Fran Lebowitz

June 26, 2017

A few weeks ago I caught Fran Lebowitz being interviewed on a late night talk show.  I had heard of her but never read any of her work.  She was quite interesting in the interview and I duly ordered a copy of The Fran Lebowitz Reader from the library. I guess others had seen her interview because I was third in line for the only copy. I finally got it last week and began to read.

The book is a series of short magazine-style pieces, reprints of her books Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, some  of which were first published as magazine articles in Interview, Mademoiselle, and British Vogue.  I enjoyed the first few pieces, and I can see why she was considered a sardonic wit, perhaps a new Dorothy Parker. Unfortunately, I quickly became bored with the style and the viewpoint; after a dozen or so pieces, you knew what was coming in the next chapter, and the writing seemed no longer witty but, rather, repetitious and small minded.

I suspect part of the problem is the fact that these were written in the 1970s and 1980s. Our television schedules these days are full of brash, outspoken commentary by highly intelligent women. Compared to them, Lebowitz in this collection comes across as little more powerful than a pre-sensimilla spliff. And, like a forty-year old roach, her writing hasn’t aged well.

That’s a shame because I was looking forward to it.


Reason #227 NOT to use Facebook

May 19, 2017

Because of their censorship in Malta.

Facebook has deleted four posts from a Maltese journalist and they blocked him from his FB account because — well, why is still an open question (“Facebook is investigating the circumstances of the deletions and declined to comment”).

“The posts, which were written in Maltese, contained allegations of wrongdoing by prime minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff Keith Schembri, and minister of energy Konrad Mizzi. Each post included images of documents from the Panama Papers leak … The deletions raise questions about how Facebook moderates journalism.”

 

Sure looks as if the local  FB office wanted to protect the power elite.

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Reason #226 NOT to use Facebook

May 11, 2017

During the Presidential campaign last year, Mark Zuckerberg occasionally complained about Trump policy ideas, especially those that hurt his own business (like immigration reform).  However, FB was also a major source and platform for much of the fake news that helped swing the campaign to Trump.

There has been much talk this year that Zuckerberg will run for office in 2020. What as, one wonders. Many of Trump’s polices, such as tax reform, will do little but make Zuckerberg even richer than he already is,  and it cannot be a coincidence that he has had “multiple” telephone conversations with Trump since the inauguration.

Now, Facebook has attacked and censored a group that supports women’s right to choose by assisting them to access medical supplies (I wonder how many big pharma companies are banned from FB for promoting “drug use?)  This is music to the far-right GOP base and provides yet another reason NOT to use Facebook.

 

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Reason #225 NOT to use Facebook

January 20, 2017

Because Mark Zuckerberg is a billionaire bully-boy trying to force Hawai’ians off their land. He thinks that his $100 million is more important than the rights these folks have built up over generations. And he is trying to buy the law to get what he wants. As one local says:

“he moves in and acts just like the Evil Rich White Man taking from the Hawaiians. That is so gnarly. Zero respect.”

 

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Reason #224 NOT to Use Facebook

January 2, 2017

neptune_in_bolognaI guess I had some hope that a new year would bring new sense to the censors at Facebook. But no; here we are just two days into the year and already they are censoring well-known works of art.

If anyone had been a tourist in Bologna, they will have seen the magnificent 500-year old statue of Neptune in the square named for the old god.  A local artist wanted to use a picture of the statue to decorate her FB page. But FB said no. This glorious statue they said, “violates Facebook’s guidelines on advertising. It presents an image with content that is explicitly sexual and which shows to an excessive degree the body, concentrating unnecessarily on body parts.”

Once again, FB’s managers show themselves as dull-witted as any Victorian. What is in their minds is what is “dirty”, not this piece of art that has stood unmolested in the public square for 500 years.  We can only assume that these idiots – and I am sorry but that’s what they are — keep their eyes closed as they wander around Italy and Greece. More likely, they don’t visit these sites because they don’t want to be upset: they stick to EPCOT and Six Flags.

 

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Reason #223 NOT to use Facebook

November 22, 2016

anti-facebookBecause they have developed or are developing software to allow the Chinese government to censor Facebook in China. This is their commitment to free speech, eh?

Zuckerberg says it is better to be “part of a conversation”, which is Silicon Valleyese for “we can’t make a profit in China unless we let the government screw with our members’ values.

It is good to read that some FB employees are quitting in protest but, frankly, FB can simply offer more money to attract more coders and systems managers whose resumes do not include any social conscience.

 

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Reason #222 NOT to use Facebook

October 28, 2016

Because they support racial exclusion for advertizers.

“When we showed Facebook’s racial exclusion options to a prominent civil rights lawyer John Relman, he gasped and said, “This is horrifying. This is massively illegal. This is about as blatant a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act as one can find.”  The Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes it illegal “to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.” Violators can face tens of thousands of dollars in finesThe Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits the “printing or publication of notices or advertisements indicating prohibited preference, limitation, specification or discrimination” in employment recruitment.

Seems that Facebook is the perfect vehicle for racists, white supremacists, and other immoderate radicals to peddle their hate-filled wares to their own kind.

 

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