Archive for the ‘It Could Be Worse…’ Category

A Prayer

November 28, 2017
Dear God, I am so discouraged about my work.  I have the feeling of discouragement that is.  I realize I don’t know what I realize.  Please help me dear God to be a good writer and to get something else accepted.  That is so far from what I deserve, of course, that I am naturally struck with the nerve of it.  Contrition in me is largely imperfect.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been sorry for a sin because it hurt You.  That kind of contrition is better than none but it is selfish.  To have the other kind, it is necessary to have knowledge, faith extraordinary.  All boils down to grace, I suppose.  Again asking God to help us be sorry for having hurt Him.  I am afraid of pain and I suppose that is what we have to have to get grace.  Give me the courage to stand the pain to get the grace.  Oh, Lord.  Help me with this life that seems so treacherous, so disappointing.
— Flannery O’Connor, A Prayer Journal
Advertisements

Film Pervert Math

November 16, 2017

So I asked my husband the other day, “Considering how we’re no longer supposed to watch films sexual deviants worked on, what do you think the worst movie to watch would be?”

My first thought was Blue Jasmine: directed by Woody Allen, featuring Louis CK, and I assumed it would have been produced by Miramax as I had read somewhere that Weinstein gave Woody Allen his second chance after Allen was shunned post-Soon Yi scandal.  But no, Miramax didn’t fund Blue Jasmine, so that’s out.

However, I can’t seem to find many movies that involve more than two perverts, which is kind of amazing considering how many perverts there are.  I guess Good Will Hunting counts, because there have been allegations against Ben Affleck and also Harvey Weinstein produced it (and I guess Casey Affleck’s in it, too, which makes three!)  True Romance could work because it has Christian Slater (who was jailed for beating a girlfriend) AND Tom Sizemore (shudder) AND it was produced by Weinstein.  I can’t really find anything where Richard Dreyfuss, Dustin Hoffman, or Kevin Spacey intersect with Allen, Weinstein, or Louis CK, or with each other.  But I definitely feel like I’m mission something.  Help me, people!

Yet Another Comment on Harvey Weinstein

October 14, 2017

Trigger warning for my husband, who is so far past peak Weinstein he’s living in the future we all want to inhabit. Don’t read on, honey!

So obviously I followed the Weinstein horror story, like everyone else did.  I was going to write an essay much like the below, but then I got a little grossed out by all the op-eds and think pieces, some of which were obviously hastily conceived and outrageous (AHEM) while others benign but obvious attempts by journalists and pundits to get a piece of the pie, meaning clicks and then money, thereby benefiting from the pain and havoc.  (Like, did we really need Mayim Bialy’s take on the matter?  Which includes a weirdly self-critical note about how, because she’s not a conventional beauty, no producers ever invited her upstairs?)  But only a few––heroes every one!––read my blog, and I could never figure out how to opt-in on WordPress ads, so I don’t make any money from this, which means I can rant without feeling like a bottom-feeder.

I’ll be succinct, or attempt to be: Of course I wasn’t surprised to see that Weinstein immediately adopted the language of therapy––he talked of bringing therapists onto his “team,” of “issues” (others in his vicinity used “demons,” a peculiarly resilient holdout from the era of possession as mental illness), and of possibly going to a “facility somewhere.”  This was literally his only possible course of action––he’s calculating, and realized denial would have played way, way worse––but it galls, because it suggests that therapy––which I think of as essentially a luxury for most of what Freud might deem the “commonly unhappy” which is most of us––has officially reached the point at which it can be used in an attempt to downplay the severity of one’s crimes against others and relinquish responsibility for one’s actions.  (See also: Mel Gibson’s abhorrent anti-semitic rant and fucking WIFE BEATING, which now are mostly brushed off by the establishment as solely the result of alcoholism, in remission due to counseling––and yet strangely, I know many recovering alcoholics who managed, throughout the duration of their drinking, to never claim that Jews started all the world’s wars or hit their partners.  Curious!)

I am not saying that intensive therapeutic treatment isn’t ever useful or appropriate.  For one, anyone with an acute and recognized (sex addiction is not included in the DSM) mental illness that hasn’t committed a crime.  Also, if someone has committed a crime, but hasn’t, for socio-economic reasons, had access to quality counseling ever––say, an inner city drug addict, or a mentally ill person from a very insular religious enclave, like the Amish––a treatment program is probably a better first line of defense than prison.

But Harvey Weinstein comes from a rarefied world in which people go to therapy for all kinds of banal reasons.  There’s no stigma attached to seeing a shrink amongst Hollywood bigwigs and New York intellectuals.  The odds are good HW’s been to a psychologist himself before.  He’s a Woody Allen fan (see what I did there?) so at the very least he knows about the concept of psychoanalysis.  The fact that he failed to enact change in his life up until this point indicates that he either tried to make use of the no doubt abundant therapeutic resources he had access to and couldn’t (which doesn’t mean the therapy didn’t work for him, it means he didn’t work hard enough at the therapy) OR didn’t give enough of a fuck to even explore said resources for this “issue.”  I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume it’s the latter.

I could cite some recent events and studies––including the story about a sex offender treatment program at a prison here in England that actually made prisoners more likely to reoffend, because the constant discussion of sexual violence and deviance “normalized” the activity––or maybe the study about mindfulness (no doubt on menu at the Meadows) making criminals more likely to reoffend as well, because it encouraged them to “not judge themselves” HAHAHAHA––but I won’t, because I don’t think I need to.  I’m guessing that a lot of people are hearing that Harvey’s headed to a plush rehab facility and thinking, “Oh Gawd.”  (Except for maybe this sex addiction therapist interviewed by the The Cut, who claims that “I’ve never met people who suffer more than [sex addicts.]”  Gee, Deborah Schiller, I can think of at least thirty women who have suffered more than a certain sex addict has.)  I’m guessing a lot of people are feeling that talking about his childhood to a kindly Arizonan wearing jade earrings and elbowing the guy with the DTs out of the way to get to the make-your-own-omelet station is not the way to get back in our good graces.  I’m guessing the Meadows is even a step above Pine Grove, where the Cut lady works: “[The sex addicts] have a nice big gazebo out front, they have cookouts out there, ping-pong, and foosball, and they can sit around a picnic table under that gazebo.”  I have assaulted zero people in my life, and I don’t have a big gazebo.  Jussayin.

So how exactly should a man like Weinstein make good?  He should find a way to donate all his money to charity without having his name attached to it.  In so doing, he should steer clear of causes that are linked to entertainment or maybe even women’s groups.  Children’s cancer seems like a safe bet.  He should sell all his belongings, and give away that money, too.  He should then don the robes of a religious mendicant, and find a cave to live in, probably outside of North America.  Said cave should be as isolated as possible, so he is extremely unlikely to come into contact with other human beings (let alone a therapist––something tells me that for a man like HW, not talking about himself would be a more fitting fate, than being given a captive audience––or, G-d forbid, a woman.)  If he is found and––the horror!––photographed, he should move caves immediately.  He should survive on insects, leaves, and rainwater.  He should remain in the cave, while his executors handle the occasional cleansing of his coffers when they refill with Miramax dough, until he dies.  The end.

 

Funny Text

July 4, 2017

HW: Lesson learned: do not wish a Happy Independence Day to people involuntarily locked on a psychiatric union.

Short Story

April 12, 2017

Someone base a short story on the moment they broke the news to Elmer, please!  I’d do it myself but I don’t have the time at the moment…

“In questions of administration, [McLean Hospital head] Stanton could simply get lost.  Longtime facilities manager Henry Langevin remembers presenting Stanton with three competing bids for resurfacing McLean’s central tennis court, where Stanton himself often played.  But the director was paralyzed by indecision because the switch from the clay to a hard surface would eliminate a cherished job––rolling and sweeping the ochre-colored clay––for one of the hospital’s elderly, chronic schizophrenics.  ‘What’s poor Elmer going to do?’ was Stanton’s plaint, as the trial court resurfacing decision hung fire for months.”

I know Stanton’s indecision is supposed to be annoying, but I find his concern for Elmer rather sweet, don’t you?

 

(From Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America’s Premier Mental Hospital by Alex Beam)

Sorry for another Tweet-like Message

March 7, 2017

But this one was just too good to pass up…

KM:  I wish auto-fill-in would get on the same page as I am.  It’s always trying to fill in my sentences with “great” or “positive” when I am typing “gross” or “pointless.”

But Who Will Play the Rhino?

March 2, 2017

First of all, I know conservationists will fault me for this, but anyone else think we should abolish zoos?  They’re kind of loci of horror these days, more often than not.  I mean, at the very least, Sea World has to go.

On that note, though, someone please write a dramatic opera about this utter clusterfuck:

The founder of a zoo where almost 500 animals died bragged that his management style was better than “textbook” weeks before government inspectors condemned his practices.

Inspectors at South Lakes Safari Zoo, in Cumbria, found that 486 of its animals had died as a result of mistreatment between December 2013 and September 2016, a report said yesterday.

Shortly before the inspection David Gill, 55, the owner, said that the recent birth of a baby rhino was a “fitting tribute to my work and expertise in zoo animal management”.

He wrote on Facebook in December that he had enjoyed “huge success”, having “always pursued a different style of management to the norm”.

“I wish many other zoos would watch and learn from our example as it is not worth copying books and guidelines if they don’t actually work,” he added. “In my opinion you simply do not listen to people who have had far less success than you in any area of life.”

Inspectors have recommended that Mr Gill’s application for licence renewal be rejected and called on Barrow council to consider prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act.

In 1997 Mr Gill was found guilty of endangering the public after a white rhino escaped from its enclosure. The animal fell down a ravine and had to be shot. In the same year a Sunday newspaper reported that he was having an affair with a teenage zoo hand, Shelley Goodwin, who had left school at 16 and began looking after his kangaroos.

His wife left him, taking their two children, and Mr Gill and Ms Goodwin married. They have since separated. In 2001 a pregnant zoo keeper who incurred Mr Gill’s wrath when she expressed fears about feeding lions was awarded £30,000 in compensation.

Mr Gill’s personal life was given another public airing in 2008 during the trial of a jilted husband who slashed the zoo owner’s neck when he discovered him in bed with his wife.

Richard Creary, then 38, attacked Mr Gill, who fled in his Ferrari dressed only in his pyjamas. Creary was later jailed for five years. In 2014 Mr Gill was forced to apologise after saying that the legalisation of gay marriage signalled the end of the world, and that gay lifestyle was “abnormal” and “anti-natural”.

Last year his zoo was fined £297,500 after a keeper, Sarah McClay, 24, was mauled to death by a Sumatran tiger in 2013. Ms McClay’s boyfriend, David Shaw, 27, told The Times that she was considering setting up a trade union at the zoo because of a “cloud of fear” that existed for staff.

“Sarah and I spent some time looking to implement trade union,” he said. “We were looking towards suitable trade unions because the staff were mistreated at the time — the staff were managed by fear.”

Ms McClay’s brother, Stephen, 31, who lives in London, said: “It absolutely baffles me that anyone would still visit the zoo after my sister died there and now that this report about the conditions has emerged people must surely be put off visiting.

“Had he done the right thing four years ago and stepped down after an employee died on his watch, the animal mistreatment over the past four years at least could have been avoided.”

The zoo was awarded a six-year licence to operate in June 2010 and the council received an application for renewal from Mr Gill in January 2016.

The council rejected the application in July, agreeing with inspectors that he was “not a fit and suitable person” to manage the zoo.

However, the law dictates that if the licence holder reapplies for a new licence, the existing licence continues in force until the application has been processed or withdrawn.

Mr Gill, who remains the licence holder, handed over the responsibility of managing the zoo to Cumbria Zoo Company Limited.

Mr Gill’s lawyer said that his client believes it would be “inappropriate to comment” during the regulatory and legal process.

Barrow council will decide on the renewal of the zoo’s licence on Monday.

SAD But Funny

February 23, 2017

AWP: I feel sluggish too and I am not even knocked up.  I attempted to buy a SAD light for seasonal affective disorder but when I plugged it in it blew up which made me even more sad and sluggish.

Outsource Voice

January 30, 2017

I was thinking of entering a writing contest I briefly read about, and then I visited the judge’s website, and his bio is so bizarrely and poorly written that I decided, um, no.  It reads as if perhaps someone else––someone who isn’t a native English speaker––wrote it, and then Clare just never edited it?  Or a bot wrote it?  In any case, it’s not a crime against humanity or anything, just very bizarre to see an “award-winning author” allow such a shoddily written summation of his credentials to be out there.  I was going to redact the name but that was just too much damn trouble.  Disclaimer: he does seem to be a good writer and also accomplished.  It’s not him I object to; it’s this Google Translate bio!

Horatio Clare is not only an excellent multi award-winning author but a radio producer and journalist too. He was born in London in 1973. He spent his childhood on a hill farm in the Black Mountains of south Wales with his brother Alexander. They both grew up there.

Before reading the English at the University of York, he attended the United World College of the Atlantic and Malvern College.

He worked as a producer on Front Row, Night Waves and The Verb at the BBC. He is the writer of two memoirs, Truant and Running for the hills.

A Single Swallow and Down to the Sea Ships are the pieces of his writing that he wrote about travel and nature.

He is the writer and editor of Sicily through Writer’s Eyes. A book named “Orison for a curlew” was an excellent piece of his writings that was published in 2015, in which he combined the travel and nature topic altogether. Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot an acclaimed children’s book was also published in 2015.

The experiences of his childhood are described in his first book, “Running for the Hills” (The best seller).

His second book Truant was published in 2008. His third book “A Single Swallow” (Following an epic journey from South Africa to South Wales) was published in 2009.

His first children book,” Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot” was published in 2015 by Firefly.

Clare wrote and edited “Sicily through Writer’s Eyes”, which was an anthology of writings about Sicily, and it played the role of a contributor to the collections Red City: Meeting with Remarkable Muslims and Marrakech through Writer’s Eyes.

The Sunday times, Financial Times, The Observer and Vogue, The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, New Statesman and the Sunday Times are the platforms where his Journalism appeared.

He won the Somerset Maugham Award his best-selling masterpiece “Running for the Hills” in 2007. He was also shortlisted for another award named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in the same year for the same masterpiece.

Later on, he was shortlisted for Dolman Best Travel Book Award for “A Single Swallow” in 2010. And in the same year, he won the Foreign Press Association Award for his travel feature 2010 “Rock of Ages – Ethiopian Highlands”

In 2015 he won the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year award for Down to the Sea in Ships.

In 2016 he wrote a book for Children name “Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot”, which later on was announced to be the best book of the year and which made him win the Branford Boase Award.

These are the achievement that made him become the excellent author of the era. And he’s an inspiration for the present writers.

That Thing

January 23, 2017

where you are waiting for a table at Russ and Daughters in the Jewish Museum and, bored, you go to take out Portnoy’s Complaint but stop yourself by thinking, “Now this is just a step too far, even for me.”