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Saturday, June 19, 2010

BP CEO Tony Hayward is On A Boat

While birds are drowning in oil, BP CEO Tony Hayward is off enjoying a Yacht race. Must be nice. For him to go off and race his $700,000 boat while fisherman in the Gulf risk having their livelihood permanently destroyed is nothing short of vulgar. I am reminded of Condi going shoe shopping and taking in a Broadway play while people in New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf were fighting for their lives.

This latest gaffe is the latest in a series of callous actions that would give Marie Antoinette a run for her money. In addition to lying repeatedly about the extend of the damage the oil spill has caused, he has accused Americans of being more likely to file bogus claims against the company and has whined about "wanting his life back." His people yet again tried to go in damage control mode, defending Hayward's actions by saying that he was spending some much needed time with his family. That would be a nice defense for attending a kid's soccer game. A glitzy yacht race, not so much.

But I guess I should not be too harsh to poor, put-upon Tony Hayward. Or else Rep. Barton will be forced to apologize to him again.

BP chief 'sailing into PR disaster' (Telegraph)

Social Media Fail: Utah Attorney General "Live Tweets" An Execution

A wise cyberfriend once said "Some things aren't meant to be a Facebook status." I would like to amend that to include Twitter.

For some strange reason, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff thought it was a good idea to give a real time Twitter update of Ronnie Lee Gardner's execution. As if an execution by firing squad was not controversial enough. Attorney General Shurtleff did not stop there, making another Tweet informing his followers that he will be live streaming his press conference at the exact moment of Gardner's death.

Naturally, people were not pleased with Shurtleff's over sharing and used Twitter to voice their outrage. Some defended Shurtleff saying that he is a government official and is obligated to keep the public informed of government business.

What I found interesting was that people for the most part had the same negative reactions about the tweeting regardless of their feelings about the death penalty in general. While it can be argued that social networking sites are just another form of media like TV or radio, my gut doesn't buy that. When I learned about AG Shurtleff's tweets, I had a strong sense that this was going too far. I was also reminded of when reports of a woman
live tweeting her abortion ignited a similar firestorm of controversy.

In an age of Google searches, reality television, and sex tapes, is a person's entire life (and death) now to be played out in the public eye? Where do we draw the line?

Utah official gives execution go-ahead, then tweets (Yahoo News)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bethenny Frankel a Perfect Example of What Women Face When they Dare to Elevate Themselves

Props to Bethenny for having the highest rated premiere in Bravo history. Like 2 million others, I tuned into to the debut of Bethenny Getting Married and I think it is a great show. After seeing the negativity and pettiness displayed in the third season of the Real Housewives of New York City, it was refreshing to see Bethenny enjoying her pregnancy, career and hubby-to-be.

Which brings me to why I decided to write this post. While it was an absolute train-wreck, I think we can learn a great deal from the last season of the NY Housewives. As women, many are deeply invested in our suffering. Unfortunately, many of these people are usually other women. These women simply cannot be happy for other women and deeply threatened by any real or perceived female competition. In addition,
women for the most part are assigned roles: the smart one, the funny one, the pretty one, the slutty one, etc. The second a woman dares to step out of this role, people will become upset. Some of these people will be her own family and friends. Which brings me to the Bethenny/Jill fallout.

Jill was happy in her role as "queen bee," and loved having Bethenny as a side-kick. When you are a wealthy, married socialite with an ego problem what could be better than having a sad, lonely, broke misfit around to make you feel better about your own life? I must say, castmate Ramona Singer was right when she said in season two of RHNYC that Jill likes being around Bethenny because she is the "underdog." In fact, while the Bethenny/Jill feud was a pivotal part of the season three storyline, many of the issues that resulted in the demise of their friendship began in season two. The snide remarks, the career sabotage, etc. When Bethenny decided to not play her role as underdog and actively seek for more, Jill could not handle it. Another cast member, Alex McCord, blogged in great detail about some of the vindictive things Jill has done to Bethenny since their friendship has dissolved. I have to say that I am not surprised. I think many of us have or have had these sort of toxic friends in our lives at one point.

Many people feel that Bethenny should have given Jill a chance because Jill was "there for her when she had nothing." I disagree. As a matter of fact I think that people who like to constantly like to remind you where you came from should be cut out of your social circle immediately. How can you grow when you constantly have people telling you how you used to be?

What amazes me the most is how women are totally unprepared for the fallout that WILL happen when they choose to step out of their assigned roles and elevate themselves. Are you preparing yourself for the inevitable hate you will receive as you embark on your own self-empowerment journey?

Mean Girl (Alex McCord)

Is Biting the New Black? The Disappointing Lack of Originality in the Industry

Maybe it is just my age catching up with me but every time I turn on the TV or the radio I get deja vu. Every thing is now a remake, rendition, or rip-off of something else. Is creativity a thing of the past? Is everything old new again?

I know that the common response to these questions is that there is nothing new under the sun, that is is common for artists to play homage to the people who came before them or that remaking a film/TV show is a no-brainer because of the built-in fanbase, but I simply disagree. While borrowing from previous generations is common and to be expected, I see artists imitating other artists that have not even been "gone" that long. I also think that this constant recycling has made Hollywood become lazy and out of ideas. Which brings me to Exhibit A. I remember the first time I saw one of Nicki Minaj's youtube clips, I was shocked at the blatant Lil Kim swaggerjacking. It looked like it wasn't unnoticed by Miss Jones neither, and the two are now beefing big time. And the lack of originality is not just limited to rap. Yesterday I tweeted that Lady Gaga's recent video looks more like a montage of every video Madonna made from 1985-1996. Judge for yourself:

And just when I think that I've had my fill of nostalgia, I read that the remake of The Karate Kid starring Will Smith's son Jaden made a killing at the Box Office. Its competition? A remake of the A-Team. Sheesh.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Chill Pill and a Cosmopolitan: Why Everyone Outraged Over Sex and the City Needs to Bring It Down A Notch

Who knew that a chick flick could cause such a stir??? The criticism for the sequel of Sex and the City 2 has been down right brutal. This film has been called anti-feminist, anti-Muslim, racist, consumerist, materialistic, unrealistic, a "gay fantasy," vapid, insipid, superficial and my personal favorite, a "Taliban recruitment film." These critics would have you thinking that this movie is the Birth of a Nation of our generation.

I have seen review after review that took the same emotionally charged, self-righteous and downright hostile tone that went far beyond simply not liking the quality of the writing, direction or plot. Not only has the critique of this film been unusually harsh, I was unusually bothered by it. I never pay attention to reviews, but many of the things I read just did not sit well with me. When I went to see SATC2 on opening night, I was seriously confused as to what was it that got folks so angry. As my cosmopolitan-induced buzz wore off, I thought to myself, what on earth has so many people worked up?

I could not ignore the overt and covert ageism reflected in many of the comments. I actually read the women's faces being described as "leathery." There was much ado about these four middle aged women carrying on like high school girls, how "childish" they are and how they are getting too old to do these movies. I expect men to make these comments, but when that sentiment is also shared by women (many of who claim to be feminist), I am saddened, annoyed and frustrated. Why are people so quick to remind us of what we are too old or too young to do? Isn't this just another way to keep us wimmenz in our place? Ironically, in the movie Samantha has to check a sales associate who tries to discourage her from buying a trendy dress by saying that it is too young for her. Samantha was not having that BS and neither should we.

In addition to a great deal of criticism over the film being rooted in ageism, I also think there there is some serious sexism and class warfare going on as well. I gave the side-eye to many of the male critics of this film because many of their criticism is either over the cast members appearances, how "slutty" they are or how they are engaging in behavior that they deem wrong. It just came off as more behavior policing to me and I was turned off. Which brings me to my other comment about class warfare. It is very strange to me that this film is being called materialistic. I am starting to thing that materialistic is becoming one of those dog-whistle terms used to demean any woman who dares to live well. Think of a time when you have heard of a man being referred to as materialistic. In my Katt Williams voice, "Don't worry, I'll wait."

Sexists hate women who live well because they hate any woman who aspires to want more and be more than just what some man thinks she deserves. Class warfare wagers hate them because for the most part they hate anyone with money. And like blacks, women are criticized even harsher for this because we are expected to fight the good fight since we "know what it is like" to be oppressed by the man, society, corporations, etc. As a black woman, this line of thinking offends me. My race or my gender does not obligate me to fight any system, nor does it require to be on my best behavior at all times in order to be a good representative of my people. Every woman's film does not have to have some deep, political, "feminist" message.

The one good thing that came out of this is that there appears to be some backlash to the backlash that the film is getting. I suspect that many other fans of the movie were irritated at the mean-spirited and hypocritical nature of the reviews and are finally starting to push back.

While the Box Office numbers have been somewhat disappointing, I believe this installment much better than the first. I absolutely loved that they bought Aidan back, Samantha's over the top antics were hilarious as usual, and I appreciated that they allowed Charlotte to shed her Pollyanna Super Mom image and "get real" about the challenges of parenting. The fashion was fierce (Miranda's dress in the wedding scene was TO. DIE. FOR.), and contrary to what many have said I thought that the Abu Dhabi theme was integrated into the story in a very entertaining and thought provoking way. Was it Citizen Kane? Of course not, but neither is Transformers.

H/T Women and Hollywood
H/T Mendolson's Memos