Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

If You’re Good At Something, Never Do It For Free -or- Entitlements

I spotted a story in the Washington Post earlier today that described the effort that Marla Maples (Donald Trump’s second wife) and Tiffany Trump (his 23-year-old daughter) were putting into looking great for Friday’s inauguration festivities.

They were trying to get their hairstyling and makeup done … for nothing.

Tricia Kelly, a freelance stylist, was contacted by a Maples associate about doing their hair and makeup for the day. When presented with Kelly’s fee schedule, Maples (via her people) objected, saying the amount was too much. After further back-and-forth (resulting in a Kelly proposal of $350 total), Maples’ assistant suggested that perhaps Kelly might be willing to provide services for free — in exchange for “exposure”, including some social media shout-outs.

After finding her voice again, Kelly declined.

This is not unfamiliar territory for creative people. Musicians, for example, run up against the argument, “well, could you play for an evening at our tavern? We don’t have any money to pay you, but the exposure would be great! Lots of people come to our place!”, etc etc.

Partly this has to do with the tavern owner (or whomever) not understanding how much actual work, preparation, etc. go into such endeavors. Yes, there’s a certain skill set and a certain amount of talent and work that go into things like this. Creative and artistic services like dinner music, ice sculptures, interior decorating, dance instruction … while they don’t look anything like plumbing, electrical work, car repair, or various other activities … still do constitute compensable skills.

Again, we creative types are not unfamiliar with the need to educate people about this.

This, though? This is something else.

This is yet another example of entitled people who understand no one else but themselves.

There are people who make far less than they do who pay full price,” [Kelly] said. “People on staff – the incoming White House and the outgoing one – pay full price. It seemed like they were trying to see how much they could get for free based on their names.”

Because that’s their idea of fair compensation. These people will never need to worry about where their next meal is coming from … they will never need to decide between taking their kid to the doctor and paying the rent … and their every capricious whim will be catered to instantly, for the rest of their natural lives. Their idea of recompense is exposure on social media. Their idea of currency is their surname.

Well, these apples didn’t fall far from the orange tree.

But further, it’s an example (one which will become very common in the next … well, however long the Human Conflict Of Interest serves as President) of entitled people lording it over the rest of us. Because they don’t know any experience other than seeing themselves as above the rest of us slobs.

But after The Washington Post contacted the PR representative, Kelly received ominous messages from [Maples’ associate], who had first put her in touch with Maples’s camp. “You are messing with the president of the United States,” the Maples contact wrote her, adding that Maples was worried about her financial situation with Tiffany out of college, ending child-support payments from the president-elect. “She is used to a certain lifestyle and you don’t understand that.”

In my little fantasy world, I would have an instant and forceful retort for Ms. Maples’ associate. In the real world, I hope I would have either the guts to actually speak it, or the sense to keep my yap shut until I could get to a friendly newspaper reporter and tell my story, which is what Ms. Kelly wisely did.

Marla Maples is used to a certain lifestyle and I don’t understand that?

Damn right I don’t. And I hope I never do. Not if it makes me look and sound like that.

 

RESIST. REJECT.

And support the people who actually do a little work around here.

 

[Ed. note: Three days until we inaugurate a man … accompanied by the rest of his soon-to-be First Family … who has never in his life known want. Who is supported by craven, corrupt, similarly entitled (Congress)people who (por ejamplo) wish to take away health insurance from people who do know want, every damn day of their lives. Who, nonetheless, is supposed to be seen as the president of all the people of the United States.

[Hell of a role model.]

January 17, 2017 Posted by | celebrity, current events, Famous Persons, news | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Distractions

Trump is a distraction.

Admittedly, a professional circus-grade distraction.  A weapons-grade distraction.  A two-mile-diameter key ring full of the shiniest keys humanity has likely ever produced.

But a distraction nonetheless.

No.  I’m not suggesting that he’s harmless, or that we should not worry our pretty little heads about him.

But yesterday, while we were doing the whirling-dervish thing about allegations of prostitutes allegedly doing, well, drippy things on hotel room beds with the Short-Fingered Vulgarian allegedly in the room … and about a press conference that featured both blatant abuse of journalists and faint hints of future fascistic, authoritarian behavior …

Everything else was happening.

By which we mean: por ejamplo, multiple confirmation hearings of Cabinet-level-position nominees occurring simultaneously (the better to keep the press and the public from being able to keep track of all of them, all at once).

One of those got my attention.  Seriously.  Hard.

In what seemed to be the only moment gobsmacking enough to bring the Senate chamber to almost complete silence, in the late afternoon [Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff] Sessions had this terse exchange with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

Whitehouse suggested that lists were already circulating suggesting there might be purges or demotions of certain career appointees in the Justice Department. Whitehouse wondered whether Sessions would have a problem with career lawyers “with secular beliefs,” having in the past criticized department attorneys for being secular. Sessions replied that he has used that language about secular attorneys to differentiate between people who recognize objective “truth” and those who take positions “in which truth is not sufficiently respected.”

Whitehouse replied, with a leading, and perhaps slightly conclusory question: “And a secular person has just as good a claim to understanding the truth as a person who is religious, correct?” At which point Sessions responded, “Well, I’m not sure.” For a few seconds the Senate chamber seemed to go completely silent.

Sessions was quick to reiterate that he doesn’t believe in religious tests, … But it was one of the very few moments in which Sessions’ deft denials of prior positions and statements veered completely off script. It spoke to the levels of obfuscation that are now customary in such confirmation hearings, especially about matters of faith, and the degree to which hearings become theater in which little [that is] true about the nominees and their most deeply felt positions are revealed. It also demonstrated that the views that Sessions is hiding are absolutely inimical to the democratic values of many members of the Senate and a large portion of the country.

These are the people who, for the last forty years, have been setting the table for this.  They have been laying the groundwork.

Partly for a fascist leader-type to emerge and assume the Presidency, so as to be able to appoint extremist-conservative Supreme Court justices and thereby affect long-term legislative and judicial control over American laws and lives.

But partly for such a leader to emerge who would properly distract from the work that they really wanted to accomplish, once they had control of both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives.  With no opposition-party executive branch to offer veto power to stop their legislative efforts, the sky could be the limit.

And the Vulgar Talking Yam is the perfect distraction/leader, since he’s so over-the-top, and so attention-diverting, and already even before running for President was considered the kind of celebrity whose *anticipated presence* at a podium was reason enough for cable news outlets to broadcast images of that empty podium – because that was news.

Sort of an orange herring.

His words and deeds are so spectacularly over-the-top – and they are, by themselves, entirely deserving of attention and backlash and pushback and righteous indignation and all the other reactions that are entirely appropriate – that it’s almost sensible that all of us who are reacting badly to Orange Muppet Hitler behaving badly that we would miss the other, potentially more horrible things that may be happening.

So now we have a nominee for US Attorney General – a job description which, boiled down, says “the chief law enforcement officer for the United States” – who doesn’t trust people who are not overtly religious to have “just as good a claim to understanding the truth as a person who is religious”.

And that would doubtless influence how he enforced the existing laws of the United States.

 

For forty years, the groundwork has been laid … for not necessarily a generically authoritarian regime, although that would be considered a bonus by many of the groundwork-layers (see Robert Altemeyer’s magnificent research regarding authoritarian followers), but for a theocratic government.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …” is the very first thing that the very first amendment to the US Constitution says.  Clearly, the founders of our country considered – based on bitter experience – that it was a terrible idea for a government to be allowed to determine a state-sanctioned religion.  That way lies Crusades and the like.

Let’s be honest: this country already has a state religion: the worship of money.  But if Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and the legions of extremist conservatives who have been massing their forces, waiting for the perfect moment to launch an offensive on American government, have their way … well, that First Amendment nonsense won’t get in the way of the establishment of right-wing Christians as the preferred religious and governmental authorities of the United States.

And here, again (readers of this blog will note that I’ve opined on this topic in this space before), Christianity is getting a bad name.

The people who have spent the last four decades infiltrating the government and the media and public life … are the people who would impose their will, autocratically and discriminatorily, on people who don’t look like they do, who don’t think like they do, who don’t have money like they do, who don’t worship like they do, who don’t love like they do.

