Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Woody Allen: More Proof Americans Are Over Race

I’ve said several times of late that the era of identity politics is over. From its start around the 1970s with group rights like affirmative action entering the law to its heyday in the 1990s when a form of cultural Apartheid was enforced by an army of politically correct McCarthyites, identity politics has been a scourge, hiding behind the noble idea of equality to push a poisonous form of racial and gender spoils. But the American people are finished with that, and an incident with Woody Allen gives us more proof of that.

Before we discuss Allen, you need to know some background. Starting in the 1990s, black race groups began to howl about how blacks were portrayed on film. (Feminists did this too). They objected to blacks being presented in any criminal, poor or demeaning roles, such as servants, and they protested the lack of black characters in positions of authority in films. They also held the first (that I recall) nationwide protest about the failure of Hollywood to include any black characters in a film. The film was Grease II and it indeed featured not a single actor of color.

It soon became a cottage industry for race groups to demand that their own be placed into all films no matter how they had to be squeezed into the film. They also called it racist for whites to play non-white roles -- the breaking point on this seems to have been a Broadway play, Miss Saigon where Jonathan Pryce was cast as the Eurasian pimp.

By the heyday of this idiocy in the 1990s, race groups were issuing regular reports on the percentages of black roles in films and on television. Black characters could not be presented in a negative light. Ditto on women. If there was a judge, a lawyer, a boss or a commander, it would always be a minority. Criminals were white males, and all the jokes were aimed at hapless white males. And the idea of putting on a production without a token minority or two flashed prominently before the cameras was unthinkable.

Enter Woody Allen.

A few days ago, the New York Daily News discovered to its journalistic horror that Allen’s Broadway production about Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club (a black club famous in the 1920s and 1930s) features an all white cast. Gasp!

This is actually rather shocking. For one thing, everyone knows that you simply don’t do a production without token representation to keep the race baiters away. It doesn’t matter if your production involves only two characters, who are brothers and members of the KKK, there better be a black character and a woman somewhere in there. So what was Allen thinking? Even more shockingly really, this is a show about a black club and yet Allen cast only whites? WTF? Seriously, that actually does reek of racism.

Anyways, what was truly fascinating was the utter lack of outrage. The Daily News screamed RACIST! They even found an anonymous source who said that Allen “specifically requested there be no African-American stars in his show.” Allen supposedly even nixed the casting of a “big-name African-American actor” because he claimed “a black gangster wouldn’t be good,” despite the show involving a black club in black Harlem. Moreover, Allen was told that casting no blacks would seem strange to the audience, given the setting, and there is a competing production called After Midnight which does cast blacks. Yet, he refused to cast any.

What’s more, they noted that Allen has been under constant criticism for never casting gay characters in his movies.

Allen responded through a spokesman by denying any attempt to exclude blacks and saying, “It has always been Woody Allen’s priority to cast the exact appropriate person for a role regardless of race, which has never been a consideration.”

Crickets.

Wow. Had this been the 1990s, Woody Allen would have been roundly condemned, fired, boycotted and sent to re-education, i.e. therapy. The idea that Allen casts for talent rather than race would never have been accepted as a defense because it wasn’t considered a valid excuse... you had to obey the quota system. But today, no one seems to care.

Crickets.

Even more interestingly, this instance probably does reflect genuine racism. Unlike all those prior productions that were tarred just for not jamming black characters into stories where they didn’t fit, this is a story about a black club. Excluding blacks from this is... well, bizarre, and it makes his claim to cast only the best actors regardless of race into a farce.

And yet... crickets.

This strikes me as further strong proof that the race/gender industry is finished in America. The public simply doesn’t care unless they get proof of actual racism. Indeed, on that point, a few days after I wrote this, Donald Sterling, the billionaire owner of the NBA’s LA Clippers and a registered Democrat, created a firestorm based on some racist comments he made. Unlike Allen, whose “crime” was claiming to be color-blind, Sterling was caught telling his girlfriend to stop associating with blacks. Sterling also has previously been accused of racism on several occasions. Like Paula Deen (who apparently has redeemed herself in only a few weeks), he used the n-word about his players, he told the managers of his properties not to rent to blacks because they are “unclean,” and he was even sued for discrimination by black tenants.

What all of this suggests is that the American public won’t tolerate genuine racism, but they aren’t interested in race baiting anymore either. That means the end of the era or identity politics.

45 comments:

Anthony said...

Andrew,

Its worth keeping in mind that plays are not the same as film and television. Normal people care about tvs and movies. I can't remember the last time a play was a topic of national discussion.

That being said, I agree that things are less crazy nowadays. I remember Spike Lee tried to rally the public against Django Unchained (which I loved). He got smacked down very hard by the few people who paid attention to him and was roundly ignored by the average person.

-----------------

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/jan/03/django-unchained-spike-lee

Black people initially made up 42% of the audience for Tarantino's blood-spattered spaghetti western homage, which was released in the US on Christmas Day, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Since then, the percentage of African Americans at screenings has fallen to around 30%, according to exit data.

-----------------------
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/15/dick-gregory-django-unchained-spike-lees-comments_n_2481918.html

“That lil thug ain’t even seen the movie, he’s acting like he’s white…so it must be something personal, because when I looked at all those black entertainers, that know Spike Lee, how are you going to attack this man and don’t be attacking them,” he said. “You’re saying, ‘everybody’s a fool but me?’ [Talking about] ‘it offended my ancestors,’ but when you did ‘She’s Got To Have It’ and some of those other thug movies you did… when you took Malcolm X and put a Zoot suit on him, red hat…did that offend your ancestors, punk? It’s a game.”

“So whatever he’s mad about, it’s something that happened way, way a long time ago. Thank God it didn’t work, that movie has made up close to $400 million.”

------------------

Also, while Sterling has certainly supported Democrats in the past (4 thousand bucks to Democrats between 89 and 91) he is registered as a Republican.

*Sigh* I lost a 10 dollar bet to a liberal family member over this issue yesterday.
-----------

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/04/28/donald-sterling-is-a-republican-and-has-given-money-to-democrats-this-does-nothing-to-explain-his-history-of-discrimination/

By the end of the weekend, stories were published, noting that "L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whom commentators have tried to tie to the Republican Party after his alleged racist statements, is in fact a Democrat." Except, he isn't. According to the Los Angeles Board of Elections, Sterling is a registered Republican, who first registered in California in 1974. The state database's records have listed him as a Republican since 2002. He voted in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.
-----------

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/04/28/democratic-donor-donald-sterling-must-mean-im-a-republican/

Yes, Sterling gave money to Democrats. OpenSecrets.org, absolutely the place to go when you want to follow the money in politics, shows that the “Slumlord Billionaire” has donated a paltry $4,000 to Democrats between 1989 and 1991. Zilch to anyone since then.

Alex said...

The thing that gets me about Sterling's politics is that anyone cares about it. It's just fun to try to poke the media and the elitists with the pointy end of their own shitty little stick.

Back to Andrew's original point: I beg to differ. Regular people may be done with the race baiting, but I think the industry is stronger than ever. If, say, the recently conservative David Mamet was accused of the same thing, his career would be in serious trouble. Never underestimate the stupidity and gullibility of a large swath of Americans to believe what the "experts" tell them.

shawn said...

I remember the hoopla back in the early to mid 90s and at that time I said that Allen makes small, personal movies about things that he knows: neurotic New York Jews. That's not something that I associate with black America. And I don't get bent out of shape about the lack of whites in Spike Lee's productions. They aren't completely absent, but Lee generally focuses on black Americans. Once again, something the director is familiar with.

But Allen's choice to have a play about a infamous Black club in New York without any blacks in the cast- just flat out stupid.

tryanmax said...

"Excluding blacks from this is... well, bizarre,"

Some might even call it avant-garde. All it takes to be edgy is to buck convention. Inevitably, this calls for a rejection of PC culture at some juncture. For those who don't think there's anything edgy about Woody Allen, consider that he has always inhabited a space where he isn't interested in appealing to anyone but himself, both professionally and personally--a true auteur. Allen was norm-core decades before norm-core was a thing. (Not to mention he exists--ironically?--as an antisemitic stereotype.) That's a joke, but only up to a certain point. The sharpest edge cuts imperceptibly.

tryanmax said...

Alex, I would counter that what you see as the race-baiting industry being stronger than ever is actually their death throes. The race-baiters derive their strength from public perception. They are starving.

BevfromNYC said...

I am always leery of the well-timed controversy. The Tony nominees were announced yesterday...

