Tag: HBO

Lena Dunham and the Rise of Rape Glam

I believe Lena Dunham when she says she was raped.

The terrifying trouble with Lena Dunham’s faulty  account of her sexual assault is not because it could be fictionalized, but because it could be real. Because of her rapidly changing story and staunch defense of the story told in her book, a vicious campus rapist is now protected by Random House attorneys and the entire media complex defending her story.  

Dunham, through her publisher, has gone to great legal lengths to protect her attacker’s identity, an attacker she claims has committed several acts of sexual assault against other girls around the same time as her, on the same campus. She not only idles on prosecuting her attacker, but has stated she has no intention of exposing his identity. According to Dunham and her defenders, there is an alleged vicious sexual predator at large and even more dangerous because he’s anonymous. Dunham in her books stated her attacker had also attacked 2 other women. How many more women has he forced himself on with violent consequences while Dunham, and a multi-million dollar publishing conglomerate create a phalanx of legal protection around him?

 

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Dunham might have been a victim of a brutal sexual encounter as she claims, but she is no longer a victim of circumstance and certainly not as helpless as she made herself out to be in her Buzzfeed explainer. She is, by any good measure, the most powerful woman in Hollywood under the age of 30. A director, writer and multi-millionaire, she is idolized by young women for her creative assertiveness with multiple awards given to her work. Dunham could be the leading voice of feminist power in the 21st century by standing up and facing down her attacker in court, something women without the privilege of an army of lawyers or armed security provided by Random House or HBO do every day. Every day.

Dunham could set an empowering example for women everywhere that no matter who you are, ruthless predators don’t get away with taking advantage of a drunk and or drugged woman in the dead of night and remain safely anonymous. She could be the voice that says enough is enough. Instead she not only chooses to protect his legal identity but according to Random House publishing, created a pseudonym for him which inadvertently targeted the wrong guy. Random House will also be “Tweaking” future printed copies of Dunham’s book.

Dunham and her publisher are going to incredible lengths and pains to protect the identity of her alleged rapist.

It’s great that Dunham is allowed a platform like Random House, HBO or Buzzfeed to express her own personal insecurities for her fans to gush over, but what about the multitudes of women at the hands of her attacker? Dunham doesn’t believe she owes them an explanation, or more importantly, a warning. Lena Dunham is a bigger perpetrator of rape culture than any video game ever could be. She calls herself an unreliable narrator but based on her description of handle bar mustache, purple cowboy boots and flamboyant hootin’ and hollerin’ conservative, I’m just going with that she was raped by Yosemite Sam until she confirms otherwise.

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The problem with Lena Dunham’s flippant attitude with pursuing her attacker is that those in the industry desperate to cling to any relevancy in the headlines blasted across the pages of Rolling Stone or on MTV are following suite.

Lady Gaga appeared on the Howard Stern show and alluded that she too had been raped by a record producer whom she refused to name. How has Gaga handled her attacker’s identity since? By claiming a song she wrote was about him and used the occasion to promote her new duet album with Tony Bennett. Gaga herself is no stranger to rape controversy when she experienced severe PR blow back for a music video she filmed with R. Kelly of all people and directed by alleged rapist Terry Richardson, formerly of Vice fame. Gaga even attached a hashtag, #DWUW to the video to promote it. Was her mysterious insinuation of assault a tepid effort to stifle any of the bad PR? Maybe. It’s not like Lady Gaga has engineered promotional maleficence in the past to generate publicity. Once again, a dangerous influential predator of women remains free to prey on young starlets while Gaga occupies herself with trying to super glue a kitchen appliance to her head.

While on the brief topic of R. Kelly and Terry Richardson, noted women’s magazine Cosmopolitan featured an article titled “Sex tips from R. Kelly” in 2013. It was penned by Anna Breslaw, who also happens to have very strong opinions on “Rape Culture”. Lena Dunham herself  also worked with Terry Richardson without complaint.

And then there’s Rolling Stone.

