Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"...Here's An Idea...Let's Put Your Crippling Fear Of Being Thought Of By The Public As Crazy And Put It On Display, Tuesdays At 10, 9 Central..."

I was just rattling around in my loose change drawer and discovered two cents I need to spend.

Outlay of cash momentarily.

This, from CNN.

Mindy McCready is the fifth former cast member of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” to die in the past two years.
The 37-year-old country star, who appeared on Season 3 of the VH1 show, where she suffered an on-camera seizure, was found dead on the front porch of her Arkansas home on Sunday. Authorities said she was the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr and former “Real World” cast member Joey Kovar also appeared on the show’s third season. Starr died in March 2011 at 44, while Kovar, 29, died in August 2012.
“Grease” actor Jeff Conaway, 60, who appeared on the show’s first season, died of pneumonia in May 2011. However, the doctor who treated him for drug addiction for years told CNN it was his dependence on prescription painkillers that eventually cost him his life.

Authorities said that Season 2 cast member Rodney King’s death in June 2012 was the result of accidental drowning, but the alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and PCP found in the 47-year-old’s system were contributing factors.

Dr. Drew Pinsky, who hosts his own program on HLN, CNN's sister network, spoke to CNN’s Don Lemon on Sunday night about the many “Celebrity Rehab” deaths and losing McCready.

“One of my hopes was, in bringing ‘Celebrity Rehab’ out, was to teach people how dangerous addiction was,” Pinsky told Lemon. “If I was doing a show on cancer, there would not be much surprise when my cancer patient died. In fact, we’d celebrate a few years of good quality life. People don’t understand that addiction has virtually the same prognosis. If you have other mental health issues on top of that, it’s so much worse. This was not an addiction death, interestingly. This was related to - had her boyfriend not died, I don’t think there’s any way we’d be in this position right now.”

A month ago, David Wilson, the father of McCready’s two sons, apparently took his own life. He too was found dead on the porch.

“There’s a cautionary tale here about the stigma of mental illness and the way in which the public attack celebrities who take care of themselves,” Pinsky said. McCready "became so fearful of the stigma and the way people were responding to her being hospitalized that she actually checked herself out prematurely. … She is a lovely woman, we have lost her, and it didn’t have to go down like this.”

Two cents...

While it is, apparently and sadly, true that the stigma of mental illness remains an obstacle to offering a hand up and out of the darkness, I honestly can't see how the exploitation of those who are in the midst of demon struggling does a single thing to put a dent in that stigma...producing a commerically profitable program that puts a harsh light not only on the struggle, but the soul doing the struggling, and rationalizing the production by wrapping it it the shroud of "raising awareness" is, at best, cynical and, at worst, additional victimization....and Drew Pinsky's comment that the goal was to "teach people how dangerous addiction was" is, at best, lame justification and, at worst, egregiously disingenous.

Something along the lines of trying to sound noble by offering classes on how you should try to avoid, if at all possible, being eaten by a grizzly bear.

Clearly the stimga lives although a case could be made that, at least, society has come a long way from the days of strait jackets and electro shock treatment.

If, though, the stigma is still so much a part of our attitude fabric that it played a part in Mindy McCready leaving treatment too soon, playing a part in the process of the last decision she ever made, then, obviously, there's still a lot of work to be done in erasing that stigma.

And, in turn, hopefully, providing other options for the next Mindy McCready when it comes time to make life or death decisions.

Slimy coated freak shows for profit cyncially disguised as public service/"reality" shows, though, are ultimately doing more fueling than dousing.

Fair being fair, though, Drew Pinksy was right about one thing.

"...it didn't have to go down like this..."

But whatever light that might have been available at the end of Mindy McCready's long, dark tunnel wasn't going be provided by the glow of high wattage bulbs illuminating a television soundstage.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"...Granny Would Think It Ironic That Grammy Has Gotten So Naughty...."

Today's tempest in a teapot.
Or D cup, as the case may be.
This timely torrid tit tale courtesy of Dean Obeidallah.
(Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. )
(CNN) -- "Be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered." "Thong type costumes are problematic." "Avoid sheer see-through clothing."

Is this the new edict of a religiously conservative government that wants to make sure that men -- and especially women -- are covered up? Could it be the dress code for visiting the Vatican, the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock or other holy sites?
Nope, these words are actually part of the wardrobe advisory e-mail that CBS sent to attendees of this Sunday's Grammy Awards. Yep, CBS, the network that brought you a promo during last week's Super Bowl for its show, "2 Broke Girls," featuring the show's young female stars writhing on a stripper pole, is now concerned about sending the wrong message.
The language that CBS used in explaining its clothing recommendations is actually hilarious -- it seems to have been written by a cross between an elderly lawyer and Goody Procter from "The Crucible."
Here are some of the highlights: Talent should, "avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack." What exactly is "fleshy under curves" and why does it sound so oddly hot? (And by frowning upon the showing of buttock cracks, does this mean that many of the union plumbers working at the Grammy venue may also have wardrobe problems?)
CBS wants attendees to avoid outfits that could "expose female breast nipples." And the network also put its foot down on clothes that expose the "bare sides" of breasts, aka, the famed and increasingly popular "sideboob."
However, the most bizarrely worded wardrobe line is that talent must, "be sure that the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible 'puffy' bare skin exposure." What exactly is "puffy" bare skin? Is that code for some word I don't know about? And why did CBS put the word "puffy" in quotes? It sounds even dirtier that way.

My big question is this: What caused CBS to be so concerned that this year it issued a written wardrobe advisory? CBS has aired the Grammys for more than 40 straight years, dating back to 1973.
Obviously over that time we have seen some pretty risqué outfits.
Could it be because CBS wants to appease conservatives who freaked out over the outfit Beyonce wore while performing in the Super Bowl halftime show?
Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham protested Beyonce's outfit with a sarcastic tweet: "Very family-friendly dancing S&M by Beyonce. What every girl shd aspire to. #waronwomen."
A writer at "The National Review" penned a column entitled, "Put a Dress on," demanding that Beyonce not wear a "black teddy" on stage but something less revealing. (Of course, if similar language was espoused from people in the Muslim world, these same conservatives would denounce it as Muslims attempting to oppress women, but it's somehow OK when they do it.)
The real reason is unclear. CBS declined to officially comment but sources there stated that a similar verbal wardrobe warning had been given in the past.
What is clear is that this wardrobe advisory is not gender neutral. Its very language tells women what they cannot wear. "Female breasts" must be adequately covered. "Female breast nipples" must not be exposed.
Even where there's no specific gender reference, we all understand that no one is concerned that Bruce Springsteen, who is nominated for a Grammy this year, will show up exposing the, "bare fleshy under curves" of his buttocks. No, CBS is more concerned with making sure that women are properly covered.
Beyond the apparent sexism of the wardrobe advisory, we also need to keep in mind that freedom of expression is not just words. Freedom of expression also includes expressing yourself through the clothes you wear, especially for the talented musical artists attending the Grammys.
These performers should be able to dress any way they choose, both men and women. A big part of the Grammys is enjoying the range of outfits worn, from the glamorous to the provocative to ones that make you wonder what was the bet the person lost that made them wear that outfit -- I'm looking at you Nicki Minaj, who last year dressed like a bright red version of "The Flying Nun" and was accompanied by a man dressed like the pope.
And of course, if someone wears an outfit that truly violates FCC regulations, then CBS should not allow that person on camera. That is not only CBS' right, it's CBS' obligation. But the CBS wardrobe advisory note goes too far -- it both hampers creativity and imposes restrictions that are sexist.
I hope that at Sunday's Grammys we see people dressed as creatively and provocatively as they choose.
Part of me even hopes that Bruce Springsteen wears an outfit that exposes his "puffy" bare skin -- whatever that may be.
Depending on your age, your reaction to all of this might, predictably, fall into one of two basic categories,
If you are, say, over the age of forty, give or take, you're thinking this whole boob busting out business needs to be filed in that folder "empirical evidence that the world is going to hell in a handbasket."
Or D cup, as the case may be.
If, on the other hand, you're younger, you're wondering why anyone could possible be concerned, let alone up in arms, about a Grammy Awards ceremony offering up a subtle view of va jay jay every here and there or an even more common sighting of that most everyday flash of flesh in our universe...
...the aureola borealis.
Or, as the youngers like to acronym it, OMG, BWC, IKR?
I fall, generationally, into the demographic of the former.
Being hip, cool and groovy, though, I resist the temptation to fall inevitably into line behind those who get a little up tight just because of a little out tit.
My disdain for displaced decolletage is less about cleavage than it is about caveat.
And the long ago confirmed suspicion that magicians ain't the only ones who have mastered the art of distraction.
A long time ago, in closet filled with dusty, hint of musty scented, parentally owned vinyl records, I came across, during an earnest, non pruient search for that pretty cool new Ventures album my mother had scored for the "available only at the A&P this week for the low, low price of 99 cents", one of several other LP's popular at the time, recorded by artists whose musical notoriety was foreign to me, but whose marketing skills were both plain...and in plain sight.
It actually, if memory serves, took only a perfunctory listen or two for even hormonally skewed, pre-teen sensibilities to determine that there were actually times when it was, in fact, okay to judge a book, or a vinyl record album, by its cover.
Covers like these.
These albums, and their ilk, were pretty popular in the day. And there's probably not a garage, attic, basement or flea market anywhere, populated by anyone over the age of fifty, that doesn't have one or more of these classic collections in house.
But even allowing for the dated nature of the recordings, not to mention the presentation, today's listener would almost surely agree with what yesterday's listener knew from the very first drop of the needle.
The best way to divert attention from something is to put female flesh in front of it.
Especially when, and if, that particular something is pretty much nothing.
And one listen to this "music" and even Marlee Matlin would give the "artistry" two thumbs down.
CBS' good intentions aside, I'm not inclined to be intrigued, concerned or even offended at the idea of a bounty of bosom or a wink of woo woo should it, or they, show themselves at the Grammys.
I will admit that I will almost surely cluck out something, even if only under my own breath, something in the form of a "tsk, tsk".
But not because I don't appreciate a provocative package.
I just learned, a long time ago, in closet filled with dusty, hint of musty scented, parentally owned vinyl records, what, more often than not, is inside that package.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"...Hi Oh Silver, Hold The Mayo...."

Feeling the urge to trot out for a burger?

Saddle up.

Burger King has admitted that it is possible some of its burgers sold in the U.K. and Ireland were, in fact, tainted with horsemeat.

This is just the latest chapter in an ongoing scandal in the U.K. and Ireland involving beef burger patties tainted with meat from horses and pigs. U.K. supermarket chain Tesco and other companies have also been affected. It's suspected that a meat distributor in Poland, which worked with all the companies in question, used meats other than beef as filler in cheap burgers.

First, I'm not entirely sure that cow patties (the kind that come by the pound and not from the pasture) can be considered "tainted" simply because a little horse and/or pig gets tossed into the recipe.

I mean it's not like your average book of synonyms is going to offer up "health food" as a semantic substitution for "fast food".

And while I think it reasonable that the "deception" involved here might cheese people's burgers, it's not like BK, or any of the other haute cuisine featuring drive thru windows, was discovered putting something really gross on the grill.

Uh, did you want soylent green with that?

Truth be told, I was actually under the impression, resulting from a long ago reading of some urban legend that, given it came from one tabloid or another, I immediately accepted as gospel, that horse meat was, in fact, already a fairly commonly ingested and/or digested food source in Europe and/or other parts of the world.

In fact, I recall that, shortly after reading that somewhere back then, I wrote a short bit for one of the radio shows, offering up two cents worth of marketing advice on how fast food chains, in this case, the Golden Arches gang, could parlay this additional protein into some appealing additions to their menu.

Egg McStallion.

Big Mare.

Filly of fish. (Okay, that one was strictly for laughs cause you can't mix horse with fish...oh, wait...)

And my personal favorite...

Quarter horse with cheese.

The good news, for Burger King and all the other five star dining establishments that offer extra napkins and ketchup packets with the chef's specialty, is that both the memory and the concerns about healthy eating are less than short lived with the average fast food consumer.

So it's a pretty good bet that this latest "shocking revelation" isn't going to result in a lessening of the line at your local drive thru as people rush in a panic to their nearest GNC.

And if Burger King has any savvy at all, they'll put their best advertising wizzes to work figuring out a way to make hay out of all of this.

Here's one to get you started, no charge.

Get rid of that creepy Burger King king guy that wanders eerily through those commercials.

And replace him with a creepy lawn jockey.

Showing a sense of humor about the whole thing will have the loyal links of your fast food chain spilling out into the parking lot as they assemble to scarf a little Secretariat.

And happily pony up to do so.

Damn the neigh-sayers.

Ride on.