Getting a Clooney on Race, Etc.

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Ragged Thots' Robert A. George discusses George Clooney's shout-out to Hattie McDaniel at the Oscars and more here. Worth reading, especially his link to an interview with Tyler Perry, the black auteur who gets no respect from film critics or award shows–only from audiences who continue to fill theaters for flicks such as Madea's Family Reunion.

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  1. Maybe it would have been less controversial if the Oscars had hired Kermit the Frog to sing, “It’s not easy being a pimp.”

  2. I don’t know nothin’ ’bout Birth of a Nation.

  3. Clooney makes me laff
    cmon

    claiming what a great act of courage it was to make a film that basically said “mccarthy was like bad n stuff”

    in HOLLYWOOD?

    i could cut the irony with a ladle. the guy is so selfimportant and congratulatory for what? he’s a decent artist, and a good looking guy, but i have to see him display the so called courage he prides himself for

  4. Why has Hit&Run started pimping ‘Madea’s Family Reunion’? I thought it was a ‘Big Momma’s House’ rip-off, another film I hope to never see.

  5. Eh, the obvious-guy-plays-old-woman thing is old as dirt, so it could be considered public domain.

  6. that reunion movie looked amusing, it just looks like the main person gets pissed off a lot and hits kids, the thought of which has me laughing right now!

  7. Warren, Tyler Perry’s plays and movies are part of a long and very old tradition in African-American theatre that has been around for years way before Martin Lawrence started running out of talent and steam, particularly among the church-going crowd.

    Mr. Perry, unlike a lot of similar productions, brought a mainstream wit and comedic sense to such productions that appeals to people outside of the African-American church crowd, thus his cinematic success.

    I’m happy for Mr. Perry’s success, even if I can personally do without the churchy aspects of it all. His self-assured “bootstrap financing” approach reminds me of the early days of Robert Townshend and Spike Lee. Plus his movies appeal to a lot us African-Americans (namely ME) who remember the good ol’ days when maternal authority figures weren’t afraid to swing a right cross into the jaw of a young, foul-mouthed black punk, thus preventing a lifetime of potential social deviancy and criminality, the “good ol’ fashioned way” …

    The “cultural” victory this weekend was that Mr. Perry’s independent production was No.1, while three handpicked minstrels were doing their soft shoe to the pleasure of racist white liberals who see black culture as nothing more than one-dimensional Leftist-Welfare-State agitprop. God forbid they should ever stop making movies about Pimps As Sissyphus, and let something as intelligent as “Killer of Sheep” or “Sugarcane Alley” come out of La-La Land …

  8. Madscribe,

    I’m interested in your opinion of Dave Chapelle. I assume he was one of the “handpicked minstrels” you were referring to. I think he’s a pretty insightful guy with a great deal of artistic integrity, but I’m a white guy. I’d love to hear your take.

    As for Clooney, he doesn’t bug me. I dig his movies and the way he carries himself. I’m usually too busy envying his life to actually listen to what he’s saying. What I have managed to pick up I don’t generally agree with, but I thought his Oscar speech was as good a defense of Hollywood liberalism as I’ve ever heard. Until he got to the Hattie McDaniel bit which came off as a huge, “I have black friends” moment – especially with the on cue cut to Jamie Fox. I guess Morgan Freeman was in the bathroom.

  9. claiming what a great act of courage it was to make a film that basically said “mccarthy was like bad n stuff”

    Except that he never claimed that. He made the point that Hollywood is often ahead of the curve, socially speaking, and while I loathe that business, he’s right. And his movie (which I’m assuming you haven’t seen, though I could be wrong) was about journalists struggling with how to deal with McCarthy, not the obvious fact that McCarthy was a bad guy.

    It’s really not cool to claim people said things they never did.

  10. I’m pretty sure “3 minstrels” refers to the 3-6 Mafia. they were the ones performing the Pimp song in Minstrel Show fashion. At least that’s what I got out of it.

    I have known of Terrence Howard for over 10 years, or about 10 years longer than everyone else. I guess I’m the only person who has seen movies like Mr. Holland’s Opus and Dead Presidents. From what I understand he was reluctant to play a pimp, but saw the role as something special. Also he was supposedly talked out of performing the song by the “powerful black actors” lobby ( The same mysterious group that sabatoged Chapelle,maybe?)

  11. He made the point that Hollywood is often ahead of the curve, socially speaking, and while I loathe that business, he’s right

    Not really. Television is often ahead of the curve, but the film industry almost never is.

    Case in point — “Queer as Folk” is in its fifth season, and “Six Feet Under” just wrapped a five-year run. And we’re supposed to pat Hollywood on the back for finally getting around to making ONE somewhat overrated film about a gay relationship? Thanks, but I’ll pass.

  12. He made the point that Hollywood is often ahead of the curve, socially speaking

    It’s a little weird seeing Clooney patting himself on the back for things other people have done.

    English speakers have often been in the forefront in the struggle for liberty, and being an English speaker, I take great pride in our accomplishments, which I had nothing to do with.

  13. Jack,

    You’re right. I’m dense. I thought he was referring to three other movies featuring black performers that were up against Medea this weekend. One of which was Dave Chapelle’s Block Party. Which Medea beat handily. I would still like to hear Madscribe’s take on Chapelle.

    To me the offensive part of the 3-6 Mafia?s performance wasn?t the group. It was the chorography that surrounded them. The dancers looked like they were on their way to a Pimp N? Ho party at the Kappa Alpha house.

    By the way, I loved Terrance Howard in Dead Presidents. Cowboy was a great sleazebag role for him. His beat down to “The Big Payback” is one of the top 25 beat downs in film.

  14. Not really. Television is often ahead of the curve, but the film industry almost never is.

    Absolutely right, DB, at least about big Hollywood. Good TV, perhaps because of its immediate nature, is practically required to have an ear to the street. The types of shows you mentioned and others, including an awful lot of documentary content, have been (IMHO) far more relevant and in touch with the average American for years.

  15. I have a hard time separating the television industry from Hollywood. Most TV productions start and end there.

    And I don’t think Cloony was patting himself on the back (he is, after all, the guy who said, “we’re all going to end up on Hollywood Squares in the end”) as much as he was defending Hollywood from the claims of conservative pundits.

    I don’t think he really should have bothered and he was dead wrong about Hollywood taking notice of AIDS before the rest of the country. But I’ve seen and read too many interviews with him to think he was patting himself on the back. Of course, I could be wrong, but until I see him making Spike Lee-esque comments about his vision or impact on society, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

  16. Well, in case anyone is still reading this particular thread, my take is that Dave Chappelle is an otherwise smart young man who deliberately (and often crudely and unsubtlely) plays the race card for all the wrong reasons.

    Looking at some of his earlier work (such as a very intelligent, for average TV, short-lived sitcom he once created abut interracial friends), it appears to me that Chappelle saw there was more money and exposure in playing the hiphop fool, rather than rising above being one.

    I feel the same way about Carlos Mencia, a very intelligent Latino comedian who needn’t pander to single-digit IQ audiences with cheap (rather than insightful) racial humor, especially when he majored in Math and Engineering and is probably smarter than 90% of America’s citizens (including me). Mencia is a little bit more to my liking, as he appears to have a libertarian streak, whereas Chappelle is all Welfare-State-Victim humor.

    As for 3-6 Mafia
    (Mencia Voice)
    DUH-DA-DUH!!!!

  17. Madscribe, I think Chappelle’s generally funnier than his material, but you have to admit his sketch about the black, blind Klan member was pretty brilliant.

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