Friday, February 06, 2015

I created the comedians tag after making my second or third reference to comics being smarter than "our intellectuals", since by current definition artists can not be intellectuals, and comics are popular artists, and comedy even more than other arts is predicated on reading subtext where others see only text. Reading and writing for text, for and from content and intent is seen as a sign of intellectual seriousness, and seriousness or at least the claim to seriousness is said to be very, very, very, important.

Intellectuals now are either academics or "technologists". I found this paper, "Network Celebrity: Entrepreneurship and the New Public Intellectuals", through an academic critic of tech culture, who can't see the relation of Weber to Tolkien to Rawls to neoliberalism, to his own writing, any more than Henry Farrell can to his.

If all humility is false humility then Socratic humility, as Socratic irony, is the irony of contempt. Euripidean irony is the irony of our shared burdens, and failures.

Larry Wilmore, interviewed by the Hollywood Reporter
One of your first bits was about Selma's Oscar snub. You joked that you were outraged by The Lego Movie's omission, but of Selma you said, "Yeah, I'm mad, I guess." Why?

I actually was genuinely upset that The Lego Movie was not nominated. I love that movie. [As for Selma,] it's hard to get me outraged over stuff that happens all the time. I think it's part of my comic point of view.

So it doesn't get to you?

The problem is, it's Hollywood. If we were talking about the government or certain institutions, sure, but it's Hollywood! I do not look to Hollywood to give me character clues. What I try to do is make a difference by hiring people and giving people jobs behind the scenes. That stuff is important, and many studios and networks have made great strides there. Thursday night is Shonda [Rhimes] night. A black female producer owning a night of television? That's huge. But awards? They're esoteric and nebulous, and it's not the same as making sure that Ava DuVernay, a black female director, gets a shot at making a movie. That, to me, is more important; the other stuff is gravy. You can grumble about it -- and it's fun to grumble -- but I don't think that's a race we're ever going to catch up in if people are expecting that. So, I'd say it's frustrating but I'm not real angry about it. I'm more like, "Once again Hollywood, thank you for not letting me down."
Samhita Mukhopadhyay Ex-Editor of Feministing on Mindy Kalin

"Why Mindy Kaling Refuses to Talk about Race—and Why I Care So Much"
In a recent episode of The Mindy Project, Mindy Lahiri, the show’s protagonist played by South Asian American comedian and actress Mindy Kaling, was considering a medical fellowship at Stanford. Her boyfriend, fellow doctor Danny Castellano, upset by the prospect of her moving to California, confides in another colleague. Confused, he tells Castellano: “But Mindy hates not being the only Asian in the room.”

It’s a quick remark that Castellano ignores. It’s also one of many moments in The Mindy Project that hints [accent in original] at race issues, but nothing more. There was the time Lahiri was talking to a police officer and said, “There is this shawarma stand that I am certain is terrorists." Or the time her coworker accused her of only dating white boys, to which she responded that she hooked up with a Korean guy once: “His hands were so small, it made my boobs feel enormous!” Or there was that episode a few weeks ago, in a flashback sequence, during which Lahiri is 24, a virgin, donning blue contacts and looking for potential sexual prospects—“white guys that are into Asian stuff.”

...At a panel at SXSW, she shut down an inquiry about the diversity of her own cast by saying, “I’m a fucking Indian woman who has her own fucking network television show, OK?”

...Until now, I was hesitant to write about Kaling and race, lest I sound like I’m criticizing the only South Asian woman on TV for not being South Asian enough. It’s frustrating when people presume a pioneer will become an unwilling leader in a struggle with which they may not identify. We expect too much from women in public, I tell myself. Optics matter, and the fact that she is on TV makes it more likely that someone like me could be, too. It’s hard for me not to overlay my own expectations onto Kaling—like her, I am a Bengali female writer in my mid-thirties who grew up in an East Coast suburb.

But I’m also a feminist who cares about racial justice,...
The link she adds it is to, Mindy Kaling is not your pioneer, Al Jazeera America, by E. Alex Jung.

Mukhopadhyay's website
Samhita Mukhopadhyay is a writer, speaker and technologist residing in Manhattan, NY. She is a leader in the field of feminism, social entrepreneurship and creative content production dedicated to engaging people around social issues. She also likes to make people laugh. She is the former Executive Editor of the award-winning blog, and author of Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life – an intervention to mainstream dating books. 
She is currently the Director of Strategic Engagement and Communications at the National Women’s Business Council – a federal advisory council to The White House, Congress and the SBA on issues of women and entrepreneurship. Prior to that she was on the strategy team at Purpose and the training and technology coordinator at the Center for Media Justice. 
Her piece is published by Josh Marshall, who defends the principle that Israel remain a Jewish state and not the state of all its citizens.
On twitter she refers to herself as a "disruptor".

Kaling and Mukhopadhyay have a lot in common, including conservatism; their biggest difference is in how each faces her own insecurities.

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