Daily Archives: June 4, 2021

Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge Book Review

A good biography does much more than provide the basic facts found on any general internet search. It introduces the reader to the real person that is sometimes hidden behind history and the PR machine.

In 2019, Sheila Weller published Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge. The biography tells the story of the late and beloved actress, writer, and mental health advocate. Born to Hollywood royalty Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, her early years were not all sunshine and roses. Her most famous role was that of Princess Leia in the Star Wars movie franchise. Like her off-screen counterpart, Leia was a bad-ass, smart mouthed woman who did not conform to the idea of what a woman (and a princess) should be. She also lived with bipolar disorder and addiction, demons that stayed with her until the very end.

I loved this book. As much as I knew about Ms. Fisher before I read it, I learned even more. She was intelligent, incredibly funny, smartass, loyal to those she loved, and vulnerable. What made this one special was that it showed her humanity. It is a complete picture of a woman who has inspired generations of fans, women, and those living with mental illness to not be afraid of being who they are.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, Mental Health, Movies, Star Wars

The Nanny Character Review: Sylvia Fine

*I apologize for not posting last week. Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Nanny. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. Our parents hopefully want the best for us. The problem is when their ideas for how our life should turn out conflict with reality.

On The Nanny, Sylvia Fine (Renee Taylor), has one wish for her younger daughter, Fran (Fran Drescher): to get married and give her grandchildren. But neither appears in the be in the cards for Fran’s immediate future, to both of their dismay. She appears to be the stereotype of the overbearing Jewish mother. She clearly loves her children, but does not recognize or understand personal and emotional boundaries. Other than eating and worrying about Fran’s marital status, she spends her time playing Canasta. For a short time, Maxwell’s son, Brighton (Benjamin Salisbury) was her teammate.

When Fran is employed by Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) to be his children’s nanny, her relationship with her charges goes well beyond that of a paid employee. The running joke about Sylvia is that she is rarely without a plate of food in front of her. When Fran and Max married towards the end of the series, she dared guests to object and was thrilled when she finally became a grandmother.

To sum it up: Though Sylvia is a comic character and can be seen as a predictable cliché, her heart is in the right place. The maternal feelings are obvious, even when her actions are a bit over the top.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Google Hired an Anti-Semite as Diversity Chief

The job of diversity chief is to ensure that employees feel that they do not have to hide their religious or cultural identities to feel safe at work.

Yet somehow, the HR people at Google ignored this most basic job description when they hired Kamau Bobb. When it was discovered that back in 2007, he made the claim that Jewish people “have an insatiable appetite for war and killing”. Instead of firing him (as they should have), he was kept on the payroll, but was moved to another position.

Now granted, this blog post is 14 years old. One would hope that he would have learned a few things in that time. The irony in this story is that the company’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are both Jewish. Aside from the extremely scary rise in antisemitism in the US and around the world, the fact that this man accused his employers of having bloodlust should have been a reason for immediate termination. Instead he was given a slap on the wrist and retained his employment.

The message, as I see it, is clear. Antisemitism is not something to be ashamed about and shunned for. It is acceptable and even applauded. The only way to get rid of hate and prejudice is to confront it. By not doing so, the powers that be are adding even more fuel to the fire and allowing this disgusting perspective to thrive. Adding fuel to the fire of this problem is that this company is so ingrained in our daily lives that we could not avoid it if we wanted to.

Good job, Google.

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Filed under National News

Flashback Friday: Masterpiece (1971-Present)

Good TV is sometimes hard to find. It’s easy to turn on a reality show or a rerun that you’ve seen a dozen times over.

In 1971, Masterpiece premiered on PBS. Importing British drama from the UK to the US for fifty years, this program has been a hit with audiences for decades.

Masterpiece has been my Sunday night must see TV for quite a few years now. Most of their programming I find to be intelligent, entertaining, and perhaps a bit educational without realizing it.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review