Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Harry & Meghan make me tired

Let’s begin the new year with the lofty goal of finding something we can all agree on. OK, I’ll go first. Somebody needs to tell Harry and Meghan that if they don’t want to be in the awful limelight maybe they should stop making tell-all documentaries for fun and profit.

Do I think the royal family snubbed Meghan? Maybe. They’re not exactly known for warmth and big, sloppy hugs. But, dang, y’all, she’s 41years old. Make like Elsa and let it gooooooo.

Do I think the royal family is racist? I hope not. I tend to think it’s less about that than the obvious fact that Meghan is, as the kids say, a lot. She marries into THE ROYAL FAMILY and then appears blindsided by all the attention. Girl. The paparazzi killed your mother-in-law. Connect the dots.

Maybe Meghan thought she knew how to handle fame. After all, seven seasons on USA’s “Suits” should’ve given her some idea of what it’s like to be famous, although not on the same scale of course. Meghan was the kind of actress who would cheerfully sign an autograph for a fan while she was standing at the hot bar at the Sherman Oaks Whole Foods. Or so I like to imagine. Meghan strikes me as the kind of actress you would see in something and ask your partner, “Where do we know her from?” and neither of you would quite be able to place her. (“No, that’s not it. Wait. Nah, that’s not it…”) But this royalty business is next level fame after skipping over, like, another 50 levels. Remember: hot bar.

I know the “fame pyramid” pretty well because I fall squarely in the middle of “adoring fan” if you consider the bottom is showing up at the mall to see a favorite soap star and the top is selling Adele’s chewed gum on Ebay.

Try to hang here. I’m explaining the genesis of crazy.

Harry’s just as bad. Kvetching about being stalked loses a tad of authenticity when you know he has signed a $100 million deal with Netflix to exploit his fame and family til the cows (or sheep) come home.

Truth is, if Harry had been serious about wanting to lead a normal life in California, he’d be pecking Megs on the cheek before heading out the door with a Thermos full of coffee, spending the early morning hours hovering over the 405 in a helicopter giving hourly traffic updates.

As they say, the “optics” of rich people whining are never good. It’s the old “please respect our privacy” like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez…who had a darling chapel wedding but followed it up with a stupendously massive affair with a few hundred of their nearest and dearest then pouted over the paps showing up. Or the ubiquitous fame-seeking politician caught being naughty who imperiously demands your respect for his family’s privacy. Shoulda thought about your fam first.

In the documentary, Harry makes quite a kerfuffle over his brother, William, the Earl of Fancypants yelling at him a time or two. Oh, for pity’s sake. Are you even brothers if one of you hasn’t yelled at the other or genially dislocated your shoulder a time or two while roughhousing? Toughen up, Viscount Buttercup.

To be honest, which I just hate, I’ve only watched excerpts of the Netflix documentary because I have been preoccupied with studying the geo-political impact of the nuclear fusion reaction that achieved a net energy gain for the first time. Kidding! What I meant to say is I’ve been hungover.

At the end of the day, I wish Harry and Meghan a delightful life together, truly I do. Just, perhaps, one with the volume turned to mute.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write her at [email protected].

 

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: It’s reigning men

Where are the men?

Have you noticed the peculiar absence of them from the Roe v. Wade discussions? It’s as if no one realizes they supply half the genetic material. Have they “gone fishin’?”

Outside of a few depressing references to some shadowy rapist whom a young woman may or may not be related to down in Back Acne, Arkansas, we’re hearing…crickets.

(While we’re on the subject of insects, researchers say male crickets attract females for mating by singing “loud repetitive songs at night.” Ugh. Even female insects try to “be nice” when they should just say, “Seriously? Metallica? Would it kill you to learn a little Harry Connick?”)

Being nice. It’s often our downfall. Because we have that burdensome need to be liked which men lack. Or we used to. Finally, mercifully, that may be relegated to the “before times.” Now we are mad and looking around for … the men.

They’ve disappeared as swiftly as they do when you want to go to Anthropologie and he sees Bass Pro Shop just ahead. Byeeeeeeeee.

Has the Rapture come and swooped up all the males of childbearing age? No, that can’t be it. They are out there, walking and talking and singing loud repetitive songs at night.

The Supreme Court’s decision was poorly reasoned and punitive against pregnant women, not their partners. I’d trust a decision made by a Bojangle’s Chicken Supreme before I’d trust those toadies in grad gowns.

Where are the gents? Do women suddenly reproduce all by themselves like a gaggle of greenflies?

There is nary a mention of the man’s responsibility in conception other than memes suggesting mandatory child support at the first heartbeat and required billing of his insurance for 50 percent of all the medical bills.

I’m not talking about the men out there marching and supporting women because, overnight, they lost the right to have a say-so over their own bodies. I’m talking about the ones who father the babies and then…split. Not a new problem, I’ll admit, but with the repeal of Roe v. Wade, it’s a whole different convo.

She: “I’m pregnant.”

He: “May the Lord open.”

She: “Wait. What?”

He: “Blessed be the fruit.”

She: “The state has taken over my body. You didn’t even get the Covid vaccine.”

He: “My body, my choice. Duh.”

People joke that if men could get pregnant, they’d be able to get an abortion at an ATM. (Which just makes me realize their bank must not be nearly as crappy as mine. Out of service. Again.)

Depending on the cruelty scale of your own state, the WOMAN can be arrested as can her doctor, as can anyone who so much as gives the name of a provider to the WOMAN.

At this point, she has the rights of her sister greenflies, which is to say none. She’s not even three-fifths in the inalienable rights department. The Constitution has outlived its usefulness. We cling to a document that was written during a time of slavery, no voting rights for women and minorities and, sure, muskets.

The Constitution is like a dress you can’t donate because it’s so comfortable and…pockets. But it’s old and torn and stained and hopelessly outdated.

The men, despite their absence from any of these discussions of forced pregnancy and consequences of jail time even in cases of rape and incest, may well be hurting for their girlfriends, wives, sisters, daughters.

But it’s a different kind of hurt when you have no skin in the game. Maybe they’ll find their voice if they can wear suits covered in decals like NASCAR drivers. The loud logos of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Amazon and Sony, all of whom pledge to help the womenfolk would stand out.

At least then we’d be able to see…the men.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write her at [email protected].

Republican-written NC budget easily clears first hurdles. Passage expected Friday

The state legislature approved the $27.9 billion Republican-written budget Thursday with bipartisan votes and by comfortable margins.

The budget passed 84-28 in the House and 38-9 in the Senate in preliminary votes.

Rep. Brandon Lofton D-Mecklenburg

Republican budget writers said their plan deals head-on with inflation and prepares the state for a recession.

“No one can predict what can happen with the economy in the year ahead,” said Rep. Dean Arp, a Monroe Republican. “We will continue to make responsible adjustments, apply the same fiscally conservative principles, an act with the same economic discipline that has put us in a strong financial position today.”

State economists said in May that North Carolina was going to bring in $6.2 billion more in tax revenue over two years than was estimated last year, and the state is building huge reserves.

Democrats said budget writers should have put more of the state’s hefty surplus toward bigger state employee and teacher raises.  State employee wages continue to fall behind private sector salaries and are not high enough to lure new hires to vacant positions, they said.

The budget give state employees 1% more than the 2.5% they were already slated to get. The State Employees Association of North Carolina was expecting more. The budget includes raises for teachers that average 4.2%, with a range of 2.5% to 7%.

“This budget fails to help families keep up with inflation,” said Rep. Brandon Lofton, a Mecklenburg County Democrat.

It fails to address the shortages of school counselors, nurses, and psychologists, does not provide additional salary support for law enforcement and public health workers that Democrats wanted, he said, it does not include Medicaid expansion.

“We have $30.7 billion available to put to use on behalf of North Carolina families,” Lofton said. “They’re counting on us to do better. And my hope is that we find a way to do so.”

Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue of Raleigh framed his argument around a Bank of America ad that promoted its $22 an hour minimum wage.

New North Carolina teachers will make less than people working full-time at an entry level job at Bank of America, Blue said. And starting jobs at the bank don’t require a college degree, certification, or college loan debt, and don’t come with the challenges of being on the front line of the culture wars, he said.

“We ought to be thinking about things in a different way as we’re deciding how to allocate all of the resources that are available to us,” he said.

Legislators are set to take their final budget votes Friday before sending the plan to Gov. Roy Cooper.

‘Heartbroken’ by ‘unspeakable evil’: NC politicos react to Texas mass shooting that leaves 19 children dead

North Carolina lawmakers are responding to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas in which an 18-year-old fatally shot 19 children and two adults at an elementary school. A Border Patrol agent shot the teenage gunman ending the rampage. Tuesday’s attack at Robb Elementary School came ten days after a deadly racially-motivated shooting in Buffalo, New York.

The following is a sampling of reaction from North Carolina’s elected officials:

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Madison Cawthorn, boy blunder

When is someone going to report on the very worst thing about Madison Cawthorn?

The freshman congressman from Western North Carolina may lack the name recognition of Will “Bonecrusher” Smith, but to those of us who live in the Tar Heel state, he’s omnipresent as the aroma of chicken houses down east. (And, yes, it does smell like money to me.)

Cawthorn, all brash all the time, has been in the news a lot lately because of the ridiculous orgy-gate, in which he claimed to be recruited by elderly GOP types to participate in sex parties. We know they were GOP stalwarts because he said they were people he had “looked up to my whole life.”

While Cawthorn was drawing a generational divide (old v. young), he forgot that’s not how it works. You’re only allowed to make up lies about Democrats, women, minorities and the mainstream media, not your own party. What a dunderhead! This did not go over well with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who took Cawthorn to the woodshed and emerged with the tight-lipped pronouncement the kid admitted he made it all up. McCarthy, sounding like a tent evangelist for the first time in his life, told Cawthorn it was time for him to turn his life around.

Amen.

No stranger to lying (Google the list of documented lies; I honestly don’t have the space here), the 26-year-old boy blunder doesn’t get the attention he should for the new, very worst thing about him: He hates older people. Look at what he just accused the “60 and 70 year old’s” in Congress of doing.

Constantly yammering about his role as the youthful face of a new Republicanism, Cawthorn never misses a chance to sneer at his elders. All that papery skin. Blech.

He wears his ball cap with the bill on the side! He knows what a “key bump” of cocaine is! He called Biden an “inept geriatric despot.” Just haaaaad to include “geriatric,” didn’t ya, Maddy?

He wants those of us on Social Security to get off the dole and get a freakin’ job. In fact, Cawthorn wants to reduce Social Security by about a third and he wants to “incentivize people to work and get off entitlement programs like Social Security.” Hey, Junior. It’s called entitlement because I’m entitled to it on account of I paid into it for decades.

Cawthorn’s noisy contempt for older Americans is extraordinary—and extraordinarily stupid—when you consider the demographic of his blue-collar district—retired Republicans who don’t like being told they are layabouts after working 40 plus years in the furniture factory. Who can forget him cockily running against a 62-year-old retired Air Force Colonel who ran against him in 2020? Why you little…

Cawthorn’s constant nibbling on the hands that feed him is part of the reason he is facing SEVEN challengers in the primary May 17. He’s so bad at his job, seven Republicans are lined up to take him down. Good on ‘em.

It won’t be easy to get rid of the whippersnapper. Cawthorn’s got plenty of campaign money to counter the whole embarrassing non-orgy thing. Truth is, he’s made no secret that he would much prefer to represent a younger, hipper crowd. But of course.

When there was talk of redistricting in a way that would’ve effectively eliminated Cawthorn’s current corner of the west, he giddily pivoted to Charlotte. There are young people in them thar high rises—20 somethings with tech jobs and season tickets to the new pro soccer franchise.

In the end, the Charlotte-area redistricting favored Democrats, so he slunk home, not nearly as contrite as he should’ve been. Older folks know the most important lesson of all: “Dance with the one that brung ya.”

Maddy, you should heed that. Bruh.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write to her at [email protected].