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Charlie Brooker: 'Happy? I have my moments' | Television & radio | The Guardian

Charlie Brooker: ‘Happy? I have my moments’ | Television & radio | The Guardian

As a new season of TV’s paranoid satire Black Mirror is unveiled, its creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones talk ‘disrespectful’ chemistry, being grownup and why the show is not about tech. D uring the recent school holidays, Charlie Brooker made a deal with his seven-year-old son. “I said, ‘Right, you’ve got these tests coming up’ (these stupid SAT things ),” he tells me. “I had a book of mock exams and I said, ‘If you do one of these every morning, half an hour, maths or English, then you can do whatever the fuck you want the rest of the day.’” Actually he didn’t swear, Brooker adds.
And what did Brooker Jr want to do for the rest of the day? Play video games. He likes the ones where you create levels and customise characters, like Super Mario Maker . “If anything, he’s more into computer games than I am, which is a statement I didn’t think it was possible to utter,” his dad, 48, tells me, not unproudly.
It was a good deal, that worked for both of them. “I assuaged parental guilt by making him sit an exam, he got to play computer games all day long, so it meant I could also do what the fuck I wanted.”
Brooker’s other child, five, is – disappointingly – less into gaming. Less into Dad too (“I don’t want you, I want Mummy,” he shouts when he hurts himself) but that’s by-the-by and possibly not for ever. “He wants to watch little bastards opening presents on YouTube, that’s his jam,” says Brooker, before adding that the jam phrase is not one he has used before. He does that sometimes, stepping aside from himself to have a listen to what is spewing from his mouth: is that good, bad, or just surprising, he seems to ask himself.
Does he make any attempts to limit the kids’ screen time I wonder. “I mean you try to a bit, but I don’t worry too much about that because I sort of think by the time they’re grown up the only job left will be robot polishing,” he says. “So they might as well enjoy themselves and get used to clicking things. I kind of think as long as they’re happy … I have heard myself saying: ‘It’s a lovely day outside, come on,’ which was my parents’ theme tune I remember in the summer holiday. ‘What are you doing sitting indoors, playing on the Spectrum? It’s sunny!’”
Brooker grew up in the village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell in Oxfordshire. An early portent of what lay ahead was a comic he made himself, filled with violence, anger and jokes, and then sneaked into his primary school comic box.
The Twilight Zone … the programme’s dark tone influenced Charlie Brooker
At home his dad showed him repeats of Monty Python, and Charlie liked watching things like Not the Nine O’Clock News , Spitting Image , The Young Ones . “Generally speaking, shows that were tinkering about with the format. I remember seeing Airplane! in the cinema and thinking, ‘I didn’t know they made films like that, that’s the best film ever made!’ When I was a bit older I would stay up and catch The Twilight Zone . I always liked nasty, twist-in-the-tale type stories as well – Hammer House of Horror is another one, because it had this horrible British sensibility, so it looked like a sitcom but there were people being stabbed in the neck with trowels. Stuff that broke the fourth wall, was anarchic, The Young Ones, stuff that had a strong flavour.”
Around about the same time, at the local leisure centre, he discovered the first arcade games, such as Space Invaders and Pac-Man. “And thinking you can control that, that’s interesting.” Brooker now has a vintage arcade game at home.
He didn’t get a degree; Central London Poly didn’t want his dissertation on video games . So he played them instead, and smoked weed, and wrote comic strips and columns for a gaming magazine. He watched television, and he made the parody listings website TVGoHome that held a mirror up to the medium, like a tailor saying: “Look, Sir, Madam, look how absurd and grotesque you are.” And he wrote the Screen Burn column for the Guardian’s Guide , in which he did the same kind of thing in print.
Then, as well as hating television, Brooker started to make it too. He wrote for Channel 4’s The 11 O’Clock Show, and for Chris Morris’s brilliantly caustic spoof news show Brass Eye . With Morris, he wrote the hilarious series Nathan Barley , which managed to encapsulate everything that was ludicrous about the early 00s and was based on the TVGoHome entry Cunt. The Wipe shows followed – Screenwipe (kind of Screen Burn on telly) and Newswipe.
Somewhere around 2000 he met Annabel Jones, then an executive at Endemol, which was buying a piece of Zeppotron, the production company Brooker had accidentally set up with other 11 O’Clock Show writers but didn’t know how to run (I think it’s fair to say that running companies isn’t high on Brooker’s list of talents). They’ve been working together ever since.
‘I’m more childish, you are sick’ … Annabel Jones and Charlie Brooker Photograph: Matt Holyoak/Netflix/Black Mirror
And now they are co-showrunners of Black Mirror, the anthology series that looks at the world – now and in about 10 minutes – its people and technology, and worries and laughs and screams about it – as do you, the viewer. It’s as if Brooker, the writer, has stuck some kind of probe on your temple that reads your fears, and collates them into a cohesive story that is projected on to a screen that you have to watch. You want to watch, too, because it’s funny, and human and about characters you care about (as well as about yourself, who, of course, you care about more than anyone else). And somewhere, perhaps in a cloud, or just a dark room, Charlie Brooker sits with a joystick, controlling your thoughts, laughing maniacally, possibly screaming as well.
It all came about after Dead Set, a horror zombie satire Brooker and Jones made for Channel 4, that had nowhere to go because everyone had been killed off. Brooker and Jones talked about the lack of anthology shows on TV, that take an idea and explore it – and the world – in one episode. They imagined a kind of Twilight Zone for the age, dealing with relevant themes, and they pitched it to Channel 4. “Foolishly they said yes,” laughs Brooker.
It started in December 2011 with three episodes, including The National Anthem , in which the British prime minister is forced to have sex with a pig on live TV by a man who has kidnapped a favourite member of the royal family. There was a further series and a Christmas special. Then Black Mirror and Channel 4 parted company, which might have been the end of it if it hadn’t been picked up by Netflix, which has commissioned loads more, plus an experimental one-off-special, and has thrown money and love at it.
What started as a seed almost four decades ago in the comic box of an Oxfordshire primary school, germinated for years in an imagination fed on horror and humour, telly and tech and computer games, has grown into something huge.
Pig in a poke … Rory Kinnear starred in Black Mirror episode The National Anthem. Photograph: Ed Miller/Channel 4 Picture Publicity
We meet at Netflix ’s central London offices. Brooker, man of the moment, arrives with an entourage like Kanye West to whooping and hollering from the assembled staff … no, of course he doesn’t. He shuffles out of the lift, bristly and pale in a tired looking T-shirt and hoodie, a man-child emerging from somewhere dark (like an edit suite, or the inside of his own head). Jones, 47, beside him, is as you would imagine a showrunner on a global TV series to be: presentable, groomed, articulate. She grew up in Pembrokeshire, not playing computer games, but watching telly – her early TV influences include Dennis Potter and Tales of the Unexpected . You can see echoes of Roald Dahl in a few BM episodes; the ones with a final rug-pull, such as Crocodile .
You’re not being judged on viewing figures, you’re being judged on whether it creates a debate
Annabel jones We’re shown to the boardroom, called Our Planet after the David Attenborough show, where there is a box of Queer Eye-branded tissues on the table and a big screen on the wall with a camera underneath, pointing at us. It’s for video conferencing, but there is also something appropriately sinister about it. “This is going out live on Netflix , probably,” says Brooker.
They like working for Netflix, and not just because of the money it throws at them. “You’re not being judged on the number of people watching a show, you’re being judged on how interesting it is, how much people like it, whether it creates a debate,” says Jones. In fact, they don’t even get to know what the viewing figures are.
She explains the problems with an anthology series for a traditional broadcaster: they’re expensive, sets have to be built for each episode, ratings tend to decrease over a run because of the lack of cliffhangers or continuity of cast. That’s what happened at Channel 4. It doesn’t matter how much people love it or talk about it: rising costs and falling viewers is not a combo beloved by broadcasters.
After the White Christmas one-off in December 2014, starring Jon Hamm, Brooker and Jones were in a state of limbo with Channel 4. They’d gone to LA to try to get US networks to co-produce a third series, but they returned without a deal, their champion at Channel 4, Shane Allen, had gone to the BBC, and the station’s bosses weren’t offering another series.
That’s when Netflix, which already had the back-catalogue, stepped in. “Suddenly those shows that are more word-of-mouth, and get talked about through friends or online rather than event-viewing, can prosper.” says Jones. “We found ourselves in a bidding war with all the people who had just said they didn’t want it and now realised they had to change their commissioning to compete with Netflix.” Netflix, which has about 150 million subscribers, tends to win bidding wars, and did.
I wonder what they now do differently for a global audience. Nothing, says Jones. “I think there’s a real worry that once you get commissioned for a global platform and try to make global shows, if you do that you are doomed, because then you are not making the film you have a personal experience of or affection for, and you start creating by numbers.”
A clip from San Junipero, the first Charlie Brooker-written episode made by Netflix
One thing that has changed is that there has been a broadening of the range – of tone, genre and length. That was a deliberate decision brought about through necessity and because of the Netflix way of dumping a six-episode run all at once. If they’d all ended as bleakly and nihilistically as the seven Channel 4 episodes had, it could have got boring and predictable as well as unrelentingly despairing. “It was a conscious decision on my part,” says Brooker. “The first Netflix one I wrote, San Junipero, is one of our most uplifting, positive ones.” Also one of the most beautiful: a simulated-reality fairytale loaded with longing and despair, but in which love eventually overcomes loneliness.
The diversity continued into the second Netflix series. Contrast USS Callister , a colourful high-concept romp, and Metalhead, which is basically half an hour in black and white of Maxine Peake being chased by a canine deathbot, and one of the tensest, most excruciating half-hours you’re ever likely to spend. Metalhead is my own favourite. I still have nightmares about it.
Maxine Peake in Black Mirror: Metalhead. Photograph: Jonathan Prime/Netflix
“Did you ever think, ‘Why doesn’t she just throw her coat over it?’” Brooker asks. He means to stop the guard dog robot solar-recharging while Peake is up the tree. Someone had pointed this option out to him. No, I didn’t, but now I know, that’s what I’ll do when the time comes.
Brooker and Jones sit on one side of the table, addressing each other as much as they do me. They’re clearly close, more like siblings than work colleagues; siblings who share a world and get on but pretend that they don’t, and bicker.
How does it work between them, I want to know. “That’s assuming it does work between us,” says Brooker, cackling. He goes high-pitched when he gets animated, like he’s gulped down a lungful of laughing gas. Is this squeaky, jovial goon really the force behind such brilliant dark beauty?
I ask Jones to explain her role and Brooker interrupts. “Yeah, hang on, what do you do, who are you?”
She ignores him. “We have been working together for nearly 20 years, and I suppose there’s a familiarity…”
“And therefore contempt.” More giggling.
“… and disrespect between us that allows us to work very openly and candidly.” And so it continues.
Watch a trailer for season 5 of Black Mirror
When Jones goes to the loo, I ask Brooker what she does. “Fuck knows, she couldn’t explain could she?” Later, he gives in to generosity. “I’m often trying to either appal or amuse or entertain you with an idea,” he says, addressing her. “And you will say, ‘What do you mean by that?’ And you will sort of drag more of it out of me. Or sometimes you’ll put up blocks and say, ‘Well that wouldn’t work because…’ and I’ll go ‘Yeah but…’ and that sort of leads to a conversation.”
Jones is the first person to see the first draft of any script. They’ll work on it together before showing it to anyone else. She has a sicker sense of humour than he does, Brooker says. “You don’t like scatology, and the more you dislike it the further I go. I’m more childish, you are sick.”
Slowly, amid all the needling and – horrid word alert – banter, I’m getting some idea of how it works. While he is the creative force behind Black Mirror, she is the facilitator, the sounding board, as well as the grownup in the room if there are other people in it. Television executive people, for example. It’s probably fair to say Black Mirror would never have seen the light of day without Annabel Jones. Perhaps it’s her with the joystick, cackling … except that she’s not into video games.
Are they friends? “I would say so,” says Brooker, faux reluctantly.
Do their partners get jealous? “Oh my God, they are grateful,” says Jones. Grateful that it keeps them out of the house. Brooker agrees.
The last episode – Jones rather grandly refers to them as films, though to be fair they have become more cinematic with Netflix’s financial might – was Bandersnatch. It was … or is, as there is no past tense on Netflix … interactive. So you, the viewer get to make decisions for the main character, a young programmer in 1980s Croydon. It’s an extraordinary achievement, groundbreaking even. Not just because of the logistical nightmare of making decision-tree television, but also because it throws up problems such as how do you create a proper, real character when you’re handing over a lot of the stuff that would make him a character (decision-making) to everyone else?
Bandersnatch overcomes the hurdles ingeniously. But for some of us traditional old farts who don’t want our television in kit form, it was just a bit too frumious. It’s been a long day, you want to put your feet up and watch something, you don’t want to torment someone in 1984. “The tricky thing is, it’s its own genre, like musicals, and some people don’t like musicals no matter what. Some people don’t want to make decisions, and that’s fair enough,” says Brooker. Before adding, inevitably, that they … we … can fuck off.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch offered viewers choices in how the story developed. Photograph: Netflix
There’s no decision-making to be done in the three new episodes that land on 5 June. I’ve seen them and they’re fabulous, in different ways. I can’t tell you too much, obviously, or they’ll set the death-bots on me. But I can probably mention some of the themes that come out of them – ageing, long-term friendship, long-term relationships, commitment, pornography and reality, fantasy fulfilment, unfaithfulness, death, grief … God it sounds bleak, but it’s not all bleak, there is light and laughter as well.
And Miley Cyrus is in one! She is great, in a starring role that is very personal to her and draws on her own experience, without giving too much away … and there’s a Miley Cyrus robot.
I get frustrated when people say it’s a show about technology. It’s about human failures
Annabel Jones For the tech and tech-related issues, think not far off – 10 minutes into the future if we’re not already. There are Alexas and smart speakers, next-level gaming (amazing gaming, and I’m not a gamer), gaming nostalgia, next-level porn, current-level social media, social media founders and CEOs, and digital data rights after death.
It’s not a show about technology though, says Jones. “I always get frustrated when people say it is. The stories are hopefully entertaining, very intimate stories about human failures and dilemmas.”
“We very rarely go: ‘Oh, I’ve read this news report and Samsung has invented a fridge that sings to you while you eat yoghurt,’” says Brooker. “No, that would be a terrible basis for an episode. It tends to be: wouldn’t it be weird if…”
He’s not denying the importance of tech to Black Mirror. “There is always a technological explanation for what is going on in our episodes – that’s what differentiates us from something like The Twilight Zone, where it is the supernatural or the uncanny or the unexplained.”
He mentions a famous Twilight Zone episode in which a woman goes into bus station and sees an identical copy of herself, which is not explained. “We wouldn’t do that. We’d have to come up with she’s in VR or she’s a clone. But that’s the only real difference. People didn’t say to Rod Serling [The Twilight Zone’s creator], what’s the show about magic and ghosts and aliens you’re doing, what is it about aliens that fascinates you so much? It was clear that that wasn’t what The Twilight Zone was about. I think it’s similar with Black Mirror: we are doing a supernatural show that has no supernatural element in it, and using that to tell stories that entertain, and that put people in really unusual situations and dilemmas that you can’t see elsewhere. That’s really what we are trying to do.”
Miley Cyrus stars in the new series of Black Mirror: Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too Photograph: Netflix / Black Mirror
What kind of criticism of BM gets his goat? “I guess if people take it too seriously, or think it takes itself too seriously. Or when people say ‘I want to do something like that, but with a sense of humour.’ I’m like: ‘For fuck’s sake, what’s wrong with you?’”
Actually Brooker doesn’t seem to be very angry about much. It is almost disappointing, when frothing apoplectic rage is what he is – or certainly was – famous for. “When I was doing columns, and doing the Wipe shows, that was me to an extent playing a character. TVGoHome was abrasive stuff, but it’s in character, sort of.”
What would 20 years ago Charlie Brooker, furious in his bedsit, think of new Charlie Brooker, successful, sunny and sweet? No he’s not having sunny and sweet. “I think I’m quite goonish, probably more goonish than I would portray in print, and probably more stupid.”
But to answer the question, he would have been astounded, he says. “That I would have been doing a show that people could see all over the place. I’d probably be pleased, yeah definitely pleased. I wonder if I’d like … yeah, I reckon I’d be into the show, that would be weird.”
Having kids has affected his world outlook, it can’t not have done. “Because you drop down the hierarchy in your own head, so you worry less about ephemeral things and more about, ‘Oh shit, what is the world going to be like?’ Now I worry less ‘Am I going to get incinerated in a nuclear fireball?’ and more ‘Is that going to happen to my children?’. Or, ‘Which of my children am I going to have to kill in the bunker, when there’s no way out?’”
“It’s the five-year-old,” says Jones. Yeah, mummy’s boy.
Fire and no way out is a recurring worry it seems. I ask about the immense wealth that must have resulted from having a global hit, does that not help the outlook? “We don’t tend to swan around in yachts or anything like that,” says Brooker. He doesn’t look like a yachter to be fair. He has bought a pinball machine, the best pinball machine you can get, he admits. “We don’t walk around going we do this big successful show and blah blah blah, probably because we are…”
“Too busy making it,” says Jones.
“And too fucked up. Speaking for myself there…”
“Yeah, speak for yourself.”
“Because I genuinely think if someone gives you an award or something, I think, ‘Ugh, this is heavy, or I’m not going to win one next year’, or ‘Oh God, what if someone shoots me from the audience, where are the exits, what if this building catches fire?’”
OK, so sunny was wrong. Is he happy at least? “Erm, is anyone? Generally, I have my moments.”
What about the future of the show? “I think, because we can keep on reinventing it, there is no shortage of ideas.” he says. It would be hard to do an Airplane!-style comedy episode of Black Mirror, though he wanted to and has had to be talked out of it. Or a documentary episode, though they have discussed that too. “But other than that, if I look at the ones we have done, I think the tone of them is wildly different, so hopefully we can just keep doing them. Until the robots take over. Which will happen. One afternoon…”
• Black Mirror season 5 launches on Netflix on 5 June .
Topics Charlie Brooker Netflix Television industry TV comedy Drama Comedy interviews

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Said and read – May 2019

* Juliet, Naked – Nick Hornby
I had never read Nick Hornby and mostly got from his writing what I expected – a quick read and a hearty helping of manchild BS. I was ‘rewarded’ with having my expectations met, particularly in the book A Long Way Down , which just felt… sloppy? It had one redeeming thought amidst describing the criss-crossing of the lives of a diverse suicidal group who end up not … ending it.
“ The guy who jumped had two profound and apparently contradictory effects on us all. Firstly, he made us realize that we weren’t capable of killing ourselves. And secondly, this information made us suicidal again. That isn’t a paradox, if you know anything about the perversity of human nature. ” (from A Long Way Down )
Having nothing to compare it to, especially since my Hornby knowledge is mostly based on film and television adaptations, I got exactly what I expected. Which, I guess, was kind of disappointing (because one hopes that their low expectations will be exceeded).
Thus when I read Juliet, Naked , I expected more of the same but was somewhat surprised to find that the book was slightly more engaging and its characters slightly more alive. Am I alone in picturing the single-minded obsessive but otherwise unmotivated Duncan, despite his clearly being English, as some variation of Rainn Wilson ? No idea why he came to mind. Side note: I guess I never knew until I just Googled Wilson that he’s from Seattle, which is itself a mecca for a lot of obsessive music types like Duncan. Perhaps because this book was told largely from the point of view of a put-upon, tired, supportive-to-a-fault girlfriend who finally breaks free of the boyfriend’s near-lifelong obsession with a somewhat obscure musician who disappeared into the mythology created by those obsessive fans who try to keep them alive via obsessive internet forums, it was more relatable than much of Hornby’s catalog.
When the girlfriend finds her voice, calling Duncan out on the fact that he wouldn’t have a personality at all were it not for his obsession with this phantom musician, we begin to see some of the pains of the kinds of halfhearted relationships that outlive their efficacy, if not their use (even the dead relationships that live too long – one-third too long, if you believe Ayelet Waldman – have some use to us), and never quite reach one’s aspirations. It hits home in its discussion of the never-had conversations about having children and the suppression of some very strong desires because one partner has put the other to sleep, as Hornby phrases it.
In this book, in fact, Hornby captures best of all the distance we grow to feel from ourselves, our feelings and our own lives – the way things we should feel become symbolic and abstract, whether because we have insulated ourselves or have been self-centered – we end up at the same place:
“ Anyone can say they haven’t done anything. Today I learned that I am going to be a grandfather. As I don’t really know the pregnant daughter in question—I don’t really know four of my five children, by the way—I was not able to feel joyful. For me, the only real emotional content of the news was the symbolism, what it said about me. I don’t feel bad about that, particularly. There’s no point in pretending to feel joy when someone you don’t know very well tells you she’s pregnant, although I suppose I do feel bad that various decisions I’ve made and avoided have reduced my daughter to the status of a stranger. “
* Love and Treasure – Ayelet Waldman
I have not enjoyed previous meanderings into Waldman’s writing, but this book used aspects of World War II as a backdrop, which is generally a storytelling draw. Here Waldman has woven together a contemporary story with a historical one, and it’s through the historical detail that she pulls you in:
“ The wealth of the Jews of Hungary, of all of Europe, was to be found not in the laden boxcars of the Gold Train but in the grandmothers and mothers and daughters themselves, in the doctors and lawyers, the grain dealers and psychiatrists, the writers and artists who had created a culture of sophistication, of intellectual and artistic achievement. And that wealth, everything of real value, was all but extinguished. “
Waldman does have something of a gift for dialogue that casually casts out nominally philosophical, hard-won, life-experience-style gems:
“ “I am developing a theory of relationships. Would you like to hear it?” “I would.” “It’s called the Principle of One-Third. Each and every love affair lasts for precisely one-third longer than it should. If you’ve been together for three years, then the last year was a waste of time, more pain than pleasure.” “And if you’ve been together for thirty years?” “Shame about that last decade.” He laughed. “Okay, then. What about a week?” “You should have gotten out midmorning on the fourth day. I’m telling you, the theory works for every relationship. The only problem with the Principle of One-Third is that it’s only once the relationship is over that you know how much time you’ve wasted. You don’t know that the last decade was pointless until you’ve been with someone for the whole thirty years. And you definitely don’t know that your husband will start fucking an ERISA lawyer in year ten until you get to year twelve and realize that the last four were a farce.” “
Or:
“ “Sort of. We lived together, but we went to different schools. He went to Boston University. I went to Harvard.” “You are smarter than he is.” “I got better grades, that’s all.” “This is something so curious to me about women. If it were Daniel who went to Harvard he would say, ‘Yes, I am smarter.’ But because you are a woman, you say only ‘I got better grades.’ ” “You think that’s gender related?” “Men are more confident than women.” “Maybe some men are more confident than some women.” “Maybe most men are more confident than most women.” “Okay,” she said. “I think I can give you that.” “
* The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
Certain words are ruined for me.
Whether it is the hypochondriac repeating words like “agony” and “excruciating”, stripping them of all meaning, or the overenthusiastic reader who strikes gold in some concept he has never heard of before and therefore overuses. I think here of a guy I met who constantly referred in his own writing to the djinn/jinn, leading me to think, knowing what I knew of this particular guy, that he either just read a bit of Salman Rushdie or read/watched American Gods . I can no longer, in my intolerance, see or hear those words again. Each time the word “djinn” turns up anywhere, I am reminded of this man and how readable were his motives, how transparent his immediate influences. But he is not unusual in this.
We all learn things and come to love them and cannot help ourselves from repeating them to death. Or maybe we latch onto things we never thought we would care about because someone we love loves them. By extension we come to love or care about them. I am trying to figure out where the line is – where does it pivot from someone loving or learning about something sincerely into someone overusing, performing ‘fandom’ or love, showing off? As Andy Miller describes about sharing his passion for reading, it can come across as ‘performative’; he also writes in his book (discussed below), which is the perfect encapsulation of the more charitable interpretation I wish I were always capable of ascribing to repeat offenders: “When we find a painting or a novel or a musical we love, we are briefly connected to the best that human beings are capable of, in ourselves and others, and we are reminded that our path through the world must intersect with others. Whether we like it or not, we are not alone.”
I cannot describe or see the performative pivot, but I can always feel where and when the turn comes.
Awkward pivot
Using the word “pivot”, incidentally, makes me think both of a former colleague who kept pronouncing the word as PIE-vot , as well as a newer (and very young) colleague citing an episode of Friends and Ross’s forceful, impatient instructing, “PIVOT! PIVOT!” when the characters were attempting to move a couch (which is what we were doing in the office – it was a fitting use of the reference).
Strange to think of the enduring – even fervent – popularity of Friends . All these youthful colleagues streaming it obsessively and telling me about it like they’ve discovered something new. I finally understand how my Boomer parents and their ilk felt when kids tried to introduce them to music from the 60s (or newer music that was blatantly mimicking 1960s-era originals). There’s validity in remembering and even enjoying some of Friends , but so much of it is outdated – not in the sense that you look at it and think you’re watching a relic of a bygone era, but so much of the homophobia and archetypal tropes feel insensitive and painful – they did then, too, but it was not as “done” to say so then. I recently read a thoughtful take on this in the award-winning Everywhereist blog – all about Monica’s imperfections, but most of all her history as a ‘fat girl’ .
Geraldine (that’s t he Everywhereist , don’t you know?) hits the nail on the head:
“The fat girl inside of me really wants to go,” Monica says. “I owe her this. I never let her eat. ”
The audience laughs, but it is a singularly heartbreaking sentiment. Monica is a chef, constantly surrounded by food she will never touch. It’s a modern-day Greek tragedy. The idea is never said explicitly, but it is there: that no matter how kind and loyal and giving you are, fatness will make you an outsider, fatness will make you weird and flawed. And even if you lose the weight, you can’t get rid of that.
As Naomi Wolf writes in The Beauty Myth , our cultural obsession with female thinness “is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience.” Monica suppressed a part of herself that was never problematic to begin with. And she genuinely seemed less joyous as a result.”
Thank you, Geraldine. Thing is, though… this particular discrimination is just as accepted and encouraged now – as well as being mined for throwaway but cruel laughs – as when the show originally ran. I am sure there are a lot of people who watch Friends reruns and take away the same kind of feelings Geraldine put into words. But there are a whole lot more who never thought about this at all, and still won’t.
“I don’t think it’s going to pivot any more”“ You think? “
Why am I awkwardly pivoting from how words get ruined to how TV shows get ruined to the complete lack of compassion we feel, how inured we are to the experiences of people we see and judge only based on what is right in front of our faces? Especially when this is ostensibly a description of why The Satanic Verses surprised me by being enjoyable? I wish I had an expert way to weave into words all the threads that connect this in my mind, but it remains a roundabout that can’t be sewn into a wearable garment. Incidentally I dreamt last night that I was going to “fix” a pair of tights and rapidly ran them through a sewing machine, essentially making one of the legs unusable. That’s a bit how I feel about having introduced all this information into what has turned into absolutely nothing about The Satanic Verses .
“ I know what a ghost is, the old woman affirmed silently. Her name was Rosa Diamond; she was eighty-eight years old; and she was squinting beakily through her salt-caked bedroom windows, watching the full moon’s sea. And I know what it isn’t, too, she nodded further, it isn’t a scarification or a flapping sheet, so pooh and pish to all that bunkum. What’s a ghost? Unfinished business, is what . “
I suppose the only real connection I can make is that I have tried to read The Satanic Verses and other Rushdie works many times over the years. I kept coming back but it was never compelling enough. And it has haunted me (i.e., unfinished business).
Finally it stuck this year, and I suppose that’s the pivot here – and ties together all this senseless rambling, if loosely. One can see something, like Friends , or words, or one’s overly enthusiastic/performative way of using them, in one way at one juncture – and in entirely another way – later, with more experience and compassion. That’s how I approach my reading here.
Not being versed in any kind of religious teaching, nor being religious, I don’t really know what I’d consider “offensive” about this book. It’s filled with sex – that’s all I can think of. I cannot reflect analytically about this book, but I found it enjoyable, and a few passages thought-provoking, if only because they reminded me so much of people in my life and their own experiences.
“ The avalanche of sex in which Gibreel Farishta was trapped managed to bury his greatest talent so deep that it might easily have been lost forever, his talent, that is, for loving genuinely, deeply and without holding back, the rare and delicate gift which he had never been able to employ. By the time of his illness he had all but forgotten the anguish he used to experience owing to his longing for love, which had twisted and turned in him like a sorcerer’s knife. Now, at the end of each gymnastic night, he slept easily and long, as if he had never been plagued by dream-women, as if he had never hoped to lose his heart. “
But then, it also seems like a work that garnered a lot of unwarranted attention (certainly more than it would have received without the fatwa issued against Rushdie), exerting an outsized cultural influence and reach to which the actual work can never live up. I wonder if, in that sense, Friends somehow enjoys more cultural currency – well, certainly it does since it’s made for the masses, but even in its undeserved but potentially lasting cross-generational potency and legacy, it outlives the infamy/notoriety of a solid book that misses ‘greatness’. Entertaining/informative/thoughtful or some combination thereof
* Your Brain’s Politics – George Lakoff
Reading anything by Lakoff always sets my brain on fire. When I think about how intertwined metaphors are with our existence, and how we are producing them unconsciously, I reignite so many intellectual paths never-followed from my youth, but also – at least briefly – consider language on a deeper level. This, too, has informed a great deal of the psychology study I’ve done in the last year.
“ Today we know that metaphors are by no means a matter of “language and language only”. Metaphors structure our everyday cognition, our perception of reality. They are a matter of thought, they are a matter of language, and they are a matter of actions. “
What are ‘metaphors’ (literally)?
“ Let me tell you, then, what is written across busses in Athens, “metaphoroi”. The word “metaphor” stems from Greek and literally means, “to carry things to another place.” Metaphoric cognition, thus, means that we resort to elements from one cognitive domain—commonly one that we can directly experience in the world—in order to reason about another cognitive domain—commonly one that is more abstract. “
I could easily ramble about this, but it’s perhaps better to limit writing on this subject to how little the average person thinks about how linguistic framing and selective metaphoric use shapes the way we think about things (and can thus be manipulated). Lakoff has argued that conservatives/Republicans (whatever you want to call the right) have used this to their advantage, and the left has struggled because they haven’t mastered this framing.
“ In the US, for instance, conservatives do a great job of implementing their own frames in public debate, while progressives lag behind in terms of proactively framing issues in terms of their worldview. Moreover, progressives often negate the frames that conservatives use. They constantly get caught up in arguing against conservative ideas. And they lack a well-functioning communication infrastructure that ensures adequate, moral framing of issues across progressive groups on a daily basis. Conservatives are just much better organized when it comes to these things. “
* Zora and Langston: A Story of Friendship and Betrayal – Yuval Taylor
Perhaps a bit of a dramatic title, I discovered this book by accident while browsing the online library. Zora Neale Hurston has always been something of a mystery – a staple of American high school reading lists with her classic Their Eyes Were Watching God , undeniably one of the greats to which I can return again and again, Hurston herself feels elusive. Even after reading this book that chronicled the friendship and falling out between two of the Harlem Renaissance ‘s central figures, Hurston and Langston Hughes , Hurston feels distant. As much as is made of Hughes’ distance and keeping people at arms’ length, it is still Hurston who feels mysterious. She remains the force one wants to know about; her work endures, both within literature and anthropology. During her lifetime, she fell from favor, perhaps because she refused to embody the anger and resentment her contemporaries exhibited toward white people; because she refused the ‘fight’ without accepting the idea of being ‘lesser than’. She didn’t write about race and discrimination or being black in relation to a predominantly white society – she wrote about life and what she observed, in many cases in all-black communities. This voice was unique, and has finally been recognized as such, even if it didn’t fit the narrative for what black writers were “supposed to” produce. Hurston didn’t do anything according to what anyone expected:
“ Moreover, what Zora’s black critics failed to grasp was the reason behind Zora’s lifelong practice of minimizing the resentment of African Americans in her work. It was a simple one, really: “Bitterness,” as she put it in Dust Tracks on a Road , “is the graceless acknowledgment of defeat.” Zora recognized that those who are bitter and resentful are seen by themselves and others as victims, and the very existence of victims justifies, in a real way, the acts of the victimizers.”
* Hunger – Knut Hamsun
It is hard to imagine a time when wealthy, well-heeled, socialist Norway was the hard-up, impoverished farmer/fisherman cousin to Sweden. While not everyone suffered terrible privations, Norway was only ushered into the era of ‘too much’ in recent decades. Hamsun’s chronicle of experiencing hunger – both figurative and literal – is gripping.
A quick but engrossing read – as usual taken in while flying here or there. As the narrator attempts to keep a roof over his head and keep himself fed while making a “living” (you could never really call it that) while submitting articles for a few kroner here, a few kroner there, one gets a sense of how much he will give up for his work – and exactly what phases of delirium and want someone starving will go through. Its vivid characterizations of feelings and perceptions, filtered through this hunger, bring both the mental state and the scene to life.
“ The word stood out sharply against the darkness before me. I sit with open eyes, amazed at my find and laughing for joy. Then I start whispering: they might be spying on me, and I intended to keep my invention a secret. I had passed over into the sheer madness of hunger; I was empty and without pain and my thoughts were running riot. I debate with myself in silence. With the oddest jumps in my line of thought, I try to ascertain the meaning of my new word. It didn’t have to mean either God or amusement park, and who had said it should mean cattle show? “
* The Sorrows of Young Werther – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“ Must it be, that what makes for man’s happiness becomes the source of his misery? “
I didn’t really enjoy this book, but it was filled with thoughts I found myself nodding along to and wanting to quote. Most notably, which I immediately used elsewhere :
“P eople would have fewer pains if—God knows why they are made this way—their imaginations were not so busily engaged in recalling past trials rather than bearing an indifferent present. “
Or, as I often wonder why people are obsessed with wanting to live forever, particularly when they are obsessed with youth – and the longer they live, the further they get from this mythical youth – and the more poor is quality of life. But does quality of life truly matter to most other than as a slogan?
“ When I observe the restrictions that lock up a person’s active and probing powers, when I see how all activity is directed toward achieving the satisfaction of needs that in turn have no goal but to prolong our miserable existence, and that all reassurance about certain points of inquiry is only a dreaming resignation, since one paints with colorful figures and airy views the walls within which one sits imprisoned “
After all, we are essentially cogs in wheels and not at all aware of the lack of freedom we have – and we would not know what to do if we found it:
“ I don’t know what it is about me that attracts people; so many like and attach themselves to me, and it pains me when our paths coincide for only a short stretch. If you ask what people are like here, I have to say: like everywhere! The human race is a monotonous thing. Most people work most of the time in order to live, and the little freedom they have left over frightens them so, that they will do anything to get rid of it. Oh, the regimentation of mankind! “ Coincidences
* The Year of Reading Dangerously – Andy Miller
“The trick is to keep reading.”
I had pretty much thought I was done with May reading when my friend, Mr Nichols , he of deeply impeccable taste, sent a link to an article (cited above) about one man’s ‘excessive’ reading and how “something so innocuous can provoke such a range of strong responses”. Andy Miller shares in essay form how he feels compelled to redact the number of books he has read because it seems to provoke disbelief, anger, accusations of all kinds, and much more. Mr Nichols said it reminded him of my monthly collection of random thoughts (yes, this very post and its predecessors) on my own excessive reading (which has mostly generated the ‘wow! that’s shocking!’ response from people and very little of the anger or accusatory rhetoric Miller has experienced, although I suspect if I were actually known by anyone and this experiment of mine had more visibility, the negativity could get ugly).
I thanked Miller for sharing his relatable experiences; he thanked me and stated that he is glad not to be alone in this. He definitely isn’t – there are loads of us out here.
But me being me, Miller’s essay was not enough. Reading it through on my phone while waiting for a bus on a sunny but windy Oslo day, I knew I must get the book. Getting into the book was even more of a delight because immediately, Miller starts off sharing that he had modest ambitions in getting back into reading but then could not stop. I could have written this myself: three years ago when I came out of an embarrassingly long non-reading coma, I thought 26 books was a reasonable goal for a year (even if I continue to say that it’s not about quantity – because it isn’t). My own journey is completely devoid of theme or goal, but the non-existent endpoint is… not being able to stop.
I did attempt a kind of theme last year – still limiting myself to 26 books (which I blew through within the first month of the year) – but insisting that they must be in non-English languages. The only reason I note this is because Miller starts off his own journey with Bulgakov ‘s The Master and Margarita , which is a book I read in English translation for the first time over 20 years ago and have since reread and gifted copies of to all kinds of people. But the idea that I should attempt it in its original Russian crossed my mind more than once. I abandoned this idea quickly in favor of simpler Solzhenitsyn prose in tackling Russian. (Miller, incidentally, also reads Anna Karenina during this period of reviving his passion for reading, reveling in its “like the real world, only better” quality; it is one of those I am making my way through in the original – it’s just taking a long time.) I am not sure I will ever again have the wherewithal even to even think of Margarita in this way. Miller gets it right: the book is difficult and absurd, very difficult to dive right into and stick with, but with patience is transcendent. When he noted that he didn’t know what “Komsomol” was when he started reading, I realized that there is the additional layer of difficulty if one isn’t already ‘indoctrinated’ to the Soviet/Russian period and its institutions. I luckily had that going in, but would this have proved to be a barrier otherwise? I consider this as I think of all the people on whom I’ve forced this book. But, as Miller writes, those readers who follow through do not need the definitions and minutiae of institutions; this book endures because “ words are our transport, our flight and our homecoming in one. Which you don’t get from Dan Brown. ” So true.
In fact there are so many strange parallels in this book that it’s as though it’s an alternate version of what I could have written myself. From the travel to East Germany as the teenage human embodiment of the dour nature of the country itself to skipping Bukowski because it was the go-to for a certain type of male reader and, indeed, reading more than one (which I’ve done) would be a waste of time because they are like carbon copies of each other. In my case, strangely, I bought a bunch of Bukowski for an East German guy with whom I had a Russian class in college. Seems like a lot of crossed threads there. I actually ended the school year by buying books for my professor and the other person in my class – I just don’t remember which books I bought for them. It was years before I bothered to read Bukowski myself – I don’t mind being able to say I read him, but it’s still time I am not getting back.
It also delighted me to see that someone else is nerdy enough to write ‘fan mail’ to a writer. Miller wrote to Michel Houellebecq ; I did so a couple of times last year, but not to the writers one would expect. I don’t engage much with bestsellers and mainstream/popular fiction (even if there is nothing at all wrong with it); even if I do, I don’t imagine that those writers need more praise piled on. No, instead, I wrote, for example, to a professor who studies teeth through the lens of evolutionary biology (I loved and learned so much from two books he wrote) to profess my fascination for his work/field; he wrote back thanking me because I guess, as he wrote, I made his day. I don’t imagine that such diligent and passionate researchers get much recognition or fan letters from outside their discipline, so I was pleased to contribute that little bit because -seriously- TEETH!
And it further delighted me to read (bold text is mine), despite my own proclivity for the convenience of e-books (I still love the real thing so much more, even if I’ve mostly eschewed collecting them as I move from country to country):
“ I accept that this story illustrates that it is technically possible to buy a copy of Moby-Dick on what passes for the high street. It might also be advanced as further evidence of the adaptability of the book. But to me it demonstrates how marginal good books might become in the future. Surely Moby-Dick deserves to be something more than just a sliver of content on a screen? I feel much the same when I see books piled up on pallets in big-box stores, like crates of beer or charcoal briquettes, and I am shocked to be reminded that there is nothing intrinsically special about books unless we invest them with values other than ‘value’ and we create spaces in which to do it .
Reading is a broad church. But it is still a church. “ Biggest disappointment (or hated/disliked)
“ The artificial endures. Living wears out. ”– Black Dahlia, White Rose – Joyce Carol Oates
I have already stated above that I hated my Joyce Carol Oates and Marquis de Sade readings. I read a lot of things this month that bored me ( Bright Lights, Big City , for example), but nothing worth capturing here at any further length. Oh, no… I despised Chuck Palahniuk ‘s Beautiful You ; not that I expected otherwise. It was beyond stupid – felt like the scribblings of someone who thought maybe he could put one over on everyone. That is, let’s write something outlandish and exaggeratedly sophomoric and see if someone is dumb enough to publish it. Share this:

20 Things You Didn’t Know about Eiza Gonzalez

20 Things You Didn’t Know about Eiza Gonzalez 20 Things You Didn’t Know about Eiza Gonzalez Prev Article Next Article
Actress, singer, skincare ambassador… if there’s an end to the talents of rising star Eiza Gonzalez, it’s yet to be found. Over the past decade, Eiza has achieved international recognition for her diverse range of talents and superlative performances. After achieving early success in such Spanish speaking features as Sueña conmigo and Lola, érase una vez, Eiza transitioned into English speaking roles in 2013- so far, the move has proved more than fruitful. Eiza is now a recognized face across the world, thanks in no small part to her acclaimed performances in films like Baby Driver (2017) and Welcome to Marwen (2018). 2019 has already got off to an excellent start for the young actress, with 2 films already released (Paradise Hills and Cut-Throat City) and several more in the bag (including the hotly anticipated Hobbs & Shaw and Godzilla vs Kong). With her star most definitely in the ascendant, now’s never been a better time to find out 20 things you didn’t know about Eiza Gonzalez. 1. Her mother is a former model
There’s a reason Eiza looks the way she does: her mother is former Mexican model, Glenda Reyna. Reyna was the primary caregiver to the young Eiza after her father sadly passed away in a motorcycle when Eiza was just 12 years old. Eiza was raised in both the Spanish and English tradition, attending 2 private bi-lingual schools (the Edron Academy and the American School Foundation) in Mexico City. 2. Her father’s death had a huge impact on her life
As would be expected, the passing of Eiza’s father when she was just 12 years old had a significant and long-lasting impact on the actress. For several years after his death, Eiza suffered from depression and compulsive eating. “My father and I had an amazing relationship. We were very close. I fell into a very dark place and I couldn’t deal with [the] loss. I wasn’t in a good place. I wouldn’t say I had an eating disorder,” she explained to E News . “I would say I was going through depression.” 3. She started acting at 13
Eiza’s acting ambitions kicked in at an early age: at 13, she enrolled in an acting course at M&M Studio (which just so happened to be run by Patricia Reyes Spindola, a Mexican actress famed for her appearances in Motivos de Luz (1985) and La reina de la noche (1994)); at 14, she was studying at the renowned acting school, Centre de Educacion Artistic; at 16, she was playing the part of Lola Valente, lead protagonist in teen drama, Lola, érase una vez; by 17, she had left Mexico behind to enroll on a three month acting course at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York. 4. She lived in Buenos Aires for a year
In April 2009, Eiza was cast in the Nickelodeon teen sitcom, Sueña conmigo. The series was shot in Buenos Aires, forcing Eiza to leave her home in Mexico and set up camp in the Argentinian capital. The series took a year to shoot, although Eiza did manage to occasionally find time between shooting to return to Mexico and reconnect with her family. The show aired throughout Europe and Latin America, proving so popular in Argentina that the cast were invited to perform several concerts throughout the county in the spring and summer of 2011. 5. She was (almost) cast in All Hail the Squash Blossom Queen
After enjoying several years of success in Spanish speaking features, Eiza (almost) broke into English speaking roles with her casting in All Hail the Squash Blossom Queen (2013). The film, directed by Adrian Cervantes, was set to star Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter’s Ginny Weasley) as the lead protagonist, with Eiza taking the role of Brittany. Unfortunately, the film’s casting had a major shake up in 2015, and Eiza was ultimately dropped from the project. 6. Her English-speaking debut was in From Dusk to the Dawn: The Series
Eiza may have lost out on a part in All Hail the Squash Blossom Queen, but that didn’t put the brakes on her transition into English speaking roles. In November 2013, Eiza finally got her foot in the door of Hollywood with the TV dramatization of From Dusk to the Dawn. Eiza took the role of Santanico Pandemonium, a character originally played by Salma Hayek in the film of the same name. Eiza (and the series) proved a hit: the show was renewed for a 2nd season, and Eiza’s status in the industry was well and try cemented. 7. Her mother is her rock
After her father’s sad passing, Eiza’s strong bond with her mother proved her saving grace. The older woman’s stoic attitude helped pull Eiza out of the depression she fell into after her dad’s death, and her strength is something Eiiza never ceases to admire. “My mom was very much alpha. I admired her because she was the working mom on the go,” she shared with E News. “She’s such a boss. She was so strong and raised her children by herself. She kept being as a positive as she could, and she kept going. I adore my mom. She and I are best friends.” 8. She’s notoriously private
As any young actress knows, trying to keep your personal life private can be tough-going. Eiza, however, is doing her very best to keep her private affairs exactly that. “I don’t think it’s necessary,” she told E News about her decision to stay close-lipped on her private life. “I think that your life as a public person is already so exposed. I don’t know why it’s such a big thing.” 9. She released her debut album in 2009
In 2008, Eiza decided to branch out from acting by signing a record deal with EMI Televisa. Her resulting debut, Contracorriente, was released by the label in November 2009 in Latin America, and in January 2010 in the US. The album proved a huge hit in Latin America, particularly in her home country of Mexica, where it achieved a #13 spot on the Mexico Top 100 Albums Chart. 10. She released her 2nd album in 2012
The popularity of her 2009 debut album inspired Eiza to try and repeat the same success in 2012. Unfortunately, her follow- up album failed to achieve quite the same level of success as her first offering… albeit by only a narrow margin. The album, Te Acordarás de Mi, polled at #66 on the Mexico Top 100 Albums Charts and at #14 on the US Billboard Latin Pop Album chart. 11. She was dropped from the cover of Latina magazine
According to her IMDB profile , Eiza was all set to feature on the May/ June 2017 cover of the magazine Latina. Bagging the cover of any magazine is an exciting opportunity for any up-and-coming star, but that rings especially true for publications with the kind of readership Latina (a lifestyle, beauty and fashion magazine for bilingual Hispanic women) enjoys. Unfortunately for Eiza, the plans were dropped after the magazine ran into financial difficulties amid a leadership shake-up. 12. She’s a Neutrogena ambassador
With the kind of flawless skin Eiza sports, it was always just a matter of time before she landed a deal with a skincare brand. In 2015, she did exactly that, securing a sponsorship deal with skincare giant Neutrogena as their new ambassador. In a statement issued at the time, Eiza enthused about how excited she was about the being the new face of the brand, especially given how she’s been a loyal fan of Neutrogena since she was a teenager. “I’m humbled to represent a brand that values the Latina culture and encourages women to embrace a natural, beautiful and healthy appearance,” she enthused . 13. She’s an award- winner
Despite being only 29 years old, Eiza’s career has been substantial. Her nuanced performances in over 14 films and 5 TV shows have certainly not gone unnoticed by critics, who have showered her with praise….and awards. Her first win was in 2008, when she picked up a TVyNovelas Award in the category of Best Female Revelation for her work in Lola, érase una vez. In 2011, she picked up a Kids Choice Award as Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie for The Croods, along with another award in the category of Newcomer on TV. In addition to her awards for acting, she’s also managed to pick up several for her singing talents, including Favorite Artist at the Kids Choice Award and Breakout Artist/ Group of the Year at the Lo Nuestro Awards. 14. She dated Josh Duhamel
Eiza has enjoyed several high-profile relationships over the years, including a short lived (but very public) entanglement with Safe Haven star, Josh Duhamel. The two reportedly began dating in February 2018, following Duhamel’s split from Black Eyed Peas singer, Fergie, in 2017. Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t last the course, with the pair apparently calling it a day in the summer of 2018. “If you are looking for Eiza, we’re done”, he told reporters . 15. She’s been linked to an NBA Player
Since her split with Josh Duhamel last year, Eiza has been keeping herself busy with rumored flings with soccer star, Jermaine Jones, and NBA player, Klay Thompson. Although reports of both affairs have been speculative, the young actress certainly has form when it comes to dating some of the world’s most eligible bachelors. Prior to her relationship with Duhamel, Eiza had been linked with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Calvin Harris and Liam Hemsworth. 16. She’s joining the Fast and Furious Franchise
In November 2018, Variety reported that Eiza was set to join the ensemble of Universal’s “Fast and Furious” spinoff “Hobbs and Shaw”. Her addition to the franchise was a little last minute: despite producers always wanting the Mexican beauty to join the production, there was some debate as to whether she could fit the feature in between shooting Legendary’ s “Godzilla vs. Kong. Thankfully, she could… Eiza will take the role of Madam M in the spinoff, which is due to hit our screen in July 2019. 17. You’ll never catch her sunbathing
For fans dying to know the secret to Eiza’s flawless good lucks, the answer is pretty simple: rock climbing, getting regular blood tests, and staying as far away from the sun as humanly possible. The pretty actress told W Magazine that when it comes to looking good from the outside, it’s all about loving yourself from the inside: “My life motto outside of set is self-love,” she says. “Love my skin, my hair, my body and be good to it. And keep it simple.” 18. She’s set to star in Godzilla vs. Kong
In 2018, it was announced that Eiza would be joining Swedish heart-throb Alexander Skarsgard on the set of hotly anticipated movie, Godzilla vs. Kong. The feature, which will be the fourth Godzilla outing from Legendary’s MonsterVerse, is due to be released in 2D, 3D and Imax in March 2020. Eiza’s role in the film has yet to be announced, but whatever it is, it’s sure to do her status as one the hottest stars in town no harm at all. 19. She refuses to be pigeon-holed
Eiza is not one to sit idly by and allow people to perpetuate stereotypes. While proud to be Latino, Eiza refused to be pigeonholed, something she spoke about in length to ET : “You’ll Google some actresses and it says‘actress’,” Eiza explained. “But if you Google me it’s ‘Mexican actress,’ and that’s the stereotype that I want to break. As an actress, that’s my agenda. If that means taking smaller roles that’s going to help get to that place and be seen in a different light [so be it]. [I want people to say], ‘Oh, she went and did this but then went and did that.’ That, to me, is the idea’. 20. She has a net worth of $5 million
She may only be 29 years old, but Eiza Gonzalez has already built up a substantial body of work… something that is more than reflected in her hefty fortune. According to CNW , the talented actress is currently worth a reported $5 million dollars. With 2019 set to be Eiza’s best year yet thanks to her roles in such popular franchises as the Fast and Furious and Godzilla, this is one fortune that isn’t going anywhere but up.

Trump’s ‘Deal of The Century’ is just status quo by another name

Trump’s ‘Deal of The Century’ is just status quo by another name
Joseph Dana The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not solely about land, religion or even security. It is about control and the economics of domination in the technology age. The roots of the conflict were born out of a toxic mix of religious conviction, wartime calculations, and security concerns, but nearly five decades of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have changed the calculus. Now US President Donald Trump appears ready to reflect those changes in official American policy with his so-called “deal of the century.”
What’s remarkable about the Trump plan, as far as it has been revealed, is not that it marks a fundamental shift in American policy but a shift in tone. Despite its official role as a mediator, the US has always sided with Israel on settlements, domination over Palestinian life and aggressive regional policy. Previous US presidents have simply paid lip service to the need for an equitable peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
When Trump became president, he acted swiftly to fulfill campaign promises to satisfy crucial Republican mega-donors such as Sheldon Adelson and moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Representing, as it does, US recognition of Israel’s claims over Jerusalem, this act was met with shock around the world. But was it really all that shocking? The US has allowed and indirectly funded Israel’s slow annexation of Jerusalem for the past five decades. Israel’s repeated violations of the Oslo Accords in Jerusalem have met with strong words from American officials but zero action.
Removing the mask of impartiality, Trump sees the Palestinians as defenseless, isolated and without legal recourse in Israel’s domination over them. This assessment is not entirely without merit, but basing a peace plan on immediate prospects ignores the bitter reality of this long conflict. For all the innovative straight talk and action of the Trump administration, however, the proposed “ economic workshop ” planned for Bahrain next month looks like a page from the old American playbook.
Removing the mask of impartiality, Trump sees the Palestinians as defenseless, isolated and without legal recourse in Israel’s domination over them. This assessment is not entirely without merit, but basing a peace plan on immediate prospects ignores the bitter reality of this long conflict Dangling the prospect of billions of dollars in investment, the Trump administration is hoping to enlist the support of Palestinian business leaders. The Oslo Accords were awash with language about Palestinian economic empowerment. With a peace agreement in place, the Gaza Strip could be a hive of economic activity in the Arab world, it was claimed. A new international airport would rival the hubs of the Persian Gulf. The West Bank, with its natural resources and rugged beauty, would attract huge levels of investment.
Obviously, none of these claims were borne out. The Palestinian economy has always been held hostage by Israeli authorities. Since they have control over everything that comes in and out, it is the Israeli authorities who oversee virtually all Palestinian economic activity. Israel even prohibits access to high-speed cellular devices to Palestinians on the West Bank, even though the infrastructure is already in place to serve Israeli settlers.
The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is the greatest state project in the history of Israel. The country has devoted more resources to securing its military and civilian footprint on the land than to anything else. Like other military adventures, this investment in the occupation has paid huge dividends for the country’s economy. Just look at Israel’s most valuable exports: military expertise, hardware, and technology.
Many of the pioneers of Israel’s famed technology sector, for example, owe their beginnings to the military’s elite Unit 8200 . This unit regularly uses the West Bank as a vast laboratory for surveillance technology, perfecting new ways to monitor, track and control Palestinians. After service in the unit, some young Israelis have gone on to create applications such as Waze , a mapping app sold to Google. Israeli military intelligence, equipment, and expertise are also refined in the West Bank and then exported around the world.
The occupation enables considerable economic prosperity that Israel will not part with easily. Palestinian business leaders and politicians understand this dynamic all too well, and that is why they have already rejected the economic lifelines that will be on offer in Bahrain. An injection of investment, even billions of dollars of investment, will only be a Band-Aid on the festering wound made by an unsustainable situation of occupation, domination, and control. Without an equitable peace agreement that recognizes and protects the unalienable rights of Palestinians to their own state and the management of their own economy, no amount of investment can end the conflict.
In previous situations of colonization or settlement, the ruling regime divided the native population and a select elite class was richly rewarded in exchange for administering their own subjugation. The Palestinian people today are divided by geography (Gaza and the West Bank) and political ideology (Hamas and Fatah). A ruling class exists, especially in the West Bank, which enjoys deep financial support from Israel and other Western backers. This financial class largely administers the status quo, which enables Israel to continue enjoying the fruits of their occupation.
The Bahrain workshop is another attempt to entrench this situation and ensure that it has enough resources to remain viable for the foreseeable future. That Palestinian elites have so firmly rejected the offer points to shifts taking place on the ground. Whether or not those shifts transform into a groundswell of rebellion is anyone’s guess but eventually, the system will break down. As the history of similar conflicts shows, it always does.

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