Shame On Oscar


Earlier this week reigning bobbleheads at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka, the Oscars), puffed out ever so pleased with themselves chests to announce new inclusion and diversity guidelines. Ostensibly the first stage of a five year plan to promote diversity on and off the screen. Translation – Oscar consideration will be reserved for productions where people of colour, women, persons with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community are included in minimum percentage quotas. From actors, marketing, pre and post production, catering and internships to location scouts, camera operators, lighting techs and extra wranglers, every aspect of production just became a box to tick.

Initial coverage centred on warm fuzzy kudos for Academy acknowledgement of trending social issues. Were we supposed to gush praise for enlightenment of an old guard white establishment? Sleep tight knowing another behemoth influencer feigned understanding or compassion for systemic injustice? What a farce!

Lets talk fine print before weighing in on the absurdity of hollow, insulting percentage quotas. New rules don’t apply to films vying for 2021 Oscar nods. Not until Oscar 2024 will films have to meet quotas in two of four standards. The four standards cover “diversity representation among actors and subject matter; behind-the-camera staff, such as cinematographers and costume designers; paid apprenticeships and training opportunities; and marketing and publicity.” Take your pick, no pressure. Pad the crew with a sprinkling of trans black lesbians, contract first aid to a immigrant Iranian doctor formerly flipping burgers to support his family because his degree isn’t recognized in America, hire amputee survivors of Rwanda genocide to sew costumes, recruit unpaid interns at predominantly black colleges, take a page from Netflix and script obligatory same sex intimacy in every production. Mission accomplished, standards fulfilled, business as usual.

What’s wrong with these people? Do they actually think spotlight posturing makes a difference? Believe marginalized people seek validation based on arbitrary quotas? It’s SO PAINFUL! News flash -we’re all the same. Black skin the same as freckled white, same sex union no different than traditional marriage, nation of birth, faith or lack thereof – all irrelevant. Diversity quotas prevail for purposes of corporate optics. Look at us, click, like, follow and share our trending abundance of social awareness. Shame on Oscar.

https://nationalpost.com/entertainment/oscars-academy-sets-out-new-diversity-standards-for-best-picture-contenders

15% Pledge


Aurora James, founder of “sustainable retail” store Brother Vellies in Brooklyn, New York launched the Fifteen Percent Pledge on May 31, 2020. A “You asked how you can help. This is your opportunity.” social media campaign aimed at large market share retailers in America. The likes of Whole Foods, Home Depot, Target, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barnes and Noble. In total, calling on ten mega retailers to rethink business strategies and marketing to include 15% of shelf space allotted to black owned enterprises. Why 15%? Approximately 15% of U.S. citizens are black. All ten declined,  preferring to focus on their own “racial diversity measures.”

See the source image

https://www.15percentpledge.org/pledge

Fifteen percent pledge momentum blossomed without help from corporate behemoths. In June Sephora stood in line, followed by Vogue magazine and countless online fashion, health and wellness retailers. Make no mistake, fifteen percent is building steam. Fair enough, but am I the only one who sees misplaced red flags?

Fact – racism is rampant, black Americans are twice as likely to contract coronavirus than their white neighbors, 40% of businesses closed due to COVID-19 were owned by black Americans, compared to 32% Latino and 16% white businesses. Awareness, dialogue, equality are fine and dandy, but it’s a slippery slope when these initiatives serve as feel good substitutes for fundamental change.

The fifteen percent pledge is a band aid. White participants mean well, they’re pleased with themselves, subscribe to social media trends of the moment. Fifteen percent pledges are a marketing banner. Sales spike with every law enforcement murder of a black citizen, fall when protest subsides. Sure, a handful of black entrepreneurs might benefit in the short term, but how does that combat racism?

Blacks don’t want fifteen percent pledges, they want equal rights. They want equal opportunity based on merit, not skin tone. Those with red hair, freckled white skin and green eyes are no different from persons with tightly curled locks and dark pigmentation. Latino or South Asian citizens aren’t privy to fifteen percent pledge initiatives, so why blacks? Why not aboriginal citizens or non-Christian immigrants? Sigh.

 

Rumsfeld On Looting


In April 2003 following the U.S. invasion of Iraq,  then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this of looting and lawlessness in Baghdad –

“While no one condones looting, one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who have had members of their family killed by that regime. And I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t accept it as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom.” – https://edition.cnn.com/2003/US/04/11/sprj.irq.pentagon/

Another time, place, defense secretary and president in U.S. history. Words spoken by a man who orchestrated invasion of Iraq,  the man who authorized waterboarding, deprivation and torture of prisoners in violation of the Geneva Conventions. A man who said “stuff happens” when asked about unrest in Iraq. The same man who said he didn’t think anyone wouldn’t accept looting and lawlessness as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom.

Ponder Rumsfeld’s words in the context of what’s happening in America tonight.

See the source image

Swamp Rabbit


I’m rather fond of rabbits. Not in a daily cabinet dusting of rabbit knick-knack way. Truth being, the only rabbit representation in my home is a watercolour painted by my mother decades ago. That said, rabbits are my animal, rabbit appears in my email address and a close friend calls me Ms. Rabbit. The eve of Easter weekend strikes me as an appropriate time to ponder Swamp Rabbits, in particular, the Jimmy Carter rabbit incident of 1979.

Swamp Rabbits, largest member of the cottontail genus weigh 3-6 pounds with overall length of 16-22 inches. Found along the Gulf Coast and south-central region of the United States, true to their moniker they favour swampy lowlands, floodplains and riverbanks. Peculiar to this cottontail is a waterproof fur coat and remarkable ability to swim. When threatened they take to water, eluding predators by diving under roots or hunkering down beneath overhangs.

On April 20, 1979 President Jimmy Carter was fishing alone near his home in Plains, Georgia. Carter said a rabbit being chased by hounds “jumped in the water and swam toward my boat. When he got almost there, I splashed some water with a paddle”. Despite this photograph taken by Carter’s onshore detail, White House staffers didn’t believe him, “rabbits can’t swim”. Ten days later AP correspondent Brooks Jackson’s account appeared in numerous publications, including front page of the Washington Post titled “Bunny Goes Bugs: Rabbit Attacks President”. A cartoon parody of Jaws, titled Paws appeared in the Post. All without the photo above which wasn’t made public until mid 80’s by the Reagan administration.

See the source image

Image from the Carter Library

A 1986 book by Jody Powell titled The Other Side of the Story included this account –

“Upon closer inspection, the animal turned out to be a rabbit. Not one of your cutesy, Easter-bunny-type rabbits, but one of those big splay-footed things that we called swamp rabbits when I was growing up.

The animal was clearly in distress, or perhaps berserk. The President confessed to having had limited experience with enraged rabbits. He was unable to reach a definite conclusion about its state of mind. What was obvious, however, was that this large, wet animal, making strange hissing noises and gnashing its teeth, was intent upon climbing into the Presidential boat”. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter_rabbit_incident

Happy Easter.

Racial Dots


Researchers at the University of Virginia used the 2016 census to create a racial dot map of the United States. Every dot represents a citizen colour coded by ethnicity. Blue dots for white people, green for black, orange for Hispanic, red for Asian, brown for Native Americans and other ethnic groups. Racial segregation is immediately apparent.

This is Chicago, below is Los Angeles, followed by Washington DC

Libby Anne at https://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2018/12/the-most-sobering-thing-about-the-racial-dot-map.html?fbclid=IwAR2jRC4rVJV4I7gbP79GJcneLnzaf3etHjfi0O-sRGSyzlOp2fChoteLBPc&utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral started looking at the bigger picture, focusing on predominantly white rural areas. She noticed peculiar patterns of clustered green dots representing black citizens in rural white America.

She took to Google Maps which explained green dot anomaly as the Clinton Correctional Facility in Clinton County, New York. A maximum security prison housing almost 3,000 adult males.

Here’s another one –

The Houtzdale Corrections Facility in Pennsylvania, opened in 1996 to house 1,597 inmates, now stuffed with 2,800 predominantly black green dot prisoners.

Libby Anne didn’t start with a list of correctional facilities. She looked at anomalies in the racial dot map and used Google Maps to understand what she was seeing. The pattern repeated itself over and over again all across America. In the words of Libby Anne –

“When activists talk about the criminalization of the African American male and the need for prison reform, this is what they’re talking about – an imprisoned population so racially unbalanced that you can find the locations of correctional facilities on a map that shows only demography and nothing else”

Wind


Shout out to Scottie at https://scottiestoybox.com/2019/12/23/trump-tells-student-group-i-never-understood-wind/ for posting this Trump bag of wind. Take a deep breath, suspend belief and mark the words of the president of the United States of America.

“I never understood wind. I know windmills very much, I have studied it better than anybody. I know it is very expensive. They are made in China and Germany mostly, very few made here, almost none, but they are manufactured, tremendous — if you are into this — tremendous fumes and gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right?”

“So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint, fumes are spewing into the air, right spewing, whether it is China or Germany, is going into the air,” he continued.

“A windmill will kill many bald eagles. After a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off, that is true. By the way, they make you turn it off. And yet, if you killed one, they put you in jail. That is OK. But why is it OK for windmills to destroy the bird population?” – Donald Trump, speaking this weekend to Turning Point USA.

Thumbnail

Yikes!

Are You Insane?


Seriously now, is Donald Trump insane? Ponder Trump’s plan to withdraw deportation protection for families of active troops.

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/27/736362986/trump-wants-to-withdraw-deportation-protections-for-families-of-active-troops?utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral

Gunning For The Jibber-Jabber Grand Prize


Seems I twisted a few gun metal gray panties. Silly Canadian, what was I thinking? Who but an idealistic fool posts a question on Quora asking Americans if they’re bothered by the Virginia Beach massacre taking 148th place in number of 2019 U.S. mass shootings.

Reaction was swift and prolific, capsulated in overwhelming contempt. “Are you a stupid child?”, “Go crawl in a hole somewhere”, “It doesn’t impact my life, why are you making false claims?”, “Do you enjoy being a liar?”, “You’re a weak minded pussy”, “Cry to someone who cares” – those are the nice comments. No measure of “easy now” could placate collective wrath.

Take a deep breath, I said. This isn’t a personal attack, can we exchange perspectives without resorting to juvenile bullying? Apparently not. “You’re pathetic” they quipped. “A pathetic fool repeating lies by self interested political agendas”. Excuse me? You take issue with the definition of mass shooting? Only 3, not 148 in 2019, you say? Wikipedia says –

Wikipedia says –

“There are many definitions of a mass shooting:

Mass Shooting Tracker: 4+ shot in one incident, at one location, at roughly the same time.

[4]

Gun Violence Archive: 4+ shot in one incident, excluding the perpetrator(s), at one location, at roughly the same time.

[5]

Vox: 4+ shot in one incident, excluding the perpetrator(s), at one location, at roughly the same time.

[6]

[7]

USA Today: 4+ shot and killed in one incident, at one location, at roughly the same time (same as the FBI‘s “mass killing” definition).

[8]

Mother Jones: 3+ shot and killed in one incident, excluding the perpetrator(s), at a public place, excluding gang-related killings.

[9]

The Washington Post: 4+ shot and killed in one incident, excluding the perpetrator(s), at a public place, excluding gang-related killings.

[10]

Only incidents considered mass shootings by at least two of the above definitions are listed.”

Interested in reviewing their tally of events linked below?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mass_shootings_in_the_United_States_in_2019

No? I’m still a stupid child?

Not since posting support for abortion rights and being told I deserved to watch everyone I loved murdered before my eyes to teach me a lesson, have I encountered such absurd jibber-jabber. Fortunately this Canadian can turn and walk away.