Feigned outrage and cancel culture need to face the facts...
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How about this comment from my mom's friend sitting next to me, a half-Jewish woman who I worried about offending by clicking "play" on Netflix on the now-infamous Chappelle special?
"I don't understand what the controversy is about..."
Well, yeah - that was the best outcome I could've hoped for when I pressured two aging hippies, activists who pushed for the Gloria Steinem / Helen Ready phase of feminism. But they also participated in the stuff that led MLK and Rosa Parks to fight hard for their place at the front of the bus. Full disclosure - one is my mother. The other is a woman I'll just call Bob (challenge parenthetical: use Hitchhiker's Guide to grok the Bob reference) so that nobody cancels this blue-haired beauty. Bob danced with Mama Cass and performed with the Rockettes. She is half-Jewish.
Archie Bunker is top of my mind as I write these words, and I know that Norman Lear knew what he was doing with that comedy. But he's a Space Jew (jk… duh).
What did Bob say to me when Chappelle's confessional comedy canon-fire finished with a punchline about sucking dick?
"I don't understand what the controversy is about..." -- Bob
Who'll be the hero of the inevitable swing of the pendulum towards some kind of true north -- fucking David Chappelle. I won't use that N-word here, because I'm not allowed. I don't want to be aborted before the fetus becomes human, and I'm not brown like Chappelle. Actually, I will use it - he's a Bad-ass N - as in Nostradamus. A hard one who tells the truth. And we can all learn from his truth.
Protestors at Netflix Dave Chappelle Walkout Los Angeles Times
All this is to say - Chappelle is a good lad, for real. He's not just a comedic genius. He's a man who fought against all odds, a scrapper (like my mom and her friend) looking to break the chain of privileged control of wealth and do his mfg thing. He knows his people and his history - and not just the black part of it all. And he is funny as fuck.
Here's the thing about it: I personally believe that America is *UN - FUCKING - AMERICAN* right now, and Chappelle fired a giant warning flare into the sky, an S.O.S. We need to talk, laugh, discuss things. We should not look for "gotcha" moments and reasons for hating one another.
We don't all need to be homogenous robots praying at the altar of some sort of C culture of silliness. Why work if you can whine? Nah. People want to work. We need to be human. Humans are tribal and we will have bias. And then there's this -- stereotypes contain both truth and danger. Not forever-truth but truth that comes from history, from epigenetic behavior that crosses culture and art and charisma and bloodlines stretching back to Africa. That's why I want to say this: Chappelle is our Nostradamus. If we look back years from now and identify a cultural inflection point, we will need a person in charge of that moment. That's kind of the way we catalog history.
Excerpt from new Rasmussen poll rasmussenreports.com
If you can't beat them, join 'em. Check out this newly published poll. These polls are super corrupt, I know. Just do the math. I mean - who wants jury duty or has time for this b.s.? Well-and-so, facebook including instagram - might be the altar to pray at for popular opinion. But… err… why is everyone on facebook talking about what they had for breakfast and trolling for self-confidence from busted-up spaghetti code companies run by self-loathing geeks? I mean, who died and made Zuckerberg the foremost expert on how to be social? Sheesh - he comes across as the kind of dude who not only got shoved in the locker at high school but actually deserved it.
On a serious (not 'suck my dick'... tsk-tsk) note, I will also say this about Mr. Chappelle: he's worthy of comparison to the great comics who came before - everyone from Groucho to Gleeson to Lenny Bruce, Pryor, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Rock, Tina Fey, and we cannot forget Carlin. But here's the thing that might be more important - he really feels. He's not out to judge, but to connect with everyone from trans people to the waiter at the fancy places he frequents. He's an empath - and not in some kind of bullshit X-Files way.
He's someone who keeps score according to a personal moral code that he cannot ignore and which informs his craft. That makes him a full-blown creator of literature and art who will be remembered for a long time to come. He's a storyteller and social commentator on par with some of the greatest - Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, Dick Gregory, Lou Reed, Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell, David Sedaris, Jay-Z, Regina King, Kendrick Lamar - type of writers and thinkers.
His (he / him / his) comedy is part of the new literature we need to consume, because by doing so, we learn.
Thanks, Chappelle, for the S.O.S. We've got to save this fucking ship.
Dave Chappelle draped in the American Flag
Some songs as a p.s. [warning: internet connection and decent speakers required]:
True to Myself - Ziggy Marley
What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
Thousands are Sailing - The Pogues
Same Love - Macklemore
Street Fighting Man - Rolling Stones
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
Why Are You On Facebook - Van Morrison
Dirty Boulevard - Lou Reed
Girls - Beastie Boys
Democracy - Lumineers
Rain Street - Pogues
Angel of Harlem - U2
Black Boys on Mopeds - Sinead O'Connor
Lonely Teardrops - Jackie Wilson
River - Leon Bridges
A tribute to the people who have made the last 500 years a little more bearable.
With the election behind us, and the Trump team's spurious legal cases being thrown out of court left and right, it's beginning to look like America will finally be able to leave the Trump era behind.
As many problems as we are still going to face after January 20th, it's a relief to know that we will no longer have to think, "Oh, god, he's the president..." every time Donald Trump says or tweets something offensive, dangerous, or moronic.
If he wants to spend the next four years sharing his thoughts on raking hurricanes or nuking wildfires, he will be able to do so from outside the White House, just like any other
inmate citizen. But with two more months of Trump administration to go, the world is still bracing to see what kind of stunts he'll pull in his final days.
As such, there has never been a better time to acknowledge the people who have been so helpful at relieving some of the ever-present tension that has dominated each
century week since 2016. These are the comedic bits that have helped to make the intense chaos energy of Donald Trump a little easier to process.
So, as Donald Trump fights his inevitable removal from office, we can at least thank him for gifting us some comedy gold—while doing everything in his power to destroy our country.
Totally Under Control is premiering on Netflix at a moment when it's revelations about the Trump administration have serious potential to change minds.
In the lead-up to a presidential election in the US, there is always a rush among authors and documentarians to share a perspective on one candidate or the other.
Whether they're driven by pure opportunism—making a cash grab amid the nation's political fervor—or by a sense of moral duty to expose important truths to the voting public, there is always a question of whether these efforts can really make a difference in an election's outcome.
Of course, the reality is that the audience for these exposés is predetermined. In our increasingly polarized political climate, most people have their trusted sources of information, and it's rare for any of these books or films to preach their messages to anyone who is not already a member of the choir.
From Bob Woodward's recent book Rage to Peter Schweizer and Steve Bannon's hit Clinton Cash, these projects promise to shift our system's razor-thin margins in one direction or the other, but tend to generate more headlines than they do changed votes.
With that said, 2020 has been an exceptional year, and Totally Under Control may prove to be an exceptional case.
TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL | Official Trailer HD www.youtube.com
Written by Alex Gibney (The Inventor, Going Clear)—and directed by Gibney alongside Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger—Totally Under Control was produced in secret over the course of five months, and is set for release on Netflix on October 13.
It tells the story of the Trump administration's gross mishandling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, pieced together from a blend of publicly available information as well as interviews with administration insiders.
Critics who have been allowed early access to the film have lauded its sober and authoritative presentation of events, but that's beside the point. Will it actually change anyone's mind?
Generally speaking, Totally Under Control seems like the kind of politically motivated film that—however truthful—would be handily dismissed by Trump supporters as "fake news." At any other time, it would be foolish to expect anyone who didn't already despise the president to even watch the movie.
But in the last week, something happened that has managed to shock some of the president's less devoted followers when even the death toll of over 210,000 Americans could not: Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
At 74 years old, and well above what's considered a healthy weight, Donald Trump is in one of the highest risk groups for the COVID-19. The fatality rate for men in President Trump's age range is over 5%—compared to less than 1% for the general population—yet he seemed to be taking few precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.
Through last Thursday—when the president reportedly received his first positive test—he continued holding a mix of indoor and outdoor fundraisers and rallies where crowds were packed tightly together and facemasks were a rarity, and reportedly he even scolded advisors for wearing masks inside the White House.
These habits have contributed to a sense among the president's supporters that concerns over the virus were overblown, and that the precautionary measures advocated by medical authorities were unnecessary. "It's a hoax," said his supporters. "It's no worse than the flu," "I'll wear a mask if I feel sick," and so on.
But then came the revelation that the president's lax attitude had finally produced its inevitable consequence. Currently at least 34 people with close connections to the White House have been confirmed as infected. And some steadfast supporters may finally be questioning the president's approach to the coronavirus crisis.
According to a morning consult poll taken in the days after the news broke, 48% of Republican respondents described themselves as either somewhat or very surprised by the news, compared to just 37% of Democrats. And 63% of voters—including 35% of Republican respondents—said that Trump did not take proper precautions to protect himself from the virus.
While that number should be a great deal higher, it represents a surprising share of the party that has remained consistently loyal to the president. Trump's approval among Republicans has remained in the mid-to-high 80s throughout his tenure. Even when the topic was narrowed specifically to the president's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, 80% of Republicans voiced their approval as of mid-September.
Does this mean that this 35% of Republicans may be open to new perspectives on Donald Trump's handling of the crisis? Will they be willing to take the message of Totally Under Control seriously?
That depends largely on how successful Donald Trump is at controlling the story. He has already taken some big, potentially risky moves in an effort to assuage his voters' fears—downplaying the severity of his case, going for a highly criticized drive among his fans, returning to the White House to finish his treatment and pose for staged photos, and touting an experimental antibody treatment as "a cure" which he has promised to make available for free to every American (a prospect which is likely impossible).
If these and other measures are enough to solidify the narrative that Trump has quickly recovered from a severe viral infection, and that the pandemic will soon be handled, then it's unlikely that Totally Under Control will make much of a difference at all.
But if, by next Tuesday, recent uncertainty and skepticism remain in effect and people who would otherwise be resistant to this kind of exposé are desperate for a peak behind the curtain, this documentary has the potential to grab the country's attention and maybe even persuade a significant percentage of voters who would otherwise have ignored it.
For the time being, the race remains tight, and Donald Trump's underhanded tactics have the potential to erase Joe Biden's narrow lead in key states. But if enough people see what administration insiders have to say about Trump's chaotic and deadly approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, the balance could shift solidly to a Democratic victory.
Only time will tell.