12 September 2020

Wildfire-Smoked Link Sausage Platter

Didn't post yesterday for Reasons. Here's to hoping that New York's Bravest learn to treat every New Yorker with respect and dignity, regardless of skin color — and notwithstanding a sordid history of doing otherwise.

  • Immigrants get the job done in Germany, too. Especially refugees (large PDF).
  • So the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued new diversity guidelines for Oscar eligibility for best picture (effective for 2024!). These guidelines raise far more questions than answers. Unfortunately, the H'wood press isn't even discussing them… which is a damned good indication that they're roadblocks to actual diversity. In no particular order:

    • There is no requirement whatsoever for the producer(s) or financier(s) or management at the studios/distributors. In other words, the glass ceiling remains firmly in place, and has arguably been reinforced.
    • It's entirely possible to meet these two-out-of-four standards with drones, not people empowered to either create or make policy/decisions. Again, glass ceiling.
    • As the NYT piece implies, the standards for acting are still tokenistic and do not require actual weight in those roles — only billing. Consider, for example, Deadpool 2: A qualifying high-billed actress was fridged before the opening titles. That film had plenty of other diversity efforts, but that's an example of "how to do it" that is certainly not telling H'wood back offices anything they don't already know (and implement on a daily basis).
    • Scriptwriters and other story developers are entirely left out. This is a particular problem when studios demand "polishes" of… dubious merit… to bring in more control. Right, Sony Pictures? Right, Miramax? And the less said about the music, the less the audience will understand the games involved (hint: name a non-white sole-credit film composer who is consistently getting work on medium-and-larger-budget pictures today).
    • Let's think about horrifying, evasive means of qualification for a moment. A film starring Kevin Spacey and directed by Bryan Singer would meet the diversity standards. Somehow, I think Ms Winslet might be on to something.
  • When even The New Yorker starts wondering about how creators get paid, you know it's a subject that's overripe for real consideration. (Of course, it seldom gets that at the House That Tina Fed to the Termites.) At least this time it points out part of the problem: That the thought of "investing" in the arts implies "…and earning an above-average rate of return while doing so." Where's the Duke of Milan when you need him?

    The article (and underlying book) fail a simple reflexiveness test, though: They never ask whether their respective creators are merely self-deluded cogs in the same machine that they criticize. Or, more to the point, whether they actually rely upon creative output to eat and pay rent. (Hint: Read between the bio lines.)