celebrities, musings, narcissists, social media

Phylicia Rashad’s head on a platter…

Phylicia Rashad is in the news for supporting Bill Cosby on Twitter. When he was suddenly released from prison a few days ago, she tweeted “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”

That tweet led to a lot of backlash. Rashad, who was appointed the dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts in May 2021, is now being pressured to resign from her job. Her response, so far, was to delete the offending tweet, then issue this apology “This week, I tweeted a statement that caused so much hurt in so many people — both broadly and inside the Howard community… I offer my most sincere apology.” As far as I know, she’s still got a job at Howard University. Regarding Rashad’s comments, Howard University has stated that “Personal positions of University leadership do not reflect Howard University’s policies.”

We’ll see what comes of this.

Many people, obviously upset that Phylicia Rashad would dare to publicly support her old friend, Bill Cosby, feel like her support of Cosby should equate to losing her job. It’s as if all of the great things Phylicia Rashad has done over her long career as an entertainer should be erased, simply because of a tweet supporting the man who was her co-star on a groundbreaking 80s era sitcom, as well as a 90s era show. This is obviously a complicated issue for Rashad, although I am surprised that she didn’t realize people would be up in arms over any public support for Bill Cosby.

Phylicia Rashad six years ago. She supported him then, too. Are we really surprised that she still supports him today?

Phylicia Rashad shared the experience of making The Cosby Show and, later, Cosby, with Bill Cosby. They’re obviously still dear friends. I don’t like the idea of punishing people who exercise their right to speak freely. Phylicia Rashad, to my knowledge, hasn’t sexually assaulted anyone. Moreover, she’s known Bill Cosby for many years. They have a long history together and she’s always supported him, no matter what. I don’t know what’s in Ms. Rashad’s head… and I think her first tweet was very ill advised and considered. I don’t know how a person can be a celebrity in this day and age and not realize that publicly supporting a sex offender is going to lead to being canceled by the public. Still, while I would have expected her to be savvier about voicing unpopular public opinions and backlash, I think her comments about Cosby are disappointing, but not particularly surprising.

On the other hand, Phylicia Rashad is human, and sometimes humans get carried away and do things that are ill-considered. In terms of her career, Rashad shouldn’t have tweeted. But as a friend to Cosby, obviously she felt moved to do so. Whether or not she should be friends with a convicted sex offender should be up to her. As much as some people think Bill Cosby should lose everything, the reality is, he won’t. There will always be people who will support him– family members and friends– and they aren’t going to be swayed by what the Internet thinks. There are few people in the world who are truly alone, especially people like Bill Cosby.

Phylicia’s sister, Debbie Allen, talks about Bill Cosby’s attitude toward pregnant Lisa Bonet.

I kind of get the confusion, though. At one time, Bill Cosby could do no wrong. People my age grew up on his brand of family friendly television. I watched Bill Cosby on TV every week when I was growing up, having been introduced to him on 70s era shows like Fat Albert and his classic comedy film, Bill Cosby: Himself. But it wasn’t just his work on television sitcoms that made him so powerful and influential. Cosby had books, films, albums, and commercials. He had dozens of honorary doctorates and other awards. He made speeches and championed causes. He sermonized about being an involved father. He was called “America’s Dad”, and that persona transcended race. People of all colors and creeds looked up to him as “America’s Dad”. That’s probably why it took so long for him to fall out of favor with the public. Maybe if he hadn’t been “America’s Dad”, he would have been prosecuted when he was much younger and would have done a lot less harm. We probably shouldn’t be so quick to make the charismatic among us into heroes because almost all of us have clay feet.

In those heady days of the 1980s, Cosby seemed charming, intelligent, and funny. I noticed that he incorporated a lot of the routines from his film into plots on The Cosby Show; but they were still humorous, especially when performed by talented actors. The Cosby Show was very well written, family oriented, and high quality entertainment. Phylicia Rashad was a huge part of the reason why that show was so relevant in my youth– from the time I was 12 until I was 20. The Cosby Show opened doors and broke down barriers. It’s heartbreaking to realize that the character, Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, is not the same man as Bill Cosby is, even though Cosby’s real life comedy routines inspired the show. So many of us who grew up with him on TV have had a hard time separating Cosby from his kind and wise alter ego, Heathcliff Huxtable. Of course, now that we know more about Cosby as a man, it makes sense that Cliff Huxtable was an OB/GYN.

Eddie Murphy got chastised by Bill Cosby for being too foul mouthed…

I never saw a single episode of Cosby’s next show with Rashad, entitled Cosby, as it aired at a time in my life when I was too busy for network TV. From 1996-2000, I was in the Peace Corps, working nights, or in graduate school. But Cosby lasted four years, and The Cosby Show was on for eight years, so that means Rashad worked with Cosby for twelve years. Incidentally, Bill Cosby also had another 90s era show called The Cosby Mysteries, and a 60s and 70s era show called The Bill Cosby Show… I think the fact that he’s had four series named after him is pretty telling about the massive size of his ego. And while he put a lot of Black actors on the map by giving them jobs, he also destroyed a lot of people– particularly the scores of women who were his victims. Meanwhile, he was hypocritically berating and chastising people like Eddie Murphy for using the f word, or Black people as a whole.

