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At Least 5 Reasons I Should Have a Small But Definitely On-Camera Role in the Downton Abbey Movie: An Open Letter to Julian Fellowes

At Least 5 Reasons I Should Have a Small But Definitely On-Camera Role in the Downton Abbey Movie: An Open Letter to Julian Fellowes

 

My Dear Mr. Fellowes,

I was thrilled to bursting when I saw the news last week that Downton Abbey: The Movie will start shooting this year. I love this show. For six winters, my entire Sunday days were dedicated to prepping my home for our Downton Abbey viewing party. Sometimes this meant something as simple as popping a roast in the oven; sometimes, opera-length gloves were involved. My Monday days were spent discussing every detail of the show. And my Thursday days were spent shivering in the corner because it had been far too long since I had seen the Crawleys and I feared I never would again. 

Though I may just be another fan in the masses, I think we would be a great fit to work together. I have detailed my reasons why below and am open to any questions or clarifications you require.

  1. I already own several corsets. Think how much money you’ll save in wardrobe by only having to dress 45 of your 46 extras for what will surely be a glorious holiday or wedding ball where I proudly walk through scene without weeping openly in joy and touching everything around me just to make sure it’s real!
  2. You’ll look super woke. People love saying “woke” these days and they rarely get to say it about costume dramas like Downton or Tory peers like yourself. In fact, there’s much gnashing of teeth about how even though people of color were definitely hanging out in early 1900s society, they rarely get featured in films and shows about these eras. Think of all the awesome PR you’ll get just by having me walk through frame and definitely not smile directly into camera.
  3. I watched Gosford Park about 45 times. With a running time of 2 hours and 17 minutes, I invested a lot of time in this work. I think it’s only fair that I cash in on that investment of that time that I could have spent with “family” or “friends” by spending a bit more time flying across the globe, motoring out to Highclere Castle, fannying about a green room, and then crossing through a scene definitely without embracing Anna Smith in the middle of a take.
  4. I just used the phrase “fannying about” without batting an eye. I may have been born in Texas and now live in California, but I’m pretty much the most British of all my friends–even the British ones. And when I had my DNA tested, it turns out that a full 10% of me hails from slaveowners that came from Britain. It would mean the world to me to return to my homeland for the occasion of appearing, if only briefly, in a scene wherein I walk through the drawing room definitely without reciting every single one of the Dowager’s best one-liners while weeping happily.
  5. I just spent a bunch of time crafting this new webseries, Black Girl in a Big Dress, which is, in part, a nod to my love of all things slightly old and very British. I mean, come on. 

 

For real, your Lordship. Let’s do this!

I look most forward to receiving your reply.  

Sincerely,

The Oreo Experience

PS. I am actually quite excited about this new project, BLACK GIRL IN A BIG DRESS! And hope that everyone reading will take a look! It’s been a labor of love for the last half year and I can’t wait for everyone to see the whole thing. Find us on twitter @BlkGirlBigDress and Facebook.com/blackgirlinabigdress
PPS. I can’t promise that I’m not wearing that giant dress right now.

PPPSNext Week on The Oreo Experience: At Least 5 Things I am Willing to do to be a Part of the Downton Abbey Movie.

 

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What’s your favorite costume drama (okay, or favorite “regular TV show”) and why should you have a role in its next installment? Let us know in the comments and let’s get you on camera! 

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For Mor-eo Oreo and to find out more about Black Girl in a Big Dress:

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Great Heroes of Black History Month

As longtime readers of this space will know, an Oreo is not likely to celebrate Black History Month. Summer Solstice, is fine. Nothing wrong with a Labor Day picnic. And I’m already happily planning the photo shoot for this year’s Boxing Day cards.

But Black History Month is not something we traditionally make space for. When black people go on and on about other black people…and especially when they go on and on about the historical treatment of black people, it makes other people very uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter if what said black person is saying is “true,” or “correct,” or “a helpful bit of conversation to help understand current events,” history and truth will always be around, so no need to harp on them. Comfort, however, is fleeting and should be cherished. Like a shooting star or the finish on a nice Southern French Negrette.

Yesterday, however, Vice President Pence gave us a lovely gift! He showed us that we can celebrate Black History Month by talking about White People!

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That’s way more comfortable than being all snowflakey/SJW/RBP about it. It’s perfect! We get a few more days to throw a lovely bash (who’s gonna pass up an excuse to pass the flutes!) and we can do it without upsetting the social order.

I hear what you’re saying, though. You’ve been indoctrinated to focus on black heroes during BHM. Effectively, unsung white champions have been Affirmative Actioned right out of the conversation. So they’ve been all but forgotten. What white heroes would we even talk about? We’ve got you covered. Below are a handful of white folks to lift up along with talking points about their contributions to Black America.

Ellen Clapsaddle

Look at this darling little white girl.

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She was illustrated by another darling white girl. Ellen Hattie Clapsaddle lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s and was the most prolific greeting card illustrator of her day. Black people, after being freed from slavery, developing economic communities of their own, standing up to the nation when those communities were torn down, and then building themselves up again would eventually mail postcards to each other. Thanks for the support, Ellen!

 

Hubert Cecil Booth

This is Hubert!

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Back in the day when everyone went by all three of their names, he was busy being three-named and inventing the vacuum cleaner. Most homes in the US have a vacuum cleaner and some of those homes have black people in them. Plus, earlier last century when black people could only get work as preachers or maids, some of those ladies used vacuum cleaners instead of having to break their fingers combing carpet by hand. Where would they be without this great man? Thanks, Hube!

 

This Guy

Look at this guy!

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Who is he and what did he do? Does that matter? I think what’s important to see here is that he looks like someone you could just have a conversation with. He probably keeps a level head and gently guides you to make decisions that don’t get everyone all riled up. Thanks, This Guy!

This couple!

Look at the love!

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These two are just starting on their lives together, but they’ve totally had conversations about adopting a kid one day. And they’re not totally opposed to the idea of adopting inter-racially. So there’s like a solid 70-30 chance that they’ll help reduce the inner city by one. Thanks, This couple!

Happy Black History Month, everyone!

For more BHM survival tips:

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What heroes are you celebrating this February? Let us know in the comments! 

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For Mor-eo Oreo:

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How to Free Speech

How to handle speaking out on line is one of the biggest issues of this era.

Because let’s be honest. Sometimes a joke or a meme or a picture is super funny.

But sometimes, it’s super racist or sexist, too.

BuuuuuuUUUuuut, that doesn’t mean it’s not funny and it definitely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t just go ahead and post whatever you want wherever you want.

I mean, it’s basically nothing but a complete abortion of your Constitutionally protected right to free speech not to post that shit. Sure, there are a lot of difficult topics of national importance to talk about right now, and the best way to do that is with a funny-as-heck-jokey-joke. And bonus, a joke is much quicker than a whole conversation and allows you to get back to watching Dr. Thorne on Amazon. (That’s what I’m doing with my time, anyway, I can only assume we’re all following the latest from Julian Fellowes).

Now when it comes to people setting great examples for posting offensive shit and just not giving a flip about it, there are a lot of examples to choose from, but let’s focus on a couplefew that made news this week. Just like these folks (one of which is a physician, two of which are elected state senators), you shouldn’t be afraid to share your controversial opinion. You worked hard on those barbs, now’s the time to just let them out.

heatherwick

sandlin

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Now, some people might call these joke “tasteless,” or “offensive” or “completely fucking tone deaf and awful” or “definitely not part of the job duties of being a g*ddamned senator.” But these guys were probably super proud of what they came up with and so posting it was just self-care. Something I think we can all agree that we need these days.

But even thought these proud Americans were just being good and expressive citizens, the Internet’s response was quick and harsh. Heather’s work was contacted and the senator’s facebook pages filled up with vitriol and news media were contacted. Yikes!

So what do you do if you find yourself in this kind of situation? Harassed online because your funny joke just happened to also be quite racist/sexist/horrible?

It’s simple: Just follow these steps to keep your klout score up and your employers from being flooded with calls and emails asking for your head and resignation.

  • Claim you were hacked. If it’s good enough for the US election, it’s good enough for you. Do what Dr. Wick did and say that you lost control of your account for a while and unkind forces put words (funny ones) into your tweet mouth. People won’t believe you because you will be lying, but at least you’re making an effort.
  • Apologize, the right way. Say something Kellyanne Conwayish like “Well, I’m sorry if anyone got their feelings hurt.” This kind of statement lets you get credit for saying the word “sorry” without the pesky burden of taking responsibility for your actions or releasing any amount of your narcissism. Don’t apologize the way the SNL writer Katie Rich did–with sincerity and humility. All that will do is make you a “good person” and get you another, equally cool, job. But you won’t look nearly as awesome.
  • Lash out/double down. Lean in to what you said in the first place. If folks aren’t on board with it, that’s their problem.
This is one of the senators speaking.

This is one of the senators speaking.

  • Make like one black or female friendNot to give you a pass and absolve you of guilt. But to maybe stop you from doing this stupid thing in the first place.

Heather, Senators, I am available for consultations and coaching. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

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What was the last worst thing you said online? How did you recover? Let us know in the comments!

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Guys, I Can’t Stop Thinking About This Painting

I can’t!

I was googling totally normal things and this painting turned up and now these animals are haunting my dreams and I’m kind of okay with that.

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I’ve made it my background on my desktop and my laptop. I’ve changed one or two avatars to be this thing. I’m in deep guys.

This painting is doing exactly what art is supposed to do. It’s forcing me to ask questions. Questions like:

 

What the effs  is wrong with that little dog on the screen left?

Why is there a Rice Krispies Treat between the plate and the oil thingy?

WHERE IS THE PERSON WHO WAS SITTING HERE?!?!? This painting is called “Exemplary Behavior,” but it’s pretty clear these dogs aren’t exemplary at all. They’re murderers. Murderers!!

So they dispatched with the person, fine, but where is the chair??? That little dog is too short to be on its hind legs. AAAUGH! They’re standing on the corpse of this diner, aren’t they?!

What did the big white dog to do become the boss of this unit?

How many regrets do you think the medium-sized tan dog on the screen right has right now?

Where is the cutlery? Ugh, that’s what they used to kill the person, isn’t it??!

Why is the sugar so close to the pork chop or chicken or whatever is on the plate?

Does Bingo in the middle there get a new golden collar bauble for every kill?

What are these dogs’ demands? They’re clearly after more than food.

Why no veg with this meal? Like not even some mushy peas or anything?

Will they be forgiven? Will they forgive me?

 

I know, I’m spending a lot of space dedicated to this thing, but I think it deserves it. And while all of this guy’s paintings fill me with the same sense of whimsy and menace….

Terrible dish for fish. But that doesn't mean I don't empathize.

Terrible dish for fish. 

Theivey AF

Theivey AF

That plate used to contain a human baby.

That plate used to contain a human baby.

…..the dogs one really steals the show. And isn’t that the kind of mad obsession you want in all of your friends? No, hmmm. Well, potatoes, tomahto, I guess.

Can someone who knows anything about art history or possession by painting explain why I love this so?

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What are you obsessed with looking at these days?

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Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

 

 

An FAQ for Wearing Blackface on Halloween

Halloween is a great time to express your creativity and have some fun. Whether it’s decorating your house with paint-dipped gourds, organizing a walk-through maze, shucking corn at a fair, or just keeping it simple and putting on a costume, this is a great time to just do you.

It’s also that time when a bunch of people think it’s totally cool to put on blackface and wander around in public in the name of holiday fun.

As a super approachable Oreo, some of these people might come to you for advice, shading tips, and guilt assuagement. And as that Oreo, you have two choices.

  1. Call them on their crazy ass behavior and unfriend them immediately.
  2. I’m just kidding, you have one choice and it’s this one: Make them feel comfortable with their suspect decisions. You don’t want to rock the boat and they don’t want you to, either. (After all, those who rock the boat don’t get invited to the Mortinson’s Caroling Regatta this year and you didn’t learn the second alto part to The Huron Carol for nothing). They’re just trying to have a little fun, so stop being a dick about it.

Here is an FAQ for how to deal with the blackfaced Halloweenster in your life:

Q: Is it really racist to wear blackface for Halloween?
A: What was that? I couldn’t hear you over this fully restored phonograph playing Night on Bald Mountain.

Q: And is it any worse than sexy Scrabble?

A: Sexy Balderdash or nothing!

A: Sexy Balderdash or nothing!

Q: What if you’re doing a character you like? Like you’re not doing a lynching motif, you’re just dressing up like a famous black person. Is it OK to do blackface then?
A: I’m so sorry, this fully restored 1920s Singer Sewing Machine is louder than I thought, but I really must finish this underskirt before the end of the day.

Q: I mean, isn’t this just being overly PC?
A: Really sorry again, but I forgot to oil the returns on this fully restored 1920s Remmington typewriter and I really do need to finish this set of haikus. You don’t mind if I type during this phone call do you?

Q: All good, I’m at your office door anyway. I guess what I’m asking specifically is you don’t think this costume is racist, do you?
A: JESUS!

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Q: What? Oh, I get it, you think I’m Black Jesus. That’d be funny, that’d be really funny, but I’m just doing Beyonce from Lemonade. That’s why I have this bat. Isn’t this fun?
A: I don’t really know Lemonade. But the tailor who made this farthingale is really great if you want her to whip up something else for the party Saturday night.

Q: You know I broke up with Scott a few weeks ago after he cheated on me, so this is like me being all “fuck you Angela Sodaskas with the good hair.” This is cathartic for me.  Are you telling me that because I put a little tanner on, that this is actually offensive?
A: You know what I’m most looking forward to about Saturday night? The mini quiches. Oh, and Mitchell’s famous goat cheese tarts. Hashtag yum!

Q: Seriously. I’m just trying to have fun. I mean, Sandra’s wearing a Leprechaun outfit and you know who’s mad about that?
A: Did you want a scone, I was just about to toast some.

Q: Nobody, that’s who. How is that fair?
A:  You’re right. Save the carbs for Saturday. Mitchell also makes those great lemon squares.

Q: Oh hey Jordan. Great costume.  Aydrea, what do you think?
A: JESUS CHRIST!

Q: No, no, I’m not Black Jesus–but that would have been funny! I’m America’s Sweetheart Simone Biles. Can you tell this glitter leotard is giving me a wedgie?
A: ..um…

raw

Q: Oh, come on. You’re not one of those people who’s like “ugh, your costume’s offensive because you covered your whole body in blackface” are you?
A: I would never say that.

Q: I know. You’re always so chill. Why can’t everyone be like you?
A: I’ve read the manual a LOT of times. Like really a bunch of times. Takes some real dedication. And a lot of people have families, so it’s hard to carve out the necessary hours.

Q: Have you seen Geoff’s costume? I think he really knocked it out of the park. Hey Geoff come over here!
A: JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!!

Q: Hahaha! I thought you’d think I was do Black Jesus. But no, I’m not Black Jesus. I’m a Black Lives Matter protester.
A: …

Q: You get it, right?
A: I’m so sorry, it’s really hard to hear you over the sound of me breaking these fully restored vintage China plates, but the smashing action is making it possible for me to not break my own fingers and face. Can we maybe touch base about this a little later?

Q: Sure! You going to the party Saturday?
A: I wouldn’t miss those tarts for the world.

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Do you need a little help keeping that stiff upper lip? Here are some more helpful How-tos!

And hey! Here’s The Oreo Experience having some Halloween fun with references that are surely as timely today as they were in 2011. Also that costume totally still fits… totally.

What’s the best (and or worst) costume you’ve seen so far? What are you dressing up as? Send us your pics and let us know in the comments! 

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For Mor-eo Oreo: Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)

Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

Wrong Idea Woman

Did this a while ago and thanks to some fundamental misunderstandings on my part of how technology works, am just now realizing that no one has seen it. Please enjoy!

Sadly, this isn’t the first time this has happened, check out me leading people on in weird ways here.

 

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Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

Mea Culpa, Bed Bath and Beyond Lady. Mea Culpa

Every now and then, someone gives you a look you just won’t forget.

There’s the look of absolute pride from your trainer the first time you nail a flying lead change. There’s the look of utter appreciation and blissful relaxation when your partner realizes that yes, you have perfected the French 75.

And there’s the look of complete shock when your parents look at your wide eyes during after your first musical rehearsal and realize they’ve made a real miscalculation about what your interests would be.

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But none of those looks have had the gravitas, the unexpected force, or the complete honesty of the look that this lady at Bed Bath and Beyond shot me this weekend.

I can only describe the look in her eyes as the kind of panic that would come when you open your front door and discover that what you thought was your house this whole time was really a 1920s dirigible factory and you aren’t you, you’re an orphaned street girl named Bettye Margaret and have been forced to work in this factory until your fingers bleed.

It was the kind of look that would come across your face if you went to sleep in your bed, but when you woke up, you weren’t in your bed, you were, in fact, still in your mother’s womb, but you were 33 years old and managed to keep a job in there, but were somehow still late to work.

It was the face you’d make if you went to take a sip of wine, but instead of a lovely claret, your glass was full of bees.

She was, in a word, terrified. And very angry about it.

And why wouldn’t she be? When she went to work that day, she had no idea how perilous that day would become.

I don’t know what happened in the few hours or few minutes before she happened upon myself and The Boyf, but in the few minutes before we met her, here’s what happened to us.

Approximately two hours before contact, The Boyf and I realized that we were having company for a couple of days and that we hadn’t done laundry and didn’t have anything clean for our guests to sleep on. So we did what any self-respecting childless couple would do: we went out to buy new sheets.

And while we were picking out sheets, we also discovered that we needed tissue box holders, and a new cup for toothpaste tubes and razors and things, and maybe one of those things that makes spaghetti out of vegetables because let’s get healthy, right?

Equally as good as bread. Equally as good as bread. Equally as good as bread.

Equally as good as bread. Equally as good as bread. Equally as good as bread.

We were standing in the tissue box holder aisle. Both of our hands were super full of tissue box holders, towels, sheets, bathroom cups, Keurig things, and a glass pitcher that I ~definitely~ need for my desk at work, and Bed Bath and Beyond Lady approaches the two of us who are together and who are buying household goods for what is most likely the same household.

BBBL: Do you need a cart?

Boyf: Yeah, that’d be great, thank you.

She left, presumably in search of a cart, and The Boyf and I continued filling up our arms with things that are 100% necessary to have.

After a couple of minutes, I see her en route back to us, cart in tow. I put my very crucial coffee pods on The Boyf’s giant pile of all-important shit for wine bottles that he found after we got the sheets and walked toward the Lady.

I made eye contact with Bed Bath and Beyond and she reacted in a way that totally makes sense when you think about it. 

Her pupils dilated, she yanked the cart back, her voice tightened, and she took several steps in the opposite direction of me.

“Can I help you?!” she snapped, loudly enough to be heard over the clattering of the cart that she was very actively wrestling away from me.

“What?” I asked, foolishly, as she had made her point of view loud, very loud, and rather clear.

“Can. I HELP you?”

The cart was now very far away from me. And a couple people were watching.

She had a look in her eyes hat would only come if you looked in the mirror to splash water on your face in the morning, looked down, and when you came back up and looked in the mirror again, the girl from The Ring, the boy from The Grudge, and the thing from Lights Out were flanking you out of nowhere.

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Bed Bath and Beyond Lady was scared as fuck.

I looked around behind myself for whoever was causing all the trouble.

No one was there.

I looked back at her and realized that yes, she was talking to, snapping at, afraid of… me.

“Oh,” I said, and actually put my hands in the air, because programming, and said “I’m with him.”

I pointed to The Boyf. To the nice white guy in glasses and freckles this woman had just seen me standing next to, flirting with, buying faux chrome accoutrements with just seconds before.

She looked at him, looked at me, back at him, then back to me.

“Oh,” said, and returned her eyes to his. “Here you go.” And handed the cart to him.

I watched her walk away and hoped that she would be okay.

I also realized her F5 panic attack was my fault.

I mean, you can’t just run up on a lady holding out your hands for the thing she said she was going to get for you without prepping first.

How was she to know that I wasn’t just some crazed brown person about to stab her to death in the sanctuary of her workplace and then drop out of school? What else was she to imagine other than me ripping that cart out of her hands, setting it on fire to stage a BLM protest, and then not tipping on the way out? She had seen me with The Boyf, but how was she to know if our laughing and picking out matching patterns was the act of a couple who has spent half a decade together, or the well-designed ruse of a crafty con artist. She couldn’t know this, and so all she knew was that it was only a matter of time before I came for her.

I should have guessed this might happen.

Remember that laundry problem? Yeah, that meant I was wearing a hoodie. I should have just swung by Anthropologie on the way to Bed Bath and Beyond instead of terrorising this woman with my casual weekend wear. (Since when do Oreos do casual, anyway? Have you seen my celery dish collection?). A Rhianna song (I think, could have been Beyonce or Missy Elliot or Justin Timberlake, I don’t really know) came on and I foolishly bounced along to a couple of beats. I was just practicinng my swing out, but I didn’t shift my weight properly on the 3-And, so it probably looked like bloodlust. And my hair, don’t even ask. It had been like 4 days since my blowout.

All this to say, Bed Bath and Beyond Lady, I’m super sorry for the confusion. Thank you for the cart. And I hope you’re doing all right.

 

hugging

 

What terrifying things do people mistake you for in public?

Also: I need a better nickname for The Boyf. Any suggestions?

Let us know in the comments!

 

For Mor-eo Oreo:

Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what  you think!