Entries in Pop Culture (132)

Thursday
Jan022014

The Real Deal on Phil

Prior to the Duck Dynasty  brouhaha over its patriarch Phil Robertson's "theological" musings concerning homosexuality, and his romanticizing of the Jim Crow South and urging of men to marry underage girls who can cook and pluck a duck, Mr. and Mrs. G. had never seen the show, and they were astonished by the amount of press surrounding Roberton's insipid comments. The story was reported in possibly every  news outlet, including NPR and the BBC. NPR!? THE BBC!? Phil Robertson seemed little more than another eccentric reality "star" regrettably enjoying his way more than fifteen minutes of fame...with no end in sight, his show sort of like a backwoods version of The Housewives of Frog Killers and Gator Wrestlers. Mrs. G. finally sat down and watched eight episodes of the show so, unlike Phil, she can discuss some facts with her feelings, and it didn't surprise her that Phil, an unapologetic, self-proclaimed Bible-thumper and fundamentalist Christian, does what several Bible-thumping fundamentalist Christian leaders do when they have the spotlight, clutch his bible tighter than a squirrel's neck (Yum lunch!) while paraphrasing sections from the Good Book out of context and then extrapolating what these sections mean based on his know-it-all, whistling Dixie, anemic convictions.

In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Phil preached the following:

"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men…"

The old slippery slope of gay people losing interest in each other and shacking up with cats and marrying dogs and potbelly pigs. Fresh, Phil, fresh.

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Keep it classy, Phil! Yeah we know a woman with a vagina has much more to offer in backwater Louisiana...sex -- scratch that -- procreation, cooking and cleaning, the holy wife trinity if you manage to avoid one of those "modern women" Phil warns his grandson about regularly.

And while you're at it, Godly, righteous men, Phil shares some of his "River Rat Counseling" and encourages you to marry a girl of 15 or 16 so you can train her up right.

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

This quote leaves Mrs. G. practically speechless. No doubt these mentally and, still, physically enslaved African Americans were happy, happy, happy. Why would they not make known their disenchantment and misery to the doggone white people publicly -- maybe because they didn't want to get lynched or on better days, beaten bloody. No, they weren't happy before "pre-entitlement" and "pre-welfare" because they were stuck, trapped.

But it's only a reality show so what's the fuss.

And speaking of fuss. Mrs. G's FB feed blew up with articles about the violation of Phil's First Amendment Rights the day he was suspended from the show. Phil had every right to say what he wanted, but the First Amendment doesn't protect you from the consequences of your speech, particularly when you have signed an A&E contract that employs words like "Code of Conduct" and "Universe" and "Perpetuity."

So A&E didn't violate Phil's First Amendment Rights when they suspended him from the show --

"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty," A&E said in a statement. "His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."

-- suspended him for for nine long days until they unsuspended him from being suspended. A&E's "strong" support of the LGBT community (and African Americans and Women) wavered under the pressure of thousands and thousands of supporters calling and criticizing the network's decision and, undoubtedly, because Duck Dynasty is the most popular nonfiction (haaaa) show on cable. A&E is as shallow as a kiddie pool. In short: Ka-Ching.

If only these thousand and thousands of Duck Dynasty fans would get as worked up over the million+ people who lost their food stamps and long-term unemployment last Friday, food stamps which helped feed the 20 million (one in four) children living in hunger in the United States. But maybe now that these families are without entitlements and welfare, we can put then to work in cotton fields where they can joyfully sing the praises of a camouflaged millionaire who is as dumb as a fencepost.

But -- hey, hey, hey -- Mrs. G. is exercising her First Amendment Right Jack.

It is sad to Mrs. G. that the most popular nonfiction (haaaa) show on cable is a family headed by a man who manipulates and manufactures the words of Jesus, sentimentalizes a rigid, hostile, brutal segregated south and idealizes barefoot and pregnant girls who know how to cook a possum. It reeks of devolution, disparaging segments of the population who have struggled not to be marginalized or mocked.

But, hey, it's entertainment.

Mrs. G. will tell you this. If Brad Pitt made these comments in an interview, his career would be over. Over (see: Mel Gibson and Michael Richards). But since some wannabe yokel with an audience of millions chooses to spread hate, racial delusions and misogyny, hundreds of thousands of fans get in an uproar because Phil just tells it like it is.

Tells it like it is

And who is so eager to listen?

Fuck a duck. This is disheartening at the dawn of 2014.


Saturday
Dec282013

Reading 2014

UPDATE: Look above and you will see a category called "Book Club"...there you will find a schedule and first meeting time. Wear pajamas and bring wine.

In an effort to keep her brain from atrophying and stay on her toes, Mrs. G. is going to take on the challenge of reading the NYT's 10 best books of 2013. Several of them are definitely out of Mrs. G's typical reading groove, but she's stretching herself this year. If you are interested in joining along, leave a comment and Mrs. G. will set up a schedule and create a special page on the blog.

Let's read!

The Books:

AMERICANAH

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

By turns tender and trenchant, Adichie’s third novel takes on the comedy and tragedy of American race relations from the perspective of a young Nigerian immigrant. From the office politics of a hair-braiding salon to the burden of memory, there’s nothing too humble or daunting for this fearless writer, who is so attuned to the various worlds and shifting selves we inhabit — in life and online, in love, as agents and victims of history and the heroes of our own stories.

2) The Flamethrowers

THE FLAMETHROWERS
By Rachel Kushner.

Radical politics, avant-garde art and motorcycle racing all spring to life in Kushner’s radiant novel of the 1970s, in which a young woman moves to New York to become an artist, only to wind up involved in the revolutionary protest movement that shook Italy in those years. The novel, Kushner’s second, deploys mordant observations and chiseled sentences to explore how individuals are swept along by implacable social forces.

THE GOLDFINCH
By Donna Tartt.

Tartt’s intoxicating third novel, after “The Secret History” and “The Little Friend,” follows the travails of Theo Decker, who emerges from a terrorist bombing motherless but in possession of a prized Dutch painting. Like the best of Dickens, the novel is packed with incident and populated with vivid characters. At its heart is the unwavering belief that come what may, art can save us by lifting us above ourselves.

LIFE AFTER LIFE
By Kate Atkinson.

Demonstrating the agile style and theatrical bravado of her much-admired Jackson Brodie mystery novels, Atkinson takes on nothing less than the evils of mid-20th-century history and the nature of death as she moves back and forth in time, fitting together versions of a life story for a heroine who keeps dying, then being resurrected — and sent off in different, but entirely plausible, directions.

TENTH OF DECEMBER
Stories
By George Saunders.

Saunders’s wickedly entertaining stories veer from the deadpan to the flat-out demented: Prisoners are force-fed mood-altering drugs; ordinary saps cling to delusions of grandeur; third-world women, held aloft on surgical wire, become the latest in bourgeois lawn ornaments. Beneath the comedy, though, Saunders writes with profound empathy, and this impressive collection advances his abiding interest in questions of class, power and justice.

NONFICTION

AFTER THE MUSIC STOPPED
The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead
By Alan S. Blinder.

Blinder’s terrific book on the financial meltdown of 2008 argues that it happened because of a “perfect storm,” in which many unfortunate events occurred simultaneously, producing a far worse outcome than would have resulted from just a single cause. Blinder criticizes both the Bush and Obama administrations, especially for letting Lehman Brothers fail, but he also praises them for taking steps to save the country from falling into a serious depression. Their response to the near disaster, Blinder says, was far better than the public realizes.

DAYS OF FIRE
Bush and Cheney in the White House
By Peter Baker.

Baker succeeds in telling the story of the several crises of the Bush administration with fairness and balance, which is to say that he is sympathetic to his subjects, acknowledging their accomplishments but excusing none of their errors. Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The Times, is fascinated by the mystery of the Bush-­Cheney relationship, and even more so by the mystery of George W. Bush himself. Did Bush lead, or was he led by others? In the end, Baker concludes, the “decider” really did decide.

FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL
Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
By Sheri Fink.

In harrowing detail, Fink describes the hellish days at a hospital during and after Hurricane Katrina, when desperate medical professionals were suspected of administering lethal injections to critically ill patients. Masterfully and compassionately reported and as gripping as a thriller, the book poses reverberating questions about end-of-life care, race discrimination in medicine and how individuals and institutions break down during disasters.

THE SLEEPWALKERS
How Europe Went to War in 1914
By Christopher Clark.

Clark manages in a single volume to provide a comprehensive, highly readable survey of the events leading up to World War I. He avoids singling out any one nation or leader as the guilty party. “The outbreak of war,” he writes, “is not an Agatha Christie drama at the end of which we will discover the culprit standing over a corpse.” The participants were, in his term, “sleepwalkers,” not fanatics or murderers, and the war itself was a tragedy, not a crime.

WAVE
By Sonali Deraniyagala.

On the day after Christmas in 2004, Deraniyagala called her husband to the window of their hotel room in Sri Lanka. “I want to show you something odd,” she said. The ocean looked foamy and closer than usual. Within moments, it was upon them. Deraniyagala lost her husband, her parents and two young sons to the Indian Ocean tsunami. Her survival was miraculous, and so too is this memoir — unsentimental, raggedly intimate, full of fury.

Tuesday
Dec102013

Imperial Margarine (by Regina)

whitechristmasb

So, I’m a wardrobe gal for Theater. This means that I make costumes, assist costume designers in getting a show up and on its feet, and, most importantly, making sure the actors are wearing the correct costume at the correct time. (Harder than it sounds sometimes.) For the two hour extravaganza you see on stage, months of sweat (and tears) go into designing and figuring it all out.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec052013

I Love My Fat Ass (by Elizabeth Engle)

rubens-the-three-graces-1639

I am fat. I am aware of this. I’m not a “person of size.” I’m not pleasantly plump. I’m not a Big Beautiful Woman and I don’t want the weirdness that goes with the BBW label. I don’t need to be told I’m just big boned, or I have a pretty face, or good hair, or whatever. I’m fat. It’s okay to say it. It’s not a bad word. It’s a fact. I wear plus size clothes and I have rolls and bulges and a double chin. My thighs rub together, my arms are flappity and my feet are wide. I’ve got a lot of body and I don’t hate myself. I’m fat and I’m happy.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec032013

Real Book, Volume Two

 

Since Realbook, Volume One, proved such a successful, honest and entertaining read, Mrs. G. figured with the holidays coming, it was time for Volume Two.

perfect house

Our Facebook feeds are currently filled with perfectly shaped Christmas trees, shiny decorations, gingerbread houses, seemingly perfect houses with sparkling lights hanging from eaves and smiles in front of fireplaces, lots and lots of smiles. Only the occasional fruitcake or reindeer sweater can inspire a realist (occasional pessimist) to feel a little smug, at ease with her own life.

sweater

Mrs. G. isn't suggesting these moments aren't real. She's suggesting that these moments don't represent how some of us feel on any given day or week. It's natural to put our best foot forward, even if the other foot is broken and in a funky cast.

Mrs. G. will start:

1) Her washing machine is leaking and with the Thanksgiving Emergency Service Plumbing Nightmare of 2013, she is going to have to wait until after the holidays to have it fixed. Money doesn't grow on her trees. Thankfully she has lots of extra towels for sopping up extra water.

2) Her beloved Christmas wreath is missing and she suspects it was thrown out by someone in the house who does not have an equal appreciation for beloved wreaths.

3) She has a certain "problem" that involves plastic inserters and cream. Outstanding

fruitcake

 

So, let your genuine Realbook feed roll. No judgement allowed.

Wednesday
Nov202013

The Party of Nuh Uh (by Anonymous and Mrs. G.)

cornell

This is a bleeding heart liberal political rant, so if you aren't in the mood, just come back tomorrow or, better yet, scroll down and read Elizabeth's hysterical piece on her former judgement of moms in bars. As far as this post goes, we can debate and disagree but let's avoid insults and name calling.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep192013

Loose Change

 


In seventh grade Mrs. G. stole a book from the Memphis public library. She didn't actively steal it, as in stealthily slip it into her backpack and hotfoot it out the door. No, Mrs. G. was Catholic. Catholic Catholic. It was 1978, and she was panicky about sinning.

 

 

The church had recently abandoned the safe and snug anonymity of the perfectly good confessional in favor of the hippy happy, guitar-strumming-nun infused  face-to-face confession.

 

 


Previously comfortable with the occasional white lie and blasphemy, eleven-year-old Mrs. G. now focused all her efforts on never, ever sinning and, therefore, never, ever sitting on a folding chair at a lame card table across from an ancient, moth-eaten Father Stritch to report her misdeeds while he looked directly at her base and unholy face. Not since discarding the Latin Mass had the Vatican hatched such an ill conceived, daffy plan. Sin has no business in the cold, hard light of day.

 

 


So, no, she didn't swipe the book— she just never returned it. She let her mother take the fall and pay the replacement fine (sin). Mrs. G. concealed the book under the winter sweaters on the top shelf of her closet, right next to a battered copy of Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones on loan from a friend. The book Mrs. G. stole was a copy of Sara Davidson's Loose Change, a nonfiction account of the lives of three Jewish girls, who met while living in a UC Berkeley sorority house, from the 1960's to the mid 1970's: Sara (Davidson), who becomes a successful journalist; Susie, who marries a student radical and grooves through the western counterculture scene; And Tasha, who moves to the Big Apple and becomes a sophisticated fixture in the art world. The book is chock-full of student protests, drug use, the civil rights and feminist movements, the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, communes, vaginal explorations and Joni Mitchell. Arousing stuff for a true-blue, quaking Jesus lover. Mrs. G. isn't entirely sure what it was about the book that lead her to a momentary life of crime, but the wholesale disregard for authority and wanton sex didn't hurt. It was in this book that Mrs. G. learned the word patriarchy and, Mother Mary and St. Bernadette, did she use it a lot. 

 

To her mother: Don't you know those false eyelashes and platform shoes are tools of the patriarchy!

To her stepfather: I have better things to do than wash your patriarchal dishes!


Mrs. G. still has her stolen copy of Loose Change. It's currently on the family room bookshelf right next to (oh how things change) Martha Stewart's Cookies...The Very Best Treats to Bake. Mrs. G. is looking at the stolen book right this very moment. It reminds her of criminal behavior and damnation. It makes her nostalgic and wistful for outlaws, the Dewey Decimal System and books you just have to own.

 

 


It doesn't make her nostalgic and  wistful for the patriarchy because that shit still exists, in spades.

 

 Reader, what was the most stimulating, devilish book you hid on the top shelf of your closet?

Tuesday
Sep172013

September Update: Things Mrs. G. wants and doesn't want to admit

Things Mrs. G. Wants to Admit

~Mrs. G. is excited about revamping her blog. It is going to be reminiscent of the old Women's Colony but different in all befitting ways. Despite learning everything she knows about technology from the Amish, Mrs. G. is building this site from the bottom up. Let's hear it for new tricks, old dogs.

~Mr. & Mrs. G. are successfully taking advantage of the Empty Nest. They have been more spontaneous just for the hell of it -- dinners out, uninhibited screaming matches, weekend trips planned, cooking optional.

 

 

~Mrs. G. wakes up every morning and thanks God that she doesn't have to placate assholes fixated on organic rotisserie chickens.

 

 

~After a the Financially Strapped Summer of the Bambinos, Mrs. G. was able to go out tonight and buy new shirts for Mr. G. and undergarments for herself. And just to grandstand, she bought Klondike Ice Cream Sandwiches...not on sale.

~The three tomato plants Mr. G. planted have yielded, easily, 75 tomatoes. Tomorrow, Mrs. G. is attempting to make fresh marinara sauce.

 

 

~Mrs.G's daughter loves her new job (her first paycheck yielded her an awesome cut and color)...

 

 

 and Mrs. G's son has fallen for New York.

 

 

Things Mrs. G. Doesn't Want to Admit

~Despite Mrs. G's success with dealing with the empty nest, she frequently wakes up in her son's bed. Disturbing? Maybe. Weird? Probably. But it's the truth and she's dealing with it.

~It appears the Bigger Love movie isn't going to happen. Mrs. G. will give you the full story soon, but for now, give her a couple of weeks to feel sorry for herself. Mrs. G. said no three times when she was approached by the A&E Network to option her blog, mainly because she has been through YOU ARE SO AWESOME! projects falling through at the last minute. Last week, true to form, this project bit the dust. Mrs. G. is trying to be gracious, but it is slightly killing her that the network of Dance Moms and Supermarket Superstar has written her work off as pedestrian. Tears continue to sporadically fall, but now that Mrs. G. has new undergarments things should start looking up.

Actually, no new bras or underwear can ease this particular disappointment speedy quick, but Mrs. G. is putting on a brave face for you because she's not sure what else to do.

 

"Depp will help give life to Miguel de Cervantes's famed character Don Quixote in a modern-day film for Disney, Deadline.com reports. The actor is set to produce the movie about the hero of La Mancha, but no word yet on whether he'll be acting in the project. Hewitt will executive produce a Lifetime movie based on a post from Heather Gattuccio's blog Derfwad ManorDeadline.com reports. In the blog post, the happily married mother dreams of polygamy with A-list stars. The movie tells a new version of the story of a bored homemaker's fictional blog about her own polygamy but when she starts getting noticed for her online presence, she must keep up the charade." 


~Mrs. G's dog Gus won't shit outside if it's raining. You might recall Mrs. G. lives in Seattle, where rain falls, on average, 150 days per year. Please send advice or prayers.

 

 

 

~Mrs. G's dog Chewie is perfect, faultless, and Mrs. G. struggles not to favor him. That's a lie. There is no struggle, she favors him. Please send advice and prayers.

 


It's late and that about covers it. Feel free to share what you do or don't want to admit. No pressure. Mrs. G. has no shortage on her plate, but it's still cathartic to know she's not alone.