Tag Archives: Woody Allen

Jonathan Chait got it mostly right on the toxic identity politics of today

Jonathan Chait's epic race fail: How a story about racism and Obama goes horribly wrong

Left-of-center writer Jonathan Chait has committed the sin of telling the truth about our self-appointed political-correctness police, those who use their membership within an historically victimized and oppressed group to victimize and oppress others (men, mostly, and mostly white men, but sometimes white women as well). It indeed in so many quarters is open season on all white males, who are deemed automatically to be oppressors and victimizers because of their immutable characteristics of being male and being white. (As a gay white male, my non-heterosexuality gives me only so much cover for being a member of a class of victims, as homophobes widely consider homosexuality to be mutable. [Of course, it doesn’t fucking matter whether it’s mutable or not; we all should have the freedom to express ourselves sexually as we please, as long as we do so consensually.])

New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait started a shitstorm when he wrote about toxic PC (political correctness) police. Had he been completely wrong, he probably would have been ignored, but since he spoke so much unflattering truth, I’m one of only a handful of Internet commentators who have yet to comment on his comments.

First off, it’s necessary to describe the environment in which all of us Americans operate: to such a large degree stupid white men (emphasis there on “stupid”) still rule, as evidenced by the popularity of “American Sniper.” Not only is the Clint Eastwood film still No. 1, despite Eastwood’s penchant for talking to a vacant chair (actually, for “American Sniper’s” target audience, I’m sure that was in Eastwood’s favor), but the book American Sniper is No. 1 on amazon.com, and in amazon.com’s top-100-selling book titles there are no fewer than four different versions of the same fucking book (as I type this sentence) — plus an apparent knock-off book about yet another American sniper called The Reaper.

So mindless, blind worship of stupid, murderous (or at least violent or at least aggressive) white men widely misconstrued as “heroes” continues. (This could be its own blog piece, and indeed, was going to be, but I’ll get it over with here: “American sniper” Chris Kyle, who died by the sword as he lived by the sword, was no “hero.” He was part of an illegal and immoral occupying force in Iraq. As part of that illegal and immoral occupying force, he slaughtered a bunch of people who were, at least in their own eyes, defending their nation from a foreign occupying force [duh]. As Iraq had posed zero threat to the United States, as Iraq had not killed any Americans and had had no capability of killing Americans en masse [yeah, those Iraqi “WMDs” claimed by the war criminals who comprised the illegitimate Bush regime have yet to be found], there is no valid argument that Kyle was “protecting our freedoms” or some other jingoistic, Nazi-like bullshit. Kyle very apparently just really, really liked to slaughter people, and if he were Muslim instead of “Christian” and weren’t taking the big dirt nap, he probably would be a member of ISIS right now, slaughtering people left and right with gleeful abandon.)

So that is the nasty backdrop (part of it, anyway) against which those of us who aren’t stupid white men (again, emphasis on “stupid,” not on “white” or on “men”) or one of their worshipers must live in the United States of America.

That is the kind of background and context that Jonathan Chait’s piece is largely if not wholly missing, and I fault him for that fairly glaring omission, as well as for apparently not having allowed his piece to gestate long enough before birthing it upon the nation. (I often if not usually let something gestate for at least a few days before I finally give birth to it, such as this piece.) Further, the gravity of the topic — political correctness (which falls under the umbrella of identity politics) — could merit its own book, so no magazine article or blog piece (not even this one) could do it more than partial justice.

But Chait describes fairly well the phenomenon in which so many members of historically oppressed groups identify so much with being oppressed (whether these members as individuals actually have been very oppressed as individuals themselves or not) that they are hyper-vigilant about any signs of oppression.

Seriously — it used to be that people were just oppressed. And oppression was a bad thing. You didn’t want to be oppressed.

Now, being a member of an historically oppressed group is très chic. And apparently maintaining your membership in your très-chic group of oppressed people means constantly finding fresh meat, fresh new examples of how you have been oppressed, so if there aren’t any actual examples of how you have been oppressed, you’ll wildly exaggerate or even fabricate such “examples.”

Since you haven’t been (very) oppressed yourself lately, you’ll gladly piggy-back on to others’ (real or exaggerated or fabricated) oppression. That’s always fun.

If you didn’t jump on the Michael Brown bandwagon, for instance, to many that means that you are a white supremacist who supports the gunning down of black men, especially young black men, by white fascist cops who enjoy killing black men.

Never mind that it still remains quite unsettled as to whether or not Michael Brown actually went for the cop’s gun before the cop shot him dead. The cop claims that Brown did, and not only was the cop not indicted by a grand jury (which, indeed, might have been a bogus process), but the U.S. Department of Justice also declined to bring charges against the cop for civil-rights violations (granted, proving a civil-rights violation can be a high bar to clear, I know from personal experience).

It’s disturbing that so many people jumped to conclusions and have held fast to them. If your identity politics is that of the oppressed black American, then of course Michael Brown was innocent, a “gentle giant,” and was gunned down by whitey primarily if not solely for his race, and if your identity politics is that of the right-wing white person whose worldview at least verges on white supremacy if it isn’t already fully there, then of course Brown was a thug (and the phrase “black thug” would be redundant) and of course the white police officer only did what he had to do.

Either Brown went after the cop’s gun or he did not. (If I went after a cop’s gun, I’d expect to get shot.) The cop, under our existing (deeply flawed) legal structure, used deadly force against Brown legally or he did not. But whatever actually happened on that August day in Ferguson, Missouri, has little to nothing to do with identity politics, yet for many if not most Americans, their identity politics dictates the “facts.” That’s scary.

(The Eric Garner case, as I have written, at the bare minimum was a clear-cut case of manslaughter by the thuggish white cop, and, entirely unlike the Brown case, we have video of Garner incident, so “I can’t breathe” is an apt slogan of protest, whereas I never was on board with the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” meme because there is no evidence that Brown ever put his hands up in surrender — there are only biased claims that he did.)

The case of Woody Allen, too, also wasn’t about the actual knowledge of actual facts but was about identity politics.

Women whom Rush Limbaugh might call “femi-Nazis” have asserted that of course Mia Farrow, being a woman, told the truth that Allen had molested their adopted daughter, even though the allegation came during a nasty custody battle — and that of course Allen, being a man, was guilty as charged. Never mind that none of us was there and has any actual knowledge of what did or what did not happen; we have only the claims and counter-claims of the members of a deeply broken family whose dirty laundry has been scattered all over the public square.

This is some highly toxic shit.

The case of Bill Cosby, though, and that of Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger when he was running for California governor in a bullshit recall election in 2003 that had amounted to a do-over election since the bumbling Repugnican candidate had lost the election in 2002: When several women have come forward publicly to state that a man has sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them, to call all of them liars (as so many did to the at-least six women who came forward about the past deeds of the future Gov. Groper) very most often is a misogynist, patriarchal thing to do.

I have little to no doubt in my mind that Bill Cosby (and Baby Daddy Schwarzenegger) serially sexually harassed and sexually assaulted women.

But actual victimization is diminished when victimization is falsely claimed or is claimed whether or not there is any evidence to support the claim of victimization — usually out of identity politics. Perversely, many if not even most members of an historically oppressed group very apparently want the latest example of possible victimization (such as the shooting death of Michael Brown) to be true victimization because, in their eyes, it strengthens their political power as claimants of oppression.

It’s perverse that oppression has morphed from something that no one wanted into something that so many cherish to the point that they’ll happily fabricate it if they deem that to do so will advance themselves somehow.

(In his piece, Chait correctly notes that “It [identity politics and its concomitant claims of perpetual and ubiquitous victimhood] also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity.” Indeed, both Slate.com and Salon.com, two of my favorite websites, have resident identity-politics writers, taking the feminist and the black angles, mostly, and I routinely read these writers’ pieces, and often if not usually I agree with them [Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie rocks], but sometimes, yeah, it’s apparent that they’re really milking it. [Sorry, Salon.com’s Brittney Cooper, but in his article Chait calls you out on your frequent hysteria and hyperbole fairly fairly.])

This professional “victimhood,” is, I suspect, what has eaten at Chait, but that he perhaps did not articulate well enough in his now-infamous article.

And of his article, this paragraph, I think, is the money shot:

If a person who is accused of bias attempts to defend his intentions, he merely compounds his own guilt. (Here one might find oneself accused of man/white/straightsplaining.) It is likewise taboo to request that the accusation be rendered in a less hostile manner. This is called “tone policing.” If you are accused of bias, or “called out,” reflection and apology are the only acceptable response — to dispute a call-out only makes it worse. There is no allowance in p.c. culture for the possibility that the accusation may be erroneous. A white person or a man can achieve the status of “ally,” however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue. A community, virtual or real, that adheres to the rules is deemed “safe.” The extensive terminology plays a crucial role, locking in shared ideological assumptions that make meaningful disagreement impossible.

The emphasis there is mine. In the most rabid “p.c. culture,” indeed, “There is no allowance … for the possibility that the accusation [of an act of oppression or victimization] may be erroneous.” Within this toxic, tightly closed-off atmosphere, facts and evidence have no place at all; the politics of group identity rules supreme. Woody Allen molested his adopted daughter. Period. If you disagree with this, then you hate women and/or you are a pedophile yourself. Michael Brown was a “gentle giant” (never mind the very inconvenient video footage of him roughing up a convenience store clerk while he stole cigarillos from him on the day of his death) who was gunned down in cold blood by a white supremacist police officer. Period. If you disagree with this, then you are a white supremacist.

And indeed, as Chait writes, “A white person or a man can achieve the status of ‘ally,’ however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue.” Yup. That means going along with all manner of blatantly bullshit groupthink in order to get along, lest you be called a misogynist or racist/white supremacist or worse.

The goal of “p.c. culture” as it stands today indeed so often seems to be to push all white men into a corner, indeed, to destroy all white men or, minimally, to make all white men feel perpetually guilty (and thus perpetually disempowered) because, of course, merely by their having been born white and male, they inherently are the evil victimizers and oppressors of others (of women and of black people, mostly, but of other groups, too, of course). It’s not their individual deeds that make white males automatically-guilty victimizers and oppressors, but their mere membership within the group of white males, you see.

This is the sorry state of affairs even though the origin of “p.c. culture” was the fact that white men were pushing too many others into a corner due to those others’ immutable differences from white men, and pushing others into a corner based upon their immutable differences from oneself is a bad thing to do.

To such a large degree, the victims (well, in so many cases, the “victims”) have become the victimizers, and today the victims don’t even have to be actual victims to call themselves victims, and their actual victimization of others isn’t victimization because they are victims, and a victim cannot also be a victimizer, you see.

Get it? These are the new rules.

These new rules have got to go.

Jonathan Chait got it (mostly) right, which is why we’ve seen the reaction to him that we’ve seen.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Memo to the maenads: Misandry is not feminist

A depiction of the maenads attacking Achilles.

The Woody Allen chatter won’t end (although it has died down a bit, thankfully), and it’s not the pro-Woody camp that is perpetuating it, but the pro-Mia-Farrow camp, the members of which have an ax to grind — an ax with with to castrate, apparently.

The New York Times on Sunday published Allen’s response to Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter Dylan Farrow’s write-up in the New York Times a week earlier, but one typical ax-weilding castrator for Salon.com wrote today (links are the writer’s, not mine):

… It’s been two weeks since Dylan Farrow published her open letter detailing the alleged sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of Woody Allen. Since then, she has addressed the abuse in interviews with People magazine and the Hollywood Reporter.

It’s been 20 years since Allen held a press conference on the steps of Yale University to announce the findings of the Yale-New Haven Sexual Abuse Clinic’s (incredibly fraught) investigation into Farrow’s allegations.

Since then, he hasn’t much addressed the issue, but really, he doesn’t need to. He is a critically celebrated writer and director in a culture convinced of its own righteousness, confident that it would never grant such distinctions to a sexual predator.

Despite enjoying two decades of the presumption of innocence (and a massive accumulation of wealth), Allen was given column inches on the New York Times editorial page to assert his innocence (and impugn Farrow’s mental health and character) — in the name of “balance.” …

So this is the misandrist’s apparent “argument”: That Woody Allen must be guilty as charged because he has wealth and power (and, of course, because he is a man), and that because he has wealth and power (and testicles), the New York Times should not have given him the opportunity to refute Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter’s serious allegations against him that the Times had recently published.

Because “balance,” you see, means that any female should be able to make any allegation against any male, and if the male refutes any such allegation, then it’s a misogynist attack upon all females. The male should just shut the fuck up and take his castration like a man!

If he is innocent, so what? If he is sacrificed by the gonad-slicing maenads, it’s just to make up for all of the wrongs that other men have done to other women!

This is “justice” to a misandrist, you see. It’s a lot like “justice” to the misogynist: the scales of justice are to tip in favor of the misogynist’s or the misandrist’s own sex.

Fuck objectivity, fuck fairness, fuck justice. Fuck facts, fuck truth, fuck decency. It’s all about the war between the sexes and which side of that war you are on.

I consider myself a feminist. I believe wholeheartedly in equal rights for women.

I wish that far more women were in Washington, D.C., where women are woefully underrepresented; I think that our national priorities, as they are played out in D.C., anyway, would change for the better if more women were in power in D.C.

I keep giving money to Wendy Davis, whom I hope becomes the next governor of Texas. From what I know of her I like her, and I fully support women’s right to govern their own reproductive systems. (I’ve given money to Planned Parenthood and to NARAL, too — and I’m a gay man who has no desire to reproduce myself, so this is from my looking at the bigger picture, not from my looking at only my own narrow, selfish interests.)

While I am not excited about the center-right Billary Clinton, whose actual remarkable accomplishments I don’t see, I would love to see a woman — an actually progressive woman — as president of the United States.

But I assure feminists that the path forward for feminists is not to become the flip side of misogynists, to believe and to operate out of the belief that since women historically have been kept down by men, it’s time now for payback, and women now should exact revenge against those who were born with the XY chromosomes.

Because when you exact revenge upon a whole class of human beings, you are sure to harm the innocent, and while you smugly and self-righteously believe that your revenge is justified, it most certainly is not. True justice is meted out on a case-by-case, often one-on-one, basis, never en masse.

On that note, the chatter about Woody Allen isn’t really about Woody Allen. Allen has been just the stand-in for misandrists to publicly vent their hatred and bile. (Indeed, the headline for the bad Salon.com article that I excerpted above begins with the words “A Nation Ruled by Creeps.” Clearly, many if not most if not even all males are “creeps.” It’s not OK for misogynists to paint females with such a broad brush, but it’s perfectly fine for misandrists to do so to males, you see.) And probably all of recent misandrist chatter (using Woody Allen as an excuse) is meant to strike fear in the hearts of all of those who possess testicles.

Interestingly, in the midst of the for-some-reason-still-ongoing chatter about Woody Allen, I received this e-mail today from Change.org. Its subject line is “I told a lie that put my dad in prison.”

It reads:

When I was eight years old, my mom scared me into telling a lie that would change the course of our family’s life.

One day when I was at home watching my dad work, I came out of the bathroom and my mom asked me if my dad had ever touched me. Confused, I said no. But then she asked me again. And I said no. She kept asking, and I kept saying no, until she became angry and threatened to beat me with a belt until I said yes. I was too young to know that my mom was using drugs at the time, and I was scared. So I said yes.

My dad was convicted of sexually assaulting me and has been in prison for over 15 years for a crime he didn’t commit. Now that I’m an adult and a mom, I’m working hard to right this wrong that should have never happened. I started a petition on Change.org asking for the Governor of New York to pardon my innocent father. Click here to sign my petition.

I remember sometimes during dinner my mom would make excuses to leave so she could find drugs. When my dad would try to stop her, they would fight, and I would cry. Now I know it’s because he wanted her to stay home with the family that he was working so hard to keep together.

After my dad was sent to prison, my siblings and I went to live with my grandmother. I told her the whole truth: that my dad had never touched me, and that my mom taught me all the words to say that would get him in trouble. My mom even admits now that this happened during one of her drug binges, and she doesn’t know why she did it.

I’ve been fighting to set my dad free with this evidence since I was 15 years old — but all of my appeals have been denied. I was recently interviewed about my story by national news, and I believe that this wave of public support can help my case. That’s why I started this petition to pressure Governor Cuomo into pardoning him. Will you help me by signing?

Ask Governor Cuomo of New York to pardon my dad Daryl Kelly, an innocent man, by signing my petition on Change.org.

Thank you so much for your support.

Chaneya Kelly

Gee, reading this woman’s story in her own words, what’s a misandrist to do?

My guess is that your hardcore misandrists, your dyed-in-the-wool man-haters, would respond to this case by claiming that of course Chaneya Kelly is lying, that of course her father sexually abused her, that she just wants to get him out of prison for some reason, maybe out of sympathy (which is antithetical to the misandrist, just as it is to the misogynist), or maybe she’s psychologically all caught up with her abuser and so she wants to protect him (I love that pseudo-psychiatric “diagnosis” — under that “logic,” you see, there is no fucking way in hell that a male accused of sexual abuse ever could be innocent; indeed, the accusation itself is tantamount to guilt!).

There is precedent of women instructing their daughters to lie about sexual abuse in order to exact revenge upon or to otherwise damage men. Perhaps especially when women have strategic reason to instruct their daughters to thusly lie — such as in the midst of a custody battle, as Mia Farrow and Woody Allen were when Farrow accused Allen of having sexually abused Dylan — their accusations need to be examined and investigated very carefully, because such lying happens. Just like actual sexual abuse of females at the hands of males also happens.

All of that said, I still don’t maintain that Woody Allen is guilty or innocent. I was not there. I don’t know for sure. The more that the hysterical misandrists pile upon Woody Allen as some sort of misguided apparent self-therapy for their own apparent wounds, the more, perhaps, I tend to suspect his innocence, but when it comes down to it, I still don’t know.

But I do know that I find misandry to be as unacceptable as is misogyny — because I find sex-based discrimination to be intolerable, regardless of who is engaging in it — and if feminism is to succeed, it cannot make misandry its centerpiece.

Because Woody Allen is just a stand-in for all of the males whom the misandrists despise, of course they’ll never let him off the hook, because they most likely will take their hatred of men with them to their graves.

“Since then [two decades ago], he hasn’t much addressed the issue,” the Salon.com maenad whose piece I excerpted above sniveled about Allen.

The belief there, apparently, is that although Woody Allen never even was criminally charged with sexual abuse, nonetheless, he should have continued to have the mere allegations publicly rubbed in his face constantly for the rest of his life. Indeed, his life should have been ruined by the mere allegations. That he went on to earn a lot of money! How unjust! He should have died already, penniless and alone in abject poverty because he had been absolutely ruined by the allegations! That would have been “justice”! (Just like burning “witches” and tarring and feathering always were “justice”!)

What probably incensed the Allen haters the most about his response in the New York Times on Sunday to the Farrows’ recent flare-ups is that he ended it with these words: “This piece will be my final word on this entire matter and no one will be responding on my behalf to any further comments on it by any party. Enough people have been hurt.”

Indeed, the maenads have wanted the back-and-forth in regards to Woody Allen to continue in perpetuity, but that is made much more difficult when he refuses to play their sick and twisted game.

This (probably, hopefully) will be my final word on the matter, too.

Fuck the maenads. I love feminism, but I hate misandry, and I reject it just as I reject misogyny.

P.S. Bill Cosby apparently is the maenads’ next target. The afore-quoted Salon.com maenad also wrote about him in her aforementioned misandrist post, and another maenad who writes for Slate.com asks today, “Why Doesn’t Anyone Care About the Sexual Assault Allegations Against Bill Cosby?”

Um, because we (are trying to) have lives?

Because not all of us are hysterical man-haters trying to stir up shit from the past that may or may not have any factual basis whatsofuckingever?

P.P.S. Wikipedia defines “feminism” as:

… a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.

Merriam-Webster defines “feminism” as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes; organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

I’m on board with those definitions, in no small part because as a gay man I am familiar with being treated unequally, but I’m not on board with misandry, and I disagree vehemently with those who wish to make misandry a prerequisite for counting oneself to be a feminist.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Moses Farrow testifies in the court of public opinion

As I already have indicated, I agree with Slate.com legal writer Dahlia Lithwick’s assertion that the Mia Farrow-Woody Allen family feud never should have been put before the court of public opinion, but Slate.com today also reports (hypocritically?) today that People magazine reports that Mia Farrow’s and Woody Allen’s other adopted child, Moses Farrow, who is now 36 years old, recently said this to the magazine:

“My mother drummed it into me to hate my father for tearing apart the family and sexually molesting my sister [Dylan Farrow, who now is 28 years old]. And I hated him for her for years. I see now that this was a vengeful way to pay him back for falling in love with Soon-Yi. … [Keep in mind that Mia Farrow and Woody Allen waged a nasty court battle for the custody of both of their co-adopted children, Dylan and Moses, and so it’s not like Mia Farrow had no reason to lie about Allen’s treatment of either child.]

“Of course Woody did not molest my sister. She loved him and looked forward to seeing him when he would visit. She never hid from him until our mother succeeded in creating the atmosphere of fear and hate towards him.

“The day in question, there were six or seven of us in the house. We were all in public rooms and no one, not my father or sister, was off in any private spaces. My mother was conveniently out shopping.

“I don’t know if my sister really believes she was molested or is trying to please her mother. Pleasing my mother was very powerful motivation because to be on her wrong side was horrible.”

Before members of the pro-Mia camp leave me a nasty comment, let me make it clear that I am not asserting that because Moses Farrow says that his sister Dylan Farrow was not molested by Woody Allen, Dylan Farrow is lying or is mistaken or confused about reality.

While I suspect that Moses is telling the truth — and his version of the facts of that fateful day are very different from the version that Mia Farrow and Dylan Farrow tell — when it comes down to it, I still just don’t know. It’s not impossible that Moses is lying or is mistaken or confused about reality. 

However, Dylan Farrow got to have her testimony in the court of public opinion, so it’s only fair that Moses Farrow also got to testify in the same court, and Moses’ testimony, whether you tend to believe it or not, sure makes the whole picture a whole lot grayer, doesn’t it? I mean, he was in the house. I was not, and neither were you.

The more information that you have, the better, and Moses Farrow’s public statement certainly adds more information, is another important piece of the puzzle, but the puzzle never was ours to (try to) put together.

As Lithwick puts it:

Welcome to the Court of Public Opinion. We have continued People v. Bieber (2014) so that we can instead relitigate Allen v. Farrow (1992). To be perfectly clear, the court must state upfront that in the Court of Public Opinion there are no rules of evidence, no burdens of proof, no cross-examinations, and no standards of admissibility. There are no questions and also no answers. Also, please be aware that in the Court of Public Opinion, choosing silence or doubt is itself a prosecutable offense.

She adds that

… the Court of Public Opinion is what we used to call villagers with flaming torches. It has no rules, no arbiter, no mechanism at all for separating truth from lies. It allows everything into evidence and has no mechanism to separate facts about the case from the experiences and political leanings of the millions of us who are all acting as witnesses, judges, and jurors. …

The Court of Public Opinion is a wonderful place to be heard, to test new ideas, and an even more gratifying place to tear apart those whose opinions offend us. It rarely brings about justice for the parties in a lawsuit, however, because the Court of Public Opinion is usually more about us than them. …

Indeed, as I have said, Farrow v. Allen (1992) has served as a national Rorschach test. (Indeed, if you read Lithwick’s full piece, she remarks about our “our woefully anti-woman, anti-victim culture,” so even she apparently has skin in this game. [I consider myself to be a feminist, too, but to point out that we have an “anti-woman, anti-victim culture” sure gives the appearance of taking a side, doesn’t it?])

And just saying, as I have said many times now, “I don’t know” whether or not Woody Allen molested his adopted daughter Dylan is enough for many if not most members of the pro-Mia camp to attack you as a misogynist pedophile-lover, if not a pedophile yourself.

This ugly national drama reminds me much of the plays (and the films) “The Crucible” and “Doubt.”

Shame on us for not having risen above this shit already.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Woody Allen must be presumed innocent

Those were the days, when it was about the art…

The Mia Farrow-Woody Allen fight has become unseemly. Actually, it reached the unseemly point a while ago.

I put Farrow’s name first because she appears to be the one who wants this fight the most, and because she seems to be using her children, natural and adopted, as her weapons in her long-running family feud with Allen. My understanding is that she has been doing this for many years now.

I was sexually abused by a family member, so I don’t need to be told that I am minimizing sexual abuse. I am not.

My central problem with the Farrow-Allen fight is that if you peel away its layers, at its core appears to be Farrow’s hatred of Allen, which probably is mutual. The core of the fight does not seem to be any real, good-faith intention to educate the public about the problem of sexual abuse.

The core intention of Farrow and her surrogates, such as her son Ronan and now her daughter Dylan, seems to be to tell the world, “You think that Woody Allen is so fucking great? Ha! No, he’s a child molester!”

And maybe Allen did sexually abuse adopted daughter Dylan Farrow when she was 7 years old in 1992, as alleged. (While Mia Farrow and Woody Allen never married in the more than 10 years that they were together, they did adopt two children together, including Dylan.) But as Allen was never even criminally tried for such an act, we have to presume him innocent until and unless a criminal court deems him otherwise.

It’s possible that Allen is guilty as charged, but it seems to me that it also is possible that, as Allen’s attorney has posited, Mia Farrow, in the throes of a messy breakup, planted the idea in the young Dylan Farrow’s mind that Allen had sexually abused her. (“In my view she’s not lying; I think she truly believes this happened,” Allen’s attorney is quoted as having said of Dylan, adding, “When you implant a story in a fragile 7-year old’s mind, it stays there forever; it never goes away.”)

Indeed, if it’s true that a home video that Mia Farrow shot of the young Dylan asking her (grilling her? I don’t know; I haven’t seen the video) about the alleged incident is full of in-camera edits (starts and stops), it certainly indicates that some off-camera coaching by mama went on.

In any case, absent a court conviction, the Mia Farrow-Woody Allen fight, in my book, remains unresolved, and because we just don’t know what did or did not actually happen, because we were not there, it’s pointless to take a firm side in the fight, and it seems to me that male-phobic women of course are going to knee-jerkedly side with Mia Farrow and that female-phobic men of course are going to knee-jerkedly side with Woody Allen; it’s yet another Rorschach test, in which the individual sees what she or he is predisposed to see.

I don’t side with either Farrow or Allen, although I do find it unfortunate that Farrow probably will be remembered more for her messy breakup and post-breakup fight with Allen than for her acting — and she turned in some great performances. She might be remembered as the actress who was bitter because her ex found much more post-breakup fame and success than she did, and it’s too bad that that casts a pall over the art that she created.

And yes, I do tend to believe that art and intra-family squabbles and other interpersonal and intrapersonal problems should be kept separate. Art is beautiful and intra-family squabbles and interpersonal and intrapersonal problems are ugly. Art belongs in public for all to see; intra-family squabbles usually belong within the family.

No, I’m not suggesting that the actual victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a family member keep quiet about it. Of course they should not; and the sexual abuse of minors always should be reported to law enforcement authorities. And Dylan, now 28, certainly has not been silent about the allegations against Allen; she recently penned a piece about them for the New York Times, which she began thusly:

What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.

Dylan concludes her piece like this:

What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?

Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter.

Are you imagining that? Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?

The slam against actors and actresses who have worked with Allen, as though they were firm advocates of the sexual abuse of children, is gratuitous and unfair and ultimately sadly pathetic, and Dylan’s piece still seems more aimed at undercutting Allen’s stature and fame than anything else — giving her the appearance of being her mother’s long-standing pawn — and, having read Dylan’s piece, I still cannot say with confidence whether Allen actually sexually abused her those years ago or whether Mia Farrow, in the throes of a rampage over a messy breakup, really fucked up the young Dylan’s mind.

And you cannot either.

Because you were not there, either.

Until and unless something were to happen, such as Allen issuing a videotaped deathbed confession (without in-camera edits…), the only fair, logical answer to the question “Did Woody Allen sexually abuse his daughter Dylan?” that I could have as I type this sentence is: I do not know. I was not there.

I hope that he did not, but I just don’t know whether he did or not.

In the meantime, I do, to at least some degree, separate a work of art (or attempted work of art) from the personal life of its creator. For instance, to my recollection I haven’t read any of Ernest Hemingway’s novels (I know — I’m bad…), but if I did read one of his novels, I wouldn’t be thinking the whole time, “This guy was a drunk who killed himself; he was a real fucking mess, so all of his writing is trash.”

No, I would judge a Hemingway novel by its own merits, and I do that with Woody Allen’s films.

Some of Allen’s films are pretty good; some of them are pretty bad, especially compared to his better films.*

The Mia Farrow-Woody Allen breakup and post-breakup warring (very apparently instigated mostly if not entirely by Farrow) is, to me, outside of that fact.  

*I will answer, seriously, Dylan Farrow’s snarky concluding question, “Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?”, which very apparently is supposed to make me feel incredibly guilty for ever having enjoyed any of Allen’s cinematic work — because of her alleged sexual abuse at his hands.

It is hard to pick just one Woody Allen film as my favorite, but I suppose that if I had to whittle it down, “Alice” would be my favorite.

In my top 10 also probably would be “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” “Zelig,” “Husbands and Wives,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Midnight in Paris.” (While I loved Cate Blanchett’s performance in “Blue Jasmine,” I found the screenplay lacking. Indeed, in my book, Blanchett’s acting is all that gave that film any real value.)

Indeed, Mia Farrow and Woody Allen had, I think, a great run together; it’s too bad that it has come to the airing of their filthy family laundry in public.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Golden Globes gets it mostly wrong

Director Martin Scorsese poses backstage with the award for Best Director of a Motion Picture for the film "Hugo" during the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

George Clooney poses with his award for best actor in a motion picture - drama for "The Descendants," backstage in Beverly Hills

Associated Press and Reuters photos

Martin Scorsese poses with his undeserved Golden Globe for best director for his overhyped “Hugo” in Los Angeles last night, and George Clooney poses with his undeserved Golden Globe for best actor in a drama for his role in the overrated “The Descendants,” which also unfortunately undeservedly took the Golden Globe’s award for best dramatic film. The Golden Globes snubbed Steven Spielberg, but at least gave the film “The Artist” the props that it deserves, naming it the best musical or comedic film and naming Jean Dujardin as the best actor in a musical or comedy for his leading performance in the film. (Below are pictured Dujardin, left; the director of “The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius, middle; actress Berenice Bejo, far right; and Uggie the dog, far left.)

Dujardin, Hazanavicius and Bejo of "The Artist" pose backstage at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills

Reuters photo

I haven’t written a movie review for a while, although I see a lot of movies, perhaps especially at the end of the year, when the Oscar bait is trotted out to the theaters.

Since I haven’t reviewed most of this year’s contenders for the big awards — but have seen most of them — I’ll comment on last night’s Golden Globe winners for film.

First up is the movie that got the Globes’ award for best drama, Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants.”

Yikes.

Payne has done so much better than “The Descendants,” such as “Sideways,” “Election,” and even “About Schmidt” and “Citizen Ruth.” That “The Descendants” stars Hollywood golden boy George Clooney and that its director has made better films doesn’t mean that “The Descendants” is worthy of being on anyone’s best-picture list, because it isn’t.

“The Descendants” has some nice visuals — it takes place in Hawaii — and I found the character of Sid to be adorable, but otherwise, “The Descendants” is overlong as it meanders and dawdles, with a plot that is mediocre at best and that never arrives anywhere, leaving its audience waiting for a point that never arrives. I give the film a “B-” at best. (Probably it deserves a “C” or “C+”, since I have little to no interest in viewing it ever again.)

“The Descendants'” competitors for the Golden Globes’ best drama were “The Help,” “Hugo,” “The Ides of March,” “Moneyball” and “War Horse.”

I didn’t see “The Help” because of its shitty reviews, and I have no interest in catching it on DVD.

“The Ides of March,” another George Clooney vehicle, while watchable, also doesn’t belong on anyone’s best-picture list. Clooney, Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman give decent performances in “Ides,” but the script is mediocre and nothing novel, just a rehash of political movies that we’ve seen before. I give “The Ides of March” a “B-” or “C+” also. This wasn’t actually George Clooney’s year.

“Hugo” I found to be fairly entertaining but overrated. Even the wildly talented Sacha Baron Cohen as a quasi-villain couldn’t really save Martin Scorsese’s self-indulgent flick that turns out to be more about the French director Georges Melies (played by Ben Kingsley) than about our young protagonist Hugo. I found the whole automaton thing rather senseless and strange and uncaptivating, and films about filmmaking often are about as good as are novels about writing novels, it seems to me. (“The Artist” is an exception; more on that shortly.)

“Hugo’s” 3-D effects were decent, and the film overall is entertaining, although a bit too long, and overall “Hugo” was just overhyped. Martin Scorsese, contrary to apparent popular opinion, does not shit gold. I give “Hugo” a “B.”

I wanted to see “Moneyball” but never did, so I’ll have to catch it on DVD, but I did catch Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse,” which is far superior to “The Descendants.” My guess is that even if I’d seen “The Help” and “Moneyball,” “War Horse” still would be my pick for best drama from the list of the Golden Globes’ six nominees.

“War Horse,” which garners a solid “A”, is reminiscent of the films of yore (we’ve had plenty of films about World War I and films starring horses or dogs as our protagonists), perhaps especially with its ending scene, which (fairly) has been compared to “Gone with the Wind,” but “War Horse” works quite well nonetheless. I found myself teary-eyed at the end of the film, and that’s fairly rare. And despite the film’s length, my interest in it never waned, which I cannot say for “Hugo” or “The Descendants.” Steven Spielberg still has it.

