words are all i have

A morning thought…

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Angela Lansbury: Stupid, She Spoke

At first blush, the inclination is to brush off Angela Lansbury’s victim-blaming as the harmless, nonsensical natterings of a doddering, old fool who can hide her own Easter eggs.

Angela Lansbury

I mean, hey, she’s 92 years old. So let’s cut the Murder, She Wrote star some slack, right?

But no. Lansbury didn’t say what she said because she’s 92 years old. Telling us that women “must sometimes take blame” for sexual assault and sexual harassment is not about the horse-and-buggy generation. It has nothing to do with the numbers on the award-winning actor’s birth certificate.

After all, didn’t fashion designer Donna Karan say much the same? Didn’t American gymnast Gabby Douglas?

Let’s compare…

Lansbury: “There are two sides to this coin. We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us—and this is where we are today. We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that. Although it’s awful to say, we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.”

Donna Karan

Karan: “To see (sexual harassment) in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality? You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and how women are acting by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”

Douglas: “It is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.”

So, don’t give Lansbury a free pass because of her birth certificate, not when a 69-year-old woman (Karan) and a 21-year-old woman (Douglas) are singing from the same sheet in the song book.

Stupid knows no age, and everything this menage-a-victim-blamers said was stupid. Also dangerous.

(It doesn’t matter that both Karan and Douglas were quick to beat a hasty retreat from their words. Karan’s comments were “taken out of context” and “not representative of how I feel and what I believe” and she was sleep deprived, don’t you know? Douglas’s comments, meanwhile, were “misunderstood.” Spare us the empty rhetoric, ladies. Once you’ve blamed sexual assault/harassment on the victim because she wore five-inch stilettos instead of flats, you don’t get a do-over.)

I know what it’s like to be sexually harassed and assaulted. I’ve been groped. In public. I’ve been subjected to lewd, crude comments about my body parts, in public and on social media. I’ve been hounded on the street. I’ve been stalked. I’ve been forcibly detained and confined.

I wish I could say that makes me an exception, but it doesn’t.

Cate Blanchett

I haven’t asked all of my female friends, but I would submit that each of them has had similar experiences. Probably worse. And much, if not all of it, is likely locked away in a vault they keep hidden behind closed doors in the deepest recesses of their minds.

That’s why women who read and hear about the recent avalanche of sexual harassment/assault accusations in Hollywood and politics nod knowingly. Been there, had that done to them. They had their own Bill Cosby. Their own Jian Ghomeshi. Their own Harvey Weinstein.

If they didn’t put out for a work supervisor, chances are they lost a promotion. Or their job. If, out of paralyzing fear, they involuntarily surrendered to the advances of a sick, predatory father or another male relative, they were intimidated into silence with threats of dire consequences. Like abandonment or death.

The horror stories are plentiful, endless and ongoing. That’s why Angela Lansbury’s remarks are shameful. I don’t care how wrinkled she is. Shameful is shameful is shameful by any age. And whether we wear low-cut tops or button ourselves up to the neck, sexual assault/harassment isn’t our fault.

It’s as actor Cate Blanchett put it at the InStyle Awards in October: “We all like looking sexy but it doesn’t mean we want to fuck you.”

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Kaep is Citizen One, Blake Shelton is the Sexy One, but will Donald Trump be Time magazine’s No. 1 or will it be fake news?

So, GQ has decided that none of the United States’ 323.1 million citizens has better cred than Colin Kaepernick, thus he’s the magazine’s Citizen of the Year.

Well, okay. Let’s all take a knee. Or not.

I mean, GQ’s anointing an out-of-work football player as America’s preeminent person has earned nods of approval yet, at the same time, the salute has tweaked some beaks, including that of a lass named Britt McHenry, an out-of-work Sideline Barbie who harbors the misguided notion that we should care what she thinks.

A joke,” was the former ESPN gab girl’s rebuke of Kaepernick as Citizen One.

That barb, in turn, inspired author and New York Daily News columnist Linda Stasi to describe McHenry as the “whitest woman on the planet” and, upon further review, the ruling on the field is confirmed—Britt McHenry is Caucasian.

All of which tells me that we have officially arrived at the silly season, during which various publications laud notables and bestow upon them high hosannas, earned or otherwise.

GQ declared Kaepernick to be Citizen One due to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s kneeling stance against social/racial injustice and police brutality in the U.S., writing, “His determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson—athletes who risked everything to make a difference.”

Yes, I agree, comparing Kaepernick to Ali and Robinson rates extremely high on the silliness scale.

Ah, but silliness knows no limits and, for confirmation, we need only peek at the cover of People magazine where, staring back at us with a goofy grin, is Gwen Stefani’s main squeeze and buffoon-in-residence on The Voice, Blake Shelton.

The cowboy crooner, whose record sales far outstrip his talent, is People’s choice as the Sexiest Man Alive (we can assume that Miranda Lambert didn’t get a vote). Imagine that, approximately 3.8 billion men on earth and not one of them has a higher sexy quotient than a hillbilly who walks and talks like he got lost on his way to the set of Hee Haw. If Shelton was a character from the old Andy Griffith Show, he’d be Goober or Gomer, the witless gas jockeys. Or he’d be part of the banjo-pluckin’, jug-blowin’ Darling clan from back in the hills. Every time I hear him speak, I want to order a jug of moonshine. But, hey, apparently that’s sexy. Who knew?

Blake Shelton would fit in nicely with this bunch—the Darlings.

When people think of Blake, they don’t focus in on abs or a pretty face or what not, like a typical sexy man, but what really wins you over with him is about how down to earth and funny and how sweet he is,” says People staff scribe Melody Chiu. “He’s really exactly what you see on TV. He’s so relatable and he’s so friendly. He just really wants people to love him.”

Aw shucks and gosh darn. If our Blake ain’t just the sweetest boy you ever did see. Doesn’t he just want to make you reach out and pinch his dimples and have his babies, girls?

So what does Shelton think of his coronation as Sexiest Man Alive?

I can’t wait to shove it up Adam’s ass,” he says.

Oh, my. And, to think, sexy Blake kisses Gwen Stefani with that mouth.

At any rate, we now await the Time magazine Person of the Year declaration and, depending on which bookie you go to for your betting odds, the latest lines list Donald Trump, Kaepernick and French President Emmanuel Macron as the favorites. Should U.S. President Trump get the nod, he’ll be the first repeat winner since former White House crook-in-residence Richard Nixon in 1971 and ’72.

If either Kaepernick of President Macron win, it’s fake news.

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A simple thank you just doesn’t seem enough

Unfailingly at this time of the year, I wonder what level of courage and bravery one must summon in order to go to work in the morning, or in the deepest part of the night, knowing that there’s a very good chance you’ll be shot. Dead. Or blown to pieces.

Canadian soldiers did that in World War I and II. Also in Korea.

They knew the bad guys would be spraying bullets and lobbing grenades in their direction. That they’d be required to navigate their way from Point A to Point B, aware they might trigger a land mine at any moment. But they did it. They crawled out of their foxholes—weary, hungry and scared—and they heard the whistle of German bullets fly past their ears and steal the breath from a comrade in arms. He was dead, and there were many thousands like him. Still, they soldiered on.

I simply cannot wrap my head around that horror.

Which is why saying thank you to our war veterans seems so inadequate. But perhaps that’s all those who remain with us want. All they need.

So thank you.