Monday, September 16, 2019

TV: Biden and Handler privilege

Joe Biden's run for the White House, like many of NETFLIX's offerings, is just confusing.


NETFLIX dumps a lot of content.  Most of it leaves you wondering what drugs everyone was on when they decided to green light?

An exception would be JACK WHITEHALL: TRAVELS WITH MY FATHER which works as a travelogue show, as a show about the bond between a father and a son and as beefcake on the hoof since we can usually count on Jack getting naked at least once each season -- no peen but we do get butt shots -- and him appearing shirtless often enough that viewers could reconstruct his chest hair pattern with the help of a police sketch artist.

As an added bonus, Jack is actually funny.  Remember funny?  Steve Carrell doesn't.  In fact, Steve's rushed to fill the vacuum created by the death of Robin Williams -- a funny comic who wants you to 'feel' so he makes one bad film after another, films that send people fleeing from the multi-plexes, films like PATCH ADAMS or, worse (yes, there is worse), like WELCOME TO MARWEN.

What is is that makes the laugh makers deny the value of their own talent?

Who knows but someone might want pose that question to Chelsea Handler.  The Don Rickles of the 21st century has a smart mouth if not an actual brain.  When she used her insult comedy on her NETFLIX talk show, it was worth watching. (Example: Guest Martha Stewart weighs in on shows she doesn't care for.  One is ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Chelsea responds, "Too close to home?")  Too often, she failed to use her humor and that's the reason she no longer has a talk show on NETFLIX.

She does have yet another 'special.'  It's a 'documentary.'  Like all the 'documentaries' she's done for NETFLIX, it's really another look at Chelsea.  Does vanity ever end for her?   The new 'special' is 64 minutes and entitled HELLO PRIVILEGE, IT'S ME, CHELSEA --  which makes it six minutes shorter than her 2016 CHELSEA DOES RACISM 'documentary.'

Like the earlier one, this isn't a look at racism.  It's a look at Chelsea.  She talks to some of her friends who are comedians.  She tries to appear woke.  She insists that the conversation on racism needs to be led by White people, she --

Yeah, let's go back to that one.  Chelsea's an expert on racism because she's . . . White.  And she should lead the conversation because she's . . . White.  At last, all the never-shut-ups who were forced to take a back seat to actual victims of racism can, yet again, push their way to the front and dominate the conversation.

For about forty minutes, the special offers nothing of depth and, even on a superficial level, fails to deliver.

At one point, Chelsea prattles on about how "I got caught with dime bags on me with my boyfriend Tyshawn and every time he was arrested and I was let go.  It never occurred to me that it was a racial thing."

Was it really a 'racial thing'?

Chelsea was a 16-year-old girl in a car with an adult male.  The 'dime bags' weren't pot, they were heroin.  The boyfriend was doing heroin and he was dealing heroin.  The 16-year-old next to him was not doing heroin.  But the main reason she wasn't arrested was because, as she herself admits at one point (only at one point), when pulled over by the cops, she immediately ratted him out, she narced on him to the police.  At another point in the special, she will insist, "I thought the cops let me go because I had a good personality."  They let her go because she was a snitch.

That's why they let her go.

Now her White privilege probably helped her be a convincing narc but let's not pretend that there wasn't more going on and let's also get real that Chelsea's narcing on her boyfriend should have been at the forefront of a 'documentary' entitled HELLO PRIVILEGE, IT'S ME, CHELSEA and not reduced to a brief aside that a casual viewer may miss.

A viewer may miss a great deal.

At one point, she insists, "I came from nothing."


Most people who come from nothing don't make declarations like: "I'll never be done with Martha's Vineyard.  That's where I grew up."  Yes, as a child, Chelsea summered on Martha's Vineyard -- and not in a rental but in a home her family owned.

"I came from nothing"?

Why do she have to lie?

Who knows but she lies repeatedly -- for example, when she declares, "I'm really eager to have a conversation" but then reduces everyone to embarrassing soundbytes.  Or when she insists, "I don't want to keep talking" -- and then continues to talk on and on.

She speaks with the always ridiculous Tim Wise and let's him prattle on without editing.  A real shame that since he presents life as a zero sum game, a duality in which someone is either up or down.  If only life were as simple as Tim thinks it is.

In the last third, she finally shuts up and listens.  That's when she's provided with concrete steps for what she can do to help.  One thing is to go to meetings of a board that's supposed to provide oversight of the Los Angeles police department.  But it doesn't end there, she's told.  She needs to take this conversation into her world, her work, her friends, use her space to raise these issues.

Strong advice.

Too bad she doesn't take it.

The special was nonsense until the last 20 minutes.  Watching the last 20 minutes, we just knew we had the segue for our discussion about Joe Biden.

Thursday, the Democratic Party had ten contestants on the stage.  They were there for a debate.  ABC aired it.  The ten were running for the party's presidential nomination.  At the start, ABC NEWS' David Muir explained the guidelines, "The rules of this debate are very basic tonight and have been agreed to by all the campaigns in advance. Candidates will have one minute, 15 seconds to answer a direct question and 45 seconds for a rebuttal or response as directed by one of the moderators. Candidates will each see green and yellow lights -- there you see them right there -- indicating how much time they have remaining. And when time is up, the light will turn red. Candidates who interrupt will be subject to having their time reduced later on."

Pretty simple, right?

When was Joe Biden's time ever reduced?  It's a good question because in the first 15 minutes, when Bernie had been instructed to speak by the moderators, Joe interrupted Bernie mid-sentence with, "This is America!"  And he continued to interrupt throughout the debate.  So exactly when was he "subject to having [his] time reduced later on"?  The answer was never.

The first question was health care.  Joe Biden was called on to speak first -- which he did.  He was then given time for a rebuttal.  He interrupted Elizabeth Warren.  Then he was given time for a second rebuttal.  He was not recognized for a third rebuttal but he just walked over everyone and grabbed a third rebuttal.  He then went on to interrupt Beto O'Rourke.

Did no one notice this?  He was in violation of the rules.  He was acting as though it were THE JOE BIDEN SHOW and not a debate.

Finally, this took place:

STEPHANOPOULOS: This is -- health care is the top issue for everyone in the country. I want to make sure everyone gets one minute to respond. So, Secretary Castro, Andrew Yang, and then Senator Booker, you will get a minute.

CASTRO: Thank you. And, you know, I also want to recognize the work that Bernie has done on this. And, of course, we owe a debt of gratitude to President Barack Obama. Of course, I also worked for President Obama, Vice President Biden, and I know that the problem with your plan is that it leaves 10 million people uncovered.
Now, on the last debate stage in Detroit, you said that wasn't true, when Senator Harris brought that up. There was a fact check of that, and they said that was true.
You know, I grew up with a grandmother who had type 2 diabetes, and I watched her condition get worse and worse. But that whole time, she had Medicare. I want every single American family to have a strong Medicare plan available.
If they choose to hold on to strong, solid private health insurance, I believe they should be able to do. But the difference between what I support and what you support, Vice President Biden, is that you require them to opt in and I would not require them to opt in. They would automatically be enrolled. They wouldn't have a buy in.
That's a big difference, because Barack Obama's vision was not to leave 10 million people uncovered. He wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that. Your plan would not.

BIDEN: They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in.

CASTRO: You just said that. You just said that two minutes ago. You just two minutes ago that they would have to buy in.

BIDEN: Do not have to buy in if you can't afford it.

CASTRO: You said they would have to buy in.

BIDEN: Your grandmother would not have to buy in. If she qualifies for Medicaid, she would automatically be enrolled.

CASTRO: Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can't believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you're saying they don't have to buy in. You're forgetting that.

BIDEN: I said anyone like your grandmother who has no money.

CASTRO: I mean, look, look, we need a health care system...

BIDEN: She -- you're automatically enrolled.

CASTRO: It automatically enrolls people regardless of whether they choose to opt in or not. If you lose your job, for instance, his health care plan would not automatically enroll you. You would have to opt in. My health care plan would. That's a big difference. I'm fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you're not.

Julian Castro had not spoken once prior to the above.  The question was healthcare and Joe had been called on at the start.  Not only had he spoken, he had taken the time for three rebuttals.  It was time to let the other people talk but, note, Joe's jumping in and White 'splaining to Julian Castro.

Did Joe say you had to buy-in under his plan?  Yes, he did: "Fifteen seconds. Look, everybody says we want an option. The option I'm proposing is Medicare for all -- Medicare for choice. If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance -- from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don't have -- no pre-existing condition can stop you from buying in. You get covered, period."

Julian was correct.  But setting that reality aside, how about the fact that White man Joe interrupted Julian and broke the rules?

In the media aftermath of the debate, Julian was called rude and he picked on poor Joe -- no one had the integrity or honesty to note that Joe talked over Julian, broke into Julian's designated time or that Joe took for granted that he had a right to speak more than any other candidate and that the rules didn't apply to him.

America, that is White privilege.

And since that's the topic of Chelsea's special, we rushed over to her Twitter feed because she'd promised to do all she could do to be an ally to "Black and Brown people" at the end of her special.  So surely Chelsea, our most political comedian, was Tweeting all about this, right?


Not one word.

Which is how you know Chelsea's full of it today just like she was at 16 when, pulled over by the police, she snitches on her boyfriend so she can walk.

Chelsea thinks America needs to have a conversation about White privilege.  We think Chelsea needs to listen to a conversation about White privilege and actually hear what's being said.  Meanwhile we're appalled by Joe's behavior at the debate and the media's embrace of it -- most of all we're left wondering is this the way you kick off Hispanic Heritage Month?

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