Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

The broader issue of the recent sexual abuse/harassment revelations is the depravity of the media based celebrity machine. Louie CK would never have been in a position to behave the way he did if not for the perceived authority attached to fame and media success. This is the biggest lie of the cult of celebrity. Entertainers, while a lot more fun than your average motorcycle mechanic or fast food delivery driver, are actually less important. This goes for the producers, editors, writers (Ugh! They got me, Joe) and technicians in movies and television as well. Actors like Spacey, producers like Weinstein, they are instrumental in providing a product you may like or pass on. But they aren’t important. Their failures, however criminal, don’t matter directly to you and yours, unless you are a victim or concerned with the very real problem of predatory sexuality. We all should be. And we all should do our part to change the social environment so that the victim is free and even comfortable telling.

The problem is the Baby Boomers have gotten increasingly paranoid and they’ve shared that paranoia with the Millennials. Every new violent crime, immediately brings out the [x] Broadcasting Company, or the [y] News Network to open the big top and pedantically call the play by play like some OCD sportscaster. “Okay, let’s go to Jimmy Joe who’s watching from the police barricade. Tell me Jimmy is the suspect wearing paisley with stripes? That looks like stripes. Did you know that Paisleys are made int the shape of the perimeter of the Himalayas?–”

This is followed by an endless cry for tighter laws governing every spoken word, meal item, clothing choice, etc. of the private citizen. Every move is strategically placed to further limit individuality, choice and privacy guaranteed by the US Constitution. From Louie CK to Civil Liberty? Really? Well, yeah. If louie had done the same thing in a protest against organized religion, guns, Donald Trump–staged on the White House lawn–the same people crying “foul unclean, go thee to perdition” would be celebrating his brave act of conscience in pursuit of PC values. The media would not be concerned with the collateral damage to young impressionable minds of children or young women. Why? Because as a celebrity, he would be perceived as having some authority on issues social and political.

This is the heart of it. If Weinstein were just an employer, a choice among many, women would have felt free to avoid his casting couch–and report to man for sexual harassment or rape. But as celebrities they had to protect public opinion about their private life. A Rumor of misconduct by those women, would have lead to an end of career. “A few phone calls,” and they’d “never work in Hollywood again.”

Why should an actors private sexuality, criminal misconduct, political opinions, religious affiliations, etc. matter one whit. They really aren’t stars. They are artists and craftspeople. They make a product you like buying. Nothing more. But nothing less. If a factory worker can’t get a job because he spent time in prison as a young adult, we say poor man. It becomes and Hallmark movie about human triumph, and we get Spacey to play the poor unfortunate. If a young girl struggling with too much celebrity and a total lack of privacy, shoplifts to self-medicate we crucify her and relegate her to years without work, until we forget and move on to the next victim.

The star system is nothing more than a particularly successful marketing scheme. It’s like fast food games and giveaway, BOGO, get your free gift with purchase, over a billion served. If it’s kept in propotion it serves its purpose. But when it creates a standard for vetting employees it is a problem. When that trend spreads and corporations begin vetting employees based on their social media, background checks, and an invasion of privacy worse than Big Brother, it is a threat to peace and security and needs to be put on hiatus.

When a young man has to wait 15 years to report a sexual assault by a drunken coworker, because he will be seen as a troublemaker and his career ended, due to his attackers Star status on broadway– When a writer finds it difficult to be published, not because of his skill with the elements of story and plot, but because he falls in the wrong canine classification– When a rising actress and comedienne can’t complain about a drunken lout masturbating in front of her because he thinks her discomfort is comedic–It’s not time for stars to fall, its time to take down the black velvet curtain.

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Dodging the Coffee Clutch

Author: Fred Grenvile

Yesterday, I was at The Coffee Place, or the coffee place, depending on my mood. I laid my burdens on the big black, enameled table and ordered a cafe’ au lait, with my usual swagger. The coffee came, I took my seat, and unpacked my little mobile office. I ride a gas powered scooter (Chinese made 150cc gy-7 with 16″ rims), so I’ve learned to travel with a courier’s bag and a computer case smaller than most purses. But, out of these, I can soon fill a large desk with pages of manuscript and electronics.

Sadly, I had covered the large table and, realizing I was being bad neighborly, I asked the woman at the next table if I might have the empty chair next to her, to pile on some of my stuff and clear room for others to share. She had her purse perched in the chair, in just the same way, but, after an awkward negotiation where I declined the chair and she pushed, I finally stacked my courier bag and helmet in the chair, and cleared the table, except for my netbook and my computer case (the little one).

Thus situated, I decided to check my Skype, before getting down to work. A friend had shared this story, about a four-year-old, Mini, and her precocious imagination, and the embarrassment it caused her mother. The story was funny, and touching, and a quirky commentary on the paranoid, judgmental culture, that is America today (or when Mini was four). When we got to the part where Mini was explaining proper water-ride etiquette to her exhausted mother, I burst out in laughter.

It was spontaneous, but the septuagenarian at the table next to me jumped nearly out of her seat. Apparently, she’d been watching me and paying an inordinate amount of attention to what I was doing. Rather a funny coincidence, given the story I was reading.

Since I’d disturbed her, asking for the chair and again with my laugh, I decided to give a short, very short, explanation of the conversation tween Mini and her mom. I was quite terse, but hit the high points regarding infectious water and water ride etiquette, (you really should read it). That done, I said, “Well, I best get back to my writing.”

Okay, technically, I was reading. But I was nearly finished with the entry, and about to move on to writing. I had a short story to finish–about a mysterious traveler forced by local bandits and an ignorant police inspector to investigate a murder he is illegally charged with. With the aid of an array of anachronistic inventions–you get the picture. But now I was stuck in one of those conversations.

Ah, yes. Those conversations. They are a pitfall of the coffee house. The large number of aging boomers and homeless who congregate as the coffee house have a tendency toward garrulousness that approaches the level of social disorder. They are a real impediment at times. It’s very hard to write bout faeries and steam powered interstellar craft, when the guy next to you won’t stop regaling you with the details of his motion for conservatorship over his father, or her forbidden love with a Mexican celebrity who she must watch from afar using Google Satellite images of his villa in Yucatan.

In this case, it was the movie she’d seen with her son. How disgusting! It was one of those juvenile romps where an adult who should know better, goes out and acts like a teen-ager on break in Cancun in the eighties. Of course there was the obligatory, unwanted insinuation we should go see a movie together. I listened politely, making concerned noises and even sharing a quick anecdote from my own life, to show my basal concern for her as a person, before excusing myself and getting back to writing. Remember that? It’s the reason I’m even at The Coffee Place.

That’s when things took a decidedly distasteful turn. In the course of the movie discussions, Siskel and Ebert came up. Of course, she felt the need to stress the tragedy of Roger Ebert’s disfiguring cancer. I pointed out that Gene Siskel had been a bit of a healthnick, and still died far earlier than Ebert. Rather than allowing me to return to my computer, she continued talking as if I had simply made a bad joke. Now, she began to try and get personal information about me. I tried to be polite, but I did, again, remind her I was there to work. She quizzed me about my computer, tried to drag me into a critique of the ethics of dumping beta tech on an unsuspecting buyer at Fry’s, and used colonoscopy recommendations as a means to try and get me to tell her my age.

Mind you, it never occurred to her to simply ask for the information she wanted, or to have an frank conversation. She was too busy playing at pushing to get anywhere with me, and her lack of subtlety only made it worse. Bearing in mind I’m a heterosexual, I’ve been hit on by both men and women. Not that I’m a George Clooney or Brad Pitt, but it happens. This is the first time, however, I’ve ever encountered:”Have you had a colonoscopy yet, they say every man should have one at fifty,” as a pick-up line. My advice don’t use it.

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