Sunday, September 14, 2014

Talking entry

Lot of e-mails so I'm dashing this out quickly while taking a break from the writing edition at Third.

Thursday's snapshot had all this space at the end, why did I do that?

I didn't.  I dictate the snapshots.  Thursdays was typed up by a friend who was doing it for the first time.  He may (or may not have) thought that space at the end was needed.

Other than snapshots, I didn't do a great deal this week -- or last week, I haven't been to bed yet so it's not yet the new week to me.  That was pointed out in several e-mails, there were not many entries and I didn't write that much.

No, I didn't.

I believe I noted in the Tuesday snapshot that I had been waiting on medical evals and explained the news wasn't what I expected (I was expecting bad news) and that ended up playing into my week.

Not in a, "Let's play hooky" as some people suggest.

In one of the snapshots this week, I call out Leslie Savan who really deserved calling out.

But the language I used while dictating?

Not work safe.

It never made it up here.  I dictated it and then went over what to change -- including the words I used to describe Savan.

I'm just not into her or the other useless ____ who don't do a damn thing ever.


As July was winding down, I was feeling bad.  And I was convinced it was the cancer returning.

There wasn't time to deal with it.  Barack was increasing war on Iraq.

That's what I focused on, that's what I worked on.

Online and off.

And yet while I was saying, "Hold it now," there weren't a lot of other voices doing the same.

I got very lucky, the cancer hasn't returned.  But I put everything on hold and waited until September to even see my doctor.

And we had the Medea Benjamins protesting Burger King and Holly Lobby and other ________ crap that I honestly don't give a ____ about when Iraqis are dying.

I don't give a damn.  Is that clear enough?

You've had civilians killed repeatedly by the Iraqi government since the start of this year and not one of those useless _______ said one damn word.

No, I wasn't playing hooky.

I just didn't want to raise my stress levels.

I just didn't feel like pointing out repeatedly this week that we have no leaders in the peace movement in the United States.

We have useless ____ like Medea Benjamin who can't focus and who can't call out Barack.

She's betrayed the peace movement and she's far from the only one.

Barack's speech this week?

The US is engaged in war on Iraq for how many more years?

Oh, yeah, after he's out of office, it will still be going on.

Do I really give a damn what Burger King is doing with their tax dollars -- or to keep from paying taxes or whatever.

That is a scab right now.

Iraq is a gaping wound with blood gushing out and so-called 'leaders' of the peace movement were too busy picking at a scab to focus on what was taking place in Iraq.

The anger I feel?

I was prepared for the cancer to have returned.  I accepted that it had.  I assumed the results of the test would be a death sentence, that my luck had played out.

It is what it is, I told myself.  And what mattered was getting the word out on Iraq in the hopes of some pushback on Barack to prevent him from doing what he announced he was going to do.

If people had done their jobs when it mattered -- which was before the speech -- Barack might not have given that speech.

For me, when I thought the cancer was back and that it was going to be a few months or so of life, I didn't take the vacation (physical) I've been wanting to take since 2005.

I didn't shirk my responsibilities here.  I didn't stop speaking to groups about what was going on.

I repeatedly noted the need for a conversation to take place in the US on Iraq.

It didn't.

And that's because so-called leaders couldn't and wouldn't do their jobs.

But now that Iraq's a 'hot topic,' did you notice Medea and the other useless _____ can show up and start talking about it?

I don't have time for their ____.

Let's move to another topic.

As a feminist, an e-mail informs me, I should have noted Joan Rivers' passing.

I'm sorry Joan's dead.  She passed away on a Friday. (Two Fridays ago.)

In the days that followed, I was supposed to write about that here?

The first four days, of course, were when I was expecting to be told the cancer had returned.

So while preparing to handle my own death sentence, I was supposed to write about Joan?

I think you're asking way too much.

I've noted before I don't like obits and that there were ten people who I would feel compelled to write about if they passed while this site was active.

Robin Williams passed.  He was a friend.

I did dictate a portion of an Iraq snapshot about Robin.  The person I dictated it to pulled that section -- rightly.  In it, I was basically -- What's the point?--Why even do this site?-- blah, blah, blah.

Robin was a friend and he got about a paragraph here.


I've invited Joan to parties.  I've known -- I knew Joan for many years.

Joan had her good qualities and she had her bad qualities.

Up until she trashed me for not doing her late night talk show, I wasn't aware of any problems we had.  I turned her down on that because I wasn't doing any talk shows at that time.

(When she trashed me.  Not when she joked about me in one of her routines.  I never took that personally and knew she was being silly and she was sending up an image.)

When the reporter she trashed me to called me for a comment, I was surprised.  I called Joan to ask her what was going on?

She was in her passive mode and pretended nothing was.  I had to fish it out of her.

I was, she insisted, choosing Johnny Carson over her.

I was?

I was one of the few women he hit on -- he hit on every woman -- who turned him down.

Johnny was sleaze.

He was a predator.

Sally Field slept with him, Morgan Fairchild slept with him, on and on, women he picked up on his show.  I didn't sleep with him and I avoided him and his tacky show.  Unlike David Letterman, Johnny felt the need to talk to you during the breaks.  And what he saw as flirtation, I saw as outrageous harassment.

I was not taking sides and I would never take Johnny Carson's side in any dispute.

(Mel Brooks took sides.  He took Joan's.  Then when her show tanked, he went and humiliated himself on The Tonight Show to get back in Johnny's good graces.  I never understood that because I never saw Johnny Carson as anything but a lech.)

But Joan then insisted that I owed it to women to do her show.

Don't try to guilt me into anything.

And I don't owe feminism or women an appearance on any talk show -- especially when I'm not in the mood and I don't think I was doing print interviews at that time.  There are times when I need to shut down.  I'm a private person and I'm also a shy person -- though you have to really know me to grasp that.  I can do the stuff today on Iraq because it matters.  So I can get over my fear of crowds or my fear of this or that.  But there are times in my life when I've just needed to shut down and limit my contact.  Refill the well.

And if I'm in that period and I kindly refuse your offer, that should be the end of it.  If it's not, it's going to get ugly real quick if you try to guilt me into something.

So that was the end of Joan and my superficial friendship.

We saw each other from time to time at events or parties.  We didn't shoot dagger eyes.  We spoke.

But it was never the same.

Ava and I wrote about her repeatedly over the years at Third.

I heard about it from her only twice.

Back in July 2010, a mutual friend (NYC actress) passed on to Joan the piece where we took Joan to task for comments she made about Muslim women in an interview she did for WBAI.

Joan was furious and called to say she made fun of everyone and I needed to lighten up.

She'd take a great deal from that conversation for her next big project.

If you know Joan -- If you knew Joan, you'd know that when she was upset, if she said something funny, she'd stop to laugh.  She might even say, "I should write that down!"  She might even ask you to put the fight on hold for a moment so she could write it down.  She did that repeatedly while we were on the phone when she found something she said funny.

Ava and I had taken her to task for what we felt were hateful remarks.

Joan felt she was being misread and that she 'hated' everyone.

In fairness to Joan then (and now), I said I could have interpreted it wrong. But she was taking part in what was a serious interview on a serious topic and I'm not sure everyone would get that she was trying to be funny.

I think Joan's 2012 tour and book made clear that she was trying to be funny.

The second time I heard from Joan was when Ava and I wrote a piece that basically defended Joan's place in history and currently.  She was glad to have gotten credit for what she'd done and glad that our piece didn't put "a toe tag" on her but noted she was still out there being hilarious.

During that call, she noted a third piece and said thank you for praising Melissa and Melissa's good manners.

Melissa has good manners.  Joan was a good mother and Melissa was a good daughter.

If I'd written last week, I would've noted Melissa and how hard this was for her and how she was trying to do right by her mother and her mother's legacy.  I would've said that was great and wonderful but that Melissa needed to make time to grieve and to let everything she was feeling out.  I would've repeated what Joan would tell her which was that she didn't have to be perfect.

Last Sunday, Ava and I wrote "TV: The mob attacks Mindy" about the ridiculous attacks on Mindy Kaling
and we ended our piece with this:

It's a special kind of hatred for women that the BMW driving malcontents have -- a special kind of hatred which they repeatedly put out there and did so last week as the world mourned the death of comedy legend and pioneer Joan Rivers.  To the malcontents, the perfect way to honor the death of one woman was to attack another.

For me, that was the addendum to our coverage of Joan.  We had actually been planning another piece that was going to note how Joan changed television.  We were going to note how certain women moved beyond that phase of sisterhood that Joan was fostering.

A certain woman, for instance, who could go on Joan's show -- and did go on -- and credit Madeline Kahn with helping her career.  At that time, the woman was known only in NYC.  She'd go on to become a TV star and star in a few movies (one of which made over a 100 million domestically) and even be nominated for an Academy Award.

But Madeline would not be noted again.

Joan created a space which fostered women acknowledging others.

We established that by viewing over 50 episodes of her first daytime talk show -- so long ago that it was in black & white. (Added: Ava just corrected me, she says the show was in color.  She's correct.)

We do a lot of research for a lot of pieces.  Only some of which get written.

I can't do the Joan piece now -- speaking only for me.

I can't write it.

Is it hard to grasp that if I can't write something, I can't write it?

Because Mindy got attacked -- Mindy who stars in her own show and writes much of it -- for not being able to write about the topic of abortion.  She didn't see how it would fit on her show.

That's all she needed to say.

But some malcontents hopped in their BMWs and attempted to run her over.

If someone can't write something, they shouldn't try to force it.  It will not work.

And everyone has their go-to places they can write about and their shaky ground that they can't.

So if a writer says she can't see ____ on her show, leave it alone.  She doesn't have to cover every topic in the world.

Nor does she have to validate your abortion for you.

In fact, there's something a little sick about these malcontents that they appear to feel shame unless Mindy will say it's okay.

Break's about to be over.  I thought there would be time to note that the civilian deaths are being called out by Iraq's new prime minister.

We'll note it here later today/tonight or at Third.

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