Double Trouble

I’m finding it an especially interesting time in history to be gay and Jewish.

I say interesting because I don’t live in a war zone, my life is not in danger and my general risk of being leveled for either on an average day in Hollywood involves someone making a nasty remark about me or my kind within earshot.

I don’t make the rules

For the latter they’d get an earful from me and this might affect my safety if I get unlucky enough to talk back to a crazy person, as my sister constantly reminds me. 

But it’s a calculated risk I’m willing to take (Note: Among so many, these days) since that’s pretty much been my behavior my entire life.

… and I’m stickin’ to it!

Of course, in a moment my life can radically change. 

The Ukrainian people are currently living testimony to that.  So is the history of each generation of gays and Jews that came before me.

Ukraine gets slowly reduced to rubble daily by Russian mortar ordered by an anti-Semitic dictator who paradoxically claims to only to want to stop the Nazification of Ukraine by doing this.

But, well, Ukraine’s Pres. Zelenskyy is Jewish and he won in a landslide in a general election so, um…where is the logic in that?   

proceed…

There is none except the logic of disinformation.  There is also the idea that in order to achieve the greater goal of safety (nee dictatorship-like domination) we can use whatever means or illogical argument necessary to destroy the lives of those less powerful. 

It’s enough to get you thinking, which is the last thing any dictator or politician bent on rolling back the rights of any minority wants.

To whit, the Florida Senate and House last week passed a bill now generally referred to as the Don’t Say Gay Bill even though it’s official title is the Parental Rights In Education Bill.  #Tricky.

Here we go

Essentially what this bill says is that there can be no mention whatsoever about gender identity or sexual orientation in the classroom, which includes the use of the word gay.  It also lets any parent sue any teacher or school that allows it.

That methodology didn’t work well for the 1990s relic of a bill about gays in the military, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and will be even worse here. 

I say this as both a teacher and a former third-grader. 

The minute anyone told me I couldn’t saya word as an 8-year-old boy was the moment I managed to say it.  Never mind my behavior as a teacher.

You know I’m pressing that button

This is why I so appreciate and love the response of Hollywood celebs to the inverted logic of this disinformation campaign/bill.  And it probably accounts for why I decades ago relocated to the left coast to begin with.

And to my knowledge, none of the three of them are even GAY!

I will spare you what me and my fellow gays are saying.  Though I’m sure if you searched far and wide, or merely called a few names in the membership roster of the Log Cabin Republican Clubs nationwide, you’d find some supporters of that bill.

No minorities are monolithic in their opinions of what to like and/or support.

I, for one, am one of the few gays who never got Sex and the City; wasn’t a fan of Britney Spears or Madonna; and truly dislikes the work and persona of Andy Cohen and every Housewives TV series that he has poisoned the earth with.

God he is so rich

However, I am not so threatened that I’d engage in disinformation or twisted logic in order to prove my point to try and stop them. 

You might argue that the stakes on that aren’t as high but have you seen the scientific studies on what occurs in the  human brain after watching a dozen or more episodes of Watch What Happens Live?

It’s something like this

The point is when you try to exterminate words and thoughts and people on the basis of the category they fit into you’ve planted your feet atop a very slippery slope of morality and logic.

Many young people these days recognize this.

Two of them from my Jewish subset – first year Harvard students Avi Schiffmann, 19, and Marco Burstein, 18 – LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AGO started a website to help the now 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees that has quickly garnered worldwide activity and huge attention

UkraineTakeShelter.com became an instant free Airbnb for Ukrainian refugees, with more than 4000 listings worldwide of rooms, apartments, houses, condos and school dorms for those forced to flee their homes on a moments notice.  The boys launched the site in three days and since then numerous other countries and cities are following their lead with similar programs.

Heroes

Not only that, but they are now expanding into providing transportation to Ukrainians from their hiding spots, as well as offering shelters for animals and providing a means to report bots (nee Russian infiltrators) attempting to lure them into danger.

On the other side, we have a renowned Jewish Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich, 55, a man who has spent the last twenty years lavishly spending in the U.S. and Great Britain huge portions of the $15 billion plus fortune he made in Russian oil under the auspices of the Putin regime and via his close relationship with that dictator..

Despite a white hot hatred for the U.S. and NATO it’s always been the dictator’s plan to infiltrate key Russians in the west in order to slowly and avariciously turn the cultural tables on us and generate pro Russian western propaganda through his affiliates.

To that end, Mr. Abramovich has used his personal means to buy many hundreds of millions of dollars worth of real estate on New York’s upper east side and in London; acquire hundreds of millions of past century and contemporary art work; and buy and reinvigorate UK’s almost defunct Chelsea soccer team with enough expensive players to ensure them an unprecedented array of championships in the early to mid 2000s.  This in turn purchased him relationships with some of the top power players in the world, including the Trump and Kushner families.

.. and that feels kind somehow

Then, in 2018, after Russian spies poisoned a couple of people in the UK and things got a little too hot for him, Abramovich bought his way into Israeli society and citizenship through generous donations to hospitals, universities and Holocaust exhibits.

Yet all the money in the world, a disrespectable percentage of which he did once leverage, can now not spare him from the Putin Stink and worldwide sanctions on his financial fortune.  Nor will it prevent him from morphing into an international pariah in real time and before our eyes.

Sorry not sorry

When the hospitals, universities and Holocaust museums you once so generously bought into announce one after another they have severed their relationships to both you and your money, it’s hard not to see where his third act is leading.

It also shows you that we Jews, like we gays, and we humans of any type, can either surprise or horrify you.

Resist lumping us together or you risk becoming the new world pariahs.

Barbra Streisand – “Don’t Rain on My Parade”

Sorry, No, Not quite

My dear friend, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, and who is also a Jewish lesbian married to a blonde, native-born German woman both she and I and my husband adore, told me to write about this.

Not that I wouldn’t have.

The this is one of thousands of takeaways I had the day after watching the hours-long live stream of what now looks like approximately 5000 (mostly) White domestic terrorists storming the doors of Capitol Hill more than a week ago.

But first a Quick Recap of Their Mission:

To HANG MIKE PENCE!, kidnap and/or murder House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and stop the count of the Electoral College votes that were about to ratify Joe Biden as our new president.

All so they could ultimately… keep Donald J. Trump in the White House?

Still… trying… to… understand

Yeah, as crazy, unlikely and run-on-of-a-sentence-and-scheme all of the above would seem, especially to friends of mine who died in the eighties and nineties, every bit of it is true.  

What is also true is the cornucopia of crazy among the crowd.  A veritable live basket of the very same metaphorical deplorables that Hillary Clinton got castigated for calling out, say, some 1000 years ago at this point.

She won’t say “I told you so” but we know… we know.

You had the conspiracy theorists and the racists.  The amateur militia men and women playing dress-up, as well as the real-life former, present or retired men and women of the military and/or law enforcement who decided, well, enough is enough with the rule of law they’d spent most of their lives defending. There are some things that are simply worth dying and defacing for.

There were also the tourists there for a good time taking selfies, the scatological freaks who wanted to relieve themselves somewhere in the Capitol Rotunda so they’d have a story to tell their grandchildren (Note: What other reason COULD there be???), as well as any number of regular people that like to blow off steam at massive Trump rallies, especially ones where he says he’s going to fight along with them but fails to deliver on his promise (Note:  Are there any other kind?)

Easy to identify because they have a uniform

And then, somewhere in this very large and very motley group, because why wouldn’t they be, were the Jew haters.

Now I’m not saying there weren’t haters of many other stripes and colors worth noting.  But with so much hate boiling over so many in the US citizenry these days it’s surprising that I, Jew that I am, wouldn’t take this for granted. 

For when it comes to attempted executions and hate-filled rhetoric in a White nationalist revolution, we Jewish people have a permanent place on the menu.

No need… we know how this goes.

It’s like I know it, and yet, I sometimes forget, what with all my other offensive identities during the Trump years.  These include:

  1. A gay man from New York
  2. Who lives in Hollywood
  3. And alternately works as both a screenwriter AND as a college professor
  4. After being trained as a journalist and starting out as a reporter, nee member of the fake media
  5. A person who is and always will be a liberal Democrat, NEVER hesitates to share that with anyone and is ALWAYS up for an argument
My own version of a Golden Ticket!

Any one of these could probably get me trampled, pummeled, kidnapped or killed at any Trump event.  But add Jew to the mix at an insurrection and, well… it’s practically overkill.

So when I got a glimpse at the photo now seen round the world of the Jew-hating Trump supporter wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words CAMP AUSCHWITZ (Note: the renowned Nazi concentration camp) along with the sub-heading, WORK BRINGS FREEDOM, the English translation of the expression tacked right above the gate of the camp that tens of thousands of Jews entered but never exited from, is it any wonder all I could think of to do was roll my eyes and sigh,

Really, is THAT the best you can do?????

Full Miranda moment

It’s not that the man and his outerwear are not disgusting and outrageous but the truth is that just felt soooooo 1950s, standing there in a sweatshirt that was just that plain dumb and that plain uninspired. 

Where did you buy that, at the Third Reich outlet store in Boise?  Or Alexandria?  Is it poly cotton or all polyester?  Like we don’t know what you’re trying to do.

Sure there’s an element (well more than an element) of danger about it, but there’s not as much safety to be had these days as there used to be.  The key is to speak out to the imminent threat but to do so in a way, and with the folks and at the time, it will be the most effective… and most worth it.

It made me think of the incident writer-humorist Fran Lebowitz recently recounted in the great seven-episode limited Netflix documentary series her friend Martin Scorsese just directed about her, Pretend It’s A City.

Maybe the only person they’d hate more than me

Sometime in the eighties or nineties there became renewed interest in Nazi propagandist filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, whose fetishized images of the Third Reich and Hitler in such technically innovative films like Triumph of the Will and Olympia, began to be rediscovered and re-examined in light of her talents as a female filmmaking pioneer.

So much so that Ms. Riefenstahl had traveled to New York City, where a member of the artist crowd Fran knew invited her to a small dinner party he was planning to have with, um Leni, in attendance.

I have no interest in having dinner with her, Fran (LEBOWITZ) cuttingly replied.  And when he tried to get her to admit Leni was a great artist and how could she blah, blah, blah, she reiterated –

I. HAVE. NO. INTEREST. IN. HAVING. DINNER. WITH. HER.

It needed to be repeated #icant

It’s like arguing Hitler was a brilliant politician and for that reason alone he’d be worth a chat.

Or if Trump manages to avoid jail in his post-presidency and somewhere down-the-line he tries to get re-examined and re-invited back into mainstream acceptance, well maybe we can learn something from being in his presence again that we couldn’t discern on our own.

Can you even imagine?

Though one can’t help but wonder what would that inevitable dinner party look like?  Who would attend?  It certainly wouldn’t be any of the types just seen barnstorming Capitol Hill.  They are not how you rehabilitate an image.  They are simply an inconvenient truth.

Speaking of which, Trump’s alternative fact master, the very nimble though not a smidge more sincere Kellyanne Conway, proved this as a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night,the first stop on her mainstream rehabilitation tour.

Revealing it has been 8-9 months since she’s done a TV interview, to which Mr. Maher politely thanked her for choosing him because she had soooo many choices, the two paired for a cutesy old friends fest of polite jabs, fun times (Note: Remember that red, white and blue suit KCon wore to Trump’s inauguration – Bill loved it!) and gentle political banter.

Nope… no thank you… please go now.

Not only was it off-brand for the usually prickly Mr. Maher, it felt like the first step towards another type of revisionist history.  This would be a 21st century version of rehabilitation for yet another woman who, for reasons only truly known to herself, chose to employ her talent to promote a white male sociopathic political leader intent on bending the world to His Will and taking down anyone, and any country, including his own, in his way.

There should be no dinner parties, no Dancing with the Stars appearances and certainly no intellectual reexamination of anyone from those patently obvious end times we’ve just barely managed to live through.

Never forget this shanda

Instead we might consider justice through a series of trials for all those culpable like they did in Ms. Riefenstahl’s days, as well as the re-adoption of that age old, timeless slogan Never Again as we all attempt to pick up the pieces of our country and truly soldier on.

I know that’s this Jew’s plan.

The Chicks – “Not Ready to Make Nice”

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