Michelle" -- on the top 100 list BMI compiled at the end of 1999).

The Beatles were part of a music revolution.  For the US, the group meant many things.  First of all joy.  When they hit number one in the US for the first time, the country was still in mourning over the assassination of JFK -- excuse us, most of the country was in still in mourning over the assassination of JFK.  And they changed music.  The Brill Building songwriters would largely be irrelevant.  The boy singers and girl groups of the early 60s has been replaced with the four lads from Liverpool who were beginning to write their own songs.  Catchy tunes, granted.  About as deep as most of what had come before.  But written by the group not outside songwriters.  And as the group progressed, their writing talents sharpened. 

Some of the most amazing songs came from that group.  And artists working at that time were heavily influenced by them.  The Mamas and the Papas were influenced by them (and recorded their "I Call Your Name" and performed "Nowhere Man").  Sonny & Cher were influenced by them (and Cher's first single, as Bonnie Jo Mason, was "I Love You, Ringo").  Phil Spector, Brian Wilson and Bob Dylan were established before 1964 but the Beatles influenced their output as well.  

So it was a little out of this world and what-have-they-been-smoking to stream Bri-Bri's BAD FAITH and listen to her expose her ignorance and that of her two guests.  Please, Briahna Joy Gray, never, ever do a program focusing on music again -- you are just too damn stupid on the topic.

It was explained to us that the Beatles weren't all that.  We were told that they got where they were because they were White and many other stupid remarks.

In the comments, viewers are decrying the stupidity and pointing out that the Beatles grew up in war torn Liverpool -- a port city under attack during WWII.  They were telling Bri-Bri (who we're sure never registered this reality -- even after the program) that they were from working class backgrounds.  Bri-Bri and her guests knew nothing and it played like a comic version of a spoof entitled GET WHITEY!

It's sad when people who don't know a damn thing are misled into thinking they have something to share.  Or when they think they can bluff there way through.

For the record, we don't bluff.  If we don't know it, we say so.  Someone who loves musicals recently asked us what we thought of STATE FAIR?  Never saw it.  "But you love movies!"  Yes, we do.

Maybe that's why we didn't see it -- so we could continue to love movies.  The 1964 film stars Pat Boone.  That's it's first mark against it.  We don't care that he's a Republican, he can vote however he wants.  We don't care that he's bland and asexual -- we've sat through many a film with one of those as the male lead before.  We do care that he's a raging homophobe.  Next strike against STATE FAIR?  Like the two earlier film versions, it's based on the play -- with music by Rogers and Hammerstein.  You may like the duo.  We don't.  Rogers and Hart?  We love that songwriting duo.  But Rogers and Hammerstein never produced a song that spoke to us.  Doesn't mean that they aren't talented.  Clearly they were, they had a long career people hum their songs to this day.  But they didn't speak to us.  "Blue Moon," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "My Funny Valentine," "Little Girl Blue," "Isn't It Romantic," "My Heart Stood Still" (covered by the Mamas and the Papas on a TV salute to Rogers & Hart that the group did with other acts such as Diana Ross & the Supremes), "Sing For Your Supper" (covered on album by the Mamas and the Papas), "My Romance," "Where or When," "The Lady Is A Tramp," "Ten Cents A Dance" . . . Those songs spoke to us -- and continue to speak to us -- in a way that, for example, THE SOUND OF MUSIC never has.  That's us.  We realize that THE SOUND OF MUSIC is a favorite for many, many people.  The goal of writing a song is to reach people and Rogers & Hammerstein reached many people.  They just didn't reach us.  

So we never saw STATE FAIR and never will.  Then another friend stumbled into that conversation -- and the one stumbling in is a much praised director in the last few years -- and he points to us and states, "Don't listen to those two, they never saw REVENGE OF THE NERDS."  No, we didn't.  And no we won't.  It's also not a film we'd enjoy.


Others have.


That's their right.  

To Bri-Bri, you don't have that right.

With her, you only have the right to enjoy what she tells you to enjoy.  And the Beatles, she wants you to know, are some White devils ripping off Black voices, some untalented White devils.

Her stupidity is so grand that it's almost impressive.

The Beatles would all emerge, in the end, as first-rate songwriters.  However, at the start, it was really the team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney that stood out.  And, again, with each album, they and the two others grew.  By leaps and bounds.  SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND is one of the greatest albums of all time.

Bri-Bri apparently judges an album by singles.  That's because she's too stupid to grasp what an album is -- or, for that matter, how the Beatles redefined albums in the sixties the same way that Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and Peggy Lee did in the fifties.  


The Beatles are a cultural institution.  They are legends.  And that's really saying something when you grasp that their songs aren't sung on AMERICAN IDOL and they weren't available on streaming services forever.  But they didn't need that because their songs seeped into the culture.


That happened -- slap Bri-Bri's hands and tell her to put down her Bratz dolls so she can pay attention --  because artists quickly got how strong the Beatles' songs were.  They grasped it, they understood it and that's why they went out of their way to cover the Beatles.

Does Bri-Bri get that a large reason that the songs are so well known is because Black artists and African-American artists did a huge part in popularizing those songs?


Stevie Wonder recorded the Beatles "We Can Work It Out."  So did Roberta Flack -- on her album LET IT BE, ROBERTA: ROBERTA FLACK SINGS THE BEATLES. A whole album of Beatles covers.  Know who else did that?  The great Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. on their latest album BLACKBIRD: LENNON - MCCARTNEY ICONS.  That's right two former members of The 5th Dimension -- one of the most successful groups of the late sixties and the early seventies -- just did an album of Beatles songs.  Tina Turner covered the Beatles throughout her career: "Come Together," "Get Back," "Let It Be," "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,"  and "Help" -- among others.  Nina Simone recorded the Beatles' "Revolution" and "Here Comes The Sun."  Aretha Franklin?  She recorded the Beatles' "Let It Be," "The Long and Winding Road" and "Eleanor Rigby." 

Diana Ross and The Supremes?  The only American act that could compete on the charts with the Beatles during the 60s (12 number one hits from "Where Did Our Love Go" up through "Someday We'll Be Together"), Diana Ross and the Supremes recorded the Beatles' songs: "A World Without Love," "A Hard Day's Night," "You Can't Do That," "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "Yesterday" and "Hey Jude."  Guess who else covered "Hey Jude"?  The legendary Temptations.  And Marvin Gaye covered "Yesterday."  The Four Tops also covered "Yesterday." Dionne Warwick recorded "A Hard Day's Night," "Hey Jude," "We Can Work It Out," "Something" and "Yesterday." Al Green covered "I Want To Hold Your Hand." Jimi Hendrix covered "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."  Chaka Khan burned through "We Can Work It Out."  Bob Marley covered "And I Love Her."  Odetta covered "Strawberry Fields Forever." Solo Diana Ross contributed covers of "The Long and Winding Road," "I Will" and "Come Together."


Ella Fitzgerald covered the Beatles' "Savoy Truffle," "Got To Get You Into My Life," "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Hey Jude."  Earth, Wind & Fire covered "Got To Get You Into My Life."  Jazz great Nancy Wilson covered "And I Love Her" (as "And I Love Him") and "The Long and Winding Road." Count Basie did a Beatles album (BASIE'S BEATLE BAG) which included "And I Love Her," "She Loves You," "Michelle," "Help," "A Hard Day's Night" and "Yesterday."  Mary Wells called her Beatles' cover album LOVE SONGS TO THE BEATLES and her 12 covers included "I Saw Him Standing There" (him instead of "her"), "Ticket To Ride," "Please, Please Me," "I Should Have Known Better" and "Do You Want To Know A Secret."  Shirley Bassey covered the Beatles' "Something," "The Fool On The Hill," "Yesterday," "Hey Jude," and "Eleanor Rigby." Otis Redding did "Day Tripper." Fats Domino did "Lovely Rita" and "Lady Madonna" while Bill Withers did "Let It Be."  Wilson Pickett covered "Hey Jude."  George Benson covered "The Long and Winding Road."  Natalie Cole covered "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Boys II Men covered "Yesterday." Ray Charles covered "Eleanor Rigby" and "The Long and Winding Road." Alicia Keys covered "Across The Universe."  Miriam Makeba covered "In My Life."

The Beatles hit single "Get Back" was by "the Beatles with Billy Preston" -- that was the label credit. On his own, he covered songs like "I've Got A Feeling," "Eight Days A Week" and "Blackbird"  (he also wrote with George Harrison). Richie Havens recorded Beatles songs like "Eleanor Rigby""She's Leaving Home," "With A Little Help From My Friends," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Rocky Raccoon," and "Let It Be."  Booker T and the MGs covered "Eleanor Rigby" and "Something." The Godfather of Soul James Brown covered "Something." Corinne Bailey Rae covered "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight" and "The End" (the last three tracks proper of ABBEY ROAD -- there's a hidden track after those three numbers). Smokey Robinson and the Miracles covered "Hey Jude." 

Do you grasp just how stupid Bri-Bri sounded?

She thought they were white-bread but she's the one who ended up sounding white-bread and uninformed and stupid.

Let's really emphasize that stupid.  Because sometimes people just are stupid.  By that we mean, sometimes they're not lying, they're just stupid.  

But along with stupid people, there are also liars.

We think it's sad news that Oliver Stone has had to revisit the assassination of JFK.  It's sad but telling -- and most telling on our media.

58 years ago, then-President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  The American people didn't buy the whitewash of The Warren Commission or it's 'expert; staff which included Gerald Ford (later a US president -- an unelected US president) and Arlen Specter (later a US senator).  A lot of people got 'lucky' or paid off because of how they responded to the assassination.  Lie -- like Ford and Specter -- and you or your children have a career -- Dan Rather, Ethan Hawke (are we really going to be the only ones to point out Ethan's connection?), Harry Connick Jr.,  Cokie Roberts . . . 

There were people and outlets who questioned the nonsense in real time -- Jim Garrison, Mark Lane,  and both Mort Sahl and Woody Allen made ridiculing The Warren Commission part of their stand up acts.   But the establishment managed to stifle a robust discussion by (a) ignoring it and (b) ridiculing it when they had to acknowledge it.  And those who stifle a robust discussion get rewarded.  Even by the 'left.'  Last year, RISING elected to invite on plastic surgery freak Gerald Posner.  Gerald dismissed any questions about the assassination in CASE CLOSED.  Since the publication of that book, turns out that Posner isn't just a freak in the mirror, he's a freak on the page.  He plagiarizes non-stop.  He got fired from THE DAILY BEAST for it.  Then, turns out, it was discovered he plagiarized in books and writings prior to joining THE DAILY BEAST.  But RISING thought he was an acceptable guest.  Lies and all, right, doesn't matter a bit.  Doesn't matter to VARIETY's Owen Gleibernman who cited the work of the plagiarist to attack Oliver's new documentary.


We have to wonder -- and we did ask an editor we know at VARIETY -- is that now the standard for the rag?  You refute an argument by citing the work of a plagiarist?  


