Monday, September 29, 2014

Masters of Sex # 212 09 28 14 “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

by Catherine Giordano
My review and recap of previous two episodes of Showtime’s Masters of Sex were titled “Fix Me” and “See Me”. The title for the review of the season finale is “Touch Me.” 
Virginia and Bill
Bill and Virginia
“Touch Me” because Masters and Jonson discover the cure for impotence is non-sexual touch. At least, it worked for Bill. As the season ends they are trying it on Lester and Barbara. Lester and Barbara have become a couple; they share a bed on occasion, but they never attempt sex. Bill tells them they must try because sex is too important to live your whole life without it. 

Libby and Robert
The breakthrough they have discovered through their self-experimentation is that a couple must  spend several weeks touching and holding each other, but no genital touching.  After that, they spend a few weeks where genital touching is allowed, but no actual sex acts even if the man achieves an erection. Finally, they may proceed to actual sexual.  By that time the man is no longer rendered impotent by the anxiety of fearing that he cannot achieve an erection. I also think that the intimacy of sloe physical contact over a period of many weeks strengthens the emotion bonds between the two people.

Libby and Robert
It’s ironic that bill tells Lester that sex is too important to forgo. His poor wife, Libby has not had sex in years. Not until she seduced Robert on her kitchen floor. Robert is very leery of a relationship with someone “so far out of his world.” Libby shows up at his apartment late one night and despite Robert’s protestations, that their last coupling was a mistake, she seduced him again.  She can no longer live without touch.

Flo and Austin
Flo and Austin
Flo and austinare doing plenty of touching and humping. Flo mentions that she has to go to a party in celebration of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. It turns out she is from a very political family. Austin wants to go to this party because a lot of bigwigs will be there. He offers to do Flo the favor of being her date for the evening.  She turns him down. Austin is stunned—he considers himself to be a catch--very good looking and as he points out to Flo, a doctor. It doesn’t matter. Flo does now want him to meet her family because he is the male equivalent of the dumb blonde.  He is someone she can bed, but not be seen with in public.

The whole relationship between Flo and Austin has been about role-reversal--The female boss sexually harassing her male employee and forcing him to have sex with her as the price of keeping his job. And now the ultimate twist—he is nothing more than a “dumb blonde.” The writers have turned the tables on the stereotypes, and it is delicious fun.   

Virginia and George and the Kids
Just as I thought, Virginia has lost custody of her children. Her ex-husband  and father of her children, George has remarried. And reformed. He has a steady job and his new wife, Audrey, has a talent for parenting. First George insisted that Virginia allow the children to go with him and Audrey on a European trip for six weeks since he would be touring with a band and it would be a wonderful experience for the children to see Europe

Now George has decided that he wants the children full time. He intends to take her to court and argue that she is an unfit mother because she works long hours and is not spending enough time with the children, her work involves watching people fornicate, and she is having an affair with her boss. Virginia vigorously denies all three accusations, especially the one about the affair. Nonetheless, she realizes that she could very well lose if she goes to court because in addition to all of the above, George had never signed a legal custody agreement.  

Virginia decides it is best if she allows George to have custody and she will have a visit on Wednesday night and every other weekend. She convinces herself that this will be temporary. Once the interview with CBS airs her reputation will be restored. I think this was just a fantasy that she spun to ease the pain of letting the children go, but she strongly believed it.

The CBS Interview
Only the CBS interview did not air. It seems the rival doc in California got on TV first and CBS decided not to air the Masters and Johnson interview because now it was “old news.”   Virginia is devastated because she now realizes that she will never et her children back. And to really rub it in—who is the partner of this upstart doctor?—none other than Ethan. In a way, Ethan has had revenged on Bill for firing him and on Virginia for rejecting him.

Bill never wanted the interview he and Virginia did to air on TV. He thought it demeaned their work. His gambit was to let the other doctor go first with shoddy work and then he could still be “first” with his scientifically valid findings.

Barton is Back
The shocker comes in the last few minutes of the show. Bill is having a drink in a bar and is old friend and mentor, Dr. Barton Scully joins him.  We discover that Bill had gotten in touch with Barton and asked for two favors. The first favor was to see an advance copy of the rival’s new book, “Sex and Man” Bill read it and concluded it was not very good. The next favor was to arrange the TV interview with the rival doctor.     

Bill confides in Barton that he did this behind Virginia’s back, but he never meant to hurt her. Barton who has been hurt by Bill’s manipulative ways in the past says with great sadness, “You never do.”     
You Always Hurt the One You Love
Bill doesn’t mean to hurt people, but everyone he touches does get hurt as a result of his actions.
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Masters of Sex Book
to look inside

Human Sexual Response book
to look inside

Showtime's Masters of Sex Season One dvd

Friday, September 26, 2014

Real Time with Bill Maher #330 09/26/14 "Safe"

Naomi Klein
Naomi Klein
by Catherine Giordano

There was some lively debate on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 330, on Friday September 26, 2014. The big issue seemed to be safety—how to be safe, who is not safe, and who wants to be safe.

To bomb ISIS or not to bomb ISIS

Bill Maher apparently disagrees with Obama’s decision to bomb ISIS.  “You can’t destroy an idea,” he says. He says Obama is getting his full George Bush on because he is ordering airstrikes of ISIS. As a liberal I am anti-war, but I also think that thre is a time for military action. I feel that if ISIS and other groups like Khourson (Bill said it sounded like a new restaurant) are not stopped now, they will eventually become too big and strong to stop. 

One of the penelists, General Anthony Zinni, a retired United States Marine Corps General and author of several books, including his latest book, Before the First Shots Are Fired: How America Can Win Or Lose Off The Battlefield (with Tony Koltz) somewhat agrees with me. Zinni  supports the bombing, but he seems to be saying its about morality because of ISIS’s acts of barbarism and genocide. 

This is a weak argument because it leaves Zinni open to questions: Why here and not there? Why now and not then?  There are plenty of morally corrupt regimes committing geneocide and we are not attacking all of them. Why should the U.S. the world’s policeman.

I agree with the arguments about going not going after ISIS for moral reasons. However, I do think we have to go after   ISIS is a matter of  national defense. 

Maher thinks that the threat of ISIS is limited and attacking them over there so they won’t attack us over here is nonsense—they could still attack us. Maher seems to be taking both sides of the argument. They are not a threat and they could attack us. No one mentioned that if ISIS is not stopped they will take over the entire Middle East. That is their goal. If they do that, they will be a threat. Maybe there wouldn’t have been a WW II if Hitler had been stopped early on.

Another panelist, John Feehery, Republican political commentator, President of Quinn Gillespie Communications, Director of QGA Government Affairs and former aide to former Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, approves of Obama’s military action.  He said, “Keeping those guys on the run, keeps us safe.”  Maher said Republicans are conflicted on the issue because oil refineries that ISIS has seized are being bombed--Republicans love bombing, but they also love oil. He said it was like “John Boehner fighting his bartender.”


ISIS may or may not be a threat, but there are some big threats to our safety are looming. One is Ebola. It could become a global pandemic. Maher said the United States has spent trillions on wars, and the U.N is trying to stop Ebola with only $1 million. Here’s a thought: maybe Ebola could wipe out ISIS for us. Of course, if it did, it could very well wipe out most of the world’s population at the same time. That’s the problem—there is always a downside.

Capitalism vs. the Climate

Another major threat to safety that not too many are taking seriously is climate change.  The interview was with Naomi Klein, a critic of corporate globalization and author of several books, including The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and her newest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.  She says that capitalism, because it is based on short-term growth and profit, is destabilizing the planet’s life-support system.  She says we are not going to be able to fix it by changing our light bulbs.  However, she sees the threat as “a great once-in-a-century opportunity to build a better society.” It is giving us the chance to address raging inequality, create jobs, and rebuild the public infrastructure.  I think she is right about that, but I also think that it is not going to happen.  Klein points out there is no leadership on this issue at the top. The leadership is coming from below, from the people. She cites the big protest march in New York City this weekend as an example of that bottom-up leadership. Can a protest march really make a difference? Maybe, but it will take lots of protests and lots of time, and we don’t have that kind of time on this. (I also remember a lot of peace marches before George Bush took us into the Iraq war and it didn’t stop the war.)

Out-of-control Police
Charles M Blow
Charles M. Blow

There is a large group of Americans who are definitely not safe—black people, especially black males. There are more reports this week of policemen shooting totally innocent black men.  The third a panelist was  Charles M. Blow. He’s a journalist, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and author of Fire Shut Up in My Bones, a memoir. He’s also a black man. He said that we made some racial progress, but we are drifting back—blacks are being disenfranchised and incarcerated in record numbers.  And blacks are being shot by the police in record numbers.

Maher said that he can understand these trigger-happy cops.They feel that every encounter could be the encounter that ends their life. I have had the same thought. I’ve heard about a cop getting shot when he makes a routine traffic stop.  Maher says the job of a policeman is dangerous, but that is what they signed up for.  The police are putting too much emphasis on protecting themselves instead of protecting the public.  They seem to be far to quick to shoot and taser. I’ll just quote former President Truman:  If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Also, I’d advise black people to buy their guns mail order because if they have a gun in a store, they will be shot dead. On the other hand, the white guys from the NRA do their open carry strut armed to the teeth, and nobody shoots them.

For more about Blow's new book, see my "Bill Maher Rules" blog for: Charles M. Blow Talks with Lawrence O'Donnell

Mid-Show Comedy Segment

Remember George Zimmerman. He was the wannabe cop who shot a black teenaged boy because he looked suspicious. The mid-show comedy segment was about hiring Zimmerman to keep intruders out of the White House.  He has “a 6th sense” about who is dangerous and is skilled at noticing, following, stalking, etc. “With Zimmerman, our president will be truly safe, unless he wears a hoodie.“

[By the way, Maher had two jokes on the subject of intruders in the White House. 1) That is how Fox News describes Obama, and 2) it wil embolden the Jehovah Witnesses.]


Alexandra Pelosi
Alexandra Pelosi
The mid-show guest was Alexandra Pelosi, a journalist, documentary filmmaker, and author of several books including Sneaking Into the Flying Circus: How the Media Turn Our Presidential Campaigns into Freak Shows and Citizen U.S.A.: A 50 State Road Trip (Citizen USA is also available on dvd). She said it was her job to stand around parking lots all over America talking to people. What she is hearing is not making her feel safe.  People don’t even know there is an election this November.  She says, never mind about Republicans who vote against their own interests, what about liberals who don’t vote for their own interests because they don’t vote. 

 People who can’t be bothered to learn the issues and learn who the candidates are and what there stands are on the issues is making us all less safe. Maher said, the Flip-A-District loser, John Kline, was taking advantage of this voter apathy.  His campaign strategy is just to hide and run out the clock. Maher plans to do a show in his district in the hopes of getting 29,000 voters to vote against Kline. Feehery said that Maher’s appearance would help Kline and that Kline as a good man who will win. Maher you have to flip-this-district! It will be such an embarrassment to you if you fail and it will embolden Republicans to think they can get away with anything.

New Rules

Maher began New Rules with a bit about this woman who supposedly had a third breast implanted in her chest. Maher said men would find three boobs fascinating. How else can we explain the popularity of Fox and Friends.

The final New Rules segment began with a mention of the teenaged boy who faces two years in jail for disrespecting Jesus. (He took a picture with a statue of Jesus that made it look like Jesus was blowing him.) He says his heart swells with pride when he sees that picture because in America a kid can pull a tasteless stunt like that without being killed for it. (Maher doesn’t believe the kid will go to jail. I don’t even understand why he was arrested. What law did he break?) 

(Read more about this and see a video clip: Blasphemy is Not a Crime.) 

Maher said we need to stand up for American values of free speech, separation of church and state, and respect for minorities. He spoke about Saudi woman who can’t vote, or drive, or even leave their house without being accompanied by a male relative. He spoke about genital mutilation. He castigated those who claim multi-culturalism as an excuse to overlook this violation. He said toleration of this behavior in the name of cultural diversity was the real problem and not Jonah Hall calling a paparazzi a faggot or Mel Gibson calling women “sugar tits.”

Freedom is what makes us safe

Once again Maher used New Rules to address a serious subject. Freedom means we tolerate stupidity, and we stand up against those who violate human rights.  Freedom is what makes us safe.

General Anthony Zinni: Retired United States Marine Corps General, author of several books, including his latest book, Before the First Shots Are Fired: How America Can Win Or Lose Off The Battlefield (with Tony Koltz) 

Naomi Klein: Critic of corporate globalization and author of several books, including

John Feehery: Former aide to former Republican speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, President of Quinn Gillespie Communications, and Director of QGA Government Affairs. 

Charles M. Blow: Journalist, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and author of Fire Shut Up in My Bones
Fire Shut Up My Bones




Citizen USA Alexandra Pelosi

Monday, September 22, 2014

Masters of Sex #211 "One for the Money..."

Masters of Sex Bill and Virginia's TV Interview
Bill on Virginia
do a TV interview
“See Me!”

by Catherine Giordano

My review and recap for episode 210 of Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” was titled “Fix Me.” The title for episode 211—“One for the Money, Two for the Show” has to be “See Me.”  A lot of the characters are feeling like they are invisible, like they are misunderstood, like they are not appreciated.

The TV Interview
The main event in the episode is a TV film crew at Dr. Masters’ offices.  In an effort to get publicity for their work, a P.R. consultant has arranged for them to be interviewed for “Sixty Minutes.”  Virginia is totally comfortable with this. Bill is not. He feels that he is being asked to be inauthentic because it will make for “better TV.” He wants to be seen as his real self; he wants his work to be portrayed honestly. 

Bill is particularly annoyed that during the warm up, he is told many times “You can’t say that on TV.” The clinical terms for sex, like “”orgasm”, are taboo. Bill protests that this is exactly what his work is about-abolishing the shame and secrecy concerning sex.  Masters and Johnson will largely succeed at that, but not this time.  The taboos remain in place for the interview.

Masters of Sex Flo and Austin
Flo wants Austin to role play
Flo and Austin
Flo is also someone who wants to be seen for who she truly is. She and Austin are having sex twice a week, but they don’t see each other. Flo tells Austin about how Clark Gable in “Gone with the Wind” is every girls (and woman’s) fantasy. She wants him to role play with her—break into her home and drag her by her hair to the bedroom and ravish her. Austin makes a lame attempt—his job at Cal-O-Metric depends on his ability to keep his boss, Flo, happy in the bedroom, but he just can’t work up enough enthusiasm. Flo desperately wants to be the kind of woman who is so desirable that men lose all control around her. It how she sees her self—on the inside anyway—but no one else can see her that way. 

Libby and Robert

Masters of Sex Robert and Libby Encounter a Policeman
Robert and Libby and
one very pissed policeman.
Libby has spent her whole life being “the good girl.” She feels invisible. She works diligently at CORE, but she feels Robert, who heads up the office just sees her as a “do-gooder” with nothing much to contribute.  One night, Robert gives her a ride home and they are sitting outside her home in his car for a moment discussing Martin Luther King. A policeman comes by, none to happy to see a black man with a white woman. He is itching to cause trouble for Robert. All he can see is a black man with a white woman. Libby defies the policeman and says, Robert will not be on his way because she has invited him in. Robert goes in with her because it would be dangerous for him to be left alone with that policeman.

Robert is very wary about being alone with a white woman. He wants to leave, but Libby starts pouring her heart out to him about how she is invisible. She asks him to kiss her. If he kisses her then maybe she can feel as if she is seen. Robert is reluctant, so Libby kisses him.  And then nature takes its course—right on the living room floor.. It is the passionate love-making that Flo wanted from Austin and didn’t get.

We can’t blame Libby too much. She is a beautiful young woman and her husband has not made love to her in a year, maybe two years by now. I only hope this does not turn out badly for Robert. Remember back in season one when Libby invited a young black man into her home for dance lessons. All they did was dance, and any nosy neighbors thought he was just the handyman doing repairs. It may not work out so well this time.    

Masters of Sex Bill and Virginia
Compare this earlier scene
 to the scene in this episode.
Virginia and Bill
The most intense scene involved Bill and Virginia alone in the medical office.  Bill, after an exhausting day of pretending for the cameras, can’t contain his self-loathing anymore. He feels like a failure as a doctor because e hasn’t been able to cure anyone of sexual dysfunction. His sexual impotence has made him feel like less than a man. He can’t imagine what a beautiful woman like Virginia sees in him. He has a total emotional breakdown in front of the bewildered Virginia. 

All Virginia can do is cradle him in her arms as they sit on the floor, perhaps at the same moment that Libby and Robert are making love on the floor). She holds his head in her lap as he lays in fetal position, a scene that reminds me of an earlier episode when she embraced him post-coitus. “I’m here.” “I’m here.” She says it over and over. She is telling him and she knows him completely and sees him completely and accepts him completely.    

See Me
It’s what we all want and it is all we want: To be seen and to be loved.  

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Masters of Sex Book
to look inside

Human Sexual Response book
to look inside

Showtime's Masters of Sex Season One dvd
to buy DVD

Friday, September 19, 2014

Real Time with Bill Maher #369 09/19/14 Terror Tantrum

Is this when the war on terror began?
Colin Powell at the UN holding anthrax

Bill Maher and his guests had a terror tantrum on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 369, which aired on September 19, 2014.

The Interview: Colin Powell
The interview was with General Colin Powell, a four-star general, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the former Secretary of State. He is the author of several books. His most recent book is It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership.
When I think of Colin Powell, the image that immediately comes to mind is Powell at the U.N. holding up that little vial of fake anthrax.  Powell is one of the people most responsible for getting us into George W. Bush’s Iraq war and thus he is responsible for all the unintended consequences of that war including the rise of ISIS. Because Powell was respected by so many world-wide, his support for the war was what put Bush and Cheney’s campaign for war over the top.  I noticed in Powell’s conversation with Maher, he praised the way the conduct of the first Iraq war, the one that Poppy Bush started, but had nothing to say about the second Iraq war.

No wonder Powell wants to change the subject from war to education.  He says he is doing it because it is a continuation of what he did as a general. Take young people and “teach them how to behave, how to have discipline, how to have structure.”  (And, I will add, how to fight and die in a war based on lies conducted to enrich the oil companies.)

Maher was fawning over Powell. I suppose that is what you have to do when your guest is the esteemed General Powell.  He didn’t ask for clarification when Powell said he is a Republican because of “my feelings about foreign policy and defense spending.”  I would have liked to know what those feelings are. Powell added that he was more moderate on social issues than the Republican party is. He added that the Republican party has to do more to appeal to minorities because minorities will soon be the majority in this country. “Appeal to minorities?” Why didn’t he say, “Do something to help minorities?”

 I can praise Powell on one thing. He supported Obama in both of Obama’s presidential elections. He said, “It was the right choice in 2008 and in 2012.” I want to add, what was the right choice when it was time to proclaim your party affiliation? I think he made the right choice for himself—being a black man in the Republican party gets attention and power because there are so few blacks in the Republican party.  It is selling out! Why else would a black person align with a party hasn’t done one thing to help blacks since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  (P.S. The same goes for gay Republicans.  When the party leadership reviles you—why do your support them?)

Talk about terror filled the hour.  Maher thinks that Obama is wrong to conduct even a “limited war” against ISIS.  Maher thinks Obama is giving them exactly what they want, exactly what the beheadings were designed to do—incite the U.S. to go to war in Iraq.

In the monolog Maher mentioned “arming and training the moderate rebels.”  He told us not to worry. “McCain is carefully vetting them.” A nice swipe at Sarah Palin, which Maher built on in New Rules when he referenced the Palin family’s public drunken brawl.  Maher said that Obama’s “mom jeans” were clearly better than her mom genes. Pow!

Personally, I don’t know what is the right thing to do. It seems about 75% of the country is in favor of military action against ISIS and 75% also thinks it won’t work. I agree on both. There is no winning here. The U.S. can’t ignore such a deliberate provocation and yet responding is exactly what ISIS wants. They want war with “the West.” I hope they are wrong in their strategy.
New Rules: Jihad Me at Hello

Maher said that “for terrorism to work, it takes two. Why are we buying what they are selling?” 

Maher mocked Lindsey Graham as “the scared-est man in the country.” Because of his recent hysterical statements implying that ISIS was going to kill us all.

He mocked Representative Trent Franks (R, AZ) for saying ISIS was on our border. “Yes,” Maher said sarcastically, “The Mexicans and ISIS are working together. They will cut off our heads with hedge trimmers.”

Maher said that he feels bad about the beheading of the two American journalists by ISIS.  However, they were in Iraq and they were there by choice. Maher minimizes the danger ISIS poses to U.S. citizens in general.  “Do you really think you are standing in line for the new I-Phone and zap—ISIS beheads you.”

Maher says he agrees with Hillary Clinton that global warming is the biggest threat facing us and the world. But we can’t see the sea rising. It’s not on TV over and over like the beheading videos that Anderson Cooper tells us not to watch and then airs 10,000 times. Maher ends with, “We need to get a polar bear to punch someone in an elevator.”

polar bear gets punched

For more of Maher’s views about  ISIS, read Bill Maher Talks Sense About ISIS.


Maher, reported that just as he predicted, the Flip-A-District loser John Kline is now trying to make the campaign be about Maher. He’s having a tantrum because he is terrified of  Maher’s campaign against him. Kline has said that Maher is all but his opponent’s campaign manager.  Maher refuted this saying he didn’t even know who his opponent was and had never heard of his opponent, Mike Obermueller. Maher said he wanted to emphasize that he is not endorsing or supporting anyone.  “We are wholly negative,” he said with a grin.

Matthew Segal and Student Debt and The University of Phoenix Scam

The mid-show guest was Matthew Segal, a media commentator and political activist. He is the co-founder and president of Our Time, a nationwide non-profit network of young Americans promoting economic and voter empowerment, gave us plenty of reasons not to vote for John Kline.

Segal reported that the University of Phoenix, Kline’s biggest supporter, was a publically traded for-profit organization. The university is paid mainly through student loans and the graduation rate is only 22%. (Is that degree even worth anything, given the poor reputation of the school?) Maher added that Kline wants to raise student loan rates and has called student loans a “handout.” At one time, students got education grants, not loans, because education was seen as good for society. Now we have loans with compound interest which students can’t pay back and which hurts the economy because when a person has loan debt he can’t buy a house, a car, or much of anything.

Segal is having a tantrum over this because student loan debt is terrorism for students.

Jack Kingston defends Kline and Attacks Obama
Panelist Representative Jack Kingston (R, GA) didn’t have much to add to the conversation except is in vein attempts to defend John Kline as “a nice man.”  Maher said maybe he is a nice man, but he doesn’t vote that way. Kingston may also be a “nice man,” but he recently lost his primary for the Republican Senate nomination. The more moderate David Perdue won. I’m thinking  there may be a trend here. Extreme right-wing candidates may win in gerrymandered congressional districts, but they have a harder time in statewide elections where independents can tilt the election to the more moderate candidate. Perdue is now in a close race with Democrat Michelle Nunn.

Kingston tried to pin the ISIS problem on Obama asking a rhetorical question “are we safer now (than under Bush)?  Yes, Maher said. We have not been attacked (on U.S. territory) like we were with Bush on 9/11. Yes, Pierce said, Obama got Iran to back down. And Obama has done 175 sorties against ISIS.

Republicans like to trot out the old adage that Republicans are better at foreign policy and defense. Powell did it during the interview. And Kingston repeated it. Look closely and you will see Republicans like to spend money on defense, and they like to talk tough but do they actually keep us safer. Do wars make us safer or do they just set the stage for the next war.  It is diplomacy that makes us safer.

Fergusson and the Terror of Being a Black Male

Every witness to the killing of Mike Brown, including two new witnesses, say that Brown had his hands up and was surrendering when he was gunned down in the street by a police officer.  

Wendell Pierce
Wendell Pierce
Panelist Wendell Pierce, an actor who currently plays a corrupted parole officer on Showtime’s Ray Donovan and who previously appeared in HBO’s Treme told a personal story that made the issue vivid.

He described how the most dangerous moment of a black man's life is when he is pulled over by a policeman.  He knows that this could be the end of his life.  He then told a chilling story of a close call he once had in Louisiana.  "I can't believe in a post racial America." he said.  "It could get me killed."

Read Wendell's story and see a video clip from Maher's show at: Post Racial America? Not for Wendell Pierce!

Terrorizing Little Children
There is a difference between spanking and whipping. There is a difference between an occasional slap on the rear and terrorizing a young child with a beating.  Since the NFL players currently in the news for beating their wives and children are all black, the conversation turned to whether or not this was “a black thing”  Blacks may be treating their children the way slave-masters treated them. 
Maher said it was a Southern thing because the South is where religion is the strongest. The Bible says that beating your kids is good for them. 
I think it is a generational thing. Being beaten as a child makes you beat as a parent. Not just because it is a family tradition, but because that anger is seething within you. You can hear people like Sean Hannity on TV saying, “I was beaten as a child and I turned out OK.” I saw him take out a belt and start beating it against the table. He looked out of control. Oh yeah, Sean, you turned out OK. 
The abuse in the news is against children as young as one. Is beating a one-year old discipline? A one year old can’t understand anything.  All they understand is terror.  The parent is having a tantrum and terrorizing and traumatizing the child. I can’t write about this anymore because I am going to cry.

Terrorizing the Electorate
Panelist,  Joan Walsh, editor-at-large of, political commentator on MSNBC, and the author of several books including, What's the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was took Jack Kingston down a notch or two. “Your party philosophy is to win because people don’t vote.
In addition to voter suppression laws, Maher said Republicans try to suppress voting in three other ways.
1. The people in this country want instant gratification. When Congress does nothing, they lose interest in voting.
2. There is no education on civics. People do not learn in school about how to be a good citizen.
3. Money has perverted the system. People feel that without money they can’t affect the political system.
  I could add to this list, but this review is already too long.

The Terror of Fracking

The mid-show comedy bit was about fracking. The American Petroleum Institute bused in homeless people to attend a town hall meeting and speak in favor of fracking.  They were paid to do so.  Maher joked that that they were allowed to make their own signs.   Here are a few of the signs:
“We are the 99 Proof.”
“Give me money, and I’ll say anything, just like Congress.” 
“I hate nature. A seagull stole my French fry.”

I found the jokes a little lame, maybe because they were mostly making fun of homeless people and not politicians.  

Terror Trauma
I’m worn out from writing about terror in all its forms. It just occurs to me: Does all this terror go back to children who were beaten by their parents. Maybe those ISIS people are terrorists because they were beaten as children. Maybe those cops are killing because they were beaten as children. And maybe Republicans have such hateful views because they were beaten as children.

Bill Maher's Guests #329 September 19, 2014

General Colin Powell: Four-star general, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the former Secretary of State. He is the author of several books. His most recent book is It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership 
Matthew Segal: media commentator and political activist. He is the co-founder and president of Our Time, a nationwide non-profit network of young Americans promoting economic and voter empowerment 
Representative Jack Kingston (R, GA) 
Joan Walsh: Editor-at-large of, political commentator on MSNBC, and the author of several books including, What's the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was
Wendell Pierce: Actor ,who currently plays a corrupted parole officer on Showtime’s Ray Donovan and who previously appeared in HBO’s Treme


Monday, September 15, 2014

Masters of Sex #210 “Below the Belt”

"Fix Me"

Masters of Sex bill and Virginia
Bill and Virginia at the hotel for sex-therapy.
by Catherine Giordano

“Fix Me” is the theme of this review and recap of Masters of Sex, episode 210, named “Below the Belt” which aired on Showtime on September 14, 2014. Sometimes when we are broken all we can do is beg, “Fix me.” 

Virginia is continuing to see the psychiatrist. She has told the doctor that she has ben lying, trying to get therapy for Barbara by Proxy. She admits that it was a totally disaster. She couldn’t fix Barbara this way. The psychiatrist says that maybe she has continued to see him because she feels a little in the need of fixing herself. Virginia is slowly coming to the realization that the doctor is right. 

Barbara and Lester
In the meantime Barbara is continuing her treatment with Dr. Masters who doesn’t appear to be fixing her with his approach. Barbara needs emotional healing, and it looks like she and Lester may be able to fix each other.   

Lester meets Barbara when she nearly faints in the lobby after a treatment. Lester invites her into his office to sit down for a while. They get into a conversation. She brings up how God is punishing her and Lester tells her there is no old man in the sky.  She is offended and leaves. 

Later, Lester finds Barbara at the lunch counter.  He sits down and tells her he wants to apologize. They talk and they agree that the only sin is despair-giving up hope. They find although they may not have religion in common they have something else in common—sexual dysfunction and ineffective treatment from Dr, Masters. I have to object here. Call me a prude, but I think discussions of sexual dysfunction should not take place until the third date. Nonetheless, I think they may fix each other. 
Flo and Dr. Austin Langham
Masters of Sex Flo Cal-O-Metric
Flo, the Cal-O-Metric Lady
Flo, the Cal-O-Metric lady, is looking for a fix of her own, and she has decided Dr. Austin Langham is the man to give it to her. He rebuffed her advance several episodes ago. She seemed to accept the rejection, but she was only biding her time. She hired Austin to be the Cal-O-Metric spokesperson. Austin is liking the money, the TV appearances, and the adulation of the lady sales force. Flo demands that he meet her at his apartment and she is brutally honest about what she wants. If she doesn't get it, Austin is fired. Austin tries to tell her that he won’t be able to “perform” because he is not attracted to her; the body can’t lie. Flo knows how to fix that. Flo may be fat, but she also appears to be as expert as Betty in the sexual arts. It’s ironic—half of the characters have sexual impotence and the one person who wants to be impotent, can’t seem to manage it. Afterwards Austin says that now that “they have gotten this out of the way”, they can go back to being colleagues. Flo is hurt, but steely.  She has Austin where she wants him and he won’t escape her clutches.    
Betty continues to work at CORE.
Libby needs a fix too. Everyone at CORE considers her a bored housewife. She wants to make a difference. Robert is trying to organize a rent strike. He tells Libby she can’t be involved—the Negro tenants will not listen to a white lady. She goes anyway and is effective in persuading some of the residents to join the strike, maybe even more effective than Robert. 
The PR Consultant
Meanwhile Dr. Masters’ finances are still in need of a fix. Betty is robbing Peter to pay Paul as she tries to pay the bills. The electricity even gets turned off because the payment was late. Betty insists that they must rent half of the floor where bill has his office.   

Dr. Masters also feels his rise to fame and fortune as a sexual researcher needs a fix.  Another doctor has published an article in a journal about sexuality and masters and Johnson are cited in a footnote.  He discusses this with Virginia and she says , “do you want him to be a footnote in your study or do you want to be a footnote in his.?  Bill wants to win a Nobel prize, and you only win the Nobel prize by being FIRST. 

A public relations consultant is called in and he suggests that bill and Virginia be interviewed on 60 Minutes. They bicker like a husband and wife and the audience will relate to this. Virginia wants to do it, but Bill is very hesitant. He is still smarting from the negative reaction he got when he presented to the doctors at the hospital. It cost him his job.

Bill and Frank
Frank, Bill's brother, still wants to fix his relationship with Bill. The two have a big fight.  There is no one more sanctimonious than a reformed ... fill in the blank.  Bill is angry because Frank, a one-year-sober member of AA, is trying to convince both Bill and Essie, their mother, that having one drink a day means that they are alcoholics too. 

Bill begins to scream at Frank, You’re weak! You’re weak. You are a coward.  He provokes Frank until Frank punches him. Bill doesn’t punch back. He has already won the fight by getting Frank to punch him. 

Bill is so proud that he never begged his father to stop beating him.  He despises his brother for finding another way to deal with their monster of a father. Frank used charm, and yes, he would beg his father to stop hitting him. Frank is now dealing with it by forgiving his father and by forgiving bill for leaving him. Bill feels guilty about not trying to protect his younger brother and that enrages him all the more. Bill needs his anger to hold his psyche together; Frank needs forgiveness and love to hold his psyche together. Symbolically each is asking the other, “Fix me.” 

Bill and Virginia
After Bill’s fight with his brother, Bill goes to the hotel to meet Virginia.  They have been meeting to try to cure Bill. Virginia is methodically going through a list of “treatments” and each has proven ineffective. Bill arrives at the hotel room  bloody and emotionally devastated. He lies down on the bed. Virginia lies down next to him to comfort him.  They begin to kiss first gently, then passionately.  It looks like Bill ‘s sexual dysfunction is about to get fixed. 
Human Sexual Response book
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Fix Me
Only two more episodes of this outstanding drama before the season ends. Where will I get  my fix of beautifully-told, emotionally-complex, socially-relevant stories.

The critically acclaimed show has been picked up for a third season.
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Masters of Sex Book
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Showtime's Masters of Sex Season One dvd
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