by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

“He was ”Mason Jarred'” (dons sunglasses….”YEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!”)

Starting Five

Herring, Northam, Fairfax. All three have appeared in black face at one point.

Virginia Wahoos

What the hell, Virginia?

Your governor, Ralph Northam, apologizes for dressing up in black face as Michael Jackson (too many jokes) and winning a dance contest after he’s pretty sure that he wasn’t in blackface or a KKK hood in his medical school yearbook?

A couple days later your Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax, is accused of sexual assault stemming from a 2004 incident involving a woman who is now a Stanford fellow in politics. Fairfax never donned blackface, as he was born with one.

And then your Attorney General, Mark Herring, not wanting to be left out, preemptively announces that he once donned blackface, in 1980 as an undergrad at UVA, to dress up as rapper Kurtis Blow.

Blackface. Redskins. This state has some appropriation problems (the Washington team trains in suburban Virginia).

“I feel like I’m living in an episode of a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel where people are rushing to judgment, and it feels like if I don’t proclaim judgment right away, it somehow reflects on me,” State Senator J. Chapman Petersen, a Northern Virginia Democrat, told The New York Times. “I think we need to slow down.”

Oddly, we agree with him. Pitchfork Twitter wants everyone who’s ever offended anyone to be fired. Is Pitchfork Twitter even holding down a job?

2. Balaclava Face

This should’ve come from the J. Peterman collection and been a subplot on Seinfeld. Jerry and Larry are probably kicking themselves that they never thought of it. Urban sombrero was easy, but blackface balaclava?

Luxury Italian designer Gucci were selling these for $890 but apparently too many Virginia legislators were ordering them or too many people complained, and now they’ve been taken off the market and off-line. Which means that if you did purchase one before everyone got all butt hurt about facial protection, it’s likely worth five times that on e-Bay right now.

3. B-B-B-B-B-Billionaire

But where do they play beer pong?

We’ve hesitated to enter the fray on Howard Schultz and the 70% marginal tax rate, etc., as we have friends who do exceedingly well for themselves and sometimes when we air our views it creates tension (and then they’ll no longer pay for lunch, and who wants that?).

First of all, Schultz was never going to win this election but the moment he told Andrew Ross Sorkin that he should not be called a billionaire but rather “people of means,” he completely lost me. You’re a billionaire, Howard. Own it. You own most everything else.

For a quick moment: Howard was saying this to the man who created a TV show titled Billions, but you know…

Almost all of us will never earn $10 million in one year (and devoting 90 minutes per day to a pro bono blog isn’t getting us any closer) and fewer still will ever be worth a billion dollars. For this writer, it’s not about jealousy. And it’s not even about taxing the rich excessively (not necessarily in favor of that).

So what’s it about? It’s about thinking, and it’ll always be hypothetical, that if we ever accumulated that much money we’d almost feel shameful about it. We’d want to be like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett (or Gavin Belson) and use our vast resources to help people. And many wealthy people do.

But it’s also about wondering just how much money one person should have while thousands of others go hungry or homeless. Well, they’ve earned it, some of my friends will say. And to a certain point, they have. But past a certain point laws and regulations are put in place by fellow “people of means” that skew the game in favor of the wealthy. And those people want nothing at all to do with the other 99%.

There’s a reason the Hamptons are zoned so that workers literally have to bus themelves in to do things like lawn care and pool cleaning. Or that Blade runs ads on CNBC so that hedge-funders and Wall Street types may fly directly from Manhattan to Easthampton and Bridgehampton between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Saves time, sure. But it’s also a way to never have to deal with the riffraff. They’d rather not know. And they’ve earned enough so that they don’t need to.

People like me ask, “How much is enough?” while people like them look down on us, in that patronizing Get Out “Oh, no, no, no” way because there is no such thing as enough. Enough? That’s funny to them. But you look around and you see films such as There Will Be Blood or Gary Cooper’s Bright Leaf (same idea 50 or so years earlier but with tobacco) or documentaries such as The Queen of Versailles and you realize that even with all that access, so many billionaires are just as miserable as anyone else. Jeff Bezos is getting a divorce.

Of course, most of us say, I’d like to have that money and see if I’d be miserable. The answer is that if you’re miserable at middle class you’d be miserable rich. And if you’re happy rich you’d probably be happy middle class. The things that actually make us happy are having a purpose, having people to love (and who love us), having a loyal pet, developing talents that provide self-esteem and, lastly, a private jet (!).

And at the end of the day the dispossessed, many of whom work just as long hours at less prestigious gigs, have few options outside of violence. That’s not legal, you say. Fine. But a lot of things that the wealthy get away with are only “legal” because the game is rigged in their favor. We got a chuckle the other night when President Trump promised that “America will never be socialist.”

Really? Then what was the great bailout of 2008?

4. Fake News Vs. King Of The Jews

Really needs illustrations…

So we were sitting in church last weekend and we had this crazy thought: How many Evangelicals out there lionize Donald Trump and repeat one of his favorite mantras “Fake News” in one breath and then pick up or quote from the Bible in the next? And the reason we ask that is, Don’t they realize that the Bible is JOURNALISM?

Have they ever sat and realized, ‘Wow, if someone had not written down these events on papyrus as they were occurring, we’d never know about it.’ Man, imagine that. What would these people do on Sunday mornings, and how would they be able to commit their hypocrisies without a historical record to stand behind?

We’re not going quite this far, buuuuut…

Anyway, it was just a thought. The next time an evangelical, or any Christian, hits you with “Fake News,” remind them that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were really the original journalists. And man did they have a whopper of a story to tell (they must have colluded with one another the way the “failing” New York Times and Washington Post do). And yes, we saw that the NYT blew out its revenue numbers in digital this past year.

5. The Daze of the Dolphins

All aquariums are terrible ideas—sorry—but even more so placing one in the middle of the Sonoran desert. This week a fourth dolphin died at Scottsdale’s Dolphinaris, a tourist facility that has only been open two years.

Fish gotta swim. So do certain mammals. Keeping dolphins and whale in aquariums, I don’t care how large, is like asking someone to live their lives in a walk-in closet. It’s cruel and inhumane and I’ll put their welfare over little Billy’s desire to pet one. But that’s me. I’m weird that way.

Dolphinaris is closing temporarily. It needs to close permanently.

Music 101

No More I Love You’s

Man. How many female vocalists heard Annie Lennox crush these vocals and were too despondent to even get out of bed? In the early and mid-Eighties Lennox was only known as the platinum-blonde half of Eurythmics and her vocal range isn’t something folks discussed as if she were, say, the distaff Freddie Mercury. That all changed when she seemingly underwent a metamorphosis (she’s not even blonde anymore!) and released this international hit in 1995.

The song was actually written and released nine years earlier by a British New Wave duo (sound familiar, Annie?) called The Lover Speaks but failed to crack the Top 50 in the US or UK. Lennox’s version went to No. 2 in the UK and No. 23 heere.

Remote Patrol

All About Eve

8 p.m. TCM

“Fasten your seatbelts—it’s going to be a bumpy night.” In Margo Channing, Bette Davis fashioned the most gloriously bitchy, witty and endearing diva Hollywood had yet seen. Also, keep a close eye on the ditzy blonde who shows up at the party that is the hub of the film: that’s a young and already comically gifted Marilyn Monroe (this film ranks 28th on AFI’s Top 100 list).

7 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. JW –

    I appreciated your Fake News Vs. King Of The Jews item. I do hope you realize (and I’m sure you do since you’re a pretty smart guy) that not all Bible-believing church-goers are Trump supporters. In fact, during ’16 election, I worked at one of the most conservative Christian organizations in America (Focus on the Family) and didn’t vote for that guy – never felt pressured to do so, either.

    Also, re: your commentary on aquariums. I see where you’re coming from. When you’re designed to swim in open waters and are confined to walled tanks, there’s something not quite natural about it. I’m not sure if inhumane is quite right – though certainly the Scottsdale, AZ, place needs to get shut down (4 dolphin deaths in 2 years?!).

    I live in the Chicago suburbs and there’s the Shedd Aquarium downtown. I’ve been wanting to go for a while. I have been to the Aquarium in Seattle, though, and it’s great. Most mainstream aquariums help kids appreciate the beauty of these creatures and help to spread the word on conservation at a young age (the dangers of over-fishing, plastic shopping bags, pollution, etc.). Same with zoos. There are some good lessons that they have taught my kids (and I’ve learned a ton by going with them).

    All that to say, while I realize you’ve decried the existence of aquariums (and previously, zoos), not all of these places are not the devil that you make them out to be.

  2. I want to know who at Gucci thought that sweater was a GOOD IDEA! It did make me laugh though, I mean, what the hell, Gucci?!

    On the other hand, I think Italy is the country where they celebrate some traditional holiday where many of the village people (not to be confused with THE Village People…) parade thru town wearing hooded outfits that look alarmingly like America’s KKK get-ups. And they have NO inclination to stop since their outfits are far older & steeped in THEIR tradition. I don’t know if Italy has any “tradition” with “minstrel” shows or “blackface” so maybe it’s possible they truly didn’t see a problem?

    Still, Gucci sells internationally & what could they have been thinking?

  3. Wait a minute! You think it’s “INHUMANE” to house dolphins/whales in large “aquariums” but have NO qualms killing off Grandpa & Grandma?! Um, how do you feel about housing the human elderly in aquariums? 😉

    • Susie B,

      I’m outdoors enjoying life at the moment but please do not misrepresent me. Grandpa and grandma may live as long as they please. I just don’t think taxpayers should subsidize it to an extreme amount past a certain age. And if you had read carefully, you’d know that. Logan’s Run was literally about killing off people when they turn 30. Your analogy does not work. But I still love you. 😊

      • jdubs, giving the elderly only $1000/month in Medicare $ is tantamount to KILLING THEM OFF! And YOU know that. Only the RICH would survive, just as the Republicans (& apparently now you) want it…

        BTW, YOU can rest your head about those dolphins; rumor has it they are ELDERLY. 😉

  4. Okay, I’ll bite! The things that actually make us happy are:
    1) having a purpose
    2) having people to love (and who love us)
    3) having a loyal pet
    4) developing talents that provide self-esteem
    5) a private jet 🙂
    I’d add:
    6) unconditional giving–having an altruistic heart is its own reward
    7) continuing to learn–my father tried to enroll in college courses on his deathbed
    8) living your truth/authenticity
    9) striving to be fit and in good health

  5. Oz, I will double bite….

    I like zoos and aquariums. And sadly and minus a stupid amount of money paid for a Dolphin experience. It was not fun and my animal sense told me….it was REALLY not fun for the dolphins. The ones that died probably had lots of interaction with people. I am too lazy but how many Flippers were there? Did I just date myself? Sad.

    Gucci – believes in all news is good news.

    And lastly I am happy when I can separate the bad from the good. It took years to develop that and still a work in progress. Going to the deep end with Flipper.

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