Where We Are Now (with Great Cher News)

BuddhaBefore we start, I'd like to share this zen parable I learned many years ago. This story has helped me in both good times and in bad:

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. Now he would not be able to help on the farm. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Where I Am Now

So...I haven't been posting for the past three or so weeks. First it was the week before the U.S. election and work was very busy at CNM. Then the week of the election happened and many of us, (I would argue the majority of us) , were feeling stomach cramps and living the U.S. Electoral nightmare. And I have to tell you, something in me changed on November 9. It was as if the election showed me what my special purpose was, to quote Navin R. Johnson. I've been spending the last few weeks organizing and setting up some new messaging initiatives against what I see as the encroachment of Fascism and racism in my country and around the world.

Elections have consequences, as President Obama has often said. For our purposes here at I Found Some Blog, I no longer will have the time to post long, academic Cher tracts beyond the latest news. Something's gotta give after all. I'm working on a novel and two other writing projects. I can't take on the new commitments of activism without giving something up. So no more play-by-plays of the television shows and long reviews of albums. I actually had three of the last four Sonny & Cher show wrap-ups ready to go. But there's no time to finish them now. My gift of gab is now "going to the cause" and that means getting active in my community, motivating Democrats to vote, and wearing my safety pin as a reminder to fight racism and hatred every single day.

If these are values you share, please come by my new Facebook page "BTW New Mexico is a U.S. State," LIKE the page, and SHARE some of the posts with your friends. I would sure appreciate it.

Television

CherxmasBut even Dark Ages had good times. There has been some great Cher news over the last three weeks and we're thankful for tender mercies, we are.

Cher scholar Bruce Barton notified us recently that on Monday December 5 GetTV will be airing the rarely seen 1975 Cher Christmas show. He also linked us to a clip of the festive intro. Can't wait!

And according to the GetTV schedule, there are other goodies in store.

This Monday, November 21, we can binge on three episodes we've already seen: (1) Jean Stapelton and Mike Connors, (2) Jimmy Durante and (3) Andy Griffith.

November 28: The 1973 Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Christmas Special

December 5: The 1975 Christmas Special with Redd Foxx, The Hudson Brothers and The Lennon Sisters. It looks like it's the full hour show.

Concerts

ClassiccherYou may have heard that Cher is doing some limited shows in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. next spring. Miraculously I was able to get tickets to one of the Vegas shows. Check out Cher's site for details.

Cher as also on James Cordin's late night show around the time the tickets went on sale. Watch Cher and James singing "I Got You Babe" and  Cher talking about "I Got You Babe".

She was also on The Today Show.

Broadway

So the Broadway show is also actually coming together. From Playbill:

There will be a two-week staged reading in New York City January 2-14. Pitch Perfect’s Jason Moore will direct. It's being called The Cher Show. Flody Suarez and Hamilton’s Jeffrey Seller are producing. And some details were revealed. The characters of Cher are Babe (teenager), Lady (solo) and Star (which sounds like her evolution to icon). Other characters include Sonny, Georgia, Bob Mackie, David Geffen, Gregg Allman, Robert Altman, Rob Camilletti, and Sigmund Freud. Different era Chers may also talk to each other. The book was written by Tony Award-winning Rick Elice (of Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher). Cher songs in the show may include  “I Got You Babe,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “Take Me Home,” “Believe,” and “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Tony winner Daryl Waters is musical supervisor.

Our Beautiful Friends

Farm-storyCher scholar and one of the contributors to Cher Zine 3 has published a memoir called Farm Story! I'm very excited to read this as soon as I can finagle a copy.

Cher was also interviewed for the Fast Company Innovation Festival, "Cher on Creativity and the Power of Authenticity."  I was disappointed with the piece but the "big show" comments were interesting and her ideas around emojis, which are now considered fine art!

 


Cher Scholar Talks Politics

CherhillaryA few weeks ago I linked to a Cher World story about Cher’s appearance at a recent conference where Cher made comments about Hillary Clinton. Often I talk about Cher’s tweets or Republican site attacks on Cher but I have tried to refrain from going personally into this season’s politics. It’s been so contentious between Bernie, Trump and Hillary supporters. But unfortunately I linked to the Cher World piece without reading it first and linking without comment feels too much like an implicit endorsement, and one I can’t just let sit there like a wet turd. This has nothing to do with Cher World specifically or it’s hard-working founder. I was never able to find where the article text came from (outside of Cher World) and the piece is not credited to any site or writer. By linking to it, I am now forced to take issue with its anti-Hillary propaganda messaging.

The piece says that Cher admits Millennials may not trust Hillary due to ‘sins’ and that at the World Conference, Cher stated that “If you delve into some of the things she’s being accused of—she’s screwed up and that’s for sure.” It's a pretty vague statement on the surface but then the piece speculates that “Maybe Cher is referring to the following?” and goes on to list the same anti-Hillary talking points both Bernie-or-Bust and Trump supporters have been using. It reads like the Greatest Hits of ineffectual propaganda.

Bullet 1: “33,000 deleted emails from her illegal private server.” The server was never deemed illegal nor was the usage of a personal server unprecedented. She violated department policy. The FBI only found the potential for violation, but not an actual living, breathing violation of the law. Both the right wing and Bernie-or-Bust speculate with ever-increasing hyperbole that the server was illegal and that she was willfully reading confidential documents on it. This is the same system of email Colin Powell used (and deleted emails from) and one he might possibly have encouraged Hillary to use. Different parties, different rubrics.

More information:

NPR story http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/04/02/396823014/fact-check-hillary-clinton-those-emails-and-the-law
The factcheck.org story http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/a-guide-to-clintons-emails/

Bullet 2: Lied about terrorist attack that killed 4 American’s in Benghazi.

The interesting thing about this drama is that it follows the Republican template Ken Star created for the Whitewater-to-Monica-Lewinski circus. In this case, first Clinton and President Obama weren’t naming the happening right. That morphed into some hidden knowledge she might have had prior to the attack. Then Republicans demanded access to her emails to uncover said hidden knowledge. That turned into Server-gate. Years of these investigations and faux scandals never produce any bang for the buck but they never stop trying. It was a wartime event. Just like similar attacks under Reagan and Bush.

More information:

The Washington Post has a good story about the difference between lies versus the fog of war: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/10/30/is-hillary-clinton-a-liar-on-benghazi/

Bullet 3: War on women covering up her husband’s long history of sexually abusing woman and rape.

I said the phrase "Hillary's War on Women" to my co-worker just now and she looked at me like I had two heads. It's a pretty far-out stretch. The Huffington Post does a good job covering all of the Bill Clinton sex-scandal allegations and what happened with each on in this piece. The "freeing the child rapist" story was debunked by Snopes. Even Fox News’ Megyn Kelly recently defended Clinton: “All women had serious problems with proof.” (Megyn Kelly and Judge Andrew Napolitano). It’s possible Trump accusers would have had issues with proof as well if Trump hadn’t already implicated himself on various radio shows and hot-mic recordings.

Bullet 4: Pay for play corrupt Clinton Foundation which provides special favors to donors and access to Hillary in her role of Secretary of State in return for millions in donations and speaking fees.

It's so easy to accuse, so much harder to prove. No pay-for-play has yet been found. There was the unseemly possibility but no evidence found that favors actually occurred. Read the Politifact article that states, a “tangle of relationships...doesn’t prove wrongdoing.” Trump is meanwhile fighting scandals of his own surrounding The Trump Foundation.

Bullet 5: Millions of dollars collected from Sharia Law abiding Islamic countries that throw gays from rooftops and stone woman for not conforming to their husbands.

As political donations? All Republicans would fall and die by this sword.

Bullet 6:  Responsible for $6 billion missing in the State Department due to the improper filing of contracts during the past six years.

This one is hilarious and was used when Trump's tax-return losses came to light. It’s been debunked by Snopes. The money was never lost. It was mislabeled.

It seems the right likes to call Snopes itself a liberal conspiracy. However, Snopes is an equal-opportunity debunker. Check out this left-wing talking point that got debunked. Turns out Trump didn’t say Republicans were the dumbest voters.

Then the Cher World article links to the Clinton Cash documentary which has been heavily promoted by the extreme, Breitbart-wing of the Republican party: “Reporters React To Trump’s Clinton Cash Citations By Noting 'Widely Discredited' Book's Factual Problems."

DiscussionSo this idea that Hillary is “untrustworthy” and that somehow Trump is the last trustworthy Republican is beyond the pale of not only myself but seemingly the mainstream voter. And many, many Republicans know this. It's why they've jumped ship. What pisses me off is that I've had to re-research all this shit for the Cher blog and that extremist voters won’t even bother to read or consider it because they’ve picked their team and no ideology or rationality will keep them from cheering for their side.

It would fair to to counterpoint at this time with a lists all of Trump’s scandals from The Atlantic: The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet).  Lying hasn’t worked in the last three presidential election cycles, but the extremist leaders always respond by lying even more and more aggressively.

My Cornish grandfather used to always invoke the phrase "the Human Element." Politics can get you in such a state of anger and hate that you speak and act irrationally. When facts come out, when you get discredited, when you get caught over-exaggerating, you can accept it and move on or you can just get more entrenched.

It’s cult behavior. Both Mr. Cher Scholar and Rachel Madow apparently recently invoked a Chicago cult study from 1956 in relation to the far-right extremists. From Wikipedia:

When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World is a classic work of social psychology by Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter which studied a small UFO religion in Chicago called the Seekers that believed in an imminent apocalypse and its coping mechanisms after the event did not occur. Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance can account for the psychological consequences of disconfirmed expectations.

Their first response was shock, then anger. Then they doubled down. It’s like hitting rock bottom and then declaring everything is rigged because you can’t handle being wrong.

"If you believe in things you don't understand, you suffer." Stevie Wonder


The Best of Vacation Times, The Worst of Twitter Times

Icecream"Everyone’s a critic today."
--  Sonny, Good Times

Vacation

It's an ice cream vacation and Daily Mail is stalking Cher through every spoonful.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3649725/Cher-cuts-laid-figure-white-leather-vest-black-yoga-pants-eats-ice-cream-Saint-Tropez.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3654774/Cher-showcases-quirky-fashion-sense-monochrome-ensemble-enjoys-realxing-day-Portofino-pals.html

However, there have been some funny titles about Cher's vacation in light of recent rumors and events:

Cher shows off her fit physique at 70 years old

Cher vacations in Italy amid reports that she’s dying, broke and alone

Cher Broke and Near Death Reports Refuted by Italy Vacation Photos – 70 Year Old Singer Looks Healthy, Happy

Motorcycle Fan

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, (and I was for like three episodes before I dropped out realizing the thing was a soap opera), you might be surprised to know that Norman Reedus has come out saying his number one choice to ride bikes across America with is Cher: http://www.cinemablend.com/television/Celebrity-Norman-Reedus-Wants-Ride-With-Most-Who-You-Guess-143557.html

In Elephant News

Cher is still working for our elephant friends.

Cher aims to free lonely, chained elephant in Pakistan

Cher aims to free lonely, chained elephant in Pakistan through adoption

Tweet Drama

Drama #1: The Brexit

Cher got flack this week for her tweet about the UK vote to leave the European Union.

Brexit
Stories:

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/cher-backs-brexit-vote-immediately-regrets/#gs.TGCvH3Q

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/06/27/cher-forced-to-defend-herself-after-confusing-fans-with-views-on-brexit/

Obviously her initial tweet emoticon was misinterpreted. She never "appeared to back the vote and then regretted it." At least if you can read a tweet. She says literally "Pray it's best decision" but if you ignore the praying hands emojii, (is there such a thing as emoji blindness?), it looks like she's saying "It's the best decision." I guess this is why emoticons aren’t admissible in legal documents. It does surprise me that Twitter Followers can't follow.

Drama #2: Then there was the bomb emoji drama which included the words "Cher slammed" in many online article titles.

Bomb

The stories:

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/cher-slammed-bomb-emoji-tweet-turkey-article-1.2691823

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/turkey-cher-slammed-after-using-bomb-explosion-emojis-tweet-about-istanbul-airport-attack-1568007

http://www.tv3.ie/xpose/article/entertainment-news/208406/Cher-apologises-for-Turkey-bomb-emoji-tweet

She's literally saying: "We all pray for innocent people in Turkey airport. Bomb explosion." But I get it: (cartoon bomb ≠ real bomb) = insensitive. Terrorism isn’t a loony toon after all. So I guess a few severed limb emojis are not appropriate either. Hey, dark days call for dark-humor emojis.

But this, my Cher friends and Cher Twitter "followers," is what we call a language problem over in literary-theory land; and some kid will soon be doing a college dissertation on it, if we should be so lucky. Emojis are in fact so new, it’s hard to know officially which of them can officially classified as useful or inappropriate. But Cher seems willing to be the leading test case on the issue.

My beef with emojis is that they evolved from emoticons like this :-/ (which, because I’m old-school, I still use), a system of willfully misusing punctuation marks in order to insert some added layer of emotion into the deadpan language of email communications, (“Is he trying to being a dick with that comment?”), where in olden days people found it hard to decipher contextual humor or anger or sarcasms or winks or any other kind of extreme feeling in email missives and misunderstandings consistently arose, friendships ended,  wars ensued, and jokes failed.

NerdThese days artists are paid (or not) to create little cartoon pictures for us to communicate with instead of us having to use those pesky little Latin letters or instead of getting paid to, say, solve world problems or teach children to communicate better in emails without the aid of stupid little cartoons and then get offended when some celebrity doesn’t use the little pictures right which ironically was a problem the little cartoons (via the misuse of punctuation) was supposed to freaking solve in the first place!

We can all blame Twitter now.


More Than Politics

Hillary

The tragedy Sunday morning at Orlando’s gay nightclub Pulse has prompted some sad Cher tweets. And there are three somewhat sobering aspects of this monstrosity: the attach was (1) on a gay nightclub, (2) with mostly Hispanic victims, (3) who were killed with an assault riffle. These three facts should underscore the importance of this year's election and the real moral backsliding occurring in major parts of our communities.

This week radio host Norman Goldman invoked the sobering poem "First They Came" by Pastor Martin Niemöller. Read it and think about it. 

Cher brought her support behind Hillary Clinton before the recent California primary at a concert event. Read the stories:

We’re beyond fighting over idealism in this election.

I'm also wrapping up a David Foster Wallace Infinite Jest reading group and his amazing commencement address in 2005 was passed around the group yesterday. It's all about how to get to the place where it's not all about you. Highly suggested reading.

Cheratgreek2016 Hillary2


Cher for H, Cher or Jaden Smith, 15 Facts, 1975 Tabloid

HAgh! I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. And I'm ridiculously exhausted. But I....must....blog.

I’m in an Infinite Jest reading group (we do only 100 pages every two weeks but it’s a challenging novel so that’s not saying much). I’m taking a New Mexican art history class. I’m in the middle of a whole survey of American poetry online courses with HarvardX and the new class starts Friday. I’m in physical therapy for my knee. I'm attending a Google Analytics training workshop next week. I’m still trying to fart out some chapters for a novel. I'm planning trips to help my parents who are moving. And on top of everything else it’s already National Poetry Writing Month challenge again and I'm trying to keep up with the poems! (This year my theme is election angst.)

Speaking of which, Cher threw her support behind Hillz last week in a very interesting logo graphic mashup. I myself will be also throwing in for Hillz (and am enthusiastic about it) but I also like and would vote for Bernie in the general election.

On another Cher note, here is a website that challenges you to guess whether tweets are written by Cher or Jaden Smith: http://www.gq.com/story/cher-jaden-smith-twitter. And here are "15 Interesting Facts You Don’t Know About Cher" from ppcorn.com. But who are they kidding because Cher fans already know all these things.

There's also more news on an upcoming bio-musical, the title announcing that something is confirmed. Is that meaning the rumor is confirmed or the progress of the work has been  confirmed? This is a far cry from the theater space at The Ethyl Barrymore being confirmed. Just the plans is all. You wonder how many news stories plans can generate.

ChergreggMy LA friends and I celebrated a late Christmas two weeks ago and one of my gifts from Coolia was a Motion Picture Magazine. The magazine looks like a tabloid and possibly was considered a tabloid back in 1975 but the strange thing about these old rags is that the articles are actually more legit and quoted than you would think.  The titles are actually more tabloidy than the features. Gregg Allman was quoted heavily here and the article catalogues the time between Cher’s first divorce announcement from Gregg Allman to her appearance on The Tonight Show with Sonny (Sonny's swath of chest hair never gets old) after rumors Allman had beat her up (there were rumors like this too when she divorced Sonny) to her return to Gregg in New York state and their marriage.

After unwrapping the magazine I kept starting at Gregg's unruly hair and commenting about how young Cher looks on the cover. It was only later when I took the magazine into another room I even noticed the watermark overlay of Sonny & Cher on Allman's head. What a bizarre photo layout. Sonny doesn't even look like Sonny when you see it closeup. How did I even miss it? The magazine is also a bizarre collection of weirdly sexist cigarette ads and vibrator classifieds.

Ah, the nostalgic 70s.


Movies, Musicals and Music, Oh My!

BroadwayCher, The Musical...Still in Progress

Recently Cher met with Tony Nominee Rick Elice to pen the book for her biographical musical. Read more about it at Broadway.com, Contact Music, Out.com, Yahoo!

 

Witches of Eastwick

WitchesLogo TV just did a series of shorts on Witches of Eastwick for Halloween. (Thank you Cher scholar Tyler!)

Cher Scholarship

Dolls2If you loved volume 1, Tamara Lorenz Hampton’s book The Fabulous World of Cher Dolls Volume 2 is out just in time for Christmas.

Here's a great discography of Cher discovered by Cher scholar Dishy: http://www.45cat.com/artist/cher

Bob Mackie, Johnson Hartig Discuss Cher, Kim Kardashian at LACMA (Woman’s Wear Daily)

Here's some bad scholarship for you. Two weeks ago, I reported Cher had never been on X Factor. The scholarship gods had a laugh when I was walking on my treadmill and Cher's X Factor appearance from 2013 came up on YouTube. Who could forget that light show? Me apparently.

Lasershow

Cher-cnmBecause I work at a very cool place, the social media gurus at Central New Mexico Community College posted an alert about the time change this past Sunday with Cher's meme. Pulled through to our website, it looked something like this (see right).

Because I have Cher-radar, I can't help but notice it on there!

Turn Back Time: Don't forget to Cher with your friends. It's a daylight savings time tradition now.

Thanks CNM!

 


Cher Scholar Has Another Book Out

Cover-smallOver the weekend I posted a small little eBook called Writing in the Age of Narcissism. It's about the narcissism epidemic in our culture and how this affects literary criticism and poets.

Here's the blurb:

If you’re a poet or writer in any other form or genre, you’ve probably witnessed many modern, uncivilized behaviors from fellow students, writers and academic colleagues—their public relations gestures, their catty reviews and essays, and their often uncivil career moves. Like actors, visual artists and politicians, cut-throat pirate maneuverings have become the new normal. It’s what occurs whenever there are more people practicing an art than any particular economy can support.

The difference with writers is their ability to develop highly conceptualized, rationalizations in order to prove their worth and ideals. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it has reached a critical mass in meaningless attempts to pull focus in a society obsessed with the show-biz spotlight.

This essay traces how the narcissism epidemic affects writers, including our gestures of post-modernism and irony, and proposes an alternative way to be a more positive writer, critic and reader.

End of blurb.

For any Cher Zombies who also happen to be literary zombies, this might be of interest to you.

Writing in the Age of Narcissism
Mary McCray (2015)
Trementina Books
72 pages
eBook

Kindle $1.99  Buy
PDF, epub, Sony $1.99  Buy

More about the book, including bonus discussion on writing strategies and narcissism.

    


Cher Christmas

SantaTwo Cher scholars have asked me why there was no Cher Christmas tree post this year. Well, the tree stayed in the box out in the garage. There was no Christmas tree this year. No Christmas lights or Christmas cards.

A lot of things conspired at the end of the year to make this so:

- I didn't add a new outfit for the tree this year. That usually inspires me to put up the tree.

- I was bummed out about what a sucky year 2014 was, health wise for everybody.

-  ICANN laid me off right before Christmas and hired people in India to do our jobs. In the turmoil of cleaning up ICANN tasks and preparing to start my new job at Central New Mexico College, I was swamped and pooped.

- Mailing Xmas gifts took all my energy this year so there was little left for holiday cheer. Our house was depressingly dark this year compared to our neighbors but I didn’t have the energy to do anything about it and Mr. Cher Scholar is not the festive type. Although he did try to get me interested in Christmas with his sudden, new-found interest in Christmas yard inflatables. Now if there was a Cher Christmas inflatable...

- I’m in the thick of three new writing projects: my New Mexico novel (post scene-layout, starting the first draft), my Buddhist-cowboy poems (finished the final draft, preparing to submit), and a new eBook (finished final draft; getting ready to publish in early 2015), and a long list of end of the year to-dos regarding my writing and websites. I also reformatted my first poetry book (get it on Amazon or Smashwords at a new price of $2.99).

Cher Christmas

C580_Cher_Ugly_Holiday_SweatshirtNew_grandeLuckily Cher was more festive than me and launched a whole line of Christmas products. I bought the ugly-sweater sweatshirt (and wore it on Christmas to visit my three Aunts) and the White Hat Girls Tee.

 

CloserMy friend Julie wrote to tell me Cher was on the cover of a new magazine called Closer and she saw it at Target. I was a day late and missed it. Here's the article about Cher's cancelled tour.

   


Andy Cohen, Kids Books, Cher Impersonator for Safety

AndyThe December 5 issue of Entertainment Weekly does some name-dropping with Andy Cohen. They break out a face chart for all the famous people he name drops in his new book The Andy Cohen Diaries. Here is the list:

Sarah Jessica Parker – 26 mentions
Kelly Ripa – 22
Anderson Cooper – 18
Jimmy Fallon – 12
Diane Von Furstenberg – 11
Ellen Barkin – 10
Martha Stewart – 9
Matthew Broderick – 9
Cher – 8
John Mayer – 8
Allison Williams – 7
Jim Edmonds – 7
Lady Gaga – 7
Madonna – 7
Raph Fiennes – 7
Seth Meyers – 7

The same issue lists 50 books every kid should read. The list had some of my favorites: Where the Wild Things Are, Charlotte’s Web, The Ramona series, The Borrowers, Island of the Blue Dolphins, James and the Giant Peach, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Outsiders, Bridge to Terabithia, Harry Potter.

However the list also included some of the books I was most disappointed in, the Series of Unfortunate Events. EW says this series resists providing easy answers to its messy mysteries. I say phooey on that. If you're interested, here's my longer essay on the dismal end of that series.

The list also left out many of my favorites: Nancy Drew books, Little House books, The Rats of Nimh books. I have to admit, I've never read A Wrinkle in Time. Should I go back and read it?

I have a reputation among my friends for liking movies the rest of my friends hate, including Dutch and The Kid with Bruce Willis. Another movie in the list was The Ref with Denis Leary. This week's Entertainment Weekly just listed The Ref as an “criminally underrated Christmas movie.” Thank you. I have to send this information to my friends.

Cher-roadHealthy Living Alliance in Springfield, Missouri, has hired a Cher impersonator to make a funny public service announcement about bike safety: http://www.ky3.com/news/local/cher-the-road-funny-ad-drives-home-serious-safety-message/21048998_29807412

   


Don’t Cry For Me Cherilina

ProgramAn ironic image for Cher's D2K tour: trapped by a virus.

Last week was a very sad week for me. Indulge me, but I’m thinking to make a list will be a cathartic process.

1. As of Sunday when I stopped in Albertson's to sit at one of those blood pressure machines, I've had to accept that this, my 45th year, I’ve developed high blood pressure. Three out of 5 recent tests over the last 6 months have been too high. Heart issues have felled everyone on my father's side of the family. So this is not happy news.

2. The Bill Cosby story is wearing me down. Not only have 16 women accused him of various sexual crimes, but he’s latest TV appearances (The Colbert Report appearance before the story even broke) and interviews have been eerily self-important and left an unsatisfactory taste in my mouth. It reminds me of the Woody Allen incest saga. I grew up on their work and my esteem has been felled by their tabloid scandals which are both hard to prove or disprove (at this point). But that really doesn’t matter because no outcome escapes a tragedy. In Woody Allen’s case, either he did commit incest with his daughter or Mia Farrow is crazy and has contaminated her daughter’s life. Both scenarios are awful. Likewise, Bill Cosby is a rapist or 16 women are conspiring to ruin his career. Problem is, they have little to gain after the statute of limitations. And if you think it’s impossible to keep such crimes a secret for 40 years within an entertainment organization, let me remind you of Penn State and Jerry Sandusky. There’s no pretty truth here. Just yuckiness. And it reminds me that as a society we place a heartbreaking amount of misspent worship on celebrities (no offence to Cher). From what I've seen, baring a few exceptions, Hollywood does not attract balanced, heroical personalities and heroes don't grow from the seeds of maladaptive narcissists. In any case, as Mr. Cher Scholar says, this story pretty much bankrupts Fat Albert, The Cosby Show, the jello commercials, I Spy, all the standup routines....

3. I found out Thursday my friend has brain cancer. She's been having seizures.This is the fifth calamity to befall her in so many years.

4. That same night the Chiefs lost to the Raiders. This was more depressing to Mr. Cher Scholar than it was to me but it did rub off.

5. Hours later I was online via email helping to talk down another friend from an emotional life-crisis.

6. I started the next day looking at my emails and was assaulted by a Facebook status message made by one of my poetry colleagues. The post, not directed at me, was a rotten spew of hatred regarding last week's political events. It was dumbfoundingly angry, hardly reality-based, and left me disturbed for the rest of the day.

7. The Ferguson story has also depressed me. The grand jury just came out tonight: no indictment on the police officer who fatally shot a black teenager. I grew up in St. Louis where Ferguson is a suburb. I can say many positive things about growing up in St. Louis. I can also say that I know first hand St. Louis has more than its share of racists. I know because many of them used to confide in me their racists thoughts. They did so from high school through my many post-college jobs. I do have friends in St. Louis who are not racists, God bless 'em. But let’s just say I knew more racists there than honest, God-loving people.  Stories appeared last week about guns selling out, the governor declaring a state of emergency and bringing in the National Gard. The KKK is asserting itself with great irony and evil. Interestingly, my St. Louis friends used to chide me about living in Los Angeles, with all its gun violence and rioting. There were zero riots or highway shootings the 8 years I lived in Los Angeles. And as it turns out you don’t have to leave St. Louis for those things. I’m so disappointed that city hasn’t evolved in the last 20 years since I left.

8. My depression and anger over these political events led my cousin, who is a psychologist, to diagnose me Friday night as having "Work from Home Syndrome" - a condition that allows you to stew in your own anger until you become irritable all the time. He suggested I stop listening to the news for a while until my brain resets.

9. Cher has cancelled the remaining dates of her tour. And although she says she hopes she can “finish what she started” and resume the tour next year, this does prove the tour has been sadly ill-fated. It’s also a somewhat drastic and alarming gesture that makes you worry about Cher's health. Upsetting for Cher, her fans, and even Pat Benetar fans. It also means we are coming to the close of an era: invincible Cher.

I was working on a new Cher Scholar site page when I found out, an addendum concert page that lists all her concert dates and available online reviews of each show as I find them. It’s a work in progress but if you want to read old reviews, here they are.