Prince: The Everlasting Now

Well, shit.

This morning, Prince died. I’m not sure that has really sunk in yet.

There are few people who have carved such a unique slice of the American Dream for themselves more than Prince – and completely did it his way. A champion for the Artist having ownership of their Art, Prince was passionately independent, telling Warner Bros. to take a fucking hike when they refused to play by his rules. Over the following 25 years, Prince continued to forge his own path, releasing music on his terms and under his own label N.P.G., retaining the rights to his music. Even when he teamed up with labels like Arista and Columbia (and eventually circling back to Warner Bros.) they understood that they needed him more than he needed them; Prince had his money and his fans and was never going to be someone else’s “slave” ever again.

The sad thing about Prince going rogue is that the music didn’t get the same kind of promotion (or availability; frankly, some of it is still difficult to acquire…). Some of his albums like Planet Earth (2007) and 20Ten (2010) were initially “released” in a magazine – yes, a cover mount in a magazine (20Ten has never gotten a traditional release; maybe it will now…) – and LOtUSFLOW3R/MPLSound (2009) was exclusively released to Target for some reason that I suppose made business sense to Prince. His relationship with technology and the internet has been a unique one – simultaneously embracing digital platforms like Spotify and Tidal, yet abhorring YouTube, Grooveshark, and other file sharing sites in where Mr. Nelson did not get a cut (one weekend when Julian was gone, I listened to Prince’s entire catalogue…before Grooveshark took it all down…hopefully the estate will make them available for purchase on iTunes…). Prince’s opinions on technology have definitely made their way into his latest work; one of his newest (and sadly last, I suppose) is called Art Official Age (2014) – say that out loud to get the pun. Prince, like Madonna, was never interested in looking back, but forever braving forward.

Prince was – God, that feels weird to write – a student of “musicology,” infusing his work with the best of Stevie, Sly, Miles, James, Little Richard, gospel, punk, and even a little Sun Ra for good measure. Yet everything he made was undeniably Prince. As tributes begin to happen, I’m sure various incarnations of “Purple Rain” will be played from here to Antarctica. As they should. Purple Rain (1984) is arguably the greatest album ever recorded and the title song is beyond glorious – that last 3 minutes of guitar riffs and Prince’s sensual wails are enough to send anyone to their knees.

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But in my typical fashion, I offer a playlist of what you may not know; the Prince under the radar from 1994-2015 that has hitherto not been included in his legend:

Please follow the link to SoundCloud here.

Enjoy.

  1. “RocknRoll Loveaffair” – HitNRun: Phase One (2015)
  2. “The Work: Part 1” – The Rainbow Children (2001
  3. “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” – The Gold Experience (1995)
  4. “Right Back Here in My Arms” – Emancipation (1996)
  5. “Somebody’s Somebody” – Emancipation (1996)
  6. “Call My Name” – Musicology (2004)
  7. “One of Us” – Emancipation (1996)
  8. “The Everlasting Now” – The Rainbow Children (2001)
  9. “Everyday is a Winding Road” – Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic (1999)

I tried to upload many other tracks, but from beyond the grave, Prince is blocking his music from being uploaded. I guess I can’t be mad about it. And the above may even be blocked by the time you read this. But maybe this will inspire you to seek them out like I did.

Here are another 20 songs you should find…

  1. “Breakfast Can Wait” – Art Official Age (2014)
  2. “Dance 4 Me” – MLPSound (2009
  3. “Dark” – Come (1994)
  4. “4Ever” – LOtUSFLOW3R (2009)
  5. “Beautiful, Loved, and Blessed” – 3121 (2006)
  6. “Gold” – The Gold Experience (1995)
  7. “Time” – Art Official Age (2014)
  8. “FunknRoll” – Art Official Age (2014)
  9. “You Make My Sunshine” ft. Angie Stone – The Chocolate Invasion (2004)
  10. “1000 Xs and Os” – HitNRun: Phase One (2015)
  11. “Somewhere Here on Earth” – Planet Earth (2007)
  12. “The One U Wanna See” – Planet Earth (2007)
  13. “Golden Parachute” – The Slaughterhouse (2004)
  14. “Northside” – The Slaughterhouse (2004)
  15. “She Spoke 2 Me” – The Vault: Old Friends for Sale (1999)
  16. “Extraordinary” – The Vault: Old Friends for Sale (1999)
  17. “Black Muse” – HitNRun: Phase Two (2015)
  18. “Big City” – HitNRun: Phase Two (2015)
  19. “Look at Me, Look at You” – HitNRun: Phase Two (2015)
  20. “Crystal Ball” – Crystal Ball (1998)

It is unclear what will become of his estate (not to mention his immense “Vault” of unreleased songs, rumored to total close to 1000), but here’s hoping that Prince’s great music from the second half of his glorious career will become more accessible to fans.

Thanks for the music, Mr. Nelson. You were truly one of “The Beautiful Ones.”

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And Justice for All: Leslie van Houten

“If an individual is eligible for parole and the Board determines they are no longer a threat, the law says they must be paroled unless there is firm evidence indicating they are still a threat.”

– Evan Westrup, spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown

What is the role of prison?

The most obvious is to protect us from those who may do us harm. To keep the murderers and rapists, child molesters and fraudsters, away from us in an isolated place where they cannot hurt anyone else.

The most satisfying reason is to punish those who have transgressed, to make them suffer as their victims have suffered and to know that every day they must live with their actions and their consequences in a place, physically and mentally, in which they cannot escape from this reality.

But the tacit role of prison – so tacit that some forget it is even a reason at all – is to reform, to teach offenders that what they have done is wrong and to prepare them, someday, to reenter “the outside” as functioning members of society.

So what happens when someone has clearly shown remorse, taken full responsibility for their actions, disavowed the ideology that led them astray, boasts a clean record while incarcerated, is eligible for parole, been granted parole, and yet still waits in limbo for the powers that be to make a decision on the validity of her parole?

Ask Leslie van Houten.

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For anyone not familiar with her name, you have clearly heard the name Charles Manson. Leslie was one of the three “girls,” the infamous trio who carved swastikas in their forehead, danced in glee down the halls of the courthouse during their trial, and seemed to be willing puppets for any command from one of America’s most infamous sociopaths.

