Sunday, January 24, 2021

The racism of The Water Cooler Set and WANDAVISION

I loved C.I.'s "On circle jerks, sell outs and censorship" and my cousin Marcia's "Paul Jay's bad Gore Vidal 'book'" so please be sure to read them.

I do not love WANDAVISION.  Ava and C.I. noted how disappointing it was in "TV: Can anything be worse than fall 2020?" but that was about the first two episodes and the third one started streaming Friday and it's so much worse.  Really, really worse.  Ann and I were talking and we decided to cover it. We're going to publish our posts at the same time.

I'm going with Vision.  I'd forgotten he was White.  I didn't remember that until I streamed MARVEL LEGENDS -- there are two episodes, one on Wanda and one on Vision.  They use footage from the MARVEL films (Avenger films -- live action) to go over the history of the characters.  I'd forgotten we'd seen his 'human' face in the film.

Why is he White?

He's an android with a red face.  Consider MARVEL's lack of diversity in films, why didn't anyone decide to cast an African-American?  

Diversity isn't present in the DISNEY+ series either.  

Wanda and Vision live in basically an all-White town.  In the first two episodes, there was a co-work of Asian or Island origin playing Jimmy Wood but he didn't show in episode three.  There was also one African-American male in the first two episodes who was a co-worker and in episode three became a neighbor.  He has a White boss who is married to a White woman (Kitty from THAT 70S SHOW). The neighborhood's run by a White woman who terrorizes others -- including an overweight White woman -- the terror is married to a White man.  The gossip of the town is a White woman.   Episode two did feature a Black woman.  In episode three, she's evicted and we learn that this is some sort of military operation.  (She's the daughter of Maria Rambeau who was in the CAPTAIN MARVEL film and did more in that movie than her daughter does in two episodes of this bad TV show.)

In other words, the show is a little more diverse -- a tiny bit more -- than THE BRADY BUNCH that ran from 1969 to 1974.

This coming from DISNEY is appalling.  And they better address this in their other upcoming MARVEL shows.  I've counted 25 credited actors thus far -- they received screen credit and they had lines -- and only three have been Black -- that's counting a woman billed as 'shampoo girl' who appeared in a commercial.

This is appalling.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, January 22, 2021.  Silencing of dissent led to many things, including the Iraq War.  Today, we focus on the efforts to silence dissent further in the US.


What if a state of war and terror is used to make populations change their sense of democratic freedom without their ever recognizing that it's happening?  Can fear of terrorism make an entire population embrace values it would normally reject?  Would a population even realize it was becoming more and more entrenched in and comfortable with institutions that ignore the Constitution in favor of the rule of law?

Just go to an airport and stand in line at the security checkpoint.  Make people afraid enough, they will submit to anything.

The passage above from Shirley is even more pertinent as US lawmakers push for more 'terror' laws to 'protect' the United States.  Caitlin Johnstone notes:

The US political/media class have been pushing hard for more authoritarian policies to stave off the threat of “domestic terrorism” in the wake of the Capitol riot. President Biden, who was already working on rolling out new domestic terror policies well before January sixth, confirmed after the riot that he is making these new measures a priority. Political internet censorship is becoming increasingly normalized, anti-protest bills are being passed, and now we’re seeing liberals encouraged to form “digital armies” to spy on Trump supporters to report them to the authorities.

And an amazingly large percentage of the US population seems to have no problem with any of this, even in sectors of the political spectrum that should really know better by now.

“What else can we do?” they reason. “What other solution could there possibly be to the threat of dangerous fascists and conspiracy theorists continuing to gain power and influence?”

Well there’s a whole lot that can be done, and none of it includes consenting to sweeping new Patriot Act-like authoritarian measures or encouraging monopolistic Silicon Valley plutocrats to censor worldwide political speech. There’s just a whole lot of mass-scale narrative manipulation going on to keep it from being obvious to everyone.

Many religions feature a belief in 'treat others as you would like them to treat you.'  And if you were lucky to grow up with some form of a caring parental figure, you heard variations on this.  The reason is because when you do something nasty or rude to someone else, you don't have much right to complain when, as Cher sang in "My Song (Too Far Gone)," "what I did to many men was finally . . .  done to . . . me."

That is what happens.  And when laws are created to penalize those you disagree with, you better grasp that those same laws will, sooner or later, come after you.

The golden rule.  We'd hope everyone would follow the treat others as you'd like to be treated maxim out of kindness but, if nothing else, let's hope that they'll follow it for their own self-interest.   Again, to quote Cher, "What I did to many men was finally done to me."

