Performative virtue looks like this!

MONDAY, MARCH 13, 2023

Terrible Oscar nom snub: These Oscar choices are quite subjective. Consider Everything Everywhere All at Once, a movie we haven't seen.

Did we mention the fact that we haven't seen it? For that reason, we have no view on how good it is.

That said, we have noticed this. Neither of the two chief critics at the New York Times—A. O. Scott and Manohla Dargis—had it on their list of the year's ten best films. 

Neither did Ann Hornaday, chief critic at the Washington Post, or Justin Chang, chief critic at the Los Angeles Times and NPR.

Other critics liked it a lot; as we've noted, these things are subjective. What isn't subjective is the performative foolishness of this passage from today's New York Times, courtesy of Brooks Barnes:

BARNES (3/13/23): [T]he academy was criticized this year for not nominating any women in the best director category. For decades, women and people of color were almost entirely excluded from the directing race. In 2021, for the first time, two women were nominated: ChloĆ© Zhao (“Nomadland”) and Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”), with Zhao winning. Last year, Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”) won the Oscar for directing.

This year, Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”) was left out even though her film was nominated for best picture. (Polley won for her adapted screenplay.) “I give up,” Patty Jenkins, whose directing credits include “Wonder Woman” and “Monster,” told Variety on Saturday about women being shut out of the category. “It’s still going to take a long ways to go. It’s going to take a lot more to really see truly more diverse awards.”

Should Polley have received a Best Director nomination? We don't have the slightest idea. (We do note, per that passage, that women won for Best Director in each of the past two years.)

We also know this, as does Barnes:

Ten (10) films were nominated for Best Picture this year. But by the rules of the Academy, there could be only five (5) nominations for Best Director. 

By the rules of that game, five directors of Best Picture nominees didn't get nominated for Best Director. Correctly or otherwise, Polley was one of the five. The other four were all men.

Our defiantly performative blue mainstream tribe refuses to stop doing these things. As it turns out, this insistence on undisguised moral performance seems to be a basic part of who we the humans are. All top anthropologists say this.

"I give up," Patty Jenkins said, perhaps for very good reasons. As we've watched the ways our journalists function, we've occasionally said the same thing!

Fuller disclosure: Two years ago, we loved Promising Young Woman. 

We didn't like Nomadland much at all! These things are subjective, of course.


  1. Defiantly performative? Meh. Brain-dead.

    ...ain't no other way to put it, dear Bob...

  2. Nothing can top the "performative virtue" of politicians, who can do something about school shootings, offering useless thoughts and prayers.

    1. Anonymouse 4:07pm, I can just see you scrambling thru your flying monkey playbook and finding that one on page four.

    2. 4:29,
      I can just see you thinking, I can't argue with that obvious truth, so I'll make a snarky response.

    3. Anonymouse flying monkey 4:07pm, and you’re thinking that yours every opinion is “obvious truth” so now you’re on Page one of your flying monkey handbook.

    4. Cecelia,
      Whatever it takes. Read it in a book, or pay attention and understand how the world works.
      Your choice.

    5. I chose the second alternative long ago.

      You’re stuck on the first page.

    6. Cecelia, it is a moral outrage that conservative politicians who could do something about both gun control and stopping the politically inspired violence that results in mass shootings only offer thoughts and prayers (which do nothing whatsoever to help anyone but make them appear to give a damn when they do not).

      Don't pretend you don't know what 4:07 was saying. Don't pretend that this very obvious truth is not obvious even to right-wing morons such as you.

    7. Anonymouse 8:07pm. I have thoughts and prayers towards people who leave their ovens on and burn up themselves and their family members.

      And I have thoughts and prayers for people who are murdered by guns.

      All the while, I keep in mind that both ovens and guns are tools.

      Ovens provide the means of cooking and preserving food and guns provide the means of protecting ourselves and our families from grave harm.

      That one of these utilities is far less needed than the other is a blessing indeed., but this is partly because the less used utility is available.

      When it isn’t available when needed, there is nothing in world as personally calamitous as the loss of this utility. There is sadly nothing other to offer but our thoughts and our prayers,

    8. Huge mistake, Cecelia.
      But, you made your bed, so I'll let you lie in it.

    9. Guns, like businesses, are a tool that can be used for good or evil. Both should be highly regulated.

    10. Cecelia,
      How many thoughts and prayers are ample for those who complain about paying taxes?

    11. Cecelia,
      That's the best argument for raising taxes I've read on the internet this year.
      Great job.

    12. Of course you don't need thoughts and prayers, if you have a fully-funded, strong federal government.

    13. Dear 501(c) Parents Rights groups,
      We have heard your complaints, but since schools are needed to provide education to children, sadly there is nothing to offer you but thoughts and prayers.
      BTW, I feel much better about myself already.

    14. Don't sell thoughts and prayers short.
      Since I started offering them to the anti-woke crowd, I feel great about myself. I suggest everyone do the same.

  3. Seeing the world through the prism of
    Award Shows, which many people
    (Including well educated liberals) seem
    committed to doing, is a deeply stupid
    thing to do. (Others do, to be fair,
    enjoy fhem on the level of harmless
    fun, like a sporting event. The example
    Bob sites is just one of dozens you
    could point to reflected attitudes
    across the political spectrum, though
    liberals are now clearly much more
    interested in the Oscars.
    It’s touching in a way, that people
    attach such significance to this
    nonsense, as it reflects our deep
    confusion and desire to find something
    understandable and significant.

    1. "though liberals are now clearly much more
      interested in the Oscars."

    2. My own opinion, though it strikes me as glaringly obvious.

    3. The people who are nominated and who win such awards are greatly benefitted in their future job choices. They better scripts and writing or directing opportunities and can ask for more money. That is not nothing. That's why women and minorities are upset about being shut out of the process. It hurts them in their careers. To you this may be a game, but to them it is their livelihood and it matters to their families and earning prospects. Just the like the other arenas where racism plays out. The point of racism is to keep the good stuff for white straight males and make sure no one else gets a piece of the pie.

    4. Does it also strike you as obvious that Hollywood is run by Jews? Maybe your stereotype is an extension of that old canard?

    5. 8:12, Well, that’s one of the more pointlesslty stupid things I’ve encountered in awhile. Nothing I wrote
      suggests that kind of antisemitism
      in any fashion. Look, if you revel
      in the dopey self indulgence of
      awards shows that’s your privilege,
      but don’t get mad that someone
      points out from time to time that
      you are kind of a dunce.

    6. It is a bit like being interested in the lives of rich people, in terms of being dunce-like.


  4. ...outta curiosity, dear Bob: did you watch the Censorship-Industrial Complex show? And if so, what's your reaction to the performance of your tribal chiefs on that show?

    1. Comrade, Marx, should we Nationalize the film industry, for the good of the homeland?

  5. Replies
    1. Have you given any real thought as to that?

    2. cognitive definition: "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses"

      The irony that Cecelia asks this of someone else when she is one who constantly misuses words, doesn't know what she is talking about and appears to spew nonsense (from conservative websites) without any consideration at all.

      You could do less talking and more thinking and benefit both yourself and others, honey.

    3. Anon 8:24, where did you get that definition? Regular folks use”cognitive” as an adjective, not a noun.

    4. Do you think of Cecelia as a cognitive person? Flying monkeys?!

    5. Cecelia is a primate.

    6. He says he’s cognitive, I ask him if he’s thought about it.

      Anonymices couldn’t tell a quip from their femurs.

    7. Thoughts and prayers, Cecelia.

    8. Your quips are stupid, Cecelia.

    9. Cecelia, how do you know that mouse is male?

  6. The stats have been skewed for so many years when NO women whatsoever were ever nominated for best director, years when Somerby said absolutely nothing about it. If he were only concerned with likelihoods, he would have commented on that one. That he waits until women are finally directing films in large enough numbers to warranted more than an occasional nod, and then calls it performative when women expect to see the number of nominations increase too, shows it isn't about the numbers for Somerby. He thinks the correct number is zero, women ought to be happy with an occasional nomination, and it is "performative" to want to see more women recognized now. And then the clueless right wing trolls ask what makes anyone think Somerby dislikes women!

    1. Don't forget to factor in everything Maddow did with helium.

  7. Performative virtue is an odd term. What good is virtue if it is never performed?

    Somerby of course means that liberals are faking their virtue. But that isn't actually true. For example, liberals give more to charities whereas conservatives give to their church and call it a charity (no matter who buys a new plane with the money). Conservatives talk about family values while having higher divorce and domestic violence rates than liberals. And so on...

    If you look at the facts of who is talking the talk and who is walking the walk, it isn't the right wing who is doing anything to help anyone but themselves and that goes double for their greedy con artist crook of a former president. So Somerby has a lot of nerve pretending that the term performative applies to liberals, simply because they want to see everyone have a fair chance to win an award.

  8. Woke broke the bank.

  9. Somerby says he didn't like Nomadland. I thought it was great and Francis McDormand totally deserved her oscar, as did the film. To prefer Promising Young Woman makes Somerby a very weird guy. But then again, he has very little empathy, so he wouldn't resonate to the deaths of her husband and her city that the main character in Nomadland was mourning. You might have to have had an important relationship to resonate to why those people were on the road and why their sense of community was important to them.

    1. Nomadland isn't that great.

    2. In your opinion, but who are you to say?

    3. Who is 10:00 p.m. to say? Do you see the point?

    4. 10 pm is stating his or her own opinion, not making a global prouncement, as 11:13 is.

    5. Who is 10pm to say though?

  10. [Verse 1: U-God]
    Raw I'ma give it to ya with no trivia
    Raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia
    My hip-hop will rock and shock the nation
    Like the Emancipation Proclamation
    Weak MCs approach with slang that's dead
    You might as well run into the wall and bang your head
    I'm pushin' force, my force you're doubtin'
    I'm makin' devils cower to the Caucasus Mountains


  11. ...and also, dear Bob, would you please address the Steve Friend hearing?

    Incomparable Matt Taibbi concludes his Steve Friend piece with this para:

    "The style of the new anti-speech Democrat is clear: define all government critics as lacking standing to criticize, impugn their prior opinions and associations, imply that all their beliefs are conspiracy theory, define their lack of faith in the FBI’s judgment as treasonous, and declare their motivation to be financial. Lastly, when they invoke common constitutional rights, make a note that their activities exist in an uncovered carve-out.

    This is the playbook, and we all better get used to it.

    Is it similar to what you do here, in your blog, dear?

    1. Mao,
      Thoughts and prayers to you and Taibbi.

    2. Taibbi is just doing it for the money. He has admitted he doesn't believe Russia interfered.

  12. Maddow was caught shoplifting at Fingerhut.