politics, Trump

Elizabeth Warren has left the race and Alex P. Keaton now disgusts me.

I was genuinely sad to see that Elizabeth Warren gave up her run for president. I don’t get excited about too many politicians, but I did like her very much. For some reason, I found her refreshing, and I was surprised to see that she didn’t do better in the polls. I guess some people still aren’t prepared to accept a woman as President of the United States.

That being said, I’m not surprised that she dropped out of the running, nor am I totally surprised that Joe Biden has suddenly experienced a “miraculous” comeback. I have a feeling that he’s going to get the Democratic nomination. I guess I wouldn’t mind Biden running against Trump or even being president. I plan to vote blue regardless. This is the first time I’ve ever said that. In the past, I voted for a range of candidates from different parties and often voted third party. This year, I’m voting straight blue because I genuinely believe the Republican Party has completely gone off the rails. It’s definitely not the GOP of my father’s generation. It will be a long time before I will forgive the Republican Party for foisting Trump on the world. I think Trump is a woman hating disaster, and I don’t understand how decent people can continue to support him.

Lately, I’ve been binge watching Family Ties, a sitcom that was very popular when I was growing up. It’s not the first time I’ve binged on that show, although for the first time, I’ve had a really visceral reaction to Michael J. Fox’s character, Alex P. Keaton. I used to laugh at his conservative jokes. This time, I found them offensive, which is pretty weird. I guess back in the 80s, the sexist comments made by Alex Keaton were easier overlooked because they seemed far-fetched and out of touch with reality. In 2020, those comments hit closer to home, because there are a lot of people in the United States who embrace the racist, sexist, homophobic agenda promoted by Donald Trump.

It also occurred to me as I was watching Family Ties that Donald Trump never gets mentioned, even though he was definitely out there and in the media during that time. I’m not sure if Alex Keaton would like Trump. It seems like he would, except there were many times on that show that Alex showed himself to be, deep down, sensitive and caring. Trump is not sensitive or caring. Alex was also a “genius”, while Trump is a massive boob and many of his most vocal followers aren’t very bright, either. I would hope Alex P. Keaton could see through Trump and endorse someone better. But then I listen to what he says and notice who he admires– Richard Nixon– and realize that Alex P. Keaton, who used to be a “cute” character, laughably out of touch with reality, would probably admire Trump on some level. At least superficially.

He’s not so cute anymore, is he?

Last night, a long time friend of mine– someone I’ve known for about 30 years, who was one of my best friends– gloated about Elizabeth Warren’s decision to drop out of the race. I had a visceral reaction to my friend’s gloating, too. I usually don’t comment on other people’s political bullshit, but this time I felt compelled to type a response. I expressed sadness that Elizabeth Warren didn’t make the cut and added, “At least she’s not a rapist.”

My friend wrote that his candidate isn’t one, either. His candidate is Donald Trump and yes, there’s ample substantiation that he sexually assaults women and more than a couple of women have accused him of rape. There’s a lot of credible evidence that they’re telling the truth, and the accusations go back for over thirty years. Why people whom I know have good hearts continue to cheerlead for Trump, I’ll never know. My issue with him is not that he’s supposedly a Republican; it’s that he treats other people with contempt and derision, especially women. I’m tired of tolerating it. I’m tired of seeing and hearing Trump on a daily basis. I want him out of my life.

I have to admit, I came very close to disassociating with my long time friend over this… I really did. I have some friends who have completely cut ties with Trump supporters. I don’t want to do that myself, because I know a lot of them truly aren’t bad people. I also feel like people should be allowed to vote their consciences, even if I vehemently disagree with their choices. I’d like to continue feeling that way, even though I will never understand how anyone with a functioning brain can’t see how horrible Trump is. He’s a whole different level of horrible. He’s not your garden variety conservative. It’s like seeing someone cheer on a notorious criminal when I see someone gloat on Trump’s behalf, as if he’s never done anything to merit any of the criticism he gets.

In the end, I decided to unfollow my dear friend, instead. He did send me a private message to smooth my ruffled feathers. I appreciated that, although I know he still likes Trump, for whatever reason. I guess the worst part of it is that his like-minded friends who don’t know me were also jumping on the bandwagon, cheering that Elizabeth Warren gave up her fight… cheering on four more years of Trump’s insanity. Naturally, they’re mostly white people from rural areas who, for whatever reason, are scared to death to take a good look at the person whose policies they’re embracing.

