Category Archives: Weblogs

The Jindal Portrait Flap

There was a huge internet driven controversy yesterday that was started by this tweet sent out by an old friend and blogger comrade in arms:

I’m not going to deal with the Jindal camp’s weasely-n-whiny response or go into the details of the portrait. I’d rather discuss *why* I find it so disturbing that Gov PBJ likes this poorly done portrait that doesn’t resemble him at all. The twitter people are having a hard time understanding why this reveals something significant about PBJ. There was a lot of chatter about “the issues, not the man.” That’s nonsense, they’re inseparable. I rarely talk about “character” in the MSM sense of the word, but this isn’t like Bill Clinton’s zipper issues. It goes to the core of who Bobby Jindal is; his very identity as a human being.

Here’s the deal: I have NO problem with Bobby Jindal’s ethnicity. I have NO problem with his name change: I grew up with Chinese kids with names like Jeff, Kirk, and Darlene. I have NO problem with his religious conversion and neither do most Indian-Americans. What I do have a problem with is Jindal’s REJECTION OF HIS INDIAN HERITAGE. He is so desperate to assimilate and achieve power that he’s forgotten who he is and where he came from. That’s not unusual for a politician but PBJ has one of the most extreme cases I’ve ever encountered.

As a second generation ethnic American I find this extremely vexing. And it has nothing to do with politics: my papou and my father were ardent and active Republicans. But they believed in taking care of their own and helping our family in the old country. My papou was active in the AHEPA, a Greek-American fraternal organization that raised money for and built a hospital in the biggest city of his home region. World War II devastated occupied Greece because the Nazis considered them sub-human, and then a violent and deeply stupid Civil War broke out between far right Royalists and the ultra Stalinist Communist Party. Both sides were cruel, brutal, and wrong headed. My family helped a string of refugees, both relatives and others, escape this calamitous conflict.

Jindal’s family has walked a different path and that’s their business, BUT I still find it appalling as well as baffling. They’ve turned their backs on their Indian relatives and the proud culture from which they sprung. PBJ attacks those who embrace their own heritage, which is particularly outrageous coming from someone who is palpably ashamed of his own. Just imagine Jack Kennedy rejecting his Irish Catholic background. I can’t and neither can you because it was a part of who he was and what made him tick. The worst (best?) that could be said of JFK was that he was lace curtain and not shanty Irish. But his visit to Ireland as President made that cool and suave man cry over the ecstatic reception he received.

The person PBJ is starting to remind me of is Kennedy’s great rival, Richard Nixon. Like Tricky Dick, he combines megalomania and deep seated insecurities. PBJ’s rejection of his Indian background is a sign of a man who is uncomfortable in his own skin. The good news is that Bobby Jindal will never be President but the bad news is that he *could* be on a future Republican ticket. We don’t need another Nixon a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

Do I think Bobby Jindal wants to be white? I’m not a mind reader so I have no earthly idea but the mere fact that the question can be posed is unsettling. I do know that he’s ashamed of his Indian heritage and a fanatical assimlationist. I have no problem with the latter: the earlier generations of my Greek family had that whole immigrant super patriot thing , but they never forgot who they were or where they came from. If only Bobby Jindal could say the same, that ugly, poorly rendered portrait would be revealing of nothing except for bad taste in art.

There’s a lot of discussion about whether calling Jindal by his given name Piyush is racist. It’s not inherently so BUT some of the people who use it are dog whistling, which is one reason I stopped calling him that 8 years ago. The other reason is that you waste a lot time arguing about whether using that name is racist instead of discussing Jindal’s horrible record as Gret Stet governor. It’s been a veritable demolition derby of our public education and health care systems since he took office in 2008. My compromise on the name issue is to call him PBJ. After all, who among us doesn’t like the Other PBJ?

The main mistake I made on the Tweeter Tube was violating my rule about getting involved in serious, substantive conversation on a platform that limits one to 140 characters. I know better but a friend was under attack from self-righteous lefties who criticized him for being insufficiently moralistic or some such shit. All Lamar did was post a picture, what happened afterwards was out of his control. That’s why they call it viral.

Since there were no jokes in the post, I’d like to end on a lighter note with this tweet from my fellow NOLA blogger, Cliff Harris:

Tagged , , , , , , ,

ANNIVERSARY PARTY CRACK VAN

Donate and join the fun below! 

Update: Thanks to all for joining in!

Women’s voices matter

To begin: I am a woman teacher of introductory computer sciences. My two sections this semester have 150 students each. When I say there’s a “pretty good” gender balance, I mean it doesn’t take me too long to find women to make eye contact with while I’m lecturing. It’s definitely nowhere near 50-50, though.

I had a student come into my office hours on Monday and mention, in passing, how intimidating it was that whenever I’d ask a question there were a bunch of male hands that would immediately jump into the air. “The guys already know all this,” she told me. The thing is – they don’t. Most of the time their answers are incomplete or straight up wrong, but the hands are there. The hands always go up. Clearly they know.

I make an absolute point of calling on a woman if she raises her hand, because it’s important for other women – and men – to hear a female voice answering a question. But am I self-sabotaging? Are women afraid to raise their hands now because they know they’ll be called on? I don’t know. What I do know is that right now, the class is falling back into that depressing rut of “programming is for white and east Asian men”, and I feel like I’m already defeated.

Tagged

Run, Willard, Run

WMR 2016

Greetings earthlings, take me to your leader? There is actually a Draft Willard Mittbot Romney petitiony, websitey thingy and it has 51K signatories as of this writing. The guy who's morning show I never watch, Joe Scarborough, thinks the GOP could do worse; they will, they will. And wingnut Congressman Jason Chaffetz (LDS-Utah) not only thinks Mittbot will attempt for a third time to become the first robot President but that he will win. It is unclear if Chaffetz had a revelation from Joseph Smith or accidentally drank coffee and hallucinated this "testimony."

I must admit to having liked the Draft Willard Mittbot Romney facebook page and am sorely tempted to sign the petition. Why? Because it's good for the satire biz. There has rarely been a stiffer, more awkwardly unintentionally funny candidate in my lifetime. Mitt could become the Adlai Stevenson of the 21st Century: a noble two-time loser who kept his party from nominating a nutjob. Hey, wait a minute: Adlai had strong support even if he lost. His second try was a kamikaze run against the very popular General/President Eisenhower who strangers all liked as opposed to Mittbot who is just strange. Bad analogy: I always felt badly for Adlai…

I am not the only liberal blogger pulling for a Romney 2016 redemption tour, the estimable TBogg is ready to mock Willard too:

In a move that can be seen as either desperation or ‘we’re all gonna die anyway, so what the hell?’ conservatives are casting their eyes westward to a man — a stoic man, an honest and true man of values, standing knee deep  in the Pacific Ocean watching the sun go down on America — as their savior in 2016.

That man is a man called Mitt. Family man, businessman, gentle and attentive lover, and owner of both a car elevator and a losing career in elections.

Surveying the 2016 GOP field and falling into a pit of existential dread and despair where there is no light, no hope, no exit, nothing but a  bleak meaningless abyss of wretchedness and desolation, Republicans see hope in the sparkle of Mitt Romney’s eyes and the Earth-mother joy in life his wife Ann brings to the party.

I, for one, wept when I read this deeply emotional passage replete with reminders of Rafalaca and wild eyed Romney chirren. It is time for the Mittbot to have another revelation, override his family's inevitable objections, and attempt once again to become America's national priesthood holder. Do it for the satirists, sir…

Finally, the documentary that attempted to prove that he's not a robot, Mitt, is available for free on the YouTube. It cannot be embedded but it's worth a click. The attempt to humanize Willard is somewhat successful, he's just as awkward with his family as he is onstage. Ann Romney, however, comes off as the Cruella Deville of the prairie and most of her sons as entitled dicks in the classic LDS little God fashion. It also largely takes place in hotel suites, corridors and elevators, which makes it oddly claustrophobic. I began to wonder if Morley Safer was involved in the production but apparently he was not…

Run, Willard, run.

Annual Fundraising Drive: TEN YEARS MAN

We are ten years old. We are in fourth grade. We need new corduroys and school supplies.

Ten years ago this weekend, Holden and Tena and pie and I decided we'd had a stellar time guestblogging over at the Crack Den while Atrios was off, I dunno, becoming famous and respectable, and we'd set up shop here at this web site that I had that was basically some password-protected Buffy fanfiction and ranting about people who don't turn their radios down at the drive-thru window at Taco Bell. 

Those were, of course, good and awful times. Awful: We didn't have to look far to chronicle the malfeasance of the Bush administration, gay people couldn't get married just about anywhere, John Kerry was about to lose the election, and there were perhaps a couple hundred liberal political blogs up against a mass media narrative dictating that the president was epic and everything was fine.

Good: The 2004 election felt like a big fat party a lot of the time, and a good fight the rest of the time, and there's nothing I love more than a fight that feels like a party. Dissent had begun to have a voice, however small. Plus, there were perhaps a couple hundred liberal political blogs, so we could basically love everyone in this bar. 

(I basically still love everyone in this bar.)

I don't know what I expected to happen ten years from then. I didn't think about whether we'd still be here. I just thought that there was a here, and people seemed to like it, so we laid down some shag carpeting in the crack van and fueled that sucker up. 

(That carpet smells like goat vomit now, TOMMY.)

In preparation for this glorious anniversary of ours, I've been putting together an anthology of the best and most favoritest posts we've done, and in doing so I've read basically all our archives going back to August 2004. We were not as good as I thought we were, but in some cases we were better, and we managed to do some real work at a time when everybody who writes here has a day job or two, or is looking for a day job or two, or is otherwise somehow in a position where it would be totally acceptable to curl up underneath the quilts and not come out.

I'm proud of what we've built and it would be nothing without all our readers who come here every day. I'm so grateful to all of you, and I hope you've found something of value here. If you have, I hope you'll contribute to the drive. We didn't do one last year, because I was distracted by twenty things including the baby, and this one's our tin anniversary. Hallmark suggests you give us a lunch box full of popcorn. The Paypal button up there might be easier. 

In the coming year? I'm hoping this anthology finds a publisher home, and we will be moving to a newer, shinier, spiffier site that looks more like the Internet of this decade (minus the pop-up ads and frequent requests for customer feedback). 

Oh, and Friday night? Friday is our CRACK VAN BIRTHDAY PARTY, BITCHES. Old-timey Happy Kerry Photos, ponies, punch3 kitten chainsaw, re-posting Jude's gumbo recipe, and a very special message to all of you from our newest van passenger, callsign Kick. 

Give if you can. Party whether you can or not. 

A. 

The Internet Killed Tom Cruise, Too

Excuses, excuses:

Cruise never jumps on a couch.

It is Oprah who seeds the idea that he should stand on it. She thanks Cruise for attending her recent Legends Ball, where she honored Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. “I turned and looked at one point and you were standing in the chair going, ‘Yes! Yes!’ ” she gushes to Cruise. “I loved that enthusiasm.” Minutes later, he stands on the couch for a second, and after she and the audience cheer that, he does it again. When she continues pressing about if he wants to marry Holmes, he exhales, “I’m standing on your couch!” as if that’s the answer he thought was enough. All told, Cruise on the couch — the key image of what the gossip blogs deemed his meltdown — is less than three seconds of airtime.

The distinction between standing and jumping is small but significant. We imagine Cruise bouncing on the couch — we can even picture it — because the Internet convinced us it happened. The echoing blogosphere screaming “Kills!” and “Jumps!” rewrote over what little of the actual episode people saw.

