Category Archives: Cyndi Lauper

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.” — John Kenneth Galbraith

THIS MEANS WAR!

Steven Higgs of the Bloomington Alternative ran a fascinating twoparter this month on the 1971 opening salvo in the right wing revolution that has turned this holy land into a corporatocracy. Don’t miss it.

Less than half a year before he was nominated by Richard Nixon to become a US Supreme Court Associate Justice, the then-rightist Lewis Powell wrote an explosive memo detailing what he saw as the coming war for free enterprise.

Powell, you may recall, retired in the middle of Ronald Reagan’s second term as president. By that time, he was seen as a moderate, a compromiser, the guy who could talk to both Antonin Scalia and Thurgood Marshall. In fact, many felt Powell was even too liberal for a Court and a nation that had moved dramatically rightward in the preceding 16 years.

Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy, an even more conservative jurist, to replace Powell. Now Kennedy is seen as the moderate, the compromiser, and, occasionally, too liberal for his own good.

The right has come a long way, baby.

Powell

Anyway, Powell, a big-time corporate lawyer and legal advocate for the tobacco industry, wrote that American capitalism was under attack on a variety of fronts 41 years ago. Everybody, he wrote, from Ralph Nader, the media, academia, the federal courts, communists  and “New Left”-ists, to outright revolutionaries were gunning for our sacred economic system.

Powell wasn’t speaking metaphorically either. He was convinced liberals were out to destroy America. His screed sounded like nothing other than a typical Rush Limbaugh upchuck.

For instance, Powell quoted a Fortune magazine diatribe against consumer advocate Nader:

“The passion that rules in him — and he is a passionate man — is aimed at smashing utterly the target of his hatred, which is corporate power. He thinks, and says quite bluntly, that a great many corporate executives belong in prison — for defrauding the consumer with shoddy merchandise, poisoning the food supply with chemical additives and willfully manufacturing unsafe products that will maim or kill the buyer.”

Nader, Powell asserted, was dangerous.

Dangerous

Funny thing is, a mere six years later it was learned that Ford Motor Company bosses knew their Pinto model was liable to explode in flames in rear-end collisions. Those execs also knew a certain number of Pinto drivers and passengers would die as a result. They decided that the deaths and resulting financial damage claims were simply the cost of doing business.

Dangerous, indeed.

In the Powell Memo, sent to members of the US Chamber of Commerce, he suggested corporate America and political leaders devote themselves to the “constant surveillance” of school textbooks and eliminate left-wingers from schools and positions of power.

“There should be no hesitation to attack,” he advised corporate leaders.

Yeesh!

Higgs concludes that the memo was “a literal call to the political arms that have (sic) subsequently driven the nation’s devolution from democracy to oligarchy.”

I suppose the only difference between today and 1971 is that, back then, the only people who would spout such psycho garbage were toady corporate lawyers. Now, the corporations have an entire Tea Party to parrot their paranoia.

LIZZ WINSTEAD’S BABY

Lizz Winstead created the fabulously successful Daily Show franchise that we think of as Jon Stewart’s baby.

It isn’t.

Winstead

Stewart came aboard two and a half years after the show was born. He replaced the smarmy-snarky, celebrity-gossipy Craig Kilborn as host. Toward the end of Kilborn’s run, he granted an interview to an Esquire magazine writer in which he suggested that Winstead would happily blow him. It was the last straw in Winstead’s long-standing battle against the comedy boys club that was taking over her show. She quit soon after.

Since her Daily Show stint, Winstead’s career has soared and dived. She co-founded the ill-fated Air America Radio network. She writes occasionally for the Huffington Post, has produced a few TV and radio shows, and now hosts a weekly New York City radio news wrap up program called “Shoot the Messenger.”

I was reminded of Winstead while reading a neat book called “¡Satiristas!: Comedians, Contrarians, Raconteurs & Vulgarians,” by Paul Provenza and Dan Dion. It was published by itbooks, a HarperCollins imprint, in 2010. In it Provenza chats with dozens of funny people about their art.

Winstead is included in the line-up. She tells Provenza that part of her comedic sensibility emanates from her conservative Catholic childhood home in Minneapolis.

She recalls facing her first adult dilemma as a teenaged girl.

“[T]he first time I ever had sex, in high school, I got pregnant. I knew I wasn’t having a baby, bu the way to get an abortion was so insane. Being brought up a Catholic, I didn’t know where to go, but one day I saw a sign on the bus for a place that said, ‘Abortion options.’ I thought, ‘Oh, there are many options.’

“So I go to this place, and it was run by some group called The Lambs of Christ. This woman comes out wearing a lab coat, so I’m thinking she’s some kind of doctor. Then I realized the women at the Clinique and Lancôme counters wear lab coats; she’s not really a doctor, lab coats are pretty much available anywhere. She shows me blow-ups of mangled fetuses and a picture of a kid on a bike. I’m like, ‘A bike?’ It was insane. I left completely confused. As I walked out the door, she was yelling after me, ‘Just remember, the choice you make is mommy or murder.’

“I thought, ‘I’m sixteen and here’s an adult, a “person of God,” impersonating a physician, just scaring the shit out of me.’ Even as a kid, I was, like, ‘That’s fucking weird.'”

Winstead’s 51 years old now, meaning the encounter took place 35 years ago, probably sometime in 1977.

Just four short years after the US Supreme Court’s landmark Roe vs. Wade decision.

Nashville’s The Tennessean newspaper reported Friday that 24 states passed new abortion restriction laws in 2011, more than any previous year.

Talk about fucking weird.

MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING

Written by Bruce Springsteen, performed best by Cyndi Lauper.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

The Countess: You are a great lover!

Boris: I practice a lot when I’m alone.

— Dialogue from Woody Allen‘s “Love and Death

FLYING SOLO

So, the guy who made that viral Kony video was caught in the self-service aisle in public in San Diego.

Man. Isn’t that the most humiliating scandal a human being could possibly endure?

Here’s the latest hot video on You Tube, (minus the tug action, natch):

It’s even worse than the scandal poor Paul Reubens endured a little more than 20 years ago. Remember? Reubens was nabbed with his stage-namesake in his hand in a porn movie theater. Just in case you were living under a rock back then, Paul Reubens was Pee-wee Herman.

If some evil mad scientist pointed a ray gun at me and said I’d have to make a choice between being torn to shreds by crocodiles or being caught masturbating in public, I’d still be sitting there in the crosshairs a half hour later trying to decide.

Reubens/Pee-wee at least was operating the joystick within the confines of an arena wherein that type of activity is considered sporting. This Jason Russell character, though, was scratching the itch while in the nude on a well-traveled big city street corner.

Russell

The first reports on the Russell incident indicate that witnesses thought he was drunk or on drugs.

Trust me, if I were Russell I’d jump on that alibi like a hunk of floating debris in the middle of the Pacific. But his family hastened to shout out to the inquiring media that their dear boy has never, ever had a problem with drugs or alcohol and couldn’t possibly have been in an altered state at the time of the incident.

Gee thanks, mom and pop.

The statement issued by Russell’s family says he was suffering from dehydration. Now, I’ve suffered from dehydration a couple of times in my life and on neither occasion did the idea of yanking the package out for a little exercise cross my mind.

In fact, I’m willing to bet that of the seven billion souls alive on this planet at this time, the number who would buy that excuse is statistically negligible.

Anyway, my pal Anna in Los Angeles told me last night that she went to an Invisible Children event not long ago. Here’s the transcript of our chat about it (all sic):

Anna: invisible children had a screening of one of their films last year on campus…

this is when I was really broke, so i went for the free pizza…

and i can’t remember specifics, just that despite it’s obviously on the side of good, it was extremely manipulative and poorly structured…

i sat thru about a 1/2 hour of it before leaving…

and that 1/2 was more about the filmmakers than about the sudanese war and child soldiers.

but i’d had enough pizza by then.

me: At least you got pizza.

Anna: domino’s, but hey, food’s food.

The Kony 2012 thing has been called the single most viral video of all time. I have a feeling it’ll be a short-lived title-holder.

SHE BOP

Out of the cesspool that was 80’s music (or should I say 80’s “music”?) Cyndi Lauper emerged as one of the very few recording artists whose cassette tapes were worth keeping.

For those of you who are younger than 35 or so, this was the fate of every music cassette ever manufactured:

Now then, Lauper hit it huge with her song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” back in 1983. A year later, she hit again with her ode to masturbation, “She Bop.”

Lauper never explicitly mentioned the art of self-love in the song because she wanted it to get widespread airplay. She once told Howard Stern that she’d hoped kids would interpret it to be about dancing and then, as they got older, they’d understand what it was really about.

Cyndi Lauper has never been caught masturbating in public.

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