Monday, February 29, 2016

More reeking right-wing lies from dating advice huckster Evan Marc Katz

Biological weasels are cute
and blameless ~ unlike metaphorical ones
Evan Marc Katz claims to be a liberal, but when it comes to gender he is as conservative as they come, which is why he so often quotes right-wingers with approval. This time around he references Arthur C. Brooks, number one employee of the insidious Koch brothers. I blogged about him here: Nazis -> Koch brothers -> Arthur C. Brooks

Like all conservatives, Brooks blames victims if they point out that they are victims. The basis of the conservative mindset is that people who are victims only have themselves to blame. That way the people who are actually responsible for the victims' misfortune are let off the hook. People like the Koch brothers, who I predict will go down in history as the foremost contributors to the global warming crisis. The Koch brothers and their lap dogs like Brooks have a deep self-interest in promoting the philosophy of the blamelessness of the powerful.

Another belief of right-wingers is that we now live in a time when men and women are completely equal and the term "patriarchy" is just some crazy bra-burner mythology. This is a subset of the blame the victim tactic - how can women complain about the way things are when men have it just as bad

This leads to the usual false equivalency as Katz demonstrates in his latest blog post. 
They are the men who complain that the world is rigged to favor women and spend all their time railing against injustice (“I had to pay for dates! She didn’t even call me back! American women are emasculating hags with no sexual market value over the age of 30!). They are the women who complain that everything is part of a greater patriarchy designed to oppress women. If you question it, you’re a part of it. 
As always, Katz employs the straw feminist: "They are the women who complain that everything is part of a greater patriarchy designed to oppress women" Naturally he doesn't name names because there are literally no woman anywhere complaining that everything is blah blah blah. Now there are organized Men's Rights Activists who are that extreme, but since Katz can't find any feminists who are as extreme as MRAs are, he must invent them in order to maintain his fantasy "both sides are just as bad" position.

He also uses this post as another opportunity to lie about his past advice:
So although 50% of my advice is to tell women to stop putting up with bullshit from men, the other 50% is to tell women how to act more effectively with men. It often means being nicer, more patient, more accepting, more understanding, more easygoing – putting yourself in his shoes the way you’d like him to put himself in your shoes. Basically, it’s good people advice that somehow gets twisted into a patriarchal attack on women, because evidently men aren’t entitled to expect better treatment from women as long as other men still treat women poorly.
He doesn't merely tell women to be nicer, more patient, etc. He tells women to be passive.

The sweet irony here is how Katz is claiming to be the victim - his advice "somehow gets twisted into a patriarchal attack on women."

Poor Evan Marc Katz! All he did was tell women to be completely and abjectly passive in their dealings with men, and some bitches out there are "twisting" that into a patriarchal attack!

Evan Marc Katz needs to own the fact that he is a conservative - but he won't because he'll lose some of his poor gullible marks that way and because he's a weasel. And I apologize to biological weasels who are much less harmful to human social progress than Evan Marc Katz.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Beautiful Upper West Side

Screaming portal - this looks so clean and sharp it
might be a modern knock-off of the old school
A few years ago I was raving about the beauty of Brooklyn brownstones with their architectural whimsy. Well Brooklyn's got nothing on the Upper West Side. And apparently my entire immediate neighborhood is designated as an historic district.

This is the Hotel Lucerne

This one is right across the street from my apartment building ~ the historic district document claims this building is called the "Clifford" but that's not what it spells on the building itself - I don't see any letter "R"s or "D"s in there. It looks like it could spell "Clifton" - and there is a building called the Clifton on 79th Street.

The Sudeley is also right across the street. Probably named for a British castle.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Judd Apatow continues to kick the corpse of romantic comedy after he's already killed it

The New Yorker and New York Magazine both tell us how much we should love the same old shit from Judd Apatow.

