Today’s travel blog has some exciting news within it. Last night, I finally booked our long awaited visit to Yerevan, Armenia. I’m pretty psyched about it, although I expect there will be some sadness, too. Yerevan has changed a lot since I lived there in the 90s. Some of the changes are legitimately good ones, but some aren’t so much. But some familiar things can never change, and I do still have all my memories– good and bad. I look forward to making new memories soon.
Today’s main blog post is about hypocrisy and double standards… you know, that old “say one thing, do something different” attitude some people have. My old hero, George Carlin, did a brilliant routine about it.
You might have noticed the featured photo today. It’s a screenshot of a post I found on X… thanks to Ex. Ex is the queen of double standards and hypocrisy. But she is not the originator of that post about Joel Osteen, the folksy televangelist whose Lakewood Church bought the former Compaq Center in Houston, Texas and made it into a giant “sanctuary” of sorts that seats over 16,000 souls. I haven’t watched Joel Osteen’s show recently, as I don’t live in the United States and never watch network television. I’m sure Joel broadcasts in Germany, but I don’t go looking for his program here.
But I do remember seeing Osteen’s show ten years ago or so, when I was still in my homeland. Osteen was at the top of his game then, giving Christian-ish motivational speeches every Sunday in his distinctive Texas drawl, advising people to find a good “Bible based” church. It was hard to miss his broadcasts on Sunday mornings, as they aired “religiously” (heh heh heh), seemingly on more than one channel.
I never paid a lot of attention to Mr. Osteen, but for awhile, it seemed like he was everywhere. He had books out, and they were best sellers. He lived in a huge mansion with his wife, Victoria, a woman that some might describe as a “trophy wife”. I won’t do that myself, as I don’t know the nature of their relationship, and I don’t believe that just because a woman is beautiful, that means she’s necessarily a “trophy wife”. Victoria Osteen is a very pretty woman. She reminds me of Brooke Shields. But that doesn’t necessarily make her a trophy wife.
On the other hand, I do remember the headlines about Victoria Osteen’s alleged behavior on a 2005 flight to Vail, Colorado. Osteen was apparently upset about a stain on the first class seat she was supposed to occupy. It was definitely NOT Christlike conduct, if the stories about it are in any way true. And while 2005 was a long time ago, that incident happened during the Osteens’ rise to fame. In the end, the flight attendant who sued Victoria Osteen lost her case. I suspect that there might have been some embellishment on the part of the flight attendant, although the altercation over the stain did happen and no one disputed it.
The Osteens are human, and I guess I can understand why Joel Osteen might feel compelled to block someone on X. Is it something Jesus would do? Maybe not. Joel Osteen is just a man who preaches, though. He’s not akin to Jesus Christ. Christ wouldn’t live in a house like this one. He’d use the money for the house to feed, educate, and house people. But people still listen to Joel Osteen and his wife, and a lot of them are happy to donate to the power couple. One woman on X wrote this:
My aunt is one of his most devoted cultists- I mean, uh, congregation. She makes awful money (3rd grade teacher, poor rural school) but like clockwork a good 1/2 – 2/3 of it sails into his pocket yearly. Definitely done her a world of good – she’s living in a studio now!
I’m sure Joel Osteen would say that is God’s will… for that woman to live in a studio, instead of in a humongous mansion. Osteen says it’s “God’s will” for people to live in prosperity instead of poverty. But it doesn’t sound like this woman has been rewarded for her generosity. What should she do to get on God’s good side, so she can live like Joel does? Will it take a miracle?
Then I noticed Ex’s response, which really made me puzzle. She wrote this:
That is so very sad.
Indeed it is. I felt the same way when I found out how much money Bill sent to Ex for years… and how much money she spent on stupid, worthless crap when they were married, completely exploiting a good man and sucking him dry. Some of the worst crap she spent money on was the LDS religion… which demanded thousands of dollars in tithing that did nothing but make them poorer and entrench Bill’s daughters in a cult. Granted, I was later grateful to the LDS church for giving younger daughter an escape. But I still think it does a lot of damage to people who don’t fit the mold. There’s a lot of evidence to support that opinion, too. All you need to do right now is to read up on Ruby Franke.
In any case, for all of Bill’s efforts, Ex alienated his daughters from him and abused him on all levels. She told vicious lies about him, and about me, and harassed his younger daughter for reconnecting with her REAL father (who is NOT her third husband). But there she is, all solemn and sad for a woman who tweets about how her aunt has been taken in by a manipulative religious “leader”. Hell, at least Osteen says and writes things that make people feel positive. Ex doesn’t even do that. She constantly criticizes the people who are closest to her, even as she claims to love them.
