Films – our most powerful cultural vehicle – are, like our decisions about climate justice and immigration cruelty, only as good as the people who are making them. For a long time, the film industry hid behind a financial rationale behind the dearth of black, Latinx and Native American directors. Then it had to get even more sophisticated.
The NYT takes us back to the 1990’s, when supposedly everything was changing:
But as the decade wore on, a wall was re-erected, black filmmakers now say, and many of the same people who had been held up as the faces of a changing industry watched as their careers ground slowly to a halt.
“I was told that I was in director’s jail,” said Matty Rich, whose emotionally incendiary 1991 debut film, “Straight Out of Brooklyn,” won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival that year. Major film studios hailed him as a prodigy. But he’s made only one other film since — in 1994.
Darnell Martin, whose vibrant 1994 romantic comedy “I Like It Like That” was the first studio-produced film to be directed by an African-American woman (it won the New York Film Critics Circle award for best first feature), said she was later blacklisted in the industry for speaking out against racism and misogyny.
“You think, ‘It’s O.K. — you’re like every other filmmaker,’ but then you realize, ‘No,’” she said. “It’s like they set us up to fail — all they wanted was to be able to pat themselves on the back like they did something.”
The New York Times recently convened a discussion with six directors who were part of a wave of young black talent that surged 30 years ago this month — beginning with the success of “Do the Right Thing” in July 1989 — only to come crashing down, as Hollywood in the 1990s and 2000s reconstituted itself around films with white directors and white casts.
It may sound obvious – it is – but the way filmmakers speak with a forward voice and vision is of course connected to those individual filmmakers. Our tender baby steps on diversity are quietly arriving after a very extended epoch of everything-else-has-been-tried-to-prove-we-aren’t-racist. Some remain convinced that everything hasn’t been tried, but still… teeny, baby steps. For more on the racial politics of the movie industry, see this interview with the author of The Hollywood Jim Crow.
This is not at all unrelated to passage of the health care reform bill, health care generally, diet or the environment. What could be so voraciously dynamic as to pertain to all of these areas at once? Oh, and fits the truest definition of ‘teh socialism’ more than anything currently on offer?
Why – it’s high-fructose corn syrup, of course:
While there has been extensive evidence thatfructose is harmful to human health and associated with metabolic diseases like diabetes and liver problems, the fact is that plain old table sugar is itself 50 percent fructose. HFCS does have a higher concentration of fructose at 55 percent but it’s close enough to table sugar that most experts continue to dismiss claims that HFCS is on its own more dangerous. And certainly the claim that the introduction of HFCS in the ’80s directly led to the current obesity epidemic continues to be a highly controversial view.
You would have to be at least quadruple major in one of our finest business schools to qualify as a proper apologist defender for HFCS by now. Nothing stands for competition like monopoly sweetener like a substance we can manufacture and put all those little sugar cane-growing country out of business, all in one fell swoop. We must protect our vulnerable little farmers from the predations of those foreign sugar conglomerates.
Rejection of something real, with an actual purpose, in favor of something manufactured, that twists that purpose into something not only grotesque but literally poisonous on several levels, fits our collective sociopathy to an uncomfortably elegant tee. Systematic rejection and defense of this rejection as patriotic and/or linked to our very destiny as a country is something else, something I am unwilling to quantify with words – or maybe just the words I know now. Maybe I should collect my books and get on back to skewl.
Some of this is so much like a reverse caption contest, I couldn’t resist.
“Canadian style bacon water.” Awesome.
Over the course of six months living in rural France some years ago, I mysteriously lost about twelve pounds – without trying. Not only was I not trying to lose weight but, being on our second tour in the Vaucluse, Mrs. Green and I were in the throes of all of the delicious meats, vegetables, cheeses, fruits and local Rhone wines that were such an important part of living there. It can’t be overstated, the importance of the food to that place. In fact, besides the inexplicable late afternoon light, there is really not much else going there at all. Which is one reason why it’s a great place to write, among other things. Exercise consisted of mowing the acre out front of the farmhouse twice a month and biking 2 km to the village most every day. Which, when you think about it, is plenty.
But the point is, with all the chipolatas, Camembert, rose’, apricots and creme fraiche, coupled with a largely sedentary lifestyle, I was baffled about the weight loss until I shared this with a friend upon our return. Without skipping a beat, she pointed out the obvious – that I had largely stopped eating processed food.
All that is to lead-in to this thoughtful post on the same subject, with some sliced media criticism on the side, by Juan Cole. Just go read it. Highly relevant to the current health care debates and everything green you might need to consider. At least on a quiet Sunday.