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Today is Poem Sunday, the start of Christianity's Holy Week. Catholic priests take the leading role in their parishes, of course, even as a long hidden issue within their ranks is coming out of the shadows. For an unknown number of them, it involves a sensitive and very personal matter, as Seth Stone will report.
Earlier this month, the Vatican confirmed priests cannot bless same-sex partnerships, but within this closed-off institution, there's an open secret. How many gay priests do you think there are? If it was 40 percent, I wouldn't be surprised.
If it was 80 percent, I wouldn't be surprised. That's quite something. I am a gay priest and a celibate priest.
Ahead on Sunday morning, gay Catholic priests coming out of the shadows. Brenda Vaccaro is a veteran actor and a very funny lady who's in conversation this morning with our morocco. My crazy are people staring at us. Actress Brenda Vaccaro's been around a long time. Maybe if you didn't call me ma'am, things might work out better.
She's just not sure how long. Sometimes I wake up, I just think, I'm 15. I feel like I'm 15. Well, you look great. Thanks. I guess they say that to you when you're old.
Later on Sunday morning. Hello, calm down. Brenda Vaccaro.
I got very zealous. Tammy Duckworth's path to the United States Senate is very much a profile in courage. She'll share her story with Nancy Cordes. Back when Tammy Duckworth joined the Army National Guard, women were banned from direct combat positions. But she still made it to the front lines and found her calling in life by learning to fly Black Hawk helicopters. I love just the intricacy and the toughness of it. You look at that.
Nobody would believe that that thing can fly and will kick your ass. Tammy Duckworth's journey from pilot seat to Senate seat coming up this Sunday morning. John Blackstone remembers a not so long ago golden age of creativity in Los Angeles.
Erin Moriarty asks if we can make a distinction between an important work of art and the sins of the artist who created it. Tracy Smith has a Sunday profile of actor Leslie Odom Jr., plus Steve Hartman, humor from Jim Gaffigan, and Nancy Giles serves up some chicken soup. It's Sunday morning, March 28th, 2021.
And we'll be back in a moment. Earlier this month, the Vatican declared the Catholic Church won't bless same-sex unions, saying it cannot bless a sin. That comes even as a number of priests are beginning to come out of the shadows, as Seth Doan will tell us.
The setting with its soaring cathedral ceiling and sacraments are typical of any Catholic service, but the similarities stopped with this sermon. Because if there's anything that an LGBTQ person will know, it is that we're going to face opposition. Yes, Fr. Greg Greiten said we, we members of the LGBTQ community. You're one of very few openly gay priests. Yeah.
How many? I've always heard the number thrown out, like 10 of us that are really out there, you know. All glory.
There are roughly 38,000 priests in America. What are you risking by being out? Sometimes it feels like I have to walk on a tightrope. I've been carrying a heavy burden.
Fr. Greg came out to his congregation in this Milwaukee suburb about three years ago at age 51. I am a gay priest and a celibate priest. This moment came after a lifetime of struggle, serving a church that teaches that acting on homosexual feelings is a sin. I just want to break the silence.
We're here. And for me, Seth, that was part of the hypocrisy that I was watching happen. Did you feel like a hypocrite when you were up here at the pulpit and not out? I personally did. It's like wearing a mask.
Every day I have to go up there and pretend I'm something that I'm not. Bless you. He pledged, as all priests do, to live a celibate life. For him, this was not about sexual activity, but identity. He found folks in his congregation were overwhelmingly supportive. Does it matter to you that the priest here is gay?
No. That's a positive thing. Carol and Fred Weber's son had come out to them years earlier. We went in the closet for a while until we were able to accept it. Of course, we loved our son. Later, they say, having an openly gay priest helped.
But the church itself has not been so pleased. The unwritten comment is, don't talk about it. We know you're there. We know you're there. An unwritten comment is, don't talk about it. We know you're there, but be silent.
I'm not courageous enough yet. Father Frederick, as we'll call him, feared losing his salary, health care, church housing, pension, and the authority to minister. What does it say that you need to do this interview in shadow? It says that it's not cool to be gay if you're a priest. And if you are gay and a priest, both at the same time, you've got to hide one or the other.
He likened that secrecy to the double life of spies. Did you remain celibate as a priest? No, I did not. I experimented.
I struggled. There were liaisons. There were relationships. And there was love several times.
Love and sexual intimacy with another man? Yes. With other priests?
Once or twice. He said his seminary, where he trained to be a priest, was a warehouse of young men struggling with their sexuality. They were encouraged from the top and the beginning to keep quiet. What's the effect of this culture of silence on the church?
It is a slow, moving cancer. While Pope Francis famously responded, who am I to judge, when asked about gay priests during a papal press conference, he's also said that anyone with deep-seated homosexual tendencies shouldn't be a priest. Their place is not in ministry or in consecrated life, he said. I think if you had suddenly all the gay priests in the United States come out, I think the church would be forced to look at the question of homosexuality in a very different light. Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, is the most high-profile advocate for LGBTQ Catholics. And in 2019, Pope Francis requested a meeting with him. The Vatican put our audience on the pope's official schedule. They sent out a picture.
I met with him in the Apostolic Palace, which is where he meets with presidents and diplomats. It was a pretty strong sign of his support. The tone is new. The teachings haven't changed. The teachings haven't changed, but the tone is very important. Ann Martin says ultimately Catholic leaders need to shift their thinking.
It's a life issue. We have high suicide rates among LGBT youth, and we also have places in the world where gay people can be arrested and executed for being gay. He calls Pope Francis the most pro-LGBT pope ever, though acknowledges that's not a high bar. Francis is the first pope to use the word gay publicly. One of the things I lament is if there were a case of, say, bullying in a parish or in a school, it would be wonderful for the gay priest to get up and say, look, I was bullied as a boy.
So there are these life experiences that I think people are missing in the church. How many gay priests do you think there are? I'm guessing maybe 40 percent.
Who knows? If it was 40 percent, I wouldn't be surprised. If it was 80 percent, I wouldn't be surprised.
It is a large, silent community, a vast, silent majority. Frédéric Martel is a French author who spent four years researching his book In the Closet of the Vatican about the gay underworld there. He says he interviewed hundreds of priests, even cardinals.
It's 50 shades of gay. I mean a lot of different kind of gay. He suggests the largest group of men in the Vatican may be gay, but do not practice and can actually be the most homophobic, and in interviews discovered a real range of sexual identities.
Each of them, each of them is totally singular in his little closet. How many priests do you think you have slept with? I think about 100.
A lot? We have in Italy many, many thousands of priests, so 100 is not so much. Francesco Mangiacapra is a sex worker with a law degree who found one priest client led to another and another.
What's this? It's my dossier about gay priests in Italy. Over roughly five years, Mangiacapra compiled this 1,200-page dossier of personal profiles, graphic photos and text message exchanges with roughly 50 of the priests who were his clients. He submitted it to his local archdiocese of Naples, he says as a political act. This demonstrates that there's a flaw in the system, a system which tolerates certain behavior, but makes it so these behaviors are hidden, he told us. He admitted the dossier had scared off some priest clients, but not all, adding...
The libido is higher than the fear. It's important to note the priests we spoke with, as well as the Vatican itself, see no connection between homosexuality and the clerical sexual abuse crisis. A five-year study by New York's John Jay College, commissioned by bishops, found the data do not support a finding that homosexual identity is a risk factor for the sexual abuse of minors. We spoke with about two dozen priests who told us they were gay, but few would share their stories publicly. I admire priests who are willing to stand up, come out of the closet.
That's courage. Most told us they felt forced into the closet. It's a painful, confining place, particularly in a church community where they're expected to be role models. Our liturgy has ended, let us go forth now to love and to serve our God and one another. Father Greg Greiten, faithfully serving his parish in Wisconsin, says secrecy is a scourge in the church, so the first step for him is being open and honest.
You signed up to work for an institution that thinks being gay, acting out on that is a sin. Correct, but the difference is this is my spiritual home. This is where I was baptized. This is where I received my first communion. And so this is my home.
And I don't believe that the home should be throwing out its children. From the American Revolution of the 18th century to the civil rights movement of the 20th, the acting career of Leslie Odom Jr. has followed quite an arc. Tracey Smith has a Sunday profile.
Two Virginians and an immigrant walk into a room diametrically opposed. For those of you who still haven't seen it, this is Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr in the landmark musical, Hamilton. Talk about a tough act to follow. If you found somebody new, there's nothing I can't do. But I ask you to. But now he just might have found a way to top himself.
Do me this service, break my fall. Oh, s**t. In the film One Night in Miami, Odom plays the legendary artist Sam Cooke in this scene opposite his real-life wife, Nicolette Robinson. The movie is centered around a fictional account of a meeting with Cooke, Malcolm X, the NFL's Jim Brown, and Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, on the night Ali won a title bout in Miami. Yes, Cassius, Marcellus Clay is the new heavyweight champion of the world, boy. Yes, he is.
And I don't even have a scratch on my face. You'd think an actor would jump at the chance to join this ensemble, but after playing a real person on stage in Hamilton, Leslie needed some convincing. When you first heard about the role, did you want to do it? Absolutely not.
No. To play Sam Cooke just felt like not wise. What changed your mind? My agent and my manager called me up and they said, we think you're making a mistake.
And they'd never done anything like that before. And you listened? I listened.
And it was pretty sound advice. Leslie Odom Jr. has been nominated for two Oscars here, for acting, and for a song, Speak Now, that he wrote and performed. Impressive, sure, but you might say he's been rehearsing for this moment his entire life. Can you hear the angels sing loud? Speak now. Speak now. Growing up in Philadelphia, young Leslie's favorite pastime was singing along with a toy karaoke machine.
And at an age when most kids are happy to be in the school play, he tried out for the hit musical Rent on Broadway and he actually got the part. You shared with us this letter that they sent you about take this train and show up at this stage. And I told them, I told them I didn't even want them to pay for my train ticket because I didn't, I didn't want them to like, I thought that would be too much money for them to spend on me. Like, no, my parents will drive me. I'm, I'm okay. You don't need to, you don't need to worry about me. I'm going to be there. Can you imagine?
No. And to this day, he can still feel the thrill of that first professional paycheck. I couldn't imagine that they were going to pay me to be in this show. And I remember the Broadway minimum at that time, um, was $1,260 a week. I was 17 years old. You're going to give me $1,200 a week to be in this? I would pay you.
You do know that I would, you do know that. At his parents' insistence, he chose college over Broadway. And after graduation from Carnegie Mellon, his career resumed. But by his late twenties, it had stalled. Let's fast forward to 2011. It's right before your 30th birthday. How was your career going?
Not great. You know, um, I was tired of it. But with his family's encouragement, Odom kicked around the business for a couple more years until he had one of those lightning bolt moments that only happened in the movies or on a Broadway stage. There was a reading of this thing happening called the Hamilton mixtape at Vassar. And I scored the very last folding chair in the very last row. Because you talked to where you had a buddy who was an usher.
And so you got the last seat. And how much of it did you have to hear before you knew? 20 seconds max? 20 seconds? Do you remember what that 20 seconds was? How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean?
What am I hearing? What? Of course, back then, he had no way of knowing whether Hamilton would be a monster Broadway hit or whether the whole idea was too out there.
So I didn't know if Hamilton would fall into that category if people would actually dig it, you know? But you didn't care. I didn't care. You just had to do it. I had to. I had to.
How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean? Part of the beauty of Hamilton is that it means different things to different people. For Leslie Odom Jr., it meant a Tony Award, a Grammy, and a place in Broadway history. It's social currency now, how early you saw Hamilton. Not just that you saw it. No, but were you one of the first?
Yeah. Did you see it? Did you see it early in previews at the public theater? Did you see it on Broadway?
Because that really correlates to how much you paid for your ticket. That's very true. This is a family neighborhood, right? It is a very family neighborhood. My wife grew up in this neighborhood and we're happy to continue that tradition too. He now lives in the suburbs of Los Angeles with his wife, a young daughter, and a son due any minute now. And that means that the in-laws are close by for child care help?
The in-laws are very close by and very helpful, yeah. That means more time to write and record music and work on his next move. You know, leaving Hamilton, people were asking me, what do you do next? What do you want to do? You know, people were saying, what's your dream role? The truth was, I just played it. Yeah, so then what do you do? You know, but I said, well, I want to do, I think I want to do, I knew I wanted to do.
I want to do all the things that no one would let me dare do before Hamilton. I know where Elijah Muhammad's house is. It's the biggest one for miles around. Looks like the mayor's residence. Oh yeah, I've been there for dinner. Oh, you've been there for dinner.
So you see how he lives like a pharaoh. And now, with one night in Miami, Leslie Odom Jr. is actually doing it. Let me hear you. Ha! Ooh! You lookin' good.
You lookin' good. Ooh! The former Hamilton star is playing a role that gives him the chance to make history again.
You wonder if in a movie, like if given the right, if the piece is lined up, you know, maybe I could do something. And they gave us the chance to prove it to ourselves. Thank God.
Thank God. For a modern-day profile in courage, you need look no further than to Tammy Duckworth, retired lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard and current Democratic senator from Illinois. Nancy Cordes has her story. She wrote, I love ugly aircraft, machines that look like they shouldn't even be able to fly.
The more brutal, the better. I love the head-banging heavy metal of it, and that's why I'm a helicopter pilot. Can you imagine my nation trusted in me and entrusted me with the privilege of flying this amazing machine? This little Asian girl who was starving in Hawaii, they looked at me and said, you've got potential, kid. Tammy Duckworth says serving as a U.S. Army National Guard helicopter pilot was the best job she's ever had, bar none. And that includes her current occupation, United States senator from Illinois. Duckworth recounts her journey from pilot seat to Senate seat in a new memoir out this week. Her story took flight 53 years ago in Bangkok, Thailand, where her father, Frank Duckworth, was stationed during the Vietnam War.
There, he met a Thai woman named Lamai Sampornpirin. It was a wartime love story, and my dad stayed. That's the fortunate part of my story, is that so many other Amerasian children following the Vietnam War, their fathers left. And it instilled in me a real gratefulness that I was an American from birth, and I knew that my future was assured no matter what. But when Frank Duckworth left the Army, he had trouble finding steady work in Asia.
So he moved the family to Honolulu, Hawaii, not because it was an island paradise, but because it was the only spot of American soil to which they could afford to fly. Yeah, we were broke. Totally broke.
We were totally broke. I never worked harder in my life, not in the Army, not in the United States Senate. I never worked harder in my life than when we were broke and trying to just feed ourselves and keep a roof over our heads.
There's this assumption out there that if only people would work harder, they would somehow get themselves out of the situation they're in. That was not our experience. My dad couldn't find a job, so we did whatever we had to. We collect cans out of the garbage. We returned shopping carts for the, back then, 10 cents. To this day, don't get in between me and money on the ground because I will roll over you to pick up a penny.
I am not ashamed and I am not embarrassed. I understand the value of that penny. One dollar a day was enough for Tammy and her brother to buy their school's subsidized 25 cent meals, crucial for stretching the family's food stamps. I had this teacher, Mr. Nakamura, who was always sort of befuddled. He'd say, oh my God, I messed up.
You four stay after and help me redo this. And every time we stayed after school, he would say, all right, here's 10 bucks. You guys, we had a Taco Bell next door to the school and said, here, go to Taco Bell, get something to eat and you guys go home. As a kid, we were like, God, you know, as an adult, he was feeding us. He knew we were the kids that were probably not going to get dinner that night because it was the end of the month. And he could tell that we were hungry. Duckworth says she used her secret weapon, hard work, to make it to college and onto graduate school where she enrolled in Army ROTC.
That's where she met her future husband, Brian Bowlsby, and that other love of her life. When the U.S. prepared to invade Iraq, Duckworth volunteered to ship out. You didn't think it was the right war to be fighting. And yet you also wrote in the book that you really wanted to be there. Explain how both could be true. Well, both have to be true if you're a true patriot and if you're a true soldier.
You keep your personal opinions to yourself. You give up a lot. On November 12, 2004, an insurgents rocket-propelled grenade detonated in the cockpit of Duckworth's Black Hawk. The heroism of her crewmates saved her life.
But Duckworth lost both legs and nearly lost the use of her right arm. She was transported unconscious to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where her husband delivered the news. When I woke up, I was in so much pain, my feet and my legs hurt like they were just on fire. And my husband said, you're at Walter Reed? Your husband said, I know, but my feet really hurt, honey. Can I have some Tylenol? And then he had to go outside. He and the doctor came in and had to tell me, there are no legs. There's nothing we can do to stop the legs from hurting.
She spent the next 13 months in the hospital. If you told me right now we could snap our fingers and you would show up day one at Fort Rucker, but you're still going to get blown up and lose your legs? I would say, give me that deal. Really?
Give me that deal. As a patient, Duckworth became an advocate for the families of wounded soldiers, which caught the eye of Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. He encouraged her to run for the U.S. House. And then in 2016, she made a bid for the Senate.
I wake up every morning now trying to be worthy of my crew, trying to be worthy of their struggle, to be worthy of this miraculous second chance. We interviewed Duckworth earlier this month at the Daughters of the American Revolution, where she is a member. Duckworth has been serving in the military since before the birth of the republic. And yet, in her 2016 Senate race, her Republican opponent, Mark Kirk, joked about her heritage. I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.
Kirk later apologized, and Duckworth won the race. In office, she has fought for Asian American representation in government. What is it that people don't understand about discrimination or hate crimes against Asian Americans in particular? Number one, they don't recognize that it exists. The myth of the model minority, that we're well off and we don't need any help and that we're not targets. And Asian women are seen as submissive and weak. You are not fit to be the commander in chief.
Duckworth puts the lie to that stereotype. You have been someone who's been willing to use sharp language. And I have a message for cadet bone spurs. I think it's 23 years in the army. Is that why you said **** Tucker Carlson?
It is. He went after women in the military. I spoke up for my sisters in arm.
I would do it again. Children are not allowed on the Senate floor. She has battled within Congress, too. As the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office, she demanded the right to bring her daughter onto the Senate floor.
Among her colleagues, she is considered, yes, one tough mother. When I first campaign, I didn't talk about my childhood and how I was hungry. I was embarrassed by it. I've been fighting very hard to fight the cuts to the SNAP program because I understand how much of a lifeline they are. Do you still love America in the way that innocent young Tammy Duckworth loved America?
I do. I think more so because of the problems. Because as a child, I didn't know that we weren't a perfect union. Having been here in the House and in the Senate, we're not perfect, but it continues, and people can still fight.
We still strive for that more perfect union. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out.
What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation, is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts. When Gloria was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer last year, he decided he would try to take her on one last trip, the trip she always dreamed of, to see the pyramids in Egypt with the whole family, 14 people. Never mind that Dustin works as a middle school teacher in Philadelphia and could never afford the $10,000 to fly everyone. He thought he could raise the cheddar by selling cheesesteaks. You don't own a restaurant. Yeah, yeah. I got a kitchen, though. There's no way you were going to make enough money selling cheesesteaks out of your house. Yeah, correct.
Yeah, correct. So given that, what was pushing you forward? Just my mom. You know, just a love for my mom.
And so with his love and her recipe, Dustin started making sandwiches, sandwiches so big no container could contain. He peddled them to friends and family. Thank you. Thank you, man.
I appreciate your support. But those people must have told their friends and family, too, because almost immediately cars started double parking outside his house. Faces he didn't recognize started showing up at the door. Get your mom to Egypt.
I'm trying, man. Next, word spread on social media. Oh, my God. And before he knew it, folks were lined up down the block.
A food truck operator offered his services. And in just six weeks, Dustin raised all the money he needed and then some. Eighteen thousand dollars. If she would actually go to the moon, I would have made that happen as well.
So the trip is planned for later this year. Gloria says Cleopatra never had it so good. The love is overwhelming, you know. She's probably mentally as healthy as she's ever been in her whole life. Amazing.
The healing power of a loving child. I don't think of age. I just don't. And I sit up in bed after I have a birthday and I go, but I feel 15.
Why is that? You know, and I go, where did it go? Did it really go all those years?
And yeah, it did. It's a brisk fall day. I've never seen such a collection of beautiful, beautiful trees. Perfect for strolling through Brooklyn's historic Greenwood Cemetery with actress Brenda Vaccaro. Isn't it magnificent?
Vaccaro has been taking advantage of the downtime during the pandemic to venture off the beaten path. When we met cemetery president Rich Moylan, she couldn't help taking advantage of the moment. How much is the mausoleum?
It's just the structure alone is probably a million dollars. I brought a lot of money just to buy a plot. I'm honored to be here. Big fan.
Oh, are you really? I was a teenager for Midnight Cowboy. Oh God, he's talking about my age now. Go ahead.
No, that's my age. Midnight Cowboy was a sensation when it opened in 1969, the first and only X-rated movie to win Best Picture, and it helped make Brenda Vaccaro a star. Maybe we ought to take a little nap and see what happens. Over her long career, she's played the wife of a missing astronaut. So even though he is far away, he is thinking about me and I am with him. The mother of one of T.B. 's friends. Maha, what are you doing here? I came to give you this and this.
Ow. And the sister of Al Pacino's, Dr. Jack Kevorkian. I want to ask you, who do you think takes care of me?
But while this daughter of Italian immigrants was born in Brooklyn, she was raised in Dallas, Texas, where her parents opened an Italian restaurant. Shut my mouth. Brenda, how are you? In high school, you were the girl who what? Made trouble, but got a laugh. A lot of schools I went to, my father got a call saying, you know, Mrs. Vaccaro, we think you could find a better place for Brenda that's better suited for her needs. Very polite way of putting it.
Not again. Poor dad. He really needed a son who was going to go to MIT.
You know what I mean? He needed Harvard. But she knew where she belonged. At 17, her mother was a young woman. At 17, she headed back to New York to study at the famed Neighborhood Playhouse Acting School.
Vaccaro made her Broadway debut in 1961, and over the course of that decade would be nominated for three Tony Awards. He's here. He's here.
My long awaited Lancelot. That's Vaccaro singing in the musical How Now, Dow Jones. And then came Midnight Cowboy.
I was just admiring that colossal shirt. With Dustin Hoffman as a con man who befriends a hustler played by John Voight. Vaccaro is the socialite who pays $20 for his services, but they mostly end up playing scrimmage. Now look at this here, see?
There's an E in money. Her scene with Voight's character, Joe Buck, called for her to be buck naked. Vaccaro's mother was none too pleased. I can't believe I'm seeing your breasts before I'm going to see your face in your first movie, my mother was saying.
No, you won't, mom, honestly. And you know, I went to Anne Roth and I pleaded with her. And I bought this red fox coat for 200 bucks. The movie's costume designer, the legendary Anne Roth, had Vaccaro covered, as she told Rita Braver back in 2014. And I told Brenda not to worry, that she wouldn't have to lie there naked. How could you not fall in love with a naked girl in a fur coat?
I thought it was fabulous. And John had no clothes on. Well, maybe he had something over something. Name, please.
Oh, you want his or mine? I don't see you suffering. Well, you're not looking hard enough. Vaccaro found true love when she starred opposite a young Michael Douglas in the movie Summertree.
You're a smart ass. He was a handsome colt, young colt. He was really beautiful.
We just went bingo. We liked each other very much. Oh, yeah. She and Douglas lived together for almost seven years. And I used to call him my hippy dippy because his hair was here. He'd been in a commune in Santa Barbara. They even had a kind of commitment ceremony, which she calls a hippy wedding in her agent's backyard.
Very simple. I don't think there were any rings or anything. And was there food? There's no such thing as hippy food, is there? Well, I think I think it's just a good joint, to tell you the truth. A nicely rolled joint. I mean, that was one thing I learned. He taught me how to roll joints that were fabulously rolled.
Man, the ends were tipped. I just remember I was in love with him. Yeah. I loved him. He was wonderful. Why did you do that?
He was wonderful. Why didn't you and Michael get married? Because at that time, it wasn't the thing to do.
You know, that was the whole hippy kind of existence, you know? Listen, my dear, despite women's lib here, here, I'm all for it. It is still part of the female's responsibility to get the old show on the road, if you know what I mean. In 1976, Vaccaro scored an Oscar nomination for Jacqueline Suzanne's Once is Not Enough. Brenda Vaccaro for Playtex Tampons.
And in 1980, an especially breathy Vaccaro played herself. Let me tell you why I like Playtex best. In a commercial for Playtex Tampons, at a time when feminine hygiene products were rarely advertised on television.
Only Playtex Tampons have a double-layered design. I like that. And then that wonderful, wonderful, what is her name? She's a comic.
Andrea Martin. Yes. I'd like to speak to you about something that means a pretty good deal. A great deal to me. Protection. Feminine protection.
And I like that. Comedian Andrea Martin parodied the ad on the sketch show SCTV. I thought she was brilliant. I thought she was brilliant. At 81, Brenda Vaccaro is single, separated from her last husband.
Are you good with people? She's still acting during the pandemic in a series of plays premiering on Zoom. You better stop hanging out with those atheist friends of yours and maybe take a trip to the cemetery once in a while. And she's reflecting on the passage of time. I feel as life changes and you get older, there are two things you really have to accept. One is loss and the other is changes. I mean, you lose a dog, you lose a mother, you lose things.
It's a loss. And the same with changes. All of a sudden, your arm is killing you.
You know, arthritis or you need a hip replacement. And these things have to be accepted with grace. But don't expect Brenda Vaccaro to be taking up residence in Greenwood Cemetery anytime soon. I haven't thought about these things in years. I don't even know how I can go back this far. I'm having such a good time. Go ahead. I need a drink. No, I don't. I mean, it would be fun. I mean, because this is water. But anyway, that's it, baby.
That's it. Long before the Me Too era, men acclaimed as creative geniuses were accused and sometimes excused for behavior ranging from inappropriate to outright criminal. The question is, can we separate the art from the artist?
And as important, should we? Here's Erin Moriarty. A woman saying yes to a date with a man is literally insane and ill-advised. Can we still laugh at the humor of comic Louis C.K.?
Yeah, I'll go out with you alone at night. What are you, nuts? Knowing he's been accused of exposing himself to women he worked with.
Men, we're the number one threat to women. What about this scene? This scene from one of Woody Allen's earliest films. How much is a copy of orgasm?
Just put them in a bag, will you? What? Orgasm. This man wants to buy a copy.
How much is it? Doing a sociological study on perversion. I'm up to advanced child molesting.
Or this from Manhattan with a 42-year-old lead character dating a 17-year-old. I really did want to see a lot. Oh, I like it when you get an uncontrollable urge. Yeah, I know. It's my best feature.
My boyish impetuosity. Can we watch it now without thinking of the scandals in Allen's own life? And how do we look at Pablo Picasso's paintings the same way, knowing about his teenage mistress and his reportedly abusive relationships with women? As more and more painters, writers, musicians, and filmmakers are unmasked as bad actors, we're forced to reconsider their work. I think what we're trying to do in this world is hold people accountable for the harm that they do. Because previously, only the powerful could punish the powerless. But now when anybody has a keyboard, they can become a critic.
And a powerful one. Loretta Ross, visiting professor at Smith College, says that calling out artists and performers on the internet hasn't just shamed them. It has significantly damaged careers and reputations. Louis CK has been dropped by HBO, FX, and Netflix.
Actor Johnny Depp lost lucrative movie deals after a very public legal battle over domestic violence allegations. Now, we're not going to sit here and tell you guys how great we are. You're going to do it. And ABC canceled TV star Roseanne Barr's highly rated television show after a tweet many considered racist. In some cases, doesn't the call out culture work and work well? It can work, but does it achieve what you want, which is accountability?
If you want to achieve punishment, it is actually a good device for just punishing people. But to some, like art critic Aruna D'Souza, any reckoning is long overdue. I think that lots of artists are terrible people because being an artist allowed for a kind of latitude of behavior that included things that today we find really offensive. D'Souza believes that both artists and the institutions that show their work need to be held accountable. Like New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017, a petition signed by thousands sharply criticized a Baltus exhibit with an 11-year-old model in a sexually suggestive pose. Do we just keep going back to the same artists all the time, knowing that some of them have caused real pain in the world?
Or do we take the opportunity of saying, I'm going to put this person aside for a minute, and I'm going to look at someone else? Which is the reason D'Souza questions the CBS News profile of Woody Allen that is airing now on Paramount+. If someone is there being interviewed, they're given a kind of legitimacy just by the fact that they're being interviewed on a big newscast. D'Souza suggests that rather than featuring those with troubling personal lives, the media and museums should turn to new and overlooked artists. Would you not show the work of someone like Picasso because there are other artists not being recognized and you're giving too much time to Picasso? Absolutely. But is looking away or keeping others from seeing controversial work the best answer? When you are choosing artists to study, do you ever even consider what kind of person that artist is?
Frankly, no. And as you know, I used to work at the New York Film Festival, so I actually know some of these artists. And some of them weren't people I would particularly want to spend time with. Richard Pena teaches film theory at Columbia University. We simply don't know the history of all the artists that we show, the artists whose work I know and love and I'd love to present to my students. But if we're suddenly to discover some terrible fact about them, for me, that would give me another way of looking at their work. I'm not sure it would make me not want to look at their work. As long as it's presented in context, there is a value, he says, in viewing and analyzing even the most problematic people in their films, like D.W. Griffith's classic and racist 1915 film, Birth of a Nation. A piece of racist claptrap. Now, because he's the author of that, do we negate him from film studies?
It would be impossible. His contribution was too huge. I think we have to do, though, is always be aware of who D.W. Griffith was.
We have to get away from this angel devil view of humanity. We're all complicated people and we have to assume that the people whose art we admire are at least as complicated as we are. And canceling films or television shows of complicated, even criminal, artists, Professor Ross says, can have unintended consequences. You're talking about costing a lot of people their jobs, a lot of people who get harmed, mainly because of the mistakes that one person can make. I mean, let me be honest.
I'd watch the Cosby Show if they put it back on. I mean, because that's an ensemble cast. And you don't want to group punish people.
And you don't want to group punish people because of one person's bad acts. All right, now put your face right over the bowl. What is art and what is objectionable is often subjective, seen through the lens of our own experiences. Mandy, here's Mrs. Scarlett's pickle. You can take it all back to the kitchen. I won't need a bite. Oh, yeah. I have to honestly say, I never saw Gone with the Wind or Birth of a Nation, because my community told me that those films were not going to be good for my soul. It was like watching a horror film when you aren't into horror.
Why would I do that? Is there any artist that you would say deserves being canceled and called out? Well, I heard that Hitler was an artist.
I wouldn't be bidding on his paintings. I mean, really? I mean, but again, it's about people's ability to not separate the art from the artist, but contextualize the art with the artist. I mean, we're not clones. We're supposed to disagree. That's what a pluralistic society does. But what we're not supposed to do is dispose of each other because we disagree.
Time for us to head into the wild with our Jim Gaffigan. It takes an honest person to admit they made a mistake. And I'm not ashamed to admit I was wrong once.
Well, kind of. Anyway, I'd like to talk to you about hiking. Some of you may know I'm not a huge outdoorsman or generally a fan of movement. So therefore, you wouldn't think I'd be a hiker. And I'm not.
Well, I wasn't. Heck, a couple of years ago, I did a film that I did six minutes of stand up on how stupid hiking is. There's always that moment when you go hiking when you realize, oh no, now we have to walk back.
There's no exit through the gift shop. Hiking may be ridiculous, but we live in ridiculous times. Companies like REI, Eastern Mountain Sport, North Face, and Patagonia, or as I refer to the group, Big Hike, are aware of this.
They're probably cleaning up during the pandemic. What previously made hiking so bizarre and pointless only makes hiking appealing during this age of corona. When you go hiking, there is no bar, restaurant, or even a vending machine, which today is sadly preferred. Social distancing is built into hiking.
There's no crowd. You can safely hike with your mask down for an extended period of time like it's 2019 or some bygone era. Hiking is just rambling through the woods, but somehow it's considered exercise. Unlike running or weightlifting, hiking is pleasant and almost meditative.
We're in the middle of nowhere. I'm not sure why walking on dead leaves counts as exercise, but I'll take it. I know whenever I return from a hike, I'm allowed to eat whatever I want.
Thanks, Big Hike. Hiking somehow makes you a better parent. It's a COVID-safe activity you can do outside and away from your home with your kids. I mainly hike with my children because it makes them tired.
I mean, allows me to spend quality time with them. On hikes, my children can't be on a screen, and I know that night, they'll actually go to sleep at a decent hour. Thanks, Big Hike. Wait a minute.
I don't normally indulge in conspiracy theories, but what if Big Hike is behind the whole pandemic? Brilliant. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. See you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 00:48:02 / 2023-01-29 01:07:19 / 19