|saving the world with song, video and commentary|
|copyright 2018 janice leber / chopped liver productions|
|chopped liver productions|
Snake in the grass |
January 2018 -- A few years back, Portland's activist community discovered, via a call-out on social media, that a prominent member of our stalwart bunch was a rapist.
At first it was one person who revealed some salacious and humiliating details in an effort to warn the community. Then another woman spoke up: "I thought I was the only one."
Then another victim of our local rapist stepped forward, and another, and another. We were in shock. We didn't know what to do.
We had a huge meeting to talk it out. Ten women told their stories publicly, bravely, trembling through their tears. The men in the room couldn't lift their eyes off the floor. It was a humbling moment for all of us.
Long story short, we ran that asshole out of town. And after I wrote a rage-filled song about him, I tried to put the sorry episode behind me. When the #metoo movement blossomed, it was a reminder that there are still a lot of snakes in the grass.
At least we're talking about it now. Click here to see the video.
Oh no, old guys!
The times they really are a-changin'.
December 2017 -- I entered the workforce in a male-dominated field in the mid-70's. The Equal Rights Amendment was a thing back then (a quaint notion, long since abandoned, that women deserved equal rights in the workplace). I sought a career in radio, where I often heard that women's voices are shrill and men don't like hearing them on the radio.When I managed to snag a News Director position I was told, with a shrug, "Of course I have to pay the guys more. They have families to support." Of course. And I -- a feminist -- was so accustomed to that way of thinking that I just shrugged back at the boss and accepted my measly little paycheck. My focus back then, being the only woman in the room, was on MAKING THE MEN COMFORTABLE WITH MY PRESENCE. No, of course I wasn't comfortable, but I wanted to be damned sure the men weren't stifled by the estrogen I contributed to the proceedings. If someone had grabbed my butt while posing for a photo on the job, I would probably have taken it as a good sign that they were comfortable with me being in the room, but still a bad sign that they were becoming perhaps a bit TOO comfortable with me. I doubt I would have mentioned it to anyone. This is a new millennium and a brand-new generation. Tina Dupuy is a commentator I've heard on the radio many times (read Tina's article about Franken here) . She's knowledgeable and insightful. And beyond that, she joined the workforce in an era where women are not an oddity at the water cooler. Her focus was not on the men in the room being comfortable; she was there to earn and demand respect. In my time, respect was too much to expect. Grudging acceptance was a good day. Al Franken is of my generation, and I suspect he has had some difficulty adjusting to the new paradigm of women's equality. He believes in it, yes, and promotes it vociferously -- but pinching women's asses is FUN! It's not like I'm, y'know, raping them. True. It's not like that. It's not rape. It's just assault. Yes, yes it is, and don't argue with me about this. Somewhere along the line he became so accustomed to hiding behind the "But look, it's funny, I'm a comedian!" routine that it never occurred to him that A SENATOR DOESN'T BEHAVE LIKE THAT. Or shouldn't. Neither should a president brag about his methods of sexual assault. Neither should a senator date little girls, even with their mamas' permission. Franken absolutely gets a pass from me in terms of not being Roy Moore or Donald Trump. I honestly respect his compassion and intellect. I've learned a LOT about civic engagement from Al Franken and in the final measure I think he has been an excellent senator. And that's why I wish he understood where the line of respectful and/or respectable behavior is, and had stayed on the right side of it. I'm hoping the younger generation of men understands where that line is, because it seems disappointingly clear that a lot of men of my generation still don't get it. And when you're dealing with me that's not much of a problem; throughout my professional life men's comfort has been a priority. But women like Tina Dupuy have a higher vision of their roles in today's world, and that's who you're going to have to deal with in the future. Pro tip: Don't aggressively pinch women on their butts, or force them to kiss you, and you will probably be just fine. our sea of rage.
June 2017 -- Today I'm thinking about anger.We are floating in a sea of rage. We marinate and stew in this putrid pool as hatred bubbles and boils around us, occasionally spurting seemingly random acts of terror that drench us all in confusion and heartbreak. The anger is seductive. The mere sound of the "president" speaking raises my blood pressure and instantly I feel myself sinking into a deep pool of resentment and enmity. My brain twists into knots when I hear someone defend him. His loathsomeness nourishes my rage and energizes me. To ... what? Nasty words beget nasty words. Feed the trolls and they grow online and in your mind. Anger is the seed of anger. The America that speaks to my heart is about inclusiveness and mutual effort toward things that help everyone. I crave love and kindness. In this era of mass distrust, even typing these words makes me feel like a schmuck, a loser. Some of my favorite people are all in favor of "punching Nazis." It's a thing. I don't want to punch a Nazi. I don't want to want to punch a Nazi. I want to breathe deeply, clear my mind, remember that everyone is fighting their own private battles. And then I want to do something wonderful, maybe small, maybe all by myself, and hope it inspires something wonderful somewhere else. I'm going to try very hard to let go of the rage as much as possible. I will never think kindly of the current administration, and I will do whatever I can to get them out of our way, but I never want to harm anyone or inspire harm to anyone. I so very much want America to be better than that.
let's hear it for hope.
May 2017 -- In a stunning reversal from our previous offering, I came up with something hopeful and optimistic in this here new world order. It's not likely to become a habit, so I'm going to enjoy hope while it lasts. It came out as a three-part round. I call it: "Round." It seems to fit.
January 2017 -- I'm not sure why I found myself writing a song I call "psychopath's lullaby," but it happened over a year ago. I thought long and hard about what kind of video would accompany the song, when suddenly the perfect psychopath fell into my lap. Figuratively. Check out our new video, "No Regrets (Psychopath's Lullaby)."
In just the first couple of weeks of the new year, we had several new videos on the Liverpage, such as "I Breathe In," which comes highly recommended for those of us who are still getting used to the brave new world into which we venture so warily.
There are quite a few new songs on the "SONGS" tab with accompanying videos, and several more are in the works. I'm trying to clear the backlog here to make room for -- well, we'll just have to see. I dunno. We'll have to figure it out as we go along, just like those "smart people" who are taking over the country, god help us.
Finally I got the Chopped Liver R&D Department in gear (it involves me putting on a different hat), and figured out how to bring those old videos into the new millennium. So the bottom line is, our "videos" section is all brand-new. If you ever tried to play a Chopped Liver video and it didn't work, feel free to try again. The chances of a successful viewing have improved exponentially in the last few weeks.
Click the "VIDEOS " tab above to see what I mean.