For two decades, Cruise had tried to keep the spotlight on his work. Now, it was fixated on him. Even the old guard — after years of chafing under his publicity restrictions, and finally freed from the need to appease the powerful Pat Kingsley — happily spun everything to fit the new narrative: Cruise was crazy.

Guided by his sister’s inexperienced hand, Cruise could only oblige, proposing to Katie Holmes and then debating the use of antidepressants (which Scientology opposes), specifically by a postpartum Brooke Shields, on The Today Show with Matt Lauer.

So it’s the Internet, and his sister, and not, say, Tom Cruise opening his big fat yawp and deciding to be the world’s least sympathetic asshole, to blame for the destruction of his image.

That is, by the way, all we’re talking about here. The destruction of Tom Cruise’s image as some kind of heroic movie star, and the subsequent effect on his ability to earn for himself and his loved ones. The headline on this piece is “How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star.”

The Internet told us Tom Cruise killed Oprah. The truth is the Internet tried to kill him.

Tom Cruise continues to make movies and some of them are okay and some of them are shit (the ten seconds of Oblivion with Morgan Freeman were the only ten seconds worth watching). We have GOT to stop equating “suffered criticism for saying and/or doing something stupid” with MURDER. Last I heard, Tom Cruise wasn’t missing any meals.

You know who might be missing meals, though? People who heard Tom Cruise call them weak and silly and stupid for seeking help for their illness. Fuck whether he jumped on a couch on Oprah or not. What mattered was this:

“These drugs are dangerous. I have actually helped people come off.

“When you talk about postpartum, you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins. There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that.

“You can use vitamins to help a woman through those things.”

I take that personally because believe me when I say this: If my doctors thought this way, if my family thought this way, if my husband thought this way, I would be dead right now.

I would have slit my wrists, or made a hole in the river, or walked into traffic. I thought about doing ALL THESE THINGS before I got medicated. I thought about them more than once.

You know what I do instead? I rock my baby to sleep, I make dinner, I watch TV. I go to work at a job that interests and engages me, I come home and write and see friends and bake cakes. And every morning I take pills and when I do, I think of the doctor who took me seriously when I said I needed help, and provided it, and I thank God she existed and I thank God for those pills. That’s all this is, and that’s all it is for anybody navigating the horrible process of everyday living, who can’t sort out how their brains engage with the world.

Now, I don’t give a fuck what Tom Cruise has to say, because I’m stable and I have supportive medical professionals around me and people at home who have my back. But if I was alone? Or scared? If I took what a movie star said seriously, the way so many people seem to do when they admire somebody’s work? If I thought what he said was important and it mattered because an entire media gossip industry has for his entire life told me that it did, well, I don’t know if I’d have walked through the door of the doctor’s office that day. I don’t know if I’d have been able to hear the doctor when she said, “You don’t have to live like this.”

The people who were warned off or scared away from reasonable medical treatment, the people who heard Tom Cruise’s bullshit and felt just a little bit worse than they already felt (and if you’ve never felt bad enough to go on medication, oh, I hope you never ever do), those are the people who got “destroyed,” and the Internet had nothing to do with it.

A.

The Internet Killed Tom Cruise, Too

Excuses, excuses:

Cruise never jumps on a couch.

It is Oprah who seeds the idea that he should stand on it. She thanks Cruise for attending her recent Legends Ball, where she honored Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. “I turned and looked at one point and you were standing in the chair going, ‘Yes! Yes!’ ” she gushes to Cruise. “I loved that enthusiasm.” Minutes later, he stands on the couch for a second, and after she and the audience cheer that, he does it again. When she continues pressing about if he wants to marry Holmes, he exhales, “I’m standing on your couch!” as if that’s the answer he thought was enough. All told, Cruise on the couch — the key image of what the gossip blogs deemed his meltdown — is less than three seconds of airtime.

The distinction between standing and jumping is small but significant. We imagine Cruise bouncing on the couch — we can even picture it — because the Internet convinced us it happened. The echoing blogosphere screaming “Kills!” and “Jumps!” rewrote over what little of the actual episode people saw.

For two decades, Cruise had tried to keep the spotlight on his work. Now, it was fixated on him. Even the old guard — after years of chafing under his publicity restrictions, and finally freed from the need to appease the powerful Pat Kingsley — happily spun everything to fit the new narrative: Cruise was crazy.

Guided by his sister’s inexperienced hand, Cruise could only oblige, proposing to Katie Holmes and then debating the use of antidepressants (which Scientology opposes), specifically by a postpartum Brooke Shields, on The Today Show with Matt Lauer.

So it’s the Internet, and his sister, and not, say, Tom Cruise opening his big fat yawp and deciding to be the world’s least sympathetic asshole, to blame for the destruction of his image.

That is, by the way, all we’re talking about here. The destruction of Tom Cruise’s image as some kind of heroic movie star, and the subsequent effect on his ability to earn for himself and his loved ones. The headline on this piece is “How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star.”

The Internet told us Tom Cruise killed Oprah. The truth is the Internet tried to kill him.

Tom Cruise continues to make movies and some of them are okay and some of them are shit (the ten seconds of Oblivion with Morgan Freeman were the only ten seconds worth watching). We have GOT to stop equating “suffered criticism for saying and/or doing something stupid” with MURDER. Last I heard, Tom Cruise wasn’t missing any meals.

You know who might be missing meals, though? People who heard Tom Cruise call them weak and silly and stupid for seeking help for their illness. Fuck whether he jumped on a couch on Oprah or not. What mattered was this:

“These drugs are dangerous. I have actually helped people come off.

“When you talk about postpartum, you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins. There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that.

“You can use vitamins to help a woman through those things.”

I take that personally because believe me when I say this: If my doctors thought this way, if my family thought this way, if my husband thought this way, I would be dead right now.

