Ring around Rosie O'Donnell

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Wednesday August 15, 2018
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Everything's coming up Rosies. Rosie O'Donnell has been making the political pundit tour since her protest concert with Broadway stars in front of the White House, while lesbian heartthrob Ruby Rose, she of the many tats on "Orange Is the New Black," is slated to be the next TV Batwoman.

Rosie is known for her long-running feud with Trump, which began years ago when she was on "The View." Since Trump has been president, Rosie has been an outspoken critic on social media, and has made numerous paintings of Trump in various guises and with different messages. Her most recent features a red-faced Trump with his characteristic bushy blond eyebrows and the title, "Treasonous Failing FAKE President."

On "The Beat with Ari Melber," Rosie said, "Mainstream media treated him like a legitimate candidate, as if they were two equals, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and it was falsehood from the start."

Rosie asserted that the MSM was "slow in coming around" to calling Trump a liar. "It took you guys a long time to call him a liar, and the man's been lying every single day since he's been in office."

Calling out the measured tones of CNN and MSNBC as well as the networks, Rosie was her characteristically blunt self.

"The reason he's not so panicked about Russia is because he knows that they're going to try again exactly what they did in 2016," Rosie said. "Although the mainstream media won't say it yet. They actually gave him the election. I believe that firmly, and I think a lot of people do." She's not wrong.

We were among the only reporters in the country noting that no one corrected Trump or pundits after Trump referred to Rosie as a "fat pig" and a "slob" in the first GOP debate. Megyn Kelly was asking the questions, and the audience cheered and laughed when Trump made the quip when she said he had called women fat pigs, slobs and dogs.

On Melber's show Rosie said, Trump "changed the narrative and the factual truth about who I am to the public of America."

Rosie explained that most pundit shows turned her into a punchline instead of standing up for the comedian against the bully everyone already knew Trump to be. She said, "He was allowed to, with help from the mainstream media and MSNBC. All you have to do is look at the tapes from 'Morning Joe' from 2007. They all ganged up, Willie Geist was very anti-Rosie O'Donnell. So was Joe Scarborough, so was every reporter on Fox, and it went on and on."

Then came the debate, and Trump using Rosie to get an audience laugh and deflect from his vulgar misogyny, which Kelly was trying to get an answer about. Kelly would herself become his target the next day, with his infamous reference to her being on her period when she questioned him.

You had to feel for Rosie as she recounted these events on Melber's show. It was obvious how much Trump's cruelty and the nation's dismissal of his blatant misogyny and lesbophobia hurt. Yet there she was, brave as ever, taking on Trump and the media.

Rosie's Broadway protest in front of the White House was huge too, ending with a rendition of "America the Beautiful." It was stellar and oh-so-gay.

Here's a little LGBT history tidbit to toss at the right-wing relatives next time you visit: That song was written by a lesbian academic, Katherine Lee Bates. Bates was a professor at Wellesley College, as was her partner, Katherine Coman. The two lived together for 25 years, until Coman's death from breast cancer in 1915.

Rosie was also on "Cuomo in Prime Time," talking about how the majority of Americans "stand up for the Constitution" and are tired of "children in cages." Chris Cuomo asked her if she was worried about what would happen if impeachment proceedings went through and the votes weren't there, and America was more divided than ever. She said she wasn't worried, because "I have faith in this country, and I have faith in the American people."

Batwoman rises

It was good to see Rosie get to take back her power and stand strong for our democracy. Speaking of taking power, the new "Batwoman" series joins the DC Comics line-up on the CW's Arrowverse, which already features several lesbian and gay characters, including the only black lesbian superhero, Anissa/Thunder (the fabulous Nafessa Williams) on "Black Lightning."

Ruby Rose, an out lesbian, was on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" on Aug. 8, talking excitedly about what it will mean for her to star in the series as Kate Kane, AKA, Batwoman. She got a little emo.

On Fallon's show to promote her new movie "The Meg," Rose said she'd been crying a lot since she'd learned she'd got the role. "I feel like the reason I get so emotional, growing up watching TV, I never saw somebody on TV that I could identify with, let alone a superhero," Rose said. "I have always had this saying - I mean, not me, Oscar Wilde - which is, Be yourself, because everyone else is taken. So I always live by that motto, and the second motto when I came into the industry was be the person that you needed when you were younger. I feel like one motto led to another."

On her Instagram account, Rose wrote, "The Bat is out of the bag, and I am beyond thrilled and honored. I'm also an emotional wreck, because this is a childhood dream. This is something I would have died to have seen on TV when I was a young member of the LGBT community who never felt represented on TV, and felt alone and different."

The CW describes Rose's character as "armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind. Kate Kane soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street-fighter primed to snuff out the failing city's criminal resurgence. But don't call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham's symbol of hope."

Hope was the word being used to describe how it felt to have Sharice Davids win a crowded Democratic primary race in Kansas' reliably red third district on primary night, Aug. 7.

It was a huge win for the openly lesbian Native American attorney and former Obama fellow. On Aug. 9, Davids was touring the very network shows that had failed to recognize her candidacy prior to her come-from-behind primary win.

On MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes," Davids talked about what it would mean for her to go to Congress, where she would be the first Native American woman ever elected, as well as only the second lesbian. (Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin was the first openly gay person elected to the House, and the first open lesbian elected to Congress. She is the only open lesbian serving in Congress. Arizona House Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is openly bisexual.)

Hayes played clips of the Republican incumbent, Rep. Kevin Yoder, belittling Davids as "out of touch" with the district. Yoder said, "They don't know Kansas, and they don't our values."

Davids was raised by her single Army veteran mother in Johnson County, Kansas, which is part of the district in which she was running, so perhaps it is Yoder who is out of touch. It's not hard to perceive Yoder's assertions about values as encoded commentary on Davids' sexual orientation.

Hayes quoted Yoder's tweet from Wednesday night after the primary: "Sharice Davids moved here a few months ago to try and help Nancy Pelosi win back the House Majority. She doesn't share our values because she doesn't even know what they are. She's the most radically liberal nominee for Congress in the history of KS03." Blow that dog whistle.

The Kansas City Star had actually endorsed Davids as best for the district, and wrote a special editorial Aug. 9 decrying what they hoped wasn't racism or homophobia, and reiterating Davids' provenance in the district and in Kansas. But as Hayes pointed out, Yoder has already linked Pelosi and Davids with a special fundraising website. As is the GOP's wont, Yoder has a scary photo of Pelosi looking malevolent, Photoshopped behind an equally malevolent shot of Davids. There's the same message of radicalism and danger to Kansans with a list of the allegedly scary things Davids would try and bring to them - like healthcare for all, and "doubling your federal taxes and robbing Medicare for our seniors to pay the tab for a $32 TRILLION European-style government health care program." This from the folks who want you to pay for Space Force.

For her part, Davids has been congratulatory of the five other Democrats she beat - two of whom outspent her 2 to 1 - and welcomed them and their supporters to help beat Yoder in the fall.

Despite being a beautiful brown woman with long dark hair, great lipstick, and progressive values who blasted through the final days of the campaign knocking on doors and asking for votes while two of her male competitors were given time on CNN and MSNBC, when she won her surprise upset victory, Davids was not automatically touted as the new face of the Democratic Party, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was after her come-from-behind win doing exactly the same thing in New York in May.

We hope it wasn't homophobia. We look forward to seeing more of Davids. She's already made history. Hopefully she gets to make more in November, and in-between she gets the same media hype as the straight and white contenders for far less history-making seats.

Politics is at the core of "Ghoul." "Reveal their guilt, eat their flesh" is the mantra of the prisoner under interrogation in Netflix's truly terrifying new thriller out of India. Produced by Jason Blum, who won an Emmy in 2014 for "The Normal Heart," "Ghoul" stars Indian actress Radhika Apte as Nida Rahim, and actor Manuv Kaul as Dacunha.

The limited series, which premieres Aug. 24, is described simply: "A prisoner arrives at a remote military interrogation center and turns the tables on his interrogators, exposing their most shameful secrets." Watch the trailer, then decide if your heart is strong enough. We're going to chance it, but we like to be terrorized by horror films and series, and not everyone does.

We were worried the second season of "The Sinner" wouldn't be as good as the first without the Emmy-nominated Jessica Biel. We needn't have worried. Biel moved from in front of the camera to behind it, and the series is just as unnervingly creepy as last season.

This time, Detective Harry Ambrose (the remarkable Bill Pullman) has returned to his claustrophobic hometown in upstate New York at the behest of the daughter of an old friend. Heather Novack (Natalie Paul) has just made detective - she's still in her probationary period - when she catches a murder case at a local motel, but there are things about the case that make her call Harry and ask for his help.

Within the opening 10 minutes of "The Sinner," we see who the murderer is and how they did it - just like in season one. What we don't know is why and how it is connected to the mysterious Waco-like compound Mosswood, run by creepy cult leader Vera Walker (the amazing Carrie Coon), where Heather's first love Marin (Hannah Gross) - yes, Heather's a black lesbian cop - disappeared years earlier.

This season has everything the first season had: Pullman, who is magnificent, stellar female leads (you will remember Coon from "The Leftovers" and "Fargo") and a story to make your flesh crawl. If you missed the first episode, catch up at USA.com or on Hulu. Just be sure to watch.

"Safe Harbour" is a Hulu original series that premieres Aug. 24. This four-part psychological thriller from Australia is timely and compelling. Hulu describes it: "On a yachting holiday from Darwin to Indonesia, five Australians come across a broken-down fishing boat, full of desperate asylum seekers. The Australians decide to help, towing the refugees, but when they wake the next morning the fishing boat is gone. Five years later they meet some of the refugees again and learn the truth. Someone cut the rope between the two boats, and as a result, seven people died when the fishing boat sank. The revelation drives a wedge of mistrust between the Australians, as they grapple with protecting themselves and doing the right thing. The refugees struggle with their desire for justice and possibly revenge. Old secrets come to light, relationships are shattered, and lives are put in danger. And one question hangs over it all: Who cut the rope?"

This series is about moral responsibility to others. It's deep, it's must-watch and must-look-away, and it will leave you questioning yourself about what you would do, and if you could live with your decision.

Summer may be winding down, but the politics is ratcheting up. So for the latest news, the frothiest and darkest escapes, and when all else fails, the food network and cupcakes, you know you really must stay tuned.