BRUCE BANNER (VOICE OVER)
Dear Director Fury: We accept that we all had to give up being the stars of our own movies in order to save the world. However, we think you’re
crazy to ask us to write an essay on who we think we are. You see
us as you want to see us, on the simplest terms and the most convenient
definitions. But, what we discovered today is that each one of us is a monster…
CAPTAIN AMERICA (VOICE OVER)
…and a super soldier…
BLACK WIDOW (VOICE OVER)
…and a spy…
THOR (VOICE OVER)
…and a demi-god…
HAWKEYE (VOICE OVER)
…and an assassin…
IRON MAN (VOICE OVER)
…and a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist.
Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Avengers.
I read this article by Kirsten Powers on the Daily Beast. It’s being circulated on the internet by conservatives in response to the uproar over Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut. Powers’ premise is that it’s hypocritical for the left to call for boycotts of Limbaugh for his sexism when she can cite sexist comments by left leaning pundits like Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz, Bill Maher, and Matt Taibbi.
Surprisingly, I don’t entirely disagree. I do give Bill Maher something of a pass, because rightly or wrongly, I think of him primarily as a comedian. Howard Stern is way to the right of me and I give him a pass as well because his sexism, racism and homophobia are at least funny. I also think it’s a stretch when Powers cites Matt Taibbi calling Michelle Bachmann “bat-shit crazy” as proof of sexism. There’s nothing gender specific about “bat-shit crazy,” so it’s only sexist if all things being equal, he wouldn’t use the same language about a man. Anyone who followed Taibbi’s coverage of the Bush administration or John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign would agree that there’s nothing unique in his treatment of Bachmann.
As far as Powers’ criticism of the Matthews, Olbermann and Schultz, well, I’m the last guy to defend them. Anyone who follows me on Facebook or Twitter probably knows how useless I think the non-Rachel Maddow line-up at MSNBC is. Although, I will say, there is one glaring omission in Powers’ article. All the examples of sexism that she points to by left leaning pundits, indefensible as most of it is, is directed at politicians or other pundits: Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Michelle Malkin, etc. Not exactly shrinking violets, these ladies; all of them entered political and public life of their own free will, all must have known that taking slings and arrows came with the job and all have thrown their own jabs at their political opponents. You won’t have to look hard to find equally inflammatory remarks from right wing pundits against Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama or Rachel Maddow. Lou Dobbs once called Maddow a “tea-bagging queen, “whatever that means.
I have created a new mathematic equation; I call it The Black Actress Tragedy Index. You take the number of Oscars, Emmys and Tonys that a black actress has been nominated for and you divide that by the number of years between her most recent nomination and her first appearance in a film written or directed by Tyler Perry.
Hollywood doesn’t know what to do with black actors, especially the ones who spent their formative years studying Shakespeare, Chekov and August Wilson instead of learning how to rap or tell jokes. Hollywood doesn’t know what to do with women, especially women over forty who don’t do gratuitous nudity and aren't guaranteed the cover of Vanity Fair the month of a movie's release. So for black actresses over forty who don't sing or show their tits, Hollywood can be a tough row to hoe.
And yet, while America slept, Viola Davis earned two Oscar nominations in four years. The first for going head to head with Meryl Streep on screen and with her second, she went head to head with Meryl Streep in the Oscar race. With the exception of the Motion Picture Academy, just about everyone thought Davis would win, including Streep herself.
I hope two Oscar nominations for Viola Davis means a long and fruitful career. I hope two Oscar nominations for Viola Davis means she never has to be the black judge on an episode of Law & Order. I hope two Oscar nominations for Viola Davis means she never has to play the bougie black woman with the abusive, dark skinned husband, who falls in love with the light skinned bus driver in a Tyler Perry movie.
But I know that Oscar nominations guarantee nothing. If I was Viola Davis, I’d have Angela Bassett on speed dial. Not for nothing, but I’d love to see a remake of Thelma & Louise with Viola Davis and Angela Bassett, but instead of robbing banks like Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, they’d be in a drop-top caddie on a pilgrimage from Atlanta to L.A. to scatter Danitra Vance’s ashes on the “Y” in the Hollywood sign.
But I remain optimistic. Not only have we seen two Oscar nominations for Viola Davis in recent years, but a nomination for Gabourey Sidibe, and wins for Octavia Spencer, Mo’Nique, and Jennifer Hudson; four thick sisters, all browner than a paper bag. Looks like the red carpet is going to have to get used to women of color, women of size, women with kinky hair, and polyamorous women who don’t shave their legs.
Perhaps we're on the slow road to change, which is a good thing. After all, the only person who benefits from Hollywood’s inability to create challenging roles for black actresses is… Tyler Perry.
I’m a normal heterosexual guy in a lot of ways. I like boobs and asses, and legs. I’m a sucker for a pretty face, pretty eyes and a nice smile. I’m also a bit of a star fucker, but I don’t care fuck all about money or status. I’m a star fucker, but only because I’m attracted to whatever talent made said star a star in the first place.
I’ve discovered that I’m an achievement slut.
Are you a woman with a Masters or a PhD in a subject I’m interested in? Tell me about that. Are you a writer? Have you written something that I’ve read or want to read? That’s hot. Are you a performer? Have you spent hours, days, weeks, months or years of your life honing a skill like singing, acting or playing music? Are you an artist? Can you create something beautiful that did not exist before? Have your muscles developed in unique ways due to dance, yoga or sports?
Are you an activist? Have you fought for your rights or the rights of others? Have you fought against injustice? Do you know firsthand the benefits of helping other people?
Have you raised children? Have you nursed ailing parents or friends? Have you survived an ordeal that might have broken someone else?
If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, please read on:
Do others consider you or do you consider yourself overweight or underweight? Are you too tall or too short to be a runway model? If so, you may be my type.
Do you buck the system? Are you more comfortable in jeans and boots than a dress? Cause that’s hot. Are you just as comfortable in a dress as you are in jeans and boots, cause that’s even hotter. Do you ever wear ridiculous costumes? Do you make them yourself? Have you ever shaved your head bald? Are you comfortable leaving the house without make-up? How about without shaving your legs or under your arms?
Have you accomplished all this awesomeness in spite of, or because of, being born with a birth affect, using crutches or a wheelchair for mobility, being visually or hearing impaired, or being part of any other marginalized group?
If so, then congratulations. Not only do I respect your gangsta’, but I probably think you’re hella sexy and doubt I’m the only one who feels that way.