I find it very depressing to consider that Trump will probably win the next election… Maybe, in a way, it’s kind of like what I wrote in my last post, about how Larry Nassar’s crimes against women were ignored and dismissed by so many people for so long. He’d become so emboldened toward his controversial treatment toward athletes– and he’d been falsely built up for so long as a “great” doctor, when he was anything but. In a weird way, it reminded me of how people ignored and denied the Holocaust– turning a blind eye to the obvious abuses and pretending like nothing ever happened. And then, it all came crashing down and Larry Nassar finally went to prison.

I feel like Trump supporters, like Nassar’s supporters, are kind of akin to Holocaust deniers. They ignore the obvious, turn a blind eye, and ignore suffering while they continue to prop up an obvious criminal. But maybe someday, Trump will finally be completely exposed for who and what he really is… and I wonder if my Trump supporting friends will still be gloating then. And sadly, I also wonder if our friendships or even family relationships will survive.

I never used to care about politics. I care too much about them now. Maybe that’s one good thing Trump did. He definitely pulled me out of complacency, at least for awhile. I think if he wins again, though, I might just go back to not caring. Trying to reason with Trump supporters is like throwing a cup of water at a raging inferno. It’s a waste of time and energy and ultimately futile.

book reviews

Repost: Justine Bateman’s take on fame… a review of Fame: The Hijacking of Reality

I’m reposting this book review from January 3, 2019 because I recently reposted my “I Was A Teenaged Tina” post about Tina Yothers. Justine Bateman used to work with Tina Yothers, so I figure I should share my review of her book. Enjoy!

A couple of months ago, I was messing around on YouTube and saw a clip featuring actress/author Justine Bateman, talking about her brand new book, Fame: The Hijacking of Reality.  Bateman, who is probably best known for playing Mallory Keaton on the hit 80s sitcom, Family Ties, was once a very hot actress who couldn’t go anywhere without being mobbed by fans and/or the paparazzi.  As the years passed, and Bateman grew older and less prolific, her fame began to dwindle.  She’s now on the other side of having been famous.  Instead of writing a memoir, a genre which Bateman claims to disdain, she decided to write a book about her experiences with having and losing fame.

Justine Bateman talks to Megyn Kelly about fame…  this is the clip I watched before I downloaded her book, which was released in October of 2018.

In 1982, when 16 year old Justine Bateman first started playing Mallory, there were three big networks.  There was no Internet, so people tended to watch a lot more TV.  What they watched was mostly confined to what was on the big three network channels or on cable, which not everyone had in those days.  In the 80s, successful TV shows were not competing with nearly as many shows as they do now.  Consequently, a hit TV show would command millions more viewers than they do today.  

Bateman explains how huge Family Ties was… and as a relic of the 80s myself, I can attest to her account.  Everyone I knew watched the show.  Although there are some hit programs today, they compete with a lot of other choices.  There are now many more channels a person can watch and we also have the Internet.  I used to love TV and could name a lot of the people who were on the shows back in the day.  In 2019, I can no longer name very many TV actors and I don’t watch nearly as many popular programs as I once did.  In fact, I often get into shows after they’ve been on for years already.

Bateman and her brother, Jason, came to California from Rye, New York.  Both found success in television at around the same time.  Jason was on commercials and Little House on the Prairie, which was also a very successful show in those days.  He was also on Silver Spoons and had his own sitcom, It’s Your Move.  He still acts, while Justine is not as visible as she once was.

Imagine what it must have been like for Justine Bateman, who was on an extremely popular show that everyone watched and loved.  She was just a teenager, but she was enormously famous at a time in her life when her psyche would have probably been more affected than it otherwise might have been.  It’s one thing to become famous when you’re an adult and your brain is fully developed.  It’s another to become successful beyond your wildest dreams as a child or an adult.

I grew up in the 1980s and I always loved watching Family Ties.  I was about the same age as Tina Yothers, who played youngest daughter Jennifer Keaton.  I also kind of resembled Tina Yothers at that age.  We both had straight blonde hair and blue eyes and we shared a certain sardonic wit.  Justine Bateman’s character, Mallory, was depicted as kind of dumb, fashion obsessed, and boy crazy.  Bateman was convincing as Mallory, but now that I’ve read her book, I’m reminded that good actors are not necessarily like the characters they play.  

Justine Bateman is definitely not Mallory Keaton, which is evidenced in the somewhat bitter tone of her book and the many swear words within it.  Like me, Justine is a fan of the f-word, and she sprinkles it liberally within her book on fame.  To be honest, I found the constant use of the word “fuck” a little off putting.  I’m not offended by that word at all, but I do find it tiresome when it’s overused, even though “fuck” is a fairly versatile word.  I think Bateman’s book would have been better with another round with an editor, to both jazz up, and clean up, the language a bit, and make Bateman’s points more linear.  She has a tendency to get a bit repetitive with her points and, despite her claim that she interviewed other famous people for this book, it really seems to be more about her experiences than other people’s experiences.

On the other hand, I appreciated Bateman’s frank tone.  I got the sense she was talking to her readers, and she was surprisingly relatable.  Some readers may find Bateman’s problems a little “first world”, but I had empathy for her situation.  The one thing I really got from her book is that fame can be a major mind fuck.  I started to realize how fleeting and shallow it really is, even though many people envy the famous and want to emulate them.  

When you were once famous and couldn’t go shopping or have dinner without being bothered by fans, it can be kind of surreal to not have that recognition anymore.  Bateman writes that she might go to a party and see someone with whom she once shared the “fame predicament”.  At one time, that person might have nodded in recognition when he or she saw her at the party.  Now, the person acts like she’s a distant relative from Ohio.  The once friendly recognition has turned into stifled politeness, with the more “famous” person acting like he or she doesn’t want to catch Bateman’s condition of being less popular than she once was.  Again, while it’s not exactly an earth shattering problem to have and not something regular people can really identify with personally, I can understand on a basic level how that experience might mess with a person’s self-esteem and self-image.

Anyway, I think Justine Bateman’s take on her experiences with fame are interesting, although I do think the book could have been better.  I got a kick out of the photos in the back of the book, though.  They took me back to a simpler time in my life, that really doesn’t seem like it was as long ago as it was.  I think it’s important that readers realize that they won’t really be getting a memoir or a tell all.  This is really kind of a pseudo academic look at fame as Bateman sees it.  If you can live with that, I’d recommend reading her book.  I give it 3.5 stars out of five.

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Reposted: I was a teenaged Tina…

Here’s another repost from my original blog. It was written December 13, 2017, and I’m reposting it because I think it’s funny. Enjoy!

Last night, while enjoying copious amounts of wine, chocolate, and pizza with my mother-in-law and Bill, I told them that when I was a kid, people often said I looked like Tina Yothers.  For those who don’t know, Tina Yothers played Jennifer Keaton on the hit sit com Family Ties.  I loved that show, as did many of my friends.  It was the show that really put Michael J. Fox on the map as an actor.  It’s also where he met his wife, Tracy Pollan. 

In the 1980s, Tina Yothers had long blonde hair and bangs.  I never had long hair, but it was definitely blonde.  I also had bangs until I was about twenty-five years old.  They were a bitch to grow out.

This is a picture of Tina Yothers when she was a child.

This is a picture of me when I was twelve.

I probably looked the most like Tina when we were younger.  As she grew older, her hair got bigger. 

Teenaged Tina

Teenaged knotty…

I believe Tina has since colored her hair black.  I have never had black hair.  In fact, nowadays, my hair is pretty blonde/white.  I’ve been letting it go natural because I hate the process of coloring it and feel like it’s a waste of time.  Even if I were inclined to color my hair, I wouldn’t want to go black.  I think it’s a rather harsh look for someone with really fair skin like mine.  Tina seems to wear it well, though.  It probably helps to have professional hairdressers, which I never bother with.

Like me, Tina Yothers is musical.  She’s in a band and, I think, has pretty much given up on the acting gig.  The last I saw of her, she was on Celebrity Fit Club or was it Celebrity Wife Swap?  I don’t remember.  I don’t know what she’s like off camera, but Tina’s personality on Family Ties was somewhat like mine, too.  We were both sardonic wiseacres.  

Tina sings on Family Ties…

I’m not sure what prompted me to post about this today.  I could easily write about police brutality or Alabama’s election results.  But, for some reason, I wanted to write something kind of silly.  This is some pretty silly stuff.      

Incidentally, my very kind mother-in-law thinks I look like Lee Remick now. There’s a reason why I love her and her son now. They are much too kind. 😀