She’s not wrong to comment that it’s sad, though. It is always sad when people are taken in by snake oil salesmen, and they are everywhere, unfortunately. She communicates things that sound good, but the reality is, she doesn’t practice what she preaches. She has more heart for celebrities than her own family. See what she has to say about her favorite actor, who went on vacation and had his location leaked to the press…
I am glad you posted this, but we really should take it a step further. Sam’s life is utterly on display, privacy lost, but worse, he is CONSTANTLY objectified. He is apparently a stellar human being, but, objectification sullies accomplishments. He deserves more respect.
Wow… really? How many times have I seen Ex tweeting celebrities asking for money or connections? I have the proof in the form of screenshots. And my husband has literal scars that show the level of “respect” Ex had for him… /sarcasm.
I know it’s pointless to write about this stuff… but I really can only shake my head when I see Ex acting like a hypocrite. She says and writes things that sound good, but the reality is, she’s just another snake oil salesperson… and another hypocrite. And, to quote her, all I can say is…
A few days ago, I started reading Giancarlo Granda’s book, Off the Deep End: Jerry and Becki Falwell and the Collapse of an Evangelical Dynasty. For those who don’t know, Giancarlo Granda was the infamous “pool boy” who had a rather kinky affair with Becki Falwell, while Jerry Falwell, Jr. sat by and watched. The affair, which began in 2012, was in the news during the height of the pandemic. People were buzzing about how this powerful couple, supposedly evangelical Christians leading a very famous Baptist university in Virginia, were drinking, partying, and having wild sex with a young guy from Miami.
I’m nowhere near finished reading the book now, but I don’t think it’ll take too long to get through it. It started off kind of slow, but then jumped into high gear. Just this morning over breakfast, I got a couple of chapters further into the sordid saga. I read aloud to Bill and we talked about Granda’s story, as well as his excuses.
As I read about how the Falwells lured the handsome 20 year old man (circa 2012) into their world, I feel a strange mixture of disgust, shock, amazement, and basic empathy for Granda. He admits early on that he was fascinated with business and the idea of making a lot of money. He was a good looking, ambitious, and somewhat naive guy, looking to break in with the high rollers of Miami, and he took steps to make that idea come to fruition. That’s why he was working as a “pool boy” at the Fontainebleau, a luxury hotel in Miami, where rich and famous people hang out to relax and make business deals.
Granda didn’t know much at all about the Falwells when he was approached by Becki, an attractive brunette with brown eyes who was, at that time, in her late 40s. He just knew that anyone staying at the Fontainebleau had lots of money… enough to rent a daybed for $150, run up four or five figure restaurant and bar tabs and tip accordingly. Becki was fit and attractive, and Granda was a young man in his sexual prime. So when she invited him to meet her at a Days Inn, he agreed– even though she added that her husband wanted to watch them together.
I suppose he figured this was a one in a lifetime opportunity, one of life’s little adventures that can only come up for the young and daring. Maybe it would lead to a lucrative business deal. Like a lot of young folks who work in hospitality, Granda was focused on making money and connections. I’m sure the prospect of having sex with an older woman also appealed to him, even if Granda wasn’t too keen on the idea of her 50 year old husband watching them and jerking off in the shadows.
According to Granda, Becki quickly attached herself to him… and in a weird way, so did her husband. The two did all they could to stroke Granda’s ego, to get him to continue having the affair. Later, they invited Granda into their business dealings, and were it not for the inevitable implosion of the relationship, he might be a high ranking executive at Liberty University today. But there was a big scandal, which caused Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his wife to fall very publicly from grace.
As I was reading Granda’s book this morning, I remembered the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which happened in the late 1990s. Lewinsky, for those who don’t know, was an ambitious White House intern from California. She wasn’t exactly an innocent, blushing virgin when she encountered then President Bill Clinton. In 2ooo, Lewinsky was a guest on Larry King Live, and she admitted that when she was barely out of high school, she had an affair with a 40 year old married man. So, although she was a very young woman when she served as an unpaid White House intern in the 1990s, Monica had some experience. And she knew damned well Bill Clinton was, and still is, a married man when she engaged in oral sex with him in the Oval Office.
Still… I will concede that it was probably difficult for her to consider not giving Clinton what he wanted. It’s not like she didn’t have prior experience. She had big dreams and lofty goals, and Clinton was the President of the United States! I’m sure, in her mind, blowing the Commander in Chief might lead to good things for her future. Talk about landing a big fish! In that way, she and Giancarlo had something in common, I guess.
Of course, Monica in the wake of her scandal with Bill Clinton, wound up being the butt of jokes for years. People had no respect for her, and she was relentlessly slut shamed and lambasted for her inappropriate relations with Bill Clinton. By contrast, I don’t remember a lot of people being quite as harsh regarding the Clintons.
Sure, many Republicans were deriding Bill Clinton for being immoral and unfaithful. Curiously, a lot of those same people have few issues with Donald Trump’s disgusting philandering behaviors. But, I didn’t hear a lot of people hurling shame at Clinton for accepting sexual favors from a woman young enough to be his daughter. That attitude certainly didn’t come from people who voted for him. I remember a lot of them saying that Clinton’s sex life was irrelevant, as they ridiculed Lewinsky for sullying their hero’s reputation.
