If you’re a blogger, these are boon times. Every day seems to bring a fresh controversy, a breaking news story.
Sunday brought the Academy Awards and yet another Best Picture dustup as many felt winner “Green Book” was just another “white savior” movie that paled — no pun intended — in contrast to the minority-driven narratives of “BlacKkKlansman,” “Black Panther” and “Roma.” The criticism was particularly harsh — and disingenuous — from The New York Times, a newspaper that has long championed the ultimate “white savior” story, Harper Lee’s overrated novel “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and was once edited by Howell Raines, who in turn wrote a piece for The New Yorker about his own “Mockingbird”-like childhood in the Deep South.
There’s nothing wrong with telling a story of race from a white point of view and nothing wrong with telling the story of intense black-white friendships. It’s both somebody’s reality and somebody’s fiction. Who we are is in part who we want to be. And we certainly don’t want to prevent a black filmmaker from telling a story about white people, as Oscar winner Spike Lee — who was so incensed by “Green Book” beating his “BlacKkKlansman” that he walked out of the Oscars — did in his excellent “The 25th Hour” (great Edward Norton performance, fantastic soundtrack).
Art is ultimately about transcendence in which we all meet on the bridge of the imagination. Let’s not limit it with political correctness.
There was a certain political correctness afoot as cries of sexism accompanied The Times’ story on Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s reportedly abusive treatment of her staff, as if it’s sexist to expect a woman, or a man, to be a decent boss. The story was a reminder that context drives perception: The Klobuchar portrayed in The Times’ story is apparently a nitpicking careerist obsessed with outstripping her colleagues. It’s what makes her good at her job — and what makes her punitive, demeaning and overbearing to her staff. Clearly, being a bad boss doesn’t prevent her from being a good senator. But at some point, how you treat the people you work with catches up to how you treat the people you work for.
Nor should we confuse being a competent senator with being an excellent leader. A senator is one of 50. A leader stands alone. And a great leader leads from the front by putting herself last. That’s something Klobuchar needs to remember.
She might also benefit from understanding that what holds women back is their perfectionism, which prevents them from seeing the forest for the trees, an essential quality in a leader.
It’s a moot point where Klobuchar is concerned as she’s not going to be president. She has no charisma. Whoever gets the Democratic nomination is going to have to have a wow factor to override an incumbent strongman-salesman who will stop at nothing. I know the Dems are feeling their oats with their Nancy Pelosi driven victories. But they need to take a page from Pelosi. A little more judiciousness, a little less bigmouth progressiveness, otherwise they’re going to find President Donald J. Trump with a second term.
Speaking of the modest one, he finds himself in a classic Nixonian moment — poised to triumph abroad as he sinks at home. He may very well convince Kim Jong-un — or rather Kim may very well appear to be convinced — that North Korea can become the new Vietnam. But will it matter at home? Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen is proving to be a credible Congressional witness. And why shouldn’t he? He’s already been convicted. He has nothing left but to tell the truth, which paints a shadowy portrait of the president to say the least.
I wouldn’t count on that Nobel Peace Prize just yet.