Hello, everybody, welcome to the Phile for a Wednesday... it's Halloween! How are you? May your Halloween be scarier than what's actually going on with this country. This Halloween, scare people by carrying a TV tuned to cable news. Just a reminder you've got plenty of time to plan a disappointing last-minute Hallowen costume. Okay, what is going on out there in the world?
Needless to say, White got called out by people who felt his costume was an overt mockery of people with disabilities, and played into harmful stereotypes. Given his platform as an Olympian, it left a very bad taste in people's mouths. The Special Olympics directly responded to White's costume, expressing how disappointing it was to see him mocking people in that manner. The official statement read, "We are truly disappointed that Shaun White, an acclaimed Olympian, would choose this costume which is so offensive and causes so much pain. Disability is not a joke nor should it be a punchline. We hope that Shaun White and others learn that this just continues stigma, stereotypes and discrimination." After receiving backlash both from followers online and the Special Olympics community, White issued an apology and removed his original Instagram post of the costume. The Special Olympics responded by thanking him for addressing concerns, but others believe he should put his money and platform where his mouth is. Hopefully, White will take this critique into genuine consideration so he can function as an ally in the future.
Human beings possess an incredible ability to miss the point much of the time. We'll consistently turn a blind eye to real cultural issues and then scream about cookies, but hey, that's the duality of humanity, right?! I might be projecting entirely too much onto this cookie story, but the absurdity is almost too much to stomach (pun intended). Basically, Thomas the Baker is a small family-run operation that spans over thirty bakeries in the North East and Yorkshire. As with most bakeries during the holidays, they sell gingerbread cookies! Thomas the Baker has been selling "gingerbread people" since 1983, with no specified gender beyond delicious. Sounds reasonable, right?! If you thought "yes, that sounds reasonable" then you have not been drinking the same frustration filled Kool-aid as some. A Manchester tattoo artist Demi Leigh Heffron shared a photo of Thomas the Baker's ginger people on Facebook with the caption: "It’s happening. It’s actually happening. It’s 2018. Stop the earth, I wanna get off." Here it is...
In a true move of exhausting irony, Heffron's photo went viral because people assumed the cookies were recently de-gendered to be PC, and they were furious! The assumption that these cookies were no longer called gingerbread men was not only inaccurate for Thomas the Baker, but also absurd?! They are cookies, they have no gender, and yet people felt deeply offended by the concept that someone might not gender them as male. Those jumping on the ginger people bandwagon railed against liberal snowflakes, when they themselves are the ones worked up over COOKIES. I am beyond exhausted. However, there were voices of reason who knew Thomas the Baker has been selling ginger persons for years. Eventually, after receiving scores of harassing phone calls about the cookies, Thomas the Baker issued an official statement. "Sorry to disappoint you all... they have been Ginger Persons since 1983. It was chosen by one of our Managers in York and the name stuck. We did get a complaint from trading standards in the 80s that we were discriminating against ginger haired people... seriously." Human beings are truly petty idiots.
Just when you thought this Halloween might have been the one that made everyone think twice before stepping into an offensive costume, a dad in Kentucky really messed up. Bryant Goldbach was attending a Trail of Treats event in Owensboro, Kentucky with his two children, when he decided to dress his son up as Adolph Hitler, complete with a mustache and swastika, while he wore what appears to be a Nazi officer uniform.
Note: his daughter appears to be dressed as a totally Halloween-appropriate and adorable fairy. Let's all just hope she's not supposed to be like, an Aryan Angel, considering anything is possible with this theme. Now, let's unpack all this. Trail of Treats? Is that supposed to be a play on the Trail of Tears? Or, are we all just hyper-sensitive to white supremacists disguised as history buffs right now? Secondly, why would anyone ever, regardless of political beliefs, think it's okay to dress up their child as the leader of a genocide? Goldbach was met with a lot of backlash for his costume at the Trail of Treats, event, and was apparently genuinely surprised that people took issue with his choice. Feeling hurt, confused, and radicalized, he took to Facebook for sympathy and justified his costume with a "love of history." Last year, Goldbach reportedly dressed up as a confederate solider. Of course he did. After going viral, Goldbach has been forced to rethink his decision. He told The Owensboro Times, "I wasn’t trying to make a statement or put my son in any position. It was bad judgment. I want people to know I am sorry.” According to Courier & Press, screenshots of Goldbach's now deleted Facebook page displayed images of slogans such as, "White pride doesn't mean hate," "Being liberal means being a hypocrite," and other controversial opinions on social justice issues and the concept of "white privilege." Surprise! Gary Mazo, A rabbi of Temple Adath B'nai Israel in the nearby town of Evansville, Indiana, didn't appreciate Goldbach's interpretation of honoring history through antisemitism. He said, "The fact that the father apologized is important; the fact he did not know the costumes would be offensive is a very sad reflection on our society. A good rule of thumb would be: If your costume calls to mind an event where millions were killed, choose another costume." Goldbach, we really hope you learned your lesson.
On the day where eleven people were murdered at a synagogue in the deadliest attack on Jews in American history, President Trump sent a few tweets, and proceeded with his scheduled rallies. Hours after the massacre, the Trump Train rolled into Indiana and played "Happy," Pharrell Williams' infectious earworm from the Minions movie. Pharell was not happy. Pharrell is threatening legal action against Trump for using his intellectual property in a post-massacre pep rally, noting in a cease-and-desist that the presidents "Happy" dance constituted copyright infringement and a trademark violation. The letter itself is a more powerful rebuke of Trump than anything a Republican member of Congress has said. The letter reads, "On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged ‘nationalist,’ you played his song ‘Happy’ to a crowd at a political event in Indiana. There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose. Pharrell has not, and will not, grant you permission to publicly perform or otherwise broadcast or disseminate any of his music." The use of "Happy" without permission constitutes copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501. This violates Pharrell's trademark rights under the Lanham Act. People are grateful for Pharrell standing up to Trump in the only language Trump understands: lawsuits. The legal threat extends to all Pharrell songs, so Trump is also barred from using "Blurred Lines," even if it's the perfect soundtrack to the "Grab Them By The Pussy" tape.
Just in time for Halloween, a photo was shared on Twitter that will surely haunt your dreams... Proving that nothing is actually what it seems, this optical illusion has the Internet almost as stressed as the last image to divide humanity and our collective sanity, the infamous dress. If you dare, take a look at this photo of... a... crow...
...That is actually a cat? Are all crows actually cats? Are all dogs dolphins? Is everything we've ever known and seen just a trick of light for our primitive perception? Naturally, people are freaking out. Some have blamed magic, the only logical explanation. And, it's not over yet. The craziest part is that this cat has even managed to trick computers. So maybe it's really just a crow? Considering the fact that Halloween is here, it only makes sense that this cat is clearly Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter, everything is a lie, and we can't trust anyone or anything. Trick or Treat!
So, I tried to Google "pumpkin" the other day but instead I Googled "pimpkin" and this is what I got...
That's funny. You know what makes me laugh? Old people wearing inappropriate t-shirts...
Hahaha. So, you know there's a new Halloween movie out, right? Did you know Jason, not me, but the hockey mask wearing Jason has a cameo. You think it'll be scary but it's not...
They talk for hours and hours and hours apparently. They tell me if I go to Walmart I'll see the oddest people. I didn't believe it until I saw this...
Hee-haw! I like Ryan Seacrest but when I saw this pic of him dressed up as Punky Brewster for Halloween all I could think of was he looked more like a human Montgomery Burns dressed as Dora the Explorer. Am I right?
I mentioned earlier about the guy who dressed up his kid as Hitler for Halloween. Well, this kid in a costume might be worse...
He looks so happy there. If you need a quick and cheap costume for your kid real quick how about this one?
So, last year and the year before I called the Halloween entry It's The Great Trumpkin... and some you said that's a great pun but where is the Great Trumpkin? Good point. So, here it is...
Happy now? Hahaha. Okay, here's another Halloween costume common you probably didn't know were horribly...
Costume: Hot Dog.
Why it's offensive: Obesity epidemic. Nuff said?
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! I'm laughing. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Oh. Man. Okay, a friend of the Phile who doesn't normally tell jokes wants to tell a Halloween joke today. I think it's gonna be really funny. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...
Happy Halloween, humans. A couple are walking through the woods on a dark, foggy night. The girl says, "I don't like this. It's creepy and cold and I think we're lost." The guy turns to her and says... "Shut the fuck up... I don't know what you're bitching about, I'M the one who has to walk back alone." Well, well, well... I do believe it's time to start carrying a bat wrapped in barbed wire with me wherever I go. Happy Halloween... my freaky little darlings.
Men who post a lot of selfies on social media sites are more likely to have psychopathic personality traits.
Umm, can corn is candy shaped like corn. Seriously, it's right there in the name.
Ignoring the requests of the city's mayor, the feelings of a mourning family, and statements from the targeted Jewish community, President Trump is barging into the city of Pittsburgh like the Kool-Aid Man. Shooting victims and the city of Pittsburgh told Trump to stay away. He didn’t listen. He's coming to see you, whether you like it or not. Likely in pursuit of better optics than him jamming to "Happy" mere hours after the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history, Trump is heading to the city where eleven people were murdered because of their synagogue's support for refugees. Not even members of his own party, who've perfected the art of bending to his will, wanted to be seen with him there. Yesterday, Lynette Lederman, a former president of the synagogue where the shooting took place, let Trump know that he's not welcome, on cable news where he's most likely to see it. A rabbi asked him to wait at least until the end of shiva. Howard Fineman, a reporter and Pittsburgh native, heard from his sources in Steel City that the White House has taken to trickery and deception to try and get this visit to look the way he wants it to look. Yes, the White House falsely leaked that the mayor, county executive, and governor of Pennsylvania will meet with him, when it reality, they will be at the funerals for the murdered. The community is grieving, and a lot of people don't want to see the guy who spread the same rhetoric as the mass shooter and said that some neo-Nazis are "very fine people." Fineman also reports that the White House is trying to "push Trump into hospital rooms of victims," who are telling him to politely fuck off. In an open letter to Trump, Jewish group Bend The Arc asked Trump to kindly leave them alone until he denounces white nationalism. Many Jews have gathered in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh to make sure that Trump doesn't get the photo-op he wants so badly, he'd defy the wishes of the community in mourning. Wishes of the grieving be damned, Mr. President is here to comfort you!!! Prepare to be comforted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You can take the girl out of Fox News, but you can’t take the Fox News out of the girl. Megyn Kelly, who famously lost her shit over the idea that fictional character Santa Claus could possibly be black, has yet another terrible take when it comes to costumes and black people. On a roundtable about Halloween costumes on NBC's "Megyn Kelly Today," Kelly lamented how back in her day, nobody got all offended about minstrelsy like these snowflake kids today. "What is racist?" Kelly asked about dressing up as a race you are not. "You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person that puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was okay, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character." Couple of things, Megyn Kelly: 1. People absolutely got offended if they saw a white person darkening their skin to look like a black person... you just probably didn't know any black people or speak to them about it. 2. "Whiteface" is not as common as blackface, nor is it equally offensive. 3. Implying that blackface is no different than "walking around with a fake axe in your head" would be understandable if people were discriminated against for having axes in their heads, but alas, that is not the case. The clip quickly went viral, as people marveled at her stupidity. To try and defend her position, Kelly brought up the time Real Housewife Luann de Lessup dressed up as Diana Ross, something for which de Lessup apologized. Dr. David J. Leonard, chair of the department of critical culture, gender, and race studies, wrote in the Huffington Post, "Blackface is part of a history of dehumanization, of denied citizenship, and of efforts to excuse and justify state violence. From lynchings to mass incarceration, whites have utilized blackface (and the resulting dehumanization) as part of its moral and legal justification for violence. It is time to stop with the dismissive arguments those that describe these offensive acts as pranks, ignorance and youthful indiscretions. Blackface is never a neutral form of entertainment, but an incredibly loaded site for the production of damaging stereotypes... the same stereotypes that undergird individual and state violence, American racism, and a centuries worth of injustice."
The 89th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Ethan will be the pheatured guest on the Phile tomorrow. Now for some Halloween...
Phact 1. Once spooky halloween myth is true. The jack-o-lantern mushrooms glow so bright you can literally walk through forests using their light on a cloudy night
Phact 2. The Irish invented Halloween. It was originally a Celtic festival called Samhain, which celebrated the harvest.
Phact 3. Many towns in the U.K. won’t sell eggs and flour to under 16-year-olds, in the weeks leading up to Halloween to curb "anti-social behavior."
Phact 4. Halloween candy made with palm oil contributes to deforestation of orangutan’s natural habitat
Phact 5. Americans will spend around $7 billion on Halloween, and another $447 billion for Christmas.
Today's pheatured guest is an American singer-songwriter, mixing hard rock, heavy metal, melodic rock and industrial music. Her latest album "Behind the Veil" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Pamela Moore.
Me: Hello, Pamela, welcome to the Phile. Happy Halloween! How are you?
Pamela: I'm doing great, thanks, Jason. Happy Halloween.
Me: Where are you from originally, Pamala?
Pamala: Seattle, Washington.
Me: So, I am confused about your career... you have done some work with Queensrÿche I know that. Is this album, "Behind the Veil," your first solo album?
Pamela: I guess you could say it's my sophomore album... sophomore metal album. I did a CD called "Resurrect Me." It was received quite favorable which made me happy.
Me: Do you like making your own music, like this album?
Pamela: Well, the new album was supposed to be out a year ago or more than that. During that time doing the album my mom passed away very suddenly. We were writing and some of the songs were already done, I was still writing the last half of it. It kind of put a wrench in it as far the timeline, getting it out the way we were supposed to do. The album, I was just talking to Michael Posch, he's one of my co-conspirators in this whole thing, he's written most of the work of the album with me as he did with "Resurrect Me." We were talking about it just yesterday and I'm really proud of it, it's got a lot of depth to it. In way I would almost call it a conceptual album even though I didn't set forth to have that happen. There's a lot of references to where I was at actually. Emotionally, seeing the passing of my mother now and how that happened. It really kind of reflects on me too, and morality and what happened, where did they go. A lot of people have faith in certain things. It's like that situation and the climate of some of my musician friends who were going through some conflicts as well, so there was a lot of that... intense depth to that.
Me: So, who plays on the album with you, Pamela? Some really cool people, right?
Pamela: We have a great rhythm section that agreed to play on the album. Rudy Sarzo playing bass and Casey Grillo playing drums. I always wanted to work with both those guys so having them on this album meant a lot to me.
Me: So sorry about your mom. I lost both of my parents in 2000. So, what can you tell us about the songs on it?
Pamela: The material itself is pretty. There's a couple of longer songs. It's got intros and kind of takes the listener on a little excursion so to speak. I'm very happy with it. Sonically it sounds really good. It's a lot more reflective I would say and lot more personal. It's probably the most personal work I've ever done. It kind of puts my heart out on a sleeve but I find that that's very therapeutic and a lot of cases when I'm honest like that I think it helps other people too. I'm hoping it's two fold.
Me: Is this album something you like to go back and listen to or does it stir up too many emotions?
Pamela: It actually helped me. It doesn't stir up bad things. It's been over years since my mom passed away. It doesn't stir up bad things, it doesn't inspire me too to realize I've gone through that certain situation. I was very close to my mom, and to have that happen just kind pushed me back to reality. What is life really about? What is this for? What happens, why and what ifs? It's actually therapeutic and actually doesn't empower me in a way and I'm really thankful for that. I'm thankful that I'm able to write, especially with the people I'm writing with and putting out those things. I'm not trying to say I'm self absorbed but in way in that moment I was incapsulated in what was going on. I think probably a lot of musicians end up doing that, in some sort of fashion. Having something that touched them emotionally and the gift of being able to connect that is going to help other people connect as well.
Me: Do you think a lot of people who listen to your music think you are being real?
Pamela: Yes, and a lot of listeners know if I'm putting it on to. I really have to be careful and very vulnerable. I've been lately telling people that even though it's a scary place to be, it's a powerful place to be. I'm just wide open. It's true.
Me: Do you think when you write a song over the years you'll learn a life lesson from it?
Pamela: Yes, I think songs after years after specific things in my head at that time when I was recording it, I think over years I should be learning a life lesson from it. Then they morph into something maybe a little bit different. Sometimes songs meaning will change for me, what was supposed to be "oh screw you" type of song becomes "oh cool, I'm empowered." It's interesting how artists approach certain things, as for me it's my hearts on my sleeve most of the time. It's where I'm at emotionally, physically, so that's where it's at for me.
Me: Do you find it easy to write, Pamela?
Pamela: It's hard for me to just write a kind of song where I'm just going to have to write a song today. Some people have a gift of doing that, but for me I have to have a connection to it at some point, or some inspiration for it at some point.
Me: So, some people go into the studio and write. Do you have to write and plan beforehand?
Pamela: I know, some people just have their stuff together and can do it. Sometimes that could backfire too. I don't know, it's just people are wired differently. That's the beauty and nature of the human condition. That's what I write about.
Me: Do you have plans to tour, Pamela?
Pamela: Yes. We've been actually searching for some people. A lot of the booking agents are super busy. We have a lot of people that are packing up their band and going out, making money, promoting what they're doing. Mainly, I believe, the nature of the business has changed so much. Getting a whole lot of royalty checks. I believe that my more established friends are getting booked a lot quicker than me. If you have contacts of people that are regional that we can do some shows, I have a band that's ready to go.
Me: What was your CD release party like? Did you have one?
Pamela: It was very successful. We played the album in its entirety. The new set has a lot of songs of the new stuff but favorites of the older album as well, so it really sounds really good.
Me: Do you want to tour?
Pamela: Yeah, I'm aching to get out there. We won't be doing a designated tour as lot of my musicians as well as myself don't really ave time to be able to do something like that unless it's a huge money event. In this situation we did want to play the songs and get out and see the people. We didn't get to do it when I had "Resurrect Me." I'm ready and willing, so if anybody reads this, tell them to get ahold of me.
Me: What do yo think of the music industry nowadays?
Pamela: It's easier now to be able to record, send different files back and forward to different people. This is a self release, and I'm no a rich woman to say the least. So a lot of my money as gone towards that. I released a video and need to get another one out. It's a little bit difficult to do that when I have to have resources to pay my bills I have that too. Marketing is soooo important and I have really a better idea, even though I knew in the past about record labels and how much money they would put out to make a band happen. There's a lot of resources that had to go out and once they were able to get those bands established then a lot of money started to come in for them. So I totally understand all of that and then now it's a whole different marketing world. Something I used to have a lot more distain to, I've go to appreciate Spotify and all these download sites, I can make money on it, but I have to really work at getting placed on a play lost and it's a whole different thing. It's like a whole other job.
Me: You teach as well, right? What do you teach?
Pamela: It's a whole different ball game. I'm finding out to I have a vocal and performance coaching business. A lot of my students are not releasing albums, they are releasing singles. They are promoting those and I'm like wow, it's hard for me to wrap around my head around it but they are the future at the moment.
Me: Do you do the classes by Skype or in person? How does it work?
Pamela: It's both.
Me: Cool. How long have you been teaching?
Pamala: I started it about ten years ago now as kind of a supplemental type of thing, I was doing bit more touring and it kind of evolved to a really wonderful kind of like day job. I think of it every day it's not really a job, I really love working with my students. It's kind of passing on the baton so to speak. It's wonderful to see them grow as singers and it's wonderful for me because I learn a lot about myself and it keeps my voice in shape. I do both, I have a lot of in person stuff I do and I also do Skype lessons. A lot of people just do Skype. It's kind of nice to be right in front of them if possible. It takes more of my time certainly, but at least I could see what they are doing and how they're maneuvering through their breaks and things like that. It's really been a challenge but I have to tell you it's really satisfying. It almost brings me to tears sometimes when I see a young girl come in and they sing at thirteen and they graduated and their voice has just blossomed. It's a real satisfying job that I have and I really love it.
Me: How old do you think kids should start singing?
Pamela: That's a good question because it really depends on the child. The child has to depend on the parent and of course their have been situations where they are just pushing, pushing, pushing too much. Look at Bruno Mars, he won a contest when he was just a little kid and he's an amazing talent. I suppose it'll have to be where the child is in their growth. I had one student, this was a few years ago now, she was only six, and I thought I don't know if I could do this because she was so young and I don't teach music theory. She came in and she had perfect pitch, she was a delight and she had harmonized just on pitch. I looked at her and asked how was she doing this? Hahaha. I haven't talked to her for so long but she's obviously with someone that if you see the nature with them, that they've got this going on, I hope they cultivate it and see if they run with it but I don't think it should be hammered down their throats either, it's probably more case to case type of thing. I don't know, there are times as well when kids get burnt out. I've have known some that had amazing voices and could sing really, really well, but they are just not into it. It's up to them really.
Me: Do your students know who you are?
Pamela: A lot of kids don't know who I am, a lot of parents don't know. I get students by getting referrals out, I don't advertise it or anything. I have students that do see me performing, they could Google me to find out. A lot of parents have after I've been working with their child for a while they'll go "oh my God, I cannot believe you did this." Obviously I tell them if you want to know my credentials you can go on my website and see what I've done. A lot of parents will do that because they are concerned and want to make sure their child is getting the right care. I had testimonials from kids that said I've had tons of experience and should work with me.
Me: Does working with Queensrÿche help you at all?
Pamela: I haven't worked with Queensrÿche for a very long time so that's probably not in people's minds. There's a generation that's pulling over into the teen years now. But obviously I feel that it's a good credential to have. If I was going to learn a specific type of genre like pop or rock or something I'd want to go to someone who'd done it before. I wouldn't want to go to someone who hadn't sung before, haven't performed before. It's just like if I went to a doctor, I'd want to go to a doctor that specializes in girl parts. I think that Queensrÿche helps, it gives a little more insight. Here's how to sing and here's what happens.
Me: Cool. Pamala, thanks for being on the Phile on this Halloween entry. Come back again soon.
Pamela: Thanks, Jason, take care.
That about to for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Pamela Moore. The Phile will be back tomorrow with author Ethan Siegel. Spread the word, not rho turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Oh, the answer to the riddle I started of this entry with is... your name. Ha! Have a safe Halloween, kids.
Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker