One of the most ill-conceived movements of the past 30 years in America has been telling people to shut-up. It’s as though we actually believe that if people don’t say hateful things, they won’t have hateful thoughts or behave in hateful ways. This is beyond infantile.
Making things more difficult is what’s deemed as “hateful.” The answer, by the way, is pretty much anything and everything that is remotely “mean,” is hateful. Whether it’s true or not, which is the most disturbing part.
And it’s not just overtly “mean,” things like what actress Sandra Bullock threw a hissy fit over last week, when she bemoaned people who put-down the concept of an all-female Ghostbusters. A movie, mind you, that by all standards, flopped, and was widely hated. It doesn’t matter that people who criticized the idea were proven correct, it was mean of them to even say they didn’t support the idea.
It goes beyond that. It now means that if you say anything critical of anyone in a “protected class (defined as everyone other than middle aged white men, preferably Christian), you are engaging in hate speech. We saw this during 8 years of President Obama. Engaging in reasonable, rational, intelligent criticism of President Obama and his policies was instantly branded “racist.”
During the 2016 Presidential race, any criticism of Hillary Clinton was immediately deemed misogynist.
Say anything in support of cops today and you’re a racist; even if they just literally saved someone’s life.
If you support border security of any kind, you are a racist.
We found last week, that at certain companies and businesses, if you tell a woman she smells nice, you’re headed straight to human resources as a harasser.
If a man doesn’t stop in the middle of becoming amorous to gain solid, positive consent from a woman to move forward (yes means yes), he is a racist.
If, as a grown man, you prefer grown women to shave off their public hair, you are a pedophile.
If you question man-made climate change, you are a “science-denier.”
The list goes on and on and not one of those examples is hyperbolic nor made-up. They’re all very real, and they’re all based in offering or presenting an opinion, and in each case, the speaker is immediately branded the worst possible thing that corresponds to the discussion. Thus, people learn to shut up. They don’t, however, fundamentally change who they are. Quite the opposite, usually. As a result of the very natural human resentment that sets in after being told to shut-up, people usually gravitate towards others with similar or even more extreme beliefs and cultivate new ones; sometimes legitimately hateful. Remember, hatred is learned and cultivated.
But by telling people to shut-up, we feel better. We don’t have to hear things, many of them overtly true, that make us feel badly, and that, we believe, is progress. It’s not. It’s pathetic.
Which brings us all the way back to little Sandy Bullock and her temper-tantrum. It worked! Congrats, baby-doll, you did it.
As reviews of the new, female-centric Ocean’s 8 rolled in there were a few things that became stunningly apparent, whether the comments came from audience-goers or movie critics. First, no one thinks the movie is great. Many people think the movie is good, and many think it’s awful. But the second thing that is most apparent comes from that final group, those who hated Ocean’s 8. Not one of them blamed the women or the cast. How could they? Lest they be deemed a chauvinist and vilified by madame Bullock, they’d better find a way to say only glowing things about the dames in the movie and blame any shortcomings on anything else, preferably a man.
Which is exactly what well-known movie critic David Ehrlich did. Ehrlich wrote an entire article bemoaning the lame-ness of Oceans 8 and blaming all of it on the stupid male director. A director who has won Academy Awards for making “Seabiscuit,” and has stunned the box office with “Hunger Games,” (A movie, I remind you that centered on a female lead heroine). Yet somehow, renowned director Gary Ross suddenly has no idea how to lead such a breathlessly talented group of strong women. How could he? He has a penis, for God’s sake!
Ehrlich is far from the only one. Article after article blamed Ross for being a man. Post after post praised the women, even though their performances were often described as cookie-cutter and bland…something that was blamed on the (male) writers.
One article went so far as to ignore the lack of quality in Ocean’s 8 and, instead, use its’ very existence as justification to make their list of a dozen classic movies that MUST be rebooted with all female casts (including Home Alone, Back to the Future, and 12 Angry men). Jesus.
So, burn your bra with pride tonight, Sandy. You have avoided the lynch-mob (ooops, that’s racist) that could’ve awaited you and instead have silenced peoples’ actual feelings appropriately. They even handed you a male scape-goat so you can prance into the studio’s executive office tomorrow and wave your heels in their face, demanding a female director for Ocean’s 9 which WILL be made because there will be hell to pay if isn’t.
Ironically, the ONLY person who had the courage to state the obvious, that the movie was mediocre at best and was nothing more than plugging women into previously male roles (which is the opposite of progress) was a woman columnist. A feminist to be exact, who by having the courage to point out that women remaking male movies isn’t empowerment, it’s demeaning and condescending, proved that even a broken clock, like a feminist, is right twice a day.