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Tyler Chase Harper and his offensive T-Shirt…

The freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment. The court has expanded this concept far beyond ordinary verbal communication. Protected expression now includes such non-verbal expression as wearing a symbol on one’s clothing…

This is the case of Tyler Chase Harper. In 2004, he wore a t-shirt which said: «Be ashamed, our school embraced what God has condemned» on the front and «Homosexuality is shameful» on the back. The school principal told Harper he couldn’t wear this t-shirt to school. Harper sued the school with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund (a christian organization). He used religion as an excuse. His religion considers homosexuality as «shameful». Does he have the right to wear hateful t-shirt to school?

To my mind, the first reaction of the school was right. A student shouldn’t be allowed to wear offensive t-shirt in college or in high school. The language on his t-shirt was just offensive, it was a provocation and more over, he wore it during the «Day of Silence», a symbolic day for the gay community to protest against the harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Wearing a t-shirt like that on this day reinforce the fact that Chase wanted to shock and create a movement of violence within the school. If I was a part of the school community, I would have warned Chase Harper not to wear an offensive t-shirt like this one but I would have fired him if he would show any protestations.

His case shoudn’t be protected by the First Amendment because his statement harms the reputation of the gay community. Words can definitely hurt and the Court recognizes it and calls it: Defamation.The US Supreme Court held that the First Amendment does not protect «fighting words-those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace». I think the needs of the school to keep all their students safe are more important than Chase’s right to express his religious beliefs condemning homosexuality.


-Nip/Tuck-Episode 8- Cara Fitzgerald:

-Nip/Tuck-Episode 8-Cara Fitzgerald:

Matt and Henry (his Jewish schoolmate) smoke pot together and they accidentally hit a 16-year old girl which was tying her shoelaces while Matt was driving. They thought it was just an animal and left, but Sean reads in the paper about the Cara Fitzgerald case.

Miss Devon Greco wants her nose changed because it reminds her of her abusive father, Christian refuses the case as unrealistic expectations.

Michael Shannon insists Dr. Troy handles the embarrassing birthmark-removal from his ball-sack «in time for his expensive honeymoon» within two weeks.

Matt visits the student in the hospital who is into a coma. He meets her mother Kate and pretends that he is a member of the prayer club Cara founded. He learns that her family are Christian Scientists. He prays with the mother who says «Please, help to find the monster who did this to her».

Sean is having an affair with Megan. She now insists to have a breast implants. Grace Santiago’s indiscretions makes both partners want to fire her, and find out about each-others unprofessional relationships.

Matt tells Sean only that he cares for Cara ands asks him to do her plastic surgery.

Christian is shocked to hear on TV his “about to marry” patient Michael Shannon is a Catholic priest who just escaped trial for sexual abuse of several young boys and realizes they helped the monster hiding a revolting crime. This story about child sexual abuse reminds us the first episode of the show when Christian had terrible memories of his own childhood.

The operation on Megan’s breast is different from the other operations we had seen so far in this show. It is not a pop/rock music but a classical one, the editing is not really fast. Sean is doing the surgery and we can definitely tell that he has strong feelings for this woman.

Sean tries to convince Cara’s mother not to refuse «sinfully unnatural» plastic surgery and gets a court order so he and Troy can do an urgent operation to save her eyesight.

Christian changes his mind about Devon Greco who admits she lacked the courage to press charges before the death of her father.

Christian goes to confession with father Shannon for the first time in twenty-two years: «I’ve lost my Faith, I’ve drunk, I’ve done drugs, I’ve lost my soul, I’ve fornicated with women and I’ve treated them like trash… The boys you raped will say the same things in twenty years, did you know that?» The Priest  confesses to the police under Christian’s threat with a scalpel. Now Christian tells Sean about his own abusive foster father Mr. Troy who bribed him to «sell his body» as a boy.

Deep and dark secrets are finally revealed in an emotional storm of information. I really liked the final scenes, they are incredibly moving, and Julian McMahon (Christian Troy) gives an amazing performance (as always). Matt also goes through incredible conflict. John Hensley, who portrays Matt, shows a new good performance in this episode.

Rating: 5


-Nip/Tuck-Episode 7- Cliff Mantegna:

-Nip/Tuck-Episode 7- Cliff Mantegna:

Kimber is dressed like a whore, she tries to answer Christian’s fantasy in playing the prostitute.

Mr Mantegna has a gynecomastia and wants an operation, he is a partner-swapping and wants to be ready for the big swapping event in a famous club in Miami called «La scène».

Jude and Julia are flirting. She is obviously attracted to him but he just wants to be a plastic surgeon, he wants Julia to ask her husband to take him as an intern. Julia sees some picture of jude half naked, she takes one for her that she puts in her study book.

Julia catches Matt having sex in his room with Vanessa and Ridley. She blames Sean to have given his son a condom. Julia wants to meet the parents of the two girls.

Megan is a chiropractor and Sean consult her pretending that his neck hurts. While she is massing him, he is having an erection.

The meeting with the parents’ girls is pretty awkward. Sean tries to be the cool dad whereas Julia is playing the uptight bitch. Matt is playing the psychiatrist once again. The scene is relevant because we understand that Ridley is in love with Matt.

Jude wants to bring Julia to the swapping party.

Christian brings Kimber to the swapping party. She is sad because she understands that she can’t satisfy Christian. She ends up with a girl and Christian watches them.

Sean opens Julia’s study book and discover Jude’s picture.

Matt informs Sean that he has a date with Ridley. Sean doesn’t approve, he doesn’t want his son to be a bad person and to steal Vanessa’s girlfriend.

Jude goes to the swapping party with a blond girl. Julia? No it is one of Dr Troy’s patient. Christian sees him and thinks Julia is with him.

Mr Mantegna has the hepatitis C, now he has to inform all his sexual partners. «What am i going to do? I don’t want to be monogamous!». Dr Troy probably recognizes himself in Mr Mantegna because in staying with Kimber, he’s obviously trying to fight his own demons.

Christian fires Jude and warn him to stay away from Julia otherwise, he will call Miami’s university. Jude says: «You can’t do that, otherwise I will tell your partner that you’re in love with Julia».

Sean tells his feelings to Megan: «I can’t stop thinking  about you… Just tell me you don’t feel the same way and you won’t see me again». She doesn’t want to be with him because he’s married, she says: «I don’t want to be vulnerable with a man I can’t have». Sean says: «Who says you can’t have me…» and they kiss each other.

Julia rings at Christian’s door to have an argument with him about Jude’s firing. Julia says: «This is about you and me, you can’t stand the competition, if someone else is interested in me, you can’t stand it, you can’t have me!». Christian says that it has nothing to do with her, he is just trying to protect Sean. They kiss each other. Christian looks so confused and really in love with her. Julia: «You know what I was just thinking about?» and her answer is «Jude»! What a b… !

This was a pretty interesting episode, all about the lifestyle of swingers. This episode wasn’t extraordinary or anything, but it fits in well with the first season. I was quite surprised by the romance between Sean and Megan, I thought it would stop just after one kiss. I like their story whereas I still don’t like Julia. Her feelings for Jude don’t seem real and she hurts everybody in that episode, Christian, Sean and Matt.

I think Kimber is also a great character. Her desire to satisfy Christian is relevant of a loneliness and a desire to be loved in return.

Rating: 4


-Nip/Tuck-Episode 6- Megan O’Hara:

-Nip/Tuck-Episode 6- Megan O’Hara:

«Tell me what you don’t like about yourself» asks Sean to Miss Burger. She just lost weight and wants an operation on her «wings», she shows her arms to the doctors and there is actually lots of flab to clear away. She met a guy online, it’s been six months that they are  dating over the phone and now the guy is pushing for a meeting in three weeks. Miss Burger wants to be hot for him. Sean says: «You’ve been living a lie», Dr Troy adds «Let’s make a honest woman out of you».

Someone vandalized Christian’s car, he thinks Miss Badcock did it (Episode 3). He learns that she killed herself. He now blames Grace because she is the last woman he slept with and they have been some tensions between them. «What would my motive be» says Grace. Dr Troy answers: «You want the power and I have it», she says: «I may have pushed you button but you didn’t push mine… Translation, I didn’t have any orgasm when I slept with you, your narcissism was so sickening that I had to get out of your apartment fulfilled or not, I slept with you cause you are a lost little boy». Christian approaches her closely and says: «You are a liar, you came three times!» She answers like this: «Close the door» and they have sex in the office!

Sean sleeps on the couch. So far, I really like Sean’s relationship with his son but once again, Matt is playing the psychiatrist and it is not very realistic. Matt tells his father that he is depressed because of the lost baby. Matt wanted a brother and asks his father if he had thought of a name for the baby. Sean wanted to name his baby «David» if it was a boy and then he cries.

A scene, later in the episode between Sean and Julia shows that the couple is not the same anymore, Julia wants to have sex with Sean but he doesn’t want, he doesn’t want to take another risk and wants a vasectomy. Sean: «Did you have any names picked-up for the baby?» Julia «No and you?», Sean: «No».

Vanessa is back in this episode, she has some problems to satisfy her girlfriend Ridley and asks Matt to help her. Matt: «Get a dildo», Vanessa: «I can’t, she’s allergic, help me and I’ll satisfy you». She is proposing a three way!

Matt wants to have Christian’s point of view but he doesn’t want to give him any advices at first, he’s afraid to corrupt him, but then, he says: «rules number one, it’s all about the ladies, you are there to please them. Rules number two: It’s all about the ladies…»

Christian’s boat is vandalized. Christian calls all his last girlfriends. This moment is quite funny. Gina and Kimbar call him back. Christian meets Kimber at a shooting, he meets her manager and fiancé, Nico. Christian tells her: «I treated you like shit, you deserved better, you still deserve better». They have sex in the shower.

Christian sees Gina near his car, he really thinks that she vandalized his car. She says that she is there to inform him about a  sex addicts anonymous meeting but he doesn’t believe her, they have a violent fight together.

Nico comes in Dr Troy’s office to destroy everything, Christian understands Nico’s act because he slept with Kimber. Sean judges Christian because he had sex with a former patient.

A chemotherapy patient named Megan O’Hara is considering breast implants because of the radiation poisoning she is diagnosed with, she cannot have children and would like to get breast implants for her husband Jim. We understand that Sean is having some feelings for Megan, he is moved by her story and her loss. Megan cancells the operation and she broke up with her husband.

In the parking garage we see Sean walking with Megan. Cut to Christian entering the parking garage in time to see Sean kiss Megan. Sean says to her: «I felt like a healer with you, it felt good, goodbye Megan».

Dr Troy rings at Kimber’s door and tells her: «You’re the patient I want to take a chance with». He wants to try and be a one woman guy and thinks Kimber is a good start.

Vanessa tells Matt: «It is not a way for us to be together, I love you as a friend but that’s it», Matt answers: «I feel the same way», yeah right! During the three way, we can see that Matt is really jealous of Vanessa’s girlfriend. He wants to kiss Vanessa but she rejects him. Later, he kisses Ridley with  his eyes open glaring at Vanessa, “Oh yeah, this is for you bitch, feel my pain.” Vanessa tries to interrupt, but Ridley’s not having it. Vanessa gets out of bed, heartbroken.

The episode ends up with Miss Burger and her date. She’s now as sexy as she wanted to be, ready to meet her soul mate. Unfortunately, the guy is ugly and fat, he lied!

I loved the plot line between Matt and his ex. It was hilarious when Christian was calling up all his girlfriends. I really loved  Sean in that episode, he is very moving in his relationship with Megan. The three-way scene was so realistic in its awkwardness. Matt seemed so clueless and he didn’t know what to do! The part with his ex was pretty saddening. Great episode that continues expanding the world of Nip/Tuck.

Rating: 5


-Nip/Tuck-Episode 5- Kurt Dempsey:

-Nip/Tuck-Episode 5- Kurt Dempsey:

The summary of the previous episodes focuses on Christian and his ability to seduce women.

«Tell me what you don’t like about yourself?», «my eyes» is the answer of a man who wants to have Asian eyes to be accepted in his girlfriend’s family.

Julia is doing a pregnancy test: «shit, shit, shit» she says. Oh no!!! It’s going to be so cliché, again! I have the feeling that Julia takes all the clichés of the show for herself, that’s not cool for her.

Christian is in a night club, the editing and the music are once again really successful. I like the way the images and the sounds are faster as soon as we see Christian.

Julia has a good grade at school and she’s probably going to do another breakdown because of her pregnancy and her desire to continue her studies.

Christian has some issues with Grace, the psychiatrist. I’m sure they will have sex together. Grace enters in Christian’s office and sees hime having sex with a girl. She later recommends him to go to sex addicts anonymous meetings. He hates her more. Christian meets a woman he used to know. The woman is obviously really mad at him and tells him that he has a 17-year-old daughter. Christian goes to a meeting and meets a woman named Gina who is also a sex addict, they later hook-up that night. He asks her to leave his appartment in the middle of the night.

The eyes’ surgery is really disgusting but the song «Lovefool» by The Cardigans is well chosen in that scene.

Another operation: This time on a woman’s nose named Ellie. She says she had a car accident but during the operation, they figure out that it was not an accident. Someone hit her and it’s probably her husband.

Ellie says to the doctors: «I forced my husband to break my nose», she hates her nose and a flashback shows us the husband hitting her wife. «What’s my crime?» says the husband…. “Loving her too much?”

When Sean tells Christian that Julia is pregnant, we can see the disappointment in Christian’s eyes.

Julia has to stay in bed for seven months because she has some problems with her pregnancy. Matt tells her: «I can’t believe you are doing this again… having a baby you don’t want… Maybe you’d be a doctor today if you hadn’t had me.»

Against the recommendations of her doctor, Julia takes the exam, she doesn’t feel good and asks Jude (her classmate) to drive her to the hospital.

Christian meets Grace in a bar, he apologizes for having judged her when she asked questions to Ellie.

Another sex scene with Christian, we don’t see immediately the face of the girl he’s having sex with, but we understand this is Grace. This time Christian doesn’t have to ask the girl to leave, she’s leaving without saying any words. He watches her back, her legs, he actually seems pretty attached to her.

Julia miscarries, she’s relieved even if she’s sad. Sean tells her how she never really wanted the baby.

The Asian girlfriend calls Sean to tell him that she is now engaged. Her family found out that his boyfriend was not Chinese but they accept him because what he did, the surgery, was a great proof of love.

I didn’t like Julia’s pregnancy in that episode, it was not really necessary for the plot. Matt’s intervention is not as powerful as wanted, I don’t like Julia’s reaction towards her son, it is not very realistic. But Christian’s issues were pretty good, I look forward to the next episode, to see how he is going to act with Grace now that they had sex together.

The two operations that we have in this episode deal with love and show what a human being can do for Love. In contrast, we have Christian unable to love and a family pretty confused.

Rating: 3


Fear and loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S.Thompson is subtitled “A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream”. It analyzes the unrest and cultural changes of the sixties. Another generation is trying and failing to reach the American Dream. The excesses is left in that particular world and, in the end, excess is what the American Dream is all about. Whether you’re a Vegas gambler or an acid freak.

Hunter S. Thompson was a writer and a journalist. He became well known for his unique writing. He also invented Gonzo Journalism, a style of reporting which uses a first-person narrative, an injection of emotion and opinion. He was interested in American politics, journalism and non fiction narrative. In a nutshell, Thompson usually managed to see things a little differently than everyone else.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas does not belong in any other genre but its own, gonzo journalism. This form takes characteristics of journalism and fiction to create a story with the truth and the flesh of creativity.

The traditional definition of journalism is “writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation.”

While gonzo journalism is revolutionary, it can also be a bit too much for the reader. When you try to combine fiction and creativity into true events, the result can often be disturbing. While Raoul Duke’s attorney checked them into the Mint Hotel, Duke himself, still suffering from his dose of acid, was in fear of the lizards quickly surrounding him:  «Right next to me a huge reptile was gnawing on a woman’s neck, the carpet was a blood-soaked sponge impossible to walk on it, no footing at all… We’re right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody’s giving booze to these goddamn things! It won’t be long before they tear us to shreds!»


Debbie Almontaser

Debbie Almontaser is the founding and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy.

Almontaser was forced by the Mayor of the City of New York to resign after a controversy arose over a T-shirt created by a group called “Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media”. The T-shirt had the words, “Intifada NYC” on it, which, according to the New York Post , was “apparently a call for a Gaza style uprising in the Big Apple.

To my mind a newspaper which is not partisan doesn’t exist. In Almontaser’s case, the New York Post is of course partisan but I think they are doing bad journalism. They distorted Almontaser’s words and they didn’t base their article on any proven facts.  The main quality of this newspaper is its capacity to sell papers and ads based on funny headlines. A newspaper that is known for these qualities should not have a big amount of influence on persons or organizations… And unfortunately, in that case, it had a huge impact.

I would like to say that it is possible to give a nuanced explanation of 9/11. I’m sure it is possible but in observing the cases of Ward Churchill and Debbie Almontaser we can constat that it is not possible to speak about 9/11 without being fired from your job or insulted from a certain patricotic community.

Those two cases show that the 1st amendment in the US is sometimes not respected.

Almontaser was only a few degrees away from Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media who produced a T-shirt that was probably widely misunderstood by the American public, why had she been related to that organization? During the Post interview, Almontaser said to the reporter, Chuck Bennett, that the Arab women’s organization was not connected to her or the school, and that she would never be affiliated with any group that condoned violence. I really don’t understand why she was fired, she had no connections with that organization.

In the case of Almontaser versus the New York Post, I’m siding with Almontaser. The New York Post article was a great example of bad journalism. Why the Department of Education made her do the interview with the New York Post? Why this story didn’t go to a newspaper that would have given her a fighting chance?

July 2018
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