May 14th, 2011

This Makes Me Moist

Guess Who? Aw, Do I Have To?

It's the story that shook the entertainment world.

An A-list celebrity has given someone herpes.

And everyone wants to know who it is.

Well, most everyone.  I admit to being curious who it is myself.  See, the lawsuit was filed anonymously.  So who the celebrity is and who the litigator is is unknown.  All we know is the celebrity is male, it happened during a one-night stand in Vegas, and there's apparently incriminating video -- "they could relive the magic over -- and over -- again", according to the complaint.

Now, this report first popped up a few days ago.  It's truly a blind item.  I mean, there's no information there, so I read it, thought, Okay, and moved on.  This could have been completely manufactured.  I mean, there's no identification at all, it could be some random lawsuit and the "A lister" could be some DTV actor for all we know.  This could be a shakedown, nothing really happened but this person is threatening to ruin the celebrity's life unless he coughs up.  We don't know anything.  Even the disease, herpes, which can be and is hidden.  Maybe the person is hiding it.  Maybe the person doesn't have it but absence of proof is not proof.

The person admits that they are after money.  Supposedly, they were offered a certain amount to keep it quiet, but the litigator felt it wasn't enough.  Once again, tough to side one way or the other in the dark like this.

That, however, has not stopped the speculation (which is somewhat fun) or the wave.  With the claim of a video tape, people are pouring out to make offers.  Homemade sex tapes have become big business.  The biggest selling porn title the year it came out was Paris Hilton's.  Kim Kardasian rode the fame of her homemade sex tape.  Screech from Saved By The Bell saw one of his get released.  So, naturally, people have contacted the litigator's attorney, Keith Davidson, with offers.  Well, supposedly, we only have Davidson's word on this also, so if it's just a shakedown attempt, this could be part of it.  A couple of sites are offering over $1 mil.  And a niche site is offering plenty because they want to sell it to bug chasers (note for the mundanes:  a bug chaser is someone who knowingly pursues people who are infected with a disease for whatever reason).

This is all the information.  Literally.  But every day, two or three more web sites are writing about it, the same information, nothing new coming to the table.  I refuse to be caught up until something more solid surfaces.  If whoever it is settles with an NDA, we'll never know anything anyway.  Given that Indiana just said cops can illegally enter your home, I think there are more important things to worry about than this.

So wake me when specifics hit.  Until then, I'm going back to bed.

Shocker Toys Makes The Shit List

Here's the problem with being in the trenches -- you are seen as exploitable.  Companies see you want to work your ass off to prove your worth and will offer you a paying gig.  You'll be thrilled you can finally call yourself a professional, but you won't get paid.  And they will threaten to ruin your reputation if you rock the boat, meaning you'll never get ahead.  Actually pursuing funds owed instead of just writing it off as volunteer work takes a lot more courage than people realize.

This is also why it's tough to find collaborators in the comic industry.  So many people jump in thinking they're going to be pulling down triple figure page rates right out of the gate (a problem I ran into years ago when trying to launch PK Hunter).  When I approached them, I told them straight it was a shoestring production, they'd get exposure, but not much pay.  In the indie field, getting $5 a page is considered amazing -- you will literally have people looking at you like a god if you score that (I should know.  I had gotten a $5 page rate before the publisher went under, and other indies were like, "Ooooooooo").  But no one wants to hear that.  So they skip you and go for someone promising contacts in Hollywood with movie deals ready to go and profit participation on deals in the six figure range and such.  And then they either get ripped off or the company goes under because they never had that stuff in place, they were just hyping the project, and all those months of work just went down the drain.

This is partly the reason I admire Tom Stillwell so much.  Stillwell is not only the publisher of Spinner Rack Comics (I don't usually groove to superheroes, but his are actually quite cool), but also one of the founders of the web site Unscrewed.  They help expose companies that shaft people they hire.  They also provide legal council, going over publisher contracts for free and alerting you if you need professional legal help to handle something.  They tell you how to use small claims to get what you are owed, what evidence will stand up in court and what won't, everything.  They are the guardian angels of the trenches.

Shocker Toys is one company that has found itself in the rumor mill for being rotten to the talent.  And recently, another guy who involuntarily did volunteer work for them got fed up.  He contacted Unscrewed, and they put his straight.  He's now moving forward and it's looking like almost a sure thing that he'll get what Shocker Toys owes him.

The rest of you?  If Shocker Toys approaches you for work, run for the hills.

Invest In America! Buy A Congressman!

I have long said that the major political parties don't really believe any of the shit they spout.  They just say it to drum up support, getting voted in or getting those campaign contributions that enable them to live better than us.

We're about to see if that is really really true.

The Republican Party has some identity crises over the years.  Believe it or not, there was a time when the Democrats were socially conservative and the R's were socially liberal, such as the "nation building" of Korea and Vietnam.  (History lesson:  when the D's started moving away from their hard lines when Truman desegregated the armed forces, several D's didn't want that and broke away, forming the Dixiecrats.  When they realized they were useless, they jumped to the R's since they were shifting to the right to counter the inroads on the left the D's were making, resulting in the R's reputation as racist, socially backward assholes.)  The back and forth manifested in small ways that those who held the R's as the way things ought to be could ignore it.  For example, Barry Goldwater, the "architect" of the Republican Revolution in 1964, thought banning gays from the military was a stupid idea.  He didn't explain it philosophically, either.  He was asked about banning gays, and he flat out stated, "Well, that's just stupid!"  No spin, no outs in case of controversy, nothing the least bit ambiguous about his stance.  And I'll bet, until I mentioned it here, most of you didn't know about it.

In many ways, the R's have become like a Christian church -- everybody knows what those in power says should be how things are, but those a part of it reject many of those ideas.  They are there for a basic reason and will gladly disregard things that don't have any further explanation than, "Because we said so."  This has become most apparent when it comes to gay rights.  The Log Cabin Republicans, for example, are openly gay R's who stand up for the party's platform of fiscal responsibility.  When Shrub was running for President, Veep nominee Dick Cheney spoke long and hard about how the Republican party was willing to welcome anyone, and to prove his point, brought his openly gay activist daughter, Mary Cheney, on stage with him to share the spotlight.  There was a collective gasp when that happened.  After all, the R's spent most of the recent years saying gays were evil, a defect of nature, had no basic rights, and so on.  Still, from the standpoint of hope, it was a pretty gutsy move, not hiding someone who generally works against your own party and in fact making sure everyone knew about her.

In many ways, the R's are talking to themselves, thinking that the support they get is validation of their social beliefs when they don't realize the voters are just using them.  The voters want certain things to happen and think the R's have the best chance of making that come about.  The Tea Partiers are a good example.  R's who courted them to get into office and stay there are now finding this group wasn't a fan club, they wanted actual results and they goddamn well better deliver or they'll vote against them next time.  All the while telling themselves the support comes from everyone thinking how wonderful their platform is (witness the annoyance of R supporters over the stalling on the congressional budget.  They aren't heaping all the blame on Obama, they are also blaming the R's for playing politics and cutting deals).

The 2008 election was the most interesting election I ever saw.  It was the era when the Digital Generation first made their presence felt.  People for whom the Internet has been a part of their everyday lives, who couldn't remember a time when it didn't exist, came of age and were eligible to vote.  The result is history was made:  the first black President of the United States.  This was something hinted at with Howard Dean -- he had huge support from the Netizens, but there weren't enough of them to overcome his celebratory behavior that killed his campaign.  However, the Digital Generation, like all collectives of people, exhibit certain behaviors, and political scientists have had four years to see what makes them tick, what they will respond to, and how to harness that energy into a controllable force of nature.

One of the side effects of the Digital Generation is that others saw how they organized, how they worked, and started mimicking them.  The Tea Parties are simply the tactics of the Digital Generation with a different goal.  R's anxious for support didn't get it and started courting them.

In doing so, they have opened themselves up to having their socially outdated biases and bullshit thrown in the trash.

New York is in the middle of a hotly contested election season, and the R's are getting sizable contributions.  But as with all political contributions, these are expected to get certain results.  And those results?  They are pushing for New York to legalize gay marriage.

That sound you hear is the Republicans shitting themselves.  They've taken contributions for all kinds of things that violate their platform before.  And they know their intolerant bullshit is a political liability.  And now, if they accept these contributions, what will they do?

This isn't just some group working to make this happen, by the way.  NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg is donating $100K of his own money to campaigns supporting gay marriage in New York, hosted a fund raiser, and went to Albany to lobby lawmakers.  Paul E. Singer is a hedge fund manager and one of the biggest R donors.  He's giving money to support gay marriage.  Two other financiers with long ties to the R's, Steven A. Cohen and Clifford S. Asness, are also giving money and expecting it to open the door to legal gay marriage in New York.

What's going to happen?  I don't know.  Gay marriage is still a hot button issue.  Iowa threw out a bunch of justices just because they didn't like how they ruled on gay marriage.  Proposition 8 is still being considered for retrial because the judge of the case was gay (if you are wondering why gays still closet themselves, there you go).  After all the bleating about family values, the R's find the people that they listen to and count on to keep their phony baloney jobs are pushing an agenda they don't want to support.  They've let it be known they can be bought -- they are politicians, after all -- but now they are being bought to do something they might not want to do.

Do they want the money or don't they?

Will they support the people's agenda?  Or will they saw screw the people and support their own agenda?

I'll be watching the New York returns to find out.
Peter G

Thoughts About Doctor Who

Riversong is the TARDIS.

That's my theory, speaking as someone who correctly pegged that Harry Potter was a horcrux (please, if you haven't read Deathly Hallows by now, you don't DESERVE a surprise ending).

Think about it -- River and the TARDIS do seem to get along really well.  The TARDIS can cross connect events in the past, present, and future.  The man she loves.  She knows the Doctor's real name.  The Doctor is clearly hot for Riversong during their first kiss, and he calls the TARDIS "sexy".  The TARDIS complained about the Doctor pushing the door in instead of pulling out, but didn't mention the noise made because he leaves the brakes on.  I remember this from School Reunion:

Sarah Jane Smith: Does he still stroke bits of the TARDIS?

Rose Tyler: Yeah, and I’m just, like, “do you two want to be alone?”

This might also explain why she isn't as thrilled with the 11th Doctor.  They didn't call him David Ten Inch for nothing!  (Note:  I have no proof, I just couldn't let a cheap gag get away.)

Am I the only one wondering if Joanna Lumley might become the next Doctor?

That said, this episode was soooooo Neil Gaiman, just like you could tell what episodes were written by Douglas Adams.  The TARDIS demanding, "Where's my thief?!?"  "I have corridors."  Gaiman's fingerprints were all over this episode.  Best bit, though, is when the Doctor says, "I don't know what to do," then says, "That's a new feeling," then starts smiling and enjoying it before slapping himself.

Speaking of Douglas Adams, I guess we can put that still from Shada to rest as a production mistake.  The TARDIS specifically identifies herself as a Type 40, not a Type 39.

That said, Davros is looking more prophetic than ever.  The Doctor turns people into weapons to do the dirty work he won't do.  And here, he turned the personification of his TARDIS into a weapon to save the day.

I think I deserve a little credit for the exchange where the TARDIS tells the Doctor, in response to his complaint that she never takes him where he wants to go, that she always takes him where he needs to go.  Years ago, I had told people that the reason for the TARDIS wandering around the universe was the telepathic link to the Doctor.  He wanders, it wanders.  When he needs to go to a specific time and place, it does.  I figured it was just the link and a question of focus.  Maybe?  Kinda sorta?