Monday, February 29, 2016


"The greatest meeting of land and water in the world"
        Francis McComas  20th century water colorist
  More from majestic Big Sur below.

   New Jersey Governor Christie's endorsement of Trump speaks not only to Christie's skill at playing kiss up, it also signals how the Republican Party is likely to circle around the improbable candidate.
    Speculation abounds; what does Christie seek? Vice President? Attorney General? Who from the Republican establishment will follow next? When? A strong showing on Super Tuesday raises the likelihood of more ring kissing.
     It is also likely Cruz and Rubio and/or affiliated PACs will begin to dump on Trump with everything they can find that would damage him and his reputation. That flack might weaken but not kill his improbable charge but would remain "out there" for the fall general election. So traditional Republicans, the mainstream variety, continue to find themselves in a trick box

   If I had directed the Oscar telecast emcee Chris Rock would have shown up in white face. My friend Jim suggested Rock walk an elephant on stage, park it there through the entire evening and say nothing about it. What Rock said and how he did it made points but the issue is not going way.
   It is clear to frequent readers I oppose discrimination of any sort. However there is a lot more to the current fever in Oscarland than race, sexism, ageism and fairness.
    At the core is our complicity in making the award show  a strong cultural pillar. Professional craft and guild awards have been turned into a near spiritual horizon event. Shame on us. Sure I love film too but after all is said and they done they are merely entertainments produced by an industry. The film industry is about one thing, money. It's business first and last. That the Oscars have become such a cultural icon complete with weeks of breathless lead up coverage about who will win and who will wear what and etc. is just more business. No diseases are cured, no wars are ended, no children are educated, no poor are fed.
    If we are inclined to make a big deal about awards then our media blitz machine could be dialed to the Nobel Awards. That's real serious and even earth changing stuff. Or we could focus on the Pulitzers, not "based on a true story" as in Hollywood parlance, but recognition for excellence in telling real for sure true stories.
    I know, we are a celebrity worshiping culture and we love our buzz and gossip and speculation-but really, they are only awards given to mostly to the rich and famous.
    I see a lot of film and as I posted previously I saw performances by African American actors I thought  deserving of nomination, but I am not an Academy member. That's the point. These professional awards, given by a private academy, are not supposed to be about equality, freedom, civil rights, or any thing of value or social justice. It's a private club giving awards chosen by their members. 
    The Academy is mostly white and male. The film industry is like most business in the world, mostly run by men. Film makers are in the business to earn profit. That good films, independent films, meaningful films ever get made is amazing. Giving thought to equality, fairness or even balance is not something studio bosses or investors even think about. 
    There are no government dollars involved so in truth the only influence advocates for greater diversity have is public opinion and deciding not to spend to see films. I agree there is a social justice morality here, but the Academy is a private club giving out awards in a voting process that is suspect to begin with. Studios budget to campaign for the Oscar. There is also the "politics" of the studios.
     A documentary I produced, wrote and directed won a national Emmy. I'm proud of that and while a panel of professional journalists and broadcasters were the judges, in the last analysis even that Emmy is simply a professional award given by a private organization. 
     Maybe we could just put these things into a proper perspective and pull them down from the Olympian heights from where we as a culture have placed them. Perspective might be helpful.
     I'd bet you the industry would continue to make films-and billions of dollars-if the Oscars were expunged from our memory and from the public conscience.
     In all of the trappings of this years telecast there were two realities of note. Spotlight being selected as film of the year is further affirmation of investigative reporting in general, the Boston Globe's investigation in particular and hope for all victims of Priest sexual abuse. Lady Gaga's performance of Til it Happens to You, surrounded by dozens of victims of sexual attack, was poignant, important and of more significance than most of the awards. And it was "true life" courage as well.


    See you down the trail.


  1. Is the ocean always that blue at Big Sur or does it change from season to season?

    1. It can change day to day, based on sun and light conditions. I've seen it gray, green, turquoise, dark blue and light blue as it was when we up there last week.

  2. A few things come to mind. Are there any mainstream Republicans anymore? There are two Cuban Americans running for president who have both lied about why their parents came to the United States,saying their families came to escape Castro. Castro was in Mexico when Cruz' father came to the US and Rubio's parents did the same. I have yet to hear our "liberal" media even pose that question to either of them. Did you hear any of the off camera recordings of the Trump's "exclusive" interview with Joe and Mika? The broadcast and cable media treat today's Republican insanity like it's mainstream thought. It's not even close. Is there any Democratic politician that is as far left as any run of the mill Republican is to the right? Bernie is a traditional New Dealer in 90% of his policies. It's amazing to me to watch news shows and realize that I know people who have a better grasp of politics and policies than a majority of the highly paid journalists (talent)that appear week after week seem to have.

    I couldn't be happier that Spotlight won. I have a friend who attended a Catholic all boy prep school who was abused by a priest. When he came home on vacation he told his mother about it, she slapped his face, telling him "Don't you ever talk about a priest that way again, you dirty, filthy boy!" "Spotlight" is a very important film.

    See you in a couple of weeks old friend.

  3. Spotlight is indeed an excellent and important film. It's the best film I've seen on journalism and investigative reporting. It surpasses All The President's Men, which used to be at the top of my list.

    Your point about media and politicians is spot on. Bernie is a new dealer. By today's GOP standards Ike, Nixon and even Reagan would be liberal. A lot of this republican sickness is due to their great old Gipper. He started the mantra about the federal government being the problem-despite his own raising of taxes, military build up and use of federal largesse, and after a few decades it echoes back as the whacko Tea Party, Freedom Caucus, Evangelical wing. All three of those sub groups are among the most absolutist and close minded people in modern history. Blinded by zeal.

    And yes, why doesn't modern political media attack presumption, narrowness and examine implication? Too many political reporters today have grown up with an obsession on the horse race and work at a time with careerism is more important than journalism. And I suspect too many have had too few journalism classes. Performance is not more important than intellect and substance, tough too many news managers today don't understand that.

  4. As you've pointed out, Hollywood is a capitalistic group intent on making money. If more people were willing to see black-themed movies more would be made.

    1. There probably should be a dollar sign in the Hollywood sign.

  5. You and Jager covered the political aspects well, and I agree. The republican ticket this year so far boggles the mind.
    I first went to Big Sur in 71', when my wife and I cruised down there from Oregon on the way to an ATS conference in Anaheim. We had dinner at Nepenthe one night, and stayed nearby in a place I don't remember the name...
    I've watch Steelhead spawn in the Big Sur creek, watched the butterflys coat the eucalyptus trees in early spring. A magical place.

  6. We were discovering Big Sur in the same era. Our first trip was in 1969. Have been in love with the area since.

  7. TC, you are right, movies = money. To have these holier than thou "artists" --- who, by the way, essentially blackball talented colleagues who take more conservative views --- regale the audience with their left-leaning tripe is just so worn out. Thrilled to see that Oscar ratings were down 20%.

  8. Donald Trump = Mussolini .... only more corrupt
    And such is the thirsting for "justice" among a large segment of the white, formerly middle class population.
    Must see:

  9. We are regular viewers of Oliver and loved the Donald Drumpf piece. Brilliant! Your Mussolini analogy is fascinating.

  10. The blue and the white of the ocean is really a beautiful contrast.
    I watched the Oscars and I'm so happy for Leo. :)