Make no mistake. Leslie van Houten is a murderer. And I do not condone her actions. I am not here to convince you that what she did was in anyway condonable. Nor do I think that she is “innocent” of her crimes under the tyrannical thumb of a miscreant. Leslie knew what she was doing and made the choice to follow through. Were drugs a factor? Absolutely. Was peer pressure a factor? Absolutely. Did she go with the others that night knowing what was going to happen? Absolutely. Did she hold a pillow over Rosemary LaBianca’s face as Tex Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel stabbed her? Absolutely. Did Leslie then stab Mrs. LaBianca 14 more times in the lower back? Absolutely. All of this is unspeakable and rightly became the Crime of the Century. Were her actions during the trail exacerbated by the cameras and reporters? Perhaps. Ask anyone involved in the O.J. case and they will say that the eyes of the world definitely have a way of bringing out the worst in us all.

The Girls, Manson, and Tex Watson were sentenced to death – until California overturned capital punishment in 1972 (which was then reinstated in 1976 by a Supreme Court decision, but did not usurp Leslie’s commute to a Life sentence); making Leslie eligible for parole by 1979. Due to the death of her original lawyer, Leslie was given a retrial – two in fact, after the first ended in a mistrial – at which she was found guilty of first degree murder with the possibility of parole. Those last four words were crucial.

Since her incarceration, Leslie has done everything that she was “supposed to.” She has been kept away from us all in isolation so as to make us rest easier at night. She has been punished for 47 years, waking up every day with the knowledge that what she did was horrible and irreversible. And most importantly, she has been reformed. For the record, while awaiting her third trial, Leslie was out on bond and even held down a job (anonymously, of course), in where nothing happened. Less than 10 years away from Manson’s clutches, Leslie was a model citizen even as a (temporarily) “free” woman. She has taught illiterate women how to read in prison classes, stitched part of the AIDS quilt, made bedding for the homeless, recorded books on tape for the blind, and has gotten her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees while incarcerated.

And for whatever it’s worth, Leslie’s crimes would have happened with or without her cooperation; Mrs. LaBianca would have died at the hands of Tex Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel. Leslie’s role, while troubling and reprehensible, was the lesser of all evils and part of the reason why she was granted her own trials in the first place.

Not convinced?

Let’s look at it from a legal perspective: a Stanford study found that of the 860 murderers paroled between 1990-2010, only 5 of them committed new crimes – none of which were murder. A few examples:

  • Inmate Ernest Morgan shot and killed his 14 year old step-sister when he was 18. He was released after 24 years.
  • James Thomas killed someone during a robbery when he was 17. He was released after 30 years.
  • Kent Wimberly stabbed and killed two people when he was 17. He was released after 34 years.
  • The average released “lifer” is in their mid-50s. Leslie was 19 when she killed Mrs. LaBianca. She is now 66.
  • Today, an inmate convicted of first-degree murder in the state of California can be expected to serve 27 years. Leslie has been in prison almost 47 years.

If a criminal is truly to be granted the possibility of parole, then parole must seriously be considered. According to a 2008 California Supreme Court decision, a parole denial cannot be based on the viciousness of the crime alone. The inmate must still be considered a threat to society. Leslie van Houten has shown that she is not.

So then why is she just now being granted parole after 20 rejections?

I posit two theories: one, the media sensation of her crimes is so engrained in the fabric of our culture that it may be impossible for some, including the theoretically impartial members of a parole board, to see past the theatrics and look at the facts. And two, a reason that may be even more subconscious than the first, the fact that Leslie is a woman. And we don’t want to believe – no we cannot accept – that a woman could somehow be a monster. So we keep her locked away as a reminder to remember – and a way to forgot.

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I understand that the LaBiancas are upset about the possibility of Leslie’s parole. They will never get their family back. And that is sad. Unthinkable, even. And Debra Tate has every reason to be angry at “The Family” (a term that has long lost any of its significance since everyone, except maybe Squeaky Fromme, disavowed Manson and his antics decades ago). Yes, “The Family” killed her sister, Sharon Tate. But what people seem to forget, including Debra, is that Leslie had nothing to do with Sharon’s death. Susan Atkins killed her sister. In fact, Leslie wasn’t even there the night Sharon Tate died. So truthfully, she should have no voice in the matter of what happens to Leslie and I wish the media would not even bother with her. She is tainting the waters. And unfairly so.

Emotionally, I can understand why some – including the families of the victims – want to see her rot in prison. To die a horrible death that could never be as horrible as the way Mrs. LaBianca died. But ethically and legally, I cannot understand – nor condone – any reason to keep Leslie van Houten imprisoned a day longer.

She has done her time. And it is time to set her free.

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But I’m Not Dwelling on This Crazy Mess: 19 “New” Madonna Songs to Help You Forget REBEL HEART Happened

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Well, Rebel Heart has finally dropped – the most appropriate verb for this bomb/turd- and it is exactly what was to be expected. Sadly, “Living for Love,” yes, a great debut single, is not only the best track on the album, but an anomaly. It’s as if it were written for a different album all together. I can’t even stomach going track by track and critiquing the foolishness (“Body Shop”? “Unapologetic Bitch”? “HOLY WATER”? – I never thought I would actually yearn for “Where Life Begins”….). Point is, this album is garbage. Unfortunately, her vocals are some of her strongest. You can’t win ’em all, I guess.

So instead of reading Madonna for her ridiculously juvenile views on love, pompous martyrdom, and misplaced narcissism, I’m going to do exactly what Madonna is doing: pretending that the past is the present, that what worked before will work again, and that people still give a damn.  Madonna is not “back,” people. And she probably never will be again. Let it go.

To cleanse your palette from the desperate hodgepodge that for some MYSTERIOUS reason is being heralded by queens and feminists from coast to coast, living so blindly in their vortex of sycophancy that any slight against their leader is automatically “ageist propaganda,” I present to you 19 under appreciated Madonna songs (the number of tracks on the Special Edition of REBEL FART) to remind fans – and haters alike – that yes, Madonna was once awesome.

Enjoy and discuss.

1) “Causing a Commotion” from the Who’s That Girl? Soundtrack (1987)

*Hitting #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, yet somehow forgotten in the pantheon of her hits, “Causing a Commotion” is the perfect clarion call to begin this playlist. The irony in starring in a movie called Who’s That Girl? is that everyone already knew who Madonna was. Brushing off Shanghai Surprise‘s catatonic reception, Madge returned to the screen with a gangster remake of Bringing Up Baby, giving us her best Judy Holliday (and actually succeeding). Encompassing her bombastic pride, her fun-loving nature, and her flair for the campy, “Causing a Commotion” with its electronic glissando shoots us out of cannon  – after we’ve grooved in front of our mirrors with a hairbrush, that is.

2) “Where’s the Party?” from True Blue (1986)

*At the beginning of her world domination, Madonna invited us to throw off our cares and hit the club. Picking up where “Holiday” left off, “Where’s the Party?” with its drum machines and cheeky laughter is best being blasted down the freeway with your friends.

3) “I’m Going Bananas” from I’m Breathless (1989)

*Why does Madonna not do more stuff like this? Best when she is poking fun at herself, I’m Breathless, the “soundtrack” to Dick Tracy, is a collection of 30’s pastiche songs, heavily influenced with Madonna’s favorite Latin rhythms.

4) “Sooner or Later” from I’m Breathless (1989)

*Remember when Madonna worked with Stephen Sondheim? This unlikely duo produced one of the most underrated ballads in her catalogue. And her performance from the Academy Awards is…well, just watch it. Flawless. Where was this voice when she was recording Erotica?

5) “White Heat” from True Blue (1986)

*Sampling Jimmy Cagney from the titular film, Madonna warns her lover that she is dangerous, but worth it. How many times has she said this in real life? But don’t you dare cross her or…

6) “Thief of Hearts” from Erotica (1992)

*My personal favorite Madonna album for a myriad of reasons, Erotica was lost in her maelstrom of controversy. “Thief of Hearts” puts Madonna in the role of jilted lover. And she is coming for you with a broken bottle. Throbbing with a beat ready for Ecstasy laced sex in a dungeon, “Thief of Hearts” makes you want to stomp the runway in a dog collar and a Chinese fan.

7) “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” from Like a Virgin (1984)

*Madonna’s first cover, “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” was discarded in its original incarnation because no one wanted to see the Boy Toy as a vulnerable mistress. Years later in a slightly remixed, stripped version, Madonna released it as a single from her compilation album Something to Remember. But it’s this Motown infused power ballad that really shines – and proves that Madonna could always sing; even before Evita lessons.

8) “Rescue Me” from The Immaculate Collection (1990)

*One of two new songs on her first greatest hits collection, “Rescue Me” mirrors “Justify My Love” – and paves the way for “Erotica” – with her sultry speaking of the verses. But where “Rescue Me” outshines both of the other songs is her guttural grovel, paging her best Cher.

9) “I Want You” from Something to Remember (1995)

*As a response to her years of controversy, Madonna decided to put her clothes back on and release an album of her favorite ballads with a few new recordings. Here she covered Marvin Gaye’s classic with Massive Attack featuring a sweeping orchestral longing for a distant lover.

10) “I’d Rather Be Your Lover” from Bedtime Stories (1994)

*Too subtle to be controversial, too groovy to be mainstream, yet containing her biggest hit “Take a Bow,” Bedtime Stories may be Madonna’s most sadly underrated of albums. After the aggressive throbs of Erotica, Madonna produced an album of ’70s infused soul ready for your Harlem pajama party. Originally featuring Tupac on the featured rap, “I’d Rather Be Your Lover” serves up soul singer Meshell Ndegeocello as a counter punch to Madge’s best Martha Reeves.

11) “Drowned World/Substitute for Love” from Ray of Light (1998)

*Before Madonna spiraled back into adolescent, there was a brief period where she was introspective, genuine, and mature. This coalesced into Ray of Light, a beautiful album of regrets, spirituality, motherhood, and new beginnings. “Drowned World/Substitute for Love” is Madonna looking back at her life and taking stock. Beautiful ballad with a really cool video.

12) “Hollywood” from American Life (2003)

*Hilariously, this song was used at the beginning of the Oscars about ten years ago. Did the producers know that it was an indictment of the plastic vanity of Los Angeles? Or just pleased to be using a song with “Hollywood” in the lyrics?

13) “Nothing Fails” from American Life (2003)

*The closest Madonna has come to something as celestially transcendent as “Like a Prayer” in years, “Nothing Fails” might even surpass her classic with its confidently subtle vocal and its earnest declaration of love.

14) “Get Together” from Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005)

*Madonna returned to her roots with this disco inspired album, taking the listener on a ride through a night at Studio 54. “Get Together”, the strongest track on this underrated masterpiece, laughs off the idea of love at first sight, the lies we tell to get inside someone’s pants (or heart) and encourages us all to find love – or lust – wherever we can get it.

15) “Heartbeat” from Hard Candy (2008)


*Whatever can be said positively or negatively for Madonna – and there is a lot – what is undeniable is that she gets us out of our chairs and on to the dance floor. Dance is her first love – the one thing that makes her the happiest. For a brief moment, this song makes imagine a 17 year old Madonna in a Michigan dance studio practicing her pirouettes and her poses in the dusty mirror, dreaming of the days when she might be a star.

16) “Dance 2Night” from Hard Candy (2008)

*Fast forward 35 years when Madonna is a legend and she returns to that same studio to teach a class. A stand out track featuring Justin Timberlake.

17) “I’m Addicted” from MDNA (2012)

*Is Madonna talking about a person or her fans? One of the few passable songs from the drudgery that is MDNA.

18) Celebration from Celebration (2009)

*”Holiday” for the 21st Century, “Celebration” is one of Madonna’s strongest singles in years. Try to stay in your seat.

19) “Think of Me” from Madonna (1983)

*Could there be a more autobiographical song in her repertoire? Who knew how relevant it would be 30 years later.

One of Your Own Kind, Stick to Your Own Kind

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On paper, Arizona’s Bill SB1062 – the controversial measure that has crossed Governor Brewer’s desk allowing businesses to refuse service to LGBT people on religious grounds – isn’t even worth a reappropriation to toilet tissue. Plain and simple it is discrimination, no matter what the Libertarians or Republicans want to cite about “religious freedom.” It is gross misconduct, a backwards step in our history, and should be fought, teased, and reviled by anyone who gives a shit about truth, justice, and the American Way. A person elected to look after the interests of ALL of her constituents shouldn’t need tacit threats from important corporations and a possible economic windfall to do the right thing.

Yet, if I take a step back and look at the larger picture here, remove myself from the political ramifications of such an action, and forget for a second that it is designed to keep out people like me and my husband, I understand and even agree with its sentiment: human beings feel more comfortable, more safe, and maybe even happier around other people like them.

This weekend was bursting with these types of feelings. On Saturday, I accompanied Julian to his Gay Basketball League’s draft party. We sat around eating pizza, drinking, and playing pool while a small group of team captains deliberated and traded players. One of these players, seated on the couch next to us no less, leaned in with a friendly handshake to introduce us to his…girlfriend. Julian and I shared one of those married looks, those silent “Did you hear what I heard?”s, putting me if not us both on watch; our group had been infiltrated by…one of them. Within those first few seconds, the familiar question of “How should this change my behavior?” washed over me. I thought, “Does everyone else know there is a hetero among us? Do they also think it is odd? Why would a straight guy specifically join a gay group? Is he bi? ‘Ex-gay’? Does he have a gay brother and is trying to prove something to his bigoted family?” Or maybe he just likes to play basketball with his friends. I kept drinking and it went to the back of my mind. I could continue with my gay behavior. We could all continue with our gay behavior. Obviously he is OK with us and accepts our many shades of Shade.

We left the draft party to go play Mafia at my friend’s house, a gay friend. Going from such a homosexual event, minus the token straight guy and his beard…I mean girlfriend…I was unsure of how this would go down. Would we be the token ones here (minus the host of course), trying to figure out which versions of our gayness to exhibit? Would it be full of obnoxious hags, the absolute worst of the feminine gender, constantly proving how comfortable they are with the interracial gay couple across the room? Or would it be an assortment of people – just people – playing a game?

Last night, Julian and I had a RuPaul’s Drag Race premiere party and very specifically ONLY invited gay men. Not even lesbians (the whole two we are friends with) were welcome. Of course, women and some straight men like Drag Race; there were enough of them at the Battle of the Seasons show to prove that. But we wanted to share this experience, our yearly joy, to build upon the innumerable great memories we have of RuPaul with other gay men. To sit around, snap our fingers, purse our lips, and All T All Shade, call not only the queens on the screen but the queens in our living room out on their bullshit. To connect with people like us.

Part of me thinks I should harbor some kind of guilt about these feelings. That I have no right to be a hypocrite. That yes, we should embrace all types of people. Yes, we should specifically seek out people that are different than us in order to grow, to evolve, to learn. Yes, we should see past the things that separate us and focus on the things that unite us. But there is also something beautiful, something intangible, something nurturing about surrounding ourselves with others who share a common experience. Every group – whether the borders are drawn along religious, racial, sexual, or other lines – have magical things about them someone outside of the group cannot understand no matter how much integration or empathy or well intended political correctness one can muster. However, those borders get really shaky when the lines are drawn on Hate. There is a delicate balance between celebrating one’s group and putting down another by keeping them out. I think we have to embrace this balance, never forgetting what it’s like to be on the receiving end of having the door closed in our face. To be proud of who we are, to celebrate what makes us different, but never to let fear or hate or feelings of superiority make our decisions for us.

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For Cameroon

There it sat in my Inbox for weeks like an overdraft notice:

“Man Killed in Cameroon for Sending a Text Message.”

I knew it was going to be depressing, knew exactly why he was killed without even opening the letter, and didn’t want to deal. Besides. What could I do about it?

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I like to think of Cameroon as the birth place of BeBe Zahara Benet, the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I can’t even say the name of the African country without intoning it with Mother Ru’s faux-Oprah style elongation. To me, that word means glamour and style, grace and poise. But to thousands of homosexuals, it is yet another place on this planet where we are not wanted, shunned, jailed, and yes, even killed for falling in love. I opened my email and confirmed my suspicions.

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Roger Jean-Claude Mbede was sent to jail for three years for sending the text message, “I’m very much in love w/u” to a man. After his release from prison – where he was beaten, malnourished, and ostracized because of his homosexuality – Roger could not find employment nor proper treatment for his testicular cancer because of his “crimes.” Weeks later, he was found dead in his village. His attorney, Alice Nkom, the head of Cameroon’s Association to Defend Homosexuals, was the one who sent me the email and is leading the charge with Amnesty International to decriminalize homosexual acts, real or perceived. I signed their petition to appease my guilt that I wasn’t going to do anything else and got back to Facebook. Until I was disgusted by my apathy.

We spend so much time in America talking about the unfair treatment of gay people. As we should. It is ridiculous that in 2014 we are still dealing with vitriol from not only the Phil Robertsons of the world, but highly educated, ELECTED officials who are sworn to uphold America’s values, not least of which our founding principle that All Men are Created Equal. We need to be loud and fight against 20th Century values fourteen years into the 21st Century.

But I will admit that even I get annoyed with the Left and GLAAD and the HRC for jumping on absolutely every slight against the LGBT community, no matter how  insignificant it may seem. How sensational coming out stories still are. And our obsession with defining everyone’s sexuality, especially the famous, as if it defines who we are and what we stand for above all else. I long for the days when we are beyond labels, beyond boxes, and can just see each other as people, defined by our actions and not our desires.

However, this is not the world we live in nor will it ever be. We feel a deep need to belong, to feel safe, to feel important within our own group and superior to others; therefore, the obsession with sexuality, one of our most basic personality traits, will always be around. As will the need to defend it from the rooftops. Yet, it must be America’s goal to evolve to a point of if not acceptance, tolerance. America, the self made country. America, the harbinger of freedom and democracy must evolve to a state of equality. We rest in the middle of the continuum, yet claim to be the greatest country in the world. Dozens of countries have marriage for all, not just in certain states, and adoption for all; dozens of countries look at homosexuality as an unforgivable sin, worthy of fines, prison, and death.

Yet it is the latter that makes it hard for me to even complain. I am able to write anything I want about being gay – or anything for that matter – without fear of real punishment. I don’t have to hide the fact that I am in love with a man, that I am MARRIED to a man, nor fear that one of my many text messages of affection will be confiscated and held against me in a court of law. I live in a country where a show about drag queens is not only on TV, but a huge hit.

In my most humble of fantasies, I run through the streets of oppression with Larry Kramer‘s torch, burning down the haters and lighting a fire in the supporters. I know this isn’t true. Nor will it ever be. I am lazy. I am complacent. My husband and I can live our lives without interruption. Sometimes I think about how different Julian’s life would be had he been born in Africa. Or even Mississippi. And take a giant sigh of relief that he wasn’t. But what about his ancestors? His distance relatives in Belize? I feel compelled to do something for the ones who can’t help themselves, yet my activism goes as far as signing a Change.org petition or sharing this post on Facebook with admittedly selfish reasons of putting out new content to get new followers. I wish I would go to marches, start revolutions, or be some kind of gay Harriet Tubman, sneaking homosexuals out of Africa to the bountiful shores of West Hollywood. But I know I won’t. I will waste hours online reading about the Oscars or planning my next trip to Vegas while people like Binyavanga Wainaina are putting their necks on the line to make a difference.

As far as America still needs to come treating homosexuals with compassion and acceptance, I know that we will never feel the true weight of Hatred. And I am grateful. And ashamed for my own indifference to those who do.

The Public’s Privates

Once upon a time, in the magical world of New York, Mia Farrow and Woody Allen made a couple of masterpieces.

They met in 1981 on the set of his film A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, fell in love, had some kids, and adopted a few more. Woody entered his most fruitful period with Mia as Muse; Mia did the best work she has ever done. Then in 1992, ironically during Husbands and Wives – Woody’s divorce dramedy that sees his character leave hers for a much younger woman –  Woody and Mia’s romance came to a screeching halt when Woody was discovered with nude Polaroids of Mia’s 18 year old adopted daughter, Soon-Yi. They had been having an affair.

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Woody – Oscar winner, beloved icon – was dragged through a very ugly legal battle over the custody of their children (one of which, Dylan, had accused him of molesting her) and his reputation was further sullied by his cavalier attitude: “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

Anyone who had been following Allen’s films knew of his – or at least his character’s – proclivities for younger women. In Manhattan, Woody’s character Isaac dates 17 year old Mariel Hemingway; and Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow herself are 10 years Allen’s junior. But to sleep with, date, and eventually marry a girl who for all intents and purposes was his step-daughter was seen as reprehensible by the media, the fans, and of course the girl’s mother. Still twenty years later and 15 years after Soon-Yi and Woody got married, Mia (and her son with Allen, Ronan) are leading the Lest We Forget campaign to remind everyone that Woody Allen might be a great filmmaker, but he is a home wrecker and a (potential) child molester. Mia is still so pissed that she and Ronan felt the need to take to Twitter to comment on Woody’s Cecil B. Demille Award, so vengeful that producers are worried they will make trouble at the premiere of Bullets Over Broadway, and so disgusted by her own history with him that she has recently started making claims that Ronan might actually be Frank Sinatra’s child; Ronan stands with his mother in hope, shaking his head in disgust that he could possibly be related to someone as despicable as Woody Allen.

And yet Woody Allen reigns on in the Hollywood pantheon as a living legend, an American icon, an undisputed cinematic genius; nominated the same year as Mia-gate for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards and has been recognized by the Oscars eight subsequent times, including this year for Blue Jasmine.

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And why not? If awards are meant to honor merit, the best achievements in cinema of the year, Woody Allen the Filmmaker, Woody Allen the Writer will continue to earn a place among the ranks. He is one of the best. Period.

As far Woody Allen the Human, Woody Allen the Father, who knows? I am not his kid and have never been married to him. I am not even his friend. I have never been alone in an attic with him as a child, nor posed for Polaroids. Perhaps he is a creepy old man. Perhaps he is a pedophile. Perhaps he is a terrible human being. Honestly, I don’t give a damn. I am choosing to judge the artist on his art. And leave the moralizing to those it actually effects. I wish for their own sake Mia and Ronan could let the past be the past and move forward – the incident with Dylan was supposed to have happened 22 years ago – but I can understand their indignation if they never decide to get over it.

What I don’t understand is why anyone gives a damn about it. Then or now. Or why anyone gives a damn about Chris Brown. Or Roman Polanski. Or O.J. Simpson. Or Robert Blake. Or Lindsay Lohan. Or Winona Ryder. Or Walt Disney. Or Phil Spector. Does the fact that O.J killed his wife change the fact he was a great football player? Did Rosemary’s Baby suddenly become unwatchable after Polanski slept with that 13 year old girl? Did “Be My Baby” lose its magic when Spector was indicted? Does it matter that Disney was an anti-Semite when he gave the world Mickey Mouse? Of course not. But we pass these judgements on people that we really know nothing about because we feel “betrayed” and offended. How could these amazing artists – artists with whom we have aligned, artists with whom we have put our faith and trust and own emotional stake (and money) – have deceived us in such a way that we never saw the evil actions of which they were capable coming? We feel personally affronted. And I think this is ridiculous and sad.

As artists, we share our soul through our work, hoping to make some kind of connection or statement. We tell you our dreams, our hopes, our world views, our passions, and occasionally our missteps through a seemingly candid persona that is heavily constructed by teams of people and/or our own lessons on what the world can handle and how we want to handle the world. As much as we may think we KNOW an artist, we don’t. And unless you are also an artist, you probably never will; we live in an insular world of mystique and mayhem.

Artists are also people. And sometimes people do shitty things. But does this take away the good? The beautiful? The inspired? Should we shun the benefits they have given humanity? Burn their books? Melt their movies? Never listen to their music? Are they past the point of redemption? And which actions are redeemable? And which are not? And whose decision is it? This extends past the Artist to everyone. Most “evil” people were once “good” until that one terrible thing they did to taint them. I’m sure even Eva Braun could tell us stories of kindness and love about the World’s Most Hated Man.

Can judgement ever be justified? And should our judgements change depending on who we are judging?

I look forward to your responses.

Defying Gravity: The Toughest Oscar Race in Years

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Usually, Academy pundits – or “Oscarologists” as Tom O’Neill and his ilk have dubbed themselves – are scrambling for nominees to fill the slots for AMPAS’ annual evening of self-congratulations and cinematic legacy. But this year, there were so many great films that soared such unbelievable heights (some even out of this world) that whoever Chris Hemsworth announces, inevitably many terrific performances and films will be left on the ground; this is one of the best years in film of the past decade and it is going to be close.

Since I think the journalists on Gold Derby have essentially chosen the nominees, I will spare you a regurgitation. Instead, these are my choices for induction into the club:

*Note: I have neither seen Dallas Buyer’s Club nor Captain Phillips

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BEST PICTURE:

12 Years a Slave – Stripping the humor from Django Unchained, Slave is a difficult, beautiful, and surprisingly subtle treatise of America’s darkest hour. Forget Roots. This is the film that will be taught in high school history classes to illustrate the horrors of our past. Steve McQueen is a force to be reckoned with. I need to seek out his other films.

American Hustle – A fun pastiche of ’70s excess and bad wigs with the best acting ensemble this side of August: Osage County.

Blue Jasmine –  Woody Allen is an (almost) untouchable God to me. Even his bullshit is exciting and worthy of a viewing. Which is a moot point when it comes to his 46th feature film as writer/director. Blue Jasmine – a modern day Streetcar meets Bernie Madoff scandal – joins the ranks of Hannah and Her Sisters, Husbands and Wives, and Broadway Danny Rose. Just superb. And Blanchett. My God, Blanchett.

Frances HaNoah Baumbach has steadily been positioning himself as the new Woody Allen with his nuanced, neurotic characters and their crimes of the heart. Frances is a 27 year old dancer, living, loving, and failing at both in New York City. The film hits a chord with any artist trying to make it, as the clock relentlessly beats on, making us assess reality and the attainability of our dreams. Greta Gerwig, who also co-wrote the film with Baumbach, is great as the aimless, plucky, immature Frances. Instant on Netflix. Watch it today.

GravityI feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t get a chance to watch this in the theatre. Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men, The Tree of Life) proves once again that he is the best cinematographer in the world. Need proof? Maybe that 13 minute unbroken opening shot. Cuaron’s vision is epic, yet intimate. And Bullock is the perfect choice for our lost in space surrogate, all the more impressive knowing that she spent up to ten hours a day in a harness acting in front of a green screen. I wish there was room for her on the ballot. 

HerIs there anything that Joaquin Phoenix cannot do? Spike Jonze makes one of the defining films of the zeitgeist, romanticizing and indicting the ways we rely upon technology. The most moving love story of the year, maybe the decade. And yes, Scarlett Johansson deserves a nomination.

NebraskaWhile August: Osage County showed us the complicated, theatrical version of the Plains, Alexander Payne showed us the simple, documentary version of what it means to be from the fly-over states. Charming and sad, poignant, and very close to the bone.

Mud – A dark, coming of age indie that has sadly slipped under everyone’s radar. Matthew McConaughey is on the poster and billed as the star. But the heart and soul of the film is 17 year old Tye Sheridan. Watch his face as he learns that adults lie and that love is not always pure. Vulnerable and beautiful. This should have been a star making turn. Check it out on Redbox.

Saving Mr. BanksI expected to hate this movie because I assumed, with the Disney moniker, it would be hopelessly sappy. What a pleasant surprise. Emma Thompson is tough as nails as Mary Poppins‘ author, P.L. Travers, and Tom Hanks matches her with whimsy and his own brand of likability as Walt. Special kudos must be given to the screenplay – certainly one of the most original of the season – for showing us the filmmaking process without being didactic and showing us how her past has influenced her present without beating us to death with sentimentality.

Wolf of Wall Street, TheUnapologetically self-indulgent, Scorsese’s latest masterpiece takes us into the world of the ruthless and the bombastic (WITHOUT, I feel the need to add, celebrating or punishing their behavior…). The quaalude scene is worth the price of admission. Please, oh please. Give Leo the Oscar he deserves. Or at least a goddamn nomination.

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BEST ACTOR:

Christian Bale – American Hustle
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofer – 12 Years a Slave
Joaquin Phoenix – Her
Robert Redford – All is Lost

*Honorable Mention: Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station; Tye Sheridan – Mud

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BEST ACTRESS:

Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks

*Honorable Mentions: Sandra Bullock – Gravity; Judi Dench – Philomena

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Bobby Cannavale – Blue Jasmine
Chris Cooper – August: Osage County
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Will Forte – Nebraska
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

*Honorable Mentions: James Franco – Spring Breakers; Tom Hanks – Saving Mr. Banks

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Scarlett Johansson – Her
Margo Martindale – August: Osage County
Lupita N’yongo – 12 Years a Slave
Octavia Spencer – Fruitvale Station

Honorable Mentions: Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle; Juliette Lewis – August: Osage County

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BEST DIRECTOR:

Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Noah Baumbach – Frances Ha
Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Spike Jonze – Her
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave

Honorable Mentions: David O. Russell – American Hustle; Alexander Payne – Nebraska

WINNERS:

12 Years a Slave
Leonardo DiCaprio
Cate Blanchett
Chris Cooper
Sally Hawkins
Alfonso Cuaron

TUNE IN THURSDAY AT 5:36 AM TO SEE ALL THE NOMINEES

Everybody Sucks: Or Why I Want to Live in a Goddamn Cave with My Husband, My Dog, and a Bottle of Wine

There is so much foolishness afoot I don’t even know where to begin.

I guess we should start with all the brouhaha over Duck Dynasty. Phil Robertson, the old dude with the gray beard, was interviewed in GQ Magazine and said some really shitty things about gay people and got fired for it. Now Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, the WBC, and any other group that hates the “lamestream” media is up in arms over his constitutional right to say what he feels. There is even a Facebook page dedicated to getting him back on the air (with close to 500000 Likes). And while obviously I don’t agree with what he said, I’m also not surprised. An old, deeply religious Southerner who makes his living duck hunting equates homosexuality to sleeping with animals and makes our “sin” tantamount to terrorism? Boy I didn’t see that one coming! Why is A&E surprised? Why is ANYONE surprised? Clearly the message here is you are allowed to have your thoughts but not voice them. What always strikes me as false and dumb is that the only reason these people get fired or fined or “suspended” is not because the organizations behind them are standing on morality. They are worried about their advertisers pulling out, losing fans, and losing money. It’s all so ridiculous and sad. And if we are really going to fire people for anti-gay speech, a large chunk of Congress would be out of work. But they aren’t because Congress is elected and we don’t want to piss off voters. Plus, NBC isn’t losing any money when Tim Huelskamp runs off at the mouth.

I also don’t give two fucks what Phil Robertson thinks about me or my culture and the fact that he is using “God” as his reasoning gives his ramblings even less validity in my eyes. Part of me wishes that the entire Left would take the tone of The Daily Show and just laugh at people’s archaic beliefs or ignore them all together. If you are naive enough in 2013 to believe that gay people are still the enemy, firing Phil from his reality show – a reality show designed to exploit blue collar beliefs and culture – is not going to make some great statement. But then SOMETHING must be done to fight “injustice,” if that’s what we are calling it. It’s not like he is Putin. I don’t know. It’s all so exhausting.

Come to think of it, EVERYTHING is so exhausting. Everyone sucks. Everyone is boring. And our culture is one giant fucktwat adolescent that needs to grow up all ready. There is the constant aping of sex like it is still shocking. I don’t know what Gaga and Ag thought they were doing but it wasn’t shocking, musical, or even entertaining. They sounded like cats caught in a goddamn lawn mower. Family Feud‘s clues all have a sexual innuendo, which is cheap and lazy. “Ooo, we are getting MidWesterners to say ‘penis’ on TV. Look how edgy we are!” God. Miley Cyrus rides nude on her wrecking ball and we swear the apocalypse is happening. And she rides nude on her wrecking ball because she KNOWS that people will be up in arms and it will give her attention. But it’s blase and unartistic. Licking a sledgehammer? Really, Terry Richardson? REALLY! #zzzzz

I went to the store the other day to buy lube and found out that it is now locked up in the pharmacy, along with the condoms. Why? Initially, I thought it was due to our War on Sex. No. It was because they kept getting stolen. Now. I am not condoning theft here. But who steals condoms and lube? Teenagers and poor people. And why are they stealing condoms and lube? So when they have sex they don’t get pregnant or an STI. Shouldn’t this be encouraged? And yes, there are free clinics and blah blah blah. But come on, you are telling me CVS and Ralph’s aren’t billionaires? If teenagers are going to steal anyway (and they are going to steal anyway), don’t you want them being protected and not getting knocked up at 15? “Well, they shouldn’t be having sex anyway!” Maybe not. Or maybe they are ready. And maybe if sex still didn’t carry such a crazy stigma, they wouldn’t feel ashamed to throw down a box of Trojans with their pack of Orbit. And maybe, I don’t know, if sex education were taught in school (and not just Insert Penis Here, but the actually ramifications of sex, the emotions of sex, the joys of sex), maybe we wouldn’t have so many fucking pregnant teens.

Then there are all these damn awards. LA is a town chronically rewarding itself and always for the same things: deep, dark, “important” movies. Gurl, you need a fucking Valium just to make it through these Oscar bait movies. Does no one like to laugh anymore? And what does it all mean? Nothing. TMZ keeps us up to date on who is dating who. People shows us that Stars are Just Like Us (“Drew Barrymore caught buying Starbucks! Does she use Skim or Soy?!”). Cosmo telling women the Top Ten Ways to Know If Your Man is Cheating. Men’s Fitness showing us how to have 8 Pack Abs in 8 Weeks. Commercials telling us to buy this and need that because “You’re Worth It”. “Tune in tonight at 5 to find out how watermelons may give you cancer!” “Tune in tonight at 8 to find out why watermelons are the new wonder food!” Seacrest interviewing…well, anyone. These dumb Battle of the Sexes’ contests on the radio. Women still expecting men to open their car doors, pull out their chairs, and pay for their dinner, but God forbid he expect some sex at the end of the date. Baggage. Dr. Phil’s smug ass telling us how to live our lives. Britney Spears and Katy Perry and Robin Thicke and even Lady Gaga “show us their soul” by making millions. Madonna acting like a goddamn teenager with her fucking grillz. Rewarding stupidity on the regular. Albums and naked pics “leaked” to the press like it wasn’t on purpose. “Vin Diesel’s gay! No he’s bi!” James Franco does another queer project. “BREAKING NEWS: Tom Daley is gay with Dustin Lance Black. Where is the sex tape?” Politicians lying to get what they want and doing what is right for their party and not the country. Talentless people airing their dirty laundry in an array of reality garbage to get their 15 minutes of nothing. Co-workers throwing shade for no reason. Celebrities and their self-righteous panhandling for charities that conveniently have a tie in with their latest hit song. The overwhelming obligation to be present and care. Everyone so afraid to say what they really feel because we are so obsessed with being loved. Like my Fan Page. Read my Blog. Use my Coupon to redeem your 2 for 1 Special at the Sizzler! Buy Coca-Cola! It has a cute polar bear on the can! Racism is still a thing. Poverty is still a thing. Wal-Mart is still a thing. People are still murdered in the name of Christ or Allah or whoever. And the endless news feed scrolling on every channel tells us all what we already know: everybody sucks. And the world is going to hell.

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It’s not like we are at some major crossroads where all this bullshit is convening for the first time; our culture has always been sensationalist, always bickered, always wanted to tune out (Hell, we have thousands of channels and still nothing is ever on). And it’s not like I am above or separate from the problems I espouse (as much as I would like to think I am); I watch reality TV. I buy goods from corporate chains. I want to be famous like everyone else. And I (attempt to) shock to get attention. But I have reached this breaking point recently where all of it, even my own bullshit, is just eye-roll-inducing gross. I want to retire from the world, get really wasted, write, and have so much sex my body parts need to be replaced (not necessarily in that order).

But I can’t just give up on life, retreat to the shadows and leave society; I don’t have that type of constitution. So what the hell to do about it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Because this feeling will pass. If we have learned nothing from our disposable culture, we know that with each passing revolution, each quotable sound bite, each poll, each new list of whatever, each new product we are told is absolutely crucial to own, we become more and more jaded. More and more apathetic. More and more ignorant because staying smart is just too much fucking work. Most days I wish I could be my dog, content to lick my feet for hours and just sleep, dreaming of nothing. I wish I could rise above, wish I actually were a god, but I’m not. I’m a slightly above average thinker who wants to be rich so he can quit the system but knows he never will. And that sucks.

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How to Be a Great Party Guest

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As a catering server, I have worked a lot of parties. From tailgate barbecues at a college to a wedding at Cher’s house, my experience runs the gamut. But no matter where I am, no matter what the clientele, no matter what the function, there is one constant that remains true: some people know how to be a great party guest. And some do not.

So in case you are wondering, “Oh my! Am I somebody that the servers are talking about in the kitchen! Have I committed a faux-pas!”, I have laid out five simple rules on how not to be a schmuck.

Enjoy and You’re welcome.

1) Unless you are the guest of honor, calm down

Contrary to the bullshit customer service whores feed the system, you are actually not always right. You are also not the only person that matters. When there are 400 people all wanting drinks and hors d’ouevres, you are not special. And you can wait your damn turn. Unless you are tipping the server; money will get you everywhere.

2) Hyberbole will get you nowhere

Unless you just arrived off the boat from Africa or stumbled in off Skid Row, you actually ARE NOT “starving.” So when your server comes by with some grilled figs on cambozola cheese, they will give you one. But save the histrionics for your therapist. It’s really not necessary.

3) The Buffet is not the place to put dirty dishes

That one is self explanatory. Oh, and the reason that each dish has a tong is so that you use it. Keep your fingers out of where everyone else is going to eat, you douche.

4) Beware! (and Be Aware)

If a server is coming towards you with a tray of dirty glasses, get out of the way. No seriously. Move. We may be “invisible” to you, but have some awareness. Unless you want someone’s half drunken Jack and Coke all over your dress. Also, when our tray is full, that is not the moment to try and give us your plate. We will be back. This is our job. And I know you may think you are being helpful, but DO NOT place your items on the tray. Hand them to us. Balancing a tray is like playing Jenga. And at any moment, it can all come crashing down.

Oh, and if the party is over and you and your group of five friends are the only ones left on the dance floor and you see about 25 servers lined up around the perimeter of the room with annoyed scowls on their faces, leave. Most events cannot be cleaned up until everyone is gone. So get gone. It’s 1:30 am. You are drunk. The bar is closed. The DJ is starting to play songs he played two hours ago. The party is over, dude.

5) Servers are people too

“Oh my God. Are the celebrities totally snobby?” Actually, no. When you have money – and have had it for awhile – you are accustomed to being waited on; therefore, know how to treat “the help.” It’s the people who are decked out in their Sunday finest for the first time in years or the ones with “new money” who don’t know how to behave. These are the ones who feel they are entitled to service – and can treat the servers anyway they please. The wealthy and the famous are incredibly polite. Please. Thank you. They are almost apologetic in their requests. (At least with the famous, it is probably from first hand knowledge, remembering their lean years as a server themselves…) They want to know your name. Treat you as an equal. Laugh with you. It is the bourgeoise people who want to remain distant, to remind themselves that they are (one-step) “better” than you. At least for the night. At midnight, you will turn back into pumpkins. So check yourself. Because we are human. Even if we are holding a tray.

Her House, Her Rules: Why Your Feelings Toward Miley Cyrus Say More About You than Her

Lady Gaga must be pissed.

After all the hype, all the preparation, and after turning in a fantastic performance, the only thing anyone is talking about is Miley Cyrus‘ tongue.

The Internet is agog with commentary about Miley’s “lewd” performance. Everyone from Vanity Fair to the Parents’ Television Council (“Heads should roll at MTV”) to Robin Thicke’s mother (“I can never unsee it!”) are chiming in to complain about the ex-Disney star-gone-bad’s twerking ways. She’s lost her mind! She is raping black culture! She is a bad influence! And frankly, I am really tired of it.

Let’s think for a moment about where it was performed: the MTV Video Music Awards. In case, you have never tuned into MTV in the 30 years it has been on the air, it is a highly sexualized network that has always pushed the levels of taste and decorum because, why? It is marketed for teenagers; the demographic whose job it is to push the levels of taste and decorum.

Concerned parents everywhere are pacing in their K-Mart best about the sexual messages Miley was sending their children through her scantily clad outfits and lascivious grinding on Robin Thicke. She is telling our daughters to go out and have sex! This may come as a shock to you, but your kids already want to have sex. Some of them may even want to have sex with Robin Thicke (and with a name like “thick” possibly more than you think…). Miley Cyrus, nor Madonna, nor Lady Gaga, nor Katy Perry, nor Rihanna, nor any other pop star past present or future is going to change the fact that your teenage girls (and some of your boys) are dreaming of dick.

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But let’s address the real issue here: no one would give a damn about this performance if Miley Cyrus were not already known as a plucky good girl that worked for Disney. We have heard this argument so many times before: Zac Efron. Lindsay Lohan. Chris Brown. Amanda Bynes. Britney Spears. Mary-Kate Olsen. Jodie Sweeten. Macaulay Culkin; child stars who strayed from their child star images of innocence, morphing into people that children “should no longer look up to.”  And you know what, maybe they shouldn’t. But you know what else is also true? These people are NO LONGER CHILDREN. Parents want these “role models” to always stay “role models” for their children, neglecting the fact that their squeaky clean images were fabricated for them by a very large, very rich corporate machine whose only concern is to make their very large, very rich corporate machine even bigger and more wealthy. And in case you don’t remember what it is like to be 20, it is actually quite different than being 13. People evolve, people change.

And I am not arguing that these metamorphoses are always for the better; Chris Brown definitely hit a snag in judgement and who knows what the hell snapped inside Amanda Bynes. But besides having their every move captured and studied and ridiculed, they are no different than your own children. Your own children are going to do irresponsible things, have sex with people that maybe they shouldn’t, and they are even going to do drugs, no matter how many lyrics you demand to be bleeped from the broadcast; these are all parts of growing up. And this is where parents need to look hard in the mirror. Maybe you care so much about how someone else’s child is maturing because you don’t want to deal with your own child’s maturation. Think about that and get back to me.

Did Miley “embarrass” herself by dancing around the stage in a nude bikini, tongue a-flapping? Maybe. From this side of the TV, it was kind of hilarious. But obviously she was having a great time. And the kids in the front row, the ones for whom it was meant, were having a great time. So everybody else can scowl from the sidelines if they want. Miley is not crazy. She is like every other college aged kid with the added hindrance/benefit of having a national stage to act out. Until she starts smashing in parked cars with umbrellas, dousing her dog in lighter fluid, getting arrested for DUIs, or beating the shit out of her boyfriend, I think she is doing OK.

So forget the haters, Miley. Only God can judge you. Remember. It’s you who owns the night.