I watched the Oscars last night. For a brief while I tried watching the Twitter feed but there were way too many tweets to pay attention to. I woke this morning to the comments on Patricia Arquette’s speech and a later backstage comment she made. (More)
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I am not a movie goer or a fan. I have no expectations that actors, the academy broadly, athletes, or any other celebrities are my role models. I would expect their organizations to hold them to not breaking the laws.
Patricia Arquette won for best supporting actor in a female role. She unfolded a piece of paper and read a rousing statement about equality for women. Later backstage she she said this:
It’s time for all the women in America – and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for – to fight for us now.
This apparently set off Twitter as Arquette being insensitive to the intersection of racial struggles, LGBT struggles and struggles for women’s equality. It raises a question in how we speak about all the causes that struggle for rights and also share of mind. Are the struggles separate or all interconnected or both?
I do hope that the backlash on the back stage comment does not obscure the excellent points of equality for women that Arquette read in her acceptance speech. It is touchy. People of color, women, LGBTs, the incarceration rate of African American men, criminal injustice, suicide prevention, the disabled (Alzelheimer’s in Still Alice and ALS in The Theory of Everything and immigration were each issues that were highlighted last night. In some sense the issues are each about oppression and exclusion from the bigger American family. I can see the interconnectedness. I can also see that arguing for inclusion and equality on a meta level is very difficult.
Keeping the issues separate and distinct makes the storytelling better. I think of all the phone calls we made for “Minnesotans United for All Families” to ask people to vote against the constitutional amendment defining marriage as heterosexual. Those were one issue calls. They worked very well.
Keeping the issues separate also makes it easier for the right to knock them down as a “single issue” and only important to “those people, not us.”
For me, I hope that Arquette’s excellent specch on woman’s equality doesn’t get lost as the left tries to correct her. I say to her critics, when you win your Academy Award you can make your perfect speech.