Anyhoo, "Bullets Over Broadway" is not about the Cotton Club. It is about 1920's gangland New York and how far a young playwright would go to get his play produced on Broadway (cue gangster's girlfriend who wants to be a star!). And the issue was that there were no black gangsters. It is based on Allen's movie of the same name which included white people. And that is why this "controversy" went over like a lead balloon. It didn't make any logical sense to BE an issue. And because the show already had an earlier much more publicized well-timed controversy for those "who live in a constant state of indignation about other's private thoughts/moment when it is publicly advantageous for them to be indignant" - Allen's alleged pedophilia related to his daughter Dylan's NYT open letter that Allen molested her that came out at the same time her brother Ronan's show was debuting on MSNBC and right before the opening night of..."Bullets Over Broadway". See, well-timed controversies suit everyone including revenge seeking Mia Farrow.

Alex said...

Tryanmax,

I certainly hope that's the case!

Anthony said...

Bev,

Given that Allen claims Mia Farrow found out about his relationship with her adopted daughter when she found some nude pictures, Woody is lucky she didn't Bobbitize him or something.

Anthony said...

I didn't know the play in question was Bullets over Broadway. That is the only Woody Allen movie I've ever seen/will ever see. Thought it was well made and reasonably entertaining but I prefer my comedies lower brow (think There's Something About Mary).

I don't remember any black characters, but IIRC the whole thing revolved around a playwright with writer's block and an Italian mobster who was helping him write his play.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, That's too bad about Sterling. Oh well, it was a nice tidbit, but not ultimately relevant. What I find interesting right now about Sterling is how desperate the usual suspects are to grab onto this and get their piece. It has a ring of desperation to it... "See!! See!! We told you the world is full of secret racists!!" It really has a "release" feel to me.

On this only being a play, this is just one more piece of evidence to a massive pile. And in that regard, the fact that it's a play never mattered in the 1990s -- anything involving actors because a nationwide cause. Add in that Allen is prominent (and apparently a repeat offender) and this would have been a huge issue in 1992.

AndrewPrice said...

Alex, I don't think that's right at all. The public is done and the race industry is suffering because of it. They've had to stop staging protests and marches because the public stopped coming. They no longer have a reliable "re-tweet" industry of knee-jerkers who will come out and condemn anything they point at. The Congress no longer listens to their concerns as they once did.

Even more to the point, the evidence that they no longer have any power is all around us. This is but one instance where the response was different in the past when things like this happened -- protests, boycotts and ruined careers. These days, Allen gets away with it. Tarantino has major white actors using the n-word like it was a compliment... you just didn't do that in the 1990s. Blacks are re-appearing in roles they couldn't have taken a decade ago -- criminals, the butt of jokes, pathetic characters. The charge of racism brings return fire and mocking now, rather than cringing fear, atonement and placating legislation. Paula Deen's image is fine despite what would have been a career killer a decade ago and she's back after only a few weeks and without any rehabilitation. Affirmative action is dead and so is the Voting Rights Act and there wasn't a single rally. Hispanics are replacing blacks all over television. Etc.

The evidence is all around us that the powers the race baiters held in the 1990s are gone. So while the race industry still exists, it's been neutered and the public has moved on. (Feminism has fallen even harder.)

In terms of Sterling, I think what you are seeing is the last gasp of the race industry. Again, I don't see the public upset about this. What I see is all the usual race baiter suspects and their fellow travelers latching onto this case like they finally found one they think they can sell and this is their last chance to save their ability to bully people based on charges of racism. That's why they care.

And to pull that off, look at how far they had to fall. This guy is a sexual pervert who is dating a child while estranged from his ex-wife. He's got a decades-long history of open racism and discrimination so bad that he's been sued by tenets and employees for racism and lost $5 million. He's got a history of racist statements too confirmed by players, employees and coaches. This is a guy they should have been after long ago, so why wait until now to demand his ouster? The reason is just timing... he's the best opportunity the race baiters have had since Zimmerman (v. Martin) and they desperately need an easy win to survive.

AndrewPrice said...

shawn, It is a stupid choice... and yet, there is no outrage. That's the key point here. At one point, the race industry was so strong that no one would have dared do a film without including at least one black (and one female) character. This essentially because an informal law of Hollywood... along with the other things I mention. And yet, here, Allen violates that law and in the most bizarrely egregious manner without any consequences. The times have changed.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, LOL! So you're saying Allen did this intentionally to be edgy? Interesting idea. I can't dismiss it, but I would have thought he might have mentioned it as an experiment or something.