Even beyond Rolling Stone’s completely shattered reputation of narrative journalism which has been well documented over the recent non events at University of Virginia, it has become a pop culture relic more interested in the sexualization of violence (and vice versa) than the latest projects of influential musicians and artists. Jim Geraghty provided a detailed rundown of Rolling Stone’s hypocritical downward spiral.

If rape culture exists it’s not on college campuses. This is a developing and startling trend with Hollywood and feminist entertainment culture. The glamorization of rape as a means of fitting into a social clique. It’s not about demanding truth. It’s about demanding obedience. 

Not getting young women to bond with shared experiences of a sexual assault to find healing, but that it’s simply becoming a fad and cool to do so. This is a dangerous bandwagon that corporate pop culture is all too happy to attempt to exploit. Currently a who’s who of VH1 reality celebs are coming out of the woodwork to claim that Bill Cosby has allegedly raped them and everything except the 3rd mafia housewife from season 15, and claiming it in every gossip show and rag mag that exists, everywhere except in sworn depositions under oath, where it matters legally and giving prosecutors the information needed to put Bill Cosby behind bars where he possibly belongs.

This is feminist driven media attempting to gleefully create a culture of Rape Glam and at the forefront is the hipster queen of millennial drama, Lena Dunham.

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It’s becoming such a hip trend that the entire fringe of rape glam media becomes more unhinged when they discover a violent gang rape at a college university didn’t actually happen. As Sabrina Erdely’s fabulist reporting is revealed and Rolling Stone’s story crumbles more and more, the likes of Sally Kohn, Jessica Valenti, Zerlina Maxwell (whom has claimed she too was sexually assaulted without naming her attacker) and Amanda Marcotte dig in more and more because they believe there is a political point to be made. There isn’t. The Rape Glam movement is about as interested in actually stopping rape as Al Sharpton is stopping racism.

The more an idea of rape culture persists, no matter what evidence suggests otherwise, the more a progressive ideology is allowed to thrive, such as it has now with Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Teachers Union. Claiming to have “almost been raped” and using already debunked statistics to help push and promote Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (whom earlier this year declined to name an older male senator fat shaming her) sponsored rape campus legislation.

Will Weingarten’s claims be investigated? Maybe. Will the reporter investigating them be ostracized as a rape sympathizer? Absolutely yes. And that’s how the Rape Glam industry operates.

All that matters is the accusations.

Rape Glamourists aren’t interested in an honest discussion about sexual assault, statistics and discovering truth, no matter how inconvenient it might be. They’re concern for rape ends at their political ideology because it’s their political ideology that pays for their narratives.

This is the basis of why Zerlina Maxwell believes every woman should automatically be believed when accusing a man of a violent rape, no matter what, yet cheers on the party boy antics of Bill Clinton. This will become increasingly inconvenient for the Rape Glam Movement as 2016 approaches and they prepare to throw their public support behind a woman who is not only married to an accused rapist, but gleefully defended one as well.

The only rape culture preying on impressionable, confused, young women, such as Jackie from Rolling Stone’s discredited story, is the culture created by Dunham, Lady Gaga, Rolling Stone and an industry far more interested in pushing a political narrative into the mainstream than punishing specific attackers. The details become phased out. Evidence becomes inconsequential and the narrative then becomes a moral fable, to be followed, believed and adhered to on broken knee without any bounds to truth, no different than an HBO sitcom or a pop song. Accusers are to automatically be believed without merit, because they then join the ranks and grow the movement. It becomes a crusade. Claiming to be raped becomes much more glamorous and acceptable than surviving and punishing an actual rapist. It becomes cool and then becomes a necessity to fit in.

Lena Dunham’s anonymous composite rapist works as a storyline for Girls and in her memoir. It is infinitely more interesting to her anti-conservative agenda and that narrative only works if we’re left with only the impression and details she provides, or in this case, chooses not to provide. Meanwhile other girls without the legal arsenal that Dunham has are being victimized by a man she protects. Exposing, confronting and convicting a rapist isn’t as easy as setting up a tumblr blog or tweeting about Beyonce, yet young courageous women without the army of lawyers Lena Dunham has, or the MSNBC platform Zerlina Maxwell has, do it every day. 

These girls are faceless to MTV and Rolling Stone and useless to the Rape Glam movement but they are the true heroes and the ones that deserve our attention and our support.

 

 

– SM –

 

 

 

Quiet Riot: Pussy Riot’s Occupy Hypocrisy.

 

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In 2011 when Dmitry Medvedev began the process of handing?political power back to Vladimir Putin, it not only sparked mass protests in Moscow, it led to the formation of an eccentric?all girl punk activist movement.

Pussy Riot and their protest music that also included staged theatrics such as dumping pillow feathers, holding colored smoke flares and shooting off fire extinguishers were now the masked face idols of Russian rebel youth and the anti-Putin movement.

Pussy Riot is more than a band that shows up on stage and plays provocative music and shouts provocative things. They are a small band of feminist activists masquerading behind?colorful masks as they storm symbols of what they view as patriarchal oppression and vanity or symbols of heavy handed religious and political nationalism. One of their first shows was a staged guerrilla flash show where they walked into a women’s boutique in Moscow and started shouting their lyrics from the sales floor. Their stunts, as head scratching as they might have been, were?certainly mischievous but for the most part nonviolent and simply meant to shock a Russian culture unfamiliar with westernized punk music or westernized protest tactics.

But it was in February of 2012 when Pussy Riot sparked international interest when they spontaneously tried to demonstrate on the Altar of the Christ the Savior Orthodox cathedral in Moscow. The members of the band were promptly shut down by security and arrested by police. If anything is puzzling about their performance and arrest, it’s that no incident spawned the motivation for it. It was just three girls showing up a place of holy worship because they wanted to protest the Orthodox church. They claimed they protested it because it represents the union of Church and State, which they disagree with.?It was a completely nonsensical but then again that’s mostly what punk music is.

There’s nothing more controversial in Pussy Riot’s songs as say there ever was in the Sex Pistols or Dead Kennedys, and nothing more mischievous about their antics than anything UK stencil artist Banksy does. It’s their methods however that draw attention. “Pussy Riot is a form of oppositional art” Maria Alyokhina (who also has a degree in journalism) declared during their trial in Moscow.

pussyjailNo one has to be a political dissident or even agree with Pussy Riot’s methods to see that they were the ones calling attention to Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian tendencies. Not the disappearance of political enemies, or the poisoning of journalists. It was a loud punk rock protest group that can barely play their instruments or actually sing their songs.

They have the advantage of being young ,attractive and very well spoken females which plays as a perfect antithesis to the strong, brooding overly-macho image projected by Vladimir Putin. “Their punishment must fit the crime” Putin told RT television when asked about their stunt at the cathedral.

How could American media and celebrity culture possibly ignore them now?

Madonna showed her support on stage by writing “Free Pussy Riot” on her body which immediately lit a spark under web and social?media. Suddenly people all over the world supported them, no matter the politics.

They were imprisoned for 6 months after their arrest without visitation rights and then sentenced to two years in a Russian penal colony, which is probably about as terrifying as it sounds. Yekaterina Samutsevich won a suspended sentence upon appeal.

Whatever opinion is formed on political feminist activists whose lyrics include “Kill all sexists. Kill all conformists. Kill all Putinites” and have titled their performances “Putin Pissed Himself”, no one can deny their treatment at the hands of Russian prosecutors has been heavy handed. In statements read in court, members of Pussy Riot warned of Vladimir Putin causing instability both within Russia and outside it’s borders.

They have been proven correct. Putin has ruled largely unchecked in the region and as a result is expanding his power the only way he knows how, with military force into Crimea and now Eastern Ukraine.

