Sunday, November 17, 2013

JFK Assassination

I'm reposting this memory piece on the murder of JFK. 

John Kennedy Inaugural , 50 Years Today
by Karyl Miller
1.20.2011

50 years ago today John Kennedy was sworn in as our knight in shining armor. I was in high school, but I would have voted for him if I could have. For those of you not fortunate to have been there suffice to say, Kennedy was the white Obama. We Democrats just loved him. He was young, he was smart. He was a gorgeous man with a gorgeous family. He shared our values. We just loved him.

50 years have gone by and I STILL can’t watch Kennedy videos without getting as lump in my throat. I remember watching Kennedy’s Inaugural speech – we were so thrilled. So much hope, so alive. And then, the opposite. I realize now I will never get over the loss of Kennedy. Every Kennedy image reminds me of what might have been and brings me back to that horrific day when we were hearing the impossible. “The president’s been shot.” I was thinking Not OUR president. They must mean some president from some backwards country where they’re always overthrowing each other. Not here. We don’t shoot presidents in America.

I was a just-out-of-high-school showroom girl at a wholesale hat company in the legendary garment center in New York. The switchboard girl said “The president’s been shot.” I thought that maybe they meant our boss, Mr. Abramson, the president of the hat company - whom I hated, but not that much. Someone hated Mr. Abramson even more than I did? At least that’s what I told myself when they sent me to the bank to make the deposits. 

The garment center was jammed, as it always was back when we still manufactured clothing right there in NYC USA. This was the hub. The joint was jumping. Trucks were honking and double parking and backing in and out of driveways. People are always yelling at each other and flipping each other off. Sidewalks were teaming with Puerto Ricans navigating racks and racks of clothing between the salesmen, the masses,  the 6-foot models all painted up and scurrying to their next job. 

1407 Broadway was the Mecca of it all. There was always a line up of chauffeured black Cadillac limousines circling the building waiting for their owners – the top designers who worked there. As I got closer I realized every chauffeur had his door open and a crowd gathered around, trying to hear the radio. If you accidentally made eye contact with a stranger, you exchanged worried looks. Everyone was wishing Please don’t let it be true. The people closest to the radios passed the info back to us. I heard what sounded like “presidente” in fifty different languages. Then I heard the word “morte,” which I guessed meant the news was very bad indeed.

My heart sank. I had to stop fooling myself about Mr. Abramson. I had to accept the fact that our beloved president John Kennedy was shot and killed. And just when things couldn’t get any worse, they got worse with more and more dying in Vietnam. Then they killed Martin and Bobby – Bam! Bam! Back to back in 60 days.  We boomers and beyond had the optimism beat out of us. That’s what happens when they take away your heroes. It's not just Kennedy I mourn today. 
                                                                          ***

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Filner vs. Weiner

Women Wonder:  What if Mayor Filner sexted us and Weiner Frenched us?  Would that be better?

Today every woman in my Zumba group agreed we would die if our mayor, Bob Filner, stuck his tongue down our throats.  As a Democrat, nothing makes me madder than Democrats behaving badly.  My opinion of Weiner the-wienie-waver?  I‘ve never sexted but certainly wouldn’t do it with a stranger, especially one who called himself Carlos Danger.  How can you say that name without laughing?  Wasn’t the name Weiner funny enough? – Especially when you’re sending photos of same?  Carlos Danger, the world’s most in-teresting dick.

Before they had a word for sexual harassment at work, my generation of women called it “having a job.”  By today’s standards, I‘ve been harassed on almost every job I’ve ever had. In the sixties, being harassed was the price a woman paid for the privilege of being one of the boys (though paid less).  We trained ourselves to ignore the silly little men and their pathetic attempts at flirtation. 

Filner’s excuse for his behavior is: he’s from the Mad Men generation where harassing women was a time-honored business activity.  Oh, yes, I remember it well.  Women had to be good sports or we’d be out of a job. An occasional swat on the butt?  Fine. Rubbing my shoulders?  No big deal.  Telling an occasional dirty joke?  No big whoop.  Forced Frenching?  NOT OKAY!  Never was and still isn’t!

I remember the first time the subject of harassment hit the news.  At first no one was sure know how to pronounce harassment.  Was the accent on the ha or the ass?  It was during the hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Anita Hill, an attorney and former Thomas underling (at the EEOC, ironically) came forward and accused Thomas of harassment.  She was forced to recount the most embarrassing details of Thomas' crude and dumb improprieties...live and on television.  Not one woman in America doubted Hill’s story.  It was obvious this refined and serious woman didn’t dream up something about “a pubic hair on a coke can.”  Or a porno movie called “Long Dong Silver.” Thomas was obviously guilty (as far as women were concerned).

The entire country was glued to the hearings.  Men couldn’t believe or understand why Hill didn’t quit. Women couldn’t understand why men couldn’t understand why a woman would just ignore the harassment.  It was a way of life for working women!  More than a few couples broke up arguing over the subject.

Besides Anita Hill, there were five other women waiting in the wings to testify against Thomas, but they weren’t allowed.  If the five other women had testified, would Thomas be a justice on the Supreme Court today?  Would a man who obviously knew he was breaking the rules be rewarded with a lifetime job interpreting the constitution?
                                        
                                                              ***


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rebecca Schaeffer 7/18/89


Rebecca Schaeffer 7/18/89
Actress, gun violence victim, forever 21. 
Remember her tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Don't Take Your Daughters to Work Day


Thursday is Take Our Kids To Work Day. Since women are still only making 70 cents to a man's dollar, let's not show up for work at all. Maybe it would benefit women more if we just said no to the gyno dollars and let the whole damn office, restaurant, store, school, hospital and factory fall apart without us. 

After a day spent NOT taking our daughters to work, let's get together in our back yards and light up our barbecues, but instead of cooking dinner, let's re-enact a moment from feminist folklore: Let's burn our bras! Let's toss our foam-filled Victoria's Secrets onto the flames. Let a bonfire of the bras send out a toxic smoke signal that says "We're raising a stink because we want the financial equality we were promised years ago and we want it today!"  

                              ***   
    

Friday, March 08, 2013

International Womens' Day


Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't I A Woman?
Delivered 1851
Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio 
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pope Resigns

 Protected Roger Mahoney who protected numerous child rapists.  
Only he knows the whole terrible truth.
Good riddance and may he be haunted by his misdeeds.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dear Abby RIP


                                  
If I could be any other writer, I always wanted to be Dear Abby.  Dishing out homespun advice and Jewish wisdom to the confused masses seemed like a dream job.  I was Abby’s biggest fan and one day I got to meet her.  I was writing on a new family sitcom created by Erma Bombeck.  Erma was the Executive Producer of “Maggie” and she was the sweetest and easiest boss I ever had.  Erma knew absolutely everybody. Behind Erma’s desk was hung an enormous patchwork quilt, each square containing a famous person’s autograph embroidered.  The daily parade of luminaries who came to take Erma to lunch was amazing – one day in walked Ann Richards, the governor of Texas.  But toping them all, for me, was when Dear Abby walked in, resplendent in her trademark helmet hair.


Like every woman in America, I have a treasure-trove of yellowing Abby columns on my fridge and I insisted on recounting them to Abby before I would let Abby and Erma leave for their lunch.  Abby was more than gracious while I ticked them off.

          Here are a few of my Abby faves:

1. A poem called FORGIVNESS
The friend who ran off with your wife, Forgive him for his lust, The chum who sold you phony stocks, Forgive his breach of trust; The pal who schemed behind your back, Forgive his evil work; And while you’re done, forgive yourself for being such a jerk.

2. “Regret is the cancer of life.”

3. A story about a teacher who had her students write down one good thing about each person in the class.  The teacher then copied them over and gave each student a list of 30 positive things others had said about them.  An Abby reader died and the list was found in his wallet.  He had carried it for forty years.

4. Letter writer Lois in New York didn’t ask for Abby’s advice but sent some of her own pearls of wisdom about not trusting male nurses because “men are the adulterers, the child molesters of the world…”  I thought Lois that was pretty funny and I guess so did Abby.  Abby will be missed.

Karyl, sad in San Diego 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

White House Lunch

                           Yes it's tasteless and the drawing isn't good, but did U laugh?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Helen Gurley Brown, my hero


When I was in high school sex-before-marriage was forbidden (for girls).  What did we do with our raging hormones?  I don’t get national credit for this but:  I invented the lap dance in the back seat of a ’57 Chevy.  As long as there was some jeans fabric separating your tunnel from his little red wagon, you were okay.

My mother, who was an expert on the rules of the time said, “You’re either a nice girl or a nafka.”  Nafka was Yiddish for prostitute and the word whore was also forbidden.  “If you have sex and the boy brags about it—which he will--your reputation will be ruined, you’ll be damaged goods and you’ll never get a good husband.  The best you’ll get is living in a trailer park with a drunk.  If you get pregnant, you’ll be sent to a home for unwed mothers run by mean nuns and after the baby is born, you’ll have to move to some other state.”

After Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl came out in 1962, (the year I graduated from high school) everything changed.  Brown said if a girl was unmarried and had a career, she could have sex and not think of herself as a whore.  I so agreed, especially since I had already lost my virginity around my 16th birthday (in the back of that same ’57 Chevy).  Coincidentally (and luckily), the Pill came out around the same time--so the timing could not have been better.  Thus began the Sexual Revolution (where I became a foot soldier).  We went from being junior Jackie Kennedys to swimming naked at Woodstock in just a few years’ time.  I thank Helen Gurley Brown for that.

                                                                 ***

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey: Book Four


Book Four of Fifty Shades of Grey should open with Christian Grey holding a dust cloth. That’s a universal turn-on for any woman, isn’t it?  A guy, who without urging, picks up a broom and utters those three little words, “How can I help?”  Now that makes my heart flutter.  The reason working women today are complaining they can’t have it all is because obviously their husbands aren’t doing their half.  

I blame Madison Avenue for brainwashing the American public with their sexist commercials.  In every ad who’s washing the toilet?  The woman.  Who’s having fun washing the car and playing with a hose in the driveway?  The man.  Who’s knocking herself out cleaning and cooking?  The woman.  Who’s playing cowboy in the yard killing weeds with squirter that looks like a gun?  The man.  At the heart of the battle of the sexes is the battle over whose job it is to wash the toilet.
How to Housebreak the Average American Male

1.     Don’t be a little elf, magically cleaning while he’s not there.  ALWAYS vacuum right under his nose.  He’ll feel guilty, appreciate you more and someday ask if he can help.
2.     If he offers to wash the dishes, don’t tell him how to wash the dishes.  Men hate that.  Look away if you have to.  If he breaks the dishwasher, let it go.  Eventually he’ll learn.
3.     Thank him profusely for his help.  Why?  Men unconsciously still think housework is your job and they’re doing you a favor.  Whatever.  Would it kill you to fake it a little?  It won’t be the first time.  Gush.  Gush with all your might, “Honey the floor looks fantastic!  What did you do?  Our rug looks brand-new!  Thank soo much!’’  Works every time.


Got any bright ideas?  Let me know ...

***


Thursday, July 05, 2012

Can a Woman Have it All in Hollywood?



As long as women have kids and careers, the question of whether we can have it all isn’t going to go away anytime soon.  In a recent article in The Atlantic, Why Women StillCan’t Have it All,” Ann-Marie Slaughter mentions the pioneer femi-nazis (not her term) of the previous generation for having to be “like men” to succeed in the bad old Mad Men days.  The next generation (ours) only had to be better than men to get ahead.  We were the first women to run ourselves ragged in the workplace in droves, and we did it voluntarily.  I was a young housewife and mother when the women’s movement came along and said the worst thing you could be was a young housewife and mother.  If a woman wanted respect, if she wanted her own money, she was going to have to earn it.  I decided to become a writer because a woman could do it from home and still be a mom, a maid, a chauffeur and have dinner on the table by six.  If I could squeeze in my writing when nobody was looking, how could my husband object?

Two years and many spec scripts later, I became one of the newly liberated working women writing about one of the newly liberated working women on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  My son was seven and in the second grade.  The first thing I did was run out and buy a Norman Todd pantsuit just like Mary wore on the show.  Once women won the right to wear pants to work, there was no holding us back.  Seriously.

The Women’s Liberation Movement was reaching a feverish pitch when Mary debuted in 1970.  Mary represented the ideal, freshly minted career woman.  Mary was who women aspired to be--more than a secretary (but less than a boss).  Every week we got a soft little lesson in liberation.  You could be thirty and a single woman and not hate your life.  You could have a career with responsibilities and still be feminine.  You could stand up to your boss (as Mary did to Mr. Grant in her job interview) and still get hired.  Mary had spunk.  We all wanted it.

Flashback to 1964.  A funny thing happened to me on the way to my honeymoon.  I was twenty-one.  I had just married a “great catch.”  I could finally relax.  Married life was gonna be great.  Goodbye to first dates and lonely birthdays.  Hello wonderful world of kooky-artistic wife-of-successful musician.  In my fantasies we would be just like Lucy and Ricky, only Jewish.  Just like on I Love Lucy, if I dented the fender, I would have some ‘splaining to do and Hubby would scold me (in a cute way) because it was his car and his money that I was wasting by “driving like a woman.”  And that was just fine because we all thought women stank at driving back then.  Women were considered less good than men at just about everything.

My groom was tall and thin and nerdy-cute, with Clark Kent-ish tortoise-shell glasses.  He wore beautiful sports jackets and always left a trail of that intoxicating (at the time) “Aramis.”  He was smart, he was interesting.  He was a songwriter.  I was awed by his talent.  We both loved music and art.  We had lots of things in common, but the main thing we had in common was our absolute fascination with him. 

So, there we are, my groom and I, about to board our honeymoon plane to Bermuda.  In those days, the husband paid for everything and the wife offered her homemaking and baby raising skills in trade.  That was the default position even for college-educated women.  My mother was proud to say she only went to college to get her “Mrs.” degree.  Back then being a wife and mother was good enough and no higher goals were necessary for a woman to be respected and to respect herself.  Hubby would bring home the bacon, and Wifey would fry it right under her diploma. 

A job was just something a woman did till she landed Mr. Right.  I was an artist, an oil painter who also had a passion for fashion.  I was brainwashed by my mother at a very young age with her lecture “What a Woman Is and What a Woman Does to Attain the Happy Life 101.”  I’ll never forget her sweet admonishments, uttered in her Midwestern monotone, “You don’t like school, so college is out and being a teacher is out.  You think nursing is too ‘yucky,’ so that’s out.  You’re too short to be a stewardess.  You flunked typing twice on account of uncontrollable giggling, so you can’t be a secretary.  So what are you good at?  Art.  You’re very good at art, no one would deny that.  You say you want to be an ‘artist’ and ‘paint pictures all day.’  That’s nice.  Let me ask you something Miss Picasso: who is going to pay for the paint?  I’m asking you!  Don’t roll your eyes at me, little Missy.  Answer me this:  How do you eat between the time you finish your masterpiece and the day you finally sell it?  Can you last a month?  What if it takes a year?  How will you support yourself?  Okay that’s a trick question so I’ll answer it:  You don’t support yourself.  You find a good husband and HE supports you.  You let HIM pay for the paint.  Next question:  How are you going to get a good husband IF YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO SET A TABLE?  How are you going to be a good hostess when he brings his business associates home for dinner!?  Ye gods, Karyl!  Answer me that!”

I knew what I had to do: move as far away from Mom as possible, so I moved to New York.  Despite my limited education, I always landed amazing and glamorous jobs.  Why?  I was smart.  I knew instinctively to always dress for the part, and I was a great bullshitter.  I created a PR job at Macy’s.  As their Teen Coordinator, I set up teen boards made up of  girls from local high schools, put on teen fashion shows, had celebrity autograph signings, and wrote a teen newsletter.  I was a little bit famous.  I was in Newsweek.  I was interviewed by Mike Wallace.  I won Seventeen Magazine’s AMY (Award for Merchandising to Youth) Award.  I also helped organize, and was a clown in, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I planned on working till I got married.  After that I’d paint and take art classes, but my main job would be to serve my successful husband so that he could become even more successful.  I would bask in his glory and raise our children singlehandedly (if need be) so he could concentrate on his career.  I had always viewed weddings as a sort of retirement party for the bride, because sooner or later it would be the man’s responsibility to support the family.

Hunting for something to read on my honeymoon, I grabbed a best seller that had just come out in paperback: The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan.  I had been wondering what all the fuss was about.  Only a few pages in, Friedan said smart women (like me!) who signed on to be “just housewives” (like I just did) were desperately unhappy.  They got no respect.  They had no money of their own and had to justify every single purchase to their husbands.  These formerly smart college graduates had become nothing but diaper changing, ass-wiping zombie house slaves.  Stuck in the suburbs they were lonely, isolated and practically suicidal.  Meanwhile, their husbands were respected business executives enjoying three-martini lunches and a plethora of cleavage at the Playboy Club in midtown Manhattan.  The more I read, the more I knew Friedan was right.  All I could think was: I’ve just made the biggest mistake of my life.

I needed to come up with a Plan B--and fast--hopefully before the honeymoon was over.  I realized if a wife wanted any respect, she was going to have to fight for it.  How could I get my husband of one day to accept my new idea of my working full time?  I had just spent the past 6 months selling him on my domestic skills and convincing him that I couldn’t wait to wait on him hand and foot and to bask in his glory.  But now that I’d read this book, I still wanted to be married, but maybe not in the original Lucy-Desi way I had envisioned.  I wanted a job.  I wanted to stay vital.

I secretly vowed I would do everything I could to grow as a woman--as long as it didn’t interfere with my marriage.  All I had to do was be the perfect housewife and maybe I could fulfill myself from nine-to-five just like Betty Freidan suggested.  As long as I kept the house clean, the refrigerator filled and had dinner on the table by six, how could my husband say no? 

My husband gave me permission to work!  Yay!  The first two years of our marriage, I did PR for rock groups--most notably, the Rolling Stones.  Then I wangled myself a job on Madison Avenue as an Account Executive capitalizing on my special knowledge of what teenage girls want.  Still unfulfilled, I decided to become a dress designer.  I was an artist.  I could draw.  I had style.  I made up a bunch of sketches and I talked my way into a wonderful job designing Junior dresses.  I earned while I learned.  I took patternmaking at the Fashion Institute of Technology at night.  Of course, I still kept up with my marriage and my life plans.  I got pregnant.  I worked until my water broke and then I quit my job.  As a new mother, I was lonely and bored pushing a baby carriage in Central Park.  Chatting with other moms about the newfangled Pampers versus cloth diapers made me want to scream.  During Adam’s nap, I played “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” over and over.  I missed designing.  I missed my friends in the garment center.  I missed having something interesting to say when my husband came home for dinner.  Would he let me go back to work?

With great passion, I stated my case for NOT being a stay-at-home mom.  He agreed to my plan to return to work ONLY after I agreed to pay the nanny’s salary out of my designing salary because, taking care of the baby was the mom’s job.  Yes, I agreed to that.  It was another time!  It was a work-around to get what I wanted.  I returned to the garment center as head designer for a division of America’s #2 dress manufacturer--Bobbie Brooks.  After taxes and paying the nanny, I netted exactly zero dollars.  But I was fulfilled.

Everything changed when we moved from New York to LA.  For me, going to LA meant returning home.  I had grown up in LA.  After high school, I moved to New York to find a husband.  Now I was returning with my booty.  No one, especially my mom could say I had failed at achieving my goal of finding a nice Jewish husband and starting a family.  But that goal wasn’t enough for me anymore.  I promptly got a job designing dresses, but the garment center in LA had none of the action and excitement of New York.  I wanted to make a career switch.  Once again, it was time to re-invent myself, but as what?         

One night we were watching the Emmys on TV.  Lily Tomlin showed up in a 1950’s tulle prom dress.  Fashion jokes always kill me.  Lily’s outfit poked fun of the pomposity of the event.  She was hilarious.  I totally “got” her.  I decided at that moment to become a comedy writer and to one day write for Lily.  Two years later my wish came true.

The same day I was hired to write a Mary Tyler Moore episode, I was hired to staff write on Lily, Lily Tomlin’s first special.  Almost half the writers on Lily were women but I was the only wife and mother.  My son went to a private school less than a mile away.  How was I going to manage being a full-time mom and having a full-time job? 

Luckily, I had Maria, a “criada,” a live-in cleaning lady/baby sitter illegal-from-Mexico.  She didn’t speak a word of English, didn’t drive, couldn’t cook anything except tortillas.  My plan: I could drop Adam at school on my way to the office if his dad could pick him up from school at three and bring him home.  Maria could take over from there.  My husband lived on song royalties and didn’t work.  He had nothing to do all day except go to the gym, meet friends for lunch and call people on the phone.  Still, he balked at running this errand while I “fulfilled” myself.  I begged him.  It was only for six weeks and then I promised I’d be back at my job as Number One husband-and-child-tender.  Reluctantly, he agreed.

When Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel she was famous for saying that whenever she was running Israel she felt guilty about her children and whenever she was taking care of her kids, she felt guilty about Israel.  I could relate.  Whenever I could include Adam and work, it was good.  After writing on Lily, Richard Pryor and I became friends and decided to write a Sanford and Son together.  Richie’s daughter, Rain, was Adam’s age and sometimes the two of them played while we wrote.  Whenever that happened, it was the best of all possible worlds.  I staff wrote on a sitcom with Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna.  They had a son Gabriel who was Adam’s age, and again, I got really lucky that the boys could play together while we wrote, sometimes late into the night.  

I was a writer on the pilot of Cher right after she split from Sonny.  For our first staff writers' get-acquainted meeting, Cher greeted me at the door of her palatial Sunset Boulevard mansion with a naked two-year-old Chastity Bono resting on her hip.  Before the meeting began she handed Chastity over to her criada.

After Mary, TV became a hotbed for shows starring funny women.  It slowly dawned on Hollywood they might need funny women to write for them.  Yay for me.  For once, I had impeccable timing.  I wrote a Maude, a Karen Valentine Show, a Diana Rigg Show, and just about every other series about a 1970’s career woman or about a mom who wants to be a 1970’s career woman.  Even Edith Bunker had pangs of liberation.  Women writers became Hollywood’s newest novelty.  Every show wanted one.  There were around a dozen of us writing sitcoms.  Our unique status drew us together and we became friends.  We founded the Women’s Committee of the Writers Guild.  We were among the first members of Women in Film.

Just like all the other disgruntled housewives of America, women writers bonded, threw consciousness-raising parties and got enlightened.  Consciousness-raising was a lot like group therapy.  Once someone read aloud an article from Ms. Magazine (the feminist’s bible) called “I Want a Wife.”  The satirical piece was an amazingly long list of household chores assigned exclusively to the wife.  The more we heard, the angrier we got.  It concluded with “Who wouldn’t want a wife?”  Everyone in the room was blown away by it.  Everyone could relate.  Everyone got mad.  Then, everyone scurried home to cook dinner for their husbands.  If we were going to change our husbands, first we had to change ourselves.

­­­­­­My career really took off.  I could hardly keep up with my writing.  One night, purely by coincidence, I had three different shows on the air.  I wrote a second Mary Tyler Moore.  I wrote many other relics of that time including the wife-swapping sitcom Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice.  I was so popular; I got my fifteen minutes of fame.  Ms. did a photo story on sitcom moms.  My son and I were pictured goofing off wearing matching baseball shirts.  I was interviewed on the first Regis Philbin Show.  By the end of my first year as a professional writer, I was nominated for an Emmy and a Writer’s Guild of America Award for Lily.  I got invited to speak at colleges that would never have admitted me as a student.  By the end of my second year, I won the Emmy for Best Writing on Lily Tomlin’s second special, along with the American Academy of Humor Award, and the Rolling Stone Magazine award for the Best Special of the Year.  

Like everyone who becomes successful in show business, my private life stank.  After I won my Emmy, my marriage imploded and my son needed an exorcist.  The freelance writing market dried up and staff writing became the only way to write sitcoms.  Now that I was divorced, writing was no longer a hobby.  I needed the money.  Even though we women had our own anthem and were Strong, Invincible, Wo-maaan, our rightful equality was taking longer than anticipated.  I don’t know why.  All we had to do was convince men to give us half of all their jobs, to pay us equally, and to wash their own goddamn socks.  How hard could that be?

Even though I was now a single mother, I was dammed if I going to let that stand in the way of my burgeoning career.  Of course I no longer lived in a big house with a live-in criada; I had to rely on the kindness of teenagers.

I was being considered to write an episode for the police sitcom, Barney Miller.  It wasn’t a woman’s show, so the fact that they liked my Mary Tyler Moore writing enough to ignore the fact that I had a vagina meant a lot to me.  I knew I would be the first female they hired.  I was determined to show them they wouldn’t regret hiring a woman and a mother.  I wanted to hit it out of the ballpark for my sisters in the Writers Guild. 

I was resolute in playing down the mom thing because being a mother was a reason NOT to get hired.  If a child gets sick, who stays home?  The mom.  Could I have predicted my story meeting would run over to 2:30 PM and that soon my child would be waiting for me on the curb in front of his school?  Could I have predicted that after picking him up and racing home and finding a sitter (Of course, I’m NOT going to bring my child to work--that would sabotage my whole case), that my car would break down on the freeway?  That my shoe strap would break when I ran to the Call Box?  That my Ex would have cancelled my AAA card?  That I would finally return to my story meeting two hours later sweaty and bedraggled?  Suddenly, all the stress, the hurt and the anger over the divorce came spewing out in an avalanche of tears and boogers.  Everyone knows there is no greater sin than a woman crying at work.  I was flunking as a feminist and that made me cry even more!  

After Mary and Lily I was the only woman in the Writer’s Room AKA the Frat House for the first ten years of my comedy writing career.  I was a feminist in the frat house.  Good thing I had an older brother who once threw a Lionel train at me and taught me everything there was to know about armpit farts, or I wouldn’t have survived it. 

I went to London to write on a musical comedy special starring Sandy Duncan.  Did my Ex help me out and take our son for a month while I went on location?  Did he help me out with my career while we were still married?  Luckily, another PTA mom took Adam so I could take the job.  I was the only woman writer on staff.  I was jealous because all my co-workers (men) had wives back home who were holding down their forts.  I thought I was going to be like Sally on the old Dick Van Dyke Show.  There were three guy writers and me.  I was newly divorced and I couldn’t wait to explore London.  The first night after work we were riding back from Elstree Studios in our limo.  We were laughing and joking and I thought I’m finally accepted as one of the boys when one of my co-writers piped up, “Hey,  let’s all go out and get laid.“  Luckily I brought my knitting.  It was still a man’s world.

If it wasn’t for women actors, (or actresses, as they used to like to be called), I probably wouldn’t have worked at all.  I wrote on the staff of Erma Bombeck’s sitcom, Maggie.  I co-wrote a Kate and Allie.  I staff wrote and was Supervising Producer on My Sister Sam, which starred Pam Dawber and the late Rebecca Schaeffer.  I staff wrote on the first nine Cosby Shows.

The Cosby Show was a milestone for women in sitcoms.  Tom Werner and Marcy Carsey hired four writers to complete the unfinished pilot and write or re-write the first nine Cosby episodes.  The two other writers on the staff were guys.  Women writers were finally 50%!  I felt like women were finally making it in sitcom.  Our Executive Producers were 50% female and our line producer, Caryn Mandabach, was overtly female, being very very pregnant.

One day on stage I noticed Caryn was missing.  I asked around and someone told me she had her baby yesterday.  “Oh.”  A little while later I spotted Caryn walking around and she was still as big as a house.  “Oh Caryn, you’re here.  Some idiot just told me you had your baby.”  And Caryn said, “I did, yesterday.  He’s up in the stands with his nurse.”  Caryn waved to a smiling buck-toothed black lady in a white uniform.  The lady waved back while holding a teeny, tiny one-day-old baby.  ONE DAY?  ONE DAY and she’s back to work, like she played hooky for a few hours to get her roots done? Is that what Yahoo Mom Marissa Mayer is planning?  What was the world of working women coming to?   

The day after I gave birth I was still in the hospital, walking like Roy Rodgers while straddling an industrial strength sanitary pad the size of a canoe.  My hair was in a point.  I looked like Phyllis Diller.  I was exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed.  I had a case of post-partum depression so severe that it lasted for eighteen years!  Did I rush back to work?  I did not.  I took six months. 

My generation of working women accepted the old Ginger Rodgers dictum that said: to get ahead women had to do what men did “backwards and in high heels.”  Caryn represented a new generation of working women—fourteen years after Mary Richards showed us her spunk.  She couldn’t take a few days off to have a baby?  Now we’re supposed to give birth in the field, tie the umbilical cord with our teeth and go back to picking cotton?  What the hell!  If Caryn set the new standard, I couldn’t compete.  I had neither the stamina nor the ambition, but Caryn did.  Eventually it paid off to the tune of eighty gazillion dollars when The Cosby Show was sold into syndication.  No one can say she didn’t earn it.

I turned to writing movie scripts as a way to get some sleep, sold a screenplay to Kevin Costner and found out why they call it “development hell.”  Still wrote all night.

During my career I wrote sitcom pilots for Karen Valentine, Nancy Walker, Madeline Kahn, Talia Shire, Mariette Hartley, Melba Moore and Pam Dawber.  See a theme emerging?  If the show was about a woman or a family, I got the call.  I brought my pen and my vagina.  I started out as a Hollywood housewife with a hobby, but that blossomed into a writing career that lasted thirty years. 

Writing on a TV show isn’t like any other job on the planet.  They pay you boatloads of bucks to sit around a table with the funniest people you ever met and try to crack each other up.  Every day, your sides ache from laughing.  Of course, the majority of the jokes are actually hostile remarks about coworkers.  But that’s the good part.  The bad part is: if the writing takes 24/7 well, you’re STILL overpaid, so just grab some toothpicks, prop up your eyelids and keep on writing–and you better be funny.  Will you be the only mom in the room?  Probably not.  Will you have a more helpful husband than I had?  Hopefully.  Can a woman have it all in Hollywood?  Yes she can, but she’s still going to be really, really tired.
***



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trayvon Martin case New Fact

                I completely agree with Reverend Al and Toure’ on the Trayvon Martin case. My condolences to the Martin family on the death of their son. The shooter was wrong.  The cops were wrong.  The Stand Your Ground law is wrong. Nevertheless,  I just heard a tiny detail on Reverend Al’s show that explains what set off  the radar of the pistol packing paranoid (beyond fear/hatred of black men)  1.  It was a scary dark and rainy night.  2. Trayvon got in the gate and looked around for a temporary shelter from the storm. 3. Trayvon ducked into the lobby of building One to wait for the rain to subside. 4.  Trayvon had his hoodie pulled up and he’s having an animated conversation with his girlfriend on his ear buds.
5. Zimmerman drives by and SEES through the glass entryway, a black guy in a black hoodie standing in the hallway, drinking out of a can and talking to himself. 
6. Trayvon decides the rain isn’t going to stop so he makes a break for it, eyes darting around for his next possible shelter as he makes his way back home in the rain.  The rest is history.  Zimmerman should be arrested immediately.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Open Letter to Blunt, Limbaugh et al.

Open Letter to Blunt, Limbaugh et al.
You can call us whores and take away our contraception,  but don’t plan on fucking us anytime soon.
Grrl friends  UNITE! No nookie for guys who think they’re in charge of our bodies!
Message to Misogynists:  Stop the war on women’s rights or we're not voting for you, EVER AGAIN!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Casey Anthony Trial















Were you as obsessed as I was and still am with this fascinating case?
Don't you wish it would go on and on forever?
Are you dreaming of Nancy Grace?
Are you actually starting to like Vinnie Politan? 
Do you have a theory of how Casey did it?
Do you have a theory of why the jury fucked up?
Are you all a-Twitter over #CaseyAnthony?
Me too!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Don't Take Your Daughters to Work Day

DON’T TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK DAY,
Especially if You Work at WalMart
4/28/11




Today marks 19 years since the first “Take Our Daughters to Work Day.”

In the early ‘80’s the womens’ movement was around 10 years old and many former housewives had entered the workplace. The idea (dreamt up by Ms. Mag) was for moms to show their daughters that they were MORE than just ass-wiping Mom-slaves; that they were also respected members of the business community. At least that was the Kool Aid they were selling to little girls at the time. But in the real world, as well as in Hollywood where I worked, it was still a man’s world, despite the presence of a few extraordinary and lucky women. Back then, Tinseltown still looked like that movie “9 to 5.”

Is it still a man’s world? What has changed? The economy tanked so no one has a good job. They changed the name of the annual event to “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day,” so it’s no longer a mother-daughter thing. Now its mission is diluted and vague. Now it’s just a workday like all other workdays except nothing gets done.

On the positive side, the best and brightest white women are now making 10 cents more than they made 9 years ago! That’s a big 80 cents to the man’s dollar.  And why am I not dancing a jig over that 10 cent gain? Well. How long should a woman wait for EQUAL FUCKING PAY, forgodsakes! That’s why I’m publishing the following rant from 2002. I’m sorry to say it’s still relevant.


DON’T TAKE YOUR DAUGHTERS TO WORK
Don’t Even Get Out Of Bed
By
Karyl Miller

It happens every April, just like death and taxes: Take Our Daughters to Work Day. As a writer on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” I was one of the new “career women,” writing about one of the new career women. While my mother's generation thought being a secretary was a stepping stone to marrying the boss, my generation thought being a secretary was a stepping stone to being the boss; Mary set that standard.


Right after my MTM experience, I won an Emmy for writing on Lily Tomlin’s special. More women won writing Emmys in 1974 than ever before in the history of the Television Academy. With such an auspicious start, could equality have been far behind? Apparently, yes. A recent report released by the Writer’s Guild of America revealed that over the past quarter of a century there have been minimal gains for women writers. The best year for women writers in Hollywood is still 1949 (when most were writing partners with their husbands)! Scary.

Today, a white woman in her peak earning years makes only 70 cents for every dollar earned by a man. I call these “gyno dollars.” So, why would a secretary take her daughter to work? To show her that despite the media spin that tells the girl she can be all she can be, and high faulting’ job titles like “Executive Assistant,” offices are still configured in the missionary position – you know – men on top, women on the bottom.

Maybe we should warn our daughters that someone is always trying to tell us we’ve come a long way, baby. The truth is the national Anti-Affirmative Action Movement is making opportunities for women disappear, and the media calls this “ending preferences.” Isn’t being a (white) man a preference?

Then there’s harassment. Even the word is STILL a mystery to men. Is the accent on the “ha,” or the “ass?” Ever since the Anita Hill Inquisition, we've known our men just don't get it. Now men think if they so much as hold the elevator for us, we'll sue their pants off.

Thirty years ago after feminist author Gloria Steinem remarked, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” millions of women got divorced and started careers where the sky was supposedly the limit. Could she have predicted that today an unmarried woman is five hundred times more likely to die in poverty than a married woman? So, despite our ambitions, maybe our mothers were right: the job of wife is still the best job most women can get. Even Steinem eventually got married.

So, this year on “Take Our Daughters to Work Day,” let's not show up for work at all! Let's not even get out of bed. Maybe it would benefit working women more if we just said no to the gyno dollars and let the whole damn office, movie studio, restaurant, store,
school, hospital or factory fall apart without us.

And after a day spent not taking our daughters to work, let’s get together on our porches and in our back yards and light up our barbecues and hibachis. Once those fires are crackling, let’s forget about making dinner for the family.

Instead, let's re-enact an indelible moment from feminist folklore: let's take off  our tops and toss our thick, petroleum-based, foam-filled push-up bras onto the flames! Let them snap, crackle, and pollute! Let a bonfire of the Wonderbras send out a toxic smoke signal that says, "We're raising a stink because we want the financial equality we were promised years ago and we want it today!"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ferarro RIP


I'm not doing 'toons at the moment, but I couldn't let this death go by
without a comment.  Who can forget that thrilling moment in 1984 when
Geraldine Ferarro was nominated for vice president by Walter Mondale?
She gave women hope. Yes there were some missteps more recently,
but that doesn't take away her place in the history of women in politics.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kennedy Inauguration - 50 Years Today


John Kennedy Inaugural , 50 Years Today
by Karyl Miller
1.20.2011

50 years ago today John Kennedy was sworn in as our knight in shining armor. I was in high school, but I would have voted for him if I could have. For those of you not fortunate to have been there suffice to say, Kennedy was the white Obama. We Democrats just loved him. He was young, he was smart. He was a gorgeous man with a gorgeous family. He shared our values. We just loved him.

 50 years have gone by and I STILL can’t watch Kennedy videos without getting as lump in my throat. I remember watching Kennedy’s Inaugural speech – we were so thrilled. So much hope, so alive. And then, the opposite. I realize now I will never get over the loss of Kennedy. Every Kennedy image reminds me of what might have been and brings me back to that horrific day when we were hearing the impossible. “The president’s been shot.” I was thinking Not OUR president. They must mean some president from some backwards country where they’re always overthrowing each other. Not here. We don’t shoot presidents in America.


 I was a just-out-of-high-school showroom girl at a wholesale hat company in the legendary garment center in New York. The switchboard girl said “The president’s been shot.” I thought that maybe they meant our boss, Mr. Abramson, the president of the hat company - whom I hated, but not that much. Someone hated Mr. Abramson even more than I did? At least that’s what I told myself when they sent me to the bank to make the deposits.


 The garment center was jammed, as it always was back when we still manufactured clothing right there in NYC USA. This was the hub. The joint was jumping. Trucks were honking and double parking and backing in and out of driveways. People are always yelling at each other and flipping each other off. Sidewalks were teaming with Puerto Ricans navigating racks and racks of clothing between the salesmen, the masses,  the 6-foot models all painted up and scurrying to their next job.


1407 Broadway was the Mecca of it all. There was always a line up of chauffeured black Cadillac limousines circling the building waiting for their owners – the top designers who worked there. As I got closer I realized every chauffeur had his door open and a crowd gathered around, trying to hear the radio. If you accidentally made eye contact with a stranger, you exchanged worried looks. Everyone was wishing Please don’t let it be true. The people closest to the radios passed the info back to us. I heard what sounded like “presidente” in fifty different languages. Then I heard the word “morte,” which I guessed meant the news was very bad indeed.



My heart sank. I had to stop fooling myself about Mr. Abramson. I had to accept the fact that our beloved president John Kennedy was shot and killed. And just when things couldn’t get any worse, they got worse with more and more dying in Vietnam. Then they killed Martin and Bobby – Bam! Bam! Back to back in 60 days.  We boomers and beyond had the optimism beat out of us. That’s what happens when they take away your heroes. It's not just Kennedy I mourn today.

***

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

State of the Union

Why do I think this "marriage of convenience" for the night
is a bad idea for Dems? Because I'm cynical and believe
Dems will politely hold their applause, rather than
appear self-interested or show-off like. This will
in turn lead to massive flop sweat from our leader. 
Just what we DON'T need.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mt. Soledad Cross

You're probably not surprised that I oppose the
Mt. Soledad cross, and it's not just because I'm
Jewish. It is not a "Latin" cross, it's a Christian
cross.  It violates of the separation of church and state.
  The group defending it is an evangelical legal group, NOT a military group.
If it's really about the honoring America and the military,
here is my suggestion: remodel it.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Tucson Murders

Friends I'm sending this out because I hear constant FALSE EQUIVALENCY spouted from the media for the past 24 hours. It is NOT the Democrats who have been arming themselves or suggesting using the 2nd amendment against the opposition.  Here's a copy of the Palin website that she took down yesterday AFTER the murders. ( There was also a candidate who ran against Giffords in Nov. who had a rifle in his lap and his ad suggested she be shot.)  I Twittered copies of both websites yesterday.  The Glenn Beckers, teabaggers and birthers have been stoking the fires.  It was only a matter of time that some Travis Bickle type got the message, picked up a gun and took action.   But don't blame it on the Dems!  Stop with the fucking false equivalency!  Karyl 

Tell Palin: Renounce violent rhetoric
See the entire deleted Palin website! Sign the petition!
http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/palin_violence/

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Pelosi Job Hunt

I wonder if an unemployed woman would have gotten the
amazing reception that the Golden Voice guy got in the last 48 hours.
Nothing against him, of course.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tax Cuts for The Rich



















When I saw that frantic school board lady swing her handbag
in the general direction of the perp's arm  instead of his face,
it immediately made me think of the Democrats being held hostage
by the Repubs. 
This was the hardest drawing  ever. Maybe I'm out of practice
but drawing a hand with a gun in it took me hours, as did the two figures.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boehner Cries Again

Boehner scares me.  He looks like an ad for Cymbalta.
His wife says he's going through "an emotional time."
And people accuse Omama of being a pussy?  What's more pussy-ish
than sobbing your eyes out on national TV?  Will the people who accused
Tom Cruise and Howard Dean of being over-the-top please shut up?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

All Democrats Want For Christmas

After my first Obama disappointment ( Rick Warren delivering 
 inaugural prayer ), a promised myself I wasn't going to do any negative
Obama cartoons because  1. I don't want to give the Repubs any ammo for their nasty,
dishonest, cynical, meanspirited, full metal jacket, anti-Obama campaign and ...
2. Obama is STILL WAY, WAY better than any Republican.
 But with all due respect, Obama is no businessman. 
 As far as deal-making,  he had the wrong Emmanuel brother . 
Hollywood agent Ari would have been better .  
Worst thing I can say: Honeymoon's over.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Airport Screenings

NOW we're talking inspection we can believe in!
It's hard to get five people in a picture this small.  Can you tell what
Superman is seeing with his X-ray eyes?  Heard about the Chertoff -
wiener- measuring machine link? Shameful!
Think this expensive taxpayer- funded airport bullshit is protecting us?  Think again.
I welcome your comments.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bush Library

Them of us what consider Bush 2 B a lowbrow,  hearin' the
words "Bush" and "library" in the same sentence, well, excuse me but I gotta chuckle. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

TSA Improved Scanning

Now there's absolutely no place to hide your dope.  But seriously,
don't you think the average bomber would hide his bomb in his butt?
If they're not doing what my 'toon shows, the TSA is just jiving
us about their "security."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Tea Party hearts Republicans


PICK a captian or add one:
1. Politics make strange bed-fellows.
2. If you want to dance, you gotta pay the piper.
3. You better dance with the one what brung ya. 
4. Who's the whore now, huh?