Social media is a great place to catch yourself saying stupid shit you chastise other people for saying — if you’re into catching yourself.
Some of us are not.
I’ve been on the receiving end of marginalized ire (rightfully) when I’ve (admittedly) appropriated a piece of culture or misused perhaps either optic or verbiage for the sake of portraying myself in a certain progressive light. Often then, I find myself pushing the agenda even further or laying on the ally-hood real real real thick.
Anyone that’s ever read any of my stuff before knows that I also love to hate on whites and hate on mens.
Both of which I am.
Ultimately, though, that’s all just a way of continuing to recuse myself from being an accomplice to overt, as well as covert, oppressions we [“we” meaning “whites“; “we” meaning “mens“] seem compelled to continually perpetrate on, well, y’all.
It’s also a way of recusing myself from being a white man.
Which, like I said, I am.
So, when I drop a dank meme for trans rights apropos nothing relative to me, and I get called out by someone who has a horse in the race, I gotta ask myself, “Why did I just do that?” What are the motivations behind the words (read: tweets) and, more importantly, if faced with a scenario in which I had the opportunity to stand up for a trans person’s rights in real life, would I do it?
I’d like to think so.
Some white men are great about that. Others ain’t. And others think that dank memes are enough. So when I come back around to that reality laid bare — reality oftentimes couched in the context of a Twitter feed which, yes, I understand, is decidedly not reality (nor is it really laid bare) — I have to ask another hard question: “How much of an ally am I?”
Which brings me to Ghostbusters. Or Star Wars. Or, I dunno, Doctor Who? No, no no. Not true. I mean none of what I said should bring me to any of those, but I’d like it to bring me to Goodfellas.
Or maybe not bring me, but maybe help me arrive at Goodfellas.
It’s all actually first going to bring me to a metaphor of a pendulum, and I apologize for the non sequitur here, but imagine a pendulum, OK?; a pendulum constantly on another upswing before it dives back in the opposite direction of the arc. Forever and ever, which a pendulum will do because a pendulum, although having no real motivation and relying only on the laws of physics, can still somehow be active and reactive.
OK, now back to Goodfellas.
Man do guys like Goodfellas! And Van Halen. Or Bob Dylan and Rocky II and camouflage pants and light beer. And they like to like themselves so much for liking those things so much that they cannot conceive of someone else not liking them.
They cannot conceive of someone thinking (read: being) different than them, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “prejudice.”
And some of the very progressive interpretations of any of these aforementioned “things” — i.e. Ghostbusters, i.e. Star Wars — has boiled a lot of that prejudice to commonplace. Particularly on social media.
OK, now onto something else seemingly unrelated! —
Look, let’s get this out there: I don’t care what Martin Scorsese said about comic book movies because not being cinema firstly, honestly, who gives a shit, and secondly, honestly, I don’t understand what the fuck that even means.
My only thing is: I hate he said it. Like, at all. Like, don’t miss an opportunity to say nothing, Martin. You know what I’m saying? And what’s more is I actually think he shouldn’t have said it, and I hate even more the legions of sycophants who came to his very unnecessary aid, defending his legacy as filmmaker, instead of attacking his legacy as a man.
Being a great filmmaker has nothing to do with a person’s ability to say stupid shit they shouldn’t say.
But apparently a lot of us somehow believe that correlation, and we love a different correlation as well, and we love to just deride people about that correlation, which is this: one somehow hating that Scorsese said a thing means one therefore hates Scorsese.
Or that thinks his movies are bad. Or that it’s all an intent to discredit him.
So, is it?
No! Of course not! Goodfellas is sick! Casino is bomb! Fuckin’ Last Temptation of Christ mothefucker! I mean, Godfather II, amiright?
Just kidding, nerds. I know Coppola made Casino.
But this is how shit goes down all the time. And then, the defensive get offensive, and the debate takes on this sinister mutation when the arguments “against” being anti-Martin Scorsese excuse Martin Scorsese for saying the very Martin Scorsese-y thing because, hey, look, it’s “Martin Scorsese” and Martin Scorsese can “say what he wants,” which is just a permutation of “do what he wants,” and I don’t think I should have to outline what a very dangerous privilege (oh boy, there’s a word) to give someone.
Again: like, at all.
So, first, let me say Martin Scorsese has made movies I like very much. He’s also made movies I don’t. But the thing of that is: it doesn’t matter either way. What I think about Martin Scorsese’s movies doesn’t have to have any bearing on what you think. And also, just because Martin Scorsese is Martin Scorsese that doesn’t mean he’s not a dick.
What Martin Scorsese perceives, say, the movie Avengers: Endgame to “be,” doesn’t matter. And it shouldn’t matter. But, of course, if it does matter, for example, to you (“person who thinks Scorsese is infallible” — jkjkjk) then that’s just fine.
That’s fine by me.
Because why? That’s right: because none of that matters.
The fact of any of these matter is this: in the aftermath of Martin Scorsese dropping his cinematic #truthbombs on the comic book moviegoing public, I, personally, have not found my enjoyment of comic book movies to be any less just because of a little dose of some Martin-Fucking-Scorsese.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t still go and watch Taxi Driver and enjoy that too (just in case that’s the illogical trip-wired ergo counter-argument bullshit you were about to pull).
And you know what even else???
If you don’t like Avengers: Endgame or Taxi Driver then shit, man, what the fuck is wrong you? Just kidding! Because that’s fine too! You like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? Fucking awesome, people are gonna have a lotta thoughts on that, but good news: NONE OF THAT WILL MATTER EITHER.
As a side note, though: Martin Scorsese is Martin Scorsese, which is fine, but he says this very particular thing about a very specific subset of products in a very fickle industry — an industry that he has, of course, worked hard to succeed in, but also substantially benefitted from — and I think it was just a shitty thing to say about another thing.
I know that doesn’t matter either, but rising tide and all boats and all that, man, dig?
Another side note: what really put me over the edge was the fact that Scorsese had to go publish a NYT op-ed about it, you know, to “explain what he meant” by the comments, which was just the comment all over again but whilst also being like “but, cinema, guys.”
And that, my friends, is the white man move of white man moves (and, I mean, so is domestic terrorism but when white men do it we don’t call it that).
So anyway, ps, Martin, loved The Departed, BTW, but, seriously, for real, shut the fuck up.
You know what else? None of this matters, either. Like, what I’m saying. This — any of it. It doesn’t matter. You know what does? If you like Martin Scorsese.
I hope you do.
What matters is that there’s any kind of change or progress whatsoever anywhere in anything. In small matters, and in big ones. In discourse. In how we exchange ideas. It all matters that we move away from where we’ve been and go somewhere we haven’t.
The bummer is — and if you’ve seen the recent Golden Globe nominee announcements, you know that what I’m saying is true — a lot of times, we never do that.
So, anyways: back to that pendulum.
The pendulum swings, and it will always swing because, well, gravity, I guess. But I’m not a scientist so *shrugs* but I just think that the pendulum — and it’s just my opinion and, therefore, doesn’t matter — is at its best when it’s at a “reference point” —
That’s the lowest part of the arc. That’s where it strikes a balance. That’s the quotient of act and react.
That’s its sweet spot. Unfortunately, it won’t stay there for long.