Tag Archives: “Philadelphia”

The ‘new’ pride flag: Oh, HELL no!

Updated below (on Monday, June 26, 2017)

New Pride Flag

Misguided, overzealous people from within their safe spaces in Philadelphia recently decided to add two new stripes to the traditional pride flag in order to represent brown and black people who are non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming.

As “President” Pussygrabber might say: SAD!

The “new” pride flag, which I reject and hope is widely rejected, is wrong on many levels. Let me count the ways.

Anyone who has been to a left-of-center protest or demonstration knows the problem of too many groups trying to be seen and heard. It’s fucking selfish and rude and disrespectful for, say, a marijuana-rights group to show up at an anti-war protest, but I’ve seen shit like that. You don’t piggyback onto someone else’s cause in order to promote your own. That is lacking in all class and tact.

There are many good causes and righteous crusades out there, and of course intersectionality is very important. (It is so important that if you don’t know what it is, you should click on that link to find out.) You’ll get no argument otherwise from me.

But how cluttered — and how co-opted — are we going to let the pride flag become?

How are Asian or biracial LGBT people represented by the “new” pride flag? What about the deaf or the blind or the physically and/or mentally disabled or the mentally ill? Where are their stripes? Do the poor get a stripe? The elderly? Jews? Muslims? Atheists? I consider myself to be a socialist; where is the stripe for socialists? (“The red stripe,” I hear you say. Or maybe, “Add a pink stripe!” Shut the fuck up.)

The pride flag always has meant, or at least its significance always has included, diversity, including racial diversity. Remember Jesse Jackson’s National Rainbow Coalition from the 1980s? It exists today as the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and here is its logo:

Shit, not only does it not include a black or a brown stripe, but it doesn’t even have the green or orange stripe of the traditional rainbow! It is very pared down! No black or brown stripe! (Did I mention Jesse Jackson? And no black or brown stripe?)

And I remember the first pride-flag bumper stickers of the more homophobic 1990s: “Celebrate diversity,” they proclaimed, because apparently celebrating a vague, gauzy “diversity” was much more acceptable than was celebrating much more specific “gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.” We had to water it down for the homophobes and heterosexists, you see; we didn’t want our cars to be vandalized or to be the victims of violence.

The “new” pride flag as proposed by our Philadelphian sisters and brothers is too busy and unattractive.* Aesthetically (and we gay men are supposed to be all about great aesthetics!), brown and black don’t belong with the colors of the rainbow any more than does gray or even white (of course, black, white and gray aren’t colors).

And, of course, actual rainbows and prisms don’t display brown or black, for fuck’s sake, but display violet/purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. And that’s it.

More colors than those basic six are fabulous — but go get yourself a big ol’ fucking box of crayons and leave the fucking pride flag alone. It has stood the test of time and it doesn’t need your Johnny-come-lately tweaks.

The “new” pride flag is too busy and too unattractive, and I have a real problem with the co-option of the LGBT movement by race-based movements, especially when race-based movements so often in the past have shown nothing but contempt and disrespect for those of us who are LGBT.

Black Americans have been notoriously homophobic, and many Latinos, with their culture of Catholicism and machismo, have been, too. (I’m not saying that Asians have been all that much better, but the black and brown stripes of the “new and improved” pride flag apparently primarily symbolize blacks and Latinos.)

So often have I heard, especially from black Americans, that gay rights are not civil rights. (I once even had one black homophobe venomously tell me, “You can’t compare race to sin!” Another black homophobe once wonderfully lovingly to me referred to being non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming as a possible “birth defect.”) Now, these very same people want on my flag? Oh, fuck no!

These homophobes would have a fucking stroke if the LGBT movement tried to elbow its way into their movements, so why the fuck is it OK for them to encroach upon the LGBT movement? Are we gay people supposed to just bend over and take it up the ass? (Isn’t that what the homophobes and heterosexists always have thought of us? That we’re passive pushovers who are easily steamrolled?)

Again, intersectionality is important. Many of us within the LGBT community not only are non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming, but we’re also not white or we have a disability or some other trait (a physical trait, membership in a minority religion, we’re not a U.S. citizen, etc.) that puts us into another minority group or groups as well. But we can’t put all of the possible permutations of minority status on one fucking flag, each minority group with its own specific, distinctive element.

So: Leave the fucking pride flag alone. It’s fine the way that it is. It doesn’t need your “improvements.”

And: We non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals have fought for decades for equal human and civil rights. It was just two years ago later this month that our right to marry whom we love finally was recognized. (No, that constitutional and human right was not “given” to us by generous heterosexuals. Not only did we fight like hell for it, but it always existed, but the homophobes and heterosexists had refused to recognize it — and many of them still do!) And it was just a year ago this month that the largest gun massacre in modern U.S. history was perpetrated — on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

And: We non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals have the additional obstacle and burden of the fact that many of us are discriminated against and rejected by even members of our own fucking families. Most other members of other minority groups at least have the support of their own fucking families.

And: The LGBT movement still has a long way to go; it didn’t end with the long-overdue legal recognition of same-sex marriage in all 50 states two years ago. For example, being non-heterosexual still isn’t a federally protected class. Nor is being non-gender-conforming (although the federal courts in their rulings are starting to view discrimination against the non-gender-conforming and/or the non-heterosexual as a form of sex discrimination, which it is).

So: Perhaps those who are chomping at the bit to co-opt the LGBT movement — I have to surmise that their goal is to minimize it and to push it back into the shadows so that more attention is put on their own special-interest groups — at the very least can wait until we non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming individuals have the same federally protected status that they do before they even think about desecrating our flag.

Update (Monday, June 26, 2017): Today is the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the U.S. Constitution prohibits banning same-sex marriage anywhere in the United States, yet, according to a Pew Research Center survey taken earlier this month, only 51 percent of black Americans support same-sex marriage.

That’s only a few percent more than Repugnicans who support same-sex marriage (47 percent of them).

Among all Americans, 62 percent support same-sex marriage.

Yeah, I’m thinking that the Only Black Lives Matter set really needs to stop lecturing us LGBTs on the topic of equal human and civil rights.

And I’ll really go out on a limb and pronounce that they really, really need to give a fuck about us before they expect us to give a fuck about them.

That barely half of black Americans support same-sex marriage two years after it was made the law of the land indicates that black homophobia is alive and well. We LGBTs should be demanding to be on their flags, not vice-fucking-versa.

*The original gay pride flag, which debuted in San Francisco (appropriately) in June 1978, looked like this:

I’m glad that the flag later was altered to delete the pink and the turquoise stripes. I have nothing against pink or turquoise — or brown or black — but the original, eight-striped pride flag was too busy, and the natural spectrum doesn’t have pink (arguably, I suppose, it does have turquoise).

The traditional pride flag is much simpler and cleaner:

This version of the pride flag has been in use since 1979, and again, I, for one, won’t accept its desecration. There is a lot of history and a lot of human pain and suffering behind it, too much history and too much pain and suffering for those who weren’t even alive during all of that to then come along and blithely fucking ruin it in their coddled ignorance and self-centeredness.

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To win election and save party, super-delegates should pick Bernie Sanders*

*But they won’t, so they’re going to lose the November election, and the party as it exists today is doomed.

Associated Press photo

Recently leaked e-mails prove that among other things, the Billarybots within the Democratic National Committee cynically discussed emphasizing Bernie Sanders’ religious beliefs or lack thereof in order to harm his campaign and to help Billary Clinton’s, and “neutral” DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz flat-out wrote about Bernie Sanders in an e-mail, “He isn’t going to be president.” If Democrat in name only Billary Clinton still actually emerges as the party’s presidential nominee this week, know that she did not do so cleanly, fairly and squarely, but that she did it dirtily and corruptly — and that we now have thousands of pages of physical evidence of this fact. (Above, thousands of supporters of Bernie Sanders protest in Philadelphia today, ahead of this week’s coming Democratic National Convention. I fully share their sentiment about the Democratic National Committee.)

The Democratic Party hacks thought that after the train wreck on steroids that was the Repugnican National Convention of last week, their convention this coming week would be, by comparison, flawless.

They were wrong.

A recent WikiLeaks dump of thousands of hacked Democratic National Committee e-mails shows that top officials and staffers within the DNC, as we knew all along, did their best to help Billary Clinton and to stymie Bernie Sanders.

The wronged Sanders, rightfully, has been quick to jump on this. Reports Yahoo! News today:

Bernie Sanders said [today] that the leak of Democratic National Committee e-mails that show its staffers plotting against him proves Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz should resign.

Shortly after the interview aired, CNN reported that Wasserman Schultz will no longer serve as chair of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, which begins [tomorrow]. According to CNN, she’ll be replaced at the convention by Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sanders said the e-mail leak proved once and for all that Wasserman Schultz was unfit to lead the committee.

“I don’t think she is qualified to be the chair of the DNC,” the Vermont senator said on CNN’s “State of the Union” [today]. “Not only for these awful e-mails — which revealed the prejudice of the DNC — but also because we need a party that reaches out to working people and young people, and I don’t think her leadership style is doing that.”

“I think she should resign, period,” Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” [today].

“I think I told you a long time ago that the DNC was not running a fair operation, that they were supporting Secretary Clinton,” he continued. “So what I suggested to be true six months ago turns out, in fact, to be true. I’m not shocked. But I am disappointed. And that is the way it is.” …

Yes, it goes without saying that Debbie Wasserman Schultz needs to put her slimy tail between her slimy legs and slither away under a rock somewhere already. (In one e-mail, the “neutral” Wasserman Schultz wrote of Bernie: “He isn’t going to be president.”)

But it’s much larger than that one lying, corrupt slimebag. Wasserman Schultz’s slimy head on a silver fucking platter is a great thing, but in and of itself it does nothing to reverse the pervasive corruption within the Billary-controlled Democratic Party, which stopped being a populist, progressive party and instead became a Clintonesque center-right, corporate party decades ago.

If you want to kill the Clinton Beast, you don’t just chop off one of its innumerable slimy tentacles; you have to drive a huge motherfucking stake through its cold, cold, slimy heart.

If the Democratic Party super-delegates were people of integrity instead of worthless party hacks, this coming week at the convention they would throw this thing to Bernie Sanders.

I mean that.

Hell, fuck even integrity; the question becomes whether or not the super-delegates want to nominate the candidate who has the best chance of winning the White House in November, which is supposed to be the No. 1 function of the convention. If the super-delegates have no conscience — and most of them don’t — then the least that they could do is their main job of picking the most likely winner. 

The fact that the widely despised Billary Clinton (56 percent unfavorable rating and only 40 percent favorable rating nationwide) continues to drop in the polls against Donald Trump (Real Clear Politics’ average of recent nationwide polls has her at only 1.9 percent ahead of Trump in a two-way race and only 2.9 percent ahead of Trump in a four-way race), coupled with the physical evidence that of course the DNC did not remain neutral but anti-democratically did its best to handicap Bernie and to boost Billary, gives the super-delegates (who may vote however they please) not only cause, but compelling reason to vote for Bernie Sanders (whose nationwide favorability rating is at 53 percent).

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t expect this to happen. Above I wrote “If the Democratic Party super-delegates were people of integrity instead of worthless party hacks…”

Of the DNC e-mail dump, perhaps this e-mail exchange (which, per ABC News, occurred in early May) has pissed me off the most. Reports The New York Times:

… “It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his [Bernie Sanders’] belief[?] Does he believe in a God[?]” wrote [the apparently fairly illiterate] Brad Marshall, the chief financial officer of the committee. “He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points[‘] difference with my peeps.” [Politico reports that Marshall immediately went on in his e-mail: “My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.” Why The New York Times didn’t report that lovely sentence and sentiment I’m not certain.]

Marshall added in a second e-mail: “It’s these [sic] Jesus thing.” [Amy Dacey, the DNC’s chief executive officer] wrote back, in capital letters: “AMEN.”

Marshall did not respond on Friday to an e-mail asking for comment. But The Intercept, a news website, quoted Marshall as saying: “I do not recall this. I can say it would not have been Sanders. It would probably be about a surrogate.” …

Give me a fucking break. This Brad Marshall prick was not talking about Bernie Sanders? OK, so if he was talking about a Sanders surrogate (but he was not; he is a corrupt, fucking liar who, like Wasserman Schultz and many others within the DNC, needs to resign or to be removed), then he needs to tell us, right now, exactly which Sanders surrogate he was writing about.

For the record, as I have indicated before, it is my impression of Bernie Sanders that although he is ethnically Jewish, he is agnostic to atheist (or, at least, secular). No truly intelligent person is not somewhere on the agnostic-to-atheist spectrum, and the only constitutionally and democratically sound way to govern is to do so secularly, not theocratically.

And, as I’ve written before, we in the United States of America have freedom of religion and freedom from religion, and there is not supposed to be a religious test put on the presidency.

And many if not even most of the millions of people who voted for Bernie in the Democratic Party primary elections and caucuses (including yours truly) are somewhere on the agnostic-to-atheist spectrum, so very apparently Bernie Sanders’ religious beliefs, if any, have not posed a problem for them/us.

But to bring up “[the] Jesus thing” when talking about an at-least-ethnically Jewish person — that’s so classy and so not anti-Semitic or anything, and look at how shamelessly cynically the Billarybots within the DNC were willing, ready and able to exploit religion — the “Jesus thing” — for their own political gain (and for Billary’s, of course).

And, of course, with e-mails plotting to exploit Bernie Sanders’ not being a Jeebus-lovin’ Christian, you would think that these were members of the Repugnican National Committee plotting against Bernie, not members of the Democratic National Committee. With “friends” like these, who the fuck needs enemies?

Nothing is sacred to the slimy weasels that have overtaken the Democratic National Committee. Probably mostly agnostics to atheists themselves, they’ll nonetheless gladly exploit the “Jesus thing” to try to help Billary (who probably actually is agnostic to atheist herself) and harm Bernie.

It’s long past due to clean house from top to bottom, every square fucking inch of it, and, again, merely chopping off the one slimy tentacle that is Debbie Wasserman Schultz won’t cut it.

In the wake of the rather copious physical evidence that the Democratic National Committee did everything in its power to help Billary and to harm Bernie, I already have switched my voter registration from the Democratic Party to the Green Party.

I encourage you to leave the Democratic Party, too, if you are registered with it. (I had registered with the Democratic Party only to be able to vote for Bernie in California’s presidential primary on June 7.)

The Democratic Party as it exists today does not deserve the support of those of us who are left of center, and until and unless we deprive it of our support, it will continue to accept our money and our votes while only betraying us time and time and time and time and time again.

If Bernie Sanders now wants to, say, run with the Green Party’s Jill Stein, as she has offered him, I am perfectly fine with that.

I rather doubt that he will, but given the fact that the Democratic National Committee did not run anything remotely resembling a fair presidential contest, but, in fact, quite actively fucked over Bernie Sanders — and, by extension, his millions of supporters (including yours truly) — it is well within Bernie’s moral rights to do whatever the hell he wants to do now.

Bernie, after all, didn’t, so to speak, void any contractual agreement by acting in bad faith; the DNC did that, and it did it big-time.

P.S. Here is the link on WikiLeaks to prick Brad Marshall’s e-mail plotting attacks on Bernie Sanders’ religious beliefs (or lack thereof):

https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/7643

The e-mail is professionally titled “No shit.”

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Bernie is prepared to take it to the convention in Philly in July, baby!

File:Democratic Party presidential primaries results, 2016.svg

Wikipedia graphic

This is what the map of the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary race looks like today. Bernie Sanders thus far officially has won 15 states (shown in green), Billary Clinton officially has won 18 (shown in golden-yellow), and 17 states remain (shown in gray). Bernie has been doing well enough to deny Queen Billary the crown outright, and he is prepared to take the nomination fight to the party convention. (If you have a fucking problem with that, then you are an anti-democratic fuckwad just like Donald Trump.)

After his win in Wisconsin’s Democratic Party presidential primary election yesterday with 56.6 percent to Billary Clinton’s 43.1 percentBernie Sanders stands at 45.5 percent of the estimated count of the pledged/democratically earned delegates to Billary Clinton’s 54.5 percent, a difference of 9 percent. (Billary’s estimated pledged delegate count is 1,302 and Bernie’s is 1,088, a difference of 214 pledged delegates.)

Seventeen states remain on the 2016 primary election season calendar, including biggies New York (247 pledged delegates), Pennsylvania (189) and my state of California (475 pledged delegates, the most of any state; we’re saving the best for last, on June 7).

Billary won’t reach the magic number of 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination before the party convention in late July, and therefore Bernie Sanders is prepared to take the nomination fight to the convention, which is fucking great. In an actual democracy, no candidate should just be handed the race, but should have to fucking earn it from the voters.

(Der Fuehrer Donald Trump infamously anti-democratically has called for his opponent John Kasich to drop out, so when the Billarybots call for Bernie to drop out, yeah, that very much puts them on the level of Trump.)

The anti-democratic attitude of the Democratic Party hacks is stunning. I’ve seen Bernie Sanders referred to, among many other things, as an “irritant.” Forty-five-point-five percent of the vote in an ongoing race with 17 states left to go doesn’t make you an “irritant,” like a mere fly or gnat or mosquito. It makes you a contender. Perhaps an inconvenient-for-some contender, but a contender nonetheless.

And as Bernie has said many times himself, his candidacy is about much more than him as an individual; it’s about rebirthing the Democratic Party, the party that once was progressive but that over the years devolved into a center-right, Repugnican Lite Party all too happy to sell us commoners out to the DINO politicians’ corporate campaign contributors.

Indeed, the main function of the Democratic Party now, under the “leadership” of DINOs like King Bill Clinton and Queen Billary Clinton and President Hopey-Changey, is to prevent us commoners from rising up with torches and pitchforks and going after our treasonously selfish and abusive corporate overlords who for some decades now have been destroying us socioeconomically, and who, not being content enough with that, have been destroying the entire fucking planet, too.

To a large degree the Democratic Party’s bullshit works, largely though ignoring socioeconomic issues and other substantive issues and employing identity politics in the stead of substance.

Black Americans, for instance, on many measures (such as poverty and income inequality and net worth and incarceration rates) have been no better off under DINO President Hopey-Changey than they were before he took office in January 2009, but it very apparently has been more than enough for the vast majority of them that he is black (black Americans approve of the president’s job performance by around 40 percent more than do all Americans; tell me that race alone has zero to do with that).

And although Billary Clinton’s history gives black Americans no reason to believe that their lives would improve under her presidency any more than they have(n’t) under President Hopey-Changey’s, black Americans for some fucking reason slavishly support Billary as though she’d be our “third” “black” president.

And, of course, Billary also has been playing the “feminist” card — although perhaps not as much as I’d expected her to do in her second go-around for the White House. (This is probably only because the “misogyny” bullshit hasn’t played very well outside of the cult-bubble of the Billarybots.)

Identity politics won’t solve such staggering problems as rapidly growing income inequality and rapid climate change. Identity politics will keep us Americans too divided to fight back against our corporate overlords (which is exactly why corporate-sellout DINOs like Billary employ identity politics).

With identity politics we commoners and serfs continue to fight each other over who may and who may not wear dreadlocks, for instance, while collectively we boil like frogs as our corporate overlords continue to turn up the heat, literally as well as figuratively. Geniuses, we!

Those of us who support Bernie Sanders — and thus far we’re at least 45 percent of the voters in the Democratic Party primary elections and caucuses, no tiny fucking minority — are happy to see Bernie Sanders go as far with his candidacy as he possibly can.

(And a new, reputable poll out shows that one in four of us Berners won’t vote for Billary should she be on the ballot in November. I am one of those. [Call me a kamikaze; that’s fine. Shit more often than not needs to be blown up before it can be rebuilt.])

Over many months I’ve given Bernie a total of hundreds of dollars (if I haven’t hit the $1,000 mark yet, I’m close), so I’m financially invested in his bid for the White House as well as emotionally, intellectually and spiritually invested in it. A better future is worth paying for; it’s worth investing in.

So yes, I want to see Bernie carry the ball as far as he possibly still can.

It’s still possible (although admittedly difficult) for Bernie to win a majority of the pledged/democratically earned delegates, and if he accomplishes that feat and goes into the convention with that feat under his fighter’s belt, the “super-delegates” then will be put in the uncomfortable position of honoring the democratic process by ensuring that Bernie Sanders, the people’s choice, is the presidential nominee — or being typical Democratic Party hacks, giving democracy the middle finger (in the city of Philadelphia, where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were born) and paying their allegiance to corporate whore Queen Billary because that’s what they’re expected to do as Democratic Party hacks.

This scenario would be quite a moment of truth for the fallen Democratic Party, a moment that is long overdue, and a moment that perhaps only the heroically, historically independently minded progressive Bernie Sanders, whose allegiance is to truth, wisdom and socioeconomic justice — and not to mindless, go-along-to-get-along, pro-corporate/sellout, pandering-to-identity-groups, establishmentarian Democratic Party bullshit — could force.

P.S. Billary’s nationwide numbers are falling. Right now Real Clear Politics’ average of nationwide polls has Billary at only 5.9 percent ahead of Bernie nationwide among Dems and Dem leaners.

RCP has Billary ahead in New York by 11 percentage points.

The Huffington Post’s average of nationwide polls has Billary at only 6.4 percent ahead of Bernie nationally, and HuffPo’s average of New York polls has Billary ahead there by 10.4 percent.

Final polls of Wisconsin on average had Bernie winning there by no more than 3 percent, but he won the state by 13.5 percentage points yesterday, so yes, indeed, winning New York (which votes on April 19) appears to be within Bernie’s grasp. Bernie often has performed significantly better on election day than he had polled right up to election day, and the New York primary is almost two full weeks away, a long time in American presidential politics.

P.P.S. Two more things:

One, I thought that I’d include this graphic from Wikipedia, too. It’s the same as the graphic above, except that it more helpfully gives you a little pie chart for each state showing you what portion of that state Bernie and Billary won:

File:U.S. States by Vote Distribution, 2016 (Democratic Party).svg

Note how close many of the states were (especially states bordering the northern states, where Bernie is strong, and the southern states, where Billary is strong): Nevada, Massachusetts, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri (and yes, to be fair, Michigan, which Bernie won).

Secondly, I have to note that an increasingly desperate Billary again is proclaiming that Bernie Sanders isn’t even a real Democrat!

Again, in spirit, if not on paper, his entire life Bernie Sanders has been the Democrat that Billary Clinton never will be.

Again, while she’s worth around $25 million, Bernie is worth around $500,000In 2014, Billary raked in around $28 million to Bernie’s $206,000. Billary has supported only a $12-an-hour federal minimum wage, while Bernie has supported the $15-an-hour federal minimum wage that California and New York just adoptedWhen she was old enough to know better, Billary was a Young Repugnican and was a “Goldwater girl” in 1964. Bernie Sanders, by contrast, never has supported the Repugnican Party.

I could go on, but that’s more than enough already.

Yes, Billary has been a dedicated Democratic Party hack, and has been instrumental, with her husband, Barack Obama and many others, in making the once-great Democratic Party resemble the Repugnican Party more and more with each passing year, but to me and to millions of other voters, the obvious, no-brainer answer to the question, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most Democratic of them all?” is Bernie Sanders.

Um, yeah.

Looks just like her — scowl, crown and all.

Anyway, Evil Queen Billary’s claim that she’s the real Democrat in the race probably is just meant as a distraction from the fact that Bernie Sanders continues to do significantly better than she does against both Repugnican Tea Party frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in the match-up polls.

If the idea is to keep the White House in Democratic hands come January 2017, then we can quibble about who is and who isn’t the “real” Democrat in the race (even though it’s crystal fucking clear that millionaire Billary is the pseudo-Democrat), or we can look at who is more likely to actually win the White House.

The polls say, and have been saying for a long time now, that that candidate is Bernie Sanders.

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Notes on the Oscars that I didn’t watch

Cate Blanchett holds her Oscar for Best Actress for the film "Blue Jasmine" at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California

Cate Blanchett is not just a pretty face, but a talented actress whose work should have been recognized with a Best Actress award more than a decade ago. Best Supporting Actor winner Jared Leto, on the other hand, unfortunately is just a pretty face…

Jared Leto, holds his Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club" at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California

Reuters photos

I don’t have cable television and don’t desire ever to have cable TV, and so I didn’t watch the Oscars last night (this year, for the first time ever, ABC made live streaming available — but only to those in certain markets who already have cable!), but I still have plenty of opinions about this year’s.

First off, it was about time that Cate Blanchett won a Best-Actress Oscar. She was robbed in 1998, when she was nominated for the award for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in “Elizabeth” but lost to Gwyneth Paltrow. I don’t hate Paltrow as so many others apparently do, but she didn’t turn in the best performance that year.

Blanchett was nominated for Best Actress again in 2007 for “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” but the academy passed on her again, so last night was the third time and the charm for Blanchett, and she deserved it, as she turned in the best performance of the year, hands down.*

Indeed, Blanchett’s performance is what saves “Blue Jasmine,” which is not one of Woody Allen’s best scripts, even though it earned him yet another nomination for Best Original Screenplay (he did not win, and deservedly so, since the screenplay is a fairly trite rehash).

I’m glad that the members of the academy didn’t snub Blanchett again, this time because they didn’t want to appear to be supporters of child molestation, because to the hysterical members of the pro-Mia-Farrow camp, you see, anyone remotely associated with Woody Allen is for child molestation. (Under this “logic,” not only does Blanchett support child molestation for having worked with Allen, but if you even cast your Oscar ballot for Blanchett, then you, too, support child molestation, by extension.)

“12 Years a Slave” is a worthy Best Picture winner, but I would have been OK with either “Philomena” or “Nebraska” having won (of those two, “Philomena” probably is my favorite).

I saw all of the nominees for Best Picture except for “Her,” “Captain Phillips” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” I would like to catch “Her,” and probably will, but the subject matter of neither “Captain Phillips” nor “The Wolf of Wall Street” appeals to me, and I’m a bit overdosed on Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio as it is (one word: overexposure). (Seriously, though, it wasn’t long ago enough that I saw DiCaprio as the Great Gatsby. I’m good for a while.)

“American Hustle” is an OK film — good, but not great — and “Gravity” and “Dallas Buyers Club” both have been over-hyped. None of those three nominees deserved to be named Best Picture.

“Gravity” is watchable (I saw it at IMAX), but, in my book, fatally flawed by its incredible — literally incredible, as in unbelievable — plot.

“Dallas Buyers Club” also is watchable enough, but come on, it’s like “Philadelphia” meets “Transamerica.” This gay man is as sick of movies about gay and/or transgender people being about AIDS as black folks are sick of movies being about slavery.

That said, yes, obviously the academy is filled with (mostly white) liberal guilt, and so if you make a movie about slavery, AIDS or the Holocaust, yes, your chances of winning an Oscar go up astronomically.

Again, “12 Years a Slave” is a worthy film, as I noted when it came out, but I do believe that (white) liberal guilt boosted it, just as it boosted “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Speaking further of which, I have enjoyed the return of Matthew McConaughey, whose performances in “Bernie,” “Killer Joe” and “Mud” all were good, but it seems to me that the main reason that he won Best Actor for “Dallas Buyers Club” is that he lost so much weight to play the role, which is not quite the same as great acting, but also because he played a man with AIDS, which also sure was good for Tom Hanks (who won Best Actor for the unworthy film “Philadelphia”).

I’d have given Best Actor to Chiwetel Ejiofor** for his performance in “12 Years a Slave” — not out of white liberal guilt, but because I think that he gave the best performance of the year.

At least the enthralling Lupita Nyong’o wasn’t robbed of the Best Supporting Actress award for her great performance in “12 Years a Slave.” Again, no white liberal guilt there — she earned that award, turning in a performance that probably is the heart and soul of the film. (I love Jennifer Lawrence, who did a good job in “American Hustle,” but this award wasn’t hers.)

And Jared Leto — don’t even get me started on him.

OK, so just as McConaughey won Best Actor for having lost a lot of weight and played a guy with AIDS, Leto won Best Supporting Actor for having lost a significant amount of weight and played a transgender individual with AIDS.

This was the result of full-blown liberal guilt. I don’t see that Leto’s performance was better than was Bradley Cooper’s in “American Hustle” or Michael Fassbender’s in “12 Years a Slave.” It was the transgender person with AIDS angle that did it.

I fully support equality for transgender individuals — I am a gay man myself — but isn’t coddling a historically oppressed minority group in a saccharin, maudlin manner just the flipside of oppressing that group?

Also, just as “Gravity’s” fatal flaw, in my book, is that its protagonist’s fantastic feats are just not believable, in my book “Dallas Buyers Club’s” fatal flaw is its portrayal of the protagonist, Ron Woodroof, as a homophobic heterosexual man with AIDS when, in fact, very apparently those who knew the real-life Woodroof — including his ex-wife — have said that he actually was at least bisexual, but possibly, if not even probably, gay. (Indeed, the photos of him that I’ve seen of him make my gaydar smoke.) Oh, and those who knew Woodroof dispute that he ever displayed homophobia (which, admittedly, a closeted gay man might do, especially in a homophobic state like Texas and in that day and time, to “prove” that he’s “heterosexual”).

Why the apparent change of such an important detail (the protagonist’s sexual orientation)?

Would Woodroof’s story have been less interesting if it had been that of just another faggot who had died of AIDS?

Can you pretend to be respectful of the gay “community” when you change a central character in a “real-life” story from non-heterosexual to heterosexual?

And in Jared Leto’s acceptance speech, he gave an unfortunate (but fortunately brief) shout-out to the “dreamers” of Venezuela and Ukraine. Wow.

On the surface, the “causes” of Venezuela and Ukraine appear to be great bandwagons for a good guilty white liberal to jump upon, but when you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find that those so-called-by-Jared-Leto “dreamers” are, in Venezuela, plutocratic and pro-plutocratic wingnuts who are just bitter that the socialist president there won the last presidential election — not by much, but he still won. They’re bitter that they lost the election and so they’re trying to force a do-over election (this was done in my state of California in 2003, with the gubernatorial recall election, which was, for all intents and purposes, just a do-over of the previous close gubernatorial election).

I fully expect wingnuts to support the Venezuelan “cause” of toppling a democratically elected socialist president because he is not a right-wing, pro-plutocratic president, but Leto, who presumably fashions himself to be a good liberal, should know better.

And the “dreamers” in Ukraine are largely far-right-wing nationalists, some of them even actual neo-Nazis.

Sure, they have a “dream.” Hitler had a dream, too.

These dreams might be great for them, but others of us, these dreams are nightmares.

Jared Leto, if he wants to be remembered as having been more than just pretty, really, really, really should do his homework before he endorses a “cause” in front of a massive, worldwide audience.

*OK, to be fair and thorough, I  saw all of the performances that were nominated for Best Actress except for Meryl Streep’s in “August: Osage County,” since the film’s previews suggest that it’s a mediocre, sappy film, worthy of perhaps catching on DVD. Still, I can’t imagine that Streep’s performance in that surpassed Blanchett’s in “Blue Jasmine.” My second choice for best actress would have been Judi Dench for “Philomena.”

**To be fair and thorough, I saw all of the performances that were nominated for Best Actor except for Leonardo DiCaprio’s in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” (Hey, if I got paid to see [and write about] movies that I wouldn’t ordinarily see, that would be different!)

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