Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Canadians have right-wing media freaks too

Brazeau and friends talking about Trudeau -
a still from the movie "God Save Justin Trudeau"
Thanks to my interest in the Canadian boxing event in 2012 between Justin Trudeau and Patrick Brazeau I unfortunately learned who Ezra Levant is.

Levant is your standard obnoxious right-winger who combines Ann Coulter's shameless disdain for the truth with Rush Limbaugh's bluster (and Limbaugh's disdain for the truth.) But he's Canadian.

And then there is what I consider Levant's homoerotic obsession with Justin Trudeau - I found Youtube footage from 2011 where Levant calls Trudeau "Shiny Pony" - I thought he coined the term for the boxing match in 2012. 

Although we are supposed to believe that Levant is simply being deliberately outrageous and ironical with his constant over-the-top commentary about Trudeau's hair and appearance, I think there is something real underneath it all. And Levant certainly wouldn't be the first masculinity-obsessed conservative in a closet. 

I sensed Levant's ironical-but-real frisson while watching the boxing-related videos, but the 2011 video is what really convinced me. After Levant brushes the mane of a "My Little Pony" toy while talking to it as if it is Trudeau, he plays a clip of Trudeau yelling an obscenity in Parliament. After the clip ends:
Did you hear that heckle? Shiny Pony, I don't care if you called the Environment Minister a piece of shit. When you say those bad words all I hear are the sounds of angels whispering in my ear. 
(He kisses the toy and tells it "I love you.")
 And you did apologize in your best substitute high school drama teacher way, didn't yah? 
(plays the clip of Trudeau apologizing)
 Oh Shiny Pony, I love you, I love your hair, even your Zorro-like Three Musketeers facial hair.
The lady methinks doth faux-ironically protest too much. Trudeau looks amazing with the long hair and goatee. Trudeau is one of the very few men who can look good in any facial hair configuration. 

And then Levant really gives himself away:
You're so serious now, you're so grown up, I love it, you're so authoritative now, I trust you to lead our country through these troubled times. I can imagine you going head to head with the Vladimir Putins and the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads of the world.
Thing is, Levant and other conservatives love that kind of behavior: swearing and being authoritative. That's exactly what they love about Donald Trump. 

Levant, teaming up with another Canadian asshole I recently discovered, hardcore misogynist Gavin McInnes, explicitly declared just a few days ago that Donald Trump's win is "a return to masculinity." 

Although to be fair, Levant did publish a video of Gavin McInnes making out with Milo Yiannopoulos (the gay neo-nazi darling of Simon and Schuster.) Don't worry, right-wing homophobes they didn't really mean it - it was faux-ironical-fake and they only did it to upset fundamentalist Muslims. Yiannopoulos for his part allowed that Trudeau has a face "begging to be cum on."

It's kind of sweet the way right-wingers make a big ole daisy-chain like that.

Levant isn't sincerely bothered by Trudeau's lack of government experience either: Donald Trump had even less government experience on being elected president than Trudeau had on being elected prime minister. 

Since Levant is faux-ironical-faking disapproval of Trudeau's behavior and lack of government experience, what else is he faux-ironical-faking about his feelings for Justin Trudeau? 

Now of course I sympathize with Levant's desire for Trudeau - millions of straight women and gay men and bisexuals do. But his obsession with Trudeau on a personal level while pretending to hate his guts is truly creepy.

Here is the latest from Levant's Twitter feed. This comic book came out in August and so it's doubtful this photo is recent. So Levant posted it just... because... 

More important than Levant's amour fou pour Justin Trudeau is his absolute shittiness as a journalist. And he does consider himself a journalist, and not in the faux-ironical-faking sense either. He went whining to Justin Trudeau last month when the United Nations organization didn't believe that he and his sleazy The Rebel were real journalists.

Since Levant has so much animus towards Trudeau (again, possibly the result of repressed homoerotic lust) it was no surprise that during the boxing match Levant claimed Trudeau's tattoo was fake. But Levant claimed to adore Brazeau, constantly praising his he-man toughness in contrast to Trudeau's alleged effeminacy. So you'd think that Levant would at least have enough respect for Brazeau to get his facts straight about him. But he absolutely refused to remember that Brazeau was Algonquin and kept calling him a Métis (pronounced may-tea) even though Brazeau corrected him, himself, during an interview, and then during the boxing match the other announcer mentioned early on that Brazeau was Algonquin and Levant still called him Métis. Like any right-winger, Levant is not especially concerned about the facts. And probably in his mind all First Nations are alike anyway.

I'm not sure if Levant was saying that Trudeau's tattoo was a fake tattoo or a real tattoo but not real aboriginal art. Or both. In any case, it is a real tattoo and also real aboriginal in that the tattoo was based on the art of a First Nations man:
Robert Davidson, a Northwest Coast artist of Haida descent, is a master carver of totem poles and masks and works in a variety of other media as a printmaker, painter and jeweler. 
I found this photo of Trudeau which is very unusual - it shows the world tattoo Trudeau got in his 20s before he had the Haida design added around it when he was 40. I certainly enjoy this photo. I'm guessing Ezra Levant really really enjoys it too.

UPDATE ON LEVANT - via a Twitter parody account "Narrated Ezra Levant" I discovered that Levant resigned from being a lawyer before they had a chance to disbar him. Reminds me a little of Roy Cohn in ANGELS IN AMERICA.

While a resignation during a disciplinary proceeding can be deemed a disbarment, Mr. Levant said he has applied under a section of the Alberta Legal Professional Act which permits lawyers to resign without disbarment when there are no outstanding conduct issues that warrant disbarment.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Love this political ad

The animation sequences are really great but it's the music that makes me watch it again and again. Tres bien Canadians!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

More on the Thrilla from the Hilla

Q. What is the Thrilla from the Hilla?

A. The fight between two Canadian politicians in Ottawa in 2012, one of whom is now the Prime Minister of Canada.

Q. What is Ottawa?

A. The capital of Canada, you dumbass American

I am very sure if you are an American you did not know that Ottawa was the capitol of Canada, because I did not know it until recently (I thought the capitol was Toronto) and even more so because my daughter, who has been to Canada many more times than I have, also had no idea until I told her the other day.