While imprisoned, Pussy Riot gained support from another group besides Hollywood millionaires – Occupy Wall St. Nevermind that Occupy Wall St. advocates for the same kind of government system that causes mass oppression that Pussy Riot was being jailed for. All that mattered was how loud the noise was and that they looked cool in their colorful masks. Pussy Riot members apparently got the message as they have now brought their anti-establishment (no matter what the establishment is apparently) to the States and along with it their gratitude for Occupy’s support and a PR support system intent on making them the face of the new feminist war of women.

clinton riotPussy Riot has been appearing?DC at press junkets for corporate media like the New Yorker, the White House Correspondents Dinner and posing for photos with Hillary Clinton. Last week in New York, as an act of solidarity with Occupy, they visited Occupy protestor Cecily McMillan at Riker’s Island who recently pleaded not guilty to assaulting a New York police officer, and was convicted when video tape evidence showed her cold cocking him with her elbow deliberately during an Occupy attempt to retake Zucotti park. Her defense was she thought she was being sexually groped and was acting out of pure self defense, which honestly, who could blame her.

The jury has since recommended that McMillan serve no further sentencing and that a felony on her record be enough punishment. Not exactly the kind of leniency?shown in Putin’s Moscow.

Pussy riot visited McMillan in prison and advocated for her release on Twitter, which included telling Americans to start their own Pussy Riot here, whatever that means. Pussy Riot’s English language Twitter account is run more like a hired PR person trying to sell T-Shirts with slogans. Pussy Riot in their own words are more up front and honest about what they want.

“We need to destroy the whole system. It’s rotten from head to tail. Only radical revolutionary action can change anything. Talk and compromise get you nowhere.” members of the band stated in the HBO documentary?A Punk Prayer which chronicles both the band of activists and their opponents in Russia.

Is Pussy Riot advocating that Americans rise up against an overbearing, Statist government? They tried and were promptly audited by the Internal Revenue Service and targeted by its top agents. Are they advocating the destruction of capitalism, the system that allowed the message of their imprisonment be spread via social media on iPhone, laptops and tablets? If Pussy Riot’s intent is to come to America and advocate for the elimination of a ruling capitalist structure, perhaps they can start by asking Madonna to refund the money people spent to see her write their band name on her back and arms and therefore spread awareness globally.

The protesters in Zucotti park had 3 months to prove that a communist, class-less society could flourish at the very foot of imperial capitalism and they self imploded. Pussy Riot says they sympathize with Occupy Wall St, the very individuals that want the kind of socialist class system that Vladimir Putin used to imprison and silence them.

riotquoteOccupy is not a pro-freedom movement. It’s a movement filled with sexual assault, black bloc, anarchy, discrimination, anti-semitism, property destruction and in McMillan’s case, endangering the safety of law enforcement who tolerated a barrage of daily insults for months in the shadow of the World Trade Center. McMillan’s case has nothing to do with political freedom. Pussy Riot was imprisoned for criminal mischief and trespassing while committing a victim-less crime against the Russian Orthodox church. McMillan’s admitted goal was to set out to illegally claim property and incite the same black bloc mob tactics that rendered Occupy politically insignificant. Occupy protesters are not political prisoners. They are convicted of crimes. Sexual assault, conspiracy to commit mass destruction (Bomb plots), and destruction of property. Of the three-thousand plus arrests in the Occupy movement, not one of them was a direct result of simply speaking of their anarcho-communist beliefs.

When they spoke upon exiting Riker’s island of their meeting with McMillan and voiced their support for her in person and online, were Nadezhda Tolokonnikova?and?Maria Alyokhina?hauled off in armored cars and put into a glass box?

No.

sovietPRPerhaps all this is a mistake lost in translation and perhaps Pussy Riot simply believe in anarchy. Perhaps they truly are simply against any ruling form of establishment, which is fine also. If that is the case however, why is Pussy Riot posing for pictures with Hillary Clinton and only taking shots at Sarah Palin? Why do they accept invites from establishment media? Are they now simply lobbyists for a progressive ideology? Was this the goal worth spending two years in a Siberian penal colony? To be the young feminist mouthpiece for the Democrats and a corporate media complex until they are no longer needed? Can anyone picture Sid Vicious attending a Nerd Prom unless his sole intention was setting the room on fire and locking the doors?

Being punk and especially getting into trouble for being punk is fine; It’s encouraged. Kids see it and want to emulate it. Selling out to the ideologies that made them personally suffer is not. Spending two years in a Siberian penal colony and then posting a picture on social media of the Soviet flag with the slogan “Socialism without repressions” is either blatant hypocrisy or lacking perspective. Pussy Riot are too articulate to be this blatantly self unaware. They are being used.

If Pussy Riot really wanted to punk out in America, their first three songs would be about?an authoritarian and corrupt?IRS targeting conservative Americans, Barack Obama’s drone kill streak & the liberal tolerance police organizing and firing people for their free speech and they would do it wearing this T-Shirt?.

These are human rights causes they stood for in the sub zero temperatures of Moscow winters dressed only like anarchist Teletubbies. By not speaking out against true violations of human rights and choosing a DC photo op with Hillary Clinton, one of the most glorified establishment Wall St. backed politicians in 25 years, and sympathizing with a movement notorious for sexual assault, Pussy Riot just becomes another PR tool for the Democrat party, who currently controls 2/3 of our government. Pussy Riot can support Occupy Wall St. or they can support Hillary Clinton. Not Both.

Pussy Riot should come to the United States. They should bring their message of the dangers of Vladimir Putin and in doing so should realize that our capitalist country might be the only hope in stopping him. Anti-Fascist punk music has to be rooted in principle, otherwise they are simply just another Sandra Fluke with guitars. Supporting the whole of an Occupy movement long concerned with rape tents and assaulting police may work to satisfy the image of a PR department and enrich their wallets for giving speeches on college campuses, but it does nothing for real political prisoners around the globe.

Punk activism in Russia means speaking out against the state no matter the costs. While stateside, Pussy Riot apparently believes punk activism means cozying up to it and in doing so, losing all credibility.

 

– SM –

 

Everything is Awesome, For Barack Obama

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Earlier this month while visiting Monticello with a French delegation that included socialist President François Hollande, President Obama was caught in a moment joking about breaking protocol to view the grounds, quipping, “That’s the good thing as a President, I can do whatever I want.” Forget the enormity of the irony; an American President joking at Thomas Jefferson’s home that rules don’t apply to him and give Obama the benefit of the doubt that this was just a casual line.

It was no different than a line Michael Douglas would say in The American President or Kevin Kline in Dave or Martin Sheen in The West Wing, and that’s exactly the point. Obama has become a President of good lines from movies but unable to act like a very real leader.

The reason for the uproar over comments like this from this President is because he never wastes an opportunity to show just how right the absurdness of the social media noise machine is. When Obama jokes about being able to do whatever he wants, then turns around and hits an HBO producer up at a State Dinner for advanced copies of television shows to get him through an extended weekend, how are we as a desperate electorate supposed to react? We tolerate the luxuries afforded to our leaders. Just don’t be a dick about it.

How is a world currently engulfed in flames of revolution supposed to react?

The problem for a President who makes any excuse to hit up a golf course or admits to watching tons of HBO?is there are still events in the world happening outside his windows. People are desperate for American leadership and can’t wait for the killer on True Detective to be revealed.

Nobody in Kiev is interested in the fallout of the Red Wedding.

Nobody in Venezuela cares about the fate of Zoe Barnes.

Obama and his administration can’t wait to inject themselves into pop culture as it suits their narratives. If Lego Movie is number one at the box office, the Secretary of State is referencing global warming to 3D movies. If the Super Bowl is trending on social media, out come the football analogies. Michelle Obama is on Jimmy Fallon’s new Tonight Show and Joe Biden on Seth Meyer’s follow up. Actors pushing health care that they themselves refuse to sign up for. What message does it send the world when cries for democracy in Ukraine and Venezuela are met with silence, but tweeting about a cable show is paramount?

house of cardsBarack Obama is the first President optimized for SEO and therein lies the problem. When #Venezuela and #Kiev are the top trends on Twitter for two days straight and not #HouseOfCards or #TrueDetective, the online persona machine that elected Barack Obama goes dark and resorts to a spam account selling us crappy insurance.

At the height of violence that erupted with both protests this past weekend, where was he? Hosting a Hollywood premiere style party for #GeorgeClooney and cast of his film #TheMonumentsMen, in private at the White House, simply because he could. Right now in Kiev, historical statues and art are being burned in front of the world. He was content to remain silent and watch a movie about it happening instead. The real world does not interest this President. The set design does.

@BarackObama (an account run by these people) can tweet about House of Cards Spoilers but can’t be bothered to tweet a statement condemning violence from the regimes in Kiev and Venezuela and sign it -bo. Meanwhile millions of people globally are captivated by the live streams and Hugoesque images of revolution.

If Barack Obama is going to be a viral President, he can’t simply sit out the events of the world as he chooses. The coming out announcement of a former college and future NFL football star cannot outweigh events that have captivated the entire world for two days and cost people their blood and lives.

The same goes for his complex of dying network media defenders. If Occupy Wall St. and their twisted logic deserve prime time coverage by NBC, CBS and ABC, why not pro democracy rallies happening simultaneously in two different corners of the world? Instead, we’re stuck with Sunday morning show hosts drooling over Kevin Spacey. The networks become no different than the governments of those nations instituting blackouts. The desperate attempt to remain relevant and cool is accompanied now by a heavy vacuum of leadership in exactly the one country on the Earth it can’t have one in.

This is the eventual dilemma with electing a President under the superstar celebrity, media driven premise that Barack Obama was. Remember in 2008, this was not about electing another American politician to the Presidency. This was a citizen of the world, drawing outdoor crowds of over 70,000 people. This was a transcendence, not an election.

Oprah cried.

Obama in berlinCandidate Obama stepped up in front of the world and told us that this was the time we all began to heal. All over the world the same nations that yesterday believed this mysterious Kryptonian figure, now ignore him for the thrill of a molotov cocktail. Nations all over the world have rejected his movie speeches of peace and prosperity for his more clear, instinctual desires of social upheaval.

Why is this President, elected because of a hope he promised in front of the world, so content to sit it out instead?

Is he bored? Does massive public upheaval not interest him if it does not serve his political ends? Does it remind him that everything is in fact, not awesome?

I wrote about this very thing?last August when riots escalated in Egypt and the Administration’s top officials were all on vacation except for Joe Biden, who was talking to a camel. I’m forced to raise it again because of the current calamities in the Ukraine and Venezuela and here the country is once again forced to reconcile a disinterested President, completely unengaged with the moment as it unfolds in front of the rest of us. Instead he’s focusing on the weather, truck fuel and George Clooney.

Once again, on opposite sides of the globe thousands of people took to the streets of their respective nations demanding change from the heavy handed governments they have been suffering under. Right between these two uprisings sits the United States, with a historical American President who has a Nobel Peace Prize sitting on his mantle collecting dust.

And he’s watching HBO.

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Railing on about growing income inequality one day, while the next hosting a lavish State Dinner for an open socialist. Two men committed to taxing the success right out of their countries while celebrating their own in luxury, all while our media commanding us to #BOWDOWN?to the queen. Optics matter.

Flying to California to blame a drought on Global Warming right before spending the entire afternoon golfing in it, while also using a separate airliner to fly bills for him to sign, matters.

Remaining silent on casualties of uprisings not aligned with our President’s personal philosophies, matters. Thousands of people right now in Venezuela and Kiev are risking their lives – 140 characters at a time.

Barack Obama uses his Twitter account to talk about magnets.

His personal statement on Kiev finally came yesterday while visiting Mexico, warning the Ukrainian Government, “There will be consequences if people step over the line.” Four days after the violence had reached a zenith, resulting in the reported deaths of 25 people in Kiev and 9 in Venezuela.

What line exactly is left to be crossed Mr. President?

He’s content to ride the worst of these situations out until the very end when he issues his stern warning and then can claim credit for tempering the situation. Until then, hey Girls is on!

If these examples seem absurd, it’s because they are and no one should have to be making them, but over and over again, we are. Barack Obama went in front of the world and told it that he would heal it. Six years later, there is not a single corner of the Earth that is better off than when he spoke those words.

Not even Winterfell.

– SM –

kiveindepence squareFrom Reddit – Independence Square in Kiev before and after government clashes with protestors.