Sunday, February 07, 2021

Two very different women

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. It is also my Cousin Rose's birthday. She's not really a football fan, but now that she lives near Tampa and the Bucs are competing, and her adopted hometown is hosting it, she's into the game. She also really, really loves Mark Harmon. So I posted this photo for her on Facebook to wish her a happy birthday.

Jeri is a journalist and a classic movie fan I apparently met at the TCM Film Festival in 2019. I say "apparently" because, honest to God, I don't remember her. But after the festival, when we all got home, she reached out and wanted to be Facebook friends. OK! You want to talk William Powell and The Thin Man movies? I'm your Gal!

Jeri commented on Rosie's birthday pic immediately, saying she's loved Mark Harmon since St. Elsewhere. Rose and Jeri gave one another's drooly comments thumbs up. This amuses me mightily.

For in real life, Rose and Jeri would likely never meet or speak. Rosie is a very devout Catholic. She never misses worship. If she comes to visit you, she'll tell you which of your neighborhood churches she'll be attending and when because she's done her homework. Rosie never swears. Ever. If you cuss (and I do), she will firmly ask you to "cut it out" because it make her uncomfortable.

Jeri was not born a woman, but she lives as one. She writes for The Advocate

While Rose was very supportive of my gay friend Henry after his accident, contributing generously to the GoFundMe set up to pay his hospital bills, I know that was out of love for and loyalty to me. The LGBTQ world confuses her. She simply doesn't get it.

And today, Rose and Jeri were trading giggling comments on Mark Harmon. It makes my heart happy. I keep hearing how "cruel" Facebook is. I seldom find that. More often, I see connections made and maintained. Maybe I'm a Pollyanna, but I remain a social media fan.

I have an aunt who forgets her manners on Facebook, but that's only in relation to Donald Trump. I blame the former President for that -- his disrespectful all-caps Tweeting just overheated everything and made rudeness fashionable. And I blame my aunt. I know she loves me, but her Trumpy anger eats her up. It came between her and her oldest son early on and, if I let it, it would separate us. I email her regularly, but I won't engage her on Facebook. But that's on her, not Mark Zuckerberg.

Instead, I will enjoy the connection between Rose and Jeri, and I will keep an eye out to see what other of my posts they both respond to. Maybe someday I can introduce them in real life!

A real-life Howard Beale

Howard Beale was the cinematic brainchild of Paddy Chayefsky, the Oscar winning screenwriter who who gave us Network in 1976. Chayefsky understood that somehow angry white middle-class white people* need an anchorman to scream for them. And so the phrase, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" was born.

Fast forward to 2021. Lou Dobbs has lost his gig at Fox Business because much of what he said on air cannot be substantiated. If it could, voting technology company Smartmatic wouldn't be suing Fox and Dobbs for $2.7 billion. 

Clearly Fox understands that they have considerable exposure and are trying to distance themselves from the Dobbs "Stop the Steal" conspiracy theories that have been circulating since November. I get that.

And I get how angry white middle-class white people* might have found watching Dobbs rant cathartic. 

But this is also obvious: little of what Dobbs said about election fraud can be verified. If it could, he and Fox would be salivating, waiting for a show trial that would vindicate them and substantiate their claims that Donald J. Trump was robbed. Instead, Fox is all, "Lou Who?"

So what I don't get is why the loyal viewers Dobbs has been lying to are still clinging to him. He lied to them. Either he's deluded or he knowingly misled his viewers. But he broadcast untruths. Why the loyalty?

It's like my friend Kathy with Sen. Al Franken. She has long complained that he was run out of office without due process over innocent hijinks. I have always hated what he did. Do I think he was denied due process in the Senate? Probably. But I also believe he enjoyed grabbing the boobs and butts of women he didn't know, just because he could. I'm not going to defend him.

Sen. Al Franken betrayed me. Lou Dobbs betrayed his viewers. Why do we remain so infatuated by the men who do us wrong?

*I've been a middle-class white person all my life and grew up watching this phenomenon. My dad used to yell at the TV, complain about liberal bias and worship Archie Bunker as some kind of Queens oracle who understood how "they" (blacks, Jews, Hispanics, women ...) were trying to crowd him out. I learned from him. Instead of parking myself in a recliner and screaming to no one in particular, I write letters, raise money and work on campaigns. I am, on balance, happier than my dad and have fewer lines on my face because I don't feel powerless.

February Blog Challenge -- Day 7



Visit Kwizgiver for the prompts


7) I feel most energized when ...

I get out of the shower. There's just something about water that makes me feel good about everything.