Eventually the whole Clinton/Lewinsky sex scandal thing… blew over (see what I did there?). We don’t talk that much about Monica Lewinsky now. She’s 50 years old and living in California. But Giancarlo Granda brought up her name in his book, and I couldn’t help but kind of nod… as I’d thought of her, too, as he related his story about how he got trapped in an extremely inappropriate sexual relationship with the wife of the now former president of a huge evangelical university in my home state of Virginia.
But then I thought about the situation some more. I determined that Granda’s situation with the Falwells actually wasn’t that much like Lewinsky’s with the Clintons. First of all, Granda didn’t really know much about the Falwells when he ran into them at his job in Miami. Monica Lewinsky, by contrast, certainly knew who Bill Clinton was. He was the very obviously married President of the United States.
While the Falwells are also married, Becki invited Granda to engage in sexual acts with her with her husband’s cooperation and express encouragement. Indeed, Jerry Falwell, Jr. actually watched the two of them doing their business. Hillary, on the other hand, didn’t consent to Monica’s affair with Bill Clinton.
Secondly, the relationship Monica Lewinsky had with Bill Clinton was relatively short lived. There were nine encounters between November 1995 and March 1997, none of which involved sexual intercourse. Granda writes that he never had intercourse with Becki Falwell, but there was everything else, and the relationship didn’t end when the sex part was over. Granda was involved in the Falwell’s business dealings, and continued an emotional relationship with them.
And finally… while I don’t condone rich, powerful people taking advantage of others who are much younger and ambitious, there is a difference between how men and women are viewed in these situations. I know a lot of people are trying to work toward gender equality in the United States, but the truth is, there’s still a powerful force trying to keep women down. A woman who has an affair with a married man is still often considered a homewrecking whore. A man who has an affair with a “cougar” is often considered a lucky guy. And a lot of people, looking at what Granda got out of the deal, would say that he was lucky. This was a young, handsome, healthy, ambitious man who was looking for a way into the rich and fabulous lifestyle. He found a way through the Falwells… and all he had to do was stroke Becki Falwell’s ego and keep her entertained.
Lest anyone misunderstand me– I’m not saying I think Granda is lucky, because I don’t. I’m saying other people– those who are a lot more cynical than I am– would say he was. I do think the Falwells took advantage of Granda and even victimized him on some level, but in fairness to the Falwells, Granda was an adult at age 20. He knew Becki Falwell was a guest at the hotel where he was working. He knew she was married. Like a lot of people, he let his desire for money, power, and sexual gratification override his common sense. Yes, he was young and naive, and the Falwells were rich and powerful, but he had to know that on some level, what he was doing was wrong, and could potentially to lead to disaster. The Falwells actually brought Granda into their family and treated him like a son– which is, in its own way, especially gross. If he was like a son to them, that would make Becki like his “mom”. Eew.
Monica Lewinsky certainly wasn’t innocent in her situation, either. But she got a hell of a lot more flak for what she did than Granda ever could. The only reason people are talking about Granda today is because he wrote a bombshell book. It’s not even a super popular book, from what I can tell. People were making trashy Monica Lewinsky jokes years after her affair with the former POTUS was revealed. When she resurfaced a few years ago to give a TED Talk, the jokes and criticisms began anew. While her notoriety helped her in some ways, it also significantly hindered her, particularly when she wanted to be hired for certain jobs in communications and marketing.
I don’t know what leads some people to have sexual relationships with people much older than they are. Monica was 18 years old when she got involved with the 40 year old man. What did they have in common? My guess is that she was looking for someone mature who could provide emotional and financial security of some kind. While it was legal for her to be with a man that age, my guess is that the guy manipulated her. Later, when she had a chance to do sexual favors for Clinton, it probably didn’t seem that wrong or inappropriate to her. Again, it wasn’t like she didn’t have any prior experience.
Granda writes that he was manipulated, groomed, and victimized, too. But he freely admits that his motivation was making money and getting an inroad into the high level real estate business world. In both cases, I think the young people involved were left with significant regrets. Granda claims he was “used”, but I would submit that he used the Falwells, too. He saw them as a ticket to financial success in the business world, even though they were a married couple and in charge of a huge Christian university.
I hope to be reviewing Granda’s book soon. I just wanted to write about this theme while it was fresh in my head. Granda does bring up Lewinsky and compares his situation to hers. There are some similarities, but I think the lingering effects of Monica’s case were much more serious in the long run. She’s a woman who got involved with one of the most recognizable and respected people on the planet. Clinton never made her part of his family, or brought her into the family business. When it was over between them, she was branded a homewrecker, while Clinton’s reputation wasn’t damaged that much at all. In fact, check out this sympathetic song…
Granda is a man who didn’t even really know much about the Falwells before he fell into their trap. My guess is that even before this scandal happened, Jerry Falwell, Jr. had far fewer admirers than either Bill or Hillary Clinton still have. And some of us– myself included– had never even heard of Becki Falwell before this situation came to light. But this story is just a reminder that a lot of people in high places are probably folks you wouldn’t actually want to know… because so many of them got to where they are by doing yucky, hypocritical, immoral things.
The Bible even tells us this…
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
I’m not a particularly religious person myself, and clearly neither are the Falwells. But they sure had no problem using the God fearing to fly the Liberty University corporate jet to get to the Fontainebleau, where they met “poor”, “hapless” Giancarlo, looking for a ticket to get to where they were. It makes me glad I decided to go to a “godless” public university, where I had the complete freedom to do as I chose, and my tuition dollars didn’t go toward satisfying the former university president’s exotic and bizarre sexual desires. Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s conduct sure doesn’t seem like very Christlike behavior to me.
I’ve been reading some rather disturbing headlines this week… Lots of people are claiming to be Christians, but they aren’t acting in a very Christ-like manner. I’ve written about this phenomenon a few times… and I always feel a little strange when I do so, because I’m not a particularly religious person myself.
I guess it just perplexes me when I see so-called Christians in a fear fueled war on people, simply because they’re different in some way. I don’t understand issues surrounding gender identity. I truly don’t. I am a woman, and I have always identified as such. I feel fortunate that I’m so comfortable in my own skin. I can’t really sympathize with someone who identifies as transgender, but I can try to empathize. It must be a very complicated problem to have, especially in today’s very polarized world.
There is a difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is an expression of caring that is often more about pity, while empathy is more about compassion and understanding. I can’t know how it feels to be transgender, but I can try to have compassion for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable with their “assigned sex” and is more at ease presenting in another way.
Travis Tritt is a conservative “artist” who says he’s boycotting Anheuser-Busch products at his shows because Anheuser-Busch used transgender activity Dylan Mulvaney in an ad campaign. He thinks that his boycott will make a difference. I respect Travis’s talent, but I think his efforts are misguided and polarizing, and while I don’t know what his beliefs are, I’d say that if he claims to be a Christian, he’s not acting in a very Christ-like fashion. Ditto to Kid Rock, who is similarly banning certain beers from his concerts. What a couple of tools.
This reminds me of how, back in 2003, supposed “freedom loving” conservatives boycotted The Dixie Chicks (as was their name at the time) because they publicly announced their disdain for former President George W. Bush. The Dixie Chicks responded by changing their name and their style of music. Honestly, fuck these conservative Christian rightwing zealots! They are enormous hypocrites! If you love freedom, and you consider yourself a Christian, trying to silence people and ruin their livelihoods isn’t in keeping with those values.
I’m tempted to go buy some Bud Light, just because I’m disgusted by so-called Christians and far right conservatives being hateful and bigoted. It’s all because they’re terrified of evolution and change, and the idea that not everything is black or white. And honestly, what the hell difference does it make who’s modeling for Anheuser-Busch?
Why hate on someone simply because of their gender identity? Why boycott a product simply because a transgender model is promoting it? If you’re secure with yourself and your own identity, I don’t see why the model is any threat to you? I really don’t get it.
Frankly, I’m just happy to see a live person is being employed as the model instead of some artificial intelligence generated thing. It’s getting more and more difficult to tell what talent is real, and what’s not anymore.
Anyway, since it’s Good Friday, and we’re about to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, I think I’ll just ponder on this crazy bullshit for another day. This morning, I feel like recording something kind of moody and jazzy, to match the rainy weather. The song “Angel Eyes” has little to do with this post. I just feel like recording it. Why does YouTube always pick me mid high note for the stills? I look like I’m having an orgasm.
Hope you all enjoy your Friday. I’m going back to bed so I can do some more reading.
Welcome to Sunday, y’all. I’m going to try to keep today’s post short, simple, and non-controversial. Yesterday’s post was a rant, because I was really angry and emotional for a lot of reasons. I’m less so today, because when it comes down to it, some people just aren’t worth the energy. Or, at least to me they aren’t. Maybe they are worth the energy to others. I’m sure plenty of people wish I’d drop dead. Other people think I’m incredible. It’s kind of like art, right? What one person likes, another person hates. There’s no accounting for taste.
Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos about so-called constitutional “auditors”. These are people who get involved in police interactions as a means of testing their knowledge of the laws and finding out if they respect rights outlined in the Constitution. I see there are Brits who also do these videos.
Personally, I don’t think I’d want to do that kind of stuff, even for YouTube, because I don’t enjoy unnecessary or unpleasant confrontations with people. However, I do think the videos are interesting and informative. They’re also very popular, as I’ve noticed a lot of people are making them. I’m sure the auditing videos make it harder to be a cop, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. Some police officers do get off on power trips and need to be brought back down to Earth.
Today’s post isn’t about those videos. Rather, I would like to address an attitude that I saw promoted by an officer in Richmond, Virginia. An auditor confronted him and said he was an “independent journalist”. And the cop basically made some snarky, dismissive comment about how the journalist was just going to put something up on YouTube.
As a blogger and occasional music creator, I’ve often run into the dismissive attitude demonstrated by the cop. A lot of people don’t think what I do is “legitimate”.
Former tenant, who was stalking my blogs for four plus years before she departed this life on her own terms, once made a very disrespectful private comment to me about what I do. In retrospect, it was not surprising to me that she had secretly harbored a disdainful opinion of me, as she was monitoring my activities and, apparently, reporting my activities to our former landlady, as she also insisted on her privacy being respected. I found her discounting attitude disappointing, hypocritical, short-sighted, and depressingly typical.
Former tenant claimed that she didn’t see any value in what I do, yet she was apparently watching me obsessively. Obviously, there was some value in my activities, if only that she and ex landlady and ex landlady’s daughter could sit around, gossip, and laugh about it, right? At the very least, they got intel from it… or insight… or maybe even something to talk or laugh about that might have even made them feel better about themselves.
Former tenant had once claimed that she liked reading about our adventures and seeing photos, especially of the old neighborhood she and her husband had lived in before they abruptly moved mid tour. If that’s the truth, then there was value in my blog posts about my activities. If it wasn’t the truth, I guess she was lying to me, as she was sanctimoniously lecturing me about my occasionally “problematic” content. Or… she wasn’t lying, but just wanted to be mean to me because she thought it was her place to define what constitutes creative pursuits. She didn’t see the value in what I was doing, and didn’t have the integrity to just go away and leave me alone. It didn’t occur to her that maybe other people valued my “work”, and they get a vote, too.
This morning, I noticed that Janis Ian was on a tear about the author, Flannery O’Connor. She had recently used one of O’Connor’s quotes as her “quote of the day”. People in the comment section were up in arms about it, because Flannery O’Connor had some objectionable personal beliefs that many modern audiences would find distasteful or just plain wrong.
Janis Ian claims that she doesn’t support censorship, and she writes that we should separate artists’ personal lives with their works. This is what she posted on her Facebook page:
Re the discussion about Flannery O’Connor’s work, a note of clarification – I wouldn’t have intervened if the discussion had centered around her work. However, it quickly became involved in personalities (mostly hers), her letters, her journals. Those were not her work. Her work lies in the short stories and novels she left us.
As an artist, I will always stress that there is a marked difference between the life of an artist, and an artist’s work. Discounting or banning an artist, or refusing to engage with that artist’s work, because you disagree with their personal life, politics, or behavior, is something I find absurd.
Like every artist I know, I hope to live up to the best of my work – and know I never will. What do I want my art, and that of artists I admire, to do when someone experiences it? I want them to feel elevated. I want them to have cause to think, and reflect, and be moved, for good and for bad. Mostly, I want to make them FEEL something.
I believe most artists think this way, though it might not be conscious.
I won’t change the words of another artist to suit the times, or peoples’ perception of what is hurtful to them. I am resolutely against changing a single word or image or movement in any piece of art; instead, I expect people to take it in context, look at it historically, be educated by parents, teachers, and themselves (indeed, educating yourself is an obligation, IMHO, because most people don’t have the luxury of parents, teachers, society teaching them all they need to know).
If you are on this page, keep in mind that civility is expected. Snarky comments are removed and, after a certain point, that profile is blocked. Rudeness is not tolerated and yes, I define what is rude. And co-opting a quote to discuss an author’s personal beliefs because you disagree with them is not okay.
The QOTD (Quote of the Day) is for discussion. Not whether the author or their views are likeable.
A good and absorbing (though long) read for anyone interested in O’Connor and her work.
Additionally, as someone pointed out, there is a huge difference between “racism” and “prejudice”. For what it’s worth.
I have written about Janis Ian a few times on this blog. I want to make it clear that I highly respect her as an artist. She’s written and sung some beautiful songs. I think she’s smart and funny, and she deserves all of the accolades she gets. However, I also think that sometimes, she’s quite hypocritical. She writes in the above post that she doesn’t support changing artistic works to suit the tastes of modern audiences. But then, she also lays down very strict rules about what people can post as a response.
Janis Ian writes that she doesn’t see Flannery O’Connor’s letters or journals as artistic works. However, there are many artists and academics who would beg to disagree with her. Personally, I disagree, because I know there’s an element of creativity in blogging. There’s also creativity involved in writing letters. Maybe it’s not the same significance as writing a novel or composing music, but it’s still a work of art, in a sense.
I’m very proud of some of my blog posts. I wrote one a couple of years ago that I reread this morning. It was titled “The Red Scare”. It started off being about how, back in 1981, people were terrified of a Soviet invasion. By the end, I had segued into a discussion of puberty, with a dash of musical theater. It sounds like the parts wouldn’t connect, and yet they did. I thought it was a really creative and interesting post, although it’s definitely not one of my most popular. My most popular posts tend to be about true crime, which I find a lot less creatively challenging.
I’m sure someone like Janis Ian wouldn’t find what I do very significant, artistic, or creative. Hell, the troll on RfM yesterday took a big dump on my post about Arran. And yet, that incident inspired yesterday’s blog post. At this point, it has just one “like” and five hits, and yet I’m rather proud of it. I like the title, and letting my feelings out in a rant can be very liberating, and even fun.
I was legitimately angry and upset when I wrote that post, and yet I don’t regret writing it. Maybe someone out there in Internetland can relate to it. Maybe it would even change someone’s life. I will never know. A few people did tell me that my video tribute for Arran made them cry. That accounts for something, doesn’t it? Isn’t the point of putting stuff out there to make someone think, or feel something, or maybe even change in some way? Isn’t that what art on all levels is about?
A person named Laurel left a comment for Janis that I found very interesting:
The Tennessee Williams Estate agrees with you. When we staged 2 of his one act plays, we asked about updating the word he used to refer to black people, and were told no, and that if any actor chose to replace that term with a more modern one, the production would be fined for any instance of a changed word. They felt the term was appropriate in the time the play was written, and carefully chosen for the overall “lyrical” flow of the various passages. And I personally did not disagree with their choice or their reasoning.
Art is not necessarily meant to comfort; it is more often meant to disrupt thought patterns, open minds, and sometimes even disturb for effect. Creators often edit numerous times to find the perfect word to fit THEIR visions. If it disturbs you, well maybe that was the intent.
And yes, an artist and that artist’s art are 2 very different things. Most artists are imperfect. Their art may reflect that.
Apparently, Laurel then left a couple of follow up comments that Janis didn’t like. She wrote this:
“tone it down. I’m hiding both your responses.”
So… Janis Ian doesn’t see all writing as “artistic” or creative. But then another commenter wrote this, and Janis heartily approved:
“there is a huge difference between “racism” and “prejudice”. 50+ years ago in Dallas a friend of Mexican descent taught me the difference between: bigotry (racism), prejudice and discrimination. He spoke from experience. I’ve shared his wisdom many times since then. It has helped me put a lot of things in perspective. Mainly: we all have prejudices (in favor and against many things); we can legislate against discrimination (an action) but unfortunately not bigotry (a belief).
Janis wrote: “so stealing…”
The commenter misunderstood Janis and wrote, “sorry I missed the mark there. Your last comment in your post took me off on a nostalgia tour. Thanks for the memory – I’ll try to do better in the future.”
Janis clarified, “I’m not sure what you’re referring to? I’m stealing what you posted, to use later!”
And the commenter wrote, “lol. I get confused so easily any more. Feel free to “steal”.
From that exchange, I take that sometimes Facebook comments can be “works of art”. Or, at least they can be so good that Janis Ian wants to “steal” them to use later. But someone else writes something that she doesn’t like, or uses a “tone” that she alone finds objectionable, and then it has no value and “censorship” is okay.
The troll who left me the mean spirited comment on RfM yesterday really hurt my feelings and, I’m sure, meant to make me feel terrible. Or, at the very least, they didn’t care about my feelings, even though it was clear that I was mourning a huge loss and expressing myself on a “recovery site”. Make no mistake about it. I still think that person is a massive fuckwad and I’d happily fantasize about rendering them sterile with a well placed drop kick to the gonads.
But, at the same time, that person’s mean comments provided fuel for yesterday’s post… which some people may value on some level, even if it’s just to laugh at me for making the effort to write it. Also, it’s not lost on me that some people might have agreed with that person’s very mean comments. So maybe I shouldn’t have reported them. In fact, I could have probably turned that person’s post into a plea for sympathy and gotten even more views on Arran’s video… if that was my ultimate goal. It wasn’t my goal, by the way. I don’t share things just to get likes or views.
When it comes to published works, I agree with Janis Ian that it’s wrong to “edit”. In fact, I don’t like cancel culture at all. I think people should have the right to decide for themselves what is, or what is not objectionable to them and vote with their wallets. I also think that people should have the right to make their own rules in their own houses, so to speak. At the same time, there does seem to be a level of hypocrisy in the idea that some “offensive” writing is okay, and some isn’t. And some things are “art”, and some things aren’t.
So far as some people’s ideas of what is, and what is not “offensive”, is somehow better than other people’s ideas are… well I think that’s how we end up with extremist loudmouth assholes like Donald Trump in the White House. People don’t like to be told what they can or can’t say, think, or believe. They will vote for those whom they think will protect their right to be an asshole.
I do kind of like how Janis handled this person, though…
Meh… well, I guess I’m glad that most people don’t value what I do. I don’t think I’d want people to “expect more from me”, just because I made a living creating things. Everybody’s human, and everybody’s shit stinks. Whether it’s former tenant being rude and dismissive about my creative pursuits, while also obsessively stalking me… or Janis Ian telling people not to judge artists by their personal lives or support censoring them, as she censors and steals people’s posts… or commenters feeling that their decision not to buy things made in China as they also pay taxes to governments that have policies that harm people… Or a cop thinking an “independent journalist” isn’t a “real” journalist, and there’s no value in what they do… Some people would beg to disagree, right?
And some people think that in order to be “legitimate” as an artist, one must be formally employed by someone else. Some of those independent journalists on YouTube are actually making enough money to live on, though.
People are always going to be offensive and inappropriate on some level. Sometimes, I’ll admit I get upset about stuff, but then it leads to a good rant that might make people think or feel… or even just laugh. I think as long as people learn and grow from their experiences, that should be our focus. I think we should all keep creating, whether or not someone else thinks it’s a valid pursuit, or the creator is a “decent person” whose views should be promoted.
But isn’t it nice that we can still disagree? For now, anyway. And isn’t it nice when people are doing something constructive with their time? It reminds me of the trash scavengers/dumpster divers in Texas who raided people’s trash for metal they could turn in for money. To them, that was a job that actually helped them keep the lights on, even if some of us didn’t appreciate them rifling through trash we were throwing out, just so they could make a living off our discards. Some people think certain art is “trash”. Other people think that same art is “brilliant”.
And no matter what you might think of what I do, I still think of myself as a writer and a singer. You gotta start somewhere, right? Lots of people like me didn’t become “legitimate” until they were already dead. Think about it. 😉
ETA: So much for keeping this post short and non-controversial. Oh well.
Fair warning… this is a highly inappropriate post. Some people who read this will think I’m “crazy”. I don’t really care. I have to write about this stuff, or else I’ll drive Bill nuts. Feel free to keep scrolling. I would, if I were you. 😉
As I type today’s blog post, a brilliant song by Lyle Lovett is playing. It comes from his 1994 album, I Love Everybody. I have loved Lyle’s music for a long time now, having discovered him in Armenia. It was Mormons who introduced me to his brilliance. In my Peace Corps group, there was a very cool Latter-day Saint couple. They lived in Yerevan with me; she taught English, and he worked at the airport, as he had worked for Boeing before he was a Volunteer.
One time, they had a potluck lunch, and I was invited. As always, I was tuned into the music more than the conversation. A song called “Since The Last Time”, which was from 1992’s Joshua Judges Ruth, was playing. I immediately loved it, and asked who was singing. They said, “Lyle Lovett.” At that time, I wasn’t familiar with Lyle Lovett, but I vowed that I would further explore his genius when I had the chance.
When I got back to the United States in 1997, I started buying Lyle’s music. I had already bought most of the albums he’d released before I finally discovered Joshua Judges Ruth. Before that happened, I bought I Love Everybody. On that album is the great song, “Creeps Like Me”. Check out Lovett’s witty lyrics…
I wear grandmother’s ring On my finger On my finger She had a tooth of gold And just before she died She said son You can have my tooth But do I Really have to go
Look around And you will see This world is full of creeps like me You look surprised You shouldn’t be This world is full of creeps like me
And I keep my uncle Leon In my closet In my closet There don’t nobody know Just me and uncle Leon And my closet And they wonder Where’d that old man go
Look around and you will see This world is full of creeps like me You look surprised You shouldn’t be This world is full of creeps like me
And I knew this pretty girl once She was eighteen Maybe What’s a year or two And one day when she asked me If I loved her I said baby What’s it worth to you
But look around And you will see This world is full of creeps like me You look surprised You shouldn’t be This world is full of creeps like me
And I wear grandmother’s ring On my finger On my finger She had a tooth of gold She had a tooth of gold She had a tooth of gold
I admire Lyle Lovett for so many reasons. He’s a great musician, of course. I also like him because he’s sharp, funny, and observant. Look at how he says so much with just a few words. In “Creeps Like Me”, he’s describing sociopathic jerks who exploit other people for their own purposes. These words are set to a catchy melody played on guitar… Maybe I’ll have to learn it.
Bill and I have had exposure to a whole lot of “creeps”, both as single people, and as a married couple. The biggest creep, in my opinion, is his ex wife. She probably isn’t the biggest creep in terms of what she’s done to humanity as a whole. But, her delusional, mean-spirited, spiteful behavior has affected us the most in a personal sense. She doesn’t seem to see what a creep she is, either. Or she won’t admit to it. Today’s Twitter extravaganza offers ample evidence.
I’ve been reading Prince Harry’s book, Spare. I didn’t originally plan to read the book, but I changed my mind when I heard Anderson Cooper’s comments about it. So far, I’m glad I’m reading it, because it’s truly been enjoyable. The ghost writer, J. R. Moehringer, is very talented and has done a great job channeling Harry’s voice. Yes, there are some errors in the manuscript. Like, for instance, he writes of Harry getting an Xbox as a birthday gift from his mother after she died in 1997. The Xbox didn’t come out until 2001 in the United States, and 2002 abroad. I believe Diana bought Harry a PlayStation. I seem to remember that was even reported in the press at the time.
Ex is a big fan of the British Royal Family. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as she keeps insisting that she’s descended from a famous Highland Scottish family (bullshit). Even before she claimed to be the descendent of Scottish lairds, Ex reportedly worshiped Diana, Princess of Wales. Bill tells me Ex was crushed when Diana died on August 31, 1997. I think Ex aspires to be extraordinary, like Diana was. Alas, as Lyle’s song goes, she’s just an ordinary creep. There are lots of creeps like her in the world. She seems blind to the fact that she’s a creep, too.
Today, on Ex’s very public Twitter account, there’s a veritable cornucopia of Ex’s hypocritical thoughts on the current issues caused by Prince Harry’s bombshell book. It started a couple of hours ago, when someone shared a 2019 era photo of Queen Elizabeth II with William and Kate on their way to church.
The above post isn’t so outrageous, although Ex is, herself, a master at spreading half truths and outright lies. A lot of people do miss Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, though. But then Ex slips headlong into incredible hypocrisy and delusion…
Ex writes, “Blackmail is not the way to revive familial ties that have been strained to the breaking point.” And yet, she’s a big fan of blackmail, manipulation, lies, and threats in her personal relationships. She has three children who were FORCED to “divorce” their bio dads after her marriages to them broke up. She made them change their last names. Ex may have even coerced Bill’s daughters into being legally adopted by her shithead third husband. Not once did she try to work things out with Bill so that he could stay in his daughters’ lives when they were growing up. She just took his money, lied to him, and exposed them to abuse! Then she got his daughters to disown him and didn’t even have the decency to tell him. To this day, we don’t even know if Bill is still legally their father!
Where did Ex get all of this brilliant insight about interpersonal relationships? And why doesn’t she practice what she preaches? I just can’t even… I shake my head at this, even though I’ve seen a lot of shit from her over the years that makes me cringe. This woman is not living in reality.
The extravaganza continues, as Ex ponders further…
I haven’t made it a secret that I don’t like Meghan much myself. I see a lot of Ex in her. She seems manipulative to me, and I’m troubled by how many people in her family are estranged. Ex is a LOT like Meghan. Yet, here she is on Twitter, denouncing her soul sister. Ex tells lies with astonishing skill, and she’s constantly on the grift. In spite of what she posts publicly, her children were raised in extreme dysfunction. But if you were to go on what she’s posting on Twitter, you’d think she was a goddamned saint! And not a Latter-day Saint, either… although that’s the church she coerced her family into joining, until the church members were “too helpful” to her children.
Next, she offers an analysis on whether or not the Royals want Harry “back”… and “wisdom” about what royal life entails. Like she fucking knows from personal experience… 😀
I almost wonder if Ex’s comments are more about her own situation. I know a couple of her children had “flown the coop”. She’s been upset because they are speaking out about the way she treated them. She’s even enlisted her indoctrinated children to try to bring them back to the fold. Fortunately, they have their own children they wish to protect and are wise to the manipulative bullshit. I know Ex would love to have them “back”, in spite of their “troublemaking”. I think it’s too late, though. They’ve escaped the FOG. Once a person does that, there’s usually no going back.
Then she gets off the British Royal Family and answers the random tweet of someone who wants to know something deep…
My husband still bears physical and emotional scars from his time with this woman. It took years for us to recover from the financial disasters wrought from his time with her. I don’t have children of my own, mainly because she’s a selfish, greedy, hateful bitch with no sense of responsibility. She has incredible gall to be trying to present herself as some kind of selfless mensch. It’s truly flabbergasting to me. But, again, it’s not like I haven’t seen it before. The world is full of creeps like her.
And finally, a tweet about her fantasy man… and a comment about what she says she wants in a person, but is unwilling to give of herself.
I know that Ex is far from the only person who is like this. Last night, I talked to another person who is blinded by her own narcissistic proclivities. She sees herself as an empath! She’s definitely NOT an empath, although I don’t think she’s nearly as toxic as Ex is. But then, I make a point of not engaging with her very much anymore, because of all of the incidents that occurred in the past. I’ve had to walk on eggshells around her a lot. One of the reasons I’ve been in Germany for so long is because I don’t want to deal with these people anymore. It’s a plus to have an ocean separating us.
Still, it blows my mind just how out of touch with reality Ex is about herself. She says the right things… but when it comes down to it, she doesn’t put actions into her words. If she did, Bill would still have good relationships with his daughters and his ex stepson. She wouldn’t be trying to manipulate people in Bill’s family into giving her money and things. There would be a lot less lying and selfishness. And poor younger daughter wouldn’t have nightmares when she has to talk to her own mother!
Anyway, I hope to finish reading Spare very soon. I look forward to reviewing it.
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