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Green Room - Week 8 - Day 7

I was going to talk about Gloria Steineim, but instead I'm going to talk about Michael Skupin.

Because the changes to feminism over the years and how those generations are clashing is an interesting subject, but not one where I really have any true background as anything other than an outsider in that particular fight.

Mike Skupin though - that's Survivor related. That hits where I live.

If you don't know who Mike Skupin is off the top of your head, but you have *any* idea what the US version of the television show Survivor is, you know him as the guy from the second season (Australian Outback) as "that guy who fell in the fire".

The pictures of the skin coming off his hands was pretty iconic, as was the story of how they healed. He used his story as a platform for his Christian faith and at one point his home state of Michigan was considering him as a candidate to run for state office as a Republican.

He eventually came back for a season (Philippines).

A year or so ago, there were allegations that his "Pay It Forward" investment group was a Ponzi scheme. When confronted by a reporter he uttered the phrase "Do your research", which I took and made into a popular meme within the Survivor fan community. You're welcome Survivor fan community.

The report happened and then we really didn't hear anything else about it - until Friday.

On Friday he was arrested and not only charged with the Ponzi scheme, but with 6 counts of possession of child pornography.

That last bit was a shock that is still rippling through the fan community.

It seems to have polarized people into two camps: the "of course he did it" and the "let the legal process play out". (Well, OK, there are also the "he's innocent!" folks, but I'm trying to ignore them for the moment. :)

You could plug in any popular/semi-popular figure who has ever been arrested into this scenario. There are going to be people who believe everything, those who believe nothing is true and those in the middle waiting for more information. (Information that they may never actually have, given the nature of court cases)

There is, of course, the "always believe the victim". But I think there are dangers in that as well. Maybe it should be "the tie goes to the runner" situation. Of course, I'm sure there are some who would say that isn't supportive enough. (and honestly, for me, it's about what the situation actually is - and the nature of the crime)

In this particular case, I'm not 100% sure that Skupin is guilty of running a Ponzi scheme. There's a lot of technical boxes that need to be checked in order to meet that definition. Does he cross them all? Not enough information has come out to make me think he definitely has, although enough has been raised that I think it's likely.

The possession of child porn? Yeah, that happened. Why? Because no one was trying to "get him" on that charge. The seized his computers to look for something to help convict him of the Ponzi charges. The child porn was as much of a surprise to them as it was the general fan base.

I've seen people who are saying the police "planted those images" on his computer. But that goes against Occam. Why create such an outlandish, and explosive, charge out of thin air? It doesn't make him any more likely to be convicted of running a Ponzi scheme... it just adds more, and completely unrelated, charges.

I know that's not going to stop people from saying "he's innocent!!" any more than it's going to stop people from automatically jumping to "they are guilty!: the next time there is someone else in the news.

But I think that stepping back and looking at these things helps - as does realizing there is a chance that whatever you end up coming up with could be wrong. (But not too much, otherwise you become someone without any strong opinions - and who wants to live in that world?)


Not sure I've really said anything other than informed people that Mike Skupin is a pervert... so I'll actually say something useful:

The deadline to get your votes in is TONIGHT!

That's something where you should have some strong feelings - so let's hear them!!


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 8th, 2016 03:39 pm (UTC)
Feb. 8th, 2016 06:00 pm (UTC)
Yay, Cookies!

I think that's how that works, isn't it? Or do you only get cookies when you're Dead to ellakite? But for that, you'd have to yell "Frist!" Oops. Looks like now I'm dead. Again. Yay, cookies for me! In that case, I'm sharing... cookies all around!

Feb. 8th, 2016 08:53 pm (UTC)
Nice try...
... but you usually only get declared "dead to me" when you actually are the first poster in a thread *AND* you specifically declare "FRIST!" in that post. Hey, if I made it too easy to join the "Dead To Ellakite" society then people wouldn't be clamoring so hard to join, even with the whole "sharing of cookies" aspect to it...

Edited at 2016-02-08 08:54 pm (UTC)
Feb. 8th, 2016 09:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Nice try...
Well, I happen to know for a FACT that I've actually been previously declared "Dead to ellakite" just be USING the word FRIST in the green room to respond to the first commenter. So, you can talk about how hard the club is to join all you want, but, I don't know how you can keep track of it, what with how often you change the rules and all.

Oh, and, since it's apparently not going to let me in, or get me any cookies,




So there! NYEAH! :P

(does it sting, a little? ;)

Edited at 2016-02-08 09:15 pm (UTC)
Feb. 8th, 2016 10:06 pm (UTC)
I recall telling people that they couldn't declare other people "FRIST". I honestly don't recall declaring you or any one else as being "DEAD TO ME" over that specific issue, but my memory is not what it used to be.

No, your "Mega-FRIST" doesn't really sting me... because I've got other pains which take precedence, as can be seen via the following link (which also explains why I'm in no rush to declare people "dead to me" today)"

Feb. 8th, 2016 04:10 pm (UTC)
Our popular culture, and particularly the internet, has a fucked up sense of what matters. Celebrities are humans and humans are imperfect. They commit crimes, they misspeak (even if they are a revered feminist leader), they have a different sense of humor than you do, they have their very own lives and experiences that reach beyond whatever they're famous for, and they don't owe you (generic you, not you, Gary) a single solitary goddamned thing. So the "How dare s/he..." or the "No possible way s/he did..." is just so ridiculous.

They are responsible to themselves for the mistakes they make, so whatever authorities have jurisdiction will settle that, and it is a complete and total waste of time to defend or condemn them outside of that context.

But kneejerks are going to happen, and it doesn't do any good for ME to bitch about THEM either. (Not that it will stop me in the right mood.) It's like the people lately who have gotten their knickers in a twist that there's a white guy playing Michael Jackson, and how wrong and racist that is, while voter registration locations in predominately black areas are being closed in the south. One of these things actually oppresses People of Color, and the other is about casting a fucking movie.

Hey, John Travolta was cast as a fat woman. Nobody went to the streets bitching about taking roles from fat women.

::waiting to get jumped on in 3..2..1..::
Feb. 8th, 2016 04:46 pm (UTC)
I don't take real issue with what you've said here, but I will say that I can't see possession of child pornography as a mistake - it's much more heinous than that.
Feb. 8th, 2016 04:50 pm (UTC)
It's a crime. I said, "They commit crimes..."

Of all the things I thought people would argue with me about, I never imagined anyone would pick I'm making light of child pornography.

Because I'm so totally not.

But, in most situations committing a crime is a lack of some kind of judgement, which makes it a mistake, even if mistake seems like a small word.
Feb. 8th, 2016 04:53 pm (UTC)
I apologize, I should have maybe sought clarification first. mistake does indeed seem like a small and inadequate word for that particular crime to me.
Feb. 8th, 2016 05:02 pm (UTC)
It's ok. I was using "mistake" to include the other things, like misspeaking, etc. Big and small, inclusive. :)
Feb. 8th, 2016 05:40 pm (UTC)
Not to stand up for John Travolta, but the role in question really should have gone to an actual drag queen. So if anyone should have been up in arms, it would have been a different class of actress altogether.

Which does seem like it's part of the same systemic erasure of minorities. Of course, one of your examples happens in real life, and one happens in mass media. One wonders if more people would hear about and be enraged by the former if there were more success at fixing the perspective problem in the latter?

Probably not. There's too much emotional investment in superficial things.

(Yeah, I'm upbeat today ... Monday, what can I say.)
Feb. 8th, 2016 07:05 pm (UTC)
One could also argue that the people who focus on celebrity gossip more than world affairs are themselves imperfect humans, no? ;)
Feb. 8th, 2016 07:10 pm (UTC)
Yup. :)
Feb. 8th, 2016 07:33 pm (UTC)
Feb. 9th, 2016 02:26 am (UTC)
I'm not sure how this went from celebrities committing crimes to not understanding why actors of color would feel slighted by yet another role going to a white actor instead of a black actor, but since it went that way...

I'm in the arts. I'm a white dude. And as an actor, frankly, I'm mediocre. This is not false modesty. I'm also a director and I know from actors. I'd not cast me given the choice between me and a more talented actor of any ethnicity.

But you know what? If I walk into an audition, I'm almost always cast. I don't have a great look. I'm just a middle aged white dude. But what I am is a middle aged white dude and that's my big advantage. I wish I was more talented, but I can get roles just by being white, male and having a decent (but not exceptional) speaking voice.

My non-white fellow actors - many of whom are objectively much stronger than me - are regularly skipped over for roles. I see it happen all the time. Indeed, I've gotten roles that didn't need to be white (or middle aged) over much, much more talented actors who weren't white.

So, hey, lucky for me I was born white.

I've talked to other directors about why they seem to only cast white people and it comes down to "I'm not racist, but my audience is." They believe that audiences for theatre and film will be more likely to come to a movie and enjoy it if the actors are white. This isn't even a secret in Hollywood and beyond anymore. Its just how it is.

So when a role comes around that seems like it would obviously be for an actor of color (be it The Engineer in Miss Saigon going to Jonathan Price, or the entire cast of The Mikado in Seattle going to non-Japanese actors, or Michael Jackson being cast with a white actor), its a huge slap in the face to a significant group of people who work very, very hard at their craft and - as I've mentioned - are often more talented than those of us who are getting cast.

Hey, I get it, to a lot of people, movies and theatre are just pop culture, but to a lot of us, they're work. If you heard of any other profession habitually selecting one race to the exclusion of others, you'd likely be appalled.

The recent Star Wars film proved that you can have a black lead and a female lead carry a movie without impacting the income of the film. The "our audiences are too racist for us not to be racist too" argument that producers and directors make is falling apart. The Michael Jackson thing is a throw back to another time.

Also, I can be outraged about Joseph Fiennes being cast and still be outraged about the voting situation in Alabama. Being concerned about one injustice doesn't preclude me from being concerned about other injustices too.

For the record, Travolta's character in Hairspray was written for a man. In the original Broadway musical, she was played by Harvey Fierstein. In John Water's original film, she was played by Divine.
Feb. 9th, 2016 03:19 am (UTC)
I didn't mean to imply you could only care about one or the other. I meant to be commenting on how people seem to rant about the outrage of the day while not actually paying attention to the issues that affect people's civil rights. The most recent outrage of the day I could think of was the MJ thing (because I'm running behind a lot lately).

Also, I should remember not to try to articulate anything at 8 am. :)

I get the diversity problems in the arts. I really do. I mean, I don't live with it every day, but I get it. I know I was pissed recently when I heard about a movie (I forget the title) in which the action-hero star was a woman, and the producers were offered considerable more backing if they'd rewrite it for a male lead.

I just don't see a miniseries about the later days of MJ as being as important proportionally as the volume of outrage I waded through.

And I didn't know that about the role being written for a man. I just know when it came out, I was pissed b/c of similar concerns about lack of roles for fuller figured women. (Which, yeah, sounds like I'm contradicting myself, but I'm imperfect too.) :P
Feb. 8th, 2016 04:10 pm (UTC)
Reading your idol post today "clauderainsrm." As usual, a pleasure to find you in my morning email box.
Response? The first thing -- or person, rather -- whom (that/which) I thought of was Bill Cosby.
Then I thought of what's his name... Madoff, wasn't it? They actually recovered some of his lying billions, I hear. Legal fees are up to one gigabuck, I also hear.
I watch news and documentaries. Rarely any so-called reality shows, which really are nothing but new-fangled quiz/combat games. I did, however, watch the Mexican version of the one where they all live in a house together... forget the name. What I loved was they had a cow outside. Or in the "studio outside." Oh wait, I remember, it was called big brother or something like that in Spanish I mean.
I also, back in the U.S. tv reality spectrum, loved it when the raging bitch (politically incorrect me here) threw her tantrum over a restaurant table. Not survivor. Something housewives I just happened to tune in several years ago.
Occasionally I watch Bones.
Big Bang.
Old movies, especially without advertisements, but rarely all the way through.
Tons and tons of tv documentaries and webvideos. Especially on the whatever subject I happen to be curious about.
I read books. Quaint. Mostly history, poetry, and art.

Edited at 2016-02-08 05:50 pm (UTC)
Feb. 8th, 2016 07:37 pm (UTC)
So it looks as though I'll need to get to work on my farewell speech...
Feb. 8th, 2016 09:08 pm (UTC)
It's something that's come up for me in the last year or so, this whole... people are imperfect. Where do you draw the line? I mean, obviously child pornography... murder, rape, etc. But if I find out an author or musician I like is a misogynist or a racist, I gotta figure out where to draw that line, of am I going to listen to/read them ever again? Sometimes it's easy; I dislike reggae anyway, so discovering Bob Marley was a jerk (and alleged wife rapist) makes it easy for me to be like "nope." Finding out John Lennon was abusive was hard for me, even if he was honest about trying to make up for it in his later years. Or at least honest about the fact he did bad things.

But overall, with these real serious allegations I just wait. That's what the judicial system is for. Court of popular opinion is something I steer away from as much as I possibly can.

I'm also... I think I commented on 97% of the posts for this week and now I'm worried I forgot some, but don't have the time to go back and read through everything to see what I commented on and didn't. I've really gotta get a better reading/commenting habit, since this whole "read through once, go back and read through again, then comment" thing isn't working out. Good luck to everyone this week. I'm doing a bit of nervous nail-biting.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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