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The Oscars: a decadent and stupid ritual, an orgy of luxury branding and self-congratulation

  • “You know what? Fuck 'em. You made a very good film, so feel good about that and start working on the next one,” director Spike Lee said last month during a candid interview with The Daily Beast in response to Ava DuVernay's omission from the Best Director category.
  • Part 1: Why It Should Bother Everyone That The Oscars Are So White
  • Part 2: We are all d**k-measurers now: The Oscars and awards-season devalue and pervert art.
  • Hollywood Heroism in the Age of Empire: From “Citizenfour” and “Selma” to “American Sniper”

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Jimmy Margulies



Part 1: Why It Should Bother Everyone That The Oscars Are So White

Since the first Academy Awards were held in 1929, just 7 percent of winners in the Best Actor category have been black men. Halle Berry’s 2002 win for her performance in “Monster’s Ball” made her the first black woman to win the Best Actress award. There has not yet been a second.

Brennan Williams, Christopher Rosen, and Irina, Huffington Post

s-HALLE-BERRY-DENZEL-WASHINGTON-large640.jpgDenzel Washington and Halle Berry share a laugh while holding their Oscar statues after winning the awards for Best Actor ("Training Day") and Best Actress ("Monster's Ball"), respectively, at the 74th Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California.

2/20/2015 | #OscarsSoWhite that if Common and John Legend win an Academy Award for Best Original Song this Sunday, it will be only the 32nd time in 87 years that a black person has held a competitive Oscar on Hollywood's biggest stage. That's 32 times out of more than 2,900 winners.

"It's a white industry. Just as the NBA is a black industry. I'm not even saying it's a bad thing. It just is," Chris Rock wrote last year in a thoughtful op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter. Rock's piece went viral because of how clearly he laid out the problems in Hollywood: It's a place where at every level, from the top on down, diversity is lagging behind society.

Full story … 



Part 2: We are all d**k-measurers now: The Oscars and awards-season devalue and pervert art

 

"Boyhood" or "Birdman"? Beck or Beyoncé? Who cares. We must stop turning creativity into another dumb competition.

Steve Almond, Salon

sniper_beyonce_birdman_beck.jpgBradley Cooper in "American Sniper," Beyonce, Michael Keaton in "Birdman," Beck (Credit: AP/Jordan Strauss/John Shearer)

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 | The other night I watched “All Is Lost,” the 2013 film about an aging sailor whose solo voyage in the Indian Ocean goes horribly wrong. The aging sailor happens to be Robert Redford. He’s the only person on-screen for the entire film and, other than a brief opening voice-over, he’s virtually silent.

I’ve never been a huge Redford fan, but I was blown away by his performance: by the physical rigor of the role and by how he uses his body and his face and his hands to convey emotion. “All Is Lost” is about a lot of things—solitude, hope, invention—but at its heart, it’s a parable about the human compulsion to try. Cunning and effort not only keep the old man alive; they express his essential selfhood in the face of nature’s indifference.

Steve Almond's new book is "Against Football."

Full story … 

 

Related:

Hollywood Heroism in the Age of Empire: From “Citizenfour” and “Selma” to “American Sniper” TGP Staff, the Greanville Post

  • Moral and political courage is in short supply these days and rarely represented in any form in the Hollywood celluloid universe.
  • Under a regime of neoliberalism, a persistent racism and politics of disposability are matched by a theater of cruelty in which more and more individuals and groups are considered throwaways.
  • The Oscars: a decadent and stupid ritual, an orgy of luxury branding and self-congratulation

Indiana Republican: ‘No One Has the Guts’ to Let the Poor ‘Wither and Die’

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  • John Johnston proved just how much Republicans loathe Americans who are living in poverty.
  • GOP Assault on Social Security Could be 'Death Sentence' for Nation's Disabled.
  • New Budget Chair to cut Social Security! 

Allen Clifton, Forward Progressives

avatars-000041944926-uqllgp-t200x200.jpg?435a760June 12, 2014 | A Republican in Indiana has once again proven just how much disdain the GOP has for the poor by saying one of the most disgusting things about them that I’ve ever heard. 

During an online discussion about poverty, Republican John Johnston said of the poor, “no one has the guts to just let them wither and die.” But to grasp just how much Johnston hates the poor, you really need to see his comments in their full context.

Allen Clifton has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column. He is also the founder of the Right Off A Cliff Facebook page, on which he routinely voices his opinions and stirs the pot for the Progressive movement. 

Full story … 

Related:

GOP Assault on Social Security Could be 'Death Sentence' for Nation's Disabled, Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams

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  • The claim that either the old-age or disability trust funds has run dry is 'one of the hoariest lies in the conservatives' playbook.'
  • New Budget Chair to cut Social Security! 

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New Budget Chair to cut Social Security! Michael Phelan, Social Security Works

Tell the new House Budget Chair Tom Price (R-GA): Expand, Don't Cut, Social Security

Michigan pediatrician: God doesn’t want me to treat your baby because you’re lesbians.

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  • Only 22 states have laws prohibiting doctors from refusing to treat patients based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The American Medical Association (AMA) strongly urges physicians not to deny care to LGBT people, but has no explicit rules regarding the practice.
  • The Contrerases say they hope that by going public with their story, they can ensure that children from same-sex families won’t face discrimination in the future.

David Ferguson, Raw Story

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Bay-Windsor-Contreras-via-screencap-800x430.jpgBay Windsor Contreras (Screen capture)

19 February, 2015 | A Detroit-area pediatrician has refused to treat a baby girl because the child’s parents are a same-sex couple.

According to MyFoxDetroit.com, Krista and Jami Contreras got a shock when they brought their newborn daughter Bay Windsor Contreras to Dr. Vesna Roi for her first medical visit.

In spite of the fact that they had set up an appointment with Dr. Roi well in advance, they were met by a different physician, who informed them, “I’ll be your doctor, I’ll be seeing you today because Dr. Roi decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won’t be able to care for Bay.”

David Ferguson is a contributor to Raw Story.

Full story (with video) … 

CIA Whistleblower Kiriakou: Government Lacks The 'Guts' To Charge U.S. Leaders With Torture

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The only avenue for "justice," CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou explained, is if "courageous" legal officials in foreign countries filed war crimes or crimes against humanity charges.

Kira Brekke, Huffington Post

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02/17/2015 | The human rights abuses revealed in the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report released in December sparked global outrage, leaving some begging for senior officials from the George W. Bush administration to be held accountable. But CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou is certain the U.S. government will do nothing of the sort.

Just two weeks after Kiriakou was released from prison after agreeing to a plea deal in which he admitted to violating one count of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, he spoke with HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski on Tuesday about where the accountability should lie.

Kira Brekke is an Associate Editor at HuffPost Live. She graduated from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism from the University of Southern California with a degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism and Human Rights with an emphasis in LGBT studies.

Full story (includes video) … 

Fifty Shades of Capitalism: Pain and Bondage in the American Workplace

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The symbol of capitalism was lately a vampire. Enter the CEO with nipple clamps.

Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

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water_cooler_chat-e12923498956023.jpgJuly 12, 2012 | AlterNet Editor's Note: AlterNet writer Lynn Stuart Parramore wrote this article in July of 2012.  But it is especially relevant today, as the movie 50 Shades of Grey is in massive distribution, and sparking many a conversation. In the meantime Mary Wild has used Parramore's prose to create a clever video drawing from scenes in the movie.  In addition, writing for the Guardian, Hadley Freeman penned "Strip Away the Sex and 50 Shades and is Just About Money and Dubious Merch, " also quoting Parramore.

If the ghost of Ayn Rand were to suddenly manifest in your local bookstore, the Dominatrix of Capitalism would certainly get a thrill thumbing through the pages of E.L. James’ blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey. Rand, whose own novels bristle with sadomasochist sexy-time and praise for the male hero’s pursuit of domination, would instantly approve of Christian Grey, the handsome young billionaire CEO who bends the universe to his will.

Ingénue Anastasia Steele stumbles into his world -- literally -- when she trips into his sleek Seattle office for an interview for the college paper. When she calls him a “control freak,” the god-like tycoon purrs as if he has received a compliment.

Lynn Stuart Parramore is an AlterNet contributing editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of 'Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture.' 

Full story … 

Special Project | The Dumbing Down of American Politics, Week Ending February 21, 2015

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  • Fighting the Culture of Political Bullshit OR Karl Rove, the architect of Bush's career, privately said 'Fuck the truth; all that matters is the reality that we make people swallow.'
  • 8 New Items including:
    • Ken Burns' 'The Roosevelts' Reveals Everything Wrong With Our Current Political Class
    • Senator Elizabeth Warren Opposes “Audit The Fed” Bill
    • GOP Begins Assault on Elderly, Poor, Disabled, Math, and Reason
    • Let's Not Be Fooled By Bernie Sanders
    • We have been stupefied: How Republicans subvert democracy, and the Democrats’ sorry dereliction
    • Misinformed USA: Why average Americans vote for Republicans or Democrats
    • The Dumbing Down of American Politics
    • Let's Not Be Fooled By Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

 

Steve Sack

 

 

 

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Ken Burns' 'The Roosevelts' Reveals Everything Wrong With Our Current Political Class, Joseph A. Palermo, Huffington Post

The plutocrats, CEOs, and Wall Street bankers have effectively seized our governing institutions.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren Opposes “Audit The Fed” Bill, John Vibes, AntiMedia

  • She wants the central banking in America, and in the rest of the world to remain exactly as it is. 
  • Despite her favor among mainstream liberals, Warren has proven herself to be an enemy of freedom. In the past, Warren has spoken in favor of drug prohibition, gun prohibition, and war in the middle east.

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GOP Begins Assault on Elderly, Poor, Disabled, Math, and Reason, Richard Zombeck, Huffington Post 

It's unfortunate, based on the first two days of the new Congress, that the responses to upcoming GOP policies won't be so humorous. This first week back from vacation paints a pretty grim picture of coming attractions and the American people are the ones who will suffer.

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Let's Not Be Fooled By Bernie Sanders, Thomas Scott Tucker, Popular Resistance

Let’s not be fooled by “progressives” who can’t find their spines when the colonial regime in Israel bombs the crowded ghetto of Gaza.

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We have been stupefied: How Republicans subvert democracy, and the Democrats’ sorry dereliction, Jim Sleeper, Salon

  • Nothing less than a transformation of American citizenship worthy of Nathan Hale, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. (who learned a lot from Gandhi), Vaclav Havel and, yes, Edward Snowden can free us from yet another spectacle of politicians who look like pinheads dancing on pins’ heads.
  • As the Republicans take the Senate, these four reasons explain why the republic is in serious, serious trouble.
  • The Price of Failure and Rise of Extremism: How Democrats Blew It

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Misinformed USA: Why average Americans vote for Republicans or Democrats, Robert Sobel, Orlando (FL) Liberal Examiner

  • Average Americans need to be more informed about what is going in the country, but also where to get their information. The argument isn't about holding a liberal or conservative ideology, it's about facts that are based on truth and not information based on twisted logic. Americans need to learn to dig a little deeper to find honest reporting, not just believe something that falls in their lap at the expense of a billionaire funded think tank or news organization.
  • Who Rules Public TV?

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The Dumbing Down of American Politics, September 4, 2014, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • Fighting the Culture of Political Bullshit OR Karl Rove, the architect of Bush's career, privately said 'Fuck the truth; all that matters is the reality that we make people swallow.'
  • Part 1: The Dumbing Down of America - by Design 
  • Part 2: Osho | No Society Wants You to Become Wise (Video)
  • How to Murder the Minds of the Masses

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Let's Not Be Fooled By Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren, Thomas Scott Tucker, Popular Resistance

  • Let’s not be fooled by “progressives” who can’t find their spines when the colonial regime in Israel bombs the crowded ghetto of Gaza.
  • Special Project | The Dumbing Down of American Politics, Week Ending August 17, 2014

Angry, Armed and White: The Typical Profile of America's Most Violent Extremists

  • White men, usually right-wingers, are the dominant threat.
  • Tea Party and the Right 
  • America’s angriest white men: Up close with racism, rage and Southern supremacy

Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

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screen_shot_2015-02-12_at_8.27.25_pm.pngFebruary 12, 2015 Police in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, say they’re investigating the role racial hatred played in the killing of three Muslim students by suspect Craig Stephen Hicks. They’re saying the 46-year-old white man had a history of fights over a parking space with the victims, suggesting the killings could be reduced to road rage.

Meanwhile, Hicks’ social media posts show that he was an ardent atheist who equally mocked Muslims and Christians, an avid defender of the Constitution’s separation of church and state, and a gun nut who posted pictures of his revolver. The Associated Press quoted neighbors who say “he always seemed angry and frequently confronted his neighbors” and “his ex-wife said he was obsessed with the shooting rampage movie Falling Down" and showed “no compassion at all.”

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting."

outhern_pickup-620x412.jpgFull story … 

Related:

America’s angriest white men: Up close with racism, rage and Southern supremacy, Michael Kimmel, Salon 

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