Sunday, January 7, 2018

#MeMeMeMeToo Hits the Red Carpet

 * 1/8 Updated Below

I must have been asleep at the switch, because until last night I hadn't even noticed that the New York Times now has an actual Gender Desk. It must be the replacement for the defunct and less click-worthy Environment Desk that they got rid of a couple of years ago.

 No possible way would they dub it the "Woman's Page" of newspapers of yore, seeing as how that section was rightly derided as sexist for the plethora of recipes, fashions, mothering tips and how-to-please-your-hubby guilt trips. So now it's morphed to the anodyne and politically correct "Gender" moniker.

As far as the alternately melting and freezing Earth is concerned, who needs coverage of corporate pollution and climate change when our jaded hearts can be warmed by millionaire actresses vying for Best Dressed in Black honors at Sunday night's Golden Globe awards? Some of them are even bringing along honest-to-goddess politicians and activists. It's sort of a reversal of the pre-Trumpian White House Correspondents Dinners, when Hollywood stars came to the Potomac to see and be seen as guests of the corporate media.

The Times is sending its own large team of A-List reporters to provide blow-by-blow coverage of the Hollywood event, which it bills as a veritable Town Hall forum for political activists rather than the booze-soaked second-rate advertisement for the big budget film industry it's always been. It's even sending the award-winning photographer who won a Pulitzer for his glam shots of Barack Obama - the star president who not only collected bundles of cash from Harvey Weinstein, but who made performance art a major part of his own governing strategy.  Since everybody who's anybody will be wearing funereal black to send a stern message of solidarity to Harvey Weinstein as they slosh their drinks, it remains to be seen whether the pics themselves will be rendered in serious black and white in order to mirror the grave glitter of it all.

Times star reporter Glenn Thrush, who was just quietly welcomed back to the newspaper after his suspension for drunkenly hitting on and badmouthing young female journalists at his previous job, is apparently not going along on the Hollywood junket. His presence would be an insult to the women reporters who are thoroughly disgusted that their newspaper's scolding of predators does not apply to the in-house predators who rake in so much revenue from their edgy, insidery Trumpworld reporting.

Regarding the Times's edgy new series/newsletter called The#MeToo Moment (as opposed to Movement), reporter Bonnie Wertheim explains that they'll be "switching things this year" and putting the emphasis not so much on "who" the actresses are wearing but on "what" their choice of outfit signifies for them, their careers, and "the future of the industry." In other words, Hollywood will be given a much-needed boost of gravitas by the Gray Lady. Clothing is not only a fashion statement, it's weaponized speech! Who knew? So entertainment journalists are now officially on notice to #AskHerMore.

I can hardly wait for all the self-righteous anti-Trump Alzheimers jokes, the annoying Tom Steyer impeachment ads explaining that an apple is not a banana, the pharmaceutical ads for E.D. and opioid-induced constipation, the anti-aging cosmetics ads, the movie tie-in ads, and of course the numerous political campaign trial balloons sure to be launched this evening. 


I was wrong about a couple of things.

First, only one political trial balloon was launched, and that was from Oprah Winfrey. If her rousing speech on human rights wasn't her debut as a 2020 presidential candidate, I don't know why she even bothered. Donald Trump's empire was and is no impediment to his stint in "public service," so why should Oprah's be?  It's truly a #MeToo moment for billionaires to become more directly involved in politics, rather than just peddling their influence and donating their money. Tom Steyer (whose impeachment ad thankfully did not run during the Golden Globes) is also said to be mulling a run, as is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Ditto for Tom Hanks, who sadly didn't get to give his own rousing speech last night because he didn't win for pretending to be Ben Bradlee. I'd be very surprised if the DNC bigwigs were not actively courting Oprah at this very moment. Because if anyone can pull off a victory based solely upon star power and populist oratory and identity politics, she certainly can. It's just too bad that she delivered her speech while receiving the Cecil B DeMille award, named after the notoriously predatory Hollywood director.

And about those ads. No, Viagra and opioid constipation didn't make the cut, because the sponsors of the #MeToo-centric spectacle were all about selling social responsibility in keeping with the narrowly prescribed theme. The New York Times ran an ad consisting of a page of scrolling print of "He Said, She Said, He Said, She Said, He Said, She Said, She Said, She Said, She Said..." It would have been more effective if Glenn Thrush wasn't the elephant in their newsroom. Mention of due process might have been nice too. Oprah herself added to the righteous flavor when she (perhaps) mistakenly called for more "persecutions" - rather than prosecutions - of offenders.

Facebook ran an Orwellian ad about changing society for the better. L'Oreal continued telling women that we should buy expensive cosmetics from them because we're "worth it." Mass Mutual pretended to be a church with a choir instead of an insurance sales pitch. Discovery appeared in several slots to tell people to be good citizen-consumers and buy more stuff on credit. Why not, since a new Deutsche Bank study shows that the number of American families with more debt than savings is now at its highest point since 1962?

Not once did anybody mention Trump, who already was the butt of all the jokes at the Academy Awards. The social purpose of the evening was as highly scripted and restricted as the Morticia Addams couture. It was all about the #MeToo moment in the approved narrative moment in time.

And is it only me, or does that new hashtag #TimesUp also double as a plug for the New York Times? I smell a Pulitzer ad campaign to go along with Oprah's presidential ad campaign.


Comrade Pinko said...

Oprah for President! Everyone goes home with a free car after voting!

Comrade Pinko said...

I was so relieved not to hear anything about Donald Trump. The media should do more of the same - no more talk about Trump, period. Just discuss his official, not personal, actions and policy. Enough is enough! The media is more nauseating than Trump and that's saying a lot.

Back to Oprah, we could do a lot worse than electing her as President. We could have Trump for a second term and probably will. Look at he cast of characters the Dems are lining up. Uncle Joe Biden? Cory Booker Corporate Hooker? Shrill phony Kristen Gillibrand?

If Oprah ran and got elected, Republican racists and misogynists would go absolutely ballistic! Civil war would probably break out. I say bring it on and get it out into the open.

Can you even imagine Oprah automatically deferring to the 'expertise' of Wall St. banksters, FBI, CIA, Intelligence Community liars, and Generals like Obama did? Would Oprah brag about being 'good at killing' or cackle 'We came, we saw, he died!'? Anyone know the relationship of the Clintons and their machine to Oprah? I hope it's irredeemably bad. I also hope she holds Obama at a chilly arms length away like he did to her.

Since we're going to end up with billionaire Presidents from now on in our Plutocracy, why not a Black woman billionaire who earned, rather than inherited, her money?

Run Oprah, run! I'm getting excited already!

Mark Thomason said...

The real power of Oprah's speech is that we have not heard anyone give a really good speech for many years. I like Bernie, but his speeches were not JFK material. I hate Hillary, and part of that is her speeches display who she really is.

Obama could talk, but his few if any of speeches even tried to be like this. He is more measured. It is just who he is, no-drama.

I could support Oprah, but it is more important at this early stage to see what she has done, what for so long nobody has done. Speak to us.

Karen Garcia said...

Oprah is probably personal corruption-proof, plus she would be very good P.R. for the greatly diminished rep of US of A. Would like to hear more about her possible platform, such as, is she for single payer health care, debt jubilees and other "impossible" stuff?

Yes, I do remember that the Obamas shunned her after groveling for her endorsement, but I think there's been a rapprochement since then, now that they're all in the same philanthrocapitalist club. I think they all partied together on Dave Geffen's yacht recently.

Oh, screw it. Since everybody in America is so enthralled with Prince Harry and Princess Sparkle, why don't we just revert to a monarchy ourselves? Parliamentary government would certainly be better than our bicameral, two-party legislature. For one thing, leadership can change in the blink of an eye whenever there's a "no confidence" vote!

Jamie said...

“I have become a hack. I will send you the whole section that pertains to you. Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this.”

- NYT Writer Glenn Thrush to John Podesta

Kat said...

there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.
That was Margaret Thatcher stating one of the most most succinct definitions of neoliberalism. Oprah is the happy face of that sentiment.

Jay–Ottawa said...

"Oprah 2020? Democrats Swing From Giddy to Skeptical at the Prospect"

Un-huh. That's a headline from this morning's NYT. You can always count on the Gray Lady's having the DNC's back. It looks like the old guard is wasting no time putting out the paper blaze called Winfrey. We're all supposed to calm down and forget Oprah as a big contender. Unlike Hillary, you see, Oprah has too many negatives. The party chiefs know best how to pick a winner.

OK, maybe there are problems with Oprah as a candidate. Is there someone else who might be better prepared by training and experience to lead the country? Smarts, youth, legal experience, a stem winder but not an entertainer, an good campaigner AND a sense of justice that can't be bought? For me, that's Zephyr Teachout. Until someone convinces me otherwise. Never too early to start a campaign. Sure hope she has the requisite MeToo story.

As for Oprah, why not an important cabinet post or ambassadorship in Teachout's administration?

52Vincent said...

Oprah for president? Are you kidding me?

How about someone who has - oh, I don't know - devoted him/herself to pondering questions of public policy? Or given some thought to international relations?

Or who hasn't spent her days promoting charlatans like Doctors Oz and Phil?

President Oprah? Give me a break. If the best progressives can do is try and out-Trump Trump with a bigger, better celebrity, we're sunk.

The Joker said...

"Oprah Winfrey: one of the world's best neoliberal capitalist thinkers.
Oprah is appealing because her stories hide the role of political, economic and social structures in our lives. They make the American dream seem attainable."

"Oprah Winfrey for president? The idea reveals an uncomfortable truth.
During the 2016 elections, Democrats insisted that competency is essential in any presidential candidate. That is sounding more than a little hypocritical now."

"Yes, Oprah Winfrey gave an inspiring speech at the Golden Globes last night.
Oprah Winfrey also beat the war drums for the US invasion of Iraq."

Comrade Pinko said...

Can we do better than Oprah? Maybe, but name someone who comes across as genuine so appeals to the public, is electable, and who has the backing of the Democratic donor elite who determines which candidates are acceptable. Hey, I'm a realist.

As I scan all the comments where lack of experience is cited to rule out Oprah, I don't see their preferred alternatives. Now I'm starting to think they're stuck on Hillary. With that in mind, here's a comment I sent to the NYT for one of their many Oprah articles:

Oprah didn't ride any man's coattails into politics, so she didn't have the advantage and connections to gain political experience. Remember when we were told not to vote for Obama because he didn't have experience? The Big Dog even dissed him by saying he was the 'biggest fairy tale'. Dems should get over their blind faith in a meritocracy of political experience. It doesn't win elections!

Good judgment is far more important, such as how you run a campaign, a charitable foundation, or a business (and who you run against). 'The Most Experienced Candidate Ever', advised by her ex-President husband and a well-paid professional staff, chose not to campaign in 3 key swing states. As a result, she flunked out of the Electoral College and didn't graduate to become President. Judgment is revealed in actions, not words.

Dems also need to get over the idea that only Ivy League trained lawyers experienced in politics are fit for office. They're the ones who messed up this country by selling themselves to the highest bidder, only to leave office to work as lobbyists and Wall St.

No one has more strikes against them than a Black woman raised in poverty and exposed to abuse, yet Ms. Winfrey overcame that to become a self-made billionaire. She earned it the hard way with intelligence, diligence, commitment, and the help of well chosen team. In other words, solid good judgment. Those are the ingredients of a winner - which she already is.

(Oh, and don't forget - 'Supreme Court!')

Erik Roth said...

Two segments on this morning's DemocracyNow urge a change in focus apropos to this attention on Oprah, as if antidote to Trump.

Bishop William Barber 11 says:
" ... that’s why this movement, we’re saying, we need a Poor People’s Campaign, a national call for a moral revival. We need to reshift the moral narrative. For instance, in this week, King week, I’ve been looking at how people are focusing now on Trump’s, quote-unquote, “mental status.” I think that’s the wrong thing. I mean, I have my own opinions about that. But Dr. King talked about America being sick."

The point is that the policies are the problem, not simply the person.
Of course the person, the Donald, is a toxic heap of excrement.
Yet any attention vested on sociopathic Trump just feeds his bloated, rabid ego.
And following him in succession comes in order: Pence, Ryan, Hatch, and Tillerson.

So, the fact is that we must have radical change throughout the entire system, not just a shuffling of figureheads.
Trump is an infectious symptom of a fatal disease, which is the oligarchic, hegemonic, exploitative, militaristic, Amerikan Empire.

Read this to get a glimpse of what's going on here and now:

"Base Nation, How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World," by David Vine, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt & Company, NY, 2015.

The USA is running rampant over the entire world, without regard for environmental, social, or moral cost, with every force aimed at securing unfettered access to resources and unlimited control of markets, solely to amass wealth for the corporate plutocrats.

Like Ms. Garcia shrewdly noted about Ms. Winfrey:
"Would like to hear more about her possible platform, such as, is she for single payer health care, debt jubilees and other 'impossible' stuff?"

You see, we need to focus on the policies, the agenda, not the celebrity, or candidate.
Yes, times up, and high time to focus on the poor.

Kat said...

I don't find being a self made billionaire a compelling qualification for president. Frankly, I don't buy the idea that anyone is self made. I also don't think the chief problem with charitable foundations is in how they are run. The problem is their existence. They rely on wealthy donors. Do you really think they are invested in changing the status quo? Does charity equal social justice?
This from the description of a book I read a few years back "Visions of social change have been reduced to dreams of individual transformation, political debate has been replaced by insipid moralizing, and scientific evidence has been traded for new age delusions." So, I guess you could say Oprah is the perfect president for such an age.

Comrade Pinko said...

2020 Spoiler Alert - Hillary gets drafted at the Democratic convention.