"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Green Book

I was excited when I first heard of GREEN BOOK – a two-hander teaming two actors I love, Viggo Mortensen (AMERICAN YAKUZA) and Mahershala Ali (PREDATORS). I wanted to see that. And a true story drama but directed by Peter THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY Farrelly? That’s interesting. It wasn’t until I saw the second trailer that I had a sinking feeling of oh shit, is this some kind of respectability-politics-cures-racism bullshit? Oh no Viggo, what did you do? And then I started seeing really harsh reviews supporting those fears.

It was only after I saw the movie and tried to read up on it that I found out some relatives of Dr. Don Shirley, the classical pianist who Ali plays, strongly object to the movie. I’ve been struggling with this review since before the movie won the Best Comedy or Musical Golden Globe, which is when the good pitchforks were taken out of the china cabinet and sharpened. Now it’s also nominated for the best picture Oscar, taking up that bad guy slot as the movie that all cynical people assume will win and show how out of touch Hollywood is about race.

See, the thing is I didn’t hate this movie like I was worried I would. It’s corny and I can see plenty of problems with it, but uh… it is with trepidation and humbleness that I confess that I, an admitted white person, didn’t totally understand the intensity of the backlash. So let’s talk it through.

A few things to get out of the way:

No, it’s not gonna cure anybody’s racism. I can’t imagine anybody watching it and doing a gut check and realizing “That’s me up there. I need to change.”

Therefore yes, it did make me squirm to hear Farrelly on stage at the Golden Globes talking about it like it was a socially important cinematic event. Though I think he was sort of talked into that by the acclaim.

Yes, it would be cool to see a Don Shirley biopic, which this is not. But I don’t understand that as a reason to dismiss the movie for what it is.

Most importantly yes, it’s yet another movie about racism but in the point of view of white people. And yes, it appears that co-writer Nick Vallelonga (co-writer of DEADFALL, executive producer of I AM WRATH, actor in PSYCHO COP RETURNS), real life son of Viggo’s character Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, has failed to live up to his own message, judging by a recently recirculated tweet of dumbassery (though his apology is one of the better ones I’ve seen lately).

I guess the part I have a hard time with is the implication that it’s wrong on its face for a white dude (at least before we were familiar with the particular white dude) to tell a story about his dad if it’s also a story about a black man. It would’ve been presumptuous if he used that connection as a mark of authority to write it from Shirley’s point of view. But if your dad is a tough guy from New York who protected and befriended a musical genius on a tour of the deep south, that’s a story worth sharing, even without the part about him feeling it changed his views on race.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t have gone about it in a different way. It’s apparent from the reaction of the Shirleys that the filmmakers should’ve at least made it more clear that this is the story as Tony Lip told it. And by all means, hold them accountable for what you find wrong in the portrayal. Now, tell me if I’m being too sensitive here, but this is what often nags at me in these discussions: some of these arguments seem to lead inevitably to an ideal of artistic segregation. All except the dumbest motherfuckers agree that more diversity in movies is good, yet it also seems to be accepted wisdom that white writers shouldn’t presume to be able to write about people from other cultures. Those two ideas are contradictory. I think we can take concerns about cultural misrepresentation or appropriation seriously without demanding nobody write characters outside of their culture. But hopefully I’m reading too much into the criticisms and don’t really need to be arguing this.

I think Farrelly probly wanted to tell a story about how getting to know people different from you is a way to overcome your prejudices. And that’s there and that’s true and I can also see how somebody might see it as an insulting oversimplification, and that a nice reassuring message is really not the one we need at this time in our history. I’ve read that Quincy Jones and Harry Belafonte loved the movie, so maybe there’s a generational difference involved. Younger people are ready to leave this approach in the past.

But forget all that and GREEN BOOK works well on the level of a buddy movie, because it’s two of our best actors playing the hell out of interesting, funny characters who seem like opposites and are in an unusual situation together. Tony is a loud, sloppy lout. He curses and gets in fights and doesn’t understand manners or social cues to like, quit talking while he’s driving and let the boss have some peace. The way he annoys Don is played for laughs, but in such a way that you sympathize with Don’s uptightness. Don later starts to feel pity on Tony but he’s careful not to give the impression that he finds his cluelessness endearing.

Some have written off Mortensen’s performance because we’ve seen the loud-mouth Italian guys before, and anybody could eat a hundred donuts or whatever he did to get that belly, and etc. I don’t know man, I thought it was a funny role by a guy who seems to be very quiet, thoughtful and almost shy in most of his roles as well as in real life. I like a transformation like that. That said, Ali’s is a more unique and precise work of posture, gesture and enunciation creating what may or may not be an accurate rendition of the real person but is definitely a distinct and interesting character on screen.

For whatever it’s worth, he talked pretty differently in this interview in his later years:


But I’ve also read that he talked in interviews about teaching Tony to be more proper, so he may have consciously acted differently around him.

That he hires Tony to protect him in a more racist part of the country, and that Tony understands this, implies that a white person from New York is more trustworthy on race than one from the south. So it’s crucial that early on there’s a repulsive demonstration of racism as deeply programmed into Tony as some of the Jim Crow loving rednecks he’ll be dealing with later. But he has layers. He’s unexpectedly liberal in other areas. Neither of these guys fit neatly into stereotypes.

The GREEN BOOK new-asshole-tearer I’ve seen passed around most is the one by Odie Henderson. It’s a funny and persuasive piece, but I really interpreted the movie different than he did. Some of his harshest criticism hinges on the idea that Don learns something from Tony telling him “I know your people better than you do.” He has quotes from a Farrelly interview to back up his reading, but I don’t see how you get that from the movie itself. When Tony makes proclamations like that, it sure plays like we’re supposed to be shaking our heads at his idiocy. When Don says “You have a very narrow assessment of me” and Tony proudly says “Yeah, right? I’m good,” the punchline is that Tony is a buffoon for misunderstanding it as a compliment. We’re not supposed to agree with his narrow assessment.

And despite reports, I don’t think he’s a white savior at all. Any saving he does is part of his employment. Plenty of other people could’ve done that job. There’s a stronger argument for Dr. Shirley as the “Magical Negro” cliche, since he seems to teach Tony to be a better person, and, being such a unique and talented individual, he could be considered an exception that bigots are willing to show respect to. The difference, to me, is a lack of subordination. Dr. Shirley is introduced sitting in a throne in a glorious apartment above Carnegie Hall, and it’s played as cool, not silly. He has white people waiting their turn in the lobby to come kiss his ass. When Tony has a problem with shining his shoes and carrying his luggage it’s a character flaw. Dr. Shirley has a white driver, he shows no fear when defying the conventional wisdom about touring the south, he demands respect from the southern white audiences and when they won’t let him use their bathroom he tells them to go fuck themselves. Sure, it’s like DRIVING MISS DAISY, except Jessica Tandy is driving Morgan Freeman around, and constantly making an ass of herself in front of him.

But… I want to quote a paragraph from near the end of Henderson’s column:

Green Book is an incredibly offensive film, but its decision to isolate Shirley from Black people and Black culture is its most egregious sin. The assumptions it makes are uninformed and harmful. It posits that Black people would not appreciate an educated man like Dr. Shirley because they share more in common with a racist Italian with a sixth-grade education who knows how to play cee-lo. It never gives thought to the notion that Dr. Shirley might be someone his people could be proud of, or could aspire to be. Dr. Shirley is presented as noble for playing for rich White assholes, but also problematic because he’s too “White-acting” to fit in within his own community.

Of course I didn’t see the story that way while watching it. With Shirley being a (SPOILER?) gay man and what some would now term a “Black Weirdo,” it seems believable to me that he has trouble fitting in anywhere. Many of us kind of feel like outcasts or misfits, and taking race out of it it’s an aspect of his character that’s very relatable. But it’s also true that we never see him with black people other than in the scene where he finally plays and enjoys a type of music that he said he didn’t want to play. As if his great victory is accepting that he’s good at what he’s expected to be good at when he’s been carving out his own path this whole time. And it’s true, we never get a chance to see if those people in that bar would appreciate his take on Chopin.

I can’t entirely refute Henderson’s interpretation. It’s pretty devastating when you look at it that way.

So does this confirm or deny GREEN BOOK’s message? If I had such a hard time seeing this point-of-view – if having different backgrounds makes two people see the same thing in entirely different ways – how easy could it possibly be to dissolve the boundaries between us? On the other hand, this shows that sometimes you can start to see things differently if you make enough of an effort to listen to and understand where other people are coming from. I don’t know. I guess it’s hard to really know without going on a road trip.

Anyway I think I get it a little more now. I didn’t love it anyway. But they meant well. And the acting is good. Don’t be mad at the actors. I don’t know. I gave this review my best try. I don’t want to talk about this anymore you guys I have to go

Recommended further reading/listening:

  • Shadow and Act broke the story about the Shirley family’s objections. To be honest I’m put off by the furious tone of the article and that it implies that the producers lied about having the rights to do the movie, an accusation that should’ve been pursued journalistically. Also I think they make Don Shirley out to be an asshole when they insist that he would never have a real friendship with anyone who worked for him, even his band members. But it’s good to know what people are angry about, and there’s also lots of information here about Shirley and his family.
  • This Vanity Fair piece is mostly about Farrelly’s point of view of the controversy, but I think it’s interesting when it talks about how the executor of the Shirley estate feels about the movie.
  • In November Farrelly explained some of where he was coming from on the podcast Don’t @ Me. Host Justin Simien, director of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, seems to really love GREEN BOOK and describes it as a very different type of movie than others have, though I believe this was before any backlash so he’s not responding to any specific criticisms. Composer (and piano playing double) Kris Bowers is also on the episode talking about his approach to the music.
  • Shirley, You Can’t Be Serious! – the aforementioned vicious takedown by Odie Henderson’s “evil but brutally honest alter ego” The Odienator.
This entry was posted on Monday, January 28th, 2019 at 11:30 am and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

147 Responses to “Green Book”

  1. “No, it’s not gonna cure anybody’s racism.”

    So it’s not CRASH then?

  2. Obviously, I would not see this movie for money, but the historical inaccuracy I find most galling about this entire enterprise is the ludicrous notion that anybody had any fucking clue who Don Shirley was before the Internet informed them that they were allowed to get outraged about how the movie portrayed him inaccurately.

    Nonetheless, I gotta take the protestors side on this one. Maybe it’s time to take a hint and just shut the fuck up about your take on race relations for a while, huh, white people? Even if you mean well, the world has had an earful of your thoughts on the matter and they’re simply not very interesting or helpful anymore. You want to help, try listening for a change.

  3. I think the movie is a very watchable as mis-matched odd couple type buddy comedy. But there’s no denying it’s got some narrative and storytelling issues. (For instance, you allude to this in your review, Vern, but the relevation that Shirley is gay goes absolutely nowhere. And Tony Lip is set up as a great talker/BSer but really all we see him do is beat people up, threaten to beat people up, and one time bribe.)

    Wesley Morris did a strong take down of the movie’s racial politics recently while comparing it with other films, I thought:

    Why Do the Oscars Keep Falling for Racial Reconciliation Fantasies?

    In many Oscar bait movies, interracial friendships come with a paycheck, and follow the white character’s journey to enlightenment.

  4. “Dr. Shirley is introduced sitting in a throne in a glorious apartment above Carnegie Hall, and it’s played as cool, not silly.”

    I kinda took that as showing that Shirley was a bit full of himself in comparison to Lipp’s salt of the earthness–kind of a snobs vs. slobs thing. That’s the real reconciliation narrative here: the slobs and snobs finally learning to get along.

  5. Favorite scene: When Tony doesn’t judge Shirley for his gay tryst, telling him “showbiz is complicated.” Was not expecting that, but it fits with the characters’ reality perfectly.

    The scene that pissed me off the most is the one where the cop helps them fix a busted tire on their drive back to New York. As if to say, “it’s not systemic, it’s just a few bad apples.”

  6. @daniel: exactly. I find it odd how many reviews have overlooked the class dimension to this story and how flipping the stereotypes works for this movie.

    Imo Tony Lip is the white savior because he gets Shirley to more easily embrace his ‘blackness’ I.e. appreciate fried chicken, play jazz, and be ok with some stereotypes, and that’s Shirley’s biggest inner conflict as evidenced by the speech he gives about 2/3rds of the way through.

    I agree with Vern in principle about segregating art issues (I don’t love it but Spielberg did A COLOR PURPLE years back). But at the same time, this movie isn’t one I’d die on the hill for. It’s too by the numbers and it’s point of view and choices struck me as transparently inauthentic. The history seems clearly sanitized and simplified—e.g. every black place to stop at from the green book is shitty. And if this is a story about Dr. Shirley taking a stand and courageously touring through America and the Deep South to make a statement about excellence, why is it all centered on and around Tony Lip?

  7. “…yet it also seems to be accepted wisdom that white writers shouldn’t presume to be able to write about people from other cultures.”

    I gotta take a little bit of issue with this here, because while I understand the idea we’re getting at, I think the presentation here is a little unfortunate in its implications. The idea shouldn’t be that, if you’re white, you can *never write a story* about a black person or about a guy from the Himalayas or whatever. Rather, the idea should be that certain *kinds* of stories are best created by people from within that culture. Not ALL stories, but some of them, and it’ll be in the best interests of the writer to develop an instinct around which is which. That, of course, is hard for some white guys to do, because they’re (WE’RE, I should say- I’m one too) trained from birth to think of all stories as our possessions and our birthright. For a long time, they basically were! And that’s not a knock on those guys per se- the training isn’t overt if you’re not looking for it, nobody hands you a little card saying “straight white guys can mostly do whatever they want”, but you start to get the idea after a while.

    But would IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK be as effective as it is if it were written by a 28-year-old white dude from Los Angeles rather than James Baldwin? Could a white writer make up a story like DO THE RIGHT THING? Would a man have written THE PIANO? Would a gentile have been able to write NIGHT?

    I dunno. I just feel like there’s an infinite number of stories out there and, while some can only be told by me, some can only be told by you, and some can be told by many different people, the best thing about stories is that there’s no limitations on who can *hear* them. Wanting to be able to *tell* every story seems exhausting to me. Listening is fun too.

  8. I haven’t seen it but it seems laughable to me that someone would find it “incredibly offensive”, let’s get a little perspective here, people need to calm the fuck down.

    I just don’t understand the absurdly over sensitive and nastily vindictive attitude that’s going around these days, you are not wrong to call out “artistic segregation”, there’s been an overcorrection in modern culture that I think too often veers into flat out anti-whiteness, this idea that white people shouldn’t dress a certain way, have a certain hairstyle, have interests in certain things and dare to tell certain stories is well, there’s no other way to read that then there’s supposed to be something inherently wrong with white people as a whole.

    And I will not entertain for a moment the idea that there’s no way someone could have a genuinely prejudiced attitude about white people, yeah, pull the other leg, if you believe everyone is equal then everyone can have the same flaws.

  9. Crushinator Jones

    January 28th, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    “But would IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK be as effective as it is if it were written by a 28-year-old white dude from Los Angeles rather than James Baldwin?”

    If it were exactly the same in every way? Yes. Otherwise we’re not actually talking about IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (which was very very good, btw)

  10. When people start yelling shit like “YOU are NOT ALLOWED to make THIS kind of movie!” I start to get real, real nervous.

  11. Crushinator- but that’s exactly my point- the story is too deeply rooted in the experience of being black in America to be exactly the same if it were written by a white guy. It just couldn’t be. Some trees don’t grow where it’s too cold- that’s not the tree’s fault, it’s not the weather’s fault, and it’s not the soil’s fault, but good intentions alone won’t make the orange tree grow.

  12. This is a great review, Vern. I also don’t really want to talk about it, but I’m in the villainous position of liking GREEN BOOK slightly more than at least two of the other nominated movies this year. It does seem like this movie is being punished by a lot of white critics to atone for their praise of the more egregious THE BLIND SIDE and CRASH, but I understand it’s different times now and minds are changing. I mostly just interpreted it as a film about a mutual and unlikely male friendship.

    I’m reading a lot of editorials about it from black writers and find a lot of them valuable and really interesting. On the other end of things, certain white critics (on both sides of this debate) need a momentary time out. There’s irony in a faction of “film twitter” not noticing that they themselves have assumed the role of white saviours when their scorn is directed at what they perceive as a white saviour narrative.

  13. I think the problem with the “28-year-old white dude from Los Angeles” argument is asking what’s the inverse? Could a gay man not write about two straight people falling in love? Could a black man not write about an all-white battalion in World War 2? Could an Italian not write about an Irish family? What if someone wants to write a story that has both gay people and straight people in it–do they need a co-writer to do the parts about the orientation not their own?

  14. Crushinator Jones

    January 28th, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Sorry, Ang Lee, you’re not allowed to make this American gay cowboy because you’re not gay, not a cowboy, and not American.

  15. Look, I’m in no position of authority to be able to tell anyone what they are or aren’t allowed to do. Nobody is- there’s no law saying who is or isn’t allowed to make movies about what.

    My point is just that white guys don’t have some kind of magical key of knowledge that gives them some amazing insight into what it’s like to be a woman or what it’s like to be a black man in 1964, any more than they have some special insight into what it’s like to be a robot assassin from the future or a cartoon rat. They imagine and make it up. And for lots and lots of stories, that’s pretty much fine! No big deal. But sometimes getting the details right matters, and that’s when it’s important to involve someone with firsthand knowledge, because they know what you don’t know you don’t know.

  16. Crushinator Jones

    January 28th, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Also I find it really interesting that a self-proclaimed white guy is telling me about the authenticity of IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, could you please explain to me how you came to that conclusion? By your own logic you’re not able to judge these things.

  17. It’s a little disappointing how defensive everyone seems to immediately get at the suggestion that black people might be able to tell a story about black people with more versimillitude than a white person. Writers who aren’t cops or doctors make mistakes and overlook things in cop and doctor movies and tv shows all the time due to their simple lack of experience with these things. Is it really so hard to imagine that the same thing might happen with white people writing about black people?

    And Crushinator- Yeah, I guess you really got me there. I have no direct way of verifying whether James Baldwin was just completely talking out his ass when he wrote BEALE STREET. I’m comfortable just taking his word for it.

  18. “Sorry, Ang Lee, you’re not allowed to make this American gay cowboy because you’re not gay, not a cowboy, and not American.”

    But see that’s the thing, no one is saying the inverse is the case, if you’re not white then you can do whatever the fuck you want, it’s only white people that have to follow a special set of rules now.

    That is at its core anti-whiteness.

  19. Crushinator Jones

    January 28th, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    Please do note that non-doctors and non-cops aren’t barred from writing doctor and cop shows, they have a resource called “a technical consultant” that they can chat with to get those details correct.

    I’ll state this extremely plainly: saying a person CANNOT WRITE about a topic has a word and that word is “censorship”, if you’re going to censor people then you better have a very good reason and “authenticity” does not cut the mustard to me.

  20. Daniel- Again, nobody is disallowed from writing whatever they want. I do think that a black man writing about an all-white battalion or a gay person writing a straight love story would probably come off more naturally than the reverse might, if only due to the fact that they have so very many examples of stories about all-white battalions or straight love stories which they’ve been exposed to their whole lives to draw feom.

  21. Michaelangelo McCullar

    January 28th, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    The moment I saw the trailer I knew I wouldn’t be seeing this movie, and I also knew White people would eat it up like ice cream. I didn’t need to know Don Shirley’s life history to know it was bullshit that he needed a White guy to teach him to appreciate fried chicken and R&B. I’ve also said I don’t blame Tony Lip’s kid. These are the stories he grew up with so he had no reason to doubt his dad’s version. That’s the job of the producers. A couple of phone calls in pre-production would have let them know 90% of their story was “questionable”, to put it nicely. But, hey, when you’re making a movie about a Black man and a White man nominally based on true events, why bother getting the Black man’s side of the story when you have the White perspective?

  22. Crushinator Jones

    January 28th, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    Wait a sec – so in a discussion about restricting people from writing about certain topics because of authenticity, your defense is that there’s lots of straight white people stories for minorities to rip off and make a pastiche of so it’s less of a problem? That doesn’t make any sense, if authenticity is your goal, so I must be misreading/misunderstanding. Apologies, could you please explain?

  23. Crushinator- well that’s good because you’ll notice that nobody anywhere has ever said white people weren’t allowed to write whatever. You’re arguing with a phantom you made up.

    If it helps, think about it like this instead- white people can still absolutely write whatever they want, but now nobody has to blow smoke up their ass about how their movie cured racism.

  24. Crushinator- *if* authenticity is the *goal*, then you’d be best served by consulting someone who can provide that authenticity or better yet getting out the way and letting them do their thing.

    If authenticity doesn’t matter, then do whatever you want!

    And, again, even if it *does* matter, you can *still* do whatever you want and you ain’t gonna go to jail. But people might tell you you’re being a dumbass. It’s the risk you take.

  25. I look at the issue of representation like this. We all agree that we should have a greater diversity of people who are allowed to Create Art. The way it is now, there is a hugely disproportionate over-representation of Cis Hetero Able White Male Creators in commercial art.

    I don’t think disabled people should be restricted to playing characters who have the same disability that they do, but I get how it seems like an especially bitter pill to swallow to have the one type of role that society DOES permit you to be cast in, and cast some able bodied actor instead. Isn’t that an obviously dick move? Can we accept that it is a dick move, given the status quo, without immediately clutching our “but white people won’t be allowed to do ANYTHING!!” pearls?

  26. renfield – That is supposed to be the idea behind it and it’s fair enough, the trouble is that in modern times the concept of nuance and perspective is dead and it too often veers into an anti-white attitude.

    People are too absolutist in their attitudes these days.

  27. All I’ll add is these two thoughts: anybody can tell any story they want, but we still can respond in each and every case based on a number of factors including how successfully they tell the story they choose and what historical and cultural contexts are part of their frame; and I think it’s both telling and deeply frustrating that this film has gotten significantly more award buzz/awards/acclaim in many circles than Beale Street, which to my mind is strikingly better and more successful in every way.

  28. Sorry. I was hoping not to start this kind of argument. Try to be nice and understand where each other are coming from. We’re all friends here. I think Kurgan is clearly right that there are things that can be written better by people who have experienced them, and so far no one (except an extrapolation of general arguments in my review) has said that white people CAN’T write any story. I wanted to try to get these thoughts and questions honestly but I hope you know it brings great shame upon my dojo to have it boiled down to “people are too sensitive these days, I tell ya, the PC police, the campuses and what not, oh boy!”

  29. Vern, you do realize we live in an age in which people will assemble virtual hate mobs to ruin the life and career of people over things that are often overblown?

    Look at Kevin Hart for example, this is the reality we live in, you can dismiss it but it doesn’t change that fact.

    We live in an age where people get their jollies over ruining the lives of others, it often comes under the guise of “social justice” but it’s just about nasty people looking for some schadenfreude.

    The sooner people who actually care about justice can learn to distance themselves from and call out the toxic bullshit, the better.

  30. I don’t know why I should take especially seriously either defenders or detractors of this movie when they haven’t watched it.

  31. Griff,

    I really did struggle with writing this review for weeks. I didn’t find the movie as offensive as I had heard, but I kept seeing anger from writers who are black, and therefore have a different experience with the subjects of the movie than me. And I could dismiss them and say no, my initial reaction is THIS, you are WRONG, because THIS is what I think. Or I could wonder why is it that they see this so drastically different than me? Is there something that I’m missing? And I eventually came to the conclusion that yes, although I can respect things about the movie that other people have written off, it is also apparent that what it says implicitly about black people *other* than Don Shirley, off screen, is pretty ridiculous, and that because I’m a white dude attuned to white dude things it wasn’t even something that occurred to me until I read Odienator’s piece. So the lesson I learned, and that I tried to convey through the piece, was that you shouldn’t always run to your kneejerk reactions, your established opinion, your usual shit that you decided you believed a long time ago. That you should also step back and think about other people who have different experiences than you, who feel very passionately about something that you don’t, that maybe your instinct is to dismiss, and try to figure out if you really understand what they’re talking about.

    So yes, you responding with the same white grievance thing you always do makes me feel like the piece is a failure.

  32. It’s only a film.

  33. Sorry for writing about it then Gary, I hope I didn’t put you out too much by discussing the issues it raises. I didn’t know.

  34. Michaelangelo McCullar

    January 29th, 2019 at 4:14 am

    Saying “it’s only a film” gives Hollywood a pass for the next time they want to tell a story about a Black person without considering the Black point of view.

    I’m not trying to be the spokesperson for the Black community. But honestly, every Black person I know had the same “WTF?” reaction when they saw the trailer for this movie. It seemed audacious and yet predictable that in this MAGA era a reworked version of Driving Miss Daisy could get made and become a hit. But I don’t need to sit through the entire movie to know how tone deaf it really is. I got that from the trailer.

  35. Yeah, sorry about that. I was grumpy and pissed off when I wrote that.
    I guess what I mean is of course it is vald to discuss the issues a movie raises. However, I feel it is not worth allowing ourselves to get upset over whether our own experience of how a film made us feel is different to how someone else with a different background felt.

    We’re all entitled to feel how we feel and shouldn’t have to tie ourselves up in knots trying too hard to understand how everyone else might feel about the same thing. We are all complicated, unique individuals with our own feelings and take on things determined by our own lifes journeys.

    As you have so often and beautifully articulated over the years, simply because a piece of writing does not have the intended effect on some people, it does not make that work any more or less of a failure than the film you are trying to review and comment on.

    It’s all subjective.

    The experience of this film and the experience of this review is unique to each and every person who experiences it.

    So don’t beat yourself up or get angry or upset or outraged or deflatedbecause someone has a different reading or experience of a text than you did.

    This article is not a failure to me because it entertained and enlightened me.

    In many ways The Green Book is “only” a film.

    It’s the life experience and all the extra shit that all of us bring to the table that make it more than that.

    But, like I say, it’s not worth getting angry because someone has a different take on that film than you do.

    Keep it real.

  36. Seems to me that a lot of the anger today is coming from people who were once considered “mainstream” –typically white men– who aren’t used to being so severely criticized, and consequently haven’t yet really come to terms with the idea that it’s possible for people to have wildly divergent takes on a subject which are equally valid (or if not equally valid, at least equally worthy of consideration). This says, to me, that we’re going in the right direction: voices and perspectives which were either completely ignored or isolated in insular media ghettos are now actually reaching a broader range of people. The idea of a “mainstream” is being seriously challenged, and with it a lot of cozy assumptions and convenient arrangements of decorum. This is necessarily causing some friction, but mostly, I think, as a consequence of its relative novelty. We were promised that the internet would actually democratize our national discourse, and, in part, that’s what this looks like. I think a lot of white people didn’t really understand how limited the cultural discourse had been for most of modern history, and it seems like a lot of this just came out of nowhere. They don’t have the context for it, and they feel very personally attacked. Give it another ten years, and I think most people will have learned that perspective isn’t the same as moral judgement. You may find GREEN BOOK sweet, maybe even a little inspiring, and someone else may find it repugnant and insulting — and that’s OK; nobody has to be right or wrong, but you might learn something by listening to another perspective.

    That having been said, I think the left could do better — there is, I think, an unappealing censorial tone to a good a good bit of cultural criticism these day which really alienates people who could be allies, who are open to new perspectives but don’t like to feel personally attacked or wholesale condemned. Obviously the apocalyptic warnings of authoritarianism coming from the right are ridiculously overblown and dishonest, which is no surprise. But while sweeping moral condemnations feel good and make for good clickbait, I don’t think they’re generally very helpful in contributing to the world we’re ostensibly trying to build here. There’s a big difference between “I can see some real problems with GREEN BOOK which deserve to be interrogated” and “GREEN BOOK is intrinsically evil, should never have been made, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a racist,” and I think we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t see that the latter message is the one which often gets legs. We can blame the media for that, we can claim we’re being misrepresented, but frankly I’m sick of leftists using that excuse. It’s our job to make sure we come across the way we want, no one is going to do it for us. Venting frustration is understandable, and we absolutely need some firebrands and (rhetorical) bomb-throwers, but if we’re serious about changing hearts and minds, we have to think seriously about how the message is getting across, not just blame passerbys for getting the wrong idea.

    That having been said, this movie does seem absolutely insufferably smug about itself. (Just from its advertising; if you told me last year there’d be a Viggo Mortensen/Mahershala Ali movie that I would avoid like the plague, I’d have never believed you, but here we are). So it’s hard to blame anyone by being immediately annoyed by it and getting even more annoyed when the dumbasses at the Academy seem so ready to reward that unearned sense of self-importance.

  37. You know, I wish we could do something like a blind taste test on movies; keep the production process of a particular movie hidden until the time of release, and then get the critics to review the movies unspooling in front of them, with no idea of who the film-makers are. I can just imagine them sitting there sweating in case they accidentally like a movie that later gets savaged for political reasons.

  38. I love Numpty’s idea!!!

  39. Mr. S – I totally agree with you. I try to be a good, empathetic person. I want equality and fairness for all people, regardless of sex, race, sexual orientation, etc. But I struggle with some of the way people are fighting for that equality. Let me give examples here – I was talking to someone once and brought up that I thought it was great that there was a trans man on the cover of a health magazine. He gave me a look that made me think he did not also think it was great. When I asked him what that was about he said he didn’t like that the model was CIS. Another time I got into an argument with a friend because she was going off about a TV show “of course” killing off the black, lesbian character. But my argument was that the entire cast was made up of women, people of color, or LGBTQ with the exception of one, straight, white man, so it was a good thing that the character was treated like any other. Plus, there was nothing about the character that said it needed to be a black lesbian, so it’s a step forward that they created the character to be one. And lastly, just recently I got really annoyed with Dan Savage (a gay, sex columnist/podcastist, for those that don’t know him) when he retweeted an article where Bradley Cooper said he made A STAR IS BORN because he wanted to explore a love story between a man and a woman and Savage commented, “Yeah, because that’s never been done before.” I got annoyed because, what else would he want Cooper to do? Never make any movies? Would he really want a straight, white man to write, direct and star in a movie about anything other than a straight, white, man experience?

    I’ve struggled within myself as to why I let these things annoy me so much. For the most part I’m not part of these communities – I’m a woman, but I’m white and straight, so I’ve questioned if I’m being a good advocate by getting mad about these reactions. I just realized, reading your comment, that I think I am so touchy about these things precisely because it does make me question my advocacy. I got excited about the trans man being on the cover of the magazine and the diverse cast with the black, lesbian character, so when other people disparaged them I think I started to question my own advocacy and that made me angry.

    I still don’t think it’s good to nitpick at every step forward, or people attempting a step forward, and I also think we need to question our own point of view. It’s definitely a touchy, messy, difficult issue. I’m glad we can talk about stuff like that here. We’re all clearly striving for excellence and I’m proud to be part of this community.

  40. Entering and exiting the comments to this review like Homer Simpson in the bushes.

  41. I agree that some degree of perspective would help the woke contingent get their message across more effectively, but this movie isn’t the hill anyone should want to die on. Sure, its heart is probably in the right place and it’s easy to feel bad for artists with good intentions who meet with such disdain, but at the end of the day, we’re still talking about a successful white filmmaker who made exactly the kind of movie he wanted to make and got rewarded with money and accolades. Oh no, did some people not like it? How dare they persecute this white guy from fucking Rhode Island who has all the answers to racism? Won’t someone think of the poor, besieged millionaire Golden Globe recipients? Anybody who thinks the filmmakers got a raw deal because a fraction of the internet had a negative opinion of their work also needs to exercise some of that perspective. Criticism is not oppression. These people made a movie. People have opinions on it. That’s true of literally every single work of art or craft that has ever existed. You don’t get to opt out because you had good intentions. I mean, shit, I thought it looked like hammered shit before I even heard about the controversy. Am I oppressing Farrelly Brother #1 because I fucking hate smug feel-good message movie dramas? Why is my disdain for the film purely on aesthetic grounds any more acceptable than the woke internet’s disdain for it on political grounds? Can’t we all just let each other be free to hate things for whatever reasons we deem appropriate without everything turning into a culture war?

  42. Sorry if I was grumpy last night. I meant it, but I was having a bad day.

  43. Vern, you on your worst day are kinder and more patient than I am on my best. I don’t think you owe anyone an apology.

  44. Can we at least agree that the Farellys are still great because of the way they include all kinds of disabled people into their comedies?

  45. I forgot to say I was speaking generally. This movie is definitely not the hill to die on.

  46. Okay I do feel the need to jump out of the bushes and defend Farrelly a little bit here. I haven’t seen the movie and don’t really want to as these sorts of dated interracial buddy comedies aren’t really my thing, but I have read a few articles about the controversy, including Farrelly’s response, and he seems pretty open to the criticism. He obviously disagrees and feels some of the film has been unfairly maligned, but he has also been adamant that it’s important to have dissent and that the tough conversation the film has inspired is good. I’m not saying that means it’s a good movie (again, not really my thing), nor do I think his good intentions or the fact that he hasn’t responded guns-a-blazin to the criticism somehow mitigates what’s wrong with the film, but I do think some of the personal invective I’ve seen against Farrelly and others behind the project is misplaced and unnecessary.

    Also that Wesley Morris piece is probably the best thing I’ve read about the movie and interestingly makes me almost want to see it. I’d also be really curious to read a piece that compares Green Book (and other movies of its kind) to Roma, a movie that follows the Daisy tradition of transactional relationships between people of color and whites but sticks much closer to the POC perspective. I’m curious what Morris would make of the beach embrace at the end, as compared to, say, Sandra Bullock hugging her maid in Crash.

  47. I have this theory that white people, no matter how hard they try, can never be truly woke. I say this because ultimately being woke goes against a persons self interests.

  48. Maggie — I’ve certainly felt the same way from time to time. Glad you’re thinking about these things and why they affect you the way they do — it’s how we grow as people, and hopefully how we end up growing as a culture. Always remember it’s not a zero-sum game! It’s totally OK to feel the way you feel, as long as you’re open to questioning why you feel that way, and to understanding why other people feel the way they feel!

    Mr. M — Hey, I thought it looked like shit too, but I do think some necessary and valuable points end up getting lost when we make this shit personal, when it ceases to be about bringing in much-needed perspective and starts to become about punishing the heretics. I don’t know that anyone really feels sorry for whichever Farrley brother this one is, but the tenor of the argument is not really conducive to a teachable moment when it ceases to be about the issues and becomes about a personal condemnation. People feel the difference more than think about it, but it deeply alters the way the conversation is being had. Name-calling is fun and cathartic, but it’s a piss-poor way of getting anyone to change their mind.

    Which is not to say that liberals should just shut up and maintain decorum, because venting frustrations is important too, and sometimes it’s fun to dunk on some rich moron who thought a color swap of DRIVING MISS DAISY would be the height of progressiveness (or at least seems like he might have thought that, or even if he didn’t, it’s definitely the kind of thing some jackass would think and it’s not like we’re gonna watch the stupid movie anyway). So I’m not saying you can’t talk some shit. It feels good, and if it’s preaching to the choir, hey, sometimes you gotta get that choir fired up, that’s useful too. Still, I AM telling liberals the same thing I tell everyone: no one is going to stop you from saying what you want, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have some responsibility for what happens if you say it. You drive away well-meaning people who liked GREEN BOOK because they lack the proper context to evaluate its historical legacy of problematic narrative frameworks, guess where they run? They may not know a lot about the history of representation in media, but they definitely know when they’re not wanted. And then you got Steve Bannon sitting there waiting for them with open arms, to tell them it’s not their fault, it’s those mean liberals, they can be such bullies. And now they’ve missed everything important about this, and learned all the wrong lessons, all because it was fun for the cool kids to show off how woke they are. Maybe it’s OK to lose these people, maybe if they end up with Trump we’ll just beat ’em when we beat him, and they’ll have to shut up and take it. But every one we lose is one more we’ll have to fight later. So is it worth it?

  49. @Sternshein: Humans have done many things that are against their self-interests. (e.g. sacrificing their lives for the kids, friends, or killing themselves in protest, nevermind other things like voting behaviors.) That’s one reason why hedonism always hit me as a shallow understanding of human behavior, even if it applies a big percentage of time too. My other reaction is that “truly ____” anything discussions can be counterproductive after awhile because they’ll often devolve into a purity measuring contest where the perfect becomes the enemy of the good.

    @john: Glad you liked the article. Having seen GREEN BOOK, it was one of the critical pieces that I thought hit a lot of what I saw when watching the movie, but still added some angles I hadn’t thought of. FWIW, I don’t think ROMA is of that tradition at all. ROMA SPOILERS INCOMING The dynamics of the beach scene are very different, besides perhaps how Cleo can’t exactly say no to the set-up of watching the kids. The beach scene is the biggest emotional release that Cleo gets the entire movie. Cleo goes into the water to save the kids, even though she can’t swim herself. And the whole ordeal let’s her bond with the family and release her hidden feelings about her own child. Of course that huge moment is immediately followed by “can you make us another banana shake?” and back to the un-equal, caste status quo. Plus, in that scene Cuaron is playing around with the dynamics of air, land, and water symbolically, which carries through the entire movie. And while Cleo and the family interact quite a bit in the movie, it’s not a buddy relationship and it’s much less the merging of two worlds. /END ROMA SPOILERS I’d also argue that the movie’s point of view is Cuaron’s, although the perspective is centered on Cleo.

  50. I haven’t seen this film, mainly because it looks awful, but I nearly fell out of my seat when I first saw trailers for it. It just seems like such an old fashioned idea from thirty years ago. And I legit thought that I must have misunderstood the scene of white Viggo Mortensen teaching black Mahershala Ali about eating fried chicken the first time around. I had to watch the trailer a second time to realize, yep, that’s actually a scene in a movie. In the year of our Lord, 2018.

    Maybe this is all better in context, but the very premise of this film just seems so wrongheaded. And you have to be somewhat oblivious about the evolution of race relations and culture over the last few decades in order to make a film like Green Book.

  51. I just realized this is the review that has made me read for the last two days, the 2010 Vanity Fair article about the women Tiger Woods cheated on. Just because I started to read the article about Peter Farrelly’s defense of the film.

  52. Perhaps my wires got crossed and I misinterpreted a few things.

    The think piece outrage culture, which is what Vern is talking about, is one thing, though I have my criticisms of that as well, but where my mind was at was the Twitter hate mobs people form nowadays, that is just a bunch of garbage.

    And to be fair, it happens from a right wing perspective too, plenty of people of all stripes will get harassed online, but what pisses me off so bad is when people will give that a pass just because it’s coming from a left wing angle, no, just because something is coming from a left wing angle doesn’t make it right, just because someone is a self proclaimed liberal doesn’t mean they aren’t an asshole and whatever they say has to be taken seriously and with great analysis instead of dismissed as an asshole being an asshole.

    Bad behavior and flat out wrong beliefs should not be given a free pass just because they’re coming from a “left wing” angle.

    I don’t know whether anyone involved with this movie has suffered the brunt of that though, but as for the outrage think piece articles, uh, buddy, you do realize most of that is bullshit intentionally written to be as angry and incensed as possible just to get attention and clicks? That is just how the business of online media works now, anger gets clicks, not quality, this movie, regardless of its final merits or flaws, was a target by this toxic modern culture solely because it was written and directed by white men, it’s literally as simple as that, it was never gonna get a fair treatment, that’s just how modern culture operates now.

    It’s just noise, so much of stuff you see online is just pointless noise that doesn’t help anything, it doesn’t bring culture forward, it just makes it worse, it’s anger and outrage for the sake of anger and outrage, a self perpetuating machine that is best tuned out and ignored, don’t buy into what these assholes are selling.

    And again, this isn’t just a left wing problem, it’s an internet problem, Breitbart is a perfect example of exactly this is sort of thing from a right wing angle, the trouble is Vern and I say this will all due respect, I get upset when I see well meaning people like you buying into toxic online bullshit because your defenses are down when it’s coming from a left wing angle, all these articles you’ve read over this movie that have given you such great consternation are not a fruitful thing, it’s a movie, watch it, review it, like it or dislike it, whatever.

    But don’t buy into the toxic agenda peddled by the online outrage machine, because it’s not just about money, it also about a specific agenda being pushed and that is a desire for control, they want to control what white men can say and do, it’s as simple as that, that idea can fuck off if you ask me, white men have the right to say and tell whatever kind of story they want, create whatever kind of media they want, no one should be able to take that away from us.

    This the war being waged in modern America, it’s a war for control, the ability to control people, there is a school of thought that in order to give marginalized people a voice you have to take away the voices of others, time and time again the name of the game is tearing down white men so they can build up others.

    It’s wrong, it’s just flat out wrong, it’s not necessary to try to tear someone down in order to build someone else up, there’s a better way to try to build people up that doesn’t involve hostility and negativity aimed at others.

    Nobody’s gonna tell me what I can and can’t say, I don’t care who you are, I don’t care that I’m a white man and that makes me the Devil I guess, nobody’s gonna control my mind.

  53. I’m sorry guys, I just get real uncomfortable with the attitude of modern culture, this whole “You can’t say that! That’s offensive!” or “You have the WRONG opinion on this topic, buddy!”

    Who gets to decide what is and isn’t offensive and what’s the “right” opinion to have? Because as far as I can tell it’s this creepy mob mentality that’s taken ahold of people, debates and discussions from people who have mutual respect for one another is what I want, not bullies who try to control you through threats, fear, intimidation and ad hominem guilt tripping.

    If I’m right or wrong to feel this way about it, I don’t know, I just know that’s not how this hombre will ever operate.

  54. I just do not understand this idea that there is some kind of Committee of Public Safety going around and guillotining every white person who dares to write about another culture, like it’s the goddamn French Revolution. It’s a fantasy. It’s a fucking fever dream.

  55. Michaelangelo McCullar

    January 29th, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    I think the criticism of this film has nothing to do with PC culture. That’s a whole different kettle of fish. This is about ostensibly telling a true story about two people from only one person’s perspective, without confirming some of those facts with the second person’s family. Now the story is being challenged as at best an exaggeration and at worst lies. The fact that it’s about a Black man and a White man and it’s the White man who is the POV character just feels so retro, like a movie from the 80s.

  56. Subtlety:
    “You drive away well-meaning people … guess where they run? They may not know a lot about the history of representation in media, but they definitely know when they’re not wanted. And then you got Steve Bannon sitting there waiting for them with open arms, to tell them it’s not their fault, it’s those mean liberals, they can be such bullies. … Maybe it’s OK to lose these people, maybe if they end up with Trump we’ll just beat ’em when we beat him, and they’ll have to shut up and take it. But every one we lose is one more we’ll have to fight later. So is it worth it?”

    You nailed it perfectly. I could not have said it better.

    I’m torn between admiring Vern’s humility in the face of other people’s anger, and agreeing with so many of the talkbackers here who feel that the outrage culture is doing much more harm than good. If everyone who tries to do something good is punished for not doing it perfectly then what does that achieve?

  57. I’ve typed out and deleted like 6 responses to Griff.

    Let me just say this for now: Outrage culture doesn’t even fucking really exist, it’s a fictional phenomenon that can only be found on social media, and you will never meet somebody in real life who has a problem with Apu.

  58. The Kurgan – it’s really, really not.

    The tactic is thus, those who get on the left’s shitlist will find themselves being doxxed, their name, address and other personal info being released on the net, people will then take it into their hands to call this person’s place of employment and then tell their employer “hey, did you know so and so is an avowed white supremacist Neo Nazi misogynist?” whether that’s actually the case or trumped up charges, in the hopes to get them fired.

    But it wont stop with just one job, no, people will keep doing it in the hopes to literally ruin someone’s life and leave them living on the streets I guess.

    This has happened to many people, maybe it doesn’t always play out the same exact way but the gist is the same, a virtual hate mob is assembled to take someone down, most recently we saw this with a kid being doxxed and threatened with violence over standing still with a stupid hat on his head and a smile on his face.

    If you think this is just a fantasy you’re living under a rock.

    It’s got to stop, it’s evil, the left wing has become too radicalized in recent years, it has more in common with the Church of Scientology now than it does with the left wing of the past.

    You are not justified in trying to ruin someone’s life over a disagreement of opinion or politics, it doesn’t matter how much you dislike them, how sure you are that they are wrong, you are not justified, it’s fascist behavior, which is pretty ironic coming from the people who claim to hate fascists the most, but they have become what they hate.

    Remember the time Luke Skywalker went in that cave to discover a vision of Darth Vader was there and he chopped his head off, only to discover that holy shit, it’s Luke’s face under the mask! This is an old concept that the line between good and evil is blurrier than you may think, no matter how just you may think you are if you’re not careful you can wind up being evil too and if you’re not even willing to entertain that idea and take a look in the mirror and stop and ask yourself the question “wait, am I in the right?” then congratulations, you are already well on the road to evil.

  59. renfield – social media can have very real impacts on people’s lives.

    The porn star August Ames killed herself because she was being bullied online by people that interpreted something she said as homophobic and viscously attacked her online.

    Just because something is mostly relegated to the online sphere doesn’t mean it can’t have real world effects.

    Websites like Twitter are a fucking pox on modern civilization.

  60. “Trying to ruin lives”? My dude, we’re living in the America where Jussie Smollett got just got attacked in the middle of Chicago by some dudes who tried to wrap a noose around his neck while screaming slurs at him, so you’re gonna have to forgive me if I don’t get too worked up about the salty twitter @‘s in some nazi’s mentions.

  61. It’s so 2019 that this post has been hijacked as a spin off of a debate that’s only tangentially related to the subject of the original post, this movie. Then that this remote proxy becomes hijacked and vigorously debated by people who not only haven’t seen the subject of the original post, but also don’t seem very interested in seeing it. Keep sharpening those axes, people.

  62. Griff I agree that Twitter actively destroys people’s capacity to think, but cyberbullying and doxxing is not a left wing thing. When it was Anita Sarkeesian being doxxed and harassed I didn’t see you exactly riding in the vanguard to defend her so what gives?

  63. I’m at work and don’t have time to respond fully but I just want you to note, Griff, that you started out complaining about “absurdly sensitive” people needing to “calm the fuck down,” and now you’re writing several furious posts in a row about the scary left wingers stealing white man’s freedom. I really, really wish you could consider what I wrote in the piece but if not, at least don’t tell me “it’s as simple as” everybody hates white people, when I took the time to show that there is nothing simple about it. At least give me that courtesy.

  64. @The Kurgan – That’s unfortunate, but nobody’s saying there aren’t right wing extremists as well, I talk about left wing extremists because I feel the left should be better than that, should know when to disavow the lunatics on it’s side as well.

    Maybe the left wing extremists aren’t doing shit like that, but they’re still not being productive.

    As they used to say on the AV Club: “it can be two things”, just because right wingers are doing bad things doesn’t mean left wingers now have the freedom to do whatever the fuck they want without criticism, it doesn’t work that way.

    @renfield – cyberbullying and doxxing is not only a left wing, no, but it happens from a left wing angle and it’s wrong either way, it was wrong to harass Anita Sarkeesian, it’s wrong to harass anyone online over a difference of politics or opinion.

    @Vern – all I said was that the movie was going to be target simply because it was written and directed by white men, now no, obviously not everyone who criticized the movie wasn’t doing so for valid reasons, but in today’s cultural climate there’s no denying the movie basically had a “kick me” sign on it’s back, I mean it’s a movie brought to us by the gave who helped give you Jeff Daniels shitting his guts out.

    I find a lot of the online outrage machine to be a bunch of hot air, but of course it isn’t 100%, just something to keep in mind, sorry if I wasn’t clearer.

    I do think though that there’s also a wrongheaded agenda driving a lot of this stuff and that’s a fight over who gets a voice and who doesn’t and spoiler alert, white men are not who they want to have a voice anymore, they want us to just kindly shut the fuck up and go sit in the corner.

    I’m just sitting here asking why that’s necessary, why is it such an either/or situation? Can’t everyone have a voice?

    I mean helloooooooooo, white men are not a monolithic hive mind, ten different white men can have ten different views, same as any other group, let’s not forget good old diversity of thought in our quest for diversity.

    I deeply resent modern culture wanting to box me in as “just another white man”, I deeply, deeply resent that, I will not abide a culture that will not see me as an individual first and foremost, that’s just the way it goes, I am not my race or gender.

  65. “I deeply resent modern culture wanting to box me in as “just another white man”, I deeply, deeply resent that, I will not abide a culture that will not see me as an individual first and foremost, that’s just the way it goes, I am not my race or gender.”

    Back in high school, I remember reading Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, and he mentions that white people can go their entire lives without thinking about the fact that they’re white. African-Americans can’t go a day without being reminded that they’re black. This really stuck with me.

    And this is the problem right here. White people have so long been the “norm” within culture and society that they’re bucking at the fact that the fact that their worldview has been shaped by their race is shocking to them. They see themselves as without race, gender, or ideology. Paradoxically, that’s a part of their privilege as white people. Now that the internet has shown us that there are different perspectives, it becomes easier to just rush back into our bunkers and block out any and all criticism. (And just for the record, I’m white).

    Our race and our gender impacts how others treat us as well as how we are represented in the media that surrounds. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. That doesn’t mean we can’t be our own unique little snowflake in some ways, but to deny that our identity has no effect on who we are or how we see the world doesn’t make these truths go away. It just ensures that you’re blind to this very obvious truth.

  66. Sorry Griff. I can’t be all that sympathetic to that attitude. You might not just be your race and your gender but you are also your race and your gender. And as a white man myself, it’s pretty classic white guy of a certain sort to insist on individuality as though you’re some totally autonomous being floating above the history, culture and times you live in and resents being analyzed and categorized.

  67. And just to quickly add to that, claiming that you are not your race or gender might be the whitest thing you can possibly say.

  68. Griff – And that deep, deep resentment you have is deeply, deeply closing your mind. And that’s only going to make everything harder for you. I’m not sure if you read what I wrote, but it wasn’t about the scary online outrage machine. It was about many people who have a different stake than I do in a movie about racism having a different reaction, and my attempt to understand why it didn’t hit me that way. As you will see in the piece, I disagreed with some of the criticisms and agreed with others but after really reading up on it and considering it more I came to understand that there was more to it than I realized. I know you’re talking about things that are based in reality, but they’re things I couldn’t give you one example of that you seem to think are a daily torment to all white people. You’re painting most of the world as a monolith that you imagine doesn’t respect you as an individual. How are they supposed to understand you if you angrily, steadfastly refuse to even CONSIDER trying to understand them? Never gonna happen. I wish I was better at communicating with you on this type of stuff.

  69. It sounds like the real takeaway in this discussion is logging off is a good idea like 99% of the time. Most of these problems outlined by Griff wouldn’t even exist if people weren’t so addicted to social media. I don’t completely agree with it, but that Tyler the Creator tweet about cyber bullying sums it up nicely.

    Tyler, The Creator on Twitter

    “Hahahahahahahaha How The Fuck Is Cyber Bullying Real Hahahaha Nigga Just Walk Away From The Screen Like Nigga Close Your Eyes Haha”

    Anyway, BrianB – I completely agree with you on Roma but I guess it’s caused a little bit of controversy. A lot of people, especially in Mexico, feel it’s a patronizing film a white man made about his childhood maid, which on paper does sound pretty awful. Here is a good summary of some of the criticisms (as well as responses to those criticisms):

    Oscars 2019: Let the Debates Begin

    Checking in on how the nominees are currently faring with critics and awards prognosticators.

  70. Am I missing something here? Alfonso Cuaron is a white guy? Da fuq?

    Speaking of, while Black Panther isn’t even the best Marvel movie, if it won Best Picture I would be delighted because of what it represents to so many people.

  71. Sternshein – Yeah, I didn’t really even think much about that until I saw it win the top SAG award. I was watching and saying “Black Panther Black Panther Black Panther” to the TV, thinking of course it wouldn’t win. When it actually did I found myself leaping to my feet and then, it’s hard to say but there may or may not have been some emotions during Chadwick Boseman’s speech. And I realized that the combination of it being a particularly unique and well made version of the most popular mainstream form of entertainment right now (the Marvel super hero movie), combined with its historical and cultural significance as a giant hit movie of unprecedented blackness both in front of and behind the camera, would make it the perfect Best Picture for its year. I’ve seen Matt Zoeller Seitz make the argument that it is at least as culturally significant as TITANIC was at the time it won. I think that’s a good point.

    And come to think of it, winning over GREEN BOOK would make its own statement.

    (I kinda have a sense that ROMA will win, which would be well deserved, but I’m also bad at predicting and it’s been pointed out that winning best foreign film might make it unlikely to also win best picture.)

  72. Shernshein – Yeah I was sort of confused by that too, since we codify it in forms as “white/non-hispanic” and “hispanic,” and I would normally place Cuaròn in the latter category, but I guess it makes sense that they don’t really think of it that way in Mexico. Seems like another example of what Vern has been talking about in his review and this thread, something that might strike a white guy like myself (or any non-hispanic) as odd but seems important to other people with more invested in the conversation and therefore at least worth considering.

  73. Thanks for sharing, John. Good reading. That does strike me as interesting but I’m not too sure those critiques are ultimately valid if you look closely at the movie. Cuaron’s movies all to me have his point of view. They don’t hit me like Spielberg’s, but I’d say practically every Spielberg movie is shot more from his point of view than from a character centric point of view.

    Ironically, or perhaps not, that the anti-pc crowd is obsessed with GREEN BOOK as a proxy but not ROMA. ROMA isn’t my absolute favorite but it’s a far better hill to die on, if you don’t buy that only people who have lived something or come from the right background can tell certain stories and depict particular characters.

    I’ll be surprised if ROMA doesn’t win at the Oscars because with preferential voting it doesn’t seem like the kind of polarizing movie that wouldn’t accumulate votes. If anything, it seems like it’d appeal to the same people that loved THE SHAPE OF WATER and possibly more because it’s a better movie than that was.

  74. I don’t really know what to say anymore beyond we’re just gonna have to have an agree to disagree moment.

    I can’t wrap my head around myself as anything other than just myself as a unique individual, I have my personal reasons for that, you’ll just have to forgive me.

    I don’t understand modern culture’s attitude of judging a person by their race and gender first and foremost, just don’t understand it on any level, it’s completely alien to me in every way.

    Again, you’ll just have to forgive me I guess, I’m not a perfect person.

  75. Alright, I got a few more things to get off my chest if anyone’s interested.

    What we’ve decreed in modern America is that a society is a game between every demographic over who’s gonna be King Shit of Fuck Mountain, that old “progressive stack” chestnut of weighing people by their “privilege” with white men at the top of course.

    The problem is that playing the identity politics game raises the question why whites and white men shouldn’t do it too, which is what’s given us President Donald Trump, if you truly believe everything is white men against everyone else then it’s not going to go how you wish it would go, Trump is just the beginning and it’s only going to get worse from here.

    Trying to find the common ground between people and bring everyone together instead of pitting everyone against each other should be the name of the game, not the identity politics one.

    I’m sorry, I think it’s bullshit, I think it’s absolute bullshit, I’ve chewed it over a lot and that’s the conclusion I’ve come to, the proof to me that it’s toxic bullshit is the state we’re in now versus several years ago, it didn’t work out so great, so why continue doing it? Why not start asking the question of what we can do differently? Do you WANT another 4 years of Trump? Because doing the same exact tactics that got him elected in the first place doesn’t seem so smart to me.

    But I tell ya what, that’s just my opinion, I’ve stated my peace, I’ve gotten it off my chest, I’d be glad to never talk about it again if that’s what we want, we don’t have to have long, drawn out political debates, I’m not interested in that, I was just interested in getting my views off my chest.

    Can we agree that we may not see eye to eye on everything but we can continue to respect each other as human beings? I know questioning modern day leftist politics is like blaspheming God to some people, I don’t think anyone here is that fanatical about it but I could be wrong.

  76. “Let’s get a little perspective here, people need to calm the fuck down,” he said, before writing thousands of words about how oppressed white people are.

  77. That’s not at all what I said.

  78. To reiterate my point, modern left wing politics pits people against each and divides everyone up, rather than bringing people together and creating a cohesive society.

  79. I’m sorry for the snark, you’re usually a good guy, and if I squint I can see that you’re well intentioned here, but your posts in this thread have just been very aggravating. And not just because you’re complaining about liberal hysteria while being hysterical yourself. You’re also responding to every gentle criticism (not counting my not-so-gentle one, sorry) by ignoring it and then doubling down. You say something like ‘Race shouldn’t matter, it’s literally insane to me that anyone believes it matters,’ then someone like RBatty024 gently tries to suggest to you that thinking that way is a privilege that not everybody has, and your response is ‘This is why Trump won.’ Come on, man.

  80. Griff, I’ve been a straight white male longer than you have. I promise you it’s not so hard. Being human is hard, being in the majority is not. You can’t take it personally when other people fight for equality. It’s not an attack on us when someone wants to be able to leave their house (or be inside their house!) without being shot by the police, or when someone wants to join the military, or not have their marriage annulled, or buy a fucking cake, or not have Republicans intentionally change voting policies to make it harder in their community, or not get harassed at work and paid less and condescended to, or think that GREEN BOOK is an insult to their race. We have to discuss these things if we really are both on the side of bringing people together and creating a cohesive society. You do that by respecting and loving everybody for who they are and looking out for them, not by saying “okay, we’re all in this together, now you shut up about your issues and your culture because it makes me feel bad, just let mine go on being the dominant one because it doesn’t count as identity politics when it’s my identity thanks.”

    I really like you Griff and we know this because I would’ve told you to fuck off so long ago if I didn’t. But when you say this stuff I can’t let it go. It’s very upsetting to me. I feel like you’re my little cousin who’s hanging out with a bad crowd. So I’m sorry I get emotional.

  81. Lowkey,

    I once had the opportunity to make my dream project with an A-list Director (“of color”) but I never pursued it because it’s a “race movie” and… I just can’t bring myself to put words in Malcolm X’s mouth, or make even one dime from anything related to the man’s legacy.

    I have the *perfect* idea and it was the right time with the right filmmaker (commercially speaking), but I would hate myself forever if I ever made the movie. Even if I only took a story by and producer credit.

    That said, I don’t begrudge others for not feeling the same way.

  82. Griff–

    Let me put it to ya this way, bud. I understand what you’re saying, I really do. There are definitely people on the left who are using this moment to be self-serving assholes or vengeance-minded bullies; there are definitely people who have harnessed “outrage culture” to turn molehills into mountains for their own personal gain. As you say, we readily acknowledge these people exist on the political right, and of course they also exist on the left. It bugs me. I don’t like it. As I said above, there can be a nasty, vindictive tone to the online discourse sometimes, which plays to the worst in people and ends up needlessly and unproductively divisive. That sucks; it’s bad for the culture, it’s bad for the cause, and I think it’s fair to say it’s bad for people, in general.

    I don’t think anyone here really disagrees with all that. But the reason you’re facing some pushback here is that it’s frustrating to hear “people need to calm the fuck down” when we’re dealing with a problem as monstrous as systemic, institutionalized racism within a society. To me, and I think to most of us here, this is a cancer at the very heart of America itself, our original sin, the solid through-line in American history that links virtually every one of America’s most shameful crimes. And for the first time ever, EVER, in American history, the people who are most negatively affected by this great national failing are getting the opportunity to push back against it a little, to be heard. We desperately, desperately need that perspective — it has the potential to save this country, if anything can. It’s the best and only way to help us grapple with a problem insidious enough that it’s often been able to hide itself from view, to blend into the background, to hide how deeply poisonous and deep-rooted it is, so that white guys like you and me could figure we’d mostly taken care of it, that it wasn’t a big deal, that anyone who was complaining was just a hustler looking for attention and trying to stir up trouble. I certainly thought so, at one point in my life.

    I didn’t mean any harm. I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what was going on. But I was wrong, and to understand that, I had to listen to people. Listen to people who were angry, and frustrated, and not always entirely correct, and not always entirely fair, but who were speaking from a place that I was completely ignorant of. And I mean, it hurt, sometimes. Nobody likes to be the villain. Sometimes it was hard not to say, “hey Chuck D, that doesn’t seem entirely fair, I’m not a bad guy, I don’t come from a place of malice, why you gotta be so hard on me? I’m on your side, buddy, why would you lump me in with the bad guys?”

    But you know what, I could take it, and I needed to hear it. I didn’t need to agree with every word of it –and still don’t agree with every word of it– but I badly I needed to understand the frustration, the hurt, the despair, that would motivate someone to say it. And I had to learn that I could take it –because I wasn’t used to having to take it– and that I was in a position to take it because from a racial point of view, I really DO have all the power, in every important way. That’s why these lefties talk about privilege so much. They’re trying to get people to understand that even though they don’t usually feel it, there’s a huge power disparity built into the very fabric of our society (one that was built intentionally and deliberately for that purpose, though most people who benefit from it do it now without realizing that fact).

    You and I never asked for preferential treatment, we never wanted it, we absolutely resent the people who built the system that gave it to us, but we gotta admit that we are beneficiaries of it. It makes us want to repudiate the assholes who built this ugly system, and made us an unwitting party to their crimes. Makes us want to say we’re just an individual, we didn’t have anything to do with that, don’t WANT to have anything to do with it, but saying that doesn’t change the basic facts. We’re part of this history and this culture whether we like it or not, we’re served by this system whether we like it or not, and that puts us in the position to do just one thing: use that unearned, unwanted privilege to show some grace to people who didn’t have the same good fortune. To listen, for awhile, instead of argue. To give some latitude to people who are angry and hurt and despairing and desperately trying to shout to the world that they’re not OK. They’re not always right, and they’re not always fair, and yeah, every once in awhile this ends up in a crusade against some poor sap who didn’t deserve it. And of course, those lives matter too, we can’t just brush them off as acceptable casualties of a just cause. But we also can’t let ourselves get fooled into believing that a handful of people who get dogpiled online is the moral equivalent of millions of people brutalized and systemically crushed intentionally and strategically by the US government, our government.

    Which is not to say it didn’t hurt my feelings to hear, say, Malcolm X calling white people devils. And hey, my feeling are important too, and I am not above bitching every now and then –to people who know me and know what I’m about, as I feel is the case here– because I feel unfairly slighted by someone online who doesn’t know me and seems to be judging me unduly harshly. But Griff, buddy, what we’re seeing here is a correction. A correction of an absolutely colossal fuckup. We’re trying to steer a very big ship that has gone very, very far off-course away from the rocks.

    That’s why this “both sides” business bothers us so much, man. It’s wrong to bully people online, and it’s wrong when Lefties do it too, and you’ll notice I actually specifically brought that up earlier this thread. I don’t think anyone here disagrees with that. But we can’t act like the context doesn’t matter. When one side is essentially pushing a reversion to a nationalist, nativist philosophy that killed tens of millions of people less than a century ago (and that’s the most conservative number I could come up with — if we start considering colonialism writ large, the number skyrockets), and the other side is trying to dismantle a system which you and I both happily acknowledge goes and against every good instinct a person of principal and compassion could possess… well, I’m willing to forgive one side a few missteps. The cause is so desperately important, and the task is so enormous, that acting as if the biggest problem we have right now is the tenor of the online debate seems not just wrong-headed, but actively dangerous. It allows the right to claim a moral equivalence that is simply not there, not even remotely there, and helps them shift the conversation away from the most pressing topic –the active process of dismantling injustice in this country– to one of online etiquette. It’s not completely a zero-sum game; we definitely can and definitely should hold leftists to a standard of fairness and decency, and I appreciate that you are willing to do so. But please, please, buddy, I’m begging you: remember just how big this picture is, the unimaginable amount of suffering and injustice which is baked into the system and continues every single day we let business as usual continue. Please let that be the first thing you think about when you see someone online say something snide about GREEN BOOK, instead of how it might hurt someone’s feelings. I know you mean well, and I know you’ve heard this before. I hear where you’re coming from, I really do. You’re not wrong, but there’s just so much more going on here that it’s a little distressing for us to see you focused on such a relatively small part of the picture.

    Thank you, though, for reading, and for sticking around to have these kind of hard, necessary discussions.

  83. Alright, it’s clear to me there’s a misunderstanding here and I also haven’t been clear enough.

    I do not mean to be totally dismissive of the left wing, the fight for social justice and the issues at hand, I’m sorry if I came off that way, when I said “people need to calm the fuck down” I was talking about when people make mountains out of molehills, as Mr. Subtlety said, not over “a problem as monstrous as systemic, institutionalized racism within a society.”

    I take umbrage with what I see as some bad actors within the left and wing and I’m a skeptic of some of the methods, tactics, tones and philosophies people have to chosen to try to solve these issues, but that doesn’t mean I’m against the whole thing, I do that because I see the problems as being unproductive for the left wing and doing more harm than good, I’m not trying to downplay the right wing extremism, I’m trying to help the left be the best equipped to fight against it.

    This is part of what’s hairy about the modern day is people always take things in a very either/or way, either you’re 100% fine with everything about the modern left wing or you may as well throw on a MAGA hat and start chanting “build the wall!”, it’s not that simple, America has been polarized like this for far too long and I’m sick of it.

    I mean I’m sorry Vern, but “okay, we’re all in this together, now you shut up about your issues and your culture because it makes me feel bad, just let mine go on being the dominant one because it doesn’t count as identity politics when it’s my identity thanks.” is ridiculous strawmanning that’s not at all what I was saying, you think I want white culture to continue being the dominant one? Me, a guy who has always had an appreciation for Japanese culture? That I don’t think identity politics counts as identity politics when it’s white people? That’s like, the opposite of what I said, I said white people playing identity politics is a BAD thing, not that it doesn’t count as identity politics because it certainly does.

    Look, I understand these are extremely complicated, tricky issues, maybe it’s beyond my understanding, I admit it’s been hard for me to reconcile the America I thought I knew growing up in the 90s and the 2000s with the America that’s been presented to me today, it’s all been very hard to take and highly upsetting and depressing, I’m sorry if I tend to have a knee jerk reaction, maybe it’s time for me to do less talking and more listening.

  84. Yeah, I guess a lot of this is the fact that emotionally I don’t WANT to believe America is as bad as they say it is, ignorance is bliss, ya know?

    I’m sorry if I came off as dismissive and ignorant of these issues.

  85. Griff — I hear ya buddy, it was hard for me to believe when I first started hearing this stuff. It was just so far outside my experience, seemed so impossible that it could have been going on right under my nose without me realizing how bad it was. But that’s why it’s so incredibly important that we’re hearing these emerging voices of people who just never really had a platform to talk directly to America writ large in the way they have now, and why we’re so touchy about the implication that they’re just exaggerating things or being bullies. It all seems so tenuous, so easy to push back down and not have to deal with. It’s not a bad thing to be skeptical and to keep the Left honest –lord knows, we need it as much as anyone– but considering how fragile the progress we’re making here is, we’re terrified that every bit of that is gonna end up and excuse for the people to ignore what they’re saying, to tamp the whole thing down and push it out of sight. It’s so hard to reach people, and so easy to convince them not to listen.

  86. Griff,

    What’s with the non-pology stuff? “Sorry if it came off that way?” Like 30 people just told you, IT CAME OFF THAT WAY.

    It’s hard to take your attempts to be reasonable or centrist seriously when you frame the comment that way. You’re smarter and better than that.

    Anywho, this review was clearly a success because it has inspired the exact conversation that the film failed to produce on its own.

  87. My intention was to say that it DID come off that way, sorry for that use of “if”

  88. This is an excellent talkback.

    I think the thing that’s being debated here is the degree to which being a straight white male carries social privilege.

    As a straight white male one does not have to worry too much about being harassed by cops outside your own home, or stalked by rapists on the way to your car. One is also at a (relative) advantage when it comes to getting jobs or being able to live where you want. It is easy to take this freedom for granted. Compare that to the fact that there are entire states that are still not entirely safe for a nonwhite person to pass through on a car trip. That is what is meant by “privilege”.

    But I also think straight white males who feel marginalized as individuals (either due to being nerds, beta males, etc. or due to personal life circumstances such as low income) justifiably resent being lumped in with the high-status Gordon Geckos of the world just for having the same junk and skin color.

    You would think that those straight white males who have experienced oppression … who know what it’s like to be bullied … who know what it’s like to be afraid to walk down the hall between classes (or into the locker room after gym) … who know what it’s like to see the higher-status alpha males regularly get away with harming others to a degree that would get anyone else suspended … would be natural allies in the fight against oppression.

    But instead, the left seems to have made those frustrated people feel unwelcome.

    Is this just a perception due to straight white beta-males lacking empathy and only caring about their own problems? Or has the left erred by treating straight white males as a unified enemy who have never known struggle, regardless of how many individuals in that group may be struggling quite a lot?

    I think a case could be made either way. But I think that’s the core debate here between Griff and seemingly everybody else on this thread.

    This is a tricky point to debate because obviously the problems of white people feeling like they’re being complained about too much is not really society’s biggest problem compared to, say, rape or police brutality. But to insult and alienate people who might otherwise be allies – or at least not enemies – is not exactly a genius move on the left’s part either.

    As Black Dynamite said, “A helping hand is a helping hand, clean or dirty.” But instead, much of the left seems so quick to scorn anyone/anything that doesn’t 100% pass the litmus test, and the idea of a movie with an anti-racism message being condemned as racist is the kind of thing that strikes me as counterproductive.

    I wish the left picked their battles a bit better and reserved their scorn for people consciously doing real harm, without constantly getting distracted by the urge to pillory other people for smaller errors. That is a pet peeve of mine.

    “just because right wingers are doing bad things doesn’t mean left wingers now have the freedom to do whatever the fuck they want without criticism, it doesn’t work that way.”

    I think you articulated it perfectly there – that is something that has been bothering me too, and I think that other people on this thread basically agree with you. I think your tone is coming across as angry and defensive, and as insensitive to the problems of other people whose problems are different than yours. But I sympathize with your complaints. All I can think of to say in response is that it is possible for a person to be advantaged in some ways and disadvantaged in others. It is possible to have white male “privilege” in the ways I mentioned at the start of this post, *and* to be un-privileged in other ways as an individual.

    “And for the first time ever, EVER, in American history, the people who are most negatively affected by this great national failing [systemic racism] are getting the opportunity to push back against it a little, to be heard.”

    That’s a thought-provoking statement because it implies this is a positive moment even though to many of us it feels like racism and bigotry have been emboldened. Also, by “the first time ever” I assume you’re referring to social media and/or the increasing presence of minorities in mainstream media? Because I would have counted the 1960s civil rights movement as a previous instance of pushing back and being heard.

    But I hope you’re right. This does seem to be a galvanizing moment in the fight for social justice. And not long ago Hollywood seemed kind of squeamish about having films for/about/by women and minorities, but now they seem motivated to do this both to satisfy audience need and to support a higher cause. So maybe all the crap we’re going through now will ultimately do some good.

    I hope this has been helpful rather than further fanning the flames on either side.

  89. Black Panther, Black Panther, Black Panther… created by two white guys (Stan Lee, Jack Kirby)… Boooo? Cuz where do two white males get off presuming to have the understanding to tell the story of the ruler of an independent African nation?? Or, Yaay diversity/representation? Or booo, because it’s about a *zenophobic* *bigoted* independent African nation whose isolationism and subsequent *strict border enforcement* ,doesn’t change over the course of the film, to the extent of bringing the outside world (or even outside Africans) in?

  90. …Wakanda changes over the course of BLACK PANTHER. It’s not isolationist by the end of the movie at all. And, ironically or perhaps not given how much Coogler beefs up the female roles from the source material, T’Challa/Wakanda ends up in the exact place that Nakia was advocating for at the beginning of the film.

  91. Not to the extent of bringing outsiders *IN*, Brian B. So by the contemporary leftist narrative, Wakanda remains xenophobic, bigoted, deplorable, etc…

  92. What are you talking about? Wakanda extends itself out into Oakland #1. #2 Wakanda brings in and heals a CIA agent (something I’ve seen leftists criticize given the irony of the FBI and CIA’s relationship with the Black PAnther party in the 60s and 70s.)

    Besides that reading of the movie completely overlooks the importance of Wakanda being a land untouched by imperialism and colonialism, which makes much of your comparison a total false equivalence.

  93. What are you talking about Brian? By what stretch of the imagination does bringing in *1* outsider, and informing the rest of the world of their existence amount to some come to Jesus turnaround on their strict border enforcement? See any of those Oakland kids in the Wakanda crowd in Infinity War?

  94. That is an excellent point. Children who live several thousand miles away on another continent across an ocean were not invited to participate in an impromptu battle of superheroes and elite warriors against thousands of vicious alien attack monsters, which means BLACK PANTHER is the real racist or something. Smoking gun right there. Your move, libtards.

    In other news, Brian, you should be made aware that Rogue4 will never argue in good faith. He has already made his mind up that the world is fucking amazing and perfect the way caucasian tough guys like himself made it with their bare hands with no help from anyone else, and all these whiny minorities are just jealous of how awesome that is. There is little point in engaging. He’s not listening to you. He’s just waving his dick around for his own amusement. He went into BLACK PANTHER looking for proof that he’s right about everything, and he found it. He always finds it.

    Also, he uses the word “friendo” as a lame passive-aggressive power move and thinks he’s getting away with it. SPOILER: He’s not getting away with it.

    BLACK PANTHER is still mediocre at best, actively terrible at worst. This remains a huge bummer.

  95. Except Rogue4 isn’t a caucasian… he’s as intensely tanned as Nakia or W’Kabi. Maj, you just never get tired of jammin that foot in your mouth, do ya friendo. Thanx just the same though friendo, I always get a kick out of when enlightened inclusive progressives like yourself make apparent that you can’t wrap your heads around minorities holding social/political worldviews that differ from your presumptions.

    In other news, unless Wakanda had some vibranium crystal ball to fore warn them of said “impromptu” battle of superheroes, then there should’ve been plenty of newly welcomed in tourists/immigrants/refugees to deal with… if we’re asserting a profound change in Wakanda’s border enforcement. In any case, what was humorously being pointed out friendo, was the irony of the how so many of our ideologically left of center friendos laud the socio-political messaging of Black Panther, when the contemporary leftist narrative that they subscribe to/propogate places Wakandans, even by film’s end, firmly amongst the “deplorables”.

  96. @The Kurgan – Said attack that has now turned out to be a hoax.

    And that folks is exactly the kind of bullshit I’m talking about when I talk about assholes on the left wing side.

  97. Griff: You remind me of myself when I was younger, so it’s been a real bummer to see you get slowly radicalised over the years. I don’t want to make any assumptions about your life, but I hope you’ve managed to meet people who exist outside your comfort zone of anime/video games/online culture, especially women, because I found that when I made that effort my views changed a lot.

  98. People forgive white people for fake bullshit like this all the time so I forgive Jussie Smollet. So there.

  99. Nah, I would be more willing to forgive if it would be something like him just talking about how he planned as a young man to fake a racist attack on himself out of an emotionally overwhelming situation, but then didn’t do it and now tells this story as a cautionary tale of the dark places a human mind can get into, instead of, y’know, becoming the new favourite person of “Fake News! Own the libtards!” screaming assholes and conspiracy nuts, and possibly giving racists a new reason to go after black people, because they think they can now easier get away it, because his well paid upper class job wasn’t well paying enough for him.

  100. Griff last week: I demand to be treated as an individual! It is a grave injustice for me to be lumped in with any larger social group!

    Griff this week: See, this one bizarre isolated incident with little historical precedent is exactly what all liberals are like.

  101. Although I used to love Empire I never once posted about that incident, because the description of what was supposed to have happened sounded made up to me, and I wanted to wait and see what they found out. So I sort of cringed when I saw some of the things people were writing about it, worried that I might be right. But they are not assholes for believing and caring about someone they think was done harm. The people hurt by his deranged and stupid behavior are the many victims of real hate crimes who will have to face actual assholes using this as an excuse to not believe them. Your mind going to “this thing one weirdo did for some reason is exactly what I was talking about” is just as predetermined as any other assumptions people made about this whole affair based on their existing biases.

    The weird thing is that this is the kind of crazy and ridiculous shit that the characters on Empire do, except not his character, who is the most reasonable member of the family. At least in the first couple seasons – I stopped watching when I thought it toned it down too much. I guess can just kill him off now but it will be weird for them to just cut him out of the episodes they already shot.

  102. I once saw an MRAer/Gator/Incel/whatever with an anime avatar (not here elsewhere on the Internet) and he was spewing hate.

    And that folks is exactly the kind of bullshit I’m talking about when I talk about asshole anime fans.

  103. I could be way off base since I’m white but I sometimes wonder if we see so much mysogony and racism online we assume it’s like that in the real world but it’s not.

  104. Wow guys, really? When I did say ALL liberals are like that? I have said and have always only said that there are certain individuals on the left side who are assholes and deserve to be called out on it and not protected just because they are on the left.

    You of course interpreting that as I’m saying this is ALL liberals is proving my point exactly, that assholes are shielded from criticism just because they are left leaning since people always want to take criticism of some as criticism of the whole thing.

    Please try not to be so polarized in your thinking.

  105. An asshole on the left is still better than the asshole on the right.

  106. Griff, I’m just pointing out that you refuse to be put in a box but you’re fine doing it to other people. The whatshisfuck from EMPIRE situation is some weird isolated shit, yet your first thought is “See?! I was right!” Nobody on the left is defending that asshole now that the truth is out—in fact, they hate him more than the right—but you’re still out here fighting strawman liberals. Who are you even arguing against? Someone in your head, I assume. It’s hypocritical for someone whose biases are writ large over every word he writes to come on here and slag on others for being polarized. What the fuck does that even mean, coming from you? “Just don’t challenge me on my reactionary horseshit, guys, that’s polarized. That means bad. I read an article about it.” You don’t want to get called on this shit, then stop bringing it up. We can just talk about movies and everything will be just like the good old days you pine for, back before people cared about things. That’s what you really want, isn’t it?

  107. I’m sick of arguing this shit with you guys and I’m totally done, believe whatever the fuck you want.

    Arguing political things on the interwebs is an exercise in pointlessness, nobody’s mind is ever changed, people have their preconceived notions and all you get is endless back and forth and back and forth and people increasingly getting angrier at each other.

    It really is something that is best avoided, I deeply regret even bringing it up on here because I know everyone thinks less of me now, but that’s fine.

  108. Arguing politics is no different than anything else. Changing people’s minds is very tough on any subject.

    I don’t think any less of you. Though I’m the guy who quit Twitter because of super woke progressives so…

  109. lol, Green Book won Best Picture.

  110. You see the movie yet?

  111. The Kurgan
    January 29th, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    “Trying to ruin lives”? My dude, we’re living in the America where Jussie Smollett got just got attacked in the middle of Chicago by some dudes who tried to wrap a noose around his neck while screaming slurs at him, so you’re gonna have to forgive me if I don’t get too worked up about the salty twitter @‘s in some nazi’s mentions.

    Now dear boy, you were speaking out of turn and might want to rephrase the above.

    + you did get hooked up on so called nonexistent outrage culture.

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie as a forgettable, yet pleasantly spent two hours with plenty of laughs …

  112. And here we go with the “Racism doesn’t exist and everybody is so easily outraged these days” posts, because one (1) dude faked it for personal gain.

  113. So let me get this straight, Jussie Smollett is used as proof that my criticisms of the left are irrelevant, said proof is proven to be a hoax, but is blown off as just an isolated incident that proves nothing.

    Uh huh.

  114. We are still talking about this? Also who uses “my dude” and “my dear boy” in 2019? What the hell is happening?

  115. No, one bizarre incident where a person spectacularly fails at grifting is not representative of the people who care about equality who he took advantage of. Of course not.

  116. Griff started by complaining about “anti-whiteness,” but lately he’s pivoted to saying “there are assholes on the left too” and he is now claiming that’s all he ever argued and that everyone just misunderstood (and also that arguing politics is stupid anyway and actually he’s not going to do it again ever, unless of course one week passes, and then forget he said that he didn’t mean it).

    So I think I can respond for him here:

    “I didn’t say he was representative of everybody on the left I just said that there are people on the left who deserve to be criticized but I guess I’m not allowed to, you just don’t get what I’m saying, I am being pilloried for being an independent thinker and not a blindly left-wing partisan, this is the problem with America, but oh well lets just not debate it anymore.”

  117. One important takeaway here: it’s a very bad idea to present anecdotal evidence as the basis of your argument for a general point. It’s a very lazy and intellectually dishonest habit that we’ve all been guilty of at one point or another, including in this thread. And it’s an understandable habit to fall into; life is made up of anecdotes, they’re the way we think about the world, and they’re easy to get emotionally invested in. But anecdotes are not evidence, and they’re no way to make an honest argument.

    Obviously the bizarre case of this Jessie guy does not in any way prove that racism is made up. But I think Griff makes a fair point that no one hesitated to bring it up when it appeared to be evidence supporting racism. As long as we’re just playing this back-and-forth PR game of taking every little anecdote that appears in the news and trying to weave it into our own narrative, we’re not really having a very meaningful conversation. In fact, we’re really not having a conversation at all; we’re spinning a narrative. When you already believe the narrative, all that spin is going to seem like proof, but it’s not; to someone who isn’t already sold, it’s gonna look as phony and dishonest as Sarah Huckabee-Sanders standing there defensively deflecting and obfuscating every legitimate question she’s asked. And there’s no reason anyone who actually has the truth on their side needs to do that. Conservatives, of course, are beyond hopeless in this regard, and have been for decades. But Liberals need to do much better if they ever hope to actually convince anyone.

    It’s easy to reach for anecdotes, because they feature a strong emotional hook, but the Smolett story and the Convington kids are both humiliating recent examples of well-meaning Liberals who were only too happy to run with anecdotes which appeared to fit their preferred narratives, only to completely backfire and make the opposite point. And if you claim an anecdote makes your point, it’s also true that a counter-anecdote makes a completely equal case in the opposite direction. And there’s always a counter-anecdote. There’s plenty of actual good evidence for the pervasive nature of racism, but it rarely gets brought up, and instead we focus almost exclusively on anecdotes which prove just as little as the Smolett case. We’ve simply got to move beyond that bullshit if we ever have a prayer of discussing an issue without dissolving into smug point-scoring that means nothing.

  118. Isn’t this situation the way it’s SUPPOSED to work? We give the victim the benefit of the doubt because that is the compassionate and human thing to do, then the authorities ACTUALLY FUCKING INVESTIGATE and find the truth, and then we all adjust our beliefs accordingly. This is what should happen EVERY FUCKING TIME. Instead, we’re using this rare example of the system functioning properly as some kind of smoking gun for…something. I have no idea. One asshole used our humanity against us, and now the other assholes with no humanity want us to feel bad about it. No. Fuck them. There’s always so much projection coming from that side, because they know damn well that when one of their own fucks up, they circle the wagons and deny, deny, deny. Tribe above all. We don’t do that on the other side. We threw fucking Al Franken under the bus without a second thought! We have the mental acuity to incorporate new data into our world view. This is possible because we’re fighting FOR a fixed ideal, not just AGAINST the moving goalpost’s of whatever the other side wants. It doesn’t all have to be run through the cognitive distortion processor. I stood with the victim when all I had to go on was his word, because that’s the right thing to do. When more information came out, I adjusted my thinking. This is EXACTLY how things should be. Fuck anyone trying to make me feel bad about it.

  119. Right, but the point I’m making is that it’s a bad idea to bring up anecdotes as evidence in the first place. If this dude whoever he is had turned out to be 100% truthful, it still wouldn’t prove anything about broader social problems. Anecdotes are not evidence, and bringing them up as though they are is both lazy and fundamentally ineffective, because if we pretend this one event proves racism exists, it’s just as logical to subsequently use it to pretend it proves the whole thing’s a hoax. There IS evidence of wide-scale racial discrimination, and every time we let anecdotes take our sight off that, we’re not meaningfully arguing, we’re propagandizing. It’s certainly better to be propagandizing for something that happens to be true instead of something which is false, but I think the culture has pretty well reached its capacity for both, and I’m increasingly worried that no one remembers how to do anything else at this point. Which leaves us talking completely past each other, with no hope of actually convincing anyone new. We seem to have just accepted that this is inevitable, but I truly hope it is not.

  120. I agree with that. I just think there’s a difference between giving an anecdote the benefit of the doubt because it is supported by statistical evidence (hate crimes ARE on the rise!) and using an isolated anecdote to dispute statistical data (Because this one hate crime was false, most if not all of them must be too!). It’s not even remotely the same thing.

  121. I’m not even really arguing with you, Mr. S. Just sharing my general thoughts on this issue.

  122. Oh yeah, totally agreed with you there. And hey, after all, anecdotes may not be evidence, but they are how we experience life, and we’d have to be total monsters not to have emotional reactions to them, and not to try and contextualize them into our unique understanding of the world. Doing so is a vital tool to help us empathize with other people, and experience solidarity with our “tribe.” I would never want to get rid of it… but man, it is absolute poison when it’s being used as a substitute for a generalizable argument rather than a tool for group cohesion.

    Which is where the problem lies, I think; humans have spent hundreds of thousands of years existing in small, closely-knit groups wherein they chit-chat over the incidents in their lives and community… it helps us relate to each other and work out how we feel about things. We do it for complex social reasons; we don’t do this to construct an air-tight logical argument, and the people listening aren’t listening for one. It’s a purely emotional thing, it’s about feeling. This works great (mostly) when you’re simply expressing your feelings to the people who know you and understand that you’re trying to connect, not craft a convincing argument. But unfortunately, due to the complete openess of the internet, *every* conversation we have in this medium is essentially an argument, because your audience is everyone on Earth. Since we don’t relate to each other in the same emotion-bonding way online, all that remains whenever you express your feelings on some incident is the statement of a premise, which is inherently an invitation to debate. And then we end up endlessly and bitterly arguing over what is, in essence, a statement of feeling masquerading as a statement of fact. And it just makes productive discourse impossible, hopelessly mixing tribalism and identity into debates which benefit from neither, and turning everything into a embittering cultural referendum instead of an actual exchange of ideas.

    I’m not sure what to do about this, except to try and express my dismay that the state of our national discourse (on the internet, anyway) has gotten so completely twisted and strangled by this mis-match of basic human behavior with a medium in which superficially similar communication has such fundamentally different connotations. I still hope as people accustom themselves to living 24/7 with the internet, their behavior will shift in a less destructive direction.

  123. @BrianB
    “something I’ve seen leftists criticize given the irony of the FBI and CIA’s relationship with the Black PAnther party in the 60s and 70s.”

    Yeah, about that. I’m as straight, as white, and as male as they come, and overall, probably, a little more conservative than liberal, but I thought that was actually a pretty good point. It’s a little weird that this movie where an absolute monarch of this very positively depicted African country, which happens to have a bunch of people riding on rhinoceroses and making monkey noises, teams up with a CIA agent, and they’re the good guys, and they’re fighting this kid from the hood, who’s seen some shit, and who’s ultimately shown to be a crazy terrorist, and this movie gets singled out as shining example of positive blackness and social change.

    And also, I think Lee & Kirby were Jewish, so it’s not totally an example of white guys hijacking a minority/other culture narrative.

  124. I bail out of this debate because of the hostility I get hit with by some, I don’t appreciate that, it’s best to quit while we’re ahead.

    And man, I’m just not interested in endless back and forth arguments over politics here, sorry about that, Mr. Subtlety is correct that this is all about feelings over facts at the end of the day, my reading of the tea leaves of modern times is that the left has allowed toxic ideas and attitudes to flourish without any sense of perspective or internal debate, take it or leave it, that’s just my two cents.

    All I’ve wanted to do is throw out my two cents on things and have a dialogue here, not an intense debate.

    This is one thing that’s gone wrong with modern culture is people don’t understand the difference between dialogue and debate anymore, dialogue isn’t about trying to change anyone’s mind necessarily, nor is it about trying to “prove” anything, everyone shares their two cents and it’s all food for thought, so long as it’s done in a respectful manner it shouldn’t get too heated if people don’t agree on everything, this is how the interwebs used to work, but not so much anymore.

  125. “And here, according to Trout, was the reason human beings could not reject ideas because they were bad: “Ideas on Earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content did not matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity.

    “The ideas Earthlings held didn’t matter for hundreds of thousands of years, since they couldn’t do much about them anyway. Ideas might as well be badges as anything.

    “They even had a saying about the futility of ideas: ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.’

    “And then Earthlings discovered tools. Suddenly agreeing with friends could be a form of suicide or worse. But agreements went on, not for the sake of common sense or decency or self-preservation, but for friendliness.”

    –Kurt Vonnegut

    (I don’t post this to disparage or belittle anyone’s deeply-held beliefs or earnest desire to improve a world that needs a lot of improvement; just offering a little perspective)

  126. Jew is a religious designation, Daniel. Not a racial one. “White dudes” applies… as per the narrative.

  127. And oh Griff, here’s the meta-ironic twist: Jussie Smollett *perpetrated* a hate crime with his lie… against guess what demographic? Though mumz
    the word on that apparently. You just get back to tightening up that tinfoil hat.

  128. You are right about Jewish people generally not being a race but I think you can agree that being Jewish is looked at with the same lense as race.

  129. Fair enough Stern… but that only speaks to the inherently inconsistent and inane nature of the narrative… which was what was being poked at in the first place.

  130. I for one would have a much easier time listening to dialog and debate with a calm open mind if we weren’t steering spaceship earth into a fiery inferno. I’m pretty sure this is game over for humans, this is our last chance to do something about it and we won’t. The blue sky will be a story we tell our children.

  131. @Rogue4
    “Jew is a religious designation”

    Sure. But a Jewish man born in the 10s or 20s probably had some plights to deal with of his own. I’m not saying that means he’s the same as a black man, but he’s also not coming to the plate draped in a white man’s privilege. And if you really want to get in the nitty-gritty of it all, then these super hero movies are usually a hodgepodge of storylines and ideas that come from years of publication. Lee & Kirby created the Panther and Wakanda, but they originally wrote (and drawn) him as guest star in Fantastic Four comics. I think the majority of the concepts present in the movie came from comics written by Don McGregor, who’s admittedly a white guy. But the film also shouts out Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin, Brian Stelfreeze, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, I dont think any of them are specifically African, like T’Challa, but they’re all black dudes. As is Coogler, who ultimately wrote the movie. As I said, I don’t consider the story in the film as this great triumph, but that’s just my opinion.

    Another thing you should consider is that the Panther and his world is entirely fictional, so that should probably have some bearing on your original point about comparing BLACK PANTHER to GREEN BOOK.

    @Mr. Subtlety
    To be fair, when you (not “you” specifically, but you know what I’m sayin) call the other guy a stunted incel anime nerd, then it’s probably not that surprising that the whole conversation ends in a stalemate, and maybe some hurt feelings :-)

    Even if you are in the right.

  132. Too early to tell, so, don’t hold me to this, but maybe I’ve officially processed through my aging Gen X-er progressive generation gap angst. Because I just don’t really have it in me to give a shit about this controversy one way or the other. I don’t give a shit about this movie, and I don’t give a shit if anyone is offended by it, and I don’t give a shit that people are offended by other people’s offense. I welcome Vern’s review, and I do resonate w/ a lot of the commentary herem particularly Subtlety’s observations (and excluding the right-wing reactionary persecution-complex commentary). And, as long as I don’t have to see either of the Farelly Bros’ penises, I’m good.

  133. All of this GREEN BOOK backlash has allowed BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, one of the shittiest nominees in recent memory, to quietly sneak out the back door with an armful of undeserved wins.

  134. Yeah, man, that one. I’m with Vern. Between the ridiculous teeth and the whole Forrest Gump / “written for the screen by Wikipedia” vibe, I just can’t muster any enthusiasm for that thing. Apropos of nothing, I am excited for that new Jordan Peele joint, so, that’s something to look forward to.

  135. It’s not a question of what I take into account, it’s a question of what the narrative takes into account. Wakandans aren’t deplorable because I say so, but because the narrative says so. How the contradictory and inane premises of the narrative can be applied to dismiss/disparage something like Black Panther is what I’m pointing out. The notion of “white man’s privilege”, itself, represents the cognitive dissonance of asserting that whiteness in and of itself accrues privilege, in the face of said privilege not attaching to given demographics of caucasians, historically… such as you mention, Jews in the 1910s-20s… or the Irish… or any given whites that were’nt Rockefellers… or any of the millions of whites whose whiteness didn’t buy them a pass from the crushing hardships of the Great Depression.

  136. Look, when you put your first comment here:

    “Black Panther, Black Panther, Black Panther… created by two white guys (Stan Lee, Jack Kirby)… Boooo? Cuz where do two white males get off presuming to have the understanding to tell the story of the ruler of an independent African nation?? Or, Yaay diversity/representation? Or booo, because it’s about a *zenophobic* *bigoted* independent African nation whose isolationism and subsequent *strict border enforcement* ,doesn’t change over the course of the film, to the extent of bringing the outside world (or even outside Africans) in?”

    I sort of assumed that you’re alluding that BLACK PANTHER deserves the same kind of backlash as GREEN BOOK. (Probably because you wrote it in a comments section where people discuss GREEN BOOK and its backlash, but maby that was dumb of me.) And, as I’m sure you realise, it’s a little silly to demand that a movie about the adventures of an African king/superhero would be somehow written, conceived, or, I don’t know, shepherd by an actual African king/superhero. On the other hand, it probably makes more sense that a film about a real life black guy would have some input from real life black guys or maybe the family of said black guy. You also now know, that the creators of this fictional African king/superhero (when they put him in a few issues of a Fantastic Four comic book in the 60s) weren’t exactly scheming white males hoping to earn millions with a blockbuster movie. Over the years, the character went through many hands. Jews, whites, and, eventually, a lot of black people (something that apparently didn’t happen with GREEN BOOK), so saying that white men are responsible for the shortcomings of that narrative is probably inaccurate. Does the narrative have shortcomings? Yes, I agree with that. I don’t think it deserves the adulation or the Oscar Noms. But hey, it’s a goofy, afrofuturist, sci-fi, superhero, comic book movie, the deck was pretty much always stacked against it. Maybe people feel that it transcends so much of its humble beginnings (and i think it does, some of them… at least), that you gotta love it. I don’t know. Ultimately, that’s not a biggie for me. Hopefully they can do better with the sequel.

    Also, when I wrote about Jews, black people and “white man’s privilege”, I didn’t really meant so much the economic realities of the Great Depression. Now im not really a comic book historian, any kind of historian, or really that well educated in any in this, so this will probably come out poorly and misinformed… But in can be summarized that Jewish comic book creators created the superhero as an answer to the rise of Nazisim in Germany, and as a propaganda tool for the American war effort. Think Superman (created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – two Jews) smashing Nazi cannons, or Captain America (created by Joe Simon and Kirby again – and again, two Jews) punching Hitler. Now, when these Jewish comic book creators find themselves in the 60s, and see the struggle of people of color in that time, they might presume to have an understanding of what these people of color are going through, and create a black superhero for them – hence Black Panther.

  137. Shit, this should be better, i guess :-)

    Now I’m not really a comic book historian, any kind of historian, or really that well educated in any of this, so this will probably come out poorly and misinformed… But it can be summarized that Jewish comic book creators created the superhero as an answer to the rise of Nazisim in Germany, and as a propaganda tool for the American war effort. Think Superman (created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – two Jews) smashing Nazi cannons, or Captain America (created by Joe Simon and Kirby again – and again, two Jews) punching Hitler. Now, when these Jewish comic book creators find themselves in the 60s, and see the struggle of people of color in that time, they might presume to have an understanding of what these people of color are going through, and create a black superhero for them – hence Black Panther.

  138. Of course it’s silly to “… demand that a movie about the adventures of an African King/superhero…” Again, this is precisely my point about the premises of the contemporary leftist, woke, progressive stack narrative. Premises, that if followed thru on, make movies like Black Panther just as much fair game for “intersectional” scrutiny/disparagement… otherwise, why would it matter; why would anyone care; why would it be worth noting, that Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin, Brian Stelfreeze, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ryan Coogler had substantive involvement in crafting the mythos of the adventures of a fictional African King/superhero… that it would be silly to demand certain things of???

  139. But you have to admit, it makes slightly more sense to have woke, progressive objections aimed at a biopic, and treat them seriously, then to do the same for a comic book movie. And me noting these things about the creators, and all that crap, should show that if someone’s gonna care to run BLACK PANTHER through the leftist outrage gauntlet, then it’s not gonna do as poorly as you think, therefore making it a bad example for your “madness lies with the contemporary left” argument.

  140. “But you have to admit, it makes slightly more sense to have woke, progressive objections aimed at a biopic, and treat them seriously, then to do the same for a comic book movie.” Well I don’t know that I do. Again Daniel, as you apparently took such woke objections, being satirically aimed at a comic book movie, seriously enough to note all the black creators involved in crafting Black Panter’s mythos as a bonafides for said comic book movie’s “legitimacy”… concerning said woke objections.

    With regard to movies like Black Panther being a bad example, apparently there’s plenty of woke leftists that would beg to differ…





  141. “But you have to admit, it makes slightly more sense to have woke, progressive objections aimed at a biopic, and treat them seriously, then to do the same for a comic book movie.” Well, I don’t know that I do. Again Dan, as you just took such woke objections, satirically aimed at a comic book movie, seriously enough to cite all the black creators that influenced the mythos of Black Panther, as a bonafides for the “legitimacy” of said comic book movie… with respect to said woke objections.

    And with respect to movies like Black Panther being a “bad example”, apparently there’s plenty of woke leftists that would beg to differ with you…

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  142. “you just took such woke objections, satirically aimed at a comic book movie, seriously enough”

    I don’t know if I took them that seriously. I’ve made an offhanded comment about the creators not being white guys. And when you continued with your, satirically aimed, comic book movie objections I’ve, lamely, clarified and expanded my comment :-)

    I guess you’re right that we’re inundated with various hot takes and that a lot of them are written with a left-wing mindset and touch on pretty trivial subjects, but (A.) I’m not sure people care that much. I guess we care, because we’re nerds, and we’re into movies and pop culture. But normal people don’t care.

    And (B.) I don’t really think that woke leftist critiques are as insidious, one-sided and biased as you make them out to be. I suppose there’s some crazy stuff out there, but, for instance, sometimes I read this Noah Berlatsky guy, and he’s totally an insufferable intellectual who delights in pointing out how stuff’s not on the cutting edge of feminism or gender and race portrayals. And I felt like he used all of his woke, progressive acumen to put BLACK PANTHER through the wringer:



    And he touched on some valid criticisms of that movie, I think. But he apparently also got enough out of it to put it in his best of 2018 list:


  143. Rogue: The number of links on that set off the spam detector, that’s why it didn’t post before.

  144. “I don’t know if I took them that seriously. I’ve made an offhanded comment about the creators not being white guys.” Except the creators (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) were white guys. And you “offhandedly” mentioned said white guys faith affiliation, and then the black writers/artists that have subsequently handled the character, for the apparent purpose of mitigating the “problematic”(with respect to the woke narrative) nature of the aforementioned creators’ race. Again Daniel, can’t imagine why one would feel compelled to do such, “offhandedly” or otherwise, if it’s silly to make certain demands of a comic book movie. So yeah, seriously *enough*.

    A) The scope/degree to which people outside of nerdom “care” was illuminated/proven by the cited articles.

    B)Reconcile that with the fact that COMIC BOOK MOVIES (that it should be silly to demand certain things from) are “inundated” with such critiques.

    @Vern. Thanx Main Man.

  145. I think that their faith, and the history involved with that, points that they were not white guys who fit into your, satirically aimed, woke narrative. Also, mentioning the black writers/artists that have subsequently handled the character, and the process that that character went through, proves that your original, satirical, comment is just factually wrong, and should be discarded. The silliness of your original comment, and the fact that I thought it was wrong, is exactly what compelled me to respond to it. (I certainly didn’t expect a serious conversation.)

    I feel like you’re stuck in your way of thinking. If nobody would have responded to your comments, then you’d be thinking: What the fuck, everyone’s just accepting this leftist gibberish? This just proves how the woke progressives are making everybody crazy. But because you got a response, you’re going with a: People take this shit seriously? Well, that clearly means leftists spread their narrative all over the place, and it’s going to be madness from now on.

    I think the scope and degree to which people outside of nerdom care (as proven by the cited articles, and their frequency of occurrence) has more to do with the fact that these movies are huge hits and Hollywood success stories, therefore making excellent fodder for headlines and clickbait articles, and not so much with people, quote unquote, caring.

    Maybe we should wind this down? I’m pretty sure I don’t have what it takes to convince you.

  146. Well I’m certainly stuck in the way of focusing my responses toward people’s actual comments… as opposed to throwing self serving presumptive “…you’d be thinking…” conjecture towards those I’m engaging. Do spare me that silliness. If this is what your level of engagement slips to, when held to/challenged on your statements/positions, it probably is time for you to wind down.

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