Also, (all but one of) The Reasons Why Hillary Lost: At some point, should a major political movement decide to reject the transparent dumbness of its thought leaders?
Should political players decide that it isn't OK to be transparently dumb in pursuit of legitimate values? Over the past month, we've been asking ourselves these questions.
Golden Globe nominations were announced on December 9. It's been A Furious Time in the Neighborhood ever since.
Liberal and feminist pundits have declared that Greta Gerwig and her film, Little Women, have been widely "snubbed" on the basis of gender. In our view, gender fairness is very important, but so is avoidance of transparent dumbness.
With that in mind, how about it? Do you regard this recent presentation in Vox as dumb?
GRADY (1/13/20): On Monday morning, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women was nominated for the 2020 Oscar for Best Picture. It also racked up five other nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay. But Gerwig herself was notably shut out of the Best Director race.The presentation goes on from there, leading to a claim about the "consistent snubs" suffered by Gerwig as endless industry groups have handed out their endless nominations and awards.
Those two categories have traditionally tended to closely replicate each other, on the grounds that the directors who did the best jobs probably made the best movies. But on a fairly regular basis, the Oscars have opted not to nominate directors from disenfranchised groups, Best Picture nomination or not: When Selma was a Best Picture nominee in 2015, director Ava DuVernay, a woman of color, was not nominated. Only five women directors and 22 directors of color have ever been nominated.
It's certainly true that women have rarely been nominated for Best Director Oscars. When Gerwig was so nominated two years ago, she was just the fifth woman to receive such a nomination.
That said, was she somehow "snubbed" this year? This brings us back to our original question:
Do you regard that presentation by Vox as dumb?
The presentation turns on a vastly misleading statement. Truth to tell, the statement in question is really just wrong. The statement in question is this:
Two Oscar categories—Best Picture and Best Director— "have traditionally tended to closely replicate each other, on the grounds that the directors who did the best jobs probably made the best movies."On the basis of that statement, we're asked to believe that Gerwig was discriminated against this year. Righteous anger spread through the land, but that statement by Vox was just dumb.
In fact, that angry statement was tremendously dumb. This is why we say that:
As of 2009, the statement in question was accurate. Right through 2009, the Oscars dispensed five nominations for Best Picture each year, along with five nomination for Best Director.
Almost always, the people who directed the Best Picture nominees were nominated for Best Director. For a reason everyone understands, that changed after 2009.
Starting in 2010, the Oscars began nominating up to ten films for Best Picture each year—but there are still only five nominations for Best Director. Stating the obvious, this means that many directors of Best Picture nominees don't get Best Director noms.
How hard can it possibly be to understand this point? Starting in 2010, the numbers break down like this:
Over the past eleven years (2010 through 2020), 98 different films have been nominated for Best Picture. But there have been only 55 Best Director nominations.
Two Best Director nominations have gone to people whose films weren't nominated for Best Picture. This means that of the 98 people who directed a Best Picture nominee, only 53 received Best Director noms.
Eleven years later, are we still unable to understand the way this system works? Over the past eleven years, 46 percent of the people who directed a Best Picture nominee didn't receive a Best Director nomination!
Gerwig was one of those people this year, along with two white men and one man who is ethnically Maori. As everyone knows, this is the way the system now works.
(When DuVernay failed to get a Best Director nomination, so did three white men who had directed Best Picture nominees. One of the three was Clint Eastwood.)
"Those two categories have traditionally tended to closely replicate each other?" As everyone on the planet knows, that stopped being true after 2009.
But so what? There it was in Vox at the start of the week, with some unnamed editor waving the claim into print. In this way, we liberals were goosed into seeing our tribe as victims again.
Should Gerwig have been nominated for Best Director this year? We have no idea. Nor do we know of any reason to think that the principals at Vox bring any expertise or experience to this subjective question.
Gerwig was so nominated just two years ago, for another female-centric film. This makes the claim that she's now being discriminated against on the basis of gender this year seem especially stupid.
That said, we live in a time when The Culture of Irate Tribal Complaint has surged to impressive new heights. Discrimination on the basis of gender is, of course, a bad thing. But so is the spectacular dumbness which is increasingly put on display across the liberal world, winning votes for Trump.
Should liberals and progressives complain when tribal journalistic leaders behave this way, perhaps a bit like the shills at Fox?
In our view, the answer is yes—and there's a lot more to complain about. Consider Gene Lyons' new column, the one which touches upon The Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Lost.
When we discuss the reasons why Clinton lost, we're also discussing The Reasons Why Donald Trump Won. Lyons calls attention to the decades-long role the New York Times played in this debacle.
The Times' role in this debacle dates all the way back to 1992, when its bungled front-page reporting created the Whitewater pseudo-scandal. Quite literally, Lyons wrote the book on that puzzling journalistic affair, the heavily-disappeared Fools For Scandal.
In the course of his new column, Lyons discusses the role the Times played in pushing the transparently ludicrous Uranium One pseudo-scandal.
Uranium One was an especially stupid part of the Trump-Clinton campaign. It involved a set of ludicrous charges—charges for which Hillary Clinton has recently been "exonerated."
The Times pimped Uranium One through a gigantic front-page report in April 2015. In his new column, Lyons says this about that:
LYONS (1/15/20): Like Whitewater, [Uranium One] originated in a piece of absurdist journalism published by the mighty New York Times back on April 24, 2016 [sic]. Read today ... Well, the thing is almost impossible to read, which ought to have been a tipoff.So it went at the New York Times starting in 1992, with a detour of several years spent attacking Candidate Gore in transparently ludicrous ways.
When you can’t make heads or tails of a newspaper article, it’s usually because the authors have no idea what they’re talking about and hope you won’t notice. Here Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was murkily accused of taking a bribe from a Canadian philanthropist who’d long ago sold his interest in a Utah uranium mine of no great value. (U.S. ore production is a tiny fraction of the world market.) A Russian company bought it.
The Times produced no evidence that Hillary played any role in the transaction whatsoever—signed off on by nine separate U.S. government agencies unrelated to the State Department. But the newspaper had made a devil’s bargain with one Peter Schweizer, a Breitbart-affiliated Steve Bannon acolyte with a history of smearing Democrats.
It was one of those deals where all the “mistakes” ran in the selfsame direction. Correct the errors, fill in the blanks, and the presumptive scandal vanishes. Exactly as this latest, and presumably last, Clinton scandal has done.
Last week, Rachel Maddow gently chided the Times for its treatment of Uranium One. She forgot to mention what viewers of her own program were told about the crazy report when it appeared in the Times.
(Maddow herself completely avoided the topic. As we've noted down through the years, this is her standard play whenever Elite Upper-End Power is involved in assaults against major Dems. She mugs and clowns and entertains but also looks out for herself.)
The Times ran a jihad against Hillary Clinton (and Candidate Gore) which extended for roughly twenty-five years. This is one of the obvious reasons why Clinton lost (and Donald Trump won), unless you read lists of reasons recently compiled by Ed Kilgore and Gail Collins.
We'll assume that Vox was just being dumb concerning those Oscar nominations. At other times, leading journalists may simply refuse to tell us rubes the (whole) truth.
We'll get back to Maddow and Uranium One as we proceed with our award-winning "Rational Animal Tales." For today, let's conclude our rumination concerning Vox:
That recent presentation was transparently dumb. Will the time ever come when we liberals decide to reject this type of tribal behavior?
The anger is fine; the dumbness is not. Will we self-impressed "rational animals" ever decide to accept this?