From left or right, the politics of history is the province of scoundrels. Worse than that, it can become a death cult. We are pitted against each other by those who return, time and again, to the original wound that they cannot or will not allow to heal. Not that we can deny the past. But we ask ourselves who owns truth? Who decides when or how truth is told? All nations have stains on their history.
The notion that expecting one’s children “to form and express opinions” and “questions elders” is a definitionally white parenting style, while expecting children to “show respect by quiet listening” is a “color group” one, is a racial caricature. As is the broader idea that white families prize individualism over communal obligation. Positing fundamental cultural distinctions between people with different pigmentations — not different class, regional, national, or religious backgrounds, but merely different concentrations of melanin — is a task better left to white supremacists than equity coaches.
Even now, I catch myself believing that the world belongs to the victors and the powerful. The church, like nearly everyone else, tends to want to be more like the comfortable, the successful, and the powerful — more like Augustus Caesar — than the one who became weak, helpless, and despised. We often look for God more in the abundance of gifts under the tree or the happiness of our days than in the helplessness of a baby, the worry lines of the poor, or the lonely agony of a dying man on a cross. But again this year, this story asks to shock us anew and to yet again turn the world upside down.
The assumption the rest of us tend to make in order to justify attacking the eccentrics in our midst is that they don’t know how they come across. Certainly, that’s how Schulman portrays Strong — unaware that there’s a joke and that he’s the brunt of it. Perhaps that’s not the case, though. Strong, Dorland, and Pellegrino each seem to have some idea of how they’re being perceived, and to choose, despite the risk of increased mockery and pain, to continue being themselves, at their most extra and obnoxious.
Making this choice is a rite of passage for many of us — for the theater, kids hamming it up, the fangirls shrieking too loudly at concerts, the excited nerds geeking out about obscure subjects, and on and on. The choice to embrace effusive displays of sincere feeling will always bring the risk of vilification. Perhaps when the next viral profile drops, we might push past the knee-jerk mockery, recognize the capacity for eccentricity in ourselves, and extend a little kindness
At no point does Don’t Look Up’s script demonstrate an interest in why these people do these things, or what causes these online phenomena. Despite this being a central aspect of his story, McKay doesn’t seem to think it worthy of consideration. There’s a word for that: contempt.
It doesn’t matter what Groucho or Elvis or Britney or any other one-name performer does or did… the critics won’t be placated. Changing your act to make them happy is a fool’s game.
It’s not magical. It’s simply an engine of convenience. Those who can tune that engine well — who solve basic human problems with greater speed and simplicity than those who came before — will profit immensely. Those who lose sight of basic human needs — who want to give people the next great idea — will have problems. “We often think of the internet enables you to do new things,”
Williams said. “But people just want to do the same things they’ve always done.”
Knowing when you’ve messed up, and apologising swiftly, is an unspoken rule in this corner of the internet, too. “I am a human person and make mistakes all the time,” says Danya Ruttenberg, a rabbi from Chicago. If she tweets something ill-informed, offensive or wrong, Ruttenberg simply deletes it and apologises if necessary. “It doesn’t have to be a big deal,” Ruttenberg says. “It doesn’t have to be so heavy. You’re not a terrible person if you make a mistake
“Genetic differences between us matter for our lives. They cause differences in things we care about. Building a commitment to egalitarianism on our genetic uniformity is building a house on sand.”