Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tiny theater world - still tiny

One of the people in the 365 Women playwrights group with me is married to this right-winger David Marcus - here he claims that David Mamet's OLEANNA is "just as relevant and present now as it was when Mamet wrote it in reaction to the Clarence Thomas hearings."

OLEANNA, as I detail here, is a right-wing fantasy about a noble professor brought down by a crazy college student controlled by a shadowy Group. It had no relevance when it was first produced, much less now - except as an example of the deranged panic of right-wing men.

Although I didn't realize it was a reaction to the Clarence Thomas hearings, but if it was, it's pretty suitable since Clarence Thomas is possibly one of the worst Supreme Court justices ever who lied his way onto the Court.

Deranged right-wing men will always watch each others' backs. Which is the only possible reason that Marcus would even reference a complete loser like Jonah Goldberg.

 What I really don't understand is how his wife, who is not a right-winger, can stand to be near him, much less be married to him. I won't go so far as to call all right-wingers idiots, but I will say that their understanding of the world is so extremely different from my own that there is virtually no way to connect with them on a personal level - you might as well try to communicate with a Venusian - a Venusian who believes that Venusians are superior in every way, and gets everything wrong, and has a belligerent attitude covered, if at all, by the most transparent veneer of civility.

I don't see how you wouldn't want to throttle them after five minutes in their presence.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I can tell we know each other very well...

Pretty awesome piano for a brass band.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Naomi & Patty win thanksgiving

 Patty made the turkey, Naomi made the sweet potato pie and I brought the wine.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful today I don't work for Walmart

The Walton family never gets tired of being rich and evil.
Walmart pays its workers so little that many of them are forced to rely on government assistance to make ends meet. But while it won't raise wages so that workers can pay their bills and buy food, Walmart is totally concerned and wants to help its employees who are struggling. Once again, it's expressing that concern by holding a canned food drive for its own workers. This time around, it's an Oklahoma Walmart store where bins have been put out with signs asking workers to "succeed by donating to associates in need."
Also on the Thanksgiving theme - a very Chagrin Falls Thanksgiving:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The School of Rape

So it turns out that not only is the University of Virginia in the running for the premiere rape college in the United States, it also has a mural that, if not glorifies faculty misbehavior and adultery, at least considers it just another part of attending the University of Virginia.

The rape issue was brought to national attention thanks to an article in Rolling Stone which:

...detailed what appeared to be the preplanned gang rape of a student in 2012 in an upstairs room of the Phi Kappa Psi house, followed by a botched response by the administration. And it alleged that rape has long been an ugly undercurrent of the university’s social system, treated as an unfortunate byproduct of the school’s party culture whose eradication was less important than maintaining the university’s image.
A very expensive mural called "The Student's Progress" covers the entire foyer and stairwell of Old Cabell Hall, which is also the University’s premier auditorium and the favored space for visiting dignitaries. The mural depicts, among other scenes of daily life at the University of Virginia, a male faculty member standing on a porch and tossing a mostly naked student her bra as his beleaguered wife comes up the stairs. My students and I have pointed out that wildly inappropriate section of the mural to faculty, administrators, students, parents, and donors, but so far, no one has been particularly horrified. The mural is proudly displayed and is prominently featured on UVA tours.
I managed to track down the blog of the artist of the mural, Lincoln Perry (not to be confused with the guy who played Stepin Fetchit) which includes four videos of 10 - 15 minutes each about his work on the UVA mural. 

I didn't see the section that Gordon mentions in any of the videos. The content of the mural seems to be a big mish-mash of allegory (the "Seven Deadly Sins" are included, and he goes on about the Pride figure at one point in the video) and allusions to many famous works of art including not only "A Rake's Progress" but also "The School of Athens" which he mentions explicitly in the video.

So it's possible that the student and her bra symbolize the deadly sin of "Lust" or the scenario is possibly a reference to one of the many depictions of Zeus raping a mortal woman, inciting the jealousy of Hera

In any case, though, the artist, his patrons, and the UVA administration at large see nothing wrong with presenting a scene which, if not rape, is a portrayal of the abuse of power, and presented as part of a "student's progress."

Of course there's a tradition of right-wingers dismissing the problem of faculty abuse of power through sexual relationships with students, from OLEANNA which depicts the issue as a crazy student controlled by a shadowy Group falsely accusing a professor of rape, to anti-feminist Katie Roiphe's (I was just talking about her yesterday) defense of a philosophy professor Colin McGinn using his position to pursue a student. 

The abuse of power seems to be a concept that conservatives in general have a tough time wrapping their heads around, probably because their worldview is based on hierarchies and the belief that those at the top of the power structure deserve to be there through their own merits. A philosophy professor responds to Roiphe's difficulties with the concept:
I know that I was once an aspiring undergraduate philosopher who said “thank you” when an adviser, a leader in the field I wanted to study, called a philosopher on the graduate admissions committee at another university and told him he’d give a verbal recommendation but would “wring his neck” if I were admitted to the other program, because “she’s mine.” I was once a graduate student who said “thank you” when that same adviser presented me with the first red rose. I was once a graduate student who said “thank you” when he promised not to tell anyone what had transpired between us. He assaulted me because he “loved” me. But the thank you didn’t mean I loved him. The thank you didn’t mean I was appreciative. The thank you meant that I was afraid of the consequences of provoking his ire, afraid that I’d be committing academic suicide if I complained or refused to play his game. The thank you meant that there was a power differential.
The University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson, the raper of slaves, as Bonnie Gordon notes:
Rape culture reflects a community grounded in patriarchal privilege and gender inequity. For example, that mural. Or the fact that our sacred founder, Thomas Jefferson, had sex with a 14-year-old enslaved girl. (That’s not consensual.)
We are expected to worship the sacred Thomas Jefferson for his great accomplishments, while brushing aside the fact that he was a slave-owner and rapist. Just as fans of Roman Polanski can watch his work and not think about the fact that he is a child rapist. The work of the great man is presumed to be too important to worry about such minor details. And if you have a problem ignoring such details you're treated like some kind of hysterical moron.