I would have slit my wrists, or made a hole in the river, or walked into traffic. I thought about doing ALL THESE THINGS before I got medicated. I thought about them more than once.

You know what I do instead? I rock my baby to sleep, I make dinner, I watch TV. I go to work at a job that interests and engages me, I come home and write and see friends and bake cakes. And every morning I take pills and when I do, I think of the doctor who took me seriously when I said I needed help, and provided it, and I thank God she existed and I thank God for those pills. That’s all this is, and that’s all it is for anybody navigating the horrible process of everyday living, who can’t sort out how their brains engage with the world.

Now, I don’t give a fuck what Tom Cruise has to say, because I’m stable and I have supportive medical professionals around me and people at home who have my back. But if I was alone? Or scared? If I took what a movie star said seriously, the way so many people seem to do when they admire somebody’s work? If I thought what he said was important and it mattered because an entire media gossip industry has for his entire life told me that it did, well, I don’t know if I’d have walked through the door of the doctor’s office that day. I don’t know if I’d have been able to hear the doctor when she said, “You don’t have to live like this.”

The people who were warned off or scared away from reasonable medical treatment, the people who heard Tom Cruise’s bullshit and felt just a little bit worse than they already felt (and if you’ve never felt bad enough to go on medication, oh, I hope you never ever do), those are the people who got “destroyed,” and the Internet had nothing to do with it.

A.

The Internet Killed Tom Cruise, Too

Excuses, excuses:

Cruise never jumps on a couch.

It is Oprah who seeds the idea that he should stand on it. She thanks Cruise for attending her recent Legends Ball, where she honored Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. “I turned and looked at one point and you were standing in the chair going, ‘Yes! Yes!’ ” she gushes to Cruise. “I loved that enthusiasm.” Minutes later, he stands on the couch for a second, and after she and the audience cheer that, he does it again. When she continues pressing about if he wants to marry Holmes, he exhales, “I’m standing on your couch!” as if that’s the answer he thought was enough. All told, Cruise on the couch — the key image of what the gossip blogs deemed his meltdown — is less than three seconds of airtime.

The distinction between standing and jumping is small but significant. We imagine Cruise bouncing on the couch — we can even picture it — because the Internet convinced us it happened. The echoing blogosphere screaming “Kills!” and “Jumps!” rewrote over what little of the actual episode people saw.

For two decades, Cruise had tried to keep the spotlight on his work. Now, it was fixated on him. Even the old guard — after years of chafing under his publicity restrictions, and finally freed from the need to appease the powerful Pat Kingsley — happily spun everything to fit the new narrative: Cruise was crazy.

Guided by his sister’s inexperienced hand, Cruise could only oblige, proposing to Katie Holmes and then debating the use of antidepressants (which Scientology opposes), specifically by a postpartum Brooke Shields, on The Today Show with Matt Lauer.

So it’s the Internet, and his sister, and not, say, Tom Cruise opening his big fat yawp and deciding to be the world’s least sympathetic asshole, to blame for the destruction of his image.

That is, by the way, all we’re talking about here. The destruction of Tom Cruise’s image as some kind of heroic movie star, and the subsequent effect on his ability to earn for himself and his loved ones. The headline on this piece is “How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star.”

The Internet told us Tom Cruise killed Oprah. The truth is the Internet tried to kill him.

Tom Cruise continues to make movies and some of them are okay and some of them are shit (the ten seconds of Oblivion with Morgan Freeman were the only ten seconds worth watching). We have GOT to stop equating “suffered criticism for saying and/or doing something stupid” with MURDER. Last I heard, Tom Cruise wasn’t missing any meals.

You know who might be missing meals, though? People who heard Tom Cruise call them weak and silly and stupid for seeking help for their illness. Fuck whether he jumped on a couch on Oprah or not. What mattered was this:

“These drugs are dangerous. I have actually helped people come off.

“When you talk about postpartum, you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins. There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that.

“You can use vitamins to help a woman through those things.”

I take that personally because believe me when I say this: If my doctors thought this way, if my family thought this way, if my husband thought this way, I would be dead right now.

I would have slit my wrists, or made a hole in the river, or walked into traffic. I thought about doing ALL THESE THINGS before I got medicated. I thought about them more than once.

You know what I do instead? I rock my baby to sleep, I make dinner, I watch TV. I go to work at a job that interests and engages me, I come home and write and see friends and bake cakes. And every morning I take pills and when I do, I think of the doctor who took me seriously when I said I needed help, and provided it, and I thank God she existed and I thank God for those pills. That’s all this is, and that’s all it is for anybody navigating the horrible process of everyday living, who can’t sort out how their brains engage with the world.

Now, I don’t give a fuck what Tom Cruise has to say, because I’m stable and I have supportive medical professionals around me and people at home who have my back. But if I was alone? Or scared? If I took what a movie star said seriously, the way so many people seem to do when they admire somebody’s work? If I thought what he said was important and it mattered because an entire media gossip industry has for his entire life told me that it did, well, I don’t know if I’d have walked through the door of the doctor’s office that day. I don’t know if I’d have been able to hear the doctor when she said, “You don’t have to live like this.”

The people who were warned off or scared away from reasonable medical treatment, the people who heard Tom Cruise’s bullshit and felt just a little bit worse than they already felt (and if you’ve never felt bad enough to go on medication, oh, I hope you never ever do), those are the people who got “destroyed,” and the Internet had nothing to do with it.

A.

The Internet Killed Tom Cruise, Too

Excuses, excuses:

Cruise never jumps on a couch.

It is Oprah who seeds the idea that he should stand on it. She thanks Cruise for attending her recent Legends Ball, where she honored Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. “I turned and looked at one point and you were standing in the chair going, ‘Yes! Yes!’ ” she gushes to Cruise. “I loved that enthusiasm.” Minutes later, he stands on the couch for a second, and after she and the audience cheer that, he does it again. When she continues pressing about if he wants to marry Holmes, he exhales, “I’m standing on your couch!” as if that’s the answer he thought was enough. All told, Cruise on the couch — the key image of what the gossip blogs deemed his meltdown — is less than three seconds of airtime.

The distinction between standing and jumping is small but significant. We imagine Cruise bouncing on the couch — we can even picture it — because the Internet convinced us it happened. The echoing blogosphere screaming “Kills!” and “Jumps!” rewrote over what little of the actual episode people saw.

For two decades, Cruise had tried to keep the spotlight on his work. Now, it was fixated on him. Even the old guard — after years of chafing under his publicity restrictions, and finally freed from the need to appease the powerful Pat Kingsley — happily spun everything to fit the new narrative: Cruise was crazy.

Guided by his sister’s inexperienced hand, Cruise could only oblige, proposing to Katie Holmes and then debating the use of antidepressants (which Scientology opposes), specifically by a postpartum Brooke Shields, on The Today Show with Matt Lauer.

So it’s the Internet, and his sister, and not, say, Tom Cruise opening his big fat yawp and deciding to be the world’s least sympathetic asshole, to blame for the destruction of his image.

That is, by the way, all we’re talking about here. The destruction of Tom Cruise’s image as some kind of heroic movie star, and the subsequent effect on his ability to earn for himself and his loved ones. The headline on this piece is “How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star.”

The Internet told us Tom Cruise killed Oprah. The truth is the Internet tried to kill him.

Tom Cruise continues to make movies and some of them are okay and some of them are shit (the ten seconds of Oblivion with Morgan Freeman were the only ten seconds worth watching). We have GOT to stop equating “suffered criticism for saying and/or doing something stupid” with MURDER. Last I heard, Tom Cruise wasn’t missing any meals.

You know who might be missing meals, though? People who heard Tom Cruise call them weak and silly and stupid for seeking help for their illness. Fuck whether he jumped on a couch on Oprah or not. What mattered was this:

“These drugs are dangerous. I have actually helped people come off.

“When you talk about postpartum, you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins. There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that.

“You can use vitamins to help a woman through those things.”

I take that personally because believe me when I say this: If my doctors thought this way, if my family thought this way, if my husband thought this way, I would be dead right now.

I would have slit my wrists, or made a hole in the river, or walked into traffic. I thought about doing ALL THESE THINGS before I got medicated. I thought about them more than once.

You know what I do instead? I rock my baby to sleep, I make dinner, I watch TV. I go to work at a job that interests and engages me, I come home and write and see friends and bake cakes. And every morning I take pills and when I do, I think of the doctor who took me seriously when I said I needed help, and provided it, and I thank God she existed and I thank God for those pills. That’s all this is, and that’s all it is for anybody navigating the horrible process of everyday living, who can’t sort out how their brains engage with the world.

Now, I don’t give a fuck what Tom Cruise has to say, because I’m stable and I have supportive medical professionals around me and people at home who have my back. But if I was alone? Or scared? If I took what a movie star said seriously, the way so many people seem to do when they admire somebody’s work? If I thought what he said was important and it mattered because an entire media gossip industry has for his entire life told me that it did, well, I don’t know if I’d have walked through the door of the doctor’s office that day. I don’t know if I’d have been able to hear the doctor when she said, “You don’t have to live like this.”

The people who were warned off or scared away from reasonable medical treatment, the people who heard Tom Cruise’s bullshit and felt just a little bit worse than they already felt (and if you’ve never felt bad enough to go on medication, oh, I hope you never ever do), those are the people who got “destroyed,” and the Internet had nothing to do with it.

A.

The Internet Killed Tom Cruise, Too

Excuses, excuses:

Cruise never jumps on a couch.

It is Oprah who seeds the idea that he should stand on it. She thanks Cruise for attending her recent Legends Ball, where she honored Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. “I turned and looked at one point and you were standing in the chair going, ‘Yes! Yes!’ ” she gushes to Cruise. “I loved that enthusiasm.” Minutes later, he stands on the couch for a second, and after she and the audience cheer that, he does it again. When she continues pressing about if he wants to marry Holmes, he exhales, “I’m standing on your couch!” as if that’s the answer he thought was enough. All told, Cruise on the couch — the key image of what the gossip blogs deemed his meltdown — is less than three seconds of airtime.

The distinction between standing and jumping is small but significant. We imagine Cruise bouncing on the couch — we can even picture it — because the Internet convinced us it happened. The echoing blogosphere screaming “Kills!” and “Jumps!” rewrote over what little of the actual episode people saw.

For two decades, Cruise had tried to keep the spotlight on his work. Now, it was fixated on him. Even the old guard — after years of chafing under his publicity restrictions, and finally freed from the need to appease the powerful Pat Kingsley — happily spun everything to fit the new narrative: Cruise was crazy.

Guided by his sister’s inexperienced hand, Cruise could only oblige, proposing to Katie Holmes and then debating the use of antidepressants (which Scientology opposes), specifically by a postpartum Brooke Shields, on The Today Show with Matt Lauer.

So it’s the Internet, and his sister, and not, say, Tom Cruise opening his big fat yawp and deciding to be the world’s least sympathetic asshole, to blame for the destruction of his image.

That is, by the way, all we’re talking about here. The destruction of Tom Cruise’s image as some kind of heroic movie star, and the subsequent effect on his ability to earn for himself and his loved ones. The headline on this piece is “How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star.”

The Internet told us Tom Cruise killed Oprah. The truth is the Internet tried to kill him.

Tom Cruise continues to make movies and some of them are okay and some of them are shit (the ten seconds of Oblivion with Morgan Freeman were the only ten seconds worth watching). We have GOT to stop equating “suffered criticism for saying and/or doing something stupid” with MURDER. Last I heard, Tom Cruise wasn’t missing any meals.

You know who might be missing meals, though? People who heard Tom Cruise call them weak and silly and stupid for seeking help for their illness. Fuck whether he jumped on a couch on Oprah or not. What mattered was this:

“These drugs are dangerous. I have actually helped people come off.

“When you talk about postpartum, you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins. There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that.

“You can use vitamins to help a woman through those things.”

I take that personally because believe me when I say this: If my doctors thought this way, if my family thought this way, if my husband thought this way, I would be dead right now.

I would have slit my wrists, or made a hole in the river, or walked into traffic. I thought about doing ALL THESE THINGS before I got medicated. I thought about them more than once.

You know what I do instead? I rock my baby to sleep, I make dinner, I watch TV. I go to work at a job that interests and engages me, I come home and write and see friends and bake cakes. And every morning I take pills and when I do, I think of the doctor who took me seriously when I said I needed help, and provided it, and I thank God she existed and I thank God for those pills. That’s all this is, and that’s all it is for anybody navigating the horrible process of everyday living, who can’t sort out how their brains engage with the world.

Now, I don’t give a fuck what Tom Cruise has to say, because I’m stable and I have supportive medical professionals around me and people at home who have my back. But if I was alone? Or scared? If I took what a movie star said seriously, the way so many people seem to do when they admire somebody’s work? If I thought what he said was important and it mattered because an entire media gossip industry has for his entire life told me that it did, well, I don’t know if I’d have walked through the door of the doctor’s office that day. I don’t know if I’d have been able to hear the doctor when she said, “You don’t have to live like this.”

The people who were warned off or scared away from reasonable medical treatment, the people who heard Tom Cruise’s bullshit and felt just a little bit worse than they already felt (and if you’ve never felt bad enough to go on medication, oh, I hope you never ever do), those are the people who got “destroyed,” and the Internet had nothing to do with it.

A.

The Internet Killed Tom Cruise, Too

Excuses, excuses:

Cruise never jumps on a couch.

It is Oprah who seeds the idea that he should stand on it. She thanks Cruise for attending her recent Legends Ball, where she honored Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. “I turned and looked at one point and you were standing in the chair going, ‘Yes! Yes!’ ” she gushes to Cruise. “I loved that enthusiasm.” Minutes later, he stands on the couch for a second, and after she and the audience cheer that, he does it again. When she continues pressing about if he wants to marry Holmes, he exhales, “I’m standing on your couch!” as if that’s the answer he thought was enough. All told, Cruise on the couch — the key image of what the gossip blogs deemed his meltdown — is less than three seconds of airtime.

The distinction between standing and jumping is small but significant. We imagine Cruise bouncing on the couch — we can even picture it — because the Internet convinced us it happened. The echoing blogosphere screaming “Kills!” and “Jumps!” rewrote over what little of the actual episode people saw.

For two decades, Cruise had tried to keep the spotlight on his work. Now, it was fixated on him. Even the old guard — after years of chafing under his publicity restrictions, and finally freed from the need to appease the powerful Pat Kingsley — happily spun everything to fit the new narrative: Cruise was crazy.

Guided by his sister’s inexperienced hand, Cruise could only oblige, proposing to Katie Holmes and then debating the use of antidepressants (which Scientology opposes), specifically by a postpartum Brooke Shields, on The Today Show with Matt Lauer.

So it’s the Internet, and his sister, and not, say, Tom Cruise opening his big fat yawp and deciding to be the world’s least sympathetic asshole, to blame for the destruction of his image.

That is, by the way, all we’re talking about here. The destruction of Tom Cruise’s image as some kind of heroic movie star, and the subsequent effect on his ability to earn for himself and his loved ones. The headline on this piece is “How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star.”

The Internet told us Tom Cruise killed Oprah. The truth is the Internet tried to kill him.

Tom Cruise continues to make movies and some of them are okay and some of them are shit (the ten seconds of Oblivion with Morgan Freeman were the only ten seconds worth watching). We have GOT to stop equating “suffered criticism for saying and/or doing something stupid” with MURDER. Last I heard, Tom Cruise wasn’t missing any meals.

You know who might be missing meals, though? People who heard Tom Cruise call them weak and silly and stupid for seeking help for their illness. Fuck whether he jumped on a couch on Oprah or not. What mattered was this:

“These drugs are dangerous. I have actually helped people come off.

“When you talk about postpartum, you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins. There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that.

“You can use vitamins to help a woman through those things.”

I take that personally because believe me when I say this: If my doctors thought this way, if my family thought this way, if my husband thought this way, I would be dead right now.

I would have slit my wrists, or made a hole in the river, or walked into traffic. I thought about doing ALL THESE THINGS before I got medicated. I thought about them more than once.

You know what I do instead? I rock my baby to sleep, I make dinner, I watch TV. I go to work at a job that interests and engages me, I come home and write and see friends and bake cakes. And every morning I take pills and when I do, I think of the doctor who took me seriously when I said I needed help, and provided it, and I thank God she existed and I thank God for those pills. That’s all this is, and that’s all it is for anybody navigating the horrible process of everyday living, who can’t sort out how their brains engage with the world.

Now, I don’t give a fuck what Tom Cruise has to say, because I’m stable and I have supportive medical professionals around me and people at home who have my back. But if I was alone? Or scared? If I took what a movie star said seriously, the way so many people seem to do when they admire somebody’s work? If I thought what he said was important and it mattered because an entire media gossip industry has for his entire life told me that it did, well, I don’t know if I’d have walked through the door of the doctor’s office that day. I don’t know if I’d have been able to hear the doctor when she said, “You don’t have to live like this.”

The people who were warned off or scared away from reasonable medical treatment, the people who heard Tom Cruise’s bullshit and felt just a little bit worse than they already felt (and if you’ve never felt bad enough to go on medication, oh, I hope you never ever do), those are the people who got “destroyed,” and the Internet had nothing to do with it.

A.

The Internet Killed Tom Cruise, Too

Excuses, excuses:

Cruise never jumps on a couch.

It is Oprah who seeds the idea that he should stand on it. She thanks Cruise for attending her recent Legends Ball, where she honored Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King. “I turned and looked at one point and you were standing in the chair going, ‘Yes! Yes!’ ” she gushes to Cruise. “I loved that enthusiasm.” Minutes later, he stands on the couch for a second, and after she and the audience cheer that, he does it again. When she continues pressing about if he wants to marry Holmes, he exhales, “I’m standing on your couch!” as if that’s the answer he thought was enough. All told, Cruise on the couch — the key image of what the gossip blogs deemed his meltdown — is less than three seconds of airtime.

The distinction between standing and jumping is small but significant. We imagine Cruise bouncing on the couch — we can even picture it — because the Internet convinced us it happened. The echoing blogosphere screaming “Kills!” and “Jumps!” rewrote over what little of the actual episode people saw.

For two decades, Cruise had tried to keep the spotlight on his work. Now, it was fixated on him. Even the old guard — after years of chafing under his publicity restrictions, and finally freed from the need to appease the powerful Pat Kingsley — happily spun everything to fit the new narrative: Cruise was crazy.

Guided by his sister’s inexperienced hand, Cruise could only oblige, proposing to Katie Holmes and then debating the use of antidepressants (which Scientology opposes), specifically by a postpartum Brooke Shields, on The Today Show with Matt Lauer.

So it’s the Internet, and his sister, and not, say, Tom Cruise opening his big fat yawp and deciding to be the world’s least sympathetic asshole, to blame for the destruction of his image.

That is, by the way, all we’re talking about here. The destruction of Tom Cruise’s image as some kind of heroic movie star, and the subsequent effect on his ability to earn for himself and his loved ones. The headline on this piece is “How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star.”

The Internet told us Tom Cruise killed Oprah. The truth is the Internet tried to kill him.

Tom Cruise continues to make movies and some of them are okay and some of them are shit (the ten seconds of Oblivion with Morgan Freeman were the only ten seconds worth watching). We have GOT to stop equating “suffered criticism for saying and/or doing something stupid” with MURDER. Last I heard, Tom Cruise wasn’t missing any meals.

You know who might be missing meals, though? People who heard Tom Cruise call them weak and silly and stupid for seeking help for their illness. Fuck whether he jumped on a couch on Oprah or not. What mattered was this:

“These drugs are dangerous. I have actually helped people come off.

“When you talk about postpartum, you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins. There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that.

“You can use vitamins to help a woman through those things.”

I take that personally because believe me when I say this: If my doctors thought this way, if my family thought this way, if my husband thought this way, I would be dead right now.

I would have slit my wrists, or made a hole in the river, or walked into traffic. I thought about doing ALL THESE THINGS before I got medicated. I thought about them more than once.

You know what I do instead? I rock my baby to sleep, I make dinner, I watch TV. I go to work at a job that interests and engages me, I come home and write and see friends and bake cakes. And every morning I take pills and when I do, I think of the doctor who took me seriously when I said I needed help, and provided it, and I thank God she existed and I thank God for those pills. That’s all this is, and that’s all it is for anybody navigating the horrible process of everyday living, who can’t sort out how their brains engage with the world.

Now, I don’t give a fuck what Tom Cruise has to say, because I’m stable and I have supportive medical professionals around me and people at home who have my back. But if I was alone? Or scared? If I took what a movie star said seriously, the way so many people seem to do when they admire somebody’s work? If I thought what he said was important and it mattered because an entire media gossip industry has for his entire life told me that it did, well, I don’t know if I’d have walked through the door of the doctor’s office that day. I don’t know if I’d have been able to hear the doctor when she said, “You don’t have to live like this.”

The people who were warned off or scared away from reasonable medical treatment, the people who heard Tom Cruise’s bullshit and felt just a little bit worse than they already felt (and if you’ve never felt bad enough to go on medication, oh, I hope you never ever do), those are the people who got “destroyed,” and the Internet had nothing to do with it.

A.

The Daily Kingfish

I will be writing about Louisiana and NOLA politics at The Daily Kingfish. I will cross-post anything I think y’all might be interested in.

First Draft remains my top blogging priority. It is impossible to top our loyal and devoted readership, which has morphed over time into a crazy, dysfunctional online family complete with its very own crack van.

The Daily Kingfish

I will be writing about Louisiana and NOLA politics at The Daily Kingfish. I will cross-post anything I think y’all might be interested in.

First Draft remains my top blogging priority. It is impossible to top our loyal and devoted readership, which has morphed over time into a crazy, dysfunctional online family complete with its very own crack van.

The Daily Kingfish

I will be writing about Louisiana and NOLA politics at The Daily Kingfish. I will cross-post anything I think y’all might be interested in.

First Draft remains my top blogging priority. It is impossible to top our loyal and devoted readership, which has morphed over time into a crazy, dysfunctional online family complete with its very own crack van.

The Daily Kingfish

I will be writing about Louisiana and NOLA politics at The Daily Kingfish. I will cross-post anything I think y’all might be interested in.

First Draft remains my top blogging priority. It is impossible to top our loyal and devoted readership, which has morphed over time into a crazy, dysfunctional online family complete with its very own crack van.

The Daily Kingfish

I will be writing about Louisiana and NOLA politics at The Daily Kingfish. I will cross-post anything I think y’all might be interested in.

First Draft remains my top blogging priority. It is impossible to top our loyal and devoted readership, which has morphed over time into a crazy, dysfunctional online family complete with its very own crack van.

The Daily Kingfish

I will be writing about Louisiana and NOLA politics at The Daily Kingfish. I will cross-post anything I think y’all might be interested in.

First Draft remains my top blogging priority. It is impossible to top our loyal and devoted readership, which has morphed over time into a crazy, dysfunctional online family complete with its very own crack van.

Odd & Sods: Almost St. Patrick’s Day Edition

The-who odds--sods

I haven’t done one of these hit and miss omnibus posts in a long time. I woke up feeling all omnibussy and hit and missy today, so it’s time to board the not-so magic bus:

Passings: They say that deaths come in threes, I don’t believe it but I can pretend to. It seems to have happened with this week’s troika:

Joe McGinnis wrote only one great book but it was a classic: The Selling of the President. McGinnis went undercover in Tricky Dick’s 1968 campaign, which was the first fully modern teevee driven campaign. It was the first time most of us met Roger Fucking Ailes too. Slate’s Dave Weigel has a swell personal remembrance of his friend Joe.

Tony Benn former cabinet member and highly divisive British Labour party politician died this morning at the age of 88. Benn became a beloved elder statesman even though his foes in the 1980’s Labour party infighting still haven’t quite forgiven him. The Guardian’s Michael White has a balanced and very well-written pieceabout the man who was behind Labour’s 1983 manifesto, which has been called the longest suicide note in history.

Finally, the movies “voice of God,” Hal Douglas has died at the age of 89. He was the previews voice over guy who was best known for the phrase “in a world with…” And now we’re without him.

Sympathy for the Devil: Historical ignorance is on display in the MSM commentary about Putin, Crimea, and Ukraine. The Russians are NOT crazy to see Ukraine as a vital national interest and Ukrainian governments, past and present, have done some needlessly stupid and provocative things such as trying to join NATO and honoring World War II era “nationalists” who collaborated with the Nazis. The best thing I’ve seen written about this was by Andre P. Tysgankov in The Nation.

True Detective Backlash: I really liked Nic Pizzolato’s True Detective but some of the encomiums were a bit fulsome and over the top. It made me realize how underrated some of FX’s recent dramas have been including The Americans, The Bridge and, one of my all time favorites, Justified, which has some of the best dialogue this side of the late Elmore Leonard whose novella inspired the show. Anyway, NOLA twitter legend Brian P Moore has written a typically incisive piece about True Detective’s virtues and vices.

It’s PI Day: Geeks, nerds, and dorks everywhere are geeking, nerding, and dorking out about it. It makes me think instead of pie loving FBI agent Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks fame:

Thanks to my old online pal Robert (Parenthetical) Beverly for posting that on his Facebook page and jogging my memory. Mmm, pie.

Saint Paddy’s Day In NOLA: We have multiple parades and I can be found at the same spot at the corner of Louisiana Avenue and Magazine Street every year for the Irish Channel parade. My dear friends Greg and Christy have an annual open house that started off small but has grown like Topsy O’Kudzu. As you can see we have some colorful friends:

189234_1930193056508_7977676_n

That’s Greg and Christy with a guy named (what else?) Patrick in a leprechaun suit. I think he may have done it for poor-boys and grog:

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

That is all.

Odd & Sods: Almost St. Patrick’s Day Edition

The-who odds--sods

I haven’t done one of these hit and miss omnibus posts in a long time. I woke up feeling all omnibussy and hit and missy today, so it’s time to board the not-so magic bus:

Passings: They say that deaths come in threes, I don’t believe it but I can pretend to. It seems to have happened with this week’s troika:

Joe McGinnis wrote only one great book but it was a classic: The Selling of the President. McGinnis went undercover in Tricky Dick’s 1968 campaign, which was the first fully modern teevee driven campaign. It was the first time most of us met Roger Fucking Ailes too. Slate’s Dave Weigel has a swell personal remembrance of his friend Joe.

Tony Benn former cabinet member and highly divisive British Labour party politician died this morning at the age of 88. Benn became a beloved elder statesman even though his foes in the 1980’s Labour party infighting still haven’t quite forgiven him. The Guardian’s Michael White has a balanced and very well-written pieceabout the man who was behind Labour’s 1983 manifesto, which has been called the longest suicide note in history.

Finally, the movies “voice of God,” Hal Douglas has died at the age of 89. He was the previews voice over guy who was best known for the phrase “in a world with…” And now we’re without him.

Sympathy for the Devil: Historical ignorance is on display in the MSM commentary about Putin, Crimea, and Ukraine. The Russians are NOT crazy to see Ukraine as a vital national interest and Ukrainian governments, past and present, have done some needlessly stupid and provocative things such as trying to join NATO and honoring World War II era “nationalists” who collaborated with the Nazis. The best thing I’ve seen written about this was by Andre P. Tysgankov in The Nation.

True Detective Backlash: I really liked Nic Pizzolato’s True Detective but some of the encomiums were a bit fulsome and over the top. It made me realize how underrated some of FX’s recent dramas have been including The Americans, The Bridge and, one of my all time favorites, Justified, which has some of the best dialogue this side of the late Elmore Leonard whose novella inspired the show. Anyway, NOLA twitter legend Brian P Moore has written a typically incisive piece about True Detective’s virtues and vices.

It’s PI Day: Geeks, nerds, and dorks everywhere are geeking, nerding, and dorking out about it. It makes me think instead of pie loving FBI agent Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks fame:

Thanks to my old online pal Robert (Parenthetical) Beverly for posting that on his Facebook page and jogging my memory. Mmm, pie.

Saint Paddy’s Day In NOLA: We have multiple parades and I can be found at the same spot at the corner of Louisiana Avenue and Magazine Street every year for the Irish Channel parade. My dear friends Greg and Christy have an annual open house that started off small but has grown like Topsy O’Kudzu. As you can see we have some colorful friends:

189234_1930193056508_7977676_n

That’s Greg and Christy with a guy named (what else?) Patrick in a leprechaun suit. I think he may have done it for poor-boys and grog:

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

That is all.