Interesting: "Not to mention he exists--ironically?--as an antisemitic stereotype." I'll have to think about that. I will say though that Allen has always struck me as a caricature more than a human being. Everything about him seems to be "for show."

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's my sense too. All the Sterling stuff has a real ring of desperation to it, especially from the fellow travelers like the liberal sports journalists who's articles read like, "Oh thank God! There are racists! We knew it! Finally! Thank God we don't look like fools anymore! So, uh, yeah, this guy is evil, let's string him up!!! We need to stop people like this!"

In any event, as I noted to Alex above, look at the total lack of power they have these days: zero protests about the SC's affirmative action and voting rights act rulings. The last protest was for Zimmerman and that involved only a handful of people. When was the last "million" man March? And no one is proposing any legislation to like things race groups wanted in the past. There was a time in the 1990s, when the media and the Democrats took seriously ideas like proportional representation and national reparations for slavery, forcing sales of radio stations to minorities, imposing quotas on boardrooms, and when corrupt black mayors were untouchable and places like Detroit would have been solved by giving unlimited money while claiming that white input (other than money) into solving the problem would be racist. None of that is true anymore.

These days, Hispanics (read: accented whites) are replacing blacks all over television and films. The blacks you see in films and commercials are suddenly allowed to engage in roles that would have been considered demeaning or racist a decade ago. Claims of racism are met with doubt, not fear. And instances like this no longer generate enough outrage to force the Allen's of the world to back down.

I'm not saying that race no longer matters, but the pubic no longer seems to support group rights, and the industry is dying because that is what they are selling.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, A couple points.

First, I completely agree about manufactured scandal right around the time of awards shows or when something gets launched. It's amazing how many scandals suddenly appear to help sales at those points.

But, that said, this is the kind of scandal no one would have courted in the past because the results were typically disastrous -- boycott, disappear from public until you can repent, and then hope the issue fades and you can go back to work was the usual result.

On the point you make about this being "Bullets Over Broadway," keep in mind that the race industry does not care what the subject matter is. If you don't cast minorities, they you are a racist. That has been a fact of life when it comes to casting for twenty years now. So not having any blacks in his production is a violation of that "rule."

Secondly, I am led to believe that this play does involve the Cotton Club, which is a well-known black club. So even if the main story itself is unrelated to that, it's still bizarre to show the Cotton Club without any blacks.

AndrewPrice said...

Interestingly, I just found an article which noted that Noah cast only white actors as well. That "scandal" was so minor that I never even heard of it in the mainstream Hollywood news until today -- the article I found was at BET. Fascinating.

Equally fascinating is the writer's excuse, an excuse that never would have flown in the past -- in fact, it would have brought protests:

Noah, a fantastical reimagining of the story of Noah's ark, fails to include any non-white humans despite the diversity of its animal kingdom. Screenwriter Ari Handel, who wrote the script with director Darren Aronofsky, responded to the criticism on TheHighCalling.org by saying, “From the beginning, we were concerned about casting, the issue of race. What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise.”

He goes on to say, “You either try to put everything in there, which just calls attention to [race], or you just say, 'Let’s make that not a factor, because we’re trying to deal with [the] Everyman.'”

The implications in Handel's comments — that only white actors could represent the "Everyman" and that diversity on the screen would be a distraction — have ruffled more than a few feathers.


LINK

Two instances so close together starts to look like a trend to me.

Anthony said...

Andrew,

I disagree about Sterling. Yes, the usual suspects jumped in with the usual arguments, but guys like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant (who normally stay out of the such things because as Jordan once said 'everyone buys shoes') jumped in.

I suspect there is a sense of personal betrayal. NBA players rubbed elbows with Sterling on professional and social occasions and maybe worked for him, only to find out that he absolutely despises them.

Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that there have long been indicators of Sterling's bias, and but many of those people gave him the benefit of the doubt. Friends scorned aren't too much more forgiving than woman scorned.

Also, I disagree about Bullets over Broadway. I don't recall there being any controversy about Bullets over Broadway movie in 1994.

I agree that things are less crazy than they were, but I don't think they were ever all that crazy. As I've pointed out, in the 90's blacks were starring in raunchy comedies (mostly tied to the Wayans) and gangster movies. There was a group of people whining about image, but it wasn't exactly a risk for actors to buck those people even back then.

Also, I'd say the use of the n-word in 1994's Pulp Fiction (Tarantino's character went on a rant about 'dead n****** storage' when confronted with the body) was a lot less risky than its use in Django Unchained. Its also worth noting Pulp Fiction's big bad was a black guy (though he wasn't the foulest villain in the movie). I could go on.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that the sorts of people who whine about such things are more marginalized than ever now, but they were somewhat marginal even in the 1990s.

tryanmax said...

My point on Allen is that he doesn't give a crap and his quite likely manufactured mild-mannered persona is testament to that being the only criterion for edginess. Though, being who he is, Allen probably would've skated this in the era of our "first" black president--an honorarium Clinton stole from Rutherford B. Hayes.

*****

Feminism has fallen even harder.

Tell me about it! Just today I read a NYTimes piece linking schools who let down boys to the current economy and its letdown of men. Still, every paragraph began with assurances that the deck is really stacked against women, despite their higher graduation rates, greater degree earnings, and better job figures. It pathetically tried to make a disparate impact claim, stating: "The job market exacts harsh financial and career penalties on anyone who decides to work part time or take time off, and the workers who do so are overwhelmingly female."

KRS said...

I think you make some very persuasive points, Andrew, particularly in reference to the attitudes of that small segment of society where we all work for our living. To us, the hill has been taken, champaign popped and issued closed. But what of those who have more time, money and attitude?

There do seem to be some very well heeled and well funded remnants of the race industry still running under full steam - just witness the slaying of the Firefox exec and media evisceration of Sterling and Bundy, etc. I'm sure if we look over the past decade, we'll find a large number of well-heeled offenders being brought low or having to spend extensively to protect themselves from such treatment.

America is more class conscious today - and it's class structure deeper and far more complex - than at any time in it's post-bellum history - my opinion. And it is apparent that class has an even more powerful effect onindividual perspective today - to the point that entire groups of Americans have views that are completely alien to other groups. Clearly, some of these people can't even talk to one another because their worldviews or nationalviews are so alien.

I think you're right, Andrew. But I also think that there are classes, particularly our aristocracy, who are entirely unaware of the changes and continue as before. For them, it's still the 1990s and they're collecting the scalps of their own.

KRS said...

Side note - when I was a kid growing up in a mixed race neighborhood, we all had all kinds of words for each other's race and ethnicity and we used them liberally without getting into a fight.

The "n-word" was tossed about like a poker chip.

Today it is the most powerful word in the English language.

Funny, that.

Alex said...

Like KRS said above, you make good points Andrew, but I don't see the race-baiting industry getting any weaker. As I said before, people might be on to them, but they still have too much money behind them, which gives them a disproportionate influence. Add to the mix the general apathy and ignorance of the American people, and I think the race-grievance industry is here to stay. Hispanics replacing blacks on TV is just replacing one race with a well-funded grievance/hysteria machine behind them with another. Ask yourself: Are race-relations any better now than they were in the 90s? I say no. The lack of protests over Supreme Court rulings, for example, are more likely because, let's face it, how many people in this country really know what the Supreme Court is or what they do? Then again, if apathy and ignorance is leading to the death of the race industry, I'm all for apathy and ignorance!

This all, of course, stems from the grievance-mongers' refusal to see people as individuals and instead lump them in groups.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, You have to separate people who know Sterling from the public and race industry at large. The reason someone like Jordan spoke out is because he knows the man and the owners and this is personal to him. I doubt he would have spoken out if this had been the owner of a hockey team. You can't judge the public's reaction by looking at people personally involved.

On Bullets, I haven't seen it since 1994, but I'm pretty sure he included blacks in the background. And I know he cast a couple Hispanic actors as minor thugs. The rule wasn't that they need to be leads, they just need to appear on film and in an appropriate manner.

On the Wayans.... I think you misunderstand the point to identity politics. The rules applied to non-blacks. If you were white and you cast a film without a black character or cast a black character as something pathetic, then you were called racist and you ran the risk of being protested and attacked. Those rules have never applied to blacks because that is the point of identity politics -- two sets of rules, one for "our people" and one for everyone else. That's why blacks have been allowed to use the n-word and whites haven't. That's why women could say "bitch" but men would find themselves charged with harassment. And that meant that black filmmakers were free to do whatever they wanted. So pointing to the Wayans doesn't really address the point because they were allowed to break the rules so long as they stayed in their niche of "films by blacks."

As for Pulp Fiction, that's an outlier. For one thing, Tarantino was seen as hip and edgy and that gave him special dispensation to do things others couldn't... within reason. He was a bit like Mel Brooks in that regard. Moreover, his choice of Samuel L. Jackson was important because Jackson has the pro-black cache to render a sufficient endorsement of "honorary." And that's what Tarantino became -- honorary. Notice also that Jackson is present each time the word gets used.

As for the big bad guy being black in Pulp Fiction, Pulp Fiction was a heist film, so there is no real "bad guy." Moreover, both Rhames and Jackson are presented as unbelievably hip and are both made into quasi-good guys before the film ends. That's not the same thing as casting a black guy to play a street thug or a drug addict or servant or a traitor.

I definitely agree that Django Unchained was more risky. I don't think Tarantino could have done this one before Pulp Fiction.

Finally, in terms of being marginal in the 1990s, I just can't agree with that. These people were everywhere, controlling all things. Media rooms, Hollywood, the television industry, magazines all ran by their rules. Congress was busy trying to pass the legislation they wanted. They held large rallies with several hundred thousand people in attendance. They swayed the federal government in several criminal cases. They ruined careers. They got people fired, even famous people. The charge of racism or sexism alone was enough stop a political career cold until innocence could be proven. The things they wanted worked their way into employment rule books and codes of conduct on college campuses. Groups like the ABA were busy doing their bidding. Race and gender re-education were all the norm. The publishing industry was spewing out books on gender and race.

None of that is true anymore. These people have retreated to their foundations and their universities and they've lost all the powers they had in the 1990s. These days, they are just lobbyists basically, without any ability to sway the public or to sway our political class. And now they've lost their grip on the culture machine too.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, What's left of the feminists are an angry confused lot. They're also engaged in an internal war right now about whether or not to endorse heterosexual sex. In fact, I could probably write an article every other day of some other bit of proof that liberal feminism has collapsed.

ScottDS said...

I got nothin'. :-)

I'm sure I read at least one review that castigated Allen for casting a black woman in the role of a prostitute named Cookie in Deconstructing Harry. If I recall, it was one of the first prominent black characters in any of his movies to that point. In all fairness, she gets the best joke:

Woody: "Do you know what a black hole is?"
Cookie: "That's how I make my money!"

He also cast Chiwetel Ejiofor in Melinda and Melinda and he's excellent. I don't remember if his race is mentioned but I doubt it was - it didn't matter.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks KRS. The remnants are still there, but they are faking it. Guys like Sharpton and Jackson now spend their time counting their money and they know not to try to rally the troops for a show of force because no troops are going to show up. Moreover, no one has stepped into the vacuum.

When it comes to guys like Bundy and Sterling, keep this key difference in mind: they deserved it.

This is important, I'm not saying that the public no longer cares about racism or racial discrimination. What I'm saying is that the public now only cares about legitimate complains by or about specific individuals. They no longer care about group rights or vague claims. In the past, you could be tagged as racist for not having enough blacks on stage with you or in your company. That kind of attack no longer flies. These days, a charge of racism needs to be backed up with actual, provable misconduct of a racial nature.

And that's where Bundy and Sterling are differ from victims of the race industry in the past. Both Bundy and Sterling gave evidence with their own words of their racist beliefs. Sterling when further and admitted acting on his racist beliefs. The result is that both were abandoned by their friends an Sterling has found himself in deeper trouble with his partners. If it hadn't been for their own words, however, neither would be in trouble.

AndrewPrice said...

KRS, Sadly, words and symbols change. In the 1970s, the rainbow was everywhere. Now it means gay.

AndrewPrice said...

Alex, I understand why people think these groups are still relevant. They do still exist. They still try the same things they always did. And they still get favorable media coverage when they do. Heck, conservative talk radio even paints these guys as an invincible force on the verge of victory. But the reality is that they are powerless and played out.

Their legislative agenda is DOA, if it's even suggested anymore. The public no longer ranks racial/gender issues as important. The race baiters can't get more than a handful of people to show up at rallies. When they attack people for racism, people no longer cringe and panic, they fire back and the public no longer blindly accepts these allegations -- they demand direct evidence. Moreover, it's easier to rehabilitate yourself now when caught without the apology tour or any sort of reparations. Hollywood, Madison Avenue and TV land no longer play by the rules of political correctness and are breaking more of them every day. And the public won't boycott things the race baiters want boycotted. They are losing the young, who are acting in ways that are directly opposed to the things they've been pushing. Their pronouncements barely make the news, much less the front page. And few could even identify their leaders or their agendas.

So what you have is: (1) no influence with Congress, (2) no influence with the public, (3) no ability to turn people out, (4) waning influence over Hollywood and the culture factory, and (5) no younger generation following in their footsteps.

That's a sad state to be in and hardly compares to their heyday 20 years ago.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, On that line, do you recall about two years ago when some race group proclaimed that the term "black hole" as used by science was racist? LOL! That was pretty funny.

Of course, in the 1990s many words were suddenly considered racist and you better hope you didn't use one when the accusation was made, e.g. "picnic."

BevfromNYC said...

***News Break***
It has been reported the Bob Hoskins passed away today after a long bout with pneumonia...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I saw that. I liked Hoskins a lot. RIP

Alex said...

I sincerely hope you're right Andrew! Having come-of-age in the 90s, I may still be shell-shocked by what I remember of rampant political correctness. Time will tell.

AndrewPrice said...

Alex, The 1990s were awful, that's for sure. And today certainly isn't as free as the 1970s. But things have changed significantly and I'm seeing more and more changes all the time.

tryanmax said...

I may have to watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit? tonight.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's the first time I ever noticed Hoskins and I had no idea he was British. I was sure he was American based on that film. It wasn't until a year or two later that I saw an interview with him and I realized he was British.

tryanmax said...

There is something very American about his appearance. The man was born to play in noir films.

AndrewPrice said...

Plus, his accent was not only American, but it sounded like ethnic American -- like he was holding back a Brooklyn accent. It's the rare Brit who can do that.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Yeah, I heard that. [rolls eyes]

On Hoskins, for my generation he'll always be Eddie Valiant... and Mario. Both he and John Leguizamo are on record about what a clusterf--- the Super Mario Brothers movie was... but Hoskins had the Brooklyn plumber thing down. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's who I see him as as well. And for the record, I actually enjoy Super Mario Brothers.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I actually bought the making-of book for the Mario movie at the school book fair. (Yeah...)

I haven't seen it in its entirety in years but I've seen bits and pieces on YouTube, Nostalgia Critic, etc. and my only reaction is, "Oh. My. God."

In my last link article, I linked to this piece on the making (and unmaking) of the movie.

Jason said...

I’ll admit to liking Super Mario Bros. also. I know it gets a lot of flak for not being like the games, but having played the games a lot when I was a kid, the setting, action, etc, wouldn’t have been the easiest thing to adapt to a live-action movie. The sets of Dinohattan are actually really cool, and the movie does have a slightly dark, Blade Runner vibe to it.

I do remember the NAACP making an uproar in the late 1990s about the lack of black characters in television. It’s funny that now that I read Andrew’s article, it’s occurred to me that I can’t remember any recent pushes on this issue.

KRS said...

Andrew, speaking of words and symbols changing, did you know the peace symbol originated as the shoulder patch for the Nazis Wehrmacht 3rd Panzer Division? The reason they chose it was because it features the cross of St Peter, who was crucified upside down. The symbol was used during the first millenium and much of the second to intimidate Christians. Nazis hated Christians, too.

Here's another: the two fingered peace sign is derived from the Churchill victory "V" sign, and THAT originates from the Battle of Agincourt. Before the battle, French Barons swore they would cut off the two fingers English long bow archers used to draw the bow. After the French were slaughtered, the English archers paraded through Nomandy holding up their intact fingers.

I've often thought that, if African Americans wanted to end the insult they feel with displays of the Confederate Battle Flag, all they have to do is take and wear it.

Every generation can remake whatever the previous one hands them, for better or worse.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott,Thanks! I'll read that when I get the chance.

AndrewPrice said...

Jason, All you get these days is that about once a year, some group issues a report on the percentages of each race on television. That's about it. I'm not even sure the MSM reports on it anymore. Back in the 1990s, it was a big deal.

AndrewPrice said...

KRS, Now that is a funny idea. Could you imagine if blacks began using the confederate flag for the symbol of some rap group or something? The confusion and outrage from the redneck sector would be priceless.

Kit said...

Bob Hoskins was a great.

Post a Comment