The New Yorker's Ian Crouch, who clearly adores Apatow's Netflix show "Love" makes it clear in his review that this is absolute Apatow - the hot responsible woman paired with the ugly man-baby:
Rust, a thirty-four-year-old comedian and writer, who created the series along with his wife, Lesley Arfin, and Judd Apatow, has a mop of dark hair, a beaked nose, and a not especially strong chin, which he accentuates by slinking his head back into his body when he talks. He walks with his hands dangling at his sides, like a sullen child, and he slumps his shoulders forward while leaning oddly backward—like a figure on the left side of man’s evolutionary chart, or like a tranquillized Groucho Marx. Rust is surely somebody’s sex symbol, but his initial effect is to make Woody Allen, in his “Annie Hall” days, or Billy Crystal, in all those terrible sweaters from “When Harry Met Sally,” look like Paul Newman. 
The disparity in conventional physical attractiveness between Rust and Jacobs has not gone unnoticed. But the saving grace for the Woodys and Billys of the rom-com world has typically been a plausibly irresistible wit or charm—what blind-date matchmakers used to refer to as “personality.” Yet, even in this department, Gus does not seem to be much of a catch. At one point, Mickey, in a line that has been seized on by many who have written about the show, describes Gus as a “forty-year-old twelve-year-old.” But even that doesn’t quite go far enough: as Gus, Rust seems more like an eighty-year-old seven-year-old, prone to tantrums that combine geriatric bitterness and juvenile irritation. Gus’s frustrated outbursts, peppered with “fucks” that sound more like whines than true expressions of anger, are mostly evidence that the no-longer-quite-young man needs a time-out. Gus is, as Mickey later calls him, “a weird little dude.” Yet this weird little dude starts off the first episode in bed with one beautiful young woman and ends it in an improbable and awkward threesome with two other beautiful young women. So it seems, initially, that Gus is just another ostensibly nice nerd-king man-child of the Apatow universe, who, by dint of a little effusiveness and a lot of just being there, manages to seduce—or, at least, capture—the women around him, who happen to be better looking and more interesting than he is.
And no, don't mention Trainwreck - Bill Hader is not hotter than Amy Schumer. Not even as Stefon, his hottest character.

It's all good though, as far as Crouch is concerned:
"The Apatow ethos is essentially optimistic: people are meant for each other" 
And yet somehow the people are never, ever hot men paired with ugly unlikeable women. Funny how that works, isn't it? 

Crouch links to a Vulture article where the attractiveness disparity of "Love" "has not gone unnoticed" - but the article's author Pilot Viruet, who I believe is a woman, basically makes excuses at the end of her piece:
But TV's hot girl/ugly guy pairings typically go unchallenged, largely because standards for female attractiveness haven't budged much over the past 60 years. More than just another TV trope, these pairings are a reflection of the culture: Women must be conventionally physically attractive, while men aren’t held to the same standards. And as long as that's a reality, this trope is here to stay.
But that's a lousy argument - since when has TV been exclusively about reflecting the world as it is? Has this alleged media critic never heard of Bewitched?

Sure, hot girl/ugly guy pairings exist in real life -  but not nearly as frequently as they do on TV.  The hot girl/ugly guy trope caters to straight male fantasies. Last I heard, women watch television too - so why no fantasies for women?

Because, duh, men still completely control the entertainment industry. Straight white men

I hate so much having to live in a world that caters exclusively to the fantasies of people like Judd Apatow and Ian Crouch.

And she's still got the goods on him:

But she's not the only one - there are some great quotes from this article:
Let's Talk About the Hotness Double Standard on Netflix's 'Love,' Shall We? by E. J. Dickson - I worship you now, E.J.

Great quote #1:
We rarely, if ever, see the female version of Kevin James whining about how her sexy broad-shouldered stockbroker husband won't sleep with her, even though these couples do exist and are perfectly happy together IRL. The closest we've ever come in the past five years is the episode of Girls where Lena Dunham sleeps with former Gap model Patrick Wilson, a scenario that struck critics as so improbable many wrote the episode off as an actual dream sequence.

Great quote #2 - even greater!
It's so obvious that it almost goes without saying that in Hollywood, women are held to an impossibly high standard for youth and beauty, while men are not held to any standard at all; if someone swapped out Adam Sandler for a literal musk ox, no one would bat an eyelash so long as the musk ox hit his mark and didn't slobber on Brooklyn Decker during their love scenes. In an industry run almost exclusively by nerdy white men who perhaps grew up slobbering after the JV volleyball captain at their high school, the Gus/Mickey pairing makes total sense.

Friday, February 26, 2016

More feminist hating from the Ladies Auxiliary

While tallying the attack rate of the Radical Chic Ladies Auxiliary against feminists I overlooked Amber A'Lee Frost's article "No Such Cuck."

Apparently Frost thinks it's important to enlighten the world on feminist Joan Walsh's feelings about the word "cuckservitude." Frost ends the article in this way :
The net effect of this summer’s cuckservative panic was to lure liberals once more into their pet allegiance to etiquette and away from the more risky and demanding conduct of politics. The anonymous basement trolls crying cuckservative are gross, but they don’t have the political power or public legitimacy of the “mild-mannered, clean-cut” rightists. (And if Twitter metrics are anything to go by, the word has essentially been retired anyway.) It’s the bien pensant conservatives who continue to whitewash the insidious nature of the conservative movement, even as they convey an air of civilized legitimacy to the easily shocked Joan Walshes of the world.
Amber A'Lee Frost doesn't give a shit about conservatives unless she can use them to attack liberals, and to demonstrate what a rad young contrarianette (the Ladies Auxiliary embraces politically incorrect terminology) she is compared to those bourgeois old lady feminists. And you will never go broke writing hit pieces on feminists: Katie Roiphe has made an entire career of it. I doubt Frost would turn down money from a right-wing organization to write a feminist hit piece. Just as her sister-member of the Ladies Auxiliary Liza Featherstone was proud to be quoted by the Koch brothers-funded Reason magazine as she tried to gaslight those of us who had direct experience with Bernie Bros.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

With friends like them

Doug Henwood and Liza Featherstone, writers for The Nation and Jacobin, and Henwood's blog, are nasty people, as I have demonstrated several times on this blog. Henwood is particularly thin-skinned and apparently decided to retaliate against Katha Pollitt for handing him his ass last month by trying to embarrass her on his blog - I missed it until just recently.

Last time I checked Pollitt considered Henwood her friend - but if a friend of mine went after me like that in public I wouldn't feel too friendly towards them. I just can't compartmentalize my feelings that well. Of course they're also work colleagues at The Nation, so maybe it's just a work friendship.

Bernie Sanders isn't projected to do nearly as well in upcoming state caucuses and primaries as he had been for the past month, and desperation doesn't tend to make nasty people any nicer. Naturally Henwood has to attack Krugman, who, as far as I know doesn't consider Henwood a friend:
The Sanders campaign has certainly sharpened the contradictions, hasn’t it? It’s been very clarifying to see Hillary Clinton and her surrogates running against single-payer and free college, with intellectual cover coming from Paul Krugman and Vox.
Doug Henwood is trying to present Krugman as being against single-payer and free college, because he's dishonest like that. But as Krugman noted:
What I and most of my wonk friends would like to see is what the late Robert Heilbroner used to call Slightly Imaginary Sweden — or these days, maybe Diversified Denmark. That is, a strong social safety net that protects everyone against avoidable misery, workers with substantial bargaining power, strong environmental policy; not an equalized society, not a Utopia, but someplace where basic decency is a fundamental principle. 
But nothing like that is going to happen in America any time soon. If we’re going to have any kind of radical change in the next few years and probably the next couple of decades, it will come from the right, not the left.

As Matt O’Brien rightly said recently, even the incremental changes Hillary Clinton is proposing are very unlikely to get through Congress; the radical changes Bernie Sanders is proposing wouldn’t happen even if Democrats retook the House. O’Brien says that the Democratic primary is “like arguing what’s more real: a magical unicorn or a regular unicorn. In either case, you’re still running on a unicorn platform.” This is, alas, probably true: the platforms of the candidates are better seen as aspirational than as programs at all likely to happen.
But in that case, why not go for the magical unicorn? A couple of reasons.
One is that there are degrees of realism: a program that could be implemented in part if Democrats retake the House might turn out to be a useful guide relatively soon, while a program that requires a political revolution won’t.

Another is that, perhaps inevitably, the Sanders insistence on the need for magical unicorns has led to invocations of economic as well as political magic. I warned a while back that even Sanders wasn’t willing to level with voters about what his ideals would require — that, in particular, he was assuming unrealistic savings in order to gloss over the reality that quite a few middle-class Americans would be net losers from a transition to single payer. I’m not alone in raising such concerns, and not just about the health plan.
Naturally Doug Henwood refuses to admit the possibility that Krugman is speaking for himself - instead Henwood characterizes him as providing "intellectual cover" for Clinton.

What I can't figure out about Henwood and his wife Featherstone is who exactly they think they are and who they think they're speaking for. They like to use terms like "bourgeois" and "elites" when describing their political enemies. Here's Featherstone:
FEATHERSTONE: Well, faux feminism is a bit of hyperbole, because of course--of course all kinds of revolting ideologies are part of feminism. I can't say only my feminism is the real feminism. I'm kind of kidding about that, a little. But what I do think is that that sort of feminism is not actually serious about improving the vast majority of women's lives, that what Hillary represents--what I mean by faux feminism is that it's elite feminism, so it is only going to serve a few. So you know, elite women who may cheer, you know, the symbolic lifting of the glass ceiling that Hillary represents. But on the other hand what her record represents is, as I say in the piece, a contempt for the kind of social democratic policies that most women need.
Featherstone's kind of feminism is I'm sure the same as her husband's "feminism" - one that isn't about women so much as about peace and egalitarianism. Also Featherstone thinks the bitches at Ms. Magazine are idiots for talking about the universality of rape - apparently Featherstone doesn't think that rape is rape - by her way of thinking you shouldn't compare the rape of elite women to the rape of the non-elite. Elite in this case being women who attend Ivy League colleges.

But I don't see how either of them could be any more elite if they tried. I mean, not only did they both attend Ivy League schools - Featherstone went to Columbia, Henwood went to Yale - they both seem to make a living exclusively from opining in Academia and far-left periodicals - or in Featherstone's case, AM New York, and they can afford to live in a condo in Brooklyn, which, according to Zillow is worth $2 million.

It's amazing how much information you can learn based on real estate and other sites these days: Spokeo will tell you who lives/lived in buildings, whether there is a sex offender in the neighborhood, crime rate etc.; and Homemetry will even tell you what the owner/tenant occupation and education level is, or even their nationality or ethnicity. They aren't always accurate though - an ex-boyfriend of mine is listed as "English" but he's Korean.

According to online records Henwood bought his place three years ago for under a million, so if the property is worth $2M now that's quite an impressive gain. If these records are accurate then I have to admit, for somebody who hates capitalism so much Henwood does pretty well by it. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Back online

But too exhausted from moving to blog much. But at least I'm completely out of Astoria - and since my daughter no longer lives their either I doubt I'll be visiting much in the future.

I like my new neighborhood so much better.

Well there are some things I could do without...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Time Warner thinks I'm a fool

"Oh yeah, it's just plug and play - as soon as you move onto your apartment you'll be online."

Never in the history of my using cable services has it ever been that easy to get an Internet connection  in a new apartment. I wanted to believe him of course but it ran counter to all my experience.

The technician comes today. Time Warner will charge me $30 for him to try to figure out why the brand new cable modem they gave me can't get online.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

What Krugman Said

"But what if the political left starts behaving like the political right, making support for implausible claims a litmus test of loyalty, declaring that anyone raising hard questions is ipso facto corrupt? That would become very uncomfortable, to say the least.
It’s also, almost surely, a losing game in the end. If it comes down to gut feelings that reject hard thinking, the right is always going to have an advantage.
So I hope that the Sanders campaign doesn’t just brush off this criticism as the “establishment” doing its corrupt thing, and realizes that it really is in danger of losing not just an election but an important part of what it should be standing for."

Monday, February 15, 2016

Scenes from the Upper West Side

It snowed today while I was measuring my new apartment. It's a charming one-bedroom with an ornamental fireplace and all that. And you can't beat the location. But it's about 60% the size of my Astoria apartment which means I have to get rid of a lot of stuff. 

Also one of my realtors can't tell directions - she kept saying my apartment was south-facing but I was pretty sure that while the building is south facing, my apartment in the back of the building has windows facing north - and thanks to the compass app on my phone I was able to determine that they face exactly North-East. Which is good - winds rarely blow out of the North-East in this part of the country. I surely will not miss how cold my Astoria apartment, on the seventh floor, got when the winds were blowing out of the West. My new place is on the second floor which is snug among the tallish buildings and don't anticipate a lot of wind. 

My neighbor across the hall introduced herself, which is a big difference from my current neighbors - in five years of living here nobody has ever introduced themselves. I think it's a good omen.

We're not in Astoria, Toto

Entrance to my building

The view outside my bedroom window - facing North-East.

If I can make it there...

As of today I am officially a resident of Manhattan. Although I haven't quite moved yet, but I get the keys today.

I'm not a big cocktail aficionado - I prefer wine. But I figured this illustration was appropriate.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

What the Radical Chic really thinks of women

Katha Pollitt pointed out on FB and via Twitter how absurd it was of Jacobin magazine to write an article glorifying the relationship of Karl and Jenny Marx.

Unfortunately she was wrong about the article being written by two men - one of the authors is a woman.

But that did not surprise me at all, this being Jacobin, frequent publisher of Doug Henwood, whose Ladies Auxiliary regularly attacks feminists.

But even more so, a magazine that publishes Doug Henwood naturally finds the marriage of Karl Marx to be the ideal  - the wife worked and sacrificed and was cheated on and doesn't get credit for all the work she put into Marx's writing directly. The perfect helpmeet for the founder of Radical Chic.

Jacobin, typical of the Radical Chic, does not approve of women putting themselves first which is why they despise Sheryl Sandberg and why they use the title of her book "Lean In" as the worst possible insult and refer to Gloria Steinem as a Lean-In feminist. But Henwood expressed it most succinctly when he said:
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.
In other words, the kind of feminism Henwood admires isn't about women at all - it's about peace and egalitarianism. Presumably egalitarianism would help women, but Henwood clearly prefers not to talk about the ways in which women as a group suffer from the lack of equality. Because you know, all the proletariat is oppressed equally, so why should we make a special point about women?

It's bros before hoes all the way with socialists and other worshippers of Karl Marx. Women do well to never forget that.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

NYC Crime Map

While looking for an apartment the past couple of months I discovered the handy color-coded NYC crime map. It had some surprises on it - the 84th precinct, which includes Brooklyn Heights is one of the more crime-ridden areas, of New York, while the Upper West Side all the way to Inwood is the greatest stretch of low-crime area in Manhattan. All of lower Manhattan is pretty bad, including the financial district, and they aren't even including white-collar crime there.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Back to 85th Street

My new apartment is in a much more attractive building
than the one on the East Side too.

Well I considered so many different locations to move to - Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Ditmas Park, the Financial District, Chinatown - even freaking Jersey City. And in the end, I got an apartment on 85th Street in Manhattan. I lived on 85th Street in 2009.

Except this time it's WEST 85th Street - the Upper West Side is much more my kind of people, for as Wikipedia says:
Like the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side is an affluent, primarily residential area with many of its residents working in more commercial areas in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. It has the reputation of being home to New York City's cultural, intellectual hub (with Columbia University located at the north end of the neighborhood), and artistic workers (with Lincoln Center located at the south end), while the Upper East Side is traditionally perceived to be home to commercial and business types.[4]

Although I make my living with business types I'm definitely by temperament an artistic worker. Also my East 85th Street apartment was close to the East River, but now I'm half a block away from Central Park - including the fairly obscure Arthur Ross Pinetum - pronounced pie-NEE-tem. Don't believe me? Ask Martha Stewart!

I discover the Pinetum in 2011 and blogged about it here.

Now of course I no longer have an excuse not to get up early in the morning and go for a run before work - the park is right there. Plus, it turns out my favorite Manhattan restaurant Machiavelli Trattoria is right around the corner. With all that amazing wine and Italian food so close by I will need to get as much exercise as possible.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

So what is the Radical Chic Ladies Auxiliary up to now?

Well Gloria Steinem made an off-hand remark to Bill Maher and thanks to the Bernie sympathizers in the press it was turned into a big fucking deal. As reported by the Times.
“When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,” Ms. Steinem said.
After the comments provoked a firestorm, Ms. Steinem apologized. “I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently,” she wrote on Facebook. “Whether they gravitate to Bernie or Hillary, young women are activist and feminist in greater numbers than ever before.”
A Clinton aide declined to comment specifically on the conference call, but said the comments of Ms. Albright and Ms. Steinem had been taken “a bit out of context.”
Naturally this is being trumpeted as the death of feminism by Fox News. But of course Liza Featherstone, who hates most feminists, decided to take a break from making common cause with Libertarians to pile on.

When it comes to feminism, it's really getting hard to tell the difference between Fox News and the Nation.

Featherstone and her friends had a good laugh about "boy crazy" but in fact that is exactly what Featherstone and her gang do. It's so pathetic.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Death to the Oxford Comma

I got into a debate about the Oxford comma on a New Yorker post on Facebook.

I wouldn't be nearly so anti-OC if the OC partisans weren't so freaking smug, coming up with specious arguments like this one that keeps popping up on my Facebook feed about JFK, Stalin and strippers.

The reason the Oxford comma is wrong is because when you join two words together by a conjunction ("and") you don't use a comma.

As in: "We invited JFK and Stalin."

NOT "We invited JFK, and Stalin."

And it shouldn't matter how many items come before the items joined by a conjunction - the conjunction still doesn't get a comma.

Now the reason that the sentence "We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin." is confusing is not because of the lack of an Oxford comma, it's because a list of things has a unifying principle, otherwise why make it a list?

JFK and Stalin are proper nouns, while strippers is not. Instead of depersonalizing the strippers by referring to them only by their occupation you could say: "We invited Candy, Trixie, JFK and Stalin." Or refer to them all by their occupations: "We invited two strippers and two heads of state." - No need for any commas.

If the strippers were named JFK and Stalin you could say "We invited strippers JFK and Stalin."  Again, no need for commas.

What this example is really all about is status. It seems perfectly acceptable to viewers of this graphic that the strippers are referred to by their occupation rather than by their name. That is why you don't see this example instead:
We invited heads of states, Candy and Trixie. 

As strippers, Candy and Trixie are nobodies, so who cares what their names are?

And that's why this list is wrong in the first place: a list of four people, two of whom are so much lower-status that they are not even referred to by name, grouped together with two world leaders.

The Oxford comma is a crutch for those who are too lazy to write with clarity. It is entirely superfluous and needs to be dropped from proper English usage.

Case closed.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Ana Lower

Norma Jeane Baker, wearing all her
magazine covers, 1946. She began using the
name "Marilyn Monroe" that year.
I plan to eventually read the entire autobiography of Arthur Miller, "Timebends" - after all why wouldn't the life of a leading 20th century playwright be of interest to me? And a playwright who wrote one of the few plays from the 20th century I really admire, DEATH OF A SALESMAN.

But for now I'm reading for information about Marilyn Monroe. It's odd what Miller leaves out - I don't think he describes their wedding at all, just the car crash that resulted when paparazzi got wind of the wedding. And as I mentioned he doesn't discuss his feelings when he heard Monroe married DiMaggio - or even mention DiMaggio at all except to note that the entertainment press felt that the Yankee Clipper was the perfect mate for Monroe.

But what he does include is often invaluable. I knew how close Monroe was to Ana Lower. Lower was the paternal aunt of Monroe's legal guardian Grace McKee. Monroe said:
Aunt Grace did not bring me back to live with her (after her two-year stay in an orphanage). She took me to Van Nuys, a very poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Los Angeles. I was to live there with her aunt, a sixty-two-year-old spinster. Her home was a rundown bungalow, and the people in the neighborhood were mostly poor and on relief.
But I'll never forget my living there with Miss Ana Lower. She became my aunt Ana. This woman became the greatest influence in my life.
The love I have today for the simple and beautiful things in life are because of her teachings, bless her. She was one of the few persons that I really loved with such a deep love that I could only have for someone so good, so kind, and so full of love for me.
One of the many reasons I loved her so much was her philosophy, her understanding of what really mattered in life. You know, like the time when I was going to Emerson Junior High and one of the girls in my class mad fun of a dress I was searing. I don't know why kids do things like that. It really hurts so. Well, I ran home crying as though my heart would break.
My loving aunt Ana was so comforting. She just held me in her arms and rocked me to and fro like a baby and said, "It doesn't make any difference if other children make fun of you, dear - it's what you really are that counts. Just keep being yourself, honey. That's all that really matters." She was quite a person. She didn't believe in sickness, disease or death. She didn't believe in a person being a failure, either. She did believe the mind could achieve anything it wished to achieve.
In my play I have Norma Jeane said "She had a very strong mind, but her heart gave out in 1948." Lower died of heart failure. I wasn't sure what else to say because in all the sources I had read about Monroe's life, there was nothing about her reaction to Lower's death. Well Arthur Miller came through with the goods:
One evening as we sat staring down at the city, she said, apropos of nothing in particular, that when she was fourteen or fifteen her elderly "aunt" Ana, a Christian Scientist who was the one intelligent and kind woman she had known, took ill and died; loving her, Ana had been for a while an impromptu guardian, and Marilyn had come to rely on her. She had not been living with Ana for some time, but the shock of her death was terrible "I went and lay down in her bed the day after she died... just lay there for a couple of hours on her pillow. Then I went to the cemetery and these men were digging a grave and they had a ladder into it, and I asked if I could get down there and they said sure, and I went down and lay on the ground and looked up at the sky from there. It's quite a view, and the ground is cold under your back. The men started to try to fool around, but I climbed out before they could catch me. But they were nice and kidded me. And then I went away. 
Miller got her age wrong though. Lower died in March 1948 - Monroe was twenty-one - quite a bit older than fifteen. Miller could have easily had somebody research this but I guess he wasn't that interested in the details of Monroe's life.

Something else Monroe said about Lower:
When I was living with Aunt Ana, since Mom was in the hospital, I would go shopping with her. We were all always looking for bargains, looking to save what little money Aunt Ana had. I remember one day we were standing on a long line where they were selling day-old stale bread. For a quarter you could buy enough of the stale bread to last a week.
I thought to myself, Are we always going to be poor, standing on stale-bread lines? Sensing my sadness, Aunt Ana would squeeze my hand, smile down at me, and say to me, Norma Jeane, when you grow up, you will be a rich, beautiful, and talented lady, a famous model and actress. Only Mom and Aunt Ana knew these were my secret dreams

By the time Ana Lower died Monroe had already appeared in her first-released movie "Dangerous Years" - it's nice to know she got to see her predictions had come true before she died.

Saturday, February 06, 2016


I don't know why, with all the research I've been doing about Marilyn Monroe that it took me so long to get around to reading Arthur Miller's autobiography Timebends. While some of the information is included in biographies of Marilyn Monroe, Miller's book is rarely quoted directly and I don't know why because it's a treasure trove. And thanks to the Internet I didn't even have to wait once I determined to read it - I just downloaded it (after paying 9 bucks) from Google books.

As a professional writer, you can count on Arthur Miller to do a very nice job of expressing his feelings for Monroe in ways that her first two husbands, a cop and a baseball player could not. For example:
She was a whirling light to me then, all paradox and enticing mystery, street-tough one moment, then lifted by a lyrical and poetic sensitivity that few retain past early adolescence. Sometimes she seemed to see all men as boys, children with immediate needs that it was her place in nature to fulfill; meanwhile her adult self stood aside observing the game. Men were their need, imperious and somehow sacred. She might tell about being held down at a party by two of the guests in a rape attempt from which she said she had escaped, but the truth of the account was far less important than its strange remoteness from her personally. And ultimately something nearly godlike would emerge from this depersonalization. She was at this point incapable of condemning or even of judging people who had damaged her, and to be with her was to be accepted, like moving out into a kind of sanctifying light from which a life where suspicion was common sense. She had no common sense, but what she did have was something holier, a long-reaching vision of which she herself was only fitfully aware: humans were all need, all wound. What she wanted most was not to judge but to win recognition from a sentimentally cruel profession, and from men blinded to her humanity by her perfect beauty. She was part queen, part waif, sometimes on her knees before her own body and sometimes despairing because of it - "Oh, there's lots of beautiful girls," she would say to some expression of awed amazement, as though her beauty betrayed her quest for more enduring acceptance. For myself it was beyond rationalizing; I was in a swift current, there was no stopping or handhold, she was finally all that was true. What I did not know about her life was easy to guess and I suppose I felt the pain of her memories even more because I did not have her compensating small pride at having survived such a life.

I had wondered what Miller thought when he heard Monroe had married DiMaggio - he mentions in his autobiography that he met Monroe in 1951 and they corresponded until they eventually got together in New York. Meanwhile she married DiMaggio in 1954 - and Miller in 1956.

Well Miller doesn't mention how he felt about the marriage and only mentions DiMaggio once:
...her breaking up what (the media) had decided was the perfect American marriage, with Joe DiMaggio, had simply been unforgivable.
But he did reveal something more important which I will discuss tomorrow.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Berniebros are real and I have met (and blocked) them on Facebook

The far-left is trying to push the idea that "Berniebros" - obnoxious men who insult people who either support Hillary Clinton or in some cases just mildly criticize Bernie Sanders - just don't exist.

The term for telling others that their personal experience is wrong - or even insane - is known as "gaslighting." Or as this article in Shakesville states: You Can't Mansplain Away the Berniebros:
Months ago, however, the term "Berniebro" was coined by Robinson Meyer, writing in The Atlantic, in order to describe a certain subset of young male Bernie supporters online, and the term has become synonymous with the harassers. Of late larger media is taking more notice; last week no less a than the BBC wrote about Sanders' fans bad online reputation. (I'm quite sure it isn't coincidental that well-known white men like Paul Krugman have been the targets of Berniebullying lately, but whatever.)
Predictably as clockwork, online Bernie supporters are there to mansplain that the Berniebro is all a myth, a racist and sexist one to boot:
The media’s false characterization of the average Sanders supporter as a white male “Bernie Bro” is misleading and offensive...The optics are pretty bad — well-heeled media outlets with brick-and-mortar offices in privileged neighborhoods like Manhattan (Mashable‘s office is located in the Flatiron District) and Washington, DC (The Atlantic is headquartered at the Watergate Hotel) are essentially erasing the contributions of women and people of color to the Bernie Sanders campaign to propagate their own narrative, rendering them as invisible people. This is one of the oldest forms of violence perpetuated by white people of privilege.
Now this is a pretty neat trick in several ways.
1. It sets up a strawperson that no-one is arguing (that the "average Sanders supporter" is the Berniebro) and then debunks it.
2. It centers the Sanders campaign and its supporters as the real victims here.
3. It erases the men of color and women of all races who have actually borne the brunt of this harassment, and who have been talking about it, mischaracterizing us as part of a well-heeled media with swank offices in rich neighborhoods.
4. It then invokes the historical erasure of marginalized people as a silencing technique so that we can't talk about the harassment of marginalized people.
Cool story, bro. Have you considered titling it Gaslight?

Jason Grote, whom I came to know and despise eight years ago when I argued with him about women in theater posted a comment on Facebook about Katha Pollitt's column in The Nation Why Have I (Almost) Always Voted for the Male Candidate? (and Grote name-checked Pollitt so it showed up on her FB page which is how I saw it) questioning the existence of Bernie Bros - but once he saw I commented that Berniebros were indeed real he blocked me. So I don't have a screenshot of his comment.

And naturally The Nation's Liza Featherstone, whose husband is the king of the Berniebros, is quoted in Reason magazine on the use of the term. She brags about it on Facebook.

This isn't the first pro-Sanders article I've seen in Reason, which is absolutely mind-blowing. Reason is ground zero for Libertarianism and is funded in part by the Koch brothers. Libertarians are the mortal enemies of socialists- Reason is the last place I'd expect to see support for Bernie Sanders.

Could it be that their hatred of Hillary Clinton is so equally intense it has brought together the right-wing Reason and the far-left Nation? Is this an example of the Horseshoe Theory?

Or possibly another example of Republicans supporting Sanders because they'd rather face him in the general election?

Well back to my personal experience of Berniebros. While there certainly are Sanders supporters who are women, and some of them have debated me on Facebook, virtually the only Sanders supporters coming at me with condescending and contemptuous attitudes are men. I've already mentioned Mike Daisey, here are some others.

In this one, please note an example of the reverse-bigotry mansplaining technique discussed in the Shakesville piece quoted above.

Not the first time this person implies I only care about Clinton's gender when I hadn't even been discussing that issue. I don't know where this guy came from - he isn't even a friend of a Facebook friend.

Here we see Eric Ross, respected anthropologist (he co-authored a book with my hero Marvin Harris) about to get blocked by me after the final straw on top of weeks of insulting responses to my FB posts. I had already suggested to him days before that if he didn't like my FB posts he could unfriend me or stop following my newsfeed. Apparently he liked having excuses to attack me.

Although for sheer raw hatred of Hillary Clinton from a Sanders supporter, this guy commenting on a New Yorker Facebook post rivals even Doug Henwood.

You just have to laugh at his preamble in which he claims he's not being hostile and then calls Clinton the most disgusting, vile and reprehensible woman on Earth. While Anne Coulter still lives.

Yeah, I'd say Berniebros are real.

Although I'm sure that even these examples won't be enough for someone like Liza Featherstone, whose life's work is to attack feminists on behalf of the far left, who see women's issues as a bourgeois distraction from real issues.

And besides maybe Koch brothers employees will want to quote her again. I'm sure she's happy to sell "bourgeois feminists" out to the Koch brothers.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Marilyn's muse

Well I need a break from Berniebros, members of the Radical Chic and other unsavory characters (no surprise anti-feminist Will Shetterly is a Berniebro) so I'll talk about Marilyn Monroe. I know so much about her thanks to the play about her that I keep trying to finish. One of these days soon - after I finally move to my new apartment.

One thing I find very charming is that Arthur Miller was her muse. I certainly relate to that - I've always found attractive men especially inspiring myself and Monroe was really into Miller from the time they met in 1951 - and he was really into her. But he was married and Monroe went onto marry Joe DiMaggio. I will have to get Miller's autobiography and see what he has to say about how he was feeling when he heard Monroe married somebody else.

Even though she did she was thinking of him. She said:

When I met Arthur Miller the first time, it was on a set, and I was crying. I was playing in a picture called As Young As You Feel, and he and Elia Kazan came over to me. I was crying because a friend of mine had died. I was introduced to Arthur.  
That was in 1951. Everything was pretty bleary for me at that time. Then I didn't see him for about four years. We would correspond, and he sent me a list of books to read. I used to think that maybe he might see me in a movie - there often used to be two pictures playing at a time, and I thought I might be in the other movie and he'd see me. So I wanted to do my best.  
I don't know how to say it, but I was in love with him from the first moment. 

Queensboro Bridge

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Bernie Bros and Man-babies

I think Doug Henwood is now officially the king of the Bernie Bros. Here we see a self-described Bernie Bro on reddit citing Henwood.

The Bernie Bros have been attacking me on my own FB newsfeed for days for posting pro-Hillary and anti-Sanders stories. The Bro phenomenon is so bad even the Sanders campaign realizes it's a problem.

However I think that Mike Daisey is the true exemplar of Bernie Bro-dom. I've blogged about Daisey before - once in 2012 in the aftermath of the scandal he caused This American Life by lying about his sources, and then just a few months ago over a theater kerfuffle

I was not at all surprised to discover that Daisey was a Bernie Bro - he is not interested in accuracy and he likes to posture - like your standard member of the Radical Chic.  So of course he had to jump on a discussion I had going on my FB newsfeed to tell me what a moron I was for providing a link to this article from the American Prospect, The Trouble with Bernie Sanders's Revolution

So to be clear - he came to my FB feed looking for a fight - and then claimed I was trolling. Damn, I've said it takes a massive lack of self-awareness to be in the Radical Chic but it still stuns me even now how extreme the lack of self-awareness is.

I called him a man-baby. And he defriended me. Imagine my dismay.

Monday, February 01, 2016

On Location with "The Owl and the Pussycat"

Wow, fun - completely unexpected piece about the making about the movie version of "The Owl and the Pussycat."

But New York has definitely changed since the 1970s - you don't hear much about "swinging go-go joints" anymore.