There has to be a one word summary for this. “Ha!” “Duh”? “Yecchh!” “Wha?”
There is going to be a new film version of “West Side Story,” apparently to have one that doesn’t involve casting Russian-Americans (Natalie Wood) and Greek-Americans (George Chakiris) as Puerto Ricans. Of course, it’s OK for a white character to undergo a gender and nationality change because shut-up. This is, I believe, a doomed project, much as the remakes of “Ben-Hur” and “The Ten Commandments” were doomed. Remaking a film that won ten Oscars is a fool’s errand. So is making any movie musical in an era when the genre is seen as silly and nerdy by a large proportion of the movie-going audience, especially one that requires watching ballet-dancing street gangs without giggling. Steven Spielberg, who accepted this challenge, must have lost his mind.
Ah, but apparently wokeness, not art or profit, is the main goal.
“When we began this process a year ago, we announced that we would cast the roles of Maria, Anita, Bernardo, Chino and the Sharks with Latina and Latino actors. I’m so happy that we’ve assembled a cast that reflects the astonishing depth of talent in America’s multifaceted Hispanic community,” said Spielberg. “I am in awe of the sheer force of the talent of these young performers, and I believe they’ll bring a new and electrifying energy to a magnificent musical that’s more relevant than ever.”
Maria will be played by 17-year old New Jersey High School student Rachel Zegler, making her film debut opposite Ansel Elgort as Tony. The Sharks will be played by Ariana DeBose as Anita, David Alvarez as Bernardo, and Josh Andrés Rivera has been cast as Chino. The 1962 film’s Anita, Rita Moreno, is now playing what was the white, non-Hispanic, male role of Doc, now renamed and re-sexed.
Bravo to George Mason law prof. David Bernstein, for this deft take-down: Continue reading
It’s the last day of the regular season for baseball, or should be: there could be two tie-breakers tomorrow, and they are officially considered part of the season. There were more baseball ethics posts this year than ever before. You can review them here.
1. And now for something completely stupid. I was temped to make this a free-standing post, but it triggered my stupid alarm, and doesn’t deserve it.
In Los Angeles, Boguslaw Matlak and Laura Quijano decided to stage a “social experiment” to determine whether bystanders would act to protect an endangered child. As their hidden cameras ran, they stuffed their 3-year-old son Leo into the trunk of their car. In truth, the back of the trunk had been rigged so Leo could climb into the back seat. He was in no danger.
“I was thinking maybe I should do a video to show people that they should do something about it when they see something wrong, to get involved,” Matlak said. They got involved, all right. Witnesses called the cops, who arrested the couple and took Leo into protective custody. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services placed the child with a relative. For the last three weeks, the couple has been trying to get him back.
“They are hurting my son emotionally at this point,” Quijano told reporters. “He’s not home with his parents who love him very much and what else do they want from us? I just don’t understand at this point.”
The agency recently informed the parents that it would would be returning Leo to their custody. Matlak now faces one count of misdemeanor child endangerment.
- Ethics lesson #1: Don’t use human beings as props.
- Ethics lesson #2: Three-year-olds can’t consent to such treatment.
- Ethics lesson #3: Police have enough to do dealing with real crimes. Staging fake ones to see what will happen should be illegal, if it isn’t already.
- What’s there to complain about? The social experiment was a success!
- Is proof that parents of a small child are idiots sufficient to remove him? No, I suppose not.
- The problem with this episode is that the child, who was innocent of wrong doing, is the primary one being punished.
For Senate Republicans, holding hearings on President Obama’s qualified and moderate nomination for the Supreme Court is both the ethical course and the politically smart course. It is also in the best interests of the nation.
In fact, the Byzantine political maneuverings by the President and the Republican leadership, by turns petty and ingenious, have handed Republicans a political chess victory, if only they are smart enough, responsible enough, and patriotic enough to grab it. Naturally, they aren’t.
It is infuriating, and all citizens should be infuriated.
A brief review of how we got to this point of looming GOP disgrace is in order:
- Justice Scalia died, removing a towering conservative force from the Court. This meant that almost any replacement, and definitely one named by Obama, would make the Supreme Court more liberal than it has been in many years.
- Seizing on the opportunity to make the election a referendum on the composition of the Court (which is was going to be anyway), Mich McConnell announced that no nominee named by Obama, an outgoing POTUS less than a year from leaving office, would be considered by the Senate.
- Democrats and their allies in the punditry predictably pronounced this to be a breach of Senate duty. Embarrassingly, records surfaced of Joe Biden asserting the same basic principle that McConnell was arguing for, when Bush was the President. Biden, I must duly note, is an idiot, but he’s still the current Vice President. Then again, all Biden has to do is say now, “I was wrong.” As he frequently is.
- Though many predicted that Obama would name a transsexual, disabled black Jewish Latino judge with Socialist leanings to maximize the opportunity to politicize the process, he did the opposite. He named a qualified jurist.
- The judge he named, Merrick Garland, is a white, veteran 63-year-old judge with a distinguished record, nothing flamboyant or controversial, who is as close to a non-ideological, non-partisan moderate as any Democratic President is likely to appoint from now until the stars turn cold.
Now, if Senate Republicans were interested in doing what is in the best interests of the nation—that is, filling the Supreme Court vacancy as soon as possible, giving proper deference to a responsible and reasonable nomination by the President, avoiding a nasty and divisive partisan fight, and ensuring that the next Supreme Court Justice won’t be an intractable leftist firebrand determined to gut the Constitution or another “wise Latina” mediocrity who will pollute the record with touchy-feely ramblings—they would leap on this opportunity and unanimously confirm Garland, saying publicly that they reconsidered McConnell’s declaration in the interest of restoring the integrity of the nomination process and returning to the time before Democrats politicized the process beyond reason in the Bork hearings, giving the President his choice, regardless of philosophical bent, when the nominee is qualified, dignified, experienced and trustworthy. like Judge Garland Continue reading
If it accomplished nothing else, the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is doing a dandy job of flushing out the bigots. First it was the feminists blaming the decision on the all-male majority…because, as we all know, only women can balance ethical and legal conflicts fairly and intelligently, and they are incapable of bias. This line of attack is gender bigotry, acceptable because, well, just because. Then Harry Reid, leader of the Senate majority, condemned the five justices whose analysis prevailed as white males, adding racial bias to the mix. Also stupidity, of course, since last I looked, Justice Thomas was still black. Then again, to hear Harry and his friends tell it, being a conservative and not folding up like a deck chair any time women or a minority group complains means that you must be white, meaning that you must be bigoted against women. That’s just what whites are like. And males. Says white male Harry Reid.
It’s a strange, strange world we live in, no doubt about that.
Now comes the Freedom From Religion Foundation with an ad published in the New York Times blaming the decision on the fact that the five justices in the majority were male and Roman Catholic. Anti-Catholic bigotry! I confess, I didn’t know what religion the justices were, because I don’t care. Do you? John Kerry is a Roman Catholic; so is Joe Biden. It never occurred to me to attribute their various decisions and policy determinations to their religion, or to presume that anyone’s religion is fair game for criticism. Ah, but this is blood politics as defined by today’s culture. The right people can use bigotry against deserving targets….you know. Conservatives. Continue reading
“Hey, he killed the President—he had to be a Teabagger, right?”
…how it is that both the Washington Post and the New York Times, in the days before the anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, ran essays that link right-wing, radical, anti-liberal sentiment in 1963 Dallas with today’s conservative political positions? The Post, doing explicitly what the Times does slyly, even makes the connection direct. Its essay is called “Tea party has roots in the Dallas of 1963”—as in the implicit innuendos, ‘people like those in today’s tea party killed JFK’ and thus ‘the people who think like that probably want to kill this President too.’
We’re seeing a lot of liberal despair, nastiness and desperation these days, aren’t we? The instinct seems to be to lash out. Of course, one would think that competent, responsible and fair editors of the two most prestigious U.S. dailies would read this tripe, hand it back to the authors and say, “Hey, go home, have a drink, and take a nap. It’s not so bad, really. Obamacare may be all right. We’ve got Obama’s back. Now, I’m going to do you a favor and forget you wrote this.”
But no. Continue reading
My mood after I wrote this...
As more and more observers predict that the individual mandate, a cornerstone of Obamacare, will be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, I found my mind returning to the topics that have bothered me from the beginning. Why didn’t Congress make certain that it was on sound constitutional ground when it passed the law? Did they really understand what they were passing? Is it possible that our elected officials could spend so much time and occupy so much of the nation’s attention on an issue they didn’t understand? Surely our highest elected officials entrusted with devising the laws of this great nation must understand the powers and limits that relate to their duties in the Constitution. Don’t they? Isn’t that a minimum qualification for office?
George Mason Law Professor David Bernstein has provided clues to the answers to those question, and you’re not going to like them. He writes: Continue reading