The Oscars: A Twitter-Eye View

I didn’t watch the Oscars because nobody was paying me to, but I did follow my friends watching them on Twitter, and here is what I gather:

1) Patricia Arquette made the stupidest white mainstream feminist plea for equal pay ever, claiming that “gays” and people of color need now to step up and fight for equal pay for women. Things she failed to mention: lots of gay people and people of color are women. Pretty much half of them, I’d say. More things she failed to mention: the pay gap between white men and white women is bad, but nowhere near as bad as that between white men and black women, or white men and Native American women, or white men and…you get the picture. Also, the implication that gay people and people of color owe [white] women something because “we’ve” been “fighting for them” and they’ve had enough time in the spotlight? Straight out untrue and obnoxious. Arquette, no doubt your intentions are good, but try to think next time.

2) The same crowd that apparently went wild over Arquette’s speech was silent and uncomfortable when Common and John Legend spoke about the mass incarceration of black men in the US. Fantastic.

3) Lest you think that Hollywood even gives two shits about white women–even famous white women in their clubhouse–they once again invited wife-beater and rapist extraordinaire Sean Penn to the stage, this time to give the Oscar for Best Picture. When the winner turned out to be Birdman, he reminded everyone how revolting he was by making a racist joke about the film’s director, Alejandro González Iñárritu. Apparently Iñárritu handled the situation with grace and dignity, calling on Mexicans in the US to fight for the respect that is their due, and Penn’s defenders immediately took to the internets to say it was totes OK because Penn was only joking, and anyway, Penn and Iñárritu are friends. Which is weird, because maybe I have this “friendship” thing completely backwards, but I always thought that part of being someone’s friend is not making racist jokes about them.

I’ve seen a lot of tweets about how Hollywood’s liberalism is a façade, and I’m going to say something controversial here: no, it’s not. This is liberalism. Liberalism is very good at handling the rights of the individual; liberalism posits that the structures of power as we know them are fine, it’s just that everybody should have access; liberalism wants us to all be friends. It’s not terribly good at power dynamics based on group membership and intersecting identity categories and axes of oppression and exploitation; it’s deeply uncomfortable with calls to dismantle institutions and power structures as they stand; it has a really hard time admitting that sometimes you have to take sides and fight. And that’s why the Hollywood audience went wild for Arquette, didn’t want to deal with what Legend and Common were saying, and keeps pretending Sean Penn is a fine human being. And it’s why traditional liberalism on its own, without the threat of the radical left lurking in the wings, is terribly weak sauce. Let me quote Barbara Ehrenreich, from one of my favorite of her essays:

“I can’t wait for the liberals to make a comeback, and not because I am one of them. When the liberals went underground, it was left to the rejects of the Democratic party–the feminists, peace activists, rainbow coalitionists, socialists, union militants–to hold up the liberal banner. We were left to defend social programs, like welfare and Medicaid, that were never halfway adequate in the first place, and to argue–a little wearily–for the mild reforms that might make life marginally more secure for the average person. What else was there to do in such a desolate political landscape, with no one…occupying the long expanse between us, on the left, and the likes of Jimmy Swaggart on the far, far right? But if the Democrats find the courage to get back to their business–working for the slow and piecemeal reform of our far-from-perfect society–maybe we’ll be able to get back to ours. And that is, as it has always been, to insist that slow and piecemeal reform is just not good enough.” (The Worst Years of Our Lives. HarperCollinsPublishers: New York, 1990. 81.)

What did I miss by watching the Oscars only via Twitter? Let me know in the comments section.

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62 comments for “The Oscars: A Twitter-Eye View

  1. Gomi
    February 23, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Actually, Patricia Arquette didn’t say anything about sexuality or race in her speech. She only said that “women” have fought for everyone’s rights, but now it’s time for wage equality. She didn’t exclude any particular subset of women or focus on white women.

    She did preface the statement by referring to motherhood, though, so that’s something, tying gender identity to carrying children specifically, but that’s it.

    Her speech is on youtube and stuff now, so you can watch it.

    • EG
      February 23, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Let me clarify: I read a transcript of Arquette’s comments before posting, and by saying that “women” had fought for the rights of “gays” and people of color, she implicitly constructed those groups as separate, which is the main problem. A subsidiary problem is the implication that those issues are settled and now it’s those groups’ turn to “pay back” women, implicitly constructed as non-gay and non-poc.

    • EG
      February 23, 2015 at 10:40 am

      Ah, here’s the issue: I read the transcript but didn’t take note that some of these things she said backstage:

      “it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

      • Gomi
        February 23, 2015 at 10:44 am

        Ah, yes, the backstage comments were rather different from her on-stage speech.

        What she said on stage had none of those implications. Shame she ruined it later. Her backstage stuff almost has a “you ingrates need to chip in” kind of vibe.

      • EG
        February 23, 2015 at 10:49 am

        Yeah. And part of the problem is that I just did some rough-and-ready calculations based on googling “pay gap by race” and from what I can tell, the pay gap between black and white women is roughly equivalent to that between white women and white men. Again, this is back-of-the-envelope type stuff based on numbers off the AAUW’s website, but maybe there’s confirmation somewhere else? I’ll keep looking.

      • Donna L
        February 23, 2015 at 10:54 am

        Her backstage comments were simply reprehensible. She straight-out implied that hey, the struggle’s over for people of color and gay people; now it’s [straight white] women’s turn!

        Never mind the implication that [straight white] women did so much for people of color and gay people. Really?

        And of course there’s no mention of trans people. God forbid.

        As for her speech, I had no real problem with it, other than her specification of “women who’ve given birth.” It isn’t only women who gave birth who deserve equal rights. And a woman doesn’t have to give birth in order to raise a child. Pardon me if I’m a bit sensitive about the latter.

      • EG
        February 23, 2015 at 11:01 am

        Yes, I do have a real problem with making women’s rights somehow connected to giving birth, as if men get rights by virtue of just being alive, but we have to actually push another human being out of our bodies to deserve the same things. To say nothing of what it means for trans women. I’m also not a big fan of throwing “taxpayer” in there, myself, as though we get rights based on our ability to pay for them.

      • Donna L
        February 23, 2015 at 11:11 am

        Taxpayers and citizens! (“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation . . . .”)

        Because we don’t want to include women who might have given birth to LAZY ILLEGAL ALIENS WHO DON’T PAY TAXES!!!

  2. Gomi
    February 23, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Oh, and John Legend and Common did get a standing ovation after Legend’s comments in their speech, though it appears to have begun with a few specific people standing up and cheering, and then everyone else joining in.

    Not as raucous as the response to Arquette, and rather slow to respond, but there were a few people who jumped to their feet in response to Legend.

    • EG
      February 23, 2015 at 10:36 am

      That I did not know, though it still sounds as though the responses were markedly different.

      • Gomi
        February 23, 2015 at 10:46 am

        They were very different.

        Arquette had people howling and cheering, with the oft-GIF’d reaction of Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez.

        Legend had about a dozen sympathizers standing and applauding, before everyone else realized “oh yeah, we should do something.”

        But those dozen or so people were there, to their credit.

      • RMH
        February 23, 2015 at 11:26 am

        But those dozen or so people were there, to their credit.

        Chris Pine! Who would have thought.

      • Gomi
        February 23, 2015 at 12:53 pm

        Yeah, he and David Oyelowo were both fast to their feet. Also the two people I saw with tears on their cheeks after the performance of Glory.

        The cynic in me can’t help but be cynical (“he’s an actor, he’s supposed to convince you he feels something”), but otherwise, Pine seemed seriously moved.

  3. Donna L
    February 23, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Perhaps needless to say, I do disagree with your characterization of “liberalism” as positing that the structures of power as we know them are fine. I think that’s at least as much of a caricature as claiming that most radical leftists don’t give a damn about anyone’s individual rights except possibly their own. (If not more so, because the latter claim is pretty much accurate in my opinion!)

    After all, liberalism is also founded on utilitarian principles; the greatest good for the greatest number, etc. (What the right calls “statism.”) That’s just as important a foundation as the concern for individual rights. As is the idea of discrimination (and the right not to suffer invidious discrimination) flowing from one’s membership in particular marginalized groups. And so on.

    And I don’t think that ignoring violence against women, and thinking that Sean Penn is a fine human being (and don’t forget Terence Howard, who also presented last night and also has a history of such violence) have anything whatsoever to do with liberalism. Socialists, communists, anarchists, etc., of all stripes have a lengthy history of ignoring (and/or condoning) violence against women by their fellows. It has to do with misogyny, not liberalism vs. radical leftism.

    I certainly don’t mean to criticize you; it’s just that I think you’re painting with too broad a brush. I’ve been seeing claims like that for a very long time, and they always kind of annoy me. I still remember how “the left” did nothing but vilify Jimmy Carter during his entire presidency, which I found very frustrating. (Some of them wished they had Carter back once Reagan became president; others preferred Reagan because of their belief that anyone who increased people’s suffering was hastening the revolution, and, therefore, was better in the long run.)

    • EG
      February 23, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      No, that’s cool, I know we disagree about this kind of thing. But you also know that I would never, ever choose Reagan over Carter! Quite frankly, I would vote for a sack of horse manure over Reagan, on the grounds that the sack of horse manure has at least one useful purpose. I actually think liberalism has its uses, though I myself do not identify as well, but I also think that Hollywood is a sharp example of its limitations.

      • EG
        February 23, 2015 at 12:44 pm

        But that’s actually one of the reasons I like that Ehrenreich quotation so much–it’s about how radicalism and liberalism need each other.

    • EG
      February 23, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Although I would also point out that utilitarianism uninflected by a strong understanding of power dynamics as they apply to groups, not just individuals is a utilitarianism that is going to consistently screw over minorities: white people do benefit from racism, for example, so in a majority white society, one could easily argue that systemic racism provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people (provided one had no moral compass, of course).

      • Broseidon King Of The Brocean
        February 23, 2015 at 5:36 pm

        white people do benefit from racism, for example, so in a majority white society, one could easily argue that systemic racism provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people (provided one had no moral compass, of course)

        I don’t think you could. You’d need to perpetuate the fiction that social (societal) boundaries are the same as political (state) boundaries. Where is there really a majority white society built on systemic racism? American society, for example, relies on the global systemic racism that affects people of color all over the world, and in that system the majority is hardly white I don’t think.

      • EG
        February 23, 2015 at 5:58 pm

        1) I think you’d be hard pressed to find any version of liberalism that didn’t recognize and respect national boundaries as constitutive of societies.

        2) So change the example to a genuine global minority: anti-Semitism benefits gentiles at the expense of Jews; homo- and transphobia benefits straight and cis people at the expense LGBT people.

      • Broseidon King Of The Brocean
        February 23, 2015 at 7:27 pm

        I think you’d be hard pressed to find any version of liberalism that didn’t recognize and respect national boundaries as constitutive of societies.

        But your comment didn’t mention liberalism. It mentioned utilitarianism.

        So change the example to a genuine global minority: anti-Semitism benefits gentiles at the expense of Jews; homo- and transphobia benefits straight and cis people at the expense LGBT people.

        They actually don’t.

        Systemic racism really does benefit white people because integral to that system is that people of color are exploited for labor that produces value for white people. White people disproportionately get cheap goods and luxurious living situations and people of color are used up in order to create this situation. The job of the system is to hide this reality from the white people benefiting. Systemic sexism is similar in nature the way the labor of a large class of people is exploited for the benefit of a dominant class. The deconstruction of these systems would create a material crisis for the dominant classes.

        Homophobia, transphobia, and anti-semitism are situations in which prevailing norms are challenged by a small minority non-conforming bodies. The deconstruction of these norms creates a psychological crisis, not a material one.

        This is why gay marriage can make traction so quickly while gains in women’s reproductive rights are constantly eroded. Expanding the participation of queer bodies in the societal systems strengthens and maintains that system’s integrity, basically de-queering them. Expanding the rights of marginalized classes of people to refuse to be exploited for the material value they produce weakens that system, actually queering them in a way.

      • EG
        February 23, 2015 at 8:52 pm

        1) The discussion of utilitarianism was taking place in the context of Donna’s and my disagreement about liberalism. She brought it up as one of the classic bases of liberalism (cf. John Stuart Mill, for example). Come on, you knew that. The conversation is right there in front of you.

        2) You are deeply mistaken about anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism has traditionally manifested in Europe as outbreaks of mass murder, certainly, but also in on-going restrictions on where Jews may live (freeing up property for gentiles), extra taxes Jews must pay (extracting money from Jews to put in gentile coffers), restrictions on the lines of work Jews may engage in (reducing competition for gentiles in those lines) and types of property they may own, restrictions on how many Jews can attend institutions of secondary and higher education (keeping spaces open for gentiles) and so on. Pretending that anti-Semitism has not materially benefited gentiles and their leaders is absurd. It is very much about material benefit.

      • Broseidon King Of The Brocean
        February 24, 2015 at 1:25 am

        She brought it up as one of the classic bases of liberalism (cf. John Stuart Mill, for example). Come on, you knew that. The conversation is right there in front of you.

        Yes, but I’m not interested in your discussion of liberalism. I was interested in your claims that an amoral majoritarian utilitarianism could be used to justify class based oppression. I disagree with that particular point.

        Pretending that anti-Semitism has not materially benefited gentiles and their leaders is absurd. It is very much about material benefit.

        This is not what I am “pretending”. Benefiting from the marginalization of a group of people is not the same as the marginalization of that group of people being integral to the health of the current system. The Holocaust is actually an excellent example of this. In that case the Nazis used Jewish bodies for labor and medical research, gaining benefit from death and violence against Jews, but they did not build a sustainable economic system dependent on this violence like slavery in the United States. The Jews were not exploited and bred to produce value. We were killed out of hatred and prejudice. Countries in which Jews are treated well actually tended to benefit from our participation in society, and countries where we were persecuted have not fared as well as those in which we were allowed to flourish.

      • Donna L
        February 24, 2015 at 4:09 am

        You’re still wrong, Broseiden. See my replies below to your response to what I wrote. Again, Jewish history did not begin with the Holocaust; and EG and I were not discussing not only massacres, but an entire system built on exploitation of Jews. The Jews, for many centuries, were exploited to produce economic value, and their “breeding” was strictly regulated as well, since permission was required (and exorbitant fees had to be paid) not only to live in a particular place, but also in order to marry, and in order for each child to remain living in their parents’ town or village or city — creating more economic benefit for Gentiles, given the taxes on those parents and/or children to be allowed to travel, and to settle in new town, and so on.

        I think I’m out of this at this point.

      • Donna L
        February 23, 2015 at 8:45 pm

        All I’ll say, Broseiden, is that you’re entirely wrong about anti-Semitism not benefiting Gentiles — whether you’re talking about strictly economic benefit or, in the case of Christians, the foundational importance of the Jew as “other” to the religion itself As a historical statement covering the last 1600 years or so, you couldn’t possibly be more wrong. And no, I’m not going to provide citations for you.

      • EG
        February 23, 2015 at 8:54 pm

        Heh, Donna. Jinx! Speaking of being of one mind…

      • Broseidon King Of The Brocean
        February 24, 2015 at 1:34 am

        All I’ll say, Broseiden, is that you’re entirely wrong about anti-Semitism not benefiting Gentiles

        Please point out to me where I said anti-Semitism has never benefited non-Jews. What I actually said was that anti-semitism is not materially integral to the stability of any society the way the exploitation of the labor of people of color is to white people’s material welfare or the way the exploitation of women’s bodies is to men’s material welfare.

        White people would experience undeniable losses if they could no longer exploit people of color for cheap labor and material resources. Men would suffer if women no longer provided unpaid work and the means of human reproduction under male control.

        Non-Jews would not suffer from the acceptance and integration of the Jewish people into their societies. History actually points in quite the opposite direction, since Jews have historically contributed quite a lot to the societies in which they were allowed to flourish.

      • Donna L
        February 24, 2015 at 3:46 am

        Go read about the history of medieval and early modern Europe and then get back to me. Of course the exploitation and oppression of Jews was materially integral to the stability of both society and religion (not that you can extricate the two). Do I really have to prove it to you? Examine the history of expulsions of Jews — in other words, taking the “next step” in the exploitation of Jews — and what happened thereafter to the economic stability of the countries that did so, usually followed by bringing the Jews back.

        Nor was it imaginable to those countries that they could keep the Jews but stop oppressing and exploiting them: the subordination of Jews (without killing all of them) was fundamental to Christian identity prior to the Enlightenment, as far back (at least) as St. Augustine.

        Also, for your information, Jews were considered — depending on who was in control of a particular location — to be the property of either the Church or the rulers.

        European Jewish history did not begin with the Holocaust.

        Of course it’s not identical to the history of slavery and the oppression of people of color once the ideas of race based on skin color were developed. But, in fact, the disparagement and oppression of Jews was clearly racial as much as religious in nature, given the continual depiction of Jews as animals — usually pigs — along with the beliefs that Jews had horns and tails and cloven hooves and a unique smell related to drinking Christian blood and Jewish men menstruating, etc.).

        The exploitation did not take the identical form to (for example) slavery in the USA, but it was every bit as materially integral.

        You obviously have a very shaky grasp of Jewish history, even if (as you seem to imply) you’re Jewish yourself. Speaking of theories of everything, yours doesn’t work any better than most.

      • Donna L
        February 24, 2015 at 3:56 am

        I should also point out that it’s fairly obvious that U.S. society as a whole (and the white people in it) have benefited in general from the end of slavery and the greater (albeit not equal) participation of people of color. Your statement that “Non-Jews would not suffer from the acceptance and integration of the Jewish people into their societies. History actually points in quite the opposite direction, since Jews have historically contributed quite a lot to the societies in which they were allowed to flourish” could be applied equally to people of color, even if “flourishing” is not exactly an accurate description of their current status — any more than Jews ever genuinely “flourished” in any Gentile society until fairly recent times.

        It’s hardly a zero-sum game: every advance by people of color doesn’t cause an equal amount of harm to white people, either in general or in particular. Of course, in a literal sense, emancipation caused direct economic harm to slave-owners, but the “emancipation” of the Jews — the term that was used, by the way — caused direct economic harm to those Gentiles who had previously been able to exploit them economically (with impunity) in thousands of different ways. Your distinction is simplistic, and doesn’t work.

    • Mandolin
      February 23, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Per some of Donna’s objections I’m not 100% in agreement with you, but it’s very nice to have the leftist opinion strongly and thoughtfully stated in a mainstream feminist blog, especially by someone who is very well aware of minority and individual to rights. And I am also in agreement with the Ehrenreich quote which is something ive thought for a long time, but never seen so well-articulated. (I live my life as a liberal, but more philosophically believe radical leftists are probably right. I just always am torn on the methods of getting “there” from “here.”)

      • EG
        February 23, 2015 at 6:01 pm

        Thanks! I’m not sold on any particular method of getting there from here, either–years of long familiarity has bred suspicion in me for the radical left support for revolution, for example. And in practice, I often support liberal solutions…so I suspect that when it comes to praxis, you and I and Donna are of similar minds.

      • Donna L
        February 23, 2015 at 8:50 pm

        EG, I can’t think of a single actual real-life issue where I have taken a different position from you or disagreed with you.

        Political theory has never interested me terribly much anyway. I don’t really believe in any of them very much as ways of explaining or analyzing the world. Especially the ones that claim to be “theories of everything.”

      • EG
        February 23, 2015 at 8:55 pm

        Thoroughly agree. Grand theories of everything are always so much nonsense. I’d far rather work and fight alongside of liberals of good will than radicals of the sort you allude to upthread!

  4. Drahill
    February 23, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I didn’t watch (it was on in the room, but I wasn’t actively watching). I did manage to keep a little running tally in my head:

    1.) That deigning to play a person with a disability is basically a fast pass to an Oscar.

    2.) That black people should be happy with the little scrap they get.

    3.) That the whole system is basically set up to be a self-congratulatory circle jerk around the same privileged group the whole time.

    Yeah, not much new under the sun.

  5. miliukov
    February 23, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    So look — I am a privileged straight white male; upper middle class; a finance job in New York; that pays well; I love movies; but mostly don’t watch the Oscars because I smugly dismiss it as celebration of celebrity itself; not talent; or accomplishment; mostly; or at least often enough; so what do I know anyway?

    But my daughters ages 11 and 15 who have every available advantage and tickets stamped all the way along the line going to like whatever the best whatever schools in the like country and who even saw Neil Patrick Harris on like Broadway in that Hedwig thing from the second row and yes there were glares from the pearl clutching crowd(s) — there were more than one! — they were watching it and they literally stood up and shouted YES! at Patricia Arquette’s remarks which were trembling and nervous and sure how have you done onstage at all your Oscar acceptance speeches fucking brilliant I bet

    Nevertheless they stood up and shouted Yes! understanding that it wasn’t about them not at all and they will fight like hell they really will not for privileged straight white girls that want to make partner at the bank yet don’t want to sleep with the fat hairy boss but they really will fight for equality in marriage and law and eventually culture

    The message may not have be perfect, but it resonated beyond that. And to those listening, it made sense, and motivated

    • EG
      February 23, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      But that’s the point. It definitely resonated with the most privileged subset of women–and quite frankly, straight white girls who want to make partner shouldn’t have to sleep with the boss–that’s a sexual harassment/rape issue, not a wage gap issue. But it alienated lots and lots of other people. And if straight white feminists want any sort of solidarity, they/we have to start showing solidarity with those people, beginning by not making these kinds of exclusionary statements.

      • Mandolin
        February 23, 2015 at 7:12 pm

        Things can have both good and bad aspects. This seems like one.

        (And I wonder to what extent her backstage remarks were poorly stated for being off the cuff.)

        But the problems deserves to be remarked on, too.

    • Donna L
      February 23, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Also, if Arquette hadn’t added the backstage remarks, nobody would have been complaining. Her acceptance speech was fine except for the “women who’ve given birth” part.

      So it’s not the onstage part that people are criticizing. Would your daughters have stood up and shouted Yes! had they heard the backstage remarks?

    • trees
      February 24, 2015 at 8:41 am

      The message may not have be perfect, but it resonated beyond that. And to those listening, it made sense, and motivated

      I get that you’re only talking about the onstage quote, but coupled with the backstage statement, if offers a great opportunity to you, the parent, for teaching. PA only seems to have the interest of a very small subset of women.

  6. Max G
    February 23, 2015 at 7:41 pm


    “I found it hilarious. Sean and I have that kind of brutal where only true friendship can survive … When I was directing him in 21 Grams, he was always making jokes like that. … We have that kind of relation of old friendship. .. I thought it was very funny.”

    The joke, of course, is that Iñárritu, a Mexican immigrant, is a truly great artist, greater than most native-born filmmakers. Penn recognizes that and is being ironic about it. But you’ve never heard of Iñárritu. You didn’t know that Penn starred in 21 Grams. You never saw it, you never heard of it. You didn’t know that he and Penn and Iñárritu are friends.

    See, as you admit upfront, EG, you really don’t give a shit about movies. You didn’t watch these films, you don’t care about these people as artists and craftspeople, their work doesn’t move you. What you care about is finding something that you can be offended by. You came to the Oscar’s intending to be offended, and lucky you, you were!

    Well, it’s great that you’re offended, because Iñárritu isn’t, so it’s nice that he’s got someone who’s offended on his behalf.

    It’s a shame, though, that you didn’t notice Graham Moore. Well, since he didn’t say something offensive to you, you just blew him off. Why I am not surprised?

    • EG
      February 23, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Wow. You are a profoundly silly person. I am deeply impressed by your silliness.

      First of all, there’s your bizarre assumption that the fact that the fact that I have no wish to devote an entire evening to watching an industry I am not part of congratulating itself means that I “really don’t give a shit about movies. [I] didn’t watch these films, [I] don’t care about these people as artists and craftspeople, their work doesn’t move [me].” That’s kind of weird, dude. I can’t say I care as much about movies as I do about, oh, global hunger, but I don’t have any particular disdain for or animus toward them. It’s an art form as good as any other, one that I prefer to, oh, opera, though not to, say, punk rock.

      My goodness, you’re easily offended–you don’t want to watch the Oscars! That means you loathe movies and have never been moved by a film in your life! Do you hear yourself?

      Indeed, I don’t get to see many movies until years later. I have a toddler at home, you see, and that does tend to clamp down on one’s ability to go randomly go to the cinema (to say nothing of movie prices in NYC–it’s actually significantly cheaper in most cases, with an educator’s discount, for me to go see live theater). Given that I’m expecting a baby in June, it’s not a situation I expect to change any time soon.

      Now, if you had read the post, or even the title with the care you expect me to devote to several hours of an in-house industry awards presentation, you would have noticed that I did not “come to the Oscars” in order to be offended. Indeed, I did not come to the Oscars at all. I kept an eye on my Twitter feed while gchatting with a good friend–a film critic, actually, who was being paid to write not one but two pieces about the Oscars–and doing some work (that’s the glamorous life of the parent of a toddler, you see–when we get spare time in the evenings, we try to get some work done).

      Let’s now address your strange notion that being friends means making racist jokes on national television. Of course I know that Penn was directed by Iñárritu in 21 Grams. What do you think, I live under a rock? Of course I know that they’re friends. So what? Does that determine how Penn’s stupid racist “joke” is going to hit every racist shithead in the US, who’s going to take this as validation, and every Mexican immigrant and Mexican-American person in the US who isn’t good friends with the rapist/wife-beater and maybe didn’t need that shit when they’re trying to spend a pleasant evening watching the Oscars? An in-joke between friends belongs between friends at the after-party, not thrown in the face of everybody else in broadcast distance. I’m not offended on Iñárritu’s behalf, you dolt. I find Penn’s “joke” to be racist bullshit.

      I didn’t mention Moore because I didn’t find anything he said particularly impressive. Ooooh, stay different, stay weird? That’s not a political statement–speaking as someone who knows from depression, that’s not even a particularly impressive gesture of support. That’s a fucking iMac campaign. Alan Turing didn’t commit suicide (perhaps; it might have been accidental) because he felt different. Turing committed suicide because he was being persecuted by a homophobic government all too willing to take advantage of his skills and genius in its hour of need, and then to turn around and chemically castrate him for loving people of his own sex. Talking about that, and the similar institutional pressures put on LGBT people today, would have been notable to me.

      Edited to make the format more readable.

    • Donna L
      February 23, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      Sean Penn is a disgusting human being in general. The fact that Iñárritu or anyone else considers him a friend actually makes me think less of them.

      As for jokes, it would have been much funnier if he had wondered how one of the practically infinite number of white British and Australian nominees had gotten their green card.

      And how do you know that Iñárritu wasn’t offended? Because that’s what he said publicly? If a friend of mine made some joke in public related to my being trans, I might not publicly acknowledge that it bothered me, and might never even say anything to that friend, but I can assure you that I would be privately upset.

      Looking to be offended? What a profoundly stupid thing to say.

    • Pseudonym
      February 23, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      One might think that someone so passionate about a Mexican director would bother to pay attention to how González Iñárritu’s name works, but that might get in the way of all the mansplaining.

      • EG
        February 23, 2015 at 9:40 pm

        Oh dear, I made that mistake too, alas. Embarrassing. Thanks for pointing it out (that’s genuine, not sarcastic)!

  7. Max G
    February 23, 2015 at 10:20 pm


    Iñárritu goes by Iñárritu, not by González Iñárritu.


    Now that we’ve gotten that little item cleared up, perhaps we can also accept as established that:

    Neither you nor EG had ever heard of him before.

    You didn’t know that Penn had starred in his movie 21 Grams. YOu didn’t know that they are friends. You’ve never seen any of his films. You know nothing about him or his work.

    BTW, there was a time that I had toddlers, and didn’t get to the movies, either. And you know what? For those years, I didn’t lecture people about the movies!

    • EG
      February 23, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      You are truly plumbing new depths of silliness and bizarre outrage.

      It’s really bugging you, isn’t it, that even though I knew Penn had starred in Iñárritu’s 21 Grams, I don’t give a shit, isn’t it? You really can’t wrap your mind around the fact that this isn’t particularly arcane or rarified knowledge, and that it doesn’t make anything Penn said OK. Well, deal with it. Your attempt to pull film-snob rank is laughable and ineffective and doesn’t address anything that I actually said. The same arguments were made about Daniel Handler’s racist comments regarding Jacqueline Woodson when she won the National Book Award. I actually really like Handler and his work, and as far as I know he isn’t a wife-beater or rapist, and these arguments cut no ice with me then, and they cut no ice with me now.

      Dude, I haven’t lectured people about any movies I haven’t seen. I’ve commented on Oscars speeches that I looked up transcripts of rather than watched in real time, because awards ceremonies are boring. Try to focus on the topic.

      Now, if you continue with an argument that basically amounts to “nuh-uh, you did not know,” I’m asking tigtog to stick you in permamod on grounds of boringness. So do better with your next comment.

      • Broseidon King Of The Brocean
        February 24, 2015 at 1:40 am

        I’m asking tigtog to stick you in permamod on grounds of boringness.

        Thank you. There is nothing quite so dull as “how dare you write your opinions on the internet!”

      • February 24, 2015 at 5:27 am

        Actually there is nothing quite so dull as one person who insists on dominating a thread.

      • February 24, 2015 at 5:28 am

        P.S. this subthread should have been taken to #spillover yonks ago. If people want to engage with you there, they will. Stop posting in this thread now, Broseidon.

      • February 24, 2015 at 5:41 am

        You too, Max G.

      • MC_Puppabutt
        February 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm

        Wait, what? As I write this, Broseidon has made a grand total of 5 comments in this entire thread, while his interlocutors, Donna L and EG, have made 10 and 12, respectively. You may not like his comments – for the record, neither do I – but he definitely hasn’t been “dominating [the] thread”.

      • February 24, 2015 at 3:10 pm

        OK, derailing a thread then. (eta: also, the picture looks different on the admin screen of all the *most recent* comments when one name is every other comment)

        Either way, both Max G and Broseidon were going off-topic and should have taken their tangents to the spillover thread. It’s easy to be provocative enough to get people to keep responding to a derail in the heat of the moment – but no matter how many others they get to follow their tangent it’s still the derailers who are responsible for introducing it, so the derailers are the ones who get giraffed.

    • Pseudonym
      February 23, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      I didn’t say anything about my knowledge of the movie or its director, so your mind reading ability must be going on the fritz because you don’t know fuck all about me or what my taste in movies might be. I’m not very interested in sharing that with you either, so shut the fuck up and go infest some other unlucky place on the internet.

    • EG
      February 24, 2015 at 9:46 am

      One more point, Max G. It’s become clear that you’re already in perma-mod. I don’t recognize your name, so I’m assuming you got stuck in perma-mod over similar behavior under a different name, which means I will not be assuming any good faith on your part any longer, and your most recent comment will not be coming out of mod.

  8. Donna L
    February 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    One other point occurred to me about Patricia Arquette: it seems to me that she really ought to know better about issues of intersectionality, and can’t exactly plead complete ignorance, given that one of her sisters, Alexis Arquette, happens to be a trans woman.

    • Yup
      February 24, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Maybe Alexis doesn’t berate her sister for misspoken words and instead looks to her actions.

      • EG
        February 24, 2015 at 6:59 pm

        Poor Patricia Arquette! Why can’t a famous, wealthy person make a political statement on and to national media from a huge platform without having that statement examined? It’s so unfair.

      • Yup
        February 24, 2015 at 7:09 pm

        Get this horrible woman! Get her! Get her! Publicly!
        (at 5 minutes in you can see Patricia talking with her sister — she says transsexual!!!!!!!! GET HER. )

        Hey, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon have never, ever, ever used un-inclusive language in speaking out about important things, right? Right Twitter? Right internet? It always seems to be the women flubbing up SO, SO badly.

      • EG
        February 24, 2015 at 7:11 pm

        Yes, criticizing someone’s statement is totes the same thing as calling her a horrible woman and demanding that she be “gotten,” whatever that means to you.

        I have no idea what Clooney, Pitt, and Damon have said. Have they said something recently that you feel should be posted about?

      • Donna L
        February 24, 2015 at 7:35 pm

        There’s nothing wrong with the word “transsexual.” I don’t know why anyone would want to “get” Patricia for that.

        Unless she used the word as a noun rather than an adjective, of course. In that case, she would be anathema!

        Seriously, nobody’s trying to “get” her; nobody’s tarring and feathering her and running her out of town on a rail. She won’t suffer in any meaningful way because she’s being criticized by people on twitter. For ample reason, I think, because I don’t think her backstage statements can possibly be construed in a way that’s good. Especially because she made them in a context of a long history of white feminists (and organized feminism in general, which is pretty much the same thing) ignoring and invisibilizing women of color (especially black women), not to mention LGBT people, especially trans women. Which is why her implication that “[white] women” have helped people of color and gay people so much in the past that now it’s their turn to help “women” — not exactly an accurate rendition of history — rankles so much.

  9. February 24, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Wish I had time to read the whole discussion, but I’m one of those old working black women, getting paid less than black men even – although for me – one of those far left rebels who didn’t decide to get serious about making money until I was 54 and went to nursing school – I’m now part of the middle class. I didn’t see the Oscars – and knew I wasn’t missing much from the line up. It’s obviously a white’s only crowd, despite the Latino flavor rising. I do want to say that what John Legend and Common said is important. I was attending conferences on the disproportionate incarceration of people of color a decade ago in Iowa. Legend may have stressed the problem with black men but it is increasing with black women and black girls. And I totally agree with your assessment of liberals. Thanks for motivating me to comment.

    • EG
      February 24, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      Thanks for commenting! I’ve read that rates of imprisonment for black women and girls are rising at a distressing rate–need to look into that for a future post, maybe.

    • Tony
      February 26, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      Word. I also lost interest in the Oscars this year for the same reason. But I’m glad someone watched it so we can have this analysis.

      Thank you for mentioning black men with regard to the pay gap. I’ve seen a lot of analyses comparing the pay gap between white men, white women, and women of color, and I think it contributes to identify that women of color are paid less than white women, but they’re also paid less than men of color, and men of color are paid less than white men. There’s this whole other dimension to the wage gap that is completely racism based and not gender based.

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