On Bill Cosby and Defending the Indefensible

When She Went Bad

If you haven’t noticed, I have a lot of issues with male entitlement as a whole.

You see, as a kid, no one was more boy crazy than me. I had some majorly embarrassing crushes, and thank the heavens every day that there was no internet when I was younger. Still, as an adult, I have guys pop up in my life after decades, only to try and drag me on 20 year old information because I didn’t give them the answer they wanted. Example:

Him: Well, you’re a hoe anyway and you’ll always be a hoe! 

Me: I have literally not spoken to you since I was 14. 

As someone who thinks she’s actually people (Que tu te crees, que tu eres jente?!?) I have never quite understood the way some guys treated me. It was like I was disposable even though they never really let go of me for too long. Like I should be thankful for their attention and not push for too much, but would immediately pop back up in my life the moment my attention went elsewhere.

And I didn’t get it. At the time, I would chalk it up to insecurity, and tell myself that once they realized that I was here to stay, that if I loved them enough, they would drop their guard and finally relax and care for me the way I deserved. But that never really happened.

I learned instead that it doesn’t matter if you the sweetest, most caring girl in the world. You could be the Virgin Mary herself, and there is still the kind of man that will treat you like shit in order to break you down. And pity for you if you actually care about him, because he will see that as a weakness to exploit.

I’ve been ‘negged’ by guys that I was barely interested in as a tactic to get me to try and prove myself to them, and I’ve been dropped like a hot potato by guys who I thought knew better the moment they felt inconvenienced.

“Everything I said to you was true at the time.” I will literally hold onto this one until the day I die.

Even the guys  that cared about me and wanted to be with me acted that the bulk of the emotional work was my responsibility. I have an ex who doesn’t even like me as a person. On paper I’m great, but he doesn’t like anything about my personality or my opinions. Every time we’d have an argument over gender roles, half-way through he would shout, “Of course that’s how you feel, you’re a feminist!” as if he didn’t know that going in. And yet every time he and his wife are on the outs, I can expect a message from him, like clockwork.

But here’s the thing, even after all this terrible behavior, they think that with enough time and distance, they can come back into my life like nothing ever happened, sometimes armed with handy explanations and excuses that could’ve been mighty useful at the time, a retcon and a clean slate.

And honestly, it’s insulting. Because, you know what, I know I’m pretty awesome, and if you can’t get over your shit long enough to notice, long enough to actually get to know me and have a conversation, that’s your fucking problem. Which brings me to the Bill Cosby rape trial.

I Am Not Your Good Girl 

As the jury deliberates over the Bill Cosby rape trial, I’ve gotten into several heated conversations with otherwise level-headed adults. A few of these people include people who have experienced abuse firsthand, victims of grooming behaviors and parents of young girls themselves, people whose best interest lie in tearing down these systemic gendered issues , and every single time, the response always includes, “I just don’t get how certain women…”

I never watched the Cosby Show, coming from a strict and structured home, I found it too silly at the time, but what I know is this: Bill Cosby was once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. People saw him as their dad. They respected him, and he had enough power and clout to call up Eddie Murphy and tell him to stop cussing during his stand up shows. And for a long time, his reputation in Hollywood as a serial womanizer and predator was an open secret.

As the allegations against him became public, more and more women came forward and a pattern emerged. It you want a more detailed timeline, I highly implore you to look at the Jezebel Bill Cosby tag, but it quickly became clear that Bill Cosby, the man that people compounded with his character Cliff Huxtable, was a serial predator. He targeted his victims under the guise of mentorship, abused that trust to drug and rape them, and used his experience, reputation, and connections to keep it quiet for almost 50 years.

And what has been the cause of contention in some of these conversations with the otherwise level-headed adults that I know? “But certain women…”

At what point do we stop expecting women to be perfect victims in order to address the many ways men victimize us? At what point do we  stop projecting our own standards of behavior on other victims? At what point do we collectively accept that women should not expected to be saints to be treated like people? A what point do we analyze male behavior, the violence men perpetrate against women and against other men, without hearing someone mumble, “But certain women…”

At what point do we accept that women do not exist to be your good girls? But most importantly, at what point do we start holding abusers to the same standards as our victims?

Abusers are sneaky. They are seducers. They are charismatic and powerful and deceptive. Abusers love to target the mentally ill, the marginalized, those who are hard to believe, and those who do not like to make waves because they’ve been taught to be good and respect their elders and those in power. And they absolutely benefit from a society that is constantly questioning the word of their victims. It is predatory behavior that thrives because of you devil’s advocacy. And when I hear someone immediately start to question women, what I really hear is someone trying to maintain the status quo that allows their shitty behavior to pass, shitty behavior that allows men to treat women like they are disposable.

I understand that it’s a lot harder to accept that you’ve been deceived by someone you looked up to than to repeat tried stereotypes about how some women can’t be trusted. I also understand that it’s very difficult to look in the mirror and address your flaws. But by defending male entitlement by constantly deflecting back to the victims, you are essentially proving that you don’t care to fix the problem, because it might mean having to check your privileges.

The “But certain women…” segue-way is old and tired. And again, some of you have daughters, and if you think that they are immune to your opinions as what constitutes a perfect victim, you are sorely mistaken.

Too Big to Stream? By canceling sci-fi series @Sense8, is @Netflix going the way of cable?

18951016_10212903087117080_503104748918247827_n

With their decision to cancel the sci-fi series Sense8 less than a month after season 2 premiered, and after a lackluster response to fans, the parallels between Sense8’s BPO and Netflix’s current business strategies are uncanny. 

Never Forget

Netflix’s humble beginnings as a DVD rental mail service was revolutionary. No longer did you have to go to a video rental store, hope they still had a movie you wanted to see, and wait in line. With Netflix, you could get your favorite movies in your mailbox, watch at your leisure, and not worry about the late fees.

That’s right kids. Back in the day if you kept a movie you’d rented after 3 or 5 days, you’d be hit with late fees. I’m not even going to talk about the crap you got if you didn’t rewind a VHS tape.

Web

Da struggle.

This business model eventually brought Netflix competitors, Blockbuster and Hollywood Video to its knees. It was so popular that Netflix used to discourage what it’s known for: binge watching. There were long queues, wait lists, etc., because they couldn’t meet the demand. Later this very popularity prompted Netflix to develop it’s other revolutionary thing: streaming, and later high-quality original content.

Through popularity and savvy business decisions, Netflix has grown into a multi-billion dollar powerhouse, a king of content, all grown from a DVD service provider that could barely meet demand.

But Netflix hasn’t always made great business decisions. In 2011, after announcing that they would increase prices by almost 60%, subscribers quit at such a rapid rate that Reed Hastings himself had to issue an apology. During the same year, Netflix made, and quickly scrapped, plans to split into two companies, all due to subscriber outrage. It seemed that if there was enough feedback, Netflix usually made the best decisions on behalf of their paying customers. Until now.

The Cancellation of Sense8

There is no doubt that a large chunk of Netflix’s original content is often a high-quality version of what it represents. Meaning that while House of Cards, Orange is the new Black, Stranger Things, Black Mirror, and The Crown all make for great television, they are all versions of something that already exists. See: Scandal, The West Wing, The Twilight Zone, E.T., The Goonies, Oz, Downtown Abbey, The Tudors, etc. Each one of these shows has something that is like it and can be used to describe it. Not so with Sense8.

Sense8 is it’s own thing, and that’s why it matters. I have made no secret of my love of this show. It’s original, breathtaking, and while hard to describe, it’s hardly impossible.

While fans have frequently complained that Sense8 was not nearly as promoted as its sister shows, often editing better promos than Netflix itself, Sense8 is not for everyone, and not everyone will understand it. And that seems to be the crux of the problem. Netflix owns a show that it does not understand and is unwilling to, in part because Sense8 does not cater to a general audience, and it takes effort to understand.

It seems that with these decisions- canceling original content, leaning more heavily on reality TV and stand-up specials- Netflix is finally resting on it’s laurels, just like cable television not long ago. It’s the first domino that will knock all the others down. A visual:

Why It Matters

In the past, it seemed that with enough feedback, Netflix would at least reconsider their decisions. Not so with Sense8. After days of petitioning, social media outcry and telephone feedback, Netflix posted the following response on all of their Sense8 social media platforms.

The timing-the night before the season 5 premiere of Orange is the new Black- and the platform usage- the Sense8 media platforms and not Netflix- did not go unnoticed by fans. Netflix, “thought long and hard,” but did not reach out to producers or negotiate an an ending to a show that, ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** ends on a cliffhanger with all of it’s characters in the same location. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

A visual representation of Netflix’s response to Sense8 fans. 

To say that this is a cost issue is bull. To say that they can’t is a joke, because no one owns Netflix other than Netflix. And to say that there are no alternatives is simply tone deaf, and fans themselves have posted several alternatives to continue the story, including:

  • Paying a premium price to have access to shows like Sense8
  • Raising money
  • Creating an animated show to continue the story
  • Creating a graphic novel to continue the story
  • Releasing a final movie to close the story
  • Providing more advertising on social media
  • Releasing Sense8 rights back to creators
  • Allowing other platforms like Hulu or HBO to continue the show

Unlike cable television or even YouTube or Hulu, Netflix is not beholden to their advertisers. It is those very monthly fees that we pay every month that allows Netflix to create, produce and own it’s very content. It seems that the answer is to take that money away.

To Sense8 Fans

I know you are tired. We all are. If you are looking for a reason to no longer fight, then stop fighting. But do not stop fighting because you think this is a hopeless fight. It is not. The fact that Netflix released a statement the day before the premiere of one of their shows proves that they want us to shut up. Don’t. Do not go gentle into that good night.

And if you can, share your stories about what Sense8 means to you. I know some of you can’t, but if you can safely share your stories, then you should write.

That Whole Thing About My Old Apartment

Tags

, , , ,

No matter how hard I try to not talk about myself, sometimes other people force my hand. So here we go again.

During the Valentine’s Day weekend of 2016, my apartment at 537 W 147th St Apt 1 was flooded. My  apartment was and is managed by Aizer Realty, specifically by Joseph Aizer. I am making this information public because I have just found out today that Joseph Aizer and 147 Hamilton LLC have taken me to small claims court for unpaid rent, and at this point, there is no reason to be quiet.

img_3633

Continue reading

Bodega

Tags

, ,

She knew him as one of the boys that liked to hang out outside of the bodega. He was always nice and she would always smile. But while she could recognize him, point him out from a crowd, she didn’t know his name.

One night she dropped her keys and it all changed. He held the door open for her when it happened, caught them in midair before she could react. They laughed. They talked, and it was as if they had known each other for years, so that hours later they were still sitting on her front stoop, dreading the moment they would have to say good bye.

They never did, instead making plans for the next night and the next, until they were spending every waking moment together.

Continue reading

The 7 People You’ll Probably Argue With Online Now That Trump Has Been Elected President (And You’re A Liberal)

Tags

, , , , , , ,

It’s been little over a week since the presidential election. I feel like I’ve aged five years. After it was clear on Wednesday morning that Trump had in fact gotten the electoral vote, New York was in mourning. No one could look at each other on the train. I cried twice in public, and still now I keep trying to think of upsides.

(“There is no upside!” My  roommate tells me as I  type this. “It’s just terrible!”)

Continue reading

Exes & Ø’s

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

exes

My father died last week, and after I got the news, I coped how I know best. I wrote about it, and the ensuing outpour of support was much more than I expected.

I thought that I would be socially punished for posting private things about my family and my time growing up. In part, this is why I hesitate when it comes to writing about my own experience, even though I have wells of information to draw from. So when friends near and far came out to give their condolences, I was truly touched.

Continue reading

On Grief

Some of you may already know that my father passed away last night after a year-long battle with ALS.

Some of you may also know that I received the news from Facebook, or rather, from a Facebook post publicized by his pastor within hours of his demise, who I’m sure was given permission to share the news by my father’s wife, Miriam. Because being a good person only matters if everyone knows.

And so here we are.

Continue reading

How Male Wish Fulfillment Went From James Bond To Donald Trump

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

daniel-craig-abs

Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

During November of 2012, right after the release of the James Bond sequel Skyfall, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen penned a hilarious opt-ed titled: James Bond and the new sex appeal. In it, Cohen, a middle-aged man himself, bemoaned the fact that Daniel Craig’s James Bond was a chiseled, muscled sex-god, and sadly, a Bond that no longer reminded him of himself. In his own words:

Craig is 44, but neither gravity nor age has done its evil work on him. Nothing about him looks natural, relaxed — a man in the prime of his life and enjoying it. Instead, I see a man chasing youth on a treadmill, performing sets and reps, a clean and press, a weighted knee raise, an incline pushup and, finally, something called an incline pec fly (don’t ask). I take these terms from the Daniel Craig Workout, which you can do, too, if your agent and publicist so insist. Otherwise, I recommend a book….

Continue reading

Are You Happy?

Tags

, , , ,

In my last post, I posed some questions that are key for self-actualization. They are:

  • Are you doing the right thing?
  • Are you a good person?
  • Are you making the right decisions?
  • AND: Are you making a positive impact for the world around you?

But I forgot the most important question of them all, and I want to talk about it more about it today.

Are you happy?

Continue reading

Condition, Rinse, Repeat

Tags

, , ,

So it usually goes like this:

You’re born. At some point between drooling down your chin and learning how to walk, you realize that there are people who are constantly around you and watching everything you do. Bigger people, sometimes meaner people that are always saying no and telling you what to do, or sometimes nicer people that still tell you no and tell you what to do, and you have to listen because they said so.

And then there are more people, and more places, bigger places, and you realize there are some people who don’t tell you what to do. Some of them ignore you and pretend you do not exist, or are outright mean because you’re small and they’re big. And at some point you realize that not everything revolves around you. In fact, a lot does not revolve around you, and the bigger you get, the more you realize that you are not, in fact, the center of the universe, and probably never were.

Continue reading