Morning Ethics Warm-up, 3/4/18: Special Academy Awards I Won’t Be Watching Edition!

Good morning!

1 One more institution falls to partisan poisoning. Tonight is the Academy Awards show, and outside of some suspense as to whether Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway will botch the Best Picture reveal again (whoever had the idea to have them do an encore of their legendary fail is brilliant), I cannot imagine why anyone would waste their time and raise their blood pressure watching the show. I used to love the Oscars because I love movies. Except for periodic embarrassments where infamous jerks like Marlon Brando and Richard Gere defiantly injected politics into the party, it was fun, if usually too long. Now the show is just a platform for presumptuous performers to parade their ignorance and egos, virtue-signalling, grandstanding, lobbying and politicking. At this they are no better, and often worse, than plumbers, teachers and mail-carriers. What they are good at is looking good and making movies, and in most cases, not much else, including critical thought.

I watched a recent interview in which outspoken actress Jennifer Lawrence became visibly uncomfortable when she had to admit that she dropped out of middle school. It’s obvious that Lawrence is intelligent (she is also the most exciting and talented young actress to come along in a long, long time), but all of her noisy opinions are based on gut instincts. She is untrained and not very grounded in history, law or government: there is no reason for her opinions on politics or finance to be newsworthy. This is also true of her colleagues. Yet we have been informed that tonight will be “about” sexual abuse and gun control, so we will have to endure periodic outbursts all night long about “Time’s Up” and  “Never Again.”  There are side political controversies, like whether or not “woke” stars like Lawrence will snub E! red carpet host Ryan Seacrest because he has been accused of sexual misconduct by a former stylist. Never mind that Seacrest may be innocent, or that she decided to reinterpret what happened in order to join the #MeToo club. (“Oh come on!”)

We already know that the Oscar voting is now polluted by an unspoken demand that black actors and artists get their EEOC quota of honors. This year, we have the special treat of cheering for a nominated a movie that represented all white people as conspiring to make mind-controlled slaves out of blacks.

In the most bitter and divisive political climate in more than a century, institutions like Hollywood have a duty to unite us and emphasize what we have in common, which is a lot. The Oscars and the industry has abandoned that mission. Let them suffer the consequences.

2. The return of “Death Wish.”  Critics are already panning Bruce Willis’ “Death Wish” remake, which has  12 percent “Rotten” at RottenTomatoes.com.  Just from the trailer, it is pretty clear that this reboot has to be much better than the incredibly successful original and its progressively worse sequels. Here are some typical critic rants:

“Rather than acting as social commentary, the remake merely exploits the overarching theme of crime and punishment to unleash more violence and death.”

“There is no good time for a movie like Death Wish.”

“You’d think such a morally repugnant gun-nut masturbation fantasy would at least be worth getting worked up about, but the movie’s so lugubrious and wheezy it’s almost pitiable.”

“The film cranks up the audience with little jokes and references, and gets the audience cheering for the Grim Reaper before they even realize what they’re cheering for — and therein lies the problem.”

This is just bad, as in incompetent and biased, reviewing. The proper job of a critic is to let audiences who might enjoy a movie know if it is an effective version of the kind of movie they will enjoy. What potential audience member for “Death Wish” cares what an anti-gun, Angry Left film reviewer thinks about a remake of a revenge and vendetta film in which a grieving husband and father turns vigilante? This is basic drama critic ethics : if you don’t like musicals, don’t review musicals. You’re biased. If you don’t like horror movies, don’t review horror movies. You’re not competent. If you don’t like guns, don’t review a Bruce Willis remake of a Charles Bronson guilty-pleasure film about a decent man who decides to take the law into his own hands and metaphorically clean up Dodge City. The late Pauline Kael, the idol of all social justice-obsessed film reviewers, panned all John Wayne movies for decades because she didn’t like their politics or his. Now those biased reviews only undermine her reputation, and the films she reviled, and their values, endure.

By the way, Jodie Foster already made a remake of “Death Wish” in 2007 called “The Brave One.” But in that film the vigilante was a feminist, and the actress a progressive, so it was all right

3. Back to the Oscars: Talent and achievement aren’t enough. In today’s politically correct Hollywood, political considerations make some stars  persona non grata. Casey Affleck would normally be awarding the Best Actress Oscar since he won Best Actor last year. But after enduring petitions to have him removed as an Oscar presenter because of a settled lawsuit from 2010 in which two women  alleged sexual harassment, Affleck backed out of this year’s Academy Awards “so that he wouldn’t be a distraction.” Translation: He didn’t want to be humiliated live, coast to coast.

So he’s being replaced by…Jennifer Lawrence and Jodie Foster!

Then there is actor/director James Franco, whose film “The Disaster Artist” is up for a screenplay award.  In January, five women accused him of sexual misconduct—presenter Warren Beatty has never been accused of sexual misconduct—and since accusations are enough for Time’s Up and #MeToo, it is assumed that Franco won’t be at the Oscars either, even in the audience.

Hollywood is a political club now, and some kinds of people just aren’t welcome.

Maybe he and Casey will go to a strip club together…

4. But I still have an Oscar prediction…Everyone seems to think that Gary Oldman has Best Actor sewn up. I’ll predict an upset, because the Academy won’t want to honor a portrayal of an iconoclastic, nationalistic, stubborn, abrasive and politically unpopular leader with a talent for alienating allies and foes, who was unpopular with his own party and who was remarkably successful despite horrific challenges in part because of the fecklessness of his incompetent predecessor.

But maybe I’m giving the voters more credit for historical and political awareness than they deserve.

5.  Moral: Never trust the press! The Washington Post recounts an Academy Awards fiasco long  before the false announcement that “LaLa Land” had won the Oscar:

“In 1930, the organizers decided to keep the winners a secret. And on the day of the ceremony, the only folks who knew ahead of time were the reporters. They got a preview list of Oscar winners with the condition that they would embargo the winners until 11 p.m. the night of the show. That way, they had some lead time to write their copy and get it to the typesetters in time for the morning edition, because the Oscar shows usually ran late and Hollywood wanted to be the talk of the town early the next morning….”

It worked for ten years, until the first televised Oscars, with a lot of stories on the line, with the most stellar list of nominated movies in history (then and now), and a nominated black actress, Hattie McDaniel (who won).  Then in 1940  the Los Angeles Times broke it word and announced the winners before the show, in its evening edition, which was readily available to guests arriving for the event. All the Oscar winners had to act surprised.

“As a result, the Academy adopted the sealed-envelope system the next year, and the system remains in use today,” the Academy says on its website.

6. Another prediction: Oscar: This is your future…At this year’s Emerald City Comic Con, no one who was male, white and identified as heterosexual was allowed into  industry and professional meet-and-greet mixers. Those checking the events schedule encounter events like this…

and this…

or this..

In response to repeated requests regarding the apparently unwelcome white, male heterosexuals, the event responded,

Is this really the kind of country and culture most Americans want to live in?

48 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

48 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-up, 3/4/18: Special Academy Awards I Won’t Be Watching Edition!

  1. Paul W. Schlecht

    Seems Orange is the new Black:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/oscars/here%E2%80%99s-why-oscar-attendees-are-wearing-orange-american-flag-pins/ar-BBJPyNj?li=BBnb7Kz

    Perhaps rare brilliance will be on display:

    If we outlaw abortions, abortions will happen illegally.

    If we outlaw guns, we’ll ALL be safe from gun violence!

  2. Chris Marschner

    After reading the source document about com icon the thread comments suggested a tit for tat strategy to combat this.

    I believe the better strategy is to welcome all. Compete at the same time as the other group events and give them a choice. I bet many lgbtqia and people of color will attend a mixer open to all. Furthermore, it shines a light on the divisiveness of segregating people for political gains

  3. Chris

    This year, we have the special treat of cheering for a nominated a movie that represented all white people as conspiring to make mind-controlled slaves out of blacks.

    Having seen the movie since the original discussion here, I can say it absolutely did not do that. All white people in the movie were conspiring to make mind-controlled slaves out of blacks, but there is no implication that they represent all white people in the real world. They were one secret cabal. This would be a problem if white people were typically only cast as evil racist villains and nothing else, but they aren’t, so it isn’t a problem at all except for white people who want to feel victimized by the media.

    Furthermore, adding a white character who wasn’t in on the conspiracy would not have improved the movie one iota. It’s a very self-contained, almost claustrophobically focused film. You’re literally advocating adding “forced diversity” to a film that doesn’t need it, which is exactly what conservatives typically complain about.

    • Eternal optometrist

      What if a movie had every single minority be a criminal? Would you make such a fine distinction (it doesn’t suggest all minorities are criminals, just all minorities in this particular movie!!).

      • Chris

        I addressed that potential objection already with this sentence:

        This would be a problem if white people were typically only cast as evil racist villains and nothing else, but they aren’t, so it isn’t a problem at all except for white people who want to feel victimized by the media.

        If there were absolutely zero history of minorities being typecast as criminals in movies, then no, no one would have a problem with a single movie portraying every single minority as a criminal. It literally would not matter. It only matters because that trend exists.

        • Could it become a problem though, if Hollywood churns out out more movies in this vein? I haven’t seen it, but I do find the issues it touches on interesting, and worthy of the casting choices involved. My concern is that hack writers will try to ape it and turn “blacks good, whites bad” into a new Hollywood cliche.

          • Chris

            That could be a problem, but even then, the vast majority of leading roles would still be played by white people. And I doubt “Blacks good, whites bad” will become a trend; witness Black Panther, which had a black villain and a very heroic white male supporting character.

    • Mrs. Q

      On this one you’re right Chris. I thought it represented certain liberal white racists rather than all whites being racist. To me this point was refreshing.

      • Chris

        Glad we agree. I also took it as a satire of white liberals fetishizing blacks and wanting to be them. It was about a very particular type of racism that isn’t usually discussed.

        • Still Spartan

          This. The reason they were using wasn’t because they were inferior, it was because the white people thought that they were better at sports, music, sex, aged better, etc.

          I don’t think you understood this film at all Jack.

        • Mrs. Q

          Exactly. I appreciated that aspect too.

        • Still Spartan

          Indeed, it is the ultimate brand of racism we see with the black community: “We’ll acknowledge you for beauty, athleticism, and artistic talent — if only we can put white brains inside of you, then we’d have perfect human beings.”

          To not confuse Jack further, no one is referring to you or “all whites,” just certain ones who think they are not racist because they are willing to say blacks are better at some things.

          • Every single white individual behaved that way. All of them. Dozens. If a movie portrayed all Jews as secretly conniving to do wrong,what would we call such a movie? Again: if the liberals are the “good” whites, and they are all racist conspirators, what does that tell you? Apparently nothing, because you won’t process the reality of the pass anti-white racism receives culture-wide.

            • Still Spartan

              Every single white person inside the cult — and they weren’t real liberals — they were posers. If you saw a movie about Jonestown, would your criticism be that all the members thought a certain way? No, of course not. This was a movie about a fictional cult — cult members (by their nature) all behave the same way. Otherwise they would be kicked out of the cult.

              • What was “the cult”? It wasn’t just the people in the town—the black hero’s white colleagues not even in the town were part of it as well. Jonestown was real. The attitudes in “The Heat of the Night” were real. If the only whites in a film are represented as part of a racist cult, how can you conclude that they don’t represent all whites? How hard would it be to show a couple of normal whites who weren’t part of this conspiracy, unless the message was that there are no such trustworthy, benign whites?

                • Still Spartan

                  The whole town? Weren’t there like 20 people at the auction? Sheesh. I promised that I would not fight about this, and here I am fighting about this.
                  This is a fictional horror movie with a fictional cult.

                • Chris

                  —the black hero’s white colleagues not even in the town were part of it as well.

                  I don’t remember this. What colleagues?

                  • You watch the movie again. I’m sure as hell not going to.

                    • you owe me a keyboard… and a cup of fine Tetley’s Green Honey tea

                    • Chris

                      I didn’t ask you to watch the movie again, I asked you a question about a detail you just mentioned. But I think I will watch the movie again, since I liked it so much the first time. I don’t think I’ll see the detail you mentioned, because I don’t think it’s there.

                    • Let me know how it turns out.
                      And if you see a single white face that isn’t on a malign head, do report that.

                    • Chris

                      I’m confused on how this comports with your stance on Hamilton. You’ve previously defended the casting in that show, but that’s another example where the only white character (King George) is nefarious. Why is that not a problem, but Get Out is? I don’t think either are a problem.

      • I felt assaulted and offended virtually the whole movie, as much as a black American watching grotesque black stereotypes. It didn’t help that the film-maker made it clear what his intent was, and it wasn’t ironic or benign. The film was sold as an allegory. The fact that the whites were parodies of liberals didn’t mean it wasn’t just aimed at progressive whites—we already know that those who didn’t support Obama must be racist. This movie went on to argue that even the “good” whites are not just racists, but lying so they can betray African American trust. I found it to be an ugly, hateful film.

        • Chris

          I felt assaulted and offended virtually the whole movie, as much as a black American watching grotesque black stereotypes.

          I don’t think making this comparison is wise. I won’t presume to know what you felt during the movie, but you are presuming to know what black Americans feel while watching their race denigrated on-screen, and you can’t really know that. At least, not the extent of it.

          Again, our country has no history of engaging in grotesque white stereotypes while denying whites more positive roles. This is one movie. Equating your feelings with those of blacks who’ve dealt with decades of far worse on-screen portrayals…it’s nothing short of hysteria, Jack.

          It didn’t help that the film-maker made it clear what his intent was, and it wasn’t ironic or benign.

          Can you clarify what you mean here? What “intent” would that be? A number of us here believe you’ve completely misread the intent…are you talking about things Jordan Peele has said outside of the movie itself? I am 100% sure Peele has never said the intent was to denigrate the white race or to argue that we are all threats to blacks. For one thing, this is Jordan Peel’s wife:

          http://www.chelseaperetti.com/

          The film was sold as an allegory. The fact that the whites were parodies of liberals didn’t mean it wasn’t just aimed at progressive whites—we already know that those who didn’t support Obama must be racist. This movie went on to argue that even the “good” whites are not just racists, but lying so they can betray African American trust.

          Again…Peele clearly doesn’t believe that all whites are “lying so they can betray African-American trust,” otherwise he would not be married to Chelsea Peretti. Furthermore, the girlfriend’s betrayal was the best twist in the film! We assume she is a doe-eyed innocent until it turns out she’s just as bad as, if not worse than, the rest of her family. The film would be weaker without her betrayal.

          I don’t know anyone else who read her betrayal as an indication that all white people are out to betray every black person, Jack. Look at all the white critics that loved the movie. None of them read it that way. I think you saw what you wanted to see here.

          • Gee, Chris, can i DARE to presume they don’t LIKE having their race denigrated onscreen? I mean, I don’t like seeing their race denigrated onscreen, so I assume they don’t, even though a lot of people apparently enjoy seeing MY race demonized on screen, and not in a historical way, but in a “all of you white people are monsters” way. Can I? Do I have your permission?

            What a fatuous, smug, parody of a SJW comment this is.

            • Chris

              Strawman argument, which relies on you pretending you don’t know what the terms “extent” or “as much as” means. As you know, I did not say it was wrong for you to assume blacks don’t like seeing their race denigrated on screen—I criticized you for saying you felt offense “as much as” blacks seeing their face denigrated on screen. It doesn’t take an SJW to see why that statement is hysterical, especially since Get Out did NOT denigrate the white race.

        • Still Spartan

          Oh dear.

          • Whatever that means. FACT: a reverse color “Get Out” would have been judged unequivocally racist.

            • Chris

              How many more times do I have to explain history and context before you stop making this absurd false equivalence?

            • Where is Alizia when I need her?

              Insert reverse racism and white identity logical points here

              I resolve this sort of issue by not giving hollywood my money for this film, just like Dear White People and WhiteChicks. I go to a theater to be entertained, to escape from the flaws in everyday life. Not to be lectured to, or castigated for my race, gender, and politics.

              • Chris

                Where is Alizia when I need her?

                We need an overt white supremacist’s opinion on this movie?

                • Chris has proven himself a smug hypocritical party hack, not interested in actual discussion, debate, or fair treatment. He is unethical, as as such I will not dignify his responses any further. Do not feed the trolls.

                  And bite me

          • Still Spartan

            Jack, I have no interest in fighting with you over this. You don’t get the movie, and that’s fine.

            A reverse of the movie wouldn’t make sense so it would never be made.

            • THAT movie didn’t make sense! I got the movie: the guy who wrote it and directed has said flat out that it means exactly what I took it to mean, and good, white liberals who want to accept and rationalize the insult and nasty racism deny that it is what it is anyway. It was a joke! It was just a movie!

              The dishonesty bothers me more than the racism.

              And who would ever make a horror movie that didn’y make sense? Yes, I’m sure that would be the main complaint about a movie about a young white man staying with a family like the Huxtables, when every African American was secretly conspiring to get him.

              • Chris

                I got the movie: the guy who wrote it and directed has said flat out that it means exactly what I took it to mean,

                I asked you this before, but can you please link to the comments you’re referring to? As I said, I am 100% certain Jordan Peele never said that the purpose of the movie was to denigrate the white race, which is how you took the movie.

                • No, he said that this helped explain to white folks how many blacks feel in a majority white society. Same thing.

                  • Still Spartan

                    Nope. That’s not the same thing. I don’t know what it feels like to be a white man or a minority. I could try to make you feel what it’s like to be a professional woman in a predominantly male work place. I could start by questioning your “tone,” in work emails. (Only men ever use that word with women.). I could dismiss your idea during a team meeting but then immediately accept the same idea when presented by a woman. I could give out a designer purse to the MVP each month. I could suggest that all of us girls (plus you of course) go out for mani/pedis while discussing a new case. I could comment on your appearance every day. The next time you ask to discuss something important with me, I will cut you off and say, “You’re pregnant, aren’t you?”

                    • Why…why why why why why…why is it ok for how Jordan Peele feels about being a minority in a white society to be treated as how black people in general feel being minorities?

                      Is there anyone who thinks that Thomas Sowell and Ta-Nehisi Coates share similar worldviews on what it’s like to be black in a majority white world? What about Kobe Bryant and the homeless dude I passed on the streets of DC earlier today? Or what about me of today, and the me of last freaking year, who have very different worldviews?

                      It is very insulting when people feel emboldened to speak on behalf of me, without permission (we’ve all been there)…it’s more insulting when 3rd parties bestow that power on to the emboldened speaker, to speak on my behalf…and triply insulting, when 3rd parties bestow that power onto the speaker, SOLEY because they share a single, solitary trait with me.

                    • Chris

                      Chris, read Jack’s comment again—according to him, Peele said that he was showing how “many” blacks feel, not all of them. The overwhelmingly positive reception to the movie from the black community would seem to bear that out.

                      It’s possible he’s also spoken in more general terms about the movie, and said things about how blacks feel without using the qualifier “many.” In that case, that can be criticized. But that’s not what Jack’s comment indicated.

                  • Chris

                    No, he said that this helped explain to white folks how many blacks feel in a majority white society. Same thing.

                    In no way is that a confession that the film is meant to denigrate or stereotype whites. I don’t even know how you could read it that way. That’s not just a stretch, that’s a total misrepresentation.

                    • Still Spartan

                      It’s also not to mention that this is how “all blacks” feel when they are in a white setting. The film does not talk about some stereotypes that are prevalent, but that’s it. Maybe it is your experience Chris Bentley, maybe it’s not.

        • Mrs. Q

          Perhaps this may be a case of bias on my part due to experiences of the type of racism depicted in the film. It’s kind is rarely discussed by SJW’s and it’s a very insidious and real form of it. I agree that there is something hateful in this film, a sort of revenge on the part of Peele. He has a chip on his shoulder at best and is a race baiter at worst. But this film does open the door to those unconscious of white liberal racism that pervades particularly those who think they’re down or woke. Also I’m a horror movie fan and the pacing of suspense combined with the fear of not being your own person was well played for the genre.

  4. Jack Houghton

    So… Hollywood is going to lecture America about sexual abuse and gun control? Am I understanding that correctly? I think I am confused.

    If it were not for hyper-sexualized content and gun violence, Hollywood wouldn’t have 80 percent of all their movies. I may be underestimating that percentage.

  5. Steve-O-in-NJ

    #6. Nope, but it’s the country most progressives want to live in, both the minorities who would dominate and their beta white male bootlickers and ass-kissers.

  6. luckyesteeyoreman

    “Now the [Academy Awards] show is just a platform for presumptuous performers to parade their ignorance and egos, virtue-signalling, grandstanding, lobbying and politicking. At this they are no better, and often worse, than plumbers, teachers and mail-carriers. What they are good at is looking good and making movies, and in most cases, not much else, including critical thought.”

    I am one proud white hetero male to say that I read the above after i commented on a later post of Jack’s:

    “I hope that next year, you won’t post anything about the Academy Awards. Just ignore the Hollyweirdos. They’re brainwashed, wannabe brain-washers. The vast majority of them are simply leftist bullies who – except for their huge incomes and other fiscal wealth – are total failures as members of civilization. Sociopaths and psychopaths with a virtual monopoly over the “HEY! LOOK at ME!” niche. Misfits with big money – worse than Trump. They hate Trump because he competes with them so effectively. To hell with them, indeed.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.