I'm incredibly excited to have discovered the documentary "God Bless Justin Trudeau." I can't believe  it took me so long to discover it, I've been searching on Youtube for videos associated with the Thrilla for days now and although I did find plenty of videos associated with it, including a version of the match itself with French commentary

 - and you can see my video collection here - no references to the movie came up. I only found it because I Googled "posters of Trudeau" and the poster for the movie turned up.

I promptly rented it and will have more to say about it soon. But for now I leave you with this bit which really really amused me. An exchange between Justin Trudeau and his wife. The full exchange, which was shot from a distance by the documentary camera and helpfully captions goes like this:

SOPHIE TRUDEAU (kissing Justin) 
Just do what you have to do. 
I know. 
I really admire you. 
I was put in this planet to do this. I fight and win. That's what I'm good at.  
(unintelligible and not captioned)
But it's true honey! 
You fight from the good place. 
Be humble.

They had been married for like eight years in 2012 so it's interesting that they are speaking to each other, especially Justin, like they just started dating.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sans doutes je dois apprendre le français!

Je continue à apprendre le français en regardant des vidéos de mon professeur Justin Trudeau (Le premier ministre du Canada, au cas où vous ne sauriez pas.)

J'adore la vidéo du match de boxe avec Justin Trudeau et Patrick Brazeau - je l'ai posté ici. Mais les commentateurs parlent anglais, donc je n'ai aucun problème à leur comprendre.

J'ai découvert récemment une vidéo (ci-dessous), une interview avec Trudeau la veille du match de boxe. Mais c'est en français et il n'a pas de sous-titres ou de traductions. Donc la seule chose que je peux faire est d'apprendre le français rapidement!

Jusque-là, quel bel homme! Avec des cheveux vraiment longs. Oh mon Dieu, je vais mourir pour ce gars! Les anges me préservent!

Ça ne me fait pas de mal de le regarder, pas de tous.

En parlant de la langue française, j'ai trouvé ici un article très intéressant dans The Walrus par Jonathan Kay sur les affrontements entre francophones et anglophones à Montréal en le 70s et 80s.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

They are the Walrus, goo goo ga joob

It really startles me now, how little the election of Justin Trudeau registered with me. I am a regular reader, as anybody who follows this blog would know (like maybe three people but anyway...) of Paul Krugman and of The New Yorker and both Krugman and the New Yorker wrote about the election win. I must have read both, or at least read the Krugman piece and noted the existence of the New Yorker piece, but I have no recollection of either.

And the New Yorker piece mentions Krugman:
Trudeau is now set to become, among other things, Paul Krugman’s favorite politician, since he promises to follow an economic plan that might have been hatched on the right-hand column of the Times’s Op-Ed page: raise taxes on the rich and unapologetically do some deficit spending in order to rebuild the country’s infrastructure and its middle class.
I would have remembered if I had read that. Being Krugman's favorite politician means quite a bit to me.

Via the New Yorker article I discovered a piece in the Canadian magazine The Walrus, (a magazine I had never read or heard of before) and I was really pleased to see that the author confirmed my own conclusions about the character of Justin Trudeau - and that's pretty significant considering that the author Jonathan Kay collaborated on Trudeau's autobiography "Common Ground." So he probably knows Trudeau better than anybody outside of Justin's family and close friends. Kay writes:
He’s someone who desperately wants to do the right thing. Who believes that what he does and says can set things right; that he can heal people and relationships; that he can make people like him and—a sad fantasy for many children of divorce—one another.
As I blogged a couple of weeks ago:
(I love him) also because he is always trying to do the right thing. He's super-conscious and for the most part carries it off with a fair amount of grace and not too much self-consciousness. And he almost doesn't have to - he's pretty much Canadian royalty, as the son of former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau. The fact that he tries so hard to do the right thing makes him so admirable.
Kay made his observation in reference to a story Trudeau told about his relationship with his mother (I mentioned a couple of others in a previous blog post.) This story jumped out at me too, for its poignance and its exposure of the character of an endearing adolescent:
I spent more than thirty hours interviewing Trudeau. He told me hundreds of stories, not all of which made their way into the book. But there is one, from his young childhood—during the period after his mother, Margaret, abandoned the family—that stands out clearly.
“Whenever I knew my mother was on her way to visit 24 Sussex, I could barely contain my excitement, and began planning my welcome,” is how Trudeau tells the story in Common Ground:

On one occasion I decided to mark her arrival with a musical theme. I had received a small record player as a gift and enjoyed playing the hits of the day—“the day” being the early 1980s—especially Journey’s romantic ballad “Open Arms.” I had heard my mother say how much she liked the Journey song, and I decided that this would be the soundtrack to her entrance at 24 Sussex after one particularly long absence. I waited for her to arrive in her VW Rabbit before cueing up my tiny, tinny record player in my room upstairs. As she opened the door and entered the foyer I cranked up the volume and rushed to the top of the stairs. “Listen, mom,” I yelled down to her. “It’s our song!” Her reaction was to stare up at me, happy to see me but a little confused because she couldn’t hear the music at all. The volume on my record player was about half the level of a modern cell phone. I remember being crushed by that, so desperate was I to inject a sense of magic into every moment that we did have together as a family.
When Common Ground was published in 2014, and the Trudeau camp chose to disclose my role in preparing it, lots of friends asked me some variation on the question: “What’s he like? ” I would say, “Read the book.” And like clockwork, they would roll their eyes and reply, “No—what’s he really like? ” The underlying assumption is that books of this type are mere propaganda. Depending on the politics of the person asking me the question, there usually was some suggestion that, behind closed doors, Trudeau is either a closet socialist or a corporate shill. That he is a thumb-sucking ignoramus who is spoon-fed his lines by Gerald Butts—or a tactical genius who wears his glibness and childlike enthusiasms as a political mask. That he is a tormented scion who is desperate to rise to his father’s epic legacy—or who bitterly detests the old man’s oversized shadow. Since we have spent the last decade trying to figure out the “secret agenda” of Stephen Harper, it was perhaps inevitable that the country would become convinced that there is some “real” Justin Trudeau lurking below the surface.
You can find the real Justin right there, at the top of those stairs, playing his record player.
That last sentence especially is as perfect, concise a summation of a politician's character as any you're likely to see, right up there with another favorite of mine, the line from the New Yorker's David Remnick about Obama: His practiced calm is beyond reckoning.

Kay also addresses the phenomenon of Trudeau being considered just a pretty dummy - or at least less of an intellectual than his father. I could see that was bullshit even before I read "Common Ground" - and Kay of course spent quite a bit of time with Trudeau during the writing of the book and so is in a position to evaluate Trudeau's mind:
Pretty, yes. Dummy, no.
Trudeau probably reads more than any other politician I know. And yet you wouldn’t know this from the way he talks about ideas: His boyish, eager-to-please personality leads him to project publicly in a way that can seem intellectually unsophisticated. Political oratory always sounds best when it’s relaxed and natural. Trudeau’s hyperactive personality makes that a difficult act for him to pull off.
I admit that I am sometimes guilty of idealizing Canada, in light of the election of Trudeau vs. Trump and for other reasons, but Canada is dragged down by anti-intellectuals the same as in the United States - although perhaps not to the same degree. But I think that Trudeau's coming off as more of a regular guy and less of a brainiac serves him well. His being thought of as not-so-bright makes him much more palatable to the know-nothing slobs of Canada. Obama's and Hillary Clinton's obvious intellectual superiority were resented by many Americans and it worked against them.

Obama only squeaked into office, in my opinion, thanks to the overwhelming support of African Americans and the fact that his first opponent's running mate was Sarah Palin and his second opponent was Mitt Romney, who came off as a rich prig, and made Obama look like a regular guy by comparison. Women didn't support Clinton the way blacks supported Obama, since women suffer more from Stockholm Syndrome. But if Trump had gone up against Obama there's a good chance Obama would have lost. In spite of what Obama claims.

But I digress.

Trudeau should keep doing what he's doing.

I have to say, I was surprised by the reason given for the selection of the name "The Walrus" for this magazine. I immediately assumed it was from "Through the Looking Glass."

But no, it's a Canadian thing.

Sunday, December 25, 2016



If he was any hotter my head would explode. OMG that belly button with just a hint of a happy trail below. DAYAM.

He can eat my Poutine ANY TIME.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Le plus ca change...


Via Ronan Farrow.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Justin Trudeau: French vs. English

Justin Trudeau has some interesting things to say about the differences between French and English, which I discovered in his autobiography "Common Ground." This is a subject of especial interest to me right now since I am attempting to learn French.

On page 67 he writes:
During my years at (his Montreal school) Brebeuf I began to think about language in a different manner. To sovereigntists (in favor of the Quebec province separating from the rest of Canada which they almost did in 1995) language was a major political issue as much as a medium of communication. You were either an anglophone or a francophone, and each label aligned you with different cultural values and perhaps different goals for Quebec. Until then I hadn't thought of myself as either a francophone or an anglophone; in my bilingual milieu in Ottawa, it simply hadn't seemed necessary to define myself one way or the other. 
At Brebeauf and Quebec generally, the climate made me mindful of the language I chose to speak, depending on whom I was speaking to and what the subject might be. With this new awareness I began to monitor the words that popped up in my thoughts and my dreams, at times second-guessing myself as I spoke. Were the words French? Should they be English? Decisions I had once made without thinking became deliberately conscious.

On the next page he writes...
I have always loved both languages, but I came to realize how very different they are, not just in the way they permit a person to express thoughts but also in the way they guide the creation of those thoughts. For example, French grammar requires you to know how your sentence is going to end before you start to speak or write, which imposes a certain rigor on your expression. If your sentence begins this way, it must end that way. This is why so many French intellectuals seem to be channelling their inner Proust even when they are speaking casually to a mass audience on television. 
In English, I always felt that the grammar allows you to get to almost any conclusion, regardless of how you start your sentence. Halfway through your sentence, you can change the direction of your thought without breaking too many rules. There can be a certain sloppiness in English that is almost non-existent in proper French, where the complexity of the concordance between words and within clauses requires sustained attention. Perhaps this explains why my father, who was never one to mince words on such matters, told me that he found me less persuasive in English compared to in French. Many years later I thought about his comment when I took part in a debate that the McGill Debating Union conducted in French. Afterwards my teammates told me I was a more formidable debater in French than in English, which, coming from anglophones, I took as a backhanded compliment. 
Like many bilingual people, I sometimes flip an internal switch from one language to the other in a seemingly arbitrary way. For example, I do math only in French, because all my life, that was the language of my math classes. When I was teaching French out west, and confronted the challenges associated with getting Vancouver teenagers interested in studying a language that seems so far from their daily lives, I used to point out the more romantic aspects of the French language. When telling someone that you miss them, you say "Tu me marquees." So you is the subject of the sentence - as opposed to the English equivalent, "I miss you," in which it's all about me. It may seem a subtle difference, but hormonally charged teenagers sure got it.

Très intéressant.

Here he is debating in French. I'm able to pick up only about 20% of what is being said here.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Justin Trudeau & his mom

Left to right - Justin, Margaret, Michel and Sasha Trudeau, 1983

I bought a copy of Justin Trudeau's 2014 autobiography Common Ground and it has some interesting stuff in there. He sometimes has fun being the son of a famous politician. He recounts on page 89 of the paperback edition:
On occasion, my background and family name have led to incidents that were comic and surreal. Like the day, during a trip to Paris, I struck up a conversation on Boulevard Saint-Michel with a retired American professor who had made a name for himself translating Robert Frost's poetry into French. He was an interesting and eminent character who, when I mentioned I was from Canada, began rhapsodizing about "that wonderful prime minister you had in the seventies, the one with the beautiful wife who ran away."
I couldn't resist. I said, "You mean Mom?"

