I’m Worried You All Genuinely Like Joe Exotic

I’m Worried You All Genuinely Like Joe Exotic

I did not make this, but it’s a Zoom background. Go mad.

Netflix recently released its newest addition to its collection of binge-worthy documentaries. I’m a fan of a good Netflix documentary and have written about some of the features offered on the streaming platform before. But this documentary was crazy.

Tiger King (2020) doesn’t give much away in its trailer and synopsis. I think we were all a little hoodwinked into thinking this would be a straightforward docuseries about animal cruelty and crazy Americans.

It gave us so much more than that. Trailer trash, larger-than-life characters, murder plots, missing husbands, sabotage conspiracies, and organised crime; these are just some topics covered in Tiger King (2020). Believe me when I say, it’s a rollercoaster of a watch, and it also introduces us to the iconic pop culture sensation that is Joe Exotic of G.W. Zoo.

This guy is so weird. You might think you have him figured out, but you really don’t. He’s got a mullet, an excess of tattoos, a handlebar moustache, and many guns. “Got it,” you might say. But he’s also an ex-cop and ran for President and Governor of Oklahoma in 2016 and 2018, respectively. “Okay.. I think I still have him figured,” haha nope. He’s also openly gay, has polyamorously married two men far too young for him, and been married 5 times altogether. The fact he has owned, bred, and traded tigers and lions at the former Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Memorial Park is probably the most boring thing about him.

In the documentary you also get to see him sing cheesy country songs that he doesn’t actually sing and be generally outrageous throughout. It’s fantastic telly, and Joe Exotic truly is the star of the show amongst a cast of other weirdos in the big cat trade that I’ve summarised for you below.

Alongside Joe Exotic is Bhagavan Doc Antle, owner of Myrtle Beach Safari and familiar in the exotic animal trading world with a cult-like following of young groomed girls in his arsenal. He also has long white hair in a ponytail to add insult to injury.

Joining them is Tim Stark, the no-nonsense zoo owner of Wildlife in Need with a tough love approach to his wild cats; Jeff Lowe, a gambling swinger pimping out tiger cubs to get laid even though he literally looks like Jigsaw; and Mario Tabraue, an ex-drug dealer who “sold cocaine to fuel my animal habit” in his own words.

There’s also the supposed villain of the piece, Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue. She claims her zoo is more of a rescue sanctuary and that she really does differ from all the others. She looks the part with her flowing blonde locks and tie-dye floaty tops. The hippy home-wrecker enjoys grassing up and apparently making life hell for all the other exotic animal enthusiasts. Oh, and she allegedly fed her millionaire husband to her tigers and cut his family out of his will.

Carole Fuckin’ Baskin. Image: WIKIPEDIA

Excuse me?!

That’s right. Honestly, with all the backstabbing and murder conspiracies you really forget that these people have exotic animals as pets the further you get into the documentary.

It’s a slow burning film, be ready for that going in. The first episode or two might not grab you, but once it kicks off it really kicks off. Per usual Netflix fare, it’s visually pleasing and sheds light on people within an industry you probably had no idea about before.

We also have Netflix’s typical hero vs villain approach between the main characters. As I’ve said before, we have a hero in Joe Exotic. Free Joe Exotic petitions have gone wild since the documentary’s release, and President Donald Trump himself is considering pardoning him.

We also have villains. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not Carole Baskin. I’m here to tell you, despite Joe Exotic’s popularity, they are all fucking terrible people.

My support in this article for Carole Baskin is not an attempt to exonerate Carole Baskin. But if you seriously watch this documentary and believe she is the worst out of the lot of them, you have a problem.

I believe most of the hate Carole gets is because she doesn’t behave the way a typical victim acts (according to society anyway). She is also incredibly annoying, hypocritical and deluded.

Don’t get me wrong; Carole is not the good guy. At her most low-key level, she was complicit in stealing a married man away from his wife and screwing their kids out of their rightful inheritance. I can’t say for certain if I believe she really did feed him to her tigers. Dodgy, manipulative practices and a seemingly disingenuous love between her and Don Lewis tick some boxes, but I’m not sure she is ruthless or calculating enough to organise a murder.

Not in the way Joe Exotic is.

I do not understand how you can like Joe Exotic but hate Carole Baskin if it is down to what they are each accused of. It’s possible that Carole did murder her husband Don Lewis, but if she did, she got away with it. Joe tried to murder Carole and didn’t get away with it! Say what you like about how he wasn’t really going to kill her, but there is a wealth of videos he made where he threatens to do just that, and encourages others to threaten and abuse her on his behalf. That ain’t right!

Joe Exotic is a psychopath.

Mullet mugshot. Image: WIKIPEDIA

Joe Exotic cons his family out of money, throws anyone under the bus if he feels he’ll get more fame and fortune from it, and shows himself to be manipulative and predatory when it comes to relationships.

The Netflix documentary features interviews with some of his previous husbands. The first we meet, John Finlay, is the sweetest guy who reveals he actually isn’t gay and has never considered himself gay. He also wants you to know he doesn’t look like that anymore and that he has teeth. The second husband we meet (SPOILER) shoots himself.

John Finlay, recounts how he was a struggling meth addict fresh out of high school when he met Joe, and we can conclude from this and other truths told by John that Joe Exotic is actually a predatory groomer who preys on vulnerable, straight men, with considerable years lacking in age and life experience. Joe Exotic keeps this pattern going with the latter husband mentioned above, Travis Maldonado, who was only 23 years old and struggling with drug abuse when he accidentally killed himself in 2017.

To rub salt in the Joe-Exotic-sucks wound, during Travis’ funeral, we see Joe Exotic talk disrespectfully and seedily about Travis in front of his grieving mother, referring to her son’s balls for way longer than necessary. Ms Maldonado reveals in her own interviews that she did not approve of or trust Joe with her son and you can’t help but feel sorry for her as she tearfully expresses her regret at not intervening in the relationship.

But yeah, Carole Baskin is the bad guy.

In society and culture, we like having clear cut roles for people. We like having defined villains and defined heroes. Tiger King (2020) takes that societal expectation and throws it out the window. Everyone in Netflix’s Tiger King (2020) is a villain; including Joe Exotic.

Do you think I’ve got it wrong? If you reckon Joe Exotic is innocent, comment down below. Let me know what you think!

The Most Motivational Films to Watch When You’re Unemployed

The Most Motivational Films to Watch When You’re Unemployed

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

When it comes to unemployment, I am an expert. I’ve been let go, fired, and I’ve quit, so trust me when I say, I know that being unemployed can be the most callous time you have in your life.

It’s hard keeping motivated. No matter how many jobs you apply for that are suitable for you, you get rejection after rejection, and it’s really hard to not take it personally.

‘Water off a duck’s back’ comes to mind, because unless you get tailored, specific feedback, you need to just believe that it’s not your fault if you didn’t get a job you’re qualified for. You might totally screw up the interview or application of course, but all sorts of reasons can contribute to a no interview or no hire situation that are beyond your control. You don’t know who you’re applying against and what’s happening behind the scenes in the company, so it’s more important than anything to not let those rejections get to you and stop them from ruining your confidence.

Easier said than done though. You need to keep a good mental head space when you’re job hunting, so while you’ve got a few more hours spare, watch these films after a long day of job seeking to really build the perspective, resilience and confidence you really need right now.

Into the Wild (2007)

I just ripped all the images off Google.

I’m not suggesting that if you hit a bump in the road you should say, “Fuck it!” and run away from your life. But Into the Wild (2007) sends the message that it’s okay to go against the grain and to look for personal, spiritual success over professional, monetary success. You will be hit with severe wanderlust after watching this, but also a profound sense of something that will motivate you to make your fantasy life a reality.

Tootsie (1982)

Every single one of them.

“I’m not psychotic I’m unemployed”. No words have been so accurate when you’re job seeking. If you’ve become unemployed very suddenly, odds are you’re just desperate to pay your bills in the immediate aftershock. So you start applying like you’re desperate, and you should apply like you’re desperate! There is no shame in doing a bad job well. This is a cracking film to watch to know that if it pays the rent and you know you can do it, it’s worth applying anyway, even if you don’t necessarily fit the bill of the job or think it’s a job you’ll love.

The Blind Side (2009)

Whatever, sue me if they’re your pictures.

I’m aware this is a very ‘white savior’ film, but it is a true story with a positive message. What you should take from this is that it is always worth your time to share your resources and help those who need it. If you’re unemployed or struggling, you can watch this and feel some hope that there are people out there who want to help you and want to see you succeed. Kindness can get you through this, remember that when you feel alone. Oh and there’s sports in it too, I guess.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Take me to court, I don’t care.

The ultimate example of patience paying off. This is easily one of the best films of all time, and it is unbelievable that it was a box office bomb upon its release. The slow but sure commercial success of the movie is motivational enough, but main character Andy Dufresne’s stoic patience, self-belief and resilience can inspire us all to hang on in there for a little while longer.

Whiplash (2014)

If they’re your images I will credit you.

This film is insane. Though yes, it might inspire you to keep pushing and working as hard as you fucking can for that one moment where you can go “I’VE GOT IT!” but I hope it doesn’t. I actually hope you can watch this film while you’re down on your luck from a higher perspective, one where you go “Jesus Christ, I might be struggling for now, but at least I’m not scary obsessive like these guys”. If working yourself to the bone puts everything else in your life into place then fine, but Whiplash (2014) makes us question; is it really possible and is it even worth it?

9 to 5 (1980)

Do you know how much time it takes to find out who the fuck took the pictures though?

One of the best movie examples of sticking it to the man. Something that has benefited me in interviews is going in with the mentality that the company has to attract you as well as you having to attract to them. Prepare, use the STAR technique, and don’t ever forget that you are a potential candidate because you have skills and experience the company needs. Don’t accept shit for nothing, and remember if Dolly Parton wouldn’t stand for it, neither should you.

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Like seriously, credit for images etc. needs to be as easy to find as pornography.

Oh god, just know going in that this is an emotional one. Will Smith was absolutely snubbed for an Oscar for his performance in this film, and the fact that his own son, Jaden Smith, is playing the child relying on his father’s success just makes the heart-tugging moments hit harder than usual. This film really encapsulates the ups and downs of going into business with yourself. Hard times might be ahead and you need to be ready for that, but ultimately believing that it will work at some point (And of course it will; pet rocks made a profit, so can you!) and keeping yourself motivated triumphs over all in the end.

Rocky (1976)

Also know I have no assets if you want to sue me.

The ultimate underdog, rag-to-riches story. Sylvester Stallone’s story is legendary; from stealing jewelry and selling his own dog to make ends meet, he wrote one of the most iconic films to date with the most uplifting message for anyone down on their luck in life. Whether you’re into sports or not, the self-belief Rocky and his writer had to instill in themselves makes this one of the most motivational films of all time. Even more motivational when you learn that after the film’s success, Stallone was able to buy back that dog he sold during his meagre times!

The Intouchables (2011)

Like what you gonna take, my deodorant? Knock yourself out, it’s all I have.

This one is subtitled, but honestly unless you’re dyslexic or have visual issues, get over it. This film is feel-good and fun while reminding us we all need to ask for help from time to time, and that help might come from an unlikely place. Don’t be afraid to explore new opportunities and experiences as well, as Philippe would be able to tell you how rewarding taking those chances can be. As well as this, we can learn from Driss that even if you think a job’s not for you, your personality and charisma can make you a great fit, and fitting into the culture of a new workplace is a rare and valuable thing.

Mrs Doubtfire (1993)

Probably shouldn’t dare people to sue me if I’m already poor.

Another cross-dressing character, this guy needs a job enough to lie to his own kids. But there is some wisdom in there. You need to promote the skills you know you have, even if it means utilising them yourself. Think about what skills other people don’t have and what others have complimented you on in the past. Even things you don’t necessarily see as a skill, just market the fuck out of it anyway! Run with your strengths and apply for jobs under the premise ‘Hire for attitude, train for skills’.

Trading Places (1983)

My PayPal is on the ‘Contact’ page btw.

This film is underrated in all the categories it applies to. No one considers it a Christmas film, no one uses it as a fine example of Dan Ackroyd, Eddie Murphy or Jamie Lee Curtis’ work, and I think that is truly criminal. If you’ve been working for ‘the man’ your whole life, you’ll immediately feel this film shows exactly what the top dogs of your company are doing to the peasants below them. The reason I’m putting it on here apart from to further my communist agenda, is because it reminds you how futile it all is; you can jump from rags to riches if someone takes a chance on you, and you can lose it all in seconds as well.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

I’m actually just fine tho sweeties.

Sometimes “it is written”. No matter your background or expertise, sometimes you find yourself in a rare predicament where you think “Everything in my life has built up to this opportunity”. However in this day and age, a lot of people fall victim to imposter syndrome, or being too modest about their accomplishments. Slumdog Millionaire (2008) is a harrowing story about luck and destiny, that will make you realise that it’s not all about the work you put in, but sometimes it’s about being at the right place at the right time. A rarer circumstance than you’d think, but before you think an offer is too good to be true, just watch this film and remember, sometimes it’s simply meant to be.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

As long as I don’t get sued anyway.

Can’t talk about this one for too long because I will cry. Although it might not end with a spring in its step, this film proves just how far you can go if you reach out for some mentoring. You might be at a crossroads or brick wall in your career, and despite your raw talent exceeding those around you, you can’t move past this block. Look to those with previous experience and ask for advice, and you just might find all your wishes come true.

Aladdin (1992)

Image: Google or some shit.

This Disney number ultimately carries the message that money and success won’t solve all your problems. I hope you get that job you want, but odds are, a career change won’t solve everything you think it will. We’ve been led to believe that if you change one thing in your life, the rest of your grievances will resolve themselves. Evaluate what you’re really unhappy about before you believe more money or more responsibilities will change it for the better, because as Aladdin (1992) shows, basically you can’t polish a turd or wipe everything clean in one go. Each separate component in your life deserves separate attention, and take it from me, if you’re in a break in your career and can afford to evaluate your own psyche and routines, I cannot describe how worth it that recentering is.

Do you think these movies would give you a boost when you needed it most? Or did I miss one that’s even more motivational? Let me know in the comments, and if you are facing some career uncertainty right now, keep the faith and reach out. It won’t last forever and you’re worth a decent livelihood.

Who the Hell Do You Think You Are?

Who the Hell Do You Think You Are?

On the odd chance somebody from outside my tiny Cheshire village finds and likes this writing blog, I suppose an introduction is in order.

I’m Sophie. I’m 26. I’m basically always cranky.

Honestly I’m just using the exact template WordPress already gave me. You may call it lazy, but I call it efficient, and I think that little exchange sums up like 75% of who I am as a person.

We’ll call this blog article an introduction, but depending on how you feel about it I might rename it a warning. WordPress has asked me, ‘Why do this?’

  • Because it gives new readers context. What am I about? Why should you read my blog?
  • Because it will help me focus my own ideas about my blog and what I’d like to do with it.

Quite honestly, I’m simply using this blog to flex my writing skills. I miss writing creatively and writing critically. It’s taken me until the age of 26 to start owning skills that people have been telling me I’ve had since I was about 2.

I want to write professionally. How realistic that is, we’ll find out as we go along, but finding my voice, practicing my craft and having a ramble about society, culture, and food online seems like a relatively harmless way to get started.

I’m also convinced it will save the people I love from having to let me know go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…

Here’s some basics about me, but if you could also imagine me 5st lighter that would be great too:

  • I grew up in Holmes Chapel and now live in Stockport
  • My mum was Scottish and I absolutely milk the celtic roots of my heritage because of it
  • Dogs are my most favourite thing of all time I love them all
  • I am fat. Doesn’t affect my personality but if I need to put it on Tinder, I need to put it on here
  • I have two brothers, one older, one younger
  • Being the only girl and the middle child is just too much
  • My dad is essentially ‘off the grid’ and has no concept of modern pricing after being housebound for the best part of a decade
  • I have blue eyes and brown hair that is constantly getting bleached and dyed
  • My partner has the same birthday as me aside from the year
  • My ex-partner had the same birthday as Adolf Hitler. I have the same birthday as Eva Braun. That should have been a sign
  • I like certain pockets of every music genre, but I tend to lean towards the indie/rock side of things
  • I’ve seen all the films
  • I fucking hate lasagne

By no means do I think this is the best or necessarily the worst about me. Just stuff of note and things that have shaped me into who I am. It’s an amuse bouche of me I suppose, enough to show if I’ll provoke an attack from you or if I would amuse you.

Hopefully it’s enough to convince you to join me on this online journey. I didn’t enjoy writing that sentence, I felt like a very seedy old man who listens to prog-rock and has a wizard painted on his sketchy van.

But I’ve written it now, no turning back, we’re in this together, us against the world. Hot takes on societal expectations, articles with sociology and psychology themes. Critiques on Netflix dramas and documentaries. Fantasising about food and bragging about places I get to eat at.

God help us all.