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Ari Melber, Greta Van Susteren’s MSNBC Replacement, Gets Start Date

MSNBC and Greta Van Susteren had the kind of short-lived relationship that you look back on with disbelief — those two??? Together??? How???

Van Susteren came to MSNBC from Fox and she didn’t last long before MSNBC figured out that their demographic never asked for this. Van Susteren’s replacement, Ari Melber, was revealed shortly after news of her departure broke.

After nearly a month, the young journalist will finally be starting his new position on Monday. His show will be called “On The Beat With Ari Melber” and will air from 6pm-7pm weeknights on MSNBC.

Meanwhile, Greta Van Susteren is still out there, tweeting out all of her opinions until she can find a hosting job that will let her espouse them on television.

Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott

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Who Will Lena Dunham Play In Ryan Murphy’s ‘American Horror Story’ Cult-Themed Season?

You don’t always get what you want but sometimes you DO get something you definitely never asked for like, in this case, Lena Dunham starring in the seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story.”

Murphy, who was inexplicably given permission to create the short-lived horror parody “Scream Queens”, announced the move on Twitter.

The teaser trailer for the seventh season was released Thursday. It features dozens of very serious clowns rocking back and forth while a young woman with blue hair seems to play with the idea of joining them. A tempting draw, to be sure.

There’s no subject more simultaneously chilling and compelling than cults so Murphy’s decision to dedicate a season to it seems belated. After three positively gripping seasons, Murphy fell off with Season Four’s carnival theme and has yet to have found the kind of success he saw with, for example, the season where Lily Rabe’s character was possessed by the devil (more of THAT please, Mr. Murphy).

“AHS: Cult” will premiere on September 5th.

Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott

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‘GoT’ Creators Respond To Backlash Over Their New Alt-Reality Civil War Drama

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, two of the showrunners behind HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, came under fire this week after announcing their new HBO drama: a series that imagines a world in which the South won the Civil War and slavery has evolved into a modern day institution.

The plot of “Confederate” drew the ire of many a social media maverick, causing the showrunners to fire back in an interview with Vulture on Thursday.

“‘Confederate’, in all of our minds, will be an alternative-history show,” Weiss told Vulture. “It’s an ugly and a painful history, but we all think this is a reason to talk about it, not a reason to run from it. And this feels like a potentially valuable way to talk about it.”

Weiss and Benioff also confirmed that nary a single word of the script had been written yet but that everything — every detail of the plot, the characters, the lines — would be conceived of with the help of two black writers, Nichelle Tramble Spellman (“The Good Wife”) and Malcolm Spellman (“Empire”). And both are very excited about the undertaking.

Malcolm Spellman told Vulture, “For me and Nichelle, it’s deeply personal because we are the offspring of this history. We deal with it directly and have for our entire lives … I think Nichelle and I both felt a sense of urgency in trying to find a way to support a discussion that is percolating but isn’t happening enough. As people of color and minorities in general are starting to get a voice, I think there’s a duty to force this discussion.”

In the end, David Benioff is just asking people to give the show a chance.

“You know, we might fuck it up,” said Benioff. “But we haven’t yet.”

Comforting, indeed.

Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott

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Why Did Star Of Anorexia Movie Flaunt Weight Loss To Promote ‘To The Bone’?

Growing up in still-crunchy Seattle, body-positivity lectures were as regular as rain. Next to platitudes like, “All bodies are beautiful” the phrase I heard most often was, “There’s such a thing as ‘too thin’.”

“She doesn’t even look good anymore,” a well-intentioned mom-of-a-friend might say, referring to an emaciated actress on the cover of People. “She’s just too thin.”

These remarks were meant to explain that developing a deadly disease was not only unhealthy but also totally counterproductive, since it could not even ensure that you would look beautiful.

But when I left Seattle for a women’s college in New York where a surprising swath of the student body was balancing a difficult course load with a full-blown eating disorder, I had to disagree with the wise women of Seattle. Women I knew who regularly fainted when their blood pressure got too low from chronic starvation were still considered enviably thin. Friends who were warned by doctors that their hearts would soon fail if they did not stop restricting food still looked conventionally awesome.

The rib-cracking, dizzying, heart-stopping truth? According to our standards of beauty, dying of malnutrition is hot.

I was ashamed when I saw that Jewish actress and eating disorder survivor Lily Collins’ new movie “To The Bone”, written and directed by fellow survivor Marti Noxon, perpetuates the cult of thinness while pretending to dismantle it.

The new movie, which premiered to positive reviews at Sundance and was purchased by Netflix and made available for streaming this week, follows Collins’ character as she seeks recovery for her restrictive anorexia at an inpatient program inspired by creator Noxon’s personal experiences.

Can a Hollywood movie—a visual spectacle starring an actress who is also a model, a financial investment under intense pressure from studios to turn a profit—responsibly depict an eating disorder?

The powers of art are boundless, and the possibility of reaching people through storytelling is not to be underestimated but the marketing of “To The Bone” is sick, undercutting everything its creators have said about its intention.

Collins, whose mother is Jewish, is the ideal blend of conventional and unique beauty: she has the face of Audrey Hepburn, the coloring of Snow White, the eyebrows of Groucho Marx, and the body of a 14 year-old girl. A few months ago she released a book of essays, “Unfiltered”, which details her struggles with anorexia and bulimia. But Collins lost a substantial amount of weight for the role in less than a month, which she says was necessary to play the part.

It is strange that they would suggest that a person in recovery from a restrictive eating disorder could “safely” lose a significant amount of weight. “It was something that I decided to do as an actor for a role,” Collins told Access Hollywood. “You lose weight, you gain weight, you change your hair color—there are so many different things that physically you can change for a character.”

This is similar to an alcoholic claiming she can only convincingly portray a drunk if she drinks a handle before every scene. Only Collins’ doctors can say what is right for her. But the insistence that she and Noxon have made during press for the film that her weight loss was healthy is a very strange assertion for two people who want, as Collins says, to start a “conversation” with young fans.

In an article for IndieWire, Noxon said:

But when it came time for Noxon to sell her movie, she, like the big corporations, cashed in on collective self-loathing. Marketing for the movie has centered intensely around Collins’ weight loss in light of her real illness, with the topic appearing in every single interview Collins and her co-stars did, and the movie debuting in close proximity to the release of Collins’ memoir.

Most horrifying was the actress’ appearance on the cover of “Shape” magazine, a magazine devoted to teaching women to achieve smaller bodies, days before the movie’s release. (A recent “Shape” article is titled, “This Mom Did a Full Workout While She Was in Labor”.) Collins appears in a nude-colored swimsuit, gently airbrushed, next to the words, “Slaying the confidence game.” In the interview she speaks about how she is a “clean eater” and what her food “splurges” are (baked goods). She dictates her belief that “exercise is everything”, how she uses exercise to “disappear”, and says that when it comes to exercise, “I can also push myself past what I thought I was capable of.”

These painful admissions force us to ask: does this actress still have an eating disorder? Or are these disordered practices normal now? And why the hell is this the publicity campaign for a movie trying to defeat “self loathing”?

Seeing an actress, supposedly in the bloom of health and body positivity, speaking about how “exercise is everything” and celebrating her “safe” weight loss will continue to make women and men of all ages (but particularly the young women targeted by this marketing) feel misery about their bodies.

Yay for slaying the confidence game.

Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny.

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The Goy Round-Up: China Bans Justin Bieber And More!

Welcome to The Goy Round-Up, The Schmooze’s new weekly column in which we briefly touch on the most important and exciting non-Jewish celebrity news.

What’s going on in the goy world of fame and fortune? We’ve compiled the most important news so you’ll never have to buy a copy of The National Enquirer again!

China Bans Justin Bieber AND Winnie The Pooh

China is clearly determined to strip its youths of a childhood by banning everything children love, starting with lovable bear Winnie the Pooh and mischievous wood nymph Justin Bieber. China’s explanation for banning the Biebs is that he’s been a bad, bad boy and they’re attempting to “purify” the arts, whatever that means. Of course, it seems like too much of a coincidence that the move to ban Bieber would take place mere months after he forgot the Spanish lyrics to “Despacito” during a performance, ruining the sexual reverie of every woman in the crowd. China’s excuse for banning Winnie the Pooh is a bit more straightforward: the honey-addicted mammal looks a bit too much like President Xi Jinping for anybody’s comfort.

Taylor Swift May Be Being Carried Around In A Large Box

“World’s Biggest Star Being Smuggled In And Out Of Her Apartment In A Suitcase” is the kind of headline pop-culture writers dream about. Taylor Swift, up there in terms of ruthless power-wielding with Vladimir Putin and The Internet, is now encased (LOL YOU’RE WELCOME) in a rumor started by Splash News claiming that she is being carried around by security guards in a giant suitcase. Is this the beginning of a Princess Diana-style tragic reflection of our culpability in destroying celebrities? Is it the first act of an extended magic trick/performance piece? Is it possible that this is an illusion/collusion/delusion/etc to distract us from the fact that Taylor Swift has put all of US in a giant black box and that WE are currently being carried around by her hench-people? This ain’t about the Jews but it is really, really important news.

Beyonce Posed With Her Twins In A Garden

Technically, this story broke last week but time does not control Beyonce. Rather, she exists in a universe without restrictions like gravity, space, climate change, or landfills. And after giving birth to not one but two future millionaires who will hopefully inherit their parents’ generous spirit, it was only a matter of time before she released a photograph that would accurately depict the life both babies can expect to live. No word on WHEN this photograph was taken but would any of us be surprised if it was taken directly after the second infant made its way into the world?

Sir Carter and Rumi 1 month today. 🙏🏽❤️👨🏽👩🏽👧🏽👶🏾👶🏾

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

O.J. Simpson Has Been Granted Parole

The man responsible for the book that singlehandedly ruined the legal system for me, “If I Did It: Confessions Of A Killer”, is once again free to run wild through the streets of America. Simpson was granted parole on Thursday after nine years I’m SURE he spent thinking seriously about what he’d done and mapping out a vision board for what he can do to improve as a person in the future.

Mindy Kaling Is Apparently Pregnant

An extremely beautiful and pure of heart young women is unexpectedly pregnant despite not being in a relationship—I went to Hebrew school but I am pretty sure this is the plot of a really famous book and TBH I can’t wait to see it made into a critically acclaimed HBO mini series. Deeply beloved comedian and feminist hero Mindy Kaling is reportedly (!) unexpectedly (!) pregnant (!) with a baby whose father’s identity she allegedly is revealing to no one (!) And while we very much respect Kaling’s privacy we feel moved to say that Kaling’s situation is a beacon to women everywhere—particularly women of color—who want to have children alone without being shamed. Thank (every-single-religion’s) god for Mindy—we will move this story out of the “Goy Roundup” the moment we receive intel that the man/sperm donor/divine form who contributed genetic material to her future baby is in any way Jewish.

Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott

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