Sunday, February 22, 2015


During tonight's Academy Awards, they featured notable passings.

They ignored Joan Rivers.

That was a mistake and a huge error.

A certain princess of orthodox community wrote a bad book which became a feminist bible on film (I'm not referring to Susan Faludi who wrote the amazing Backlash).

That piece of trash from a piece of trash insulted and condemned Elaine May.

Elaine's 'failure' with 1976's Mikey and Nicky (it's now achieved status as a minor classic), the princess insisted, destroyed women's chances to direct.  And then came Ishtar, the princess insisted, which further destroyed women's chances to direct.

The princess upheld Jodie Foster as the anti-Elaine May -- a role that did little but piss people off (in the industry).

Jodie's now directed three films.

None were a hit.

None rival any of Elaine May's films -- not even Ishtar.

They were 'classy' films, 'genteel'  with a pedigree . . . of being worthless.

And I like Jodie.  But she's a far better actress than she is a director.  (And, as an actress, she chooses better scripts than she does a director.)

What does that have to do with anything?

The Princess Lied -- maybe Rob Reiner can do a new film based on that?

If Elaine destroyed women's chances (she didn't), then so did Joan Rivers.

Joan Rivers directed the 1978 film Rabbit Test (where Billy Crystal plays a pregnant man -- years before Ahnuld's Junior).

No, it wasn't a hit.

Nor was Fatso.

The Princess left out that film and its director as well.

That 1980 comedy was written and directed by Anne Bancroft.

It wasn't a hit either.

1980 also saw Nancy Walker direct the camp musical Can't Stop The Music which is now a camp classic but which bombed at the box office in its initial release..

1978 saw Jane Wagner write and direct the bomb Moment by Moment starring Lily Tomlin and John Travolta.

But in the little princess' mind, Elaine May destroyed women's chances to direct and set women back forever.

That lie is disproved by, among other things, 1983's Yentl.

Barbra Streisand tried to get a movie made from the short story as far back as 1968.

She learned that no one else had the faith in the project that she did and that she'd have to direct it.  She did. She co-wrote the screenplay as well.  She was also a producer.

She put everything on the line for that film and the result is a film classic, one of the best films of the 80s and certainly its finest musical.

The Princess Lied.

As a result, Elaine May -- hugely talented and gifted -- has been wrongly blamed in print when, in fact, her successes and her failures prompted other women to direct.

Joan Rivers is on a still very small list of women who have directed feature films.

Forgetting her runway commentary, forgetting her film appearances (including in the Mel Brooks' classic Spaceballs), just for being one of a small number of women to direct films in the sound era, she should have been included on the list.

Joan co-wrote a script that she went on to direct and that's still news when it happens for a woman today because it is so very rare (so very rare and so sadly rare).

Rare is on air mouth pieces who can get facts right.

Yousuf Basil and Holly Yan (CNN) report (text) the Islamic State has released a new video.  This video, if legitimate, may reveal that the Islamic State has over 20 prisoners who are members of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

The link also carries video where the CNN host and then a CNN reporter both open claiming that which has not been verified.  (After selling it hard, the host does then admit that CNN can't verify the authenticity of the video or who is shown in it.)

A really bad writer -- who depended on tongue-in-cheek smut to sell her bad book -- did real damage in her need to craft a narrative.  The results of that include a woman director not even getting noted in the passages section of the Academy Awards tonight.

The narrative CNN has to constantly sell -- having 24 hours to fill with little that qualifies as actual news -- requires that they leave out qualifiers in their rush to panic America.

Narrative's been used throughout humanity to explain this or that incident.

It's also used to sell lies.

If you're not afraid or outraged, you're not watching CNN.

CNN gets that.

They see the ratings spike when trouble unfurls.

So they know they need to sell it, sometimes they need to create it.

(Largely forgotten today but big in 2003 and 2004 was the footage of the CNN reporter reporting on the scene when, in fact, he wasn't.)

Iraq's a tragedy.

You'd think a media that sold this tragedy would feel some responsibility.

They clearly don't.

They rush to hype anything -- with or without proof.

They rush to frighten and alarm.

While pretending that they're doing news.

News would include "Iraqi forces attack journalists for the second day" -- but that doesn't fit the narrative CNN is selling.

So it gets ignored.

Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the response in Iraq to an assault on Mosul in March or April.  Among those who speaks to is Kurdish commander Major Deliar Shouki:

 “There really is no Iraqi army, so I don’t know where they get the idea that they can train 25,000 soldiers in two months to fight house to house in Mosul,” he said on Friday as he gave a visiting journalist a tour of his men’s positions on the outskirts of the tiny hamlet of Sultan Abdullah, which lies about midway between Mosul and the Kurdish capital of Irbil.

Read more here:

That's news as well.

Somehow CNN misses that also.

Margaret Griffis ( counts 272 violent deaths across Iraq today.

And CNN?

You guessed it!  They missed that as well.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4494

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