Archive for June, 2013

Picture of Me-2Luis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.

Paula Deen Cooks Up A Hot Mess

By Luis M. LuquePimages

Perhaps I shouldn’t, but I find a small measure of amusement surrounding the recent tribulations of celebrity chef Paula Deen. Deen, whose name I wouldn’t have known as recently as a month ago, has found herself the target of much finger-wagging in the media over comments she made that were rightly construed as racist but mostly betray the 66-year-old’s insulated upbringing in Albany, Georgia, which repealed its Jim Crow laws in 1963, the year Deen turned 16.

Paula-Deen-Cries-Denies-Being-Racist-On-TodayDeen’s life was turned upside down when both of her parents died while she was in her 20s. She suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia, finding solace in the only place she felt comfortable, her kitchen, cooking down-home, Southern-style recipes she learned from her grandmother. To assume a white woman who grew up with a mediocre education and few marketable skills in Albany during the civil rights upheavals didn’t at some point harbor racial animosity, or at least distrust, is merely disingenuous. And to her credit, during her recent deposition in a trial in which she and her brother, Earl, are accused of racial and sexual discrimination, Deen was honest, admitting she had often used the word “nigger.” “Yes, of course,” she said. Given her age and upbringing, saying otherwise would have been a blatant and provable lie.

I’m not trying to urge anyone to feel sympathy for Paula Deen. Even if her tears on the Today Show were genuine, even if she never signs another media contract or endorsement deal, Deen and her descendants will continue to enjoy the many millions she has made as a celebrity chef, author, restaurateur, and brand name for many years to come. No, I frankly don’t care what happens to Paula Deen. She will soon enough disappear and be forgotten.george-zimmerman

It does amuse me that the Deen racial controversy couldn’t have come at a more interesting time, coinciding with the trial of George Zimmerman for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ducking of a case about affirmative action in university admissions and that same court’s striking of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, with the 50th anniversary of the violent summer of Bull Connor, fire hoses, and police dogs in Birmingham, Alabama, the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech in 1963, and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. In some ways, I feel the Civil War has never ended. As William Faulkner observed, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (more…)

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062Roberta Kerwin is the author of Macbeth for Murderers, a true-life account of teaching Shakespeare to inmates in a Maximum Security Prison, co-written with her husband, John Kerwin.  Roberta has been publishing her work since 2006 in such venues as Vikings on Film,  Studies in Medievalism and  Arthuriana.  John was in the television industry, and wrote, produced, and directed a wide variety of broadcasts.   He is the recipient of an Emmy.  Roberta currently works at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, teaching medieval literature.  John and Roberta’s first fictional collaboration, What Doesn’t Kill You: The Resurgam Chronicles, will be available as an ebook in July 2013.

Welcome to the blog, Roberta; What is up with the world’s number one tennis star?

SERENA by Roberta Kerwinswimages

With Wimbledon in the news, is it worth looking at athletes who may not be train-wrecks, but who seem to be racking up disgrace points? Speaking of attractive women, what do you think about Jason Whitlock’s piece on Serena Williams?

Along with the problems he mentions, there was also the feud with Sloane Stephens, another young American Player.

All this on top of her performance at the U.S. Open when she was fined for bullying a line judge.serena_williams_2597520b

I’ve heard it said that her controversial behavior is good for the sport as otherwise women’s tennis is boring. I’m not setting myself up as her judge, but does anyone else find this a little cynical?

Postscript: June 26th, Serena gave an interview to ESPN in which she told them she has “no problem with anyone in the locker room.” Seriously? Even her interviewers, who are trained to make nothing but positive comments when interviewing superstars, expressed skepticism.

(photos: sportinglife.com, Googleimages.com, telegraph.uk.com)

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Picture of Me-2Luis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.



Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, the Olsen twins―these days, the supply of celebrity train wrecks seems endless, and in this era of camera phones, stalkerazzi, and TMZ, poking fun at them has become a cottage industry, one that goes way back (Cher, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor), but is today enjoying something of an unfortunate golden age.Miley-Cyrus-Cosmopolitan-02

But isn’t it funny that the media have always tended to take far more obsessive interest in the pretty, young, female train wrecks than in the just-as-plentiful male variety (Justin Bieber, Macaulay Culkin, Kanye West) or especially the more plentiful older male variety (Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, David Hasselhoff, Sean Connery, Michael Douglas) who are as likely to be caught saying and doing stupid things on camera?justin-bieber-Believe-photoshoot-2012-justin-bieber-31177743-1348-1600

So, then, why do the media focus so much on the ladies?

Mara Wilson, who as a child starred in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, and has since abandoned acting to become a writer, published an insightful essay at Cracked.com entitled “7 Reasons Child Stars Go Crazy.” In that same vein, I give you five reasons the media obsess about women train wrecks.

1. Sex. Most of these train wrecks tend to be young, single, and pretty. The chance of snapping some high-res gyno-pix as these women hop out of a limo sans underclothes is pretty high, even if they’re not drunk (Anne Hathaway), and they might reveal something even if they’re fully clothed (Emma Watson). A few years ago during her party prime, Paris Hilton might even flash the paparazzi just because, or she might not notice or care when her skimpy top dipped below the equator. You can’t expect the stalkerazzi, who are almost exclusively men, not to fight for the chance to make money while enjoying the show. And some of these women do enjoy putting on a show. Which leads me to … (more…)

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