Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Jim: Roundtable time. We're covering movies, war, Trump and more.  Remember our e-mail address is  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't):  We are working from a prepared list of topics.  First up, the film BLACK PANTHER.

Ty: $547.8 million.  That's how much, through its third weekend, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR had made domestically.  Betty?

Betty: And this was the thirteenth week for BLACK PANTHER which, including this now past weekend, has made 696.2 million.  Do you get that?  AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR will make more than the overhyped BLACK PANTHER -- and do it all by selling tickets bought by the people sitting in the seats.

Ann: Betty's getting at the nonsense of our African-American celebrities and others buying tickets and shipping -- or I guess the term would be "bussing" -- young people into those seats.  Octavia Spencer buying out all the tickets to a movie house in Mississippi, for example.  Kendrick Lamar, Big Boi, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, Jas Waters, T.I., Jabari Parker, Damond Blue, as well as many more including NFL and NBC players and churches and attorneys and so many others.  And it is nonsense.  And this is the community, please remember, that first called out the right-wing 'best sellers' on NYT's list because of the asterisk which, if you read the note, denoted these were bulk buys.  We were opposed to that fraud so, yeah, we'd be opposed to this nonsense that was doing nothing but jacking up the box office by making it appear there was a larger demand for the film than there actually was.

Marcia: And why back that piece of crap to begin with.  There have been actual films that were about something or tried to be.  This is nothing but another grab your own crotch film.  Superhero comics are not breakthrough moments in humanity.  As Christopher Lebron noted at BLACK AGENDA REPORT, "In the end, all comes down to a contest between T’Challa and Killmonger that can only be read one way: in a world marked by racism, a man of African nobility must fight his own blood relative whose goal is the global liberation of blacks. In a fight that takes a shocking turn, T’Challa lands a fatal blow to Killmonger, lodging a spear in his chest. As the movie uplifts the African noble at the expense of the black American man, every crass principle of modern black respectability politics is upheld." and "Even in a comic-book movie, black American men are relegated to the lowest rung of political regard. So low that the sole white leading character in the movie, the CIA operative Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), gets to be a hero who helps save Wakanda. A white man who trades in secrets and deception is given a better turn than a black man whose father was murdered by his own family and who is left by family and nation to languish in poverty. That’s racist."  Bruce A. Dixon (BAR) also noted, "In the Black Panther movie, all the Wakandan players are royalty, their counselors, their advisors or their rivals. All the strikingly beautiful and capable Wakandan women take orders from men. The only unambiguous good guy is the Frodo looking CIA agent. The homicidal Killmonger character is calculated to sully the very notion of black rebellion against unjust authority, while Pan Africanism and humanism are defecated upon from multiple angles. Cinematic bar fights, car chases and battle scenes are a dime a dozen, and worst of all Wakanda isn’t even rendered in any visually inspiring way."

Cedric: And quoting Margaret Kimberley:

The reaction to the Black Panther movie is understandable given the overall production quality of the film, and the attractiveness of the setting and the characters. But the lack of political education amongst ourselves is the bigger issue here. Without that the desire for justice and inclusion can be reduced to seeing people who look like us. We may ignore a problematic political message in a film or even worse support a president who destroyed the advanced African nation of Libya. That real life villain was a black face in a high place too.
Corporate produced entertainment is just one part of a corrupt system that tells us up is down and bad is good. We can’t separate our movie going experience from anything else. There are very few Americans of any race who know that Patrice Lumumba was assassinated with the help of the CIA. There are few Americans who know his name at all and therein lies the biggest problem.

Betty: It was not about helping young Black people.  It was marketing and it was big business and it was commerce and much more economic slavery but it wasn't about helping young Black people.

Stan: And are they prepared to do the same when the sequel comes out?  Buy out movie houses?  It was beyond stupid.

Jim: Okay.  Our next topic.  #MeToo.  A number of readers wonder why we walked away from it.

Rebecca: #MeToo is the takeover Alyssa Milano and CAA did.  It's not about anything and those women are an embarrassment.  They were an embarrassment at the Golden Globes and the Oscars as they yammered away about this woman and that woman and ignored the reality that men had came forward to discuss the abuse they suffered.  It was just navel gazing from a lot of women who should have passed quietly into another career long ago.

Ava: As has been noted, when brave people like Rose McGowan spoke up, we applauded that and we still applaud real bravery like Rose's; however, we thought this was going to get at the truly defenseless.  That would be the children, not Mira Sorvino.  Instead of using their time on stage to help anyone else, they just wanted to wallow.  Like Rebecca, I have no respect for the Miras.

Trina: It's just a case of people who are adults and seem to think they are the every point of everyone's attention.  Anthony Edwards spoke out about what happened to him as a child.  But there was Mira Sorvino and others at awards show going on about themselves and going on woman, woman, woman -- uh no.  It wasn't just women who were assaulted.

Dona: Trina, you're doing more coverage of diabetes at your sight.

Trina: I am.  It's an issue that's touching a lot of people which I didn't realize.  After C.I. wrote about diabetes and the roundtable on diabetes for Hilda's newsletter, it really became a topic of e-mails to me.  I write about food at my site and there are a lot of people who are trying to deal with various issues like diabetes and finding confusion when eating out and difficulty when cooking at home. I think it's issues like this that need exploring and also allow us the opportunity to learn about our commonalities.

Jim: Okay, we're not Alyssa Milanos.  And a lot of people are happy about that.  We only endorse a candidate if we can vote in the election.  There is one e-mailer who disagrees with that and says we should be doing everything we can to elect candidates who matter.

C.I.: I'm focused on Iraq.  I don't have time to also focus on every candidate running for office around the country.  I think you have to be an airhead like Alyssa to think (a) that you can know the candidates and the local issues and needs and (b) that everyone needs to know your opinion on everything.

Mike: When I started my site, I'd probably have endorsed anyone.  I didn't.  I just naturally focused on the candidates I knew about because they were in my area.  I do agree that a lot of people are pretending to know everything when they don't.  I remember being shocked, for example, when Tammy Duckworth first ran for office and people were presenting her as a 'progressive.'  She wasn't.  But all these so-called 'progressive' sites got behind her.  Christine Cegelis was the progressive.  There's spin and there's reality.  If I'm going to endorse someone, I need to believe in them and I need to know what they stand for and what their past actions were.

Cedric: And, let's be honest, most of the candidates aren't calling for an end to all these wars.  I find it disgraceful that my country is involved in so many wars and that we are not collectively demanding these wars end.  I'm just disgusted to be honest.  The normalization of war that's taken place since 9/11 is disgusting.

Ruth: I would agree.  I am the oldest one in this roundtable and I remember growing up in a different world, a world where wars had endings and where the media was required to cover these wars.  Today, the wars are considered over when they continue and it seems like the media does a horrible job, yes, but also there is a strong desire to ignore reality on the part of the people.  How much of an idiot or a liar do you have to be to go around saying the Iraq War is over?  I do not get it.

Marcia: Agreed.  Honestly, this 'Trump's going to declare war on Iran!' hysteria?  I really don't care.  I do care if a war with Iran is started but I don't care about these people.  They stayed silent for 8 years about war and now they show up -- hysterics over a potential war that may or may not happen when they said nothing as Libya was bombed -- as Black Libyans were put into slavery because of the US?  STFU to these posers.  There are real wars, ongoing wars, to demand the ending of and they've got their panties in a wad of Iran -- a war that's not started, that may not come to be.  They're full of it and I can't stand them.

Jess: It just seems to me that we're supposed to spend a lot of our time on things Trump might do or what he's Tweeted.  real issues are not deal with -- whether it's war or what we really need like Medicare for All.  As a Green, I'm immune to this toxic rage at Donald Trump.  Democrats are so fake pretending Hillary would have been better.  And they're so fake pretending that I or anyone else doesn't have a right to vote for Jill Stein or that she didn't have a right to run.  They need to wake up to the fact that there are a lot of us who are Greens.

Ann: And who were raised Greens.  Jess and I both come from Green families.  I'm really sorry that for some pathetic people, they've never met a Green Party member but we are out there and we do have real concerns that go way beyond what someone Tweets.  As my husband [Cedric] was saying, this toleration of war -- of never ending war -- is disgusting.  I think the Democratic Party needs to take a hard look at itself.

Isaiah: I'd expand that beyond the Democratic Party.  I'd certainly include myself but I'd also include the Democratic Socialists and much more.  There is way too much hypocrisy and apathy and tribalism, to eager to define "the other" and I think that a lot of the reaction to Donald Trump is actually more outrageous than anything Trump's doing.

Wally: Every word is pounced upon.  Every statement.  It's what is the most outrageous and offensive take we can have on what he said?  The outrage machine must be fed hourly these days.

Jim: Agreed.  Okay, we're going to close with that.  This is a rush transcript you're reading.

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