Bill Cosby talking about people crying when their sons are in orange suits… Wow.

I do believe the many women who have accused Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them. Yes, Cosby got out of prison, but that does not make him innocent of the crimes that put him there. He got out of prison on a technicality. He’s even admitted to drugging women he was pursuing for sex. That is criminal behavior, and it was right for him to be punished. I agree that Cosby didn’t spend enough time behind bars, even though I doubt he will re-offend, given his age and fall from grace. I wish that he had been prosecuted years ago, much like I wish Donald Trump could be held accountable for his disgusting sexual attacks on women. I don’t know what it is about men who are destined to be powerful. So many of them turn out to be incredibly predatory when it comes to sex, money, and political power. And that hunger for sex, money, and power is often married to a charismatic exterior that fools many people. For years, I thought Cosby was one of the good guys. I can see that a lot of people still believe Trump is a good guy, despite so much evidence and actual proof to the contrary.

The first account I read about Cosby’s sexual dalliances was Janice Dickinson’s. I read her book and was surprised when she wrote that Cosby had raped her. I mentioned it on Facebook, and several of my friends discounted her comments, mainly because of her “bitchy” persona. Several years later, all of these other women came forward with their claims. I gained new respect for Janice when I read her book.

That being said, personally, I don’t like the “cancel” aspect of our culture, which has come about thanks to social media. In fact, I think it’s chilling that a person can make a statement on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube that leads to Internet mobbing and financial ruin, particularly when the vast majority of people don’t have a personal stake in whatever has them in a tizzy. Phylicia Rashad actually knows Bill Cosby as a person, not as someone she’s seen on TV. Most of the people who are maligning Rashad’s character don’t know her or Cosby, nor are they even among his victims. Unless, of course, they feel victimized because they fell for Cosby’s charm in the 1970s and 80s. I wonder how many people have sent Phylicia Rashad death threats over her tweet. I would not be surprised if she’s gotten a few threats… and perhaps her family members have gotten them as well. For some reason, many people think it’s okay to get so angry over what someone dares to communicate that they literally call for the offender’s head on a platter. I think that’s taking things a bit too far.

Today is July 4th. It’s a day when Americans celebrate liberty from British rule. I grew up very close to where the Revolutionary War was won, so all my life, I’ve heard about how special and wonderful the United States is, particularly because we have so much freedom. But clearly we don’t have that much freedom. While a person can say whatever they want to say and, generally speaking, don’t have to worry about the government jailing them, there’s a very good chance that if it’s not what people want to hear, and they are “big” enough, they will experience cancel culture. And so many people get riled up over these things. They think a person should suffer for the rest of their lives over their thoughts, deeds, and comments. No matter what, there’s always going to be someone who thinks that lives should be ruined, or even ended, over a tweet. Then, after the next news story breaks, they forget all about that person they felt should have their head on a platter. Meanwhile, that person is still living with the aftereffects of being canceled.

I honestly don’t know if Phylicia Rashad is qualified to be a dean at Howard University. It seems to me that she might have been hired because of her fame, accomplishments, connections, and ability to influence donors. She doesn’t appear to have the usual educational background that university deans typically have. It may turn out that by publicly supporting a sex offender, she’s permanently disgraced herself and Howard University. It could be that because of the tweet, she won’t be able to do her job. If that’s the situation, then yes, maybe she should be fired or resign. But I don’t think she should be fired simply for an ill advised tweet. She has personal feelings about Bill Cosby based on actual in person experiences with him that the vast majority of other people don’t have. Her personal feelings about Cosby are not so cut and dried.

Look at Governor Ralph Northam. In the 1980s, he posed in blackface for a medical school yearbook photo. When that photo was unearthed a couple of years ago, many people called for his resignation. He resisted, and has gone on to do marvelous things in Virginia. Or, at least I think he’s done marvelous things to make Virginia more liberal, which suits me fine. I know a lot of my Republican friends can’t stand him. The point is, I’m glad he didn’t resign over social media backlash and cancel culture. And I don’t think Phylicia Rashad should be forced to resign, unless it becomes clear that she can’t do her job. Ultimately, that will be for Howard University to decide, not the general public. It should be up to the students Rashad serves and her co-workers and bosses, not random people on Facebook. No matter what, people should not be sending her hate mail or death threats. People who send hate mail and death threats must think that would be alright for others to do to them, if at some point, they do something that society deems unacceptable.

Anyway… experience has taught me that these things can and do blow over eventually. Five years ago, Josh Duggar was outed for being a sex pest. One would think the Duggars would have been finished in 2015 over that revelation. But no, it’s taken six years and accusations that Josh Duggar was viewing child pornography to finally get the Duggar family canceled. Like it or not, some people will still like Bill Cosby. They’ll ignore what he’s done. I figure, Phylicia Rashad has as much right as anyone to support her friend, Bill Cosby, even though it may turn out that her public support of Cosby will make it impossible for her to do her job as a university dean. But not being able to do her job should be why she gets fired… not what she tweets on social media. At this point, it’s not yet clear if she’s now incapable of doing her job. I, for one, think Rashad should have the chance to redeem herself.

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love, Memes, silliness

Being a “vulgar” woman…

A few days ago, my friend Alex shared with me a post he found on the God page. It was about people taking some guy on Twitter, named Eric, to task for posting this…

For some reason, Alex thought of me when he saw this…

Not that I think Alex is offended by vulgarity… it’s just that he thought I’d appreciate people slamming this Eric guy for being such a judgmental asswipe. And, I would imagine Alex also identifies me as a “vulgar woman”. It’s true, I like to cuss. It’s something I’m really good at, despite my parents’ efforts to quash it. My dad, in particular, didn’t like cursing. I rarely heard him say anything stronger than “hell” or “damn”, despite his almost 22 years as an Air Force officer. My dad flew on missions in Vietnam that very likely resulted in people’s deaths, but God forbid if I ever said the word “fuck” in front of him (and I did on more than one occasion). He wouldn’t hesitate to knock me upside the head for that.

I remember often getting in trouble for having a potty mouth when I was growing up. I also remember being hired to work at a Presbyterian church camp and actually worrying about my vulgarity getting me into trouble. Little did I know that my boss was going to be a hilarious Scotsman who also cusses… even though he eventually became a minister and performed my wedding. Of course, now he’s left the ministry and converted to Catholicism.

Bill doesn’t cuss as much as I do, but he seems to enjoy my foul mouth. He likes it when I randomly burst into song, making up little ditties about dicks, vaginas, asses, and unusual sex positions. I always ask him what he sees in me whenever I fall down the rabbit hole of made up silly songs. He laughs and says he admires my ability to come up with weird shit on the fly. He appreciates my ability to let things fly… I think he kind of enjoys a vicarious satisfaction from it, because he’d like to be more that way himself, but is too buttoned up to let it all hang out. That’s probably also why he’s employed and I’m not. 😉

I’ll bet this guy is a barrel of laughs at parties.

Anyway, when Alex tagged me in that post, I laughed and typed “moi?” But I know why Alex thought of me. For some reason, a lot of my friends, especially the guys, have noticed that I’m kind of a vulgar woman. It used to bother me. Actually, it used to hurt my feelings when some dude would get disgusted and ask me if I “kiss my mother with that mouth.” Actually, yes, I have kissed her with “that mouth”. Why do people get so hung up on curse words? They’re only words! Another guy said I have a “potty mouth”. I’m sure he wouldn’t want to kiss my potty mouth… but the funny thing is, I actually find open mouth kissing rather disgusting, anyway. I’d be fine with never having some guy’s tongue in my mouth ever again. Yuck! I’ve actually never kissed Bill like that in almost 19 years of marriage.

Truth.

Personally, I prefer raw language to raw brutality. I think it’s healthier to “use my words” than use my fists. But I will acknowledge that language can be hurtful… People can use words to abuse others. But a lot of times, it’s all in good fun.

I wonder why Eric is so offended by the word “vagina”? There’s nothing wrong with that word. It’s the name of a body part. What would he have gynecologists do? Especially if they’re female? He probably objects to women being doctors, though… It sounds like he’d prefer a trophy wife who stays silent, gazes adoringly at him, and has no spirit or spunk… except maybe the spunk he shoots in her mouth. Yep… I would not be surprised if he was that type of guy– the Josh Duggars of the world– who preach about family values and decency, then behind closed doors, abuse women and children and treat them like objects.

I was gratified by my friend Andrew’s comment. His response was,

Jenny – please don’t ever change. Those who need to change are the ones who mistake a vibrantly expressive personality for vulgarity or vice.

Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate that very much. The older I get, the happier I am when I find people who appreciate me just the way I am.

I have just checked out Eric’s Twitter account. It’s very interesting. He’s supposedly in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but it also says he’s in Kenya. And his email address is a Kenyan account. In that case, I guess I can understand the misogyny and judgment. Not all of his advice is bad, either. But then he resorts to calling women “sluts”. That’s a shame. Also, he doesn’t like women who get angry and “throw tantrums”. I can only shake my head at some of this stuff. And, I suppose I would tell Eric what I tell everyone who doesn’t like me… he can go fuck himself. He’d probably enjoy it more. I’ll just keep being a “vulgar woman” and shocking people with my “loose morals”. Actually, I’m a pretty moral person who is the very opposite of a so-called “slut”. I just cuss like a sailor. I also drink like one.

Somehow, I managed to find a really nice husband as well as quite a few good male friends who appreciate my vulgar language and potty humor. So Eric and his ilk wouldn’t like me. So Eric and his ilk prefer a quiet, obedient, sober woman. I prefer guys who like a woman who’s a little crazy– a little, mind you. I am crazy in the fun ways, not in the destructive ways. I probably drink too much beer and wine. In fact, I know I do. But at least I’m not a smoker or a slut… or a thot– whatever the fuck that is. Actually, I just looked it up. A thot is a woman who has many casual sexual relationships. That’s definitely not me. Apparently, it stands for “that ho over there.”

At least she’s not cooking wienies.

There’s all kinds of commentary about this phenomenon on the Internet. Quite a lot of people are offended by “feminism” and the idea that women might like to make their own decisions. And the idea that she might curse who use indecent finger gestures is abhorrent to these folks. Tragically, some women agree with the men who have a problem with mouthy women… and they end up married to guys like Josh Duggar, pregnant and facing many years alone. Today’s women really need to learn how to say “fuck you”. They need to learn to be strong for themselves and their own survival. In fact, I think that’s truer now than it’s ever been.

Nah… I think this is a lie we don’t believe anymore.
Okay, Boomer.

I know my dad preferred the women in his life to be more ladylike. I probably wouldn’t have turned out that way, even if I weren’t rebelling against his authoritarian parenting style. I’m just not a prissy type. I don’t think growing up fundie would have caused me to be that way, either. It would have been an uphill battle. I think the men in the independent Baptist circles would be revolted by me. But that’s not a bad thing. Who wants to wind up married to some dickhead in the Baptist church who acts like a reprobate? I look at Anna Duggar. She ain’t married to a prize. Below is a post that came from the Duggar Family News snark group. The top part was on Reddit… the bottom part appears to be satire.

If being “dainty” and ladylike scores me this lifestyle, you can count me out.

I, on the other hand, am not very ladylike, but I have a husband who adores me for who I am… he cooks for me, takes me on dates, and cherishes me. He listens to what I say… he listens to me sing and doesn’t mind my laugh… and he doesn’t try to break my spirit by criticizing me for being who I am. Some men like “vulgar women”. I’ve found that the BEST men appreciate women who are a little earthy and weird. I think a man who tries to squash a woman’s true self is one I’d like to avoid. I don’t think Eric would like me at all… but that’s okay. I don’t like him, either. And he really should go fuck himself. It would be more likely to be sex with someone he loves.

Sing it, Lyle.

At my age, I figure I’m never going to change into a lady with a clean vocabulary. If I did, it wouldn’t be me. I pride myself on being authentic, even if it offends some people. As Bill’s ex says, “I can’t help how they feel.” I do try not to be offensive. Sometimes, I fail. But I think if the worst thing someone can say about me is that I’m outspoken and vulgar, I’m doing okay. At least I don’t plot violent crimes against Bill when he sleeps, right? Ex did… despite her cleaner language and “churchy” visage. No thanks. It’s not for me. I’ll keep cussing and drinking wine until it doesn’t work for me anymore. As Sinead O’Connor says, “How About I Be Me, (and You Be You)”. Good advice. Words to live by. Sinead is wiser than people know.

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disasters, mental health, music, narcissists

Jenna Ryan in the Land of Delusion…

A song that was popular during my high school days. I think it kind of fits– replace “confusion” with “delusion”.

Remember Jenna Ryan? For a few weeks in January and February, she was in the news a lot, running her mouth about storming the Capitol on January 6th, the day thousands of unhinged and delusional Trump supporters tried to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results in Joe Biden’s favor. On that bitter, cloudy, bleak day, Ms. Ryan, dressed in a cutesy American flag scarf she said she’d bought at a kiosk, promoted herself as a real estate agent and bragged about her part in the whole failed “#StoptheSteal” campaign.

A news item about Jenna Ryan when the news was fresh.

I wrote a couple of times about Ms. Ryan when her story was new news. I have to admit, she’s a very compelling character. She definitely talks a good game, doesn’t she? If you watch the above clip, you can hear her trying to minimize her part in the rioting, even though there were photos and videos of her participating in the mayhem with gusto. From boarding a private jet and bragging about that to claiming that the day of the insurrection was “the best day of [her] life”, it’s clear that she’s in the thick of this mess. And since “her president” didn’t give her the pardon she requested, she is now facing several federal charges that, if she’s found guilty, could land her in prison.

Listen to her say that she thought this was just a “protest”, then see her on video saying she doesn’t care that someone got “shot in the face”.

