Shortcuts & Delusions: Samuel L. Jackson, President Obama, and a Little Meryl Streep
Samuel L. Jackson is a cheap bastard.
Let me back up a bit: Jackson recently appeared alongside several other celebrities in a video wherein they say goodbye to/thank/lament the loss of President Obama. Jackson’s entry into this sobfest is to say he hopes Obamacare will not be repealed because he has some relatives who could not afford health insurance before the ACA went into effect.
Obamacare went into effect in 2013, but Jackson has been able to command high salaries for a few decades now. Broadly speaking, before Obamacare became the law of the land, unless these relatives were morbidly obese and smoked a few packs a day, they could afford an insurance policy of some kind if they were employed. If they weren’t working, they could get on Medicaid or get some form of charity care for serious health issues. Would it be ideal? No, but they’d have some form(s) of coverage.
So, let’s say you’re Samuel L. Jackson, and you are aware you have some relatives who have jobs that don’t offer benefits, or have low paying jobs but high expenses that prevent them from having health insurance. Now, you’re Samuel L. Jackson, and therefore a good guy, and you have a lot of money and connections, so you’d get on the phone and yell, “GET MY MOTHERFUCKING RELATIVES SOME MOTHERFUCKING HEALTH INSURANCE!” And maybe there wouldn’t even be anyone on the other end of the line, but you’re Samuel L. Jackson after all, and your voice has rung out and you’d have flunkies falling over each other to do your bidding.
Because if you’re Samuel L. Jackson you’re not going to allow your relatives to go uncovered; you could fund their plans yourself with that Mace Windu and Nick Fury money, or you could get them jobs somewhere in Hollywood so they’d make enough money to afford plans. You wouldn’t wait for the right president to come along, who just happened to have both houses of Congress, then wait another year and a half for a clumsily written, massive legislative package, and wait another three years for it to begin to be poorly executed, would you?
The Left love nothing more than to lament about disparities of wealth, income, power and privilege. But when a lefty has those things, why wouldn’t he exercise them to help and protect his vulnerable friends and family members? Why doesn’t he understand that he is in a position to help the people in his life that need help? Why does he favor a massive public takeover of a gigantic industry, when he has private options to achieve the same result?
Speaking of the outgoing president, after Obama’s farewell speech, CNN political writer Z. Byron Wolf (no relation to Wolf Blitzer, but still a cool name) asks, “Is it still okay to quote Atticus Finch even though he turned out to be a racist?”
We all know the answer is a resounding “NOOOOOOO!!!” Wolf continues:
“Barack Obama says yes. He did it in his farewell address, a thoughtful speech by the first black president, who will hand over the White House in ten days to Donald Trump, who as a candidate excited white nationalists.”
GodDAMNit! I thought I had that one right.
It was after talking about the need to protect anti-discrimination laws that he mentioned Finch, the fallen hero of Harper Lee’s classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird who turned into a crotchety old racist of 2015’s Go Set a Watchman. That book was billed as a sequel, but turned out to be a first draft. It depicts Finch having attended KKK meetings and saying to his daughter, “Do you want Negroes by the carload in our schools and churches and theaters? Do you want them in our world?”
Obama did not mention the sequel, but did cite Finch in his speech when he sought to get Americans of all stripes to see the world from each other’s perspective.
“If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.'”
A few things about Wolf’s article:
- Though Obama used Harper Lee’s variation on the theme, it’s not as though she invented the concept of seeing things from someone else’s perspective. Obama quoted Mockingbird because it is a beloved book; it is relatable to very many Americans.
- Why does Wolf premise his article as though Obama is the arbiter of whether or not it is appropriate to quote a fictional character who’d been re-imagined to be a racist?
- Let me ask that again. Why does Wolf premise his article as though Obama is the arbiter of whether or not it is appropriate to quote a fictional character who’d been re-imagined to be a racist? Is it because Obama is president, or because he’s black bi-racial? What is his authority to decide whether someone can quote anyone else, whether he’s fictional or real, racist or not. Whether it’s appropriate? Jeezy Chreezy, if Wolf wants to infantilize himself, fine, but to write an article about it is to imply that we need to check with an authority figure whether or not we should quote someone else, lest we break some taboo. We don’t have to, we enjoy free speech/expression rights, safe spaces be damned.
- Atticus Finch being re-imagined as a racist character set off the predictable Twitter shitstorm in 2015 when Watchman was published. Long story short, and a bit of credit to Wolf for pointing it out, but Watchman isn’t a sequel so much as it is a story that was scrapped, but which Lee drew upon when writing Mockingbird. Most likely, she never intended it to be published, but she authorized its publication when she was a confused old lady with one foot in the grave. And yes, I know the character was based in part on Lee’s father, who at one point was a segregationist, so save your Facebook fact-checking for one of Charles Peralo’s articles.
But delusion among Hollywood celebrities nor the media is not a brand new phenomenon, which brings us to Meryl Streep (Now, That’s What I Call A Transition!). I didn’t want to add my voice to the chorus denouncing Streep; the last thing I want is Streep Throat BAHAHAHAHA!!!
OK, all seriousness aside, there’s very little left to say that some right winger hasn’t already bloviated about. I get it, I get it, liberal hypocrisy, celebrities being out of touch, alright, fine. These are valid enough points, but they’ve become as hackneyed as jokes about airline travel and men leaving the toilet seat up. Nowadays, when someone says an actor is oblivious, I want to yell, “OF COURSE THEY ARE! They are paid to pretend they are either fake characters, or dramatized interpretations of real people.”
Is Streep a great actress? Of course. Is she “overrated?” Probably a bit, yeah. That every performance she gives is “amazing” is sacrosanct among critics, and reg’lar folk. So it is somewhat surprising that such a great performer such as herself has trouble identifying when someone else is playing a role. A passage from her speech:
But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hook in my heart not because it was good. It was — there was nothing good about it, but it was effective, and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart, and I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.
Apparently it doesn’t take one to know one. Streep watches Trump acting, playing a character, but thinks this is the real Trump. Politicians are actors on par with, if not better than, their Hollywood counterparts. They say things that aren’t true to convince us the impossible is achievable, such as free education, free healthcare, an end to poverty and drug addiction, and safety from terrorism and street crime, just so long as these magical heroes are voted into office and write and enforce laws (maybe this is why Hollywood leans so far Left. Both live in the Land of Make Believe). Political speeches, rallies and conventions are very performative, theatrical affairs. It’s telling that the World’s Greatest Actress is unable to see through this artifice, especially since, by Literally Hitler’s own admission, he’ll be asking Congress to pay for the wall and he’d order his Nazi Death Squads to deport illegal immigrants with criminal histories, rather than all illegal immigrants.
Have any of you out there ever spent any time with people who fancy themselves thespians? They “get into character” and then have trouble “getting out of character.” And these are the ones who aren’t even Method actors, let alone professional working ones! Have you read stories about Daniel Day-Lewis on the sets of Gangs of New York and/or There Will Be Blood, or Jared Leto on Suicide Squad? Some of these actors do such a good job of convincing themselves they really are the characters they are portraying, is it any wonder that their personal appearances give the impression they live in the Land of Make Believe? Is it so difficult to see some actors having trouble distinguishing fiction from reality? It is common for members of certain professions to have as their social fabric members of the same profession, i.e. firefighters having other firefighters, and police officers having other police officer, as both their co-workers and friends; when your life outside your job mimics your job, it can become difficult to observe where these blurred lines actually are. But what if your job is to be a professional make-believer?
Did you notice in her speech Streep referenced Princess Leia, rather than Carrie Fisher? Is this one small example from her speech irrefutable proof that Streep has completely taken leave of her senses and believes she actually inhabits her movies’ worlds, and suffers an actual psychological detachment from the real world, enabled and supported by sycophantic fans and critics?
Yes. Yes, it is.
OK, I’ve spent more time on Meryl Streep than I wanted to. Moving on.
And now, more Meryl Streep jokes:
When actresses complain about there not being any good roles for women, it isn’t that screenwriters and directors aren’t developing strong female characters, it’s just that all the good roles automatically go to Meryl Streep, with any choice leftovers going to Amy Adams.
Meryl Streep is proof you don’t have to be beautiful to make it in Hollywood.
The greatest performance of Streep’s life was actually not filmed. It was when her boyfriend, actor John Cazale was on his death bed, his body wracked with cancer, when she leaned in close, kissed him hard on the mouth and whispered, “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.”
OK, she didn’t say that. What she did say when bidding Cazale farewell was, “Do you have Al Pacino’s phone number?”
OK, OK, I’m just kidding around. Obviously, she would have just called him “Al,” or “the little guy.”
Streep was devastated by Cazale’s passing, commenting, “I didn’t get over it. I don’t want to get over it.” Streep was so distraught over the death of Cazale, whom she lived with for three years, that she married sculptor Don Gummer six months later.
And that’s the way it is, as far as you know.
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