Archive for Pop Culture

Beach Patrol captain in hot water over email

Beach PatrolWhile Rodney the Lifeguard (pictured at left) is just a fictional lifeguard from the Ocean City Beach Patrol used in a tourism advertising campaign, the real Beach Patrol is in the news now for what has become a hot-button issue in recent months.

The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday night that the Captain of the Beach Patrol, Butch Arbin, sent an email Sunday telling members of the Beach Patrol to use the locker room “that corresponds to your DNA.”

Arbin has been Captain for 20 years and a member of the beach patrol for 40. He is a teacher in Charles County during the school year and has been named Maryland Physical Education Teacher of the Year in the past.

More from the Sun on the email:

“We are not Target,” Melbourne “Butch” Arbin III wrote in an email Sunday to several dozen Beach Patrol members. “Males use the men’s locker room only! Females use the women’s locker room only!

“If you’re not sure,” he concluded, “go to Target.”

A city flack, who heard about the email from the reporter, called the comments “inappropriate” and not funny and said Arbin could face discipline, which is based on the decision of the Emergency Services Director. The director said that the comments were “insensitive” and “not a true reflection of [Arbin], our department or the Town of Ocean City.”

The emergency services manager also noted that Arbin had not intended to insult any individual or group with his words.

Arbin sent an email to his staff Monday apologizing for the original email that included these lines:

I used humor to make the point. However, this is not the same issue that has been in the news. The males that have used the Women’s locker room are not using out of necessity or because they are identifying as a woman, they are using it out of convenience.

Arbin also noted in the story from the Sun that his original email was sent after women members of the patrol had complained about men using the women’s locker room. He also noted that there are plenty of unisex restrooms available to patrol members and that there are no transgender employees. He noted that he was making a joke using the Target reference because toilet seats in women’s restrooms were being left in the raised position.

Arbin, who hadn’t heard any complaints, also said, “”I don’t care about being politically correct. That’s one of the problems in the country right now.”

He had no complaints against him according to the city’s flack and expressed surprise that anyone had passed it on without discussing it with him.

Beach Patrol captain’s email compared to Orlando massacre

Patrick Paschall, executive director of FreeState Equality Maryland, told the Sun that he and his staff had received a copy of the original message. He claimed the email violated Maryland discrimination laws and made fun of transgender people while contributing to hate and violence.

Paschall also attacked the email by invoking this weekend’s horrific massacre at a gay nightclub by a radical Islamist terrorist in Orlando that killed 49 and injured over 50 others:

“I don’t know how to express the level of anger,” he said, “especially in light of the massacre in Orlando.”

I wouldn’t be surprised with that heated rhetoric if they didn’t also go after Arbin’s teaching job in addition to the beach patrol one.

Georgetown athlete tased at Beyonce concert

GeorgetownWBFF (Fox 45) reported that 21-year old Georgetown student Ebony McKeever “returned to Gate A at M&T Bank Stadium to try re-entering the stadium and was advised by security officials she could not get in.”

Police reported she became disorderly and assaulted police officers dealing with her. She broke away after having one hand placed in a handcuff and started swinging the arm with the handcuffs attached. That was when police tased her and took her into custody. She was so uncooperative that she even refused to give them her name.

Police filed eight charges against McKeever, whowas treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

More from WBFF on the charges:

Ebony McKeever has been charged with the following: two counts of second-degree assault, trespassing, dangerous weapon with intent to injure, resisting arrest, failure to obey a lawful order, disorderly conduct and intoxication/endangerment.

Police said McKeever was the only arrest related to the Beyonce concert. She posted bond and was released.

McKeever’s residence listed on court records indicate she  lives on-campus at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Further  research indicates that she is a sprinter on the Hoyas Track & Field team.

More on Georgetown Sprinter Ebony McKeever

McKeever’s biography on the Georgetown Athletics website indicates she was a junior this year. She is a native of San Francisco and attended Sacred Heart Cathedral High School. Her personal record in the 400 meter sprint is 56.84 seconds.

McKeever has interned at Kaiser Permanente and at the (San Francisco) Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program. She also was elected in 2014 as a student senator in the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA).

Ebony McKeever is also active in The Grassroot Project.

More on that project (emphasis added):

The Grassroot Project serves to educate at-risk youth from Washington D.C. about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention by utilizing Division I “student-athlete” role models. Founded in January 2009, The Grassroot Project is one of the first 501(c)(3) organizations to be designed, initiated, and managed completely by NCAA Division I varsity athletes encompassing athletes from Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, and University of Maryland.

Beyonce concerts in other cities have been protested by police officers and officers refusing to volunteer for overtime hours to provide security for her concerts. The protests were because of claims that her peformance at the Super Bowl and the video for the song Formation are anti-police.

UPDATE

The Baltimore Sun reports that McKeever was escorted out of the concert for disorderly conduct before the other events unfolded.

Freddie Gray book reviews full of snark, vitriol

Freddie GrayThe book Freddie Gray, My Childhood Friend by Kitria Stewart is billed as “an illustrated storybook of memories that were shared with Freddie Gray growing up in Baltimore City.”

The reviews of the book on Amazon.com have hovered around the 1-2 star range with a number of snarky, non-serious reviews mocking Freddie Gray and the premise of the book. Amazon has been cleaning them up since last night, with the reviews down from 118 to 82 to 58 at last inspection. The vitriolic reviews have been making the rounds via email and on social media over the past few days.

I’m including some of the reviews below for informational purposes. I don’t endorse any of them, good or bad since I haven’t read the book. I’m generally against using Amazon and Yelp reviews for political purposes. If you find any of the reviews distasteful, you can let Amazon know on the “Report Abuse” link under each review.

One serious reviewer recently said, “This book is Awesome it shows the real Freddie.. The side the media wouldn’t speak about! Great Job Kitria” while another wrote, “Wow! #MustRead This is such an amazing book that reflects upon Kitria’s childhood memories with Freddie!!!”

Purchase the book here.

Those types of reviews are few and  far between however.

One reviewer even used the nom de plume of “Marilyn Mosby” to leave a review while another left a 5-star review entitled, “Follow up Novel coming soon ‘2 page of Priors'” with a listing of all of Gray’s criminal charges from the online Maryland Judiciary Case Search. One amateur poet even left a review parodying “Green Eggs and Ham” with the title “Seen Drugs and Scram,”

A sampling of some of the reviews:

  • “This book was given to me by a friend, and I honestly read it objectively. However, there was no way I could stomach the tissue of lies that attempted to make a troubled youth and a concordant criminal out to be a Sunday morning choir boy. What a waste of time. Biased, politically motivated and obviously slanted to support an agenda that due to recent events has proven flawed and skewed. Lousy book. Don’t waste time or money.”
  • “It should have been called, Freddie Gray, My Friend the Criminal Drug Dealer.”
  • “Nothing like glorifying the criminal. Great example for inner city kids to read but then again liberal democrats have to fan the flames of hate to keep the inner city poor voting for their candidates.”
  • “Good to see the entrepreneurial spirit exist even in the depravity of West Baltimore. When life gives you lemons, make up a bunch of crap and put it in a book, or was that supposed to be lemonade?”
  • “Spoiler alert: he dies at the end”
  • “Ah yes Freddie gray my childhood friend with a rap sheet a mile long and constant priors. Great for kindling.”
  • “This is the sequel to the book, ‘Charlie Manson, my childhood buddy..’ Apparently someone trying to make a fast buck!!! Shame on you, Amazon for selling this trash!!”
  • “Depolorable that Amazon would allow the sale of this book, and even more so that it was even written. Propaganda at it’s finest.”
  • “Great for starting a fire pit. Or Charcoal grill.”
  • “Read this in the back of a van on a short trip. Really had me shaken up.”
  • “If I wanted to read a fairytale, I would just pick up a Disney book. What a joke. The book should be free too since the family was paid 6 million to go away.”

More on Freddie Gray, My Childhood Friend

Kitria StewartThe author of the book, Kitria Stewart attended Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School in Baltimore City and then went on to attend college at the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP), where she ran track.

The Amazon “About the Author” blurb notes that, “Kitria Stewart is a native of Baltimore, Maryland who holds a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her love for writing grew after being a freelance writer for online publications through Borderzine.com. As a former track athlete, she enjoys getting involved in the community to engage the youth through sports and reading.”

Her Borderzine author page only shows four pieces with her byline.

You can follow her on Twitter here:
@KitriaStewart

You can purchase a copy of Freddie Gray, My Childhood Friend here:

Wonder Woman based on Margaret Sanger

Wonder WomanOver the weekend, I saw an article on largely unknown facts about comic books or comic book characters. I can’t find it right now, but it was on a click-bait site. It included a fact about Wonder Woman that I hadn’t heard before.

The fact I hadn’t read or heard before? That Margaret Sanger was the basis for Wonder Woman. It may be something that has been widely reported at some point, but I’d never heard it. The creator of the comic even did his best to hide that fact for as long as possible.

A 2014 article in Smithsonian magazine by Jill Lepore confirms the report. In 1942 it was reported that Wonder Woman’s creator was Dr. William Moulton Marston, “an internationally famous psychologist.”

The article includes a quote from Marston that, “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

Smithsonian notes that Marston’s attitude was a response to the popularity of sexually violent comic books:

But at a time when war was ravaging Europe, comic books celebrated violence, even sexual violence. In 1940, the Chicago Daily News called comics a “national disgrace.” “Ten million copies of these sex-horror serials are sold every month,” wrote the newspaper’s literary editor, calling for parents and teachers to ban the comics, “unless we want a coming generation even more ferocious than the present one.”

Marston was hired as a consultant by the founder of All-American Comics, Maxwell Charles Gaines. Gaines wanted to use Marston to shield him from criticism.

A staff writer named Olive Richard interviewed Marston at his home for Family Circle magazine in 1940.

From that interview, via Smithsonian:

“Some of them are full of torture, kidnapping, sadism, and other cruel business,” she said.

“Unfortunately, that is true,” Marston admitted, but “when a lovely heroine is bound to the stake, comics followers are sure that the rescue will arrive in the nick of time. The reader’s wish is to save the girl, not to see her suffer.”

Lepore goes on to note that “Olive Richard” is the pen name for Olive Byrne, who already lived with Marston and his wife. More on Olive Byrne:

She was also the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most important feminists of the 20th century. In 1916, Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, Olive Byrne’s mother, had opened the first birth-control clinic in the United States. They were both arrested for the illegal distribution of contraception. In jail in 1917, Ethel Byrne went on a hunger strike and nearly died.

Marston and Byrne met when she was a senior at Tufts and he was her psychology professor. They fell in love and he told his wife, Elizabeth Holloway, that Byrne could move in with them or he would be moving out. Marston fathered two children by each of the women in the household between 1928 and 1933. Holloway finally admitted  to Byrne’s sons in 1963 that Marston was their father. Gaines knew none of this when he hired Marston.

In case you’re having trouble keeping up, Lepore notes (via NPR), “So there was his wife, Elizabeth Holloway, his mistress, Olive Byrne and another woman named Marjorie Wilkes Huntley, who kind of was in and out of the family.”

Lepore discussed Sanger as inspiration for Wonder Woman in more detail in an NPR interview from 2014. That interview also notes that the costume for Wonder Woman was inspired by erotic pinup art.

Wonder Woman debuted in All-Star Comics in 1941 and appeared on the cover of Sensation Comics in 1942. In the Smithsonian article, Lepore notes that controversy ensued:

But in March 1942, the National Organization for Decent Literature put Sensation Comics on its blacklist of “Publications Disapproved for Youth” for one reason: “Wonder Woman is not sufficiently dressed.”

From the NPR interview:

But one of the things that’s a defining element of Wonder Woman is that if a man binds her in chains, she loses all of her Amazonian strength. And so in almost every episode of the early comics – the ones that Marston wrote – she’s chained up or she’s roped up. It’s usually chains. And then she has to break free of these chains, and that’s, Marston would always say, in order to signify her emancipation from men. But those chains are really an important part of the feminist and suffrage struggles of the 1910s that Marston was – had a kind of front-row seat for.

Also in the NPR interview, host Terry Gross and Lepore discuss the “big kind of fetishistic, sexual aspect to the bondage and the chains in Wonder Woman.”

A woman member of the advisory board for Gaines’ comics even sent a letter of complaint about Wonder Woman’s”“sadistic bits showing women chained, tortured, etc.” and Lepore agrees with her in the story:

She had a point. In episode after episode, Wonder Woman is chained, bound, gagged, lassoed, tied, fettered and manacled. “Great girdle of Aphrodite!” she cries at one point. “Am I tired of being tied up!”

Marston shrugged off the criticism and when Dorothy Roubicek, an editor who actually worked on Wonder Woman, complained, he said:

“Of course I wouldn’t expect Miss Roubicek to understand all this,” Marston wrote Gaines. “After all I have devoted my entire life to working out psychological principles. Miss R. has been in comics only 6 months or so, hasn’t she? And never in psychology.” But “the secret of woman’s allure,” he told Gaines, is that “women enjoy submission—being bound.”

Marston was hiding his relationship with Olive Byrne, his connection to Margaret Sanger, which tied into the images of bondage:

Hidden behind this controversy is one reason for all those chains and ropes, which has to do with the history of the fight for women’s rights. Because Marston kept his true relationship with Olive Byrne a secret, he kept his family’s ties to Margaret Sanger a secret, too. Marston, Byrne and Holloway, and even Harry G. Peter, the artist who drew Wonder Woman, had all been powerfully influenced by the suffrage, feminism and birth control movements. And each of those movements had used chains as a centerpiece of its iconography.

More details on the use of similar art in Sanger-related publications is included on the second page of the Smithsonian article.

Lepore sums up that section with this:

When Marston created Wonder Woman, in 1941, he drew on Sanger’s legacy and inspiration. But he was also determined to keep the influence of Sanger on Wonder Woman a secret.

More on Margaret Sanger:
the Inspiration for Wonder Woman

Wonder WomanMargaret Sanger was the founder of what is now the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

Sanger was known as a free love (e.g. the arrangement already mentioned that her niece was involved in) and birth control activist, but what her supporters want to cover up now is her support for eugenics.

Much of the quotes have been cited before by the modern pro-life movement. I’ll get to them in a moment but I thought that quoting her Wikipedia entry might be a good thing to do, since any edits to her biography there are highly scrutinized due to the controversy surrouding her.

From Wikipedia:

In “The Morality of Birth Control,” a 1921 speech, she divided society into three groups: the “educated and informed” class that regulated the size of their families, the “intelligent and responsible” who desired to control their families in spite of lacking the means or the knowledge, and the “irresponsible and reckless people” whose religious scruples “prevent their exercising control over their numbers.” Sanger concludes, “There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”

Sanger’s eugenic policies included an exclusionary immigration policy, free access to birth control methods, and full family planningautonomy for the able-minded, as well as compulsory segregation or sterilization for the “profoundly retarded”. In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the “undeniably feeble-minded” from procreating.

 

National Right to Life has written more about Sanger and eugenics:

But if someone is truly “unfit,” he or she is too stupid or out-of-control to stop reproducing voluntarily. So, as Sanger wrote in 1921, governments should “attempt to restrain, either by force or persuasion, the moron and the imbecile from producing his large family of feeble-minded offspring.”

Now you understand Sanger’s support of forced sterilization of the “unfit,” something enthusiastically promoted by many of her friends and collaborators, such as former Planned Parenthood president Alan Guttmacher (after whom Planned Parenthood’s former research arm is named) or Clarence Gamble, who used his fortune to set up sterilization clinics throughout the South and Midwest.

Gamble was proud of his work promoting involuntary sterilization but complained in 1947 that there was much more to do: “For every one man or woman who has been sterilized, there are 40 others who can continue to pour defective genes into the State’s bloodstream to pollute and degrade future generations.”

Some Sanger quotes, from Life News (here and here):

  • “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
  • “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
  • “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities.  The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
  • “[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”
  • “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan … I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses … I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak … In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.”
  • I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world – that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin – that people can – can commit.

The creator of Wonder Woman was living with two lovers, his wife, and their children. He thought women want to be submissive and bound and he admired Sanger, an advocate of free love and eugenics. I can see why he hid all of this from the people behind what became DC Comics.

Rapper involved in Waffle House fight in SC

Waffle House

Fox Carolina reports that rapper Juvenile was involved in an altercation at a Waffle House on Pelham Road in Greenville, South Carolina.

From their report (emphasis added):

A witness told FOX Carolina Juvenile entered the Waffle House restaurant on Pelham Road on Friday night. According to reports, a man in the restaurant said, “Juvenile is here, I guess the hoes are coming.”

Juvenile, who was with his wife, reportedly thought the man had insulted her and became angry.

The witness said Juvenile’s security team pulled him out of the restaurant but he came back in. When the man stood up, Juvenile punched him in the face before his friends joined in the attack, according to the witness.

A waitress at the restaurant reportedly grabbed the sink hose and sprayed down the whole group.

The report indicates that by the time local law enforcement arrived the “scene had cleared.”

Waffle House isn’t the sole scene of Juvenile’s crimes

Juvenile is 41 years old. His real name is Terius Gray and he was born in New Orleans.

He has been involved in hip hop as a rapper since 1991. Gray has also had a limited acting career.

Juvenile’s legal history dates back to at least 2002, when he was charged with assaulting his barber. He suspected the barber of bootlegging his music. Since then, he has been arrested on drug charges and performed community service for being involved in a fight outside a club. In 2010, he received probation after being charged with possession of marijuana. He also was charged with simple possession and speeding in New Orleans in 2011.

Juvenile also is a deadbeat dad.

In 2004, Joy Deleston filed a paternity lawsuit against him. Both parties agreed that he was the father after a DNA test. The lawsuit contended Juvenile was not paying child support for his daughter Jelani. In 2008, Joy Deleston, Jelani, and another of Joy’s children were murdered by Joy’s 17 year old son. Juvenile received criticism for not attending the funeral, but indicated that he didn’t want to be a distraction.

In 2012, a warrant was issued for Juvenile’s arrest for failure to pay child support to Dionne Williams, reportedly the mother of his teenage son. A judge ruled that he could avoid arrest and 90 days in jail if he paid $50,000 immediately.