The angst over the female Ghostbusters cast is basically just roundabout sexism

If there’s something strange
In your neighborhood
who you gonna call?

Whenever Hollywood casts any actor to play a character that has already been established in popular culture, I always am amused by the public reaction.

Remember when people flipped out when Ben Affleck was tabbed for Batman?

I just don’t think it’s worth expending any amount of energy towards being mad about a movie character. I mean, unless the character in question really is near and dear to your heart. But that’s an exception.

For example: if Lil’ Bow Wow was cast as Harry Potter years ago, then OK, that demands criticism. But for the most part, Hollywood studios tend to get these things right — Topher Grace as Venom in Spiderman 3 excluded.

That being said, there certainly does seem to be a trend recently of pre-established characters being cast with actors that go female Ghostbustersagainst what is expected.

This has been happening for years with British actors playing iconic American characters. The most recent portrayers of Batman, Spiderman and Superman were all played by Brits. Shit, Martin Luther King was just by played by an English actor. This is hidden, though, with an accent.

Now there’s “miscastings” that even an accent can’t hide. I’m talking black Annie. NBC just had a woman play Peter Pan. There’s rumors of a black James Bond.

And now … female Ghostbusters.

What’s amused me most about this is that the criticism I’ve heard regarding the four women pegged to play the classic Ghostbusters is basically just passive aggressive sexism.

Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are the foursome who will lug around Proton packs chasing ghosts in the fictional Ghostbusters universe.

This pretty much sums up the response to these choices:

Melissa McCarthy: Really, her again? She was a standout in Bridesmaids, but enough is enough.

Leslie Jones: The older chick from SNL?  Please don’t tell me she’s only in this to play the Sassy Black Girl.

Kate McKinnon: Who? Oh, that other SNL chick. Hopefully she has a makeout scene with Kristen Wiig.

Kristen Wiig: She’s cool.

The immediate response appears to be negative. And I wish people would just be outright and say why they don’t like it — because they never wanted women to play the Ghostbusters.

Why are we so afraid to be labeled as a sexist? If that’s how you feel, then just be honest. Why waste your time nitpicking these actresses if you can sum it up in two words: No women.

In reality, this will probably make a fortune. But the success of the project comes down to the same formula for any movie: if there’s a solid script and direction, it’ll succeed.

But to be fair, I’m sure there’s plenty of people out there who never wanted a remake, regardless of who was cast, men or women, unless original Ghostbusters Bill Murray or Dan Akroyd were involved.

Either way, I’m more than willing to give it a chance. Individually, these women are all funny. Combined, there could be something pretty special there.

Or it could suck. There’s only one way to find out.

But I’ll admit that I will be disappointed if Wiig and McKinnon don’t at least give each other an extended hug.

Even in Middle East politics, tabloid reporting still exists

People have a tendency to make stories out of things that never were stories to begin with.

That’s what tabloid reporting essentially is. They report things that you probably never needed to know. But it’s easy enough to avoid. Though it’ll pop up on your social media feeds more than you like, thanks probably to an old high school classmate you’re still friends with on Facebook who shares links posted by Z100 or Perez Hilton.

But even when it comes to important world issues, journalists will still find the most inane minutia to nitpick.

Look no further than the Middle East.

GTY_michelle_obama_saudi_ll_150127_16x9_992A lot’s going on there right now. The Arab Spring revolts a few years ago brought about huge changes to governments in Egypt, Lubya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and few other countries there. But one country that has remained fairly stable is Saudi Arabia.

Their king just died a week ago, but since then, the country has already named his successor and the next two people in line afterwards. So they’re pretty set for a while. Because Saudi Arabia is such an important cog in the area (and a large exporter of the world’s oil), Barack Obama went there earlier this week to pay his respects with a rather large convoy that included the First Lady.

The political ramifications were pretty significant, but rather than focusing on that, people instead analyzed Michelle Obama’s outfit.

Saudi Arabia abides by strict gender restrictions for clothing, requiring women to cover up their entire bodies, including the use of head scarves. Michelle wore no such head covering, and it’s apparently a pretty big deal.

I turned on CNN this morning and a group of people were discussing whether it was actually a political move on her behalf.

Yes, because I’m sure when Michelle Obama peered into her closet that morning, she let geopolitics dictate what wardrobe she chose.

Even more ridiculous is the backlash that’s come from a recent photograph posted by Israel’s representative in the Miss Universe pageant a couple of weeks ago.Israel selfie

I always said that selfies might one day lead to international conflict, but I never actually thought that would prove accurate. Doron Matalon, or Miss Israel, posted on Instagram a photo of herself with Miss Slovenia, Miss Japan, and … Miss Lebanon.

Israel and Lebanon are considered enemies. The two countries have been at war already in the last decade, and just recently, Israel and Hezbollah — an Islamic militant group based in Lebanon — exchanged rocket fire. So now, with this photo, people were saying that Miss Lebanon, also known as Saly Greige, was fraternizing with the enemy.

All I can say is that if you can look at the photo, of four women considered the most beautiful in their country, and all you see is controversy, then I feel sorry for you. Because you’re missing out.

So between head scarves and a selfie both being hailed as huge geopolitical controversies, it’s safe to say that tabloid journalism is alive and well, regardless of the context.

And thanks to the existence of that picture, I’m also strongly contemplating taking a trip to Slovenia.

I’d like to take a minute to talk about my cat Snoopy

Throughout the majority of my childhood, my family had three cats. They were named Pebbles, Rusty and Snoopy.

Rusty and Snoopy were twin tabbys we adopted when I was about 10, Pebbles a calico who joined our family four years earlier.

Each had their own personality. Pebbles was the friendliest. She loved being around people, and even when guests Snoopy catcame over they’d always comment how unusually affectionate she was compared to most cats.

Rusty was more in line with the average feline. He occasionally sought us out for a quick doze, but usually preferred to keep to himself.

Snoopy, on the other hand, was the recluse. He never really relied on people’s company and instead slept and hung out by himself.

All three cats got along great. They were near the same age, always played together, slept together, and made for a great furry trio.

But like all pets, age takes its toll. Rusty’s life was cut short from kidney disease several years ago. Pebbles, who lived for almost two decades, died three years ago.

Snoopy died yesterday.

He may have not been your stereotypical, wait-at-the-door-for-you-to-come-home pet, but he was still part of the family. We fed him, we cleaned after him, and on the rare occasion he did jump on my lap, I pet him for as long as he’d stay. He was a welcome member of our household and I loved him as much as I’ve loved any pet I’ve ever had.

I remember the first time I laid eyes on him like it was yesterday. My dad, brother and I went to a local shelter to surprise my mom with a new cat for her birthday. We saw Rusty and Snoopy, twin kittens playing together in a cage, and I think all three of us instantly knew we had to have them.

It was so long ago it feels like a different lifetime altogether, and yet, it was a moment that was connected through our black tabby cat, Snoopy. A connection that interwove through the lives of two other cats, and that broke yesterday when he breathed his final breath.

His health had been declining for a few months. He lost a lot of weight, and in the last week, it was evident that he wasn’t going to last much longer. He hid in our basement, because I believe cats have a natural instinct to conceal themselves when they become weak or vulnerable.

I couldn’t help but remember when Pebbles was sick a few years ago, and that the moment she died, she was alone. I wasn’t with her, by her side, like all of the times she sought me out to lie by my side. I didn’t want that to happen with Snoopy. So I laid down next to him, on the floor of my dirty basement, and read a book for a while.

But every now and then Snoopy would wake from his slumber, and lacking any energy to move, would start meowing like I’ve never heard before. I couldn’t take it. So I brought down his favorite bed he liked to lie on and placed him on it, and put an old photograph of Pebbles next to him to keep him company.

I’m not religious, but there’s something about being so close to death that makes us more inclined to believe in a greater spirituality. In some optimistic way, I thought Snoopy might see it and recognize he’d be seeing his old friend again soon. It gave me comfort. And with that, I went back upstairs to let him sleep in peace.

He died overnight. I’m just glad he’s not suffering anymore.

It’s the age-old consequence of forming an attachment to your pets. You love them dearly, but then they must leave you, leaving a gaping void that could never be filled again.

But is it worth it to share years upon years of memories before that day comes?

You’re damn right it is.

We have a three-year-old cat, Marbles, so our home is not cat-free, and hopefully will not be for a long time.

I’m just glad that my trio of childhood cats I loved so much are back together again.

Rest in peace Snoopy.

Snowpocalypse, deflated footballs and the hottest tennis match known to man.

Crippling.

Devastating.

Record breaking.

These are the words being tossed around not to describe a tsunami, or a tornado or even a hurricane. But snow. The white powder that falls from the sky and is used to make snowmen.

I understand it’s better to overreact than to underreact, but can we save the doomsday vernacular for meteorological blizzard-2015events that actually kill people, and not ones that can be totally avoided by staying inside?

What’s next? A paralyzing rain? A
calamitous fog?

It’s snow. Any one who lives in a region that is capable of receiving a blizzard knows how to handle it. The way meteorologists, news anchors and government officials are describing this current Nor’easter, you’d think this was some type of acid snow.

Which would actually make for an awesome movie. Someone call Michael Bay. Actually don’t, because then he’ll ruin my masterpiece idea with excessive special effects.

Not to say that a snowstorm isn’t still pretty bad. But it’s an inconvenience more than anything — not a natural disaster. Although, it’s definitely not weather you want to run in, as one jogger learned the hard way.

But speaking of natural disasters, how about those New England Patriots? The team has become the whipping boy of the NFL after they were accused and found guilty last week of intentionally under inflating footballs to a degree that’s not allowed by the league. And since they’re in the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event in America, the story has taken on a life of its own.

It’s the constant focus of talk radio and sports television shows. Saturday Night Live featured it in its opening sketch last weekend. It’s even been given its own conspiracy name: Deflategate.Tom Brady defaltegate

The problem is that the team has a reputation for bending the rules. Several years ago, they were accused of illegally filming opposing teams’ sidelines. So NFL fans who don’t root for the Patriots are rightfully annoyed that they continue to challenge the integrity of the league, and on top of that, keep winning. It’s not fair.

Their coach Bill Belichick has denied involvement, and Tom Brady is simply smiling and charming his way out of blame. And now, reports say that a Patriots locker room attendant may end up being the scapegoat. It’s all one big mess, and the NFL better hope that the Patriots lose to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, or else you’re going to have a lot of angry people.

But let’s transition the topic from deflated balls to tennis. Where the balls are green and hoppy.

Maria Sharapova, who at one point in my life I may or may not have been deeply in love with, is playing against Eugenie Bouchard, who is basically is the next Maria Sharapova — in terms of attractiveness and skill.

Sharapova BouchardSharapova, 27 — who once rejected my autograph request  — is nearing an age where tennis careers typically begin their downward slide, which is probably much earlier than most professional sports. She’s already achieved the esteemed career grand slam, and is still in impeccable shape and succeeding on the court. Her beauty has been well documented, and she’s one of sports’ rare emblems of looks and talent.

Well, in comes Bouchard, 20, of Montreal, who appears to share a similar package after reaching the Wimbledon final last year.

The best part? The two play each other on Tuesday in Australia — which means it’s happening late Monday evening stateside — in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. One can call this match the passing of the torch. A really, really hot torch.

For men who appreciate beautiful women who excel at their craft, this is our Super Bowl.

In fact, because I like both of them so much, I’m willing to take the loser of the match out to dinner and drinks. As a consolation prize.

I’m just that kind of guy.

Gentlemen: you can now be cockblocked by a phone app

It’s one thing to meet a girl, find that there’s chemistry, only for it to explode in your face when she drops the “B” word.

But you get used to it. It should never come as a surprise when a woman — especially a good looking one — has other men who want to date her.

At least you can tip your cap and say, “Oh well. another man beat me to it. He won fair and square.”

But it’s another thing to be rejected by a woman … because of a phone app.

Invisible Boyfriend is a thing. A real life thing. For $25, woman can customize their dream significant other, textflirtingWPpicking the name, age, personality traits and interests, and the app will respond to your text messages as if they are your boyfriend. In fact, the Washington Post discovered that it’s actually a human being on the other end, and not an automated bot.

The app is apparently designed for women who face constant pestering from family and friends who hound them for not having a boyfriend. So now, when they lie that they do have one in order to shut them up, they now have visual proof.

That proof being their very own invisible boyfriend.

The app has received considerable press, but what’s being lost in all of this is that girls will likely use this to ward off guys who hit on them at bars. It’s so simple. A man approaches them, and, if they’re not vibing him after a few minutes, all they have to do and whip out their phone and say, “Oh, my boyfriend just texted me.” And they can literally text him back.

This is not good.

In fact, I think the single men of the world need to unite, discuss this in depth, and come up with an action plan. Like how residents do for a community meeting when they feel like their neighborhood is being threatened.

In this case, our manhood is being threatened.

I can deal with being lied to. For centuries, woman have fabricated boyfriends as an excuse to back out of conversations. But when there’s a phone app assisting them in this process, that’s when I have a problem.

In fact, I may even choose to not believe a girl now when she tells me she has a boyfriend. I’ll demand visual proof. And if she refuses, I’ll grab her phone and look for it myself. And then I’ll probably get arrested and be handed a restraining order.

All I know is that’s a sad day when technology has evolved to the point where a phone app can get more play than an actual human being.

(How do I sign up to work for this app?)

Because I can’t even talk about the State of the Union without bringing up Taylor Swift

The State of the Union address is one of the few American presidential traditions that still exists.

George Washington gave the first such speech before a joint session in congress about 225 years ago. Thomas Jefferson discontinued the act of delivering the address in person 30 years later, but in 1913, Woodrow Wilson reestablished the live speech, and it’s mostly continued that way ever since.

(Thanks, Wikipedia!)

Barack Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address last night. It was the lowest-rated address in 15 years, but nonetheless, contained its usual antics of faux bipartisanship, an abundance of standing ovations, and Obama SOTUthe president touting the successes he’s experienced during his term.

The most memorable of the moment was a zinger delivered by Obama, about three quarters through the speech, when he began a sentence saying “I have no more campaigns to run…” which was a met with a sarcastic applause by House Republicans, who now outnumber Democrats by a substantial margin.

Obama smirked, and without hesitation, responded: “I know, because I won both of them.”

BAM. SHOTS FIRED. OWNED. SWISH. OTHER EXPRESSIONS TO CONVEY CONQUEST IN ALL CAPS.

Seriously though, it was a sweet moment for Barry O., and one that must have given him great satisfaction. It’s pretty crazy to believe in two years from now, we will be swearing in a new president.

I remember clearly where I was, six years ago, the moment I learned Obama was to be our next president. I was literally in the shittiest bar near my university, in upstate Binghamton, called the Rathskeller, which is located in the basement of another bar. I was engaged in a vicious beer pong tournament when the emcee stopped the music for a second and said, “Guys, it’s official — Barack Obama won the presidential election.”

I turned to the TV, saw Obama waving, shrugged, and immediately returned to my beer pong game. I probably got drunk enough that I threw up later that night.

Man, does time fly.

Obama has one more State of the Union left, and I expect him to bring it on like Kirsten Dunst in a cheerleader movie.

By the way, you all know who John Boehner is, right? If not, he was the dude over Obama’s left shoulder with the ridiculously orange tan who looked miserable throughout the entire speech. Because he’s a Republican.

Just in case you were wondering if you should take him seriously or not as a politician — or even as a human being — it’s worth noting that, last week, he responded to Obama’s proposal to provide free tuition to community college students by…

by…Taylor Swift happy

…wait for it…

USING TAYLOR SWIFT GIFS.

The presiding officer of the House of Representatives actually retorted to a presidential proposal using 13 digital images conveying different emotions expressed by Taylor Swift, to help prove his point.

How Boehner and his staff managed to even secure all of these different images of Taylor Swift, I do not know.

I’m all for bringing Taylor Swift into any conversation, regardless of the topic, but when you’re the third most powerful person in government, and do it — 13 times — it’s probably not the most strategic or wisest maneuver in order to be taken seriously.

But if I know Obama, I’m sure he handled it the same way he did the snarky applause during his State of the Union address.

By shaking it off.

The latest victim of America’s daily overreaction: Seth Rogen

A week before Christmas, Seth Rogen became a symbol of patriotism.

As crazy as it sounds, it’s true. The reason is because support for his last movie, The Interview, also equaled opposition to North Korea’s tyrannical regime, who tried to stop the film’s release.

So of course people rallied behind it. In the end, the good guys won. The Interview was released, and we shared Seth IB_TheaterRogen’s elation.

One month later, Seth Rogen is a Nazi who hates America and spits on our veterans.

At least that’s the impression you’d get if you’ve been following social media lately. Each day, entertainment blogs find something they could blow out of proportion. Sometimes it picks up steam. Most of the time it doesn’t.

This one, however, has lasted a couple of days, and it’s so ridiculous that I can’t not chime in on it.

It revolves around the film American Sniper, which grossed an astounding $90 million this weekend, and has received extremely positive reviews from critics, most who especially praised the performance of Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, whose 160 confirmed kills make him the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. Kyle died in 2013, when he was shot by a fellow Marine at a shooting range.

Rogen, after seeing the movie, made an attempt at humor on Twitter, which he’s been doing his entire life to great success. His Tweet was: “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.”

Honestly, this was probably an observation that a lot of people made. In Inglourious Basterds, the Germans are watching a film screening of their own military sharpshooter who’s being honored for his personal heroics.

Of course, people then jumped to wild conclusions and assumed that Seth Rogen was comparing Chris Kyle’s story to Nazi propaganda.

Craig Morgan, a country singer and veteran who most people probably never heard of until today, posted his own impassioned reaction to Rogen’s remark, criticizing him for being “ignorant” and “running [his] mouth.”

Woah people. Let’s go ahead and take a step back. Are we really this sensitive?

Any one who truly believes that Rogen, in his 19-word Tweet, was aiming to disrespect the United States military is just delusional. I understand that people, like Craig Morgan, who already feel like soldiers are not given enough respect in mainstream media might be annoyed by this, but even they are using Rogen as a scapegoat.

This is worse than when people cried racism at a Boston cartoonist three months ago for simply using the word “watermelon.”

I expect this story to go away in a couple of days, if not sooner, but it’s just another example of our nation’s tendency to overreact to harmless things.

Heck, maybe I should start being careful in case something I say attracts a strong media backlash.

Wait, but that would also be a way to get people to starting reading this blog.

*scratches head in deep consternation*

I’ve made up my mind. Check back tomorrow for my pro-Nazi op-ed.