Today is the 54th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
For many, he is emblematic of his era. Charismatic, charming, handsome and well spoken, he accomplished a lot in this short three years in office. He is remembered as the President who would take the first step in easing the tensions created by The Cold War and paved the way for his predecessors to ensure that African-Americans had the same rights as their Caucasian peers.
He was also the first Catholic President, a direct descendant of Irish immigrants, the youngest President to date and appeared to be a loving and loyal family man.
While he was imperfect as both a man and a President (Marilyn Monroe was rumored to be one of his many mistresses), today, we look back on the early 60’s with a view covered by rose-colored glasses. Especially considering the man who presently holds the office.
History is always seen in hindsight. I believe that we remember JFK as one of our greatest Presidents not only because he was taken from us too soon, but also for what he represented and what he still represents.
The list of well-known men who have been accused of sexual assault has grown to include one more: John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney.
Several female employees have accused Mr. Lassetter of grabbing, kissing and commenting about their physical attributes.
He has temporarily left the company and has apologized for his behavior.
As painful as these allegations are, I believe that they have to be brought into the light and investigated. Change is never easy, especially when it is overall cultural change. But this change is necessary. The problem of sexual assault/unwanted sexual comments or action has to be addressed. This is the time and place to address it, otherwise we will never be able to move forward as a society.
For all of it’s downsides, the internet is a form a digital democracy. No matter where we come from or what we believe, the internet allows us to voice our opinions without censorship.
For Americans, that may be changing soon.
Ajit Pai, the FCC Chairman wants to remove net neutrality and let the cable companies control where we go on the internet and what opinions we voice on the various websites.
This is an attack on democracy as we know it to be. The internet is the great equalizer. It opens the door way to business, education and to the downtrodden who use the internet to right the wrongs of our society.
Please sign the petition. Without net neutrality, our democracy will be meaningless.
The list of prominent men accused of rape/sexual assault/unwanted sexual advances has grown to add three more men: Russell Simmons, Nick Carter and Jeffrey Tambor.
Former teen pop singer Melissa Schuman from the pop group Dream has accused Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter of raping her more than a decade ago. Carter denies the allegations. Actor Jeffrey Tambor, the star of the television series, Transparent, will be leaving the show after two women have accuse him of sexual harassment. Music mogul Russell Simmons has been accused of assaulting model Keri Claussen Khalighi when she was in her late teens while movie director Brett Ratner, who was also in the room, did nothing to stop Simmons.
Sexual assault and rape are nothing new to humanity. These heinous acts have been going on since the beginning of our species. My hope in publicizing these acts and shaming the accused is that our society will finally make a change for the better. Whether it is a movie mogul or the manager of a fast food restaurant, men in power will think twice about dangling career opportunities in front of their female employees in return for sexual favors.
Every generation has its teen idols.
For the generation born at the end of the baby boom era, their teen idol was David Cassidy, star of The Partridge Family. David Cassidy passed away today. He was 67.
Cassidy, a second generation performer, was the son of the late Jack Cassidy and the stepson/co-star of Shirley Jones. At his heyday, he was known all over the world as both a musician and star of The Partridge Family.
Though he had a few personal and professional missteps after The Partridge Family was cancelled, he will be forever be remembered by a certain generation as their teen idol.
RIP David Cassidy. Gone but never forgotten.
A celebrity autobiography is a funny thing. It is part confessional, part life story and part point of view that can only be told uniquely by the celebrity who is writing the book.
Joely Fisher is the daughter of Connie Stevens and the late Eddie Fisher, in addition to being the half-sister of the late Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher. Recently, she has published an autobiography entitled, Growing Up Fisher: Musings, Memories, and Misadventures. Written candidly and openly, Ms. Fisher talks about what it was like to grow up in a famous Hollywood family and how that experience shaped her career and her adult life. She also writes about her sister, as only a devoted and loving family member can.
I really loved this book. I loved it because Ms. Fisher is not afraid to reveal her faults and her missteps. She is also talks about what is to be the daughter of Hollywood and how it affects how one’s view the world.
I recommend it.
The year before we graduate high school can often be described as trans-formative. Especially when we know that the last thing we want to do is going to college near home.
The new movie, Lady Bird, written and directed by actor/director/writer Greta Gerwig, is about Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan). Set in Northern California in 2002, Lady Bird is starting her senior year of high school and wants nothing more than to go to college out-of-town. She does not get along with her equally strong-willed mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf) and has a decent relationship with her father, Larry (Tracy Letts). As the year goes on, both Lady Bird will learn a few things about life and relationships.
I really enjoyed this movie. I enjoyed it because Lady Bird’s character arc and narrative feels universal. The struggle to find herself, the need to get away from home, the arguments with her parents, it all feels normal for a 17 year old girl.
I recommend it.
Lady Bird is presently in theaters.
When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in October, the nasty truth of our society and how women are treated was brought into the harsh light.
The newest member of this quickly growing list is respected journalist Charlie Rose.
Eight women have accused Mr. Rose of making unwanted sexual advances toward them.
As painful as the newest revelation is, I believe that is absolutely necessary. This is an evil in our society that must be confronted. This is not simply about the power imbalance, but it is also about how women are seen and treated. The first step in resolving a problem is admitting that there is a problem. Now that we have been forced to admit that there is a problem, we must resolve the problem. Unfortunately, it will be easier said than done.
On the surface, fairy tales seem like frothy, predictable stories. But underneath that froth and predictable narrative, are lessons about life that can stay with us, even when we grow up and grow out of fairy tales.
Meagan Spooner’s novel, Hunted, is an adaptation of Beauty And The Beast. It starts out with the traditional telling of the story. The Beauty in this story is Yeva, the youngest daughter of a wealthy merchant. When her father’s business goes under, Yeva and her family must downsize. But this is where Ms. Spooner takes the story in a new direction. Yeva is a hunter, like her father. He is the only one who has come close to killing the mythical Beast that lives in the forest.
Then her father goes missing. Yeva has a choice: marry her wealthy suitor and return her family to the life of luxury they knew or find and kill the Beast that Yeva presumes has killed her father. Instead of taking the easy way out, Yeva hunts the Beast and unfortunately becomes his prisoner. While she is imprisoned in his castle, she will learn not only a few things about her captor, but about the fairy tales she was told as a child.
While every genre has its standard plot points, the author not only hits the plot points, but takes the reader in unexpected places. There is so much emotional depth to the characters and the narrative, in addition to the magic and the mythology, that I felt like I was reading Beauty And The Beast for the first time. I also appreciated that Yeva is a strong female character who is not just a bad ass, but is also complex, interesting and human.
I absolutely recommend it.
America woke up on November 9th, 2016. When Donald Trump won the Presidential election, it was a shock to us all. It was a reminder that freedom and democracy must be fought for. We cannot sit back and hope we will wake up tomorrow with the same rights as we did today.
The new book Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America, edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding is a collection of essays by prominent female journalists and activists who are using their voices and their podiums to speak of the wrongs that Trump is doing to America and her citizens. The list of contributors the book include Rebecca Solnit, Cheryl Strayed and Nicole Chung.
I loved this book. The contributors all write about a variety of experiences, but their message is the same. We have to resist, there is no other choice in matter. If we don’t, our children and grandchildren will ask us questions we will be able to answer.
I absolutely recommend it.