[ Click above to embiggen ]
Today, Congressman Darrell Issa’s subcommittee held testimony in the House investigation into the weaponization of the IRS as a means to intimidate, harass, and persecute Americans who were affiliated with the Tea Party, Christian groups, or had other conservative leanings. More hearings will come, but the clear pattern we’re seeing on a national level is that the Left uses federal government agencies as goon squads to target Americans on their enemies’ lists…and they believe they can get away with this because of who’s in the White House and who’s running the Justice Department.
On the micro-level of the City of Chicago, there’s a lawsuit currently in federal court in the District of Illinois Eastern Division that’s been filed against Art Johnston and Sidetrack the Video Bar which illustrates that the proclivity of using government agencies to harass “enemies” isn’t reserved for Democrats in Washington, but in fact is just normal operating procedure amongst Leftist “fellow travelers”.
Johnston, a devote Obama supporter and large fundraiser for his personality cult, is currently being sued by a former employee who was fired from his job as a doorman in Johnston’s bar because the employee complained about sexual harassment, religious discrimination, and retaliation (for his complaining to management about the harassment he received from coworkers, managers, and third party customers egged on to harass the Plaintiff by Sidetrack employees). Johnston fired this employee in August of 2011 after the employee hired a lawyer and prepared a complaint to the EEOC about the hostile working conditions that Johnston maintains in Sidetrack the Video Bar.
[ Entrance to Sidetrack the Video Bar in 2008, when Johnston heavily promoted the election of Barack Obama as a fellow traveler ]
Shortly after he fired the employee, Johnston had his accountant, Bryan Portman, file a false challenge to the employee’s unemployment benefits…alleging the employee was terminated for “insubordination”. This was a trumped-up charge because the employee never committed any act of “insubordination” (as a judge would later conclude) and was instead fired for filing an EEOC complaint (which is retaliation prohibited under the Civil Rights Act of 1964). The challenge to the employee’s unemployment benefits was made via the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), which is the government entity in Illinois that handles unemployment insurance (and employers’ challenges to these claims).
There’s no question in my mind that Johnston filed this challenge against the employee’s rightful benefits solely to harass and persecute this person, because Johnston was upset that this former employee was suing Sidetrack for five counts of harassment and retaliation in federal court. Johnston had available to him the IDES challenge and though he should have known that this challenge would fail, he pushed the button anyway just to cause the employee to sweat and worry if the benefits he depended on to survive after his firing would be taken away from him. It’s actually a separate and additional violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for an employer such as Johnston to file a meritless challenge to unemployment benefits just to harass a former employee….which is ironic because Johnston styles himself as a gay community “civil rights” leader who is constantly claiming that gays are persecuted by Christians. But, yet, here comes Johnston persecuting a Christian employee of his bar and violating this employee’s civil rights with this considered and determined harassment.
An IDES hearing at the local level immediately ruled in the employee’s favor, with the Adjudicator determining in less than a minute of interview with the employee that there was no act of insubordination involved in his firing and that the challenge to his benefits was thus meritless. Johnston then appealed the Adjudicator’s decision and decided to continue harassing the employee by challenging his benefits to the next level, which involved hearings before a Judge in IDES’ appeals division that required the employee to retain an attorney for the proceedings.
During these hearings, Sidetrack’s accountant Portman lied under oath multiple times to the Judge, in an attempt to have the employee’s unemployment benefits taken away from him. The employee suffered immense emotional distress during this process (which stretched on for months), because in this economy he was unable to find another job and still depended on his unemployment benefits. Johnston was clearly aware that Portman committed multiple acts of perjury in the IDES hearings…but gave his blessing to these actions because the goal was to harass and persecute the former employee as much as possible (as punishment for this guy suing Johnston and Sidetrack for the harassment he was subjected to there while he was an employee).
Ultimately, the IDES Judge ruled in the employee’s favor and stated that he did not believe Portman to be credible; the challenge to the benefits was completely meritless. Though the employee was vindicated, he was still forced to endure several months’ of worry and anxiety because Johnston decided to use a government agency to persecute him. This was very much the equivalent of the IRS auditing someone just because he was a Christian, conservative with Tea Party spirit.
Interestingly, this case proves that there’s really nothing an employer has to lose by lying during a challenge to unemployment benefits…because the Attorney General in Illinois will not pursue perjury charges against an employer for lying under oath during these hearings. After speaking to several people in IDES administration, I learned that no one working there could remember a time when an employer was prosecuted for perjury during an IDES hearing…because the prosecutors don’t have the financial resources to go after these people (supposedly). ”The judges know that the employer is lying, and then the judge rules that the employee keeps the benefits” was the general consensus of the IDES officials I spoke to. ”Their only punishment is that they had to pay a lawyer to be there when they lied, so it cost them money and then they didn’t succeed in taking a person’s benefits away in the end”. There is no mechanism available in Illinois law for an employer to be fined or punished in any way for filing a meritless challenge to an employee’s benefits. But, I believe there should be…since these challenges cause so much grief and stress for people whose energies should be focused solely on finding a new job.
Art Johnston is considered one of the “godfathers” of the gay community in Chicago, with his bar Sidetrack being “the heart of Boystown” (as it’s self-styled on its website). He’s extremely quick to point fingers and label all sorts of Christian, conservative figures “villains” for this, that or the other…especially by using the organization Equality Illinois (which he principally funds) as a proxy to scold his “enemies” as bigots if they oppose anything the Obama Regime does to this country. Simultaneously, Johnston chooses to knowingly file meritless challenges to an employee’s unemployment benefits (just because he can) and sends his accountant to perjure himself during hearings before IDES (because he knows that no one will prosecute him for it). This is very consistent with how the Left operates in general.
“Hypocrisy” is a term the Left seems woefully unacquainted with.
If you look carefully enough where you live, you will see that what’s happening in Washington DC with the IRS right now is just a larger and more high-profile example of what members of the Left do every single day in your community. This is the classic Alinsky Mindset of decimating your opponent (or, “enemy”, as the Left calls them) in any way possible…and specifically using arms of the government to do this wherever they can get away with it.
Whatever happens with the IRS scandal hearings won’t cure the cultural problem we have in this country, embodied in people like Boystown’s own Art Johnston, who are so steeped in the Alinsky Methods of the Left that they use harassment and personal destruction as standard operating procedures (all the while accusing Christians of being the REAL villains in our world!). If this is happening here in Chicago, I know it’s happening where you live…and it’s high time people started talking about all this and deciding as a nation that business-as-usual isn’t acceptable anymore.
QUESTION FOR COMMENTS: Have you seen members of the Left abuse a government agency to persecute or punish an individual where you live? Do you recognize this as a disturbing trend amongst Leftists and Obama’s fellow travelers?
The joy of children also comes with the horrors of what motherhood does to the body. Trying to recapture some semblance of my former self, I joined a few fancy corporate gyms with salons and spas and pretty associates selling banana-choco-gluten-free $12 shakes, but I never achieved the results I wanted. It turns out that quitting was the answer. I finally discovered how to get fit and have a great time doing it. I joined a family-owned, martial arts gym. The following truths will convince you to ditch your corporate gym membership in favor of a much better option that actually produces results while improving every area of your life.
9. “Do you believe in love at first sight or do I have to walk by you again?”
A simple Google search on “picking up girls” will lead to hundreds of smarmy articles advising men on how to hook up at the gym. This particular sentiment — from someone claiming to be a gentleman — sums it up about perfectly:
Utilized properly, the gym is one of the finest hunting grounds for the well prepared cocksman.
Wow. Where to begin? If you’re 20 and this is the kind of thing you’re into, I’d say that guy is right. Big corporate gyms with lots of young, dumb girls would be a good place for a sexual predator to stalk his kill. However, when you’re a married mom or dad, this is not the kind of environment that will encourage your marriage. Further, it’s uncomfortable to feel as if you are being sized up by people who refer to themselves as “cocksmen.” It’s also disconcerting trying to avoid that one guy who stalks you with his eyes when you’re trying to use that embarrassing machine where you pretend to strangle someone with your thighs. Awkward.
Andrew Breitbart. An American Hero For Freedom of Speech.
[Click above to embiggen: how Rahm Emanuel became Mayor of Chicago in the first place]
Today, a friend of mine sent me this article by Rick Perlstein entitled “Rahm on the Ropes” and asked me what the feeling is here in Chicago towards Rahm Emanuel (and what that portends for his future as Mayor). Anecdotally, here a few recent things to note about the man (or lizard, in my opinion) who will be Mayor of Chicago for as long as he wants (but that’s as high as he will ever go):
* I happened to be at O’Hare Airport for something in January and needed to take the Blue Line back into the city. I was SHOCKED to learn that it now costs $5.00 to board a CTA subway train at the airports; apparently, that fee hike took effect that very week. There was actually a CTA employee stationed at the turnstiles because passengers getting on the train were confused and angry that the automatic system was deducting $5.00 from every train card instead of the normal $2.25 to ride. ”You can thank our wonderful mayor for that”, the clearly perturbed black CTA worker said, with a dramatic roll of her eyes and a knowing nod that expressed she didn’t like the fare hike any more than passengers did. The entire ride into the City was nothing but grumbles from people upset by how much it cost to ride the train. People were fuming in their seats…and frustrated there was nothing they could ever do about it, knowing that in Chicago once the price is raised on something it will never, ever come back down.
This move to double the train fare from the Airports was made because under Emanuel the City is going out of its way to soak tourists and travelers for as much as they can while they are here, figuring that people won’t stop coming to Chicago just because the train ride from the Airports costs double what the CTA charges to board at any other station…but what the City doesn’t think about is all of the black people who work at the airport and take the trains to get there. 90% of the TSA workers in Chicago are black, as are the food service, retail, and other airport employees. Since they board the trains at the Airport to ride home, Emanuel just doubled what it costs them for the return trip of their daily commute. That adds up to a lot of money per month for people working minimum wage…and I can’t imagine that’s not having unintended consequences in other aspects of life in the city, since it’s NOT just the tourists who are being gauged by this fare hike.
* Blacks are also going to be dramatically impacted by the plan to shut down the Red Line completely in May for a 5 or 6 month overhaul of the tracks on the Southside. The line’s being closed after the Roosevelt stop…and that will affect all the stops south to 95th/Dan Ryan. For those who don’t live in Chicago, these are the stops that are mostly used by black people (who will now have to struggle with shuttle buses to get to their jobs in other parts of this very segregated city). Emanuel claims that shutting down the entire line will save time and money, as opposed to only shutting it down on weekends to do track rehabilitation work. Right now, only a few people here and there talk about this disaster coming…but that’s because the trains are still running and no one is really paying attention. But, when May hits and the CTA trains stop serving the Southside…it’s going to get ugly.
* Public relations telephone polls and surveys happen all the time, with people calling every few weeks to ask opinions on Rahm Emanuel. That never happened when Mayor Daley was in office. The entire time I’ve lived in Chicago I was never polled about the Mayor until Emanuel took office…and now it seems like someone’s polling Chicagoans about a new crisis a week with him. An awful lot of money is being spent on this…and it makes you wonder why, since Democrats have a lock on the Chicago Mayor’s office (and, thus, you’d think they wouldn’t need to keep polling so much). This leads me to believe that people are grumbling so much with Emanuel as Mayor that Democrats want to keep tabs on the discord and always know just how upset people are on a rolling basis.
* There’s anger at Emanuel for his ineptitude in handling the teachers’ unions last year, but more people are upset that Chicago doesn’t have a casino. I hear that one all the time, because people say we’re losing jobs and money to Hammond, Indiana (just across the Illinois border) or to the casino that’s out in the suburbs and reachable by Metra trains. I’m from Cleveland, which fought a downtown casino for decades, and I’ve never understood the logic of allowing gambling residents to board buses to take their money to other states (or cities) to play their slots…when a city can keep that revenue (and all those jobs) in its city center. People seem to think having a casino means their town will turn into the dystopian “Biff’s” version of 1985 in Back to the Future…but does anyone really believe that having a casino in Chicago will suddenly make this city more corrupt or crime-ridden? I say at this point the city needs to do whatever it can to create jobs in Chicago and keep all the money it can…instead of letting anything leave for Hammond (which, incidentally, generates $22 million in tax revenue a month from its casino…and almost all of that is from people in Chicago who race across the border to hit the slots). Emanuel came into office promising that his bad temper and caustic way of doing things would pay dividends with stalled projects like the casino…but people have not seen that at all.
* Murders are out of control here and the street gangs do not fear the police or any kind of prosecution. It really is like the days of Al Capone again…and taking a trip to the Southside is like playing Russian roulette. Everyday life in Chicago feels less safe than when Mayor Daley was in office. I’m not sure why that is, but I think there was an emotional connection to Daley that made him feel like a no-nonsense uncle who’d crack skulls if the need arose. Daley seemed in control at all times…and that just made those of us who live here believe that he could apply the right pressure in any situation to make things happen. Emanuel has never seemed in control like that, and I think the thugs have absolutely no fear of him or any belief he can get the cops to really crack down on crime. So, essentially it’s become a free-for-all with Emanuel as Mayor.
* Cigarettes are $11 a pack now in Chicago, which is a big deal to all of the native Chicagoans. What I mean by that are the people who were born and raised here and live mostly in places like Bridgeport or off Polaski and in all the working-class neighborhoods with all the post-WWII squat brick single family homes. These are the people who obsessively play the lottery every day and who still smoke like chimneys (honestly, never, ever get behind one of these people in line at a convenience store because they take FOREVER picking out their lottery numbers and grumbling about the price of cigarettes…you will never be able to dash in and out for something quickly when they are in lottery or cigarette mode). Chicagoans are either natives or they’re young people who moved here to find jobs but leave after about seven or eight years when the weather gets to them or they realize life is probably a lot easier (and better) in other cities like Dallas or Austin. The people who were born in Chicago, have lived here their whole lives, and will no doubt die here are a different breed with vastly different concerns…and chief amongst those is the price of cigarettes. Most of these people find ways to cross the border into Indiana and buy “their smokes” at Wal-Mart over there, where a whole carton is now about the price of three or four packs in Chicago.
I need to note here how lizard-like and unappealing Rahm Emanuel is in general. He is not a nice person, and that shows. Truthfully, a nice person probably can’t really be the Mayor of Chicago but I will tell you that people loved Mayor Daley…even if they grumbled about him. Daley was charming and likable…and because he was Mayor for decades I think people just got used to him being around and accepting he was in charge. Following an affable figure like Daley with a caustic and petty man like Emanuel was a very strange decision on the part of Democrats in Illinois. I think it was really the worst move they could have made…and that a black Mayor would have been able to really crack down on the crime and bring the murder rate back into “acceptable” levels.
Conservatives never understand just how big a role race plays in Democrat politics, but in Chicago everything is about race. And to win the Mayor’s race, you have to remember that Emanuel needed the vote split 6 ways along specific racial lines…so willing clowns like Carol Mosely Braun, Patricia van Pelt Watkins, and William Dock Wells III gleefully split the black vote in the 2011 Mayor’s race…while buffoons Gery Chico and Miguel del Valle split the Hispanic vote to help Emanuel. Mosely Braun received a lot of money for her role in this and was able to wipe out a great deal of her longstanding debt by agreeing to be a stooge for Emanuel. Some of these others just liked the attention of being “a candidate for Mayor!” or enjoyed building some name recognition. It was all a big game though, because Democrats knew that having three black candidates on the ballot instead of just one meant that there was no way Chicago would have a black Mayor. Similarly, ensuring there are two Hispanics on there to split the Spanish-speaking/illegal Mexican vote means that Chicago doesn’t have a Hispanic Mayor. This is the game that Democrats play here that works so well in such a segregated city. All Emanuel needed was to be the only white person in the race and he’d win…which he did.
Republicans don’t even field a candidate for Mayor in Chicago because I think they are afraid of being punished for “interfering” with the Mayor’s race. Everything in this town is quid pro quo, so I think if Republicans don’t run anyone for Mayor then Democrats agree not to go after the seats of the token Republicans who do hold office in the Chicagoland area. And those Republicans enjoy being tokens and having their little positions, so they don’t ever want to rock the vote.
I always hope black people wise up one day and see how Democrats treat them no better than animals…because if Carol Mosely Braun and William Dock Walls III had just dropped out of the Mayor’s race in 2011, then that Patricia van Pelt Watkins could have solidified the black vote against Emanuel….while the Hispanic vote was still split between the two Spanish-speaking candidates…and I don’t know if Emanuel could have won if blacks were all focused on just one candidate.
But, getting people to see things like this is very much like herding cats. I’m really at the point of just giving up and accepting that this is how it’s always going to be in this city, where people have become so dumb that they’ll always fall into whatever trap Democrats set for them. Even though it keeps hurting them all on a personal level that they just never connect back to keeping Democrats in office.
I don’t see how Rahm Emanuel is ever ousted from the Mayor’s office because of how expertly the Left exploits race in this City…but I don’t see how this would ever translate into a presidential run for this lizard. Barack Obama owes everything to being “black”…and the last five years of American politics have been anomalous because we’ve had a black man as the head of the Democrat party. Things change immensely in 2016 when a black person most likely will not be at the top of the Democrats’ ticket…or even be in contention for the nomination. What has Rahm Emanuel ever done that would convince black people to support him with the same level of enthusiasm they’ve shown for one of their own like Obama? It’s ludicrous to think that. So, he (and any non-black Democrat) will be at an immediate disadvantage in 2016.
Next, you need to look at this man’s physical appearance and personality…and see that he is very much lizard-like. He’s also foul-tempered, bitter and angry, and prone to hurling curses and vile pejoratives at people he disagrees with. Emanuel is a very unstable person with possible bipolar disorder…and he’s infamous for sending dead fish to people in the mail or screaming at men while nude in the Congressional gang showers.
Emanuel is also gay and has staffed his Mayor’s office on the fifth floor of City Hall with as many Zac Efron-looking young male interns as he can find. Watching the Oscars, it was hilarious to see George Clooney dragging around yet another woman as his “date” or to see the other Hollywood actors who sport their own “beards”…and it’s so funny to me that a lot of straight people can’t tell that Emanuel’s gay. He’s a former ballerina who used to frequent the Man’s Country bathhouse here in Chicago before becoming a big national name…and his marriage is very much one of convenience. There are scores of young guys here in Chicago were part of a Rahm Emanuel “placement program”, where they had to be his boy toys for a while…but then were ultimately rewarded with recommendations into the top law firms, brokerage houses, or whatever after Emanuel moved onto the next hot young thing. This has been going on for years…and is the sort of thing that happens all the time in politics, particularly when it involves people who consider themselves untouchable (like Emanuel).
Could a foul-tempered, mean-spirited, and lizard-like petty tyrant become President? I don’t think so, because though Barack Obama’s personality is actually a lot like Emanuel’s (and they seem to have similar taste in boys) there was a stark difference in how the public at large reacts to these men. The majority of Americans like Obama, think he’s “cool”, and have a generally good impression of him on a personal level. They know nothing about who he really is and don’t really care, because they like supporting the “hip, black guy”…and that’s a brand that’s served him and those around him very well. Rahm Emanuel just doesn’t have that going for him….and he can’t suddenly transform himself physically into an attractive and likable person. The lizard in his DNA just can’t be transformed enough for him to run for President.
This is actually kind of like the Ministry of Truth that is our national media talking about Michael Bloomburg running for President when that just never made sense either. Bloomburg is not as lizard-like as Emanuel, but he still gives many people the creeps…and that’s a high hurdle to face before he’d even have to justify his policies and decisions in office to people. Democrats are great at hiding someone’s past or obscuring their personal beliefs and record…but even the best spinmeisters on the Left can’t take a naturally unappealing person who gives people the creeps and make that person into a credible presidential candidate. Andrew Cuomo’s going to have a big problem with this too, if he really thinks he can become a presidential candidate…and so for the good of the country I think it might be funny and interesting to see Emanuel, Bloomburg, or Cuomo mount an ill-fated presidential campaign. I just hope Republicans aren’t stupid enough to run someone even more unappealing against a guy like that.
Every day I realize I’m really nearing the end of my time in Chicago. The city is getting to me…and the fun I used to have here is just largely gone for me. There’s just too much wrong with the place since Emanuel became Mayor and things I used to be able to tolerate when Daley was in office just seem to bother me more now that Emanuel’s the public face behind these policies. The classic example I’ll leave you with is the city’s never-ending quest to snatch revenue from Chicagoans via parking tickets. There is an elaborate game that any driver in the city needs to play to avoid parking tickets…where there’s often a half a dozen signs giving conflicting instructions, with oddball requirements and warnings posted that require LSAT or SAT-level logic deductions to figure out if, yes, you can actually park in that spot today. Chicago has always been this way, but for some reason it felt like more of a game than an ordeal when Daley was Mayor.
I don’t know if that will make any sense to you, but when Mayor Daley was the public face of the City this “try not to get a parking ticket no matter how hard they try to trick you” thing felt more like an adventure…like, by parking your car you were engaging Mayor Daley in a high-stakes board game played on the streets of Chicago…and whoever knew the rules better won, but Daley wasn’t necessarily rooting against you and wouldn’t be upset with your beating him. With Emanuel, it’s just a totally different vibe now. Whenever Justin and I go anywhere and he parks the car there’s a real negative energy involved with the parking signs or dealing with the incredibly expensive parking meters. I feel a real heaviness in the air when I’m standing there in the cold with my notebook, trying to figure out if today is the third Friday of a month or a day when there’s a Sox or Cubs game or if there could be considered more than two inches of snow on the ground…or whatever other bizarre clues the signs are giving us to indicate whether or not we can park in that spot.
Since Emanuel’s been Mayor, it just feels like the game is now rigged and the deck is so stacked against everyone that I don’t wan to play anymore. I feel oppressed and overburdened by the action of the City of Chicago that it drains my energy to stand there and contemplate the parkings signage. This is not just because I’ve been living here for so long that the “adventure” of the Daley days is gone…it really is like playing Monopoly or Clue or whatever, but instead of playing it with a jovial person you like it’s now a game against a lizard-like and mean-spirited jackass. And it’s emotionally draining after a while.
I pick up on other people in Chicago feeling like this these days…and I don’t see how this man could mount a national campaign for office when this is the sort of impression he leaves on people.
The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet — PART SEVEN: Happy Ten Year Anniversary to “The Streisand Effect”!
[Click above to embiggen: The Streisand Effect at work in Chicago law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson]
Editor’s Note: This is Part Seven in our ongoing investigation into “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet”. Parts one through six of the series can be found HERE, on our Mysteries page. What started as a simple letter to the Senior Partners of a Chicago law firm informing them of the filthy and unsanitary conditions of their lobby carpeting and stinky men’s room somehow evolved into a groundbreaking theory on 21st Century economic “canaries in a coal mine” that could be predicting a massive financial collapse on our horizon (or it’s just confirming what many of us already believe: that we’re currently in an economic Depression that the Ministry of Truth that is our national media won’t acknowledge for political reasons). In epistolary fashion, we’ve been reaching out to various experts in the fields of 70s sitcoms, cleaning, legal thrillers, politics, and hospitality for their unique perspectives on the deeper meaning of the stains plaguing the carpets at the offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson.
Today we’re taking a look at a tangential aspect of all of this…which involves “The Streisand Effect”…and what happens when an arrogant entity attempts to censor information it finds embarrassing and its heavy-handed legal tactics end up blowing up in its face.
Oddly enough, this month just happens to be the 10th “anniversary” of “The Streisand Effect”, which is a phenomenon that’s actually taught to first year students in law school. For those unfamiliar with this Internet meme, it involves a vainglorious legal battle that Barbra Streisand waged against a photographer/environmentalist named Kenneth Adelman back in 2003.
Adelman worked on an erosion study of the California coast that involved photographing the cliffs and beaches from a helicopter and then compiling them into one continuous, miles-long panoramic image…which could be compared to later versions of the same coastline survey to visually detect the effects of erosion (in a before-and-after, lapsed time sense). This project had absolutely nothing to do with singer Barbra Streisand…until she made it all about her by suing to censor the photos included in the study that captured her Malibu oceanfront mansion on film.
I found a nice recap of Streisand’s ludicrous legal actions HERE…which notes that before Streisand sued to censor the photos, the images of her home on the California coast had been viewed just six times. After she went after Adelman in court for photographing her estate, a half million people looked at his pictures to see what all the fuss was about. By thinking she was rich and powerful enough to censor something she didn’t particularly like and possibly found embarrassing…she actually ended up creating a public relations nightmare for herself (and, honestly, turned herself into an absolute laughingstock (or, more so than usual)).
Augie Ray, a talented writer who covers brand-management and marketing trends, took the time recently to honor the “10th anniversary of The Streisand Effect” by looking at some other recent examples of various entities not learning a damn thing from what Streisand did to herself by suing that photographer. Some of the examples of recent “Streisand Effect” incidents include:
* singer Beyonce trying to sue to have photos she didn’t like taken down…only to have millions of more people see the photos because she threatened legal action against a website (and thus made the embarrassing photos fascinating to scores of people)
* NASCAR demanding video of a crash be pulled from YouTube…which just caused that clip in question to become the hottest trending YouTube video of the month when NASCAR tried to censor it
* Labatt beer suing to remove a photo of a murderer drinking a can of its product…which only incited the Internet to shame Labatt’s for its heavy-handedness (and drew much greater attention to the photo than if Labatt’s had said nothing and completely ignored it)
* McDonald’s suing a London environmentalist who distributed fliers accusing the company of polluting practices…but this ended up giving that environmentalist more publicity and exposure for the charges than he ever dreamed possible.
I bet you can find lots of examples of “The Streisand Effect” in action, too…now that you’re aware of what it is and can see that arrogant entities often end up creating massive public relations problems for themselves by allowing emotion to influence their decisions when someone in a board room starts revving everybody up to sue. I’d love to hear about your own experiences with this in comments or in a private email about it.
Funnily enough, I seem to find myself in the middle of a “Streisand Effect” situation myself at the moment…which I am documenting for brand-management historians like Augie Ray and others to use in future updates of this better-than-buttah phenomenon in action; this, of course, involves the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson’s efforts here in Chicago to censor my investigation into “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet”…because the Senior Partners of the firm are seemingly embarrassed that I took photographs of their filthy lobby carpeting and also described the stinky conditions of their third floor men’s room. So, somebody at the firm decided to target me for reprisal and demand I be censored so that none of you reading this would be able to see the filthy carpets in the Hinshaw & Culbertson Chicago offices. You know, these:
[ Click above to embiggen: the photos I keep running every single day because big law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson went to court to stop me ]
Scott M. Gilbert, one of the young partners in the firm, appeared in open federal court last week and demanded I be censored with a court order that would prevent me from writing about the filthy carpeting and stinky men’s room I observed (and photographed, in the case of the lobby) when I came to the Hinshaw offices on 2/20/2013 to meet with Mr. Gilbert as a witness in a major discrimination case working its way to trial at the moment. Mr. Gilbert also asked that I be “strongly admonished” for writing about what I’d observed at the firm. Another lawyer who was there that day later told me I was “admonished”, so ladies and gentlemen…I am officially an admonished person (which I think might actually be homophobic since I’m gay and I know full well it would have been considered racist to “admonish” me if I was black).
Mr. Gilbert is, apparently, incredibly interested in articles I’ve written here on HillBuzz.org about a prominent gay bar in Chicago that’s been accused of persecuting its Christian employees…which is the height of hypocrisy, considering the fact that this bar’s owners routinely take to any media available calling Christians bigots and accusing religious people of persecuting and hating gays. Since I’ve been documenting the terrible things this bar often does towards Christians, women, black people, the disabled, and other minorities, Mr. Gilbert believes all of my writing on this matter will be important when this particular discrimination case goes to trial.
In my opinion, it’s going to be the Trial of the Century when it comes to Boystown…so buy stock in Orville Reddenbacher while you still can. I will no doubt take the stand as a witness and Great Merciful Zeus only knows what will happen. I’m hoping that Jake Gyllenhaal plays me in the movie, but I’ll settle for Joaquin Phoenix. That guy who played the gay brother on “Brothers and Sisters” and is in “The Americans” now is also good.
For reasons unclear, Mr. Gilbert has claimed that he and the other law school graduates at Hinshaw & Culbertson couldn’t work the search function that’s available for free here on HillBuzz.org (which you can find in the right sidebar just under the ads at the top) and were not able to use it to find the articles I’ve written about the bar that’s been charged with multiple counts of discrimination and other harassment. I think that’s just stupid, because the search box is so easy to use…but maybe I just know more about computers than Mr. Gilbert and his colleagues (who I just can’t help imagining furiously hitting TAB whenever they’re thirsty…and then sadly staring at the USB ports in the back of their laptops, wondering why the diet soda’s not squirting out).
Bizarrely, Mr. Gilbert also demanded every article I’ve ever written about Hillary Clinton…which pretty much amounts to the entire first two years or so of HillBuzz’s existence (back when the “Hill” in the site’s name was a reference to Mrs. Clinton and the site itself was written by and geared towards supporters of her 2008 presidential campaign and early days as Secretary of State). There’s probably 3,000 or so articles that would fit those parameters, with an average of around 5,000 words an article. I told Mr. Gilbert through counsel that he could use the search function to find articles on Hillary Clinton that I’d written by typing “Hillary Clinton” into the search box…but Mr. Gilbert insisted he and the other law school graduates at Hinshaw & Culbertson couldn’t figure out how the search box worked for that either. And so he demanded I print out all articles I’d written on Hillary Clinton…which would have cost me hundreds of manpower hours and something like $6,000 in printing costs (which I just don’t have available to spend on something like this when I’m just a witness in this case and not even one of the parties). Meanwhile, all of this material was available to him (and to all of you) anytime he wants it by just using that search box or the monthly archives feature that’s found on the sidebar.
That meeting with Mr. Gilbert at the Hinshaw firm on 2/20/2013 was supposed to be a chance for me to teach Mr. Gilbert and his fellow law school graduates how to type search terms into the box and then find the articles they want on the results page the search generates. In my opinion, this was like asking me to come all the way down to the Hinshaw offices to teach these people how to use the Internet in general (because it’s the year 2013 and search boxes are pretty standard-issue on websites). I’m baffled by the thought of these people being able to use LexisNexis to find cases to cite in their briefs and arguments…but the search function on a political website like ours stymies them. The nuns who taught me in Catholic school instilled a zeal to help the hapless whenever possible…so I gladly came down to the Hinshaw offices to be of service to Mr. Gilbert and his associates and teach them how to do whatever they needed to learn on the Internet. That was a pretty long trek for me, since it’s rare these days for me to ride the Red Line all the way into the Loop, but if Mr. Gilbert wanted to learn how to use the Internet better and be able to find things in search boxes then it was the Christian thing for me to meet him at his office and help him.
When I got there, it turned out the law firm was having a big party for some guy named Don Bozo…and everyone was so distracted by this that it was impossible for Mr. Gilbert to find a conference room in which we could meet. There’s something about free food, drinks, and the possibility of there even being cake that makes office workers ridiculously excited. Mr. Gilbert couldn’t take me to his own office (for some reason), but I could have shown him how to run searches for “gay bar” or “Hillary Clinton” on HillBuzz.org there. I don’t know why we couldn’t just go to his office, but I have since come to wonder if it’s because his office wasn’t any cleaner than the firm’s lobby (which was strangely the place they were having the party for Don Bozo, even though its carpets were filthy and its men’s room looked like Stephen King decorated it).
Mr. Gilbert left me alone in the lobby for a long time while he ran around trying to find a meeting room for the computer lesson I expected to give him…which left me staring at the filthy carpeting for so long I got the idea to photograph it, since I started thinking about how bizarre it was that these people would let their lobby get so dirty when their clients would have to sit there while waiting to see their attorneys. And that made me wonder if maybe the firm just couldn’t afford to keep the lobby clean anymore…and if that was true, then what did it mean for the state of our national economy (and how many other businesses were so on the ropes in the Obama Regime that they, too, had to skimp on the basics like carpet cleaning just to keep the lights on these days)?
Well, Mr. Gilbert didn’t like that I started writing about this and got very upset with me. He went before a federal judge and asked for that order to censor me, because he claimed it was “harassment” for me to write about Hinshaw & Culbertson’s filthy carpets and stinky men’s room. This is very similar to Barbra Streisand claiming it was harassment for that photographer to snap shots of her mansion along the California coastline and publish them to his website. I didn’t wake up on the morning of February 20th with any desire to write about Hinshaw & Culbertson…and I certainly had no prescience that I’d encounter filth in their offices on my visit…but I’m a journalist and essayist who finds inspiration for stories wherever I go in Chicago. If Mr. Gilbert and his superiors at Hinshaw & Culbertson don’t particularly like ‘The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpets” then maybe they should think about whether it was penny-wise-but-pound-foolish to cut back on the carpet cleaning and washroom maintenance, since I never could have written about any of this if the carpets weren’t honest-to-goodness filthy (as you can clearly see in the photos).
I don’t think that a law firm can censor embarrassing photos of its lobby (or unflattering descriptions of its men’s room) any more than Barbra Streisand could yank photos of her home that she didn’t particularly like. I know that Mr. Gilbert’s first attempt to get a court order to silence me failed…and that the judge had to instruct him that he couldn’t even ask for something like that verbally, but had to write his request to censor me up in a proper motion (which Mr. Gilbert didn’t seem to know to do); it’s a week later and I haven’t heard about any other attempt by him or the Hinshaw firm to use a federal court to come after me for talking about their filthy carpet and dirty men’s room…but I think it’s pretty endemic to supporters of Barack Obama that these people would even try.
I think Mr. Gilbert and Ms. Streisand seem to have a lot in common…in thinking that just because they don’t particularly like something that they can have it censored…just because they said so. That’s just not how America works, though, even with the Left now in full control over the country. This is all remarkably topical because today the Drudge Report has been running story after story about the Left vowing to come after Bob Woodward and silence him because they don’t like recent criticisms he’s made of Obama. I really need to write to him later tonight and let him know I’m kind of experiencing the same sort of censorship push from Hinshaw & Culbertson that he’s now getting from the Ministry of Truth that serves Obama.
This really is the Left in action…lashing out, trying to abuse power, and going for the jugular whenever anyone says anything they don’t particularly like (or that embarrasses them). Using various databases to inspect the political contributions made by members of the Hinshaw & Culbertson firm in recent years, I am not surprised to find so many maxed-out supporters of Barack Obama in its Chicago office in particular. It just seems to be in these people’s DNA to behave the way the Left always behaves when confronted by someone who speaks the truth and embarrasses them.
The funny thing is, I would have probably lost interest in the filthy carpets and stinky men’s room if Mr. Gilbert hadn’t tried to obtain that court order to censor and silence me.
By coming at me like that in open court, he made me realize that the dirty carpets in a big law firm really was a 21st Century canary in the coal mine for our economy…and that if Hinshaw & Culbertson wanted to go to such extremes to keep people from finding out it had filthy carpets in its lobby and a feculent swamp of a men’s room, then maybe there was a much bigger story here than I first realized.
Which is, of course, what happened.
Much like what Barbra Streisand herself did ten years ago that turned a little-known erosion study into a longstanding Internet meme. Just imagine what possibilities thus await “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” as this investigation continues to pick up speed.
Check back later for my letter of solidarity to Bob Woodward about all of this, as soon as I’ve finished it.
The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet — PART THREE: Can Carpet Be the Canary In A Depressed Economy’s Coal Mine?
[ Click above to embiggen: Are these stains really mold-spotted canaries in the coal mine indicating we're in a global Depression? ]
If you’ve been following “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” you’ll know that on 2/20/2013 I arrived at the downtown Chicago offices of the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson for a four o’clock appointment I had with Scott M. Gilbert, one of Hinshaw’s young partners, only to find the carpeting in the reception area to be the filthiest I’d ever encountered…and that’s including the gray, poorly-made carpeting I’d seen in Eastern Europe as a kid or the dirty flooring I remembered from the movie The Lost World: Jurassic Park, where very foolish people went to this island that had been years-ago abandoned by an even more foolish corporation engaged in cloning dinosaurs (but the dinosaurs got loose and, among other inconsiderate things, ruined all the carpeting in the abandoned office buildings and labs on the island). I think that movie was supposed to be set somewhere off the coast of Costa Rica, so the carpets were covered in black mold, mushrooms, and nests of all sorts of tropical-climate creepy-crawlies…but it still looked fresher and more inviting than the mystery-stained beige carpeting at Hinshaw & Culbertson in Chicago where, I presume, dinosaurs have never been set loose. I guess it says something about how terrible The Lost World was as a movie that the thing I remember most about it is its stained carpet, because that film really was a stinker. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what lasting impression is left on Hinshaw & Culberston’s actual clients by this filthy carpet.
I’ve received a lot of letters the last few days from people who wonder why I’m so fascinated by the filthy carpeting and extremely unsanitary washroom I found at the Hinshaw firm…and the immediate answer is that bizarre things like this have always fascinated me because I believe they are clues to something we’re missing in the bigger picture. I’m Catholic, and I believe the Holy Spirit nudges us all here and there, wherever we’re supposed to go…and sometimes I think that when something so absolutely bizarre as “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” is dropped in my lap I’m supposed to learn something from it or help someone who’s involved. In this case, the jarring experience of stepping into the reception area of a supposedly prestigious Chicago law firm in a high-rent skyscraper smack dab in the middle of the Loop and finding the public areas to be poorly maintained and absolutely filthy set off my natural mystery-solving radar…because it made me wonder just how bad things are in our current economy that a firm like Hinshaw would allow its waiting-area carpeting to become so filthy and would essentially let its men’s washroom degenerate into what could easily moonlight as a set for the next Saw torture-porn movie (which, for some reason, are flicks that always seem to have long stretches of plot centered in filthy bathrooms..from which guys like Cary Elwes desperately try to escape).
My mind keeps jumping around to all sorts of movies and tee-vee shows in this particular case, because I’ve just never experienced a waiting-area or washroom this filthy in real life. Many years ago, I worked in a hotel while I was in college and our corporate office would have closed the place down for immediate renovations if we allowed our lobby to become so filthy; even if we were struggling in the dead of winter with 90% of the rooms in the hotel vacant and very little money coming in, we’d still make sure the lobby carpeting was spotless. That was back in Cleveland, where we seemed to have not only more snow and slush than I’ve ever remembered in Chicago…but the wintery precipitation would always be a black, tar-like sludge thanks to the steel mills that still belched dark smoke into the air around the city and the water table that would spontaneously combust if conditions were right (such as someone dropping a match into the river or even looking at the Lake funny). Since Hinshaw & Culbertson’s lobby in a mild, dry Chicago winter was filthier than that of a heavily-trafficked hotel in downtown Cleveland (which was a favorite shortcut for homeless people to use when getting from a pandhandling free-for-all park to the Justice Center for their court appearances), I’m inclined to believe the Holy Spirit intended for me to see this filth and inspired me to contemplate what it means for our country at large.
I truly believe, as a part of my faith, that there was a reason I was meant to be sitting on that couch and left alone by Mr. Gilbert for so long with nothing else to do but stare at and photograph the filthy carpeting in that lobby.
We seemed to forever be tightening budgets and cutting costs when I worked at the hotel, and that was in the late-90s before the Dot.com implosion. Things got especially tight after 9/11, because millions of people were spooked off flying and hotels lost massive amounts of bookings (mostly related to canceled conventions, but also due to people finally making the leap to working from home and video conferencing instead of flying for business all the time). I was the head of security at the hotel and I think my department’s budget was cut to the point where I had to start buying printer ink and other office supplies with my own money, since the hotel couldn’t afford any of it and was reeling from a massive cash crunch due to the sudden downturn in the industry (thanks to “the religion of peace”). And, yet, the hotel was still always spotless, the carpets were forever clean, and the men’s washroom sparkled.
I think we would have had to be on the brink of closing down the hotel for the General Manager to have ever tolerated filthy carpets or unsanitary washrooms in that building. Literally, if everyone was laid-off due to budget cuts and it was just the GM and a few other managers left on the payroll, that guy would have had his sleeves rolled up and would have brought his own bucket of suds from home to make sure the carpet was clean and presentable to our guests. There just doesn’t exist in any realm of my imagination an image of my old hotel’s carpeting ever being allowed to become as filthy as that at the Hinshaw & Culbertson national corporate headquarters.
And this scares me, because I wonder if it’s a sign that we truly are in the economic Depression that I’ve believed we’ve been in for some time. If a large and supposedly prestigious law firm like Hinshaw & Culbertson seemingly no longer has the resources to keep its lobby carpeting clean and to tidy up its washroom, then I wonder how many other businesses in Chicago could be running on fumes. If things are really this bad in our economy that a place like Hinshaw can’t seem to afford the basics (like proper housekeeping and sanitation of their offices), then how long is a firm like this going to stay in business? And what does that mean for all of the people who count on this place being there…and all of us taxpayers who’d have to shoulder the unemployment benefits or welfare if big layoffs follow the filthy carpets and neglected maintenance of these offices?
I’m scared this filthy carpet is a canary in our economic coal mine and the filth I found last week in a waiting room is an alarm that big firms and other large employers here in Chicago might be dominos teetering on oblivion…and that we could have another massive corporate die-off like we had in the Dot.com crash and the financial apocalypse of 2008 that George Soros rigged to secure Barack Obama’s election.
Don’t forget that the Obamacare penalties and stifling requirements are set to hit employers hard in January of 2014, so we have less than a year until businesses coast to coast need to start carrying the burden of covering health insurance for millions of Mexicans who broke the law and came here for handouts (at the President of Mexico’s urging, of course, because these people then became our problem…not Mexico’s). I’m really wondering if a big firm like Hinshaw & Culbertson is allowing its carpets to get filthy and its washrooms to go uncleaned because it just doesn’t have the resources available to take care of this stuff anymore…and if staffing cuts or reduction in hours directly linked to Obamacare could be a reason for this.
It’s a real shame, too, because all the workers I met at the Hinshaw firm when I was there seemed like very nice people. I especially felt bad for this one firecracker of a receptionist they had, who was an elegant older black woman in a gorgeous cream suit with a shiny, gold rhinoceros broach on her lapel. There she was, so friendly and charming she’d easily be played by Viola Davis if this was a firm in a John Grisham movie…so clearly taking great pride in her personal appearance and doing an excellent job…but the poor woman was forced to sit at a reception desk that was essentially this tiny island of tidiness in a sea of unkempt, dingy, filth. It was like going to see the best movie that’s come out in years (starring your favorite actress), but the theater you ended up watching it in was weeks away from being condemned by the health department and torn down…kind of like that old movie palace in Detroit that’s on its last legs as a ramshackle parking garage. It’s a very disconcerting and uncomfortable feeling to watch someone you instantly like have to force a smile and carry on the best she can, while being visibly embarrassed by the surroundings in which she has to work. I really felt badly for this nice lady because she reminded me of one of my friends’ moms…and I’d hate for them to have to work in a place that was so dirty.
As I waited and waited for Mr. Gilbert to figure out where we were going to have our meeting, all I kept thinking about was “Why on Earth did these people let their offices get so dirty?” and “Why can’t they clean these carpets?”; after investigating this for the last several days the terrifying conclusion I think I’m forced to reach is that it’s because they just can’t afford to keep the place clean anymore.
Honestly, I don’t know what something like this means for our country (and businesses that YOU might work for), but I hope you’ll give me your input in comments below. A few days ago I actually reached out to Ann B. Davis, the actress who played “Alice Nelson” on The Brady Bunch because I wondered if she could give us any cleaning advice that I could then pass on to Donald L. Mrosek, J. William Rogers, and Mr. Gilbert at the Hinshaw firm — but I have not heard back from Ms. Davis yet. At 80-something, I don’t know how often she writes back to strangers asking for cleaning tips (or how much she really learned while playing “Alice”) so I thought about anyone else I might possibly know who has ever dealt with stains as pronounced and prodigious as those I found in the waiting area of Hinshaw & Culbertson.
And then I realized that many years ago I had a chance encounter with a true cleaning expert while working another job I once had in Cleveland….and so I decided to write to her for help today as well.
VIA US MAIL — 2/23/2013
Ms. Ponce Kiah Marchelle Cruse Evans
aka “Heloise”, The Conqueror of Stinks and Stains
San Antonio, Texas
I’m sure you don’t remember this, but I met you many years ago while working at the Brentano’s bookstore in downtown Cleveland’s “Galleria” mall, back when there was still a bookstore in there and the building was itself still used as a mall (for the last few years, it’s been a largely-abandoned “urban farm” with hydroponic tomatoes haphazardly soaking in buckets and little bugs correspondingly flying around…but the latest cockamamie scheme is to turn it into a giant YMCA gym and flood the whole lower level for a swimming pool…which is sort of the screwball type of pipe-dream solution to a longstanding problem that makes Cleveland forever next in line to invest in monorails at some point; honestly, all that’s missing in my former hometown is a Krusty Burger and a dance number inspired by “The Music Man”).
I remember all of our home improvement and gardening books being in the rear of the store, back in those days when people still went to bookstores and “Amazon” was most recognizable as a river in South America that few in Ohio had the slightest inclination to ever visit in person (“Why do we have to get on a plane and then deal with Spanish-speaking people when we have a perfectly good river right here in Cleveland…and ours can catch FIRE! Bet that Amazingzon can’t do that and so it isn’t all amazing after all” would have been essentially the attitude you’d find in Parma, especially). “Dot Com”, back then, was also more likely to be associated with the perky wife of a shop teacher or plumber, whose buddies no doubt ribbed him mercilessly for a last name that lent itself to riffs on “Commie” (or even more vulgar jabs, if locker room barbs switched a vowel in the “Com” and took us into PG-13 territory). In Cleveland, this sort of banter amongst straight male friends is called “funnin”, with the “g” missing like that (because it’s a Cleveland thing). I don’t get it, and I never did, which is largely why I’m gay and live in Chicago now.
Around 1994 or so, you were in Cleveland for something (maybe you came to see the house from A Christmas Story, because the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame was not open yet and those are often the only two reasons people willingly come to Cleveland) and somehow found your way to my Brentano’s…where a customer excitedly raced to the register to tell me that “Some woman with white hair is writing in all of your books!”. I think I was mad at my manager Laurie for making me work that day when I was supposed to be off, so I took my time investigating…but, sure enough, there you were sitting on the floor with a Sharpie and a smile, beaming “I’m Heloise!” as I approached. ”I’m Kevin,” I told you, and then asked if you were okay or if I needed to call someone to help
restrain you. That was a nicer way of my asking if you had escaped from someplace, since you were too nicely dressed and friendly to be a vagrant…and your penmanship was just lovely. “I’m Heloise!”, you repeated…which made me wonder if that was, in fact, the only thing you could say.
But then you flipped a book over and held your photo up to your own head and I realized you were just being incredibly nice and autographing the copies of your books we had on our shelves (instead of simply being a very pretty white-haired lady with a Texas twang who vandalizes in the home and garden section of upscale bookstores that no longer exist). We didn’t have much interaction after that, since I had work to do up front and you were busy writing your name a bunch of times with a marker on the floor, even though no one asked you to do that.
I believe one of those books was called “Heloise Conquers Stinks and Stains”, or something like that. Looking over my own resume and list of life achievements, I’m jealous of your conquering of both stinks and stains, whereas I’ve thus far only managed to mildly irritate a few people here and there and publicly shame those with filthy carpets.
That’s actually why I’m writing you today, because it’s not like we promised to stay in touch all those years ago when we met in Brentano’s. As I’m sure you’ve been following, this week I launched an investigation into “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet”…which I was drawn into on February 20th when I arrived at the law offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson in downtown Chicago and was floored by the filthy, stained carpeting in their reception area. Later, when I needed to use the men’s room, I discovered standing water on the floor, clogged toilets with feces floating in urine, smears and grime on the water-splashed mirrors, and lights flickering overhead like in a torture-porn horror movie (such as those in the film series Saw, which has about a dozen installments at this point…but has never featured a men’s room as gross as the one at Hinshaw & Culbertson). Needless to say, there were a great many stinks in that washroom…but none that you couldn’t conquer, if your books are to be believed.
Part of my investigation into “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” is figuring out why, exactly, this law firm allows its waiting area to be so filthy and why its men’s room is so unsanitary (and full of stinks!). That’s really something I doubt you’ll be able to help with…and I already have a letter in to the firm’s Senior Partners basically asking them why this is happening. Since I have yet to hear back from any of them (due, no doubt, to it being February and I bet a lot of people get divorced after Valentine’s because husbands give lousy presents most of the time and that starts fights), I’ve prayed on the matter and have decided to operate as a Good Samaritan, concerned citizen, and local busybody to see if I can find any cheap and affordable cleaning tips that could “conquer” the stains and stinks that I discovered in the offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson.
There are some very nice people working there, including a very friendly woman with a rhinoceros pin on her jacket and another nice lady with white hair like yours, only she wears it “up” more and is kind of heavy-set. That lady was sweet and when she saw me staring at the stains in the carpet and taking pictures of them with my iPhone she mouthed “It’s so embarrassing!” as she hurried through the room with a bunch of papers. I don’t really know any of the people working there besides this really nice lawyer named Scott M. Gilbert, but they all seem like good and polite people who deserve a clean office and stain-and-stink-free working conditions.
I ordered your book “Heloise Conquers Stinks and Stains” and I’m asking my readership to pick up a copy too…because I really believe in you (even though I could never remember or pronounce your real name if my life depended on it) and you’re technically the first published author I ever met, if you don’t count Patricia Highsmith, Madeline Albright, Erma Bombeck, John Grisham, or Maya Angelou (all of whom I met before you at various, separate events while in high school, but the story of meeting you on the floor in Brentano’s while you were writing in the books is much more interesting than running into Bombeck at the Phoenix airport or whatever).
Since it takes a few days for Amazon to ship a book and it will be about a full week before I’d be able to find the time to read all of it, I was wondering if you could just look at the pictures I’ve enclosed of the filthy carpet in the Hinshaw & Culbertson law offices and then give me some quick pointers on how these people can clean up their stains. I did not take pictures of the unsanitary and poorly-maintained restroom at this firm (because there was a Hispanic man in there from the Blue Plate Catering Company changing his clothes and I didn’t want to either embarrass him or make him think I was posting the photos to Grindr or Scruff or whatever without his permission); come to think of it, though, since stinks don’t really photograph even if I took pictures of the restroom it would just be shots of water on the floor and feces bobbing in urine…and there’s enough of that on the Internets if you really need to see it to be of help in this case. In a cartoon, the animators would have drawn green, wavy lines depicting the stinks in there…but I don’t know how to use photoshop and I couldn’t even begin to imagine how to do that.
I plan on passing along any advice you can give for cleaning the filthy carpets and tidying the men’s washroom to the Senior Partners at Hinshaw & Culbertson the very next time I am in their offices for a meeting with Mr. Gilbert, so I bet you’d have a week or two to get back to me before I’d have another appointment there. No doubt, they are anxiously awaiting my return so that I can help them with all their problems.
Before I close I do want to thank you in advance for your help in providing some advice to Hinshaw & Culbertson on how to clean their stains and stinks…because I suspect they might not have a lot of money to spend on things like cleaning, since they allowed the carpeting to get this bad and they leave the washroom so filthy in the first place. You are a very busy columnist, author, and Conquerer of Stinks and Stains…and your writing has brought a lot of joy and good in this world. I almost want to suggest it’s time for a sequel to your book, which could be written cover-to-cover about how to clean up the stains and stinks in a law firm such as Hinshaw & Culbertson. I don’t want to tell you how to manage your own successful brand, but I’d call it “Conquering Stains & Stinks Part Two, the Sequel, Written About the Filthy Lobby and Men’s Room at A Chicago Law Firm” if I was you. But, then again, I never was good at finding simple, rolls-off-the-tongue titles for things. You are no doubt better at that than me. But, wouldn’t it be a hoot if you’d team up with John Grisham and maybe even do a book together on all this? The next time I run into him at something I’ll try to connect the two of you (though I only saw him that once, twenty years ago, so I don’t know how long a wait this would be).
With thanks in advance for your help in this important matter regarding stains and stinks found at Hinshaw & Culbertson’s Chicago offices,
HB NOTE: ”Heloise” is probably my favorite source for household hints outside of the “FlyLady” forums and eBooks and things my grandmothers or my friend Abbey taught me back in Cleveland. Amazon.com has a big selection of Heloise books, on all sorts of topics. Her tips really work, and she really was a super nice lady when I met her twenty odd years ago…so I assume she’s still just as nice today. I have no idea if she’ll write back or if she has the time to help solve “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” but stranger things have happened with my investigations for this site.
QUESTION for COMMENTS: What tricks have you used to remove filthy stains in your own carpet or conquer stinks in the washrooms of prestigious law firms you’ve visited that have neglected their cleaning duties?
What other experts should we contact for more assistance with our investigation into “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet”?
To read the rest of this “Mystery”, click HERE.
A few days ago, I stepped into the offices of Chicago law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson to appear as a witness in a major discrimination suit working its way through federal court involving a prominent Chicago gay bar that’s been accused of persecuting its Christian employees (which is the height of hypocrisy, considering that the owners of this bar vociferously accuse Christians of persecuting gays). As often happens here in Chicago, a mystery fell into my lap while I was sitting on a couch in Hinshaw’s waiting room…because there before me on the floor on either side of the large reception desk was the filthiest carpeting I’d ever seen in my 36 years on this planet. In the grand scope of all the mysteries that are out there today, “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” isn’t the grandest of them all…but I’m just personally boggled by the fact that a purportedly prestigious law firm in Chicago in a very expensive office building could have carpet this filthy in its waiting room. And not seem to care!
Yesterday, I wrote to the Senior Partners of the firm to ensure they knew about the filthy and unsanitary conditions in their offices…but I haven’t heard back from them yet. No doubt, men like Donald L. Mrozek and J. William Roberts are very busy so it might take them and the other Senior Partners a few days to address how filthy their carpet is and how unsanitary and disgusting their men’s washroom was on that same floor. They probably are a little sheepish about the whole situation, too, because I took pictures of how filthy the carpets are over there and showed them to everyone. Though, honestly, they knew I was coming to visit that day and they know I’m Editor-in-Chief of a popular website…and a reasonable person would have supposed I’d have some sort of photographic device on my person in the year 2013. So, they really should have had foresight to clean the carpets and tidy up the washroom before someone like me arrived for an appointment in the building (and was cleared through security to come up to the third floor!).
‘The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” fascinates me because it’s a real commentary on how Chicago itself operates…because it’s on one level this vast garden of shiny steel and glass spikes zooming up to the sky for as far as eyes can see, with tourists clamoring for the best view of all the architectural beauty and historic landmarks…but underneath all that beauty there’s real rot and decay in this town that the political system and media here endeavor to hide under rugs.
That’s why I find it a perfect metaphor for this city to step into a suite of offices in a very shiny and spectacular office building on LaSalle, in the middle of the Loop no less, and find the reception area of a prestigious law firm to be filthier than the one in Beetlejuice, when Geena Davis and a surprisingly attractive version of Alec Baldwin went to the ghost world for an appointment they had with Sylvia Sidney. You remember that scene: the two bewildered, recently deceased humans arrive and find themselves in a diseased room covered in creepy stains, afraid of sitting in something gross, with the whole thing being Tim Burton’s grotesque version of a waiting room in purgatory. Like this:
Only, Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin were lucky because they had each other to comfort them in all that filth…but I had to sit there in the Hinshaw & Culbertson offices and stare at all of those mysterious, moldy stains all by myself!
I actually thought to write to Sylvia Sidney (who played Juno, the ghost caseworker) in Beetlejuice to ask her how Tim Burton and his design team so convincingly replicated the Hinshaw & Culbertson offices from the year 2013 in a movie they released back in 1988, but I’d (fittingly at this point) need a ouija board to reach her. Then I thought I’d ask Geena Davis what she thought of Hinshaw & Culbertson’s filthy reception area carpeting and if it reminded her of working on Beetlejuice, but while looking up her agent’s address I decided that I’d do a really good deed today and bring these filthy carpets to the attention of someone who could really help Mr. Donald Mrozek and Mr. J. William Roberts with their cleaning and sanitation problems. With a reception area this filthy, I should really enlist the heaviest hitter I could think of in ‘The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet”…Ann B. Davis, the woman who played housekeeper extraordinaire “Alice Nelson” on The Brady Bunch.
VIA US MAIL — 2/22/2013
Ms. Ann B. Davis
c/o The Artists Group
1650 Broadway — Suite 1105
New York, New York 10019
Dear Ms. Davis,
I am writing to you because many years ago you portrayed the world’s greatest housekeeper, “Alice Nelson”, on the television program The Brady Bunch. As you no doubt recall, there was absolutely no mess your character couldn’t clean up, no matter how filthy any of the (six!) Brady children were in any episode of that classic TV program. If “Greg” threw the football around and broke something, you’d pick up the pieces and restore order. If “Marcia” was sloppy and got makeup all over her vanity, you’d degrease the glass in an instant (using nothing more than vinegar, lemon juice, or magic). Whenever “Peter” spilled his drink on his textbooks like an inconsiderate and sloppy little pig, you’d dry them out and politely admonish him for being so stupid. “Jan” was just one big walking mess, but yet you always found a way to clean up after her too; FEMA can’t even do something like that today. ”Bobby” and “Cindy” were pretty much just wild all the time and had that dog “Tiger” for a while that just disappeared at one point (or, more interestingly, slipped into an alternate reality where he became a tiger named “Dog”).
I can only imagine how, before he vanished and was never spoken of again, “Tiger” probably made the most messes of any member of the “Brady Family” (apart from “Cousin Oliver”, naturally)…but your character “Alice” kept the “Brady” household’s shag carpeting and other interesting 1970s decorating choices looking resplendent. I know that you were just an actress playing a role written for you by men at typewriters chain-smoking like fiends, but I’m hoping you were at least somewhat method in your craft and that while portraying “Alice” you also were imbued with some of her best spot-cleaning attributes.
I have absolutely no authorization to do this and am not affiliated with them in any way, but I would like your help in solving “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” that exists in the Chicago offices of the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson. I believe this falls under my duties of “concerned citizen” and “local busybody” and is, of course, a manifestation of my First Amendment rights and my dedication to cleanliness in general.
Recently, I had an appointment at Hinshaw & Culbertson and was shocked by the filthy carpeting they have in their reception area. Here is a photo of exactly what I am talking about so that you can channel “Alice” and help address this with me, as concerned citizens and characters that people have strong opinions of:
I know it looks like the young man in black is part of some kind of cult and is dancing in front of a giant cupcake with a maraschino cherry on top, but he’s just a cater-waiter setting up for a cocktail party function that Hinshaw & Culbertson hosted on 2/20/2013 (as bizarre as it is that they’d host a major catered event in space that has such filthy carpeting). It also looks like there’s a disembodied head just floating right there to the immediate left of the cater-waiter, but that’s really a mustachioed man with glasses whose full body is hidden by the oversized reception desk (it kind of looks like he’s sitting in an elaborate shipping crate or animal pen, but I believe there’s an open space on one side for him to escape). Now that I look at it closely, it also appears that the cater-waiter’s arm ends at his elbow and that he’s firing some sort of blast of psychic ball-lightning at the floating head, like he’s a male version of the video game character “Samus” from the old Metroid series on the NES. But that’s probably just a trick of the light and an optical illusion. My boyfriend Justin really loves video games and he pointed this out to me, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t automatically get the reference because you are 80-something now and I’m 36 and this didn’t immediately leap out at me either.
Those filthy stains on the carpeting of Hinshaw & Culbertson’s waiting area aren’t tricks of the light, however. They sure aren’t “treats” either…but they’re scarier than anything I’ve ever seen at Halloween or in movies such as Beetlejuice (which you weren’t in, obviously, but you should have been in because you are really funny as an actress).
I am wondering if you ever saw stains like the ABOVE on the carpeting of the “Brady Family” house while you were part of that bunch…and not just on the set itself, but also in the backstage production areas where the Teamsters no doubt trucked around lighting, camera equipment, those fancy directors’ chairs, and all the other heavy-duty accoutrements that are needed for television production (and they probably dropped stuff and made a big mess, because they are Teamsters and that’s how they roll). I imagine the back corridors of a TV studio get pretty filthy…and I am wondering if the carpeting backstage on a 1970s sitcom production set was ever filthier than the reception area carpeting of a major law firm in Chicago in the year 2013.
How on Earth would your character “Alice” ever begin to clean filthy carpeting like this?
On the show, whenever one of those “Brady kids”, their dog “Tiger”, “Sam the Butcher”, or other characters on the show made any kind of mess “Alice” would react for the camera, make some kind of funny face, say something hilarious, and then get right to work with a bucket and some kind of scrubbing utensil. And then she’d make pork chops and apple sauce for everyone (except “Tiger”, because he’d get dog food out of a can because he was a dog).
I’ve looked through old episodes on YouTube and I have been unable to identify what sort of utensil “Alice” most usually favored for cleaning up filthy messes…or if such a utensil would be good on carpet like that found in the reception area of Hinshaw & Culbertson. I have no way of determining if this is quality carpeting or not…but I’m tempted to guess it couldn’t have been all that expensive if Hinshaw & Culbertson seemingly can’t afford to get it properly cleaned. That’s an assumption I am making based on the fact that their carpet really and truly is filthy…and I can’t imagine a firm would purposefully choose to allow carpet to get this filthy in a waiting area unless they just financially couldn’t afford to have it cleaned professionally. And that assumption leads me to believe they probably couldn’t have afforded very expensive carpeting to begin with.
But, you know the old saying of: When you assume, you make an “ass” of “you” and “Alice from the Brady Bunch”…so I should just really focus on how filthy their carpeting is right here and now and ask if you have any suggestions at all for how they could clean this up. Mind you, they have not asked for my help so this is more of a Good Samaritan effort, kind of like trying to figure out how Lindsay Lohan can get her life back on track or how Liza Minnelli can stop marrying gay guys. It’s the sort of unsolicited intervention for the hapless that all the “Bradys” should have done for “Jan”.
Since I went to their offices for a meeting but the meeting didn’t happen because the man who asked for the meeting ended up not being prepared to meet that day (I think the day got away from him and he got distracted because they were going to be having a big party that night and he might have been excited because a party was happening), I believe I will be back in their offices again soon for another meeting that will probably happen this time…and when I go I’d like to be able to share with them any advice you might have for how they can make their offices less filthy.
Hinshaw & Culbertson also has a serious problem with their men’s washroom (which you can read about here), but that’s really something that a whole lot of Clorox bleach, Windex, a mop, and some elbow grease can fix…so the real mystery is how they can clean their filthy carpets so that they look like the carpeting at every other law firm that exists here in Chicago…or any other professional business, really.
I believe your character “Alice’s” boss on The Brady Bunch was an architect and he worked from home in an office he designed himself. I also remember it always looked very professional in there, which was no doubt directly attributable to the hard work and dedicated cleaning skills of “Alice” herself. I am not sure if the producers made you stay in character and clean the whole set after filming was done for the day, but if that is remotely the case then you did a really good job with “Mike’s” office because it really does sparkle.
Perhaps working together we can impart some of “Alice’s” cleaning tips and know-how to Mr. Donald L. Mrozek and Mr. J. William Roberts of Hinshaw & Culbertson at some point so that they can clean their filthy carpet and have it look as nice as “Mr. Mike Brady’s” carpeting in his architectural office.
Thank you for your time, Ms. Davis, and for being such a valuable resource in this matter from so deep in our nation’s vast pop culture universe. You have brought me so much joy through the years while watching reruns of The Brady Bunch and I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity now to express gratitude to you on behalf of my readership for your talented depiction of America’s favorite housekeeper, “Alice Nelson”.
Awaiting your much-needed counsel to solve “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet”,
Longtime Fan of Your (and “Alice’s”) Work
Read the rest of “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” on our “Mysteries” page HERE.
QUESTION for COMMENTS: What other people, companies, or fictional entities do YOU think could help us in “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet”?
Like all of you out there, I was stunned to hear of Pope Benedict XV’s announced retirement (in what amounts to be just a week from today, on February 28th).
I’m Catholic and grew up with Pope John Paul the Great in the Vatican…and didn’t “know” another Pope until after the installation of his successor; JPII was always “pope” in the entirety of my memory…and he was also the embodiment of the very forces of good in my mind. As a kid, I watched him, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan maneuver with expert skill to bring the Soviet Union to the ground and deal a powerful blow to Communism…liberating millions of oppressed souls in the process. I am very grateful that my childhood was spent with a real-life “Justice League” on the world stage…with Thatcher in London, Reagan in Washington, and JPII in Rome.
Honestly, I’ve always been torn regarding the election of a former member of the Hitler Youth to the papacy…regardless of however much pressure (and threat to life) he experienced back in Germany in his youth. I think a better and more modest man would have firmly told the College of Cardinals that it would be immensely inappropriate for someone who belonged to the Hitler Youth to lead the Church. This is the same sentiment I have always had towards people like Robert K. Byrd…who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his youth, but ran for the Senate anyway (claiming, “I had to do it” and “my life was in jeopardy and I had no choice”). That may very well have been true…but it doesn’t mean you should occupy a seat in the United States Senate. Replace Klan membership with “murdering a promising young woman” and you have the reason that I thought it was personally revolting that Ted Kennedy was a United States Senator…when that man belonged in self-imposed cloistered exile if not prison for the rest of his life. Instead, he too got to occupy a position of great power despite being party to great evil.
Years ago, I had a really terrific boyfriend name Joss who is Jewish (and lives in Israel now)…and I remember the absolute horror he felt when he heard that the Cardinal who was a former Hitler Youth had been elected the new Pope. It was, for him, an even worse feeling than November 3rd, 2008 and seeing a radical with deep ties to Marxism and anti-Americanism in general becoming the President of the United States. Nothing has felt right about this country since that happened…and I doubt it will be right again until 2017 when, at long last, the current President is out of office.
In March, however, this sense of unease and conflict I’ve had since 2005 will be over as Pope Benedict steps aside and enters cloistered retirement…in my own opinion, hopefully to never be seen or heard from again. I personally have felt that installing him as Pope was like choosing Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars movies to follow John Paul the Great…and I don’t know for the life of me why they College of Cardinals made the decision they did.
In Catholic school, the nuns always taught us that there were many mysteries of the Church that were beyond our understanding and that we just had to have faith that the Holy Spirit saw to it that the right decisions were made, particularly when the new Pope was chosen. It’s a much more comforting and acceptable world when I convince myself to believe that…because otherwise the Vatican is just another political sea, with toothsome agendas whirling effortlessly below the surface.
With all my heart, I miss having a Pope in the Vatican who I love and respect and who it’s a joy to see waving from that balcony in the papal residence adjacent to St. Peter’s. My boyfriend Justin is aggressively Protestant…the kind that was taught growing up to mock Catholics and to revel in icon-toppling. His mother, CarolAnne, is vociferous about this sort of thing…which causes great strain in our relationship. Justin and his mother do the same thing to Queen Elizabeth II as well…and delight in mocking her too. I just don’t understand that, because it’s a pettiness and a negative energy that’s so out of place with who the two of them otherwise are. The net effect is that Justin always reminds me of one of those jawbreaker candies that’s sweet and adorable on the outside…but with this strangely sour center that comes out of nowhere.
When I was a senior in Catholic high school, I remember my religion teacher taking the last week of classes to teach all of us what to expect when we left for college…since most of us at my school had been educated in Catholic grade school since kindergarten, and then onto a Catholic high school as well. She told us that there would be those out there who’d take a weird delight in challenging us as Catholics…or in doing the mocking that Justin’s family from Arkansas gets into. I remember being specifically taught how to always remain the calm, collected, and even-keeled person when confronted this way…and I draw from those classes even now, twenty years later, when Justin and his mother decide it’s Catholic-bashing time.
I find such a power and sense of peace and comfort in the stained glass and candles and incense and ornate gothic glory of Catholicism. I am so grateful for all the nuns who taught me in school, and for the steadying and reliable force that belonging to a church brought to my life growing up. Recently, I used Google Earth to travel down memory lane to look at satellite images of my old neighborhood back in Cleveland…and my heart stopped and blood ran cold when I looked for my old parish and could no longer find it. I hadn’t been back to Cleveland in years, and wasn’t aware that the church had been shuttered and demolished in a bizarre fiat of the rightfully despised current Bishop of Cleveland. Seeing a barren, vacant lot where my childhood church once stood was an absolute shock to my system…like the Millennium Falcon happening upon an asteroid field where they expected to find the planet Alderaan in Star Wars.
I remember Justin just staring at me blankly as I literally had to steady myself on my chair and the edge of my desk because my legs gave out from underneath me when I realized that my old church had been wiped from the face of the planet and erased from our reality. It still existed perfectly in my memory, but even looking for photos of it online turned up just a snapshot or two. I felt compelled that very night to spend hours and hours drawing every detail I could remember and writing down every memory I could about the place…before I forgot it and the place was lost again.
It’s fascinating that Justin has never felt that way about any church he went to. They were just buildings to him, and when his family would move they’d go to another one…or a congregation would sell the building and buy a bigger one, or move into an old Zayre’s or Gold Circle department store and make that a “church”. He takes a lot of pride in the fact that he’s “not Catholic” and doesn’t have an emotional connection to “a building or things”. Bless his heart.
I have no desire to change him, but I also have zero interest in becoming like him. The more he’d try to push me to say something negative about being Catholic or feel bad about being so connected to my old parish the more it made me look for Latin masses to attend…and the more I found myself doing things like watching Sister Act on Netflix or ordering DVDs like The Mighty Macs.
But the one sticking point for me these last few years has been Pope Benedict XV, because in my heart and I soul I just have never liked this man and I have resented his presence in the Vatican. I pray for wisdom and grace enough to one day understand why he was chosen to lead for five years, when his history in the uniform of the Third Reich made him unfit in my eyes to ever attain leadership of the Church.
I pray his successor is someone of immense personality who will shine brightly in his role and so eclipse Benedict that he’s ultimately forgotten from history. I hope the next Pope is of a personality more magnanimous, humble, and endearing than even that of John Paul the Great.
And, truthfully, I really do hope they chose an African Pope. I feel it would be a brilliant strategy move against Islam in Africa…and would also be an interesting way of blunting the fawning over Barack Obama on the world stage…since the first black Pope will enthusiastically trump the first half-black American President.
I am truly glad that wiser men than I are going to be making a decision like this, because I’m too immersed in the secular battles of the moment to be able to know what’s truly best for the eternal Church. But I know what my heart wants and I’ve expressed it…as I have a right to do as an individual. No doubt you’ll have an opinion too, even if it’s like Justin and his mother who are all about “Down with all Popes!” or “down with everything people care about” or whatever it is they are saying after I judiciously chose to tune them out and go about whatever it was I was doing before CarolAnne called again on the phone.
It’s a little surprising to me that I actually don’t respect Pope Benedict in the slightest for “retiring”. I think this sets a very bad precedent and that he should have occupied the office until his death. The abdication of the Duke of Windsor rattled Britain and the reverberations are still being felt today. I have no idea how much damage Pope Benedict will do to the world as we know ti by stepping down like this…but it certainly will make it much easier for various forces to pressure a future Pope out of office, now that Benedict’s set a precedent for “retiring”. Six hundred years of tradition wiped away in an instant by a man who once marched around in a brown shirt for the honor of a genocidal lunatic.
It all sort of underlines the fact that I always believed this man was the wrong person for this role, and that he was fatally flawed…much like Robert K. Byrd and Ted Kennedy. Their past actions really did do something to them that other people were far too willing to overlook…and if you look at the entirety of these people’s lives you can really see that, NO, they really shouldn’t have been made Senators or the Pope (respectively)…because there was something wrong with them inside that caused them to make bad decisions at crucial junctures later. No amount of saying “they had to do it!” or “they had no choice!” or whatever ever mitigated the reality that these made were defective as a result of choices they indeed did make.
I can honestly go on about this for hours because it gets me so worked up…but I just realize that all of this negative energy and bad feelings will at last go far, far away at the end of this very month. One week from now, Benedict will leave the Vatican for obscurity…and someone else will be the pontiff.
I hope and pray it’s someone truly remarkable…but at the very least I hope it’s someone I can respect and come to love as a fighter for true good in the world and a person I can admire without reservation. It’s been eight years now since I’ve had that…and on a personal level I just can’t wait until the white smoke over the Vatican officially opens a new chapter for the world’s Catholics now that this difficult one is closing.
*** NOTE: I truly do respect all of your individual opinions on Pope Benedict XV. I know he has supporters who feel passionately about him. My intent is never to denigrate the man or the people who do feel inspired by him…but it really does boil down to me feeling towards him what I felt about Robert K. Byrd. I think that’s the best analogy, more so than Ted Kennedy (who was a murderer, and not just someone who joined the KKK to survive in the South or the Hitler Youth to stay alive in wartime Germany). I just have so much more respect for all the men and women who refused to have anything to do with the Klan or the Hitler Youth and who used their smarts and courage to find a way to live without having to surrender to evil like that. No one can ever say what they would have done in whatever period of history we’re talking about…but I just find it hard to believe I’d ever willingly be part of an organization of evil just because I was afraid of losing my own life if I didn’t join up. I just can’t be bullied like that…and I have trouble respecting those who allowed themselves to be.
I really don’t like talking about my personal health issues because I am loathe to give the trolls and cyberstalkers out there new avenues of personal attack…and allowing them details about my health battle would really be a boon for these people. In the five years that I’ve been running this site and writing political essays I’ve discovered the Internet to be a largely vile and toxic place. That’s mainly because people are allowed to post anonymously and to say and do things under screen names that they’d never in a million years do “in real life”.
Back in Catholic school in Cleveland, the nuns always taught me to never put in writing anything that you wouldn’t publish to the entire world under your real name…because anything you’d be ashamed of following you around forever is probably something you shouldn’t write to begin with…or even allow into your heart.
Last February, one of my favorite people in the entire world died suddenly…though I can’t say altogether “unexpectedly”. In the gay world, most guys have a patron diva…a larger-than-life female singer or actress who is a lifelong personal favorite. Older guys had Cher or Barbra Streisand or Liza Minnelli/Judy Garland or whoever…and I have Whitney Houston. When I was younger, I was lucky enough to see her in concert a handful of times and I even had the extremely rare chance of not just meeting her but actually spending a few hours hanging out with her when I worked at a hotel she stayed in. She was sweet, charming, funny, classy, and so incredibly kind that afternoon I spent with her…and that’s how she’s always remained in my memory.
But, when Whitney died last February the full evil of the Internet hate machine revved up against her…and maybe I was foolish for being so surprised by that. The entertainment site EW.com was the absolute worst, with no spam or troll filter on the articles about Whitney…which resulted in just a nonstop barrage of hateful and even legitimately racist things said about this woman because of her various life issues and problems. It breaks my heart that someone so talented and sweet fell so far because of drugs…and that she just couldn’t turn her life around. There aren’t even words to express how horrific it feels to realize just how evil the Internet can be…remembering all the things that anonymous posters said about Whitney in those first hours and days after her death. Hell, the trolls and haters are STILL at it even today. Just go to any video of hers on YouTube and you’ll see this garbage.
Anonymity and the act of sitting down in front of a computer where no one can see you allows far too many out there license to manifest pure evil into the world…and I’ve come to realize that there is just no stopping that and putting the genie back into the bottle.
I used to think it was just political sites that attract these kinds of trolls and stalkers…but seeing this stuff at play on entertainment sites made me realize it is a much bigger problem than that. My boyfriend Justin is really into video games and graphic design and other interests like that…and even on the forums and sites he visits for his work or hobbies this same kind of anonymous hate permeates everything. And it comes flying out of nowhere too, with anonymous people hiding behind screen names constantly attacking people who are famous or known in any way. And the attacks are merciless too. They even happen on sites that are supposedly for fans of Disney, which is probably the biggest shock of my lifetime; there actually are websites out there are purport to be about a love of Disney theme parks…but the people who anonymously post there actually do nothing but gripe about or malign the thing they claim interests them most. It’s dumb(o)founding.
There are times when I really wonder if the Left has completely won and if hatred and evil control our world completely at this point. Many of the patriotic people I’ve gotten to know over the last five years have thrown in the towel and no longer want anything to do with politics or what’s happening to our country. They cede victory to the Left and have resolved to just ride out the approaching storm as best they can…in an Aesop’s fable kind of way, where they are the ants who see the writing on the wall and the Left is the triumphant grasshoppers who’ve taken over…but are too stupid to see that their actions are inviting doom.
I think we are at a very serious crossroads for our country but that our future is not at all uncertain.
I truly believe that America will survive…will persevere….and will emerge stronger than ever. I believe this for the simple fact that for the last 200 years every evil that’s manifest in the world has declared war upon America…and America has won. It’s just unfortunate for all of us to be here at this particular time in history…or, weirdly fortunate if you’re someone who takes personal satisfaction in being one of the people alive today who are able to do something — anything at all — to turn things around.
We’re very much in the Empire Strikes Back phase of things, with the Left feeling secure in its victories and gleeful in pummeling those who want Americans to be free to chart their own destiny. I’ve had a lot of time on bed rest and in recuperation to think about life and what I want to do with the precious days I have in me. Having your health collapse and not being able to do anything about it is a very scary thing…up to a point…until that day that you just let go and “let God”.
It is immensely difficult, physically and emotionally exhausting, and financially devastating to do so…but I love and take immense pride in standing up to the Left in whatever little way I can. When I was too sick to sit at a computer or too weak to be able to type I’d long to be here at the controls of HB smacking back at the Left and resisting the Ministry of Truth that is our national media in any way that I could. More than anything, I wanted to be here putting out content that is positive and determined and that doesn’t succumb to the fatalist belief that there’s absolutely nothing that can be done about the Left’s triumph over our beloved country.
I know it’s breaking Godwin’s Law, but I can’t help feeling weird echoes of the 1930s and 1940s….the last time evil seemed so triumphant in its march…but in the end the 1000-year reign of America’s enemies collapsed much sooner than its orchestrators ever imagined. And that was because good people…of perhaps the Greatest Generation…took a stand and made the sacrifices necessary to stand up to the evil of their time.
Without suffering and struggle joy and happiness disappear into the commonplace. It seems that every so many decades our world needs to be embroiled in some great civilizational conflict, where the forces of good battle the manifestation of true evil…where one shall stand and one shall fall and so many heroes rise to their call of duty (some so unexpectedly).
I feel so blessed to have encountered a vast pantheon of heroes through the running of this site over the last five years. Most of these people will never be famous, but they are truly the most wonderful souls I ever imagined I’d meet. Almost all of them are regular readers of this site and dear friends I wish I had time and energy to be in better contact with. But they all remain in my heart and in my thoughts because I know they all have a role to play in the years ahead as we move into the third act of the current drama plaguing our nation…and segue from the Empire Strikes Back to the Return of the Jedi of things.
I really love being a child of the 80s and mining idioms from Star Wars movies. It’s a little disconcerting being 36 now and realizing that my cultural touchstones are often lost on the Millenials and the generations coming behind them. It’s downright scary to appreciate that all of these kids raised in public schools and subjected to anti-American nonsense and “global citizens” brainwashing are becoming adults and will soon be running things…just as the gray-haired-ponytailed radicals of the 60s are finally entering their 70s and 80s and dropping into their graves.
It’s a harsh reality, this fact that the Millennials have been so indoctrinated that in many ways they are WORSE than the “Weather Underground” types that orchestrated the Left’s surge to power back in 2008.
I know people who focus on all of this and become so overwhelmed with grief for lost freedom and angst for our predicament and they just shut down. They surrender all hope and resign themselves to a bleak and meager existence, just waiting for the Left to finish the deal and come for them…like those lumbering and monstrous walking tanks the Empire sent at the rebels on that bleak ice planet when it “stuck back”. I just can’t imagine being someone who’d ever give up, though, no matter how badly the odds are stacked against us.
Even with my health gone and my body a complete, falling-apart mess at the moment I don’t want to give up…or stop being a thorn in the Left’s side. Enough little thorns working together become a forest…and a large enough forest of thorns can swallow up the fiercest and most Leftist of would-be empires.
I think all of the struggle is ultimately indeed worth it because in the end we will win…as others like us have won in the past…and America’s future will ultimately be safeguarded for another 30 or 40 years for the generations behind us. I wish I could say that this will be the last time that an anti-American evil is ascendant…but no doubt in the decades ahead some other force will rise up to oppose America, like a Hydra that just keeps growing another head. It’s especially challenging that the forces that want America destroyed this time around aren’t headquartered in Berlin or Moscow or London or even Mecca…but are in Washington, DC itself.
Perhaps our generation will ultimately prove to be the greatest of them all…because if we don’t surrender and we don’t give up and if we find a way to keep going in defense of the country we love then we’ll overcome obstacles that no generation before us has ever faced.
Like, the Internet…which can be a remarkable force for good when used properly and by responsible people who seek to shine light on wrong-doing and to ring the alarm when needed…or it can be a tool of great evil when employed by anonymous trolls and other villains to seek, destroy, and annihilate those who stand in the Left’s way.
It’s tough being in the middle of all of this and trying to gain perspective on how all of this will shakeout…but it’s comforting to take refuge in my faith and to know that my God is an awesome and loving God who truly set America up as a City on a Hill to lead the world toward light…a bastion of good in a world often roiled by evil.
I have that faith, and in many ways I feel it’s stronger than ever.
Just like one day when my body is healed and my strength is returned and my health is back to where it once was (and I have faith it will be), I will be so grateful for and appreciative of what I have in ways I never thought to be before I had this taken from me. It’s sad but true that too many of us have to come precariously close to losing something value before we appreciate its value.
I think America…and what it stands for…is one of those things that so many took for granted until 2008. The five years since have been our struggle as we watched the Left claim victory after victory and do more harm to what we loved, leaving everything in a weakened and ruined state.
But the future is about us reclaiming what was lost and stolen and never again in our lifetimes forgetting how much it all means or how precious it really is.
I really thank the good friends of this site who’ve sent so many wonderful prayers and words of concern and encouragement our way while I’ve struggled with my health. It really means the absolute world to me and I am so grateful to have so many people out there care about me on a personal level like that. I never expected something like that, so it’s an unexpected blessing that is intensely humbling.
I am happy to be back to work and in command here at Buzzquarters again…and though it might take a while for me to get back to full steam, I do hope we can take the road ahead as friends together. It will no doubt be a trying and difficult road…but such is the nature of anything and everything worthwhile.
Check back in the next few days for updates.
We’re running a site maintenance and repair at the moment and will back to regular publishing soon.