There are many people in this country – and sadly, they are either in positions of authority or are about to be – who profess to be Christians but don’t know the first thing about it.  Who drape themselves with the mantle of Christianity but who violate the teachings of Christ with their every word and action.  Who give Christianity as it was first conceived a bad name.

In case anyone needs a refresher:

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 5:3-10)

 

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

(Matthew 25:34-40)

 

Apparently, those tenets are for suckers.

Hell, if someone doesn’t look like me, think like me, get paid like me, worship like me, love like me … they don’t deserve the same rights that I do … is what these people are saying.  Some couch it in flowery distracting language; others really don’t, anymore.

 

To be clear – full disclosure – I am a straight white Christian male.

To be clearer, though, I am a straight (who respects the right of not-straight people to live their lives in the way that they do), white (who tries like hell to understand what kind of everyday life non-white people have to live, thanks to generations of white people who oppressed them and still do), Christian (who actually pays attention to the actual teachings of Christ) male (who has nothing but respect for women because they’re human beings, and human beings deserve respect regardless of who they are).

So, I’m totally comfortable saying: I loathe these people, and what they intend to do to this country, via what they intend to do to many groups of American citizens.

Cheeto Mussolini is a cartoon character.  A dangerous one, to be sure – either via his conscious actions or the consequences that will surely occur in the wake of any of his impulsive lashings-out.

But the Congressional majority that has been elected to office (and the voting-rights rollbacks and gerrymandering that have assisted in this represent a topic for another time), as well as the current cartoonishly corrupt nominees for Cabinet-level positions, represent a far greater danger to this country and all of its citizens.

More specifically, the people within those groups who claim to be followers of Christ but wouldn’t know a parable if it hit ’em in the head … and who wish the government could do their religious recruiting for them … and who wish to take away rights from the people who don’t look, think, earn, worship, or love like they do … in fact, who wish to inflict actual cruelty, to PUNISH fellow Americans who are different from them …

These are the true villains in this.

Yes, engage Pumpkin Spice Pol Pot.

But don’t be distracted.

A far more awful game’s afoot.

 

RESIST.  REJECT.

January 12, 2017 Posted by | civil rights, current events, government, news, politics, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Support System, Part 2

Well, that didn’t take long at all.

Yesterday I posted in this space about the absurd travesty of a press conference conducted by the Short-Fingered Vulgarian, at his Golden Palace of Horrors, surrounded not only by the press but by a throng of loyal supporters.

Turns out? Paid supporters.

Dutifully, the online political website “Politico” picked up on this. In their article chronicling this ridiculous event, they wrote that everything has changed, and yet nothing has – recalling Orange Muppet Hitler’s event, in that same room, utilizing many people paid to portray cheering supporters.

Well, they got it half right. Everything has changed. He’s the President-Elect, not just some hack third-rate celebrity who once had a TV show. Theoretically, there is the expectation of behavior that Americans have come to characterize as “presidential” – y’know – dignity, restraint and compassion, yeah?

Well, heck with that, apparently.

But we don’t have to help in this transition from old-school “presidentialness” to whatever in the HELL this new reality is.

Buried deep in the sputtering end of the Politico article:

With nine days to go until Inauguration Day, the spectacle may be one of the last ones that unfolds on Trump’s home turf in midtown Manhattan, between the Gucci and Bulgari stores. Next up, he will be occupying the people’s home, and confront the press in less familiar, more intimidating surroundings.

Hey Politico — which the estimable writer Charlie Pierce has long called “Tiger Beat on the Potomac”, and not for nothing — this is what it sounds like when you report this crap like it’s normal.

Guess what? It ain’t.

Oh, once he gets to the White House it’ll be okay,” this Politico garbage seems to me to imply.

Oh no no no. No. NO IT WON’T.

Once he gets to the White House it’ll be TOO FREAKING LATE.

Won’t be too long before those paid supporters start showing up wearing brown shirts.

 

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS OF THE WORLD (and those who pretend to be)

THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

THIS IS NOT GOOD.

STOP REPORTING THIS LIKE IT IS NORMAL OR GOOD

IT IS NEITHER

 

RESIST. REJECT.

January 12, 2017 Posted by | current events, journalism, news | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment