Saturday, January 30, 2016

I Have a Dream That Everyone's a Winner (Part 1)

I think it's safe to say that at this point in time, we've completely lost touch as to what the word "racism" means. Now any sapient being with a dictionary in hand (as long as it isn't from Oxford) will readily attest that the word racism, is based on the belief that one's own race is far superior to that of another. Many who possess this particular mindset, tend to be very discriminatory and prejudiced towards those not of their native land and or skin color. That is what the word is defined as. And call me a traditionalist if you must, but I believe that that definition is all we need to describe it. We needn't redefine the word to fit our own personal political agendas, or add additional clauses as to what else it refers to. Just leave it be.

Sadly, many people - particularly those on the left - are doing just that. One such example is the idea that you can't be racist towards white people, because white people (or more accurately Caucasians) are born with inherent privileges, power, and other advantages in life as opposed to those from a minority group. Only minorities can be the victims of racism. And despite the fact that the term racism isn't defined as a one-way street, and that you absolutely CAN be racist towards white people as much as any other race, the left, specifically SJWs, feminists, #BlackLivesMatter protesters, and others, have completely hijacked the term. And it's ironic that the majority of those espousing this new definition, tend to have a bit of a melanin deficiency themselves - i.e., they're white.

But I'm not here to talk about race per se. No. I'm here to talk/rant about the somewhat recent kerfuffle of which took place over at the Academy Awards, a.k.a. the Oscars.

Basically, what happened was was that there weren't a lot of "diverse" actors or films nominated for an Oscar this year. So in protest, Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, just to name a few, have taken to boycotting the Oscars for it's lack of "diversity", and have been attempting to draw more folks to their cause. This event in particular has been dubbed by social media as the #‎OscarsSoWhite.

How nice.

Instead of railing against the event itself, I'm instead going to look at the response of three individual people. That being: Lupita Nyong'o, Mark Ruffalo, and Michael Caine. Though I want to make it clear: While I will be going through these responses utilizing my usual sarcastic/cynical approach, I want to stress that I don't bare any ill will towards these people. Hell, Mark Ruffalo will probably be the one that I'm the most aggressive towards (you'll see why in Part 2). But even then, I don't hate the guy.

First, let's look at Lupita Nyong'o's response

"I am disappointed by the lack of inclusion in this year’s Academy Award nominations, it has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture. The Awards should not dictate the terms of art in modern society, but rather be a diverse reflection of the best of what our art has to offer today.”

No. That is not how this works. "... it has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture." Fantastic. You might as well say society is inherently sexist against women while you're at it. You certainly won't be lacking company in that regard.

Lupita, I like you. I really do. But you're flat out wrong. There isn't some invisible oppression boogeyman that's oppressing blacks and minorities anymore then there's some nebulous patriarchy oppressing women. Racism is still a thing, sure, but it's nowhere near as prevalent as it was decades ago.

Have you considered the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there weren't a lot of minority actors that deserved the award this year? I mean, just this year? Just because the Academy forgot the cross off the "arbitrarily include insert minority actor here" checklist, does not entail that there's some sort of "unconscious prejudice" against blacks. This is essentially just a bunch of high societal sods whining about not getting the nomination this year.

Now this may just be my cynicism talking, but I find it REALLY difficult to find sympathy with people, who quite literally make a living playing pretend in front of a camera that's probably worth more then my rent. And yes I know that's an oversimplification, but that's not the point. 
You guys practically make my yearly income in less then a week. So quit your petulant whining about not getting some overhyped paperweight to parade around like some preschooler that just got a gold star for participating.

In other words: Buck up. Better luck next year.

Now unless I've misinterpreted that latter half of this statement, that statement being that "
The Awards should not dictate the terms of art in modern society, but rather be a diverse reflection of the best of what our art has to offer today.”, this is something of which I do agree with. I think the Oscars could use a little retrofitting in terms of what kind of movies are nominated. For example: In my honest opinion, and I'm certainly far from being alone on this one, The LEGO Movie deserved the award for Best Animated Picture as opposed to Big Hero 6. Yet for some reason The LEGO Movie was snubbed. Either because it wasn't Disney, or that the third act included a live action sequence with Will Ferrell. Though to my knowledge this hasn't been confirmed, so make of that what you will.

Continued in Part 2...