Why Don’t You Just Blog About It?

It was hard to know what to write about this week.  Not because there wasn’t enough but because there was too much in too many areas.

This happens when you have a weekly column or, in this case, create a weekly column for yourself. 

Many people have asked me over the last ten years –

So Chair, why do it?  Why put this pressure on yourself?  And us?

Not a picture of me on Saturday night writing this blog… not at all

My stock answer is to quote Jim Harwood, my late colleague at Daily Variety, when asked what qualified him to review movies:

Because I have an opinion and a place to print it.

Glib as this answer was and still is, it’s only partly true. 

Discourse, disagreement and the inevitable didacticism it evokes, are how we survive. 

It’s how the world survives.  And, in turn, how it thrives.

This helps too

I never much liked the word didactic, probably because I feared it applied too much to me and wasn’t quite sure of it’s true definition.

To be didactic – meaning to be inclined to teach or lecture to others too much, and often in too boring a way, is not something to aspire to. 

Especially in a self-created weekly column.

When it’s an opinion you don’t want to hear or one with which you vehemently disagree, most of our knee jerk reactions are to feel talked down to and/or lectured to.  We want to turn the channel, scroll past or, more often than not, simply tune out and/or walk out of the room.

This energy… always

This isn’t good nor is it healthy for ourselves, our country or the world.

It’s a behavior that was enabled by the Reagan Administration when it did away with the Fairness Doctrine, which in many ways privatized the news business, stripping it of any real legal responsibility to be fair.

When you are not required to present opposing viewpoints in some way, shape or form, especially when speaking and writing about the events of the day, you are NOT being fair.  You are giving opinions that masquerade as news and getting people to believe you without knowing all the facts.

Still, it’s a start.

This is where writing a column, okay A BLOG, comes in.

Oh come now, the Chair ALWAYS has something to say #bloggingrightnow

None of what’s here could readily be classified as news coverage even though it does speak to what’s going on in the world during any given week.

Sometimes the goings on have to do with pop culture.  Other times it’s a treatise on bad drivers (Note: Everyone else) or the blissful simplicity of a plain white shirt.  And more than I realized in the last four years, it’s been a serious condemnation of racism, sexism and homophobia – in other words, a repudiation of Trumpism.

For this writer, and often the readers, it’s a way to externalize the internal emotions, often a mix of passion and anger, which drives one crazy to keep in.  An avenue to put it out into the world where it can be:

1. Identified

2. Seen

3. Discussed

And, most importantly –

4. HEARD

YES, YES, YES #merylwouldagree

To get all of the above is the jackpot and it doesn’t often happen.  The discourse equivalent of a singer who gets a four-chair turn during the blind auditions on NBC’s The Voice.

But you don’t need ALL FOUR coaches to want you on their team in order to win a singing competition.  Just like you don’t need everyone, or even the majority of people, to agree with you in order to ultimately win an argument and begin to change the world. (Note: Or at least make yourself feel better).

You just need ONE coach or ONE person to listen.  Then you continue to
“sing” and convince a few more.  And then more.  Until, well….you get what I mean.

It might not mean you’ll become The Voice but as they say in Oscar season, it’s a honor to be nominated.

Someday Amy…. Someday

Or at least on a list that was considered to be nominated.

I think of a blog, a column, or even the vocalizing of a song or a viewpoint as a way to sing a song that needs to be sung.  If this sounds a little 1960s, well, why not?

That was a turbulent time but an era that provoked more social change than any decade since.

For example, here’s what was churning me up inside this week:

– SEVEN mass shootings in SEVEN days in the U.S.  Yeah, there were TEN people killed in Boulder, CO at the King Soopers Supermarket on Monday, March 22.  This followed the EIGHT people gunned down, including SIX Asian women, at three spas in Atlanta on Tuesday March 16. 

But did you know that between those two days there were TWENTY-THREE more people shot, killed and injured en masse in Stockton, CA, Gresham, OR, Houston, TX, Dallas, TX, and Philadelphia, PA?

So…. continue to stay home?

And that almost all of the major mass shootings in US over the last several decades were done with variations of a single weapon –  the AR-15 rifle? 

– EIGHT white guy legislators, led by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, had a behind closed doors bill signing that SEVERELY curbed the right to vote statewide. Among other things, it is now a CRIME to provide WATER to those standing in line to vote.  The bill also removes the MAJORITY of drop boxes for MAIL-IN BALLOTS, sharply cuts back on the amount of polling places TO vote and DRASTICALLY reduces the number of hours the remaining polling places will be open, particularly in areas with majority Black and Brown voters.

Interesting enough, this PRIVATE bill signing was done under a PAINTING of one of the state’s most notorious SLAVE PLANTATIONS right there in the governor’s office.  And when Georgia State Legislator Park Cannon, a Black female, knocked on the governor’s door to witness said signing she was promptly handcuffed, arrested AND dragged away TO JAIL where she was charged with TWO FELONIES?

This this this this

– Elsewhere, a group of EIGHTEEN Republican members of Congress in HUNTING GEAR patrolled the Texas border armed with RIFLES, presumably for protection against an army of gun-toting drugs lords illegally entering the U.S.  In truth, that border overwhelmingly features unaccompanied CHILDREN floating via INNER TUBE to escape thugs in their native Honduras, Nicaragua or El Salvador trying to either kill them or make them their drug runners. 

– It now costs a whopping $19.95 to stream new-ish Oscar-nominated movies like The Father on platforms such as Amazon and Google because desperate theatre owners like AMC want to make up for all the business lost during the pandemic.  No, this isn’t earth shattering but it pissed me off nevertheless.

UGHHHH

Any one of these could’ve been the subject of a “column” and now, in some small way, all of them are.    What’s eating you and how can you get it out of your head?  Where do you discuss it?  Who disagrees with you and why?  Do they have a point?  What broader questions does this bring to mind and can you at least read about it AND the opposing opinion?

Before you know it, you’re not so alone in your thoughts and you’ve created a column of your own.  Or at the very least, prevented yourself from imploding.

And have the pressure of each week figuring out what else is on your mind.

#DoItForDemocracy.

You’re welcome.

Bo Burnham – “Rant”

Check out the Chair’s newest project, Pod From a Chair , now available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

TWO PART EPISODE ON OSCAR NOMINATIONS NOW LIVE!

American Exhale

How much time do you think it was from when the polls began closing on Election Day 2020 to the moment Joe Biden was declared our next President of the United States?

I got you babe!

LESS.  THAN.  FOUR.  DAYS.

For those of us who felt really desperate to hear this news, and at last count that number was close to a record 75 million, it felt like just less than FOUR. YEARS. 

And that is because…IT.  WAS.

It definitely did not feel like the Good Place

When Joe Biden officially becomes our 46th POTUS on Jan. 20, 2021, that’s when you will hear the final collective sigh of relief.  But for right now, the almost 75 million of us will just have to satisfy ourselves with one collective exhale.

And a good night’s sleep.

Say goodbye to junk food, Nate Silver and even Steve Kornacki at the Big Board.  He needs his sleep, too. (Note:  If you’re unfamiliar with Kornacki’s Khakis or obsessive Kornacki Watch, well, here’s a link to get you started).

#TrackingKornacki #WILSONNNN

It’s amazing the indulgences we humans choose and the indignities we humans can get used to, isn’t it?  When I told one of the many doctors I manage to still go to for check-ins that I was beginning to wonder whether my obsessive addiction to this election and its results has any real point to it he asked me how it made me feel?  To which I said:

Actually, it’s strangely calming.  If the apocalypse comes, I can warn people in advance and try to figure something out for myself and the people I love.

To which he said:  Well, then it’s not a problem.

I’m a GENIUS

Nor was binge eating junk food in those super intensive last two weeks really an issue for any of us.  No two weeks of putting any kind of crap into your body will likely kill you.  Heck, some people can do it for 74 years.  Just look at ….

Okay, I promised myself I wouldn’t mention HIS NAME so I’m not going to.  Mostly because –

WE DON’T HAVE TO TALK ABOUT HIM ANYMORE!!!!

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, yes, I know.  He’s not gone yet and there are a couple of more months where anything can happen.  But while we’re exhaling, can we also take a few moments to just feel good about ourselves???

The first WOMAN in our almost 250-year history – not to mention the first WOMAN OF COLOR during that time – has just been elected VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

That’s Kamala Harris. 

Introducing MADAM Vice President

Not to mention, do you know she is also the FIRST DEMOCRAT FROM CALIFORNIA IN U.S. HISTORY to ever be elected to one of the two top jobs?

You’re welcome, America.

Are we forgiven for this now?

We have also lived to see another brilliant woman of color responsible for spear heading the dismantling of the death grasp the Republican Party has on the throat of the Old South when it comes to presidential elections.

That’s Stacey Abrams. 

It was her persistence and dedication to voting rights and voter registration after she lost her 2018 race for governor due to voter suppression that was key to flipping GEORGIA BLUE just a couple of nights ago.

She knew #AmericanHero

I mean, if that had been me I think I’d just about be crawling out from under my covers by now.

Which brings us to our President Elect.

I’m old enough to vaguely remember when this balding young guy who just got elected to Congress found out his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident that also badly inured his two young sons. 

I also remember my young self thinking:

That’s one of the most horrible things I’ve ever heard! This guy’s life is toast.  Oh my god, how can something like that happen???? 

Which was the same moment Joe Biden turned to the universe and said, Um, not so fast.

Drive the ‘vette to DC, Joey

See, it’s not an accident at this time (and in this year) he became president after a near half century of public life that included TWO unsuccessful runs for the White House.

After four years of hysteria and desperation, he is about the ONLY politician in the country who could collectively move and inspire us simply by proclaiming to a small crowd of our fellow citizens in a Delaware parking lot, during a pandemic, things like:

  • We Won’t Lead by the Example of OUR POWER but by the POWER OF OUR EXAMPLE…
  • THE ONE WORD THAT DEFINES AMERICA IS…POSSIBILITY.

And

  • KEEP THE FAITH…then… SPREAD THE FAITH.
My moment of zen

Yes, somehow these were the very words we all needed and longed to hear.

See, when you talk about how you’ve lived, and the principles that have worked for you, you don’t need to insult your enemies, lie to your supporters or indulge in the LONG CON in order to get them on your side.

All you really need to do is tell the truth.

Could you have imagined that as THE winning strategy last week at this time?  Can you even imagine four years of it???

Yes we can.

Mama Cass – “New World Coming”