Monday, July 31, 2023

Truest statement of the week

Sometimes called America’s dumbest senator, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., may not know much, but he does know that he is fine with white nationalists in the military and stands with them.

On Monday, while speaking with Kaitlan Collins on CNN’s “The Source,” Tuberville said he’s against racism but is fine with white nationalists in the armed services. “My opinion of a white nationalist -- if somebody wants to call them a white nationalist --  to me, it is an American,” Tuberville said. “Now, if that white nationalist is a racist, I’m totally against anything that they want to do. Because I am 110% against racism.”

Later, Tuberville conflated white nationalists with white people in general. “So, if you’re going to do away with most white people in this country out of the military, we got huge problems,” he said, adding. “There is nobody more military than me.”


-- David A. Love, "Tommy Tuberville's White Nationalist Comments Are a Reminder That The Military Has a White Nationalist Problem" (THE BLACK COMMENTATOR).





Truest statement of the week II

Meanwhile, the presentation of American society as a conflict between “lawless” inner-city populations and “law-abiding” citizens of small towns across the US is not only a blatant appeal to racism: It is an entirely false depiction of the political and social reality facing the urban, suburban and rural working class—white, black and immigrant—entering struggles for fundamental rights wherever they live.

The protests that erupted in 2020 against police violence took place in thousands of small towns across the US, as well as major metropolitan areas, and the demonstrations were thoroughly multi-racial, multi-ethnic in character. Ultimately, Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” is directed against the growing awareness within the working class of the need for a united struggle against every form of oppression and capitalist society as a whole. It is a filthy and retrograde effort.


-- Kevin Reed, "Jason Aldean’s 'Try That in a Small Town' promotes racism and vigilante violence against protesters" (WSWS). 




A note to our readers

Hey --

Sunday 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?






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


Oil rich Iraq can't even deliver electricity to the people


Four weeks ago, ALJAZEERA filed the above report about how vulnerable Iraq's power grid was.  If people didn't grasp it four weeks ago, they did over the weekend.

From Saturday's "Iraq loses power:"

Abdulrahman Zeyad (AP) reports:

Power was cut off in large swaths of southern and central Iraq for much of Saturday during scorching summer heat and observances of the Shiite holy day of Ashoura after a fire broke out at a power station in the southern city of Basra.

The fire at the Al-Bkir substation in Basra resulted in the separation of transmission lines linking the southern and central regions, leading to a complete shutdown of the electrical system in the area, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity said in a statement. It said the fire was accidental.

The power outage came as the electrical system faces other challenges, including fuel shortages and surging demands for electricity during a major heat wave. On Saturday, temperatures reached 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 degrees Farenheit).

116 degrees and no power?  Their elected leaders have failed them and the self-appointed ones like cult leader Moqtada have as well.

DW notes:

A fire broke out at the Al-Bkir substation in Basra and resulted in the separation of transmission lines linking southern and central regions, leading to a complete shutdown of the electrical system in the area, Iraq's Ministry of Electricity said in a statement. It said the fire was accidental. 

"The power grid experienced a total shutdown on Saturday at 12:40 p.m. (0940 GMT/UTC) due to a fire that affected a transmission substation in Basra province," the ministry said. 

Ministry spokesman Ahmed Moussa told the AFP news agency that at some point the incident affected main supply to "all of Iraq." 

"Speedy repairs are under way ... to gradually restart the power plants and transmission lines," the ministry said. 


A leader has failed to emerge in Iraq, one who would fight for the people.


Again, ALJAZEERA warned about this four weeks ago.








TV: The strike and what it boils down to

There is a strike going on.  Some readers seem aware of that.  The Writers Guild have gone on strike and the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists voted to join them.  We'll assume some of the complaints in e-mails have to do with the fact that we haven't reviewed any entertainment programming in several weeks (May 31st's "Media: The Stupid, The Fake Asses and The Cowards").



But there is a strike going on and it's about many things -- including our rights as human beings, including our future and our past. Since one of us is a member of SAG, we'll let SAG explain.


 Here’s the simple truth: We’re up against a system where those in charge of multibillion-dollar
media conglomerates are rewarded for exploiting workers.
The companies represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers
(AMPTP) — which include Amazon/MGM, Apple, Disney/ABC/Fox, NBCUniversal, Netflix,
Paramount/CBS, Sony, Warner Bros. Discovery (HBO), and others — are committed to
prioritizing shareholders and Wall Street. Detailed below are some of the key issues of the
negotiation and where things stand. We moved on some things, but from day one they wouldn’t
meaningfully engage on the most critical issues.
● Performers need minimum earnings to simply keep up with inflation.
○ Us: We need an 11% general wage increase in year 1 so our members can
recover from record inflation during the previous contract term.
○ Them: The most we will give you is 5%, even though that means your 2023
earnings will effectively be a significant pay cut due to inflation and it is likely you
will still be working for less than your 2020 wages in 2026.

● Performers need the protection of our images and performances to prevent replacement
of human performances by artificial intelligence technology.
○ Us: Here’s a comprehensive set of provisions to grant informed consent and fair
compensation when a “digital replica” is made or our performance is changed
using AI.
○ Them: We want to be able to scan a background performer’s image, pay them for
a half a day’s labor, and then use an individual’s likeness for any purpose forever
without their consent. We also want to be able to make changes to principal
performers’ dialogue, and even create new scenes, without informed consent.
And we want to be able to use someone’s images, likenesses, and performances
to train new generative AI systems without consent or compensation.

Performers need qualified hair and makeup professionals as well as equipment to safely
and effectively style a variety of hair textures/styles and skin tones.
Us: How about consultations with qualified hair and makeup professionals for all
performers on set to ensure equity for performers of color, and a requirement to
have the proper tools and equipment?
Them: Begrudgingly, we will do this for principal performers, but background
actors are on their own.

Performers need compensation to reflect the value we bring to the streamers who profit
from our labor.
Us: Consider this comprehensive plan for actors to participate in streaming
revenue, since the current business model has eroded our residuals income.
Them: No.
All performers need support from our employers to keep our health and retirement funds
Us: Contribution caps haven’t been raised in 40 years, imperiling our pension
and health plans. Would you consider raising the caps to adjust for inflation and
ensure that all performers, regardless of age or location, receive equal
Them: Here are some nominal increases nowhere near the level of inflation that
won’t adequately fund your health plan. Also, background child performers under
14 years of age living in the West Coast Zone don’t deserve pension
contributions, which is why we haven’t paid them since 1992.

Principal performers need to be able to work during hiatus and not be held captive by
Us: These timelines we’ve proposed help series regulars by limiting the
increasingly long breaks between seasons and giving them some certainty as to
when they’ll start work again or will be released.
Them: Take these select few improvements that will only help a select few.
Principal performers need to be reimbursed for relocation expenses when they’re
employed away from home.
Us: Drop the ruse that series regulars are becoming residents of a new state or
country when they go on location, and adequately pay them for all of their
relocation costs.
Them: Here’s some stipends which don’t realistically reflect the cost of relocating
to an out-of-state or out-of-country production.

We marched ahead because they intentionally dragged their feet.
After we agreed to their compressed bargaining schedule, the AMPTP subjected us to repeated
stonewalling and delays. It took more than four weeks of bargaining for the AMPTP to agree to simple basic issues of fairness and respect, such as:

● Access to reproductive healthcare and gender affirming care for performers working
away from home in states that restrict medical access.
● A consultation process to guard against racist and sexist “wiggings” and “paintdowns” of
stunt performers.
● Safety for performers working with animals on set.
Is this enough? We need transformative contracts, yet remain far apart on the most critical
issues that affect the very survival of our profession. Specifically, we need fair compensation
that accounts for inflation, revenue sharing on top of residuals, protection from AI technology,
and updates to our pension and health contribution caps, which haven’t been changed in
This is why we’re on strike. The AMPTP thinks we will relent, but the will of our membership has never been stronger. We have the resolve and unity needed to defend our rights.
Transparency: The following chart reflects our proposals and illustrates just how far apart we
remain on key issues. The document also indicates where we’ve reached a tentative
agreement, as well as proposals strategically withdrawn as part of the negotiating process.
For additional information, FAQs, picket locations and more, visit

We hope you agree that those issues kind of outweigh the need for constant entertainment.

Equally true, entertainment program is airing and not just repeats.  STARZ has kicked off the second season of MINX.  The first episode of season two aired last week and this show that was previously available through HBO, there's already a brand new major conflict.  No, we're not talking about how the new backer for the male nuder magazine is already pressuring Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) to get rid Doug (Jake Johnson).  We're talking about how there's now a romantic complication between Joyce's sister Shelly (Lennon Parham) and Bambi (Jessica Lowe).  But, for the record, adding Elizabeth Perkins to the show as the money behind the magazine does bring in a lot of exciting possibilities.  She was a huge reason WEEDS worked so well as a blend of comedy and drama.  And she's also providing a reason to watch season two (which also just started, four episodes are currently available) of APPLE+ THE AFTERPARTY.  

Currently, there are three episodes of the JUSTIFIED reboot available.  FX and HULU have JUSTIFIED: CITY PRIMEVAL which finds Timothy Olyphant returning as US Marshal Raylan Givens.  Olyphant is relaxed and assured in the role and that's got to be partly because he's already survived a nightmare set on another program where a female producer thought casting was a stud call that should service her.  We're told there's no crazy on this shoot and we're glad.  No one deserves peace and success more than Timothy. 

Need a sitcom?  SON OF A CRITCH is airing on (and streaming at) THE CW.  This is a CBC series.  In terms of titles, it's similar to the CBC's SCHITT'S CREEK.  In terms of funny?  It's not to that level yet.  But it is funny and it's in its second season.

Or maybe you could watch ONCE IN A MILLION.  The series stars the late Shirley Hemphill.  It airead on ABC in 1980 and it's now streaming -- all 13 episodes --n CRACKLE.

Why would you watch the show?  It's funny.  

It's also historically important.  

Last week in "Media First Aid Kit (Ava and C.I.)," we noted how there was the reality about 1978's THE WIZ and there were the lies.  It was really important for a number of people -- people in power -- for THE WIZ to be seen as a bomb despite the fact that it sold tickets and that it made back its shooting budget on ticket sales in the US and Canada alone, despite the fact that CBS paid $10 million for the rights to air the film before it was even released.

THE WIZ was -- at worst -- a little more than a break even film.  If the overseas financials were released, we're probably be able to talk about how much of a profit it turned.

But reality was less important than the studios' powers.  And it was in their interest to clamp down on African-American talent.

By the mid-seventies, Carroll O'Connor had walked on ALL IN THE FAMILY demanding more money for each episode.  This would continue with one White, male actor after another through Larry Hagman's upping his pay to $75,000 an episode in 1980.  

Over and over, in the period between O'Connor and Hagman, this is how it works.  

If you're a White man.

If you're not?  The most famous case is Suzanne Somers.  They will fire a woman for doing the same thing.  They will and they did.

But the less famous case?

Before Shirley Hemphill played taxi driver Shirley Simmons whose left the controlling interest in a corporation and stays on to fight for solar energy and fair salaries and work conditions, she played another Shirley.

On WHAT'S HAPPENING!!, she played waitress Shirley Wilson and became a fan favorite immediately.  The ABC sitcom was a rip off of the film COOLEY HIGH.  Bud Yorkin had split with longtime producing partner Norman Lear and needed hits -- and wasn't in the mood to be careful or kind to get them.  Yorkin would only get worse as the series progressed.

First thing he did was a cast purge.  The only one who survived the original pilot was Ernest Thomas who played the main character Raj Thomas.  Rag was a high school student and, when the pilot was reshot, Danielle Spencer portrayed his younger sister Dee and Mabel King portrayed his mother Mable.  His best friends were Dwayne (Haywood Nelson, who actually was in the film COOLEY HIGH) and Rerun (Fred Barry).  The kids hung out after school at Rob's Place where Shirley Wilson was the waitress.

It was a hit show.  And Ernest Thomas and Fred Barry looked at the season one ratings and their low pay (as well as the substandard dressing rooms) and asked for a raise.  Not provided with one, they walked out.  

When Larry Hagman and Carroll O'Connor and assorted other White male actors walked, they got what they wanted.  Not so for Ernest and Fred.  They were suspended, as JET reported, and forced to provide bond basically (in order to return they had to sign promissory notes from $25,000 in case they walked again).

Racist Yorkin had already tangled with an African-American star before.  In 1974, Redd Foxx walked on SANFORD & SON and stayed gone for eight episodes until his salary (and ownership) demands were met.  Yorkin was furious with the network (NBC) and his then-partner Norman Lear for settling with Foxx.  He felt the show could go on without Foxx and that Whitman Mayo was enough to keep viewers.  He wasn't.  Clearly.  As Mayo's two failed spin-offs -- GRADY and SANFORD ARMS -- demonstrated, he was a pleasant addition to SANFORD & SON but he was not the reason anyone tuned in.

Without Lear's calmer perspective, Yorkin was left alone -- as he wanted to be.  And loudly Yorkin made clear that he was not going to be pushed around by those actors -- African-American ones.

WHAT'S HAPPENING was a popular show.  The actors' salaries did not reflect this.  Sally Wade wrote the season three episode "Dee Is A Cheerleader" which eventually aired January 25, 1979.  And Sally Wade re-wrote it when Ernest Thomas and Fred Berry again went on strike.

The actors returned but ABC and Yorkin decided no more and the popular show was cancelled to demonstrate that while the networks and studios might cater to White male actors, all women and people of color would not dictate terms, no matter how popular they were with audiences.


It's a lesson they loved to teach, that you're not really part of the business, that you're in on a pass and we will gladly screw you over and destroy you if you dare to think you deserve equality.  


Remember how we said WHAT'S HAPPENING!! stole from COOLEY HIGH?  That did not end well for the African-American man who wrote COOLEY HIGH.  As BLACKTHEN noted earlier this year

Eric Monte, a man who allowed his pen and desire to eliminate the stereotypes of African-Americans, became one of America’s favorite writers with credits of the movie Cooley High and the television shows: “All in the Family”, “The Jeffersons’s”, “Good Times”, “What’s Happening!” and he was also the guest writer penning an episode for the shows: “The Wayans Bros” and “Moesha”. A trailblazer in black television, Eric Monte showed America and the world an authentic view of life as a black American. Prior to 1970, blacks were portrayed as servants, sidekicks or clowns and uneducated. Eric Monte changed that by creating characters that were controversial and politically and socially conscious. With male figures such as James Evans and George Jefferson, it was the first time we saw ourselves on television living in a positive and productive way, regardless of our economic status.
Eric Monte credits his partnerships with Mike Evans (who played Lionel Jefferson on All in the Family) and Norman Lear (television writer and producer who produced a lot of 1970s sitcoms), regardless of the script of project, these two men were by his side. However, we all know that in any business industry, knowing the legal and business side of things is essential to your longevity, financial success, and reputation. Unfortunately for Eric Monte, he lost ownership rights of his creations, as well as the financial benefits that were to gain. In 1977, Eric filed a law suit against Norman Lear, CBS and ABC alleging that his story ideas were stolen. After winning the lawsuit, he was blacklisted in Hollywood and is still to this day. “As soon as I filed that suit, all of my offers dried up. Nobody in Hollywood would talk to me. I was blacklisted,” he said.

Again, the current strike is about many things and, as we've seen over and over, it's the talent, not the suits, that suffer.  The suits get big homes and big salaries.  They leach off the talent.  Shirley Hemphill was found dead in her home at the age of 52, a victim of kidney failure.  Fred Barry also died at home, also at the age of 52, from a stroke.  Mabel King made it to 66 and she died in a hospital -- complications from diabetes.  At the time of her death, she'd already had a toe amputated, her left leg amputated, her right leg amputated and one arm.  The suits on WHAT'S HAPPENING!!?  Saul Turteltaub lived to be 87 and died of natural causes, Bernie Orenstein is still alive at 92 and Bud Yorkin lived to be 89, died of complications from natural causes (he suffered from dementia in his final years). WHAT'S HAPPENING!! had three successful years on ABC and was hugely successful in syndication (so much so that the show would be brought back for three first-run in syndication seasons).  You don't see that success reflected in the lives the actors led but you do see it reflected in the lives the suits led.  That huge imbalance?  That's why there's a strike.


A look at Cornel West's campaign


The "People's Party" has a presidential candidate: Cornel West.  Because that party is such a joke -- and a dirty joke at that -- Cornel now wants to be the Green Party's presidential candidate.  He's not at present.  He'll need to campaign and then may or may not get the nomination.  The Green Party does not approve of The "People's Party" (most people do not approve of PP).  In addition, Cornel West is not a member of the Green Party.  It's a head scratcher, all right. 


Is Cornel West for real?  It's so hard to tell.

For example, he does interviews with grifter Glenneth Greenwald and that's a suspect move.  Glenneth isn't a leftist so why is Cornel making nice with him?  Glenneth's also a raging transphobe and hate merchant so why is Cornel calling him "my brother Glenn Greenwald"?

Then there are other questionables.  

We're not big on fake asses and Susan Benjamin is nothing but a fake ass.  Earlier this year, she wanted to gather with people like herself, remember?  She wanted to join them onstage -- other racists and Nazis.  Then the rank-and-file of CODEPINK told her no damn way.  So she didn't . . . join them onstage.  She just joined their event because nothing says "peace" and "left" like mingling with Nazis?

If you missed their failure of an event, consider yourself lucky.  

Reporting on it, Jacob Crosse and Joseph Kishore (WSWS) noted:


Pacifist journalist and author Chris Hedges, having evolved politically from warning of the fascist threat in the United States to promoting the unity of left and right, opened the event with a sermon intended to provide benediction for the speakers who would follow.

Hedges, along with Max Blumenthal of the Grayzone, Jill Stein of the Green Party, and comedian Jimmy Dore and a few others were there to give a progressive gloss to the “left-right” coalition and legitimize the extreme right. Their principal message was that unity with the fascistic right was permissible and should be actively pursued. Those who oppose collaboration with the right are viewed as political enemies.

The visceral hostility to opponents of “left-right unity” was recorded in various video clips of Hedges and Blumenthal, in conversations before the start of the rally, denouncing the World Socialist Web Site.

This anger against the defense of principled socialist politics erupted in the speech of Dore. He devoted most of his remarks to a thinly-veiled denunciation of the World Socialist Web Site for opposing unity with the fascists.

In the case of Dore, alliance with the right is not only a tactic. It is an expression of his own political views. Dore advanced the position of the far right on the COVID-19 pandemic, denouncing public health measures and vaccines. At one point he declared that “they” want me “to hate my neighbor for the pain I am feeling because of that because they wouldn’t take a vaccine that didn’t work the way they said it did in the first f**king place.” He added, “Eat boosters you mother f**kers.”

At one point, Dore bizarrely asked, “Why are we sending that money to Nazis in Ukraine when we could be funding Nazis here in America struggling to buy eggs?”

Jacob Crosse went on to draw a very direct line between fascists and Nazis to the organizing of the event and conclude, "There is not only a close political kinship but a direct line of communication connecting outright Nazis to the Libertarian Party, the principal organizer of the 'Rage Against the War Machine' rally. Those supposedly on the 'left' who participated in the rally served primarily to lend these far-right forces political credibility and legitimacy."

This is the group that Susan "Medea" Benjamin wanted to be onstage with, this is the group that she did rally with.  

CODEPINK has had a racial problem from the beginning.  Like Lena Dunham, they constantly insisted that they were going to fix it, they were going to bring more people of color into their White group.  Like Lena, they never did.  Unlike racist Lena, they didn't claim that they couldn't write White characters not being White.  Instead, they just walked away from the promise and thought no one would notice.

Why would anyone notice?  All CODEPINK ever does is walk away from promises.  There are troops on the ground in Iraq because CODEPINK got bored and dropped it as an issue.  That's what peace groups do, right?  If they're racist anyway.  

They also, when Barack Obama gets sworn in as president, start calling for the Afghanistan War to . . . continue, right?  That's what they do, right?  Because that is what CODEPINK did.

Over and over, they've disappointed.  And yet Susan aka Medea has remained the public face.  For over 20 years.  As we noted earlier this year, "Editorial: Susan Benjamin needs to step aside from leading CODEPINK."  20 years as the public face.  20 years.  She's 70 now.  She is Dianne Feinstein refusing to step aside and let younger people lead. 

And this is who rallies to Cornel West? 

She's also a proponent of the 'safe state' 'strategy.'  

Are people aware of that?  In 2004, her 'answer' (not that anyone was waiting to hear from her) was that Green Party members should vote for John Kerry for president unless they were in a state which was predicted to go to Kerry anyway.  Kerry was the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.  That's the kind of Green that Susan actually is.

So, no, her 'endorsement' is as meaningless and attention-seeking as anything else this shallow fake ass ever does.

Renee Johnston of BLACK POWER MEDIA has offered many strong critiques of Cornel's campaign. For example, see the video below.



One of the critiques was that he was out-of-step with internet.  After her critiques, he and/or his team have finally started using the official website as a tool to attract voters.

And, last week, the campaign finally managed to issue two press releases:

Cornel West calls for the nationalization of the fossil fuel industry and an immediate halt to oil, gas and coal extraction to combat the climate emergency

War, Climate and My Presidential Campaign

Prior to that?  This 'happening' campaign issued a press release on July 12th.  Before that July 4th.  Before that?  Nothing at the website. 

At the website, he says he's for "Unleashing Democracy:"

Massive investments in satisfying the social needs of everyday people. Medicare for all including humane mental healthcare, decriminalization of drugs, and creation of humane rehabilitation sites. decent housing for all, quality education for all, free college tuition for all, and jobs with living wages for all. Abolishing poverty and houselessness. Targeting the vicious legacy of white supremacy by ending mass incarceration, demilitarizing policing (abolishing Cop-Cities), and promoting reparations for past unjust treatment of Black people. Prioritizing the empowerment of indigenous peoples. Protecting the reproductive rights of women and ending all forms of patriarchy. Securing the rights of LGBTQ+ and Trans-Peoples. Treating every migrant and asylum seeker with dignity and implementing fundamental changes in immigration policies. Public financing of elections with rank-choice voting, eliminating the Electoral College and a national holiday for voting. Democratizing unaccountable monopolies and oligopolies with workers' control.

Sound great and it is needed but how?

If you were president, how would you do any of that?  Public financing?  That's not happening.  You would be a Green with a Congress in the hands of the Democrats and the Republicans.  Congress writes the laws, the president just signs off on them.  You are aware of that, right?

So you're not going to achieve any of that even if you got the Green Party nomination (they will decide on their nominee at their summer 2024 convention).  

We like the idea, we just don't see you doing it.

Then there's "Secure the rights of LGBTQ+ and Trans-people."

We don't agree with that.  

Oh, we're all for the rights of LGBTQ+ people.  

Does Cornel not even understand what LGBTQ+ stands for?  L=Lesbians, G= Gay men, B= bisexual people, T=trans persons and Q=Queer persons.

Why would you say "and Trans-people" after you said LGBTQ+?


Unless you didn't understand what it meant?

A single sentence and the campaign doesn't even understand the basics of LGBTQ+?

More to the point, he keeps going on shows and making nice with transphobes like Glenneth and Jimmy Dore and Max Blumenthal?

Again, if a miracle was delivered and he became president, he wouldn't be restricted in what he could do since Greens do not control Congress -- or even have a small number of members in Congress.

So don't tell us what you're going to do.  Show us right now, how you defend LGBTQ+ people because we're not seeing it when you shuck and jive with all the transphobes on YOUTUBE.

Susan 'Medea' Benjamin is all about seeking attention.  Maybe that's why she's so high on Cornel West?  Thus far, it seems like he's just about seeking attention as well.


Illustration is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Cornel's Crackpot Cracker Parade."

Books (Stan, Ava and C.I.)



As we did in 2021, we're attempting to again increase book coverage in the community. Since the last installment of this feature, we're speaking with Stan about his "Stephen Rebello's DOLLS! DOLLS! DOLLS: DEEP INSIDE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, THE MOST BELOVED BAD BOOK AND MOVIE OF ALL TIME" covers a book about the filming of VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

Stan: Right.  And it was a huge hit in 1967.  It went into wide release on December 15th and still managed to make it into the top ten of that year.  It cost $4.6 million to film and it brought in $50 million in ticket sales. It did better, in ticket sales alone, than other films of that year including Frank Sinatra's THE DETECTIVE, Steve McQueen's BULLITT, THE ODD COUPLE, ROSEMARY'S BABY, OLIVER and ROMEO & JULIET. So the film was a huge hit.  It wasn't a good film.

You put the blame at the feet of Patty Duke.

Stan: Of the actors, yes.  She was wrong for the part and never should have been cast.  Neely is savaged by Helen Lawson and fired from a Broadway show because she's upstaging Helen who is the star.  Instantly, Ann, Lyon and Mel go to work to save Neely's career.  Why?  In the book, she's vulnerable.  Not in the film.  The whole point of the dolls -- the pills -- is the impact that they have on the main characters.  But they have no impact on the film's Neely because Patty hasn't made her vulnerable at the beginning.  Neely goes to Hollywood, in the novel, and gets hooked on the dolls and becomes courser and harder.  Doesn't happen in the movie because Patty Duke didn't know how to act and plays the character rough and tough throughout.  There's no dramatic arc as a result of Patty's bad performance.  She sinks the film.  Natalie Wood wanted that role and would have been perfect in it.  The direction is poor as well and the script could use a little more focus.

You felt that a few people came off well.

Stan: Right.  In the film, praise should go to Barbara Parkins and Sharon Tate for their acting, to William Travilla for his costumes, and lastly to Dionne Warwick for her performance of the theme song and Dory and Andre Previn for writing the theme. Dionne took the song to number two on the BILLBOARD pop charts.  

What was the best part of the book for you?

Stan: Probably the chapters on the casting.  The film turned out so poorly -- a critical disaster -- that it's really amazing to learn how many women wanted to be in it.  It's because it offered strong roles from women.  Along with Natalie wanting to be Neely, others trying for that role or the roles of Anne and Jennifer were Candice Bergen, Raquel Welch, Marlo Thomas, Faye Dunaway, Ann-Margaret, Petula Clark, Liza Minnelli, Helen Mirren, Jill St. John, Shirley MacLaine, Tuesday Weld, Mary Tyler Moore, Linda Harrison, Elizabeth Hartman, Joanna Pettet, Lauren Hutton, Susan Anspach, Nancy Dussault, Jessica Walter and Karen Jensen.  One person who wanted no part of the film was Jane Fonda.  She said no to both Neely and Anne.  As for the men?  Jacqueline Susann, author of the book, thought Paul Newman and other big names would be lining up to play the male leads.  That didn't happen.  The roles were neither big enough in terms of screen time nor deep enough in terms of characterization.  Except for Tony Curtis -- who the director nixed -- the names were mainly TV names: James Garner, Adam West, Vince Hunter plus film actors like Christopher Plummer, Rod Taylor and George Peppard. No big name ended up cast for the roles of Lyon, Mel or singer Tony.

Do you recommend the book?

Stan: I really do.  It's really a story is how a hot property that actresses were interested in and that America was interested in was turned into a really bad film.  


Previous book discussions this year.

"Books (Mike, Ava and C.I.),"  "Books (Ann, Elaine, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ann and C.I.)," "Books (Ruth, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Mike, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "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.)."

2023 Passings

These are the deaths community members found worthy of noting this year.

Lisa Presley -- Elaine noted her passing.

Christine McVie -- Kat covered her passing.


Adam Rich -- Marcia noted his passing.


Jeff Beck -- Kat noted his passing.


Lance Kerwin -- Rebecca noted his passing.

Barrett Strong -- Ruth noted his passing.


Lisa Loring -- Rebecca noted her passing.


Burt Bacharach -- Rebecca noted his passing.


Raquel Welch -- Elaine noted her passing.


Stella Stevens  -- Rebecca noted her passing.


Richard Belzer -- Ruth noted his passing.  


Kevin Alexander Gray -- C.I. notes his passing.


Pat Schroeder -- Kat noted her passing.


Lance Reddick -- Mike notes his passing.  


Darcelle XV -- Elaine notes his passing.


"Mark Russell" -- Ruth notes his passing 


"Elizabeth Hubbard" -- Trina notes her passing.


"Mary Quant and more Peabody nominations" -- Elaine notes a passing.


"Harry Belafonte" -- Kat notes a passing.

Gordon Lightfoot" -- Kat notes a passing.


"jacklyn zeman, rose schlossberg, john travolta and..." -- Rebecca notes the passing of Jacklyn Zeman.


"Iraq snapshot," "Tina Turner (1939 to 2023)," "The groundbreaker Tina Turner," "Tina Turner," "Lauren Boebert gets burned by AOC," "MAX and NETFLIX, Eva Longoria," "Tina Turner, Eric Swalwell, John Roberts," "They've ruined their reputation," "Hate merchant Tulsi Gabbard," "tina turner passed but the hideous gop lingers," "Tina " and "The wrong people are dying" -- The community notes the passing of Tina Turner.


 "Gay actor George Maharis has died" -- Stan notes the passing. 

"10 great songs that Cynthia Weil co-wrote" and "Cynthia Weil" -- Marcia and Kat note Cynthia Weil's passing.

"Hate merchant Pat Robertson has passed away" -- Kat notes the end of Pat Robertson.

"Glenda Jackson" -- Ruth notes the actress's passing.



"Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. notes the passing of Daniel Ellsberg.


"Andrea Evans" -- Kat notes the passing of a soap opera icon. 


"Tony Bennett" -- Kat notes the passing of a great singer.









"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.   



"SCREAM VI and THE BOYS" -- Stan reviews Ron and Clint Howard's THE BOYS.



"the world according to joan" -- Rebecca reviews this book.


 "Elton John and Whitney Houston" -- Kat reviews Elton John's autobiography and a biography on Whitney Houston.

"DON RICKLES: THE MERCHANT OF VENOM" -- Isaiah reviews this book.




 "Vincent Price and Universal" -- Marcia reviews John L. Flynn's 75 YEARS OF UNIVERSAL MONSTERS and Vincent Price's I LIKE WHAT I KNOW: A VISUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY.







"JOAN BAEZ: THE LAST LEAF" -- Ruth reviews  this book by Elizabeth Thomas.


 "A JOYOUS TRANSFORMATION: THE UNEXPURZGATED DIARY OF ANAIS NIN, 1966 -1977" -- Ruth reviews a book by Anais Nin.


"An aging queen writes a bitter book about The Way We Were" -- Marcia reviews a bad book about THE WAY WE WERE.



"Travis Stewart's bad book supposedly on Stevie Nicks" -- Kat reviews a bad book supposedly about Stevie Nicks.


"Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day"-- Trina strongly recommends this cookbook.

"GET LOST" -- Isaiah looks at this comic magazine

"Lucille Ball and HERE'S LUCY" -- Stan reads up on the second half of Lucille Ball's life.

"Melody Thomas Scott's Always Young and Restless: M..." -- Ann reviews this autobiography.

"ROCK AND ROLL NIGHTMARES" -- Elaine reviews this book about crime in the music world. 

"ALL THE LEAVES ARE BROWN" -- Kat reviews this book about the Mamas & the Papas.

"SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND" -- Mike reviews a science book.






Tweet of the week


This edition's playlist



1)  Diana Ross' THANK YOU.  



3) Sam Smith's GLORIA.


4)Yusuf/Cat Stevens' KING OF A LAND.




6) Rickie Lee Jones' PIECES OF TREASURE.


7)  Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE.





10) The Rolling Stones' AFTERMATH.



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 snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Dianne Feinstein needs to step down now," "Dianne Feinstein and Mitch McConnell are what's wrong with America," "Clarence & Ginni, two lusty, greedy crooks," "Lock her up! Lock her up! And her husband too!," "The book banners are creeps,"  "Sad news from Ralph Nader," "Tulsi Gabbard, bride of Satan,"  "Tommy Tuberville puts the entire country at risk," "Racist Tommy Tuberville harms us all," "First Felon (Ruth)," "What idiots voted Nazi-lover Paul Gosar into office?," "They schemed and plotted to keep an elected Black man out of office," "Joe and Hunter Biden," "Hunter Biden's latest problems," "For anyone e-mailing (general purpose statement to apply from this moment forward)," "Junior's got the crazed Tara Reade vote!," "The Hate Merchants will not win," "Free yourself from the crazy," "Jonathan Fake Ass Turley," "Lauren Boebert, the liar," "That disgusting Glenneth," "Idiot of the week," "God laughs at Ron DeSantis," "It's time for Ron DeSantis to be committed," "Pack it in, I heard you did, pack it in," "He wants to destroy the US the way he has Florida," "derrick van orden is a menace," "zelimkhan bakayev," "higher education should be for all," "disgusting," "Cry baby Jason and ball busting Brittany" and "THIS JUST IN! JASON ALDEAN AND HIS CUR WIFE THROW DOWN!" -- news coverage in the community.



"Pork Chops with Balsamic-Peach Glaze, Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli in the Kitchen," "5 CHICKPEA Recipes EVERYONE Should Know in the Kitchen" and "Tuna Toasts With Spice-Dusted Tomatoes in the Kitchen" -- Trina serves up some recipes.



 "the nanny named fran," "WILL & GRACE," "Archie Punjabi, Marla Gibbs, Kevin Spacey," "Weekend box office," "BARBIE: THE MOVIE" and  "Reality about THE WIZ" -- TV and film coverage in the community.


"Diana Ross -- icon, legend, artist," "The Pretenders," "Hozier and REM and kd lang," "Harry Styles" and "Yusef/Cat Stevens" -- music coverage in the community.



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