Monday, February 07, 2022

The Dumbest Guy On The Internet

One of the annoying things about the Trump era was how too many liberals fell all over themselves to promote "good conservatives" for the sole reason that they could leap over the 2mm hurdle of "thinking Trump was bad." One of my least favorites is Tom Nichols, mostly because he's so fucking stupid. Hilariously, his book is "The Death of Expertise," which sounds nice except what he always means is, "gross old white guys like Nichols who aren't experts in anything aren't respected as much as they should be," not, "we should respect experts." 

If one cares to follow, he just keeps doubling and tripling down, and making clear that he thinks the issue is the Tarantino n-word scene, and that if wise heads prevailed and left that on the cutting room floor today we'd be putting out the hammer and sickle flag (everything that is bad is communism).

A million reasons this is immensely dumb. I could waste all day on this! A simple one, however, is it's very well understood that movie "censorship," broadly defined, has long been under the thumb of the MPAA. Not state censorship, precisely, but close enough that it's practically indistinguishable.

And, roughly speaking, for decades the MPAA blessed unlimited violence and some kinds of nudity and sex (but definitely not others). "Definitely not others" included depictions of non-straight relationships. Pushing a movie from PG to PG-13 or PG-13 to R or R to (financial death sentence) NC-17 greatly impacts its marketability.

In this context, I don't think Tarantino being able to do a cameo in his own movie saying the 'N word' repeatedly is especially important. Also the MPAA did and would still let it slide with an 'R' rating, so whatever forces might prevent that scene from going through are not heavy-handed control, but people saying, "maybe don't do that."

That's just movies, of course. The "no gay characters on TV" effective rule was rarely, though occasionally, breached.