Saturday, April 04, 2015

Everyday Meetings with Common Europeans

Notes taken from everyday life in France and "old" Europe

Greeted with Whoops'n'Cheers, "Singin’ in the Rain" to Return to a Paris Stage in English

“Singin’ in the Rain,” that much-beloved 1952 Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen movie, is in some ways a perfect offering for a stage musical
writes Roslyn Suclas in the New York Times.
It has catchy songs, a hilarious book, extended dance sequences and the branded-on-Western-consciousness image of Gene Kelly twirling his umbrella as he splashes and tap dances with delirious happiness through puddles, in the song that gives the film its title.
Following hot on the heels of “An American in Paris” (which enjoyed a sold-out run at the Châtelet before moving to Broadway this month), it's
the most recent in a string of American musicals presented at this theater by its director, Jean-Luc Choplin, who seems to have converted the Parisian public to the cause: “Singin’ in the Rain” was greeted with whoops and cheers by its fervently appreciative audience on Thursday, and its initial run (through March 26) is sold out. (It returns from Nov. 27 to Jan 15.)

Friday, April 03, 2015

Ginned up outrage and navel-gazing: the truth is, I don’t care if there is someone who would refuse me service based on my skin color or my religion or my heterosexuality

If one more person asks me how I would like it if an Indiana business refused to serve me because I’m black, I’m going to lose what’s left of my mind
warns Kira Davis on Louder with Crowder (the film producer was also interviewed by Steven Crowder).
I just need everyone to stop.

It’s not just the question that is driving me nuts. It’s the fact that no one is willing to accept that my answer is what it is – which is “I wouldn’t care!”

You see, that’s not the right answer. The answer is supposed to be, “Oh my gosh! I never thought about it like that. You’ve made such an amazing, salient point and I’ve just been so hung up on my gay-hating Bible rules that I didn’t take the time to think maybe I wouldn’t like it if someone chose not to serve me because of who I am!”

It’s important to note that this Indiana RFRA says absolutely nothing about discrimination and has nothing to do with homosexuals at all. This whole debate is ginned up outrage and navel-gazing. I hate to even participate because it means conceding to discuss a controversy that is non-existent in the first place. That being said, it is what it is and people keep bringing up this dumb question, so I feel I must stoop to address said question.

So, acknowledging of the fact that this discussion is completely unrelated to the text of RFRA, the truth is, I don’t care if there is someone in America who would refuse me service based on my skin color or my religion or my heterosexuality. The truth is I have the luxury of not caring because this isn’t 1915; this is 2015 and my ancestors have fought and died to secure my rights to vote, earn, serve and travel freely within the boundaries of this fine nation.

Being a black woman who grew up on a tiny island in northeastern Canada in the 70s and 80s, I have been called a “nigger” more times than I can count. It was hurtful. It took many years to escape the pain of that time in my life and learn to forgive. Also…so what? My feelings were hurt, but what in tarnation did what those people think about me have to do with how I eventually went on to make a lovely, rich life for myself in another country?

Nothing! So people didn’t like me because I was black. Big frikking deal! I still worked. I still voted. I still went to school. I still found friends and family to love. I still dressed myself, paid my bills, drove a car, etc. I’ve worked many different types of jobs over the years. I became a wife, a mother, an actress and eventually a writer. I’ve been able to work hard and enjoy the fruits of my labor. There have been plenty of people in my life who’ve been disgusted with me simply because of my skin color. None of them are here today and not one of them had the power to stand in my way and keep me from claiming what was rightfully mine.

“But Kira, wait! You say it’s not 1915 but if enough businesses refused to serve you because of your sexuality or race aren’t we looking at a repeat of that era?”

No, silly. What you’re talking about is a “slippery slope” and we’ve been reminded over and over again that there is no such thing as a slippery slope. So put that out of your paranoid little heads.

If we somehow wake up in 2 years to find out we’ve magically slipped back into Jim Crow I’ll be the first one to take up arms and march in the streets like my ancestors have.

P.S. – you anti-second amendment folks might want to rethink the whole “right to bear arms” thing just in case those right-wing nutjobs really do get their way and set back civil rights 150 years like you’re always claiming they will. Having the means to oppose an unjust government might come in handy when the government isn’t run by the Golfer-in-Chief anymore. Just a thought for you.

I don’t want to force anyone to serve me or play or work with me if they fundamentally object to me or my lifestyle for whatever bizarre reasons. I certainly don’t want to give those people my money. I’m happy to take my earnings elsewhere, thank you very much. Good luck with that whole racism thing!

Let’s not waste anymore time with these silly hypotheticals. I’m far too reasonable, far too old, and have far too much experience with actual discrimination to spend my time arguing about a situation that has absolutely no appreciable consequences for the success or failure of any educated, hard-working American.

Gay friends, just don’t buy pizza from a pizzeria that doesn’t want to cater your event. Black friends, just don’t buy wedding cakes from a bakery that doesn’t think you should be marrying that white person you fell in love with. Put away your wallet, write a nasty review on Yelp and holler “Bye, Felicia!” as you walk out the door to patronize a more accepting (and probably more successful) enterprise.

If worse comes to worse and you get too annoyed you can always hash out your issues with your Starbucks barista.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

If Reagan Showed Signs of Alzheimer's Already in White House, then All I Can Say Is, I Wish All US Presidents Suffered From the Same Ailment

Scientists looked at transcripts from news conferences that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush held during their terms in office. They discovered that Reagan exhibited subtle changes in speaking patterns during his presidency that are linked to the development of dementia.
If it is true that Ronald Wilson Reagan showed early signs of Alzheimer's already during his White House years, as AOL reports, all I have to say then is that I wish all of Oval Office occupants would suffer from the same ailment.

Related: Some choice Ronald Reagan quotes

I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the founding fathers

“Reagan should have a monument in every city” says Walesa as another Gipper statue unveiled in Eastern Europe

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chinese Film Studios Are the Planet's Largest, Mass-Producing Films Designed to Build a Positive Image of the Country

Geo Magazine's Thomas Saintourens article features a Giulio Di Sturco photo portfolio of "Chinawood", showing how the country harbors the world's largest film studio (Hengdian is twice the side of Universal Studios) and how an even larger one will be opening at the Oriental Movie Metropolis in Qingdao. Needless to say,
China uses the Seventh Art Form to build a positive image of China
creativity will be limited by censorship.
Related: In cahoots with Beijing — Hollywood's Offerings Promise Only to Get More Anti-American Update: Further Inroads into Hollywood for China's Communist Party and Its Censors

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kalashnikov Generation: Europe's Gun-Free ZonesOught to Raise a Few Eyebrows

Just as we've gotten used to Frenchmen and Europeans castigating America for its gun culture and violence — to be contrasted with their own gun-free zones, their own intelligence, and their own peaceful ways — we learn, in Doreen Carvajal's New York Times story about a jewelry heist, that not only are firearms used fairly often on the old continent (albeit mostly by criminals), these weapons are often submachine guns — often enough that the weapon has given a book on a new generation of gangsters its title:
Frédéric Ploquin, the author of a new book about the evolution of organized crime in France, said that the robberies reflected a new wave of gangsters who have emerged since 2005 — a “Kalashnikov generation” with a zest for arms, no fear of death, and a taste for quick and easy profits, usually through drug trafficking.
Génération Kalachnikov (Les nouveaux gangsters):
Le milieu traditionnel n’est pas mort, mais les jeunes se bousculent au portillon pour prendre la relève. Ce livre, quatrième tome de la série « Parrains et caïds », est une immersion dans le banditisme français muri à l’ombre des cités. D’Aubervilliers à Nanterre, de Roubaix à Montpellier en passant par Lyon, Grenoble, Marseille et Nice, ceux qui ont repris la « boutique » sont plus nombreux que leurs prédécesseurs, mais surtout plus anonymes : à la différence de leurs aînés dont les noms s’affichaient dans les journaux, on les connaît peu. Un atout considérable, même si certains rêvent de reconnaissance médiatique. Que disent-ils d’eux-mêmes ? Qu’en pensent les policiers qui les traquent et les magistrats qui les poursuivent ? Comment les voyous d’hier les considèrent-ils ? Qui sont les têtes d’affiche ? Que font-ils de leurs millions ? Réponses dans ce livre étayé de très nombreux témoignages inédits. Le roman vrai d’une génération qui ne fait pas toujours la différence entre réalité et cinéma, surtout à l’heure de vider un chargeur.

London Mayor and Possible Future UK PM Hounded Into Renouncing His Dual American Citizenship

Thanks to the IRS, one of Britain's most famous politicians — indeed, London's mayor is a possible future prime minister — has been hounded into renouncing his American citizenship, reports The Economist.
BORIS JOHNSON, the mayor of London, is British-American by birth—and by temperament. He mixes the can-do frontier spirit with self-deprecating wit. After being sacked as a shadow cabinet minister, he said: “There are no disasters, only opportunities. And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters.” He is relentlessly optimistic. “Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3,” he once promised.

Yet Mr Johnson (pictured) is so fed up with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that he is renouncing his US citizenship. He says he wants to affirm his commitment to Britain—a wise move for a man who hopes to be prime minister some day. But he has also talked of “getting a divorce from America” because of its “incredible doctrine of global taxation”. He became American by “an accident of birth”: his father was studying in New York. Half a century later this made Johnson junior liable for American capital-gains tax on the sale of his primary home, in north London; Britain levies no such tax. He harrumphed last year that this was “absolutely outrageous” and said he wouldn’t pay. (He later settled for an undisclosed sum.)

The number of Americans giving up their passports has shot up, from less than 1,000 a year in the late 2000s to a record 3,415 in 2014. A new spur is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) of 2010, which makes it a lot harder for Americans overseas to get (or keep) bank accounts, pensions and mortgages, because foreign financial firms don’t want the administrative hassles that FATCA throws up. The law also increases filing requirements for citizens—and thus stokes fears that honest mistakes will be punished.

A neighbour of this correspondent, who was born in America but moved to Britain as a child, recently received a huge bill from the IRS, out of the blue, for many years of unfiled taxes. He had not realised that he owed anything; he had always paid taxes promptly in Britain. The IRS was so aggressive that he feared he might lose his technology business; he even discussed divorce with his wife as a way to shield their assets. In the end, he settled for a six-figure sum. He, too, has since renounced his citizenship.
Related: • Keeping the IRS happy grew ever more time-consuming and costly, until it became intolerableA massive breach of the Fourth Amendment: The vast majority of those renouncing citizenship are middle-class Americans, living overseas, fully compliant with their U.S. tax obligations

Moreover: Check out 46 photographs of Boris Johnson
to see whether he appears more British or more American

Sunday, March 29, 2015

For Liberals, you can be a murderer, a thief, a liar, but dont you dare be a conservative

In the wake of the prolonged clapping and applause at the Big Apple's Lincoln Center following a composer's gratuitous insult of Rush Limbaugh (John Adams compared the radio host to the Taliban and/or to the Muslim Brotherhood), Ed Driscoll (thanks to Instapundit) quotes a caller to the Rush Limbaugh show describing those two minutes of hate of  “the official bogey man of the left”:
CALLER: Rush ... You can be anything in New York City. You can be a murderer, a thief, a liar, but dont you dare be a conservative.
As I wrote five years ago, this is nothing new:

How could anybody better illustrate my contention (a mere observation, really) — discernible in my upcoming graphic novel with Dan Greenberg, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln — that not much has changed from a century and a half ago, specifically when Honest Abe spoke at the Cooper Union in February 1860, addressing the Republicans' castigators:
…when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us as reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to [Republicans]. In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an unconditional condemnation of [Republicanism] as the first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite — license, so to speak — among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify.