Good Friday Morning! It’s the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in NYC. It’s hard to believe next year will be the 20th anniversary. I consider it one of the more formative experiences of my life and can remember the details of that morning. I can even recall the second plane hitting live television (I was 13 at the time). That day and the day that US troops and Iraqis tore down Sadaam Hussein’s statue are two memories that stick out from that time. Every year, I make it a point to reread a breathtaking essay from 2016 of 9/11 by Garrett Graff in Politico, “We’re the Only Plane in the Sky.” It’s an oral history of that day. He released a book on it last year that I bought, “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11.” It’s brilliant, mesmerizing, breathtaking, and many other adjectives; I deeply recommend it. I’ve heard good things about the audiobook version too if you’re interested.
This week, I’m writing about the new rules the Oscars are writing up to “promote” more diversity in the industry. As I write, the rules are actually resurrecting the very worst concepts of white supremacy in segregated America. Links to follow.
- I’ve got a column coming out on Bob Woodward’s book and the firestorm around it. It’s worth reading this piece from 2011 in the Washingtonian titled, “Does Anyone Actually Read Bob Woodward’s Books?” Key quotes: “It never fails. Every few years, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward produces a new book, and within days official Washington has analyzed and argued about it. It becomes part of the conversation, its anecdotes shared at parties, its methods and revelations debated. But has anyone actually read it? … Woodward’s books are subject to what can be called the Washington Read—not to be confused with the Index Scan: a glance over the credits to see if you’re mentioned. Washington social doyenne Juleanna Glover, host of countless book parties, says she has often seen guests do Index Scans immediately upon picking up the featured book. The Washington Read is the phenomenon by which, through a form of intellectual osmosis, a book is absorbed into the Washington atmosphere.”
- Building off last week’s newsletter on toxic positivity, scientism, and progressivism: ANOTHER academic was outed faking being a black professor. CV Vitolo “Haddad” faked her way through it at the University of Wisconsin. Another Jessica Krug / Rachel Dolezal / Elizabeth Warren.
Where you can find me this week
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The 400th anniversary of the Mayflower passage – The Conservative Institute.
Biden-Harris go full anti-vaccine in bid to win election – The Conservative Institute.
Progressivism racism entrenches itself in Hollywood.
The Oscars are changing the requirements that determine how to win awards to focus on becoming more “inclusive.” Variety got the exclusive story, which said, “For a number of years, the Academy has struggled to nominate films that are diverse in its cast, directors, and technical craftspeople.” The list of requirements is pretty long, and you can skim the Variety article to get a full sense of it. The LATimes summed it up:
“To be eligible for best picture, a film must meet at least two standards across four categories: “Onscreen Representation, Themes and Narratives,” “Creative Leadership and Project Team,” “Industry Access and Opportunities” and “Audience Development.” Within each category are a variety of criteria involving the inclusion of people in underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people and those with cognitive or physical disabilities. (Other Oscar categories will not be held to these same standards, but the contenders for best picture typically filter down to other feature-length categories.)
Previously, the only standards to qualify for best picture involved a film’s running time (over 40 minutes) and specifics about how, where and when it’s screened in a public venue.”
According to the NYTimes, to “enforce” these guidelines, “The standards will be enforced via spot checks of sets and through dialogue between the academy and a movie’s filmmakers and distributors.” From the sounds of it, Hollywood is getting its own House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
The likely result of this, as John Podhoretz argues, is that a new industry of consultants will appear that help studios “clear” these hurdles. These consultants will sign off and say the studios and movies meet these standards. In effect, they provide a means of paying off the woke police and avoid making any real change.
New rules all to please Chinese racism.
You might be inclined to say that it’s good to see these changes in Hollywood; they’re pushing for “reform.” After all, the common complaint of the Oscars is summed up in one hashtag: #OscarsSoWhite. The irony here, and timing, suggests something else, however. These rules could be getting implemented now to make things more white, all to appease China. Sonny Bunch, now at the Bulwark, makes this case:
More striking, though, is the potential for the Oscars to serve as a means of, shall we say, rainbow-washing efforts to de-diversify other aspects of the entertainment industry in order to appeal to Chinese audiences. Writing for Axios China, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian recently highlighted a 2017 study suggesting that there was a noticeable “light-skin shift” in movies marketed toward China.
“The study, published in October 2017, examined more than 3,000 films from between 2009 and 2015 and found that films made after 2012 demonstrated an 8% increase in the number of ‘very light-skinned’ actors in starring roles,” she wrote. “The light-skin shift only occurred in film genres that the Chinese government typically permits into the Chinese market, such as action movies and big summer blockbusters.”
These are, of course, the genres that result in the films least likely to earn Oscar nominations.
(Update: Alyssa Rosenberg at the Washington Post and Kyle Smith at National Review also make a similar point in their pieces on this, though they come at it from different angles: it’s unlikely that the changes will have the effect of actually creating much more onscreen diversity of the sort the most vocal activists are clamoring for. /Update.)
It’s quite the racket: de-diversifying films aimed at the (notoriously racist) Chinese market that actually earn big studios money while creating something the big studios can point to so they can say “No, ackshually we love diversity!” all while allowing those same big studios a get-out-of-jail-free card with their cash-intensive behind-the-scenes efforts.
There’s likely some truth here. Hollywood, especially Disney, will probably use these requirements to claim they’re “doing better,” while subsidizing Chinese racism. For example, China is currently blocking media coverage of the live-action remake of Mulan. They’re doing that because American media has pointed out that Disney thanked a region in China, and its government, responsible for keeping the Muslim minority group, the Uyghurs, in Nazi-style concentration camps. It’s like giving a shoutout to Hitler in the credits to your movie.
If you’ve seen pushes to boycott Mulan in the United States, that’s why. China, sensitive to this criticism, is punishing Disney as a result. This situation is similar to how the NBA got punished by China when one person in the NBA acknowledged Hong Kong.
As an aside, this is why I cannot stand that utter lickspittle, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. He berates anyone who isn’t woke, but can’t raise ONE finger to speak out against a nation committing literal Nazi war crimes. A country in which his sport is intimately involved. Kerr, and those like him, prefer that sweet, sweet, China cash. They look at things like black lives matter the same way, it’s good for business. If China were against BLM, Kerr would flip in a heartbeat, because he is a spineless coward who prostrates himself before China. Michael Jordan was right to punch him.
But back to the topic of Hollywood.
Progressives reassert white supremacist tropes to build the future.
Let’s set aside all the China connections and potential for a new consultant industry. These regulations are an industry deciding what is, and is not a minority, are based on woke political identification. These kinds of rules are already unwritten and in place within academia. Rachel Dolezal, Jessica Krug, Elizabeth Warren, and the others like them are the result of these rules. Progressives, seeing these obstacles, will start claiming, more and more, that they’re minorities. If you claim no absolute truth exists, only your personal assertions as to what you are, then who is to stop you?
Further, how do you ascertain whether someone is the “right” race? Elizabeth Warren famously tried to use a blood test to confirm she was in an Indian Tribe. That practice hearkens back to the one-drop-rule, which asserted that anyone with even one black ancestor could claim to be “black.” CV Vitolo, the woman, highlighted in the bullet point up top, is trying to do the same thing, claiming a distant “Ethiopian” ancestor.
One of the benefits of creating a liberal society, free from determining someone’s worth based on skin color, was ridding society of these determinations. A genuinely free society nullifies the meaning of skin color, or at least strives to. Progressives are bringing the rules of segregated America back, making skin color more important than ever. And they’re resurrecting all kinds of tropes created by white supremacists and racists in the process.
There’s a funny video of two comedians, one representing a woke guy and the other a racist. They become friends and compare all the things they agree on when it comes to racism. It’s hilarious, but there’s a ton of truth there. In claiming to be anti-racist and against systemic racism, these leftists agree with every method early 20th-century progressives used to target and discriminate against blacks. For example, the University of Michigan got in trouble after promoting “Non-BIPOC” and “BIPOC” safe spaces. If you don’t know those terms, I’ll simplify: they had segregated whites-only spaces and black/minority spaces.
These kinds of spaces and activities get called “woke.” And these Hollywood rules fall into the same bucket. The people spot-checking these movies are doing two things. 1) They’re ascertaining whether or not you’re a minority or not, and 2) building a set quota system to help movies ignore promoting talent. It’s the ghettoization of talent. These studios will get people into these systems to help fulfill quotas. Then they’ll end up keeping people there to maintain good standing with the woke police.
Progressive rules harm minorities the most.
And these progressives, often white, care nothing about actual minorities. Take police departments. In many of the largest cities where we’ve seen white progressives riot, several of the police chiefs they’ve forced to resign have been the first black police chiefs in these cities’ history. It wouldn’t shock me to see the same in these movies. If an incredibly talented black director started making successful movies and ignoring those rules, they’d get blasted by the white woke police in Hollywood.
It’s the greatest irony of this moment. Some of the most racist people pushing for change right now are white progressives. If you lined up their beliefs, they’d sound disturbingly similar to white supremacists like Richard Spencer. And now, in Hollywood, they want to do spot-checks and make determinations on who is black on movie sets, or any other minority. Then, when you bring back the China factor, there’s nothing good here. These people don’t care about promoting black or minority talent; they care about checklists and supporting a racist regime in China.
When I wrote my ArcDigital piece, arguing for conservatives to be better on race issues, I pointed out that Tyler Perry is the perfect example of a rock-star success. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was a few weeks away from becoming a billionaire. Tyler Perry got rejected by old Hollywood, and the new one would do the same. He had to build his own dream. We need many more Tyler Perry’s in the coming years to combat and sap the cultural power progressives in Hollywood. The more alternate centers of movie-making wealth and power that exist, the less power these progressive racists have to control culture and entertainment.
Tyler Perry has done and will continue to do more to promote new black talent in movies, television, and theater than any list of requirements put out. Hopefully, we see more of him in the future. The entertainment industry continues fragmenting, which is good; the less centralized power they have, the better.
Links of the week
[VIDEO] Brett Baier interviews TJ Ducklo, national press secretary for Joe Biden and things get testy. Baier pushes Ducklo on what Biden would have done differently on COVID-19 and whether or not he relies on teleprompters in interviews. – Fox News
CNN head Zucker offered Trump debate advice, floated ‘weekly show,’ leaked 2016 Cohen call reveals: Zucker told Cohen of his fondness for Trump, who the CNN president described as ‘the boss’ – Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Fox News
No, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Didn’t Spawn 250,000 Coronavirus Cases: Plus: FDA meddles more in vaping market, GOP lawmakers take aim at social media (again), and more… – Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason Magazine
Riots Likely Drove 2020’s Biggest Gun Sales Spike: Seasonally adjusted sales hit unprecedented levels in June, analysis shows – Charles Fain Lehman and Stephen Gutowski, The Washington Free Beacon
Will-to-Power Conservatism and the Great Liberalism Schism: By virtue of representing the correct vision of the good, these conservatives say, they have every right to use the coercive power of the state to interfere with others’ choices. – Stephanie Slade, Reason Magazine
At Least 27 Phones from Special Counsel’s Office Were Wiped before DOJ Inspector General Could Review Them – Mairead McArdle, National Review
Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire of the week
#NotTheOnion: Gender Reveal Party causes California wildfires. – CNN
Thanks for reading!