Part 1—Patricia Arquette speaks: Our young analysts were crying even before she was done.
We had let them stay up late to watch the Oscars broadcast. Midway through the glamour-strewn evening, Patricia Arquette was honored as Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Arquette was being honored for her performance in Boyhood, a very unusual film. Along with everyone else in the “Boyhood family,” she had worked on the project over the course of twelve years.
You’d think a person in that position might want to say something about her “art.” Like other Oscar winners this night, Arquette didn’t go there.
Instead, she offered a jumbled statement about an undefined aspect of an actual social concern—a social concern which may or may not exist, depending on what Arquette was talking about.
Arquette closed by saying this. Already, the youngsters were crying:
ARQUETTE (2/22/15): To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.Meryl Streep shot out of her chair as Arquette spoke these inspiring words. Meanwhile, we support wage equality too! So why were the analysts crying?
Sagaciously, they understood that Arquette’s speech would inspire bollixed presentations like the one shown below. The very next morning, Katie McDonough was talking the talk for the new Salon:
MCDONOUGH (2/23/15): According to a breakdown of median weekly salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the gender pay gap is consistent across fields. Disparities between men and women’s earnings exist in all but seven of the Bureau’s 600 listed occupations. Men who drive buses, prepare meals in cafeterias, run companies and watch your kids, on average, make more money than women who do the exact same work.From reading that, a person would think that women earn 77 cents on the dollar, as compared to men, for “doing the exact same work.”
A quantitative analysis from the Government Accountability Office also found that the pay gap persisted between men and women even after factoring in part-time work and women working fewer hours or taking time off after they have children or when a family member falls ill. So Arquette is right about the pay gap being very, very real and badly in need of correcting.
But take a closer look at the gap and you’ll find that the numbers often used as shorthand—women earning 77 cents on the dollar—isn’t reflective of the much starker wage gap faced by women of color. Black women who work full-time year round, on average, earn 64 cents on the dollar, and Latina women earn just 54 cents.
As far we know, no expert in this field, including the “liberals,” actually makes that claim. But this has become a standard claim in our liberal tribe. This explains why the analysts cried.
We live in a very surprising time. Recent flaps concerning the Oscars help illustrate this point.
We live in a time when we in the liberal world have begun inventing fake facts and phony statistics, in much the way the “conservative” world has done for these many long years.
Our journalists may push these fake facts; so may our ranking professors. Hollywood actors will often enlist for the drive to advance our tribe’s bollixed story lines.
And alas! As we liberals push our fake facts, we often direct our gaze away from various actual facts—actual facts which might help us advance important progressive interests. These swirling trends were on display before, during and after last Sunday’s Oscar broadcast.
All week long, we’ll look at some of the bogus facts our tribe now seems to enjoy. We’ll also consider important real facts we tend to disappear and ignore.
We’ll review the work of some of our leading professors. We’ll look at the work of our tribe’s journalists. We’ll consider the caliber of our own discourse, the discourse which is emerging from within our own liberal tribe.
After Arquette spoke on stage, she went backstage and spoke about wage equality some more. She took big hits from observers on the left for some of the things she said in that second statement.
Many of those complaints had merit; some were perhaps overstated. All our work on the left isn’t flawed—but we’re easily divided and conquered!
For many years, Rush and Sean were the biggest clowns in show. It isn’t clear that that is the case any more.
Over here within our own liberal tribe, we’re doing some horrible work of our own. We find it hard to believe that this widespread conduct serves progressive interests.
Tomorrow: There are at least three different types of “wage inequality,” of “wage or income gap.”
Which of the three did Arquette have in mind? What brought Streep out of her chair?