Should we see any truth in her claims? We're so old that we can't quite remember what the Screen Actors Guild is being attacked for this year.
Oh, that's right! We'll return to that complaint a bit later. First, though, riddle us this—should people have laughed when Ricky Gervais said the following during his Golden Globes monologue?
Many talented people of color were snubbed in major categories. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about that. Hollywood Foreign Press are all very, very racist.Should people have laughed at that? Or was that remark in bad taste?
More on that question below. For now, let's consider Megan McArdle's column in yesterday's Washington Post.
McArdle praised Gervais for directing some poisonous barbs at the actual Hollywood types who were right there in the room. She explained her point in the passage below, even offering a bit of a contrast:
MCARDLE (1/8/20): [I]t was refreshing to see someone stand up at a Hollywood awards ceremony and actually speak truth to power—by which I mean the actual powers in their own lives, not a hypothetical power structure with no real prospect of striking back.Be fair! McArdle acknowledged the fact that Arquette's stated view "might be right." She went on to praise Colin Kaepernick for having taken a risky stand—a stand which likely cost him his spot in the NFL.
Take, for example, Patricia Arquette’s famous 2015 Oscars acceptance speech, which she used to call for wage equality for women. Time magazine captured the general media reaction when it called this “a brave political statement.” Brave? Arquette might be right, but is there anything less brave than supporting a liberal cause in a room full of fervent liberals?
McArdle simply disputed the standard cloying morality play in which Hollywood liberals get praised for courage when they state views which almost everyone in their industry agrees with. For ourselves, we think the problem may be slightly different.
We'll guess that a lot of people wonder why Hollywood actors seem to think that we should care about their political views. Sometimes there's even the hint of bad faith floating around. In McArdle's rendering, Gervais put it like this:
MCARDLE: "You say you’re woke,” said Gervais, “but the companies you work for—I mean, unbelievable: Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?We didn't watch the Golden Globes. (Do you mean to tell us that somebody did?) But we'll have to admit that those remarks do strike us as funny. Should liberals possibly take political meaning from comments like those?
“So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech, right? You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.”
Just a guess—we keep losing votes to Trump and the like because of the pomposity and self-regard which are frequently broadcast by our tribal avatars. That said, our tribal cluelessness seems to know no bounds. This brings us back to our original questions:
What was the Screen Actors Guild being trashed for not long ago? Oh, that's right! They didn't give any acting nominations to the cast of Little Women! That was supposed to show that they don't care about women-directed or women-themed films!
It couldn't be that SAG members might have thought that there were five casts which gave better ensemble performances than the cast of Little Women. It couldn't be that voters thought there were ten better perforances than the performances by Little Women's female stars.
This kind of thinking is spectacularly dumb—and The Others are able to see this. This brings us back to Ricky Gervais and the very, very racist people at the Golden Globes.
The Globes have in fact been getting battered for being very racist. But how odd! Last year, before they became so racist, they included these three films among their five Best Motion Picture/Drama nominations:
Black PantherRemember how much better life was before they became so racist? In fact, it was just last year!
If Beale Street Could Talk
There's a dirty little secret out there—a secret we liberals struggle to crack. The secret in question keeps doing us harm. The secret in question is this:
Our tribal avatars tend to be very, very dumb.It isn't that racism and sexism aren't important topics. It's just that we've come to these topics extremely late, and now that they're our favorite toys, there's no way to play with these favorite toys in which we won't indulge.
Last Sunday, it got so bad that Manohla Dargis was complaining about the lack of nominations for the film The Farewell—a film she didn't include on her own list of the year's 42 best films! It was "idiocy" which denied The Farewell, the outraged New York Times film critic said—sexist idiocy at that!
That's the way our avatars are very strongly inclined to play! Being very, very self-assured, they'll never know how dumb and unattractive this is unless we agree to tell them.
We expect to explore these topics next week. It isn't that the concerns are wrong. It's just that the people to whom we defer tend to be so hapless.
We're so old that...: We're so old that we can remember when the Screen Actors Guild didn't hate women, female directors and female themed films.
It was two years ago, when they gave an ensemble nod to the cast of Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig's last film! Life was so much better then, before they became so sexist.