Ellen's Brand is Dead

Ellen DeGeneres is not going to get away with being mean to people anymore:
Actors Brad Garrett and Lea Thompson have joined the chorus of critics taking aim at Ellen DeGeneres and her show. Dozens of ex-staffers have come forward with allegations that the show was a hostile workplace—and now celebrities are chiming in. Garrett, best known for his role as brother Robert Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond, tweeted out a Variety story about the scandal with the comment: “Sorry but it comes from the top ⁦@TheEllenShow. Know more than one who were treated horribly by her.⁩ Common knowledge.” Then Thompson, of Back to the Future and Caroline in the City, replied to a People magazine tweet about Garrett’s jab. “True story. It is,” she wrote. DeGeneres has apologized for the atmosphere behind the scenes of her show.
What used to keep people in line was fear, and celebrities are now being released from the possibility of being blacklisted from Ellen's show. This is a huge development because maintaining the viability of promoting various projects is the lifeblood of being an actor in Hollywood. If you can't appear on the crap shows that publicize As that fear subsides, you'll see a rush of stories from people who saw, firsthand, the abject cruelty of the environment around Ellen's long running "feel good" talk show.

It sounds like it was a shitshow of epic proportions. If these stories are true, then the toxic environment that surrounded Ellen is going to be one for the ages. We're talking law suits, career-ending legal settlements, and a cancellation that will send shockwaves through the industry. If anyone else is running their show like this, then they're next. Once you take out someone as big as Ellen, everyone else can be taken down as well.

The idea that DeGeneres is going to "salvage" something here is laughable. She could make a comeback. That's hard to do when you're sued by dozens of people who were horribly mistreated.

Rooting For Ashley Judd

A career in the arts should never lead to this sort of nightmare:
California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Ashley Judd can pursue a sexual harassment claim against convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein. Per The Hollywood Reporterthe court stated that the nature of Judd and Weinstein’s relationship was “sufficient” enough to give the actress grounds to sue. 
In Judd’s complaint, which included stories that she first revealed to the public in October 2017, the actress alleges that Weinstein propositioned her for sex in a hotel room about 20 years ago. Judd declined, saying that she was only able to escape by telling Weinstein that she’d sleep with him if she wins an Academy Award. 
Weinstein would go on to blacklist Judd from Hollywood film roles, particularly within his company, Miramax. 
“As in the enumerated relationships, their relationship consisted of an inherent power imbalance wherein Weinstein was uniquely situated to exercise coercion or leverage over Judd by virtue of his professional position and influence as a top producer in Hollywood,” a judge wrote. “We have no difficulty concluding that the California Supreme Court would reach the same conclusion, obviating the need to certify the question.”
They should grant people immunity and allow them to come forward and admit that Weinstein was able to convince them not to cast Judd in their projects. I mean, it's not a case where she wasn't qualified or capable of being in the movies all of a sudden, right after telling Weinstein that she wouldn't have sex with him. It's more a case where her career was derailed shortly thereafter.

Numerous actresses can probably make the case that their refusal to submit to Weinstein's predations hindered their careers. We need to make this right and correct what was done. No one should have this kind of power. Ever.

Remembering Carrie Fisher

Byron Lane used to be Carrie Fisher's assistant. This is what she taught him:
You once worked as Carrie Fisher’s assistant, and that job shaped this book. Why did you want to use that experience in your novel?Working for Carrie Fisher saved my life in so many ways. I was in a funk when I got the job and her energy and zest for life lifted me up. She taught me so much about friendship and family and writing and life. We had so much fun and so many adventures. When she died, I wanted to capture the spirit of our time together. She always used to say, “Take your broken heart and make art.” And, so, that’s what I did. I think she’d be proud of me.
What are the characteristics you need most to be a personal assistant in Hollywood?Being a celebrity assistant can be a tough job and an amazing experience. If you’re intuitive and naturally inclined to be a helper, you’ll do great. The vibe of your boss will color the experience and make it more or less pleasant, but at the end of the day, it’s about service. If you find the right fit, you can have a life-changing and brilliant time. I wish everyone was a lucky as me to work for someone as amazing and cool as Carrie Fisher.
I have always believed that she should be remembered for her writing and for her acting because she was equally good at both. She was an outstanding performer, and that extended to her one-woman shows that were based on her books. No one was more complex than Fisher in terms of how she succeeded in two vastly different industries. It is rare, but not unheard of, for someone to be wildly successful in one field and then to be an absolute giant in something different, but there it is.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Hollywood is probably going to make three or four movies out of this debacle:
A lawyer for British tabloid The Sun said Monday that Johnny Depp abused Amber Heard during their relationship, committing acts of violence fueled by misogyny and unleashed by addiction to alcohol and drugs.
Attorney Sasha Wass was summing up at Depp’s libel case against the newspaper over an article alleging he physically abused ex-wife Heard — a high-stakes celebrity trial in which the reputations of both former spouses are at stake.
Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the newspaper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, at the High Court in London over an April 2018 article, which called him a “wife-beater.” He strongly denies being violent to Heard.
The case is due to end Tuesday, but judge Andrew Nicol is not expected to deliver his ruling for several weeks.
In closing arguments, Wass said the newspaper’s defense “is one of truth -- namely that Mr. Depp did indeed beat his wife.” Wass said there was “overwhelming evidence of domestic violence or wife-beating behavior, cataloged over a three-year period.”
This is one of those tragedies where you just don't want to spend any time dealing with any of the people involved. It's off putting, to say the least.

How does Depp still have a career after this? Well, he's been very successful in making Heard look bad. And how does she keep working? Well, she's managed to elevate her profile and has shared extensive evidence of abuse. Depending on who you're biased in favor of, she's either a demon or a saint.

I will I hadn't heard of either of them.

Lake Street

I took this entirely by accident just after Memorial Day 2020 on Lake Street in South Minneapolis. This is the view looking east towards St. Paul.

The Fake Balcony

This architectural abomination hangs off the side of a Popeye's restaurant, and extends out over the drive through lane.

What the hell is it? Why is it there?

Clearly, it's designed to invoke the balconies one would find in New Orleans. But, can anyone go stand on this thing and hoot and holler and throw things? No, because that would mean they would have to get on the roof of the Popeye's and then jump off said roof and stand on a rickety balcony that has no function. This is just sad.

I can imagine a scenario where someone shows up at Popeye's drunk, and climbs up onto the roof where they actually do have a ladder. Then that person shimmies over to the balcony and falls down onto it. They stand up, dazed, and the whole thing collapses onto a Ford Escort parked at the drive through window. Everyone is injured, but not severely. Just enough to be a nuisance, you see.

That's the Popeye's drive through balcony. Just enough of a mistake to be annoying.

The Legacy of John Wayne

Adjusting the legacy of John Wayne is probably overdue. I don't think we can remove him completely from the history of film, but I do think we need to take steps to put him and his controversial views in their proper context:
"Conversations about systemic racism in our cultural institutions along with the recent global, civil uprising by the Black Lives Matter Movement require that we consider the role our School can play as a change maker in promoting antiracist cultural values and experiences," Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Evan Hughes said in a Friday announcement to the film school community.

"Therefore, it has been decided that the Wayne Exhibit will be removed."

The exhibit will instead be moved to the Cinematic Arts Library, Hughes wrote, where it can be placed "within the proper archival and research context" for continued education on Wayne's role in film history.
While the statement did not directly address the controversy surrounding Wayne, his legacy has recently been re-examined, especially after a 1971 interview with Playboy resurfaced and went viral last year. In it, Wayne espoused derogatory views of African Americans, Native Americans and films with gay characters.
"I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility," the actor said. "I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people."
You could add his comments and his views to the exhibit as a way to put Wayne in the proper historical context as it relates to his place in American history. I think you have to include the fact that this was common to the entertainment industry. To me, that would help explain that he wasn't the only person who had these horrible views and opinions. There is ample evidence that he was no different than Ronald Reagan in terms of how he viewed minorities.

And while Wayne and Reagan had vastly different careers, they were part of a generation that had an enormous impact on the cultural history of the country. Providing context is probably the most helpful way of explaining who Wayne was and why it's important that we understand his contributions.

I don't have a problem changing the name of the airport, either. We could rename that and we could definitely rename Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C.

We Need More Stories About Friendship

Rachel Shukert, left, showrunner and executive producer of Netflix’s “The Baby-Sitters Club,” at her Los Angeles home, and Ann M. Martin, author of the book series “The Baby-Sitters Club,” at her New York home.

(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)
Don't let the subject matter throw you off. This isn't a throwaway series of books for young adults. These are the books that turn people into readers, and this is a show that focuses on the overlooked skill of friendship:

Premiering Friday, the 10-episode reboot opens with a modern wink to an origin story as important to some as Spider-Man’s or Batman’s. Sporty seventh grader Kristy Thomas (Sophie Grace) watches as her single mom, Elizabeth (Alicia Silverstone), is in need of a sitter to watch her youngest son. Elizabeth huffs about young people these days being hard to get in touch with, as well as the high fees of internet-based babysitting services: “When I was a kid, my mother would just call some girl in the neighborhood on a landline,” she says. “And she would answer, because it was part of the social contract.”
Kristy’s great idea is born: a babysitting club.

She enlists her shy bestie Mary Anne Spier (Malia Baker) as secretary, their artistic friend and neighbor Claudia Kishi (Momona Tamada) as vice president, fashionable new girl from New York City Stacey McGill (Shay Rudolph) as treasurer, and eventually environmentally conscious California transplant Dawn Schafer (Xochitl Gomez) as an alternate officer. (Claudia also serves as the resident BSC host because she has a phone — one of those now-vintage transparent landlines with brightly-colored hardware — in her room.)
“When I saw them all together for the first time, that was one of the top five moments of my life,” Shukert says. “Maybe ahead of my wedding, but after having my son.” The way she speaks with reverence about the series, it’s easy to believe she isn’t joking.

That adoration, steeped in childhood memories untouched by the corrosion of time, made for a surreal adaptation process. Shukert says rereading the original book series, which ran until 2000 and has sold more than 180 million copies, she was struck by how she remembered very specific details — like Stacey painting her toenails with pink polish accented by a green dot or Claudia having white tights with plaits all over them or how Eleanor Marshall, one of the kids the girls babysit, was allergic to strawberries. But what came more sharply into focus was how the girls’ environment and experiences shaped how they navigated the world...

The reason why we need more of this type of storytelling is obvious--we're inundated with images and viral videos and police reports about individuals who cannot navigate polite society without looking like a jackass.

It's my personal opinion that there is a crisis in our society that centers around an inability to find and make friends with people who can check our impulse to do stupid shit. You need people around you who can call you on your bullshit. And you need to understand that this affects everyone, not just adults. So, if there's a vehicle out there for young people who can watch real friendships evolve and change, then this is the type of content that should be applauded and rewarded.

Ed Henry Has Been Fired

Ed Henry was considered a "rising star" at Fox News which translates, loosely, into "a human being with hair who does not drool all over himself when lying to the audience." He has now been fired for sexual misconduct:

Fox News said Wednesday that Ed Henry, one of its top news anchors, has been fired after an investigation into an allegation was leveled by a former employee.

"On Thursday, June 25, we received a complaint about Ed Henry from a former employee's attorney involving willful sexual misconduct in the workplace years ago," Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace wrote in an internal memo.

The executives said that an outside law firm was immediately brought in to investigate the claims.
"‪Ed was suspended the same day and removed from his on-air responsibilities pending investigation," they said. "Based on investigative findings, Ed has been terminated."‬

Until last week, Henry was a rising star at Fox, responsible for co-anchoring three hours of morning news coverage on the network.
Henry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Fox News is probably budgeting thirty or forty million dollars in sexual harassment payouts per year right now, so this is proactive and defensive in nature.

How bad of a human being do you have to be to get fired by Fox News AFTER they cleaned house and fired a bunch of creeps in the aftermath of the whole Roger Ailes debacle? Henry had to have done something not just shocking but deviant in nature as well. Holy crap.

And yes, it is news when someone gets fired after working at an organization that was forced to pay out an untold amount of serious money because it tolerated a culture of rampant sexual misconduct. You would think that Henry would have dialed it back a bit but, no. Once an abuser, always an abuser.

The good news for Henry is that he can now join the Trump regime or its campaign and continue to do God's work on behalf of the conservative movement.