Hollywood Contemplates Looking in the Mirror, Then Turns Away

Last night’s Academy Awards featured a lot of generalities and not much inspiration or speaking truth to power.

Last night’s Academy Awards broadcast was Hollywood’s way of addressing the sexual-harassment scandal without really addressing it, discussing it without really discussing it, and assuring the public that all the worst stuff is in the past and that no one needs to worry about it anymore.

Yes, it was nice to see Ashley Judd and Annabella Sciorra again, up on stage alongside Salma Hayek. But no one involved in the ceremony could ever quite come out and say why those three were up on stage.

.. The president’s defenses of protectionism are incoherent babble that is just factually wrong; Trump insists that “our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead” when the U.S. Department of Commerce figures show that since the beginning of 2009, the six major U.S. steel companies have collectively reported net earnings for 20 quarters.
.. The president still hasn’t figured out that you can’t change government policy as quickly and impulsively as you type out and send a Tweet.

By midnight Wednesday, less than 12 hours before the executives were expected to arrive, no one on the president’s team had prepared any position paper for an announcement on tariff policy, the official said. In fact, according to the official, the White House counsel’s office had advised that they were as much as two weeks away from being able to complete a legal review on steel tariffs.

There were no prepared, approved remarks for the president to give at the planned meeting, there was no diplomatic strategy for how to alert foreign trade partners, there was no legislative strategy in place for informing Congress and no agreed upon communications plan beyond an email cobbled together by Ross’s team at the Commerce Department late Wednesday that had not been approved by the White House. 

.. By Thursday afternoon, the U.S. stock market had fallen and Trump, surrounded by his senior advisers in the Oval Office, was said to be furious.

.. This reminds me of Steve Bannon’s “plan” to announce the immigration restrictions without any warning in the first days of Trump’s presidency. No one in the rest of the government was prepared to implement them; John Kelly, then the secretary of Homeland Security, learned from television that Trump had signed the order.

..  he’s flat-out wrong when he claims, “Maybe it’ll cost a little bit more, but we’ll have jobs.”

.. the decline of jobs in the steel and aluminum industries predates the competition with China by decades. Industry experts know that this is mostly because of innovation and industry consolidation. The era of labor-intensive metal production is over.

For the Oscar-winners, the times, they’ve a-changed

The four-hour ceremony threatened to turn into a lecture on how Hollywood is already busily vanquishing racism, sexism and other ills

But the ceremony eventually came to feel less like an outraged call to arms than a long lecture, written in thick black gold capital letters, about what a wonderfully warm and welcoming place Hollywood is. Everyone agreed that the times weren’t just a changin’. They had already changed.

.. It’s understandable that, in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, the ceremony’s organisers wanted to repair some of the damage done to their industry’s reputation. But the Academy isn’t practising everything it preaches. There may have been a utopian range of presenters on the stage, but they handed the main prizes to a male director, male screenwriters, a male composer, a male cinematographer, a male editor, a male costume designer, and so on. Over all, there were six female winners on the night, and 33 male winners, which means that, basically, men won everything they possibly could, and that the female nominees didn’t get to stand up until Ms McDormand insisted that they do so during her rabble-rousing speech.

The Kennedy Center Honors Reveal Why Trump Won

In a year in which Trump has often showed bad judgment, one of his smart choices was to stay away from the Kennedy Center on Sunday night. In this case, discretion was the better part of valor, as the ceremony — like the equally cheesy Hollywood, theater, and music-industry awards shows that don’t pretend to be the same as a royal investiture — was an occasion for hours of liberal virtue signaling at Trump’s expense.

.. cheers for television producer Norman Lear. Indeed, it wasn’t entirely clear whether Lear was being honored for giving us Archie Bunker and a passel of shows that mock the prejudices and values of working-class Americans, or if he was being celebrated for his liberal activism.

.. His fellow liberals may have thought that honoring Lear in the first year of the Trump presidency was a way to poke a stick in the eye of the Donald. But the invocation of Lear’s groundbreaking All in the Family also should have given those in attendance food for thought about why it is that so many real-life working-class Americans refused to take the cues they were given by the left-leaning pop-culture world and voted for Trump last year.

.. His fellow liberals may have thought that honoring Lear in the first year of the Trump presidency was a way to poke a stick in the eye of the Donald. But the invocation of Lear’s groundbreaking All in the Family also should have given those in attendance food for thought about why it is that so many real-life working-class Americans refused to take the cues they were given by the left-leaning pop-culture world and voted for Trump last year.

.. His fellow liberals may have thought that honoring Lear in the first year of the Trump presidency was a way to poke a stick in the eye of the Donald. But the invocation of Lear’s groundbreaking All in the Family also should have given those in attendance food for thought about why it is that so many real-life working-class Americans refused to take the cues they were given by the left-leaning pop-culture world and voted for Trump last year.

.. For the television audience that will watch the show when it appears later this month on CBS, this will confirm what grassroots conservatives and working-class voters already thought about Trump’s critics. Displays like this are why so many Americans have stopped listening to sermons from their supposed betters in the arts. If liberals want to make a case against Trump that his voters will listen to, they are going to have to stop talking down to them.