Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Truest statement of the week

The targeting of minority segments of the population such as trans athletes, and then trans youth, has nothing to do with maintaining “fairness” in sports or of protecting transgender identifying children’s wellbeing from supposedly dangerous procedures or medications. It forms a pattern which matches previous patterns of demonization of minorities that typically precede more general attacks on the democratic rights of the working class.

This tactic was used by the Nazis in Germany, mobilizing backward segments of the petty bourgeoisie (mostly petty shopkeepers, doctors, professors, white collar laborers) with propaganda scapegoating minorities, including gays, disabled people, gypsies and Jews, with the ultimate goal of destroying the socialist labor movement in Germany.

There was a distinct echo of this at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a national Republican gathering in Maryland, over the weekend. One speaker remarked to applause, “there can be no middle way in dealing with transgenderism. ... Transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” A similar note of anti-trans hysteria was sounded by Donald Trump in his keynote speech.

-- Chase Lawrence, "Tennessee governor signs anti-transgender and anti-drag bills" (WSWS).



A note to our readers

Hey --

Monday night. 

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?  

Chase Lawrence gets a truest.

This is our Iraq War piece.  It's a repost of C.I.   Sunday night, in "Iraq bans booze," she wrote: 

ROLLING STONE is serving up garbage from Spencer Ackerman -- they really need to look at themselves and what made them publish that garbage -- was it Islamophobia?  Was it their historical long record of sexism?  Do they just not know good writing anymore?

Ackerman's always been a crap writer -- it takes a lot to end up fired by THE NEW REPUBLIC -- ask Stephen Glass.

I didn't understand why she didn't want to go into it.  The next morning, she went into it.  And it was a very lengthy argument.  I get why she wanted to go to sleep first and hope that someone else would tackle it.

Ava and C.I. cover a TV show.

And speak with Kat about Kat's book review.

Books reviewed in the community so far this year.

Kat's book review.

An earlier version of this went up.  And Blogger/Blogspot censored it.  Moments after it was posted.  Appears we're on a censorship watch.

Ajamu Baraka gets another Tweet of the week.

Truth about Seymour Hersh is hard to find.

Graham Elwood's new comedy special.

What we listened to while writing.

 Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.



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



They keep hiring the Iraq War cheerleads all these years later

Repost of C.I.'s piece on how Iraq War cheerleader Spencer Ackerman continues to serve up his bad writing.


Iraq snapshot

Monday, March 6, 2023.  A feature magazine hires a writer to weigh in on the Iraq War and he recycles his bad last book while they pretend like giving a pro-Iraq War voice a platform is something new and novel.

From December 30, 2018, it's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Mad Dog And Cher Show."  


Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Mad Dog and Cher Show."  Cher explains, "I love you, Mad Dog.  In fact, I love bombs."  Wearing a shirt which proclaims "WAR CRIMINAL," James Mattis  replies, "Yes, I know.  I saw FAITHLESS."  Yes, it's FAITHFUL, that's part of the joke.  Then the two begin singing, "And the war goes on . . ."  Isaiah archives his comics at THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS.

Besides Cher, is anyone stupid enough to glorify that idiot -- who, for the record, Barack Obama fired when he was president?  

Yeah, there's always Spency Ackerman.  He thinks throwing the f-word around makes him a real boy but it just shows how neutered he is and that, at 42, Spencer never matured.   So bad a writer that even THE NEW REPUBLIC fired him -- a magazine that required years of complaints to finally fire serial plagiarist Stephen Glass -- Spencer was the boy-who-might-make-it . . . two decades ago.

Never happened.  Never will.

ROLLING STONE gives him a chance, as the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War approaches, to write a major piece and he screws that up as well. 

He opens his article rah-rahing over Mad Dog and his vulgar comment to an Iraqi sheikh, how it blew up on Twitter and trended and, as a side note, notes that threatening to f**k someone's daughter doesn't win over that person.  

No, Spencer, it doesn't.  But if you couldn't use that vulgar opening, you'd have to think of something intelligent to write.  Apparently, ROLLING STONE readers are expected to be too stupid to notice that your grand opening falls apart and dooms your article.  They're supposed to be too busy high-fiving and whooping with joy that you managed to degrade women yet again.

And doing so while ignoring the reality that Mad Dog is a War Criminal and what he oversaw was deeply offensive.  From WIKIPEDIA:

In May 2004, Mattis ordered the 3 a.m. bombing of what his intelligence section had reported was a suspected enemy safe house near the Syrian border, but was later reported to be a wedding party and allegedly resulted in the deaths of 42 civilians, including 11 women and 14 children. Mattis said it had taken him 30 seconds to decide whether to bomb the location. Describing the wedding as implausible, he said, "How many people go to the middle of the desert to hold a wedding 80 miles (130 km) from the nearest civilization? These were more than two dozen military-age males. Let's not be naive."[50] The occurrence of a wedding was disputed by military officials, but the Associated Press obtained video footage showing a wedding party and a video the next day showed musical instruments and party decoration among the remains.[51] When asked by the press about footage on Arabic television of a child's body being lowered into a grave, he replied: "I have not seen the pictures but bad things happen in wars. I don't have to apologize for the conduct of my men."[52]

He bombs a wedding, kills 42 people, 14 of which are children and then says it wasn't a wedding.  The ASSOCIATED PRESS investigates and it was a wedding.  "Bad things happen in wars. I don't have to apologize." 

That's what a real writer would have gone for.

But Spencer's never been a real writer.  His mouth more closely resembles an anus and said mouth has always been infected with diarrhea.  He spews it all out in the toilet bowl and finds it so impressive that he refuses to flush it leaving the rest of us to suffer with the odor drifting down the hall.

He's working off some 'big theory' that the Iraq War was a con game (that's one thing it was, that's not the only thing) and that this led to other con games.  But the problem, pay attention, Spencer,  is that the Iraq War continues, the Iraqi people continue to suffer.  The Iraq War, unlike Bernie Maddoff, didn't just make off with people's savings (though it did do that, this country will be footing the bill for the illegal war for many generations to come), it destroyed lives.  It turned Iraq into a land of widows and orphans, for example.  Don't expect to find that reality in Spencer's word spew.

In the middle of the article, he offers:


The Iraqi novelist Mortada Gzar told me that Iraqis are more likely to describe the U.S. presence as an occupation today than they were during the formal occupation of 2003-11. “It will not sound neutral if I don’t use the term ‘occupier’ in my social media, unlike 10 years ago,” explains Gzar. I didn’t initially understand that, having reported from Iraq back then, when it was indisputably a country under foreign occupation. But Amal al-Jubouri, an Iraqi poet, reminded me that I didn’t see Iraq through Iraqi eyes. 

“Many Iraqi writers who were inside Iraq did not dare to name the American invasion as an occupation,” al-Jubouri says. The word was dangerous. “That may lead those who dared to utter it to a tragic fate through the unknown informers of the new Iraqi political process and the occupiers who reacted immediately by arresting and torturing Iraqis if they received any such reports.” The Western press, she continues, “called it ‘the insurgency’ instead of ‘resistance.’ ” I certainly did.    

I'm glad that finally learned something -- decades after the start of the war -- though I think he's really just trying to pimp himself as though he is Dahr Jamail or Christian Parenti when he's none of those things at all.

What he was?  A whore.  And a bad whore.  A bad whore declares he's going to skull f**k his boss -- which, for the record, Spencer did at THE NEW REPUBLIC.  And got fired.  He's been fired from everything including THINK PROGRESS -- there it was for failing to do an assignment.  He was supposed to cover the Democrats running for the presidential nomination in 2008 with regards to foreign policy -- specifically, with regards to Iraq.  There was a huge hearing chaired (badly) by then-Senator John Kerry.  

Where do we start?

With that way hearings work?  With the way the press works?

Congressional hearings are little covered and what is covered is miscovered and that may not be as obvious in the Coronavirus era.  But in the '00s and '10s, attending a hearing meant, 30 or so minutes in, witnessing the great exodus.  That's when the press leaves.  They've got their brief moments of footage -- and text copies of the opening statements -- and with that, they cover the first 30 or so minutes of a two hour hearing.  They call it 'reporting.'

The way a hearing is supposed to work is that the Chair of the Committee speaks, then the Ranking Member, then -- by seniority -- it rotates from one party to the next. 

John Kerry doesn't know much about anything -- which makes his pretense of caring about the environment such a sad farce.  But he does know press and he does know the Senate.  Barack Obama was not in the Senate to vote against the Iraq War -- he ran for the Senate in 2004.  Which meant he was a junior senator.  If he spoke when he was supposed to, he would have not made the news because the reporters would have left.  So John, after the hearing starts, announces that they're going to waive the rules to let Barack speak right away.  The Christ-child always got his way and the press pretended it was normal -- when they weren't cumming in their panties and boxers over the sight of Barack in jeans -- sadly, that video exists to this day.

The other speaker candidate at the hearing had to go in the normal order, even though she was elected in 2000.  Hillary Clinton, that's right.  Spencer did one better than John Kerry, he avoided covering the woman he hated (hated in part because she was a woman) by lying that CSPAN had gone down.  Some threw a fit about that lie and THINK PROGRESS had to take a look and, no, it did not go down and Spencer deliberately lied and deliberately chose not to do his assignment.  

His career, such as it is, is nothing but one moment like that over and over again and why he can't find a home but it always a journalist traipsing from one outlet to the next.  

The whore's putting out for the US government yet again -- his essay is a tie-in with Carnegie -- the so-called Endowment for Peace.  He'll be presenting his recycled garbage in one of their online forums tomorrow afternoon.  

Recycled?  He's taking the premise of his bad and poor selling 2021 book and applied it to this essay.

You can't talk Spencer Ackerman without talking the reality of woke and cancel culture.

It is a lie to say that woke led to cancel culture.

Cancel culture has always been around but, as we know it today, it really begins in this century and goes full out in 2008.  There it begins with Spencer Ackerman.  As already noted, he was a devout supporter of Barack who would lie for Barack.  Everyone should be aware of how far he went.  As a member of Ezra Klein's Journo-list, he hatched one conspiracy of lies after another. 

A number of people were rightly offended by Jeremiah Wright -- by the way, will Oprah ever be asked about him?  That was Barack's pastor (and Oprah's).  He made statements that the average voter found offensive.  No surprise there.  Barack wouldn't walk away at first.  So it became the job of the Cult of St. Barack to destroy on Barack's behalf.

Spencer shared the plan with other journalists on Journo-List.  What they would do is scream, "Racist."  Whomever raised the issue of Jeremiah Wright would be targeted with the label "racist!"  

At one point, Ackerman suggested that fellow members of the listserv should fight the way the right is fueling the Rev. Jeremiah Wright story by choosing one of Obama’s conservative critics, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

At another point, Ackerman acknowledged that, while he didn’t like having to toe a partisan line, “what I like less is being governed by racists and warmongers and criminals.”

He continued: “I do not endorse a Popular Front, nor do I think you need to. It’s not necessary to jump to Wright’s defense. What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a right winger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously, I mean this rhetorically.”

That is cancel culture.  That is cancel someone with lies because you don't like what they said.  That is intimidate them into silence.  And that is Spencer Ackerman.  And he's done it his whole career -- will come back to it, it does apply to this discussion -- and grasp that this was a cabal.

They got together and plotted.  Journalists plotted how they would manipulate coverage to ensure Barack got the nomination and how they would manipulate coverage to ensure Barack won the election.  It was dishonest and undemocratic.  

On that list serve, to cite only one other example, you had the Charlotte Rae of THE NATION -- elderly Katha Pollitt, faux poetess, revealing, after Sarah Palin's first national speech, that she found Palin impressive and formidable.  She was quickly advised by other journalists how important it was that her opinion never went public.  And it never did in 2008.  In 2008, she never wrote what she really thought despite turning in columns for THE NATION.  She just lied.  If you were a subscriber to THE NATION, you had to wait until 2010 to find out what Katha really thought -- in then it wasn't in one of her so-called think pieces but instead in outlets like POLITICO when they were exposing Journo-list.

Jeremiah Wright made a lot of statements that many could find offensive.  It wasn't just that 9/11 was the chickens coming home to roost.  He was homophobic as well -- a reality the mainstream press went out of their way to ignore -- this despite the fact that he appeared on PBS making homophobic statements (Ava and I covered it in real time).  But if anyone raised any issue about the many statements that Jeremiah Wright made, they were to be smeared as a racist and their public destruction made an example of so no one else would dare speak out.

Again, that is cancel culture.  Don't blame it on woke.  Blame it on Spencer Ackerman.

It's the only thing he's ever understood.  Which explains why he gets so many chances by the way.  Has any other journalist flitted so from one outlet to another?  Does any other journalist you can think of appear comfortably on a panel with Francis Fukuyama?  He will -- Spencer and his buddy Francis will be live broadcasting tomorrow afternoon.

Why is that?

It's hard to tell this truth apparently.

I say "apparently" because Ava and I have told it for years at THIRD.  We're the only ones who can do so "apparently."

FAIR tries to argue with us on that fact -- in e-mails, they try to argue with us.

They insist that they call out the media for what I'm talking about here: Employing the Iraq War Hawks.

I'm not talking about employing them back then, back when the war started, I'm talking about who they have hired after the American people turned against the war (2006) and after everyone grasped the Iraq War was built on lies -- since then, they've hired one person who cheered on the illegal war after another.

And FAIR, to their credit, will make a big stink -- at their site and in their e-mails to us --  about how NBC or PBS or THE WASHINGTON POST hires a discredited Iraq War supporter and not someone who got it right -- someone who called the war wrong before it started.

But what FAIR won't do is call out the so-called 'independent' media for doing the exact same thing.  It's two liberals, for example, at MOTHER JONES -- so-called 'feminists' (they're not feminists, all you have to do is look at all the men they have on staff and so few women) -- who hired Kevin Drum.  That's the blogger they wanted.  They could have chosen Mary what's her name Scott or any of the others who got it right about Iraq.  Instead, they went with pro-war Kevin Drum.

It's not just MSM that's hiring these people who pimped the war, it's also the so-called 'independent' media.  THE NATION should really do an article on this topic, they could even just focus on themselves in terms of how many pro-Iraq War writers they hired after 2006 as opposed to how many anti-Iraq War writers they had.  

FAIR likes to make the point, rightly, that those who got it wrong were never held accountable.  And FAIR is right about that.  But they're wrong to only say that of corporate media because it's true in left 'independent' media as well.

And it's true of Spencer Ackerman who, like Glenn Greenwald, to name another, was pro-war.  He used cancel culture back when the Iraq War was starting to try to silence those of us opposed to the Iraq War.  He smeared and targeted us.  That's why cancel culture is bad -- it stops a public discussion.  That's what its intended purpose is.  And Spencer deployed it all the time.  

He's written yet another tract on accountability but doesn't seem to grasp that he's never been held accountable.  His cheerleading of the Iraq War destroyed a country, left another in debt, produced thousands of dead foreign soldiers (US, UK, etc), many more wounded, left a record number of disabled/challenged people in Iraq (including newborns to this day) and left over a million Iraqis dead.  

But, hey, he wants to write about other people not taking accountability?

ROLLING STONE could have hired any number of writers to spit out a thousand or so words on Iraq.  They went with Spencer because those who ran with the pack, those who were cheerleaders for this war, are never held accountable.  

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS' "Get Her Somewhere, She Wants To Be A Celebrity" and "Ron DumpSantis" went up Saturday night.  The following sites updated:





TV: It's not LA CONFIDENTIAL being turned into a weekly series

In the eighties, spy was apparently a high demand occupation causing bosses to recruit just about anyone --  homemakers (Kate Jackson's Amanda King of SCARECROW AND MRS. KING), models and fashion photographers (COVER UP), bank computer operators (JUMPIN' JACK FLASH), struggling actors (OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL),  suburbanites (PACK OF LIES),  songwriting partners (Elaine May's ISHTAR), retired geriatrics (LEONARD PART 6), 11-year-old boys (CLOAK & DAGGER), rock & roll singers (TOP SECRET), US Navel Intelligence (NO WAY OUT -- recruited to be a double-agent), high school students (LITTLE NIKITA), paintball champions (GOTCHA!), insurance agents (REAL MEN), comic book artists (CONDORMAN),  ex-cons (GO FOR IT), rodents (DANGER MOUSE) . . .




The fascination with liars and tricksters continues today and the latest entrant?  TRUE LIES on CBS.

The 90s James Cameron film was never a great movie.  It's the weakest of all of the Cameron films.  Possibly that's due to the fact that the main female character is the weakest as well.  There is no Ellen Ripley, there is no Sarah Connor, Dr. Lindsey Brigman, no Rose, no Neytiri te Tskaha Mo'at'ite.  It's just Jamie Lee Curtis letting herself be the joke over and over.  It's a smarmy role and one not worthy of a James Cameron film.  As for when the character becomes sexy, that's just flat-out laughable -- and not in a comedic way.  

So we find some criticism especially tired and ignorant -- such as when some so-called critics gripe about the character in the TV show not being kept stupid and mocked for not grasping that her husband is a spy.

We find a lot curious, to be honest.

If we're really being honest, we went into watching this show very eager.  People we trust told us it was awful.  Critics went to town on it in their half-assed way and we were ready to burn it to the ground.

Sadly, we made the mistake of watching and all our thoughts of clever bitchery quickly faded.

TRUE LIES is not a great TV show that's going to sweep the Emmys but it was never intended to be that.  It's a simple weekly adventure based on a weak escapist film.  

For what it is, it succeeds providing an hour of diversion via light comedy and flying bullets.

Steve Howey plays the husband Harry Tasker.  In the 90s film, Ahnuld played the role.  Is anyone really going to pretend that Ahnuld gave a performance?  Of course, Howey's an improvement.  He's a scaled down model and we're not just speaking of muscles, we're also speaking of the fact that he's a character on a weekly TV show.  Ginger Gonzaga takes the role of Helen Tasker -- and does so with a take on Helen that makes her both understandable and intelligent -- way beyond the scared (and pathetic)  little girl who did a lap dance for her husband in the film.


Strong support comes via Mike O'Gorman, Erica Hernandez, Deneen Tyler, Omar Miller and Beverly D'Angelo. But a show like this lives or dies on the chemistry between the leads and Howey and Gonzaga nail that. 

It's the chemistry that carried SCARECROW & MRS. KING.  That was Kate Jackson fourth series run in a row.  She started on DARK SHADOWS, moved on to THE ROOKIE and then, of course, CHARLIE'S ANGELS.  She was one of the original Angels along with Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith.  Later, Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack and Tanya Roberts would join the show.  Though five of the six all attempted to follow up the success of CHARLIE'S ANGLES with a starring role in another TV show, only Kate did it.  CUTTER TO HOUSTON, HOT LINE, ONE WEST WAIKIKI, GOOD SPORTS -- none of them made it to episode 21.  (Of the six women, only Jaclyn Smith never attempted to star in her own TV series.)  

SCARECROW & MRS. KING starred Kate Jackson and Bruce Boxleitner and aired on CBS for four seasons (88 episodes).  It ran on charm and, if you doubt that, it streams currently on TUBI.  If TRUE LIES can pull it off, it may be able to pull in viewers on Wednesday nights for similar reasons.  If not?  Steve Howey and others are talking about rebooting the sitcom REBA (others does include Reba McEntire).




Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)



Last week, Kat's "Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage" went up and we're talking to her about the book HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.  It focuses on four American actors:  Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper.  You didn't enjoy the book.


Kat: I did not.  The facts were loose when present at all.  There were so many awkwardly written sentences.

You quoted one: "She'd not long divorced from husband and former lead singer of the Mamas and the Papas John Phillips, by whom she had a daughter, Chynna, who would herself go on to become a pop star with Wilson Phillips."

Kat: When you write a sentence like that, "She'd not long divorced from husband and . . ." maybe you shouldn't try to write another book?  You should definitely refuse to ever work with the same editor again.
You wrote about how you enjoyed his first book, HELLRAISERS,  And didn't interpret his coverage of Elizabeth Taylor as sexism.

Kat: Right.  He's a Brit and I wrote off the hatred of Elizabeth is just that of a British man who's so upset the Richard Burton didn't perform repeatedly in the 60s and 70s on the London stage but instead sought a career as a film star.  But looking back, it's sexism.  There weren't women in the first book who had any real power.  They were wives that were cheated on basically.  Elizabeth was the only one with a career and, of course, more famous than any of the men in the book -- Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed.  The author has a problem with women.
You also called out the author's homophobia. 

Kat: Right.  Marlon Brando is dead.  Why we can't we honest about his same-sex affairs?  The author notes a 70s remark by Brandon about sleeping with men and dismisses it as a possible joke.  As though Marlon didn't discuss it elsewhere or note it in his own autobiography.  As though Marlon's ex-wife didn't write about it when he was still alive.   But apparently reality is too 'icky' for the author. And then he went to town on Natalie Wood, calling her a "starf**ker" for her affair with Warren Beatty.  Warren wasn't really a star then, by the way.  In addition, he blames the affair for breaking up Natalie's marriage with Robert Wagner ignoring the reality that Natalie walked in on Robert Wagner with another man and that's what broke up the marriage and had her attempt suicide.  It's in Suzanne Finstad's book on Natalie Wood -- a book Sellers clearly read since he steals from it so frequently including for an anecdote about Warren using a straight pin to separate his eye lashes before filming on SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS.  But Suzanne speaks to multiple people who knew Natalie and talk about what she walked in on and how it destroyed her.

You do a good job of showing that Warren and Natalie were well done with SPLENDOR before her marriage broke up.  We'll just note that you could have also used Joan Collins as part of the record.  In addition to her public remarks, you can go through her autobiography PAST IMPERFECT and see that he was still with Joan well after SPLENDOR finished filming, through a movie she filmed in London and through his filming of THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE.

Kat: He doesn't know what he's writing about -- he gets credits wrong repeatedly when introducing someone into one of the stories.  I liked HELLRAISER but he should have stopped there.  Going on to write HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISER was destroying his own reputation.  And to pick up on a thread that's emerging in the discussions this year, I'm not in the mood for people who hide sexuality.  Marlon was honest during his lifetime, I can't believe Sellers wants to lie.  As for Robert Wagner, do we have to wait until he's dead to note his same-sex affairs?  Who does their hiding help?  If Robert Wagner finally came out as bisexual, it might make people respect him a little -- or at least not think of him just as a murderer. 


Previous book discussions this year:

"Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Ann, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)" and "Books (Ava and C.I.)."




"Mafia Wives (Susan Williams' WHITE MALICE)" -- C.I. reviews this book.


 "The Sewing Circle" -- Marcia reads Axel Madsen's THE SEWING CIRCLE.


 "Ellen Sander's The Lifestyle That Classic Rock Unleashed" -- Trina reviews this book.

"Phyllis Diller 1917 – 2012: News, Quotes, Interview" -- Ann reviews this book.

"Call Her Heroic (Ava and C.I.)" -- Ava and C.I. review this book.

"Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Gays" -- Marcia reviews this book.


"Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage" -- Kat reviews HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.  




Kat's reviews Robert Sellers' HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.

Kat's reviews Robert Sellers' HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.


Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage

HELLRAISERS was a good book about Peter O'Toole, Oliver Reed and the Richards (Burton and Harris).  It zipped along nicely and was well written.  If Sellers had left it alone . . .

Instead, he wrote HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS and it's an awful book.

I got it on AMAZON KINDLE for $1.99 -- and feel like they owe me ten times that amount for having to read it.

It's too cutesy for words at times.  At other times, it's outright misogynist with terms like "crumpets" and attacks on women.

Natalie Wood, for example, gets attacked in the book.  

She and Warren Beatty were a couple.  I'll come back to that.

And possibly worst of all, it's badly written.

One example:


She'd not long divorced from husband and former lead singer of the Mamas and the Papas John Phillips, by whom she had a daughter, Chynna, who would herself go on to become a pop star with Wilson Phillips.

That's a really poorly written sentence: "She'd not long divorced from husband and former" -- she'd not long divorced?  

It's a very badly written sentence in terms of grammar.  

It's also bad factually.  Michelle Phillips was married to John Phllips.  John was not the lead singer of the Mamas and the Papas.  It was a group with four singers and John was the lowest of them all.  If someone called Cass Elliot the lead singer, that would be wrong but it understandable.  She was the public face and had the most powerful voice.  Denny?  Okay, he sang lead on songs like the Mamas and the Papas.  If you wanted to call Michelle a lead?  I wouldn't have a problem with that.  She had leads on "Dedicated To The One I Love" among others.  And, reality, Cass isn't Cass without Michelle.  It was the blend of their voices -- those two voices -- on songs like "Safe In My Garden," "Got A Feeling," etc  that really made the magic.  

But John?

John didn't do a lead vocal on any song.  He was never a soloist because even he knew he didn't have the chops.  That why his solo album bombed.

It wasn't badly written -- it has some of the best songs John ever wrote.  And the players on the music?  Outstanding.  But John not a singer.  His voice isn't distinctive -- not enough to be a soloist.

So let's get to the problem with the book: Homophobia on the part of the author.

You want to write about Marlon Brando?

His sex life with men is not four quick sentences -- especially not four quick sentences where you try to make a remark he made about sleeping with men a joke on his part.  Marlon was bisexual and didn't just make a comment in the seventies, he noted it in his autobiography.   And his ex-wife wrote about it.  It wasn't one man, it was many.  

Sellers is a sexist and a homophobe.  In his previous book he went to town on Elizabeth Taylor.  In that book, I took his hatred of Elizabeth as anti-American.  She had a dual citizenship (British and American citizenship) and, as the book made clear, he was deeply British.  This books makes it clear that he's a sexist.  (See sections on Michelle Phillips who was involved with three of the subjects of his book -- Warren, Jack and Dennis.) And it entwines with his homophobia.

Natalie Wood, he insists, was a "starf**ker" and that's why she went after Warren Beatty.

A woman went after Warren Beatty?  Really?  Because his entire reputation -- especially in the 60s and 70s -- was built around him being the pursuer.

But, according to his book, Natalie went after Warren and did so while married to Robert Wagner.

No, no, no.  Their marriage was over.  Natalie and Warren didn't begin an affair while filming SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS.  Warren was still with Joan Collins.

Joan and Warren were still together after the film was completed.  Natalie and Robert were still together.  She would go on to start WEST SIDE STORY (August of 1960).  She would finish the film (February 1961).  She would have her tonsils removed (April 1961).  Robert started filming SAIL A CROOKED SHIP (May 1961).  They were still together.  Then in June of 1961, the film is completed and Natalie and Robert break up.

Not because of Natalie sleeping with a man.

Because Natalie walked in on Robert Wagner having sex with a man.  

This is detailed in Suzanne Finstad's book on Natalie Wood -- with numerous people detailing how it drove Natalie to attempt suicide.  

They broke up because someone had sex with a man -- but it wasn't Natalie.

And Robert Sellers has read Suzanne's book -- there are quotes from it in HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS  -- especially the story about Warren separating each one of his lashes on the set of SPLENDOR to look better for the camera -- and director Eli Kazan's comment about Warren's vanity.

Robert Wagner cheated on Natalie with a man.  That's reality and that's what ended the marriage.  Only after that did Natalie take up with Warren.  

But, sure, call her a "starf**ker" if that's how you roll because you're a sexist and a homophobe.  

I don't have time in the 21st century for little piss ant writers who can't deal with a world that includes LGBTQ+ people.  If you're writing a book about what happened, write about what happened.

 Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"



BLOGGER/BLOGSPOT can't stop censoring

Blogger/Blogspot has had a lot of criticism over the years.  We've stayed with it.  We may not be with it for much longer.  They've censored Kat . . .  Wait.  Let's stop for a moment.  Their current censorship is based on attacks on websites.  People don't like what it says, they file a false complaint and your post gets censored.  

Kat had a post censored and appealed it.  Once they read it, they allowed it to go back up.  Rebecca has had four pulled.  She doesn't care about appealing.  Now Stan's had one pulled.  

It's nonsense and it's bulls**t.  Blogger needs to get their damn act together.

If you're wondering what we're talking about, below is Stan's post that got censored over the weekend.  It went up in 2009.  Over the weekend, it was censored for 'violating community standards.'  Read it and find where it violates one damn thing.  It doesn't.  We're not opposed to pulling out of Blogger.


ADDED: BLOGGER just pulled this post minutes after it went up.  We're removing Stan's post but providing a link to it here -- it's at the backup site for THE COMMON ILLS at WORD PRESS.  Read it and grasp how BLOGGER doesn't want you to know what's going on.

Tweet of the week


Flashback of the week

Last week, COUNTERPUNCH dug into the archives for Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn's "When Seymour Hersh Strained to Keep Up With CounterPunch" from July 2008.  Our favorite section of the article:

Actually, it’s at this point, after the hokum about “potential defensive legal action” that Hersh detonates a real bombshell. He admits in print that someone got the story before him, something he disdained to do in the case of My Lai, initially excavated with incredible courage by the late Ron Ridenhour. Nor, in the case of Abu Ghraib has Hersh been keen to correct admiring interviewers and remind them that this was a scoop of CBS News. But in this New Yorker he writes: “(In early May, the journalist Andrew Cockburn published elements of the Finding in Counterpunch, a newsletter and online magazine.)”

He probably felt he had to. Hersh had called Andrew Cockburn’s home phone in Washington DC in early June, clearly peeved to have discovered that the  Finding had been described in detail on May 2 in CounterPunch. (By then it was not exactly a closely guarded secret, except to the traditional, near-dead U.S. press. At the time Hersh called, just under a million readers around the world had clicked directly onto the story on our site.) We would not go so far as to surmise that Hersh learned of the Finding from our story. But we do infer that Hersh’s stated informant on what was in the Finding, referred to by Hersh three times as “a former senior intelligence official”, as “the person familiar with the Finding” and as “the former senior intelligence official” knew less than what Andrew Cockburn’s source told him and thus what CounterPunch readers learned in timely fashion, and had their knowledge further enhanced by Andrew Cockburn’s follow-up story on May 30, “Petraeus’s Iran Obsession” which disclosed, with pertinent detail, something readers of the New Yorker will not have learned, that  “So far, according to former officials with knowledge of the finding, the results have been in line with most other U.S. initiatives in the region, i.e. the strengthening of Iran.”





Comedy video of the week


This edition's playlist




1) Diana Ross' SURRENDER.






4)  Diana Ross' THANK YOU

5) Robbie Williams' XXV

6) Sam Smith's GLORIA.










a park painting 11
This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.  


"Iraq and corruption" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site.


Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS' "Get Her Somewhere, She Wants To Be A Celebrity" and "Ron DumpSantis" -- Isaiah's latest two comics.

"Kat's Korner: The re-release of Diana Ross' SURRENDER" -- Kat's latest album review.


"Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage" -- Kat reviews a book.

"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "The Tigris and the Euphrates," "Dianne Feinstein's illness," "Ford screws over workers, MTG needs to kicked out of Congress," "The 53-year-old failure," "Those Biden scandals," ""It Is Highly Likely the Mafia Was Behind Kennedy's Assassination" -Church Committee Staff (2017)," "Joe avoids the press, son Hunter keeps embarrassing," "Graham Elwood, no more campaign surrogates!, Jake Johnson," "Graham Elwood, China, WSWS," "Graham Elwood, Seth Moulton, Ed Snowden,"  "Why does Marjorie Taylor Greene hate America?," "Jussie just gets worse," "Riley Gaines: The big loser crybaby Karen," "Drag Queen Bill Lee doesn't want others to partake," "Artificial Intelligence," "lauren boebert doesn't realize how stupid she is," "miss diane, girl senator," "palestine," "j.k. rowling steps further and further away from humanity," "world health organization gets away with rape,"  "Are they tired of looking so crazy?," "Don Lemon (can't read a teleprompter correctly), Chase Rice (new album),"  "Kirk and Candace Cameron, the hate merchants," "Daniel Ellsberg, Jacob Crosse, Ben Norton, Graham Elwood," "We pick Lauren Boebert's tiny brain," "Lauren Boebert is everyone's fool -- everyone," "Should there be an IQ Test to run for Congress?," and "THIS JUST IN! LAUREN BOEBERT TALKS STUPIDLY ABOUT STUPIDITY!" -- news coverage in the community.


"Easy Lemon Butter Fish in the Kitchen," "Roasted Potatoes in the Kitchen," "Sauteed Spinach in the Kitchen" -- Trina serves up some recipes.



"CREED III fails to impress," "John Cena and Awkwafina - plus the awful FRAISER 'revival'," "Robert De Niro, THE SILENCERS, HOOK, LINE & SINKER," "Pink, Sally Field, and, no, you didn't get nominated," "Weekend box office," "THE BLACKLIST," "TV and movies," "A film I avoid" and "Graham Elwood's new stand up special, THE GOLDBERGS, Fetterman" -- movie and TV coverage in the community.



"Diana Ross, Ed Begley Jr. Oasis, The Monkees," "Diana Ross' Surrender," "Van Morrison" and "A tale of two Justins -- when the peachfuzz falls off the teeny bopper" -- music coverage in the community.



"Lady Liberty" -- Isaiah dips into the archives. 

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