In 1982, avant garde rock genius Frank Zappa scored his only top 40 hit, the Grammy-nominated, Zeitgeist-capturing “Valley Girl.” The satirical send-up of suburban SoCal teen life unexpectedly spawned a cottage industry: a cult rom-com that gave Nicolas Cage his first starring role, The Valley Girls’ Guide to Life handbook, and even fashion and cosmetic lines.
The influence of the song’s Valspeaking protagonist Ondrya, created by Frank’s daughter Moon Unit Zappa, still resonates in pop culture today — “It's just a weird thing that just keeps going,” Moon says with a shrug — as evidenced by Clueless’s Cher, Schitt’s Creek’s Alexis Rose, the recurring SNL sketch “The Californians,” and arguably even the vocal fry speech patterns of young people today.
“My dream would be to get Paul Thomas Anderson to do a music video. Maybe his wife could play a Val now,” Moon jokes, 40 years later.
In other news, country legend Loretta Lynn passed away -- see Ruth's "Loretta Lynn." And here's something to add to Ruth's post.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, October 5, 2022. We mainly focus on the backlash within the US in today's snapshot (and we'll continue on that topic tomorrow).
As we noted earlier this week, we are in a backlash period. With that in mind, THE GRIO reports:
A religious school in Florida delivered a very direct message to students and their parents: Students will only be addressed according to the “gender on their birth certificates” and LGBTQ+ students are not to attend.
NBC News reported that Grace Christian School, in Valrico, used Bible verses in a June 6 email to parents to support its decisions. Students who identify as gay, transgender or gender nonconforming “would be asked to leave the school immediately,” according to the email from administrator Barry McKeen.
That's shocking and disgusting.
They have an honest conversation worth streaming. Which doesn't mean I agree 100%. I'm on record about the nonsense of casting and selling LOVE SIMON and LOVE VICTOR. (And since my friend's no longer married to horse face, I no longer have to try to be nice to her.)
But it's an honest discussion and it brings up many issues that are being ignored.
An issue that they don't bring up is at play currently in industry publications. There is a move to slaughter BROS.
That's only surprising if you're unaware of the entrenched homophobia in the film industry.
William Haines is rightly celebrated by some as a strong person who bucked the system. The Tom Cruise of his day,, he made one successful silent film after another, audiences loved him. William was gay. MGM gave him the ultimatum of dump your lover and marry a woman or we dump you. He refused to comply and they dumped him. He and his lover Jimmie Shields went on to have a long relationship that lasted until Haines' death and they also started a successful business that's still alive today.
William was presented with the ultimatum for only one reason: He was a star. He was a money maker.
The same homophobia didn't render 'nelly' supporting actors invisible.
Why was that?
Why were they, in fact, supported?
Hollywood went out of its way to establish that image.
They telegraphed this is what gay is. (Ava and I have covered this at length. If you're late to the party, probably start with our first piece on HAPPY ENDINGS.)
It was about money. It's always been about money.
Rock Hudson can make money, keep him in the closet. You can help him stay a money maker by elevating stereotypical portraits of gays so that people know that's what a gay person acts like and, therefore, there's no way a Rock Hudson could be gay.
MGM continued to employ gay people after William Haines. It wasn't anti-gay in that way. But it wanted to protect its own profits and you either played the game or you were out.
Billy has cast a film with LGBTQ actors and that's an uncomfortable reality for some. Those whining about the marketing campaign, should grasp that UNIVERSAL could have went with, "Not since Nazimova . . ." And cited Nancy Regan's godmother (Naimova's SALOME is supposed to be an all gay cast.) Billy also presented a hugely diverse canvas of what LGBTQ can be and that's uncomfortable for some.
We live in a world where a no-talent can, and did, smear a dead woman who told her the truth about her gay father. The no-talent can then say Oh, it doesn't matter. And in this world no one's going to point out that the entire industry says no-talent is a lesbian and that her marriage to a gay man is a sham and that no-talent, in the 80s, went on a talk show acting as part of a lesbian thruple.
We live in a world where actors and actresses are still told, "Don't come out, it will kill your career."
That doesn't mean the studio doesn't know that Mr. X is gay. That does mean that they need him to continue to play straight in public.
There is a huge homophobia built into the system and it goes back to the start of the industry.
BROS transgressed and now certain elements of the industry are moving in to attack.
That's appalling. They're doing it for profit motive. They're doing it to keep certain things hidden, realities of life. The closet has proven to be very profitable for the industry.
Billy made a great film. He should be proud of himself. People should see the film. It's hilarious. If you doubt it, read some of the community coverage:
We are in a backlash period and we will continue to cover BROS tomorrow.
Turning to Iraq . . .
The UN's special representative for Iraq has urged the country to address a growing lack of faith among Iraqis it its political system.
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert urged Iraq to form a government and get moving on critical reforms at the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
“Public disillusion is running sky-high,” Ms Hennis-Plasschaert told the council.
“Too many Iraqis have lost faith in the ability of the political class to act in the interest of the country and its people. A continued failure to address this loss of faith, will only exacerbate Iraq’s problems.”
She stressed "the importance of maintaining calm, of maintaining dialogue, constitutional compliance, respect for democratic principles, the unimpeded working of state institutions, and a functioning government to effectively address the legitimate demands for better public services, jobs, security, an end to corruption, and justice and accountability.
Running sky high, is it? Hmm. Well maybe because today is October 5th and on October 10, 2021, Iraq held elections. Yet there's still no president, there's still no prime minister, there's still no cabinet. Five days from a year later. I think the public is correct to be disillusioned. And ticked off.
Lastly, a friend at IAVA asked me to include this:
IAVA Joins Military and Veteran Leaders to Call on Congress to Pass Landmark Veterans Homelessness Legislation
More than 50 VSOs Ask House and Senate Leadership to Pass Bipartisan Bill into Law
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 28, 2022
New York, NY – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and more than 50 other organizations representing America’s veterans, service members, and their families, recently sent a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, calling on them to expeditiously pass the bipartisan Building Solutions for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2021 (S. 2172).
“This critical legislation will send an important message that we can no longer continue to allow those who have served our nation in uniform to live without a roof over their heads,” said Tom Porter, EVP of Government Affairs for IAVA. “IAVA is proud to join so many of our nation’s advocacy organizations to call on Congress to make this a priority to pass this year.”
The bill would preserve and enhance proven effective COVID-19-related program improvements from both the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) and the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (P.L. 116-315), and would strengthen programs that emphasize permanent solutions to housing instability and homelessness experienced by veterans across the country.
IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 425,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at quickreactionforce.org or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at iava.org/membership.
The following sites updated: