1. Worst “review” of the Year, and other Megxit Ethics Train Wreck developments :
- I hate to end one day (and start another) with something so nauseating, but a Times “Critic’s Notebook” entry by Salamishah Tillet titled “Taking On Royal Life’s Racism” (online, “Prince Harry Finally Takes On White Privilege: His Own”) is both incompetent and dishonest. This is no review. It is a black studies professor with an agenda using a media stunt by Oprah Winfrey and the breakaway Royals to serve as her own soap box. Using a mixed-race American who achieves some success in a difficult profession (performing), then marries a British prince with the automatic money, glamor and influence that status confers as an example of racial persecution is ridiculous on its face. This is a confirmation bias classic for the ages: the black feminist activist saw what she wanted to see in one of the worst possible settings to see it. The “review” could have been written before the interview was broadcast; I bet most of it was.
- The U.K.’s media regulator ( that is,censor and political correctness enforcer) Ofcom is investigating Piers Morgan because 41,000 people wrote to complain about the then-ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” host stating the obvious about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s joint whine with Oprah Winfrey. On “Good Morning Britain”, which Morgan quit mid-show after being attacked by his co-host, Morgan said he did not believe Markle’s statement that she had approached the Royal family for help because she had suicidal thoughts, and was turned down. “Who did you go to? What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said…I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report,” Morgan said. Neither would I, especially when such tales were attached to no details whatsoever. Morgan is a media low-life to be sure, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t right in this case. It’s a problem, though, when the most vocal and accurate critic of a manufactured narrative is so easily discredited.
- In the U.S., the Left will sanctify the Duchess of Sussex because she’s female and blackish, thus meaning that to question her word or character is per se racism. (She’s like a Kardashian with superpowers). The Right is mostly anti-monarchy, so any harm she does to the Royals is regarded as a plus. One poll indicates, however, that the British public is less gullible: Meghan is now the least popular Royal, even behind Jeffrey Epstein pal and likely defiler of under-age girls Prince Andrew.
It’s only because the Brits are racists, of course.
2. Is there a media critic in the United States that isn’t a partisan hack? David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun certainly fails the test. Imagine writing a column titled “If Fox News wants to be a political tool, it should be treated as such and not given access meant for journalists” after the performance of all the other news organizations from 2016 on and expecting to be taken seriously. Has the mainstream media ever committed itself to a single partisan political objective more brazenly than the propaganda campaign against President Trump? Zurawik’s claim is either delusional or a lie aimed at the deluded….of which there are many.
3. White House dog ethics. Apparently the mysteriously reported “incident” that resulted in President Biden’s two German Shepherds being banished to Delaware was more than a mere nip: the victim of a bite by Major, a rescue dog, was really hurt. “There Will Finally Be Dogs in the White House Again,” was the headline in Harper’s in January, over one of many stories cheering the fact that the new “normal” President would have a dog, unlike the weird, mean, non-animal lover on the way out. In truth, the modern White House is no place for a dog—too stressful, too many visitors and strangers— and many First Pets have been acquired as PR props rather than out of genuine love for canines. Getting a rescue dog is admirable, but they often come with behavioral problems and special sensitivities that must be addressed, or they can be dangerous. My sweet rescue dog Spuds, for example, has night terrors, and woe be to any human that wakes him up while he’s recalling past abuse.
4. Governor Cuomo is now up to SIX accusers! Who could have predicted…oh, right. I did. But I’m sure it was all just a misunderstanding, like the Governor says. Sarcasm aside, I doubt Cuomo is a threat to Bill Cosby’s total, but I didn’t expect the Cos to top 50 either.
Added: Various conservative blogs and commentators are chiding Kamala Harris, who led the unethical smearing of Brett Kavanaugh as a sexual predator based on a vague high-school incident, for not weighing in on Cuomo’s alleged conduct. Harris is a two-faced hypocrite for sure—she agreed to run with a serial sexual harasser whose wrongful conduct is a matter of photographic record—but it is not a VP’s place to get involved with state government issues.
5. Virtue signaling at Turner Movie Classics And Disney. If Disney was going to pronounce the Muppets racially insensitive, the next move was obvious. Now “Dumbo,” “Peter Pan” and “The Aristocats” have been slapped with warnings, and all three are banished from the children’s section of its streaming service
The “Stories Matter” section of its website has Disney’s explanations for the demotions. Here is what makes no sense: only adults will be offended by the content Disney is flagging. Children won’t notice it. I loved “Peter Pan,” and its grotesque caricatures of the Neverland Indians went right over my head. Kids don’t think of cartoons as real people, because, you know, they’re not. Similarly the singing crows in “Dumbo” had no racial implications to me at all when I was 10. As an adult, seeing the film through a different world view, I was amazed that Disney would have the leader of the African-American-voiced crows named “Jim.” Still, a lot of Disney’s “explanation” of what is wrong with the films is absurd, like “Peter and the Lost Boys engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes.” Did anyone complain that the little boy in “Parasite” was playing with various American Indian “tropes”? I don’t recall any. Kids play, kids on magic islands with storybook pirates, mermaid and Indian chiefs especially. The Horror.
TCM, meanwhile, is insulting its audience by instructing them on what they can figure out by themselves: this is a channel with a sophisticated, adult viewership. Turner Classic Movies’ March series “Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror” purports to explain why such classics as “Gone with the Wind” (1939), “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954), “Rope” (1948), “Woman of the Year” (1942), “Gunga Din” (1939), and “The Searchers” (1956) are not sufficiently woke for 2021. Yes, we knew that, but then they weren’t made in 2021. TCM will have to go through this exercise for 90% of the movies created in the 20th Century, thus wasting airtime that could be used for entertainment. Now TCM grandstands with a silly website statement:
Many of the beloved classics that we enjoy on TCM have stood the test of time in several ways, nevertheless when viewed by contemporary standards, certain aspects of these films can be troubling and problematic. This month, we are looking at a collection of such movies and we’ll explore their history, consider their cultural context and discuss how these movies can be reframed so that future generations will keep their legacy alive.
They are great movies (well, I’d say five out of six), and they don’t require “context” to appreciate or understand them.
Meanwhile, for the beloved Aristocats, they said: “The Siamese cat Shun Gon is depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth