Programming note: Tonight I'll be making a rare Monday appearance on "Tucker Carlson Tonight", live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. Tucker's out on Tuesday, so I'll be sitting in for a full hour of guest-host-level quizzical brow-furrowing tomorrow night. In between I'll be on the curvy couch at "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday morning at 8.30am Eastern. Hope you can join me for one or other appearance.
~Failed singer/songwriter Charles Manson died yesterday, in prison at the age of 83. Showbiz-wise, he couldn't get arrested ...until he got arrested. But slaughtering Sharon Tate et al gave him enormous pop culture influence: Marilyn Manson and Spahn Ranch are among the performers who took their stage names from him and his cult. The BBC calculated a few years back that there are over 70 European bands who play his "songs". Back in the Nineties, I was with Martin Charnin, lyricist of Annie, who'd heard a rumor that Manson was about to release, from his gaol cell, a Christmas album. "Slay Ride?" I suggested.
But, as I remarked glumly on "Fox & Friends" the other morning, the big bucks are when you do the joke for real. The left's glamorization of violence is a cliché because it's real - because all over the western world dweeby, spindly, trustie-fundie varsity youth who couldn't shoot up a liquor store or cut it in MS-13 instead get turned on by political violence. As upper-middle-class suburban cheerleader Bernadine Dohrn crowed to a crowd of 400 "activists" about three months after the Manson murders:
Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the pig Tate's stomach! Wild!
The crowd then adopted a fork-style hand gesture as a symbol of solidarity.
Oh, but surely Miss Dohrn was only a misguided child ...pushing thirty. Or a decade older than the young men who liberated Europe two years after she was born.
Miss Dohrn retired a couple of years ago as a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Her husband is Bill Ayers, mentor to and patron of the 44th President of the United States.
~Speaking of degrees of separation, "the pig Tate" (in Professor Dohrn's words) was the wife of Roman Polanski. The stomach her killers "shoved a fork into" was the belly of a woman two weeks away from giving birth. If one seeks mitigating factors for the full-throated support Hollywood gave Polanski in his subsequent incarnation as child rapist, the loss he suffered that night in 1969 was profound and grievous. One cannot plead the same for the now daily churn from Hollywood's soiled and sagging "casting couch". Polanski was a supposed "father figure" to one of today's biggest directors, Brett Ratner:
Keri Claussen Khalighi was a 17-year-old fashion model from a farm town in Nebraska when she met Brett Ratner and Russell Simmons at a casting call.
Ratner was an up-and-coming music video director and a protege of Simmons, the Def Jam Recordings mogul. They took Khalighi to dinner one night in 1991 at Mr. Chow in New York, and then back to Simmons' apartment to show her a music video they'd been working on.
Quickly, Simmons began making aggressive sexual advances, yanking off her clothes, Khalighi said.
"I looked over at Brett and said 'help me' and I'll never forget the look on his face," she recalled. "In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together."
Khalighi said that Simmons, who was then about twice her age, tried to force her to have intercourse. "I fought it wildly," she said. He eventually relented and coerced her to perform oral sex, she alleged. "I guess I just acquiesced."
Ratner, meanwhile, "just sat there and watched," she said.
Feeling "disgusting," Khalighi said she went to take a shower. Minutes later, she alleged, Simmons walked up behind her in the shower and briefly penetrated her without her consent. She said she jerked away, then he left. "It hurt so much."
She was just seventeen. But at least Roy Moore never called up her mother to ask if he could meet her at the shopping mall for a chocolate malt.
~Meanwhile, here's Maggie Gyllenhaal, formerly Batman's squeeze, explaining why "pornography is an art form" and thus, in her latest TV role as a "sex worker", she's cool with all her nude scenes. So many actresses are cool with nude scenes that at the Oscars a season or two back Seth MacFarlane (the same year he did his nudge-nudge-wink-wink Harvey Weinstein gag) was able to perform a lengthy catalogue song called "We Saw Your Boobs". This was grossly unfair, according to Amy Davidson Sorkin in The New Yorker, because all the women listed were, like Miss Gyllenhaal, "making art".
That's the old justification used by producers to get you to take your kit off: it's artistically necessary.
But, if it's artistically necessary to see so many celebrity boobs, the law of averages suggests it should also be necessary to see some celebrity penises. Yet had Seth MacFarlane thought to warble "We Saw Your Dick" at the A-list Oscar crowd, the number would have been over in eight bars - Kevin Bacon in Wild Things, plus a couple of Z-listers with bit parts.
Isn't it a bit odd that all this artistically necessary nudity is so one-sided? The short history of talking pictures is:
From the Thirties to the Sixties, we saw no boobs;
From the Sixties to the Nineties, we saw boobs;
In the 21st century, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences stages lavish production numbers about seeing boobs.
Golly, you'd almost get the impression that the most famously progressive industry on the planet is getting more and more misogynist.
As for all that "art-making", I'm coming to the conclusion that the appetites of its honchos are the entire organizing principle of the industry. In other words, the reason you have to sit through witless films where sylph-like Keira Knightley or Kristin Stewart or some Disney animated princess kicks the crap out of an entire pirate ship or medieval castle of male extras is because it's the perfect cover for hotshot execs. As I wrote a few weeks ago:
A few months later, [Harvey Weinstein] asks Mlle de Caunes to lunch at the Ritz in Paris:
'Weinstein told de Caunes that he was going to be producing a movie with a prominent director, that he planned to shoot it in France, and that it had a strong female role. It was an adaptation of a book, he said, but he claimed he couldn't remember the title. "But I'll give it to you," Weinstein said, according to de Caunes. "I have it in my room."'
So they go upstairs, and Weinstein steps into the bathroom. He comes out naked, with an erection.
That's progressive values Hollywood-style: Hey, I'm fully committed to providing more roles for strong independent females. I might give you one in return for a bl**job.
~Join me later this evening, just ahead of Tucker, when we'll be continuing our latest audio adventure in Tales for Our Time, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz. It's full of nude scenes, which are always much better on radio.
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