Clinton 2016

The State of the Race: Will There be a Hillary Effect on the Oscar Race?

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Imagine as we enter Oscar race 2013 three strong films written and directed by women, with leading women at the forefront, one of which is crowned the early frontrunner to win. Imagine an Oscar race where it didn’t matter anymore. Maybe it’s the same year Kathryn Bigelow, Angelina Jolie and Jane Campion all have Oscar frontrunners. Even though it’s 2013, 86 years after the Oscars began, it seems an impossibility. There are too many obstacles. Most dramas, hell, most films, revolve around a central male character. Even the film that won the first and only woman Best Director and Best Picture was all about men in war. When was the last time a film with a central female character won Best Picture? 2002’s Chicago, over a decade ago.

Although most people are irritated by this conversation, it is a conversation that must be had, given that women represent over half the population. There are so many of us women, in fact, that it is odd we’re still called a minority. To understand why it’s always about the central male figure in the Oscar race, and in Hollywood in general right now (it wasn’t always the case) we need to examine a twofold problem. On the one hand, the majority of industry filmmakers and voters are male — especially within the Academy across the board in most branches, with the possible exception of the Screen Actors Guild. Ticket buyers often tend to be male because movies of all kinds target the male mentality. The other problem is that somewhere along the line women began buying tickets to the few crappy movies aimed at them because there weren’t any other better movies to choose from. Thus, the rom-com genre devolved from being pretty great in the 1970s, 80s and even 90s, into what it is now: regurgitated rescue porn.

Once women stopped being an important demographic for the “important” films they lost much of their power to drive Hollywood film decision-making, I think. Just look at what kind of impact Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart have had at the box office. Both of them have proved they can draw large numbers of female moviegoers and both have been given opportunities to do more than just be a superhero in a tentpole production. Here’s to hoping both of them recognize they have power and use that power wisely.

Twenty years ago the box office and the Oscars were both driven by films that starred women, films about women. Imagine the year when Sally Field won for Places in the Heart — two other movies about women in peril were made that year – The River with Sissy Spacek and Country with Jessica Lange. Each of these were strong women holding together families and farms. Can you imagine those movies being made now? Can you imagine even Thelma and Louise being made now?

Let’s take it one step further, can you imagine the female President of the United States? The Hillary Clinton campaign is just a rumor right now. No one knows if she will run in 2016 but her supporters are rallying the troops.

Harvey Weinstein says this year — with the success of The Butler, Fruitvale Station and 12 Years a Slave — has much to do with The Obama Effect. Is it just a coincidence that we’re living through Obama’s second term and are seeing African American and black filmmakers in the Oscar race like never before?

I am not sure the Obama effect has opened doors for black filmmakers now. But it’s hard to make a case that it hasn’t. Before Obama was leading the race for the presidency most people I knew thought there was no way a black man could ever be elected in a still-very-racist country. Hell, publishers won’t even put black actors on the covers of their magazines with any regularity. The lack of diversity at the Emmys illustrates how prime time television remains a mostly white domain. A black president in America? 10 years ago it was unimaginable. Now it’s a reality.

It once seemed as if Kathryn Bigelow’s win for The Hurt Locker in 2010 meant that doors had been kicked down in one fell swoop, that there would be a Bigelow effect. But there really wasn’t. The only slight movement has been that a few more actresses have decided to try their hand at directing. Angelina Jolie, Sarah Polley, and now, Cate Blanchett are all directing now. Perhaps making films at all is the first step but remember, filmmakers have to run the gauntlet before they ever get to Oscar.

The gauntlet is this: impress mostly white, mostly male bloggers and critics. Then, earn enough at the box office to matter. This is secondary these days but can sometimes mean the difference between utter obscurity and prominence. Then, enjoy the myth-making that comes with worshiping various film directors. You can always tell who has the cred and who doesn’t. Steve McQueen has the cred. Lee Daniels doesn’t. The cool kids rally around McQueen and they doll out snide tweets and comments against Daniels. But The Butler has more going for it than the support of the cool kids — box office and major star power. Hell, practically everyone in SAG is in it.

What female directors have the cool kids cred? Well, it helps to be pretty. Sarah Polley, Kathryn Bigelow and Sofia Coppola fit easily into the cool kids myth-making. Jane Campion is one of the best filmmakers in the world and yet she’s never really given the kind of lift-off her male contemporaries have.

This year, Jason Reitman has Labor Day, which is sweetly told from a female perspective. There is Saving Mr. Banks, about the woman who wrote Mary Poppins. There is Cate Blanchett as Blue Jasmine.  Maybe there’s Enough Said.  Maybe there’s Before Midnight.  Maybe there’s August: Osage County (Meryl Streep is practically single-handedly keeping films about women of a certain age alive and well at the box office), and then there’s that utterly rare creature, Gravity.

 

Interestingly, there is already a wave of grumbling from the usual suspects online that Sandra Bullock’s part in Gravity is a “woman’s journey,” as if that in itself is considered a liability. A woman’s journey is right up there with Eat Pray Love — which means it’s somehow tied in with Oprah which means that anything tied in with Oprah is somehow suspect. Don’t be fooled by this mindless chatter. It is textbook misogyny. Oprah happens to be one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in the world. She got there by working hard every day of her life and what does she get for that? She has to suffer the scorn of Jonathan Franzen’s superiority complex and an endless stream of disrespect coming from everyone else. The mere thought that she might win an Oscar for The Butler has white males marinating in misery.

So what would it mean if a woman became president? Even if it wouldn’t necessarily mean more female writer/directors, could it possibly mean that more stories about woman would become interesting, or (gasp) cool again? Last year’s Oscar race had only two stories about women: Zero Dark Thirty and Beasts of the Southern Wild (about a young girl).

Going back ten years we can see there are far more films that feature stories about women than there are stories about any people of color. Even still, you’re really looking at a 90% vs. 10% share here.

2012 2/9:
Zero Dark Thirty
, Beasts of the Southern Wild

2011 1/9:
The Help

2010 3/10
Winter’s Bone
, The Kids are All Right, 
Black Swan

2009 3/10:
The Blind Side
, An Education
, Precious

2008 1/5:
The Reader

2007 1/5:
Juno

2006 2/5:
Little Miss Sunshine
, The Queen

2005 1/5:
None but maybe Crash

2004 1/5:
Million Dollar Baby

2003 1/5:
Lost in Translation

While many of these characters are heroic, only a few of them are on Hillary Clinton’s level. That sort of power is more comfortably given over to their male counterparts, at least where the Best Picture race is concerned. The Queen and Zero Dark Thirty are two notable exceptions. Otherwise, they aren’t exactly powerful women being portrayed because these films necessarily reflect the culture. But what might happen if the power dynamic shifts even a little bit?

If an impossibility like that were to occur, what kind of impact would it have on the film industry, if any? No one would have guessed the Obama effect might materialize. It’s quite possible these same films would still be made. But what can’t be denied is the kind of old scabs Obama’s presidency has picked — racism is a hot topic again, in government, on Twitter and in pop culture. Why else would Lee Daniels have been inspired and enabled to make what is the best movie on the Civil Rights era to date?

The days of Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, Sally Field and Ellen Burstyn ruling the box office and Hollywood are over. In their place are much younger women who seem to get younger every year, their roles more spare. Sandra Bullock talked about this during the press conference for Gravity. She said she noticed something significant had changed since her career began. She looked around and she concluded that movies with women in the lead simply weren’t being made anymore. It was a terrifying epiphany.

Still, I can’t help but wonder what might happen if this country went through yet another transformative election. Will Hollywood execs start to look around and realize that their films aren’t reflecting reality anymore? Will women become more empowered and thus speak up more often when all they’re served at the dinner table is fantasy porn? Will that empowerment cause more resistance, as Obama’s presidency has? Will writers and directors start inventing strong women in cinema again? Will critics find a cool enough female filmmaker to build a myth around — or to see it from their perspective, will women start to make movies that are deserving of their approval?

I don’t know what Hillary Clinton’s presence as a world leader would do to change the minds of the five white guys in suits who run the Hollywood studios. 2016 is three years away with nothing but empty spaces that need to be filled everywhere you look. The American people voted Obama in. Twice. Hollywood had to catch up. But that won’t stop me from imagining what a woman in the White House might do, if, for no other reason, it would give some hope to the young girls growing up who until now have only known the bleak landscape of role models Hollywood offers up.

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166 Comments

  1. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    ” Oprah happens to be one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in the world. She got there by working hard every day of her life and what does she get for that? She has to suffer the scorn of Jonathan Franzen’s superiority complex and an endless stream of disrespect coming from everyone else. The mere thought that she might win an Oscar for The Butler has white males marinating in misery.”

    I’m pretty confident that what the world needs is more Jonathan Franzen and less Oprah Winfrey, thank you very much!

    I’m a white male and, yes, the thought of Oprah winning an Oscar has me marinating in misery. You know why? Because she’s starring in the most tedious movie I have seen all year. It’s not that she’s bad exactly, but why would anybody want to see an Oscar winner out of a deeply mediocre film like The Butler that amounts to nothing but an easy scrapbook version of American history?

    But, no, no, of course it’s not about a lousy movie, it’s about misogyny. Of course it is. Am I also a racist for hating all of Lee Daniels’ movies?

    But: Good luck with Hillary in 2016. I will support you all the way on that one. And I mean that sincerely.

  2. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    “Why else would Lee Daniels have made what is the best movie on the Civil Rights era to date?”

    Lee Daniel’s The Butler is so-so at best. Mississippi Burning was much better imo. And I couldn’t care less abt “cool kids cred” (proof: I relentlessly supported The King’s Speech and Les Misérables and I’m counting the days until the release of Saving Mr. Banks).

    Other than that, I don’t know either if there’s an Obama effect or if there’ll be a Hillary effect (there was clearly a George W. Bush effect: Fahrenheit 911, The Hurt Locker, Silver Linings Playbook) but I do know I like good movies and very rarely pay attention to whether the lead is male or female.

  3. drake
    September 25, 2013

    “Although most people are irritated by this conversation”…

    i’ve been a faithful follower of AD for years and years… i just can’t put up with it anymore. you’ve lost at least one reader/follower.

  4. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    I know what you mean, Drake. Trust me.

    But this forum is about more than one person’s deeply flawed thinking. It’s about you and me and everyone here who’s interested in engaging in interesting discussions about a medium we love. I stopped caring about the “editorial content” years ago. Luckily, AD is about so much more.

  5. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    “I’m pretty confident that what the world needs is more Jonathan Franzen and less Oprah Winfrey, thank you very much!”

    Oh right, I guess there isn’t enough cynism, negativity, snobbishness and prickishness in the world yet. Whether Oprah does not sound smart or intellectual enough for you or whether you assume billionaires or TV personalities are necessarily bad people, is your problem. But Oprah sure did much more than Jonathan Franzen will ever do to inspire people and help the world become a better place.

  6. drake
    September 25, 2013

    I agree. Editorial content has never been a strength of AD. And i agree with your point about film lovers engaging in interesting discussions about the medium we love but still the editors here again and again are guiding that discussion away from those possible interesting discussions about cinema… its too much to deal with.

  7. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    What the world needs, Christophe, is reflection, first and foremost. I don’t care whether that reflection is intellectual per se, or whether it’s cynical or snobbish or whatever you may want to call it.

    We need more reflection and we need authors because they have the power to make us reflect and think about our existence in a profound, meaningful way.

    I don’t want a world where people need a television talk show host to “inspire” them, I want a world where they are constantly being challenged and stimulated and provoked.

  8. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    But I did find an interesting quote on Franzen’s Wikipedia profile that could be applied to Hollywood and somehow backs up Sasha’s claims:

    “So much of reading is sustained in this country, I think, by the fact that women read while men are off golfing or watching football on TV or playing with their flight simulator or whatever. I worry — I’m sorry that it’s, uh — I had some hope of actually reaching a male audience and I’ve heard more than one reader in signing lines now at bookstores say “If I hadn’t heard you, I would have been put off by the fact that it is an Oprah pick. I figure those books are for women. I would never touch it.” Those are male readers speaking. I see this as my book, my creation.”

  9. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    “We need more reflection and we need authors because they have the power to make us reflect and think about our existence in a profound, meaningful way.”

    Right so I guess you should be happy that Oprah is not doing mindless television and has even launched a book club to encourage her audience to read more, and that now other TV shows are emulating her and launching their own book clubs.

  10. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    I’m not here to lash out at Oprah, I’m here to defend people like Franzen. That’s what I’m concerned with.

    Oprah’s book club? Spectacular.

    The editor made a misguided remark about “textbook misogyny” and that’s what made me react, Christophe.

  11. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    “I figure those books are for women, I would never touch it.”

    Isn’t that textbook misoginy? I know it wasn’t Franzen who said that, he was just reporting it, but still it’s very chilling. As if a book by or for or about women couldn’t be good or interesting.

  12. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    The way I read that quote, Christophe, Franzen is scolding his male readers, and emphatically not female readers or books for and about women. He is talking about his male readers’ PERCEPTION about “female” literature.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but then you need to give me a longer quote that provides a broader context.

    Franzen’s a very opinionated man, and sometimes he says things I definitely don’t agree with. I’m not here to defend his every whim. But we should hold people like him in high regard nevertheless, because they care to provoke and challenge the status quo. They force us to reflect. And that’s always a good thing.

  13. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    Think what you will of her, but Hollywood fucked-up majorly when they gave THE IRON LADY to Phyllida Lloyd and Abi Morgan. That shit should have been directed by Kathryn Bigelow or even better -should she be interested-, Andrea Arnold. Written by Graham Moore? That is the story about women’s struggle and a woman in power. Two of the fascinating aspects to explore, is the -often- irrational and incredibly emotional reaction Maggs triggered in people, and how that might have to do with her being a woman, also super interesting to me, is how the feminist movement -if there’s such a thing- has never claimed her. I dream of what could have been.

  14. PJ
    September 25, 2013

    What about Blue is the Warmest Color? Looks like you got 2 for the price of 1 there.

  15. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    The world needs for Jonathan Franzen to write another novel like The Corrections but otherwise to shut the hell up.

  16. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    Did y’all read about how Franzen became an angry man? It had to do with a German girl not having sex with him because it was his decision not to have sex with her. Let me see if I can find the quote.

  17. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    “Franzen is scolding his male readers, and emphatically not female readers or books for and about women.”

    That’s why I said: “I know it wasn’t Franzen who said that [...] but still it’s very chilling”. Him going on Oprah, which he did 10 yrs after their fallout, and accepting his second Oprah’s Book Club Selection might actually help alter the perception that there are books for women and books for men and the underlying pernicious idea that the female experience is widely and irreconcilably different from the male experience, that is unrelatable, if not less profund or less important.

  18. September 25, 2013

    The first 2/3rds of Frazen’s Freedom made me think he was about to surpass The Corrections but the rest of it fizzled for me. I’m not at the desk right now so can’t write much, but if anyone wants to understand how Franzen felt about Oprah when she helped him gain fame and fortune, Franzen is eager to tell about that period of time himself. Read about it in his own words: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2013/08/jonathan_franzen_s_the_corrections_and_oprah_winfrey_s_book_club.html I like Frazen as a brilliant author but I like what I see in Oprah as a compassionate human better. We’re lucky to have both of them contribute to American culture. Franzen is luckier to have known Oprah than she is to have known him.

  19. Le Jpns Viewer
    September 25, 2013

    Thanks for a good read, Sasha.

    From a non-American point of view, though one relatively au courant […], I believe Ms. Clinton has what it takes to lead people — politically. She comes across as someone intelligent, charismatic, seemingly powerful with years of experience in the field both as the First Lady and one in towering posts. I can imagine her going shoulder to shoulder as the world leader with other G7/G8 big shots. All the best.

    “The gauntlet is this: impress mostly white, mostly male bloggers and critics.”

    To be honest, I tend to agree with you on the first item, the gauntlet being white people in general. That said, I believe in glass half full so to me: only in case where everything else are equal re hopeful, cinematic performances, let’s say among Caucasian-looking thesps, black actors and then performers of Far East Asian origin, then, (the Caucasian voters or those who see themselves so) they some of them if not many might, somewhat understandably, opt for the white option. I mean [call me naïve] I don’t believe in pure racism in Hollywood in terms of #voting# for Oscar; otherwise, Denzel Washington et al would never have had a chance at first….

    [Self-edited prior to posting]

  20. September 25, 2013

    And imagine if a film could be nominated for Best Picture and Director from the perspective of two gay women, in Blue Is the Warmest Colour? How great that would be!

    Let’s have the following nominated for Best Director at the Oscars this year:
    Kristina Buozyte for Vanishing Waves
    Claire Denis for Bastards
    Maja Milos for Clip
    Sarah Polley for Stories We Tell
    Yesim Ustaoglu for The Track

    …?

  21. September 25, 2013

    Oh gosh, I’m one of those white male bloggers! :(

  22. John
    September 25, 2013

    What is the relationship between George W. Bush and Silver Linings Playbook?

  23. September 25, 2013

    Gosh, just don’t read it if you’re so irritated! Avoid discussions of women’s rights if they offend you so much.

    i just can’t put up with it anymore

    Woe is you!

  24. steve50
    September 25, 2013

    The cool kids rally around McQueen and they doll out snide tweets and comments against Daniels.

    Not to be snide, but that’s because Daniels is a poor director. The difference between the two is not restraint, as such, but control and honesty.

    Never once in any Lee Daniels film did I buy into what he was doing – ever – or what he had his actors do. Pure histrionics simply to create drama. His chosen subject matter has plenty of drama built-in already, but his bullhorn style negates the entire point he’s trying to make.

    Yes, he’s gay, and black, and his topics are “important”, but his approach is phony and unwatchable. Makes Ken Russell seem like Malick.

  25. September 25, 2013

    But this is a discussion about cinema! Or do you consider women to be irrelevant to your idea of cinema?

    Editorial content? AD’s content is at the discretion of its editors, and it has no obligation to satisfy the demands of anyone but them. You want editorial content tailored to yours? Go make your own website.

  26. John
    September 25, 2013

    Could someone please explain to me what is so great about Hillary Clinton? Name one accomplishment. Just one will do. And try to do so without mentioning that she is a woman. Madeline Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Susan Collins, Olympia Snow, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Elizabeth Dole, Jeanne Shaheen, Kelly Ayotte, Deb Fischer, Elizabeth Warren, Kay Hagen, Amy Klobuchar, Lisa Murkowski, Mary Landrieu, Debbie Stabenow, Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Tammy Baldwin, Barbara Bush, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sandra Day O’Connor, among others, have been able to be evaluated independently of their gender. I would like to see Secretary Clinton evaluated by the same standards as other American figures.

  27. Le Jpns Viewer
    September 25, 2013

    Patrick,

    My response re the gauntlet has been directed #only# toward the white voters – NOT bloggers and critics.

    I wrote this: “[Self-edited prior to posting]”

    The following is what I omitted at first:

    As for (English-speaking) male bloggers and critics, to be honest, I tend to think you [Sasha] probably have read into it too much.
    People may give us readers some annoying stunt reviews but it doesn’t mean women are the one and only victimized group. They’ve made fun of Tom Cruise’s height [so have both Kidman and Holmes, perhaps], non-Anglophone names (Beast kid’s, and now the 12 Years’ guy’s); etc. — they were just in their dumb mode temporarily before getting back to the real world; I don’t think they most of them are really malicious in that sense….

  28. September 25, 2013

    You know the strange thing about that list of people who you insist have never been evaluated by noting their gender? They’re all women. Just a coincidence? Or have you somehow accidentally contradicted whatever gender-blind point you thought you were making?

  29. September 25, 2013

    lol @ Barbara Bush and “accomplishments.” Are you testing us to see if we’re paying attention?

  30. John
    September 25, 2013

    Ryan, that is precisely the point. These are female public figures in the United States who have built reputations independent of their gender. Condoleezza Rice is evaluated by the same criteria as Colin Powell. Clinton, for whatever reason, is not. This is despite the fact that she is a trailblazer in no substantial way. She is not the first female US Senator. She is the 30th. She is not the first female Secretary of State. In fact, at her time in office, three of the last four Secretaries of State had been women. Yet for some reason, the majority of articles about Secretary Clinton specifically recognize her gender. She is somehow considered a uniquely female public figure. You do not read many articles considering a “Condoleezza Rice effect” or “Madeline Albright effect” on the Oscar race, for example. As someone who I expect would like to see women in equal company as men, I imagine you would consider this a step backward, as I do. Albright and Rice were Secretaries of State. Clinton is, somehow, a Female Secretary of State. This isn’t helpful for women who would like to stand alongside men as equals, as each of those Secretaries, Senators, and Justices I listed do every day.

  31. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    What is the relationship between George W. Bush and Silver Linings Playbook?

    +1

  32. John
    September 25, 2013

    I only listed Barbara Bush because she was the First Lady before Hillary Clinton. As First Lady is one of the three public positions Clinton is known for, I thought it would be unfair to omit. The comparison to Bush is not as important as the comparisons to other Secretaries of State or Senators, however.

  33. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    An incoherent, born-again man moves into his parents’ (former) house and meets a dangerous partner who asks him to take part in a useless and foolish endeavor to prove himself he can succeed at smth and repay his father’s debt.

  34. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    That’s funny, I had the exact same reaction to Freedom. “Fizzled” is the right word!

    Btw, when you say that Franzen is luckier to have known Oprah than vice versa, you are simply stating the fact that more people know Franzen because of Oprah than the other way around. That hardly says anything of real importance (or substance) to why we should engage with either of them.

  35. John
    September 25, 2013

    That is ridiculous.

  36. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    The only difference is SLP actually had a happy ending: they won the dance competion and saved the money, whereas George and Dick lost the war and crashed the economy.

  37. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    Well put, Steve!

  38. Jpns Viewer
    September 25, 2013

    (This is how I made a blunder only this time.)

    Sasha wrote: “The gauntlet is this: impress mostly white, mostly male bloggers and critics.”

    I understood what she wrote. BUT I was multi-tasking and somehow careless enough to have taken the sentence in a slightly different way — I itemized it into three parts. (See the first comment.)

  39. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    For anyone with just a passing interest in Barbara Bush (and her husband) I would strongly recommend Marjorie Washington’s brilliant essay about her. You can find in her posthumous collection ‘The Woman at the Washington Zoo’ (which also contains some of the best reflections I have ever come across on the process of dying).

  40. Pepper
    September 25, 2013

    That is awesome and hilarious.

  41. September 25, 2013

    You do not read many articles considering a “Condoleezza Rice effect” or “Madeline Albright effect” on the Oscar race, for example.

    Apparently you didn’t read this article about the Hillary Effect very carefully either.

    Its about Hilliary Clinton becoming the first female American President.

    The reason we don’t read a lot about the Condoleeza Effect as a role model is because the effect Condoleeza had on the world was to facilitate the slaughter of 1.5 million Iraqis on the basis of a pack of lies and she was right out in front as one of foremost female liars of her generation.

  42. September 25, 2013

    Holy whoa, what an astonishing florish of scathing genius. Wow.

  43. Jpns Viewer
    September 25, 2013

    “Name one accomplishment. Just one will do.”

    I am signing out now but before I go, here you are.

    Briefly put: To suspend the reality and pretend to look at it from an American viewpoint, [self-edited] if you’d like, I would say, the opening up of Myanmar, perhaps, through the so-called — I think this is the popular term used among the Anglophone media — “people-to-people” strategy….

  44. John
    September 25, 2013

    I’m aware. And thus my question: what on Hillary Clinton’s resume suggests that she should be the first female American President? We’ve yet to see her perform a job effectively, particularly her most recent one.

  45. John
    September 25, 2013

    A fair answer, despite that the process of normalization was years in the works and occurred mostly on the Myanmar side. It’s the first thing I think of when I rack my brain for a Hillary accomplishment. However, it’s an event the vast majority of Clinton fanboys aren’t aware of. It’s also a pretty scant achievement compared to other recent Secretaries (consider James Baker) and when taken alongside the implosion of American relations in Russia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Europe, especially.

  46. Bob Burns
    September 25, 2013

    yes.

    yes there would/will be a Hillary affect.

    women off a different kind of leadership and everyone will give their attention to it.

    moreover, men (including me), often have a hard time giving attention to women… it’s deeply ingrained and you just have to try to notice when it happens…. having a woman as the center of everyone’s attention would/will be profound.

  47. September 25, 2013

    Thank you, Jpns Viewer. I suspect if john really wanted to learn anything specific about Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments he would take the initiative and at least do the For Dummies thing and check her record in wikipedia before coming here to ask to be educated. He takes it for granted that Albright and Rice accomplished many things in their terms as Secretaries of State, but somehow he seems to think it was nothing but an honorary playtime pretend job when Hillary took on the same responsibilities. Likewise it’s no accomplishment in his eyes for Hillary Clinton to have served as Senator. The 99 other Senators? well sure, that would rate as a genuine acheivement for most of those individuals. Serving as Senator looks good on most resumes and worth mentioning in most biographies. But if Hillary is elected Senator, that’s obviously no big deal to john. So I’m not going to play this game with him.

  48. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    Just for the record, I’m independent and loathe both parties equally (same goes in my own home country) and I could easily write smth of the same ilk about Hillary, comparing the success of the mission depicted in Argo to the Benghazi debacle, but I don’t want to rain on Sasha’s parade…

  49. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    We may disagree about Franzen, Christophe, but your Bush/SLP analogy is brilliant!:)

  50. brace
    September 25, 2013

    “Although most people are irritated by this conversation”…

    It may be irritating but women should complain for being treated as a minority when they are actually majority in most countries (including U.S.)
    but not just that movies with female leads, directors and women as target audience are sparse, but are also not very good, usually very cheesy and forgettable (nobody remembers those movies from 1984 you mentioned) and not very respected. people use the term chick-flick to diss movies. movies with women in their center are just not cool and guys don’t watch them, while women watch movies about men. but then again many women are not interested in serious women stories either.
    also just a little reminder – Bigelow won Oscar for directing a movie without women.
    so this conversation should continue until women are treated as equal.

  51. rufussondheim
    September 25, 2013

    Hillary’s greatest accomplishment is defeating the right wing’s smear attempts to discredit, dismantle and destroy her viability as a prominent national politician. She is ridiculously popular despite being attacked from the right for three decades now.

    And look at Chelsea Clinton, anyone who can raise a daughter that poised, that intelligent, that strong, in those conditions, well, I trust her to lead a nation and the world.

    She also has a lifetime of fighting for children, for the disadvantaged, for the people who would most benefit from a compassionate government. From her work as a private lawyer in the 1980′s until today, she’s always been a part of her political stance.

    She has her problems, name a person who has been in the public eye for as long as she that doesn’t, but for the most part she’s an incredible individual who, more than any other person I can think of, deserves a shot at being president.

  52. Watermelons
    September 25, 2013

    I dig this editorial, but there’s ONE word I would change…

    “This year, Jason Reitman has Labor Day, which is sweetly winningly told from a female perspective.”

    One little adverb alteration to reflect my own opinion about Labor Day and its chances to win a statue or two on Oscar Night!

  53. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    “…when taken alongside the implosion of American relations in Russia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Europe, especially.”

    So Hillary’s supposed strained relation to four non-democracies says something inherently bad about her?

    Sure, compared to plenty of Republican Secretaries of State in the past who supported government-sanctioned death squads in autocratic regimes, Hillary is a bit off when it comes to dealing with tyrants and the like.

    As for Europe? What on earth do you mean? If anything, Hillary contributed vastly to bettering the US-European relations in the aftermath of the catastrophic Bush years. She played a vital part in reestablishing the US as a trusted partner.

  54. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    Well, to be honest, I kind of see his point now, though I’m saddened that some (many) people would refuse to read a good book just because it was selected by Oprah’s book club or because it’s perceived as “a girl book”. On the other hand I would be equally saddened if there were such people who’d refuse to read any book that was not first recommended by Oprah.

  55. September 25, 2013

    “Many women are not interested in serious women’s stories…”? You mean compared to the millions of men who skip Iron Man 3 and pack theaters to see Fruitvale Station instead? At least the men who go to movies at all if they can take a break from wasting a billion man-hours every year watching football and playing Grand Theft Auto. All THOSE serious men?

  56. ScottD
    September 25, 2013

    Wow this thread is crazy..

  57. John
    September 25, 2013

    Considering that I and my family members have worked at American embassies before, during, and after Secretary Clinton’s tenure, of course I am very familiar with the facts of her term in office. And yes, I would consider the normalization of Myanmar relations to be something of a minor accomplishment, although it deserves the historical and political perspective that vastly underwrites Clinton’s personal role. It’s clear to most foreign policy experts that the failure of the Russian “reset” strategy and the Asia pivot, as well as the devastating lack of policy post-Arab Spring and the botched negotiation of Iraq SOFA are more significant barometers of her disappointing reign as America’s chief diplomat. David Brooks and Mark Shields of PBS, among others, arrived at this conclusion after her resignation.

    Have other recent Secretaries been more successful? Sure. Although nothing will convince me that Condoleezza Rice was qualified for office, I would hold the Iraq troop surge against Clinton’s entire resume. James Baker’s tenure in the early 1990s, amidst the fall of the USSR and the first Gulf War, is one of the most impressive performances of a public servant in American history. Warren Christopher, President Clinton’s first Secretary of State, oversaw the NATO expansion, the recognition of Palestine under the Oslo Accords, and the normalization of relations with Vietnam. Yes, I would gladly take any of these Secretaries, and their list of accomplishments, over the disappointing tenure of Hillary Clinton.

    Is being elected Senator an achievement? In and of itself, certainly. It hardly qualifies one to serve as President, though. I don’t think there are any currently seated US Senators who would make effective Presidents. James Baker would make a good President.

  58. September 25, 2013

    I think you’re coming from a good place, Brace, but it’s veering perilously close to a wacky assertion to suggest there are fewer women than men sitting in seats at serious movies.

  59. John
    September 25, 2013

    “So Hillary’s supposed strained relation to four non-democracies says something inherently bad about her?”

    Well, yes. It’s part of the job description. I can’t imagine you expect American Secretaries to only communicate effectively with democracies, of which there are few of. And while Republican Secretaries have also blundered in this department (George Shultz), the position of Secretary of State is essentially non-partisan.

    In regard to Europe, yes, things have gotten bad. This is partially due to the increased pugnacity of European leaders (especially in France), but Clinton is hardly blameless. There’s more European frustration about American absence in North Africa and the Levant than you might realize.

  60. September 25, 2013

    We have vastly different estimations of the accomplishments of Condoleezza Rice. You’re impressed with a troop surge for a disastrous war that she helped lead us into, an unnecessary war that was hyped up with her slimy warnings of mushroom clouds. I’m impressed that she managed to wiggle out of being convicted of war crimes. You see some sort of savvy strategist. I look at her and see a mass murderer.

  61. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    Indeed.

    As someone who isn’t normally attuned to or well versed in watermelonese, I almost felt a pang of joy when I noticed that the head of the tribe had finally made his appearance in this very thread and in his usual non-despairing way neglected to address anything of any relevance. Well done, watermelons. That’s what we need when things get heated around here (whether we talk about Barbara Bush, textbook misogyny, Franzen vs. Oprah or the normalization of the Myanmar relations)

  62. Alec
    September 25, 2013

    I mostly agree with this point. Both sexes tend to avoid “serious” movies when you compare the attendance of an Iron Man 3 to Frutivale Station. I saw both and enjoyed the latter much more, but I only know a few people who have even heard of that film as compared to IM3.
    I think, as a man who loves movies and wasting hours watching pro football, we can all agree that women aren’t given many opportunities to show which of those two types of movies they prefer. I would guess they would have a higher attendance at more serious fare aimed at them than men currently do with serious fare aimed at them, but that is based on nothing more than my conversations with both sexes about movie preferences.

  63. julian the emperor
    September 25, 2013

    Well, John, Europeans are always frustrated with Americans…that’s our favorite pastime, you know.

    But I can tell you one thing for sure: Most European governments were extremely frustrated with Rice and Powell and felt a pang of relief when Clinton stepped in and made sure that a more balanced relationship could be reintroduced.

    I agree with you about the principled non-partisan role of a Secretary of State, but in reality that’s hardly always the case and sometimes that’s for the better. Do you think the US relations with Iran has been non-partisan these last 34 years? Sometimes you need to take a stand against non-democratic rulers, if Clinton made relations with the soon-to-be-completely-autocratic Russia worse, then I wouldn’t hold that against her.

  64. John
    September 25, 2013

    Condoleezza Rice is anything but a savvy strategist and my opinion of her is not high. I’ve always seen her appointment straight from academia to the NSC as incredibly foolish, and once there she served as an underqualified mouthpiece for risky policies. Her role in the troop surge was slight, and the bulk of credit goes to Stephen Hadley and Robert Gates. However, I will take even her peripheral involvement in that success above Clinton’s tenure for the reasons I stated above.

    If Rice’s jockeyism for Iraq as NSA in 2003 bother you, do you not feel the same way about Hillary Clinton? She was in a position of vastly more political influence at the time.

  65. September 25, 2013

    Oh sorry sorry I forgot to say PRO football :) I never get the proper respectful lingo right. Naturally I wasn’t talking about the less urgent work of the Amateur Football League.

    Wasn’t thinking clearly. I’m still sorting out what brace said about how “movies with women at the center just aren’t cool.”

  66. John
    September 25, 2013

    Julian, I’d say that’s a very accurate descriptor of how things stood when Hillary Clinton took the oath of office. Then the Arab Spring came along, and, well…things changed quickly.

    When I lived in the Middle East from 2006-2008, I thought the locals could not possibly despise Americans more than they did under the Bush administration. Things intensified, and I was proven wrong. Sadly, long-standing prejudice against blacks in the Arab community may be helping to feed this. There may never have been a man more deeply hated than President Obama in the Middle East.

    And yes, I do think Iranian relations have been essentially non-partisan. Both Bush and Obama have laid out the tough talk on theocratic autocracy, and completely balked when given the opportunity to do something about it.

  67. September 25, 2013

    Your grasp of all this is demonstrably greater than mine, John. I mean that sincerely. Believe me, the very last thing I wanted to discuss on this page was Condofreekinleezza Rice. It was you who listed her as an example of a woman in power who used her power more effectively than Hillary has.

    So let me just repeat my main objection to that absurd assertion. To me Hillary’s term as Secretary of State is more admirable than Condi’s because Hillary does not have the blood of a half million innocent Iraqi women and children on her hands.

    Maybe to you, relatively speaking, that’s a small accomplishment. But I tend to lean toward leaders who don’t play a part in mass slaughter if there’s a woman who seeks peaceful solutions instead. Call me crazy, but I’m insulted that you would toss Rice into a discussion about women who “accomplished” more than Hillary has. You brought it up, so I’m just telling you in plain terms how deeply sick and insensitive any such comparison sounds to me.

  68. September 25, 2013

    Thanks rufussondheim, I wish I’d taken this path to make my point but you’ve said it better than I could.

  69. CB
    September 25, 2013

    I’m the biggest Hillary supporter in the world, but I don’t think her becoming president (God willing) will have an effect on who gets hired to write and direct big enough movies that they get awards consideration.

    I think, Sasha, there’s one law that you’re missing: the law of the free market. Why would Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar win for a very low-grossing movie get more women hired? The issue isn’t that studios see a woman’s name and don’t give her work. They issue is they hear a pitch from someone and decide the money is better spent on something that can generate revenue. And besides, if any woman directed a ‘woman-y movie’ in 2009 that should’ve won an Oscar it was Jane Campion for ‘Bright Star’ . Bigelow won her Oscar by doing competent and generic action movie work that was sub-Tony Scott level. How anyone could think the work on ‘The Kingdom’ (not a great movie) is not Oscar-worthy if ‘Hurt Locker’ is is blinding themselves. Bigelow won an Oscar by breaking no artistic barriers and in fact showing that she could direct a movie that didn’t have a hint of normative feminine style, whatever that is.

    Now, if ‘Bright Star’ had won the Oscar, I think we’d be seeing a few more poetic female movies with intelligence. And that’d be great! There’s a story that when Jane Austen first published under a male pseudonym most readers – male and female – immediately rejected the idea that it was written by a man. Because it was just so informed by the female experience. I don’t see prejudice in that assumption because that’s just insight. As a man, I don’t know the female experience – in fact, that’s what film and literature and music is for – to intimately spend time in some facsimile of it. Was there anything ‘female’ about Bigelow’s movies? No! Nothing! There was NOTHING female or personal or anything in ‘Hurt Locker’ or ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’ In fact, Jessica Chastain herself didn’t play a character, so much as a stalwart-looking ‘tough woman’ with no real emotions, and no real performance. That’s not a strong female character – that’s just a strong female.

    Female directors and writers are more likely to prefer to share aspects of the female experience than their male counterparts, because what is art but a reflection of experience. Had Bigelow done that on some level, we’d have more movies that really were from the female perspective. But instead, she showed how she could be just as tough as a man, so tough that her work was absolutely sexless or macho, so it looks like if female directors want to take home the gold, they’ll have to do a man impression.

  70. CB
    September 25, 2013

    Sorry – not Jane Austen – the Brontes. Oops :(

  71. John
    September 25, 2013

    Thank you Ryan, and I’m glad I was able to communicate that.

    In regard to Clinton and Rice though, my question stands. If Rice’s advocacy for the invasion of Iraq upsets you so, are you not equally appalled by Hillary Clinton?

    Remember that, at the time of the invasion, Condoleezza Rice was not Secretary of State. As NSA she was the most junior member of the NSC (NSA is not even a statutory NSC position). She had no influence over anyone in the NSC and the American public was not acquainted with her. In fact, she had famously poor relationships with the other members of the NSC, including senior members Cheney and Rumsfeld, who openly hated and disrespected her.

    Clinton, on the other hand, was the most well-known Democratic US Senator, and the de facto legislative leader of her party. She was well known to the public and demonstrably steered public opinion and the legislature to support the war. Should you not be more upset by her advocacy for Iraq, which made significantly more difference?

    I did not list women who had demonstrated power more effectively than Clinton (most are just US Senators). I listed women who are evaluated by other criteria than their gender. Many in the American public are so fixated on Secretary Clinton’s gender that they fail to properly consider her career. Rice is not remembered as a “female” Secretary of State. Clinton is.

    The reason Hillary Clinton should not be President of the United States has nothing to do with her gender. It’s because she’s been an ineffective and often damaging occupant of each public office she’s held. You are able to evaluate Rice on this criteria, and I think you should evaluate Clinton similarly. Especially when considering your primary criticism of Rice as NSA applies to Clinton as Senator to an even greater extent.

  72. September 25, 2013

    Best comment in OW / AD history, anyone?

  73. September 25, 2013

    Don’t worry, I understand your point :)

    Oh eck, you called me Patrick! How formal!

  74. September 25, 2013

    GO ON HILLZ!

  75. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    Yeah I tend to agree with this line of thinking. Except I kind of enjoy his films, Daniel’s that is. LEE DANIEL’S THE PAPERBOY is just so much fun. Oh and the shot at legendary Ken Russel (ALTERED STATES, A WOMAN IN LOVE) was unnecessary. I think people’s mistake is to think of Daniels as a serious filmmaker –or take too seriously those who think he is a serious filmmaker.

  76. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    I disagree, but everyone -including me- loathe W, and most people here despise SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK/David O. Russell, so I give in. I have no desire to be told to shove it.

    I gotta hand it though, it sounds very good, Christophe

  77. September 25, 2013

    I listed women who are evaluated by other criteria than their gender.

    I misunderstood you.

    Many in the American public are so fixated on Secretary Clinton’s gender that they fail to properly consider her career…

    Surely you’re not trying to tell me that the American public is unaware of the gender of those other women you listed? Please tell me how this “fixation” with gender manifests itself ore with Hillary. I’d also like to know what sort of survey you’ve seen that asks the American public about the degree to which they’re “fixated” with Hillary’s gender. Have you just done an informal poll among all the people you know who can’t stop thinking about how Hillary sure is a fine-looking woman?

    I don’t buy into your assessment at all. Everybody knows that all those women are women. How does Hillary’s womanhood stand out any differently? You’ll need to show me some proof, John.

    We All Know That ALL those Women are Women, yes? Are you telling me nobody ever talks about how Ruth Bader Ginsberg is a woman? That’s just nuts. You are simply wrong.

    Rice is not remembered as a “female” Secretary of State. Clinton is.

    Sorry. But that’s Bullshit. Can I ask for a show of hands here on this page? Please.

    Who here can remember whether or not Condoleezza Rice was a woman?

    Was that never mentioned by anyone in the media? Even to the extent that pundits spoke about her almost mentally-ill girlfriend/boyfriend relationship with George W Bush? Did I dream all that?

    Did we not all hear her referred to in the media for YEARS as “Condi”? Let me ask this: Did the media ever refer to Henry Kissinger as Hank? Did they call James Baker with a cute nickname Jimmy?

    Or is “Condi” the sort of diminutive endearment and tacit constant reminder that Condi was a little lady? Did they even refer to those MALE Secretaries of State by their first names alone at all? Ever?

    No. But how many thousands of times did we hear pundits talk about Condoleeza and Condi — talking about her by her first name alone — the way you’d talk about a secretary on Mad Men. As only a woman would be.

    Who here has forgotten than Condoleeza Rice and Madeline Albright were women? Anybody?

    Now let me ask, Who here has heard Hillary’s gender mentioned again and again in the media as if it’s a “fixation”?

    You’re way off about this, John. Yes, you know your diplomatic history inside out but you make no sense at all when you try to say that nobody remembers Condonleezza Rice as a woman.

    Let me offer my personal sworn testimony: I CAN NEVER FORGET that Condoleeza Rice was a woman. Her cuddly relationship with Dubya and the doe-eyed crush she seemed to have on him made me constantly want to puke. I swear to God, alright?

    Nobody thinks of Madeline Albright or Condoleezza Rice or Barbara Boxer as Women? Dianne Feinstein, Olympia Snow, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Elizabeth Dole, Elizabeth Warren — nobody thinks of any of them as women? That’s the weirdest thing anyone has said on this page full of plenty of weirdness.

  78. brace
    September 25, 2013

    what I meant was most women prefer romantic comedies or romantic dramas. realistic movies about women and their problems are just not that interesting to either man or women, even though it relates to them. Fruitvale Station is an interesting movie and both men and women went to see it (Iron Man 3 too), but a movie that appeals mostly to women will only be seen by women but not by a lot of them, unless it’s highly acclaimed or in Oscar contention. what I’m saying is that movies about women are very insufficient and they should go and see them when they come out.

  79. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    Angela Merkel was re-re-elected to keep applying fiscal shake-downs to the Mediterranean folks? In my book, that’s pretty bad-ass. Plus she’s kind of cuddly isn’t she?

  80. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    I hope it’s Clinton vs. Cruz in 2016, that should be lol

    Whatever happened to little Bobby?

  81. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    three words: Eric Decker

  82. bd74
    September 25, 2013

    The homepage shows a picture of people with “I’m ready for Hillary” signs. Hmmm, where these people ready for Hillary in 2008, when she actually ran for president?

  83. September 25, 2013

    Hmmm, where these people ready for Hillary in 2008, when she actually ran for president?

    They were everywhere. Millions of them voted for her and donated tons of money to her campaign. Millions of them were heartbroken when she did not [prevail in the primaries.

    Where were they? They were all across the country — vocal, enthusiastic and supportive. Where were you that you didn’t see that?

  84. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    In fact, she got the popular vote in the primary when all was said and done. Obama beat her on delegates. So that should tell you something.

  85. September 25, 2013

    bd74, I get the feeling you didn’t vote for Hillary or Barack either one.

    Nothing wring with that. But maybe if you’re not a Hillary fan to begin with — and seem to be skeptical of her now — then you probably missed out on the excitement surrounding Hillary in 2008 as well.

    I’m glad you asked about “these people” so we can assure you they’re not actors being paid to hold those Hillary signs.

  86. menyc
    September 25, 2013

    Comment of the year. Hilarious.

  87. CB
    September 25, 2013

    Yup – there were 18 million of us and we’ve been waiting for Hillary ever since her concession speech :)

  88. tr
    September 25, 2013

    Hillary’s a little too hawkish on foreign policy for me to support her. Let’s not forget that she voted for the Iraq war as well as the Patriot Act. It’s one of the reasons I supported Obama over her in 2008.

    I just don’t understand how some Democrats or liberals can ignore what she has in common with the Republicans/conservatives they hate.

    There are far more progressive candidates out there.

  89. tr
    September 25, 2013

    If people really want change, they can’t keep voting for the same “big” candidates offered up by campaign finance and mainstream media coverage. Clinton is one of those, and she’ll be no different than Bush and Obama have been when it comes to ignoring the constitution.

  90. Alec
    September 25, 2013

    That made me laugh out loud. Thanks Ryan. I put pro in three because I only waste my Sunday, Monday and Thursday night(when match ups are good). Of course, seeing how much time I spend watching football in a written context makes me realize how much time I waste doing that……,

  91. September 25, 2013

    ah, but leisure time isn’t wasted time. I was taking a playful jab. We all have interests and hobbies that eat up a lot of our time. But it’s not a waste if it’s good relaxation for our mental well-being, right?

    Thanks for being a good sport. That’s probably the last time I’ll say ‘sport’ all month. Heck, I might spend more time watching porn than you do watching football. No I don’t. Or do I?

  92. September 25, 2013

    Look what happened while I was out seeing PRISONERS. Not my favorite of the year, but it has some really great stuff and I won’t begrudge it come awards time.

    Anyhoo, I mean honestly, I’ll vote for Hillary. She deserves to be the first woman. But what that has to do with Oscars and their precursors is beyond me.

    At this point, I just wonder why everything is about race and gender for you. As you can tell from my comments over the years, it’s like you and I live in parallel universes. Of course these things matter to some people but not all people and they don’t influence every single little thing in this world. I don’t judge people based on these limited ideas and I can’t understand why someone else would. But the person I’ve seen do it most is you. I’m not confronted with this race and gender crap anywhere else but on this site. And I just feel like you’re feeding into the thing you hate.

    The worst part is that your way of not letting up is not helping. Insisting that racism was in play against Viola Davis didn’t get her an Oscar. Even going on and on about Fincher being robbed for The Social Network didn’t get him anything for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s entirely possible that you’re discouraging people from voting for your favorites because of your heavy handed way of delivering your message. The minute I saw this headline I thought. “Great. Now a bunch of AD readers are going to NOT vote for Hillary”. Nobody ever wins or loses on their own merit with you. It’s always about who they are, and how a bunch of old white guys can’t accept this or that. Well who’s calling them old? And who’s calling them white? And who’s calling them guys?

    Why can’t you believe that that stuff is not the deciding factor? Even if there are a handful of bigots in the Academy, there are thousands of people in that organization. If you thought we couldn’t have a black president ten years ago, that’s your problem. If you thought Kathryn Bigelow couldn’t win, that’s your problem too. Maybe they won because they should have and NOT because people wanted to make a personal political statement. You do them a disservice by thinking they’re getting some affirmative action votes or that they should. And by beating a dead horse all the time you’re putting people off. I really don’t think that’s what you mean to do. But your methods can push people away from you and your message.

  93. rufussondheim
    September 25, 2013

    And how’s Barack working out for you, what with all the drone strikes and trying whistleblowers under the espionage act and the NSA and the continued war in Afghanistan?

  94. September 25, 2013

    Fine, thanks. Considering how Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would have gutted the economy even further, pillaged the auto industry, and obliterated the only chance at affordable health care that Americans have had in over 200 years.

    Maybe you should ask bin Laden how things are working out for him. Appreciate your concern.

    Are you losing a lot of sleep over the drone strikes, rufussondhiem? Are you doing anything about Afghanistan? Sending money to Middle East relief agencies maybe? A dollar? A nickle?

    Or are you satisfied you’re doing all you can do just by saying: “Go, Snowden, Go! Spill the beans, dude! yay! Way to stick it to… um…. whomever you’re sticking it to. Never mind about jeopardizing national security. At least now we know our phone bills can be checked. Makes you so feel violated to know somebody knows how often you call your mom? (As if anybody anywhere cares about your phone calls).

    How many times a day do you worry about those drone strikes? Let’s count how many times you’ve worried about them all year long.

  95. John
    September 25, 2013

    We remember their gender the same way we remember hair color. The public and the media occasionally take note of it, but are able to eventually look past it and evaluate the individual based on their record. Rice gets the criticism she deserves. For some reason, I don’t see this in regard to Hillary Clinton. I see obsession with the possibility of the first female president and no consideration of the role she has played in foreign affairs. Part of this is because Clinton is better known than Ruth Bader Ginsberg, so people who don’t know what they’re talking about rarely comment on Ginsberg. However, it’s a very frustrating trend when we’re looking at a potential presidential candidate. To deny this trend is facetious. How many conversations about Clinton being the first female president? How many conversations have you heard about her misguided policies in Egypt? We both know which is more often discussed.

    I hope we have a female president soon. I hope it is not Hillary Clinton. This is because she’s been reckless and incompetent as Secretary of State. I would like to see people discuss this more, and discuss her gender less. There’s no good argument for her to be elected president that doesn’t appear to hinge on the desire for the first female president. I am happy to talk about her record all week and am prepared to win the argument on substance again, and again, and again.

    The comment about Rice’s nickname is also facetious. That was a Bush administration thing rather than a gender thing; everyone in the Bush administration had a nickname. There was Dubya (which you even mention), Rummy, Dick. Karl Rove’s nickname was “Turd Blossom.” Hardly more distinguished than “Condi.”

  96. John
    September 25, 2013

    Ryan, I agree with your frustration regarding the Snowdown crowd but I think it’s worth mentioning that Afghanistan is not in the Middle East. Beyond that, the drone program is focused on Pakistan, which is also not in the Middle East.

  97. September 25, 2013

    The comment about Rice’s nickname is also facetious. That was a Bush administration thing rather than a gender thing; everyone in the Bush administration had a nickname

    …repeated thousands of times by every single pundit with a TV show for 8 years.

    You’re incorrect. Chris Matthews still refers to “Condi” as if she’s a neighbor’s kid. How many times did you ever hear Wolf Blitzer casually call Karl Rove “Turd Blossom” on the air? Never. How many times did you even hear Chuck Todd call Rove just plain “Karl”? Never. It never happened. But every news hack on TV has referred to Condi by her first name — her diminutive nickname — for the past decade. And they still do. So you’re incorrect.

    And they do it with Hillary too. It’s Hillary this and Hillary that. When they talk about the President do they say, “Barack said this,” or “Barack did that” ? Do they refer to the VP as plain “Joe”? No. Never. For someone so smart you don’t pay close attention to common usuage you hear on TV.

    Too busy to listen? Too busy holding your finger on the pulse of the “American population” to measure our “fixations”?

  98. bd74
    September 25, 2013

    Well actually, by asking that question (“Were these people ready for Hillary in 2008?”) I was taking a swipe at the hypocrisy of Obama supporters who now have decided to jump on the Hillary bandwagon. I would bet that some of those people with the “ready for Hillary” signs voted for Obama in the 2008 primaries. That is all. :)

  99. John
    September 25, 2013

    This is irrelevant. The origin of the nickname is not gender, and while it certainly stuck, it has nothing to do with my larger point. Condoleezza Rice is remembered for foreign policy. She will never be president, largely because of her record in public office. Most of the American public knows nothing about Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy. If they did, she would not be considered a serious contender for the presidency.

  100. September 25, 2013

    I imagine you would consider this a step backward, as I do. Albright and Rice were Secretaries of State. Clinton is, somehow, a Female Secretary of State.

    Show me, John. Go show me where on the World Wide Web you can find a news story describing Hillary as the “Female Secretary of State. ”

    Go. Find me 3 times in a reputable news source where that phrase appears as a label for Hillary Clinton.

    Because you know what happens when I search for that phrase ? The first thing I see are hundreds of links to Madeline Albright.

  101. September 25, 2013

    This is irrelevant.

    You’re now going to tell me what I should think is relevant? The guy who’s giving me this little lecture?

    but I think it’s worth mentioning that Afghanistan is not in the Middle East. Beyond that, the drone program is focused on Pakistan, which is also not in the Middle East.

    Really John?

    Before the First World War, “Near East” was used in English to refer to the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire, while “Middle East” referred to Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, Turkestan, and the Caucasus.

    With the disappearance of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, “Near East” largely fell out of common use in English, while “Middle East” came to be applied to the re-emerging countries of the Islamic world. However, the usage “Near East” was retained by a variety of academic disciplines, including archaeology and ancient history, where it describes an area identical to the term Middle East, which is not used by these disciplines (see Ancient Near East).

    Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined the Middle East as “the area lying between and including Libya on the west and Pakistan on the east, Syria and Iraq on the North and the Arabian peninsula to the south, plus the Sudan and Ethiopia.” In 1958, the State Department explained that the terms “Near East” and “Middle East” were interchangeable

    The Associated Press Stylebook says that Near East formerly referred to the farther west countries while Middle East referred to the eastern ones, but that now they are synonymous. It instructs:

    Use Middle East unless Near East is used by a source in a story. Mideast is also acceptable, but Middle East is preferred.

  102. John
    September 25, 2013

    Unsure why you included a quote reiterating my point? Your quote clearly states that the US State Department “defined the region as including only Egypt, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar” (essentially the Arab World). This is the concept of the Middle East accepted by people living in the region. Afghanistan and Pakistan are traditionally considered part of South Asia, a very different geographical area.

  103. John
    September 25, 2013

    Again, this is facetious. The burden is on you to explain why Hillary Clinton is worthy of the presidency.

    We’re both fully aware of the trend I bemoan. And while I know better than to play the semantics game you’d like to have instead of the foreign policy discussion, I’ll humor you.

    I took about 90 seconds and found these

    http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Charge-Hillary-Clinton-Vintage/dp/0307388557

    Her biography by Carl Bernstein is titled “A Woman in Charge.”

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-11/politics/41299635_1_hillary-rodham-clinton-woman-president-book-event

    The Washington Post reports that her 2016 theme is “women who break barriers.”

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/324303-hillary-clinton-electing-a-female-president-would-be-a-very-strong-statement

    The Hill reports her unsubtle suggestion that electing a woman (read: her) would make a “strong statement.”

    Perhaps not the three best examples of a trend obvious to anyone news savvy, but they’ll do for 90 seconds.

  104. September 25, 2013

    It’s common idiom to refer to military issues in Pakistan as part of the Greater Middle East Region of conflict — and you know it.

    But please continue to keep a stick up your butt about my vocabulary if that’s what makes you happy.

  105. September 25, 2013

    The burden is on you to explain why Hillary Clinton is worthy of the presidency.

    No, It’s not my burden. What the hell is wrong with you assigning me burdens to bear?

  106. September 25, 2013

    yes, we all know how the well-informed American electorate chooses Presidents on the basis of foreign policy. Why are you so perversely naive about the American populace and their “fixations”? 100 million Americans can’t find France on a map.

  107. Bryce Forestieri
    September 25, 2013

    Hey julian, you are Scandinavian am I wrong?

  108. John
    September 25, 2013

    That’s precisely what I’m complaining about. And these are the Americans who might elect Hillary Clinton president, for no reason.

  109. Manuel
    September 25, 2013

    An incoherent, born-again man moves into his parents’ (former) house and meets a dangerous partner who asks him to take part in a useless and foolish endeavor to prove himself he can succeed at smth and repay his father’s debt.

    ha ha ha ha ha

  110. September 25, 2013

    ..Her biography by Carl Bernstein is titled “A Woman in Charge.”

    Good grief, John. You’re telling us that title really bothers you? It bugs you that the word “woman” appears on the cover of a biography about a woman?

    How about Condi: Life of a Steel Magnolia? Is that not a tad feminine?

    Hold onto your garter belt, dude. Check out your own favorite gender-neutral ladies.

  111. John
    September 25, 2013

    Equally shallow. Thanks for posting. Once again, the point remains. People know Condoleezza Rice and the women of the Supreme Court for their records. Hillary Clinton is not known for her record.

    Play word association.

    Condoleeza Rice: Mushroom cloud.

    Sandra Day O’Connor: Bush v. Gore.

    Hillary Clinton: ……….

    Whitewater? Benghazi? Egypt? Russian reset? Asia pivot? Iraq SOFA? Is this what comes to mind for you, Ryan?

    The record speaks for itself. She should not be president. Neither should Condoleezza Rice or most of the current US Senate body.

    Let’s keep that in mind before we get carried away by the prospect of a female US President (and its effect on the Oscar race). That president should come, but it shouldn’t be Hillary Clinton.

  112. September 25, 2013

    Well actually, by asking that question (“Were these people ready for Hillary in 2008?”) I was taking a swipe at the hypocrisy of Obama supporters who now have decided to jump on the Hillary bandwagon.

    A large number of Obama supporters have begun to realize he can only serve two terms.

  113. September 25, 2013

    Sandra Day O’Connor: Bush v. Gore.

    yeah, lots of luck getting that Final Jeopardy response from 75% of US voters.

    What’s weird is how you worry voters will see a woman and think “Squirrel !” wagging their tails like Doug the Dog.

    But then in the same breath you expect the same people who get their infotainment from CNN and Chucky Todd to have the slightest clue which way Ruth Bader Ginsberg voted on case everybody has long forgotten thanks to Xanax.

    It was rufussondheim or may julian who said it best: people see Hillary Clinton as an international celebrity rockstar more than any simplistic fixation on her genitalia. She’s hugely popular and she makes every GOP candidate in sight look like a petty little sissypants.

    I’d advise you to get used to the idea of President Hillary Clinton — but, no, at this point I don’t even want you to accept it. I hope the prospect of her presidency eats you up inside from now till November 2020.

    But you do need to face this fact: “Madame Albright” and Female Force Condi Magnolia are just as much perceived and remembered for being important WOMEN as Hillary is.

  114. John
    September 25, 2013

    “people see Hillary Clinton as an international celebrity rockstar”

    Yes, and this is what I find so frustrating. There is no justification for this perception. The emperor has no clothes.

    I’ve made my point and you don’t want to accept it. That’s fine. I felt compelled to comment because I came here to read about the Oscars and I was faced with yet another article celebrating the possibility of Hillary Clinton as the first female president. I’m plugged in to foreign policy and am running low on patience for this. Maybe I expect too much from the American voter. Voters in every country are foolish and the US is no exception. Oh well, I’ve said my peace.

    Full disclosure: I plan to vote for the Governor of New Jersey in 2016, anticipating that the Democrats will nominate Hillary Clinton. If the Republicans nominate a Tea Party candidate against Clinton such as Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, I will be staying home on election day. I would be willing to vote for a Democrat against such a candidate but I will never vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances as I firmly believe she has done an incredible amount of damage to global stability and American national security. I’m not going to convince anyone on an Awards Daily comment thread, so let’s close the floor. I’ve enjoyed the discussion.

  115. Unlikely hood
    September 25, 2013

    Personally, I’d trade all the “are you ready for Hillary?” pop up ads I’ve seen this summer for one pop up that said “are you ready for a Benazir Bhutto biopic starring Kate Winslet?” THAT film would be 10x Elizabeth and 30x The Iron Lady

  116. Christophe
    September 25, 2013

    “A large number of Obama supporters have begun to realize he can only serve two terms.”

    Interesting thought… I always assumed he would leave office when all his hair had turned grey. That said, I’m still reeling from Mary Poppins’ departure, I don’t know if I could take any more of these.

  117. Tony
    September 25, 2013

    Wow, where to dive in?

    – Jane Campion’s films are hit and miss. I would’ve given her BP and BD for “The Piano” over Spielberg and “Schindler’s List.”

    – This white male doesn’t care one way or the other about how Oprah fares at the Oscars.

    – I’ve said this many times: Why do women let their husbands or boyfriends almost always choose which movie to see?

    – Men played a more significant part in the past, so that explains some of their overrepresentation in movies.

    – HRC is the most overrated political figure of all time. She stayed married to a serial cheater, because he was her ticket to big time politics. She bought a home in a blue state in order to win a Senate seat. Her tenure as SOS was bland, until Benghazi tipped the scales to the negative. Had she remained in legal practice, she might have become a big deal in the legal field and been a role model for women in that field. She is NOT a role model for women in politics.

  118. Tony
    September 25, 2013

    Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren challenged HRC from the left, just like Obama did in ’08?

  119. Gautam
    September 25, 2013

    “Steve McQueen has the cred. Lee Daniels doesn’t. The cool kids rally around McQueen and they doll out snide tweets and comments against Daniels. But The Butler has more going for it than the support of the cool kids — box office and major star power.”

    From when did box office became the barometer to judge the talent of a director. Going by that count Michael Bay would be the greatest.

    There’s not an iota of doubt that McQueen is much more of a talent than Lee Daniels. And just because both belong to the same race, doesn’t mean we should take both the names in the same breath. McQueen has made three brilliant films and Lee Daniels has made two average and two terrible films. How can we even think of comparing both. The cool kids or for that matter any kids rally around McQueen for a reason. Let’s wait till Daniels makes a truly truly exceptional film and then see if those cool kids come around to support him or not.

  120. September 25, 2013

    I know what it’s like to grow up and be told all my life that I have Cherokee ancestry (tracing back to Delilah Whitecloud) but lack of actual definitive proof from the 1800s can maks me look like a liar since I don’t have evidence that would hold up in court (or on this page, apparently). Anyone looking at photos of my great-great-grandmother in her youth and as she grew older without aging would find it hard to deny she has native American blood.

    There’s no way to stop people from mocking a claim like that — passed down as certified truth from all one’s relatives but without any documentation. I’m not shy about talking about it, I feel lucky, and nothing anyone can say will make me any less proud.

    So on top of all the other fantastic qualifications Elizabeth Warren does possess, the way she handled insults like this makes Democrats admire her all the more for her dignity. So keep it up, Tony. Remarks like that will only increase the strength of her support. She would make a brilliant President. Hillary or Elizabeth, Won’t matter to me at all which one of them prevails. (And it wouldn’t make any difference to the point of Sasha’s post here either).

  121. September 25, 2013

    From when did box office became the barometer to judge the talent of a director.

    That paragraph begins by comparing directors. But then Sasha changes the focus. She says “But The Butler has… box office and major star power.”

    The subject shifts away from Daniels. It’s The Butler’s BP hopes that benefit from box-office (you can easily see that’s the meaning — because why would “major star power” reflect on Daniel’s talents?)

  122. September 25, 2013

    McQueen has made three brilliant films and Lee Daniels has made two average and two terrible films. How can we even think of comparing both.

    You could begin by seeing which one of them has already touched the right buttons with the Academy. Daniels and his “average” films have multiple nominations. McQueen so far has zero nominations for his brilliant ones.

  123. Tony
    September 26, 2013

    Even *IF* her claim is true, she is at *MOST* 1/32 Native American. That’s still pretty weak. She didn’t handle the situation all that well. In Massachusetts, only a potted plant (or Martha Coakley) with a “D” after its name could lose a Senate race.

    Christie/Ayotte in 2016!
    (Though not much older than Rubio, Ms. Ayotte comes across as more mature.)

  124. caleb roth
    September 26, 2013

    I absolutely hate this idea that people are “cool kids” if they recognize the genius in a brilliant director like McQueen and despise a terrible director like Daniels.

    I hate the idea that people who do have aeasthetics concern about a movie are ironically refrred as “cool kids”. Cinema is an art. It is not about being important. You can be important but what’s the point if your film sucks?

    A lot of great movies are not “important”, like socially important. Some of them are very idiosyncratic and personal points of view about things that are deeply concerning to the author only. But now if you thing 8 1/2 is a much greater movie than everything Neo-Realism has ever produced you are “cool” because 8 1/2 is less important? Come. On.

    I don’t give a damn about Lee Daniels movie being important. They just suck.

    We, as people who like movies, should support people that do elevate this art, like McQueen, Spike Lee, Lynne Ramsay, Naomi Kawase, Lucrecia Martel, Ava DuVernay – just to mention great directors in these “minorities” like blacks and women.

  125. steve50
    September 26, 2013

    This post has gone nuts..cathartic, but still nuts.

    First, standing O for caleb roth and gautam. Money buys Oscar noms, but it can’t buy artistic integrity. Make a good film, Mr Daniels and we “cool kids” will be the first to applaud you for it.

    Second, I don’t know what whistleblowers have to do with this, but I’m tired of hearing about how they jeopardize national security. American foreign policy is what endangers national security, not the messenger with a conscience coming forward with what they have seen. Just stop think about what they are saying and why. Don’t Gulag the messenger. And, to paraphrase the president of Brazil and other foreign leaders, keep your nose out of my ass crack.

    Third, as a foreign observer, it’s distressing to see a nation as rich and diverse as the US constantly in this polarizing election mode. Government is a machine. You’re arguing over which gears are better when only one size ultimately fits. It’s a matter of brand, not functionality. (god, I was hoping for a year or two breather from this)

  126. Tony
    September 26, 2013

    Steve,
    Which country do you live in?
    I sometimes fantasize about utilizing my other citizenship to move to Italy. The thought of having to wait a long time to see some of the new movies is one of the things that holds me back.

  127. September 26, 2013

    I’ve seen where steve50 lives and I wanna come along

    Tony you and I can rig up some sort of rube goldberg push-pull device and provide our own constant source of energy

  128. steve50
    September 26, 2013

    Canada – and you’re both welcome anytime. (very little waiting, if any, to see new films – east coast TIFF and west coast VIFF see to that).

  129. Tony
    September 26, 2013

    Ack, green energy! (Actually I have a very small carbon footprint, but I am pro-petroleum.)

    You could have mentioned the actual country! Is it the Seychelles?

  130. Tony
    September 26, 2013

    Ah, Canada.

    Thanks for the invite, but I dunno. I live in the Bay Area. You have actual climate.

  131. September 26, 2013

    Don’t name the location! When I come it might be the way Walter White likes to vacation.

  132. Bryce Forestieri
    September 26, 2013

    Lucrecia Martel

    You are a hero <3

  133. steve50
    September 26, 2013

    HA – I wish.

    Pro-petroleum? Alberta is the place to be (and of course, I’m not endorsing)

  134. Tony
    September 26, 2013

    Are you cooking something in Kentucky, Ryan?
    :-)

  135. September 26, 2013

    Something’s always cooking here. Always cooking and always looking to discover the next Jennifer Lawrence in the rough.

    Cooking up treats in preparation for Halloween.

    http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Raspberry-Candy-Crystals-Pound/dp/B005SWKZG4/

  136. Tony
    September 26, 2013

    Don’t make me think about JLaw, Ryan! It’s unseemly, because she violates the “half my age plus 7 years” rule.

  137. Tony
    September 26, 2013

    Ha! I cannot eat those. Genetics unfortunately have caused my dental bills to be higher than those of a former meth head.

  138. Kane
    September 26, 2013

    Ryan, we can’t speculate what could have happened, only what has and is happening. I wasn’t the biggest fan of either Romney or Ryan but taking swipes on two guys that lost the election almost a year ago, to me, is trying to ease the sting of how this administration hasn’t lived up to its potential over the last 5 years. If we had a crystal ball then we wouldn’t have liberal or conservative parties, only the wizard party. This is coming from someone who is slowly starting to lean independent.

  139. julian the emperor
    September 26, 2013

    Yes, Danish to be exact. Is it that obvious?;)

  140. julian the emperor
    September 26, 2013

    +1!

  141. Bryce Forestieri
    September 26, 2013

    Sweet. Who’s your main man? Dreyer or Bergman?

  142. Nicholas
    September 26, 2013

    You want to move to Italy? Don’t get me wrong, the scenery is great, but…you have been reading the news, right?

    And if it’s dysfunctional politics you want to escape, I hardly think Italy is the place to go! lol

  143. Gautam
    September 26, 2013

    You are right, but Sasha clealry isn’t happy in the manner “cool kids” are siding with McQueen and not Daniels. And I was explaining the reason why they are doing so. And for that matter Academy nominations might indicate a talent but I won’t even use that as a benchmark to judge a superior talent.

  144. rufussondheim
    September 26, 2013

    So you would pick a neophyte on foreign policy like Chris Christie? Someone who has no accomplishments except giving speeches that sound like they were OK’d by Dick Cheney?

    Ack!

  145. September 26, 2013

    I don’t want to get involved in this part of the argument. But, just from my own personal perspective, what bugs me a little is the flipside of that “cool kids” line.

    For those of us who did find something of value in The Butler — something we enjoyed, something that touched us — it’s not a lot of fun being sneered at, as uncool.

    Fine if some of you want to bristle up about being called “cool kids” — I mean, wow, I can imagine how hurtful that is — to be called cool.

    of course the cool kids are not always the same group of kids. but whichever way they decide to cluster I’m hardly ever part of it. there were cool kids who clung to Precious and god knows there are cool kids attached to Django Unchained. I never even wanted to be a part of any of that vulgar mess.

    furthermore screw anybody who thinks I’m uncool for saying so.

  146. steve50
    September 26, 2013

    Russia was not the first choice of refuge, but was the only port in the storm after the State Dept strong-armed better choices. Snowden doesn’t know anything that Putin doesn’t already know, so there was no “deal”, just an ideal opportunity for the dickhead ex-KGB to piss off the West. There were squeals of delight coming from the Kremlin that night, I’m sure (but in a manly manner, to be sure).

    “Traitorous”, in varying degrees, is entirely in the eye of the beholder. Mandela was a called a traitor, as was the Dalai Lama, Jane Fonda, both Jesus Christ and Judas, the Rosenbergs, George Washington, Robt E Lee, Louis Riel, the ridiculous list goes on forever. It’s a meaningless term used by the side in disagreement with the action.

    Minutes ago, I heard an interview with an author I’m reading – brief story from his book:

    A military officer working with a third world ally in a major war comes to realize, by way of a classified document, that the ally is simply being used and will be taken over and split between the European partners when the war is over. Foreseeing the myriad of problems that would remain for decades if this were to come to pass, the officer turns that document over to the target ally in question – unquestionably, by any standard, an act of treason – but despite his best efforts, the plan comes to pass anyway.

    After the war is over, the officer is called before the king to receive a knighthood for his efforts (his previous traitorous act still unknown). He isn’t aware that this is the reason he has been summoned and, as the act is about to begin, the officer refuses the order, turns and walks out, leaving the king and company “slack-jawed as he walked away.” Yet another, nearly traitorous act.

    The officer was TE Lawrence. The mid-east would not be in the mess it’s in had his “traitorous action” been successful.

    An action of conscience can only be triggered by circumstances where somebody is going to get very pissed-off when/if they find out about it. But you gotta do what you gotta do. I don’t care about Snowden’s personality (or Assange’s or Manning’s, for that matter), but their actions speak for the greater good, not the powers that be.

    *gets off stool and goes for lunch*

  147. Tony
    September 26, 2013

    It’s a different kind of political dysfunction. But, there’s so much more than scenery — savoring gelato, tiramisu and ravioli authentically made, walking among Bernini statues in the Borghese Gallery, stumbling upon a Caravaggio masterpiece in an otherwise ordinary church, better prices for quality clothing….

  148. Tony
    September 26, 2013

    Oh, and when women wear pencil skirts and stilettos to work, they don’t get pissed off at you for noticing.

  149. Andy
    September 26, 2013

    As a german citizen, I can tell you: Merkel isn’t bad-ass. She is Kohl 2.0., which means: She does nearly nothing and acts only in her own interest, to get the most votes for her next election. This works because a lot of germans aren’t interested in politics and can easily be manipulated by the media. This sounds harsh, but nearly everyone I know and who IS interested in politics, has the same opinion…

  150. julian the emperor
    September 27, 2013

    That’s a tough one!! Bergman has had the greatest impact on me on a personal level, but I admire Dreyer’s formal strengths just as much. I would never choose between them. They are, obviously, the two greatest Scandinavian directors (and two of the best ever, I would say), let’s just leave it at that:)

    Who would you choose?

  151. julian the emperor
    September 27, 2013

    Thank you for yet another thoughtful and measured contribution to this debate, Steve (a debate which seems to come to the fore at some point during almost any discussion here on AD recently).

    I would just like to add that the term traitor, to me, in our times, is a meaningless term.
    I guess you can be a traitor to yourself (for failing to live up to your early promise, or whatever) or to your family (maybe even to your friends and colleagues), but can you be a traitor to a whole nation? I don’t buy that, not anymore.
    I don’t think that word applies to explain the complexities of the modern world. It’s a word we use to judge people, to single them out, to make a scapegoat out of them. And I don’t think any abstract entity like a state should feel compelled to make a traitor out of anyone, or that people within a state should use the word with reference to the overarching state.
    I really think we should use it with more care and thought or maybe even leave it to rot on the dustbin of history (?)

  152. moviewatcher
    September 27, 2013

    “The cool kids rally around McQueen and they doll out snide tweets and comments against Daniels. But The Butler has more going for it than the support of the cool kids — box office and major star power.”

    “Oprah happens to be one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in the world. She got there by working hard every day of her life and what does she get for that? She has to suffer the scorn of Jonathan Franzen’s superiority complex and an endless stream of disrespect coming from everyone else. The mere thought that she might win an Oscar for The Butler has white males marinating in misery.”

    a) I don’t care about box office and star power. Holy Motors made half a million dollars and it was still one of the best films of 2012
    b) Did you ever… for one moment consider that maybe people (like me) are frustrated that Oprah is gonna win the oscar simply because they thought her performance wasn’t that great? It was average. The movie was average. It has the sit-in sequence going for it, nothing more. Oprah is going to win the oscar because she’s famous and rich. No matter how much good she’s done for the world and the disadvantaged, why can’t we criticize her performance and her status in the oscar race without being accused of misogyny or of being the “cool kids”?

  153. Sonja
    September 27, 2013

    Well, the alternative to Merkel actually was even worse.
    Her rival complained at the beginning of his campaign the German Chancellor does not earn as much as a typical bank director.
    So people kept asking themselves “Why the hell does he even want to get that job when it’s not paid properly?”. Or well, that’s at least something I was asking myself the whole time.

  154. September 27, 2013

    I’ve thrown the word traitor around for impact in the past but I was always aware that Snowden’s initial crimes did not meet the legal definition of treason. The same way I might call him a cunt even though he’s not technically a vagina.

    On this page — casually but not by accident — I used the word “traitorous.” You guys, my clever word-parsing pals, will understand that traitorous as an adjective has looser connotations, yes? Here I’m using it in the synonymous sense of backstabbing, disloyal, treacherous, maliciously duplicitous.

    Leaking national security secrets is all those things, and it’s up to each of us decide whether to rub our hands together at the juicy revelations — “oh boy! here we go! Obama’s in the shithouse now!”– or else to regard those actions as reckless, dangerous and disgusting (as I do).

    ===

    I’ve already said I admire much of what Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning have tried to do. But I look at circumstances on a case-by-case basis to decide for myself if somebody like Snowden is equally high-minded. I personally think he’s an Assange wannabe who has done no good whatsoever with his leaks and instead caused grievous harm. There’s no way to convince you guy to feel the same way, and I’m not trying to change your minds. But I’m not going sit back politely and watch Snowden be treated like some kind of hero without explaining why I see it differently.

    In fact, leakers and whistleblowers are afforded a lot of protection in America. But the way to go about it properly is to deliver evidence to an independent third-party authority for safe review — not to run off and hide in Hong Kong where those secrets can be shared with a foreign government. And then go through a cute charade with the Russians in which they pretend not to want him — and then suddenly he’s adopted like an abused orphan by the modern-day equivalent of the KGB.

    Snowden was already in contact with the Russians while he was in Hong Kong, Steve50. You either forgot that, didn’t know it, or don’t think it’s important. But your claim that Snowden ended up in Russia sort of by accident because no other escape routes were available looks a little naive in light of the evidence of his foreplay with Russian intelligence agents long before they allowed him to disembark without a passport. As if ex-KGB guy Putin doesn’t know how to play that game?

    ===

    Ask yourself this. If an American has the intention of leaking information to make America a better place, isn’t it weird that this American left the U.S. knowing that he’d never return to America. “Here, let me do this great thing for America to make it a better place to live — watch me seek to improve this country that I’m fleeing with no intention of ever coming back.”

    And how about this. In Snowden’s first interview with that ravenous hound Glenn Greenwald, he said,

    “I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest.”

    But now that he’s found a new home and new life, Snowden has handed over documents showing the NSA was monitoring communications of the Russian president (President Medvedev, in the leaks that were made public). Do you honestly think Snowden only had documents from 2009? Snowden also revealed that British intelligence was monitoring Russian delegates at the G20 Summit. Now he’s spilled more evidence that the NSA was reading emails in Brazil.

    ===

    Can I ask you guys how these leaks have anything to do with Snowden’s stated intent to “carefully evaluate every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest.”

    How the hell is it in the public interest to tell Putin about all the times America was spying on Russia?

    Did Snowden not understand that he was going to work a fucking SPY AGENCY and that’s what spies do — they spy on other countries? So Snowden suddenly realizes he’s wandered into a Nest of Spies! And he’s shocked – shocked! – to discover there’s gambling in Casablanca?

    Steve50, you’ve told me this:

    Snowden doesn’t know anything that Putin doesn’t already know

    It’s interesting that you know that for a fact. Because it would seem to me that the only person who knows the extent of what Putin knows is Putin himself. So the only way you can say with certainty that Snowden had nothing new to tell Putin is if Putin told you himself. Furthermore, steve50, the only way we would know Putin is not lying to you is if the two of you are such damn good buddies that you trust everything he tells you. So how about that, comrade?
    :)

    ===

    Listen you guys, do you seriously NOT grasp the difference between a whistleblower leaking information of wrongdoing so that the wrongdoers can be reprimanded and prosecuted — and this other entirely different thing that Snowden is doing: Taking American intelligence secrets to another country to share everything he knows with a foreign government.

    How does that help anybody except to enable Putin and the Brazilian President whats-her-name to scold Obama on the world stage?

    Now ask yourself another thing. Do Russia and Brazil not have spy agencies? Don’t they spy on America and Canada and Denmark any way they can? Why doesn’t the whole world know what the Russian and Brazilian spy agencies are up to? Maybe because (a) they’re not infested with traitorous turncoats, or (b) in Russia and Brazil they find their turncoats and murder them before they can go meet for tea and scones with Glenn Greenwald.

    Or do you think Russia and Brazil are the victims here? — innocent governments that wouldn’t hurt a fly. Except for criminalizing homosexuality, imprisoning Pussy Riot, and launching routine state-orchestrated slaughters to keep the Rio slums under control with fascist tactics so the favelas can be cleansed of dissidents and whistleblowers.

  155. Byron Gray
    September 27, 2013

    Only this leftist/extremist Oscar website would mention Hillary Clinton and the state of the Oscar race in the same breath. We are doubled over with laughter here in Florida.

  156. violet hour
    September 28, 2013

    ryan i applaud you putting up with john i read the first exchange , the 2nd a little and scrolled the rest !

    i would love to see hillary clinton become the first female president , i feel the timing is right esp after they elected a black president !

    until they do americans and the world won’t know what its like and have experience of dealing with a woman us president , once that happens and they know what its like it can be open season , unless of course they go the extra gear and vote for a gay president (which would be the ultimate frontier but i wouldnt hold my breath maybe in a hundred years from now)

    france has yet to elect a woman , and that’s more likely to happen than a black president believe me

    germany has their female leader in angela merkel reelected for a third term , i don’t like her personally but i’ve come to admire her greatly as a female who has succeeded and imposed her authority in local and european politics

    france’s politics is such a debacle right now its not funny, cannot stand our president right now never did …

    on topic how many previous first ladies were considered actually serious contenders for the official office of president? how many of them actually went about buffing up their resume to be taking seriously after passage as first lady ?

    regardless of gender though aren’t all candidates to presidency need to have a certain political pedigree /career ? aren’t most of them at least senator or governor before pitching for the ultimate ballot?

    as to how this would influence movies i don’t know and we won’t know unless it actually comes to pass, but it would be as good as any incentive to bring to the forefront films about successful women characters that are oscar-worthy

  157. September 28, 2013

    ryan i applaud you putting up with john i read the first exchange , the 2nd a little and scrolled the rest !

    I want to let stuff like that slide, and usually do, but something about this wouldn’t stop eating at me. John is obviously supersmart but that doesn’t mean his own personal perception of reality should be allowed to stand alone here unchallenged as the definitive declaration. I do believe that he himself doesn’t think of Albright and Rice as female Secretaries of State. But it’s so strange that he can’t believe millions of other people might see it differently. Particularly in the case of Condi, whose demeanor and body language always seemed to me to say she thought she was George’s prom date.

    as to how this would influence movies i don’t know and we won’t know unless it actually comes to pass, but it would be as good as any incentive to bring to the forefront films about successful women characters that are oscar-worthy

    aww, that’s really lovely, the way you sweetly steer the discussion back on topic. Thank you!

  158. steve50
    September 28, 2013

    I didn’t see this little gem tucked away up here yesterday morning (I didn’t know Ryan was the Easter Bunny), and there’s no point belaboring the issue where neither of us are going to budge even though neither of us knows anymore than what our personal perceptions allow, however:

    “oh boy! here we go! Obama’s in the shithouse now!”– or else to regard those actions as reckless, dangerous and disgusting (as I do).

    Many, perhaps most, of us foreigners fall into a third category. We’re not “anti-Obama” and in fact don’t attach names or faces to either side of the tug of war that we have been watching for decades. Yes, are some anti-Obama politicians down there who jumped at this bon bon, but who the fuck takes them seriously? This is a bigger issue.

    Snowden was already in contact with the Russians while he was in Hong Kong, Steve50. You either forgot that, didn’t know it, or don’t think it’s important.

    Yeah, of course I knew that, and with 26 other countries, too. Those that showed interest in offering asylum suddenly did a quick reverse within days, despite condemning the surveillance on their own countries. As I said, Russia was the last resort. Putin, ever the opportunist and media whore, saw his chance, turned off the Pussy Riot cell monitor, threw on a shirt, and shouted, “I’ll show them RUSSIAN Argo!”. Terrible choice made by Snowden on the surface, but you and I weren’t there and don’t know what transpired.

    If an American has the intention of leaking information to make America a better place, isn’t it weird that this American left the U.S. knowing that he’d never return to America.

    Not at all. Really, Ryan. I know the pastoral atmosphere in the (heavily-armed) US is conducive to civil disobedience, especially on a grand scale such as this, but….

    Can I ask you guys how these leaks have anything to do with Snowden’s stated intent to “carefully evaluate every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest.”

    The public interest in question goes beyond the borders of the US.
    Nuremberg 1945: “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.” period

    How the hell is it in the public interest to tell Putin about all the times America was spying on Russia?

    I’m sure Mr KGB-been-in-the-biz-longer-than-anyone-else did a ‘Home Alone’ faceslap upon hearing this news. Not that I would know for sure as me ‘n me comrade Poot haven’t been in touch since he sent me that crate of Barillo pasta.

    Yes, he broke the law – bigtime – no argument, but regardless of what any of us think of Eric Snowden, he started a dialog that needed a reboot. There are always consequences to one’s actions and, surprisingly, I don’t think Snowden really worked any of this out – one has to question how serious this actually is.

    Like I said, it’s all from the perspective of where you’re standing, or hiding.

  159. steve50
    September 28, 2013

    Now that I’ve jumped back at you, can you please unitalicize

    “Yeah, of course I knew tha… don’t know what transpired. ”

    Oops, thanks (blush)

  160. Tony
    September 28, 2013

    There will be a first woman president, and a second woman president…. Does it HAVE to happen in 2016? No. Will HRC be THE woman? I sure hope not. (I had to use “the,” because “THAT woman” will always be Monica.)

    Just to bring it back to movies: Yes, a feature film about the first female president’s election and tenure will be made.
    :-)

  161. September 28, 2013

    I’m not home now. Can’t access any interface where I can see any italics, sorry. Will find and fix at the hotel later.

    Since I’m trying to have a fun night out with friends, I’ll try not think about how you’re justifying what Snowden did by drawing a comparison between a list of phone calls and the extermination of 4 million Jews.

    Friend to friend I will just remind you that nothing Snowden did is going to stop the NSA from keeping a list of phone calls. So his stunt won’t change anything that affects you or anyone you know or love. What Snowden has done will only assist some maniac Al Qaeda cell in achieving their goal of exterminating another 4 million people or maybe 8 million.

    But you shouldn’t let that worry you because Canada won’t be the target. Of course as you helpfully point out, none of this would be a problem if Exxon had stayed away from Saudi oil 60 years ago, so America should just quit trying to monitor what might be happening next — stop ruffling Brazilian feathers! –we should just hunker down and wait to face the music.

    Have you already been to visit New York? Me too. So we’ll always have the great memories of what it was like before it was nuked.

    Meanwhile, as I say, friend to friend, remember there’s still a list of your phone calls someplace, so bear that in mind when you decide whether or not to stop using your phone from now on — as Al Qaeda has now learned it needs to do.

  162. September 28, 2013

    ok, I see the italics problem now. Fixed!

    Terrible choice made by Snowden on the surface, but you and I weren’t there and don’t know what transpired.

    You’re right. We don’t know what’s going on Snowden’s head. I’m sure Snowden’s reasons made good sense to Snowden.

    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s reasons made good sense to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

    Adam Lanza reasons made good sense to Adam Lanza.

    Leaker-of-the-week Donald Sachtleben’s made good sense to Donald Sachtleben.

    *shrug* …you and I weren’t there and don’t know what transpired.

    ===

    but regardless of what any of us think of Eric Snowden, he started a dialog that needed a reboot.

    I really wonder who’s having a dialog about this today other than me and you.

    Here’s the dialog I saw:

    Snowden: nyah nyah nyah, look what the NSA is doing!
    NSA: yeah, and then what? What we’re doing is legal.

    End of Discussion. It’s all over now except for the damage control and the enormous resources diverted off the job to mend all years of dedicated work Snowden has rendered useless.

    I’m sure there were some pretty interesting dialogs happening between folks in Yemen, Somolia, Uzbekinstan, etc, and their connections in the US, too.

    Not that we would be able to track those dialogs anymore though — since they stopped using their phones the instant Snowden and Greenwald let them know the NSA can sift through a billion call records to find the juicy ones.

    Steve50, if there are still any dialogs about this other than ours today, I hope they’re half as friendly as ours and twice as productive.

    I know one thing that would aggravate Snowden. Snowden has failed miserably in one of his goals if he hasn’t made you remember that his name isn’t Eric.

  163. steve50
    September 28, 2013

    Edward, right. duh, adrenaline fog.

    BTW, it wasn’t Exxon, it was Standard Oil of New York (ironic, eh? coincidence, surely)

    You play rough, but thanks for the chat. Sorry everyone else for hijacking the post – next time maybe Ryan and I should meet mid-distance (Starbucks in Topeka?) and have it out face-to-face.

  164. September 28, 2013

    Anyway, I lose. NSA in disarray. Snowden an international VIP martyr. Vladimir talking dirty to Edward every night as they slow dance to a bootleg b-tribe barcelona mix mp3.

    As for you and me, Steve, we both know our friendship can withstand the rough headbutting.

    Any casual observer who doesn’t get that we’re good buddies from way back can check out 5 years of our rowdy interaction, The Best of Steve and Ryan — the NSA has it all on file and the transcripts will be made available just as soon as Snowden leaks them

  165. December 12, 2013

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