Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Village: The Sally Quinn Story

Here's part of my screenplay, The Village, soon to be a minor motion picture.

Sally Quinn left her party for the kitchen. She was checking on the catering staff.

"What the HELL are you thinking!" she hissed.

"The bacon wrapped figs are FALLING APART! Tight. Tight. TIGHT! You have to roll them tight. If the bacon is too crisp throw it away and get another piece. If I spot one more hors d'oeuvre falling apart you are fired. Don't forget I brought down D.C. Delights Catering and I can bring you down too. "

The staff practically fell to their knees to grovel. "Yes, Mrs. Bradley. Of course Mrs. Bradley. We will do better Mrs. Bradley. We are so sorry. It won't happen again."

"See that it doesn't." she said then turned to leave the kitchen. Right before she opened the door into the great room she paused, took a breath and smiled.

One of the staff had looked down and didn't realize Quinn had paused to put on her Hostess face. She whispered to a friend. "Puta"

Quinn whipped her head around. "Bitch?! You call me a bitch in MY home?" Her voice got tight as she snapped out each word. "Come. Here." as she made a motion with her hand.

The caterer, Margarita, stepped in front of the staff member to apologize for her.

"No. Not you. Her." as she pointed to the woman who called her a bitch.

Maria stepped forward to face Quinn.

"I brought down a President who disrespected me. I stopped Hillary from becoming President. How dare you call me names in my own home?"

Maria figured she was already as good as deported. She looked at the tiny woman, with her perfect hair, wild eyes and lipstick leaking into the fine lines around her mouth.

"Because it is true." she said. "You are a bad woman with a dark heart. Nobody loves you. They fear you, but no one will care if you die. You husband was here in the kitchen before you squeezing my ass and rubbing against me. So even the one who gives you power hates you, but is afraid of you."

Quinn snapped out her hand and slapped her.

"I will destroy you, you bitch! I'll kill you!"

The kitchen door swung open and Ben Bradley's head popped in, "Sally, what's the hold up? Dr. Gupta wants to talk with you."

"Coming sweetie" she crooned. Then she turned to the caterer, Margarita. "She's fired. See me after the party." she stopped at the door, paused, put on her hostess face, then pushed through the swinging door.

Annette, a late addition to the catering staff, reached into her pocket to check her iPod. Good, the light was still on, it was all recorded. "Sally Quinn isn't the only person who has power in this city" she thought. The exchange will be at the heart of her new book. 'The D.C. Caterer Chronicles' for Putnum. She wondered who would play her in the movie. If Selma Hayek is too old for the part, maybe she could get Penelope Cruz.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

On Sick Talk Radio Hosts

It has been reported that Melanie Morgan has left her syndicated radio program due to health issues.

Rush Limbaugh recently had chest pains while in Hawaii.

Following the events people made comments. Then the hosts commented on the comments.

The comments are used by the hosts to judge the character of the people commenting. It is very easy to find nasty comments to support your view that the left is heartless and mean. But you won't find me rejoicing over someone's illness, that's not who I am.

We have been judging the character of the hosts based on what they have been saying for years. I'm often astonished how many people on the left still give the right wing hosts the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their violent and hateful comments. I can point to many mean-spirited comments these hosts have made over the years. Comments where they wish physical harm to befall others. Like the time Morgan said, "Hang 'em!" about the news media who wrote stories on the Treasury department program to track terrorist financial data. [ audio link]

The editors Ms. Morgan wanted dead included Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson who wrote the June 23, 2006 story on the topic. Of course Morgan now has been advised by her lawyer to pretend she never said that. They have her repeat a comment about Bill Keller and include the phrase, "If tried and convicted." Calling for journalists to be lynched without a trial is not cool.

When I play them those clips they often say, "It's all an act. They don't really believe what they are saying. They are just doing it for money." Why do they say that? I think it is because they don't want to believe that someone could be that nasty without an incentive. It also has to do with a point of view where people are basically good and if they are doing bad things there is a reason (not always a good reason, but a reason none-the-less).

One characteristic of the left is empathy. It is a trait that many right-wing authoritarians lack. They have turned empathy into a weakness. Especially empathy for those outside of your immediate tribe.

People who suffer from certain health related issues often say, 'I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy." That is human empathy in action. What is interesting (in an almost pathological way) is how expressions of empathy are dismissed in the race to find comments that support the X v. Y narrative.

Empathy for others on the left has been used as a club by the right to marginalize us. What they don't get is that empathy is a great strength. What is especially sick and bizarre is when people on the Right who call themselves Christians reject attempts to see others as our neighbors. Anne Lamott said it best, "You know you have created God in your image when He hates all the same people you do."

All this talk about empathy doesn't mean that I don't still push back against the violent rhetoric, bigotry and mendacity on the right. But having someone drop out of the picture because of unrelated heath reasons is a bit like an un-earned run. Then there is self-caused health reasons.

Rush lost his hearing in 2001. We don't know the real reason since the stated reason, "hearing loss resulting from autoimmune inner ear disease," or AIED is very similar to hearing loss from drug use. There were allegations that Limbaugh had abused one of the drugs previously identified as causing hearing loss. Do you think that Limbaugh would use the system to purposely hide the true cause of his hearing loss? Of course he would. And if anyone in the media actually asked him some real questions and he gave some real answers we would know the truth. But Hollywood celebrity rules apply to right-wing talk radio hosts.

What the future holds will be interesting. We know that because of privacy laws people don't have to tell the truth about health issues. I'm fine with that. However, if we find out that someone is using "health challenges" to cover other significant reasons I think we can learn even more about the character of all the people involved.