How fitting that Jefferson's University is now considered a rape school, considering it was founded by a rapist. And the section of the mural called out by Gordon is a fitting representation of the forgiving, even cavalier attitude of the culture at large towards the abuse of power by men.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Daphne Merkin finds her soul mate

I rarely have a reason to talk about Daphne Merkin since she left a typically whiny comment on this blog many years ago, but I can't help remarking on her latest adventures, which I discovered via this week's New Yorker - she's palling around with feminism-hater supreme Katie Roiphe, to whom Katha Pollitt delivered an exquisite smack-down twenty years ago, "Not Just Bad Sex."

I actually thought better of Merkin than that, believe it or not. Sure Merkin wrote a defense of Bernie Madoff, and wrote bullshit about the Brontes, and promotes evolutionary psychology theories about gender mating behaviors, but even I didn't think she would stoop so low as Katie fucking Roiphe. As Pollitt noted about Roiphe's grotesque views on date rape:
ONE in five, one in eight- what if it's "only" one in ten or twelve? Social science isn't physics. Exact numbers are important, and elusive, but surely what is significant here is that lots of different studies, with different agendas, sample populations, and methods, tend in the same direction. Rather than grapple with these inconvenient data, Roiphe retreats to her own impressions:
"If I was really standing in the middle of an epidemic, a crisis, if 25 per cent of my female friends were really being raped, wouldn't I know about it?" (Roiphe forgets that the one-in-four figure includes attempts, but let that pass.) As an experiment, I applied Roiphe's anecdotal method myself, and wrote down that I know about my own circle of acquaintance: eight rapes by strangers, (including one on a college campus), two sexual assaults (one Central Park, one Prospect Park), one abduction (woman walking down street forced into car full of men), one date rape involving a Mickey Finn, which resulted n pregnancy and abortion, and two stalking (one ex-lover, one deranged fan); plus one brutal beating by a boyfriend, three incidents of childhood incest (none involving therapist-aided "recovered memories"), and one bizarre incident in which a friend went to a man's apartment after meeting him at a part and was forced by him to spend the night under the shower, naked, which he debated whether to kill her, rape her, or let her go. The most interesting think about this tally, however, is that when I mentioned it to a friend he
was astonished,- he himself know of only one rape victim in his circle, he said- but he knows several of the women on my list.
It may be that Roiphe's friends have nothing to tell her. Or it may be that they have nothing to tell her. With her adolescent certainty that bad things don't happen, or that they happen only to weaklings, she is not likely to be on the receiving end of many painful, intimate confessions. The one time a fellow student tells her about being raped (at knifepoint, so it counts), Roiphe cringes like a high-school vegetarian dissecting her first frog:
"I was startled... I felt terrible for her, I felt like there was nothing I could say."
Confronted with someone whose testimony she can't dismiss or satirize, Roiphe goes blank.
Sure Roiphe was an asshole twenty years ago, but surely she's gotten a clue since then, right? Well, no.

This is from 2011:

Roiphe has a long history of spouting anti-feminist rhetoric, as Rebecca Traister captures well in a book review for
The 38-year-old author first made her name as the baby bĂȘte noire of feminism with her 1993 screed against campus date-rape activism, “The Morning After.” The book made Roiphe, then a 25-year-old Harvard grad and the daughter of feminist writer Anne Roiphe, a child star of sorts, a symbol of the generational rupture in the women’s movement and of a post-Reagan conservative backlash among young people. Her I’m-too-sexy-for-this-movement provocation partially inspired Tad Friend to coin the term “Do-Me Feminism” in 1994. 
In her latest anti-woman contrarian triumph, Roiphe makes a lot of misguided arguments, including that sexual harassment is too much of an “umbrellalike” charge, thus mistakenly grouping together ostensibly serious claims like “demanding sex in exchange for a job” with those that are more agreeable to Roiphe, such as a comment about someone’s dress.
Similarly, the spectacular decline and fall of notorious skeezeball and celebrated mediocre philosopher Colin McGinn, recently let go (ahem, “retired”) from his position at the University of Miami, is, according to Roiphe, the story of a man who “lost everything because of a 26-year-old woman.” Because, 100%, of the woman—not, in fact, because Colin McGinn is a well-known student-schtupper whose shenanigans got him in trouble at every previous job he ever had, including Rutgers, where he had an actual “plum” position, as opposed to the definitely-not-plum position (despite Roiphe’s ludicrous characterization) at Miami, which is a poorly-ranked program at a poorly-ranked institution, hardly befitting a Philosopher of Mind of his mind’s stature. 
Any time you see a senior professor with long and distinguished publication record teaching somewhere not-that-prestigious, but who used to teach somewhere more prestigious, that is almost 100% because that person fucked someone he wasn’t supposed to. Usually a grad student. Usually his own grad student. It happens all—and I mean all—the time. And it is deplorable, despite what Roiphe says about she, herself, preferring a “powerful, arrogant man” and resenting the fact that apparently in our society, that is a punishable offense, which makes perfect sense when you think about the relative power, arrogance and maleness of nearly every single Fortune 500 CEO in existence.
Why McGinn had to take the fall for what hundreds of senior professors just like him do every day will remain a mystery—perhaps he just did it so much that eventually something had to give. Perhaps he has so many enemies in Philosophy of Mind that he was under extra scrutiny. Perhaps he just got unlucky and the victim of this particular bit of skeeviness was unusually brave–and if you look at the hundreds of disparaging comments on Roiphe’s article (which I am not linking to because it is an odious hagiography that doesn’t even deserve this mention, much less a link), you’ll see why that kind of bravery is rare.
For most of the comments agree with Roiphe. This 26-year-old woman isn’t a “victim” of anything. If anything, she is the perpetrator: a scorned lover who manipulated the rules of an institution to get back at the scorner. Because, as Roiphe describes emails Colin McGinn sent her when he wasn’t busy having Skype-sex with her, erm, I mean, being “interviewed,” this woman welcomed the advances. She advanced back. She flirted. She called him “dearest.” She is just as guilty as he is. The “only” thing he did wrong was not report their relationship to authorities and remove himself as her mentor and employer.
All right, first of all—that’s not “only,” that is a major and fireable offense. And second of all, here is the main reason for this rant: It does not matter at all that she seemed into it at the beginning. It falls under the school’s sexual harassment statute because of the power imbalance inherent in the situation.
But let's face it, Roiphe has such a sweet niche going on. She makes her living defending the white male establishment that still runs everything. She is never going to lose money on that proposition.

And only an idiot like Daphne Merkin would stoop so low as to pal around with her. They so deserve each other.

Monday, November 24, 2014

After the Fall

Young, pre-cosmetic surgery and bleach Monroe
I got a copy of Arthur Miller's play AFTER THE FALL because it's basically an autobiographical piece and I wanted to see how he portrayed Marilyn Monroe - called Maggie in the play. I'm writing a play about MM in between trying to finish my DARK MARKET, which will have a reading in two weeks.

Miller's character Quentin is a lawyer and Marilyn's character is a singer rather than a movie star, but the inter-personal dynamics are presumably the same - Miller pretty much portrays Monroe as the hot mess that she's known as now. In fact I have to wonder how much this portrayal has influenced views of Monroe. According to a documentary about Monroe in New York, which portrays Monroe as pretty damn sharp, Miller was responsible for driving a wedge between Monroe and her business partner, photographer Milton Greene. She set up a business, "Marilyn Monroe Productions" together with Greene.

Miller seems to consider himself the driving force behind Monroe's career moves:
No! Tell the truth! The piano's off and you're not listening! 
But nobody will ever notice. 
A pianist moves near her out of the executive group. 
I know the difference! Don't you want me to be good? I told Weinstein I wanted Johnny Block but they gave me this fag and he holds back my beat! Nobody listens to me! I'm a joke! 
Maybe if I talk to Weinstein -  
No, don't get mixed up in my crummy business, you've got an important case...  
He moves to and point and demands: 
Weinstein, get her Johnny Block! 
The music turns over into another number and her voice, swift, sure. 
There now! Listen now! 
She listens in suspense; he almost struts with his power.  
See? There's no reason to get upset, just tell me and I'll talk to these people any time you - 
I found it interesting though that Miller was aware that Monroe had found some unkind things he wrote about her not long after they were married -
What are you, goddam judge or something? Let go. You no judge. 
He lets go. 
You know when I wanted to die. When I read what you wrote, judgey. Two months after we were married, judgey. 
Stricken, afraid, but remorseless. 
Let's keep it true. It's not some words on a piece of paper that destroyed us. You told me you tried to die long before you met me.  
So you're not even there, huh. I didn't even meet you. Tries to laugh. 
You coward. Coward! 
She staggers to her feet. He finds it hard to look directly at her. A clear line of accusation momentarily seems to steady her, and with the pills in her palm she stands straight. 
I was married to a king, you son of a bitch! I was looking for a fountain pen to sign some autographs. And there's his desk... 
She is speaking towards some invisible source of justice now, telling her injury. 
...and there's his empty chair where he sits and thinks how to help people. And there's his handwriting. I wanted to touch his handwriting. And there's some words... 
She almost literally reads in the air, and with the same original astonishment. 
"The only one I will ever love is my daughter. If only I could find an honorable way to die." 
Now she turns to him. 
When you gonna face that judgey? Remember how I fell down fainted? On the new rug? Member? That's what killed me judgey. Right? 
She staggers up to him and into his face. 
'Zat right? When you gonna face that one, kiddo?
It's pretty harrowing.

There's so much available about Monroe now, including this piece in Business Insider, 50 Things You Didn't Know about Marilyn including:
26. In 1950, Johnny Hyde, her agent, paid for her to have two plastic surgeries: a tip rhinoplasty (reshaping the soft cartilage at the end of her nose); and a chin implant.
Actually, looking at later photos of Monroe I think she also had some kind of upper-eyelid surgery at some point - her eyelids are much more pronounced in later photos, which goes against the basic facts of aging and gravity.

My favorite thing about Marilyn though is this:
28. Marilyn’s intervention got Ella Fitzgerald her first major engagement at a Los Angeles nightclub. In 1955 the colour bar was still in force, but Marilyn convinced the management to let Fitzgerald play by promising to sit in the front row for a week.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I've Got a Feeling

Unfortunately the rooftop video is not available, just this montage.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


I went to see POWERHOUSE with my friend Val last night. It is a theatre piece about the life of composer and eccentric Raymond Scott. You would most likely know his work through its frequent usage throughout Looney Tunes cartoons.

The NYTimes gave it a rave review, but I tend to agree more with the New Yorker's review which says in part:
...the three women are relegated to the thankless roles as Scott's three wives (Wife No. 3's signature line is "I brought you a sandwich.")
In this production, stagecraft rules, with the odd result that scene changes and interludes come to life more fully than the human narrative we're expected to care about.
The costumes were almost entirely in shades of gray to give the impression you were watching events set in the mostly pre-1970s, which is the time setting for most of the play.

And interestingly, in another review in the same issue of The New Yorker, of the Bedlam Theater Company's SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, the stagecraft sounds like POWERHOUSE:
...actors moving about onstage with the fluidity equal to that of the mobile props - chairs, sofas, tables, doorways - that roll across the playing area in a kind of non-stop allemande of shifting perspectives.
In the case of POWERHOUSE, the subject himself is not especially interesting, and his relationships with his wives are pretty sad - he was always so self-absorbed. Val thought he might have been on the autism spectrum. But he almost seems consequential, thanks to the stagecraft. It was directed by Jon Levin, who was basically the star of the show in my opinion.

Here is the "Powerhouse" tune, used many many times in cartoons.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Evolutionary psychology takes another hit

One of the claims of evolutionary psychology, that theory so beloved by New Atheists like Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins, is that women prefer older men because of an evolutionarily-endowed innate predilection.

Well lucky for proponents of evo-psycho, they've never depended on evidence to support their pet theory, because it looks like thanks to the female income revolution women are going for younger guys:
According to Fischer, data from specific age brackets -- 30-49, 50+ and even 20-29 -- showed similar patterns of women preferring younger men, although older female users were even more likely to respond to messages from younger guys.
If the numbers contradict conventional wisdom, a look around at the way people actually date suggests that they're right on the mark. As CNN pointed out in February, Hollywood and the broader celebrity sphere is full of young women dating younger men, from actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, 31, to race car driver and model Danica Patrick, 30, to Eva Longoria, 38. 
The data also make sense in light of women's financial realities. Women under 30 are out-earning young men in major metropolitan areas. Women are now the primary breadwinners in 4 out of 10 households with children. There are signs that men are increasingly interested in women who earn as much or more than they do. Since they can count on themselves, women don't need an older man for financial stability, and dating a younger one may be a way of establishing relationships where they have at least as much control as the man. In a recent story on the data, TIME quoted Harvard psychologist Justin Lehmiller speculating that "when the woman is older, it shifts the traditional heterosexual power dynamic toward greater equality," and equality makes for happier couples.

But of course evo-psychos will invent some just-so story to get out of facing yet more evidence that the theory is based on, as anthropologist Marvin Harris said, "biologizing inequality."

And speaking of Richard Dawkins, that best-selling and revered millionaire considers himself a victim - the comments below the quote are P.Z. Meyer's:

I don’t take back anything that I’ve said, Dawkins said from a shady spot in the leafy backyard of one of his Bay Area supporters. I would not say it again, however, because I am now accustomed to being misunderstood and so I will … He trailed off momentarily, gazing at his hands resting on a patio table.I feel muzzled, and a lot of other people do as well, he continued. There is a climate of bullying, a climate of intransigent thought police which is highly influential in the sense that it suppresses people like me. 
Richard Dawkins is worth over $100 million. Every book Richard Dawkins writes is a best-seller. People pay Richard Dawkins $10-20,000 to come lecture at them for an hour. When any news source wants to get an opinion from the atheist community, who do they turn to first? Richard Dawkins. Richard Dawkins gets to tell conference organizers who to uninvite from their speaker list. Richard Dawkins makes movies about Richard Dawkins.
And poor little Richard Dawkins is muzzled? After whining that American women ought to hush up about getting fondled in the workplace or harassed in an elevator, because they’re so well off compared to women in the patriarchal cultures of the Middle East, he’s claiming victimhood as a wealthy outspoken opinionated man, because people criticize him?
Jesus fuck. That’s pathetic.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Seen around the city

It's hard to take a selfie with Miss Willow, she's very camera shy

But officer, that jewelry had my name on it.

King of the hill, top of the heap

Astoria bodegas have everything

Subway hair

Space hippies!

Have You Seen The Stars Tonight?
Would you like to go up on 'A' Deck and look at them with me?
Have You Seen The Stars Tonight?
Would you like to go up for a stroll and keep me company?

Do you know
We could go?
We are free
Anyplace you can think of
We could be

Have you seen the stars tonight?
Have you looked at all the family of stars?

Blows Against the Empire

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hey I don't have cancer

The cats are fine now, and that's the important thing.
It was a year ago today that I had an operation to remove a growth from my right kidney. They didn't know for sure that it was cancer although they definitely suspected it, and after the biopsy a few weeks later it turns out they were right. The cancer was small, luckily and produced no symptoms at all - they only found it because I had a CAT scan for something else.

I just got the results of my follow-up CAT scan and there was nothing to report. Yay. Actually the scan was a couple of months ago, and when I didn't hear back from my doctor I assumed everything was fine, but I was still nervous about actually asking for the results. But since it was the one-year anniversary of that unpleasant event, I figured I might as well remove all doubt.

I got the first bad CAT scan results a month and a half before the operation and you couldn't say I took the news with fortitude and grace. I got the news by phone from my endocrinologist while I was at work and I went home and cried my head off. I reacted so badly it upset my cat Miss Willow and I ended up taking her to the vet to find out what was wrong - nothing was wrong, but the vet suggested that my displays of anguish were making her sick. Poor Miss Willow. She's fine now.

It should be noted I did not miss a single day of blogging the week of my operation, which included a single overnight stay at the hospital. You can blog in advance and just set the time of posting for later, I didn't blog from my hospital bed. Although I did email and text from my hospital bed, I'm not a Luddite.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I love Ken

As a kid I was never big on playing with Barbie dolls, although I was given Barbie dolls for several Christmases, until I started asking for books and art supplies instead. I just never knew what to do with her - the entire point of Barbie was to dress her in outfits and that seemed to be it. I was not inspired. I preferred Japanese anime like Kimba the White Lion and Astroboy - but they didn't make Kimba or Astroboy dolls at that time.

And I don't think I ever owned a Ken doll. But I loved Ken in Toy Story 3 a few years ago, in part because of the scene where, at Barbie's request, he has a little fashion show for her, strutting around in outfits from his vast collection. I think there's nothing sexier than a man displaying his masculine beauty for a woman he cares about. There's still far too much underlying hostility in American culture to any man who makes an effort to look good, although it will no doubt fade as the strict dichotomy of patriarchy fades and we no longer have men as the sexual consumers, and women as the sexually consumed, or women = decorative and men = utilitarian. It's about time that heterosexual men stepped up to give something nice for women to look at, and that includes wearing cute outfits.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

On Invisibility

The received wisdom is that women over 40 become "invisible" to men. But this wisdom seems to be contradicted all the time. For example, there seems to be a pretty healthy appetite for porn featuring older women out there. In fact, I first remember reading about it in the NYTimes and when I went back to find the article I was amazed to find the article is from 2006, already eight years ago:
WHO watches this stuff? By far the most avid consumers of older-woman pornography, producers say, are young men fulfilling boyhood fantasies of teacher lust or yearning for the attractive mothers of their friends. Some, it has been suggested, may be tired of what one producer, Oren Cohen, has called, in a recent AVN article, “the young, helpless teen thing.” 
David Joseph, 38, De’Bella’s boss and the president of Platinum X, said: “It’s totally an erotic thing people are attracted to. There’s a huge market out there for older women. I’m trying to understand it myself.”
But the older-woman fantasy is nothing new, even if the video pornography industry is scarcely more than three decades old. It may be that the revival of young men’s teenage fantasies, along with the sexual confidence of older women, is fueling the supply side as well as the demand.
The genre has been credited as the idea of Bonnie Kail, 48, the national sales manager of Wicked Pictures. A few years ago Ms. Kail was working for a small company, Heatwave Entertainment, which specialized in fetish sex, including so-called granny porn, which feature old women. She thought there was room for less freakish fantasy. 
“I had said from my personal experience that, being divorced, I’m lucky if I can meet someone my age,” Ms. Kail recalled. “Most guys who want to date me are in their late 20s. So I thought, let’s get some hot-looking, 40-ish women and make that the theme.”
And this was right before everybody was online all the time. Now you can easily see porn on Youtube, and here's just one sample of what's out there.

And Kail's experience has been the same as mine - it's almost impossible to meet a man around my age, but there are plenty of 20-somethings. Although I haven't found there are a lot of hot 20-somethings out there, at least in online dating. And then there is the problem of 20-somethings with zero social skills and always wanting no-strings-attached sex. 

It's really sick, this need to dehumanize sex partners the way so many men do. And it's even worse for women my age, since there's awful misogynist propaganda like this out there - "The Cougar Method":
My name is Ken Paxlon and I have cracked the code to having a steady stream of women coming to your bed, any time you want it.
It doesn't require you to be good-looking.
It doesn't require you to be in good shape or have lots of money.
All it requires is that you be young, or at least under age 32.
I had to laugh at that. Really? It doesn't matter what you look like? Uh, no. Try telling that to the balding 29-year-old that I just could not warm up to, although he made it clear he wanted me. I just have an aversion to baldness - I really can't help it. I'd love if I didn't have that hang-up, and if the guy had a better personality maybe I could have gotten past it. But I certainly am not going to hook up with a guy only because he's young.

But the real reason for wanting an older woman according to Ken Paxlon, is spelled out clearly in his method:
Cougars are also the easiest women to close the deal and sleep with on the first date. Ok, maybe humongously overweight chicks could be a little easier…but fat chicks will expect a relationship while cougars will not! This is a very important distinction!
It's like somebody wanting a relationship with you is a fate worse than death. Oh no - a relationship! Why ruin all that sex with treating someone like a person? And it's propaganda like this that helps make seemingly all younger men expect instant, impersonal sex with every older woman he meets online. It just really wears you down, to be exposed to the constant assumption that you're a disposable collection of holes.

But strangely enough, in the past couple of months I've found myself being checked out by young guys off-line - maybe now because I've lost weight thanks to all the running. The server at the restaurant across from work, and some very cute guy on the subway who was seriously staring me down, are two recent incidents. And then there is the super-hot 30-something actor (although older than 32 so he doesn't count as cougar bait according to Paxlon) who told me he wanted to take me home with him after I squeezed his bicep (alcohol was involved.) The only problem is, I don't know what to do with that. I have so many self-doubts, I have to question whether I'm just imagining there's actual interest, as opposed to innocent flirtation. And when it comes to strangers, I've never approached a stranger to ask for a date - I've barely asked people I've known for a date - not because I think women shouldn't do that, far from it - just a combination of insecurity and lack of necessity - I've been in relationships more than I've been out of relationships most of my adult life. 

But in any case I seem to be visible, for a woman my age. 

Perhaps it helps that I've never been beautiful, so I've never been the object of constant attention the way really beautiful women are, which must make it much harder for them to suddenly lose their power as they get into middle age. Once they show a few signs of age, not getting lots of attention must make them feel invisible by comparison.

And then of course it must be said that the more extreme effects of the patriarchy have moderated, even since 2006, now that Hillary Clinton is considered a serious possible contender for the presidency. So now older women can be "distinguished" almost as much as older men. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Medieval Lives

I just discovered Terry Jones' BBC TV series Medieval Lives. It's informative and fun, in the best BBC series tradition pioneered by James Burke. Here's the first episode:

Jones is best known for being a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus, so I kept hoping that in this episode on the peasant he'd reference the Holy Grail movie, but no such luck. But if you've seen Grail then several parts of Medieval Lives will remind you of it. Including this, my favorite seen of the entire Grail - and that's saying something. Jones himself plays a (female) peasant in this scene.

Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just cause some watery tart threw a sword at you. I mean, if I went round saying I was an Emperor just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away.

Friday, November 14, 2014

We're all sensitive people...

Tiny tiny TINY theater world

We had a birthday party in an Irish pub for my friend Valerie and it turns out one of her other friends is Eren Gibson, one of the people associated with the show Alien Adventure, the Adventure which swept a whole bunch of awards at the Midtown International Theater Festival.

We're Facebook friends now.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lucky Star

Shazam Radio

I never listen to the radio any more and I'm sure I'm not alone - now that everything is online there's little reason to, unless you have a car. I admit I do miss driving and listening to the radio - there's nothing like blazing down the highway with your favorite song blasting.

The radio used to be how new music was disseminated. Now I discover new music at coffee shops and restaurants and fast-food places. My first big newer-music discovery was Boxer by Lovers - I heard it at a Pret a Manger and asked the guy behind the counter what it was.

Now I don't even have to ask any more, I just use that wonderful app Shazam, which will listen to what's playing and tell you what it is. I use it all the time now. Just last Saturday at the Long Island City restaurant Casa Enrique I Shazammed El Aventurero by Antonio Aguilar.

Last week I Shazammed Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men at the LIC coffee shop The Local.

And I heard Role Me Baby by Big Joe Turner at the Black Mountain Wine House several months ago. They're big on blues and bluegrass there.

Today I discovered All About That Bass in the supermarket.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Uh oh, love comes to town

New Atheists cover themselves in more shame

I've been too distracted lately to pay attention to the ongoing war between the Social Justice Warriors and the New Atheists, since the Bill Maher vs. Ben Affleck controversy, but I see that the New Atheists are still ahead in the obnoxiousness race right now.

Richard Dawkins can't seem to wrap his head around the concept of straight white male privilege.

Sam Harris is looking for stories of political correctness. He's probably still sore that he was criticized for defending torture and proposing ethnic profiling.

Michael Moore joins the Islamaphobia brigade. I always thought Moore was more likely to be a SJW than a New Atheist.

But the most telling item is the profoundly racist web site, American Renaissance, enthusiastically agreeing with an Islamaphobic editorial by Jerry Coyne.

American Renaissance has always loved the New Atheist brand of gender and sometimes ethnic essentialism expressed in evolutionary psychology - Steven Pinker and his best buddy Razib Khan are favorites. And now they can love the New Atheist xenophobia too.

But never count out the awfulness of the true Social Justice Warrior. More about that soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tiny tiny theater world

I mentioned last week that I had an unpleasant run-in on Facebook last week with Doug Henwood and his radical-chic crowd and I mentioned one Abby Tallmer, whom I called a Philistine. And for good reason - she considers John Lennon and Yoko Ono to be racists because they wrote a song 40 years ago called "Woman is the Nigger of the World" and she can't abide the word "nigger" being used in any context. Which I guess means she hates rap music and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, too.

After I was no longer part of the aging hipster conversation due to Facebook blockage, she let loose on me, snug in the cozy certitude that I would never be able to respond to her crazed rantings:
...she actually managed to compound & make even more repulsive Lennon & Ono's trivialization of one of the most heinous violent & ugly of racial slurs ever (one complete with a distinct history all its own) & to read her patently false claims of its "ironic" use and "universal application" some forty years later in 2014 so wildly offended me that it startled me out of sleep and to the keyboard.
Oh boy - somebody on the Internet said something she disagreed with - Social Justice Warrior powers activate!

It should be noted that I've never used the word "ironic" or the term "universal application" in reference to the song, so I don't know why she decided to throw those quotations marks in there, as if I did.

You can read her whole long scurrilous screed here.

I had never heard of this woman until last week - well today I see an obituary for one Jerry Tallmer, the creator of the Obie Awards:
Jerry Tallmer, who brought professionalism and a personalized approach to arts coverage to The Village Voice in its earliest days, and who dreamed up its award for Off Broadway theater, the Obie, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 93. 
His death was confirmed by his daughter, Abby Tallmer.
How odd that the daughter of a member of New York culture royalty would be such a Philistine.

Now don't get me wrong - I don't think that Philistines are necessarily evil - just concrete thinkers

I come from Philistines myself - the lower-middle class generally doesn't have much use for the arts outside of asking "can you make a lot of money from it?" But I have to wonder what Abby Tallmer's excuse is, considering her pedigree.

In other theater news, I had dinner with some folks tonight at the New Cosmic Diner - where I always go lately to discuss theater - to hash over some production options for the upcoming 365 Women NYC reading which will take place some time in early 2015, most likely. My Bronte play is ready to go. I was less than charmed though when my dining companions chose to spend part of the time trashing Actors Equity. Not that the AEA has no room for improvement, but these two seemed to be offended by its very existence. Not good.

Monday, November 10, 2014


I admit, I always wanted to be a vandella.

Sunday, November 09, 2014


A really frustrating aspect of the MITF awards party was the fact that there was no rehearsal of the performances (I should say no over-all rehearsal - I certainly did rehearse my bit at a studio around the corner, right before the show) that were interpersed throughout the awards - and not only no rehearsal, but when I emailed the guy running the ceremony to ask him questions about stage management, lighting options, etc. I was told I was asking too many questions.

This meant that which section of the play we performed was limited by considerations of safety - since we couldn't rehearse in the space I wasn't about to let the actors do any kind of physical work - there are a few fights and falls in my JULIA & BUDDY. And when I went up into the both before the show began, the lights/sound person wasn't there, and so couldn't answer my questions about whether we got any kind of lighting cues. Now granted we were only doing five minutes of the play, but it would have been nice to know if we could at least expect a lights down at the end of the performance.

But since we got virtually no technical support I had to improvise - so I had the actors begin their scene on the way up onto the stage. Oh yes, and the actors couldn't come on from a backstage area, they had to come in from the audience.

And on top of that, there were microphones on the stage. Luckily I had cleared in advance that my actors could move the microphones so they could perform. So in the photo above, Claire Warden is in the process of moving the microphone stand off center stage. Meanwhile, Matt DeCapua (in the blue shirt, arms out wide) has begun their dialog while standing in front of the stage, on the ground, with his back to the audience. As you can see, the house lights were still up. It actually made for pretty effective theater.

So it turned out OK. But not without lots of anxiety on my part. And they still haven't mailed me a certificate for winning Outstanding Performance of a Full-Length Play almost two weeks later.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

My awesome daughter

We had a birthday party for my daughter tonight although the day is actually tomorrow.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Close to You

And speaking of the Carpenters, Todd Hayne's "Superstar" is available online for free.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Free theater in New York

Turns it out was a very good idea to suggest to playwrights that they send NYCPlaywrights info if they have a free reading or theater performance coming up - I'm getting lots of responses every week and a greater number of responses each week. Who knew there was so much free theater out there?

In other news, I have this awful clunky PC laptop, which  is so much harder to use than my MacBook, it's like playing the piano while wearing mittens. But at least it's something. I guess.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

More on Doug Henwood's hatred for the "bourgeois feminists"

It appears that Doug Henwood, hater of "bourgeois feminists" recently gained notoriety by attacking Hillary Clinton at Harper's.
But who actually cares what Doug Henwood thinks? He claims to be a Marxist, whatever that means these days - is he a card-carrying member of the Communist Party? Since I read the work of anthropologist Marvin Harris, and his analysis of the Marxist-leaning school of anthropology I haven't been able to take Marxism seriously, influenced as it is by the airy-fairy Hegelian dialectic.

But as far as I can tell, what being a Marxist boils down to for Henwood is calling everybody you don't like "bourgeois" and especially feminists. So Henwood's economic analyses are completely useless - he's just a bitter ranting old man who has nothing helpful to add to any economic discussion.

This is from Jacobin (of the notorious Sarah Kendzior-instigated Jacobinghazi):

BKS: Accumulation and its discontents: is there a specifically Marxist understanding of the current economic crisis that you subscribe to?

DH: Mine, of course, which is that the bourgeoisie launched a successful war on a troublesome working class in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That assault – wage-cutting, speedup, deregulation, outsourcing, union-busting, cutbacks in the welfare state, all the familiar stuff gathered under the name of neoliberalism – created a problem for a system dependent on high levels of mass consumption both to maintain aggregate demand and to secure its political legitimacy. Why put up with the volatility and tsurris of American life if there’s no promise of plentiful gadgetry and upward mobility? So the answer was to counter the downdraft of falling wages with rising borrowing, via credit cards and mortgages. That model seemed to hit a wall in the recent economic crisis, but there’s no real recognition of that fact, and no new model for accumulation.
In orthodox terms, the U.S. would be ready for a serious austerity program, but our ruling class is afraid to push too hard on that, at least for now. So I think we’re going to stumble along for some time until some new economic and political model emerges. Or if one doesn’t emerge, maybe we’ll just fall apart.
Austerity program? Seriously? The thing right-wingers are always pushing for and Krugman is always objecting to? And Henwood claims to care so much about the poor, on whom all austerity programs would fall especially hard.

Now the "bourgeoisie" sound evil and Henwood's description of their activities would seem to identify them as Ronald Reagan and the Koch brothers, but the term's umbrella is very large, especially when it comes to feminists. As I noted yesterday, he blamed "bourgeois feminists" for exploiting workers in a t-shirt factory. He's referring to a Gawker article, but at least the article provides a link to the dastardly "bourgeois feminists" at The Fawcett Society, which has been working for women's rights since 1866. They say:
“Upon receiving samples of the range at our offices in early October we noted that the t-shirts had in fact been produced in Mauritius, upon which we queried (over email) the ethical credentials of the Mauritian factory, and the fabric used.
“We were assured by Whistles (over email) that the Mauritian factory:
‘is a fully audited, socially and ethical compliant factory which has the following accreditations.
So apparently these dastardly "bourgeois feminists" made a mistake. Which is all it takes for Henwood to attack them as heartless exploiters of the poor. Because of course over at the commune where he lives in Brooklyn, they vet every last consumer good they use, to ensure there is no exploitation anywhere in the production and distribution cycle. Which is why they only use artisinal cell phones.

But of course they don't - they just expect feminists (and unless you are in the Third World you are by definition a bourgeois feminist in Henwood's personal Marxist dictionary) to be perfect.

And then there's Henwood's lazy journalism.

I've been a fan of the work of Joe Conason and Gene Lyons since I read their "The Hunting of the President" and so was very pleased to see they both went after Henwood for his piece on Hillary Clinton.

In short, Henwood simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about (and his reliance on former Fox News personality Dick Morris for guidance is mindboggling). What’s most disappointing is that a magazine of Harper’s’ reputation – which first exposed Whitewater as a political hoax – would provide a platform for his baseless speculations.
And based on Henwood's response to Lyons, I guess I shouldn't take his smearing and blocking me personally. Lyons writes:
...Then, after I wrote a column pointing out that almost everything he'd written about that phony scandal was nonsense, Henwood began calling me bad names on social media. "Clinton towel boy" was one.
So I posted the following on his Facebook page:
"I find it interesting that when confronted with several quite basic factual errors in his description of the great Whitewater scandal of legend and song, Doug Henwood's response is name-calling. That tells me pretty much all I need to know about him...

...Now if somebody took something of mine apart like that, I'd do my best to make them regret it. But Henwood can't, because he was blowing smoke to begin with.
"What I don't get," he answered "is why you're so invested in doing PR for these (bleeps)."
Sorry dude, not playing. Facts are facts.
Everybody makes mistakes. Professionals own them.
Apparently being nasty to his critics is just who Doug Henwood is. But at least we all know what the true meaning of "bourgeois" is now - if you make a living writing for the Nation, Harper's and your own blog, you are a righteous revolutionary. Pretty much everybody else in the First World is a member of the bourgeoisie. Especially those uppity feminists.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Doug Henwood and the cowardly anti-feminist radical chic brigade

I had an unpleasant run-in on Facebook with Doug Henwood and his merry band of feminist-hating sycophants the other day.

Who is Doug Henwood, you may ask. Well not nearly as well-known as he feels he deserves to be, since Henwood apparently thinks that Paul Krugman stole all his best ideas.

Henwood is one of these radical chic types who thinks that Sheryl Sandberg is the Great Satan. Katha Pollitt addressed that idiocy in The Nation.

It's clear from Doug Henwood's personality that he is a true Social Justice Warrior, even if he is much older than your average SJW - he enjoys attacking actual feminists out of some bullshit holier-than-thou double standard and he cannot tolerate criticism - like any standard SJW he much prefers to smear and then censor critics as you can see him doing in the debate I had with him. He blocked me and then he and his gang continued the "debate" without me. Much like Clint Eastwood arguing with invisible Obama in the chair.

 He even posted the K. Tempest Bradford/Mikki Kendall smear against me to try to make me shut up about his idiocy concerning Sandberg and "bourgeois feminists."

What really bothers Doug Henwood and others who attacked Sheryl Sandberg is that Sandberg has the nerve to address female career aspirations, while radical chic purists like Henwood and some freelance Philistine named Abby Tallmer believe that women need to wait until all the problems of the third world are solved first before they worry about their own lives. You know, they should address important issues, not insignificant little women's issues.

UPDATE: Henwood appears to be part of the same cadre of self-important leftist quasi-anarchists as David Graeber, with whom I tangled some months ago. And Henwood was actually in on the Twitter war known as Jacobinghazi.

Monday, November 03, 2014

RIP Tom Magliozzi

They are going to loan me a laptop at work fortunately, but the guy didn't get around to it today.

But I couldn't let the day go by without acknowledging the death of Tom Magliozzi, the older of the two Car Talk brothers. I wasn't surprised to learn he died from Alzheimer's, it was clear to me by the last year of the show that he was losing it - he was saying odd, embarrassing things that Ray could not cover for, although he tried. I alluded to it in my blog post about Ray.

Although I did prefer Ray, I still feel bad about Tom dying. It just doesn't seem right that such sweet-natured and funny guys like that can die.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Back to the so-called genius bar

Well here I am back at the Apple Genius Bar for the second time in a week. Obviously blogging will be light for the next week, unless I can borrow a laptop from work.