▶ Mary Birdsong in The Knick – YouTube. Think race relations are bad NOW? Try 1900: When I say the N word. On TV. In a show that begins w/a K. HAVE things gotten better? Or are people just better at hiding the racist within? Shooting the race riot scene made me feel like I was playing the stunt-woman in the hilarious cult hit of the 1970s- “Kentucky Fried Movie.” Only this wasn’t supposed to be funny.
Apparently the all-boys Catholic highschool, which had previously agreed to be one of the locations for the Moore/Page vehicleFREEHELD, wasted no time backing out of the deal once they found out the film was about…
(bum bum bum buhhhhm…) a lesbian couple!??!
Currently “filming in sin.”
This leads me to believe that the students themselves were not consulted on this decision at all.
‘Cause I can’t think of ANYONE who’d be more psyched to watch two hot chicks shoot a movie about lesbians in their school than a bunch of teenage Catholic boys. Can you?
Oh, Roman Catholic Church! Stop being so… well so CATHOLIC!
I’m lucky enough to have been cast in the role of Ellen Page’s mom in the film. And I’m so proud to take part in this project. And even though I truly love Pope Francis, this latest (typical) behavior by the Catholic church makes me so glad I am NOT counted among its army of “good Christian soldiers.” From baptism onward, I was definitely on the Catholic fast track, to be sure. So what happened to lead me astray? Well the groovy seventies happened, for one. But it was more complicated than that.
Does this go?
You see, I have a small, but meaningful, bit of first-hand knowledge on all things Catholic. My mom used to cook and clean for the “sisters” at a convent in NJ. I was baptized in a Catholic church. I attended Catholic kindergarten. And then at the age of seven I received first communion as a Catholic. (Oh, the sweet taste of “Jesus Wafer!”) The clouds parted, the holy dove appeared, and then so did Neil Diamond, singing “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon!”
In my teenage years I was supposed to seal the deal (so to speak) with Hayzoo Crisco® by having my Catholic confirmation ceremony, but I never GOT confirmed.
Many Catholic kids my age were doing it. So why didn’t I? Did my mom oversleep that day? Maybe I was sick. Or maybe we just plain couldn’t afford the fancy white outfit. I don’t remember the reason. But I know I wasn’t a conscientious objector either.
Whatever it was that stopped me from experiencing the sacrament of confirmation, the bottom line is this:
Since I am not a confirmed Catholic, it follows that I must be an UN-confirmed Catholic, ergo…
I AM A CATHOLIC RUMOR.
I wasn’t EXCOMMUNICATED from the Catholic Church. I’m still allowed to go there and eat the body of Christ and sing and stuff like that. But I’m merely someone for confirmed Catholics to gossip about. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have LOTS of sinning to get to, so those who are confirmed will have some juicy rumors to spread about me.
In case you saw me in episode seven of The Knick this week (“Get The Rope!”) I feel it my womanly duty to post the photo on the left… as a reminder to Hollywood that I’m not an ACTUAL drunk, racist, Irish grandma named Fionnula Sears- but I still like being in her skin. #ewthatsoundedcreepy! This series really is one of the best things I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of.
“As ambulance driver Cleary (Chris Sullivan) strategically keeps the crowd at bay, Sears’s mother (Mary Birdsong) clamors into the Knick, where her sonbarely continues to breathe. Drunk, spiteful, and filled with colorful colloquialisms, Fionella Sears is almost too extreme a character to exist within Soderbergh’s fragile ecosystem of class and race pressures. Both funny and genuinely unpredictable, she commands attention whenever she’s on screen, with elder cops and little Irish boys standing at her beck and call.
She offhandedly tells the Knick’s staff that Phinny’s “got more pluck in the little finger than all of ye have got in all your sorry souls,” and the cops all take a swig of whiskey in solidarity, but it feels facile. Phinny dies, and she incites the crowd to “hang every one of them black bastards. Take down every one of ’em fuckin’ darkies. Rip their throats and grind their eyes down to jelly! Make ’em pay for what they done to my Phinny!” To which men in the crowd immediately comply, tackling and beating random black passersby at a moment’s notice. Maybe this is how it really went down in 1900, but the randomly plucked characters and easy incitement feel more like a complex story is being told in a cheap amount of time.”
(Pssst…. Hey, Steve? Mr. MacFarlane? Her first name is spelled “Fionnula” (not Fionella), but don’t worry, she’ll probably be too drunk to notice.)
And here’s a great review of the show by a critic who didn’t like it at first, but is newly converted! Read Emily Nussbaum’s thoughtful addendum to her initial misgivings in The New Yorker. I, for one, greatly respect a critic thoughtful enough to occasionally don her flip-flops and reverse a decision made too hastily.
(And hey before we part ways in this intimate bloggy space, do this GILF a solid by telling the folks in the Cinemax suits you want more Fionnula Sears shenanigans on season two of The Knick. Go to their Facebook page here, or tweet at ’em here. And check out their page on Cinemax’s website here.)
In AZ, Christian Business Owners Publish 1st Ever “Right To Refuse Service” Employee Training Manual!
Dear Arizona– What I want to know is how the hell you’re gonna determine who is gay and who isn’t. What’s the litmus test? Will you ask your (potential) customers what their sexual preference is before handing them that turkey club?
U want those fries sodomized? AZ Christian business owners struggle with the abomination known as tolerance
When the haters of the 50s & 60s discriminated against African-Americans, at least they could be almost certain that they were discriminating against the correct “target” of their hatred. But in this case?
Anyway, my hat is off to you business-owners if you are fully-prepared to make your customers prove their homosexuality before serving them. I doubt you’ll actually follow through with it, but here’s how I like to imagine this shit going down (pun intended):
Male Customer W/Good Abs:Yeah, hey. I’ll have the chef salad and a large bottled water, please.
AZ Clerk: (thought bubble) Hmmm… he has good abs. And all his teeth. And clean hair. And that’s a pretty sharp outfit. ah HA! Cock-sucker!
AZ Clerk: (spoken) Sir, I’m afraid it is against my faith to serve you this chef salad on account of your obvious homosexuality, which is an abomination.
Male Customer w/Good Abs: Um… I’m not… gay.
AZ Clerk: Ha ha ha (not gay). NOT GAY??? Like hell you’re n– Hey everybody! This fruit here says he’s not gay! Well, sir… to that I say “Prove it!”
Male Customer w/Good Abs: That’s ridiculous. Look, can I just get my salad?
AZ Clerk: Suck my cock!
Male Customer w/Good Abs: Wh–at?
AZ Clerk: You heard me! I said suck my cock! Don’t act like that’s not what you want. Or maybe you’re what I heard tell they call a “top.” Is THAT it? Well, if you want that super-faggy chef salad so bad then you’ll have to go through my butt-hole to git it! If you enjoy having gay sex with me, then I am not gonna serve you- not now and not never again. But if you HATE having gay sex with me in front of all these good Christian folks in line here, then I will serve you that super faggy commie chef salad annnnnd throw in a slice of hot apple pie!
(Drops his jeans to his ankles, bends over)
AZ Clerk: Go on, now! Do it! (BEAT. ) That hot apple pie in my butt hole is gittin cold now! (LONG BEAT. A child cries.) Sir? Sir?
IF THERE’S ANY DOUBT LEFT IN THE MINDS OF AZ BUSINESS OWNERS ON HOW THEY SHOULD TRAIN THEIR EMPLOYEES TO HANDLE SUCH A DELICATE SITUATION, HERE IS A TRAINING VIDEO WHICH MAY BE OF SOME HELP. FROM ARTIE LANGE’S “BEER LEAGUE.” I’M IN IT TOO. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Click the big blue link below to read some really INTELLIGENT, RATIONAL writing on the Southern Poverty Law Center website.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: You MUST watch this short interview by CNN’s Miguel Marquez (incidentally, he’s dreamy, but that’s not the point) that was on super-awesome Erin Burnett’s “Out Front” last night. He asks this AZ business owner who runs a Christian business networking website if she’d permit gays after she says it’s basically a non-issue to her. Wait til you see what happened. It’s perfect.