Sunday, December 11, 2011

ABC's new "sitcom" "Work it" needs to go.

ABC has a new "sitcom"  coming in January called "work it".

Well, from what I've seen, it's awful. It's a tired retread of Bosom Buddies and just dumb. But more, it's offensive. Not only for the thinly veiled transphobia, but also for the subtle passive LGBT hate that i think it represents and reinforces. Take a look at how ABC is tripping over themselves to make sure the characters are not perceived as gay.

"Alpha males?". Whew. Thanks for clearing that up ABC. I know a lot of alpha bottoms. Some even work at ABC. 

Here's my re-work of the abc press release

(emphasis added. red is my attempt to out ABC's subtext)

about work it

From "Friends" producers Andrew Reich & Ted Cohen comes "Work It," a high-concept comedy about two unrepentant guy's guys (they're not gay, no way!)who, unable to find work, dress as women to get jobs. Not only do they pull it off, but they just might learn to be better men in the process.
Lee Standish is a quick-witted and likable family man (like we said NOT GAY!) His best friend, Angel Ortiz, is a hotheaded ladies' man (these guys fuck women, not men (yuck)) with no filter. The two of them worked at Pontiac -- Lee as a top salesman and Angel as head mechanic -- until the company went out of business. Out of work for a year, their job prospects don't look too bright. They've learned the hard way that the current recession is more of a "man-cession" (seriously? as if)and their skills aren't in high demand. Then the almost-broke Lee finds out that Coreco Pharmaceuticals is looking to hire sales reps -- female sales reps. He takes a chance and goes into the interview dressed in heels, a skirt and make-up. The transformed Lee gets hired -- as a woman.
Lee wants to stay true to his agreement with Angel that, if one of them is working, then the other will be too, so he tells Angel what he has to do if he wants a job at Coreco. Angel, who is miserable working at a fast-food dump, is desperate to make a change; he decides to swallow his pride and go for it. Unfortunately he tanks his interview, but when he fixes the boss's car, he too is hired – also as a woman.
To stay employed, Lee and Angel must put aside their alpha male selves (alpha = straight. have we told you they don't want dick?)and learn to navigate their all-female workplace. Their presence at Coreco with their new female coworkers initially raises a few eyebrows, but the company's two newest sales reps find ways to put almost everyone at ease: Enthusiastic and sometimes na├»ve Kristin is excited when the female Lee tells her that she, too, is a single mom. Kelly, the office party girl, is thrilled to have two more friends to hit the town with. Only Grace, the somewhat icy regional sales leader, keeps a suspicious eye on Lee and Angel, convinced that there's something seriously wrong with them. To complicate matters, when Angel meets their new boss, Vanessa, he is immediately smitten with her(by the way viewer, these guys are apple pie american vagina fuckers. even when they're dressed like women!)  But there are some serious obstacles in the way of their romance: She's his boss, and -- no small detail -- she thinks he's a woman. (BC a woman liking a woman would be impossible!)
For his part, Lee can't disclose his feminine secret to his wife (this is a good time to remind you, scared american, that this guy, wait for it, is straight. YUP!), Connie, or to their 14-year-old daughter (oh no, he's not pretending to be straight, he gets it up for poon-tang and makes non gay babies. with woman. bc he's straight!), Kat, so he tells them he got a job at a drug company – as himself. Connie notices that, since Lee has begun working at Coreco, he seems to be more understanding and sensitive to her needs. The opposite is true of Connie's unemployed brother, Brian, who is also Lee and Angel's drinking buddy (not only is he straight he does stuff straight guys do with other straight guys, i.e. not sucking their dicks, drinking American beer!). Sensitive and understanding he is not, so they definitely can't reveal their secret to him.
Lee and Angel quickly realize how much they have to learn to get by in their new environment. It's not just how to walk in heels and tighten up with Spanx. For the first time, they're really listening to the women in their lives (one last thing, viewer: these guys have women in their lives.) and opening themselves up to a whole new realm of experiences(and we DONT mean sex without one dick and one or more vaginas). In the process, they're learning that to be a better man may mean having to be a better woman.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Specific Proposal for the Occupy Wall Street Protest: A True Campaign Finance Fix

Much has been said about the Occupy Wall Street protests lacking specific goals or proposals. Politically speaking, one of the fundamental problems is the out of control influence of money in our political system. Whether it's hedge fund managers or wall street firm barons or large corporations, it all comes down to the price of access. More crudely stated: most if not all of our elected officials are "bought." To be sure, it's not always corrupt or nefarious. Running a campaign costs money...a lot of it…Democrat, Republican whatever. And that system forces our elected officials to spend a larger and larger proportion of their time with their hands out. And the donors expect, and get, access for their giving. The result is the average American ends up having FAR less than average access. When Joe Schmo calls his Congressmen, will he get a personal call back? Or will it be the fund manager who bundled millions of dollars of contributions on Wall Street that year? Or maybe it will be his company's lobbyist who gets a personal lunch date that week. But it's the 99% that are left in the cold.

I came up against this first-hand when I ran for New Jersey State Senate in 2003. My solution was to accept no contributions larger than $100 so that the playing field was equal among all donors. But in the end I wound up hurting myself with an under-funded campaign. I stuck to my guns for the principle of the thing and maybe today with a more developed internet-savvy population things would be different. But forcing principled candidates into under-funded Quixotic campaigns just yields victories for the monied candidates and access to the 1%.

Of course public financing is the way to go. In the 1980 Presidential race Carter and Reagan took no private money: the entire campaign was publicly financed. But it's just not as simple as that debate anymore. The Supreme Court has established that political campaign contributions are the same as protected First Amendment speech. The First Amendment is first for a reason. If that interpretation persists, we're not going to see a change in private contributions anytime soon.

So the question becomes: how can we address the problem but not run afoul of the First Amendment implications? Answer: a federal clearing house for campaign contributions. Run it under the FEC. Call it The Federal Election-Contribution Clearing House (F.E.C.H.) Call it whatever. Fund it through the optional $1 Presidential Campaign donation on Americans' tax returns. Take all the limits off: anyone can give what he wants with no caps. But here's the key difference: The money is, for lack of a better word, laundered. You write the check, it goes into the clearing house, where any connection to who's giving is removed -- laundered -- but the designated candidate gets the money placed into his campaign account. You want to tell the world you gave a million bucks to Mitt Romney, go for it. Maybe he'll believe you. Maybe four hundred other people will say the same thing. But the candidate will technically never know who gave what or how much. Now, my bet is we'll see a steep DROP in campaign contributions when the givers know they won't get automatic access and payback. Their First Amendment right to give (and blab about it) remains in tact. Here's another bet: because the flow of dirty money will end, we'll then start a real debate about public financing. We've got nothing to lose. It's time for radical solutions. And this is one everyone just might accept.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Get Out

Being out...on tv, in your world, in your life...makes a difference in other people's lives. Being proudly out in the media means we are not subject to, or defined by, the two dimensional and often offensively clownish stereotypes hollywood and the media create for us. If you are in the public eye and in the closet, you are missing a critical chance to make a difference in the lives of struggling LGBT youth. A difference that you might not know about until a decade later:

A message I got yesterday:

Jim from The Mole, right? Wow. I hope you don't mind me being all Facebook creeper-ish, but I've been re-watching the first season and was curious of whatever became of you :P I had the biggest crush on you when I was like 11! You were one of the first gay men I came across on tv or otherwise who didn't make me want crawl into the closet for life.


Over the years I've gotten a bunch of these of messages. Every one means the world to me because each is a reminder that by simply being myself years ago on a silly reality show, I made even a small difference in someone's life. I deserve no particular credit for this, I was just being myself. The credit goes to the young guy or girl that felt a little less alone and mustered his or her own courage to be him or herself.

New York has shown us that the tide is turning in our direction. Our enemies, the forces of ignorance and, yes, hate, are going to be doubling down over the next few years.
Now is the time to spend the capital you have: you know who you are. Or will you wait another 5 or 10 years and miss the chance to make a difference NOW when it really counts? We need you.

Jim Morrison
Repost if you want.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dear American Media: Enough "Royal" Wedding BS

The amount of attention US media outlets are paying to the circus of leeches, aka the royal wedding, is simply offensive. On so many levels. It is offensive to the tens of thousands of men and women who died liberating this country from the tyranny of the British monarchy. I don't care if it was 200+ years ago and we now have a "special relationship." This is foundational stuff. It means something. People died. Millions have suffered and died world-wide under the heel of colonial subjugation. That the monarchy now has the face of harmless rich idiot dilettantes who find time in their busy work-week to (laudably) engage in charitable works is irrelevant. If the British public wants to keep their mascots, so be it. But our news media owe us more than devoting hours of coverage to such nonsense. Enough.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Let's Not Forget Zimbabwe

Good opinion piece in the NYT on Zimbabwe today:

In this time of uprisings and intervention on the behalf of those struggling to oust dictators and thieves, it's important to highlight the ones we've been ignoring for years now. The situation in Libya and especially Ivory Coast puts into sharp relief the utter failure of the international community, South Africa specifically, to address the tragedy of Zimbabwe. Mugabe has, for far too long gotten a pass because of his anti-colonial liberation creds. I'm not calling for intervention ala Libya, but like President Obama said the other day, just because some interventions are wrong or ill-advised, doesn't mean they ALL are... or that every situation calls the same solution that we must simply accept or reject. It's time to re-examine what we're doing, and NOT doing about Zimbabwe. Goodwin's got it right: that starts with getting South Africa to do something real and meaningful

Monday, April 18, 2011

GOP to Donald Trump: "You're hired!"

Donald Trump is NOT running for President. Trump, a master of taking his companies into bankruptcy and walking away richer for it, has a new boss and a new bankrupt endeavor to bail out: The Republican party and its chances for 2012.

The GOP has a problem: The American Taliban tea party nutcases. The biggest fear that every old-school party republican has these days is getting “tea partied”: getting primaried or booted out of office by one of the new crazies. 2011 is about building candidacy buzz and momentum up to the convention and for the general beyond. That time is now. But if any tea party nuts (e.g. Palin or Bachman) build traction and actually win or, more likely, push the ultimate republican nominee too far right, the GOP will lose. They need a (seemingly) moderate candidate to take down President Obama. And they also need someone the public would find appealing as a steward to a crappy economy. A business person, a success story. But they can’t have the latter and also alienate the strident but finicky tea baggers.

Enter Trump. It’s a complete waste of time to talk about whether he believes any of the birther nonsense. Of course he doesn’t. But it’s also a complete waste of time to talk about whether he’s actually going to run for President. He won’t. It takes about a nano-second of thought to figure out that the sleazy “Don” is not going to open up his life and all his business deals to the world of presidential campaign politics. It’ll never happen. So, as Spock said in Star Trek V (yes I’m a Star Trek geek), “if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” What remains? That Trump’s nonsense is serving a specific purpose that benefits the Republican party (and of course, him). If it were only about publicity, he wouldn’t need to throw in the presidential politics aspect of all this. He's a stalking horse for hire. The birther nonsense-spouting-media-darling that can take the wind from the sails ("sales" is actually more appropriate for these snake-oil vendors) from the other tea party would-be’s. And with his so-called business acumen he primes the pump for the GOP strategy of appealing to Americans wanting a businessman to fix what they'll claim are Obama's disastrous failings on the economy. He’s making it incredibly difficult for the other real nutcase right wingers to gain that traction. We’ve already seen Palin scramble to come to Trump’s defense. And, I might add, clip after clip of both Romney and Pawlenty (and Rove and Cantor) saying that the question of President Obama’s birthplace and citizenship is beyond the pale. See how moderate they are?

Trump will, at the right moment, fade back into his ridiculous TV show (with freshly boosted ratings) and bankruptcy deals making the eventual nominee look that much more moderate and sane. My guess is that he's been promised a cabinet position in one of these so-called moderate GOP candidate's administration. Of course we’ll never know because they will eventually lose. Unless the plan is just so crazy it might work. For starters because the media is going to keep giving him air. But remember, Trump is chillingly good at taking a bankrupt idea and somehow walking away with a boatload of money and biz-media laurels. He's been "hired" to do just that for the GOP, and the presidency is the prize. If they win, he’ll get an appointment to something. If they lose, he’s garnered months of publicity and ratings for his NBC circus. And as usual, it’s a win-win for Trump. How could he say no?

Jim Morrison