“Thou Protests Too Much…”
There’s a scene in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” where Hamlet stages a play to gear the reaction of King Claudius, who he thinks killed his father and then married his mother Queen Gertrude. As they watch this play-within a play, the Actress Queen, who is actually representing Gertrude, goes on and on how she will never remarry if her husband dies. Hamlet turns to his mother and asks her, “Madam, how like you this play?” Her reply: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The line, modified to “Thou protests too much,” has since been used zillions of times when people go overboard on an issue.
Well, last night Chris Rock, host of the Oscars, definitely protested too much. What should have been a few quick, sardonic jabs at the lack of black nominees for this year’s awards turned into a sermonette against “whitey.” This annoying bullshit continued throughout the show in various vignettes, many involving Rock’s accomplice-in-arms, Whoopee Goldberg. Yet when Rock pulled his own stunt, having Asian kids trot out dressed in tuxes mimicking Price Waterhouse auditors in charge of the ballots, no one booed his racial stereotyping (Asians = good at math = get it?).
Yea, there were some great performances by black actors that should have been recognized, and the Academy itself admits most of its voting members are Caucasian and OLD, but if you were a Martian monitoring American culture from millions of miles away, you’d think half of America was a minority. No, my dear, blacks represent less than 20% of the population, and will soon by eclipsed by Latinos as our largest single minority group. Asians make up just 8%.
And, has anybody brought up the hard cold fact (if you don’t believe me, google, “Who Controls Hollywood”) that the entire entertainment industry, I’m talking about the people behind the camera, mostly white guys, who call the shots and come up with the dough are predominantly (should I dare say it?) Jewish? This dates back to the earliest dates of the movie industry when guys like junk dealer Louis B. Mayer, later of MGM fame, or furrier Adolph Zukor, who founded what would become Paramount, got into the business of the “flickers” because they saw a quick buck.
Proof in point: There’s no denying Steven Spielberg is a super talented director. But how many graduates fresh out of the USC Film School (which he later heavily endowed) get a full directorship at the get-go? No strings pulled? No piezonism? Me thinks yes.
Few, including Mr. Rock, bring up this reality – which may, at least in part, be responsible for this lack of diversity in the industry – because it would be “political incorrect.” Or, more likely, the end of their careers.
But enough said before I start sounding like Queen Gertrude.