Komenwatch: Nancy Brinker says she's sorry

Read about it in Politico.
                                           This is St. Jerome, not Nancy Brinker (who is Jewish),
                                                     beating his breast with a rock. This is
                                                                not a recommended activity,
whether you have breast cancer
or not.

I knit, therefore I am

Why does this Englishwoman knit breasts? Find out here or post your own guess in Comments. Thanks to Anne Basye for the link.


In the yellow pages at our hotel in Ft. Worth (nestled next to the requisite bible), the listings under Taxicabs were shorter than the ones under Taxidermists.

Who's responsible for vintage racism?

Sammee Tong
I also watched an episode of Bachelor Father, which was vaguely familiar. It starred John Forsythe and aired from 1957 to 1962, so that means I was six and a half when it ended. I suppose I may have seen re-runs. The patrician Forsythe plays the patrician Beverly Hills lawyer Bentley Gregg, who has taken in his teen-aged orphaned niece Kelly. This week I saw the 1961 show entitled "Bentley and the Time Clock," though it's really more about the "houseboy" Peter Tong, played by Sammee Tong, and unionization efforts. Anyway, in the Time Clock episode, Peter's conniving cousin starts a union,The Benevolent Society of Chinese Houseboys, which is so amusing to uncle and Kelly that they can't help smiling indulgently when Peter tells them about it, then giggling, and in uncle's case, lecturing. One night Bentley has a woman over for dinner and dancing and keeps getting distracted by a small, aged "houseboy" in a tuxedo observing from the next room and taking notes. Peter explains: He's monitoring working conditions. A frustrated and resolute Bentley picks up the small, stiff man as if he's a mannikin and deposits him outside the front door. The next day Bentley brings in a time clock to teach Peter a lesson. (You want to set up antagonism between Management and Labor? Then let's be strict about everything.) The white master never loses his superior status, of course. The servant in this case is especially lower caste because he's an immigrant and an imperfect speaker of the language. He's naive and must be saved by the master from con man Cousin Charlie. (In the antebellum South, benevolent masters knew they had to protect their slaves from themselves and the world outside the plantation, because their slaves were inferior, like children. They were incapable of taking care of themselves. The white man was doing them a favor--after other white men had done the first favor of kidnapping them and bringing them in chains and squalor to the New World, as well as introducing them to Christ, whom they resembled in tortures received.)

Peter learns that his employer has his best interests at heart. (Under the new system, Peter grosses more in a week, but has $19 less in take-home pay because of deductions for the union Christmas dance party, its widows and orphans guild, and--get the laff track ready--the salary of the national official, who is Cousin Charlie.) Order is restored: Peter goes back to being the happy servant; Bentley, the appreciative master--and Cousin Charlie, instigator, self-interested catalyst of a power shift--he ends up washing dishes at the master's dinner party.
 On watching the p*rn film B*hind the Gr*en Do*r:
Beauty and intelligence was there with the whites, sexuality and the body is what characterized blacks. And I as a Japanese American? I was the one who watched, who did not participate, who was outside of that history. I was the neutered Hop Sing [ the Cartwrights' Chinese cook in Bonanza] or the houseboy of Bachelor Father.
--David Mura, "No-No Boys: Re-X-Amining Japanese Americans," New England Review, 1993
So this is the question in the title of the post: If this TV show was racist, if the use of the word "houseboy" is objectionable, if the patronizing (at best) attitude of the the main white characters is offensive, why is this series being shown on a major TV station? Shouldn't the station refuse? Why is this acceptable and Amos 'n' Andy not?

You will say: Because we had Civil Rights.  Because blacks are vocal. Because Asians are the model minority (quiet, satisfied to be accepted as white and admired for their inherent abilities in math, science and laundry). They don't cause trouble. Because this isn't so bad.

The war on daytime tv

William Conrad as Cannon

Peter van Pels (aka van Daan)
Cancer Bitch's other nom de guerre is Holocaust Girl, and as Holocaust Girl, she has been watching daytime TV and movies this week because she's been attacked by her old arch-fiend, bronchitis. She watched an episode of a TV detective series called Cannon, which aired in the early 70s. . On Cannon episode "The Man Who Couldn't Forget," a Dutch Nazi-hunter has come to assassinate an SS man who was responsible for hundreds (I think that's what he said; was there anybody who was responsible for only hundreds?) of deaths that resulted from deportations in Amsterdam. Did they even use the word “Jew”? The ex-Nazi Erich Strasse is now a silver fox, a good man, a toy-making mogul named Elliott Straughn, played with a American accent by Leslie Nielsen. His young blond girlfriend had been planted by the Dutch anti-Nazi organization. But problem: She fell in love with him. The white-haired Dutch man,  Peter Van Damme, tries to convince... Wait--Peter Van Damme, as you other Holocaust Girls out there know, sounds a lot like Peter van Daan, which was the name (a pseudonym for van Pels) of the boy whose family lived with the Franks in the Secret Annex, and with whom she felll in love. Could the writers not have realized that it was the same name? It has to have been deliberate. Did the writers want the name to resonate with the viewing public, so they’d say, Hey, that sounds familiar, and thus, sympathize with him more?
Can't there be forgiveness? asks Anna, the Dutch woman who's fallen in love with the ex-Nazi. Can't people change?
Isn't that odd! That's the sort of thing you might say if you were pleading for a deadbeat to be given another chance to rent an apartment, or if you're arguing for early release from prison. But if someone is responsible for many deaths, does it matter whether he had a jailhouse or in-lieu-of-jailhouse conversion? In Cannon, the guy gives the usual explanation: he had his orders. Everyone said that, Peter says.
Get your government to prosecute him, he’s advised. He rebuts: A rich man can buy his freedom.
God ex machina, apparently, is his judge because the ex-Nazi falls to his death during a fight. Oh, thank goodness it could be wrapped up so quickly! And neatly.
Youtube is apparently full of Holocaust Girls, with clips from Anne Frank films and commentary. Such as: i watched the movie when I was 11. Im 20 now, but i remember being traumatised for months after watching it. Eventually I got over it and 'forgot' about Anne. When I was 12 I started writing a diary, and later, I realised that my first entry was dated 12 June. Anne's birthday! Anne became one of my comforts during my crappy teenage years. She's taught me so much about appreciating life. i've decided if i ever have a daughter I'm calling her Annelies. My middle name is Anne and im so proud of it
It goes without saying that when a Holocaust Girl has bronchitis, she thinks about: how when she had asthma as a child she would imagine how she would be an absolute goner in a concentration camp; and how bronchitis was nothing compared to typhus, malnutrition, etc., borne by prisoners who still had to stand in line for hours and haul rocks, etc., all day. 
One more thing to ponder: In another Cannon episode, "The Avenger," one character is named Ted Anschluss.