KRTHULU = KRUGMAN
Greetings seekers of wisdom. You may have come to this web site because you saw Duncan Black mention "krgthulu" on his web site Eschaton and you Googled the word. When Black uses that word, he's talking about Paul Krugman.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

In Search of Shakespeare - OH YEAH BABY!

Oh damn, the best documentary on Shakespeare ever made, and it is posted on Youtube in perfect condition in four parts. Do yourself a favor and WATCH IT!

Here is Part 1 for your convenience.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Whaddya know - Krugman and I are in complete agreement

On his blog today Krugman identifies members of the Radical Chic as part of the Sanders fan club. He doesn't use that term but he does use one I've used to describe the RC - "pose."

The Truth About the Sanders Movement
Purists: A somewhat different strand in the movement, also familiar to those of us of a certain age, consists of those for whom political activism is less about achieving things and more about striking a personal pose. They are the pure, the unsullied, who reject the corruptions of this world and all those even slightly tainted – which means anyone who actually has gotten anything done. Quite a few Sanders surrogates were Naderites in 2000; the results of that venture don’t bother them, because it was never really about results, only about affirming personal identity.

Oh yes.

Krugman references this very fine NYTimes article which says among other fascinating things:
Mr. Sanders did just nine points better, on average, among liberals than he did among moderates. By comparison, he did 11 points worse among women than among men, 18 points worse among nonwhites than among whites and 28 points worse among those who identified as Democrats than among independents. 
It is very hard to point to differences between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders’s proposed policies that could plausibly account for such substantial cleavages. They are reflections of social identities, symbolic commitments and partisan loyalties. 
Yet commentators who have been ready and willing to attribute Donald Trump’s success to anger, authoritarianism, or racism rather than policy issues have taken little note of the extent to which Mr. Sanders’s support is concentrated not among liberal ideologues but among disaffected white men.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Worse sea-salt caramel gelato ever

I only had ten bucks on me when I decided to go in search of sea-salt caramel gelato in my neighborhood. The Gristides had still not replaced its Haagen-Dazs, but I figured if you can't get gelato somewhere on the Upper West Side then forget it.

I'm starting to wonder if I'm craving ice cream lately because this neighborhood might well be the marijuana capital of the world and I'm getting a mild contact high leading to munchies. My neighbor is blazing all the time and every time I go for a walk I inevitably smell that aroma. And why not - it's so white around here the chances of the cops busting people for smoking is almost nil.

I remembered there was a storefront gelato stand around but I couldn't remember where, but I finally found it on Amsterdam and 94th Street - Screme Gelato bar. The gelato (and sorbet) looked so good in those tubs - it's even made locally. And a handsome man with an accent (possibly Italian) served me. It was all so promising. I was down to nine bucks after I had given a dollar to a homeless woman sitting outside a Duane Reade, and a small container of sea-salt caramel was five-fifty, and I gave them six which included a 50-cent tip. They gave me a small plastic spoon to eat it with.

And then I had a bite. And... was I losing my mind? It tasted not salty, but sour, like yogurt. I tried another bite - sure enough, it still tasted sour. There were a bunch of other people waiting to be served at Screme and I was too embarrassed to make a scene so I just walked away and threw it into the first trash can I came upon.

So now I was out six bucks and down to three dollars and no gelato. I happened upon a D'Agostinos and decided to try my luck there. No sea-salt caramel gelato. So I went with Haagen-Dazs Dulce De Leche Caramel. It may not be gelato but it tasted much better than that Screme crap. Luckily a three oz container was only two dollars so I got my treat with a dollar to spare.

Maybe the other flavors at Screme were better. I don't know. But if you go there, do not get the sea-salt caramel. You have been warned.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Meet the Brocialists

Jacobin magazine is the Kremlin of the Brocialists.  In my new ongoing series, I will be looking at the people associated with Jacobin magazine.

So far it appears that the majority of Jacobin writers are private-college educated white men from privileged backgrounds.

Ironically, two years ago, before I knew what a Brocialist was, I was on Jacobin's side during a Twitter war dubbed #jacobinghazi. Turns out it was really the old "both sides are just as bad" scenario. I've discussed social justice warriors vs. new atheists on this blog as an example. Well this was social justice warriors versus brocialists.

I took Jacobin's side because I wasn't acquainted with brocialism and didn't realize that it was a continuation of the socialist tradition of dismissing women's complaints about sexism as "bourgeois." And then I met Doug Henwood on Facebook. And his wife Liza Featherstone. Both of them write for The Nation. And their pal Amber A'Lee Frost. All three of them write for Jacobin. All of them have the attitude that feminism should not be about women, it should be about socialism. And they routinely attack women who are actual feminists.

When Brocialists attack women, no matter how viciously, they will always blame the women for the attacks. This also true of Gamergaters and Bernie Sanders supporters - and I suspect there is quite a bit of overlap of all three of these groups.

To get a good sense of the Brocialist attitude towards women, observe this tweet by Liza Featherstone. Matt Bruenig had a history of being abusive towards women on Twitter, and when this was brought to the attention of one of Bruenig's employers, Demos, they asked him to tone it down and when he refused they fired him. And Brocialists like Featherstone decided that the real problem wasn't a man representing a social justice organization behaving like an ass. The real problem was women complaining about it. Women complaining about abusive men is "authoritarian" according to Featherstone.

I will be discussing more about Bruenighazi soon because Matt Bruenig will be the first individual Brocialist I write about. Not counting Henwood, Featherstone or Frost.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Park at dusk








Ugh I am so sick of thinking about the election now. I decided to get myself some exercise the other day by walking half-way around Central Park. I was walking through the park at one point at dusk and it was great - the number of tourists was way down. Partly because it had been a chilly rainy day I guess and partly because it was getting late. Still I was pretty amazed that there was not a single living soul besides me on the platform at Belvedere Castle. So amazed that I took a photo of it to memorialize it. I've been to the Castle maybe a dozen times in different seasons and times of day and I have never seen it like this.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Bernie Sanders is not a good guy

I wish I could brag that I was one of the people who saw how bad Bernie Sanders really is, but I can't. Although I have been pro-Hillary since at least January, I was one of those people who would say that although I like HRC I think Bernie is a good guy and I agree with much of what he says, but I think HRC has a more realistic, more fully-thought out approach to the ongoing problems.

But Bernie Sanders is not a good guy.

First of course I thought that the problem was the Bernie bros, and Sanders even condemned them at one point.

But then I saw the NY Daily News interview with Sanders and I realized that he was even less prepared to tackle problems facing him than I had given him credit for.

Then came his refusal to release his taxes.

And then came Nevada. And it became clear that far from seeing his more unhinged, cult-like followers as a liability, Sanders and his team decided that in fact their unquestioning devotion and ignorance of the American electoral system was a YUGE asset. And they decided to play that asset for all it was worth, especially as Sanders began to fall further and further behind in delegates.

It's a pretty simple strategy:

1. Keep hinting to your followers that the other side is evil and probably committing fraud and cheating.

2. Watch them riot and phone in misogynist threats, and dox Democratic women.

3. In your written statement about the incident, instead of *apologizing* DOUBLE-DOWN with the lies and the smears about HRC and the Democrats. And keep doing it even after everybody knows you are LYING.

http://www.politifact.com/…/claims-bernie-sanders-supporte…/

And finally

4. WHINE that the Democrats don't like you for some mysterious reason and suggest it is favoritism.

Of course Bernie Sanders did not mind favoritism when it benefitted him, as this article explains so well:

http://www.shakesville.com/…/its-pretty-rich-for-bernie-san…

As usual, Krugman WAS ahead of the curve and sounded the warning about Sanders, as he once sounded the warning about George W. Bush. And he rightfully bragged about it on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/733012865779695616

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bernie Sanders and his goon squad

I was waiting for somebody to finally vet the claims of Sanders and his goon squad that there was official misconduct on the part of the Nevada Democrats. Well Politifact finally weighed in:


There’s no clear evidence of a chair being thrown, but the post-adjournment attitude was tense with Sanders delegates screaming obscenities and pushing back barriers between the crowd and the main stage.

Our ruling
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said Nevada Democratic Party leaders "hijacked the process on the floor" of the state convention "ignoring the regular procedure and ramming through what they wanted to do."
Caucuses and delegate math can be incredibly confusing, and the arcane party structures don’t reflect how most people assume presidential selection works.
But the howls of unfairness and corruption by the Sanders campaign during Nevada’s state Democratic Convention can’t change the simple fact that Clinton’s supporters simply turned out in larger numbers and helped her solidify her delegate lead in Nevada.
There’s no clear evidence the state party "hijacked" the process or ignored "regular procedure."
We rate this claim False.

It would have been bad enough that Sanders supporters acted this way - but the Sanders campaign itself, lead by Sanders and his bitchy, shade-throwing response to the incidents - stoked the belief that misconduct had justified the outrage and screaming at Democratic women.

Bernie Sanders is a demagogue who will stop at nothing to get attention even if he can't win the nomination. He and his goon squad are shameless, reckless liars who encouraged the targeting of people in a political party that Sanders claims to be a member of and women were the targets of misogynist insults and death threats.  And this was based on a calculated tactic by Sanders to drum up false outrage.

He would not be as bad as Donald Trump as president - almost nobody could - but he is a horrible person and would make a horrible president.

Meanwhile it looks as though there may be some repercussions for the goon squad.

And speaking of Bernie Sanders horrible character, a very interesting piece from back in October about Sanders from someone who knew him back in the day:

"Considering that the Free Press' editorial positions were very liberal, reflecting the nature of a very liberal Vermont community, one might think that meetings with Sanders were cordial, even celebratory.
 
They weren't. Sanders was always full of himself: pious, self-righteous and utterly humorless. Burdened by the cross of his socialist crusade, he was a scold whose counter-culture moralizing appealed to the state's liberal sensibilities as well as its conservatives, who embraced his gun ownership stance, his defense of individual rights, an antipathy toward big corporations and, generally speaking, his stick-it-to-them approach to politics. 
My most memorable encounter with Sanders was during an editorial board session during a period when the Vermont Progressive Party was reconstituting itself to challenge for more seats on the Burlington City Council.
Sanders had been mayor of Burlington from 1981 until 1989, institutionalizing progressive government in the city and other Vermont enclaves. Although he has been in Washington since his election to the House of Representatives in 1991, he remained the titular head of the movement, yet refused to endorse a progressive slate seeking City Council seats or the new leadership orchestrating the campaigns.
After discussing his favorite issues — corporations, government reform, health care and the like, I asked about his unwillingness to endorse his fellow progressives. He said it wasn't his role. I suggested voters might expect him to weigh in. He disagreed, clearly annoyed at the persistent questioning. Finally I suggested that he had a larger moral responsibility to the progressive movement.
 
At which point he jumped out of his seat, told me to go f*** myself and stormed out of the edit board meeting. OK, maybe my persistence bordered on hectoring. But I felt he ought to provide an honest answer. My suspicion was that he resented others for assuming his mantle of progressive leadership and wouldn't acknowledge them."

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bernie Sanders GET OUT!

One of many texts (and voicemail) received by
Nevada Democratic chairwoman Roberta Lange
This is the end.

It is time for Bernie Sanders to drop out.

Listen to the abusive/threatening messages received by Nevada Democratic Party — and its chairwoman, Roberta Lange

This is why long election cycles are a good thing. At first Sanders seemed like a cool guy. Now we see his true character.
Krugman had a good reaction to Sanders response to the Nevada mayhem:

Like a lot of people, I was shocked by the statement Bernie Sanders put out about Nevada. No hint of apology for his supporters’ behavior, lots of accusations about a “rigged” process when the issue in Nevada was whether Clinton should get more delegates in a state where she won the vote. And the general implication that the nomination is somehow being stolen when the reality is that Clinton won because a large majority of voters chose to support her. 
But maybe we shouldn’t have been shocked. It has been obvious for quite a while that Sanders — not just his supporters, not even just his surrogates, but the candidate himself — has a problem both in facing reality and in admitting mistakes. The business with claiming that Clinton only won conservative states in the deep South told you that; and even before, there were strong indications that he would not accept defeat gracefully or even rationally.

But one thing I found really interesting is what looks to me like a Sanders dogwhistle. In his prepared response to the Nevada incidents he says:
“... Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals. But, when we speak of violence, I should add here that months ago, during the Nevada campaign, shots were fired into my campaign office in Nevada and apartment housing complex my campaign staff lived in was broken into and ransacked."


Now what does shots fired and office ransacked "months ago" have to do with what happened in Nevada this weekend? Nothing, at first glance. So why does Sanders mention the shots/ransacking right after condemning the recent violence?

The only thing I can think of is because Sanders believes, or at least wants his followers to believe, that there is a connection and the violence that occurred this weekend was an understandable response to - perhaps even payback for - the DNC and/or Clinton perpetrating violence against the Sanders campaign.

I looked up the shooting incident. According to the Las Vegas Sun:
A bullet hole was discovered in a storefront window at the Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters in northwest Las Vegas on Thursday morning, the same day the Democratic presidential candidate was on site, Metro Police said today.
Officers responded just before noon to the campaign office at 815 South Rainbow Blvd., near Alta Drive, authorities said. Police said it appears a bullet went through the window but declined to comment on whether a shot had been fired.

So actually there's no evidence even one shot was made, let alone "shots" - a bullet hole was "discovered" - there's no evidence there was a shooting while the office was Sanders campaign headquarters.

And I could find no news reports at all about the alleged "ransacking." It appears to me that Sanders is either grossly exaggerating both claims or possibly even lying about the ransacking part.

And lest you scoff at the idea of Sanders getting his followers to believe that HRC is trying to murder Sanders, you need to know that the Right was pushing the idea she murdered Vince Foster for years, and in the comments under the Las Vegas Sun story,  one of Sanders supporters implies that HRC likely would kill Sanders.


I think the Sanders campaign is getting desperate and they're willing to try Richard Mellon Scaife style smears.

If Sanders' followers trash the Democratic convention I will hold him personally responsible for the Trump Presidency.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Liza Featherstone wants to destroy feminism


Liza Featherstone, member of the brocialist ladies auxiliary, who writes for the Nation among others, finally blatanty admitted she wants to destroy feminism. She calls it "neoliberal" feminism (aka "bourgeois feminism") but that's just a bullshit adjective. The kind of feminism that brocialists like her and her husband believe in isn't actually feminism at all because it isn't about women.

Liza Featherstone wants to destroy feminism. Period. That's why you see her doing things like calling the author of a Ms. Magazine article on rape "bitch" because the article dares to suggest that rape is rape no matter what a woman's socioeconomic status is.  This is a typical expression of Featherstone's war on women - instead of acknowledging that rape is both horrible and common for all women, Featherstone seeks to minimize the impact of rape on women who are not in the most extreme circumstances, apparently out of some intense bitter hatred of privileged elites, like Ivy League school students.

And of course the incredible fact is that Featherstone herself and her husband attended Ivy League schools and live elite and privileged lives. How is it possible that these two can make careers out of whining about elites and the privileged without heads exploding - if not their own heads, which are protected by being completely up their own asses - then at least the heads of people around them who are not completely blind to the total un-self-aware hypocrisy?

The screen image above from Featherstone's Facebook page also demonstrates the disdain for accuracy that Henwood and Featherstone share. Krugman doesn't say we haven't paid any attention - he says:
Which is more amazing: the fact that a long-serving Republican speaker of the House sexually abused teenage boys, or how little attention this revelation has received?
It seemed to me too, odd that Hastert's crimes haven't been discussed more in the media. Especially when you consider what a big fucking deal is made out of Bill Clinton's consensual affairs with adults. But then Hastert is a Republican and so doesn't have a big target on his back the way the Clintons do.

But you have to wonder why Featherstone is making such a big deal about Krugman's comment about Hastert. So Krugman thinks not a lot of attention has been paid. Why does she care enough to remark on it?  No doubt because the rest of the column is Krugman discussing Hillary Clinton's plans to "improve both the affordability and quality of U.S. child care" and even Featherstone isn't a big enough hypocrite to bitch about that. She had to find something to attack Krugman for.

But why does she want to attack Krugman, a self-declared liberal, so much? Of course it's because  Krugman does not support Sanders and provided well-reasoned and fact-filled analyses of Sanders policy proposal weaknesses.

And she hates Krugman because he's one of the privileged elites.

Go back to destroying feminism Liza Featherstone. Your efforts there are about as significant as your attacks on Paul Krugman. You and your husband are pathetic enablers of the Right in your bitter hatred of non-extremists on the Left.

Monday, May 16, 2016

More MMmemorabilia


The NYTimes ran a story today about another round of auctioning off (by Julien's like last time) of items bequeathed to Lee Strasberg - and now his heirs - by Marilyn Monroe. To me the most interesting items are a hand-written letter to Paula Strasberg and a sketch by Monroe - one of many. Until today I was only aware of the sketches she did for Susan Strasberg. The NYTimes included an image of the letter and the drawing, seen here. If you click on the image you can see she wrote at the bottom: "Lover watching his love sleep. I think her sure flowing lines and use of white space are very nice in this picture.

And the letter says:

Paula dear,
You asked me yesterday why - I felt somehow (Im only conscious of it this morning) that if I didn’t have the control or the will to make myself do anything so simple and do it right I would never be able to act or do anything - I know it sounds crazy - maybe it was even superstitious I don’t know - I don’t know anything. Something has happened I think to make me lose my confidence. I don’t know what it is.All I know is I want to work.Oh Paula I wish I knew why I am so agonized - I think maybe I’m crazy like all the other members of my family were when I was sick I was sure I was.I’m so glad you are with me here!


Who knows what other goodies there are? Well I guess I'll find out if the show comes on tour to NYC.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Marilyn home movies

Oy, I'm up to my eyeballs in Marilyn Monroe thanks to trying to get my script ready for tomorrow's reading. I originally had Ella Fitzgerald in the play but now it's down to a two-hander and Fitzgerald only gets a mention. I feel bad losing her, but I think the play is better without her. One of the big things for me about this play is that Monroe gets to speak for herself, instead of people commenting on her, or being portrayed in the movies as "the girl" and I just need all the stage time for her monologues and interaction with the psychiatrist, who represents all the problems of the psychiatric profession of that time.

There are many more candid videos of Monroe available than I had realized. Including 1942 and  1944, which is pretty amazing. Other interesting movie are when she visited an orphanage:



And from 1955 when she was hanging out in Manhattan and a 14-year-old took these movies shots. An Ella Fitzgerald recording plays for the audio which is a nice and appropriate touch.



And when she attended the christening of Clark Gable's son. This was in spring 1961 just months after she was released. This is color footage and she really does look amazing. She appears at minute 2:11 and later at minute 3:17.






Thursday, May 12, 2016

More Central Parky goodness

As if it wasn't already cool enough living near Central Park, it appears that they've opened up a "secret section" that hasn't been opened "regularly" since the 1930s according to this article in the NYTimes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A completely different person

The heartbreakingly temporariness of the blow-out
Hairdressers love me because they can do amazing things with my hair as I discussed here. Especially when they give me a blow-out. It really is an amazing transformation, similar to raw wool turning into spun gold. It lasts until the next morning when I wash my hair. Although if the humidity is unusually low I can sometimes come close to achieving the hair straightness on my own that a blow-out gives, but it's not the same.

So you'd think I would be better about going to get my hair done on a regular schedule. I often wait well over two months to get something done and with hair like mine that's really bad.

I guess I avoid hair salons because firstly, I always feel uncomfortable when I have to make conversation with them. It's a lot of work. And secondly because I often feel very awkward when they say, as they almost always do, after the end of the transformation - you look like a completely different person! Which is obviously the best thing ever.

Sigh. At least they don't tell me I look a porno star who's older than me.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Doug Henwood thinks Hillary Clinton is no better than Donald Trump

I could have sworn that Henwood was against the #BernieorBust movement, but apparently he's thought better of it. Which is what you'd expect from a brocialist. If Hillary Clinton isn't a pure earth mother who only cares about peace and egalitarianism she's no different from Donald Trump. Not only no different than Trump but she's personally responsible for the creation of Donald Trump.

This is how absolutely useless the brocialists are to anybody.

And of course Henwood's bro Jason Grote agrees with him.

I do like to brag that I realized both Doug Henwood and Jason Grote were misogynist shits long before this nomination process began.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Evan Marc Katz's message to women is still: be passive

Evan Marc Katz advises women to be passive when it comes to dating men, but he also likes to promote the work of other regressive monsters, these "dating coaches" who say exactly the same thing. The dating coaches Katz likes to recommend believe that male dominance is the ideal standard of human behavior and rather than opposing it, we should encourage it.

The latest asshole being promoted by Katz is one Dr. Ali Binazir. He also believes that women should  wait for a man to make the first move - and all the other moves - because if she makes any sudden moves that indicate interest in a man he'll be scared away. Thus spake Binazir:
And at a very primitive level, remember that men enjoy the chase. That’s why the word chase is so often preceded by thrill of the. Why should he be thrilled about your taking away his thrill?
Binazir confesses that this has happened to him a lot. And we are to take him as the exemplar of manly opinion and behavior, of course. But in spite of the fact that he's a wimp who is afraid of any woman expressing strong interest in him, he prefers to describe himself as a predator, a lion. When the animal Binazir actually resembles the most is a chicken.

The animal Evan Marc Katz resembles the most is a weasel, for his constant sexism and then refusal to own his sexism. Katz gaslights poor suckers who buy into his mindfuckery. One of his marks, in the comments of his article promoting Binazir mentions women "dating down" and Katz chides her:
Are men dating down when they date women with less money and education? If not, then please drop that tired act and start dating the way men do – because they feel accepted, appreciated and admired.
So "start dating the way men do" wow Katz is such an egalitarian! except that elsewhere he promotes the idea of gender essentialism and strict gender roles - men must chase women because men must have the thrill of the chase because men are lions and women are gazelles, as his buddy Binazir describes it. You can't get more different than that - men and women aren't even the same species - men are predators and women are prey.

So you get that, ladies? You should date the way men do. Except when you should date the exact opposite of the way men do. Are we clear? Good, now give Evan Marc Katz and Dr. Ali Binazir all your money!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Rebirth of Spring

I decided to drop a few hundred dollars and get myself a full-color reproduction of La Primavera. I've had one for over fifteen years, but it's slowly faded to a bluish semi-monotone. Which wasn't all bad - Botticelli wasn't a painterly-painter he was much more about the underlying drawing and a monotone lets you focus on the lines. And although I liked that it was really big - 48 x 36 - it turns out those dimensions cropped out part of the right-side of the picture.

My new version of Primavera is smaller than the old one, but the dimensions are better - they don't crop the image and you can see Zephyrs has wings. But you can't see the linear details as well which is really a shame. It's always a trade-off.

But on the other hand these colors are bright. I can't help but wonder if they are too bright - if they cranked up the color intensity on the photo of the original. I guess I'll have to go to Florence in order to decide for myself.

Fun fact - Botticelli was probably the hottest of the Renaissance painters. This is alleged to be a self-portrait.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Therapeutic cats



I don't believe you have to pick a side in the cats vs. dogs debate. I think all dogs and cats are lovable. But while I'm down with this nasty cold I am especially happy to have a couple of cats to keep me company. I don't have to walk them. The most strenuous thing I have to do is scoop the litter box every morning. Of course Mr. Fuzz does want to play mousie-time at least once a day - which means he sits on my leather office chair and I throw furry toy mice at him, which he either bats right back at me like it's ping-pong or grabs and chews until he either throws it on the floor, or once he's ready to eat, grabs the toy in his mouth and walks it over to his food bowl where he proceeds to pretend he's eating the mousie by rolling it around in his wet cat food. Occasionally he does eat the tail or some of the fur. And usually pukes it right back up.
Yes, he does have an eccentric life-style.

by Sam Kalda
The best part of having cats when you're sick is that they don't mind at all laying around on the sofa all day with you - in fact, that's their favorite thing ever. Look at how happy Mr. Fuzz is in this photo. 

Dogs are supposed to be more manly than cats, but many men love cats including John Lennon and Mark Twain. Artist Sam Kalda did a whole series of men with cats. I especially like the Mark Twain.





Wednesday, May 04, 2016

More about that scene

So as we know, Marilyn Monroe was very upset with what Arthur Miller did to her character in "The Misfits."
I guess they thought I was too dumb to explain anything, so I have a fit - a screaming, crazy fit. I mean nuts. And to think Arthur did this to me
I found that scene on Youtube:




If you watch it you'll see that while her character does not get a speech, somebody else does - the guy on the right uses her "fit" to deliver a monologue on how all women are crazy.

Monroe did not like the movie and many of the reviews were disappointing, but the Village Voice gave Monroe a rave:

Is MM playing herself or creating a part? Did Miller and Huston create a character or simply recreate MM? Maybe she is even talking her own thoughts, her own life? Doesn't matter much. There is such a truth in her little details, in her reactions to cruelty, to false manliness, nature, life, death - everything - that is overpowering, that makes her one of the most tragic and contemporary characters of modern cinema, and another contribution to The Woman as a Modern Hero in Search of Love (see "Another Sky," "The Lovers," "Hiroshima, Mon Amour," "The Savage Eye," etc., etc.).


Monroe, unrecognizable as Theda Bara.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Jason Grote's pal Doug Henwood keeps attacking Katha Pollitt

Brocialists like to support each other - bros before hoes!

Jason Grote, the straight white male playwright who thought I was ridiculous some years ago for suggesting that women are given fewer play productions than men  - and blocked me from his "Fortress" for disagreeing with him - is a big fan of the leading brocialist Doug Henwood. He likes to retweet him often.






Henwood of course also blocked me for disagreeing with him - on Facebook and Twitter. Brocialists don't like bitches who are non-compliant.

But how perfect a confluence is that? Two men I despised as misogynists  - separately - long before this current nomination process turn out to be brocialist comrades attacking a woman running for president - a prospect that fills them with rage and compels them to smear Clinton and supporters with easily-debunked bullshit - Whitewater in Henwood's case and unfounded attacks on progressive hero David Brock in Grote's case. 

And Doug Henwood just cannot stop attacking Katha Pollitt, his fellow writer at The Nation. I gave Pollitt a heads-up on this article on Facebook.

Henwood apparently thinks he's accomplished some kind of gotcha but I don't see anything written in this review of Clinton's "It Takes a Village" that sound different from Pollitt now. She never claimed that she thought Hillary Clinton was perfect. And the review starts out with a paragraph that is still very valid, especially with brocialists on the attack:
“Saint or Sinner?” asks the cover of Newsweek about Hillary Clinton. On the New York Times Op-Ed page, Maureen Dowd calls her a hybrid of Earth Mother and Mommie Dearest. I must say, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Don’t countless politicians (and their relatives) use their positions to make profitable contacts and advance their friends? And don’t they all talk about family, morals, responsibility, children and God?

It's always amusing to read the brocialists and their ladies auxiliary express deep concern for feminism - when they aren't attacking the vast majority of feminists as "bourgeois feminists."

And we know exactly what kind of feminism the brocialists believe in because Henwood explains:
As I wrote in My Turn (p. xiv): “The side of feminism I’ve studied and admired for decades has been about moving towards that ideal [of a more peaceful, more egalitarian society], and not merely placing women into high places while leaving the overall hierarchy of power largely unchanged. It’s distressing to see feminism pressed into service to promote the career of a thoroughly orthodox politician—and the charge of sexism used to deflect critiques of her.
In other words, the side of feminism that Henwood admires isn't actually about WOMEN.

Can you imagine if someone wrote: "the side of civil rights I've studied and admired is about peace and egalitarianism, not about placing African Americans into high places." And civil rights activists being called "bourgeois" if they talk about advancing the careers of African Americans. It's only OK to attack women for having aspirations in the here and now - rather than waiting for the egalitarian peaceful socialist nirvana to render 9 to 5 jobs obsolete.

But of course Susan Sarandon demonstrates how women can never win in a world run by brocialist values - she supported John Kerry AND John Edwards who both voted to go into Iraq. But she "broke up" with HRC over the same thing. And the reason for that is clear in this recent New Yorker interview with her:
She talked about Clinton, whom she had earlier described as a good Republican candidate. “I hold women to a very high moral standard,” she said. “I was very disappointed when she voted for the war, so easily, especially as I was suffering so much, and my family was suffering”—pilloried for their opposition to the war.
Clearly there is a blatant and unapologetic double standard in the minds of brocialists: women must be purer than men

Brocialists like their women to be earth mothers who make sure to take care of everybody else and certainly not to try to have a place in the upper ends of the hierarchy like that pushy bitch HRC who thinks she's entitled to the nomination just by getting the most votes. Sanders and his enablers think that they can get the nomination by getting superdelegates to switch over to Sanders. Because they're assholes like that.

And that is why brocialists must be opposed every damn step of the way and their attempt to take over the American left at the expense of women must be called out as much as possible.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Sick in bed with gelato

Unfortunately all the parodies I could find
of "Bernie's Yearning" were by right-wingers
so there's lots of emphasis on the socialist aspect,
but I do like the name "Bernies Nuts & Pixie Dust."

I had a nasty cold all weekend so I decided that when I went on a much-needed run to the store for more tissues I would treat myself to caramel sea-salt gelato. It feels so nice and soothing going down my poor sore throat.

And I had to get Häagen-Dazs gelato because the other brands are just not as good. Talenti was a bust because it has chocolate chips, and a new brand I tried, Three Twins Organic Sea Salted Caramel was actually ice cream and so doesn't have that smoother texture of gelato but also unlike Häagen-Dazs does not have a swirl of caramel candy. That's what really clinches it in favor of Häagen-Dazs - that and the lack of chocolate chips.

And forget about Ben and Jerry's - I've never been a big fan of their ice cream anyway - I prefer my ice cream to be relatively uncomplicated and their ice cream is always packed with nuts and chips and everything else, plus cutesy names like "Chubby Hubby" and "Cake My Day" - ugh, cake, cookies, brownies and especially dough should never go into ice cream. Uncooked ingredients should only go in sushi.

Their sea salt caramel flavor, Salted Caramel Core is naturally an abomination with "Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Blonde Brownies & a Salted Caramel Core." No. Just no.

And on top of that I'm also boycotting B&J on principle because of their support for Bernie Sanders. But obviously I wasn't exactly supporting them with my brand loyalty anyway.

It's Häagen-Dazs for me from now on.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Berners smear David Brock

Speaking of straight white male playwrights I dislike - I see that Jason Grote still hates Hillary Clinton. He might be second only to Doug Henwood in his rage-filled and intensely personal hatred of our next president.

So it comes as no surprise to me that he's one of the Berniebros who are trying to smear David Brock. Here we see him retweeting a typical smear-job, in which Berners claim, on the basis of unsupported rumors, that David Brock is paying people to attack Sanders on social media.



One of their favorite attacks is this:


Now here's my question - are all of them really so mind-bogglingly ignorant of the career of David Brock that they don't know that not only did he personally apologize to Anita Hill, but he wrote an entire book, Blinded by the Right, devoted to explaining how he had a change of heart and converted from a right-wing literary hit man to a liberal stalwart, all while coming out of the closet as a gay man?

Or do they actually know that Brock is now a serious enemy of the Koch brothers and promoter of liberal causes and they just don't care because nobody who favors Hillary Clinton is any good no matter how progressive they are? Because to support Hillary Clinton is to admit that you have signed a pact with the Devil? And so smearing him with bullshit is exactly what he deserves?

Or do they believe that no matter how much Brock has apologized and how much good he has done since the bad old days, he will never be forgiven?

But if that's the case, then why should we forgive Bernie Sanders for writing this?
A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.
A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.
The man and woman get dressed up on Sunday — and go to Church, or maybe to their 'revolutionary' political meeting.
Have you ever looked at the Stag, Man, Hero, Tough magazines on the shelf of your local bookstore? Do you know why the newspaper with the articles like 'Girl 12 raped by 14 men' sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?
Of course if Hillary Clinton had ever written anything like this the Berners would never shut the fuck up about it.

Now as far as David Brock paying people to promote Clinton - I haven't seen confirmation from reliable news sources, but I doubt the Clinton campaign has done anything the Sanders' campaign hasn't already done.

But I think this is most likely another attempt at delegitimizing Clinton with a rumor-mongering smear.

But if he is paying people for fighting with Berners - HEY BROCK WHERE'S MY MONEY?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wrong again Sparky

Of course there is no love lost between Sander Gusinow and myself, so I was not surprised to see Gusinow making the absurd argument that right-wingers are oppressed in theater:
It's easy to blame students' missteps on naiveté, but I've noticed the same muzzling of difficult ideas in theatre. Take for example Jonathan Reynolds' abortion drama Girls in Trouble: Theatres passed on the play for years because of its sympathetic portrayal of a pro-life character and the depiction of her beliefs onstage. It's easy to see why: New York City theatregoers are generally a left-leaning bunch. Plays that contest our liberal notions might upset the subscriber base and not sell.
Reynolds, who made a living as a food critic, liked to claim that middle-aged women were out to get him for his opposition to abortion. Unfortunately for his martyr complex his play was produced without a word of complaint by any feminists as far as I am aware. And as Reynolds himself demonstrated on his own blog (removed since I talked about it) he is a bully who pressured a vegan actor in the cast of his show to eat meat, while mocking her for making life choices of which Reynolds disapproved.

As I pointed out during the production, the idea that Reynolds' play was a much-needed balance to all the pro-abortion plays out there is absurd. There are no big theaters producing pro-abortion plays, and references to abortion tend to come with lots of ambivalence and hand-wringing. Reynolds' play, according to critics, was over-the-top and strident

As I also noted at the time, while you may be able to make a case that the theater is politically correct when it comes to representing LGBTQ issues or Jews (the play MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE actually did result in the controversy that Jonathan Reynolds could only dream of) the theater world, still ruled by men - especially obvious in the ratio of paid male to female theater critics and the underrepresentation of plays by women - has no trouble at all presenting misogynist plays, from OLEANNA to MISS JULIE to THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. Reynolds' misogyny is just part of the long theater tradition of men attacking women and preventing women from having as big a platform to strike back. 


Gusinow's article goes on to mention all the conservatives (all white men, big surprise) whose work devoted to mocking liberals and attacking progressivism get productions and win Pulitzer prizes. Which would seem to contradict his concern but he doesn't seem to be aware of that. And it's no surprise that these plays don't attack Jews or gays - they attack black people and women. And he doesn't mention Mamet's RACE, which was basically Mamet inventing a ridiculous cardboard villain who is probably based on Michelle Obama - or rather the right-wing smear version of Michelle Obama based on willful misrepresentations of her college thesis.

Of course nobody said a word against RACE other than that it wasn't an especially good play. But then women and non-whites aren't covered by the rules of political correctness in the American theater.

If anything the American theater is more likely to produce a play with an explicitly right-wing theme than one with an explicitly left-wing theme because right-wing themes are more excitingly controversial.

I think the most likely reason that explicitly right-wing themed plays are not produced more is because the commercial American theater tends to shy away from politics in general. But even more so, the conservative mindset itself is a problem, Because it accepts the premise that there was a good old days when everybody accepted the social hierarchy, and white heterosexual men were the top of that hierarchy, and they were the writers, directors, producers of plays, which were mostly focused on the concerns of white men. And any play that does not follow that mindset is, to conservatives, automatically "liberal" - whether or not it has an explicitly liberal message.

Because the conservative mindset is fundamentally unempathetic to outsiders and their concerns. Which is why they mock or ignore the concerns of outsiders until it turns out that one of their own is impacted

And theater is fundamentally empathetic. Or should be.

But nobody is stopping the Catholic Church from funding anti-abortion plays, or the Tea Party from funding more plays that misrepresent Michelle Obama. Why they don't is their own problem, it isn't liberals' responsibility to represent the views of the far right.

So no, Sparky, conservatives are not being treated unfairly in the theater. Or David Mamet wouldn't have a career - but he does even though his plays are now routinely awful.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Settees and me

The width was right on this one but the
price and the color were both a bit much.
I hate to admit how many hours I've spent recently online looking for just the perfect loveseat or settee. I have this whole floral theme in my new apartment living room so I kind of want to get an upholstered floral print piece of furniture and it's so difficult to find just the right one - I'm very particular about design and color.

Plus it can't be more than 50 inches wide which really limits my choices. And I don't want to spend more than $500 unless I absolutely must.

At this point I might just end up buying something at Ikea to be done with it, but I have discovered some really charming furniture websites, and I actually know what a settee is now:
The term couch is used in North America and Australia, whilst the term sofa is generally used in the United Kingdom. The word originated in Middle English from the Old French noun couche, which derived from the verb meaning "to lie down".[4] It originally denoted an item of furniture for lying or sleeping on, somewhat like a chaise longue, but now refers to sofas in general.
Other terms which can be synonymous with the above definition are settee, chesterfield, divan, davenport, lounge, and canapé.[2] The word sofa is from Turkish derived from the Arabic word suffa for "wool", originating in the Aramaic word sippa for "mat".[5] The word settee comes from the Old English word, "setl", which was used to describe long benches with high backs and arms, but is now generally used to describe upholstered seating.
So basically there's very little difference, for all intents and purposes, between a settee and a loveseat.

In my settee search I discovered a web site called 1st dibs which has an amazingly huge selection of antiques - some are even affordable - by which I mean I could afford one of the better items if I was willing to spend an entire month's pay on a single piece of furniture. But some of them are amazing, like this here canapé - that's just French for settee, as far as I can tell - this one is an 18th Century Venetian Walnut Canape - doesn't  that sound incredibly delicious? This one costs more like two months pay, before taxes.



Thursday, April 28, 2016

The intellectual incoherence of the Berner

This is a parody but it's incredibly close to the way Berners think, based on my arguments with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Our next president will be a woman and the brocialist ladies auxiliary is not happy

My favorite HRC meme so far
Misogyny is alive and well. And no, I don't mean from Donald Trump although of course he is a misogynist.

I mean the ladies auxiliary of the Hillary Clinton-hating brocialists. And I don't even mean Liza Featherstone and Amber A'Lee Frost, although they are of course contemptible in their hatred of feminists.

No I have in mind women I've known since I was a teenager and who are my Facebook friends, and one in particular, who I went to high school with named Helen. My ex-boyfriend John had a crush on her back then and I had this impression that she was soooo smart. Well after arguing with her about the Democratic nomination race I don't think she's especially smart at all. But even more disturbing is that the idea of a woman president doesn't make her happy, not the least little bit.

The Berner/brocialist ladies auxiliary identify as women so little that the idea of a woman president means nothing to them. They are so invested in extremism and Sanders' lame-ass, poorly-considered "revolution" that even though Hillary Clinton is a liberal Democrat, with policies very similar to Obama, whom many on the far left loved, not to mention having many similar views to Sanders himself, they are filled with the most amazing venom and hatred towards Clinton, believing every character assassination attempt ever dreamed up by Richard Mellon Scaife and his well-paid army of smear mongers.

While African Americans went for Obama by 96%, these women are eager to prove they don't care about women getting elected.

Meanwhile Jane Mayer has written an article about Charles Koch's phony quasi-endorsement of Clinton:
Judging from the media hype surrounding Charles Koch’s interview, this past Sunday, with Jonathan Karl on ABC, you would think that the Koch brothers have undergone some kind of miraculous political conversion. ABC blasted out several breathless news alerts from the interview, saying that it was “possible” that Koch might prefer Hillary Clinton to the Republican Presidential candidates, and that he is so disenchanted with the Party’s options that he won’t even go to its convention. These bulletins have been swallowed and then regurgitated by one media outlet after the next, which in turn have spawned a wave of punditry, mostly concluding that Koch’s alleged transformation is the latest proof of the G.O.P. establishment’s dire dislike of Donald Trump.
It makes a good story, but it’s almost completely hot air.

To begin with, Charles Koch has never defined himself as a Republican Party stalwart. He has long stood far to the right of the Republican Party, which he has disparaged for spending too much, taxing too much, and regulating too much. He has been denigrating Republican candidates at least since 1980, when he talked his younger brother David into running as the Vice-Presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket, against Ronald Reagan and his running mate, George H. W. Bush.

But the  best part was when the New Yorker posted a link to her article on its Facebook wall and all these men jumped on to mansplain to Mayer, who recently published a book about the Kochs, why she's wrong about the Kochs and their attitude towards Clinton.

A selection of the mansplaining - as well as a member of the brocialist ladies auxiliary there at the end.







Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Riverside Park

Looking north at the GWBridge
Over the weekend I finally made it to the other big park within easy walking distance of my new apartment, Riverside Park. It has pluses and minuses over Central Park:
Pluses
  • Fewer tourists
  • Fewer landmarks and concessions so few people in general
  • The multi-tiered use of the land makes it bigger than it looks on the map
  • A view of the NJ side of the Hudson - it was a bit nostalgic for me since I lived over there for seven and a half years.
  • View of the GWB - the one that Governor Christie log jammed thanks to being a complete asshole

Minuses
  • Don't even think of having a nice walk along the river-side walkway - bicycles are allowed on it and many of them wiz by at top speed - you take your life into your hands walking on that thing - at least one person, a kid, was hit by a bike within the past year.
  • Bicyclists are not only on the walkway, they're all over the paths where you think it's going to be just pedestrians. In Central Park the bicyclists stick to the (usually closed-off) roadways.
  • No concessions so if you get thirst and want to buy a bottle of water you are out of luck.




Monday, April 25, 2016

Finishing the Picture - wow

Not only did Heather Prete get a non-speaking role,
this is the only picture she's in, on the Goodman Theater's site.
Matthew Modine performed as Arthur Miller's self-portrait.
So I finally got my copy of Arthur Miller's FINISHING THE PICTURE and it turns out to be practically word for word right out of Miller's autobiography:
(Paula Strasberg) could hardly say what time it was without seeming to suggest it was secret information, and to engender awe in the innocent onlooker she wore several watches—a pendant hanging from her neck, a wristwatch, and another in her bag so she would know what time it was in London and Tokyo, Mexico City and Sydney, implying that she and Lee had important interests all over the world.
From the play:
FLORA

(falls in a chair)
Oh thank God. I'll let Edna handle it for a minute, I'm washed out. What a night I had with her. This is Waterloo. The Battle of the Bulge. The Brothers Karamazov. 
Five o'clock?  

OCSCHNER
No-no, six-thirty.
FLORA

(Focusing closer) 
Oh! I'm reading London.
(Focuses on one of the five small watches hanging on chains from her neck and with alarm.) 

Miller also caricatures Lee Strasberg and accuses him of letting Monroe down. From the autobiography:
“I’ll talk to her, yes,” (Lee Strasberg) conceded. I understood the rules he was laying down—he would do what he could but was not going to take responsibility for her under any circumstances, most especially not when she was on the ropes. And he was the only person she trusted. Such was the perfection of her fate.

From the play - Paul is Miller's avatar:

JEROME
But she wants you to leave. 
PAUL
In a minute. The question is, who is responsible for her. That needs to be settled.  
JEROME

(to the bed)
No honey you can't go on like this, you will have no voice! Now please! 
(To Paul)
Clearly I can't take responsibility in that sense.

Not only is this Miller presenting Strasberg as refusing to take responsibility, but it also recalls Miller talking about Monroe screaming at him, which I talked about before:
She saw me and began to scream at me to get out... I thought to move the doctor away from the bed to stall off the injection, but the screaming was too terrible, and her distress in my presence canceled out any help I could hope to give, so I left and stood in the living room and waited until the doctor came out. He was up and talking. He believed he was the last doctor in the area to be called in, but he would not agree to any more shots of anything, fearing for her life now that he had seen what he had seen. I went back into the bedroom and she looked at me, ravaged but slowing down at last, merely repeating, “Get out,” as in a dream.
In "Timebends" Miller mentions re-writing the script of Misfits during the shooting of the film (and according to the Spoto biography, very frequently) but this is not mentioned at all in the play. Miller refuses to take any responsibility for his part in Monroe's stress. And of course when it came to his own son Daniel, born with Down Syndrome, again Miller refused to take responsibility. Maybe Monroe was screaming every time Miller appeared because she was aware of his true nature, and his self-serving was so appalling to her all she could do was scream in disgust at him.

Miller gives Paul some very nice speeches about "Kitty" - for example:
OCHSNER

(deeply disturbed)
...I still can't understand this! - She's the envy of half the world! 
PAUL
But what they are envying doesn't exist!... She doesn't feel loved, Phil, so the fluffy Kitty the world adores is a mockery, a phantom, a curl of smoke. And she certainly is surrounded by resentment now - I think she's not sure she really exists. So she stays in bed. This is all unconscious I think, not a strategy; but knowing that forty workers are praying in the lobby for you to appear has to mean you exist, right?...
But in spite of his character's defense of Monroe, what he does to the character of Kitty is incredible - the Goodman Theater provides this handy student study guide so I'll let the interview with Heather Prete, the actor who played Kitty, explain:
Question: How do you prepare for this non-speaking role? 
Heather: There are all these monologues that all of the characters come and say to Kitty at her bedside. And what I did when we were doing our table work, I wasn’t saying anything, but I would listen and I was trying to communicate with my face. So they would say their monologues to me and I would communicate with my face and just try to follow and be a good listener and reactor. Then I improvised lines in order to give the actors something to have in their head and then, of course, you can’t put in words that aren’t written, so then we’d go back to having it be less and less. 
Question: Have you ever played a part similar to this where you’ve felt the same challenges as an actor? 
Heather: No, it’s unusual to have a role where you don’t speak. 
Question: Do you get frustrated with that? 
Heather: No, I love it. It’s a lot of pressure off. I just get to watch these amazing actors and react. I don’t have to think about my lines; I can just be moved by watching them do their craft.
That's right. Miller created a character that represents Marilyn Monroe and it is a non-speaking role!

She doesn't speak but all the other characters monologue at her. And when she screams when she sees the Paul character she is not heard even then. She is entirely mute.

I was just talking about this recently - how Monroe's characters in her movies were objects rather than full characters - but at least she got some fucking dialog in them! Monroe was very bitter about Miller's taking away her character's speech about killing horses in "The Misfits" and instead had her throw "a screaming fit" - and here Miller does not even let her character scream out loud!

Absolutely mind-boggling.

Poor Heather Prete. She is trying to be positive when asked if she is frustrated about playing this shitty mute role. Of course she isn't going to complain - Arthur Miller was involved in the production and he is a theater god to most people. Admitting how she really felt could hurt her career.

And a lot of good it did her - she doesn't even make a living as an actor nowadays, she's doing meditation coaching stuff.

If I ever get a chance to do a decently-funded production of my play I will certainly try to get Prete for the role of Norma Jeane. She deserves it.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Passover 2016

I was invited to Passover this year - I didn't have to go to Zabar's after all. Although I have to say, my neighbors on the Upper West Side have a much less formal Passover than my in-laws back in Pennsauken NJ back in the twentieth century. But I had matzoh ball soup for the first time in decades so that was nice. No latkes though. Oh well you can't have everything. In the entire six years I lived in Astoria I was never invited into anybody's home, and here I've lived on the UWS for a little over two months and not only did I have dinner in somebody's home, but another neighbor invited me over to get high. Which I haven't done, yet, but it was nice to get the offer.

Yes so far the UWS is much friendlier than Astoria.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

RIP Bill Shakespeare

An amusing "obituary" in today's NYTimes: William Shakespeare, Playwright and Poet, Is Dead at 52. It's a bit snarky at times:
Had Hamlet never existed, playgoers would still speak of Macbeth, an upwardly mobile and downwardly moral Scottish thane who, with the steady prodding of his perhaps-mad wife, lets nothing stand between him and the throne and is defeated only by a combination of traveling trees and a C-section baby.4 
...
Before he died, Mr. Shakespeare would see his plays performed at Blackfriars Theatre, at the Globe (which burned down during a performance of “Henry VIII,” an event perhaps more exciting than anything that happens during “Henry VIII”)
Important to remember appreciation can sometimes take a while...
It should be added that Mr. Shakespeare was equally, if not more, revered in his lifetime for his non-theatrical poetry. His “Rape of Lucrece” (not as graphic as it sounds) went into multiple reprints, and “Venus and Adonis”—dedicated to his then-patron, the 3rd Earl of Southampton12—was the greatest publishing coup of his career, far outselling any editions of his plays.
And in one of the footnotes:
Why not the foremost English writer? In “Shakespeare: The World as Stage,” Bill Bryson writes that at the time of Shakespeare’s death, Francis Beaumont, John Fletcher and Ben Jonson all enjoyed greater esteem as playwrights. Beaumont was the first dramatist to be buried in Westminster Abbey — an honor never accorded Shakespeare, even though the two men died a few months apart. It took another century for Shakespeare’s reputation to outstrip that of his peers.
Astounding claim - I mean "lonely"? "Excellent"?
More than 2,000 words received their first recorded use in his work, including “barefaced,” “assassination,” “excellent,” “frugal,” “eyeball,” “auspicious,” “swagger,” “zany,” “summit,” “moonbeam,” “obscene,” “cold-blooded,” “hot-blooded,” “epileptic,” “fashionable,” “gossip,” “lonely,” “grovel,” “torture,” “manager,” “well-read,” “buzzer” and “rant.”

But most astounding of all: William Shakespeare, Playwright and Poet, Is Dead at 52.

Fifty two. Fifty fucking two.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Paul McCartney appreciation day

Miss Willow and McCartney
I'm sorry that Prince is dead. More sorry than I was when Bowie died. But to be honest, other than "Let's Go Crazy" and "Little Red Corvette" I really didn't care much about his music. They still don't know exactly how he died, as of this writing. RIP dude.

I heard the news just as I was posting about this piece about a biography of Paul McCartney in the New Yorker.

It's written by Adam Gopnik who has been working my nerves since at least 2010. As with any Gopnik essay, this one has good bits equally matched by annoying bits.

Some of the good bits:
And yet, even though we’re drowning in Beatle fact, something mysterious remains, and that mysterious thing, as always in the lives of artists, is how they did what they did. There is something fated about the Beatles. The first photograph of them in their final fourness, with Ringo on drums, was taken on August 22, 1962; the last was taken exactly seven years later, on August 22, 1969. The space between was filled with music. The notorious 1962 Decca tryout tape, where they failed the audition, and deserved to, seems almost impossible to reconcile with the final, elegiac side of “Abbey Road,” or with the music of the last rooftop concert, in London in January, 1969—all that passionate, smoky, supple playing and singing. The seven years are still almost unbelievable in the growth they evidence. The Beatles were an O.K. provincial rhythm-and-blues group, then they were masters, and they departed having made only masterpieces. How and why it happened—and why, having come so far so quickly, they broke apart so soon—remains the biographer’s puzzle.

He makes an excellent point. I also like how Gopnik appreciates McCartney's very unusual for a rock star regular family man aspect,  something I've written about before.
...Paul was not only a man of genius but also someone who has, past seventy, handled the madness of mega-fame about as well as anyone ever has. Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson died of something very much like suicide; John Lennon was murdered—hardly his fault—but after a long period of withdrawal. Paul is a grandfather and a father, by all accounts a good one, who made a bad rebound marriage after losing a much loved wife, but who has otherwise spent the past twenty-five or so years doing the good work of entertaining countless people and accepting innumerable awards. It’s a nice life to look at. He still strolls the streets of New York, smiling and dismayingly normal. So, if there are no new facts, there is a new attitude: all is forgiven.
And I really like the ending:
Not long ago, on one of the Upper East Side avenues he haunts, Paul McCartney bumped into a woman (my wife, as it happens) who as a small child had seen him onstage and held her ears against the screaming, and, like every woman of her generation, has idolized him since. “I know you,” he said cheerily, and then, stepping forward, realized he didn’t. “I’m so sorry,” he said, at once. “I’m really sorry to intrude.” It must have been the first time in fifty years that McCartney had had to apologize for bugging someone on the street, rather than the other way around. That he still knew how to do it is a sign of his grace.
I will have to spend more time on the East Side in the future if McCartney's over there walking around accosting people.

from the New Yorker article
In other Beatles news, I've had prints of photos taken by Astrid Kirchherr of Lennon and McCartney, signed by Kirchherr herself for over ten years, but I only just had them properly framed. I went with the best-quality no-glare museum quality glass. Very expensive but worth it for my two proudest possessions. Kirchherr was interviewed on Fresh Air in 2008.