I have to say the Trudeaux, père et fils are the most famous Canadian politicians by far in the United States. Americans normally have no idea what is going on up there in Canada, but even I knew there was a Canadian politician in the 1970s named Pierre Trudeau who had a wife "who ran away."

I recently learned how notorious Margaret Trudeau was in those days, allegedly dating Mick Jagger and Ryan O'Neal, and being photographed at Studio 54. Although Monsieur Trudeau himself was no slouch on the boudoir department there is still and certainly was then, a double standard. And Pierre had a controlled and circumspect character verging on Spartan to hear Justin tell it, while Margaret was and still is emotionally volatile.

As Justin mentions in his book, she's had a lifelong struggle with manic-depression which was only diagnosed fairly late in life. But also, from what I have seen in video interviews and which is apparent in this online print interview too, she has an extremely open personality, and is incredibly candid even, apparently, in spite of herself: a trait that I personally find charming and even admirable, but which is completely unadvisable for any politician's wife.

She was so open that in the 1970s a scandalous photo was published of her, without underpants on. You can see the photo here.

Justin was not aware of the photo until a classmate shoved it in his face. From page 62 of Common Ground:
Sometimes things at school got personal. A few students would try to get a rise out of me by bringing up dirty laundry about my parents' separation, which had long been a stable of the tabloids. I had been somewhat insulated  from this in Ottawa, both because I was well surrounded by a great group of friends who had known me since kindergarten, and because elementary-school children tend not to be as cruel and vulgar as older kids. In the Hobbesian world of high school (in Montreal) some kids regard anything and anyone as fair game. One day an older kid came up and thrust into my hands a notorious picture of my mother that had appeared in an adult magazine. 
Hard as this may be to believe, I had never before seen that picture - never even knew of its existence. And obviously it set me reeling. But I knew this was a critical moment. If I acted shocked or hurt, it would be open season on me for the rest of high school. Everyone would know they could get a rise out of me by shoving the latest bit of gossip in my face. So I simply waved it off, leaving  the bully unsatisfied, and he went off to find an easier mark.
Margaret's wild youth wasn't the only thing that stressed out Justin. He recounts an event from his childhood on page 46:
My mother's mental health deteriorated as I grew older. And there were times that I began to feel that I had to take care of her, rather than the reverse.
One day, a few years after my mother had moved out and was seeing a nice guy named Jimmy, she arrived at my school while I was in gym class saying she had to see me, she needed to talk to me, I must listen to her. In the school hallway she seized my shoulders and through her tears said: "Jimmy left me! He's gone! He even took the TV!"
I did my best to console her, giving her hugs and patting her back and telling her it was all right, that things would get better. I was eleven years old.
What an unusual childhood had Justin Trudeau.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

La chanson des squelettes

  1. When the pendulum rings one, a big skeleton opens his eyes
  2. When the pendulum rings two, two big skeletons dress in blue
  3. When the pendulum rings three, three big skeletons put makeup on their eyes
  4. When the pendulum rings four, four big skeletons brush their hair
  5. When the pendulum rings five, five big skeletons eat eggs. 
  6. When the pendulum rings six, six big skeletons play a game.
  7. When the pendulum rings seven, seven big skeletons dance a little.
  8. When the pendulum rings eight, eight big skeletons march two by two.
  9. When the pendulum rings nine, nine big skeletons wait in a queue.
  10. When the pendulum rings ten, ten big skeletons return to their home.
  11. When the pendulum rings eleven, eleven big skeletons go to bed.
  12. When the pendulum rings midnight, twelve big skeletons say "good night. "

Bon premier jour d'hiver, tout le monde!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Time to abolish the Electoral Collage

As the New York Times said today:
...why should the votes of Americans in California or New York count for less than those in Idaho or Texas? A direct popular vote would treat all Americans equally, no matter where they live — including, by the way, Republicans in San Francisco and Democrats in Corpus Christi, whose votes are currently worthless. The system as it now operates does a terrible job of representing the nation’s demographic and geographic diversity. Almost 138 million Americans went to the polls this year, but Mr. Trump secured his Electoral College victory thanks to fewer than 80,000 votes across three states: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 
This page has opposed the Electoral College for at least 80 years, and it has regardless of the outcome of any given election. (In 2004, President George W. Bush won the popular vote by more than three million, but he could have lost the Electoral College with a switch of fewer than 60,000 votes in Ohio.) 
Many Republicans have endorsed doing away with the Electoral College, including Mr. Trump himself, in 2012. Maybe that’s why he keeps claiming falsely that he won the popular vote, or why more than half of Republicans now seem to believe he did. For most reasonable people, it’s hard to understand why the loser of the popular vote should wind up running the country.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ces comptines sont fucké

Je continue à apprendre le français. J'ai regardé "French in Action" et dans un épisode, la petite sœur de Mirielle, (Mirelle est la star du programme) son nom est Marie-Laure, a chanté une comptine. La comptine est bizarre. Mais pas trop mal et j'ai donc décidé de regarder les autres.

Alors je vais a Youtube pour voir d'autres chansons françaises pour petits enfants et quelle horreur! Les comptines sont bizarres et désagréables!

La première chanson, chantée par Marie-Laure n'est pas trop mauvaise, il s'agit d'une souris qui fait de la dentelle pour les dames à Paris.


(Cette version est sans musique.)

Mais les autres comptines - mon Dieu! 

Ce comptine , ("Mon père m'a donné un mari") est sur une jeune femme qui a un petit mari. Le mari est si petit le chat lui mange.

Ce comptine ("Ne pleure pas Jeannette") est sur une jeune femme qui a été pendue.

Ce comptine ("La mere Michel") est sur une dame qui a perdue sa chat. Le chat a été vendu par quelqu'un a acheter un lapin.

Je pensais que M. Guignol était le pire - ces chansons sont encore plus désagréables que lui! Ces chansons sont fucké*!

Je ne suis pas la seul personne qui trouve ces comptines detestable - la pagine ici dit: 10 comptines pour enfants qui sont (en fait) vraiment trash.

Je n'ai pas le courage aller voir ces comptines. ("Ne pleure pas Jeannette" est inclus.)

Voulez-vous lire la translation de ce blog post? Ici.

Le mot "fucké" ce n'est pas français traditionnel, il est un anglicisme inventé par les Québécois.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trudeaun't go breaking my heart

Hotness Summit
It seems that New York Magazine might be as enthralled by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as I am - I just discovered they have an ongoing series there called Trudeaun't go breaking my heart, the series which dares to ask the question Why Don’t I Ever Run Into Shirtless Justin Trudeau While Hiking? and sadly observes of the meeting between Obama and Trudeau that the Historic Hotness Summit Did Not End With a Kiss.

NYM discusses the wondrousness that is Trudeau:

There are so many reasons to love Justin Trudeau: He appointed a bunch of women to his cabinet. He’s half of North America’s greatest political bromance. He has great hair. But high among them is unwavering dedication to feminism, and declaring himself a feminist.
During an interview with Vox, Trudeau went expanded on his feminist cred. “I talk about the fact that I’m a feminist as often as I can, and each time I do it gets a huge reaction and the Twitter verse explodes,” he said. “I will keep saying that until there’s no more reaction.”
However there are some women who can resist the Trudeau charm and unsurprisingly it's horrific, hate-filled, right-wing women like the MRA's favorite, extremist nutbar Andrea "Judgy Bitch" Hardie, who is Canadian and who (under a new Twitter identity because she was banned under the old one) called for the assassination of Trudeau.

Isn't there a Canadian Secret Service that keeps tabs on freaks like this? Here's her blog where she provides her city/province. Those responsible for protecting the life of the Prime Minister should look into it.

Her paranoid ranting seems completely misplaced though - the fact that his wife is an unhinged right-wing crank who called for the assassination of their Prime Minister four months ago doesn't seem to have had any impact whatsoever on the career of her husband Dr. Tim Hardie

Andrea "Judgy Bitch" Hardie
This is the difference between the right and the left. I'm pretty sure if Hardie was an unhinged leftist (and there are no leftists as unhinged as rightists as far as I know) calling for the assassination of Trump, Trump's cultists would have forced Hardie and her family into hiding, using death threats they used on a labor leader; and death and rape threats on a teenage girl, who merely criticized Trump.

I left a message on her most recent blog post about Trudeau, asking her if she ever heard from the Canadian secret service for her treacherous intentions. If she responds I will report it here.

Now to get the image of Women Against Feminism's poster girl out of your mind, here is Trudeau and his splendiferous cabinet, putting the Monster-elect's cabinet to shame. O Canada indeed.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The loneliness of Paul McCartney

Statue of Eleanor Rigby in Liverpool
Although Paul McCartney lost his mother at a young age he had a close relationship with his father, his brother, and a large extended family. Then he had school friends, then the Beatles. And as George Harrison once observed of Elvis Presley:
We took the ups and the downs together and, I think because we had each other, we helped each other from going crazy or having nervous breakdowns. Unlike poor old Elvis, who, although he had 59 friends with him, was not the same. He was the only one who experienced what it was like being Elvis, whereas four of us experienced what it was like being fab.

When the Beatles broke up, Paul McCartney had a good marriage and an adopted daughter and eventually four biological children of his own. When his wife died he soon was married to another woman and then when that marriage ended he married another one whom he remains married to at the present time.

So I doubt there have been many people who ever lived who have been less lonely than Paul McCartney.

And yet, thanks to his artistic imagination, McCartney wrote at least two great songs about loneliness. 

No More Lonely Nights is a favorite of mine, released in 1984, when McCartney was 42, into the fifteenth year of his marriage with a house full of children. But he's singing about having no more lonely nights. Allison Krauss did a nice cover version.

More famous and more amazing though is Eleanor Rigby. He wrote this song about middle-aged loneliness when he was twenty-freaking-four years old, in the middle of Beatlemania. The song was justly celebrated right from the get-go and covered by everybody from Aretha Franklin to Alice Cooper.

I've always taken it for granted, it's been around since forever. It wasn't until I was middle-aged myself that I came to appreciate the song - and become in awe of McCartney's accomplishment. Although he did have some help from the other Beatles and their friend Pete Shotton:
McCartney wrote the first verse by himself, and the Beatles finished the song in the music room of John Lennon's home at Kenwood. John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and their friend Pete Shotton all listened to McCartney play his song through and contributed ideas. Harrison came up with the "Ah, look at all the lonely people" hook. Starr contributed the line "writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear" and suggested making "Father McCartney" darn his socks, which McCartney liked. It was then that Shotton suggested that McCartney change the name of the priest, in case listeners mistook the fictional character in the song for McCartney's own father.[12]
The song is often described as a lament for lonely people[13] or a commentary on post-war life in Britain.[14][15]
McCartney could not decide how to end the song, and Shotton finally suggested that the two lonely people come together too late as Father McKenzie conducts Eleanor Rigby's funeral. At the time, Lennon rejected the idea out of hand, but McCartney said nothing and used the idea to finish off the song, later acknowledging Shotton's help.[12] 
Lennon was quoted in 1971 as having said that he "wrote a good half of the lyrics or more"[16] and in 1980 claimed that he wrote all but the first verse,[17] but Shotton (who was Lennon's childhood friend) remembered Lennon's contribution as being "absolutely nil".[18] McCartney said that "John helped me on a few words but I'd put it down 80–20 to me, something like that."[19]
Here is McCartney performing Eleanor Rigby in 1984 (same year he released No More Lonely Nights, coincidentally.) Even though by then he was past the incredible beauty of his youth he's still a fine looking man who really rocks a tux.

Friday, December 16, 2016

A day in the life of pre-PM Justin Trudeau

Yes, I am still on a Justin Trudeau tear.

He's basically the perfect man. I love him so much I'm willing to watch him in really boring videos like this one from 2014, before he was elected Prime Minister.

What I love about this video is how unglamorous and nitty-gritty it is. Just a fly-on-the-wall perspective of a talented politician performing his quotidian duties, sitting in a small, harshly-lit conference room,  with his name scrawled on a whiteboard, hashing out issues and sharing stories about being the father of an infant; the origins of his new son's name (Hadrian) as well as his own (Justin - both he and his son are named after two of the good Roman emperors); talking about his father, etc etc etc.

He sure is consistent in his message of Canadian diversity. Based on what I've seen of his speeches that is by far the most frequent talking point he hits.

Even if I don't move to Montreal I have a definite urge to visit again.

Here I am in Montreal in September 2005, long before I ever heard of Justin Trudeau. Only a couple of months before I began this blog.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Asking for a friend...

Is it really necessary to be accompanied by two cats every time you use the bathroom?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Doug Henwood sides with Donald Trump

I was not at all surprised to see Doug Henwood siding with Donald Trump on Twitter. I went to his Twitter account exactly because I expected this.

Henwood never stopped presenting Hillary Clinton as a monster and meanwhile he just can't help joining Trump in pushing back against the CIA's claim that the Russians helped Trump win the election.

Apparently Henwood is too stupid to understand how the electoral college works, or is too stupid to understand that the issue was the CIA knowing that Russia hacked the RNC too, and didn't mention it, and meanwhile the FBI was pushing bullshit about Hillary Clinton.

The Far Left is almost as bad as the Right. And that's pretty horrifically bad.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Still fiddling with the logo

But then I would. And the web site looks completely different now from the first version. I like this one much better so far, it's much hipper than the first one.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Norma Jeane - new graphic direction

I decided to go in a completely different direction for my Norma Jeane logo - inspired of course by the Andy Warhol style seen in the graphic on the right-hand side of this page.

So far I like it. But I'm always capable of changing my mind...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Flowers for Mom

I finally  completed the first draft of my play FLOWERS FOR MOM, which is a re-working of a play I wrote years ago called THE BENEFICENT POWER OF REVENGE.

I had a reading of FLOWERS today and it turned out pretty well. When I was re-reading the first draft I couldn't stop laughing - like dangerous, can't-catch-your-breath laughing. But I thought maybe I was just a little punchy after staying up till all hours trying to finish the draft in time for the scheduled reading.

So I was very pleased when the actors laughed in many spots during the reading. Always a good sign.

I was originally inspired to write BENEFICENT when I was running NYCPlaywrights as a weekly writers group which had readings of members work. One of the group members, we'll call her Marcia, kept bring in all these plays about mothers with dementia. The playwright's mother had dementia and I certainly understood how it might be therapeutic for Marcia to write these plays. But since I was running the group I was at virtually every single damn meeting and so I had to hear every reading of all her mother-with-dementia plays and after awhile I was starting to get fed up. So I was inspired to write my own version - except in my version the mother had been a very nasty women, and she was brought back to her old, psychopathic personality by a new anti-dementia drug.

The play was also inspired by the science fiction story "Flowers for Algernon." I read it in seventh grade and it made a huge impression on me.

So FLOWERS FOR MOM is pretty dark, but it is hopeful at the end. Especially because the psychopathic mother dies.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Yes another post about Justin Trudeau - I CAN'T HELP MYSELF!

This video is from 2012, when Trudeau fought a conservative member of the Canadian government for charity. The odds were three-to-one against Trudeau.

You can hear the various dismissive remarks about him from the commentators: they call him a "shiny pony" and refer to his yoga and ballet training, jazzercise, his rope skipping. "He seems like my 4-year-old daughter." "He's a high-school drama teacher and this is called over-acting my friend, he's a dramatic thespian."

Trudeau does not do well in the first round and you can hear the commentators licking their chops for his defeat. The more obnoxious of the two commentators suggests it is a one-round fight.

So it makes it very dramatically satisfying when Trudeau comes back in round two and beats the crap out of "Brass Knuckles" Brazeau. By the end of the last round Brazeau's nose is bleeding. As it said in the next day's National Post: Justin Trudeau scores major upset in Fight for the Cure boxing match over Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau.

Possibly my favorite part of this fight is at the end after Trudeau is declared the winner and he's being interviewed by one of the commentators about Brazeau and Trudea says: "everyone's a winner here tonight."

A speaking of Trudeau's yoga training... 


Fun fact - Pierre Trudeau dated a very young Kim Cattrall. Causing 60 Minutes to believe Cattrall was Justin's mother.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Garfunkel and Oates and McInnes

As I mentioned last week, hard-core alt-right misogynist Gavin McInnes made a list  (in 2014) of people he believed: "call a spade a spade no matter what the consequences" and included Steven Pinker, Ann Coulter and assorted other racists/misogynists/nutjobs. I saw the name "Garfunkel and Oates" in the list and it rang a bell, but I couldn't remember where I had heard the names.

Recently I came across those names again and now I know - they are a comedy duo I heard of first in 2009, and I had an idea they were progressive/liberal. 

I believe this is why:

I find it hard to believe that a homophobe like Gavin McInnes would enjoy their mocking of the anti-gay marriage position.

As of March 2016 Ms. Magazine thinks Garfunkel and Oates are feminists.

So why did Gavin McInnes think they were his kind of people? Apparently it's because of this video, in which G&O perform as two women who argue in song over whether they should panic about being single in their early 30s or not.

McInnes is obsessed with proving that female reproduction makes women inferior, and makes women have lives with more limited prospects for love than men. Because he's a gigantic misogynist. And since his followers are also misogynists their response to the G&O video is what you would expect. Here's one comment:
sorry. but these girls are unfunny ugly trolls. have fun going out for vegan food with them. if you’re lucky you’ll get to read some of their poetry. they are DEF. sporting full bush.
McInnes is so desperate to find women who agree with him about their own inferiority that he'll grasp at the tiniest hint of assent. But he was wrong. As usual.

But just to be sure, I tracked down G&O's Twitter account and asked them what they thought of the alt-right approval they got in Taki's Magazine. If they get back to me I will post their response here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Mac Wellman wants to slap the audience in the face

Almost five years ago I noted that Mac Wellman likes to talk about how much most American theater sucks, but he refrained from naming names - although the interviewer of this American Theatre piece claims otherwise, but this is the first time I have ever seen it:

(Wellman) ...I never wanted to write the American kind of “play.” Some of my plays are disguised—they have five legs instead of four legs. Some of them have tusks. 
(Interviewer) Oh, I know your plays are multi-limbed! 
When you say you’re not interested in writing the American play—what does that mean to you? 
Ooh, I wouldn’t want to list all the plays that I hate! I mean, I’m not a big fan of Arthur Miller or even Eugene O’Neill, though I think he knew a lot about theatre. O’Neill is a great person but you put him next to Strindberg and he disappears. I don’t particularly care for Tennessee Williams. I think, really, American playwriting began to get interesting in the ’60s with Shepard and Fornes. Before that, it’s screenplays that are great. 
I actually think the great period of playwriting is now. The problem is there just aren’t enough theatres willing to do plays. As well you know. 
In New York everything has to make money and be corporate. So it’s hard. But it continually evolves, so I don’t know where it will be in 10 years. 
Looking back at your texts and essays, you never seemed afraid to name names, as in your disinterest in Edward Albee, O’Neill. 
I mean, I like Albee. He likes to think he’s like Beckett, but he’s not like Beckett at all. You can’t imitate Beckett but you can imitate Albee and a million people have, and they aren’t as smart or interesting as he is—it’s hard. I mean, that’s why I always try to get my students to read foreign plays. This country is very cut off, I think.

So Wellman doesn't like the work of O'Neill or Miller or Albee or Williams. And yet audiences persist in wanting to see their work, those plays which invoke unsightly human emotions.

The interview continues...

You often encouraged us to let the play reveal itself, or let the structure reveal itself. Will you talk a little bit about that in comparison to the idea of conflict and resolution? 
In American theatre, structure is just a set of clichés. Plays are not about plots. They are about moments. And moments are about epiphanies when something happens that wakes you up. But mainstream plays are about reaffirming what the audience thinks it already knows. And I think that’s a waste of time. Why do that? Why not give them a slap in the face? Actually the most interesting playwrights I know are practicing a slap-in-the-face kind of theatre, whether they know it or not. I used to have students write a play with no structure.
As Theresa Rebeck said:
I seem to be constantly confronted by theater professionals who are more or less annoyed by the prospect of structure. One time I was at a wedding reception, for crying out loud, and I got seated at a table with a really famous genius of the contemporary American theater who had directed a play I admired. He had deconstructed a well-known play but the essence of the original story was still there, and the artistry and strangeness of his interpretation was beautifully balanced within the original tale. When I told him so, he went into a drunken rage. "All that structure, all that story," he growled, pouring himself more wine. "What a nightmare." 
"I love structure," I confessed. "I think it's beautiful." 
"Yeah, the audience loved it too," he sneered.

I don't know if she was speaking to Wellman in this story, but I wouldn't be surprised if she was.

Wellman doesn't like "cliches" and "plots" because he doesn't see the point of coherent structure that invokes the human sympathetic response. Human emotions aren't progressive - humans respond to various stimuli as they always have since before the theater of ancient Greece.

Mac Wellman should have had a career in technology or mathematics or anything that doesn't involve working with people and their stupid feelings. His current profession must be incredibly frustrating for him. He uses a metaphor of physical assault because he has no empathy for the audience. Or as Donald Trump fans would say: fuck your feelings.

But he is adored in American theater anyway, because many theater writers (critics, interviewers for American Theatre, etc.) are postmodernist pseudo-intellectuals who also feel similar contempt for theater audiences and have a constant yearning for plays that "break the boundaries" as I documented five years ago here - and as this recent review of Wellman's THE OFFENDING GESTURE demonstrates:
One of the many wonderful things about Mac Wellman’s work is that there are no boundaries to where he takes us. Sure, we can be on earth sometimes, but he’d rather not stay anywhere too recognizable for very long, and he would much prefer to be in space or on a different planet (often one of his own creation). Who can blame him? Earth is pretty awful. You know what/who else is awful? Hitler.
But every now and then there will be a critic who isn't as reverential as the rest and refuses to be baffled by Wellman's bullshit, as with these two:
David Barbour in  Light and Sound America: 
Yet these elements somehow fail to add up to a satisfying evening. Wellman's dog's-eye view of the semiotics of power seems awfully thin on ideas; it dawdles, it meanders, it pauses for passages of vocalizing, and scenes seem to repeat endlessly. Even the ravishing musical scenes (composed by Alaina Ferris and beautifully sung by the Mooncats) come to seem like so many interruptions. A last-minute reference to the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq comes out of nowhere in a strange attempt at capping off the show. It is merely mystifying; the circumstances of Hitler's brief and unconsummated flirtation with that country (which was encouraged by anti-British Iraqis) was nothing like the long-running calamity of Bush's Middle East misadventure. If this is the punch line to the joke, it's little better than Noble Wolf's snapper about Goering.
Christopher Kompanek in the Village Voice:

A third pooch, a bulldog named Wuffles who belongs to Winston Churchill, remains offstage (and is solely an invention of the playwright). He's used as a way to introduce Churchill's creation of Iraq (combining the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds — or, in doggyspeak, "Sunfish, Shits, and Turds"). This sort of wordplay appears frequently and amounts more to a source of annoyance than humor. Likewise, Layla Khoshnoudi plays Hitler (named Noble Wolf, the English translation of Adolf) with a farcical abandon, but the material is too opaque for any real levity to land...

...Wellman writes with a unique blend of poetry, puns, and non sequiturs that confound more than they illuminate and never fail to feel written. "I do the gesture as it gives me a please, a pleasure in the right front foot department," is one of Jackie's most straightforward lines, and it could easily have been lopped in half. While the title gesture is repeated throughout and mentioned ad nauseam, the actual offense is that it never rises to more than a background din. The final moments attempt to spell out a theme that should have been gradually building throughout, and only in the last line does Wellman finally pose a question worth asking.
Wellman and other postmodernists have their own cliches - the obsessive need to play with form and word salad at the expense of content, and macho bad-boy posturing, imagining violence upon the audience. Basically the angry young men of the theater, except the men haven't been young since the 20th century.

But you'll never get them to believe they are rehashing the same old shit - they will go to their graves believing they are the last word in daring, novel rebellion.

More and more Mac Wellman sounds like the Darren Nichols character from Slings and Arrows.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

NORMA JEANE & Andy Warhol

I had to change the performance dates of my NORMA JEANE show to the end of February so my web site for the show is completely out of date - but now that I know who my actors and stage manager are I can get in there and start redesigning - plus I am not that crazy about the first design now anyway and want to re-work it.

Coincidentally the folks at have asked that I include a link to the Andy Warhol section of their site, which I don't mind doing because I'm a fan of Warhol and also because Warhol's art includes images of Marilyn Monroe. So I asked them if I could post this image along with the link to their site and they granted permission.

The actual link/image is on the right-hand banner of this blog.

And in honor of Andy Warhol, here is a song that Lou Reed wrote for him.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Make Love Not Porn - your business model doesn't work

Dammit, Cindy Gallop's heart is in the right place and her desire to change the views of society toward women her age (and I'm only a little younger than her) is admirable.

I just wished her "Make Love Not Porn" concept worked as a business. The fact that she is now attempting to crowd-fund it shows it is not working as an actual business, and it is now more of a conceptual art project. The crowd-funding page doesn't present anything new so presumably she just wants to keep on doing the same thing - presenting videos of people who are not professional porn actors having sex ("making love") alone or with others.

It cannot work as a business because the videos on offer on her MLNP site - well first off, they aren't immediately available as all other porn on the Internet is. For instance, I could enter "romantic couple making love" or "amateur porn" into any search engine and get a whole bunch of links to videos that I can watch immediately.

Gallop's site requires you to join (free but still a hassle) just to see some previews, and then you have to pay to watch an entire video. Why would you do that when you could see similar content immediately and for free? Except that the free online videos you can access randomly usually feature much better looking people - especially the men.

I'm not saying there are no people in the world who prefer watching unattractive people over attractive people having sex. But I am saying there are not enough of them to make money on  it.

And after a review of the MLNP site today, I see it still has the same old problem that I talked about over a year ago in response to a comment made by, I think, Cindy Gallop herself, on this blog:
The problem, dear Cindy, is the collision between your business model and the Patriarchy. The people who volunteer to make these videos live in a world where women spend hours every day on hair, makeup and cute outfits, plus yoga and/or the gym, while most straight men think they can just shower and shave (or more likely these days, not even shave) and then throw on some baggy t-shirt and jeans they found on the floor, along with ugly sneakers. And if they have a beer belly, well so what? They dress for comfort, not to look good for other people. 
So the people making your videos look exactly like you would expect - the women look good while the men are, at best, blah. That's male privilege and you aren't going to escape it with your average jane and joe volunteers. You are going to get a reflection of the same exact values that drive commercial porn in the first place - it's all about the male gaze. Only in a culture that goes against that tradition, where men are meant to be looked at too, will you have truly attractive men - as in the gay porn world.

You can get an idea of the male gaze problem I'm talking about on the Makelovenotporn Youtube channel.  (None of these videos on Youtube feature any sex, they just show you the people who have the sex in the videos behind the Make Love Not Porn paywall.)

The first video is a perfect example of what I mean about men not making an effort to look good. It shows a heterosexual couple and the woman has obviously had her hair, makeup and nails done recently, and the man looks like he just rolled out of bed and his hair is a big graying mess.

This video has a pretty attractive man except that he is wearing that horrible style too many men have adopted lately, the high-top fade combined with the big gross beard. It's like men are trying to look as ugly as possible these days with this style. The best part of typing "romantic couple making love" into a search engine and seeing the random pornos that pop up is that none of the men in those videos have beards, or high-top fades

And the prospect of having sex with someone wearing a cheesy mustache like the one on this man is much worse to me than sex while suffering from a cold sore.

Like most women, I could go out and have sex with unattractive men any time I want, so why would I watch a video featuring unattractive men having sex? I'm only interested in seeing beautiful men having sex. But if Gallop's crowd-funded version of Make Love Not Porn is going to focus on beautiful men, this is not mentioned anywhere on the ifundwomen page she has set up. And I doubt they would consider it even as a special category within the MLNP universe since Gallop apparently doesn't see aesthetics as a serious consideration. 

In case you're wondering what I would watch, Cindy Gallop - maybe if you make your $500K goal you'll consider spending some of it on "making love" videos for people like me: get a male porn actor who looks like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and create a series of videos that show the life of a smoking hot Canadian Prime Minister and all the sex he has with the focus on his face and body during the sex. But make the PM single, it would ruin it for me if the character was cheating on a wife. He could have a hot but secret affair with the sister of his leading political rival, for example. Or maybe an off-again, on-again relationship with a Toronto reporter. Or a forbidden attraction for a hot but married leader of an Indigenous Peoples organization. Or ALL THREE. Stuff like that. But it would take much more time and effort than just asking random unattractive people to upload videos onto your site. But as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.