Monday, March 3, 2014

On Stereotyping and Hypocrisy

Last night, as I was waiting for the Oscars broadcast to begin, I was casually looking at Facebook to see what people were saying.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I almost never go to the movies anymore. There was a time when I did, but that was years ago. I eventually get caught up through home video or TV broadcasts, but it's been several years since I could select a favorite in an Oscar category based on firsthand knowledge.

For some reason, that has seemed especially true this year.

(I have taken to joking that this year, more than usual, I feel like Bill Murray on a Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live circa 1979 or 1980 when he predicted the Oscar winners based on which movies he had actually seen — and repeatedly dismissed nominees by saying "Didn't see it ... Didn't see it ... Didn't see it," punctuated by an occasional "Saw it, didn't like it.")

Since I rarely have a dog in that hunt — to use an old expression that is so Southern that, if it didn't originate here, it should have — I don't feel compelled to stay with the Oscars broadcast until all hours. And I seldom do.

But I do like pre–Oscar conversation. I know little about most of the nominees so I say little, but I am interested in what more knowledgeable (or supposedly more knowledgeable) people have to say.

I advise the student newspaper staff at the community college where I teach, and one of the staff writers authors the movie reviews. He knows quite a bit about all the nominees so I have enjoyed listening to what he has had to say in recent weeks.

(Turned out he was wrong about some of the winners, right about others.)

Anyway, the red carpet stuff doesn't really interest me so I was cruising through Facebook, as I said earlier, to read conversation threads on the Oscars.

About an hour before the actual awards broadcast began, the minister at my church (Methodist) posted this statement: "Oscar voters are 94 percent white, 77 percent male, with a median age of 62."

This set off a thread that drew comments for two hours. The minister at my church is vocal about his support for liberal causes (there was a highly publicized same–sex marriage here this weekend that had him and many others fired up) and the clear presumption of the remark was that these old white men would behave as right–wing reactionaries when casting their votes.

Within minutes of the original post, two people replied, "That explains a lot."

To make sure the point wasn't lost, another replied, "Just like the Republican Party!" (The good pastor was among half a dozen folks who liked that comment.)

Still another replied, "Are they from the south?" (The good pastor liked that one, too, but he was the only one.)

Another one asked, "How is that possible in what is reputed to be very liberal Hollywood?"

Notice that the original post only mentioned race, gender and age. I ask you: What do those characteristics by themselves have to do with political philosophy? My father would fit in all three categories, and he is a liberal Democrat.

(Remember that same–sex marriage I mentioned earlier? It was conducted by a retired minister who would easily fit in all three of the demographic groups mentioned in the original post as well — and I doubt that anyone would call him a conservative.)

To continue ...

Another person commented, "That explains why Sandra Bullock was nominated. And why 12 Years doesn't stand a chance." (The good pastor liked that one, too — and it proved to be 100% wrong in its assumption.)

Bullock did not win Best Actress. Cate Blanchett did. And "12 Years a Slave" did win Best Picture.

(Incidentally, Lupita Nyong'o of Kenya won Best Supporting Actress. And Best Supporting Actor went to Jared Leto for his portrayal of a transgender woman.)

Liberals like to tell themselves — and especially others — that they are tolerant, that they are above this sort of thing, but the fact is that no group, no matter how high–minded it believes itself to be, has a monopoly on tolerance, stereotyping or hypocrisy.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Great blog. Totally agree with your last statement. When we think we're above it, that kind of puts us right in it.