Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Gladys Bentley

March is winding down, which means Women's History Month is winding down.  So let's note some women's history via Kaitlyn Greenidge (Harper's Bazaar):

This Women’s History Month, as women and queer people in the United States face growing challenges to their bodily autonomy, it’s encouraging to turn to audacious women from the past who also lived through challenging times. My forthcoming book, The Famous Lady Lovers: Black Women and Queer Desire Before Stonewall, is filled with stories of women who surmounted life in the Jim Crow era to craft the relationships they desired, and Gladys Bentley was one of the boldest of them all.

Bentley was the most popular and infamous speakeasy performer in Prohibition-era New York. A large, masculine, Black woman—a “bulldagger,” in the language of her day—she was known for wearing a white tuxedo and top hat onstage while expertly playing the piano and singing dirty versions of popular songs to rapt“slumming” audiences. She even married her white girlfriend in a well-publicized Atlantic City wedding ceremony.

There is a rich history of“male impersonators” on the popular American stage going back to the 19th century, who today are often known as “drag kings.” Some of these performers actively crafted male personae, but others like Bentley used the category of male impersonator just to be their masculine selves, on and off the stage.

In the 1920s, lesbian identity was just becoming visible in America popular culture, but it was still generally viewed as immoral, criminal, and akin to a mental illness. Despite this, Bentley was able to make a successful living being her openly queer self, a rarity for the time. She made sapphism more visible in a time of changing ideas about sex and gender, as women were entering more professions and having fewer children.

Her performances often involved going into the audience and flirting with all the female patrons. One reviewer wrote she “sang wicked blues in a deep contralto voice” and “bemoaned her girlfriend who had deserted her for another woman.” As Bentley sang, she went from table to table, and “much to the delight of the audience, every once in a while she’d feign recognition only to find disappointment upon closer inspection.” As for her bawdy songs, one included the lyrics, “It’s a helluva situation up at Yale / As a means of recreation / They rely on masturbation / It’s a helluva situation up at Yale.”

The early 20th century was still a conservative time in many ways, but the banning of alcohol from 1920 to 1933 created illicit spaces in northern cities like speakeasies and rent parties, which offered temporary freedom from social norms. Hundreds of thousands of Southern African Americans went to these cities in search of new opportunities, in what became known as the Great Migration. And Black soldiers who had served in World War I came home with a renewed sense of racial pride. This led to an explosion of Black literature, music, art, and performance often referred to as the Harlem Renaissance. All these factors helped make Harlem the epicenter of the era, where Gladys Bentley rose to fame.

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1930, Bentley lived with a woman named Beatrice Robert.[20] In 1931, Bentley had a civil ceremony in New Jersey, in a public union with a white woman whose identity is unknown. When Bentley relocated to Los Angeles, she allegedly married J. T. Gibson, who died in 1952,[21] the same year in which she married Charles Roberts, a cook in Los Angeles; they were married in Santa Barbara, California, went on a honeymoon in Mexico.[21] Gibson denied ever marrying her.[22]

Bentley died of pneumonia unexpectedly at her home in Los Angeles on January 18, 1960, aged 52.[1][2][23] It was initially believed to be the "Asian flu" but later turned into "pneumonia". At the time of her death, she had been more involved in the church and had just been ordained as a minister despite never getting her official paperwork. She is buried beside her mother at Lincoln Memorial Park in Carson, California.


Aside from her musical talent and success, Bentley is a significant and inspiring figure for some in the LGBT community and African Americans, and she was a prominent figure during the Harlem Renaissance. She was revolutionary in her masculinity: "Differing from the traditional male impersonator, or drag king, in the popular theater, Gladys Bentley did not try to 'pass' as a man, nor did she playfully try to deceive her audience into believing she was biologically male. Instead, she exerted a 'black female masculinity' that troubled the distinctions between black and white and masculine and feminine".[24]

Fictional characters based on Bentley appeared in Carl Van Vechten's novel Parties, Clement Woods' novel Deep River, and Blair Niles' novel Strange Brother.

In 2016, musician Shirlette Ammons released an album entitled Twilight for Gladys Bentley, that paid tribute to Bentley's legacy and "reimagined" Bentley in relationship to hip hop culture.[25]

In 2019, The New York Times newspaper began a series called "Overlooked No More," in which the editorial staff aims to correct a perceived bias in reporting by republishing obituaries for historical minorities and women.[26] Bentley was one of the featured obituaries in Overlooked No More.[2]

I last noted Gladys Bentley in "Nero married two men."

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, March 29, 2023.  The Great Glenneth rallies his fellow transphobes to froth at the mouth, FOX "NEWS" brings on an 'expert' who -- as usual on FOX "NEWS" -- doesn't know what the hell he (ibid) is talking about, and much more.

Glenn Greenwald spent the week thus far on Twitter and on his awful show -- it's the eyebrows, Rebecca, not just the at-home-out-of-a-box hair dye that make him look so awful these days -- offering conjecture and insisting others (people on the left) were forcing him to do that.  He's a liar.  He's always done that.  If it weren't for conjecture he'd have nothing.  His whole career is conjecture and his pretense that he's fair is a load of nonsense as well.  

Monday, a shooting took place.  It was The Covenant School in Nashville.  It is not a Catholic school despite the claims of some.  It's Presbyterian.  (To anyone dismissing the difference, ask a Presbyterian and they'll tell you there's a difference.  They have differences of opinion on many Biblical stories. In college, I did pre-K at a Presbyterian Church's day school as one of my many jobs.) 

The shooter is said to be a person with the last name of Hale.  As THE DAILY BEAST explains, "Police initially described Hale as a teenager, then a 28-year-old woman, later adding that Hale was transgender. A source close to the Hale family told The Daily Beast that Hale had 'relatively recently' started 'identifying as he/him'."

If you're not already grasping it, the possibility that the shooter identified as transgender is what got Glenneth Greenwald and his fellow transphobes in a dry-mouthed tizzy.

First off, anyone is capable of violence.  You may not fit the profile but that's the thing about profiles, they're not 100% accurate.  That's why they're called "profiles" and not "here's the killer."  Of course a transgender person is capable of violence, any person is.  It's like in BLACK WIDOW when FBI agent Alex (Debra Winger) is trying to convince her peers that she's stumbled onto a serial killer (Theresa Russell) who uses sex to lure in men and then kills them.  Her boss won't believe her, it's not something you see a woman do, they insist.   "Which part do you think a woman isn't up to?  The seduction or the murder."  Or as they note in Billy Eichner's BROS, "There are trans terrorists too -- Caitlyn Jenner."

Back against the wall -- or feeling that it is -- can make a person turn to violence.  Isn't that the whole point of the nod-along that's always greeted "Thin Line Between Love And Hate"?

Second,  we know three children -- Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney and Hallie Scruggs --  and three staff members -- Mike Hall, Cynthia Peak and Katherine Koonce -- were killed.  Our thoughts should be with their loved ones.  And I'm sure it was very awful for everyone present -- other children and other staff.  

Third, I don't note these events in the immediate aftermath due to the whole attempt to use them as a political football.   Disarm the government first.  And drop the sense of entitlement that allows all the wrongful murders by the police to happen in the first place.  You see the entitlement all over.  For example, Afroman's home gets invaded by police and he does a music video including that footage and we're all supposed to feel that he's in the wrong?  No.  Cowardly police officers filed a suit against Afroman -- the most frivolous police lawsuit since Marcelo Rodriguez tried (and failed) to steal $10 million from George Michael because he was mocked in the "Outside" video.

If I'm remembering correctly, the Ninth Circuit found in this similar case, "Granting police officers immunity from actions for damages is one thing; granting them immunity from public criticism is quite another."

Per Dan Ladden Hall (THE DAILY BEAST), the police have some issues to address because Hale contacted Averianna Patton who attempted to relay information to the police:

Patton told WTVF that Hale had previously spoken to others about feeling suicidal so she knew to take the messages seriously. At her father’s instruction, Patton said she contacted the Suicide Prevention Help Line at 10:08 a.m. before calling the Nashville Davidson County Sheriff’s Office five minutes later. They in turn told her to call Nashville’s non-emergency line, Patton said.

“I called Nashville’s non-emergency line at 10:14 a.m. and was on hold for nearly seven minutes before speaking with someone who said that they would send an officer to my home,” Patton said. “An officer did not come to my home until 3:29 p.m.”

Patton said she shared Hale’s messages because she thinks officials should have responded to her information with more urgency. “After phone calls from friends and Audrey’s name was released as the shooter at Covenant Nashville school, I learned that Audrey was the shooter and that she had reached out to me prior to the shooting,” Patton said. “My heart is with all of the families affected and I’m devastated by what has happened.”

Here's The Great Glenneth Greenwald:

Who radicalized the Nashville shooter? What media outlets, pundits and politicians share and spread the murderer's ideology?

I don't know.  You don't either but you went there.  Could be the hatred aimed at transgender persons triggered the shooter.  I have no idea.  I know, as a nontransgender person, I want to scream as I keep hearing all the hate being tossed around.  I can't imagine how I would cope if I were transgendered.  It's been ugly and it's been awful.  That might have radicalized the shooter.  Might also have had nothing to do with it.  But, Glenneth, just knows what's going on.

Really?  With those jazz hands and that awful sweater that wouldn't look good on a slim-waisted 14-year-old girl?  Friends of Glenneth should immediately take it upon themselves to thin out his closet of all age inappropriate items.   And sit on those hands if you can't control them, Glenneth.  First clue, if you're heads already moving back and forth on camera, you don't also need to punctuate every word with hand movement. 

There are people who are saying that this or that person in the media is "defending the shooter."  The examples they give do not read as people defending the shooter.  (Terry Moran, of ABC NEWS, for example, was not defending the shooter in his Tweet.)   But, for the record, I'm not defending the shooter.  I don't know the shooter and I don't know their motives.  If the shooter did go to the school, I will again note that schools have been intolerant in the past.  I've stated before how hearing tales last summer about how then-young males were bullied in middle school and high school by teachers and principals, my response was that they should sue them.  Even if it never went to court, the filing of a lawsuit would be news and knock a lot of shine off people who got away with bullying from a position of authority.  I have no idea if the shooter attended that type of school or not.  

If the shooter did attend that school, something traumatic could have happened there.  Equally true, something wonderful could have happened there and in the messed up mind it was chosen for that reason.  I have no idea.  Neither do the people like Glenneth who keep running with their anti-trans narratives.

I wonder . . . Glenneth does grasp that his 'friends' will dump him if they ever get their way, right?  That their hatred is aimed at the entire LGBTQ+ community and they need him to hide behind right now but they'll be the first to put him down (like a sick dog)  or 'fix' him (I don't mean conversion therapy, I mean snip-snip) if they get their way?

I can't figure out whether he's that big of whore that he can't see beyond the money or if he's a masochistic bottom boi who can't get enough humiliation and punishment.  Really, that would be the difference between being a bottom and being a sub.  If it's the latter, can someone please build Glenneth a home dungeon?  I'd offer to pay for any sessions he needed after it's built but I have a feeling that if you tell people Glenn needs to be whipped and punished, there'll be a line two blocks long in less than 30 minutes.  Point out that the men can spit on him and piss on him as well and the line will be twice as long.  

Meanwhile FOX "NEWS" brought on the failure that is Jonathan Gilman.  There's a reason he hasn't worked in the media since 2004 -- other than spots on FOX "NEWS."   It's cute the way his Tweets don't match what he says at the top of his Twitter feed -- his pinned Tweet from 2000.  He wanted you to know that as an Air Marshall, Navy Seal and more, he knows the criminal mind.  And the criminal mind is these people, "I was doing my research" he insisted, meaning he was listening to archived broadcasts of Candace Owens or someone similar, "and it is a fact that the majority of school shooters and mass shooters that we've had in the recent history of the nation are all people who have sexual identity dysfunction."

No, it's not a fact.  Saying it on FOX "NEWS" is fitting since that's neither a fact nor news.  

The reality is that people with mental illness account for a very small proportion of perpetrators of mass shootings in the U.S., says Ragy Girgis, MD, associate professor of clinical psychiatry in the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

In 2021, Dr. Girgis, an expert in severe mental illness, and colleagues from Columbia’s Center of Prevention and Evaluation authored the first report on mass shootings using the Columbia Mass Murder Database (CMMD), which examined the relationship between serious mental illness and mass shootings.

Columbia Psychiatry News spoke with Dr. Girgis about the role of mental illness in mass shootings, the motivations behind mass murder, why the perpetrators of mass violence use guns, and more.

Are people with mental health disorders more likely to commit mass shootings or mass murder?

The public tends to link serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia or psychotic disorders, with violence and mass shootings. But serious mental illness—specifically psychosis—is not a key factor in most mass shootings or other types of mass murder. Approximately 5% of mass shootings are related to severe mental illness. And although a much larger number of mass shootings (about 25%) are associated with non-psychotic psychiatric or neurological illnesses, including depression, and an estimated 23% with substance use, in most cases these conditions are incidental.

Additionally, as we demonstrated in our paper, the contribution of mental illness to mass shootings has decreased over time. The data suggest that while it is critical that we continue to identify those individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders at high risk for violence and prevent the perpetration of violence, other risk factors, such as a history of legal problems, challenges coping with severe and acute life stressors, and the epidemic of the combination of nihilism, emptiness, anger, and a desire for notoriety among young men, seem a more useful focus for prevention and policy than an emphasis on serious mental illness, which leads to public fear and stigmatization.

Look at that, an actual medical doctor refutes your trashy claims.  Hmm.  Well it's not like you had any real training -- in fact, I don't think there's been any brain activity in your head for decades.

And speaking to a friend a few seconds ago, a medical doctor published in professional, peer-reviewed periodicals such as THE HARVARD REVIEW OF PSYCHIATRY, he diagnosed Gilliam with OTRS -- Off The Rocker Syndrome -- as in, he's off his rocker.

Because, guess what, Jonathan Gillman is off his rocker and underwater demolition skills don't mean a great deal for the topic FOX NEWS brought him on to address.  In fairness to Gillman, FOX "NEWS" only brought him on because they didn't want an expert on the subject.  An expert would have rejected their line of smears and slanders instantly.

Lies, lies and damn lies.  That's all too many have to offer.  Jon Schwarz (INTERCEPT) takes on the liars at THE ATLANTIC:

The U.S. media has recently been filled with retrospectives on the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War. Most of these outlets eagerly helped the George W. Bush administration sell the war, publishing lavish falsehoods about how Iraq posed a terrible danger to the U.S. (It did not.)

So you might hope that in the past two decades, the same publications have learned the most basic facts about Iraq — and would steer clear of publishing obvious and stupendous errors yet again. You would hope in vain.

One incredible example appeared in a March 13 article in The Atlantic by David Frum, who is best known for serving as a speechwriter for President Bush and coming up with the phrase “axis of evil” in the 2002 State of the Union address. Frum is now a staff writer at The Atlantic, which is probably the most prestigious magazine in America behind the New Yorker. The Atlantic is forthrightly endorsing Frum’s fabrication and will not respond to basic questions about it.

As you may have heard, Bush’s case for war was that Iraq had programs to produce “weapons of mass destruction” — that is, biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. In his article, “The Iraq War Reconsidered,” Frum tells us in the first paragraph that Iraq was found to possess “an arsenal of chemical-warfare shells and warheads.”

This is false. You don’t even need to know the details to understand why.

Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, never said a word about this arsenal of chemical weapons that Frum says were discovered by the U.S. This means there are two possibilities:

  1. Iraq did have an arsenal of chemical weapons, thus totally vindicating Bush and Cheney and proving that they were right about the most famous political issue on Earth. However, they never mentioned this because they’re super-modest.
  2. Iraq did not have an arsenal of chemical weapons.

If you’d like to understand this subject in detail, you can read this long explanation I wrote a few years ago. 

The “big lie” about Iraq wasn’t just about the regime’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, but a preposterous deceit about the war’s costs and terms of engagement. Leading administration spokespersons actually testified that: the war would be over in a few weeks; US forces would be greeted as liberators; it would cost no more than $1 or $2 billion; and in the end, a new democracy in Iraq would be a “beacon for the new Middle East”.

Journalists and commentators echoed these fact-free claims making it the dominant narrative. Most politicians cowered, and because the overwhelming majority of the public couldn’t find Iraq on a map (according to a survey conducted days before the invasion was to begin), they went along.

During the months leading up to the start of the war, my wife and I were in North Carolina where I was teaching at Davidson College. At one point, I flew back to Washington to debate a resolution I had submitted to the Democratic National Committee urging the party to oppose sending our young people into a war without knowing its costs, terms of engagement, and consequences, in a country whose history and culture we did not know. The party leaders allowed me to present it but wouldn’t permit a vote. One even said: “We don’t want to appear weak.”

At the time, I was hosting a weekly live television call-in programme on Abu Dhabi TV and Direct TV in the US. ADTV arranged two live satellite shows connecting students at Davidson with students at Baghdad University. While the exchange exposed the Iraqi students to the debate about the war taking place on campus, my students had their eyes opened to Iraqi history, culture and sensitivities. After the programme, one of the Davidson students told me that it was so hard to be speaking with the Iraqis knowing that we were going to bombing them.

Because North Carolina is also home to military bases that were staging areas for US troops being sent to Iraq, it was especially painful to watch local news programmes interviewing family members about their loved ones heading to the war. Because of the lies they had been told, in interview after interview they tearfully repeated lines like “he’s a hero fighting to keep our country safe”, or “he’s fighting to make the world freer”. I feared for these young soldiers and their families, and in my heart I damned those who had taken advantage of their goodness (and lack of understanding) putting these young people at risk to fulfil their own blind ideology.

With the UK’s unconscionable decision to send Depleted Uranium ammunition to Ukraine, it’s perhaps useful to revisit the environmental and health consequences of the US’s widespread use of such weapons in Iraq and Kuwait during the first Gulf War. This short essay is adapted from my book, Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature.

At the close of the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was denounced as a ferocious villain for ordering his retreating troops to destroy Kuwaiti oil fields, clotting the air with poisonous clouds of black smoke and saturating the ground with swamps of crude. It was justly called an environmental war crime.

But months of bombing of Iraq by US and British planes and cruise missiles has left behind an even more deadly and insidious legacy: tons of shell casings, bullets and bomb fragments laced with depleted uranium. In all, the US hit Iraqi targets with more than 970 radioactive bombs and missiles.

It took less than a decade for the health consequences from this radioactive bombing campaign to begin to coming into focus. And they are dire, indeed. Iraqi physicians call it “the white death”-leukemia. Since 1990, the incident rate of leukemia in Iraq has grown by more than 600 percent. The situation is compounded by Iraq’s forced isolations and the sadistic sanctions regime, recently described by UN secretary general Kofi Annan as “a humanitarian crisis”, that makes detection and treatment of the cancers all the more difficult.

“We have proof of traces of DU in samples taken for analysis and that is really bad for those who assert that cancer cases have grown for other reasons,” said Dr. Umid Mubarak, Iraq’s health minister.

Mubarak contends that the US’s fear of facing the health and environmental consequences of its DU bombing campaign is partly behind its failure to follow through on its commitments under a deal allowing Iraq to sell some of its vast oil reserves in return for food and medical supplies.

“The desert dust carries death,” said Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, an oncologist and member England’s Royal Society of Physicians. “Our studies indicate that more than forty percent of the population around Basra will get cancer. We are living through another Hiroshima.”

Most of the leukemia and cancer victims aren’t soldiers. They are civilians. And many of them are children. The US-dominated Iraqi Sanctions Committee in New York has denied Iraq’s repeated requests for cancer treatment equipment and drugs, even painkillers such as morphine. As a result, the overflowing hospitals in towns such as Basra are left to treat the cancer-stricken with aspirin.

Sanctions destroyed Iraq.  Most on the left call out Mad Maddie Albright's support and defense of those sanctions.  But some on the left look the other way with regards to convicted pedophile Scott Ritter who spent the 90s supporting those sanctions right there along with Mad Maddie Albright.  

Let's wind down with some good news -- and, yes, I'm promoting a friend's news:

Diana Ross "The Music Legacy Tour" 2023!


I’m delighted to announce “The Music Legacy Tour” 2023: a celebration of my greatest #1 hits! I’m coming home to the US to sing hit after hit from my solo career and my time with The Supremes. It’s going to be a love fest. I am so looking forward to making memories and more memories with all of you ❤️

Tickets for this special tour go on sale this Friday 3/31! Stay tuned for more info and dates…

Share the #1 songs you would like to hear on social media with #dianaross #themusiclegacytour!

Asking myself:
What is it like to be turning 79?
How do I feel?
I feel blessed.
I have a beautiful life,
the love of my children and grandchildren
whom I love with all of me.
I have a wonderful career
I think about music & its amazing power
Happy, thankful, blessed.

I Celebrated National Hat Day!
I have always loved wearing hats.
I think it could be really fun to design some!
What do you think?

New Items Added To The Online Shop

I've added some new merchandise to my online shopThere are new tee styles
in addition to more apparel for adults & children, accessories, music and collectibles. Below are a few of the many items available...

Stay tuned for updates on new designs and exclusive products...

Diana Ross "Circle Logo" Tote
Diana Ross "Super Star" T-Shirt
Diana Ross "The Boss" Kids Onesie in Pink
Diana Ross LIMITED Diamond Diana Fragrance Bundle
follow me on social media!
Diana Ross | 9903 Santa Monica BlvdSuite 531Beverly Hills, CA 90212

The following sites updated:

No comments: