A Look Back at the First Week

 

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Trump’s Emotional Tailspin

During the first week of Donald Trump’s presidency, his psychopathology was already obvious and being remarked upon both behind the closed doors of Congress and openly in the media. This scathing piece was written by a conservative columnist, Jennifer Rubin.

In the early 1970s, I remember speculation that Nixon might crack under the pressure of Watergate or that he was exhibiting paranoid tendencies. But I don’t ever remember an assessment of a sitting President’s mental health that was this stark, this declarative of mental illness. Virtually everyone agrees that Number 45 is nuts. And not in a fun, shake-things-up gonzo way. Trump is a very sick man. He should trade in the Armani suit for a think blue robe that ties in back. Or a jacket with the arms tied in front. 

The GOP will keep a sick man in office for as long as they can keep passing their rob-the-people, feed-the-rich agenda through him and around him. Look at Paul Ryan in the clip of the first meeting of 45 with Congressional leaders. He looks like a hungry wolf circling prey. Although I like wolves, so let’s make him a coyote instead. A nipper of carrion. Or, in this case, walking carrion.

Our country and the world is in serious danger every day that a compulsively lying rageaholic madman occupies the White House. We have to resist every day. In every way imaginable short of violence … if things turn violent, we will have a fascist state.

And be prepared for far worse than what we’ve seen. Trump is not capable of controlling himself, behaving differently. He’s too far gone. And his impotent rage at the truth (which continually fails to conform to his fantasy) can only escalate.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/01/24/trumps-emotional-tailspin-was-predictable/?utm_term=.4cfd7011ce6b

One month of Trumpf …

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I ended the first month of Trump the way I started it: by rallying downtown with a group of like-minded Los Angelenos who don’t believe Trump has any business in the office he occupies and needs to vacate it as soon as possible. There were lots of chants and signs, both witty and moving. My favorite of the funny signs was “IKEA makes better Fake Cabinets,” and the runner-up “Build a wall around Donald Trump and I’ll pay for it. ”

The occasion for today’s rally – there’s an anti-Trump rally every day somewhere, sometimes lots of somewheres – was President’s Day and the theme was “Not My President.” He’s sure not mine. Trump isn’t even a President, really. When he’s asked questions about national policy, he answers with stories about himself. He signs things without reading them.  He pretty much goes where he wants to …. New York, Melbourne, Florida, Mar-a-Lago … which isn’t usually the White House. Although Trump does enjoy spending time in the Oval Office. He likes looking at the pictures.

On the way into the rally, I met a man named Mike. He is a Latino American, a Los Angeles native, and a self-proclaimed “Mexican for Trump.” He was at the southwest corner of City Hall, brandishing a sign announcing his support of Trump and yelling stuff, although Mike has a light voice and no one behind him or in the passing cars could clearly hear what he said. They could read the sign, though, and see his red Make American Great Again cap, and people were pissed. As I was passing Mike, a short Latina in her forties was yelling at him – red-faced – cursing Mike in Spanish. At least I think she was cursing him. I’m pretty sure “Chinga tu Madre” is not a compliment.

I felt like cursing Mike, too, and almost did. But he has a mild manner and I didn’t feel angry (or betrayed as I suspect the Latina felt betrayed). I just felt confused. What happened to Mike? What the hell happens to all Trump supporters, who are voting against their own interests? Who are getting conned?

I stopped and asked Mike why he liked Trump. He said it wasn’t about Trump personally, he liked his policies. He said Trump would create jobs. I told him he wouldn’t create jobs and told him why I thought that was true. I asked MIke if he was a Christian and if his religion was a factor in his support. MIke said he was a Christian but not much of one and I said, good, Trump isn’t either. Mike laughed. Then went on to say that Islam was a dangerous religion and killed people and that was the thing that most concerned him, why we had to keep them all out. Even the ones who helped us fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who will die if they can’t leave? I asked Mike. He said no, we should let them in. On a case by case basis. I asked him about Putin. Mike said he hated him. And the connection with Trump bothered him, but you can’t believe everything you read. I asked Mike what his number one reason for supporting Trump was and he said borders. He wants a wall between himself and the country from whence his parents immigrated, illegally, years ago. And he seemed to think all the homeless people downtown were somehow the result of lax immigration. I told Mike that more than 70% of L.A.’s homeless were black or white and that the percentage of Latinos was small and far less than their percentage in the general population. Mike hadn’t known that.

I asked him his name, told him mine, shook hands, and turned to leave. Mike thanked me for talking to him and said he respected me and my views. I said okay, man, have a good one. I didn’t respect his views, so I couldn’t say that, but I should have told Mike I respected him. It was small of me not to give him that. He’s a nice man – polite in the face of outrage – and it takes cohones to stand alone on that corner with his sign.

Trump Survival Rule #4 – Be Outraged

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First, they attack and discredit the Media

Massa Gessen has written six rules for survival in an autocracy, which I have reprinted below. Gessen lived in Russia when Putin took control and she has written one of the better books about him: The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin (2012). Her other book, Words Break Cement, chronicles the lives and imprisonments of Pussy Riot, Russia’s all-female punk rock protest band that Putin put behind bars.

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Speaking of which, where are our punk rock protest bands? Where’s the new Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe & The Fish or (for the older set) the new Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, Dylan before he went electric? If nothing else good comes from the Trump years, can this – please, finally – put an end to alt and indie and any group consisting of a guy and a girl in everyday clothes with wispy voices accompanied by shit they loaded on their computer and press buttons to play?

Can we please have music with a little viscera behind it. Some unfiltered emotion. Some outrage. Everyone in the culture – and every part of the culture – needs to revolt against what’s happening. In my generation, musicians led the way.

jimi-woodstock-03Trump used his first solo press conference to attack the news. He and his Brietbart boys go after the press every day, which shores up their base (those who watch and only watch Fox) and feeds the resentment we all feel at times when the press covers the wrong things, covers the right things poorly, misses the Big Story.

The Big Story is that Trump’s people are attempting an autocratic takeover of the United States of America. Not only do they want to rule domestically with an Iron Heel, but they also seek to dissolve our traditional foreign alliances such as NATO in favor of an informal collection of fascist or proto-fascist states in Russia, Turkey, hopefully France under Marine Le Pen, Italy, the UK of Brexit, and several South American states. The GOP is letting it happen, picking up loose change along the way and hoping to install Pence if business experiences a turndown and the Market gets shaky.

Putting your head in the sand will not prevent any of this from happening. Or just wanting “to go back to your normal lives.” You don’t have a normal life anymore, sorry, an Assclown got into the White House with foreign assistance and nothing and no one is safe. There is no normal until he’s gone. So stay outraged.

And here – according to Masha Gessen – are a few other things you need to do in order to survive:

Masha Gessen, Autocracy: Rules for Survival

Don’t Blame Trump for Scott Pruitt

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An EPA enemy to head up EPA is right out of the GOP playbook, which has been in place (to varying degrees) since Ronald Reagan’s first term. In 1980, Reagan appointed James Watt as his Secretary of the Interior, and Watt proceeded to eliminate dozens of environmental regulations and open up the offshore continental shelf to oil drilling. He was combative and insensitive with a sense of humor that Donald Trump might enjoy. One joke that landed Watt in hot water featured “a black, a woman, two Jews, and a cripple.” I can’t remember whether or not they were entering a bar.

The GOP doesn’t want you to look to the government for anything good. Not your health, your security in old age, public schools, affordable housing, safety in the workplace, a decent wage, parks and lakes and oceans that are clean and beautiful or at least not so poisoned that you are afraid to dip a toe in.

Increasingly, if the GOP sees a chance to make a buck by privatizing (even in areas where they had been loathe in past to tread, such as prisons and war), they have gone for it in a big way. The private prison thing paid off tremendously. Not only has it made a handful of prison privateers incredibly wealthy, it has also helped keep the streets clear of black people, brown people, and unruly youth. The War on Drugs isn’t the only reason that the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prison population. The other other reason is prisons for profit, which provide an incentive (as opposed to the disincentive of public financing by taxes) to put people away instead of search for alternatives that serve society better. The reason why so many of the prisoners in those places are black or brown is racism.

You can blame Donald Trump for Rex Tillerson at State, Wilbur Clark at Commerce, and Michael Flynn at NSA, who were all appointed for their Russian connections. Jeff Sessions at AG is a campaign reward for Good Ole Jeff bein’ the first Senator to get behind Trump. Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao at Transportation is a political (and financial move) by Trump. Mitch’s wife will be in a perfect position to effect policy and facilitate bribes that both men hope will flow with any infrastructure or other large public works projects. And flow both ways. Ching ching!

The rest of Trump’s appointments (including probably Betsy Devos) were likely suggested by Pence or the GOP leadership as their usual business as usual: Appoint someone who is actively opposed to the department’s agenda or who will destroy it by neglect. Someone like DeVos kills two birds with one stone (she is a GOP megadonor and has spent her life trying to replace public education with private relgious schools supported by tax dollars). Her brother is Eric Prince, disgraced founder of Blackwater, so maybe she kills three stones. Just in case a private army would come in handy to Trump’s little coterie of fascist dreamers.

Read the book I always recommend on this subject – The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank (2008) – to learn more about the GOP’s destroy-government agenda, which is now entering its 36th illustrious year.

Blame Donald Trump for being an ignorant, incompetent, treasonous. raccoon-handed assclown with his head up Putin’s butt. Blame him for cronies like Flynn and Tillerson and Sessions and anything that comes from Bannon or the other sad Steve.

For the rest of it, blame the GOP. They’re doing the same stuff they’ve done since that day in 1980 when affable Ronnie Reagan appointed obnoxious James G. Watt to piss on Interior. That day when Presidents stopped trying to pick capable people to head up departments with altruistic and socially-agreed-upon agendas and replaced them with The Wrecking Crew.

So that our governments would fail. And their rich corporate friends make a few more bucks.

I Count the DeVos Fight as a Win …

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What could have been a routine appointment became anything but routine. We turned a vote or two (lots of votes if you count Democratic votes that became noes instead of go along to get alongs).

We put the entire Democratic Party on notice that their job is to RESIST the Assclown in Chief and everything he does if they want our support in two years. They will be primaried if they cut deals or try to straddle the fence, just as moderate Republicans were primaried by the Tea Party. We need Leaders not ass-coverers.

Mike Pence had to leave his Presidential duties (which he shares with Bannon and a couple of others while the Orange Queen signs shit and poses for photos) to cast the deciding vote. Any minute or portion of a minute of these guys’ days that we can tie up with resistance are minutes or portions of minutes they can’t devote to fucking America.

Sean Spicer had to use the word “unprecedented” to describe Democratic behavior that was de rigeur Republican behavior for nearly the last eight years. Even FOX viewers (who know what unprecedented means) knows that one is bullshit.

Betsy Devos (SCAmway heiress and bigtime Dark Money donor) was exposed as an ignorant dunderhead with an anti-public school zeal that is the opposite of her department’s mission. This is what the GOP does … puts people in charge to wreck the Department with nonsense and neglect … unless that Cabinet job is needed to pay back Putin for favors or to keep Mitch McConnell happily greasing the wheels.

Fuck you, Trump! Fuck you, Pence! And fuck you, Betsy DeVos! We’ll be in your faces until you’re gone. Letting you know you’re being watched. Obstructing your actions when possible. Reviling them when not.

Enjoy this moment, GOP Custers. This is your last stand.

You know the recent Putin-Trump call wasn’t recorded, right?

Unlike for all the other official calls – the ones on Trump’s public schedule that might have to be accounted for with the media – Trump turned the recording machine off. This was no “accidental” 18-minute gap ala Watergate. Trump or his people turned the fucking thing off for the duration of the phone call between the Head of State of Russia and the Top Businessperson currently holed up in the White House.

I’m sure you’ve also heard that Trump-in-Law Jared Kushner has a business arrangement with a top Putin lieutenant, Rotem Rosen, who if he lived in New Jersey instead of Moscow might be recruited by the Sopranos. I believe it involves a $295 million investment in Trump Soho.

Everyone knows by now that Trump has not divested any of his business interests and still controls them on paper and through family members. He receives regular “business” reports that, I’ll wager, he spends more time reading than he did the intelligence reports for the tragic raid in Yemen that cost a Navy Seal his life.

You’ve heard about all of these things – and at top volume – because your Democratic Senators and Congresspeople and their aides won’t shut up about them. Right? Are calling for investigations. Right? Are looking into impeachment?

No? Well, that’s what would happen if the tables were turned. Which is probably a PRIMARY reason why the tables have turned so radically in the last election and why Republicans control the Senate, the House, the White House, and the Supreme Court now just to name a few. Meanwhile, some of the Democrats I know are busy tone-shaming each other on social media and arguing about what color to wear to the planned Science March on Washington.

We’re in a War, folks. For the future of America. Which won’t resemble anything in the past of America if we don’t get off our asses and scream bloody murder. And force every elected Democrat to do the same thing. Every waking second. Of every day.

For myself, I prefer “civil” disobedience. Organized through regular political channels. But if establishment Democrats blow it again, if they don’t RESIST, then resistance will occur but in very different ways. And it will be even harder to recognize that America.

How Stupid Do You Have to Be to Believe Donald Trump is a Christian?

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Thanks for Your Votes, Now Give Me Your Money

That’s a serious question. If you’ve ever been inside a church, you know The Donald hasn’t. Except maybe for a relative’s funeral. The occasional wedding. Trump needs a Prayer Coach to teach him how to bow and hold his hands, a Worship Coach to show him where to look, a Pretend Coach to teach him how to act engaged in praising Jesus when he’s actually bored shitless and wondering how long until he’s in his limo and can start surfing porn. Can’t Ivanka or somebody show him tape of Pence and his Beard (sorry, Wife) at worship next to Poor Donald. See how devout they look?

Until 2016, Donald Pussy Grabber Trump never gave a single thought to God and he harbors not a single ounce of Faith. Before 2016, if he’d ever accidentally walked into a church – and realized people had to be quiet and that the women’s dresses mostly fell below the knee – he would have turned and run for the exit.

I saw some dotty old Aunt Bee types on CNN or somewhere (in an assisted living in Kansas or wherever) saying they could tell that Donald was reformed, now touched by the Lord. Well, somebody’s “touched” – or “tetched” as we use to say in Indiana – but it ain’t The Donald and it ain’t by the Lord.

How ironic then that Donald Trump is one of the only GOP Presidents to actually deliver on some of the promises he made to curdled rightwing alleged believers in order to get elected. Including declaring war on Muslims. Including yesterday, when he promised to “completely destroy” the limits on church spending and advocacy in regard to political campaigns. Which will turn some of the nation’s megachurches into Super PACs overnight.

Donald got your votes, Aunt Bees. Now he wants your pennies. The Christian Kissing Up Act might be part of the Bannon neofascist worldview somehow … I’m still reading up on that asshole … but it’s probably (or mostly) just a naked money grab.

Think of it as a tithe, good folks, to make sure the planet burns up sooner and that science never finds  a cure for your granddaughter’s paralysis.  Think of it as a tax on stupidity.

How dumb do you have to be to believe Donald Trump is a Christian? Dumb enough to think FOX is fair and balanced. Or that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-vows-to-totally-destroy-restrictions-on-churches-support-of-candidates/2017/02/02/fed9bad2-e981-11e6-bf6f-301b6b443624_story.html?utm_term=.119b1a5b62ce&wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

“I will study this dumb President!”

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That is my vow. It’s a paraphrase of a tweet made by our dumb President, who was vowing to study a “dumb” deal the much smarter last American President made with the smarter and more effective PM of Australia.

You know, the Turnbull guy that President Clueless hung up on yesterday after bragging about his electoral college margin of victory and complaining about the U.S.-Aussie agreement to relocate a thousand plus Syrian refugees from the Land Down Under to the new United States Uber Alles. You know, the kind of deal that trusted allies make. The kind of deal signators to the Geneva Convention make.

It was The Donald’s staff’s fault for scheduling an hour with Australia. Trump can’t talk to anyone for an hour. He couldn’t fill an hour on the campaign trail without hecklers and someone to toss out. There is no topic (except himself) that he can talk about for an hour and, even when talking about Trump, he repeats himself endlessly. And these pesky leaders of other countries are constantly bringing up stuff he knows nothing about. No wonder he got mad and hung up.

(The staff should keep calls to foreign leaders brief, like the one today from Putin. Vladimir asked if Donald had gotten the check and Donald said yes. They traded diet pill stories and both agreed they liked adderall better. Vlad asked Don if “golden showers” were a “thing” in America and Donnie laughed. He said they were “very very” a thing. They wrapped up the convo in under five!)

The people of Australia are very very concerned about what’s happening in the U.S. On the night of Trump’s elevation (I can’t call it an election, because it was fixed six different ways), Prime Minister Turnbull addressed the nation on television, saying that the historic relationship between Australia and America might have to change. One thing he was thinking of, I’m sure, was that Australia (given the seedy, oil-greased, financial relationship with Putin) might no longer feel comfortable sharing military intelligence with an addled, Russo-compromised U.S. Commander in Chief. And that speech was given months ago, before Steve Bannon was promoted to the NSA and the Joint Chief of Staffs demoted. Can you blame Turnbull for being wary?

Can you blame any country (historical ally or not) for wondering WTF? On a daily basis, WTF? Moment to moment, WTF? The world in the last two weeks has become more dangerous than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis early in JFK’s Presidency.

Duck and cover, World. Here comes The Donald!

ABC Chats with the Star of Project Pennsyvania Ave

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Somebody Tell Him This Isn’t a TV Show

This is starting to get really scary. The current inhabitant of the White House does not belong where he is. He’s too small for the suit. He knows what he knows and it isn’t much. Not much more than what the star of a reality TV show knows … ratings, reviews, how he stacks up against the competition.

He is possessed of alternate facts. Which is a short distance from saying he hears voices the rest of us can’t hear, he has delusions. However, his delusions are not the usual ones of grandeur, but their opposite. He knows he has no business being President (he is utterly unequipped for the job) and he wants to pretend that his only real job is to give “home run” speeches and bring home the ratings bacon. Something he used to know how to do.

He signs things that are put in front of him without reading them. He leaves it to lawyers to handle stuff when there are words involved he doesn’t understand such as emoluments. He is around – but barely involved – in a kind of Government by Committee involving Mike Pence, the rest of the GOP leadership, his top advisors (who tend more to his image than to policy), his daughter and her husband.

This can’t possibly end well. But it does have to end and hopefully sooner rather than later. It’s unsettling to have someone this out of touch – with this much power – nursing resentments and fostering hates.

It’s dangerous.

You Can Fake It After All

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When I read this morning that Mary Tyler Moore had died, my first thought was not of the TV series bearing her name, but of Ordinary People (1980), the extraordinary debut feature film by Robert Redford about repressed middle-class white Americans who find displays of emotion difficult and expressions of love nearly impossible.  In it, Moore gives the performance of a lifetime as Beth Jarrett, a beautiful, brittle, relentlessly positive Midwestern housewife who carries a not entirely healthy torch for her dead older son and who can’t forgive her younger son for still being alive. Donald Sutherland as her kind but unassertive husband, Timothy Hutton as the surviving son Conrad, and Judd Hirsch as Conrad’s shrink are also extraordinary.

I can manage happily without ever again seeing Moore as Mary Richards throw her hat slow-motion in the air to the strains of the relentlessly positive The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song.  Not that I hated the show or thought ill of it. Quite the contrary. If I watched more TV and ranked it, it would score high. For TV, it was fairly close to life at times and a good place to start if you want a gentle introduction to 1970s America.

But it was TV – in the 1970s – and a “comedy” – so the characters are “survivors,” none of whom wind up in recovery or the mental hospital or jail, all of whom really love each other under the gruffness, whose darkest days are never that dark or last too long. And my viewing relationship with TV is an odd one. I look below the surface of the show to the writer’s well from whence it sprung, listen not to the actors’ words but to their subtext. In my distorted world, The Andy Griffith Show is about small-town loneliness. People in Mayberry are so lonely it aches. And – to my twisted mind – The Mary Tyler Moore Show was one of the saddest shows ever aired, every single one of whose characters is hanging on by their fingernails, unwilling to think too hard about anything, afraid to feel. Mary saddest of all.

And it is a small leap, really – barely a hop – from the almost real Mary Richards to the painfully real Beth Jarrett, hiding her hate and terror behind the makeup of normalcy, holding tight by her lacquered nails until they finally break – or her tortured son Conrad breaks them – and she can’t go on. Not one more step. Not in the company of her husband and surviving son, who have found their way to the real – and decided to live there – leaving Beth to run away, find others around whom she can pretend again, toss her hat in the air.

Sean Spicer in a lavender tie …

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acting like a press secretary. As opposed to yesterday, when he showed up in a dark blue tie to lie for five minutes and storm off. Sean’s lies are more deft today – at his first full press conference – and his manner genial. This is bad news.

Spicer’s got skillz … and possibly stamina, he’s promised to stay as long as the reporters want … so, unlike poor Kellyanne, he doesn’t look like he’s going to dry up and blow away any day now.

My guess is that yesterday Spicer relayed a tantrum, produced by the star of Project Pennsylvania Avenue, who values ratings above all else. Today someone … probably Ivanka or poor Kellyanne … told him the reviews on the tantrum were Rotten Tomatoes and they’d have to go a different way if they wanted to stay on the air.

Too bad. A win for “normalizing.” The Goebbels act would have made it easier to get rid of the Turd in Chief. And this Sean guy is versatile … man tantrum one day, lavender tie the next … which augurs well for The Turd. And poorly for the country’s good.

Can’t Imagine Why Local Fox …

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lowballed the crowd estimate for the L.A. Women’s March, but there were a hell of a lot more than “a hundred thousand” people in downtown today to say “He’s not my President.” Dodger Stadium holds 53,000, guys.

I say we could have easily filled Dodger Stadium ten times over. And a network estimate, later in the day, put the Los Angeles crowd at 750,000.

This is just getting started, folks. Let’s not give that piece of shit a single day of peace.

P.S. That’s me in the photograph, standing next to the woman in the pink hat.

With SCAmway Heiress Betsy DeVos …

poised to head the Education Department, where she intends to continue to hack away at public funding for public schools until there is none of either left, it’s good to look back a year. When Mother Jones published a good article on the looming crisis inspired by DeVos’s greedy ilk and looming as one of next big crises. Well, I guess if can’t find a decent high school to attend, you can always try selling Amway. It will make you RICH!
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/01/charter-schools-mortgage-crisis-bubble

 

The “Last Tango” Twitter Storm

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According to some, our current time should be called the Post-Truth Era, which has brought us our first Post-Truth President aided by (among other things) dozens of post-truth “news” stories, articles, statements, and tweets.

The “Last Tango actress was raped” story, which went viral these past couple days, is a good example of what Post-Truth looks like, how it behaves, and how hard it is to combat.

Some facts before I continue:

No, ‘Last Tango in Paris’ Director Did Not Say Marlon Brando Committed Rape
3 December 2016 5:54 PM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

The 1972 film “Last Tango in Paris” was pilloried across the internet this weekend over the belief that director Bernardo Bertolucci had admitted that a rape scene between stars Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider was an actual rape. But in an interview a decade ago, Schneider herself said that no sex of any kind took place during the scene, in which then-48-year-old Brando’s character uses butter to have anal sex with the 19-year-old Schneider. In fact, she said she felt “a little bit raped” by her director and co-star because they manipulated and coerced her into doing the scene, »
– Tim Molloy

I had to search for the Tim Molloy retraction article above. Every other publication (and social media, of course) went with the click-bait version that Bertolucci and Brando raped Maria Schneider on camera in a movie you’ve seen. And Bertolucci is finally coming clean after all these years.

Except, none of that happened. There was no rape. There was no real sex, consensual or otherwise. And the Bertolucci interview was from 2013, not now. Oh, and he didn’t say what those articles said he said. He said what Tim Molloy said he said.

There is an interesting discussion in this general area. Several actually. About power relationships (and abuses of same) in Hollywood and the wider world. About what is permissible in Art to obtain (or hope to obtain) a great performance. We could bring up the recent Profiles theater scandal. And talk about Balanchine. And that horrid studio director who made child actor Jackie Cooper cry on camera by telling him his dog had died. And the butter scene in Last Tango will be a good addition to that discussion. Along with dozens of other mindfucking directorial stunts from that era and before and after. We can talk about the psychic price of emotional coercion. And the extra responsibilities one should feel toward a young person that you’re about to turn into an overnight star.Truffaut clearly felt such responsibility, Bertolucci didn’t. He didn’t care about anything but his film.

I would love to have these discussions .. and many more on similar topics … and you’ll probably find that we agree on most of them. I’m not a fan of the tactics mentioned above. Or of the behavior. In the service of Art or personal pleasure or anything else.

What we can’t have is a discussion about rape in relation to Last Tango in Paris (1972). Because no rape occurred. And no sex happened, consensual or otherwise. It was rated X for nudity and language and adult situations as portrayed by actors. Not C for Crimes.

Here, let Maria Schneider tell you. Again. She stated that not only was there no actual sex in the infamous “butter scene,” but no real sex in the movie, period. “Not at all,” Schneider said.

Who starts these things? Who sat in a room somewhere, happened to see a three-year-old interview with Bertolucci who’s nearly 80 now and hasn’t made a film in years, decided to distort his statements just enough to get attention, then watched the Internet version of the Telephone Game spin out. Who does this? And what do they get from it?

I lost friends over this, by simply stating that the story didn’t happen the way they had heard it did. They were only Facebook friends, but, hey, in times like these we need all the friends we have.

And here’s a depressing thought. If it’s this hard to cry bullshit on fake 50-year-old movie gossip, how the fuck are we ever going to correct the record on stories of national import.

How will we ever get a real President again? One who’s sort of friendly to the truth. Who’s Post-Post-Truth.You know?

If you wrote this shit as a movie, you’d be laughed out of Hollywood …

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A clueless alleged President Elect totally in bed with the Russian Gangster Czar, cutting deals on hotels in former Soviet states instead of attending to his transition, having his kids sit in on important government meetings, interrupting other meetings for the really important stuff (so he can talk to Indian hoteliers about still more personal business deals), merchandising your upcoming Presidency 24/7 with everything from caps to cups to chia pets for christmas before you’ve even set foot officially in your new white home (which you’ve let everyone know is a big step down from Trump Tower and you’re not happy), calling a meeting of reporters to give them crap in a vocabulary so limited it would embarrass Koko the Gorilla. Koko’s nicer, too! And more worldly wise.

No one would believe any of this in a screenplay … even for a movie with “Bad” somewhere in the title, maybe Bad President starring Billy Bob Thornton … and then you throw in the Media pretending this is business as usual? Nothing to see here?

Welcome to America Through the Looking Glass. Fuck me. Please make it stop.