I Stand With the WGA Writer’s Strike

Nathaniel Hawthorne said the following about writing:

Easy reading is damn hard writing.

Find me a well-polished fictional narrative (in any format) and I will introduce you to the writer(s) who have spent months, if not years on their work.

Since May 2nd, the WGA (representing content creators on both the East and West coasts ) has been on strike. The reason for striking is basically due to the shrinking salaries and lack of residuals while the execs bring home the bacon. There is also a question of whether or not AI/ChatGPT will be brought into the writer’s room instead of a human being.

The larger problem is that until there is an agreement between the union and the higher-ups, nothing gets done and no one gets paid. Everyone who is involved in the process of creating what we hear and see on the screen and on our favorite podcasts is affected.

The fact is that those at the top of the food chain need to respect their writers. If they don’t, then there is no Hollywood.

P.S. This weekend’s episode of the New Yorker Radio Hour has a great explainer on the strike.

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Lucy, Maia, and Rina Dee Should Be Alive

We all know that war and death go hand in hand. The question that unfortunately too often avoided is who is killed. Is it the soldier on the battlefield or the civilian who is trying to live as normally as possible?

Last Friday, Rabbi Leo Dee lost two of his daughters, Maia (20) and Rina (15) in a terrorist attack in Israel. His wife Lucy initially survived the attack but later died in the hospital. As a human being and a fellow Jew, my heart breaks for Rabbi Dee and his family. It’s one thing to destroy a military facility. It is another thing entirely to kill innocent civilians (the Palestinians usually MO). I ask you to close your eyes and just listen to a heartbroken husband and father whose family is forever changed.

The conflict was the subject of one of the segments on The Brian Lehrer Show. My beef with the conversation (as one of the listeners pointed out) is that the blame was mostly put on Israel. It was only later on that the Palestinian leadership was called out for their part in this decades-long war.

In a related news headline, the IDF was again accused of purposefully going after worshippers at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem last week. As usual, the finger-pointing was in one direction while the truth was buried.

If you are on Twitter, I ask that you create or share an existing tweet with the hashtag #DeesDays. Let Rabbi Leo know that he is not alone as he moves on without his wife and his daughters.

May their memories be a blessing. Z” L.

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This Weekend Proves That Respect and Diversity Are Possible

The loud voices in our world will tell us that we are all different. Those differences are bad (for lack of a better word) and must be remedied. The truth is that we have much more in common than we think we do.

Earlier this week, WNYC‘s The Brian Lehrer Show hosted a conversation about the rare week in which the spring holidays of all three Abrahamic religions converge: Easter, Passover, and Ramadan.

Though I am quick to admit I obviously know more about Passover than the other holidays, I know enough to know that each religion asks its practitioners to sacrifice something in the name of faith. From my perspective, it reminds me that there are more similarities than we think we do.

Whatever you are celebrating this weekend (if you are celebrating), have a joyous and happy holiday.

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Flashback Friday: All Of It (2018 to Present)

To define culture is to give an amorphous answer. It depends on many things: the time period, the values, the art, etc.

All Of It has been part of the WNYC schedule since 2018. Hosted by Alison Stewart, each episode delves into the current and future cultural events in around New York City.

I like All Of It. Stewart has a lively, intelligent, and infectious manner with her guests. I also like the variety of subjects and content, giving the listener an opportunity to get an eclectic list of reasons to get out of the house.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

All Of It airs on WNYC weekdays from 12 to 2 PM.

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Florida Republican Fuckery XII: The “Pornographic” David Statue and Book Banning, Part 2

A parent has every right to control the media that their child consumes. What they do not have the right to, is to dictate the same for another young person who is not theirs to parent.

In Florida, a Principal was forced to resign because sixth-grade students were shown an image of the centuries-old statue of David by the classical artist Michelangelo. The complaint was that the image was “pornographic”.

I hope that I am not the only one who finds this ridiculous. David has existed for centuries as a universally admired and respected work of art. Human subjects that were either partially or fully nude are part and parcel of the art of the Renaissance era. And in case these adults forgot, every male has the same genitalia. I understand that these kids are young. But it is still incumbent to give the statue both historical and artistic context, nullifying the “pornographic” argument.

Also in the state, the book banning continues. Earlier this week, author Jodi Picoult was a guest on WNYC‘s The Brian Lehrer Show. Twenty of her books have been pulled from one school district’s shelves. What bothers me is not just the actions of the parents of the children in the district, it is that a random grownup who has nothing to do with the school system can complain and the district will capitulate.

I am an adult who has no children. My only connection to our public schools is paying taxes. I have no business in dictating what the youngsters learn and will not stick my nose where it does not belong. We are all obviously entitled to our opinion, but that does not mean that we can tell the experts what to do. And in case anyone forgot, when something is forbidden, it makes it all the more tempting.

What gets me is that with only the vaguest of information (meaning that the particular book in question was not read), there was enough fuss that it was taken out of circulation by the school.

Something has to change. Somehow, someway, we have to get past this madness. If we don’t our children will receive an incomplete education and our future as a nation will be in jeopardy.

This is What True Democracy Looks Likes: Mass Protests in Israel

Among the many virtues of democracy is the ability to openly criticize those in power without fear of persecution or death.

Recently Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the decision to do a mass overhaul of the country’s judicial system. In response, millions took to the streets to protest the move and the concern that the right is taking control of the government. Yesterday, it was a segment on WNYC‘s The Brian Lehrer Show.

This is democracy in action. This is the voice of the average citizen who disapproves of the actions of those in power and speaks loudly. Unlike other nations (cough, Iran, cough) in which protesters are jailed, tortured, and killed, there is no such action from the military.

The only thing that I disagree with was the reporter’s statements about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (which is another topic for another time).

If I was advising Bibi, I would tell him to think long and hard about continuing on the path he is on. If he values his position and the voters who (again) put him in power, he would not listen to a minority whose beliefs differ from the rest of the population.

P.S. The video below speaks for itself in regard to the lies that the Palestinians tell themselves and the rest of the world.

Throwback Thursday: Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (1998 to Present)

The news doesn’t always have to be serious. Sometimes it can be funny.

Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me has been part of the WNYC and NPR schedules since 1998. Currently hosted by Peter Sagal, it is part interview show and part comedic news program. Both panelists and contestants are quizzed about the latest headlines while laughing along the way.

I’ve listened to the show a couple of times. It’s entertaining, but not enough to keep me coming back for more.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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It’s Been Three Years Since Covid Entered Our Lives

There are some events in our larger cultural world that will forever define that era.

Three years ago, Covid 19 entered our lives. Up until then, it was far away, impacting other people. Then it hit home.

I was scheduled to go away that weekend. I took my work laptop home, not knowing what was coming. To say that the weekend was odd was an understatement. The plans that we had fell into pieces. The town in which we were staying was oddly quiet. Many of the stores, which under different circumstances would have been open, were closed. The hotel was barely occupied.

When I got home, I turned on the computer to see an email from my company’s CEO. We had the option of going to the office or working from home. I texted my boss to say that I would not be seeing her in person.

Like many of us, I expected to stay home for a couple of weeks, maybe a month at most. Little did we know that everything knew would change.

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Fox News is Losing Their Shit Because Chelsea Handler is Happily Child Free

Becoming a parent is a blessing. It is also a 24/7/365 job from birth until the child is self-sufficient. And yet, it is still forced on women, whether we want it or not.

Two weeks ago, Chelsea Handler guest hosted The Daily Show. One of the segments was about her decision to not have children.

As expected, the right and Fox News couldn’t handle it. In their “outrage”, the obvious (as was discussed on WNYC‘s All of It last week) is apparent to anyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence. For all of human history, motherhood was foisted upon us. Adding insult to injury is the lack of free/affordable childcare, the extreme rise price of college tuition, and the uneven access to healthcare/parental leave.

Having a kid is not like playing with a baby doll that is thrown into the toy chest at the end of the day. It is an all-encompassing task that requires everything that the adult has to give.

Since last summer, I have been spending time with friends who have a toddler. She is at the age in which she goes for everything in sight and has to be watched like a hawk. The last time I was there, my friend had to step out for a minute. I was happy to distract the baby, but I can only imagine the finagling that would have had to be done if I was not there. Multiply that by a gazillion and that is what it is like to be responsible for a young life.

Which is why Fox News and the right can shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

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Republican Fuckery Part VIII: Ilhan Omar Removed From Committees, the AR 15 Pins, and the Texas Ice Storm

The American government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. It is not supposed to be for the 1%, the lobbyists, and those who think that they can buy their way into power.

Last week, Ilhan Omar was removed from her committee assignments by the Republican leadership. Their reasoning was her previous antisemitic comments. One could argue that the argument is legitimate. However, given the fact that Marjorie Taylor Greene made the comment about Jewish space lasers a few years ago, their rationale is toothless.

In light of the many (and I mean far too many) mass shootings that have occurred in this country, the right has once again shown its true colors. A number of Congresspeople have been seen wearing small pins in the shapes of AR-15 rifles. It is clear to me that they value power over the lives of ordinary Americans.

According to news reports coming out of Texas, another ice storm blanketed the state. Thousands of residents were without power as the temperature dropped to less than 30 degrees. This is not the first time that the power has gone out during a storm such as this.

Just another reason to vote for the Democrats.

P.S. It is possible to get along and get stuff done in Congress, even when those you are working with have opposing political views. On Monday, the final segment of The Brian Lehrer Show, two members of the New York delegation were interviewed about congestion pricing. One is red and one is blue. It is proof that it is possible for our government to be fuctional. But in order for that to happen, divisions need to be set aside.

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