She didn’t think she would be charged… and now she feels “very persecuted”. In case you missed it— there is a very real chance she could be going to prison. But just a few months after the insurrection, Ms. Ryan thinks she will not end up behind bars. Why? Apparently, because she’s a “pretty” white woman with blonde hair and nice teeth. When a Twitter user named Tyson Stuart commented on the fact that Ryan is in deep legal doo doo, she responded:

I think 50 year old Jenna might want to consider that she may soon need her roots touched up and her teeth capped. Jail is a very real possibility for her.

Twelve hours ago at this writing, Ryan shared an article from Politico with the headline “Many Capitol rioters unlikely to serve jail time”. She commented:

This could be true for a lot of people… but will it be true in HER case?

If I were Jenna Ryan, I would not be so bold as to state that I definitely wasn’t going to be going to jail. Especially when I’ve made a lot of false statements that were later proven to be false due to the “miracles” of video and screenshots. She was caught on video bragging about what she was doing, which was definitely a violation of federal law and can carry jail time.

I think, as a major cheerleader for the insurrection, Jenna Ryan probably deserves some jail time, although she’s not as guilty as the people who were actually violent and/or hurt or killed people and caused property damage. I’ve not seen evidence that Jenna Ryan was particularly violent (other than screaming on camera that her fellow supporters are armed and dangerous). She’s just extremely delusional and obnoxious, as far as I can tell. Still, she obviously hasn’t learned to keep quiet, and I think that will hurt her in the long run. Her “white privilege” statement doesn’t help her cause, either.

I’m not a psychiatrist, nor do I play one on TV. I’ve also never met Ms. Ryan. However, having been around a lot of character disordered, high-conflict personalities, I suspect that she has some pathology. She claims she doesn’t need money, but then launches a GoFundMe campaign, which was later taken down. She encourages people to give to her cause, not because she’s in dire need of money to pay her lawyer(s), but because the donators will be “blessed”. Like– she’s doing them a favor by giving them the chance to donate to her cause… a cause that is illegal and led to people dying and major property damage, not to mention the psychological damage to everyone who was traumatized by that day. She’s been taking Paula White lessons.

She claims to have “seen the light” and whines about having fallen for a scam, but then overconfidently tweets that she won’t be doing any time in jail because she has “blonde hair, white skin, and a great job”. Is she really setting the real estate world on fire down in Texas? I know she’s had some major financial problems in the past— debts and tax problems that led to a lien on her house. But one quality that makes a great salesperson is that “fake it until you make it” attitude and using other people’s money. I’m sure there are some people out there who might support her cause. She’s kind of cute for her age, and there are plenty of deluded Trumpers lurking out there in the shadows who think what happened on January 6th was A-OK. But I think a lot more of us dwell in the glorious sunlight of reality. Despite her confidence and “sass” on Twitter, Jenna Ryan is truly in deep shit. And she, alone, put herself there.

At least in January, Jenna was smart enough to see that prison was a reality for her:

“I listened to my president. He told me to go to the Capitol. I’m facing a prison sentence…”

Yes, you are, Jenna. You are not a victim, either. You got on that private plane of your own free will, unmolested, in part because you are a white woman with blonde hair and pretty teeth. You were not a spectator. You bragged about “marching” to the Capitol and stated, on camera, that you didn’t care if someone got shot in the face. You even said you didn’t care if YOU got shot. And you sipped white wine while you walked around our nation’s capital city, shrieking about how your desires to keep Trump in office were more important than everyone else’s rights to a newly elected (and much more competent) leader chosen in a free and fair election. Here you are on Twitter screaming like you’re at a fucking high school pep rally…

“You’re messing with the WRONG people!!!! … We are ARMED and DANGEROUS!” You said it, Jenna. It’s right here on video!

I would love to know what events from her past made Jenna Ryan into the obviously delusional person she is today. It’s been my experience that people like Jenna have a lot of pain in their histories. People who can deny reality so blatantly and try to pass themselves as people they’re not have usually have had reasons to develop that ability. I suspect some person or people probably hurt Jenna, and she’s learned to survive the pain by being completely out of touch with reality. And because she believes her own lies, other people are willing to believe her. However, judging by the comments she’s getting on Twitter, it appears that she’s her own worst enemy and more people are ready to see her cuffed and stuffed than not.

Jenna Ryan may very well not go to prison… and maybe some nice sugar daddy will come along and give her life a happy ending. Stranger things have happened. Look what’s happened in my life. But, I think it’s much more likely that Jenna will have a reckoning soon. Even if she doesn’t get any jail time, there will be a heavy price for her to pay. She can deny it all she wants, but the truth always comes out in the end. She’s very desperate to show everyone who she is– or, at least the fake version. But pictures and videos don’t lie. She’s clearly guilty as hell. Hopefully, she will get exactly what she so richly deserves.

“Land of Confusion” lyrics… (I think it’s genius… a perfect song about the state of our world today. The boys from Genesis were definitely on to something back in the 1980s. Plus, it still sounds good!)

I must have dreamed a thousand dreams
Been haunted by a million screams
But I can hear the marching feet
They’re moving into the street

Now, did you read the news today?
They say the danger has gone away
But I can see the fire’s still alight
They’re burning into the night

There’s too many men, too many people
Making too many problems
And there’s not much love to go around
Can’t you see this is the land of confusion?

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in

Oh, Superman, where are you now?
When every thing’s gone wrong somehow?
Men of steel, these men of power
I’m losing control by the hour

This is the time, this is the place
So we look for the future
But there’s not much love to go around
Tell me why this is the land of confusion

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in

I remember long ago
When the sun was shining
And all the stars were bright all through the night
In the wake up this madness, as I held you tight
So long ago

I won’t be coming home tonight
My generation will put it right
We’re not just making promises
That we know we’ll never keep

There’s too many men, too many people
Making too many problems
And there’s not much love to go around
Can’t you see this is the land of confusion?

Now, this is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth fighting for

This is the world we live in
And these are the names we’re given
Stand up and let’s start showing
Just where our lives are going to

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Anthony George Banks / Phillip David Charles Collins / Michael Rutherford

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Biden, politics, Trump

Is Mike Pence finally “woke”?

Today’s featured photo is a screen grab of a video about the attempted faux coup last week.

Please forgive me for using that term. I kind of hate the expression “woke”. And please forgive me for yet another political post, although I have a feeling I’ll be writing them for some time to come… at least until the dust settles on Trump’s exit from the White House.

I didn’t write anything yesterday, nor did I practice guitar. Instead, I watched a lot of old episodes of Glee and hung out with Bill. We did a lot of talking about the events of last Wednesday. Vice President Mike Pence is probably feeling the heat right now, as pissed off MAGA cultists descended on the Capitol and erected a gallows as they screamed “Hang Mike Pence!”.

Trump stoked the fires of public resentment against Pence for refusing to “undo the will of the People”.

Why were they screaming? Because Donald Trump had expected the vice president to “overturn” the results of the election. Trump repeatedly made the false claim that Pence had the power to nullify the will of the people. He also repeatedly made baseless claims that the election was “stolen” from him. And he encouraged a mob of people to take action against legislators tasked with certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Mike Pence, who has been totally loyal to Trump for the past several years, did not do Trump’s bidding. And now, he is discovering what happens when you cross a malignant narcissist. Although he’s probably never been formally diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, it’s pretty obvious to me that Trump is a narcissist. A lot of people might claim that most politicians are narcissistic. And they would be right in making that claim. But there’s a big difference between being “narcissistic” and having full blown NPD. And even within the realm of NPD, there are varying degrees of it. I think Trump is pretty far on the NPD scale, which means he’s extremely entitled, very immature, and completely focused on himself and his own needs. Couple that with his charisma and innate ability to say what people want to hear, and you have a very dangerous individual.

I don’t agree with Mike Pence’s politics at all, but here he sounds much more presidential than Donald Trump EVER has. But I suspect that Mr. Pence thought Trump would burn out quickly and he would wind up being the 46th president.

Right now, I think Mr. Pence is understanding what it means to go against a malignant narcissist, even when it’s the right thing to do legally, ethically, and morally. Unfortunately, hitching your wagon to a narcissist in hopes of getting ahead often ends in disappointment. Always remember that narcissists ultimately don’t care about anyone but themselves, and it doesn’t matter how loyal you are to them or were in the past. The minute you cross them, you’re in their crosshairs of revenge. They see other people strictly as tools to be used and they have no compassion or understanding when someone disappoints them, even when it’s because they have been put in an impossible situation, as Mike Pence was.

Donald Trump now faces a second impeachment, and Pence is under pressure to invoke the 25th Amendment. If you ask me, he should have done that a long time ago. But I can see why Pence would not have wanted to invoke the 25th Amendment, even though Trump is clearly unstable and dangerous. For one thing, there’s that old boy network of mutual back scratching and political favors. Pence wouldn’t want to piss off his buddies in the Republican party. But there’s also the fact that Trump could go off the deep end and do something much worse than what he’s already done, simply out of spite. And there are thousands of people who want to hang Mike Pence for not being totally obedient to Trump rather than following the Constitution.

This morning, a friend of mine shared a Twitter feed showing people who were mobbing the Capitol being refused return flights as they were being arrested. Some of them are crying pitifully as they are correctly being kicked off of flight, labeled terrorists, and escorted away in handcuffs. Indeed, people who breached the Capitol are being identified, and those who managed to leave the nation’s capital are being arrested at home. Somehow, these folks, in an era of iPhones and surveillance videos, thought they could get away with their felonious behavior without being held accountable. I guess it’s a good thing Trumpers are not known for wearing face masks. It makes identifying the perpetrators of these crimes much easier than it otherwise might have been. And these folks are going to find that Trump will likely do NOTHING for them as they properly face charges, fines, and possible jail time for what they did.

Powerful words from a true leader.

Yesterday, I watched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s speech about the events of last week. I was actually pretty moved by what he had to say. Arnold Schwarzenegger is certainly no paragon of virtue himself, but he would have been 1000 times better in the White House than Trump has been. Unfortunately, Arnold, who obviously loves America, can’t run for President, because he’s a naturalized citizen. But even though I have sworn off voting for Republicans, I might make an exception for Arnold Schwarzenegger, because he’s clearly a much fitter leader. And what he says about the effects of Hitler on his home country of Austria, are very astute. He’s not the only one who has seen the parallels of Trump’s leadership and the rise of Naziism in Europe back in the 1930s and 1940s.

One more thing. I don’t think this is over by a long shot. The MAGA crowd is super pumped and emboldened right now, and while Trump might be riding off into the sunset soon, there’s sure to be someone else waiting in the wings. I suspect it’s someone younger, smarter, more likable, and actually knowledgable of and dedicated to the cause. I don’t think Trump actually cares that much about the MAGA movement. He just wants to stay in power and avoid the extreme narcissistic injury of losing. But I feel certain that there are other people out there who really do believe in forcing America to turn into their warped white supremacist Christian vision of what they think it should be. You can bet that even if Trump’s era ends, someone else will try to do what he failed to do.

We must all stay vigilant and aware of those who want to turn our country into real life Gilead. That’s why I hope Mr. Pence will do the right thing and help the Democrats get Trump out of power as soon as possible. There’s a lot he can do in the next nine days. I’ll be surprised if Pence actually does invoke the 25th Amendment, but I think it’s the right thing to do. I believe our country is in serious danger. I already have more respect for Pence today than I did a week ago. I think doing the right thing by the American people and helping to restrain Trump would go a long way in redeeming Pence’s lapdog image, at least as far as I am, personally, concerned. I do think Pence has more concern for others than Trump ever will. He’s certainly saner and more competent.

Bill has empathy for Mike Pence. He once worked for a man who is a lot like Trump is. Being second banana to a raging narcissist is a thankless and punishing endeavor. Bill was fortunate in that there were a lot of people who supported him and realized the terrible position he was in, and he came out of that experience relatively unscathed. However, when he was working for that man, it was hell on Earth. I’m sure Pence can relate, because I don’t think he has the same extreme ego Trump has. People like Trump never choose people like themselves to work with them. They look for people who are malleable and trustworthy. So now that Pence could be “woke”, like so many of the rest of us have been for years now, maybe he will earn the trust of the majority of Americans who would like to see Trump removed from power. Even if it means he never again has another peaceful moment.

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A sick and demented three year game of Asshole…

Regular readers of this blog know that I went to a state supported college in Virginia, where four national sororities were founded. It was far from a dry campus, although I do remember that they tried to make the freshman residence halls “dry”. When I was in college, I learned how to play several drinking games. There was Circle of Death, Never Have I Ever, Kings, Beer Pong, Bullshit, Quarters, and Fuck You… But my favorite of all was a game called Asshole. I’m not sure why I enjoyed playing Asshole as much as I did back in the day. Maybe it’s because it was a game everyone knew how to play.

I remember one particularly rousing game of Asshole I once played with friends at my school. We were all sitting on the floor in a circle, drinking Mickey’s Big Mouth. Mickey’s Big Mouth, for those who don’t know, is a particularly potent brand of cheap malt liquor. No one drinks it for the way it tastes; they drink it to get drunk FAST. It comes in a green bottle that looks like a barrel or a grenade. It has a wide opening so it can be slammed. The night my friends and I were playing Asshole, we were being particularly vicious. The “Asshole” was required to wear an ugly yellow and green visor made of foam rubber. A tampon was stuck out of the top, making it look oddly unicorn like.

I remember that as we were playing this game, a friend’s fraternity brother was passing. He ducked his head into the dorm room where we were engaged in our game of Asshole and said with great admiration in his voice, “Mickey’s Big Mouth will fuck you up!” He laughed as he walked down the hall. As I reflect on the past three years of Trump’s leadership, I feel a sense of deja vu. Mickey’s Big Mouth will fuck you up… but so will years of having Donald Trump “lead” the country.

Last night, as I read about Donald Trump’s latest Twitter meltdown that basically invited private citizens to revolt against state governments, I was suddenly reminded of the game Asshole, which interestingly enough, is also known as “Presidents”. I feel like our country has been collectively playing a sick and demented three year round of Asshole.

What the hell? Is he out of his goddamned mind?

In the game of Asshole, players are assigned roles. The object of the game is to lose all of your cards first. The first person to lose all of their cards is the President. The President is allowed to make up new and strange rules that the other players have to follow. The next person to lose their cards is the Vice President. The ranking continues until there’s just one person left with cards. The last person to have any cards is the Asshole. The Asshole is basically screwed over by the other players, who try to keep him or her in the Asshole position by handicapping him or her with onerous rules. One rule, for instance, might be that the Asshole has to drink twice whenever someone plays a face card. The Asshole fetches drinks for everyone and when he or she doesn’t follow the rules, more drinking is required, which makes it harder to get out of the Asshole position. It’s not unlike real life, huh?

A rather dry but accurate video about how to play “Asshole”. The guy narrating doesn’t say “asshole”. Instead, he says “A-hole”.

As I was thinking about playing Asshole last night, I couldn’t help but realize that the roles in a game of Asshole seem vaguely familiar to our present reality. Trump is, of course, the President, and he’s acting just like a president in the game of Asshole behaves. A large number of poor, disenfranchised, or unlucky people from different places are collectively the Assholes… and Trump has his thumb on them, keeping them down in that position. Every day, his tactics to stay in charge grow more desperate and dangerous, and I fear that some bad things are coming as our demented “President” grows ever more unhinged.

Asshole used to be an amusing game, when I was young and totally healthy and strong. Even when I was the “Asshole” when playing with my friends, I knew it was a temporary condition (although I realize that some people think I’m an asshole even when I’m not playing a drinking game). Whoever was in the “President” position in the game was still my friend and it was all in good fun. Eventually, we all outgrew playing Asshole and getting drunk and reckless simply for the sake of getting drunk and reckless. We mostly took on more important responsibilities and the stakes grew higher, but more valuable. We now have a lot more to lose than a few brain and liver cells.

I worry that Trump’s vigorous, immature, and irresponsible tweets encouraging people to defy their local government officials may be perceived as permission to be violent. Trump stirs up people who are dangerous… people who cherish their guns and don’t want to be told what to do by anyone in authority, especially government officials. Many uneducated folks see this situation as government oppression when, in fact, it’s a pubic health crisis. Not only do I fear that people will get sick by defying the shelter-in-place orders, but I also worry that there will be more bloody violence as people try to get action by using weapons.

It’s not that violence is an unusual occurrence in the United States, particularly during the month of April, which is historically when a lot of bloody violence occurs. Ever since Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, and Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot up Columbine High School in April 1999, it seems like there have been more bloody acts of violence in April than any other month. In April 2007, Seung Hui Cho went on a shooting spree at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. In April 2013, the Boston Marathon Bombing happened. April is also the month that Adolf Hitler was born, and many very dark, evil people admire Hitler. April is also when the weather is warmer and people typically emerge from the dark cold of winter. As flowers bloom and grass gets green, the nuts come out with their guns. This year, people are even more pent up than usual. Trump’s inflammatory tweets might be like throwing a match at people who are already feeling volatile and unhinged.

But… it seems like to Donald Trump, this is all just a game, and his objective is simply to stay in power at all costs, no matter how many people get hurt. So he irresponsibly tweets, encouraging people to be disobedient and “rise up” against local government control… when he is the PRESIDENT of the United States! It’s his responsibility to be a LEADER that keeps things under control. Trump isn’t a drinker, but he is DRUNK on power and desperate to keep it. So he’s running the country like drunk college students play Asshole. And too many people are stuck in the Asshole role, unable to escape it. Add to that… Trump even speaks like a drunk person. See below:

That is crazy! It’s NOT the way a world leader should speak.

I know that a lot of people are scared and frustrated. Most people aren’t personally affected by the coronavirus yet, and they think this situation is simply an extreme way of getting rid of Trump. Trump’s base seems to be mostly made up of white people with conservative values who think the 1950s were a great time in our history. Even though Trump doesn’t really fit the clean cut 50s image, except for his desire to keep white men in power, they see him as their champion. They overlook the ways he’s not really like them. He’s like them in the important ways– because he’s white and male and doesn’t mind keeping down the people who aren’t white and male. So what if he’s not really a Christian? So what if he cheats on his wives, uses crude and abusive language, sexually harasses women, and screws over people, especially those who work for him? He’s rich and powerful, and in their eyes, that makes him a success. But he doesn’t care about them, and when they do what he’s encouraging them to do and wind up in prison, very sick, or dead, he’s not going to do a damned thing for them.

So… count me among those who would like to see this neverending game of Asshole with Donald Trump come to an end with a new, sober, humane president. Let’s change the game to something more productive. I’m really tired of wearing the foam rubber visor with a tampon poking out of it. Time to dry up… put away the Mickey’s Big Mouth and get back to being responsible world citizens before more people are harmed or killed.

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