No Holds Barred: Fall From Grace

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Henry Fuseli's The Nightmare, 1781. Detroit Institute of Arts

It’s Fall … and lately it seems you are no one till you’ve taken your own fall from grace or taste.  And it’s not about the bigger you tumble, the higher you rise – now it’s the bigger you fall, the more permanent the TKO.

It has been a summer of shakedowns and takedowns, of course the media takes the lead on most of this with the daily reported accusations (political and social) that sends everyone up in flames and keeps the public amped and hooked on their devices to find out the latest dropping shoe. But now we have no footwear left!!  And with all these charges comes the rise of hate, and hate is unfortunately exhausting and yet dangerously addicting.  We have grown way past “bullying.”

Most of the takedowns don’t require real facts – all that is needed is prime time airwaves and some good buzz phrases like; “penis in my face,” “threatened my career,” and “this all started 15 years ago.”  Not all of the blame game falls in to the Me Too Movement, or the Jeffery Epstein categories. After all, it has already spread to the sports and business world. And it is constant.  It seems like becoming a “leaker” or a “shake-down” artist is the quickest path to big money and fame.  You don’t need to be a regular hooker or hustler anymore – that’s too boring.

Dave Chappelle — Walking the hardest line.

The saddest thing in all this finger-pointing and shame-blaming is that we have lost our humor as well as our minds.  Maybe real life has become so outrageous the comedians don’t really have to come up with original material.  Though recently Dave Chappelle managed to walk the hardest line in his Netflix stand up as a social commentator and funny guy.  He was honest and raw and hilarious about the world today and so far, he’s been one of the few.  

The rest of the TV “late night” funny men have turned into political ranters and it makes me yearn for the benign late nights of Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon making silly one-liners on their couch. 

Or how about the mere civility, enlightenment and wit of Dick Cavett – and speaking of Cavett, it has become clear how much we have lost “the art of conversation.”  Or have we lost the idea of basic respect for one another, let alone any self-respect.  Do we blame that on cell phone usage too?


“Perhaps you’d like two more chairs to contain your giant intellect?”

Along with all of this is the current grand-standing of certain TV and magazine adds (Sephora comes to mind).  We are all for diversity – it’s great to see Black, Latino, Asian and LGBT representation.  But it has become “constant” and “in your face.”  I get the need to make a statement of inclusiveness.  However recently I feel that if I am not Black and Trans, there might not be a decent mascara for me.  Granted, I am no longer the cosmetic cultural demographic – being an older white female.  But where is the inclusiveness for those of us who are not looking non-binary.

I used to look at fashion and the arts as an escape – a diversion from life’s trials and tribulations.  Sure, our artistic culture always reflects the times we live in.  But there are few places left to go to get a breath of something fresh and creative that doesn’t have a GIANT MESSAGE.  I need for the needle somewhere to get back to zero.

As for the smear epidemic – it’s not just about Trump and Hollywood and big biz leakage.  Placido Domingo was recently dumped by the Met Opera for a 15-year-old allegation of “groping.”  It may be coming to a living room near you – if not your own!  Last week I heard from a male relative who was brought up on bogus harassment charges.  I also have another good friend of mine (a highly successful businesswoman) whose assistant threatened to sue her over her lack of tampons in the women’s room (amongst other things), and is currently defending herself against charges from a 28-year-old male former associate’s accusations of PTSD, hemorrhoids, heart disease, and is suing for half of her company.  They don’t have Weinstein or Epstein big money for deluxe lawyers.  Even if they did and were cleared of all charges, their reputations are now ruined with the “asterisk” symbol of shame. 

Nowadays no one gets any second chance of redemption — or even a Hugh Grant forgiveness treatment anymore (remember Grant was caught with a Sunset Strip hooker and ostracized for 6 months, but then got back to headlining in a major motion picture within a year!).  Nowadays an accusation can take you down permanently with not even a book deal or a reality TV show.

So, getting “thrown under the bus” is now big business and an everyday occurrence.  Even making formal statements of forgiveness now seems pathetic.  Look at Justin Trudeau (couldn’t he have gotten better writers?).  Nowadays nobody wants to even hear about “forgiveness” (no wonder Trump doesn’t do it).  It’s not sexy enough.  You have to settle for abolishment and demise, no second chances, not even 5 trips to some rehab – it’s not fast and furious enough!  

In the midst of this tsunami of slander, shock and smear, we have 61-year-old Madonna appearing in her new “Madame X” live show.  Talk about the goddess of grandstanding! Apparently, the critics are raving over her “shocking risk taking” performance; faux sex acts, jokes about Trumps small penis, her twin 7-year-old daughters on stage screaming to the crowd “You are not my bitch.”  What is new and revolutionary here?  Madonna’s nude ass and boob cleavage and whip-in-hand delivery seems old; and dare I say irrelevant.  She is no longer “dangerous” but Norma Desmond pathetic.



It really isn’t enough to come out in protest to sexual assault and in praise of Me Too and abortion rights.  We hear that daily!  It’s not even enough to be 61 and still wearing thongs and studs and eye patches.  Our culture already has 24/7 porn free of charge on every device and it isn’t politicized … yet!!

I am sure Madonna’s tour (smaller venues) will do well, but let’s face it — If the queen of outrage and re-invention now looks old and vaguely out of touch in these “smear sensation” times… what hope do we have?

One thing is for sure — like it or leave it, the mantra for one and all nowadays is “Lawyer Up.”


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