And let's be clear, Owen refuted nothing.  Owen offered nothing.  He just dismissed and cited Twink-Faced-Frankenstein Gerald and added his own crackpot claims.  Such as?  Life is too damn short so we'll do one and only one:


Speaking of the throat wound, if it was, as the documentary claims, an entrance wound, caused by a bullet coming from the grassy knoll, wouldn’t that bullet have ripped through the side of Kennedy’s neck?


As we asked our friend as VARIETY, "How stupid is this bitch?"


He wrote that.  Owen wrote that garbage.  Took the time to type it up.  If it was a throat wound, it wouldn't have come through the side of the neck.  Has Owen ever taken his candy ass to Dallas?  Has he been to Dealey Plaza?  We asked community members Sabina and Dallas to each go there Saturday and stand in the approximate place where JFK was shot.  


Now, per The National Archives, JFK was shot at three times.  The first shot missed.  Shots two and three struck.  As we already knew before we looked at the photos that Sabina and Dallas sent us, the Grassy Knoll is in front of where shots two and third struck.  Or, if Own prefers, "Front and to the side, front and to the side."  (If you suffered through his piece, you got our joke there.)  The car was not parallel to the Grassy Knoll when shots two and three were fired.  


Maybe it's not just the stupid and the liars.  Maybe in the case of Owen Gleibernman it's possible to be both someone who gets it wrong because their stupid and also because they're a liar. 


 NBC's mega-stupid.  We think that was obvious years ago as they destroyed their own Must See Thursdays by taking off popular sitcoms to instead air niche dramadies that never really found an audience and drove viewers away.  Then, instead of trying to reinvent themselves when they had the successful WILL & GRACE reboot -- which did get ratings -- they refused to (a) pair it with another sitcom from the same team and (b) pair it with a sitcom in front of a live audience -- they do, after all, perform better in the ratings and we'll be coming back to that.

But for now, let's stay with NBC.  Last Thursday, they set a new record for live productions of a play -- a musical in fact.  ANNIE LIVE! wasn't just a bomb, it was a huge bomb.  This was supposed to be holiday fare.  This was supposed to be event-TV.  It wasn't.  Viewers tuned out. Of this genre -- the winter holiday musical, nine other previous 'events' beat it out.  And not just Carrie Underwood's SOUND OF MUSIC.  No, no, no.  Also getting higher ratings?  2015's THE WIZ, 2019's LITTLE MERMAID, 2014's PETER PAN LIVE, 2017's HAIRSPRAY LIVE, 2018's JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR LIVE, 2016's THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW and, yes, even 2016's THE PASSION.  

It was a bomb of epic proportions.

We don't blame Megan Hilty for that (Megan replaced Jane Krakowski at the last minute because Jane had COVID 19).  We do blame NBC for casting Harry Connick Jr. and Taraji P. Henson.  The broadcast might have survived one but not both.  The point is to cast a wide net with these specials.  You want to attract as many viewers as possible -- it's supposed to be 'event TV' -- meaning wide appeal.  

Harry alone in the cast might have been okay -- with a normal cast.  Yes, some would have avoided him because of his father -- and Harry Sr.'s actions regarding JFK are known a lot more widely than when Junior was playing Leo.  But, hopefully, a well liked cast could have made up for any loss he caused.  But they also cast Taraji.  And fate just wasn't having it.  

Taraji used to be a respected actress.  Her many bad films changed that.  And her lying, as she promoted PROUD MARY, that she was going to be a big movie star even if this film failed because she had so many more coming out.  She did have many more coming out.  But they weren't hits either: ACRIMONY, WHAT MEN WANT and THE BEST OF ENEMIES.  They all bombed.  And don't pretend WMW was a hit.  It wasn't.  US studios do not get 100% of ticket sales to begin with -- and that's in North America.  When you look at overseas, you are looking at even more money not going to the studio.  We are so sick of idiots who comment on box office and claim that something was a hit for the studio because it made $17 million overseas.  Yes, the studio got some money.  It didn't get as much as if were money raised in North American theaters -- and even then, the studios do not get 100% of ticket sales.  

Taraji's back to supporting roles in TV films.  She never became a film star.  She had too many flops and then came the scandal with EMPIRE.

For those who don't remember, Taraji backed Jussie Smollett.  Even after the truth was known.  Even after the show was cancelled and off the air.  And she said damaging things about people who did not believe Jussie.  Of course, we all know now that Jussie lied.

Jussie is a con artist.  

And NBC wanted to cast Taraji as a big name for a family event and thought people would tune in?

Stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid.

Fate doesn't seem to like NBC much so Fate slapped the network across the face.  Meaning?  Nightmare Taraji appeared at the end of last week, the week that saw Jussie finally go back on trial.  


Jussie Smollett?  A good actor, but not good enough to pull of his con.


Jussie was going to Subway for a sandwich and let's just go to Dave Chappelle because everyone knows he put it in perspective better than anyone else.




 So Jussie was, per Jussie, attacked by two White men who wore MAGA (Make America Great Again) hats, statements, racist statements, homophobic statements, poured bleach on him and put a rope around his neck.  

He did not know his assailants, he insisted.  

The people?  He told them he was "the gay Tupac."  And then he went on ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA as BBC NEWS notes:


He suggests the alleged attackers were white, saying: "If I had said [the attackers] was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more."

On his refusal to hand over his phone, he says: "I have private pictures and videos and numbers... my private emails, my private songs, my private voice memos."

And speaking through tears, he says gay people should "learn to fight" these kinds of attacks.


There was a lot of drama.  He got a lot of support.  Most of that support, we don't attack or even criticize.  Yes, he was lying.  But people didn't know that.  And if they gave support, good for them.  It doesn't make them worse people for wanting to support someone they believed had been harmed.


 But then there were the others.  Remember them?  The ones who wanted to go beyond support and instead use the alleged incident to advance their own agendas.  Remember them?

We remember a performer going on THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT to cry and moan and talk of fear over the attack on Jussie -- while also promoting their new NETFLIX show -- was something to see -- if you like daytime TV on late night.  The performer wanted to toss out support to victim Jussie and to make it clear how it happened:

Connect the dots.  This is what happens.  If you are in a position of power and you hate people and and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen?  Kids are going to be abused and they're going to kill themselves and people are going to be beaten on the street. 

If we'd been that stupid, we might have had to change our names too.  Fortunately, Elliot Page had other reasons to change his name. 

A lot of people should have distanced themselves from Jussie.

Not Taraji.  She just dug in deeper.  And when it turned out that the 'assailants' were two brothers who worked on EMPIRE?  She still stuck with Jussie.  When it turned out that they were Nigerian with deep accents?  She still stuck with Jussie.

She and others didn't get how damaging that was.  It destroyed EMPIRE.   EMPIRE ended 2018 with five million viewers.  January 31, 2019 Jussie claims he was assaulted.  The series returns from its December 2018 cliffhanger on March 13, 2019 with about half a million less viewers.  It continues to bleed viewers and ends up with the lowest season finale ever . . . until the next season.  As Taraji continues to support Jussie, viewers are disgusted.  The show is limping along.  It starts off the season with an all time low of 3 million.  17 new episodes follow and that low 3 million starts looking a lot better as the show starts dipping more and ends up getting less than 3 million viewers an episode.  (The all time low for that season?  1.89 million viewers.) 


He's a known liar and Taraji's sticking with him -- hiking with him -- lying for him.

What Taraji and other idiots trying to defend him didn't get -- Angela Y. Davis, we're looking at you when we say other idiots?  Jussie's hoax was a con.  And that was bad enough.  That's Sister Aimee Semple McPherson territory.  Jussie didn't just appear on EMPIRE.  He played Jamal.  That was the heart and soul of the family.  He was the one who believed in right and wrong.  If this had been 'crazy' Andre, fans might have blown the scandal off.  But Jussie played the character we were all supposed to trust.  And no one with the show seemed to get how much his con hurt the viewers, the fans.  And Taraji's nonsense may have appealed to a few of the viewers who stuck with the show to the end.  But all those viewers who had vanished?  They were done with her.

And this is who NBC heavily promotes in the commercials for ANNIE LIVE!?  

This would have been a hard sell during a good week but last week wasn't a good week.  No, last week was when Jussie went back on trial.  And the media was already covering it before his attorney pulled a stunt.  From Jonathan Turley's commentary:


If you thought that Smollett case could not get more bizarre, think again. CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller is reporting that defense attorney Tamara Walker had a sidebar conversation with attorneys from both sides and Cook County Judge James Linn. She reportedly accused Judge Linn of some improper comment and then said that he lunged at her in the courtroom.  She was crying during the sidebar.  Another Smollett attorney accused Linn of snarling and making faces during the trial. In thirty years of practice as a criminal defense attorney, I have never heard of such allegations in a criminal trial.

The demand for a mistrial was rejected.

In a case where the defendant is accused of manufacturing a bizarre alleged attack, the allegation of a judge lunging at his counsel seems weirdly consistent.  There is no indication if there is proof of such threatening act or the alleged faces being made from the bench.

[. . .]

If a judge lunged at counsel and has been making faces from the bench, I would expect an emergency motion and possible appeal. Such a demand for recusal of a judge who is allegedly lunging at counsel would not ordinarily ended with a simple sidebar.

Jussie is a joke and NBC's an idiot for putting Taraji in ANNIE LIVE!  Even FOX knows that they can't do the EMPIRE spin-off around Cookie.  They'd hoped to be able to but the negatives around Taraji are now too strong to make her a series lead.  She might be able to be put in a cast -- in a non-leading role -- of people who are well liked and not harm the ratings but, as the lead, she's ratings poison.  

We can't close out on the stupid without noting Cathal Gunning.  The writer, for SCREEN RANT, is apparently bound neither by logic or the truth.  We wouldn't be at all surprised to learn he also defies gravity.   He's never one to nail down the facts and, for him, facts are whatever he says they are.  Take his recent article on THE CONNERS.  In that  article, Cath declared that  "Roseanne Barr was fired from the original series due to racist remarks Barr."  She was not fired.  ROSEANNE was cancelled.  (Roseanne Barr is not racist -- unlike Cath, we know Roseanne so we can make that statement).  THE CONNERS only exists because people were going to lose their jobs and ABC used that to extort Roseanne's creation from her.  She created those characters.

And think about that.  If ABC -- or the people who were screaming for her head -- really thought she was racist, why would they want to continue a show created by a racist.  That's what they did, they continued it.  And they did it because they could steal her creations.  It's disgusting what was done to Roseanne.  


Cath can't tell us about that, he's too dim witted.  And that only become more clear when he writes this:

Focusing on the present would help, particularly since The Conners missed out on Young Sheldon’s cleverest move by not switching to a single camera setup after retooling the show.

THE CONNERS is ABC's only multi-camera show.  It is also the highest rated sitcom ABC has.  Those single-camera sitcoms?  They don't pull in big audiences with new episodes and they don't do well in syndication when compared to multi-cams.

That 'clever' move regarding YOUNG SHELDON?  YOUNG SHELDON is in season five.  At the end of season three, it lost multi-cam THE BIG BANG THEORY as its lead-in (YS is a spin-off of TBBT).  Back in the day, when it had THE BIG BANG THEORY as a lead-in (and TBBT always pulled in more viewers than YS), it would have eleven and twelve million viewers an episode.  Now?  It's lucky to have seven million.  Its ratings have sunk -- someone tell Cath he needs to do actual research and not just type what the voices inside his head tell him to type.   And though syndication rights brought in a lot of money, that's not going to be true with repeated sales because, check it out, Cath, it hasn't delivered viewers the way TBS had hoped it would.  On Mondays, for example, THE GEORGE LOPEZ SHOW, FRIENDS, 2 BROKE GIRLS and THE BIG BANG THEORY really perform for TBS -- all multi-cam sitcoms, wouldn't you know -- or, in Cath's case, should know but doesn't -- those perform.  YOUNG SHELDON?  Not so much.

"Okay, okay, Ava and C.I., we get it.  We get it.  There are a lot of stupid people in the media but have you really proven anything about the so-called liars?"  

Have we?  We talked about how they lie about Oliver Stone.  How they try to dismiss his questions about the JFK assassination.  There's how CNN is making Chris Cuomo the fall guy for their institutional failures that have destroyed the network and should see multiple execs being given walking papers.  But if you want to catch just how basic the lies and cover ups go, drop back to Matt Lavietes ridiculous report for NBC last month where he told us about poor, put on, suffering Shawn Mendes who was having to live with some fans speculating that he might be gay.

Quell horreur!

Others suffering, according to Lavietes and NBC NEWS?  Well look at the list:


Mendes is not the only celebrity who has been subjected to the rumor mill. Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Hillary Clinton and Hugh Jackman — all self-identified heterosexuals — are just some of the public figures who have had their turns.

Sounding like self-loathing, prissy queen Mitchell on MODERN FAMILY ("that's what we do" -- he tells a woman, make false accusations that other men are gay because gay men want other men to be gay), Dan Savage shows up to insist that it's a case of ''wishdar'' and not ''gaydar.'' Oh, shut up, Dan, you lost your show, you didn't die.  And the kid in the cast that upset ABC is the one who suffered for that bit of truth about Bryan Singer, not you.  

That people care whether or not Shawn is gay is something that keeps his career alive.  He's lucky to have that interest.  Equally true, assuming he's straight is never the problem for the corporate press, they only boo and hiss when someone's assumed to be gay. 

It's a cute little article.  It's the usual garbage where the press protects and insists no one is really gay.  They've done that article since time began.  In fact, Tom Cruise first started showing up on those lists of actors who were in the closet at the same time Jodie Foster did, and Kelley McGillis . . . and Nathan Lane . . . and David Geffen . . . and Kevin Spacey . . . and -- 

Well, you get the idea, right?  A lot of money is to be made off lying and corporations have done everything they can to keep gay people in closets.  William Haines is known today less for his acting career -- he was the Tom Cruise of his day in silent pictures -- and less for his interior design business.  He's mainly known for his moment of bravery -- where L.B. Mayor calls him into the office and tells him to get a wife (even just for show) and drop Jimmie Shields or he will no longer be making films at MGM.  William Haines chose Jimmie (their relationship lasted almost fifty years).  

Where's the film about William Haines?  He stood up to a corporation.  He stood up to the media -- which really loved being nasty to him after MGM dumped him.  He's not supposed to exist because the film studios said he didn't.  They said no gay men existed, after all, unless they were part of the stereotypical portrait that the studio invented to hide who people really were.  It let Gary Cooper hide, after all.  It let Spencer Tracey hide.  It let Rock Hudson hide, Tab Hunter, Anthony Perkins, James Best, Burt Reynolds, Jim Nabors, Jodie Foster, Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Raymond Burr, Katharine Hepburn, Nancy Kulp, Montgomery Clift, Tallulah Bankhead, Paul Newman, Ramon Novarro, Ruby Dandridge, Janet Gaynor, Mary Martin, Ethel Waters, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Judy Carne, Lizbeth Scott, Cesar Romero, Joan Crawford, George Maharis, Joel Grey . . .

"Some of those are bi!"  Hollywood didn't allow for bi when it created the gay stereotype that allowed the closet to thrive.  The closet rendered so many invisible, caused so much harm -- for the ones the studios forced into the closets, for the ones who took themselves into the closet to have employment and for the whole country which was fed stereotypes and lies.  A better world is being built now, years too late for so many.  

And that's the reality of the damage that corporations have done and that they do: People suffer because of them and because of the media that sees itself as part of the corporations, not part of the people.  Again, they're a lot of stupid people and a lot of liars and they do a lot of serious harm.


A note to our readers

Hey --

Still Sunday night on the west coast. 

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?


Ava and C.I. address Oliver Stone's latest documentary, ANNIE LIVE!, the Beatles, Jussie Smollett and so much more.

Last month, Diana Ross released the studio album THANK YOU.

Ty weighs in on the stupidity of the BAD FAITH podcast.

 Ava and C.I. wrote that a while back.



-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.





The Diana Ross Roundtable

Jim: Roundtable time again. .  Remember our e-mail address is  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. This is The Diana Ross Roundtable.  


diana cover 2



Jim (Con't): Diana Ross released a new album this month. It is entitled THANK YOU and that's about all most outlets got right. Kat, you covered the album in "Kat's Korner: No, Diana Ross, Thank You" so why don't you explain that statement.

Kat: This is Diana's 26th solo studio album. At least 26. Most outlets went with 25 because they relied on CRAPAPAEDIA but CRAPAPEDIA has it wrong. They are not counting Diana's WIZ album DIANA ROSS SINGS SONGS FROM THE WIZ. That is a studio album -- it notes that in the liner notes for the album -- I reviewed that album here. THE WIZ was hoped to be a big hit. It came out as did the soundrack. It was hoped it would be a big hit and so MOTOWN had Diana go into the studio and record every song on the soundtrack by herself. The plan was that this would be released when the film needed a second wind. The film did not do well and the album went into the vault. It was finally released. This was a studio album.

Ty: And Diana did a jazz album, BLUE, that was finally released in 2006. CRAPAPEDIA considers that a studio album.

Dona: They got it wrong and people don't pay attention so the lie takes hold.

Jim: So it's a studio album. She's had a lot of hits on the dance charts in the last two years. These have been remixes.

Wally: She has had number one dance chart hits. That's amazing. This is a career that saw her score hits in the 60, the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the 00s, the 10s and now the 2020s.

Ruth: That is a significant accomplishment. I was shocked when I read "" -- probably should not have been -- to learn that NPR elected to completely ignore THANK YOU. They did not do any reports on Diana Ross or any interviews with her and did not even include her album in their Friday roundtable. That woman is my age. I will not be opening a major festival in England next year. I never had a musical voice as lovely as she does but what I did have is long gone. She has been a pioneer for decades and it is a real slap in the face that they did not take the time to acknowledge her. I believe I am two or three years older than she is.

Elaine: ON that, I would like to point out that Johnny Cash doing his final albums was treated as world news and Diana is now older than Johnny was when he passed away. Is it her race? Is it her gender? Is it both? What reason, exactly, would NPR like to give for disrespecting her?

Isaiah: THANK YOU would be an amazing album for anyone to release -- Brandy, Demi Lovato, you name it.

Cedric: I really agree with that. We listen, Ann and I, to it constantly. Our oldest sings along with some of the songs and our youngest springs up and down trying to dance.

Ann: It is a joyful album.

Betty: You know, I think that might be the best tagline for it, "a joyful album." I really love it. I love all of Diana's work. But I really love this one. It has some of the crisp, tight and clean feel that Ashford & Simpson helped her achieve with THE BOSS. And I was thinking about that and thinking of how the 80s were a dramatic decade -- synths, big shoulder pads, etc. And Diana's albums reflected that decade. And I love them. SWEPT AWAY is an 80s classic. But this album's a bit more relaxed.

Ann: And, like Betty, I loved that drama -- "Mirror, Mirror," "Muscles," "Swept Away," "Eaten Alive," etc. Great songs. But this one was a bit of -- a little more peace, a little more introspection? A little -- well, hope. Hope for the world we're living in. It really did speak to me.

Jess: When I was a kid, I remember Diana Ross performing at the Superbowl half-time show. And we were not a TV family. But we did watch that. And I remember my folks being so excited. They were telling my sister and I and I think we were both like "Huh?" Then it came time for her to perform and we got it because we knew all the songs -- from the radio, from our parents playing the music in the house. Ava: What did you think of this album?

Jess: I like it. I like the energy and the attitude.

Ava: I like it too and I want to give Diana huge praise for putting out a real album, for doing so in the pandemic and for not trying the stunt so popular of late where you just do duets. I don't need to hear anybody redo their catalogue but as duets. Not that fond of Frank Sinatra's two albums at the end of his career and if he couldn't really pull it off, who can? But look at Elton John, Reba and all the rest serving up slop.

Rebecca: Or the bulk of Barbra Streisand's output over the last two decades. I agree with Ava. Some artists are releasing product that is nothing but a money grab. Diana made a real album. It's an artistic achievement and she should be proud of THANK YOU.

Betty: I love the album and I love every track. But my favorite? It would either be "If The World Just Danced" or "Beautiful Love." But it changes every week and I do love the whole album.

Marica: Betty, like me and a few others, you are a longterm Diana Ross fan. Where would you rank this album?

Betty: Good question. I'd ran it as one of her best -- I'd put it up there with THE BOSS, diana, SWEPT AWAY, EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY and EATEN ALIVE.

Marcia: I'd rank it alongside those five as well. I'm not sure, though, where I'd put it, you know, the order?

Betty: Yeah. For me, it often depends on the mood -- and the weather. Seriously, if it's raining, SWEPT AWAY is my go to.

Cedric: I feel that way too and it's weird because Diana Ross did her Central Park concerts -- the first one with the rain falling -- when she'd released ROSS. SWEPT AWAY is the album after. But it's a raining album to me too.

Isaiah: Did you like ROSS?

Cedric: It's okay but not one of my favorites.

Isaiah: I really do like it but I think side two is the better side. "Upfront," "Let's Go Up" and --

Ann: "Love or Loneliness!" Yes. That should have been a single. I loved that song.

Ty: What about some more of her deep cuts -- not just the singles but album tracks that we really loved?

Stan: I always loved her sassy vocal on "It's Your Move."

Mike: Good choice. I'll go with something like "Not Over You Yet." 

Elaine: I'll go with "No One Gets The Prize." Trina: Any track on THE BOSS stands out for me. 

Ruth: I loved her medley of "Save The Children" and "Brown Baby." And of all the "Imagine" covers, I think Diana did it best. 

Rebecca: And Barbra Streisand did the worst cover of John Lennon's "Imagine." The worst. As for a deep cut that's a cover, I always loved Diana's cover of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed." She did it on album of Christmas songs and I was surprised at how well it worked among Christmas songs and how beautiful her phrasing was.       

Ty: For me, EATEN ALIVE is an album of wonderful deep cuts, songs that were never singles. You've got "More and More," "Love on the Line," "Crime of Passion," "I'm Watching You" -- I mean, the whole album is deep cut paradise. The only singles were "Eaten Alive" and "Chain Reaction." 

Betty: Do you think it was a mistake to release "Eaten Alive" first? Ty: I do. I think it buried the album here in the US. 


Ruth: I don't remember any real push on the album either. 

C.I.: RCA didn't do one.  Diana lined up some print interviews with women's magazines and, otherwise, there was really nothing.   RCA did not promote her very well and she has valid complaints there because RCA promoters tasked with getting her singles on the radio instead trashed her singles in pitch meetings. This is how Diana becomes an urban artist and no longer a pop artist. That would never have happened at MOTOWN. But RCA knew they could make money without promoting her. In the total picture, RCA failed every artist it had. They were supposed to get airplay and promotion and they didn't for any artists. That's Eurythmics, that's everyone. The most promoted song by Eurythmics was the duet with Aretha Franklin and that's because Clive Davis was the head of Aretha's label, ARISTA, and he picked up RCA's slack. RCA failed every artist. Rick Springfield was promoted via GENERAL HOSPTAL. RCA did nothing for him. Which is why his hits drop away as he moves away from appearing on TV daily, Monday through Friday.

Jim: So was it a mistake for her to leave MOTOWN.

C.I.: MOTOWN was constricting, for one thing. She was the queen of the label but that meant that, on the exec side, they thought they could control her. When she was fighting for more say and more artistic growth, they weren't happy about that. They intentionally poorly promoted THE BOSS. That was her journey and her statement and she left California, where MOTOWN had moved for recording, to be in New York with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. If you track "The Boss" -- the title track -- by city, you'll see Diana peaks in each city as she's on tour there. If MOTOWN had done a real national push promoting the song, it would have climbed much higher on the national charts. There is also the money aspect. MOTOWN didn't pay most people what they deserved. Smokey Robinson got what he deserved but he really was it. Stevie Wonder had to fight and fight and only got what he was worth once he was too big a star -- and over 18 -- for MOTOWN to lose. Diana had been recording and touring, doing TV specials and films and she was the mother of three with nothing really in the bank. With RCA, she finally had real financial security as a result of that deal. If Motown had kept her? I don't know. Berry lost interest in running MOTOWN and Suzanne de Passe was ready to move into the company's TV and film division. If she'd stayed at MOTOWN, hit wise, if likely would have been over. Stevie coasted on his own reputation. MOTOWN didn't promote him. And when he had a song in a hit film, he had a hit song. But they didn't promote him, the label didn't. Would Berry have stayed interested in the music division had Diana not left? Maybe. Maybe not. Financially, it was the right thing for her to do for herself and her family -- leaving MOTOWN. Artistically, it was the right thing to do. She was treated very poorly in the seventies -- disrespected by some of her producers and some big ego songwriters. They wanted Diana to be their wind-up doll and just do what she was told. They didn't recognize her own creativity. That's why she worked so often with Ashford & Simpson. They didn't see her as a part coming down an assembly line. They worked with her to develop themes and ideas she could identify with and craft the Diana who is a legend and a survivor. And she was able to do that even more so with RCA because they didn't care. They knew her name would sell X number of records and they didn't care. So she was allowed total control. Her RCA years have some real artistic highs.

Jess: Was it a mistake to, after leaving RCA, return to MOTOWN.

C.I.: Looking back, Diana should have engaged strong independent promoters to pitch her singles to radio. RCA did poorly. Returning to MOTOWN? It was MOTOWN in name only. They had no real plan but to try to repeat the past. So diana was a hit? Put her back with Nile Rogers. Okay, Nile's great but he's not Bernard Edwards and it was Nile and Bernard who worked on the diana album -- it was Diana who had the album remixed. WORKIN' OVERTIME is the only Diana album I rarely listen to. "This House" and the title track are good but the album has a sameness. It's trying to address the state of the world but to do within the framework of "Upside Down." That's a great song but it came about because Diana kept telling Niles and Bernard that she wanted a song that her young daughters could sing. In that framework, it's a little hard to handle the kind of themes they're attempting on that album.

Dona: Did MOTOWN push the album?

C.I.: They promoted it. Diana had a major story in VANITY FAIR and was on the cover, they got the video on all the various video programs that existed except for MTV. They could not get the lead single on pop radio.

Rebecca: Because RCA had done it's part to destroy the pathway to pop radio that Berry Gordy had created.  Diana's popularity kept her on urban radio.  And, after the RCA years, that's all she had.  Now in the UK, she continued to chart on their pop charts but she wasn't on RCA in the UK.  That's why "Chain Reaction" was a number one hit in England, for example.  

Betty: She got true freedom and true independence by leaving MOTOWN to begin with.  Looking at Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson's limited success in the second half of the 80s and in the 90s, staying at MOTOWN wouldn't have helped her.  

Jim: Alright then.  We urge you to check out Diana Ross' new album THANK YOU.  This is a rush transcript.





Ty's Corner


The Beatles.  Briahna Joy Gray and a number of other self-appointed Black and 'Black' voices decided to rank on last week.  They're not all that, we were told. Really?  People like that don't know music.

Bri-Bri reminds me of the crowd crowing as ROLLING STONE put the lousy album WHAT'S GOING ON by Marvin Gaye as the number one album of all time.

Bulls**t.  That garbage album will fall with 'wokeness.'  It's a b.s. album where Marvin steals credit for song writing.  The much applauded title track -- the one his name is listed first on as a songwriter -- is also a song that Marvin didn't write or co-write.  He learned at MOTOWN how to steal credit.  He did it very well throughout his career.  He accomplished nothing of lasting value with that album -- a fact I acknowledge with sadness.  I was a senior in high school when I saw WHAT'S GOING ON in a used CD store.  I was so excited.  Thought not considered the best album of all time at that time, it was considered a good album.  I bought and I played it and I thought, "Garbage."  That's before I found out that he had cribbed songwriting credit -- stolen, actually.

Marvin's not a songwriter.  That's why there's so little that matters in his career.  Personally?  His affairs with men matter and maybe when his homophobic sister dies and people feel like they can talk about Marvin's bisexuality (applause to Quincy Jones for helping to start that conversation), maybe then there will be some way to add a bit of relevancy to the nonsense that he wrote?  


Maybe not.  He'll still be the man who abused women, beat them, harassed them, physically and verbally harassed them, treated them with such contempt.  Hell, even Diana Ross had to complain to Berry Gordy that Marvin wouldn't stop smoking (pot) around her.  She was pregnant at the time and couldn't put up with the smoke in the recording studio.  Marvin refused -- even under Berry's orders -- which is why the bulk of the album (1973's DIANA & MARVIN) is not the two singing together in the studio.   

Perfect people aren't artists.  But if he can't be made into a bi-hero, he has to survive on his work.  And it's just not there.  He steals credit for songwriting and idiots give him credit for singing on that album.  "OH, he really sings, he really shouts!"  I've heard people say that.  No, he doesn't. There's some wailing going on, but that's not Marvin's voice, idiots.  In addition, what passes for Marvin's vocals are multi-tracked vocals -- the way you fix a bad vocal -- or the way you did back then.  The whole album is multi-tracked.  

The album is a wimp album that wimps out.  I wasn't at all surprised to learn just a few years ago that Marvin was trying to crib from his brother's life -- his brother who had gone to Vietnam, his brother who says that Marvin wished he'd gone to Vietnam.  

That's such an admission of truth.  And so revealing.  People -- idiots -- praise WHAT'S GOING ON as some sort of peace and pro-world statement but it plays like a little boy who wishes he'd seen something.  The war haunted Marvin's brother but Marvin wished he could have been there.  That tells you everything about Marvin.

And while saluting a superficial album, people could instead be using the energy to instead get the word out on actual artistic statements.  Isaac Hayes' HOT BUTTERED SOUL and BLACK MOSES, Lauryn Hill's THE MISEDUCATION OF LAURYN HILL, Stevie Wonder's TALKING BOOK and SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE, Diana Ross' THE BOSS and diana, Prince's SIGN OF THE TIMES, 1999, CONTROVERSY, LOVE SEXY and PURPLE RAIN, Janet Jackson's CONTROL, THE VELVET ROPE and RHYTHM NATION 1814, Millie Jackson's IT HURTS SO GOOD . . . 

There are a lot of benchmark albums that African-Americans have created.  We could be using our time to champion those or we could be stupid like Bri-Bri and make ridiculous arguments (the Beatles didn't have talent!) or use all our energy to defend someone like Marvin Gaye's whose gifts just weren't all that.

I guess it's about how you choose to live your life and whether or not you choose to live it in truth.


We know, they can't help it at CRAPAPEDIA but they lie and then they lie again.

This is from their post on actress Ann Harding:

Harding's performances were often heralded by the critics, who cited her diction and stage experience as assets to the then-new medium of "talking pictures." Harding's second film was Her Private Affair, in which she portrayed a wife of questionable morality. The film was an enormous commercial success. During this period, she was generally considered to be one of cinema's most beautiful actresses, with her waist-length blonde hair being one of her most noted physical attributes. Films during her peak include The Animal Kingdom, Peter Ibbetson, When Ladies Meet, The Flame Within, and Biography of a Bachelor Girl. Harding, however, eventually became stereotyped as the innocent, self-sacrificing young woman. Following lukewarm responses by both critics and the public to several of her later 1930s films, she eventually stopped making movies after she married the conductor Werner Janssen in 1937.

Oh, is that what destroyed her film career?  She got typecast and that destroyed her film career?


Maybe in The World of CRAPAPAEDIA.  But in the real world?


In the real world, she was making many movies.  She was making four Hollywood films a year in  1934 and 1935, for example.

1936 so the slow down.  What happened?

Well she did make LOVE FROM A STRANGER but the career was over -- not just over when it was released in January 1937 and flopped but also when she made it.  It wasn't a Hollywood film.  It was the nail in her coffin.

She denied her ex-husband visitation of their daughter.  She did this in 1934 and it got worse and worse and people began to seriously dislike her.  That's why she couldn't get any films role in Hollywood by 1936.  The two films that bombed that year had been filmed in 1935 and that was it.   That's why she took the role in LOVE FROM A STRANGER -- a British production.  No one else would have her.

If she hoped the controversy (and public hatred) would blow over when she returned after filming, she probably shouldn't have taken her daughter out of the country to England with her.

June 2, 1936, AP's story ran with the headline "Prosecution waits for Ann in England" and the article informed that when Ann arrived in England, she might be arrested for kidnapping because her ex-husband had "[a]n abduction warrant" regarding Ann taking their 7-year-old daughter with her.  

Now we can talk about the way women are judged more harshly and we can discuss the way the courts favored men back then but that's really not the point.  The point is that the press had already portrayed the divorce as 'strange.'  Ann continued to work because it was good copy, she and her husband divorced to help him.  Honest.  Then came the custody battles, the court appearances, the various states.  But when 'strange' morphed into a custody battle, the public was not on her side and her Hollywood career had ended.  She thought England could revive her fortunes and maybe it could have if she hadn't taken her daughter with her.  Who knows?


But the public turned on her because of the custody battle.  And she didn't make the 'decision' to stop making films.  She was already done as a star in US films, but after the film she made in England flopped,  the international market wasn't interested in her either.  She would try to return in the 40s but her days of being the star of an A-list picture had ended. 








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