And the Oscar for Most Outraged goes to…

If you have been living under a Wi-Fi free rock you probably wouldn’t know that the 2015 Oscar Awards were this past Sunday. But since you’re probably not a hermit, here’s a little rehash…

Ratings wise, The 2015 Oscar Awards have got to be one of the most successful award shows in recent history. I know I couldn’t scroll through social media feeds or news reports without reading about it. I don’t have the analytics but I’m sure Twitter will affirm its popularity. Put simply, coverage of the 2015 Oscar Awards crept into every nook and cranny of our digital lives like a zombie virus. I expected Alice from Resident Evil to storm the stage at one point.

Content wise, it was also a success. Neil Patrick Harris brought his signature biting-yet-Hollywood-approved shtick to the stage. Lady GaGa reminded everyone that she’s a classically trained, eclectic artist in a moving tribute to Julie Andrews (…and she channeled a Food Network-meets-The Sound of Music style in her red carpet gown…but we won’t go there). Oprah threw shade. John Legend made an uncomfortably vital point about race relations in America. Patricia Arquette made a powerful statement on gender wage inequality. Oprah threw shade. Graham Moore delivered what was probably the best speech of the night by encouraging those who are seen by others as “weird” and “different” to embrace and love themselves just as they are. And yes, and Oprah threw shade.

All in all, it was a good night for Oscar, even though I’ll admit I find the whole spectacle to be predictable and boring. Nearly everyone on the Web agreed, too – good show. Next.

But this is 2015, the Age of Perpetual Outrage. Deep within the bowls of the Internet outrage machine, self-appointed social justice warriors (SJW) told us that the Oscars were actually “problematic” (a favorite term of the online SJW activist). I’m not going to include the critique of the Oscars as overly white and male since that’s a whole other meaningful and much-needed discussion for a separate post.

Instead, I’m going to ruin your day by reminding you that there are people out there who will literally find anything to be outraged and offended over. In the age of clicks and Buzzfeed, catchy, attention getting statements and provoking think pieces are quickly becoming the way to make a name for oneself online. Why post a video of your cat falling off a shelf when you can write a post about how one of Taylor Swift’s problematic videos perpetrates harmful stereotypes of black female bodies?

The recent Oscars were no exception to the ire of the SJW. The biggest offense: Patricia Arquette’s feminist statements. Here’s what she said, both on stage and when she was asked about her comments backstage:

“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

“It’s inexcusable we go around the world talking about equal rights for women in other countries…and we don’t have equal rights for women in America. The truth is even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, there are huge issues that are at play that really do affect women. It’s time for all…the gay people and people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

To nearly everyone who heard both the original and clarified comments, Arquette’s passionate defense of women’s rights and equality came across just as they sounded – empowering and thought provoking. To the SJWs of the Web, Arquette committed an unpardonable sin – she, a white woman, apparently told lesbian and transgender women of color that their concerns aren’t equal to those of white women. I wish I were joking…I’m not.

Salon’s Katie McDonough called her speech “well intentioned” but “[ignorant of] the fact that the wage gap for women of color and LBGTQ women is much, much worse than it is for straight, white cis women.” Andrea Grimes of RH Reality Check went so far as to claim that she “thoroughly [erased] gay women and women of color and all intersecting iterations of those identities by creating these independent identity groups as if they do not overlap.” Grimes continued, “Arquette goes on to do even worse, which is to demand that ‘gay people’ and ‘people of color’ fight for ‘us,’ a group that Arquette has specifically identified as non-gay and not of color—as very specifically straight and white and ‘woman.'”

That’s modern identity politics 101, I guess.

But the Oscar for most divisive, shrill and nitpicking ranting goes to The Grio’s Blue Telusma. The title says it all (and if you’re into sadomasochism, go ahead and follow the link here): “Dear Patricia Arquette: Blacks and gays owe white women nothing.”

Um, okay. Sure. Be warned, ladies – you have to mention every single variety of woman and their accompanying struggles when you’re asked, on the fly, about how you feel about gender inequality. If not, you’re a horrible person, or something. You see, because she’s a straight, white, cisgender woman of enormous Hollywood privilege, she couldn’t possibly have been calling for unity of these different social justice movements. Battles for equality are not won in solidarity – no, divided we achieve!

Could she have said it a little better? Sure. But she said the comments off the cuff with cameras in her face. Most importantly, it was automatically implied that she was talking about all women, from white and black to lesbian and transgender. By mentioning the LGBT and African-American rights movements, she was making the point that both of those movements should openly embrace and champion feminism (I’d argue that they do, but these are Arquette’s comments). The fact that her empowering statements were mangled to reflect some kind of bigotry goes to show you how frequently pathetic Internet activism is. Fighting for equality is about breaking down barriers, making diverse allies and boldly charging onward, changing hearts and minds in your wake. It’s not about nitpicking every damn word a celebrity says to find a hidden nugget of bigotry or policing speech and conversations for the slightest perceived slip up.

Grow up.

Patricia Arquette kicking ass at the 2015 Oscar Awards

Madonna encounters the IOM (Internet Outrage Machine)

We’re three days into the new year and Internet writers have found the latest thing to be faux outraged at: Madonna. Is this pre-Internet 1984? Or 1989? Or 1992?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what’s happened, let me fill you in. Last month, dozens of demos from Madonna’s upcoming album Rebel Heart leaked to the Internet. The Queen of Pop was obviously pretty pissed and as a response, she and her team released six tracks from Rebel as part of a pre-order (more music is coming next month and the full album release is scheduled for March, 10th).

Since then, Madonna has been re-posting fan art of photoshopped images of famous activists and freedom fighters, from Nelson Mandela to John Lennon, with the black ribbon around them a la the album cover to Rebel Heart. As she explained, she loved the images and found them inspiring.

I would like to thank all my fans for recreating my album cover with the ❤️Rebel Heart ribbon on the faces of so many Great Hero’s. It shows that you are also celebrating and in admiration of these great freedom fighters! When I repost these images i am saying YES! These people are all Rebel Hearts in one way or another from Martin Luther King to Jesus to Nelson Mandela to John Lennon. YES! Lets

But since this is 2015, the fact that she promoted fan-made images of civil rights icons is grounds for self-righteous indignation. Entertainment Weekly ran a hack-job-of-an-article on the images, claiming Madonna was being disrespectful and offensive (hey, sounds like the detractors from throughout her career!) by posting the images. Aside from the ageism and outright Madonna-hatred, this is perhaps the most hilarious line of the piece:

Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t make his “I Have a Dream” speech in order to promote a rich white woman’s record a half century later. And the fact that she’s co-opting the images of three of the most influential figures in the modern struggle for black liberation—King, Nelson Mandela, and Bob Marley—while America struggles to reckon with its history of systematic racism is bafflingly tone deaf, to say the least.

Not to be outdone in up-to-the-minute Internet fads, Vox’s Alex Abad-Santos joined in the fun to accuse Madonna of personally photoshopping the pictures. He also joined the author of the EW piece by bashing Madonna for not being the superstar they personally wish she would be.

By tweeting these controversial images, she’s (or someone on her team) doing a masterful job at changing the conversation. Instead of talking about how bad “Rebel Heart” is, people are now talking about how disrespectful she’s being.

It’s almost as if things like introspection and fact-checking don’t exist. This is yet the latest example of something Madonna has dealt with since she burst onto the scene in the early ’80s. Now it’s been updated to the Age of Perpetual Outrage.

 

 

The official "Rebel Heart" album cover by Mert & Marcus

The official “Rebel Heart” album cover by Mert & Marcus

Be still, my “Rebel Heart” (UPDATED)

 

Madonna is the Queen. No, seriously – she is the undisputed Queen. Let me explain…

For starters, she’s sold over 300 million albums worldwide (more than any female artist) over her 32-year career. She’s the top-touring solo artist in history and those shows are sold out, critically acclaimed extravaganzas. She’s a billionaire…..I could go on and on (a la “Give it 2 Me”). But her royal credentials have been proven yet again by how she worked the recent leaking of her album to her advantage.

In case you didn’t read the news, 13 demos from album number 13 leaked onto the web just days ago. Yeah, the one and only Queen of Pop was not happy about it. ““This is artistic rape!! These are early leaked demos, half of which won’t even make it on my album,” she posted alongside a photo to Instagram (which was later deleted). “The other half have changed and evolved. This is a form of terrorism. Wtf!!!! Why do people want to destroy artistic process??? Why steal? Why not give me the opportunity to finish and give you my very best?”

Well last night (12/19/2014), she literally broke iTunes by releasing her upcoming album as a pre-order – I had trouble downloading it and connecting to the store, a problem I saw happened to many who tried to pre-order. Titled Rebel Heart (Madonna-holics like me have suspected as much since she’s frequently used the hashtag #rebelheart on her Instagram), the 19-track album has six that are instantly available once a pre-order is made. You better believe I pre-ordered faster than she fired someone over the leak.

I say this as a hardcore Madonna fan (I have all her albums, most singles, several vinyls, some books, posters, etc.): It’s her best material since 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor. It’s ahead of the curve (classic Madonna trait) and beautifully showcases the magic that happens when she collaborates with amazing artists and producers like Natalia Kills, Diplo, Avicii and others. I’m not saying 2008’s Hard Candy and 2012’s MDNA weren’t good – I loved them. But they sounded like other music of the time (no complaints, by the way). Rebel boldly breaks the streak. It sounds unique and different from anything currently out right now.

There are seven tracks with names, six of which are instantly downloadable: “Living For Love,” “Devil Pray,” “Ghosttown,” “Unapologetic Bitch,” “Illuminati,” and “Bitch I’m Madonna (feat. Nicki Minaj).” The seventh – “Joan of Arc.” The available six are all single-worthy and could easily stand alone.

They’re all my favorite. The dance and EDM grooves that have come to define Madonna are fine-tuned into some amazing songs. The lyrics are both deep and lighthearted, the beats are incredible, and the cover of the album is a stunning piece of art by Mert & Marcus. Someone leaked several demos so she released a surprise pre-order that included six songs. Touché.

If you need some confirmation, head over to iTunes and pre-order Rebel Heart. Twenty-fifteen is going to be the year of Madonna and I cannot wait.

The official "Rebel Heart" album cover by Mert & Marcus

The official “Rebel Heart” album cover by Mert & Marcus

UPDATED (12/20/2014)

Since the surprise pre-order “release,” Madonna has also released the first track, “Living For Love,” as the album’s first single (via YouTube).

“I was hoping to release my new single ‘Living For Love’ on Valentine’s Day with the rest of the album coming in the Spring. I would prefer my fans to hear completed versions of some of the songs instead of the incomplete tracks that are circulating. Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift.” – Madonna

Merry Christmas indeed.

 

 

UPDATED (again) – (12/22/2014)

New news of Rebel Heart keeps pouring in! Since pulling what Popjustice calls a “partial Beyoncé,” the pre-order/partial album has rocketed to the top of the iTunes charts in over 40 countries (the U.S. of A. included). Other than Barbra Streisand, no other female artist has had as many chart-topping albums as her – a whopping eight (of her now 13) albums. As examiner.com’s Samuel Lora pointed out, she’s also the only female artist to reach the top ten lists in the all decades since the ’90s.

Hey Madonna haters, do you know what that means? She is still very relevant and popular and will be long after she’s gone. Whether you like it or not, she’s the Queen of Pop.

Yesterday (12/21/2014) she revealed to Billboard that she may sing at the Grammy Awards next year (!!) and how she and her team have been in “overdrive” since the 13 demos leaked onto the Internet. She also sat down with Rolling Stone‘s Caryn Ganz for an exclusive Q&A. A few highlights:

– on song-writing with producers and artists like Avicii, Diplo, etc.:

“And sometimes in the writing phase of the music, there are some people who I really felt a connection to, just as human beings, and felt they understood me as a songwriter and a person, so those people were easier for me to write with. Writing songs, you have to be vulnerable, you have to not be afraid to express yourself and to say things or share. It’s almost like writing your diary in front of somebody and reading it out loud.”

– on the spirituality behind the incredible “Devil Pray” (which does not endorse drug use, by the way)

“[Unity is] another subtle message of the song, and you really do have to pay attention to the lyrics, and I hope people do over time. The way we’re going to change the world, or the way we’re going to ultimately feel joy, is through unity. I’m certainly not encouraging religious behavior; when I say people are thinking in a religious way, I think they’re thinking about rules and dogma and laws that separate. When I say spirituality, I mean a consciousness that has an understanding that we are all in this together, that we are all one. We have to find a way to feel joy and to bring joy to the world together. That ultimately is with consciousness, not drugs.”

– on the meaning behind the ironic track “Illuminati”:

“People often accuse me of being a member of the Illuminati and I think in today’s pop culture the Illuminati is perceived as a group of powerful, successful people who are working behind the scenes to control the universe…The real Illuminati were a group of scientists, artists, philosophers, writers, who came about in what is referred to as the Age of Enlightenment, after the Dark Ages, when there was no writing and no art and no creativity and no spirituality, and life was really at a standstill…when people refer to me as a member of the Illuminati, I always want to say thank you. Thank you for putting me in that category. But before I can say thank you, I feel like I had to write a song about what I believe the Illuminati to be, and what it isn’t.”

She has also taken to her Instagram to thank and praise her fans. We love you, too! We eagerly await February 9th for more music and March 10th for the full work of art. We’re living for the love she’s giving us.

For a great review of each of the six released tracks, head over to MuuMuse. And if you haven’t pre-ordered Rebel Heart, you should…now. 😉

One of the incredible shots from the Mert & Marcus photo shoot for the December 2014 edition of "Interview Magazine"

One of the incredible shots from the Mert & Marcus photo shoot for the December 2014 edition of “Interview Magazine”

 

 

The #Shirtstorm Sh*tstorm

If you weren’t too distracted with Kim Kardashian’s naked-ass publicity stunt last week, you’ll remember that the European Space Agency landed a probe on a comet. Like Kardashian’s backside, that’s huge! For the first time in human history, we landed a spacecraft on a comet. The Rosetta mission is another giant leap for mankind (even if the battery on the craft is dead).

But something else scandalous happened at the same time that practically overshadowed the monumental event. British physicist Matt Taylor gave a press interview at the ESA’s satellite control center while wearing an ugly Hawaiian shirt with scantily clad, gun-toting cartoon women. It was definitely in poor taste and the last thing someone should ever wear on the job.

The fact that one of the program scientists wore a tacky, unprofessional shirt was only part of what has become known as #shirtstorm. Some feminists took serious issue with Dr. Taylor’s shirt on the grounds that it was sexist. “I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing,” was one of the headlines on The Verge. Rose Eveleth of The Atlantic tweeted, ““Thanks for ruining the cool comet landing for me asshole.”

Whoever cleared Dr. Taylor for an interview should be reprimanded if only for the fact that the shirt is just downright inappropriate for a press interview. But heterosexual men wearing shirts with half-naked women are sexist oppressors now? Celebrating the female body is considered sexist? I have no problem with men or women sharing what they find sexually appealing because human beings are sexual creatures.

Feminist scholar Camille Paglia has written about what she describes as “the puritanism and suffocating ideology of American feminism.” Her argument is still as valid now as it was in 1990: Why are women simultaneously told to celebrate and love themselves but not express their sexuality? Women should be free to live the lives they choose to and express themselves how they see fit. The last time I checked, that’s sort of what feminism is all about.

Dr. Taylor didn’t have a shirt with depictions of men controlling women on leashes. His shirt didn’t say, “Women aren’t smart enough for science.” No, the unforgivable sin here was wearing a sexually themed shirt as male heterosexual.

Cathy Young of Reason magazine,  a publication I normally disagree with for its libertarian views, summed up the whole situation perfectly:

Dr. Taylor’s shirt may not have been in great taste. But the outcry against it is the latest, most blatant example of feminism turning into its own caricature: a Sisterhood of the Perpetually Aggrieved, far more interested in shaming and bashing men for petty offenses than in celebrating female achievement.

I didn’t plan on blogging about this until I was called a sexist, privileged gay male in a series of Facebook comments. A Facebook friend posted a piece from an author who argued that Dr. Taylor’s shirt was offensive and sexist. After commenting that I respectfully disagreed and that there was nothing intrinsically wrong with depictions of pin-up girls, the Facebook user accused me of being clouded by my privilege as a gay male and that I didn’t know what I was talking about. “You have made it very clear that women’s feelings on inappropriate behavior matter less than yours and that anyone who gets upset about women being disrespected is overreacting.”

Right, because disagreement with an argument is the same thing as telling feminists who are offended to f*** off. You got me!

The exchange only reinforced a cultural observation I’ve made over the last couple of months: For every conservative, bigoted nut job in America, there’s a self-righteous, more-enlightened-than-thou liberal who reduces disagreements into mini culture wars (in much the same way social conservatives do). #Shirtstorm should have fizzled out before it even started. That doesn’t mean I think that those who disagree with me are “less than” or stupid. It means we disagree…and I shouldn’t have to clarify that.

classic pin up girl

 

I spy with my little eye…outrage!

Sarah Silverman is in hot water over a video she did to comically highlight the alarmingly high wage gap between men and women in this country. Some transgender activists found it insensitive and took it literally.

 

 

The video is almost four minutes long, but it can be summed up in the following few sentences:

“Every year the average woman loses around $11,000 to the wage gap. Over the course of the working years of her life, that’s almost $500,000. That’s a $500,000 vagina tax! That’s why I’m taking matters into my own hands…I’m becoming a dude.”

To nearly everyone (gay, straight, bisexual, transgender) who watched, the message was pretty self-explanatory: Hey, I’m a woman and I earn less than a man because of it…so I’ll just be a man instead! It was hilarious and to-the-point: Working women deserve the same pay as their male counterparts.

Trans issues have nothing to do with the video. They just don’t. She’s not literally saying that women who undergo gender reassignment surgery will then go on to get equal pay. But transgender activist Janet Mock – whom I love and find incredibly inspiring – took to her Twitter account to claim Silverman was making that exact point. “Sex reassignment doesn’t help one advance in workplace,” she tweeted. “Ask one of the most underemployed populations: trans people.”

So much for irony and humor.

Silverman also took to Twitter to clarify what her intentions were in making the video (something she should not have had to do):

If I literally got a sex change I would indeed find the work force far less friendly. The video wasn’t transphobic it was transignorant – never crossed my mind. But to my *unintentional* credit- people are talking about it & so begins awareness. Please don’t punish this cause because of my video. I certainly don’t only fight for causes that concern or benefit me and I expect the same of the vital trans community.

The whole “backlash” highlights a little problem on the left (and I’m saying this as a progressive Millennial who cares deeply about LGBT rights): It’s become trendy and even expected to feign outrage for the purpose of being seen as socially aware. Let me be clear: Social justice is vitally important and fighting for the rights of all people is a liberal value that should be nurtured and encouraged. Injustice, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia…these ugly things exist and we must continually fight against and expose them where ever they are.

But there are too many progressives and liberals who take it to the next level. I can’t speak for everyone, but when one takes something that is not offensive to begin with (ie: the Silverman video), sprinkles it with accusations of bigotry or ignorance, and then condemns it publicly, it comes across as self-serving and self-righteous. It’s almost a way to say, “Look at how enlightened and socially conscious I am!” It serves no constructive purpose and only works to split hairs and as self-promotion.

Am I saying that Janet Mock is self-righteous? Not at all – she’s an incredible human being who has helped change the national conversation on what it means to be transgender. I love her work and I hope to meet her some day. But within activist and social justice circles, there’s a tendency to find problems and bigotry where none exists. Whether it’s accusing LGBT ally and liberal comedienne Sarah Silverman of being insensitive to trans issues in a comedic PSA or calling someone who critiques a religious doctrine “racist,” the theme is the same: Ego stroking disguised as awareness.

We need to move beyond this. There is too much injustice, bigotry and hate in the world that needs to be addressed and defeated.

still of Sarah Silverman from the video

still of Sarah Silverman from the video

 

Don’t Cry for Me, California. The Truth is I Never Left You

This has been the shortest four months in my life. If it weren’t for the gross DC humidity, I’d think that I arrived yesterday in the dead of a brutal winter. And now, in just matter of weeks, I’ll be going back to California to pursue a career in public service…and I cannot wait.

Don’t get me wrong – my time in the political heart of the country has been great. I’ve seen the monuments, museums, galleries and founding documents of the United States in person. It’s something every American needs to do in their lifetime. The feeling I had after seeing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in person, through a specialized, secure case with its own atmosphere, is difficult to describe. It’s similar to the feeling I had when I saw the Apollo 11 Command Module and the full-scale replica of the Voyager probe, mankind’s first ambassador to interstellar space, at the Air and Space Museum. It was definitely there when I saw the remains of many of humanity’s distant ancestors and genetic cousins at the National Museum of Natural History. The feeling was there when I sat on the grounds of both the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial to read e-books. And it was there when I took walks throughout the city, passing the house where Lincoln died, strolling through the MLK Jr. and FDR memorials, casually walking past the White House, and walking the streets some of the greatest men and women in human history have walked. It was spiritual, but not in a superstitious way. I felt connected to my history as an American and a human being on this precious planet. My story is my own, for sure. But it’s also a part of the larger narrative of what it means to be human.

via my Instagram (micah_escobedo)

via my Instagram (micah_escobedo)

I could go on, but for your reading pleasure and convenience, I’ll continue… 😉

My editorial internship with The American Prospect has been an amazing experience. My writing and research skills have improved and now I can say that I know how to fact-check (not as easy as people think) and, to a certain degree, copy-edit. The feeling one gets from seeing stories they helped fact-check appear in print and receive national attention is one of prideful satisfaction. Knowing that I had a hand in getting very important, incredible stories out to The Prospect’s readers (and even a number of policy makers) has been extremely gratifying and fulfilling. However, like all internships should be able to do, this job has helped me better realize what I want to do for a career. Spoiler: It’s not journalism. And it’s in the Golden State.

The Spring 2014 interns with few of the editors (via Gabriel Arana's Instagram - gabrielarana)

The Spring 2014 interns with few of the editors (via Gabriel Arana’s Instagram – gabrielarana)

Years ago (I can’t believe it’s already been that long) I was a congressional intern. I loved the experience, even though the responsibilities were limited compared to the rest of the staff. I was working for a lawmaker, a representative of my home district – what a great job! But that was during my first year of college. By the time I graduated, with a BA in Communication from Fresno State, I knew I wanted to have some kind of job in the communication field. I wasn’t sure of the exact job I wanted, so I applied to be an intern with a great magazine that you should all subscribe to…and got one of the spots!  Half way through the internship, I started applying to other internships, fellowships and jobs in Washington. As time went on and that irritating sense of urgency intensified, I began to reconsider my plans. Did I want to be a journalist, constantly writing for relatively low wages? Was I going to write for a think-tank or a watch-dog organization? Was I going to end up living on the East Coast, away from my beloved home state?

I remembered how I felt as a congressional intern and once again started to gravitate back toward public service (this time with a clearer sense of what my political philosophy is). Plus, I really, really missed my home state. I can’t help that I’m drawn to California. It’s my home – it always has been and, as far as I can tell, always will be. Most of my friends and family are there, not to mention countless amazing memories. The climate, though negatively effected by climate change, is great. Cities like Los Angeles and Sacramento have special places in my Californian heart. Since 2011, the state’s been on a political and economic uptick (thank you, Governor Brown and current legislature) and we’ve led the nation in renewable energy generation.  I cannot wait to lend my talents and abilities to the state that has provided me with so much.

Thanks to valuable help from some great people here in DC, I’m on track to getting into California politics. I don’t want to run for office (at least not at this point in my life). I want to be a part of the team that keeps an elected official operating like clockwork, whether it’s a state legislator or congressperson. Even the thought of me returning to California to work for a politician makes me incredibly happy. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and two communication-oriented internships under my belt. I’m ready and eager to go. You can take the boy out of the Golden State but you can’t take the Golden State (of mind) out of the boy.

California flag

No, Kate Mulgrew does *not* endorse geocentrism

There’s been quite a stir on the Interwebs over the last 24 hours over actress-extraordinaire Kate Mulgrew’s alleged participation in a ridiculous documentary called The Principle. The premise: Galileo was wrong and the Earth really is the center of the solar system and universe. Take that, science and reason!

Wait, what?!! Kate Mulgrew?!

The second I read this, I knew something was wrong with this picture. To start with, Mulgrew never actually said anything about geocentrism in the trailer. Hell, she’s only in the trailer – there’s no indication she would even be in the film. Her signature, velvety voice simply piques the viewer’s interest with “Everything we think we know about our universe is wrong.” (a statement which is a little true, given there’s practically a new breakthrough in the scientific understanding of the cosmos every other day). She is also a hero to the scientific community and Trekkies (myself proudly included) for her excellent portrayal of Captain Janeway on Star Trek Voyager. Plus, leading experts on everything-to-do-with-cosmology Lawrence Krauss and Michio Kaku also appeared in the trailer. They also never said anything about endorsing geocentrism. And if their lives’ works are any indication, they would rather die than endorse geocentrism.

Yesterday I told a friend that Mulgrew had most likely been hired to narrate the trailer without knowing what the film was about. An actress getting paid to simply say, “Everything we think we know about the universe is wrong,” does not prove anything. Kaku and Krauss, I argued, were somehow tricked into appearing in the movie, which is much easier to do nowadays thanks to the proliferation of the Internet.

I’m happy to say I “called it.” Krauss wrote an awesome post on Slate slamming the movie today, saying he literally has no idea how he ended up in the documentary. I expect Kaku’s comment soon. Kate Mulgrew posted the following message to her Facebook page this afternoon (4/8/2014):

“I understand there has been some controversy about my participation in a documentary called THE PRINCIPLE. Let me assure everyone that I completely agree with the eminent physicist Lawrence Krauss, who was himself misrepresented in the film, and who has written a succinct rebuttal in SLATE. I am not a geocentrist, nor am I in any way a proponent of geocentrism. More importantly, I do not subscribe to anything [producer] Robert Sungenis has written regarding science and history and, had I known of his involvement, would most certainly have avoided this documentary. I was a voice for hire, and a misinformed one, at that. I apologize for any confusion that my voice on this trailer may have caused. Kate Mulgrew”

I can rest assured that Captain Janeway has not – and never will- failed us. Now I think I’ll go watch a marathon of Voyager and drink some coffee – black.

Kate Mulgrew as the legendary Captain Janeway

Kate Mulgrew as the legendary Captain Janeway