D.C. Rap War

You don’t want to be dissed by a woman. Hell, Carly Simon built her whole career on it. “You’re so vain…”

“After she returned to Capitol Hill, Ms. Pelosi said that for Mr. Trump, the wall was ‘like a manhood thing for him.’

‘As if manhood could ever be associated with him,’ she said.”

5 Takeaways From Trump’s Meeting With Pelosi and Schumer

She’s playing Trump’s game, but better.

In other words, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

The Republicans have defined the debate for decades. They are the ones who kept screaming about Pelosi. It was a very good strategy, to a degree the Democrats bought it, but Pelosi navigated and appears to have emerged victorious, she will be the Speaker.

And the Donald will have to deal with the adult in the room.

Men are afraid of strong women. Their tricks don’t work. Furthermore, most men are pussy-whipped. The woman sets the agenda and the man follows, except for the occasional blow-up, when the woman lets the guy have his way.

Or, you can marry a slave. That’s what Richard Lewis used to do. He got involved with women who would do whatever he wanted. Watch Scorsese movies all day long? NO PROBLEM! But he married a woman with power, who could stand up to him.

With Trump it’s “my way or the highway.” Sure, you can surround yourself with acolytes who never bark back, but when you encounter professionals, especially women, you’re unprepared.

That’s what we don’t like about Sheryl Sandberg. She’s a woman, but she’s playing a man’s game, like a man. Whereas Nancy Pelosi is being a woman, and it’s working for her. She’s not raising her voice, she’s not ranting and raving, and she’s got no problem getting in the ring with power.

Furthermore, she’s experienced.

Somehow, experience has been waylaid. Sure, you need new perspectives, but in every profession time spent playing the game pays dividends. In music, we embrace the young and new and throw the old overboard. And the disses are never over anything important. It’s a girlfriend or misbehavior in a club. Musicians used to be seers sitting atop the social pyramid, now they’re bozos running around in the circus, it’s pure entertainment.

And Pelosi is not playing Hillary’s game. Hillary was like a deer in the headlights, so worried about what people thought of her that she couldn’t and still can’t be honest. We know acts like this in the music business, they have their hit(s) and are forgotten. We’re looking for someone more honest, more singular, evidencing their truth, that’s what we’re drawn to.

And the problem with Trump is the lack of truth. But Pelosi called him on this, she refused to be pushed around and misrepresented.

Guys know how to mess with guys. Women? They don’t know how to play, especially in public. Do they bend over backwards and then stick the knife in in the dark?

It’s been a long time coming.

And it won’t be a long time gone.

It’s here to stay.

One thing’s for sure, Trump has woken up the country. I don’t expect Fox News and Trumpsters to celebrate Pelosi, anything but, but the truth is the game is not one of snapshots, but rather an entire movie.

Fox is running out of ammunition. Fighting the war of Clinton and Obama when the last I checked, they held no political office. Hell, the entire Republican agenda is a blast to the past. And Me Too has evolved. Now it’s not about who you mistreated as much as how you treat women today. And women who embrace their newfound power are the winners.

Come on, a 78 year old rock star?

Who’d you rather talk to, who’d you rather hang with, Nancy Pelosi or Cardi B?

You use your power to move the needle.

You don’t bitch about the old game, you redefine it. Hell, there are still rockers lamenting streaming. Meanwhile, the game is about audience and touring. How do you develop your own fan base that will support you.

OH NO! I need the help of the label and radio and the press, I can’t do it alone.

Yes you can.

The power of one can never be underestimated. One person changes the world. We’re looking for beacons, we want to follow in the footsteps of leaders.

And every leader has those who don’t support them.

But living in the past under falsehoods never wins.

Martin Mull once said “Politics is show business for ugly people.”

But it turns out show business is politics for beautiful people. All the maneuvering, all the falsehoods, all the TMZ…or, as another performer once said, “Show business is high school with money.”

And I never want to go back to high school, do you?

At some point you have to grow up and become an adult. But the music business is stuck in endless adolescence. And if you are an adult you’re pushed to the side.

I gave up on the circus long ago, hell, it was canceled by society just a few years back.

Meanwhile, the rank and file get caught up in the sideshow, the comic book movies, while the adults rule the world.

Like Nancy Pelosi.

Bob Geldof Part 1-SiriusXM This Week

Recorded live in Dublin, Ireland.

Tune in today, Tuesday December 11th, on Volume 106, 7 PM East, 4 PM West.

Hear the episode live on SiriusXM VOLUME: HearLefsetzLive

If you miss the episode, you can hear it on demand on the SiriusXM app: LefsetzLive

Killing Eve

They gave me a free subscription to Hulu so I could watch Beau Willimon’s “The First.”

The female lead was miscast and Sean Penn was so macho it was a turn-off. Penn needs to prove that a little guy can have cojones too, and you just have to laugh, he seems to take himself so SERIOUSLY!

But “Killing Eve” does not.

That’s the confounding thing, the tone, you’re not sure whether it’s serious or comical and then you decide just to run with it.

It was on BBC America and my e-mail implored me to watch it but to be truthful the commercials ruined it and after two episodes, we gave up.

But then I found out it was on Hulu, and I wanted to finish it before my three month subscription ran out.

Now “Killing Eve” is not as good as “House of Cards,” which Beau Willimon ran so well. “House of Cards” was the breakthrough streaming show just like “The Sopranos” was the breakthrough cable show. Oh sure, HBO had “Dream On” and “Larry Sanders” before, but neither of them pushed the format to the point where television eclipsed movies. I still remember Meadow manipulating her parents, telling them to punish her by taking away her gas card. It’s these little insights that bond you. Kids today manipulate their parents, they’re best friends with their parents, nobody in the boomer era EVER said their parents were their best friends, but today…

And “House of Cards” was full of wisdom.

And stunningly, “Killing Eve” is too.

First of all, it’s a small coterie of people who control the world. Forget whether Russia was meddling with the election, the fact that Trump knew these people and interacted with them begs the question…WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

But what if there are no sides. What if the same cabal runs the entire world. Especially those you’ve never heard the name of.

That’s one big point in “Killing Eve,” the TWELVE.

The other is the line uttered by Irina deep into the series, when she delineates the power of information, the world runs on it, and those who have it and can analyze it triumph in the end.

It works on every level, macro and micro. And you can use this information to manipulate or to take a stand but one thing’s for sure, you use it to discover where the game is going. He who knows this continues to play, he (OR SHE!) who doesn’t, is ultimately left behind.

That’s what ages you, when the game overwhelms you, when it’s just too much. When someone starts complaining about streaming and smartphones and social media, know that they’re on their way out, the game has overwhelmed them, they’re never gonna pass GO! and get two hundred dollars ever again.

And “Killing Eve” is a female-dominated show. It’s not about giving women male roles, but creating female roles and letting women shine.

Like Sandra Oh.

I know, she was on that medical drama. But I’ve never seen an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” That’s entertainment, I’m looking for life, the essence. And that was depicted in Oh’s starring role in her feature debut, 1994’s “Double Happiness.” Back when I used to read the reviews and go to the theatre, when being a fan of foreign and indie film was a pursuit, before Sundance led the studios into the territory and it all collapsed.

And sure, she’s got that wonderful hair, but first and foremost, Sandra Oh can act! Can do things with her face the models cannot. She illustrates acting is a profession.

As for Jodie Comer, she was hard to figure out. Was she too cute, or not quite beautiful enough. Was it her awkward, unbelievable smile? But when Sandra talks with Anna and you find out Jodie’s history, it all comes together.

And speaking of Anna, Susan Lynch embodies Russia in this role. She’s not classically beautiful, she’s got some miles on her face, she’s not stick thin, she’s a working woman, who is passionate and fulfilled by her work, but it doesn’t eclipse the absence of her husband.

And the episodes in Russia make the series. Maybe it’s just our preconception of the country, but the imperfection, the shabbiness, it rings true. And when I was there eight years ago, I was stunned that there was a window open in the Hermitage, right by a Picasso, whereas climate control is key in western museums, and our guide was playing the game of payoffs to get her daughter into a good school, and this is what makes art, when it’s more than story.

And when it takes you away.

Like I said, you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry, whether to be engrossed or skeptical, but eventually you go with the flow. It’s almost like a James Bond movie starring women, but with a Bond not as bogus as Roger Moore or as one dimensional as Daniel Craig.

And what is life anyway?

As Villanelle says, it’s about a great flat, a fun job and having someone to lie in bed and watch movies with. That’s it. Sure, accomplishments are fun, fame can pay dividends, but neither necessarily make you more happy.

And Villanelle wants to be happy. She can never quite get there, but she wants it so bad.

And so do we. We’re searching for it all the time.

A fun job. What a concept. Not a status job, or a well-remunerated job, but one that makes you smile and laugh. Is being an assassin fun?

To Villanelle it is.

So I’m not saying to put “Killing Eve” on your must-list.

And now that I’ve got Hulu I haven’t bothered to watch “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Funny, the bigger the buzz, the more I don’t want to catch up on it. If everybody’s watching it, like “Game of Thrones,” I don’t need to. I’ll catch up a couple of years after the series is completed, when it’s all not dribbled out episode by episode, when no one’s talking about it at the water cooler and viewing it will seem like going down into a rabbit hole alone, having a private experience.

But limits are being tested on television all day long. Sure, it’s overwhelming, sure there are too many shows, but it’s like having too many websites, no one complained about that during the advent of the internet.

Enjoy it. It won’t last forever. Just like blockbusters killed the movie business. Imagine if there was no “Jaws,” no “Star Wars,” imagine if film continued to be about real life, story…

Then you’d have television.

Then you’d have “Killing Eve.”

Hypocrisy

The “Washington Post” says the Russians interacted with fourteen of Trump’s team and the Fox News site leads with Hillary Clinton.

We live in silos, reinforced by our media consumption, but one thing’s for sure, if you’re not watching Fox, the world is in turmoil. Huawei, Brexit, the stock market and…

Kevin Hart.

He was picked to host the Oscars and then he was booted after it turned out he made homophobic remarks in the past.

All seems sensible until Michael Che weighs in and…

That’s the funny thing about old school media, the SNL story on Sunday was about DeNiro’s appearance, it wasn’t until today that the Che story blew up.

I read it first on the “New York” magazine site. You see most stories break on alternative sites, the big outlets don’t have enough manpower, but it’s those on the beat elsewhere who pick up the details of smaller stories and then they are amplified.

And in case you still don’t know…

“‘Well, that was short,’ Che began, ‘Kevin Hart had to step down as host of the upcoming Academy Awards because of homophobic tweets from 2011. But didn’t the Academy nominate Mel Gibson for an award just last year?’

‘Also, if Kevin Hart isn’t clean enough to host the Oscars, then no black comic is. The only black comic I know that’s cleaner than Kevin Hart is booked for the next three to 10 years,’ Che concluded his rant as a picture of convicted comedian Bill Cosby’s photo appeared.”

‘SNL’ Star Michael Che Defends Kevin Hart Amid Oscars Exit, Says Academy Nominated Mel Gibson Last Year (turn on the volume to watch the clip)

Proving, once again, distribution is king.

Placement is part of distribution. If SNL opened with this clip, all hell would have broken loose. But it was buried in the middle of the show. Then again, was this intentional? That’s what the left wing does, bury controversial remarks while the right delivers them up front and center.

Now the funny thing is Che is right.

Or maybe it’s that African-Americans have more power than Jews. Kevin Spacey is banned from show business, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose too, but Mel Gibson gets a pass…is it because he’s attractive and generates cash?

Oh, you can say that Gibson’s comments were in the past.

But so are Kevin Hart’s!

And now it’s not only Michael Che supporting Hart, but Nick Cannon, and whitey Kevin Kline!

This is how the Academy gets itself in trouble, by not knowing what they’re getting into. Kinda like putting Kid Rock on the tube and being astonished when he shows up. Meanwhile, Rock pays off the layaway bills for 350 Wal-Mart shoppers and few know about it, because that does not fit in with the Robert Ritchie narrative:

Kid Rock pays off layaways for 350 families at Nashville Walmart

But one thing you’ve got to say about Rock, he doesn’t stray from his story, he’s always true to himself, and that’s why he’s got so much money he doesn’t care if you’re not paying attention to him, his fans support him.

That’s a modern day rock star.

But back to Kevin Hart. Turns out Chelsea Handler, Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman also have a history of homophobic statements, are they not banned because they’re’ white?

Then you’ve got someone saying these women have gay audiences and therefore…

We’ve got to decide where the line is, we’ve got to decide if someone can be rehabilitated, if someone can change.

Ever since Grover Norquist made Republicans sign a pledge not to raise taxes, changing your mind has been anathema in Congress. Look at the campaigns, candidates always point out competitors’ “contradictions.”

Meanwhile, the rank and file change their minds all the time.

But the tribalists insist on purity. Even though so many of us are not tribalists, rather our characters are chiaroscuro.

This is a problem on both left and right. It’ll be hard for the left to win if it doesn’t manage the infighting of special interest groups. Only the pure and bland can be nominated, those without history and experience, and that’s not a winning strategy.

But there’s no kumbaya on the left, the party of kumbaya. It’s the left that is excoriating Elizabeth Warren for her DNA test. The right is laughing. Same deal with Al Franken. That’s a bad trade, Al Franken for Kristen Gillibrand. Does that make me sexist? In the eyes of some lefties it does.

Oscar ratings are tanking. And it’s a show supported by advertisers who want young ‘uns when only oldsters are watching. So the Academy tries to make adjustments, like the “Popular” Oscar. Then the organization is rightly excoriated. Never play outside your sandbox, your lack of understanding is always revealed.

So, there’s got to be a continuum, and where someone is on it has to be factored in. Louis C.K. is not Harvey Weinstein, no way. And by casting him as such, it just reinforces that no one should ever admit they’re wrong, they should just stand their ground, and deny, deny, deny, like our President.

And times have changed. Things people said and did in the past they wouldn’t today. And some deeds are actionable, and some are not. A zero tolerance policy never works, just like three strikes and you’re out, every case must be judged on its own merits. But not in America, where it’s about rules, and the only ones winning are the cheats who are bending them, the rank and file just get caught and fall further behind.

But no one wants to have this discussion. And everyone’s afraid.

Men are afraid.

Musicians are afraid.

Comics are afraid.

And if they weigh in, there are consequences, just like with Michael Che.

But isn’t this what we want in society, limit-testers, people who make us look at situations a different way, with new eyes?

I now know the Kevin Hart expulsion is more complicated than it looks. Like Brexit. Once you can see the consequences, maybe you make a different choice.

But most people are uniformed, they’re so busy rooting for their tribe that they don’t want to hear anything that challenges their preconceptions.

As for the old saw that you can never change someone’s mind, hogwash. People won’t change on the spot, but after digesting the new information they’ll oftentimes adjust.

Then again, most people are just tuned in to the news in their own silo. They’re afraid of being challenged.

But when it comes to subjects other than politics, we find so many of us switch sides regularly, we are a much more homogeneous society than we admit.

But right now, we’re all addicted to the news. Not only Mueller, but tariffs and…

It’s like watching a ping-pong match.

Then again, Fox News hits against the wall, playing with itself. Used to be Republicans were the antidote to Democrats, now they’re just plain crazy. That’ll get my e-mail going. Then again, you know you’re doing it right when people react.

Kudos to Michael Che for pointing out the Academy’s hypocrisy.

As for SNL and my previous excoriations, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and if you’re not willing to keep an open mind, the loser is you.