Songs for the Struggling Artist


Charmed Again
February 21, 2020, 12:05 am
Filed under: TV, Witchery | Tags: , , , , ,

You may remember that I owe a debt of gratitude to the show Charmed. When I last wrote about it, the new Charmed, the reboot, had not yet come out. I had no idea if I would like it or hate it or if it would make me miss the old one too much.

Turns out. I love it. Is it great TV? Nope. Just like the old Charmed, there’s a soapy quality that prevents it from being really great. It’s on the CW and it feels like the network sort of automatically layers everything with a teen soap opera varnish, much like the WB tended to do back in the day. But I love it. I don’t know if I love it in spite of the varnish or because of it but I love it.

Does the show take some totally nonsensical turns between and during the seasons? Yep. (Why do they suddenly live in Seattle instead of the mythical college town they were in? Why did they lose all their powers that they just got only to get new ones? New location? New powers?) I don’t care, though. I really don’t. I find the show incredibly comforting, even as the Charmed Ones face apocalyptic circumstances every week. There’s something about watching those three young women defeat evil over and over again that makes me feel less hopeless about the state of the world. If Macy, Mel and Maggie defeat an evil demon cult, then maybe we can defeat the forces of darkness out here.

Contrast that to my absolute anxiety while watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel where there has been nary an evil demon cult, not even once. The problems that Mrs. Maisel faces are real life ones, the cheery optimist getting a comeuppance type ones, and having had a few of those myself, it does not make me feel comforted to watch Midge get her metaphorical ass beat at a theatre. But the Charmed Ones kicking high stakes demon ass is very relaxing. There are a few jump scares every now and then but I can easily recover and rest easy at night knowing the only real drama in The Charmed Ones’ lives is their relationships and I have very little invested in whether Maggie gets back together with Parker or not. I’m pretty sure I felt similarly about the Leo/Piper relationship on the original Charmed (though I may have had some feelings about the Phoebe/Cole storyline). I care about the demon fighting mostly.

Sidebar – the first season was rather delightfully woke. An MRA guy got punched in the face in the first episode and I was HERE for that. They’ve stepped away from the overt feminism this season (is it because they’re in Seattle now?) and I miss it – but they’re still kicking ass, so, fine. The show is definitely not made for me. I’m the age of the guy who played the father on the show and stories about frat parties and such are of zero interest to me, nor were they of interest when I was their age, frankly.

In my search to figure out what happened between Seasons 1 and 2 that made them seem so different (answer: new showrunners) I discovered that there had been some controversy at the beginning among some of the original Charmed Ones actors. A couple of them were upset about the reboot and fans got a #StopCharmedReboot hashtag going – which could be a little bit racist, given that the new Charmed Ones are Latinx so #Yikes. But I suppose I understand why some of the original Charmed Ones might feel insulted and put out to pasture. Why can’t we have middle aged witches? I mean, seriously, why can’t we? I think they felt as though they were being replaced. But honestly – given that the different versions of Charmed don’t seem to operate in the same universe – they could easily co-exist and heck, I don’t see why we couldn’t have them both.

We can have the middle aged witches, who don’t spend nearly as much time at the P3 club as they used to and whose romantic drama just isn’t that dramatic anymore, and these new young witches as well.

Then maybe one day we could have a little crossover and instead of the witches getting their advice and support from a male authority whitelighter, they could consult with each other.

Or maybe we could have baby Charmed where really young witches are taught by the previous two generations of Charmed Ones. We’ll call it Charmed School. Did I just pitch a show? Checks payable to me, please. It’ll be so relaxing to watch when those child Charmed ones start kicking child demon asses.

Photo of the Charmed Ones by ColliderVideo – ‘Charmed’: Melonie Diaz, Sarah Jeffery and Madeleine Mantock on The CW Reboot via WikiCommons

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What to Do When Weinstein Shows Up at the Bar

When I read about the three people who challenged Harvey Weinstein at a show for young artists, I tried to imagine what I would have done if I’d walked in to an event and found him there. I hope I’d have been as brave as Kelly Bachman, Zoe Stuckless and Amber Rollo but I don’t know.

Would I be the first person to say something to him? Probably not. I’m not particularly confrontational. But I would have, I’m fairly certain, created a hex on the spot and I would have quietly but forcefully cast some kind of spell. I’m not a witch – but I think I’d just become one if I were put in a room with a monster.

What I do know I would have done if I were in the room with the repugnant Weinstein and the heroic three, what I do know is, that I’d have backed them the fuck up. I hope I would have been a first follower – as Derek Sivers put it in his video. Watch it. It’s great. It’s all about how the first person to exhibit anomalous behavior can be seen as a weirdo or pariah when they break the norms. When the first guy starts dancing, it’s weird. It could go nowhere. It probably will. But then someone comes and joins him and that someone basically starts the movement. That first follower teaches others how to follow and invites them in. Before long everyone is dancing.

In order to change rape culture, we don’t all have to be as brave as Bachman, Stuckless and Rollo (though lord knows I wish we could be) but we do all have to get better at backing brave people up. We need to be first followers.

That story would have gone a lot differently if the room had supported those women. If Kelly Bachman, the comedian, had been cheered more robustly instead of booed (she was cheered but only after having been booed!) or if the others came to stand behind and beside those who confronted Weinstein instead of trying to pull them out of the room, we could have had a story about how the people of New York just won’t stand for predators instead of a story about just three brave humans.

It’s clear that, fundamentally, not much has changed in the culture if women challenging a known rapist, harasser and predator are booed and kicked out of a club for doing so. They should have been supported. The room should have rioted as soon as Weinstein walked in. But it didn’t. Social norms took over and (almost) everyone decided that politeness was more important than anything else.

The people who confronted him broke the social norm of politeness and since there was no first follower, the room expressed its disapproval and spit them out.

What was needed in that room (besides Weinstein just simply not being there) was a First Follower. Someone to bring the room along, to maybe get a chant going after Bachman’s set.

Maybe a “Remove the Elephant from the Room” or “Rape whistle! Rape Whistle! Toot toot toot!” And just scream it until Weinstein gets his predatory ass up out of that cushy booth and hightails it out of there.

It’s not a surprise that this particular room was the way it was. In other places, Weinstein might have been booed the minute he walked in the door (as he should be) but there is not a more malleable sycophantic population than a bunch of show people trying to make it in The Business. In this particular room, everyone but the three women decided that they’d rather have Weinstein see their work, maybe even give them a gig, than deal with his problematic presence. I know that many people sitting there were thinking, “Sure, he’s a horrifying monster but maybe he can put me in a movie!” That’s how he was able to get away with so much for so long in the first place.

But some things are most important than politeness and the people who challenged him knew it. Unfortunately, the rest of the room did not and they will probably live with the shame of that for some time. They’re going to wish they’d stood up and joined in. They’re going to wish they’d been a First Follower, rather than part of that shameful crowd.

This post was brought to you by my generous patrons on Patreon.

They also bring you the podcast version of the blog.

You can find the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Every podcast features a song at the end. Some of those songs are on Spotify, my websiteReverbNation, Deezer and iTunes

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Excuse me, Ma’am

The man in an oxford shirt came up behind me at the narrow passage of the café and did not stop moving as he said, “Excuse me, ma’am” and walked on, scrolling through his phone.

I muttered, “Don’t you ma’am me,” after he passed but what I really wanted to do was set him on fire with my magical fire-shooting ability.

I know the offense was minor and he probably only called me ma’am because there’s no feminine equivalent to sir and even though it sounds like “Outta my way, old lady” to me, he thinks he’s being respectful and at least he didn’t say, “Move, bitch,” and I should be grateful for even an attempt at politeness. But maybe if I combusted enough people for calling me ma’am, we could finally find a respectful word for women instead of limping by with miss and ma’am and madam since forever. Sometimes it takes a little fire.

I want a fire shooting power or a spontaneous combustion ability or to just truly access my dragon self and be able to gobble up those that displease me. I am so weary of conceding and getting out of the way and I don’t want to make a mess but I do want to obliterate my enemies.

The thing is, though, even if I woke up with such a superpower tomorrow, I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t use it. If I got a skein, like the women in Naomi Alderman’s extraordinary book, The Power, I don’t think I’d go on a mad electrocuting spree. I think I would probably keep it to myself – but I sure would feel a lot better knowing I could do it.

If I had, in my back pocket, the power to vanquish a world of enemies, I might be a little more apt to speak my mind at a meeting or on the street or in the passageways of small cafes where boys feel they own the throughways. I might not mutter, “Don’t you ma’am me.” I might say it loud. I might let it resonate and hang dangerously over the air, as the power danced around my fingertips. And we could all feel the electricity I was keeping in store, what energy I was using to NOT combust someone.

My anger had abated somewhat after the fetid air of the Kavanaugh hearings cleared a little – or maybe my anger just went underground these last few months. Eventually, it seemed, I did not long to combust every man I saw. But the recent spate of attacks on reproductive justice have begun to once again stir the dragon I have within and I am longing to actually be as dangerous as I feel. Don’t ma’am me. You might not mean anything by it. But I’m not sure what I’ll do. You just better hope my magic hasn’t grown in yet.

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They also bring you the podcast version of the blog.

You can listen to me read this one on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Every podcast features a song at the end. Some of those songs are on Spotify, my websiteReverbNation, Deezer and iTunes

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If you liked the blog and would like to give a dollar (or more!) put it in the PayPal digital hat. https://www.paypal.me/strugglingartist

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