It's already starting, the censorship.  Katie Halper Tweeted two days ago:

The Livestream That Youtube won't let me post is here with the controversial content cut out. But I'm going to keep contesting it.

Yesterday, Jimmy Dore noted the way the corporate media is promoting censorship.

And he did another segment.  This one was with Jordan Chariton.  

File it under Cher's "what I did to many men was finally done to me," in Jordan's case.  As the comments note, Jordan's been calling for the censorship of people for years.  And he's not noted here for his program due to his attacks on THE CONVO COUCH.  Maybe Jordan will learn a lesson from this?  Probably not.  But standing up for freedom of speech often means standing up for speech you don't like or speakers you don't like.  

You do that because you grasp the Constitution and you grasp the importance of freedom of speech.  Instead of re-programming centers for people AOC doesn't like, maybe we should be advocating to send the woefully undereducated AOC back to college to learn about the Constitution?

The politicians are not defenders of free speech.  The tech giants are not defenders of free speech, as Jimmy Dore and others note.  This is surprisingly to you only if you're new to this topic.  The week of August 12th, 2013, this was noted on LAW AND DISORDER RADIO:

Michael Smith:  The subtitle of your new book Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance  -- talk to me for a minute about corporate power.

Heidi Boghosian:  We know that 70% of the government's intelligence operations are conducted by private business.  They have a very co-dependent relationship in which Boeing, a lot of other military operations develop equipment specifically to conduct surveillance.  And the US government actually depends on them for analysis of data that is gathered and for setting up the internal communications system, for example, at the Pentagon.  So it behooves business, it helps their bottom line to create more sophisticated and intricate technology that the government depends on.  You must also realize that business is immune from Constitutional stricture so that they can in many cases spy free from liability and the government has given the telecommunications industry immunity from lawsuits so it really shows the extent that not only do we give them latitude but President Obama has a panel of corporate CEOs who advise him on policy. 

Heidi also addressed the issue on an August 16, 2013 broadcast of COUNTERSPIN:

Peter Hart:  Now we're talking about government spying and that's been the focus of so much one of the Snowden coverage.  One of the lessons of the book is that private companies are very much involved in this on a number of levels.  They're contractors with the federal government.  They're also hired guns on activist groups -- things that the government probably couldn't do legally but you can hire a private company to do these things.  Talk a little about the role of private companies and how they blur the distinction between government surveillance

Heidi Boghosian:  In many ways, private corporations have become the long arm of the government, doing -- as you say -- things that the government could not legally do because they're bound by the strictures of the US Constitution.  Our officials take an oath to protect the Constitution.  And, as we mentioned, some protections were set in place.  They've eroded over time but I think most Americans would be offended if they knew the level of surveillance and they're getting a hint of that now.  Corporations conduct approximately 70% of the US government's intelligence functions. We've seen a shift so that, in many cases, well trained staff move from the public sector into private jobs because they're much more lucrative.  What happens, however, is that there is no oversight and no accountability in a lot of these actions so that even members of Congress are largely in the dark about how these corporations act.  And, as you mentioned with activists, a large part of what corporations do is guard against any outside criticism of their policies so that, for example, in addition to entering into contracts with the government, they may have their own internal intelligence units that collect data, photographs, they spy on activists who are outspoken -- many times, successful activists who've actually changed policies of, say, Burger King or, you know, work that the group PETA has done to raise awareness about how we treat animals.  So environmental activists, animal rights have been deemed top domestic terrorist threats by the government and really, I think, playing into fears people have about another terrorist attack unfortunately by branding US citizens and other people who are merely exercising in most cases their First Amendment right to free speech and free activities, the right to assemble and take grievances to the government, they're being punished, labeled as terrorists, vilified and this has what we call a chilling effect on the exercise of free speech.

And as Lily Tomlin long ago noted in the seventies, big business protects big business.  Some very dangerous things are being proposed.

Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK) points out:

The last two weeks have ushered in a wave of new domestic police powers and rhetoric in the name of fighting “terrorism” that are carbon copies of many of the worst excesses of the first War on Terror that began nearly twenty years ago. This trend shows no sign of receding as we move farther from the January 6 Capitol riot. The opposite is true: it is intensifying.

We have witnessed an orgy of censorship from Silicon Valley monopolies with calls for far more aggressive speech policing, a visibly militarized Washington, D.C. featuring a non-ironically named “Green Zone,” vows from the incoming president and his key allies for a new anti-domestic terrorism bill, and frequent accusations of “sedition,” “treason,” and “terrorism” against members of Congress and citizens. This is all driven by a radical expansion of the meaning of “incitement to violence.” It is accompanied by viral-on-social-media pleas that one work with the FBI to turn in one’s fellow citizens (See Something, Say Something!) and demands for a new system of domestic surveillance.

Underlying all of this are immediate insinuations that anyone questioning any of this must, by virtue of these doubts, harbor sympathy for the Terrorists and their neo-Nazi, white supremacist ideology. Liberals have spent so many years now in a tight alliance with neocons and the CIA that they are making the 2002 version of John Ashcroft look like the President of the (old-school) ACLU.

The more honest proponents of this new domestic War on Terror are explicitly admitting that they want to model it on the first one. A New York Times reporter noted on Monday that a “former intelligence official on PBS NewsHour” said “that the US should think about a ‘9/11 Commission’ for domestic extremism and consider applying some of the lessons from the fight against Al Qaeda here at home.” More amazingly, Gen. Stanley McChrystal — for years head of Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and the commander of the war in Afghanistan — explicitly compared that war to this new one, speaking to Yahoo News:

I did see a similar dynamic in the evolution of al-Qaida in Iraq, where a whole generation of angry Arab youth with very poor prospects followed a powerful leader who promised to take them back in time to a better place, and he led them to embrace an ideology that justified their violence. This is now happening in America….I think we’re much further along in this radicalization process, and facing a much deeper problem as a country, than most Americans realize.”

Anyone who, despite all this, still harbors lingering doubts that the Capitol riot is and will be the neoliberal 9/11, and that a new War on Terror is being implemented in its name, need only watch the two short video clips below, which will clear their doubts for good. It is like being catapulted by an unholy time machine back to Paul Wolfowitz’s 2002 messaging lab.

We stand up to efforts to curtail our rights or we accept what is imposed on us.  The PATRIOT Act was never overturned despite various politicians -- liars all of them -- insisting they were opposed to it.  Remember when Barack Obama was a candidate for president and he'd grand stand on the issue but then he went along renewing it over and over.  And don't pretend like the PATRIOT Act was a surprise or that it took years to realize the harm it was doing.  In 2002, the Center for Constitutional Rights' Nancy Chang's SILENCING POLITICAL DISSENT: HOW POST-SEPTEMBER 11 ANTI-TERRORISM MEASURES THREATEN OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES.  She wrote:


The antiterrosim measures discussed in this book have placed our civil liberties in jeopardy.  And because the "war on terrorism" -- of which these measures form a part -- is likely to become a permanent feature of American life, the task of reclaiming our civil liberties in the post-September 11 world will not be an easy one.  We must exercise our constitutionally protected rights of free speech and political association to protest antiterrorism measures that infringe on political and personal freedoms, organize public education campaigns, engage in grassroots, organizing, build broad coalitions, reach out to people of faith and immigrant communities, participate in voter education and registration drives, alert the mainstream and alternative press to our concerns, write letter to the editor for publiciation in our local newspapers, and seek information from the government under the Freedom of Information Act.  In addition, we must call upon the judiciary to serve as a check against executive and lesgislative measures that violate the Constitution.  And we must call upon Congress to play an oversight role over the executive branch, pass corrective legislation where needed, and appoint judges who are sensitive to the Bill of Rights.  

Our efforts must be directed not only at the federal level but at state and local governments as well.  Since September 11, more than a thousand antiterrorism measures have been proposed in state and local jurisdictions across the nation, and already a number of them have become law.  These measures threaten to criminalize speech and protest activities, limit the availability of public records, expand government surveillance powers, and promote participation in acts the legislature deems patriotic.  

People like Chip Pitts helped organize local efforts where We The People would attend city council meetings and attempt to get resolutions passed to oppose the government's seizure of your private information from public libraries.  There were many ways to fight back.  Few chose to fight.  This is an important issue and that's why we are focusing on it right now.  Before they pass more laws that destroy our rights, we need to be focusing on what's going on.

In her book WHAT IF, Shirley MacLaine notes:

More important than any of the aforementioned, what if the ''security'' measures have never been predominantly about security, but more about the purposeful dumbing-down of Americans, making us subservient to control and authority?  What if the point of amplifying fear is to render the population cooperative with its own individual captivity?  Fear breeds handing over control, and handing over control breeds cooperative dumbing-down/  In the name of protecting freeom and democracy, we've become prisoners of our own induced obedience.

The following sites updated:

No comments: