Pleasant Monday to you, friends and frienemies.
- We start today with GQ Magazine not getting the memo that there is actual news happening...stuff that people - even its high-end readership - care about, and instead dedicating words and pictures to Rielle Hunter, former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' mistress. Hunter uses her space to defend her affair with Edwards, insist she didn't pursue him, blame his terminally ill soon-to-be-ex-wife for his hankering for strange, and predict that they (Hunter and Edwards) would be in love with one another forever. And she took a really weird picture for someone begging to be taken serioulsy - posing pantsless with stuffed animals and cartoon characters, including a stuffed Dora the Explorer, and Barney the Dinosaur. Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground! Ahem, as a public service, I'm not including the link to the GQ article. I read it for you, so you could look up more important things on more important sites like MiamiHerald.com...You're welcome!
- A city worker in Detroit just won a $100,000 settlement against the city, because the worker successfully argued that a co-worker's too-strong perfume made it difficult to work, focus, breathe, etc. I hate frivolous lawsuits, but I'm not so sure this one's frivolous. I have fairly heavy allergies and asthma. So I feel this woman's pain. And if she asked her supervisors to help by moving her or the perfume wearer or by asking folks to tone down their scents, and they didn't help, then bully for her. Glad she won. I've had a couple of co-workers who smelled like goat farms. It was like working with Pigpen. Made my eyes water. And damned if I couldn't focus either. I was writing things that looked like hieroglyphics I was so dazed. Kidding about that last part. But seriously, I think this suit was just fine. The city's putting up placards now, asking other workers to not wear strong, smelly stuff, so as to avoid further suits.
- Glenn Beck is wrong about social justice having no place in church teachings. Last week the Fox News Channel commentator urged fans to leave their churches if their ministers preached "social justice," because such preaching/teaching pollutes the Gospel. The problem with Beck's argument though, is he interchanges kindness with politics. Every major religion and every Christian denomination - including Beck's Mormon religion - call on government to be fair to people. If you're athiest or agnostic or whatever, none of this means squat to you, 'cause good deeds are good deeds and bad are bad, and so on. But if you call yourself Christian, then you know - or should know - that your bible teaches that Christ fed the poor and encouraged his disciples to do so. He washed other people's feet as a demonstration of humility. He healed the blind and sick (even those without adequate health insurance). His actions were kind, and exhorted his followers to do practice similar acts. Same goes for pretty much every organized religion, and its deities, and prophets, and leaders. Beck'sproblem seems to be one of churches whose leaders try to influence government to set formal policy on social justice issues like poverty. Either way, he's wrong. A religious group can teach its parishioners to do all those kind things in the name of social justice and it can call on government or big business or both to be fair to Average Joe, without making the argument a partisan one and without arguing that individual rights be diminished.
- There's been a lot of outrage over the past few days, since Howard Stern ranted on-air that Gabourey Sidibe, who played the title character in the film Precious, was so fat she'd never work again in Hollywood and that she should treasure her Oscar nomination now 'cause it was the only time she'd get one. In fact, Stern was downright mean in his descriptions of Sidibe. But for all the distasteful nature of his style (and that of sidekick, Robin Whatshername), Stern alluded to a very, very valid point: Obesity is a major health problem in the United States. Obesity among African Americans is at scary levels. Obesity in general costs the already overburdened medical care system billions per year. If the source of our obesity problem was a mystery, this would be a different discussion. But much of it can be attributed to people eating crap and leading sedentary lifestyles. So, Stern argued that people who tell Sidibe to stay just the way she is and tell her that she can get plenty of roles in Hollywood just the way she is, are helping keep her at a dangeroulsy unhealthy weight/size by inadvertently telling her to stay obese. I think his argument warrants consideration. Again, there's no excuse for Stern's mean descriptions of Sidibe. But what do you expect - for him to be diplomatic? And his claim that she'll never work in Hollywood again have already been proven false. She co-stars with Zoe Kravitz in Yelling to the Sky, set for release later this year. The Oscar thing? Silly. How do you predict that someone will "never" be nominated again? Who would've thought Mickey Rourke would make a comeback? But I do agree with Stern's argument about Hollywood folks doing Sidibe a disservice by telling her she's fine just as she is, physically. If they mean to tell her she's an all-around beautiful person for having a radiant smile and confidence and smarts and an awesome personality, etc., they should. But they shouldn't encourage anyone to remain obese because it seems like the nice thing to say.
So that's all for me...for this morning, anyway. I've got an article to finish.
PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.