Quotable Quote of the Month

What does it take for Republicans to take off the flag pin and say, 'I am just too embarrassed to be on this team'?".- Bill Maher

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Does Being A Sarah Palin Supporter Make One A Racist?

The answer to the question posed in the title of this post is no, but that hasn't stopped some conservatives from crying foul against a few members of the so-called "state controlled media". On the 11/18/09 edition of Hardball, host Chris Matthews did a segment on Sarah Palin's appearance in Grand Rapids, MI for a signing of her bestselling book "Going Rogue: An American Life". The segment also included MSNBC correspondent Norah O'Donnell and Salon.com's Joan Walsh. During the segment, Norah (who was at the location of the book signing) made note that the crowd who showed up to see Ms. Palin was mostly white. Chris agreed with Norah's assessment and added the Seinfeldian disclaimer that there's nothing wrong with that. Later in the segment, Chris suggested that Sarah Palin's rabid fan base has a tribal aspect to it. He went on to use the term "white people vs. other people" in regards to his belief that some of Palin's supporters harbor racist feelings and that she panders to this portion of her base.

Below is the segment from Hardball:

Predictably, this segment didn't sit well with some members of the right. They've taken it over the top by accusing Chris and Co. of calling all Palin supporters racist! I don't see anything wrong with either talking about the lack of minorities present at the Palin signing or commenting on how a segment of her base may feel about non-whites. The Hardball segment addressed those two points, but didn't lump all Palin supporters in the racist trash heap like some are claiming. As for the lack of support Palin has from non-whites, this has to be a concern for her if she plans to make a run at the Presidency of the United States. She might want to consider giving Tom Joyner and the folks at Univision a call.

Although I see nothing wrong with the Hardball segment, if people want to question why Norah and Chris made references to the racial makeup of the crowd, that's a valid debate. One could even be critical of the fact that neither of them mentioned the racial demographics of Grand Rapids as a possible reason for the lack of minorities at the signing (as of the 2000 census, over 67% of the population was white). But to say Chris and his guests called all Palin supporters racist is ridiculous! Some people are just sitting around waiting to be offended and I think that's the case with some conservatives in regards to the Hardball piece.

The footage below is from The Young Turks in which host Cenk Uygur airs and later discusses footage of Palin supporters being interviewed at another book signing of hers in Columbus, OH. All I can say is, "Yikes!!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TCM To Air Interracial Romance Triple Feature

On Friday, November 20th starting at 8 PM EST, Turner Classic Movies is airing a triple feature spotlighting interracial romance on film involving blacks and whites.

First up is the 1964 drama One Potato, Two Potato starring Barbara Barrie ("Nana" on Suddenly Susan), Bernie Hamilton (Capt. Dobey in the series Starsky and Hutch), and Richard Mulligan (Soap and Empty Nest). One of the earliest to deal with interracial marriage, the movie tells the story of a white divorcée (Barrie) with a young daughter who marries a black co-worker (Hamilton). Things are fine until her ex-husband (Mulligan) returns and sues for full custody of their daughter, claiming that a mixed racial household is an improper environment to raise the child.

The 2nd film is the 1970 comedy-drama The Landlord starring Beau Bridges as the son of a wealthy landlady who takes over managing a building in a black Brooklyn ghetto. Bridges gets involved in the lives of some of his tenants, including the wife (Diana Sands) of a radical (Louis Gossett Jr.). The cast also features Pearl Bailey, Lee Grant, and Robert Klein.

Wrapping up the triple feature is another film from 1970, the boxing drama The Great White Hope. A fictionalized account of the life of early 20th century heavyweight champion Jack Johnson , the movie stars a lean, mean James Earl Jones as Jack Jefferson and Jane Alexander as his wife Eleanor Backman. Rounding out the cast are Hal Holbrook, Beah Richards, and Moses Gunn.

For more background on the films airing during the triple feature, please visit the link below.

Interracial Romance On TCM

You can also click here for an interview from last year featuring TCM host Robert Osbourne and film historian Donald Bogle discussing interracial romance on film.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Controversial Photo Shoot On America's Next Top Model

On the October 28th episode of the CW reality series America's Next Top Model, host Tyra Banks conducted a photo shoot in which the six surviving runway wannabes (4 Caucasian, an Asian, and an African-American) were made up to represent women of mixed heritage. The breakdown is as follows:

Contestant Ethnicities
Brittany East Indian & Native American
Erin Tibetan & Egyptian
Jennifer Batswana & Polynesian
Laura Mexican & Greek
Nicole Japanese & Malagasy
Sundai Russian & Moroccan

The ANTM photo shoot has stirred up controversy, with many deeming it racially offensive. Various posts have stated that the models appeared in blackface, which I think is very misleading. I don't know about you, but when I hear the term "blackface" I have visions of Al Jolson down on one knee belting out "Mammy". I saw the photo shoot as a celebration of multi-culturalism. It wasn't as if the models were transformed into offensive caricatures like the aforementioned Jolson or Mickey Rooney's embarrassing portrayal of an Asian in the 1961 film Breakfast At Tiffany's.

Due to my schedule, I didn't get a chance to post about the ANTM controversy when I read about it late last month. Although the episode has already aired, I think the topic is still worthy of discussion.

Below is a clip from the ANTM episode:

Do you think the photo shoot was offensive?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Putney Swope Airs On TCM

As part of its cult movie showcase "TCM Underground", Turner Classic Movies is airing the 1969 satire Putney Swope late Friday/early Saturday (Nov. 6th/Nov. 7th) at 2:30 am EST. Directed by Robert Downey, Sr. (yes, Iron Man's dad), the film details what happens when Swope (the only black man on the executive board at an advertising firm) is accidentally put in charge after the chairman of the board dies. Once at the helm, Swope (played by Arnold Johnson) makes some drastic changes which cause the firm to be not only successful, but the target of the U.S. government.

Because I've heard so much about Putney Swope, I've been wanting to see it for awhile. Along with Arnold Johnson, the cast also includes Antonio Fargas ("Huggy Bear" of Starsky & Hutch), Allan Arbus (Dr. Sidney Freedman on M*A*S*H), and Shelley Plimpton (mother of actress Martha).

To watch a clip of Putney Swope, you can click here.