Wherein I read things, laugh [or not], and pass them on to you…
In Where’s There’s Smoke: Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man, Davis offers readers an honest look at the acting life.
In his memoir Where There’s Smoke: Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man, Davis writes about his years on The X-Files, while offering an honest, lively rendering of his life prior to his worldwide stardom and since. I recently spoke with Davis about his book, his thoughts on his craft and, of course, The X-Files.
Cigarette Smoking Man was certainly an iconic character. How do you see him in hindsight?
Like all villains he, of course, didn’t believe he was a villain. He believed he was doing what he needed to do, while making the compromises that had to be made in the circumstances that he found himself. In some ways, while he was a strong, powerful presence, he was actually a compromiser. I think he’s idealistic. It’s interesting. I think I say in the book where we actually did an episode or part of an episode that we weren’t able to screen because it just didn’t look right. It was where we were all younger and we were idealistic and had a vision of what we were doing.
I think what is interesting about the character is the degree to which he was forced to compromise. And this is very common with many people. I think he gradually hollowed out inside. He just had to shut down this feeling and that feeling just in order to survive. And the smoking was all part of deadening the emotional nerve centers so he could cope.
[themortonreport/Mindy Peterman/11 feb 2012]
By now, most of you have probably heard the news: after she got black-out drunk at a party and found herself pregnant and unsure of who the father of her baby is, Buffy Summers is getting an abortion in the franchise’s Season 9 comic book extensions of the television show. I’m profoundly relieved that, in keeping with his courage about social issues in general, Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon has been firm that Buffy will definitely go through with the procedure, rather than following the lead of so many other pop culture artifacts, which generally have a character consider abortion before deciding to keep the baby. But even more than the fact that Buffy is doing this storyline, I think these comments from Whedon in Entertainment Weekly are important:
I think strongly that teen pregnancy and young people having babies when they are not emotionally, financially, or otherwise equipped to take care of them, is kind of glorified in our media right now. You know, things like Secret Life [of an American Teenager] and Juno and Knocked Up – even if they pretend to deal with abortion, the movies don’t even say the word “abortion.” It’s something that over a third of American women are going to decide to have to do in their lives. But people are so terrified that no one will discuss the reality of it — not no one, but very few popular entertainments, even when they say they’re dealing with this issue, they don’t, and won’t. It’s frustrating to me.
I don’t think Buffy should have a baby. I don’t think Buffy can take care of a baby. I agree with Buffy. It’s a very difficult decision for her, but she made a decision that so many people make and it’s such a hot button issue with Planned Parenthood under constant threat and attack right now. A woman’s right to choose is under attack as much as it’s ever been, and that’s a terrible and dangerous thing for this country. I don’t usually get soap box-y with this, but the thing about Buffy is all she’s going through is what women go through, and what nobody making a speech, holding up a placard, or making a movie is willing to say.
[thinkprogress.org/Alyssa Rosenberg/10 Feb 2012]
President Obama’s regulation mandating that health insurance plans offer free birth control is an issue that most directly affects women. And yet, the cable news chatter over this controversy has been driven mostly by men, according to a new ThinkProgress analysis.
From Monday through Thursday evening, the leading cable news channels – Fox, Fox Business, MSNBC, and CNN – invited almost twice as many men as women onto their shows to discuss contraceptive coverage.
Out of a total of 146 guests who discussed contraception, the cables invited 91 men compared to 55 women as commentators. In other words, males comprised 62 percent of the total guests who commented on contraception. Fox was the most gender stratified network – on the Business network, 10 of 11 guests were male; on the News side, male pundits took up 65 percent of the guest lineup (28 men vs. 15 women). Sixty percent of MSNBC’s lineup was male (44 men vs. 31 women). And while CNN was more evenly balanced, it was still slightly tilted in favor of male perspectives (9 men vs. 8 women).
[thinkprogress.org/Faiz Shakir and Adam Peck/10 feb 2012]
GOP War on Women Goes Nookyular
After two solid weeks of Republicans rapidly escalating attacks on contraception access under the banner of “religous freedom,” Obama finally announced what the White House is proposing an accomodation of religiously affiliated employers who don’t want to offer birth control coverage as part of their insurance plans. In those situations, the insurance companies will have to reach out directly to employees and offer contraception coverage for free, without going through the employer.
Instead of re-evaluating its attempt to turn contraception into a wedge issue—after all, Fox News (yes that Fox News) published a poll that found 61% of Americans approve of “requiring employer health plans to cover birth control for women.” —the GOP, led by Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R-Crazytown) has decided to double-down on the War on Women.
Blunt has introduced an amendment to the PPACA which would allow employers to deny any preventive health services (including breast cancer screening, depression screening, and diabetes screening), under the guise of religious freedom and respecting the right of conscience of insurers, plan sponsors and healthcare providers, among others. Apparently, that’s the new meme: Insurance companies are now having their religious freedom infringed. Somebody save them! (I wrote about that nonsense yesterday.)
[balloon-juice.com/ABL 2.0/11 feb 2012]
I see that the Conference of Catholic Bishops has figured out how the Obama Administration has either cleverly or by fumbling finessed the contraception insurance coverage issue while exposing the Bishops to the charge their demands are more about using government to restrict women’s rights than violating the moral conscience of a bunch of old men.
The Bishops are upset because they wanted contraception to be banned, and if not banned, then at least not covered by insurance, and if covered for some, then not covered for others, with the exceptions eventually swallowing the rule. They now realize they lost. Virtually everyone in the relevant group must be covered under the “compromise” rule.
Now they are forced to put aside their phony religious liberty argument — this was always about imposing their views on everyone else — and foment against the rule on the basis that no one should get contraceptives and government should enforce that restriction.
[firedoglake/Scarecrow/11 Feb 2012]
SANTORUM: I want to create every opportunity for women to be able to serve this country. And they do so in an amazing and wonderful way. And they’re a great addition to the — and have been for a long time, to the armed services of our country.
But I do have concerns about women in frontline combat. I think that can be a very compromising situation where — where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved. And I think that’s probably — you know, it already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat. But it’s — but it’s — I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat. And I think that’s probably not in the best interests of men, women or the mission.
[thinkprogress/Ben Armbruster/10 Feb 2012]
Rick Santorum thinks women on the front lines of combat might let their emotions fuck up the missions! “God made girls for cooking and babies and tears… duh.” -The GOP.
[jesusfetusfajitafishsticks/10 Feb 2012]
Separate But Unequal
This year, while presidential candidates are debating women’s fitness for combat on the campaign trail, Dallas school girls aren’t just being shut out of the future. They’ve been denied the same opportunity as boys to learn about the past.
A field trip to watch an inspiring movie is a great idea; using an action film to get kids interested in historical events stands a good chance to be more effective than similar classroom instruction. It was accompanied by lesson plans; the subject matter is part of the curriculum.
So that’s all good. But the fact that the boys got to watch an action flick that got them excited about history, while the girls stayed at school and maybe got to watch a different movie, if principals let them: a movie that has nothing to do with World War II or getting kids excited about history. That’s bad news
[care2/Judy Molland/11 feb 2012]