Category Archives: Feminism

The Wrong Ways to Talk About the Body-Shaming Reviews of Der Rosenkavelier

Have you been following the story about the horrendous, sexist, tasteless reviews of Tara Erraught’s performance last weekend in Der Rosenkavelier at Glyndebourne?  Of course you have, but if not, you can do some quick catching up here

Der Rosenkavelier

Tara Erraught pictured on left.

In spite of the fact this story is days old now, practically pre-historic in internet time, I have some more things to say that I can’t fit into 140 characters.  Mostly that I’m not entirely okay with the direction some of the (very-well intentioned) discussions of this issue have taken. 

Let’s have a look at each of the erroneous arguments that have been swirling around one by one, shall we?

1.  “Tara Erraught isn’t even that fat!”

This is most emphatically not the point.  Whether a singer is a little bit heavy-set, or morbidly obese shouldn’t matter if her performance is on point.  It seems to be widely agreed by Saturday night’s audience, and the cruel critics who railed against Erraught’s appearance, that her performance of the role of Octavian was, vocally and dramatically, excellent.  These stick-in-the-mud, middle-aged, white dudes, found it hard to believe that a woman as tall and thin and beautiful as Kate Royal’s Marschallin would fall in love with an Octavian that looked like Erraught.  This perpetuates the kind of bullshit thinking that leads to tales of karmic justice like this one  and the supremely frustrating phenomenon of men who love big women, feeling ashamed of their preference and trying to deny it or hide it. 

In case you didn’t realilze it, here’s the truth:  Women can love short and/or fat men.  Men can love fat and/or tall women.  It happens every day in the real world.  It doesn’t happen nearly enough in the movies, or on TV, or even in opera.

2.  “Skinny people aren’t as good at singing as fat people!”

Even though I adore Alice Coote, and respect her as one of the most intelligent singing actresses in opera today, this is a fairly problematic argument for several reasons.  First, it plays into the super annoying, never-ending discussion about how opera is being “revived” with a generation of young, hot, singers, which I belive to be utter bullshit.

Secondly, I’m not entirely sure I agree.  I’ve seen very thin singers put out lush, theater-filling sounds just as often as I’ve seen fat singers with lighter voices. 

And what about thin singers whose size has changed?  The terrible saga of Deborah Voigt’s weight loss surgery is well documented.  And what about Anna Netrebko’s weight fluctuations?  Does her move into more dramatic repertoire have to do with her new voluptuous figure, or is it a natural maturing of the voice that comes with age?

I think Jenny Rivera put it best on this week’s Opera Now! podcast when she said that a singer is at his or her best when their body is in its natural state.  That is, if you are someone who is naturally thin, then being thin probably won’t harm your singing, but if you’re someone who is naturally a little more meaty, then, in my opinion, pushing yourself with intense dieting and exercising to look like a model might have a less than desirable effect on your voice.  Basically, opera singers need to be healthy and strong, two words that are not necessarily in my mind synonymous with either fat or thin, in order to be able to perform the vocal athletics that our art form calls for.

3.  “The original Octavian was also zaftig.  That’s how Strauss/Hoffmansthall would have   wanted it!”

What if I said, “Verdi never intended for La Traviata’s doctor to be lurking silent on stage througout the entire opera, calling Violetta’s attention to a giant clock that is ticking down to the end of her life!”? (I know I reference that production constantly, but it is just my favorite, okay?)  My point by saying that is this:  Richard Jones’ interpretation of Der Rosenkavelier for Glyndebourne was hardly what you’d call “traditional,” so it is fallacious to apply the kind of curmudgeonly anti-regie arguments that get used so often to lament the increasing popularity of so called “eurotrash” opera productions.  Opera is a living, breathing, evolving art form, and we should keep experimenting with new takes on our favorite works, whether that means Valkyries on motorcycles, Gilda stuffed in the trunk of a Cadillac, or (gasp!) an Octavian who isn’t tall and thin.

When Tara Erraught went onstage as Octavian last weekend, she didn’t look the way some critics expected an Octavian to look, that is, tall and thin.  But why should she?  She is not Joyce DiDonato or Susan Graham, she is Tara Erraught bringing her own interpretation to the role as Richard Jones directed it.  Do we really want to live in a world where every Octavian (or Marschallin, or Sophie, or, for that matter, Mimi, Aida, Siegfried, or Peter Grimes) looks or even sounds like a cookie-cutter cut out of the one that came before?  Art is about exploring possibilities.  It’s about imagining a world that could be, or a world that can’t be, or a world that we hope will never be, or even the world exactly as it is.  But it certainly isn’t about fitting in to a prescribed notion from some stuck-up opera critic about how it it ought to be.

Finally, to Terra Erraught and the fat and thin and tall and short and dumpy and black and white and latina and asian and gay and straight and trans opera singers of the world, I dedicate this song to you:

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The Power of Sisterlove, or, Why I got so Emotional while Watching Frozen

 

Spoilers for Frozen below, but really it’s just Disney and in my opinion you can still enjoy the movie even if you know what’s going to happen, so read what I have to say.

FrozenSisters

“It’s a blonde sister and a redheaded sister!” I whispered, to my own redheaded sister, as we watched one of the opening scenes of Disney’s Frozen, in which the younger Anna eagerly wakes up her older sister Elsa, asking “You wanna build a snowman?”

We were at the theater on a family outing to celebrate my sister’s birthday.  She’s two and a half years younger than me, and I instantly saw ourselves reflected in the movie’s two main characters as they were introduced, and was holding back tears in the movie’s first ten minutes when the toe-headed Elsa accidently injures Anna with her frosty magical powers.  In the coming years, Elsa forces herself to withdraw from Anna in order to prevent a repeat accident, leaving Anna feeling lonely and abandoned.

Sisters

It would seem that if you spend enough time pointing out the kinds of messages that most Disney movies (and many movies for children) send to girls (and boys) about gender roles, eventually they will listen. Frozen delighted me in how it managed to take a pile of sexist fairy tale clichés and turn them upside down (while still telling a delightful, engaging, funny, sing-along worthy story at the same time).

The central relationship in the movie is between two sisters, neither of which was a villain, or even remotely evil.  When the younger sister, Anna, meets and falls in love with Hans at Elsa’s coronation (and performs the best love duet Disney has presented us with in years), and announces to her sister that they’ve decided to get married, Elsa immediately advises against marrying someone you’ve just met that very day, this sentiment is later echoed by the reindeer wrangling Christoph.  Then, when Elsa, after losing control of her magical powers, causing her Nordic fairy tale kingdom to succumb to an enchanted winter, retreats to the top of a mountain far away from civilization, it is her sister Anna, not a handsome young prince, who mounts a horse and embarks on and adventure to rescue her.

But the movie’s greatest flip-flop comes when, just as she had feared she might, Elsa accidently curses Anna again, this time “freezing her heart,” and causing her to slowly freeze to death.  Anna is told that the only remedy for a frozen heart is “an act of true love,” and she believes that act must be the magical “true love’s kiss.”  (She must have grown up watching Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Sleeping Beauty, the Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast.) In the movie’s climax, Christoph is rushing to save Anna with the required kiss, but just as she is about to freeze over, Anna retreats from him in order to save her sister from being murdered by the movie’s villain.  As Anna steps in front of the villain’s sword, she freezes into a solid, icy statue, and Elsa (and I along with her) cries over the loss of her sister and the bravery of her sacrifice.  But it is this sacrifice that proves to be the act of true love that breaks the spell.  Anna is thawed, and Elsa realizes that she has the power to end the enchanted winter.

Allow me to break this down for you again, in case you missed it:  The heroic Christoph, as he rushes to save the day, is made superfluous by two sisters who discover that they can solve the problem on their own.  And then, at the end of the movie, just like so many action heros before her, Anna is rewarded for her valor by getting a kiss from the hot Scandinavian Christoph.

I don’t know what has led to this welcome change in tone from Disney.  Maybe it was criticism from Feminist Frequency and Advice from a Cartoon Princess, or the success of Brave, or the wild popularity of the Hunger Games (in which the lead character makes her own sisterly sacrifice)?  But I hope Disney keeps moving in this direction.  And I hope everyone takes their Daughters (and sons!) to see Frozen.  Or if you’re lucky enough to have one (or as lucky as me to have two!) go see it with your sister.

 

Symphony Concert Cancelled: Musicians unable to play due to Drooling over Sexy Condructress

File under:  Things that have Never Happened

I have a habit, when an idea for a blog entry occurs to me, to send an e-mail to myself with the idea.  For months now, I’ve had an e-mail sitting in my in box which says simply, “conductor gender gap.”

I’ve always been interested in finding ways that two of my favorite topics, classical music and feminism, intersect, and with a dearth of woman on the podiums of the world’s orchestras, this was an obvious source of blogging inspiration.  But I could never quite figure out how to approach it.

Enter Vasily Petrenko

The young and hot (in more than one sense of the word) music director of the Oslo Philharmonic has enraged level-headed classical music fans after some pretty backward remarks he made in an interview with a Norwegian newspaper.  Norman Lebrecht’s blog* has the following translation: 

I believe that when women have families it is difficult to be as dedicated as is required in this business. Another side is that orchestra musicians respond better to men at the podium. They have less sexual energy and can better focus on the music.  A sweet girl on the podium makes them think about other things, says Petrenko.

When one is angry it is advisable to count to ten.  1. . . 2 . . .3 . . . 4 . . . oh fuck it.

Let’s break this down.

I believe that when women have families it is difficult to be as dedicated as is required in this business.

Any woman who has ever tried to advance in any professional field has probably encountered this sentiment at some point.  “Women dont work good cuz women make babies.”  This is Feminism 101.  In the 21st century, society still believes that when a man and a woman start a family, it must be the woman who sacrifices her professional career to care for children.  This is the “Having it All” debate.  There’s not much point in discussing this first part of Petrenko’s statement because feminists have been discussing it for fifty years.  So let’s move on.

Orchestra musicians respond better to men at the podium. They have less sexual energy and can better focus on the music.  A sweet girl on the podium makes them think about other things, says Petrenko.

First of all, does the phrase “sweet girl” give anyone else the willies?  I’m interested to know if it sounds just as creepy in the original Norwegian.  (I’m looking at you, Aksel!)

Now, what this remark says to me is that Petrenko is incapable of seeing a woman as anything more than a sex object.  It makes me wonder how he is able to concentrate on conducting when there might be a “sweet girl” caressing her cello in the front row of his orchestra?

Petrenko has since apologized, claming that his comments were misconstrued, and he has the utmost respect for the likes of Marin Alsop, but if you ask me, his attitude points to a glaring problem in classical music. 

Think for a moment.  How many famous conductors can you name off the top of your head in ten seconds:  James Levine, Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Daniel Barenboim, Esa Pekka-Salonen.  Oh look!  They’re all men.

How many famous women conductors can you name?  Marin Alsop.  Wikipedia lists only 65 women in its catalogue of women conductors

This season, Jane Glover will make her conducting debut with the Metropolitan Opera, leading the orchestra in (the most misogynistic opera ever written) Mozart’s The Magic Flute.  She will be only the third woman ever to lead the Met’s orchestra.  That’s three women since 1880.  Hooray for feminism!

It would seem that this is a glass ceiling that has only begun to crack, and the likes of Vasily Petrenko are working to keep it in tact.

*A blogger who finds sexism abhorrent, unless, of course, it’s used to smear a musician he doesn’t like.

How my Body Issues are Negatively Affecting My Singing

Hint:  Not in the Way You Might Expect . . .

Relax and breathe!”

My voice teacher has said these words to me a thousand times.  Sometimes it’s, “Relax and breathe!” and sometimes its “Relax and Breathe!” 

The funny thing about studying something as finely detailed as classical singing is that your teacher can say the same thing over and over again until finally one day you suddenly understand what she means.

“Relax and breathe.  Relax your belly and breathe!”  She said, and with the addition of those two extra words it hit me. 

You see, as a woman, a kind of big woman, a woman whose body tends to store extra weight front and center, a woman who has on at least one occasion been mistaken for pregnant, I have trained myself to “suck it in.”  My default, as I go about my day, is to hold my abdominal muscles in a way that pulls my belly as much as possible in toward my spine so that it appears slimmer.

I never realized that this was holding my singing back.  In the privacy of my teacher’s studio, I allowed myself to consciously relax my “suck it in” muscles and let my gut out.  I inhaled.  I sang the phrase again.  It was stronger, cleaner, and easier.  It was a major revelation.

And I realized, that I’ve got a major hang-up to get over if I want to be able to sing well.  If I’m going to release those muscles in order to take a decent singer’s breath, I’m going to have to learn how to not be ashamed of my pot belly, something I’ve been trying to hide for my entire life.  Even when I’ve been at my thinnest, I still felt like I had a bit of a gut.  But when I let go of it the difference it made in my singing is undeniable.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to feel comfortable enough to “let it all hang out.” I don’t think of myself as a woman who hates  her body.  I’m generally pretty comfortable in my skin, and I have learned how to find clothes that are flattering, and I own more than one pair of Spanx.  I’m rather proud of my breasts, I’ve got great hair and I often get compliments on my complexion.  I’m not model-thin, but I’m not huge either, and I’m healthy.  I’ve just got this one issue.

I think the first step is just to make a habit of releasing when I’m alone in the practice room.  Maybe then, that habit will unconsciously carry over to the concert hall.

 

“I Wanted to be Beautiful. I didn’t Want to be Judged.”

Opera Singer Lucy Schaufer Discusses her Experience of Performing Nude

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you’re just going about your business, only you realize that you’re naked?  It’s supposed to be one of those universal dream scenarios, and is often rooted in deep anxiety about exposing ourselves, physically or otherwise.

And it’s sort of a funny thing, because we humans are really the only animals on earth that feel the need to cover up.  Clothing was probably invented out of necessity to protect ourselves from the cold or from the sun, but now in modern society, most of us only feel comfortable disrobing in the most intimate of situations, or in a place secluded from the opposite sex.

Then again, in an age where a great deal of value is placed on achieving a certain physical ideal, we are bombarded with images of extraordinarily beautiful (often impossibly so–Link NSFW) naked or nearly naked bodies.  They are mostly women’s bodies, but men’s too.  In the interest of realistically portraying certain scenarios in drama, it’s not too unusual for performers to be asked to disrobe.

As a performer myself, one who might like to sing Strauss’s Salome one day, I wondered what it must be like to appear nude, on stage, in front of an actual audience, an audience of both women and men.  I’ve written before about how annoying the talk of body issues has become in Operaland, but when it comes to singing in your birthday suit, it feels like a whole other thing.  I read this lovely essay by actress Louise Brealey about the time she did a bit of naked acting in a play called Trojan Women, but I wanted an opera singer’s perspective.  Mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer was very kind to share with me her experience of appearing nude twice(!) in the 1997 world premier of Hopper’s Wife at Long Beach Opera.

Lucy Schaufer as Ava in Hopper's Wife

Lucy Schaufer as Ava in Hopper’s Wife.  Photo by Keith Polakoff.

The opera explores the relationship of “high art” and “low art.”  In it, Schaufer sang the role of Ava, fashioned after Hollywood Golden Age actress Ava Gardner, who models for an artist, Hopper, in the opera. “As it was in the context of posing for a painting, it felt substantiated.” Schaufer told me, “The character of Hopper appeals to Ava’s inner beauty, saying she has ‘roses inside her’ and speaks of her ‘bloom’ – she buys it hook, line and sinker.”

In another scene, Schaufer sang an aria which describes performing sexual favors in order to get ahead in Hollywood, from a bath tub and, in her words, “Ended my aria standing in the bath tub, starkers with bubbles dripping off my nipples!”  That moment, according to a reviewer from the Orange County Register, “deserves a place in the operatic hall of fame.”

Now, when an opera singer prepares a new role, there’s a lot of work to be done on music, language, character development, etc., but for this role, Schaufer had a bit more to think about:

“I swam a bit, not much, and mostly worried about getting pimples on my back! Vanity, vanity, vanity.  Also, how to handle or not to handle pubic hair in this situation.  Set in the 1940s, well, a girl wouldn’t exactly wax it down to a Brazilian, would she?  Therefore, how au naturel does one go?  What is “comfortable” as far as how to protect your bits from wiggling in the wind when you’re naked, standing in 3 inch heels on a steeply raked stage.  Turn up stage and you’re gonna be winking at the audience.  I don’t mean to be crude but anatomy is anatomy.”

Having a fit, and well-groomed body is one thing,  but in a society where we’ve been trained to cover our bodies pretty much from birth, there can be another hurdle to get over. “I had a whole row of family out there watching this show,” said Schaufer, “My parents, my aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces – and it’s a strict Catholic family!  So shame was a personal issue I needed to conquer.”

But Schaufer found that her sense of duty to the production overrode that shame. “I didn’t want to be a sissy or a problem.  Get on with it and do it.  Courage!”

And with that, Schaufer took on the issue of getting herself used to it, and getting the rest of the cast and crew used to working with a naked woman.

“In rehearsal I selected the prettiest matching bra and panty set I had.  These were special and that’s what I went down to every time.  Then I bared all in the stage and orchestras.  Final 3 or 4 rehearsals.  First of all, in order to help the crew know how warm the bath had to be so I didn’t catch a chill, and then for the orchestra to get used to the fact that I was naked so they weren’t distracted.  You’d think it wouldn’t be a big deal but it’s like a car crash: you can’t help but look.  Same for my colleagues.  It is only a 3-hander but still, Ava has a whole conversation with Mrs. Hopper while in the tub and at one point I decided to flash her my crotch (covered in bubbles, of course) but she needed an opportunity to know what that was like so it didn’t throw her.  The more you do it, the more integrated the performance and the reaction belongs to the character, not the actor.”

Now, it seems like whenever you have live theater with nudity, the nudity itself can become the headline (and it is now occurring to me that this blog entry might be part of the problem).  Schaufer didn’t necessarily find that was the case with Hopper’s Wife, but one review of the production began by cautioning potentially sensitive opera-goers about the show’s nudity, pornography and…tobacco smoke?  Ok, whatever, but Schaufer did mention her frustration with the media’s obsession with nudity and sex, “I want the choice of being nude on stage or in film to be a question of the story telling, so I wish the media/PR people would get their collective heads out of their sometimes small-minded arses and stop sensationalising the beauty of the human body in order to drum up ticket sales.”

I asked Schaufer to touch on how performing in the buff might be different for a woman for a man,and she pointed out that there is a bit of a gender gap.  “We women have been objectified for so long that it’s not so much of a ‘big deal’ – we don’t see men’s penises on stage very often.”  She referenced the 2012 movie The Sessions, in which Helen Hunt plays a sex therapist who works with a man paralyzed by polio, played by John Hawkes:  “look at Helen Hunt’s performance in The Sessions – she’s full frontal.  Not so much John Hawkes, because that would have tipped it from an R rating to an X, I bet,” she suggested, “Again – not equal footing in the eyes of ‘censors’ or the law.  Infuriating and it adds layers of emotional baggage and garbage which doesn’t belong.”

Throughout the discussion, Schaufer seems to be of the opinion that nudity is a tool that can and should serve art and story telling, and perhaps we should all just be adults about it. ” We have no issue or giggle fest when we contemplate a nude in an art gallery.  We observe our common humanity.  So grow up and allow us to embrace all we are, wrinkles, lumps, bumps and boobs.”

She also noted that every performer confronted with disrobing on stage will surely have his or her own reservations about it, “full frontal for both men and women is personal decision.  Respect and dignity for all, please,”  before going on to explain how she felt about her decision:

“If I am totally honest and withhold nothing from you:  I was scared that someone might think I wasn’t pretty, that I wasn’t attractive.  Now, I’m not sure how much of that was me or Ava – probably both, but in the end, it is Ava’s story because that moment of “release” is all she has to hold on to in the years that follow.  Now, I want to be perfectly clear that I, me, Lucy didn’t want to be desired sexually when I was standing there naked.  I wanted to be beautiful.  I didn’t want to be judged.  So yes, scared, nervous, but I’m damn proud I over came any worries, delivered what was asked of me and accepted the challenge I had set myself when agreeing to sing the role.  I had said YES: I stepped through a barrier, a personal barrier which led to a sense of freedom of mind and body.”

Edward Hopper's "High Noon"

Edward Hopper’s “High Noon”

 

Be sure to visit http://lucyschaufer.com/  for all the latest from Lucy!

Enough with the Sexist Crap, Lebrecht!

Alright Norm, (can I call you Norm?) It’s time we had a little chat.

You see, I’ve started to notice something about the way you criticize certain things that you don’t like, specifically what those criticisms say about your feelings toward women.

Take, for instance, this tweet:

Norman Lebrecht (@NLebrecht)
12/19/12 1:51 PM
Nuns, sluts and Mormons head US classical sales, but there’s a cello rising fast behind artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/20…

Clicking on the link reveals that by “sluts,” you meant Fifty Shades of Gray:  The Classical Album.

Now, I know that it’s disheartening to see a hodge-podge of an album, hastily cobbled together in order to capitalize on the BDSM Twilight fanfic sensation, become one of the most popular classical albums of the year when there have been so many excellent and smart recordings.  I know.  It hurts.

But you didn’t say that. Instead, you copped out by using a nasty slur.  Look, the book is garbage.  There’s no doubt about it.  But let us make one thing clear: it is garbage because it’s poorly written fluff, not because it contains page after page of explicit sex that got the housewives of America a lot more excited than their husbands ever did.  The album is also garbage, but not because the women (and men!) who bought it are “sluts.”

Speaking of sluts, I also noticed you blogged about Katherine Jenkins this week.  In fact a quick search of her name on your blog shows that you blog about her a lot.  But that most recent post sort of skeeved me out.

Katherine Jenkins adopts nude look for Breakfast

Here’s what she tweeted this morning: Today’s BBC Breakfast look… Nude dress by Jexika. Shoes Kurt Keiger. http://lockerz.com/s/269865625.

Watch the video here. The top quartile seems to be styled by Barbie.

Still, the interview was revealing in certain ways. On going to America to Dance with the Stars, she says: ‘Unless you’re a fan of classical music, you wouldn’t know who I was’.

Oh, Kaff…. classical music, eh? You know, being vegetarian is not all it takes.

First of all, I’m not sure what you found so notable about KJ’s dress.  Nude is a color.  Did nobody ever tell you that?

Again, I get it.  KJ pisses off every legitimate classical musician, because she makes ten times the money with just a tenth of the talent.  But guess what:  her dress is irrelevant to the conversation.  And so is her personal life.

You know, as often as you spew insults at Katherine Jenkins, you kind of look like the boy on the playground who runs up to the girl he has a crush on and punches her in the arm.  Thank goodness you clarified that for us:

In the meantime, we feel it is important that the public should know that no-one at Slipped Disc has ever slept with Katherine Jenkins. Never even considered it. Wouldn’t do it if she was served up pouting on a bed of leeks singing early Mahler songs. Out of the question.

Of course, now we all know what you really found lacking in Fifty Shades of Gray.  KINKY!

Breaking News: It’s a Bad Time to be Rich

Watch out guys!  This is a Rant with a capital R.  I’m angry and I’m using curse words.  So, If you prefer for me to talk about opera and singing and nice things, then maybe you should skip this post, mmmkay?

So the only thing anyone in the media is talking about lately is the “Fiscal Cliff,” and how to avoid it. On NPR, they were talking this morning about one of the president’s strategies, which is to increase tax rates on the wealthiest 2%, specifically they discussed raising the capital gains tax, and the dividend tax.

Then, this commentator  Bill Smith of CBIZ MHM, comes on and says something unbelievably obnoxious.

“It’s a bad time to be rich.”

Is it?  I’m sorry, I didn’t realize.  How bad is it?  Like, are you worried about how you’re going to afford Christmas presents for your children if this tax hike goes through?  Maybe you’ll have to take on a second job to make ends meet?  Maybe you’ll be forced to sell one of your cars, and you and your spouse will have to share a single vehicle?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.  You and your accounting firm’s clients will pay a little more on your capital gains, and your standard of living won’t change at all.  Why don’t you go cry about it in your fucking mansion over some caviar and Dom Perignon?

Honestly, has there ever been a time in the entire history of civilization that you could call “a bad time to be rich”?  Actually, I can think of one:  The fucking French Revolution.  And do you know why the French Revolution was a bad time to be rich?  Because all the poor people, who were basically starving to death while the noblemen partied at Versailles, got so pissed off about being poor that they decided that the only solution was to guillotine some motherfuckers.  That was a bad time to be rich.

Fortunately, nowadays most of us understand that the guillotine is not an appropriate solution to most problems, so instead we go camp out in urban parks.

No, it is not a “bad time to be rich,” you entitled prick!  It’s a bad time to be struggling to afford your heating oil, because it’s fucking cold out.  It’s a bad time to have to choose between purchasing one or the other of your medically necessary but exorbitantly priced prescription medications.  It’s a bad time to find out you’re pregnant and faced with the medical costs of pregnancy and childbirth, not to mention 18 years of feeding, clothing, entertaining, and educating a child; but there’s nothing you can do about it because you live in Mississippi.

Instead of wasting your breath on the radio complaining about what a bad time it is to be rich, why don’t you go volunteer at the local food bank and get some fucking perspective, you slimy, Republican asshat.