Yeah? What’s so “good” about it? HUH? Well?
1. In an article/discussion about the impact of George Romero, the zombie genre creator who died last week, New York Times film critic A.O. Scott said, and I’m not making this up,
A few years ago, when I did a Critics’ Pick video on [Romero’s “Night of the living Dead,”], I hinted that [the film’s African-American hero’s]death could be read as a prophecy of Barack Obama’s presidency: A calm and competent African-American saves the white people from their own rashness and stupidity (as well as from zombies) and is destroyed. Now, of course, the prophecy seems all the more chilling. The casual, unapologetic and ultimately self-destructive violence of white supremacy is the true and enduring horror of American life.
This insulting, counter-factual, absolutely crackers statement may be an opinion, but it is so stunningly biased and warped that it should have set off ethics alarms at the Times, if any exist. If the film critic could say this in print, he says it among his colleagues. If he has said it among his colleagues and no editor, pundit or colleague has grabbed him by the lapels and said, “What the hell are you talking about, man? You better keep that crap to yourself, because it embarrasses the paper. Better yet, I think you need a vacation!”, then this strongly suggests that almost everyone at the Times is marinating in a crippling fantasy culture that makes independent, objective, trustworthy reporting and punditry impossible.
A.O.’s statement self-destructs at “calm.” Obama “saved” nobody; in fact, he either deliberately or incompetently degraded the one area of our society he was elected to improve: racial harmony and respect. How does a black character’s death (the movie’s hero is shot by authorities who assume he is a zombie) “prophecy” the fate of Barack Obama, elected President twice, cheered upon his leaving office, and immediately rewarded with historical revisionism, obscene speaking fees and a book contract? [I hate to cavil, but it really needs to be pointed out that the Duane Jones character in “Night of the Living Dead,” far from saving the white characters, gets them eaten and zombified by adamantly rejecting one obnoxious white man’s insistence that they should all just lock themselves in the basement. After all those white people the Obama-like hero “saved” according to A.O. are ambulatory brain-eaters, he survives the zombie onslaught—by locking himself in the basement! I suppose this “prophesied” leading from behind.]
The critic’s statement is thinly veiled anti-white racism, bubbling up from the concentrated anger and Trump hysteria at the Times. White supremacy. Sure, A.O. I won’t be reading any of your reviews anymore, nor your fellow critic Jason Zinoman, who either agrees with your fanciful and hateful assessment, or didn’t have the integrity to tell you that you are paranoid and nuts on the record. Either way, he is also a fool. I don’t care what either of you think about movies, since you view them through bullshit colored glasses.
2. I have three times now prepared to write a post about what I now call Anti-Trump porn at the Times, highlighted every week by the Sunday Times “Review Section.” Last Sunday was another one. This section’s obsession is stunning: the section is loaded with unrestrained Trump hate, ad hominem insults and hysteria and from every perspective. I would think other Times readers would be bored, not to mention alarmed, by this monotonous vive and broadcast of bias (An unbiased newspaper would not allow one topic and one point of view to monopolize its weekly commentary section), but apparently the Times readership is insatiable.
The res ipsa loquitur feature this time was an editorial cartoon by Art Spiegelman, who is a brilliant cartoonist when at his best. Like most cartoonists of a political bent, he is all ideology and advocacy, and pretty much devoid of respect for facts and balance. Here was his comment after November 8:
“I see something similar to Hitler in that it’s gone very fast to things that seem surreal to me, like Trump supporters shooting four civilians at a polling place in California – one of them died. And there’s the slide towards uncivility, from what I read on the internet. For the first time I got to see my name with three parentheses signs around it. I don’t think it was a secret that I’m Jewish, but they were making sure that the alt-right people would know that I was Jewish. That’s just something I saw a couple of days ago. ‘Oh, I see. OK, it’s a new day.’ And at this point we don’t care about refugees’ lives. They’re not white lives. So yeah, sure, I’m worried.”
Shut up and draw, Art. Trump supporters did not shoot four civilians at a polling place in California. Middle East refugees are white. And Art must not check the internet very often, if he judges any single excess or outrage as proof of anything. His was a statement of pure intellectual laziness, bias, bigotry and hysteria—but never mind, political cartoonists don’t have to be fair, accurate or responsible. They just have to communicate what a biased paper’s editors know even its own biased pundits couldn’t get away with, and have the defense that “it was just supposed to be funny!” Thus here was the Spiegelman cartoon featured on page two of the Times’ Review section last Sunday:
Art said that he was bothered by rising incivility??? Physician, heal thyself.
This is calumny, under the guise of humor. (How many people find being vomited on funny? Not me.) No President in the history of the nation has ever been represented in such disgusting fashion in a major newspaper. Nor is there any enlightening metaphorical statement here. If Trump is the frog, and the princess is the electorate, there were no fantasies among those who voted for Trump that he would magically transform into something radically more attractive. I doubt that a single voter felt that way. They “kissed” this frog because the unsavory alternative was the large, female toad oozing puss from every pore and backed by a troop of snakes and slugs. The horrific vomiting image is simply an ad hominem insult without substance. Again, no President has ever been insulted like this, and no President should.
A paper that deems such an ugly and hateful cartoon as worthy of publication cannot ever assert that it is capable of fair reporting on the cartoon’s victim. Why should the President be obligated to treat with respect unethical journalists who engage in these kinds of gratuitous, personal attacks? It is completely reasonable and responsible to announce, “When you act like responsible journalists, the White House will treat you accordingly.
3. Here’s a nice “Awwwww!” story, and two readers suggest that I make the furry rescuer involved an “Ethics Hero.” I doubt that ethics were involved, but dogs are still mysterious in many ways. I could be wrong.
4. I have a more substantive illegal immigration-pandering post in the works, so I’ll just leave this one in passing. Rep. José Serrano (D-NY) said, during a Congressional debate over President Trump’s wall, that the U.S. should build a new “Statue of Liberty” on our Mexican border…you know, to welcome and encourage illegal immigrants, which is what the conventional Democratic Party policy toward illegal immigration has been for decades. Give Serrano credit; at least this is an unambiguous open-borders position, if stupidly expressed.
Someone should tell the Congressman that the French lady’s welcome was offered to legal immigrants, who had to go through a legal process at Ellis Island. If Mexico would ensure that all of the illegal border crossers it currently facilitates have to pass through a similar process, I’m sure the U.S. would happily clone Lady Liberty.