by maryann johanson, liberal movie person
Mon Jan 02 2017, 04:24pm | 11 comments
What is wrong with us?
What is wrong with us is racism.
But sometimes we make moral progress. When we treat someone like shit, it’s progress to acknowledge it and try to make up for it as much as possible. In the mid-20th century, Wong was treated like shit; in the early 21st, he gets named a Disney Legend, gets two museum retrospectives of his work (including a traveling exhibition sponsored by Disney), and gets a prominent obituary that openly recounts our sins against him, published in one of the most widely read American newspapers in the world. Based on how diligently Disney is crediting every indigenous source of influence on Moana, I think it’s safe to say that had Bambi come out today, Wong would have been treated very differently.
Hopefully, remembering how our sins came to pass will help us avoid repeating them.
Thank you for that. I just saw Hidden Figures and thought, “Now we have to do it all again.” But the massive applause, not just at the end but throughout the movie, made me hopeful that we do have some cultural memory, even if we’re repeating 1930s Germany.
I was just watching That’s Entertainment 3 last night (dvr’d it when TCM showed the entire series on NYE). When they brought out Lena Horne as one of the hosts, I was really happy to hear her spend most of her time talking about how MGM (and Hollywood as a whole) really screwed her over big-time in her career on screen, all because she was a woman of color. Heck, they even deleted the scene of her singing in a bubble bath in Cabin in the Sky because it was “too risqué” to have a black woman seen as a sexy woman in a bathtub.
A number of celebrities have been criticizing Simon and Schuster, because of Milo Yiannopoulos’ book deal. Every time the Entertainment Weekly site posts an article about it, the comment section is flooded with trolls, but the most vile, disturbing comments showed up when Leslie Jones criticized the deal. White celebrities were called “feminazis” and “retards,” but the attacks on Jones went into great detail about the horrible things people wanted to do to her in person. I wish I could say I was shocked.
And yet Jones is a star, beloved by many, and many stood up for her, just as she’s standing up for others. When Wong was treated like dirt, there were few allies he could turn to. Now, those who would treat others like dirt are on notice that their targets do not stand alone. This, too, is progress.
What can we do against such reckless hate? Ride out and meet them.
I know, and I try to remember that every time I hear about a bigoted attack. It’s just that there are so many of them.
For example, there may be an anti-Semitic march in Whitefish, Montana, on Martin Luther King Day:
And I can try to remember all the people in Whitefish who posted menorahs in their windows to support the Jewish community. I can try to remember that even other bigots and neo-Nazis are denouncing the march. I can take action by speaking out against the attacks and by writing thank you notes to the Whitefish police and to Love Lives Here, an organization that’s been helping out in the community. I can do all those things. It’s just…I’m tired. And I’m exhausted realizing that I’m going to have to do this sort of thing every single week for the next four years, and probably beyond.
And I keep asking myself the same question: How is this still happening in 2017? After Stonewall and World War II and the entire civil rights movement, how have we learned so little from the history of the world?
I’m tired. And I’m exhausted realizing that I’m going to have to do this sort of thing every single week for the next four years, and probably beyond.
Taking care of yourself is important too.
Take a break. You’re not in this fight alone, and others can carry on until you rejoin. :-)
Some people are likening the current political atmosphere more to just before WWI.
This, I suspect.
There are parallels to both pre-war periods. Good times!
The way all the global powers are throwing their weight around and engaging in little proxy wars.
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