Vanity Fair: David Friend- Monica Lewinsky Opens Up About The Year That Changed Politics & Her Life Forever

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Source: Vanity Fair

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Looking back at it now twenty years later (think about that for a second) the difference between the 1960s especially the early 1960s with President John F. Kennedy and the 1990s with President William J. Clinton, has to do with the internet age and media culture. The personal scandals that Bill Clinton was involved both real and fake in the 1980s and 1990s, aren’t that different in seriousness from the real scandals that President John Kennedy was involved with in the early 1960s.

President Clinton, had a short-term affair with a White House intern. President Kennedy, had affairs with mob girlfriends, women who were still involved with their mobster boyfriends and would then tell those men about their involvement with President Kennedy. Judith Campbell was one of President Kennedy’s White House girlfriends. She was Italian mobster’s Sam Giacana’s girlfriend as well. Bill Clinton while as Governor of Arkansas in the 1970s and 1980s, had an extra marital affair with former model and now writer Gennifer Flowers. Jack Kennedy when he was Senator Kennedy in the 1950s and after he married his wife Jackie, had multiple affairs with multiple women, which continued while he was President in the early 1960s.

So what’s the difference between the affairs that Jack Kennedy had in the 1960s and the affairs that Governor and later President Bill Clinton had in the 1980s and 1990s? Only one difference really which is the media.

If you wanted to watch TV back in lets say 1963, you had three channels to choose from. In some big markets maybe there would be an independent station that wasn’t affiliated with CBS, NBC, or ABC. PBS didn’t even come around until the late 1960s. Forget about satellite, there wasn’t even cable. You wanted to read a newspaper of magazine, you had to subscribe to one and it would be mailed to you physically, not electronically and you would probably get it once a week. Same thing with a newspaper but it would be sent to you everyday. Or I guess you could actually leave the cocoon of your house and get some fresh air and go down to your local convenient store and pick up a magazine or newspaper.

You could also get news on the radio and have serval choices there. Cable TV and satellite, didn’t come around until the mid 1970s. And probably wasn’t universal until the mid or late 1980s. The internet, what the hell is that back in 1963. That didn’t come around until the early 1990s and wasn’t mainstream until 1995. Smartphones unless you include Blackberrys, have only been around since 2007.

My point here is (and yes I have a point) is the Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton affair of the mid and late 1990s, was not new at least as far as how serious it was. Yes, both people especially President Bill Clinton who is old enough to be Monica’s father and of course was married, but then the fact that he’s President of the United States having a White House affair with a 20 somethingWhite House intern, showed horrible judgment here and have been paying a price for it ever since. The difference being is that we knew about everything that Bill Clinton was involved with by late 1991 and certainly into 1992 and for his whole presidency, because of new technology and the information age.

No longer just network news, radio, and the newspapers. Not just 24 hour news networks, but online publications (that we call blogs today) Americans simply having the ability to find out everything that they wanted to find out whenever they wanted to by only having a laptop or desktop, or a smartphone. As well as a new media culture that instead is run by lets gets the truth before we put it out, even if that takes longer, is now about having to get something out there before their competitors do, or it will cost them money. Especially ratings and advertising. Not sure that attitude has dominated network news as much as cable news and online publications, but others probably know that better than me.

Not saying the Clinton-Lewinsky affair wasn’t serious and shouldn’t have been paid attention to. How serious it was and what should’ve been the consequences for it, are really up to the people involved especially the people who were directly hurt by it. Most notably Bill Clinton’t wife and daughter. And to a certain extent President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky herself. Not by some religious cult thats from the 1950s and got caught in some Star Trek time warp and suddenly finding themselves living in the 1990s and deciding that since they’re now in the 90s that they’re going to not only bring their lifestyle and culture with them, but try to force every other American to live like them. And of course I’m referring to the Clinton haters that Hillary Clinton correctly labeled the vast right-wing conspiracy.

My point is what happened between Bill and Monica, is not much more serious and consequential if at all to the political and sexual affairs of the 1960s. What made Bill and Monica and different is the time and technology in which their affair happened.

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Source: TED Monica Lewinsky: The Price of Shame
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The Hollywood Reporter: Beverly Hills 90210- The Teen Drama That Brought Back Sideburns Turns 27

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Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

At risk of giving out my age, Beverly Hills 90210 takes me back 27 years to my first year in high school. I started high school during the late summer of 1990 in Bethesda, Maryland. Beverly Hills comes out almost two months later in late October that year. The kids on 90201 at least the main stars characters were a year ahead of me in high school. I was the class of 1994 in high school and they were the class of 93. So I got to see their last three years of high school and their first year of college my whole time in high school. And thats exactly what I did, because Beverly Hills and the original Law & Order, were my favorite two shows in the 1990s, (not including Monday Night Football) at least the early and mid 1990s. Actually, add LA Law to that list, so I saw a lot of Beverly Hills and know the show very well.

Beverly Hills wasn’t the first show about my Generation X. The Facts of Life from the 1980s was that show. Beverly Hills wasn’t even the second show about my generation. Saved by The Bell from the late 1980s and early 90s was that. And both of those shows deserve their own articles and pieces written about them as well, because they’re both very successful and important to this generation. But Beverly Hills was an original at least in the sense that it was the first soap opera about Generation X. People who grew up and came of age during the 1980s and 1990s. Who were born in the 1960s and 1970s. Whether you want to use the official Census Bureau definition of Gen-X as 1965-79, or use a more believable figure like 1962 or even 1961, till 1979, we are the generation was that was born in the 1960s and 1970s and came of age during the 1980s and 1990s. So if you went to high school and graduated high school in the 1990s, you’re probably a Gen-Xer, unless you graduated in the late 90s.

So that is what Beverly Hills was about how Gen-X kids grew up and what we went through and experienced as a generation. For all the good and bad and Beverly Hills had a lot of both. From parents of Gen-X kids falling in love again and getting remarried, to dealing with teen pregnancy and teen suicide. It has two twins literally from Minneapolis, (ha, ha, the Minnesota Twins, get it) yes it was corny, but the Walsh Family moves from Minneapolis to the Los Angeles area settling in Beverly Hills into a new beautiful him. Jim Walsh (the husband and father) is a successful accountant and lands a new and good job in Beverly Hills and moves his family 2000 miles or so from Minneapolis to Los Angeles.

The Walsh’s have two kids who are yes twins Brandon and Brenda (played by Jason Priestly and Shannen Doherty) and they are uplifted from the down to earth 1950s lifestyle of the Upper Midwest in Minnesota, where they get 6 months or more of winter every year, out to Los Angeles where they’ve never even heard of winter, let alone seen it and get 6 months of summer instead. So the kids especially get a real cultural shock during the first season of this show.

It gets much better and more interesting, not that the Walsh Family aren’t that interesting, because the Brenda Walsh character might be the most fascinating character on the show. Either her of Dylan McKay (played by Luke Perry) but the people they meet and befriend in Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills High School, are all sons and daughters of LA big shots. Entertainer moguls and people who at least do business and have clients in the Hollywood industry. And they meet most if not all the stereotypes Los Angeles kids.

Kelly Taylor (played by (Jennie Garth) is the daughter of an aging actress who is an alcoholic and addicted to illegal narcotics as well. Kelly’s parents of course are divorced and she rarely sees her father.

Steve Sanders (played by Ian Ziering) is the son of an actress and a Hollywood businessman. Who you think with that background would do very well at least starting out as far as never having to worry about money and where he might live. But the guy is a bit of a rebel and a constant screw up who is essentially always in trouble and looking to get into trouble. Thinking he will get away with it and always has one scheme or another, but always gets caught. We probably all grew up with guys like that.

Donna Martin (played by Tori Spelling) on the surface at least comes off as a typical Southern California blonde bimbo. But she’s very cute both personally and physically and very kindhearted always looking to help others. Who is a good girl always looking to please her parents, especially her Phyllis Schlafly lookalike over-paternalistic mother who lives in and is very happy in Los Angeles, but like Phyllis Schalfly believes Hollywood is destroying her 1950s traditional America. And strongly looks down upon individualism.

Dylan McKay (played by Luke Perry) is my favorite character on the show. Luke Perry plays the son of the Hollywood investor as well as it can be played. He’s essentially a good guy (at least when he’s sober) but is the constant rebel who grows up until his parents literally let him ago and buy him his own house, in a hotel. Because his parents get divorced and his mother skips out on them and moves to Hawaii. Leaving her son with his father who doesn’t seem to have the time to raise his son. And has him put up in a hotel and gives his son Dylan money to take care of himself. Dylan is basically a young guy with no parental guidance other than maybe Jim Walsh (the twins father) who manages his trust fund for him. Jim Walsh really is the closest thing that Dylan has to a father, or even parent on the show.

I guess I should say something about David Silver ( played by Brian Austin Green) who I guess was okay on this show, but what has he done lately? I believe Beverly Hills is really Brian Green’s only real shot at making it big in Hollywood and when that dried up so did his career. David Silver is one of those guys who is actually hipper than he seems at first, who knows how to be cool, but struggles in executing it. He is one of those guys who wants to be in with what we at least called back then the in crowd. I guess its called clicke today, but doesn’t really fit in at least during the first season.

I would mention the twins but they get so much attention anyway and the fact that they moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in the middle of high school to start their sophomore years, plus with everything that has been written about them before, gives you a pretty good idea about them. They both probably deserve their own articles about them anyway.

Beverly Hills is a good example of what life was like as teenagers (at least LA teenagers) in the early 1990s and what life was like when cell phones weren’t mainstream yet and the internet was a baby. The internet comes out in the summer of 91 during the 2nd season of Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is also an example of what life was like for teens and young adults before coffee houses were everywhere and before social media was online. Where people actually got together physically to hang out and socialize. Because our lives weren’t dominated by our iPhones and laptops. And is a great show especially for people who are interested in what life was like in the 1990s especially the early 90s and what growing was like for Generation X.

The Hollywood Reporter: Beverly Hills 90210- The Teen Drama That Brought Back Sideburns Turns 27 This Month

TIME Magazine: Julia Zorthian- How To Recover From Failure

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Source: TIME Magazine 

Source: TIME Magazine: Julia Zorthian- How To Recover From Failure

I’m not a doctor and don’t pretend be one, but from what I know about the medical profession (which might only be enough to fill one paragraph) is that good doctors at least don’t try to fix the problems without first performing a diagnosis. They actually take the time to see what is the medical problem with the patient before they try to fix the problem. People get wrong prescriptions because their doctors given them the wrong diagnosis and recommend a prescription that might fix another problem, but not the problem that this patient is facing. People get even sicker or see their physical conditions worsen simply because their original problem wasn’t diagnosed properly and therefor not effectively treated.

Giving someone an aspirin to deal with a broken ankle might give the patient short-term pain relief, but still leaving the ankle broken and perhaps it even gets worst because the patient believes their ankle is recovering. That would be an example of an extreme misdiagnosis. Maybe the doctor was drunk when they looked at the patent’s ankle, or perhaps examined the head by accident, before recommending aspirin for the pain. But hopefully you get the idea.

Another way to look at failures and weaknesses lets say is from the perspective of an addict. Lets use alcoholic as an example. I’m not an alcoholic either, but from what I’ve read and even seem to some extent that the only way an alcoholic can recover is first acknowledging that they have a problem that they’re indeed an alcoholic. They drink too much alcohol, get drunk too much and perhaps to the point that being drunk is a normal condition for them. Which I guess would be an extreme form of alcoholism. So my only point here is to before you try to fix a problem or personal problems that you might have, you first have to diagnose the problem and know what the problem is. Once you’ve accomplished step a, you can work to addressing the problem with a recovery plan.

Right-wing author and radio talk show host Eric Metaxas who I agree with as often as Los Angeles sees snow in August, but who was on BookTV on C-SPAN in I believe September (some of us actually have hobbies outside of realty TV and social media and like to use our brains) made a good point about mistakes and even screw ups. And he essentially said that we’re all screw ups. Thats not the question or the issue. The question and issue is what do we do about them.

Do we ignore them and not learn from history and keep repeating the same mistakes and seeing our problems get worst? “Those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Or do we acknowledge them, take them in and even absorb them and memorize that feeling to the point that it feels so bad not that we don’t want to be consumed by it and let our failures run our lives, but that we know the feeling of failure so well that we don’t want to feel like that again. Not about being pessimist or overly optimistic, but being in touched with reality so we know exactly what’s going on so we know what to do about it.

John F. Kennedy is  a political hero of mine, but one of the biggest reasons why is that he always challenged Americans to think and try to improve and move forward. Challenge the status quo not necessarily because the status quo was bad itself, but that we wanted us to be as good as we possibly can be. Which is one of my broad points here is that we all make mistakes and maybe Eric Metaxas isn’t completely right here and that we’re not all screw ups. I mean, if we were we would be nation of very stupid weak people who can’t seem to get anything right.

But Metaxas is right about at least one thing that we all screw up. And then the question becomes what was the mistake exactly and then figuring out what can be done about it. Unless you killed someone, including yourself and you’re not permanently paralyzed or are hurt so badly that you’ve been given a death sentence and will die in the short-term, whatever mistake you made there is a recovery plan to fix it. Or at least learn from it and do better in the future.

I’ll just leave you with this. For almost every problem short of killing someone and permanently paralyzing yourself, there’s a solution to that problem. It then becomes once you acknowledge that you have a problem and know what the problem is. For every mistake there’s a correction. Including horrible mistakes like running your business into the ground and going bankrupt, or making horrible investments that also lead to high debt and perhaps bankruptcy.

The alcoholism example is perfect here. Once you realize you are indeed an alcoholic and have a real problem there, you then can get treatment for it and recover. People have screwed up so badly in one profession that they can’t find any more work in that profession, but recover from that and prosper working in a different field. Take former White House Counsel John Dean who was part of President Nixon’s Watergate coverup who is now a successful author and columnist. A very successful writer now even though he was disbarred as a lawyer.

Step a, is acknowledging that you have a problem.

Step b, is knowing exactly what your problem is.

Step c, is putting together a recovery plan to fix the problem.

Step d, learning from your mistakes not to get overwhelmed by them, but so you know what went wrong and not to repeat the same mistakes. And then improving yourself so you do better in the future. Not about making mistakes in life. Of course we all do and perhaps have all made a lot of mistakes. The question is what do we do about them. Do we learn from them so we can do better in the future. Or ignore them and continue to repeat our negative history.

TIME Magazine: This is The Best Way to Recover From Failure

Newsweek: Opinion- David Friend: Before Donald Trump Was President, Online Sex Videos, Bill Clinton & The Naughty 90s Changed America

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Source: Newsweek

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Now that I think about it and this Newsweek article that was written by David Friend contributed to it and even though he didn’t argue this himself, but the more I think about it the 1990s is the decade when Liberals won the Cultural War. Because there was one scandal after another both in politics and government, but in entertainment as well and yet America survived it and we prospered so much as a country in that decade with the end of the Cold War and the economic boom of that decade thanks to new trade, new technology, the deficit coming down and actually leading to a balanced budget by 1998. (Ask a Millennial what a balanced budget is and they’ll tell you its a budget where everything is spent equally, because they’ve never seen one before) And a lot of Americans perhaps especially my Generation X, but Baby Boomers decided as a generation and country that its OK.

So what if a politician sleeps with women they’re not married to and cheats on their wives. Thats bad for their wives and their children, but that doesn’t affect me and its not my business anyway. Which I believe was the attitude about all of these scandals where it didn’t involve people actually getting physically hurt or falsely accused. We go from the King of Tabloids who was Donald Trump (yes, the same man) in New York and all of his affairs with other women when he was married with kids at the time, to Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas who just happened to be running for President in 1991-92 and one famous affair that he had in that time period of the late 1980s and early 1990s with Gennifer Flowers.

To entertainment celebrities like Tommy Lee (from Motley Crew) and actress Pam Anderson and they having their sexual affair literally in public and making a video about it. O.J. Simpson was a real true crime story with two real murders involved and in that sense at least was a real story with real significance. Ao in that extent at least it was a serious story. But it was a tabloid story because of the main character involved, the other serious characters involved and where the story took place which was Los Angeles.

But go from the mid 1990s to the late 1990s and again with Bill Clinton who in many ways was a Hollywood character the John F. Kennedy with the cameras always on him with reporters writing down everything they hear and find out about him, but then reporting it, unlike with JFK. With the Jack Stanton character from the movie Primary Colors (played by John Travolta) almost seeming too real. To Bill Clinton’s last sex scandal from the 1990s involving him and a White House intern in Monica Lewinsky who is only two years older than me and 27 years younger than Bill Clinton obviously young enough to be his daughter.

But if that doesn’t seem to be a big enough Hollywood story for you, how about the Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich who made it a priority of his to remove President Bill Clinton from the White House (one way or another) and was President Clinton’s biggest critic of the 1990s, as well as one of his best partners as far as the legislation they were able to pass together in that divided government and continually bashed the President as being immoral for his sex scandals especially the Lewinsky scandal, gets caught having an affair with his secretary while he was married to another women. Newt Gingrich winning the title of Hypocrite in-chief. He closest he would ever come to being President.

America goes through all these scandals, the Christian-Right in America which has had more of their own share of sex scandals and other scandals in America (Jim Bakker, Jim Swaggart, etc) and yet they reach their highest point in America as far as political power and having a veto voice inside the Republican Party as far as where they have to be politically and get to decide its presidential nominees. The Republican Party wins complete control of Congress of 1994 winning back the House for the first time since 1953 which they would hold onto until 2007 and win back the Senate in 1994 that they would hold onto until 2001. Plus the GOP would hold at least 30 governorships and a majority of state legislatures in the mid and late 1990s and would hold all of that power other than losing the Senate in 2001 and win back the presidency in 2001, until the late 2000s when Democrats finally won back the House and Senate in 2006.

With all of this political power moving to the Right and even Far-Right in the 1990s, Americans as a people and I believe with Generation X completely coming of age in the 1990s being a big factor of this, we essentially decided as a country, so what! So what if free adults have consensual affairs with people other than their spouses. Thats a matter between them and their families. Not something that should be decided by government certainly and shouldn’t cost people their jobs even in public office simply because they’re in loyal spouses.

I believe the 1990s gave rise to gay rights movement of the 2000s, and movements that opposed the War on Drugs, privacy thanks to the War on Terror in the 2000s, becoming a big issue and concern with the belief that government was becoming big government in our personal lives. The Culture War was ending in the 1990s because of everything that we went through as a country and people being able to see all of these individual scandals that in the 1950s would have ruined most Americans if those scandals were made public and in many cases people would have faced serious legal consequences for them even if they were private and consensual.

Americans saw these scandals and saw a lot of people behaving badly and irresponsibly, but deciding that those affairs aren’t mind and people weren’t getting hurt physically, financially, or being falsely libeled because of what someone did to them, this is not something that I should be personally concern with. And just let the people who were affected by this personal behavior decide for themselves what and if should be done about it. Instead of big government stepping in.

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Source: Watch Mojo- OJ, WJC & CK

Watch Mojo: Top 10 Defining Moments of 1990s America

The Atlantic: Opinion- Olga Khazan: The Social Benefits of Swearing

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Source: The Atlantic

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I’m going to give you an answer to why Americans swear so much at least now in public but also in private as well that is a lot less scientific than what Olga Khazan gives you. But before that I’m just to go on the record and say I’m not a religious fundamentalist or very religious at all and don’t even practice any religion and I’m not a prude. Of course I swear like most Americans do I just have a real purpose to it and don’t feel the need to sound cool and lot of times today swearing is generally used simply to sound cool and hip. People will swear really for no other reasons other than that.

I swear to express anger and amazement and no other reasons. “Holy shit! That man is fat!” Would be an example of someone showing amazement and being caught off guard. “Why don’t you watch where the fuck you’re going, are you trying to fuckin kill me?” Would be an example of someone expressing anger because they think someone is moving too fast generally in a vehicle and moving recklessly. But most Americans swear today and cable TV especially HBO and company is a perfect example of that because that is simply their normal vehicle of communication. That is how they talk to their friends, that is how their friends talk and it seems perfectly normal to them. That is how cool people talk today.

If you want to sound cool today you swear a lot and even do it for no apparent reason. “Where the fuck is he? He was supposed to be here 2 minutes ago. Fuckin lazy ass!” Now was that really called for or could that person just so a little patience instead and say, “relax, he’ll be here.” Or not even say that and just enjoy that time waiting a few minutes. Maybe get a latte and stare at their iPhone and pretend to look hip and important for a few minutes.

The more you swear and sound cool doing it, the cooler you’ll be in American pop culture. And if you’re in entertainment the more you swear the more popular you’ll be and the more roles you’ll have in movies or on HBO or the other networks where hard-core swearing is not just allowed but encouraged. The bigger the asshole you are the more attention you’ll bring to yourself as the reality genre as proven the last fifteen years or so. You don’t have to do a scientific study to prove this but simply be aware of your own surroundings and what is going on in culture today.

The fact that we now see more cussing in American politics today whether its lets say moderate cussing with the use of the word damn and hell, screw, and other words like that not just on cable news, but network news where you would think the people there would be more moderate and cognitive with their approach to how they express themselves, is just an example of how pop culture hasn’t just infiltrated our political system, but that our political system is a reflection of our pop culture in America.

And saying what the heck, or darn it all, gee wiz, just sounds too 1950s Leave it to Beaver for most Americans today. Especially when you can say I don’t give a damn or what the hell, that is a helluva a lot, and not pay any price for it. You don’t need to poll people or do any scientific research on this and ask people why they swear regardless of their profession. You just have to be aware of what’s going on in front of you and see it for yourself.

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Source: The Atlantic

The Atlantic: Opinion- Olga Khazan: Does Swearing Make You Likable?

Turner Classic Movies: TCM Remembers Robert Osborne- 1932-2017

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Source: TCM- Robert Osborne 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

How I do I talk about Robert Osborne, how do I talk about a man I don’t personally know who wasn’t an actor or a famous celebrity really for anyone who wasn’t an entertainer or an entertainment historian and writer who works with people like Osborne who was of course not just a film and Hollywood historian, but one of the best and most knowledgeable of his generation if not ever. Well, I guess I don’t have to say I can talk about as fan of TCM and Classic Hollywood in general, but that wouldn’t be giving me much credit. I’ll talk about Robert Osborne as someone who loves Classic Hollywood as a blogger who blogs about Classic Hollywood from time to time. And a big reason is because of knowledgeable people and historians like Robert Osborne.

Robert Osborne is not the reason why I love and many other Americans perhaps especially on Google+ that has so many Classic Hollywood communities and communities about old movies, famous entertainers and TV. But he’s one of the biggest reasons. Watching an old movie on TCM is not like watching an old movie on TNT or USA, to use as examples. Its so much better, because instead of one movie ending with the credits and that movie directly being followed by the next movie.

What you get is a backstory from someone like Robert Osborne or Ben Mankiewicz who gives you inside details about the movie you just saw. Where it was shot and why it was shot there. Background about the cast, writers and directors involved and what it took to get those people to work on that project. The chemistry that the cast had with each other, as well as the people they worked for on the project. As well as little information about the people on the project as far as how it affected their career before and after. And then you get a little taste about a documentary about about actors, actresses, and other entertainers short documentary films about Old Hollywood after the last movie had just been completed and before the next movie shows up.

Robert Osborne did not get me into Classic Hollywood, at least by himself. But like I said earlier because of him and TCM watching and old movie on TCM is not like watching an old movie everywhere else. Its more like reading a good book about a movie or good documentary about a movie and then thinking I have to see that movie because its so interesting. Except you get that information for free. Robert Osborne gave his viewers a good book or documentary worth of information about the movie that you’re about to watch in about three minutes. Because he was so knowledgeable about what you were about to see and doing it an interesting way.

Talking about the story without giving up the plot. Talking about the cast and again how they worked with each other and again how that film affected their careers and what they were doing before. I especially loved how Osborne talked about Hitchcock films and and saying how good Cary Grant was with Alfred Hitchcock because they had similar taste in movies, humor, and women. That is what you got with Robert Osborne. The story of the film before you saw it and yet still wanting and seeing that film, because of how interesting he made it sound. And he is one of the best if not the best and will be surely missed.

Turner Classic Movies: TCM Remembers Robert Osborne- 1932-2017

Vanity Fair: Opinion- Rich Cohen: Why Generation X Might Be Our Last, Best Hope

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Source: Vanity Affair

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

To talk about Generation X (my generation born in 1975) it depends on how you define it. To put it simply we’re the generation that is now in our forties and fifties. The middle adult generation between the Boomers and the Millennial’s. Officially Baby Boomers are Americans born between 1946-64. So after World War II and during the civi rights movement of the mid 1960s. And I’m sure the U.S. Census Bureau does a lot of things very well, but defining generations is not really one of them. And as most Americans (who aren’t a Socialist) know government can get things wrong in this country.

Another way to look at Generation X are the people who went to school and grew up in post-segregated America. If you want to know why so many Americans are both color and race blind is because so many of us (Gen-Xers) went to public schools that were racially and ethnically diverse. So we went to school before we knew what race and ethnicity was. And got to see people as they were as people and not just how they looked. Why they had a certain complexion, why there hair looked a certain way, why they had certain names. Things that come with one’s ethnicity and race.

Which is why affirmative action has been losing support with my generation and in America broadly, because a lot of us now simply don’t judge Americans by their race or ethnicity and therefor don’t believe people should be rewarded or punished simply because of their race or ethnicity. I believe the more accurate way to define Generation X is Americans born between 1960 or 61 and 1979. And I believe a lot of Americans born in the early 1960s would agree with this since they have plenty in common as far as their own personal experiences with Americans born in the mid and late 1960s and even early 1970s, is Americans born between 1960 or 61, and 1979. Than they do with Boomer Americans born in the 1940s and 1950s and even in some cases late 1950s.

So everyone born in 1979 would be the last of the Gen-Xers. Which is what I’ll be talking about in this piece is Americans born in the 1960s and 1970s that are right between the two largest generations in at least modern American history. The Baby Boomers born in the 1940s and 1950s that are the parents of most Gen-Xers. And the Millennial’s born in the 1980s and 1990s who are the children of some Gen-Xers and a lot of Boomers. Even if you stretch out Generation X to let’s say 1961 or even 1960 to 1979, we’re still a small generation. Like North Korea surrounded by China and Russia.

Because a lot of Boomers especially men were vacationing in Vietnam in the 1960s (ha, ha) and the the economy was so depressing in the 1970s that a lot of Boomers weren’t having kids. They were too busy crying about the Vietnam War and the fact they couldn’t find a job, or at least a good job. But that is really for a different topic as far as why my generation is so damn small and we have to look up to the Boomers and Millennial’s as far as numbers.

The main reason why I still have some hope for America even with the oversensitive Millennial’s who can’t take a joke and want to outlaw everything they disagree with and view celebrity culture and new technology as need to know information and current affairs and public policy back page and unimportant, because it requires thinking and intelligence to understand, and history as so old school and yesterday and therefor not worth learning about and being interested in, is because what I laid out early in this article. Gen-Xers are the first post-segregation generation.

If you’re a Boomer or older chances are you went to a segregated school, especially if you grew up in the South or even rural small towns in the North. And therefor didn’t get to or have to socialize and learn with kids of different racial or ethnic backgrounds as yourself, until you probably graduated high school. And then maybe even in college you didn’t go to school with people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. Unless you were an African-American who is in college on let’s say a scholarship. That is not a problem that most Gen-Xers had and the same thing for the Millennial’s.

So Gen-Xers have got to experience America at it’s best and what we’re supposed to be as this great vast liberal democracy where everyone can succeed if they’re simply just given the opportunity to and then take advantage of those opportunities. Regardless of their ethnicity, race, or gender. And we’ve gotten to learn about America at it’s worst and to some extent experience racial and ethnic bigotry ourselves, especially racial and ethnic minorities, but in most cases not to the same extent as our parents and grandparents.

We know what works about America which is our ability to be individuals and at the same time celebrate what we all share and love about America. Which is the ability for us to be ourselves and not have to fall in line and be some big collection of Americans that all think, talk and act alike. And we know what doesn’t which is denying Americans opportunity and access simply because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds, or their gender. And trying to lump groups of Americans into one group and think they must all think, talk, and act a certain way, because of the group that they’re a member of.

Another reason why I have hope for America is Generation X in most cases are the sons and daughters of the Baby Boomers. We’ve learned from them about individuality and learned from the so-called Me Generation and that Americans are better off being themselves and taking care of themselves. That we’re only as useful and can help others when we’re doing well ourselves. Which is why I believe Gen-X is an educated generation and successful generation.

We’ve gotten ourselves the tools to do well in America and then have passed our wealth and knowledge down to others and have become a large volunteering generation. And enjoy volunteering for others and helping people out, because we’ve made it in America in most cases. And aren’t drowning in student debt (unlike another generation) and are able to take care of ourselves for the most part. (Unlike another generation)

The last reason why I believe America still has hope and will still be a great country 20 years from now when I’m in my early 60s (knock on wood) is because Generation X is the middle generation. We’re in our 40s and 50s and just had our first President in Barack Obama. (Born in 1961) We’re going to be around and in charge for a long time. And because of that will have the ability to lead and teach others what we’ve know and have experienced.

And hopefully the Millennial’s will grow up and learn that just because they don’t like a joke or criticism, doesn’t necessarily make that joke and criticism bigoted.

Hopefully Millennial’s will learn that just because they don’t approve of this activity or another like what people eat and drink like soft drinks and junk food, or meat because they view eating meat as animal cruelty, doesn’t mean those things are so bad that government should prohibit them.

Hopefully Millennial’s will learn that just because celebrity culture and new technology or are so like totally awesome or whatever, that maybe those things really aren’t as important as how government is spending our tax dollars, or are we going to be at war, or are our civil rights, civil liberties, and constitutional rights, are now in jeopardy, because of some big government action or actions.

These are the reasons why I still have hope for America and my Generation X is a big part of that.

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Source: National Geographic- NBC Nightly News Anchor Jane Pauley

National Geographic: NBC Nightly News With Jane Pauley- Birth Of The Slacker

Reason Magazine: Nick Gillespie Interviewing Frank Furedi- College Students Think Freedom is Not a Big Deal

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Source: Reason Magazine

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

As someone who didn’t even graduate college I’m probably not the right spokesperson for this, (to say the least) but I’ve always believed that college is supposed to be a place to learn and and even learn news ideas. New ideas and things that people didn’t hear much if anything about in high school or anywhere else and not to automatically take those new ideas and philosophies on face value and automatically, but to learn about them and then decide for themselves on the best available evidence possible on the worth of those ideas and philosophies.

That it’s not the job of college to tell people how to think and what to think, but how to learn and then the students can figure out for themselves the worth of what they’re learned and what it means on the best available evidence possible. Call me naive if you want, but that is what I believe. I think what we’re seeing at college now is sort of the opposite of that. That you have professors who don’t teach their students about ideas and philosophies as much as they try to teach their students what to think. That this is what you should believe because this is what is right and wrong. Instead of giving their students the freedom to learn and experience and figure out what works for them and in society for themselves. Again on the best available evidence possible.

Today what we’re seeing at college with young students like millennial’s and soon to be the so-called Z Generation, is that the opposites are being taught and learned as far as what makes America great and what makes our diverse vast liberal democracy work so well.

According to too many millennial’s freedom and free speech are bad. They seem to believe that free speech is nothing more than the right to offend someone and because of that we should eliminate free speech because someone might be offended by what is heard and believed.

That personal freedom is nothing more than the right to make mistakes and screw up that the rest of society will have to pay for.

That capitalism and property rights are racist and selfish. Because African-Americans and Latino-Americans, haven’t done as well as European and Asian-Americans economically in America and because of that capitalism is racist and unfair. That allowing people to keep what they own and have earned simply by purchasing it with money they’ve earned, that is somehow selfish for people to be able to keep property for themselves. And as a result some people will have to go without because you have these selfish people keeping their own property and not sharing it with people who have little.

That Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were great men because they took on the man (so to speak) and that Tomas Jefferson is evil because he owned African slaves. Even in a time when almost all European men in America with means owned slaves. Forgetting the facts that Fidel and Che were both Marxist-Communists who killed people simply because they disagreed with them politically and would lock people up simply for dissenting.

As I said the opposites are being taught to young people in and outside of college in America. And one can just say, “hey, look at those stupid young people. Don’t worry, they’l grow up and be forced to go to work in order to support themselves and learn how the real world works, even if they end up bashing the American system that they’ve benefited from their whole lives.” One could say that and perhaps these millennial’s as they reach their forties and fifties at worst will end up being like these fake Hollywood Socialists like the Jane Fonda’s and Mike Moore’s of the world, who end up bashing capitalism and freedom in general, even as they collect their millions and continue to take advantage of a system as they should, that they’ve benefited so much from.

The thing with socialism is that it’s much easier to practice as long as you don’t have to live with it. It’s a much better system hypothetically than in practice and having to live with it. Because at the end of the day whether you’re an Ayn Rand Objectivist-Libertarian, or a Marxist-Socialist, we’re all Americans. And we all tend to want to be successful in life and live comfortably. I believe that is the best hope that we can have for the Millennial Generation at this point.

Reason Magazine: Nick Gillespie Interviewing Frank Fruedi- College Students Think Freedom is Not a Big Deal

The Atlantic: Kurt Anderson- The Cultural Factors Driving America’s Departure From Reality

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Source: The Atlantic- Kurt Anderson

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I don’t want to make this whole piece about Donald Trump and even not most of it and perhaps just a lot of it, but the way I look at America’s Departure From Reality (to paraphrase Kurt Anderson) is way I describe Donald Trump’s approach to politics and broader approach to salesmanship. Which is that it’s not what’s true that’s important to him, but what’s believable. And not what’s believable to most people or intelligent people. But what’s believable to enough people for him to accomplish what he wants.

In 2016 that was the presidency and perhaps now it’s just about what’s believable to his base so his presidency doesn’t completely go under water. Right now President Trump’s approval rating is somewhere between 33-37% depending on what non-Fox News and Rasmussen poll you look at. Even Fox News has him in the low to mid forties right now. And you take President Trump’s base away from him he’s probably in the teens right now and perhaps low teens. Not the Republican Party but just his base in the Republican Party. Which is about 4-10 Republicans.

President Trump believes for him to stay alive and not risk being kicked out of office or asked to resign even with a Republican Congress, he has to have his base with him. And to for hat he has to tell them things that are believable to them even if the rest of the country knows what he’s saying his complete garbage. (To be kind) Millions of Americans perhaps have escaped the real world to break from reality and perhaps live in so-called reality TV because their real world is too scary for them. But so does their own President.

America’s break from reality of course didn’t start with Donald Trump. Right now he’s just the overwhelming benefactor of it. Where he now represents people who believe that Russia had nothing to do with the 2016 elections and didn’t try to interfere in them. Even though President’s own intelligent agencies have told him that Russia tried to hack our elections. Climate change is a hoax, 9/11 was an inside job, Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and I could go on. But America’s break from reality has nothing to do with Donald Trump. Again he’s just the biggest benefactor of it.

We now live in a country where Americans believe reality TV is actually real and the people on these shows are like that in real-life. When in fact we now now (or at least some of us) that the cast members on those shows are encouraged by the producers of those shows to act out and be the biggest jerks they can and get into arguments with other cast members about nothing to draw the biggest ratings. Because conflict is what sells on TV.

Life in America can be tough and stressful and Americans sometimes need a break from that and be able to escape their own reality. Which is why we take vacations and a lot of us watch the tube and get online when we get home from work especially after we’ve completed everything we need to do that day. That’s fine and I do these things myself. But it’s when alternative reality takes over our lives and we start to live in those worlds and start seeing and hearing things that simply don’t exist is where virtual reality becomes a problem and we look stupid as a result. Americans are only as powerful and free as we are educated and intelligent.

The smarter we are the freer and powerful we are because we’ll make the right decisions for ourselves and people who depend on us. But the more virtual reality and so-called reality TV takes over our lives and we actually take those things seriously instead of the mindless entertainment that it is (like pro wrestling) the dumber we become and the less free that we are as a people and country.

The Atlantic: Kurt Anderson- Cultural Factors Driving America’s Departure From Reality

The Atlantic: Derek Thompson- What Makes Things Cool?

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Source: The Atlantic

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

What makes things cool? A very good question especially since America is such a trendy what’s hot now and cool society where everyone who wants to be cool seems to follow whatever the latest trend is even if they look ridiculous, (like wearing cowboy boots and running shorts with a mink coat) talking or looking like that, or could feel like they’re dying when they try to drink the latest drink or eat the latest dish.

Americans by enlarge and there some exceptions of people who have a healthy degree of self-confidence and are very comfortable being themselves even if their best friends are following their favorite celebrities like cult followers follow their leaders. And even with some Americans who are simply cool, because they are themselves even if that makes them different, but by enlarge feel the need to be like everyone else who is considered cool at the time.

With Jim Morrison of The Doors from the late 1960s being a perfect example of an exception to this rule. Marilyn Monroe from the 1950s would be another great example of that. Sean Connery at any point of his career has always been Mr. Cool, or is that Steve McQueen, but both of these men were always themselves. With the personal attributes, looks, intelligence, charm, humor. These two men were always themselves and if anything drove other men to be like them. Instead of these two guys trying to be like some other hot celebrity of that time.

Pop culture and what’s seen as cool drives Americans more than just about anything else. We have a lot of Americans especially young Americans who rather be seen as stupid, instead of intelligent and willing to step out on the ledge (in pop culture, not in actuality) and risk not looking and sounding cool. And young adults and even teenagers if they’re into something, than people who are just older than them and even much older than them try to get into the same things. And what drives young people today in pop culture is new technology, because it makes their lives much easier and the ability to communicate so much easier than it was even more my Generation X when I was growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s. And the other thing being celebrity culture including talentless celebrities whose only ability has to do with cursing people out and expressing deep anger in public.

Derek Thompson in his video gives you the more scientific explanation of why things are cool and things become trends. But when it comes to Americans it’s about trends and faddism. What are the cool people doing meaning the popular people in pop culture and that is who people who are not famous, but perhaps want to be or just want to be part of the cool and party scene in their local community and where they work and so-forth.

And most pop culture today has to do with new technology and people feeling this need that they may die if they don’t get the latest iPhone the day that it comes out, watch the last episode of their favorite reality show or drama on cable, or what have you. And keeping up with the pop culture tends and having this feeling of coolness and being in is what drives the happiness of a lot of Americans. Way too many from my point of view.

The Atlantic: Derek Thompson- What Makes Things Cool?