Archive for Popular Culture

How to Succeed in Self-Promotion

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You may not recognize her with clothes on. Or without an entire cake in her gob.

After Truth Revolt published an article claiming she sexually abused her little sister when they were children, Lena Dunham has been laying low while speaking out to discredit the right-wing website.

But the actress made her first public appearance since the controversy on Tuesday, at the PEN Center USA’s 24th Annual Literary Awards Festival, honouring TV writer Norman Lear in Beverly Hills.

[T]he Girls creator and star appeared to be hoping to put it all behind her as she walked the red carpet at the event on Tuesday.

After a brief stint with green hair, Lena had gone back to platinum blonde and wore her locks in a sleek ponytail.

The 28-year-old wore a black and white 1950s style frock to the event, along with black pumps by L.K. Bennett, a Perspex Charlotte Olympia clutch bag with fingers printed on it, and dramatic winged black eyeliner.

Fabulous!

Lena was joined by Girls co-creator Judd Apatow, and the pair took home the Best Teleplay award for their show’s season two finale, Together.

Lena’s back on Twitter, too:

We are coming back, and with slightly different hair! Girls Season season FOUR premieres January 11th.

Sounds like we’ll be seeing a lot more of Lena. [Shudder]

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Where in the World is Lena Dunham?

So I can stay as far away as possible.

Since the allegations (more like confessions) of sexual “molestation” of her baby sister, Lena Dunham is now a week into radio silence on Twitter (which she had hitherto turned to more often than Twinkies). She’s canceled appearances and had nothing to say beyond an apology:

First and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances.

Childhood sexual abuse is a life-shattering event for so many, and I have been vocal about the rights of survivors. If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention. I am also aware that the comic use of the term “sexual predator” was insensitive, and I’m sorry for that as well.

As for my sibling, Grace, she is my best friend, and anything I have written about her has been published with her approval.

I’ve already published the relevant passages, which have also been widely aired elsewhere. Heck, they’re excerpted from her best-selling book; you can hear them in her own voice in the audiobook. Lena has threatened legal action, which explain her uncharacteristic reserve.

Which leaves others to speak in the vacuum of her silence:

A month after the book’s publication, professional jerkoff Kevin Williamson wrote an article accusing Lena of sexually molesting her sister—not all that surprising of an allegation, coming from the man who wrote an entire piece about how “Laverne Cox is not a woman.”

What was surprising was how quickly many Dunham critics, including other self-described feminists, took up Williamson’s argument, coming together under a #DropDunham hashtag that called on Planned Parenthood to disassociate itself from the vocally pro-reproductive rights star in the wake of these allegations. Unlike others who have weighed in on this debate, I don’t feel as though I have the necessary information or the right to label Dunham’s anecdote as an incident of sexual molestation.

Neither do I. But neither did Williamson. I checked.

He merely reviewed her book, providing myriad and lengthy excerpts, and passed judgement, not once using any word beginning “m-o-l-e-s-t” (again, I checked). He leaves that up to us. He’s not even sure how much she is to be believed.

Childhood interest in genitalia is hardly unique, and certainly not a crime. Lena’s anecdotes may push the envelope (an unfortunate expression in this instance), if they are to be believed, but again I’ll judge them only to the extent that I think they’re weird. I think Lena herself would eagerly agree.

But Lena is beginning to betray a record. She tap dances in her skivvies (no need to revisit that) to encourage us to vote, when she didn’t bother to vote in the last midterm, 2010.

Then there’s her whiter-than-white Brooklyn in Girls:

With the premiere of Girls, which presented gentrified Brooklyn as an endless expanse of Aryan coffee shops, she earned herself the title of racist, and became the poster child for misguided, white, privileged feminists. Naturally, her insistence that Girls’ dearth of diversity was a “complete accident” reinforced the notion that in Lena Dunham’s world, non-white girls and their untrendy problems are simply non-entities.

And while she was about apologizing, there was this from two years ago:

Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, and B.J. Novak are all best friends, natch. So of course they would plan their Halloween costumes together:

The West Memphis Three – a group of young men in Arkansas wrongfully convicted of murders – may be an odd choice of costume, but hey, these are comedians after all, and what is comedy if not tragedy plus time.

Dunham followed up with a suggestion of her own:

Here’s the gist of the reference: Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were a Canadian couple convicted of serial rapes and murders in the early 1990s. The case remains a blemish on Canada’s reputation and is, understandably, still a pretty touchy issue there. Dunham’s remark elicited an internet backlash and prompted the Girls star to apologize. Profusely.

The tweets themselves are at the link, but don’t copy. Twitter is a great playground, I guess, but as many of us remember, playgrounds were not all fun and games. I saw bullies, fights, and humiliations aplenty (and was involved in a few).

Maybe a blog with bloodthirsty in its title, with frequent references to the murderous Manson gang, the dead Dalal Mughrabi, and the decomposing Yasser Arafat is in no position to judge a few “innocent” jibes.

But then I compare the butts of my cruel humor (if indeed it is humor, or cruel) to theirs, and I don’t feel so bad.

PS: Many have noted that conservatives might win the odd election, but have lost the “culture”. Have we? Or have we let the opposition defeat itself? Or is the field of play so polluted, it’s better not to step foot on it?

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Why is This Woman Not Smiling?

Care to give us a victory dance, Lena?

What’s the matter, dear? The prospect of Mitch McConnell as Senate President doesn’t make you want to tap dance in your skivvies?

Just don’t let yourself go, honey:

Oh, go ahead. Lena has more to worry about than the loss of Mark Uterus:

I am dismayed over the recent interpretation of events described in my book Not That Kind of Girl.

First and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances.

Childhood sexual abuse is a life-shattering event for so many, and I have been vocal about the rights of survivors. If the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention. I am also aware that the comic use of the term “sexual predator” was insensitive, and I’m sorry for that as well.

As for my sibling, Grace, she is my best friend, and anything I have written about her has been published with her approval.

I’m glad you two girls are close. Well, not too close.

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We Lost a Great Bostonian Today

No, not Mayor Menino.

Tom Magliozzi, Click (or was it Clack?), one of the Tappett Brothers:

Tom Magliozzi, half of the “Click and Clack” team of brothers who hosted NPR’s “Car Talk” radio show, died Monday. He was 77.

NPR reported the death Monday afternoon. The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, the radio network said.

In a statement, his brother Ray remembered a jovial partner.
“We can be happy he lived the life he wanted to live; goofing off a lot, talking to you guys every week, and primarily, laughing his ass off,” he said.

NPR has been airing archival material since the Magliozzis stopped making original shows two years ago. Berman told NPR that Ray would like the shows to continue as a tribute to his brother.

While all (or most) of the Democrat phonies are paying tribute to someone who essentially ran a party machine here (may he rest in peace)…

…someone who really spoke for the city (and sounded like it) passed. No disrespect to Mayor Menino, but my thoughts will be with another Italo-Bostonian tonight.

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Warning: Another Lena Dunham Post

I’m sorry.

This is going to hurt me more than it is you:

Still, to dismiss Lena Dunham as an insulated and spoiled child of Manhattan’s ruling class is to misunderstand her story entirely. If there is such a thing as actually abusing a child through excessive generosity and overindulgence, then Lena Dunham’s parents are child abusers. Her father, Carroll Dunham, is a painter noted for his primitive brand of highbrow pornography, his canvases anchored by puffy neon-pink labia; her photographer mother filled the family home with nude pictures of herself, “legs spread defiantly.” Self-styled radicals from old money, they were not the sort of people inclined to enforce even the most lax of boundaries. And they were, in their daughter’s telling, enablers of some very disturbing behavior that would be considered child abuse in many jurisdictions — Lena Dunham’s sexual abuse, specifically, of her younger sister, Grace, the sort of thing that gets children taken away from non-millionaire families without Andover pedigrees and Manhattanite social connections. Dunham writes of casually masturbating while in bed next to her younger sister, of bribing her with “three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds . . . anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying.” At one point, when her sister is a toddler, Lena Dunham pries open her vagina — “my curiosity got the best of me,” she offers, as though that were an explanation. “This was within the spectrum of things I did.”

I limited the damage to one paragraph, though—whew!—what a paragraph. This is Kevin Williams of National Review earning combat pay. He’s read Lena Dunham’s book, and evidently watched her show. I can’t. I won’t.

So why do I care? Why spend time on it? Consider it rubbernecking along the highway of life. Lena Dunham’s exhibitionism may be distasteful, unpleasant, gross, and I try not to look (it’s not that hard), but I can’t completely avoid glimpses of her ample flesh splayed out like a rotting humpback carcass.

Until now, I felt like a prude. A square. A tight-assed old man. You just don’t get it, BTL. She’s not ashamed of her body or her sexuality; what’s your problem? Now I feel sorry, almost, for her. The problems are hers, and they are myriad and messy.

My parents were not hippies themselves, but they counted a few among their friends. When these hygienically-challenged creatures managed to overcome the repulsiveness of their mates to engage in physical relations (sorry! sorry!), and bear offspring (the horror! the horror!), it fell to me, on occasion, to spend time in the company of the little sh*ts. I’ve known Lena Dunhams. They were not happy, they were not nice, they were no fun to be around. They might be smart, even talented, but they were monsters. I wondered what would happen to them when they grew up, if they grew up.

In Lena Dunham, I have my answer, poor girl. I’ve seen enough. Any more is voyeurism.

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Gaga Over Israel

When you’ve got Gaga, you’ve got the world:

Pop star Lady Gaga says the world’s image of Israel is inaccurate, calling the country “a beautiful place.”

“Oh it was fantastic!” said Lady Gaga in an interview published Friday by The Independent, talking about her September 13 performance in Tel Aviv. “Tel Aviv was magnificent. The world view of Israel is just not reality. It’s in a beautiful place, the people are in good spirits.”

“I had a very emotional show with those fans. It was wonderful,” she said.

Who needs the United Nations, any of them? And Roger Waters can eat Israel’s shorts.

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Happy

I’ll show you happy:

An Iranian court has sentenced six young Iranians to prison plus 91 lashes for producing a viral video of Pharrell William’s hit single “Happy”.

The video drew ire from the country’s Islamic authorities for portraying women and men dancing together to western music. The women also appeared without their hijabs (Muslim headscarves), which are mandatory in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The court found them guilty of “participation in the making of a vulgar clip” and “illegitimate relations between members of the group,” according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

But the mullahs are not without mercy:

Five of the accused were given six-month prison sentences on top of the lashes, while the video’s producer – Sassan Soleimani – was apparently given a year.

The sentences will however be suspended for three years, meaning that they will not be carried out if those convicted refrain from similar “offenses” during that period. After three years the sentences will then be voided.

And they’ll have an A-bomb within the year. That make you happy?

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Don’t Mention the War Deserter!

Self-censorship is the worst censorship:

While the U.S. Army weighs whether to bring charges against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed earlier this year after spending nearly five years as a Taliban captive in Afghanistan, six of his former platoon mates are shopping proposals for a book and movie that would render their own harsh verdicts.

A draft of their book proposal, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, depicts Bergdahl as a “premeditated” deserter who “put all of our lives in danger” — and possibly aided the Taliban — when he disappeared from his observation post in eastern Afghanistan in the early morning hours of June 30, 2009.

“I’m not sure we can publish this book without the Right using it to their ends,” Sarah Durand, a senior editor at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, wrote in an email to one of the soldiers’ agents.

“[T]he Conservatives are all over Bergdahl and using it against Obama,” Durand wrote, “and my concern is that this book will have to become a kind of ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Truth'” — a reference to the group behind a controversial book that raised questions about John Kerry’s Vietnam War record in the midst of his 2004 presidential campaign.

Yeah, but the Swift Boaters were telling the truth.

“There was no way we were going to sit down and be quiet while Obama was calling him a war hero,” said Evan Buetow, Bergdahl’s former team leader, in an interview with Yahoo News. “We’re just trying to tell the truth. It’s not my fault this would make Obama look bad.”

“We didn’t politicize this,” added Cody Full, Bergdahl’s former roommate. “They brought his parents out at a White House Rose Garden ceremony and presented him as a hero. … Why wouldn’t you just have a quiet press release? Why do you have to have a big parade? You don’t do that for the parents who have kids who have died in Afghanistan.”

This is a smoking gun, but the arsenal of left-wing bias in the news, academia, and across the culture is much greater than this. The so-called low information crowd includes New York Times readers, NPR listeners, and the like. In fact, they are the low information crowd.

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Et Tu, Gaga?

First Mick and the boys, and now Lady Gaga? It’s enough to lead a BDS-er to hang himself—and don’t let us stop you!


Is that meat dress kosher?

Get ready to party, because Lady Gaga is bringing “artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball” to Tel Aviv.

The international tour following her album “ARTPOP,” featuring hits like “Applause,” “Do What You Want” and “G.U.Y.,” will reach Park Hayarkon on September 13, producers Udi Appelboim, Ronen Miley, Bookmark Entertainment and Live Nation Global Touring announced Sunday.

The provocative pop star’s latest tour already sold 775,000 tickets in 35 cities around the world and includes set changes and complex choreography and several costumes – including a polka-dot octopus suit and giant gold wings, but not a dress made of raw meat.

Lady Gaga was clearly not intimidated by the unimpressive efforts by the BDS movement to stop her from performing in Israel. A petition started by BDS Amsterdam garnered only a measly 1,098 signatures.

She’s not to my taste (unless she can cover Shubert’s Fischerweise), but I’m a fan now.

Where is the rabid Left of yesteryear? They once knew how to organize a boycott. Maybe it helps to have a target of a boycott—apartheid South Africa, the Jim Crow South—worthy of a boycott. Diverse, democratic, multicultural Israel, just doesn’t fit the bill.

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Suck It, BDS-ers!

Let’s spend the night together:

Some 50,000 Israelis made their way to Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv Wednesday night to watch legendary British rock group The Rolling Stones play their first-ever gig in Israel. The band is set to begin at 18:15 GMT.

Very heavy traffic was reported in Tel Aviv ahead of the show.

Guitarist Ronnie Wood, drummer Charlie Watts and keyboardist Chuck Leavell traveled to Jerusalem Tuesday to visit its Old City; Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards did not join them. Jagger tweeted from Caesarea, and he and other band members were also spotted in a cafe north of their Tel Aviv hotel base.

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At the Amphitheatre at Caesaria today. Looking forward to tomorrow, our first show in Israel!

[T]his summer is witnessing a roll-call of artists coming to Israel. Justin Timberlake played here last week, and Foreigner, Tom Jones, Cyndi Lauper and Deep Purple played recently. Rihanna played last fall. Upcoming shows include the Backstreet Boys, the Pixies, Neil Young, and Lana Del Rey, America and Passenger.

The playlist changes from show to show, according to Merav Lahav, part of the Shuki Weiss publicity team. “The Tel Aviv playlist won’t be released before the show.”

In Zurich on June 1, the band played 17 songs (“Start Me Up,” “You Got Me Rocking,” “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It),” “Tumbling Dice,” “Worried About You,” “Doom and Gloom,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “Out of Control,” “Honky Tonk Women,” You Got the Silver,” “Can’t Be Seen, Midnight Rambler,” “Miss You,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Brown Sugar”) and two encores including (“I can’t get no) Satisfaction”.

I hope they dedicate “Sympathy for the Devil” to Roger Waters.

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Move Over, Francis

What does it say—about me or the world—that I am more impressed by Justin Timberlake’s spiritual moment than I am by the Pope’s?

“The Holy Land… What an experience. I will never forget this day,” wrote Timberlake when he posted the picture, which included the hashtag #israel.

The photo notched over 240,000 likes, but not all of his followers were in sync with the message, the Daily News reported.

“Israel is defiantly not holy land. they kill palestians [sic] every single day for nothing!,” wrote one commenter.

“Correction : you are in Palestine not israel #disapointed,” wrote another follower.

A round of pro-Israel defenders followed the haters, with one writing: “All that the people in israel [sic] want its live in peace .not war. I can tell u that israel people dont [sic] bomb buses . And not kill little children.”

First, you can see why Aggie and I engage in the most antisocial of social media, anonymous blogging. Every time I look at Twitter, I feel the collective IQ of humanity spiraling down the toilet bowl.

Way to go, Justin. Living well is the best revenge.

But then, by appearances, you already know that:

And of course the lovely Mrs. Timberlake:

I love you, Pope Francis, but chicks clearly dig men who love the “holy land” unreservedly, not those who stage photo ops with vile, anti-Israeli propaganda. #israel.

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Not So Teeny Boppers

Uh-oh. Now they’ve gone and pi**ed off Roger Waters:

The Backstreet Boys, the world’s most successful boy band, will perform in Israel in a one-off concert this summer. Barring any last-minute surprises, the vocal harmony group is expected to perform at the Raanana Amphitheater on July 29.

The band will visit Israel as part of the “In a World Like This” concert tour, named for its latest album, which was released in 2013.

The Backstreet Boys was founded in 1993 and consists of Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson. The band boasts sales of more than 130 million albums.

What kind of loser act are you if no one protests your gig in Israel? The Stones have Roger Waters, Alicia Keys has Alice Walker: “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.” Btw, why has no R&B band formed and called itself Soul Danger? Do I have to think of everything?

If the Backstreet Boys were smart, they’d hire Emma Thompson or some other miszionist to plug their act. Feigned outrage or real, just spell their names right.

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