R Kelly breaks silence over sex abuse accusations: ‘This is not me’

The star tearfully denies sexual abuse in the first TV interview since his arrest.
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A Moment of Silence — and a Serene Mountain Set — for Karl Lagerfeld’s Last Chanel Show

No one coughed. It felt like no one even breathed.
Karl Lagerfeld’s last show for Chanel opened with a moment of silence, and the vast Grand Palais was as hushed as the mountain village depicted in the set, rows of wooden chalets, their chimneys smoking, set among pine trees and mounds of fake snow.
Lagerfeld loved snow — he would rush out to take photos whenever it dusted Paris — and his finale looks were white “snowball” sweater dresses with fluffy skirts, the first modeled by Penélope Cruz, who strolled out smiling and twirling a flower.
“I felt like laughing and crying at the same time, to see all these people that loved him so much celebrating him together. But seeing all this, also it’s the beginning of something else, all that he’s created over all these years,” Cruz said.
“The collection I saw today gave me goosebumps because everything is there: the past, present and future. I loved that they took the time at the beginning of the show, that they asked for that minute of silence. It made everybody stop and breathe, then there was the right kind of energy for the show,” she added.

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Lady Gaga breaks her silence on R Kelly

Gaga says she will remove their collaboration Do What U Want (With My Body) from streaming services.
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John Varvatos Business on a Growth Path as Sale Rumors Silence

NEW YORK — In 2020, John Varvatos will mark a major milestone — the 20th anniversary of showing his first men’s wear collection.
Like any fashion label, Varvatos has experienced his share of ups and downs over the past two decades — ownership changes, painful reductions in staff, department store consolidation and changing shifts in fashion.
But after a couple of years of flux, the John Varvatos business is once again in expansion mode. The brand just entered the Middle East with its first retail store in Dubai and there are others in the wings. New product categories such as accessories, jewelry and swimwear are being added.
Star USA, the more-casual, younger and lower-priced line, has been completely revamped and will be unveiled at the Pitti Uomo show in Florence in January.
The architect steering these changes is Mark Brashear, who joined John Varvatos Enterprises as chief executive officer three years ago. Brashear has a long history in the men’s industry that includes Nordstrom, Façonnable, Hugo Boss and Michael Kors.
He’s also seen as a straight shooter and, as such, doesn’t duck questions regarding the uncertainty that surrounded the brand just two years ago when rumors were rampant that its majority owner, the private equity group, Lion

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Kensington Palace Breaks Silence After Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle Feud Rumors: Report

Meghan Markle, Kate MiddletonThose Kate Middleton-Meghan Markle feud rumors? Looks like they’re Fake News. Well, at least the latest development.
Amid mounting tabloid reports of tense moments between brothers…

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Kaitlyn Bristowe Breaks Her Silence on Her Split From Shawn Booth

Kaitlyn Bristowe, Shawn BoothKaitlyn Bristowe is breaking her silence on her split from Shawn Booth.
The former Bachelorette star opened up about the “big elephant in the room” on Tuesday’s episode of…

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Diddy breaks silence over ex’s sudden death

Hip hop star Sean “Diddy” Combs has broken his silence three days after the death of his former partner Kim Porter, with whom he had three children.
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Serena Williams Breaks Her Silence on Her Most Controversial Tennis Outfit

Serena WilliamsOver the years Serena Williams has sported some “controversial” looks on the tennis court, but it was never just a fashion statement.
As it turns out, the personal turmoil she…

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Trump’s stunned silence as Kanye rants in White House

Kanye West appeared to stun Donald Trump into silence as he delivered an expletive-filled rant at the White House.
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Strictly judge breaks silence on Seann Walsh scandal

Strictly Come Dancing’s head judge has broken the panel’s silence on the scandal surrounding contestant Seann Walsh and his dance partner Katya Jones.
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Swift breaks silence and reveals her political views

Breaking a long-standing refusal to discuss anything political, Taylor Swift has announced who she will be voting for in the midterm elections.
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China’s Fan Bingbing Breaks Silence After Being Fined $70 Million for Tax Evasion

Fan Bingbing, one of China’s most popular actresses, has not been seen since in months — but she has broken her silence to address her massive tax evasion fines.

Fan was fined by Chinese tax authorities, Xinhua first reported. According to Bloomberg, Fan and her companies were fined 884 million yuan, which is equivalent to $ 129 million. Fan is responsible for $ 70 million of the fines.

Fan will not be charged if she pays back the money within a time limit, The Hollywood Reporter said that Xinhua reported. A person from her company, however, is reportedly in custody.

Fan made a statement about her situation on Weibo. She started, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “Recently I have been enduring an unprecedented amount of pain, undergoing deep self-reflection and introspection. I am deeply ashamed and feel guilty for what I have done, and I offer my sincere apologies to everyone.”

RELATED: Shakira Pays Nearly $ 25 Million in Back Taxes to Spanish Government: Report

The X-Men actress said, “I have come to realize that, as a public figure, I should have observed the law, setting a good example for society and the entertainment industry. I shouldn’t have lost the ability to control myself in the face of economic interests, allowing myself to break the law.”

Fan noted that she committed tax evasion “by taking advantage of ‘yin yang contracts’” and that she accepted the fines.

She continued, “As an actor, I take pride in showcasing our country’s culture on the global stage, and I do my best to be in the forefront of this. I owe my success to the support of my country and the people. Without the great policies of the Party and the state, without the love of the people, there would have been no Fan Bingbing.”

RELATED VIDEO: ‘RHOP’s’ Karen Huger Talks Husband Ray Owing Millions in Taxes: ‘Bad Things Happen to Good People’

“I failed my country which nurtured me; I failed the society which trusted me; I failed the fans who loved me,” she wrote. “I offer my sincere apology here once again! I beg for everyone’s forgiveness!”

One of the last times Fan was seen in public was at May’s Cannes Film Festival to promote the female spy thriller 355, which costars Jessica ChastainPenelope CruzLupita Nyong’o and Marion Cotillard.

RELATED: Cardi B Rants About What Uncle Sam Is Doing with Her Tax Money: ‘I Want Receipts’

Fan’s disappearance from public life made the news when state-run Chinese paper Securities Daily wrote that she was “under control” and “would accept the legal decision.” The story was then pulled by the outlet.

One rumor, that Fan was seeking asylum in Los Angeles, spread after Hong Kong’s The Apple Daily said that Jackie Chan had advised her to go to an immigration office. Chan’s company labeled the allegation “nonsense,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.


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Soon-Yi Previn breaks silence on ‘unjust’ Woody Allen abuse claims

The wife of Woody Allen has defended her husband against “unjust” claims of sexual abuse against his adopted daughter and attacked her adoptive mother Mia Farrow.
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Selena Gomez Breaks Her Silence on Demi Lovato’s Overdose

Selena Gomez, ELLESelena Gomez is careful with her words–and for good reason.
In ELLE’s October issue, Gomez reveals she recently moved to Orange County to escape the ever-present paparazzi….

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Argento accuser breaks silence on alleged assault

The man who has accused Asia Argento of sexually assaulting him as a teenager has used his Instagram account to speak out for the first time.
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The uncomfortable silence of Kawhi Leonard

What’s behind the tension between the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard’s camp? And how will the NBA’s most fascinating mystery end?
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Kim Kardashian Breaks Silence On Khloe’s Cheating Scandal: ‘It’s Just So F**ked Up’

Khloe Kardashian’s boyfriend was allegedly caught cheating with multiple women days before she gave birth.
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Slammed by Trump, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Chooses Silence

Over the past week, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has been cast into the limelight thanks to a string of attacks by President Trump. Mr. Bezos’s response? The silent treatment.
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Peter Kay breaks silence after cancelling tour

Comedian Peter Kay has tweeted for the first time since cancelling all future work projects in December due to “unforeseen family circumstances”.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg breaks his silence about data leak

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg breaks his silence about data leakFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he'll work to rebuild users' trust in the company.



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Shia LaBeouf Breaks His Silence on “Mortifying” 2017 Arrest: “I F–ked Up”

Shia LaBeouf, Mug Shot, MugshotShia LaBeouf has done a lot of soul searching in the last eight months.
In July 2017, the 31-year-old actor was arrested in Savannah, Ga., for disorderly conduct, obstruction and public…

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Thurman breaks silence on ‘Weinstein abuse’

Uma Thurman has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting her after they worked together on Pulp Fiction.
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Books of The Times: ‘Heart Berries’ Shatters a Pattern of Silence

Terese Marie Mailhot’s memoir is about growing up on an Indian reservation in Canada and her family’s intergenerational trauma.
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Hollywood’s ‘silence breakers’ hailed at SAGs

A host of Hollywood stars have been hailed at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for breaking the silence surrounding sexual harassment in Hollywood.
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Weinstein’s ex-assistant breaks silence

Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant has said she has broken a confidential agreement to speak out about alleged sexual harassment by the disgraced movie mogul.
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Fashion Breaks Its Silence on Harvey Weinstein Scandal

Hollywood and the Democratic political world have turned against Harvey Weinstein. And yet fashion, his third circle of influence, has remained quiet.
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Glastonbury opens with minute’s silence

The moment of reflection precedes sets by Lorde and Radiohead, and an appearance by David Beckham.
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How Hollywood Got Hacked: Studio at Center of Netflix Leak Breaks Silence (EXCLUSIVE)

“Hello Rick.” “Hello Jill.” Larson Studios president Rick Larson and his wife and business partner, Jill Larson, didn’t recognize the number that sent them these two short text messages via their personal cell phones two days before Christmas last year, so they simply ignored them. “We didn’t really think much of them,” said Jill Larson…. Read more »

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Amazon’s Grip On The Book World Could Silence The Stories That Matter

This morning, Amazon ― the online bookseller-turned-everything store ― opened the doors to its latest brick-and-mortar outpost in New York City’s Columbus Circle. The company added in-person retail to its arsenal of buying options in 2015, when it opened a store in Seattle. Beginning today, it occupies a space where a Borders once was.

Unlike its competitors ― which mostly include independent bookstores, after the company’s rise lead to the fall of Borders and many Barnes & Noble locations ― Amazon’s physical bookstore relies on sales data to determine which titles will be prominently displayed. At the Columbus Circle location, a table labeled “Highly Rated: 4.8 Stars & Above” sits near the entrance. On it, are such titles as 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food by Lisa Leake and Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen.

For publishers, especially those who support the work of emerging authors, disempowered authors or authors whose voices aren’t in chorus with the mainstream, this data-based approach to bookselling is disconcerting.

Michael Reynolds, the editor-in-chief of Europa Editions, told HuffPost that Amazon’s ratings-based system isn’t conducive to discovering writers like the lyrical, wave-making Elena Ferrante, whom Europa publishes.

“Things like Tolstoy are going to have lower ratings than the new book by the new YouTube star.
Dennis Johnson, co-publisher of Melville House Books

“While a new bookstore, any new bookstore, is generally good news, I can’t see how Amazon applying its unsatisfactory recommendation engine to a physical space is going to result in the kind of discovery experience a reader has when she enters any good brick-and-mortar store,” Reynolds said. “It is certainly not going to help with bringing about the kind of bibliodiversity that, with authors like Elena Ferrante, Muriel Barbery, Boualem Sansal and Domenico Starnone, we seek to cultivate, and that I think is more important today than ever.”

Dennis Johnson, the co-publisher of Melville House, agreed. “Things like Tolstoy are going to have lower ratings than the new book by the new YouTube star,” he told HuffPost. “Real literature is slowly not going to be available there.”

Caroline Casey, the managing director of Coffee House Press, was more optimistic about readers’ appetite for well-told stories, and the tenacity of indie presses.

“I don’t expect [Amazon’s] experiments to damage independent bookstores, because what people value them for isn’t replicable in the Amazon model,” she told HuffPost. “So those booksellers, who are our very best advocates and sell our books better than I ever could hope to, should be fine. And so will we.”

Coffee House Press describes itself as “committed to diversity and inclusion,” and that mission statement is reflected in the titles it publishes, including Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth, Saeed Jones’s Prelude to Bruise and Jade Sharma’s Problems. Casey says that while a “significant portion” of Coffee Houses’ sales come from Amazon, she doesn’t expect the seller’s physical locations to have either a positive or negative impact. Instead, she expects that indie bookstores will continue to account for most of the press’ in-person sales.

“A good bookstore offers not just curation, but also personality and the opportunity not [just] to find what you want, but to also find out what you want,” Casey said. “Amazon might have a lot of customer data, but it’s not the kind that yields a surprising, joyful bookstore visit.”

The decision to open brick-and-mortar stores isn’t the only recent change Amazon has made to its bookselling approach. Last month, the retailer tweaked its online buying options, so that publishers are no longer automatically granted the right to be listed as the default sellers for their titles. Instead, third-party retailers are now allowed to compete to become a book’s default seller. So, prime real estate on the site is often granted to those with the lowest costs.

Casey declined to comment on this new development. But, Johnson and Reynolds agreed that the move could hurt publishers and, consequently, authors, who aren’t owed a cut of the sale from third-party distributors.

I cannot be anything but concerned by Amazon’s insistence on chipping away at the perceived and actual value of books.
Michael Reynolds, Editor-in-Chief of Europa Editions

“The Amazon paradigm sees books as a function of a hyper-competitive market rather than cultural products that create a market, shape it, and at times disrupt it,” Reynolds said. “The most recent development concerning Amazon’s buy box will make it increasingly difficult for authors to be paid adequately for their work when it is sold through Amazon, and for publishers to invest in bringing new and diverse voices to the market and maintaining a robust backlist. As a publisher animated by an abiding belief in the broad and lasting value not only of books but of ‘bibliodiversity,’ I cannot be anything but concerned by Amazon’s insistence on chipping away at the perceived and actual value of books.”

“It’s another instance of Amazon killing the goose that lays the eggs,” Johnson said. “Screwing their partners in the ecosystem that naturally grows around any kind of product. What they’re doing now is something that nobody makes any money from, except Amazon.”

And it’s not just indie presses who could suffer from Amazon’s business decisions. In fact, Johnson said that Melville House ― which only relies on Amazon for around 25 percent of its sales ― will likely fare better than big-five publishers such as Random House, which leans on Amazon to sell classics and other backlist titles.

“This is treacherous for everybody in the business,” Johnson said. “Everybody’s threatened by this.”

“Amazon is nothing if not Trumpian in their behavior,” he continued. “The ruthlessness, the naked capitalism. It’s all there. They’re positively Trumpian. They have that in them.”

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Cuba Gooding Jr. Breaks His Silence on His Father’s Death as He Returns to Work One Day Later

Cuba Gooding Jr. is staying strong.

The American Horror Story actor was spotted Friday on the Toronto set of his new film, Life in a Year, just one day after the death of his father, Cuba Gooding Sr.

Sporting a bright blue jacket, black pants, and grey sneakers, the Oscar-winner was seen with his costar, Jaden Smith, looking in good spirits as they walked and talked together.

Life in a Year follows the story of a 17-year-old boy who sets out to give his girlfriend an entire life after discovering that she is dying. Cara Delevingne will portray Smith’s girlfriend.

Also on Friday, Gooding Jr. broke his silence about his father’s death, sharing a photo of one of his father’s albums and writing simply, “Eternal.”

Gooding Sr., a popular soul singer in the 1970s, died Thursday at the age of 72. The singer was found slumped over in his silver Jaguar, which was parked on a street in Woodland Hills, CA, according to TMZ.

The fire department responded to the scene and attempted CPR, but could not resuscitate him.

 

Gooding Jr. spoke of his father during an episode of Inside the Actors Studio that aired earlier this year.

“I remember, one of my earliest memories … he would perform at Disneyland, and after his performances, they would close it off to the general public and all the performers’ kids would go on the rides as many times as they’d want,” Cuba remembered. “He would pull me up on stage with him and make me finish the song because I’d seen him perform all the time. It was a lot of feeling like, ‘I come from royalty.’”


PEOPLE.com

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How Much Silence Is Too Much? I Found Out

I visited a dead-quiet room at the Guggenheim as part of “PSAD Synthetic Desert III,” an installation by Doug Wheeler.
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Lamar Odom Breaks Silence On Las Vegas Brothel Night

Lamar Odom might not officially be connected to the Kardashian family tree any longer, but he apparently picked up a few things from time spent in Calabasas. Lesson one? How to score a splashy cover story and rehabilitate your image. 

The former Los Angeles Lakers star covers the latest issue of Us Weekly in his first official interview since he was found unconscious in a Nevada brothel back in October 2015. Odom suffered “12 strokes and two heart attacks” after he was discovered and regained consciousness after a four-day coma. 

A year after the incident, Odom checked himself back into rehab at San Diego’s Casa Palmera facility and completed his treatment this past January. Now, he’s ready to break his silence about the night he collapsed, his marriage to Khloe Karadashian and where he went off track. 

“I was home by myself. Bored. I wanted to get out and have a good time,” Odom recalled of the fateful night. “Looking back, I might have had a drink to get the mood started, but was I drunk or on drugs? Not at all. I remember lying in bed. Two women were in bed and then I fell asleep. That’s all. When I woke up four days later, I was trying to pull the tubes out of my mouth.”

At the time, Odom’s representatives denied that the basketball star was on drugs, except for a taking Viagra-like herbal supplement. However, drugs—  cocaine, more specifically — did play a role in the destruction of his marriage to Kardashian and career as a professional athlete. 

“I was hiding it for a while, but then I got frustrated and was like, f**k it,” Odom said of his drug use. “Around two years before we split up [in 2011], I was in the man cave [Khloe] had made for me and she caught me. She was disappointed. So was I. The sad thing about it is, I don’t know if I was disappointed because I was actually doing the drug or because she caught me. She knew I was doing cocaine the whole time after that. It was my drug of choice. I’m not going to say she accepted it because that would be the wrong word. Tolerated would be a better word.”

After Kardashian filed for divorce in 2013, Odom moved out of their Calabasas mansion and into an apartment where he “turned the drug use up to another level” with his friend Jamie Sangouthai, who died due to drug-related causes in 2015. 

Despite the deception and infidelity, Karadashian stood by Odom through his darkest times and was the first face he saw when he awoke from the coma. That is, until he seemingly fell off the wagon again, prompting the reality star to officially sign their divorce papers with Odom and make it official. 

“If there is one thing I regret when I was married, it was having multiple affairs with different women,” Odom said. “That wasn’t the stand-up thing to do. I wish I could have kept my d**k in my pants.”

Now Odom is clean and sober and at work on an autobiography and docuseries.

“Living sober, meaning no drugs, is a great feeling. Being in the moment is important — how you react, respond, create,” he said. “If I would have done coke last night, you would have gotten some dickhead here trying to get out of here fast. But you’re getting Lamar now.”

 To read the full interview with Odom, head to Us Weekly

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Asghar Farhadi Breaks Silence on Oscar Victory, Talks Movie He’s Making in Spain

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi gave a master class Tuesday at the Doha Film Institute’s Qumra event and subsequently also spoke to a small group of journalists, all via Skype from Madrid where he is in pre-production on his untitled next project toplining Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. In his first interview since recently winning his… Read more »

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Carrie Fisher’s daughter breaks silence

Carrie Fisher’s daughter has shared an image of her, her mother and grandmother Debbie Reynolds as she broke her silence following their deaths.
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Lena Dunham Breaks Silence on Trump’s Victory: I Never ‘Believed He Could Win’

On Friday morning, outspoken Hillary Clinton advocate Lena Dunham wrote an essay in her Lenny Letter newsletter that detailed her account of election night, which saw Donald Trump win the White House. In the essay sent with the subject line “Don’t Agonize, Organize,” Dunham began by confessing that she never believed a Trump presidency was… Read more »

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Somewhere In The Bulgarian Mountains, A Woman Recreates Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ In Total Silence

If someone flawlessly executes a Beyoncé number in the middle of the remote Rhodope Mountains with nobody there to see it, did it really happen?

Luckily for Gery Georgieva, the video of her triumphant achievement is gaining serious traction online. Georgieva, a British-Bulgarian artist known for blending pop and folk cultures, attempts the only YouTube re-staging of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” choreography you haven’t seen, donning traditional garb and jingling quietly against the snowy landscape. It’s bizarre and oh-so beautiful. 

I see pop and folk culture as parallel,” Georgieva explained in an interview with Broadly, “in that they’re the lowest common denominator way of belonging that can move such a big amount of people. That power — to have the ability to encourage thousands of people to learn a Beyoncé dance — that’s something quite special and weird.”

Some other Georgieva moments worth exploring include this Caviar Face Tutorial, which is exactly what it sounds like, and this disco-themed reimagining of Monet’s “Water Lilies.“ Compare the artist’s skills to the original Bey below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Palin’s Shameful Silence on Trump’s Misogyny

Alaska’s quitter governor and the Tea Party’s queen diva Sarah Palin uses her Facebook page to comment on all things political, including touting Donald Trump’s candidacy for the presidency. But when it comes to Trump’s outrageously sexist comments about her former colleague at Fox News, Megyn Kelly, Palin has remained shamefully silent about El Donaldo’s latest round of misogyny.

So much for Mama Grizzly solidarity with conservative women like Kelly, with whom Palin once declared: “We are the women’s movement!”

2015-08-09-1439160938-2930558-Palinangry.jpg

When Trump recently assaulted John McCain — who plucked Palin from obscurity in August of 2008 to join him on the Republican ticket — it was an entirely different matter. Palin immediately came to Trump’s defense, calling him a hero and blaming the scuffle on the media. It was an act of betrayal directed at McCain — and yet another instance of her blatant duplicity — that only Palin could pull off.

Trump, of course, has been nothing more than a serial sexist when it comes to his constant attacks on women: He has called women “ugly,” “fat,” “dogs,” “slobs,” “bimbos,” “extremely unattractive,” ad infinitum, all leading up to his allegation this weekend that Kelly was menstruating during the Republican presidential primary debate Thursday tonight.

I guess in Palin World, that all makes you a “hero.” So be it. But as virtually every major player in the current Republican line-up for president has called Trump on his latest remarks, Palin still hasn’t brought herself to take the high road. Just before the Presidential debate last week, Palin gave yet another bizarre interview in which she said that she advised Trump [3:11]:

I’ve already told him. I said: Keep it up! America appreciates that you’re calling it like you see it. He’s telling a lot of truth. And really helping educate and lead the other candidates because they’re going to have to step up their game and quit sounding like politicians.

I wonder what “truth” she thinks he’s now telling?

In addition to being beholden to Trump — he’s the only current candidate, with the possible exception of Ted Cruz, who would ever utter her name publicly — I’ve been told that there’s some inside back-story to Palin’s glaring lack of solidarity with Kelly. According to a source once in Palin’s inner-circle in Southcentral Alaska, Palin was livid at Kelley two years ago when the latter interrupted Palin in an interview in which Palin went into what seemed like a crack-addled rant about Obama and the American economy.

No one holds a grudge like Palin. In June, Palin was overtly critical of Kelly for interviewing Jill Duggar Dillard and Jessa Duggar Seewald on her Fox News program. Two weeks later it was announced that Palin had been dumped from her position at Fox News.

That Palin is an exceedingly dull blade goes without saying, but even she must have noted the timing of Fox’s decision.

Trump just blew some seriously needed oxygen into Palin’s sinking political platform by indicating that Palin would serve in a cabinet-level capacity in his administration–which only someone with Palin’s crazy could view as a possibility — and for a brief moment it appeared that Palin’s stock, depressed as it is, might yet have another bump in it.

Not so. The descending numbers from her political action committee and her utter disappearance from the national Republican debate fully indicate that Palin’s political half-life has long since passed. She’s been reduced to a laugh-line and an afterthought.

As I noted in my critical biography of her, The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind her Relentless Quest for Power, there is really no low to which Palin will not stoop to advance her own political and monetary interests. Her silence on the Kelly-Trump affair is par for the Palin course. When it comes to political courage and integrity, she has none.

2009-08-29-redshoestiny.jpeg

Award-winning writer and filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn’s best-selling The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power was published by Macmillan/St. Martin’s in May of 2011.

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‘Look Of Silence’ Director On How The Film Is Sparking Change In Indonesia

Joshua Oppenheimer‘s 2013 documentary “The Act of Killing“ detailed the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s, which has been estimated to have claimed the lives of about half a million people. Now Oppenheimer is back with a follow-up film called “The Look Of Silence,” which is enabling Indonesians to finally address horrors their country has yet to recover from.

“‘The Look Of Silence’ has, I’m humbled to say, helped catalyze a fundamental transformation in how Indonesians are responding to the genocide and its present day terrible legacy of corruption, fear and violence,” Oppenheimer told HuffPost Live’s Nancy Redd on  Thursday. “It’s helped energize a movement for truth and reconciliation and some form of justice.”

Truth and reconciliation legislation would help bring closure to many Indonesians. But the documentary takes a different approach to exposing the genocide. 

“The Look Of Silence” follows one family of survivors’ tragic discovery of how their son was murdered in 1965 and who his killers were. The film documents the family’s youngest son, Adi, as he confronts his brother’s killers. Oppenheimer explained the effect the documentary is having in the country at its center.

“Indonesians through the film are acknowledging how torn the social fabric of the country is, and how urgently truth and reconciliation are needed,” Oppenheimer said. “And the government, in response to this debate the film has raised, has now introduced a truth and reconciliation bill. Woefully inadequate, but a tremendous start in a way.”

Watch Oppenheimer discuss his moving documentary in the video above, and click here to watch his full HuffPost Live conversation.

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Silence: The Whispered World II Cinematic Trailer

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After losing his little sister Renie in the hazardous real world, Noah now hopes to find her again in Silence.
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The Sounds of Silence

The British writer, E.M. Forster, published his last truly great novel, A Passage to India, in 1924. This novel is about many things – the differences between men and women, between cultures and countries, between the races, between the animal and human kingdoms, and between competing value systems.

Buried not quite halfway through the novel, at the beginning of Chapter 14, is another difference, the difference between speaking and remaining silent:

“Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence. Inside its cocoon of work or social obligation, the human spirit slumbers for the most part, registering the distinction between pleasure and pain, but not nearly as alert as we pretend. There are periods in the most thrilling day during which nothing happens, and though we continue to exclaim: ‘I do enjoy myself,’ or ‘I am horrified,’ we are insincere. ‘As far as I feel anything, it is enjoyment, horror’ – it’s no more than that really, and a perfectly adjusted organism would be silent.”

Forster seems to have plucked this stunning aside directly from the ether and dropped it into the middle of his story without much in the way of preparation or follow-up. What is he saying? Why does he make this observation? If, after all, silence is so good, why finish reading his novel? Am I somehow poorly adjusted whenever I open my mouth?

This “passage” has haunted me for over 40 years – since I bought and first read the novel in Milan in 1971. After publishing “A Passage to India,” Forster himself spent the remainder of his life more or less silent. For decades he was a Fellow at his alma mater, Trinity College at Cambridge University, where he died in 1970. He wrote some nonfiction — mostly essays, biographies, and travel memoirs — but he never again produced a work of fiction that rivaled his early short stories, Howards End (1910), or “Passage.” A mostly autobiographical novel about his hidden homosexuality, Maurice, appeared posthumously in 1971, but many critics feel that his standing as a novelist would have been enhanced had “Maurice” never appeared. But whatever one might think of “Maurice” as a novel, it nonetheless remains unfortunate that Forster was unable – as a matter of personal choice as well as existing English law at the time (homosexuality between consenting adult men was a crime in England until 1967) – to publish his views during his lifetime. After 1924, he was spent as a writer of fiction and effectively blocked in terms of being public about his homosexuality. He knew this; hence his silence.

There is, however, a thread that runs throughout Forster’s fiction and, especially, the paragraph cited above, that speaks to us today. While Forster excels at describing differences, what he is really saying to us is to find ways to bridge those differences. That’s why the phrase “Only connect,” (which borrows from the views of Victorian writer Matthew Arnold) appears at the beginning of his other great novel, “Howards End.” It is the effort in life to find connections that matters most to him – even if one fails in the effort. There is failure in “Howards End” when the Schlegel sisters and Leonard Bast fail to bridge bridge their class differences, and there is failure at the end of “A Passage to India” when the Englishman and the Indian realize that they cannot be friends:

“‘Why can’t we be friends now?’ said the other, holding him affectionately. ‘It’s what I want. It’s what you want.’

“But the horses didn’t want it – they swerved apart; the earth didn’t want it … the temples, the tank, the jail, the palace, the birds … they didn’t want it, they said in their hundred voices: ‘No, not yet,’ and the sky said: ‘No, not there.'”

This failure to connect between Indian and Englishman also finds a parallel in “Maurice” which appeared almost 50 years later. There was connection, but it was clandestine and, of course, unpublished.

The question I find prompted by Forster today is whether, in fact, we are trying too hard to be too connected? Are we so connection-crazy that in the frenzy we are missing opportunities to find in our lives those connections that really matter? What does it mean, for example, to be “friended,” to be asked to “friend” inanimate objects or department stores, or to “follow” a Member of Congress or a celebrity? Today’s wonderful communications technology may, in fact, be a double-edged sword: we may be so connected on so many levels and with so many people, things, and issues that we lose the capacity and the essential personal space needed to reflect on what we are actually doing and trying to achieve in our lives.

Does our frenetic connectedness mean that we actually hear more but listen less? Forster is urging people to connect, but is his statement about the virtue of silence a suggestion that perhaps we might consider a better balance between non-stop connectedness and the silence needed to reflect? He does, after all, have a point: are the vast majority of “Tweets” worth the bother? And given what Hillary Clinton is going through with respect to her State Department e-mails and her private, at-home server, why on earth are we saving billions of “Tweets for posterity? Only litigation-hungry lawyers could welcome this situation.

Recently I attended a Washington, DC, forum on the nation’s economic and fiscal policy. The speakers were excellent, but I noticed that during the breaks, the large screens in the front of the room displayed “Tweets” from people who were either in the room or who were attending the forum via a remote connection. Did I really need to know in 140 characters the views of perfect strangers who were spitting back to me the content of what I had just experienced? Could I have better used the break to think about what had been said or, for that matter, talk face-to-face with other participants (which I did)?

It is estimated that there are some 500 million Tweets sent each day and over 200 billion Tweets sent each year. These numbers will surely grow. I have nothing against Twitter or other social media, but, at the same time, doesn’t Forster have a point? That most of this stuff is so dull that there is nothing really to be said about it?

All of us have been vastly empowered by modern communications technology – and this is a good thing. The question remains, however, whether we might somehow strive to find a better balance between too much connectedness and total silence. I don’t ever expect to be a “perfectly adjusted organism,” but I do strive to screen out the chatter that can sometimes get in the way of better listening and better understanding.

Charles Kolb served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy from 1990-1992 in the George H.W. Bush White House. He was president of the French-American Foundation–United States from 2012-2014 and president of the Committee for Economic Development from 1997-2012.

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Silence

Silence


Over the last century, many artists and filmmakers have used silence as subject matter and medium, exploring it as symbol, phenomenon, memorial device, and oppressive force. “Silence” examines the ways twenty-nine artists invoke silence to shape space and consciousness, most after John Cage’s” 4’33” (1952). Among this carefully curated selection are Joseph Beuys’s “The Silence of Marcel Duchamp Is Overrated” (1964) and works by several artists who matured in the 1960s and 70s, including Bruce Nauman and Marcel Broodthaers; documentation of Tehching Hsieh’s “One Year Performance 1978-79,” in which the artist spent a year in a cage without speaking, reading, writing, or engaging with any media; and Andy Warhol’s Electric Chair paintings. Other artists featured in the publication include Robert Rauschenberg and Ad Reinhardt, represented by white or black paintings; Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Maya Deren, Jennie C. Jones, Jacob Kirkegaard, Christian Marclay, Doris Salcedo, and Martin Wong; and intermedia artists Steve Roden and Steven Vitiello. Over forty full-color plates complement three thought-provoking essays and artist biographies.

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Silence Is Speaking… Will We Listen?

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As much as society tells me noise is more golden than silence; silence still whispers mystery to my mind and heart. I’m continually engulfed in modern day life with beeps, vibrations, commercials, news feeds — a variety of attacks on all my senses. Yet, silence’s mystifying self still delicately reaches for my curious heart.

“The world is now so noisy with this cacophony going on visually and auditorily, it’s just hard to listen; it’s tiring to listen.” Julian Treasure, 4 time TED speaker, CEO of The Sound Agency and interviewee of In Pursuit of Silence

“Silence makes us whole, if we let it…” Thomas Merton

I also believe the voice of silence is still speaking, if we let it. I feel as though I am getting to hear that voice regularly since I’ve been working on the upcoming documentary film, In Pursuit of Silence. Director Patrick Shen plans to give viewers the opportunity to examine the lack of silence and the abundance of noise in their own lives. He promises pauses and silences throughout the film in order to promote one’s own personal interpretation of their relationship with noise and silence.

“Why should we care about silence — because it’s half of our existence in terms of our interaction with this world of discourse… It’s fundamentally embedded in everything that we do: in our relationships, in our work, in our waking and our sleeping…”
-Helen Lees, author of Silence in Schools and interviewee of In Pursuit of Silence

Working with Patrick has given me an edge to understanding his art in a unique way. His previous films have touched on other areas of the unexamined life including a film about death anxiety: Flight From Death: the Quest for Immortality, a film about wisdom in unlikely places: The Philosopher Kings, and a film about a man’s journey to bring clean water to his Haitian village: La Source. I could go on to share about his resume in film festivals, awards and various platforms he’s been on but the more important aspect here is who Patrick is and not what he’s done. I’m not sure what words he would use to initially identify himself, but I’m sure it’d begin with identifying his relationships: he’s a father, a husband, a family member, a friend. My experience with Patrick has been that he is dedicated to not only his art but also the arts of others. Patrick’s passion for silence developed after he saw Into Great Silence, a film about Carthusian monks in France. He’s poured over 2 years of his life into this current project through his traveling, his reading, his often unshared moments with silence, etc.

Director Patrick Shen:

I’m really interested in examining the ways we interact with each other, with the world and the way we craft meaningful lives in the midst of so much uncertainty. The search for meaning is already a noisy affair and the constant attention that the cacophony of modern life demands from us just makes it all the more disorienting. Of the many things that silence can be and do for us, the most powerful might be its ability to reset our minds and hearts, a blank canvas upon which to paint the story of our lives. In a world that consumes so much of us, silence is needed more than ever to free us.

Patrick and I met while I was in the midst of a journey traveling to the 17 Trappist Monasteries in the US. He not only respected my work but to this day he is encouraging and excited about it. His call to come join the team came less than a year after we met, just when I was sinking back into life as a counselor.

So, why make a film about silence?

Why add to the bombardment of our senses to get a point across of minimizing it? For me, now is the time simply because this truth has not been told in this way. Although this is the first film I’ve worked on, my initial thought is how could we not make a film about silence? Documentary filmmakers have been known as the truth tellers in the entertainment industry and I couldn’t agree more. To make a film about silence is a risk within itself because society’s signs point to everything but silence. Our small team working on In Pursuit of Silence is a dedicated group of individuals who have their own unique draw and attachment to the mystery of silence.

Why are we more afraid of silence than noise?

According to The World Health Organization, noise is second only to air pollution as an environmental cause of ill health, “it’s not just about annoyance, it’s about life and death now. And its about this modern lifestyle that offers us no space for ideation, reflection, introspection or respite,” says Patrick in our recent Kickstarter video.

So why do we keep insisting on filling the empty spaces with words, the blank pages with notes and the commutes with music (or, if you’re like me, talk radio)?

“What we’re afraid of with silence, why we keep putting discourse, noise, talking, into these spaces of silence that we could make use of ­ is because silence returns us to what is real …”
-Helen Lees, author of Silence in Schools and interviewee of In Pursuit of Silence

In my own experience, I’ve found this to be the case: silence brings me back to what’s real, what the truth is — in the world and within myself. That’s not always a pretty thing, there’s some sort of purification effect that silence has when one practices it regularly and it’s not an easy process.

“I think silence is really important, as I’ve said it’s one of the practices that develops listening and I almost worship silence, you know, it’s such a rare commodity these days, it’s rarer than platinum.”
Julian Treasure, 4 time TED speaker, CEO of The Sound Agency and interviewee of In Pursuit of Silence

Join us in sharing silence.

As previously mentioned, we at In Pursuit of Silence have launched a Kickstarter campaign for finishing our film: we’re hoping to raise at least $ 40,000 and need your hand as we have less than two weeks to go. The funds are to cover final production trips and help launch us into the editing process so this ever important topic can get to film festivals, in our mailboxes, theaters and on our computer screens.

“Silence is what you already have, right now, but you need to let it in.”

-Helen Lees, author of Silence in Schools and interviewee of In Pursuit of Silence

Silence is speaking… will we listen?
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Silence Not Equal to Death

3 days of silence. 2 times a year.

Silence allows me to see myself, separate from my agendas.

For the last 15 years, I have spent 3 days, twice a year, on a silent retreat at a monastery 50 miles north of Boston. It has taught me how to listen to myself and, in doing so, I hear others better.

Between a stress-filled job and the full-time home care of my elderly parents for the last 5 years, silence has become a luxury. The monastery allows me to drop my agendas at the door and slow my mind and body down. Learning to drop my agendas did not come easily. But once I did, it opened up the door to really seeing the leaves on the tress, the markings of falling snow, the remains of a bird I heard being attacked the night before. Just the claws and leg were on the ground, and in the claws was an unbroken egg. Along with the amazing opportunity to see and hear the mundane and the unusual around me, silence moves me back to discernment as a way of being. The singing of hymns 4 times a day and eating meals together in silence with total strangers is liberating and communing in fundamental ways. Most of all I get the very best sleep when I am at the monastery. Sad, that good sleep and the ability to hear a bird’s sound or my own voice is a luxury in our world today. For a dose of stillness, I go to a monastery 2 times a year.

8 deaths. 2 more to go.

Death still remains a mystery but I am no longer afraid of it.

I was 25 and less than 3 years in the US when I buried, from AIDS, my first lover in 1985. John was 54. I was deep in the closet. At 30, my next partner Bob, 60, who ran 5 miles 3 times a week, died of a heart attack in my arms as I gave him CPR. I had just learned it 2 weeks prior, but it did not work. Then there was Lucho, my AIDS Action buddy, who was the ultimate practitioner of detachment as the means to a peaceful end. He kept his mother and family away so he could die without emotions interfering with “the process of dying.” Then Tom, my current 81-year-old partner James’s nephew, both of AIDS in 1992. Lloyd and Francis and Joe. Oh yes. Walter. Walter, who was a recluse who had no relatives or friends, lived in our basement with all his windows boarded up. I mean no family and no daylight. None! He told me I needed to slow down and not move so fast. He had no possessions but had stored 20 years of New York Times crossword puzzles he had done in ink. No mistakes. Would not see a doctor and would only allow me to take care of his oozing, gangrened leg. I cleaned and bandaged it for a year. Bought him his $ 5 worth of groceries and $ 5 of cigarettes each week for 2 years. And James and I gave him morphine at the end. He said he wanted to be put out with the trash. We were the only two people at his funeral.

Fast forward. I just buried my father a year ago. Ah! What a satisfying experience. He lived a full life. He and I butted heads when I was young and he became my close friend at the end. He kept telling me in his last year how sad that I was all alone. I still am not sure what he meant. I took care of him and he cared for me. He told me I needed to be more gentle with him. He died at home at 92. He got up from his bed and walked to bed and he died. Br. Curtis from the monastery did the funeral service. And now there is my once super-active mother in a wheelchair at 89, showing early signs dementia and still finding meaning in her diminished state knitting blankets for a children’s hospital. She is looking forward to meeting up with my father. And she tells me he comes and visits her often. Sometimes with a gentle hand on her shoulder. She hates what has become of her life, confined to a wheelchair with her mind and body failing her by the day. This week she asked me if there was “mercy killing” in this country. I just checked out a small hospice nearby.

Silence has allowed me to be present to death. Allowing death to be present in my life, gives me the perspective to be mindful of the present.
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