The Globes unusually has a second category for best picture, best musical or comedy. I have seen three out of four of the nominees in that category. (Not bad, right?)

The nominees were “50/50,” “The Artist,” “Bridesmaids,” “Midnight in Paris” and “My Week with Marilyn.” “Bridesmaids” is the only one that I didn’t see, due to its lackluster reviews.

“The Artist” won the Golden Globe for best musical or comedy, and I can’t complain about that. I saw the film this past weekend and it’s best-picture material, a solid “A” (maybe a rare “A+”). A film that mostly is silent and in black and white but can keep the audience’s attention nonetheless is an accomplishment. The protagonist’s heroic dog is a bit too reminiscent of the heroic dog Snowy of Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin,” which I saw before “The Artist,” but “The Artist” is a solid film with good performances and a captivating, clever script.

“The Artist’s” protagonist George Valentin (played by Jean Dujardin), a silent-movie star, at first is an annoying, spotlight-hogging ham but becomes more and more likeable as the film progresses, and protagonist Peppy Miller (played by Berenice Bejo), also a movie star, is mesmerizing, although I don’t know that most starlets of the 1920s and 1930s looked like Bejo does; I’m not an expert on the films of the 1920s and 1930s, but she does look a little out of place. However, Bejo’s charisma more than makes up for that.

“50/50,” which stars Joseph Gordon Levitt, one of my favorite actors, also earns a solid “A,” but its material — a young man diagnosed with cancer — apparently wasn’t novel enough for it to win in its category. Still, “50/50” has some great lines and Seth Rogen does a great job as protagonist Gordon Levitt’s supportive-as-he-can-be best friend. (Unfortunately, in “50/50” Bryce Dallas Howard pretty much plays the same role that she played in the lacking Clint Eastwood vehicle “Hereafter.”)

“My Week with Marilyn,” which I can give only a “B” at best, isn’t a comedy or a musical, so why it landed in this category escapes me. Michelle Williams does as good a job as Marilyn Monroe as she can, but the film isn’t as compelling as it should be, and it’s not very believable that Marilyn Monroe essentially was a drugged-out bimbo who had enough occasional flashes of acting brilliance that an entire film could be cobbled together from these apparently brief and accidental episodes of talent.

“Marilyn” also suffers, I think, from being too self-referential. Again, the number of films about filmmaking that we’re seeing as of late seems to indicate that the filmmakers have run out of ideas, and so they’re now turning the camera on themselves.

“Midnight in Paris” would have won, I suspect, were it not for “The Artist.” Unfortunately, we’re used to good work from Woody Allen (although he’s made some lackluster films, too), and so he often unfairly is overlooked. “Midnight in Paris,” while not a complete departure from Allen’s past films, is a solid film that earns an “A.”

The Globes’ nominees for best director were Woody Allen (for “Midnight in Paris”), George Clooney (for “The Ides of March”), Michel Hazanavicius for “The Artist,” Alexander Payne for “The Descendants” and Martin Scorsese for “Hugo.”

As I did see all of these films, I can say that I find Scorsese’s win for best director to be disappointing. He apparently was awarded for his past work, because “Hugo” doesn’t deserve best director.

We can cross Clooney, Payne and Scorsese off of the best-director list right off, which would leave us with Allen and Hazanavicius. I probably would have given the best-director award to Hazanavicius, as much as I love most of Allen’s work. “The Artist” is quite an accomplishment and doesn’t deserve less only because Hazanavicius is new to us Americans.

The Globes gave best actor in a drama to George Clooney for his work in “The Descendants,” another mistake. Clooney is popular — I get that — and he is a solid actor, but there is nothing very remarkable about “The Descendants,” which, next to “Hugo,” might be the most overrated film of the year.

Unfortunately, I have yet to see Michael Fassbender in “Shame” (it comes to my city later this month, and I like Fassbender, so I’m there), and, as I noted, I have yet to see “Moneyball,” so I am not sure if I would have picked Brad Pitt or Fassbender, who, along with Pitt, also was nominated for the Globes’ best-actor award. Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for his performance in “J. Edgar,” but that film (which I rather generously gave a “B”) is so flawed that it probably sank his chances, and I don’t feel that DiCaprio was screwed, not really. Ryan Gosling was nominated for his role in “The Ides of March,” but again, there is nothing special about that film, either.

I’m really fucked where it comes to the Globes’ nominees for best actress in a drama, as I haven’t seen any of the nominated perfomances, Glenn Close’s for “Albert Nobbs” (also arrives at my city later this month, and I’ll probably go see it, even though it seems “Yentl”-ish to me), Viola Davis’ for “The Help,” Rooney Mara’s for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Meryl Streep’s for “The Iron Lady” (which is getting lackluster reviews and which I’ll probably wait for on DVD), and Tilda Swinton’s for “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (which seems to be an awful lot like her role in “The Deep End,” but I love Tilda).

My guess is that Streep, who won the Golden Globe, will end up getting the best-actress Oscar again — only because she more or less looks like Margaret Thatcher. “Saturday Night Live” achieves lookalikes all the time, so really, so what? Word is that “The Iron Lady” fairly sucks, with Roger Ebert giving it only two of four stars.

The Globes’ best actor in a comedy or musical went to Jean Dujardin of “The Artist,” which I confidently assert was a deserved win, even though I didn’t see Brendan Gleeson in “The Guard” or the good-enough-but-overrated Ryan Gosling in “Crazy Stupid Love.” (Really, are Ryan Gosling and George Clooney the only two actors that we have left?) Joseph Gordon Levitt was quite good in “50/50,” and Owen Wilson also was quite good in “Midnight in Paris,” but neither of them, nor the two other nominees, had a snowball’s chance against Dujardin’s performance.

The Globes’ award for best actress in a comedy or musical went to Michelle Williams for “My Week with Marilyn,” although, again, “My Week with Marilyn” is neither a fucking comedy nor a fucking musical, and it was no super-human feat to doll up Michelle Williams to resemble Marilyn Monroe any more than it was to make Meryl Streep look like Margaret Thatcher, for fuck’s sake. It’s too bad that Williams wasn’t given a better script to work with.

I’ve yet to see “Carnage,” which garnered both Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet nominations for best actress in a comedy or musical. I am there when “Carnage” comes to my city, however; the previews look compelling. (I love movies that give us insight into dysfunctional relationships, which is perhaps why I like Woody Allen’s work so much, and I liked Winslet in “Revolutionary Road.”)

I also have yet to see Kristen Wiig’s performance in “Bridesmaids,” but I like Wiig, so I might catch her peformance, which also was nominated for the Globes’ best actress in a comedy or musical, on DVD. Ditto for “Young Adult,” which garnered Charlize Theron a nomination in the category.

The Globes’ best supporting actor went to Christopher Plummer for his role as a gay man who comes out of the closet late in life in “Beginners.” I give “Beginners” a “B+”, but I have to wonder if Plummer was given the award more for his past work than for his role in “Beginners.” I could argue that Kenneth Branagh, who also was nominated for best supporting actor for his role in “My Week with Marilyn,” was more deserving of the award.

The Globes’ best supporting actress award went to Octavia Spencer, whoever that is, for her role in “The Help.” I can’t imagine that Spencer was better than Berenice Bejo, who also nominated for best supporting actress, was in “The Artist,” however, and it escapes me as to why Bejo wasn’t nominated for best actress, since her role in “The Artist” is equal to the male protagonist’s. (I remember when Heath Ledger was nominated for an Oscar for best actor for “Brokeback Mountain” but Jake Gyllenhaal inexplicably was nominated only for best supporting actor, even though his role was equal to Ledger’s.)

The Golden Globes’ winner for best screenplay went to Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris.” It seems that the Globes wanted to recognized Allen’s film in some way and so gave it best screenplay, but arguably “The Artist,” which also was nominated for best screenplay, should have won. Why “The Ides of March” and “The Descendants” were nominated at all for best screenplay eludes me, as neither is a remarkable film in any way, and George Clooney doesn’t shit gold, either. Again, I’ve yet to see the also-nominated-for-best-screenplay “Moneyball,” but I can live with Allen’s win in the category.

The Globes’ best animated feature went to Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin,” the only film in the category that I’ve seen (the others were “Arthur Christmas,” “Cars 2,” “Puss in Boots” and “Rango.”) “Tintin” is a solid, entertaining film (I give it an “A” or “A-“), perhaps a little overlong but quite watchable, although, in my book, not as good as Spielberg’s “War Horse” (“A” or “A+”). Still, with “Tintin” it’s apparent that Spielberg hasn’t lost his talents, and I have to wonder if the dearth of nominations for Spielberg in the Golden Globes means that he’s going to be given short shrift with the Oscars, too.

Spielberg should have been nominated for, and perhaps won, the Globes’ best director, in my book.

I have plenty of films to catch up on between now and the Oscars, but thus far my picks are “War Horse” or “The Artist” for best picture and Steven Spielberg (for “War Horse,” not for “Tintin”) or Michel Hazanavicius for best director.

At least the Golden Globes ignored the sanctimonious-as-Scorsese Terrence Malick’s God-awful “Tree of Life” (which I gave a rare “F”), and hopefully the Oscars will, too, but the Globes overlooked Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia” (which I give an “A” or “A-“, and which unfairly has been compared to “Tree of Life”) — a mistake that, hopefully, the Oscars won’t make.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ deserved it

A still from the film “Slumdog Millionaire,” which tonight deservedly won Best Picture and Best Director for Danny Boyle.

I’m a gay man and so I guess that I was supposed to be rooting for “Milk” for Best Picture and/or Best Director (Gus Van Sant), but the fact of the matter is that I enjoyed “Slumdog Millionaire” more than I did “Milk,” so I don’t think that “Milk” was slighted tonight by the awarding of Best Picture and Best Director to “Slumdog Millionaire” and its director, Danny Boyle.

Of course, comparing “Slumdog Millionaire” to “Milk” is comparing apples to oranges, but, it seems to me, it took a lot more creative talent and energy to invent and capture on film the enthralling and clever fictional story of “Slumdog” than it did to depict the life of the real-life Harvey Milk, which biographers and historians (and at least one documentary filmmaker) already had documented and which only needed to be re-enacted. (Indeed, at least two or three scenes in “Milk” are re-enacted television news clips.)

Sean Penn’s performance as Harvey Milk certainly deserved the Best Actor award, which (along with its award for Best Original Screenplay [“Slumdog” won for Best Adapted Screenplay]) is ample reward for “Milk.” (And don’t get me wrong; anyone who cares about equal civil and human rights for all Americans needs to see “Milk.”)

Heath Ledger’s posthumous Best Supporting Actor award for his peformance as the Joker in “The Dark Knight” also was deserved. Some will assert that Ledger was given the award only because he died, but Ledger’s intense performance is the only thing that makes “The Dark Knight” worth watching; he did a hell of a job in that film.

Penelope Cruz, who won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” made that film, too, and so I’m happy with her win.

I haven’t seen “The Reader,” for which Kate Winslet won Best Actress, but I guess that I will see it now. I’ve always liked Kate Winslet, whom I did see in “Revolutionary Road.”

I didn’t watch the Oscars this year — I rarely watch TV — but this year’s awards seem mostly deserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized