Supplemental: Tom Brady said he inspired Love Story!


The way the public gets conned:
This morning’s Washington Post helps us see the way the public gets conned.

We get to see the way the chimps pimp their “scandals” along. We see the way the public gets affected by all their flinging of poo.

But first, let’s discuss the dueling anonymous sources who seem to be involved in the story the chimps have agreed to call “Deflategate.”

To our eye, a pair of dueling Anonymous Sources seem to be involved in this story.

The first of these Anonymous Sources has been pushing claims which make the Patriots look guilty of breaking NFL rules. The second of these Anonymous Sources responds by contradicting or amplifying the claims made by the first source.

As of today, this apparent battle of the Anonymous Sources has extended through two rounds:

First round: On Wednesday, January 21, a leak from The First Anonymous Source was taken to mean that eleven of the Patriots’ twelve footballs were “inflated 2 pounds per square inch below what's required by NFL regulations,” presumably at 10.5 pounds of pressure per square inch. ”

On Friday, January 24, The Second Anonymous Source responded. Only one of the footballs measured that low, this second source said. The other footballs were said to have measured at closer to 11.5 pounds of pressure.

As the chimps almost always do, they flung the poo from the first source around, ignored the claim by the second source. Most citizens have only heard the first of these two claims.

Second round: On Monday, January 26, The First Anonymous Source offered another incriminating claim. According to this exciting new leak, a Patriots’ locker room attendant “took balls from the officials’ locker room to another area on his way to field.” The attendant was a “strong person of interest,” this new leak thrillingly claimed.

The Second Anonymous Source offered another rebuttal. The “area” in question was a bathroom, this new leak said. The attendant was in the bathroom for only ninety seconds, according to this second source.

Has this really been a duel between two dueling sources? We have no way of knowing. If it is, the first source seems to be leaking selective and/or inaccurate information designed to convict the Patriots of wrong-doing. The second source seems to be correcting or amplifying the selective information or claims from the first source.

(At this time, there is no way of knowing what the actual inflation levels actually were. The NFL has presented no account of its findings. Virtually everything you've heard has come from anonymous leaks.)

Alas! The chimps you see on ESPN have told you little of this. Right from the start, they treated the first anonymous leak as if it had provided hard information.

Did eleven footballs measure 10.5 pounds of pressure, or was it only one? Very few pundits have ever reported the fact that the first anonymous leak was challenged—or that it was just a leak, an anonymous claim as opposed to real information.

The chimps have run with the accusation, as they tend to do. They repeat the claim, then joke about it. It’s part of their simian culture.

When doubt is cast upon the accusations, the chimps don’t tell the public! This brings us to the sad story we stumbled upon in today’s Washington Post.

We started with this morning’s cartoon by the well-known chimp, Mike Luckovich. To see the cartoon, click here.

The cartoon shows Tom Brady in the snow, saying “I made a snowman.” In a wondrous bit of hilarity, the three large “balls” comprising the snowman all seemed flattened out—you might even say deflated!

In this and a million other ways, news consumers have been told, again and again, that Brady deflated those footballs. If effect, they have been told, again and again, that Tom Brady said he invented the Internet.

The chimps do this to presidential contenders. They even do it to quarterbacks!

By now, the Boston Globe and the New York Times have each presented news reports suggesting that the degree of inflation in question may have been caused by the temperature and rain as the game in question proceeded. As they so typically do, the chimps have chosen to ignore those news reports.

This morning, before we looked at the Post, we watched Willie Geist and Chris Matthews clowning around about this enjoyable scandal. We believe they performed on last evening's Hardball, which we saw in rerun.

(MSNBC is two days behind in posting its transcripts and videos. For that reason, we can't check our impressions of what we saw.)

Matthews and Geist are two of the most notorious chimps in the “press corps.” The first is a lazy trained assassin. The second is an ascot-kissing Eddie Haskell knock-off.

Willie and Chris showed no sign of having heard that any questions have been raised about the basic facts of this case. The laughed and clowned and pimped the tale about the comical cheating.

Willie and Chris were chimping last night; Luckovich chimped this morning. This type of chimping has been ubiquitous over the course of the past two weeks. That explains the letter which appeared opposite that cartoon in this morning’s Post.

The letter came from North Bethesda. A reader seems to have purchased the con. His letter is spreading it further:
LETTER TO THE WASHINGTON POST (1/31/15):Why I Won’t Watch the Super Bowl

As an avid fan of the National Football League, I always looked forward to its annual big event, the Super Bowl—not only for the excitement attached to that game but also to enjoy watching the commercials and being with family and friends.

After the spying, bounty and deflated-ball scandals and the way the NFL dealt with the cases involving Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, I have lost faith in the organization and its leaders.

Consequently, I have decided not to watch the big game this year. Depending on how things unfold and what actions the NFL takes in regard to the deflation scandal, I will reconsider whether to watch games in the future.

I will miss watching the game, but I believe I am doing it for a good reason. I hope I am not the only one coming to this conclusion.
Tom Brady said he inspired Love Story! To all appearances, that reader has purchased the chimps’ latest con.

People like Matthews and Geist are among the world’s most irresponsible people. On the brighter side, they’re multimillionaires.

People are dead all over the world because Matthews played this game for twenty months during Campaign 2000. The dead of Iraq look up from the ground into the face of Chris Matthews—and into the faces of Geist and Walsh and Corn, who have kissed Matthews’ keister and ring, thus gaining their own fame and riches.

The past two weeks have involved famous football people, nobody else. That said, the game remains unchanged—and we, the nation’s brilliant liberals, still don't know how to see through it.

What actually happened in this matter? We can't tell you yet! We’re waiting to see some facts emerge. As history had made quite clear, the chimps can’t be trained to do that.

Tom Brady wears too many earth tones! Naomi Wolf told him to do it!

Supplemental: Tom Brady said he invented the Internet!


The Times tackles Mark Brunell:
In hard copy, the report appears atop the first page of the New York Times sports section.

Accompanied by three large photos, its lay-out consumes two-thirds of that page. On-line, it carries this headline:

“Deflation Experiments Show Patriots May Have a Point After All”

Say what? In our hard-copy Times, the headlines say this:
Upon Scientific Review...
A paper explains how the Patriots’ footballs could have become deflated by atmospheric conditions.
Uh-oh! In essence, the New York Times is reporting today that the latest script—the latest “journalistic” Group Story—may be falling apart.

But so what? At ESPN—the “news org” which has embarrassed itself in the brainless way it has pimped this story—the Times report is being ignored. In this age of incessant group howlers, our “journalism” typically works like this.

Does the New York Times report prove that the New England Patriots engaged in no wrong-doing? Does it prove that the Patriots actually didn’t underinflate those footballs?

It’s hard to prove that someone didn’t do something. It’s still possible that someone on the Patriots’ staff deliberately underinflated some footballs to some degree in violation of NFL rules.

That remains possible—after all, everything is! But if the New York Times’ analysis is sound, it’s beginning to look more and more like the childishly-named “Deflategate” scandal may have been our latest Journalistic Clown Show.

Below, you see the way James Glanz’s sprawling report begins. Unless Professor Tegmark is wrong, another ballyhooed “press corps” script may be biting the dust:
GLANZ (1/30/15): Thomas Healy does not have tickets to the Super Bowl, but he plans to fly to Phoenix with something that is even harder to come by than seats at Sunday’s game: the first detailed, experimental data on how atmospheric conditions might have reduced the air pressure in footballs used by the New England Patriots in their victory over the Indianapolis Colts nearly two weeks ago.

Those footballs, which the N.F.L. has said were deflated to pressures below league standards, have created a national meta-bowl whose outcome is seemingly as important as who wins on Sunday. The question driving the public dialogue is whether the Patriots tampered with the balls to make them easier to handle, or whether simply moving them from the warmth of a locker room to the chill and dampness of the field could account for the deflation.

The Patriots have absorbed a beating in that larger contest, with many scientists concluding that only the surreptitious hiss of air being released from the balls could explain the difference. But now the Patriots have started to rally, and in a big way. Healy, who provided The New York Times with an advance copy of his technical paper on the experiments, concluded that most or all of the deflation could be explained by those environmental effects.

“This analysis looks solid to me,” said Max Tegmark, a professor of physics
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who reviewed the paper at The Times’s request. “To me, their measurements mean that there’s no evidence of foul play.”

Other evidence is also turning the Patriots’ way...
Warning! There are imperfections in Glanz’s reporting and in Tegmark’s analysis.

To cite one important example, neither fellow seems aware of a very basic fact—we don’t yet know what the air pressure readings actually were for the Patriots’ infamous footballs.

A bit later in his report, Glanz covers himself on this basic point, referring to “the deflation of 2 pounds per square inch that the N.F.L. is believed to have found” (our emphasis).

He could have said “rumored” instead of “believed.” In fact, no one knows how much deflation the NFL found, or says it found, in the twelve footballs under review.

To this point, the NFL has offered no statement of its findings. This whole gang-bang has been fueled by a somewhat murky claim in a single leak from an anonymous NFL “source”—a murky leak which was taken to mean that eleven footballs were found to be inflated to 10.5 pounds per square inch, two pounds below the permitted minimum pressure.

Uh-oh! Last weekend, a second anonymous NFL leak said that isn’t what the NFL found! But as typically happens in clown shows like this, that second leak has been ignored as the chimps and buffoons of our national “press corps” continued to run with their story.

Warning! Once these chimps memorize a tale, they rarely subject it to change.

What air pressure readings did the NFL actually find? Like everyone else, we have no way of knowing. But according to today’s report, atmospheric pressure and rain could explain inflation levels reaching all the way down to the neighborhood of 10.5 pounds per square inch.

Uh-oh! If that analysis is sound, this whole script may be falling apart. And oops! According to Glanz, you haven’t heard such warnings till now in part because our brilliant professors began by f*cking things up:
GLANZ (continuing directly): Other evidence is also turning the Patriots’ way. In a usually obscure profession that has received extraordinary attention during the controversy, some academic and research physicists now concede that they made a crucial error in their initial calculations, using an equation called the ideal gas law.

When that error is corrected, the amount of deflation predicted in moving from room temperature to a 50-degree field is roughly doubled.
Healy, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, went further: He measured the pressure drop in 12 footballs when they were moved from a room at 75 degrees to one at 50 degrees (the approximate temperature on the field in the Colts game).

In the experiment, the deflation of the footballs was close to the larger, correctly calculated value. When Healy moistened the balls to mimic the effects of the rainy weather that day, the pressure dropped even further, close to the deflation of 2 pounds per square inch that the N.F.L. is believed to have found.
Question: Which “academic and research physicists now concede that they made a crucial error in their initial calculations?”

Glanz is too polite to say so, but one such expert was PBS super-professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, who seems to be defining himself as a bit of a pompous loudmouth more and more each day.

Later in his report, Glanz drops the hammer on only one of our bungling physicists. Wouldn’t you know it? He drops the hammer on Professor Tegmark himself:
GLANZ: When the football controversy arose, a number of physicists cited the ideal gas law, which many of them taught in introductory courses. But applying the equation to real situations can be surprisingly deceptive. When a gauge indicates that the ball contains 12.5 p.s.i.—the minimum allowed by the N.F.L.—the actual pressure is more than twice that amount because the surrounding pressure of the atmosphere must be considered.

This roughly doubles how much a dip in temperature can lower the pressure. During a phone conversation, even Tegmark, the M.I.T. professor, initially used the lower value until recognizing the mistake. “I stand corrected,” he said, adding, “It’s pretty funny that the ideal gas law is making headlines.”
Leave it to the New York Times! Professor Tegmark gets cited by name. Perhaps in accord with Hard Pundit Law, the exalted guild member, Tyson, gets to slip away.

Let’s state our key point again: No one knows what air pressure readings the NFL actually found. (More precisely, no one knows what air pressure readings the NFL says it found.)

That said: If the Times’ analysis is correct, pressure readings down to 10.5 pounds may well have resulted from atmospheric and weather conditions. If true, that suggests that it’s completely normal for colder-weather NFL games to be played with footballs with pressure readings below 12.5 pounds, despite all the screeching you’ve heard from ESPN’s legion of outraged and overwrought former quarterbacks.

In colder-weather games, the footballs might start at 12.5 pounds of pressure. But the air pressure readings would drop from there as the game progresses. Other footballs might start at 13.5 pounds of pressure (the highest permitted level), then descend from that point.

(At one point, Glanz seems a bit murky about this range of permitted readings. The Patriots’ footballs may have started at 12.5 pounds of pressure, the Colts’ at 13.5.)

Has this whole scandal been a scam—the latest version of “Al Gore said he invented the Internet?” Did the press corps adopt A Story It Liked, then start keening and wailing from there?

At this point, we can’t settle that question. But that possibility is strongly implied by this sprawling Times report, which is being ignored by ESPN even as we type.

Has the public been conned by the “press corps” again? To understand the way these gong-shows work, consider the latest exciting leak, the one which appeared on Monday.

Excitement! Jay Glazer of Fox Sports tweeted the latest thrilling news in the latest thrilling scandal:

Breaking news: sources tell @FOXSports the NFL has zeroed in on a locker room attendant w Patriots who allegedly took balls from officials locker room to another area on way to field. Sources say they have interviewed him and additionally have video. Still gauging if any wrong doing occurred with him but he is strong person of interest

Excitement! Presumably, it was Glazer’s “sources” who used the thrilling term “person of interest,” thus employing the language of exciting criminal probes.

At any rate, Glazer pimped this “breaking news.” Everyone else started screeching.

Later, a second anonymous report said “the area” into which the footballs were taken was actually a bathroom. Presumably, Glazer’s “sources” didn’t mention that fact, since it suggests a possible innocent motive for this deeply troubling detour, which seems to have lasted ninety seconds, another point Glazer missed.

That said, do you notice something else that was AWOL from Glazer’s report?

That’s right! His sources told him that the attendant had been interviewed. But Glazer failed to report what the attendant had said!

Just a guess: When he was interviewed, the attendant said he went into the bathroom in order to go to the bathroom. That may or may not be true, of course. But why do you think this thrilling report didn’t include what the attendant said?

We can’t tell you what did or didn’t happen with respect to those footballs. Just for starters, we’ll wait to see what the NFL alleges when it finally issues a report.

We can tell you this: ESPN has disgraced itself as this gong-show has unfolded. But then, so has the broad sweep of the national “press corps,” including the clownish Rachel Maddow, who used a referee shirt and a referee’s whistle to entertain us rubes Wednesday night as she pretended to investigate this matter.

That’s the way our corporate-sponsored Rhodes Scholars now function! In fairness, ESPN’s overwrought former QBs have been quite a few pounds of air pressure worse.

Tom Brady said he invented the Internet! Between Tyson and Maddow and Mark Brunell, what hope is there for our ability, as a people, to stage public discussions?

SELMA ON OUR MINDS: In conclusion, three points!


Part 6—The way we “liberals” now “reason:”
The fickle finger of liberal piddle has now moved on from our sad debates concerning the feature film Selma.

The crucifixion of Nicholas Kristof has bumped aside several weeks of debate. So has the crucifixion of the white male heretic Jonathan Chait, whose recent somewhat muddy piece was cuffed aside in this manner by J. Bryan Lowder at Slate:
LOWDER (1/28/15): Many progressive critics have written off the piece as the whining of an out-of-touch white guy, and that's certainly a fair response.
Chait is white and he’s a guy! It’s certainly “fair” to “write off” a piece by citing such crucial facts!

This is the way we “liberals” now reason! This brings us back to several weeks of pseudo-discussion concerning the feature film Selma.

Those discussions are basically over. With that in mind, let’s present a few final thoughts about the pseudo-debates which once swirled around Selma.

Our point is not to debate the merits of the film; many people loved the film, though we ourselves did not. Instead, we want to discuss the caliber of pseudo-liberal debate, which we regard as quite poor.


Did Selma misrepresent President Johnson? Did the film get “snubbed” when it received only two Oscar nominations? If so, was it snubbed on some racial basis?

Google “Selma AND Johnson” or “Selma AND snubbed!” You can spend hours reading irate liberals discussing these points. As a general matter, the quality of discussion will be strikingly poor.

We’ll guess that this is a very bad sign for those who favor progressive interests. Let's consider a few final points about Selma.

The alleged Best Director snub:

Did Ava DuVernay get “snubbed” by the Academy when she wasn’t nominated for the Best Director Oscar? If so, did she get snubbed on some racial basis?

Everything is possible! Many people may believe that DuVernay’s performance as director was one of the year’s five best. And it’s always possible that some Academy members voted against her on some racial basis, or because she’s a woman.

That said, you can spend hours reading complaints without encountering the facts which follow, and without seeing any mention of the way Clint Eastwood got “snubbed.”

Can we talk? Eight films were nominated for Best Picture this year; Selma is numbered among them. But only four of those films’ directors received Best Director nods.

Four out of eight! That’s just half!

DuVernay didn’t get nominated, but neither did three other people who directed Best Picture nominees. One such person is Clint Eastwood, an old white male Hollywood icon.

If you Google “Selma AND snubbed,” you will read, again and again, that DuVernay got snubbed because the Academy is so heavily older, white and male. You will not be told that Eastwood, the iconic white old coot, also got “snubbed” for Best Director.

This the way we “liberals” now argue. Rather, this is the way we pseudo-liberals now refuse to do same.

The unmentioned Best Screenplay snub:

If you google “Selma AND snubbed,” you will read, again and again, that Selma got snubbed for Best Director and Best Actor. You won’t read that Selma got snubbed for the Best Screenplay award.

This omission in our screeds would seem to be odd. Only five actors and five directors get Oscar nominations. But there are ten Best Screenplay nominations—five for original screenplays and five for screenplays which are adapted from some other source.

On its face, this was a bigger snub than those for actor and director. Presumably, it isn’t mentioned because the screenwriter who nominally got snubbed was Paul Webb, a white British male fellow. This makes it hard for us to play our only card, in which we complain about snubs due to gender or race.

In fairness, the situation here is a bit more complex than we've said. As has been widely reported, DuVernay rewrote Webb’s original screenplay in a fairly thorough manner.

According to Professor Cooper, DuVernay wrote twenty-seven new characters into the script, thus emphasizing the wide range of players involved in the civil rights movement.

In our view, this helped create a rather jumbled script. Standard texts about the civil rights movement spill with the names of its many remarkable players. But it’s hard to craft a two-hour drama with such a profusion of players. These are the types of problems which may arise when a person decides to go for Hollywood’s fame and riches, as many people do.

According to DuVernay, she changed Webb’s screenplay in part to shift the focus off Johnson. Here’s what told Rolling Stone:
DUVERNAY: Every filmmaker imbues a movie with their own point of view. The script was the LBJ/King thing, but originally, it was much more slanted to Johnson. I wasn't interested in making a white-savior movie; I was interested in making a movie centered on the people of Selma. You have to bring in some context for what it was like to live in the racial terrorism that was going on in the deep south at that time. The four little girls have to be there, and then you have to bring in the women. So I started adding women.
DuVernay added a lot of women, along with a lot of men. That’s what the movement was actually like—but if you’re making a Hollywood movie, this may not create a great script.

Did the original script pose Johnson as a “white savior?” We don’t know, but that comment provides a road map to the problem which arose when DuVernay created a portrait of Johnson which almost everyone ended up describing as inaccurate.

We aren’t experts on screenplays here. That said, DuVernay’s screenplay didn’t strike us as being especially good. It’s possible that experienced Academy voters thought the screenplay stunk. Or they may have snubbed the film for those much-preferred racial reasons.

At any rate, the final screenplay seems to have come from DuVernay more than from Webb. But Webb refused to relinquish or share his screenwriter credit, as was his contractual right.

We liberals could have played the lack of a Best Screenplay nomination—ten films got named!—as a racially-motivated snub. For undisclosed reasons, we chose not to do so.

Was it some sort of a racial snub? As with the ballyhooed pair of “snubs,” neither we nor anyone else has any real way of knowing.

The portrait of Lyndon Johnson:

“What is truth?” Pontius Pilate once said. As we slavishly played race cards in our pseudo-debates about Selma, we liberals created some genuine laughs concerning a similar question.

“What is fiction?” we sometimes semi-asked. For our money, the most foolish moment in the dispute came from Alyssa Rosenberg, one of the Washington Post’s bright young hires from Yale.

How should Selma be categorized? Only a recent Ivy League grad could have started a discussion of Selma in this sad and comical way:
ROSENBERG (1/5/15): Since its December 25 release “Selma,” Ava DuVernay’s movie about Martin Luther King, Jr., President Johnson and the leadup to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been under attack for some of the ways DuVernay and her screenwriter Paul Webb present this immensely complicated period in American history. In the pages of The Post, Joseph Califano, who served as Johnson’s top domestic aide, suggested that because of some of these decisions, “The movie should be ruled out this Christmas and during the ensuing awards season.”

I’m all for close reading of how film and other fiction approaches politics, and for deeper attention to the Civil Rights movement, particularly at a moment when judges and legislatures are dismantling some of the advances King and his colleagues won. But Califano’s approach, besides setting an odd standard for how fiction ought to work, doesn’t further those discussions. Instead, it suggests that we should check fiction for inaccuracies, and if diversions from science or historical record appear, end the conversation there, rather than talking about what a director was trying to get at.
Say what? In that second paragraph, Rosenberg referred to Selma, three separate times, as a work of “fiction.”

This reference helped Rosenberg argue away inaccuracies in the script. But did anyone who went to this film think that’s what they were seeing?

Did people think they were seeing “fiction” full stop? Not even a work of “historical fiction,” a term which is slippery enough when applied to a film of this type?

We liberals followed several paths in defending Selma against claims of inaccuracy. Early on, we tended to argue that the film really wasn’t inaccurate in its portrait of Johnson.

By the end of the game, most people were agreeing that the portrait of Johnson actually was inaccurate. But we were offering various explanations as to why that was irrelevant or OK—or even a wonderful feature.

All the film-makers do it, we said, presenting a fairly accurate but pitifully strange defense. Some of us said the portrait of Johnson was inaccurate, but was understandably so.

(Joan Walsh said the inaccurate LBJ was really a composite character—a composite of Johnson and President Kennedy. Apparently, President Kennedy was snarling at Dr. King in early 1965, fifteen months after his death!)

We liberals refused to give ground. It would have been extremely easy to make some form the following statement:

I loved this film and thought it was great. But nothing is perfect, and it was inaccurate in its portrait of Johnson.

It would have been easy to say that! But we pseudo-liberals now pretend to argue in the same childish ways the pseudo-conservatives all adopted when Rush and Sean came on the scene.

By this Limbaughian logic, DuVernay’s lack of a nomination just has to be racial. It isn’t possible that five actors may have given better performances than Daniel Oyelowo did—and it we can’t simply say that one part of DuVernay’s screenplay gave a false impression in that one respect.

None of these stances can be allowed! We now live in the low-IQ world pioneered by the other tribe.

How bad was the portrait of Johnson? For ourselves, we shared Charlie Pierce’s basic reaction, without going quite so far.

Pierce loved the film and thought it was great; our own assessment was different. But this is part of what he wrote about the portrait of Johnson:
PIERCE (1/19/15): And speaking of bouncing history off the wall, DuVernay's portrayal of Lyndon Johnson is even worse than I heard it was. She turns him into such a melodramatic villain that you half-expect Johnson to tie Amelia Boynton to the railroad tracks. And the clear implication that LBJ was behind sending the salacious videotape to the Kings has to dial one just to get to "inexcusable." (God, will American liberals ever stop covering for the Kennedy brothers?) But I was expecting those. What I didn't expect was that DuVernay would turn two of Johnson's shining moments into equally cheap cartoons...
For our money, Charlie is overstating here. But we had the same basic reaction.

We had read all about the controversy before we saw the film. But when we saw the film, we were actually quite surprised. Like Pierce, we thought the film’s “portrayal of Lyndon Johnson was even worse” than we had expected.

Other people’s reactions may differ. What is sad is the way we pseudo-liberals struggled to disappear this problem even after we started agreeing that the portrait of Johnson was “off.”

Everyone does it, we happily said. It’s a composite character, Walsh explained. And Pierce recovered from his judgment that the portrait of Johnson didn’t rise to the level of “inexcusable.”

(“But, having seen the movie now, this seems like less of a real problem than it seemed in the abstract,” he said.)

Some of us even said that it was good that the portrait of Johnson was wrong. At TPM, Professor Railton presented the logic of a ditto-head tribe:
PROFESSOR RAILTON (1/19/15): Having seen Selma, I have to agree that it does distort history, making Johnson into more of a villain than seems justified by the historical record as it exists. And I believe doing so was a correct and necessary choice.
Wonderfully, the headline said this:

“Selma Did Distort History—And Was Right To Do So”

Alas! Some of us are so tribal now that we’ll say the professor makes sense!

Selma didn’t strike us as a great film. For our money, DuVernay got very little out of some of the most amazing events in human history.

That doesn’t mean that she’s a bad person. It simply means that we didn’t think Selma was a great film.

At this point, such thoughts will rarely occur in our tribe, which is increasingly unintelligent and ruthlessly ditto-headed:

For us liberals, every loss must be a snub, and every snub must be racial. It simply can’t be that five other actors, or five other directors, may have done better jobs.

In our tribal ruminations, we won’t mention all the other black actors who were nominated in recent years. We won’t mention the snub of the old white male guy Eastwood.

In all that, though, our favorite moment came from the young Yale grad who kept saying that Selma was “fiction.”

She didn’t call it historical fiction, a term that’s slippery enough in itself. (For ourselves, we’d recommend describing a film like Selma as an “historical drama.”)

To this over-schooled young kid, the feature film Selma is “fiction!” So it goes as our big newspapers keeps hiring credentials from Yale, and as our tribal mumbo-jumbo just keeps gaining ground on Rush.

Will progressive interests be served this way? Everything is possible, but we find that quite hard to believe.

SELMA ON OUR MINDS: A representation of Mrs. King!


Part 5—The lives of our saints and our prophets:
One scene in Selma made us think that some Muslims may have it right.

In the scene in question, Coretta Scott King confronts Dr. King about marital infidelity. Working from memory, the scene goes something like this:

Mrs. King has received an audiotape from the FBI. It includes recordings of Dr. King having sex with other women.

Emotionally, Mrs. King asks Dr. King if he loves her. Portrayed like a bit of a cornered rat, Dr. King says yes, he does.

Mrs. King then asks Dr. King if he loves any of the others. Her question is followed by the world’s most gigantic pause.

“Say something, Dr. King!” the troubled analysts cried, right there in the theater. And at last! After the world’s most gigantic pause, Dr. King finally says no.

No, he doesn’t love the others. Mrs. King strides from the room.

As we watched this scene, it occurred to us that some Muslims may pretty much have it right. Perhaps we really shouldn’t allow representations of prophets.

If we allow such representations, it will inevitably happen! Some lesser figure will come along and offer a hackneyed, embarrassing portrait of our prophets. Or so we thought as we watched Dr. King portrayed a bit like a cornered rat.

That was the way the scene struck us; it may seem different to others. (We’ve only seen Selma once.) And alas! We also thought this:

It seemed to us, as we watched the scene, that Ava DuVernay may have some Big Ideas About Infidelity, ideas she was sharing through this portrayal of one of our greatest prophets.

This thought also crossed our minds:

It seemed to us that we might be better off if lesser figures like DuVernay were required to stage their morality plays without the use of the prophets. If they were required to share their Great Though Possibly Hackneyed Ideas in fully fictional form.

What do we mean when we call DuVernay a lesser figure? In part, we mean this:

This marital scene seemed a bit hackneyed to us; it was also invented. As far as we know, DuVernay has no way of knowing if any such scene ever really occurred.

The dialogue came out of her head. It provoked a highly negative reaction from Barbara Reynolds.

Reynolds is a former editor and columnist for USA Today. In a recent column for the Washington Post, she described her 30-year relationship with Mrs. King—and she said this marital scene simply couldn’t have happened.

“I met Coretta Scott King in the 1970s,” Reynolds writes. “Beginning in 2000, I sat with her periodically to record her accounts of her experiences, producing 1,000 pages of transcripts that I have turned into a biography that I plan to publish later this year.”

Reynolds says she knew Mrs. King quite well. In her column, she states her objections to that imagined scene in that movie:
REYNOLDS (1/19/15): [O]ne of Coretta’s most painful struggles was seeing her marriage maligned by persistent charges that her husband was unfaithful. The reports of infidelity were addressed in a major scene in “Selma,” when the Coretta Scott King played by Carmen Ejogo weepily asks Martin, “Did you love the others?” This is not something Coretta would have said. Though Martin’s alleged affairs have become part of his story, Coretta never accepted it. When Ralph Abernathy wrote about Martin’s alleged adultery in his 1989 autobiography, Coretta insisted it was simply an effort to boost book sales. Not only did she vehemently insist that there were no “others,” she certainly never addressed the issue with the weepy resignation portrayed in Selma. She argued that the image of Martin as an unfaithful husband was part of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s ongoing campaign to nullify his influence by destroying his marriage—and his life.

Coretta said she did receive a tape recording at her home in January 1965, a package she later learned was sent by the FBI. As portrayed in the movie, it is widely reported that the tape contained sexual sounds that were meant to incriminate Martin. But Coretta disputes that history. “When I listened to the tape, it had nothing to do with my husband having sex. It was a loud social function with people telling dirty jokes, nothing like what I have seen reported in the press,” she told me.

Despite these and other historic distortions, “Selma” has won a Golden Globe and two Oscar nominations (Best Picture and Best Original Song). Its misrepresentations might not bother those who buy the premise that moviemakers are not historians; that their mission is to entertain rather than educate, to dramatically pursue a riveting story regardless of its truth. But it is wrong for storytellers to engage in open miseducation, to fictionalize our heroes. Doing so robs real people of their historic truth, particularly when those people can no longer defend themselves.
Is that scene an “historic distortion,” built on a “misrepresentation?” Ultimately, we have no real idea.

We have no way to evaluate Reynolds’ various assessments. We can’t evaluate her assessment of what Mrs. King believed about these matters. We can’t evaluate her belief that Mrs. King “certainly never addressed the issue with the weepy resignation portrayed in Selma.”

What did Mrs. King really believe about her husband’s marital conduct? We have no idea—and alas! In standard journalistic fashion, Reynolds provides no reason for accepting Mrs. King’s claims that she thought her husband was always faithful.

Mrs. King said it, and Reynold believes it! In standard fashion, Reynolds seems to think that’s close enough for journalistic work!

In her column, Reynolds says the film’s overall portrait of Mrs. King “is pure Hollywood fiction”—“a particularly troubling mischaracterization of one of the [civil rights] movement’s most critical players.”

We don’t have a real opinion on that. Our reaction to that particular scene was somewhat different:

Reynolds thought the scene involved a mischaracterization. As we watched the scene, it occurred to us that some Muslims may have it right.

Creating an historical drama about major figures is a very difficult task. If a person honors basic accuracy, it’s very hard, and very challenging, to fashion a drama about the lives of such important figures as Dr. King and Mrs. King and even the cracker Johnson.

It seems to us that this undertaking imposes large burdens on a film-maker. Others may be a bit more cavalier.

In our view, it takes a special kind of Lesser Figure to invent highly personal scenes involving the lives of our nation's greatest prophets. It takes a somewhat clueless person—a person with a pair of (foot)balls which have been inflated to roughly the size of kumquats.

It seemed to us, as we watched that scene, that DuVernay might have some Big Ideas About Infidelity she wanted to share with us rubes. People share such ideas all the time, of course, in fully fictional novels and fully fictional films.

People like DuVernay have footballs so large that they decide to share their Big Ideas through representations of major historical prophets. That may not be a great idea, though it might appeal to a lesser figure with a high sense of self-regard.

As we watched that rather hackneyed scene, the analysts shouted at Dr. King, begging him to say something to his wife. It occurred to us that some Muslims may pretty much have it right:

Lesser figures like DuVernay probably shouldn’t traffic in representations of our prophets and saints.

We were relieved when Dr. King finally said no, bringing an end to that imagined scene. At the same time, we thought DuVernay’s impulses were perhaps poor.

What came next was even worse! We the liberals began to muse upon the nature of fiction!

Still available for discussion: What the heck is “fiction?” And why was Clint Eastwood snubbed?

Reynolds describes Mrs. King: In her column, Reynolds paints a fascinating portrait of Mrs. King. In part:
REYNOLDS: During [our] interviews, she insisted that she had felt a calling from an early age. Growing up in the Klan-controlled South, she was no stranger to terror. She saw her family home and her father’s sawmill burned to the ground. But she also saw her father refusing to live in fear and bitterness, a value system reinforced by her Methodist upbringing. Her resilient attitude easily fused with Martin’s, who learned from his father that nothing should make anyone stoop low enough to hate.

It was the bombing of her home in Montgomery, Ala., during the 1955 bus boycott, that assured Coretta that she could withstand any dangers that were placed in her path. She was home with a neighbor and her baby, Yolanda, when the bomb blew off their front porch. She said her father wanted her to move back home with him and her mother, but she stood her ground, fearing that moving the family would disrupt the movement. While committed to her roles as a wife and a mother, Coretta knew that there was an even larger purpose for her life.
Perhaps some Muslims have it right! Perhaps we should decide that people like these—our nation’s greatest prophets and saints—should be spared from representation by Hollywood “talent” with their inevitable Big Slightly Hackneyed Ideas.

Supplemental: This just in from our nation of sheep!


Someone finally clarifies a few basic bone-simple points:
The Deflategate stampede has demonstrated how easy it is to get a whole nation to recite a deeply flawed script.

By how much were the Patriots’ footballs under-inflated last week? The NFL hasn’t yet stated its findings!

But so what? The entire nation is reciting a set of claims derived from a murkily-phrased account in a leak from an anonymous source.

Such claims routinely turn out to be wrong. But so what? As of now, the entire nation is reciting a bunch of unconfirmed claims.

Today, at Business Insider, Tony Manfred has finally started to articulate some basic possibilities about this embarrassing matter. He links to NBC’s Mike Florio, who posted this account on Sunday:
FLORIO (1/25/15): [W]hat has the NFL really found? As one league source has explained it to Pro Football Talk, the football intercepted by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was roughly two pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum. The other 10 balls that reportedly were two pounds under may have been, as the source explained it, closer to one pound below 12.5 PSI.

The NFL has yet to share specific information regarding the PSI measurements of the balls that were confiscated and measured at halftime. Which has allowed the perception of cheating to linger...
Florio is also citing a leak from an anonymous source. But uh-oh! According to his anonymous source, the air pressure figures everyone has been using are wrong.

If Florio’s source is closer to right, this whole scandal starts to melt down, as you can see in Manfred’s report. That said, no one will have any idea what is actually happening until the NFL makes a report of its basic allegations and findings.

Until that happens, we’re all dealing in rumor and script. But we are a very dull-witted nation, especially among our “journalistic” elites.

In the past week, those elites have badly embarrassed themselves. But then, what else is new?

You must consider this: The ongoing work at ESPN has been especially heinous.

But then, what other news org employs so many “journalists” who had to leave their previous jobs after taking too many blows to the head?

People, we’re just saying! It’s a real journalistic concern!

SELMA ON OUR MINDS: Race is our product, our tribe’s only product!


Part 4—A slippery professor churns script:
By some act of legerdemain, Professor Joseph seemed to know where the dispute had come from.

Why had some people criticized Selma’s portrayal of President Johnson? According to Professor Joseph, Selma’s treatment of Johnson had “sparked a controversy that could threaten the film's legacy and, in the short term, its chances for prestigious awards.”

Professor Joseph wrote his column about this matter for NPR. The column appeared on NPR’s web site on January 10.

The assessment we have quoted was perfectly plausible. But what had sparked the controversy about the film's portrait of Johnson?

Mind-reading brilliantly, the young professor eventually gave tribal members the news:
PROFESSOR JOSEPH (1/10/15): Part of the controversy over Selma stems not only from the film's portrait of Johnson, but from the lack of white protagonists in major roles. This is not to say that the movie only shows whites as villains. If Alabama Gov. George Wallace and the brutal Selma Sheriff Jim Clark are depicted as unapologetic racists—which they were—sympathetic white characters abound, including James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo, two relatively unknown figures from the Selma protests who were killed by local whites for their activism. And two Johnson men, adviser Lee C. White and Assistant Attorney General John Doar, are portrayed as quietly determined allies of the movement.

Selma is unapologetic in depicting the movement as one that was primarily led by black women and men. Black women stand out on this score with subtle and nuanced depictions of Coretta Scott King, Annie Lee Cooper, Diane Nash, and Amelia Boynton definitively illustrating black women's fierce activist commitment and leadership in civil rights struggles...

The real problem many critics have with this film is that it's too black and too strong. Our popular reimagining of the civil rights movement is that it's something we all did together and the battle is over; that's just not true.
Are those assessments accurate? Did part of the controversy “stem from the lack of white protagonists in major roles?” Is “the real problem many critics have with this film” the fact that “it's too black and too strong?”

Let’s start with a basic question. Who are the “many critics” for whom this is said to be the real problem?

Can we talk? Frankly, Selma hasn’t drawn a whole lot of critics! Published critics tended to review the film in reverential ways, as typically happens when film-makers tackle topics of this type.

Whatever one thinks of their assessments, our major reviewers tended to review Selma quite favorably. Who then are the “many critics” who found the film “too black and too strong?”

Mind-reading nicely while working from script, Professor Joseph never named the “many critics” for whom this was “the real problem.” In fairness, the professor did suggest two possible suspects, one of whom didn’t criticize Selma at all (see below).

Still, we were told that “many critics” felt the film was too black and too strong. Sadly, though, we were never really told who these “many critics” are. We were just told that “many critics” had this racial reaction.

Alas! In this rather slippery way, Professor Joseph was working from a low-IQ script—a script our sadly low-IQ tribe quickly adopted in response to criticisms of Selma, real and/or imagined.

Our sad tribe simply loves playing this card! When Selma didn’t receive a pair of Oscar nominations, it must have been a racial “snub,” we quickly agreed to say. When people criticized Selma’s portrait of Johnson, this had to mean that these “many critics” found the film to be “too black and too strong.”

It had to be a matter of race! Increasingly, this seems to be the only script our tribe knows how to apply.

Mind-reading nicely, Professor Joseph explained all criticism away in one fell race-based swoop. That said, it’s odd to see him making this play, because he seems to agree with critics who say that the portrait of Johnson was a bit inaccurate:
PROFESSOR JOSEPH: Selma's treatment of President Lyndon B. Johnson has sparked a controversy that could threaten the film's legacy and, in the short term, its chances for prestigious awards. As portrayed by British actor Tom Wilkinson, LBJ is a beleaguered president and is—at times—exasperated with King on the issue of voting rights. Historically, LBJ and King formed an effective political relationship on the issue, although real tensions emerged between the two men when Johnson suggested that voting legislation be pursued later, rather than earlier, in the congressional session. Johnson feared that an immediate push for the black vote would undermine his ambitions for a "Great Society." Selma's script hews close to the historical record on this point. Still, the unsympathetic portrayal of Johnson suggests a president who was an antagonist on voting rights rather than a supporter.
In that last highlighted statement, the professor seems to agree with those who have said that the “unsympathetic” portrayal of Johnson was a bit misleading. Despite this assessment, he slimes the “many critics” who have adopted a similar view, suggesting that they must have mossbacked racial motives.

Once again, who are these critics? In this passage, the professor identifies two apparent suspects:
PROFESSOR JOSEPH: The hyperbolic response from some critics includes the outrageous (and false) assertion that the Selma protests were actually Johnson's idea, and suggestions that the film's portrait of Johnson should disqualify it from awards (read Oscar) consideration.

A new line of criticism outlined in the Jewish Daily Forward argues that Selma disfigured the historical civil rights movement by "airbrushing" Jewish allies from the film. That's an argument that would carry more weight if DuVernay had focused on other moments in civil rights history, like Freedom Summer, when white and Jewish allies played a more prominent role. The events depicted in Selma were driven largely by the African-American activists portrayed in the film.
In that first paragraph, Professor Joseph is talking about Joseph Califano, the 83-year-old former Johnson aide who wrote an angry column about Selma’s portrait of his former boss in the Washington Post.

In our view, Califano’s column was hyperbolic or overwrought in points, although it was also informative. That said, does the professor claim that Califano found the film “too black and too strong?”

How could the professor know such a thing? Perhaps because he was typing from script, he felt no need to tell us.

The professor’s citation of the Jewish Daily Forward seems to lead us to the name of a second critic. Professor Joseph links to this piece by Mark Pinsky—a lengthy piece which doesn’t criticize Selma at all!

Go ahead! Read Pinksy’s long piece! Professor Joseph can type from a script—but can he read a newspaper column?

In his lengthy piece, Pinsky mentions Selma just once, very much in passing. Manifestly, he doesn’t “argue that Selma disfigured the historical civil rights movement by ‘airbrushing’ Jewish allies from the film,” nor does he argue anything like that.

But then, as a simple matter of fact, Pinsky doesn’t criticize Selma at all! He doesn’t state anything like the view Joseph puts in his mouth. The word “airbrushing” doesn’t appear in his piece. Neither does the self-involved claim Joseph attributes to him.

Is Pinsky one of the “many critics” who think the film was too black and too strong? Alas! Based on his actual column, Pinsky isn’t a critic of Selma at all! If Califano was hyperbolic (and we think he was), what word should we apply to Professor Joseph?

Alas! Our pseudo-liberal tribe is increasingly scripted and dumb. All too often, our scrub-faced professors seem to be leading the way to the dumbness.

Professor Joseph was slippery and slick in his piece for NPR—but he was playing the one card we know. Increasingly, this is the ditto-headed way our sad “liberal” tribe very much likes to function.

Still coming: Director Eastwood gets snubbed! Plus, our silly tribe’s ridiculous concept of “fiction”

Go ahead—we dare you: Go ahead! Read Professor Joseph’s account of the Pinsky piece. Then read the column itself.

It doesn’t criticize Selma at all! Our tribe just seems to get dumber each day—and we tribals just don’t seem to notice.

Supplemental: Bill Belichick isn’t a scientist!


Other people are:
One week later, the Boston Globe has actually consulted some scientists about the ways atmospheric conditions could have affected those under-inflated footballs last weekend.

In today’s report, Felice Freyer quotes several different scientists discussing the drop in air pressure which might have resulted from weather-related causes last Sunday. This represents only one example of the scientific reasoning and/or experimentation which addresses the situation:
FREYER (1/26/15): At least one attempt to reproduce conditions on the football field seems to support the Patriots. HeadSmart Labs, a Pittsburgh research company working on preventing head injuries from sports, said that it conducted a study that found weather and field conditions alone could have lowered the pressure by as much as 1.95 psi.

“We took 12 brand-new authentic NFL footballs and exposed them to the different elements they would have experienced throughout the game,” said Thomas Healy, founder of HeadSmart Labs, in a press release. “Out of the 12 footballs we tested, we found that, on average, footballs dropped 1.8 psi when being exposed to dropping temperatures and wet conditions.”
Do considerations like these explain last Sunday’s events? We have no idea, especially since we still don’t know what the air pressure readings actually were for the footballs in question.

Concerning a widely-asked question:

If something like this happened to the Patriots’ footballs, what about the Colts’ footballs? The NFL seems to be saying that the Colts footballs stayed within the legal range all through the game in question.

We’ll only state this, an obvious point:

The Colts’ footballs may have started at 13.5 pounds of pressure, a full pound higher than the presumed legal starting-point for the Patriots’ footballs. In all such matters, of course, we still don’t know what the NFL’s actual claims even are. No report has yet been filed.

Our “journalism” runs on stampedes. This has been the latest.

As everyone surely knows by now, past stampedes have often turned out to be wrong, sometimes grievously wrong. But so what? Given our very low group IQ, this well-known fact never stops the next stampede from occurring.

As we noted this morning, we don’t know what happened here. Neither do the battalions of low-IQ “journalists” stampeding through the land.

SELMA ON OUR MINDS: Can’t process information at all!


Interlude—Deflated footballs meet Selma:
In the overall sweep of things, it doesn’t hugely matter if some footballs were under-inflated during that Patriots game.

As Tom Brady has flawlessly noted, it doesn’t rise to the level of a dispute about ISIS.

That said, you aren’t supposed to cheat in sports, and the NFL is our society’s biggest purveyor of sport on the professional level. In part for that reason, our journalists sprang into action last week, pretending to discuss the affair they agreed to call “Deflategate.”

Did the New England Patriots do something wrong? So far, we can’t tell you that.

We can tell you what our “journalists” have done. Once again, in a fairly remarkable way, they have demonstrated their Complete and Total Inability to Process Information in Any Way At All.

It’s not unlike the way we liberals have responded to the recent flaps about the feature film Selma. We’ll return to that topic tomorrow, starting with the heinous way director Clint Eastwood got “snubbed” in the Oscar race.

For today, why do we say that our “journalists” have demonstrated a Complete and Total Inability to Process Information in their discussions of the NFL flap? Consider William Rhoden’s column in today’s New York Times.

Rhoden is a veteran New York Times columnist. Near the start of this morning’s column, he demonstrates the Complete and Total Inability to which we’ve twice referred:
RHODEN (1/26/15): At issue are the game balls the Patriots provided for last Sunday’s A.F.C. championship game; 11 of the 12 balls, which by rule are inspected and verified by the referee before kickoff, were later mysteriously underinflated by about 2 pounds per square inch, according to an ESPN report on the N.F.L.’s investigation.
Rhoden’s presentation is technically accurate. There actually was “an ESPN report” of the sort he describes.

The report appeared last Wednesday, written by Chris Mortenson. This is the way it began:
MORTENSON (1/21/15): The NFL has found that 11 of the New England Patriots' 12 game balls were inflated significantly below the NFL's requirements, league sources involved and familiar with the investigation of Sunday's AFC Championship Game told ESPN.

The investigation found the footballs were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below what's required by NFL regulations during the Pats' 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, according to sources.

"We are not commenting at this time," said Greg Aiello, the NFL's senior vice president of communications.
That report has formed the basis for the way this incident has been discussed by the nation’s legion of “journalists.” It forms the basis for Rhoden’s account of the degree of under-inflation allegedly found in the dozen balls.

That said, do you notice anything about Mortenson’s report? We’ll try to spell it out so slowly that even our “journalists” will be able to follow:

Uh-oh! The inflation data Mortenson cited came from unnamed “sources!” On the record, the NFL was offering no official account of the (alleged) facts.

According to Mortenson, the official NFL spokesman was offering no data about the degree of inflation. And that situation still obtains today, though you’d never know it from reading the work of the nation's stampeding “journalists.”

Eleven footballs “were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below what's required by NFL regulations!” Our “journalists” have taken this somewhat murky statement to mean that the footballs were inflated to 10.5 pounds per square inch, not to 12.5 pounds per square inch, the minimum level permitted by NFL rules.

Is that a factual statement about the degree of under-inflation? Has the NFL even made that claim?

So far, no! So far, the NFL has made no claim about the degree of inflation. The NFL has issued no report about the degree to which it says the footballs were inflated.

It isn’t that we don’t know the facts. At this point, we don’t even know what is being alleged! But so what? For the past five days, our “journalists” have been repeating Mortenson’s somewhat murky claim, which came from anonymous “sources.”

What’s wrong with that group behavior? Duh! If you’ve been living on this planet over the past many years, you know that such initial, anonymous claims can often turn out to be wrong!

All too plainly, Rhoden and his many colleagues have been living off-planet. It has occurred to almost none of these people that they don’t have the most elementary facts about the degree of inflation—more precisely, that they don’t even have the most basic allegations!

When the NFL finally makes its report, what inflation levels will that report describe? Like Rhoden and his many colleagues, we have no way of knowing.

It’s possible that the NFL will report that eleven of the footballs were inflated to 10.5 pounds per square inch—“2 pounds per square inch below what's required by NFL regulations,” to quote Mortenson’s somewhat imprecise language.

The NFL may say that! But it’s possible that the alleged degree of under-inflation won’t rise to that level. To cite one possibility (out of many), it may turn out that the NFL reports that the various footballs were variously measured at roughly 11.5 pounds per square inch.

For reasons many folk can discern, that would be a significantly different story that the one our “journalists” have been reciting, based on a somewhat murky account from an anonymous source.

Let's be clear. We don’t know what the NFL will end up reporting. But neither do the dozens of “journalists” who have stampeded in the past week, repeating Mortenson’s account.

We do know this:

In matters of this type, initial reports will often turn out to be wrong. We also know that ESPN isn’t a hugely reliable org in matters of this type—in matters which aren’t directly sports-related.

In the past week, our “journalists” have stampeded off with their latest Group Story. Sadly, that is precisely the way we liberals have worked as we've pretended to discuss a pair of flaps concerning the feature film Selma.

Did Selma offer an accurate portrait of Lyndon Johnson? Did Selma get snubbed, for racial reasons, in last week’s Oscar nominations?

Alas! As we have discussed these questions, we have picked and chosen our facts in the dumbest possible ways. But increasingly, that’s the way we liberals behave.

We pick and choose and disappear facts in sadly embarrassing ways. And everything must be a racial offense. We seem to know no other plays!

We don’t think this is a good way for progressives to proceed—but plainly, it’s who we currently are.

At one time, we liberals laughed at the ditto-heads. Today, the ditto-heads, and the public dissemblers, increasingly seem to be us.

Tomorrow: Clint Eastwood, snubbed

Speaking even more slowly: Did someone on the Patriots cheat?

That’s certainly possible! At this point, we don’t know one way or the other.

What were the inflation levels of the footballs in question?

We’re eager to see the NFL’s official account. So far, no one even knows what the NFL will allege!

Despite this fact, a week-long stampede has occurred. A somewhat murky anonymous claim has endlessly been repeated as fact.

Within our modern American “press corps,” it seems it will ever be thus. This system has served us very poorly over the past forty years.

What President Johnson and Dr. King said!


Everybody can serve:
We’re driving to Durham today to attend a school-wide spelling bee.

We know a third-grader who’s still in the hunt. She has a superb disposition, and she’s third-grade champ to boot.

On Wednesday, we decided to look at President Johnson’s now-famous speech in support of The Voting Rights Act. For its full text, click here.

Johnson wasn’t a good public speaker. That said, we were struck by an autobiographical chunk of the speech which came right near its end:
JOHNSON (3/15/65): People cannot contribute to the nation if they are never taught to read or write, if their bodies are stunted from hunger, if their sickness goes untended, if their life is spent in hopeless poverty just drawing a welfare check.

So we want to open the gates to opportunity. But we are also going to give all our people, black and white, the help that they need to walk through those gates.

My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small Mexican-American school. Few of them could speak English, and I couldn't speak much Spanish.

My students were poor and they often came to class without breakfast, hungry. They knew even in their youth the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them. But they knew it was so, because I saw it in their eyes.

I often walked home late in the afternoon, after the classes were finished, wishing there was more that I could do. But all I knew was to teach them the little that I knew, hoping that it might help them against the hardships that lay ahead.

Somehow you never forget what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child.

I never thought then, in 1928, that I would be standing here in 1965. It never even occurred to me, in my fondest dreams, that I might have the chance to help the sons and daughters of those students and to help people like them all over this country.

But now I do have that chance, and I'll let you in on a secret:

I mean to use it.
“I mean to use it!”

To watch Johnson's speech, just click here. The segment about Cotulla starts at 37:15.

What was Johnson “really like?” We have no idea. But that’s about as good a chunk of a speech as we’ve seen or heard.

Three years later, Dr. King spoke to a somewhat similar situation.

Dr. King worked among many people who hadn’t been given the opportunities which were standard elsewhere in his society. But he knew a deeper secret about the “average” people who powered the morally brilliant movement he helped lead.

No one ever served more than Dr. King did. To our ear, this is one of the most insightful things he ever said:
KING (2/4/68): Everybody can be great. Because everybody can serve.

You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.

You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
Dr. King was big on dispensing with hate. Did Lyndon Johnson serve?

SELMA ON OUR MINDS: Confusions and cons!


Interlude—In the realm of professors and journalists:
Early today, we were roused from sleep by a gaggle of sobbing analysts.

“Who the [#$%^] is Cara Buckley?” the youngsters sobbingly said.

Effortlessly, we familiarized ourselves with the problem. In this morning’s New York Times, Buckley writes a long, wondrously muddled piece concerning the current flap about the new feature film, Selma.

Buckley’s piece runs the gamut of contemporary pseudo-liberal conceptual chaos. In the course of her 1400 words, she quotes three professors, a husband/screenwriter and a director who positions himself as an “artist.”

She brought the analysts to tears—and we think they were sobbing for good cause. Her piece starts off like this:
BUCKLEY (1/22/15): The issue of historical accuracy continues to dog ''Selma,'' though it's hard to gauge how much the brouhaha contributed to the film's inability to land best director and actor Oscar nods.

Blame for those shutouts has also been laid at the feet of Paramount, for opening the film late and not blanketing Hollywood with screeners, and also on the Academy for being, at least as is widely beheld, a tone-deaf boys' club: old, out of touch and white.

In all likelihood, ''Selma'' didn't garner those crucial two nominations (despite earning a best picture slot) for all of these reasons, and a few more.
Is Selma “historically accurate?” The current flap about the film started with that question, which is perfectly sensible.

Last week, the flap leeched over to the claim that the film didn’t garner those two nominations at least in part for racial reasons—because the Academy is “a tone-deaf boys' club: old, out of touch and white.”

In all likelihood, that claim is true, Buckley says. But wouldn't you know it! She never says why we should think that!

In all her 1400 words, Buckley never explains why she voices that judgment. She never says why she thinks Academy voters passed over actor David Oyelowo on some sort of racial basis.

She never mentions all the other black actors and actresses who have received Oscar nods in the past fifteen years. She never asks the obvious question:

Is it possible that Oscar voters simply didn’t think Oyelowo’s performance was one of the year's five best?

That’s a perfectly sensible question. But Buckley forgot to ask!

Propaganda looks like this; so does pseudo-journalism. But this isn’t why the analysts sobbed this day. Their heartbreak came as Buckley tried or pretended to discuss the question with which she began her piece, the question of “historical accuracy.”

As shown on our in-house videotape, the sobbing began when the analysts read Buckley’s next paragraph. By now, she quoting her first professor. No wonder the analysts cried!
BUCKLEY (continuing directly): ''Every year, I know someone is going to call me about distortion of history when we hit the Oscars,'' said Jeanine Basinger, the former chairwoman of film studies at Wesleyan University. ''It makes you crazy when you confront, year after year, the fact that no one understands either the movies or history. We're trying to hold movies to a truth we can't hold history to. History is always someone's opinion.''
“History is always someone's opinion?” No wonder the analysts cried!

Don’t get us wrong! All sorts of historical judgments fall into the realm of what we might call “opinion.”

Documentary films involve endless matters of judgment. So does every history text and every historical drama.

That said, is “history” always “someone’s opinion?” Truthfully, no—it is not. There are all sorts of historical facts which simply don’t fall in the realm of opinion, at least until we let the professors present their familiar cant.

Poor Professor Basinger! In her aerie, she’s driven crazy, year after year, when we, the annoying lesser beings, don’t understand the world as brilliantly as she does!

We don’t understand the movies and we don’t understand history! We try to “hold movies to a truth” that history itself can’t be held to!

We don’t understand that “history is always someone’s opinion,” whatever that muddled claim means.

Things were already going badly. At this point, Buckley told us what the cineastes say—and a Hollywood figure by way of Norway lectured us about “art:”
BUCKLEY (continuing directly): Filmmakers and cineastes have talked themselves blue about the need for creative license when casting a version of the truth onto the big screen. Cinematic historical fiction should not, this argument goes, be taken as faithful history lessons. Time must be compressed, characters created and lost, drama injected, events synthesized. Cries of inaccuracy, said Morten Tyldum, the director of ''The Imitation Game”—which is itself a target of a few such cries—are akin to ''fact-checking art.''
Doggone it! The cineastes have tried to help us understand the need for “creative license.”

According to the cineastes, “historical fiction” (we’ll ponder that term in Part 4) should not be taken as faithful history! To create the “art” of giants like Tyldum, drama must be crammed into the finished product.

It’s true—the type of film called “historical fiction” will normally run on drama or pseudo-drama. With that in mind, how much drama did Tyldum inject into his current product—the product which is currently paying his mortgage in Beverly Hills?

A bit later on in her silly piece, Buckley deigns to inform us:
BUCKLEY: Charges of historical inaccuracy were also aimed at ''The Imitation Game,'' whose subject, Alan Turing, was evidently not fully closeted and was easily approachable, unlike the character portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. He also didn't single-handedly crack a Nazi code or work alongside a Soviet spy.
Say what? By our reckoning, Buckley seems to be listing quite a few “historical inaccuracies.”

But so what? Six paragraphs earlier, we seemed to be told, by the professor, that these are all matters of someone’s opinion! Four paragraphs earlier, we were told, by the cineastes, that this type of license is actually needed in some unexplained sense.

According to Buckley, we’ve been told, by Tyldum himself, that complaints about such inaccuracies “are akin to ‘fact-checking art.’” Throughout her piece, Buckley rolls her eyes at the way we rubes maintain such low-brow concerns.

In Buckley’s presentation, Tyldum seems to think that “art” is above such petty concerns. That’s why we always warn you to check your wallets when people like Tyldum tell you that they are producing “art.”

Can we talk? People like Tyldum don’t actually need to produce those inaccuracies. They aren’t required to compress time, create fictional characters or “inject drama” into their films.

They do so because they want to make money, or because they want to propagandize you, or because they aren’t “artistically” skillful enough to produce a winning script without a bunch of inventions. Then, they send their tribunes out to hand you all sorts of low-IQ malarkey about the way “history is always someone's opinion” and about the way we rubes don’t understand squat or squadoosh about their magnificent “art.”

Buckley is a flyweight. Rather, her piece is the work of a flyweight—or of a skillful camp follower.

Buckley repeats the standard cant which tends to come from our pseudo-liberal professors and “artists.” These are the types of people our modern camp-followers tend to follow. Our modern camp-followers defer to their logic, no matter how strained or murky it is.

Professor Basinger makes inane remarks all through Buckley’s piece. Then, as we near the end of our piece, we meet another professor.

In Buckley’s telling, Professor Christenson tells us that “several of the film's opponents were people with close connections to the Johnson administration.” Their criticisms of the film are “a question of reputation rather than accuracy,'' the mind-reading professor is quoted saying.

That's an ad hominem remark—and Buckley skips a second fact. Major figures with close connections to Dr. King have also rejected the accuracy of the film’s portrait of Johnson!

Buckley was picking and choosing her facts, the better to help us see the world through the lens of the professors. As Buckley reaches the end of her piece, Professor Christenson muses deeply—and we seem to be told, once again, that there’s no such thing as accuracy or fact:
BUCKLEY: But again, any misstep is in the eye of the beholder. Mr. Christensen said that in his viewing of ''Selma,'' Johnson comes across not as a malicious obstructionist but as a man in a tight spot. He said that some of the film's critics may be missing out on a larger truth: ''Selma'' is not education, it's mobilization—it's a movie that wants to move you,'' Mr. Christensen said. ''Its aim is not accuracy, but to be tragically and poignantly clever.''

''That movie is Ferguson,'' he later added, arguing that the film serves as a reminder that Texas and other states have instituted voter identification requirements to exercise the right to cast a ballot. ''Nothing has changed,'' he said. ''That's why Johnson in some sense can't be the hero of the movie. He can't be the white savior, because nothing was saved.”
Any misstep is in the eye of the beholder? There they went again!

Selma doesn’t want to be accurate, this professor finally explains. That comes at the end of the piece which had the analysts sobbing.

Objectively, Buckley’s piece makes little clear sense. Its author wanders the countryside, presenting a range of murky claims, some of which seem to contradict the murky claims which have come before it.

Buckley’s essay does make sense as a script. In this familiar script, we’re told that millionaires in the Hollywood Hills get to change basic facts in the pursuit of “art.” When we saw the great Tyldum making that claim, we thought of the one time when Maureen Dowd actually got something right:
DOWD (1/18/15): The “Hey, it’s just a movie” excuse doesn’t wash. Filmmakers love to talk about their artistic license to distort the truth, even as they bank on the authenticity of their films to boost them at awards season.
Exactly! Tyldum makes big Hollywood money by telling us rubes that we’ll be seeing a real historical story. But oh-oh! He has changed all those basic facts around, in service to his “art!”

It drives Professor Basinger crazy when rubes complain about such cons! For ourselves, we feel bad for parents who pay giant tuition to have their teen-age children instructed by flyweights of this type.

We liberals! We take our cues from a range of lightweights in the worlds of journalism, academics and (Hollywood) “art.” By the way, why does Buckley swallow this endless supply of misdirection and cant? This is the she was described when she moved to the culture beat at the Times, away from the metro desk:
BLOOMGARDEN-SMOKE (6/27/14): Before moving over to the culture section, Ms. Buckley spent seven years as on the metro desk.

“Her editor there, Wendell Jamieson, described her as able to cover both dramas and tragedies: a house blowing up on the Upper East Side, the view of the Rabbi about to bury the children of Newtown; and the quiet battles in many homes in December—shall we use colored or white Christmas lights?” Ms. Mattoon wrote.
According to her editor, Buckley is “able to cover both dramas and tragedies!” But then, as we have always told you, our “news” is increasingly a collection of carefully-crafted novels. In the minds of people like these, it’s story-line all the way down.

Might we tell the truth just this once? We’re silly and pompous and nobody likes us! Progressive interests got a bad break when their well-being was placed in the hands of ultimate rubes such as us.

Still coming: More from our concept-challenged journalists and our somewhat dishonest professors

SELMA ON OUR MINDS: Hollywood by the numbers!


Part 3—Our narrative versus some facts:
Sometimes it seems that we pseudo-liberals need to get out a bit more.

Consider our latest jihad, in which we declare that Selma got “snubbed,” for racial reasons, in last week’s Oscar nominations.

At our most overwrought, we've even said that the film was “overwhelmingly snubbed.” Since Selma received a Best Picture nomination, that claim seems a bit hard to parse.

That said, we pseudolibs are sufficiently daft to make claims of that type. And we love to scatter our R-bombs around. Truth to tell, it’s pretty much the only play our sad tribe currently knows.

Was Selma snubbed for racial reasons? Was Selma “snubbed” at all? Again, let’s consider the keening and wailing about British actor David Oyelowo, who plays Dr. King in the film.

Oyelowo is a thoroughly competent, skilled professional actor. That said, should he have received a Best Actor nod? Was he really denied nomination on some racial basis?

On its face, that ugly claim is a bit hard to credit. Is it possible that we pseudo-liberals need to get out a bit more?

Was Oyelowo denied a nomination due to some racial agenda? Let’s take a look at the record, even including some facts.

There was a time when few black actors received Oscar nominations. If you go back to the 1980s, you will find quite a few years when all twenty acting nods went to folk who were white.

This isn’t the 1980s. Black actors have been getting Oscar nominations for a good long time now. As useless fellows like David Carr scatter their speculations (and their R-bombs) around, it might not be a bad idea to consider the recent history.

We the pseudos may not know it. But the Academy has been nominating black actors for a good long time now:

As some tribal members may even recall, 2002 was regarded as a watershed year—the year in which Denzel Washington won the Best Actor award (for films from 2001), with Halle Berry winning for Best Actress.

By normal reckoning, both those performers are “black.” Washington beat fellow nominee Will Smith that year. Smith is also said to be black.

Thirteen years ago, many people hailed this watershed event. And two years later, it happened again! Many observers hailed the international flavor of the acting nods, with five of the nominations going to this far-flung cast:
Some acting nominees in 2004
Djimon Hounsou (born in Benin)
Benicio Del Toro (born in San Juan)
Ken Watanabe (born in Japan)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (born in Tehran)
Keisha Castle-Hughes (half Maori!)
People applauded those nominations. As of today, all is forgotten as we deploy our bombs.

Our righteous pseudo-liberal anger turned on the claim that Selma and its actors were “snubbed” on a racial basis. Hollywood didn’t want to nominate black actors or actors of color!

As our tribe so frequently does, we rushed to embrace a few standard scripts which seemed just a little bit dumb (for examples, see below). But just to establish a statistical record, let’s list the black actors who received acting nods in the past ten years.

This takes us back to March 2005, three years after Washington/Berry, one year after Hounsou/Del Toro/Watanabe. This is the record since then:
Nominated for acting Oscars, 2005-2014:
2014: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Barkhad Abdi, Lupita Nyong'o
2013: Denzel Washington, Quvenzhané Wallis
2012: Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
2011: no black nominees
2010: Morgan Freeman, Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique
2009: Viola Davis
2008: Ruby Dee
2007: Forrest Whitaker, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Hudson
2006: Terrence Howard
2005: Jamie Foxx (Best Actor), Jamie Foxx (Best Supporting Actor), Don Cheadle, Morgan Freeman, Sophie Okonedo
Some years, there were five nominations. One year, there were none.

But over the course of those ten years, 24 nominations went to black actors or actresses. That was twelve percent of all acting nods, a number which is upsettingly close to the percentage of blacks in the U.S. population (currently, 12.6 percent).

Of course, Hollywood is no longer a purely American industry. Many of those nominations went to black actors from other lands.

Still and all, if we simply look at the record, it’s hard to say that Hollywood has been snubbing black actors at Oscar time. That said, the R-bomb is our tribe’s only toy, and we love to scatter our bombs all across the land.

How dumb are we pseudos willing to be in our scripted fury? Very, very dumb! At the start of this latest jihad, many tribals stated a talking-point:

This is the first year since 1995 when none of the acting nods went to a person of color!

We didn’t seem to notice a fairly obvious point. If true, that factoid tends to lessen the likelihood that acting nods were withheld this year on a racial basis.

Nor did we notice how hard our tribunes had to work to come up with that factoid. After clicking here, can you spot the actor of color in the nominations for 2011?

Answer: Is Javier Bardem an actor of color? It’s hard to say, but that’s the claim which let us say that this was the first year since 1995 when no nods went to actors of color—a claim which tended to argue against our main point, although we didn’t quite notice.

Back to our own basic point:

Acting nods have been going to black actors for a long time now. In the ten years before the current year, black actors received twelve percent of the two hundred such nods.

Despite this fact, we the pseudos were quick to say and imply that Oyelowo was snubbed this year on a racial basis. Because we love to drop our bombs, we didn’t consider a different possibility, one we now ponder again:

To state the obvious, Oyelowo is a skilled professional actor. Having said that, is it possible he wasn’t nominated because voters simply didn’t think he gave one of the year's best performances?

Only five actors get nominated. Is it possible that this explains his failure to get that nod?

When we saw Selma, we didn’t think Oyelowo’s performance was all that great, partly because of the lousy script he was forced to read and the lousy scenes he was given to play.

That said, we aren’t qualified judges of professional acting performance—but many of the Oscar voters are highly qualified judges! Could it be that they just didn’t think he gave one of the five best performances?

Sometimes, the lack of a Best Actor nomination may just be a cigar! But within our increasingly pitiful tribe, that rather obvious possibility simply couldn’t be brooked.

Within our increasingly pitiful tribe, we love the smell of bombs in the morning! As if by law, the failure to gain that nomination became a racial snub.

Do you mind if we talk some tom turkey? We’re lazy and stupid and nobody likes us! Progressive interests got a bad break when they landed in our lazy, self-impressed, not especially honest hands.

Tomorrow: Professors and journalists reason!

SELMA ON OUR MINDS: Our tribe's only trick!


Part 2—Some David Carr talk:
We pseudo-liberals know exactly one trick.

We know the trick about race! Sunday, at the hapless new Salon, Jenny Kutner turned our trick in a comical way about the way Selma got snubbed:
KUTNER (1/18/15): “Saturday Night Live” decided to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a bit early this week in Saturday’s cold open—and the show even managed to work in a nod to the overwhelmingly snubbed film about the civil rights activist, Selma.
Kutner was working from mandated script—a script in which Selma got “snubbed” in last week’s Oscar nominations.

As often happens when every pundit agrees to say the same darn thing, Kutner embellished the script a bit—jacked it up a notch. In her account, the new feature film was overwhelmingly snubbed.

Was Selma “snubbed” in the Oscar race at all? Good God! The film for a Best Picture nomination—but Kutner knew the script. She decided to jack it up a notch, as people with nothing to say, and a script to recite, will so frequently do.

Selma, a Best Picture nominee, was overwhelmingly snubbed! So it goes as we see the ditto-headed shape of our pseudo-liberal minds!

Was Selma snubbed in the Oscar nominations? For those who aren’t as silly as Kutner, the scripted claim will turn on the fact that Selma’s actors and director didn’t get nominations. Regarding the snub of Selma’s actors, Maureen Dowd was quite upset.

“I loved the movie and find the Oscar snub of its dazzling actors repugnant,” Dowd wrote in Sunday’s column. But then, within hours of last week’s nominations, everyone knew the script.

Were those actors actually “snubbed?” On the merits of the case, should they have received nominations?

We don’t pretend to be competent judges of professional acting. Neither are the vast majority of the people who have lamented the snub.

That said, as we watched Selma last weekend, we found ourselves wondering why anyone would have picked David Oyelowo’s performance as Dr. King as one of the best of the year.

Don’t misunderstand! Oyelowo is an experienced professional actor. Like anyone you see in a major film, he’s a thousand times more skilled as an actor than anyone you know.

That said, we thought he brought little life to his role, in large part due to the lifeless script and the lifeless scenes he was asked to perform. Watching the film, we marveled at the scripted fury about the way he’d been “snubbed.”

Just for the record, none of Selma’s actors were nominated for the Screen Actors Guild awards. Nor was Selma’s cast nominated for the SAG’s ensemble acting award. If Oyelowo and others were actually snubbed, the snubbing extended beyond the boundaries of the Oscar nominations.

(Oyelowo was nominated for a Golden Globe as best actor. That said, ten male actors get nominated for the Globes, as opposed to five for the Oscars. No other actor or actress from Selma got a Golden Globe nomination.)

Did Selma’s actors really get “snubbed?” Were they overwhelmingly snubbed?

Should their exclusion from Oscar nods seem “repugnant?” Should it seem like a racial “snub?”

At present, everyone knows the law—such things must be said! That said, it’s amazing to see how little effort our “journalists” make to argue this well-scripted point.

Consider the ugly, empty piece by the New York Times’ David Carr.

Carr writes a column each Monday on the front page of the Business Day section. He rarely has a thing to say in these columns.

(His claim to fame—his distinguishing mark within the business—is the fact that he was once a drug addict, a situation he described in his 2008 memoir, The Night of the Gun. Why did Carr write a memoir at all? Because he was once an addict!)

Yesterday, Carr had nothing to say about the alleged Oscar snub. But his piece ran 1332 words. Hard-copy headline included, this is the way he started:
CARR (1/19/15): Oscar Glitter Is Starkly White This Year

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and given the context, it is an interesting moment to ask whether it really matters that the motion picture academy failed to nominate the black director and the black lead actor of ''Selma,'' the King biopic, for Oscars.

After all, it lands fairly low on the list of indignities visited on African-Americans:
No unarmed people died, no innocent citizens were patted down or jailed.

But yes, it still matters. The news continues to be full of all manner of pathology and victimization involving black Americans, and when a moment comes to celebrate both a historical giant and a pure creative achievement, it merits significant and broad recognition.

Many would say that it should suffice that ''12 Years a Slave,'' a film by a black director about black history, won best picture last year, and ''Selma'' was nominated this year, and that any grievance is a conjured one. I disagree.
For Carr, this constituted a racial question from his first paragraphs on. At the present time, it’s the only play our tribe knows.

To his credit, Carr doesn’t use the term “snub” until his eighth paragraph. As he starts, he only notes the fact that the Academy “failed to nominate” Selma’s director and its lead actor.

That said, Carr describes this state of affairs as one of the “indignities” being “visited on African-Americans.” According to Carr, the snub “lands fairly low on the list” of such racial indignities. But it is on the list!

That’s a rather serious charge for a “journalist” to lodge. In 1332 words, the empty fellow with nothing to say makes no real attempt to support it.

Let’s be fair! When Carr finally refers to the “snub,” he softens his racial accusations a tad. But he’s happy to speculate and insinuate about the motives of unknown people.

His math is slightly off. His logic is hard to locate:
CARR: As someone who once spent a great deal of time reporting on the ins and outs of the Oscars, I know that the snub is not some overt racial conspiracy at work. Among other problems, Paramount thought that ''Interstellar'' would be its big Oscar horse for the year and jumped on ''Selma'' as the better bet only when awards season heated up. The movie was completed near the end of the year, and the screeners came late and somewhat sporadically. Perhaps that partly explains why ''Selma,'' which was second to ''Boyhood'' in critical acclaim as measured by Metacritic, received just two nominations, for best picture and best song.

But in general, the academy and the industry it mirrors manage diversity the same way that corporate America does, by ticking off boxes. That means that after Kathryn Bigelow won as best director in 2010 for ''The Hurt Locker''—the only female director to have won in the award's 87 years—there was no reason to even nominate her again for the extraordinary ''Zero Dark Thirty.'' The ''woman thing'' had been checked off already. And it also means that even though ''12 Years a Slave'' won best picture, its director, Steve McQueen, did not receive similar acclaim because that win took care of ''the black thing.'' (Many have noted that this year, although nine black actors were nominated in the last six years, not a single person of color is among the 20 nominated lead and supporting actors.)
Among other analytical problems, Carr dont seme too count reel gudd. In fact, eleven nominations went to black actors in the six years before this year; three of those actors were winners. (For list, see below.) The number is ten nominations in six years if we start counting this year.

That may or may not seem like “enough.” But those are the actual numbers.

Can we talk? In the ten years preceding this year (in 2005 through 2014), the Academy gave 24 nominations to black actors. (By our count. See list below.) But so what? As Carr mind-reads his way through a thoroughly muddled piece, he explains that last year’s selection of Twelve Years A Slave as Best Picture somehow explains this year’s “snub” of Oyelowo for best actor.

Or something! The logic is hard to define and follow. But as it was scripted, the insinuations and accusations run all through the piece.

Did Oyelowo deserve a nomination? Watching the film, we wondered why anyone would have thought that. But Carr says Oyelowo was “snubbed”—and he says the snub constitutes an indignity due to race.

That’s a very serious charge, except to scripted people with nothing to say and except to us pseudo-liberals. With that in mind, we recommend a reading experiment.

Go ahead! Read Carr’s lengthy piece. See if you can find a single place where he asserts or defends the claim that Oyelowo gave one of the year's five best performances.

We can find no such assertion at any point in the column. We can find no defense of any such assertion.

Instead, we find a series of passages where Carr says that Selma deserved more nominations as a matter of politics. This is just one example:
CARR: ''Selma'' may not have been the belle of the awards season, but it was certainly a target. Before the movie's release, Lyndon B. Johnson loyalists began taking shots at its accuracy. Did ''Selma'' cut some corners and perhaps tilt characters to suit the needs of the story? Why yes—just like almost every other Hollywood biopic and historical film that has been made. This is not a movie that endangers L.B.J.'s legacy, it cements King's at a near perfect moment in history and should be celebrated as such.
According to Carr, Selma “cements King's [legacy] at a near perfect moment in history and should be celebrated as such.”

Let’s assume that first assessment is accurate. Let’s assume this Best Picture nominee film really does “cement King's [legacy] at a near perfect moment in history.”

Let’s assume that's accurate. What can that possibly have to do with the question of Oyelowo’s performance? How could that mean that there weren’t five performances that were better?

Earth to Carr:

The film itself was “celebrated,” with a Best Picture nomination! Oh sorry—Selma was overwhelmingly snubbed!

We’re sorry, scripted race-baiting pseudo-liberals. We’re sorry—we almost forgot!

Tomorrow: Bad arguments from us ditto-heads

Taking a look at the record: Is it possible that Oscar voters didn’t think Oyelowo’s performance was all that hot? Is it possible they simply didn't think it was one of the year's five best?

They’ve nominated a bunch of black actors! Below, you see the list:
Nominated for acting Oscars, 2005-2014:
2014: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Barkhad Abdi, Lupita Nyong'o
2013: Denzel Washington, Quvenzhané Wallis
2012: Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
2010: Morgan Freeman, Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique
2009: Viola Davis, Taraji Henson
2008: Ruby Dee
2007: Forest Whitaker, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Hudson
2006: Terrence Howard
2005: Jamie Foxx (Best Actor), Jamie Foxx (Best Supporting Actor), Don Cheadle, Morgan Freeman, Sophie Okonedo
Do all these people identify as “black?”

As far as we know, they do. But despite the race play our tribe has divined, none of these actors got snubbed!

Did Oyelowo get snubbed this year? People! Because our tribe knows only one trick, the answer to that was quite clear.