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Hollywood feels the loss as politics take the spotlight at the Oscars

With the Oscars seeing its largest ever year over year ratings drop, when will the SJWs learn that their identity politics just doesn’t sell?

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The Oscars joins a growing list of major televised events that have not only become heavily politically polarized but which have seen a drastic loss of interest from the public, including the Superbowl, the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Grammys, and now the Oscars.

Initially, we had the Superbowl, which took a ratings hit while being politically charged, then we had the Grammys, with a surprise cameo from Hillary Clinton, and then we had the 2018 Winter Olympics, which the ancient Greeks would even pause war for, but which apparently was too much to ask for the Left’s Russophobes, and of course, the identity politics of the entertainment industry.

Rather than simply being about awarding the best entertainment productions and performances of the year, the event quickly turned overtly political. Jimmy Kimmel wasted no time in bringing sarcasm versus conservative political leaders and news outlets, namely President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and the widely viewed by conservative media channel Fox News. Fox News, of course, reports:

Jimmy Kimmel claimed he was keeping this year’s Oscars positive, but the ratings were anything but.

The politically charged 2018 Academy Awards were down 20 percent compared to the 2017 numbers, averaging 26.5 million viewers. It’s the first time that the Oscars averaged fewer than 30 million people since at least 1974 when Nielsen started keeping track.

Last year’s event drew 33 million sets of eyeballs and the sharp decline resulted in roughly 6.5 million lost viewers. Host Jimmy Kimmel and the crowd of Hollywood elite focused on diversity, feminism and political issues as much as they focused on the films being honored.

The lack of high-wattage stars in the major categories, as well as a ho-hum slate of films when it came to box office receipts, may also have been a factor.

Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor told Fox News viewers shouldn’t be surprised that the show turned political and featured “divisive, left-wing politics” throughout the four-hour event.

“The Tinseltown elite genuinely hate the people they expect will pay to see their movies and watch their TV shows,” Gainor said. “Why do we support them?”

Sunday night’s awards were politically charged and loaded with mentions of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Kimmel took jabs at President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and even Fox News viewers.

“We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for money,” Kimmel quipped at one point. “We make them to upset Mike Pence.”

The Pence joke prompted conservative commentator Ben Shapiro to sarcastically tweet, “I thought Hollywood wasn’t biased against conservatives and only cares about the bottom line.”

Prior to this year, the 2008 awards were the all-time low for an Oscars audience when 32 million tuned in to watch Jon Stewart host and “No Country for Old Men” pick up the Best Picture prize.

During the show, Kimmel lauded the actual Oscar statue, noting its age of 90 and taking a swipe at Fox News viewers in the process: “Oscar is 90 years old tonight, which means he’s probably at home tonight watching Fox News.”

Kimmel wasn’t the only one getting political throughout the night. Stars Kumail Nanjiani and Lupita Nyong’o took the stage to share a message of support to Dreamers ahead of announcing “Shape of Water” as the winner of best production design.

A musical performance from Common and Andra Day of “Stand Up for Something” was an ode to American activism with politically charged lyrics about topics like the NRA, the Parkland shooting, immigration, feminism and Puerto Rico.

A variety of Hollywood stars spoke about diversity and the #MeToo movement when they were given a chance to speak.

Frances McDormand, who was the “Best Actress” winner for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” used her speech to call for inclusion riders after urging all females who were nominated in any category in 2018 to stand.

Other than potential viewers staying away because of the presumed barrage of politics, the Academy Awards could have also kept viewers away by celebrating movies that many people didn’t see. Only two of the films nominated for Best Picture, “Dunkirk” and “Get Out,” landed in the Top 15 highest-grossing films of 2017, according to Box Office Mojo.

Popular films such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Wonder Woman,” Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” “It” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” simply aren’t the type of films that are honored by the Academy in non-technical categories.

The unique monster movie “The Shape of Water” took home the award for best picture.

Of course, the MeToo movement found further promotion at the event as three actresses, showcasing their own MeToo spotlights, delivered a short calling for more diversity in the film industry. Salon tells us:

With the spotlight on Hollywood at the Academy Awards Sunday night, the annual awards show that has historically had problems with diversity took a step forward as the #MeToo movement made its presence known.

Three actresses in particular, Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Annabella Sciorra — who have all allegedly experienced abuse from Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein — shared a heartfelt moment on stage as they introduced a video that highlighted the need for diversity in film.

But another writer for the same publication, Mary Elizabeth Williams, wastes no time in alleging that the politicization of the Grammy’s really isn’t enough:

A year ago, the world watched uncomfortably as Brie Larson handed Hollywood’s highly accolade to Casey Affleck, a man accused of sexually harassing behavior and named in two lawsuits. Oscar has always danced happily with accused abusers, including Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and Harvey Weinstein. But after the explosive momentum of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements over recent months, this year promised to be different. And then the exact same thing happened again. Do you know exactly what newly minted victors Kobe Bryant and Gary Oldman have been accused of? Because it’s horrifying. 

Williams continues:

What men do to women behind closed doors often comes down to conflicting accounts, and there is a very small number of people in the world who know what actually went down with Bryant, Oldman and the women who accused them of abuse. Nor do the attitudes and behaviors of either man mitigate their talents. 

But if you want to put on a big show that literally devotes an entire segment to how things are changing in the entertainment industry and brings out a trio of women — Ashley JuddAnnabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek — whose livelihoods were kneecapped by Harvey Weinstein’s gross, vindictive behavior, you might want look around at the context. Is putting Ryan Seacrest, a man recently accused of sexual harassment, on the red carpet still a super hot idea? Is celebrating accused stalker and harasser John Heard in the In Memoriam montage a good look right now?

Hollywood has undoubtedly made strides toward bringing the issues of abuse and harassment into the open — and in some cases even imposing serious consequences for bad behavior. But Sunday’s victory lap for men who’ve faced accusations of abhorrent violence against women make it clear that for much of the industry, it’s still less #TimesUp and more business as usual.

The sheer amount of political rhetoric that the Grammys is increasingly becoming a platform for seems comes about with a simultaneous drop in ratings. The Oscars saw its largest ever year over year drop with a 20% decrease in ratings while the MeToo movement has garnered an insane amount of free press for it via the scandals that it has shown the spotlight on. ZeroHedge observes:

Award shows gained a newfound relevance in January when Oprah Winfrey delivered a widely-lauded speech condemning sexism and sexual harassment while accepting a lifetime achievement award during the Golden Globes. But despite her inspired performance, the Globes suffered a 5% ratings dip compared with the prior year’s broadcast. Analysts attributed the drop to the continued cord-cutting that has been weighing on cable TV viewership stats…but it’s impossible to rule out the possibility that the event’s stridently political overtones prompted a large sliver of American audiences to tune out.

This problem was not unique to the Globes: last night’s Oscars broadcast recorded the largest year-over-year audience decline in the event’s history, despite the excitement surrounding how Hollywood’s elite might choose to acknowledge the “#MeToo” movement that was born out of a spate of exposes about powerful Hollywood figures, most notably the disgraced former studio head Harvey Weinstein.

As Bloomberg reports, viewership for the 90th Academy Awards saw a nearly 20% drop, despite what many reviewers said was a strong hosting performance by late-night talk show host (and perennial Trump antagonist) Jimmy Kimmel.

The overnight rating for the show, an estimate of the percentage of homes tuned it to the program, fell to 18.9, down about 16 percent from preliminary data a year ago. “The Shape of Water,” from 21st Century Fox Inc., was voted best picture.

Bloomberg blamed the decline on cord-cutting and the fact that many of the nominees for the night’s highest honor – best picture – grossed less than $100 million at the box office, suggesting that American audiences weren’t familiar with many of the individual nominees.

Viewing of live events, such as awards shows and sports, has declined along with the rest of TV’s audience. Only two of the pictures that featured in last night’s program, the horror movie “Get Out” and the World War II drama “Dunkirk,” tallied more than $100 million in domestic box-office sales…

Per the Wrap, last year’s Oscars landed a 22.4 rating in Nielsen’s overnight numbers, which count 56 metered markets. That was down 4.3% from 2016’s very preliminary numbers. Meanwhile, the 2017 Oscars eventually tabulated 32.9 million total viewership which was down 4% from the Rock-hosted ceremony. According to these preliminary numbers, that’s one of its largest drops on record, per Decider.

Furthermore, the 18.9 rating would be the worst-ever recorded – though this is based on preliminary data.

Given the results of this sort of politicizing of all forms of entertainment and sporting events, will the SJWs learn that their identity politics just doesn’t sell? Or, will they continue down this path to the detriment of their own industries? They though that they truly owned the American cultural landscape, but increasingly, its shows that they are wrong. As it’s said, pride goeth before the fall. The entertainment industry should learn from Robespierre that the instigator of a reign of terror can  fall victim to it as well.

The MeToo movement has been advancing its own reign of terror, with even some of its own chief propagators ending up before the tribunal, into many various facets of the entertainment industry, sports, government, and has even spread to the eastern hemisphere. While it sometimes leads to dealing with concerning issues that need to be addressed, the unchecked witch hunt that it has spawned is bringing about reprisals in several ways. For the Oscars, popular reprisal is coming in the form of a sharp decline in popularity.

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“This is America” reveals a shocking vision of the United States

The Grammy Award winning Song and Record of the Year feature the very darkest vision of what America has become.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Grammy Awards are the second of the three most significant musical achievement awards in the United States. Two of the anticipated awards that many fans of this event look forward to learning are the Song of the Year and the Record of the Year.

The Song of the Year is awarded to the songwriters of a given song, where the Record of the Year goes to the artists, producers and engineers involved in crafting the recording (the “record”) of a song. Both categories are huge and both usually go to an artist or organization responsible for a pop song.

It also happens to be that usually the song that is picked is beautiful and in most cases, reflects the character of beauty (whether in music or lyrics or both) for that year.

This year was quite different. Both awards went to Donald Glover, a.k.a. “Childish Gambino” for his song This is America.

This song features a radically different tone than previous winners going back for many years. Though rap remixes are usually less musical, the Grammy winners among these mixes have nevertheless retained some relatively positive, or at least attractive, aspect.

This is America is very different, especially when watched with its video.

Musically, it is genius, though the genius appears to have gone mad. Glover paints a picture of some very positive segments in American life, but then destroys it with his audible form and message that says absolutely nothing positive, but even more so – it doesn’t make sense unless one knows the context.

That context is revealed in the video with frightening images: someone getting their brains blown out (we see the blood fly), a gospel choir shot up with an automatic rifle while they were singing, and cannabis, front and center, being smoked by the artist himself.

This is America?

For Glover, this song and others on his album do seem to reflect that point of view.  Feels like Summer, one of Glover’s other recent songs, also reflects this sense of hopelessness, though it is far more musically consistent. The video gives the most clear contextual information that one could ask for, and while the video is not violent, it features degradation in society, even though the people depicted appear to be trying to make the best of their life situations.

The image Mr. Glover paints of America is a far cry from that which was known to most Americans only twenty years ago, and in fact, in many parts of the country where cannabis is still illegal there is a corresponding sense of positivity in life that is absent in Childish Gambino’s California-esque view of life.

There is a massive change that is taking place in American society. Our music and art reflects this change, and it sometimes even helps drive that change.

The United States of today is at a crossroads.

How many times have we read or heard THAT statement before?  But does it not seem so now? The attempt of identity politics to separate our nation into groups that must somehow fight for their own relevance against other groups is not the vision of the United States only twenty years ago.

Further, the normalization of themes such as drug-use and racism, the perpetuation of one in reality and the other as a mythological representation of how life “really is” in the US is radically bizarre.

In discussions with people who do not live in the United States, we found that sometimes they believed that white-on-black racism really was happening in America, because the media in the US pumps this information out in a constant stream, often with people like Donald Trump as the scapegoat.

But it is not true. Anyone in America’s new “accused class” of white, Christian, European-descent males (and some women who are not feminists), will note that they are not racist, and in fact, they feel persecuted for their existence under the new mantra of “white privilege.”

But it does not matter what they say. The media pumps the message it wants to, and with such coverage it is easy to get to halfway believing it: I know I am not this way, but I guess things are getting pretty bad elsewhere because all of those people seem to be getting this way…

This is the narrative the press promulgates, but upon conversations with people in “those places” we find that it is not true for them, either, and that they may in fact be thinking this is true about us.

Made in America is a visionary song and video. However, the vision is not a dream; it is nothing that anyone in the country would sincerely hope for. Even in Donald Glover’s case – as one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, and as a big success in music, he is far from being one of the “boys in the ‘hood.” In fact, Time Magazine in 2017 named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Certainly his musical work creates a powerful influence, but it also must raise questions, with the main ones being:

  • Are we really like this?
  • Is this what we really want to be as a country?
  • Is this the kind of image we want our children in the US to adopt?

In fact, if Mr. Glover’s work was viewed with care (rather than just as something that is “cool” because the media says it is), it might help us steer away from the cliff that many Americans are in fact heading towards.

We have elected not to link to the video because it is too disturbing for children. It is even too disturbing for many adults. For that reason we are not making it one-click-easy to get to.

Parents reading this opinion piece would do well to screen the video by themselves without the kids around first, before deciding what they want to do. Even though the video is probably something that they have already seen, the parents still stand as the guides and guardians for their children through all the perils of growing up.

These times call for great guardians indeed.

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Horrifying New York abortion law marks big Democrat push in US

New Mexico, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and Washington also wish to expand abortion access to truly barbaric proportions.

Seraphim Hanisch

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To some nations in the world, the United States may appear to be overly “conservative” or “backwards” regarding its general position on abortion. Russia, China, Canada, and Australia all allow this practice in generally unrestricted terms. Europeans are generally allowing of first trimester abortions. Social attitudes about the practice vary, with Sweden being the most permissive in terms of attitude, but Russia being the place where a woman is most likely to have had an abortion.

While the legal position in the United States on abortion is generally legal under all conditions as determined by the outcome of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in the US Supreme Court, the social context of the practice is highly debated and generally disapproved of, even by those Americans who believe that the procedure should still be kept legal. One of the most emotionally satisfying statements in the US that actually summarized the attitudes of many “pro-choice” Americans was that of Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton’s statement that abortions should be “safe, legal and rare.”

In other words, the legality of the procedure is one thing, and the promotion of the procedure is quite another. It was summarized in this thought: We think that to be in the position of determining whether or not to abort a child is a horrifying and extremely serious matter. However, we believe it to be safer if this procedure is kept legal, lest it actually become dangerous because of inferior resources if it were banned, and done clandestinely.

This point of view was generally accepted as a secular compromise to a horrifying situation. Far from the ultraliberal attitudes of progressive Europe, the United States remained a relatively conservative country, socially guided by Christian attitudes concerning the sanctity of life, even that life which is yet unborn.

All this has changed.

Starting with the signing of New York State’s “Reproductive Health Act”, many states are now moving towards ensuring that abortion is legal under all conditions, to the full term of pregnancy, even to the point where perfectly viable, birthed babies may be killed after delivery if the mother so desires.

This report from New York was immediately followed up by this news item from Virginia’s own Legislature, in its attempt to pass a similar law, made even more clearly brutal by Governor Northam’s defense and explanation of the procedure post delivery in which a living baby would be subject to being deliberately killed at the wish of the mother. 

This law, like the New York constitutional amendment allows the unborn, or just-born (and alive even though “aborted”), no human rights.

There is really no way this action cannot be seen for what it is: infanticide, a very particularly cruel form of murder of the innocent, on no further grounds than that the baby exists and that the mother does not want it.

We covered in another news piece how this ability appears to be the prize “right” of feminist women, who were represented in Congress by the infamous Women in White, who sat stone-faced as President Donald Trump appealed for Congress to make and pass a law banning late-term abortions.

However, the President’s request was well-met by conservatives in the House chamber, and indeed, even some pro-choices were set off their guard by the New York and Virginia legislative moves. Virginia’s attempt failed.

Abortion is legal in the US, and it is legal at any point in the pregnancy in many states. This is not often reported, probably because abortion is not palatable to public discourse when a fully-formed, living baby is to be the subject of this procedure. The national discourse has for years been “safely” diverted to what appears to be more metaphysical debate about the unseen processes in pregnancy, such as “when does life really begin”, and even “when does the embryo receive a soul?”

This is probably by design to avoid the much harsher realities that were exposed in New York, Virginia and Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington and Vermont. All these states have either passed or are trying to pass laws that protect abortion rights, sometimes to similar extremes as New York’s law contains. However, many other states, such as Colorado, already allow full and late-term abortion procedures.

However, not every state in the US is trying to magnify abortion rights. Some are trying to limit this procedure, or even outlaw it entirely, should Roe v. Wade be overturned by the Supreme Court, a possibility that seems enhanced now with five “conservative” Justices on the US Supreme Court. States like Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, and even the aforementioned Rhode Island are seeking passage of laws to sharply limit or completely outlaw the procedure in this event.

CDC graph showing abortion rates per 1,000 US women from 1969 to 2014. Courtesy: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Guttmacher Institute.

Interestingly, both the abortion rate and the actual number of abortions performed in the US has fallen drastically in the time period between 1980 and 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention record that there were almost 1.3 million babies aborted in 1980, peaking at 1.43 million in 1990, before dropping again to 2015’s rate of 638,000. Numbers and counts vary by statistical poll, however, with 2017’s numbers showing 882,240 in this study. The common feature of declining numbers and rates is still evident.

Statistical sources on this issue were not able to explain the reason for the drop in both rate and number of abortions, but a speculation might be that some exposure to the reality of what abortion actually is has served to deter both unwanted pregnancy from even happening, and also to try to find a way to take care of human beings guilty of nothing more than their existence. Perhaps this is too generous an assessment, but it is one possibility.

President Trump was loud and clear on several occasions about his stance on the issue of abortion. His State of the Union speech featured his saying, “all children, born and unborn are made in the Holy image of God.” This was followed up by further comments at the National Prayer Breakfast, in which he continued to show a strong pro-life position.

Naturally, some pols dismiss this as nothing more than the President’s attempts to energize his base for the 2020 elections. To credit such opinions, it may indeed do this. But President Trump has really put his money where his mouth is in terms of governing as a conservative, or at least, common-sense oriented President.

The combination of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s legislation, the Virginian attempt and the March for Life, featuring its highly slurred story about Roman Catholic teenaged boys who were at the event, plus the President’s speech have made for a truly polarizing moment. To be sure, political winds in the US are so unruly now that longstanding position issues are now pushed aside in mere days, or even hours. However the mainstream media is hard-pressed to refute what happened here. The American Left tipped its hand, perhaps a little too much for even some who are ideologically liberal, and some of the harshest, most sinister aspects of their worldview were brought into focus.

This reaction extends even to both real-life and Internet commentary on such news pieces. Tucker Carlson took on uber-feminist Monica Klein on his program on January 30th, and their exchange, most notably Monica’s sheer fury, was a sign that the Left is energized on this subject, so much so that any sense of nicety has been discarded:

For Ms. Klein, this issue is a source of pure anger, as is clearly evident on her face. This was not a woman who was playing the ideological talking head for the news media hit; far from it. She really believes what she says, and has taken that fury to the point of irrationality.

Some comments on this issue appear in many publications that also reveal extremely fiery emotion on both sides. The rhetoric swings from “baby-killers” to “woman-haters” quite freely on this topic, and this is honestly a shame. Such emotional incendiary bombs are avoidances on both sides. While people call each other names, no one pays attention to the topic itself. This is, of course, by design.

When the real issue is looked at, as was shown so clearly in New York and Virginia, the topic of the value of human life shows its profound reality to everyone. If that happened often enough or long enough, it might change the substance of the conversation.

The result might then be a real change.

 

 

 

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Facebook: The Government’s Propaganda Arm?

The social media giant has a disturbing number of former Obama officials in key positions of authority over content.

The Duran

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Authored by Jeff Charles via Liberty Nation:


Imagine for a moment what it would look like if the federal government launched its own social media network. Every day, Americans could freely use the platform to express their views on everything from economic theory to the best tips for baking peanut butter cookies. They could even discuss their political views and debate the important issues of the day.

But what if the government were empowered to determine which political views are appropriate and which are too obscene for the American public? Well, it looks like this is already happening. Of course, the state has not created a social media network; they didn’t have to. It appears the government is using Facebook – the world’s largest social media company – to sway public opinion.

The Government’s Fingers In Facebook

The Free Thought Project recently published a report revealing that Facebook has some troubling ties to the federal government and that this connection could be enabling former state officials to influence the content displayed. The social media provider has partnered with various think tanks which receive state funding, while hiring an alarming number of individuals who have held prominent positions in the federal government.

Facebook recently announced their partnership with the Atlantic Council – which is partly funded by tax dollars – to ensure that users are presented with quality news stories. And by “quality,” it seems that they mean “progressive.” The council is well known for promoting far-left news sources, including the Xinhua News Agency, which was founded by the Communist Party of China. Well, that’s reassuring. What red-blooded American capitalist doesn’t want to get the news from a communist regime?

But there one aspect of this story is even more troubling: the government-to-Facebook pipeline. The company has employed a significant number of former officials in positions that grant them influence over what content is allowed on the platform.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy, prosecuted cybercrimes at the Department of Justice under President Obama. Now, he is responsible for determining who gets banned or suspended from the network. But that’s not the worst of it. He also spearheaded the company’s initiative to scrub anti-war content and “protest” movements. In a blog post, Gleicher wrote: “Some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption.” He continued, “We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people.”

The company has also hired others who served in key positions in the Obama administration. Some of these include:

  • Aneesh Raman: Former speechwriter
  • Joel Benenson: Top adviser
  • Meredith Carden: Office of the First Lady

To make things more interesting, Facebook has also hired neocons to help them determine the type of content that is being published. So if you happen to be a conservative that isn’t too crazy about interventionism, your views are not as welcome on the network as others. After all, how many times have you heard of people being banned for posting pro-war or socialist propaganda?

Are Private Companies Truly Private?

The notion that government officials could be using positions of power in the private industry to advance a statist agenda is disturbing, but the fact that most Americans are unaware of this is far worse. It would be inaccurate to argue that the government is controlling Facebook’s content, but the level of the state’s involvement in the world’s biggest social media company is a disturbing development.

This is not the only case of state officials becoming involved with certain industries. This trend is rampant in the certain industries in which individuals move back and forth between private organizations and the FDA. For example, Monsanto, an agricultural and agrochemical company, has been under scrutiny for its ties to the federal government.

It is not clear if there is anything that can be done to counteract inappropriate relations between the government and certain companies – especially organizations with the level of influence enjoyed by the likes of Facebook. But it essential that the public is made aware of these relations, otherwise the state will continue to exert influence over society – with Americans none the wiser.

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