A day late, but I did it. Here, have some vintage live Black Flag for your trouble.
• I finally got into the National Museum of African-American History and Culture this week. It’s very much a typical, signage-heavy Smithsonian museum — long on curios, display cards, and uplift. At first I thought the slavery history galleries were a little too talky, and should have had some of the grim immersive effect of the U.S. Holocaust Museum. (I feel the same way about the National Museum of the American Indian, which always feels like it’s hiding something, genocide-wise.) But then I noticed the place was packed, mostly with black families, and they were reading the history with great interest, so maybe they neither need not want to be smacked in the face with the horrors of slavery and segregation. To be fair, there are some coups de muséologie like the Emmett Till casket, and also images with quieter, more melancholy power; for example, a large wall projection of a photo of an Emancipation Day Parade in some city in 1905; a sea of black folk, neatly dressed but showing no sign of revelry or even celebration, seeming in fact somber, for reasons we are moved to imagine. And once you gets upstairs to the cultural section, all is bliss and wonder; special credit to whoever designed the groovy light boxes in the 70s-radical section. I take Steven Thrasher’s point about “respectability politics,” but it is on the nation’s biggest tourist strip, and you could do worse with four hours. (Oh, and like the American Indian Museum, the food is very good.)
• I have to thank Steve M. of No More Mister Nice Blog (which you really should be reading, especially lately) for alerting me to the latest by culture-war clown Christian Toto appearing at the once-proud The Hill:
Film 'Miss Sloane' another reminder of Hollywood's liberal smugnessWe warned you effete liberals, by our glorious election of The Leader, that we didn’t want to see anything but Batman vs. Superman vs. Wonder Woman’s Tits XVIIIVXI from now on, but you preemptively ignored us during the production cycle of this movie (or as you sissies call it “film”).
Now, the industry hopes a new film will change the public narrative on gun control. When will celebrities learn their one-sided sermons rarely change hearts or minds?...Eventually Toto pretends to actually review the film and, surprise, says it’s bad on the merits, which is as may be, but clearly that isn’t why he finds it worth talking about because 1.) he’s Christian Toto 2.) he keeps sticking in talking points like “never mind that the National Shooting Sports Foundation recently revealed that women are the nation’s fastest growing group of gun owners,” and 3.) It’s in The frigging Hill, not Cahiers du Cinéma.
The film suggests most Beltway types want more gun control, but the gun lobby strong arms senators to make them do their bidding. Off screen, there are forces on both sides, each with its own resources and forms of persuasion. Like glossy Hollywood movies…Like glossy Hollywood movies! From Hollywood! What a bunch of hypocrites.
Hollywood didn’t bother to ask why some Americans thought Trump, flaws and all, might be the change agent they craved. And “Miss Sloane” refuses to consider any NRA member’s arguments regarding the Second Amendment…He seems to want advisory councils brought in to make sure the artistic product doesn’t challenge the Trumpenproletariat, at least not without an appearance by a raisonneur named Tistian Chroto to explain why conservatism rocks. In show biz they call these focus groups, and that’s how we get Batman vs. Superman vs. Wonder Woman’s Tits XVIIIVXI (in IMAX®!). Which I guess will be the ideal entertainment for the New Age.
• As for the Carrier deal, you know what? First and foremost I’m happy for those guys who will get to keep their jobs. It sucks that many of the Carrier employees are losing their jobs and no one seems to give a shit, and that the propaganda Trump is making of it is probably a model for his general kleptocracy cover, and (most of all) that nothing about him and his factota suggests there’ll be anything like a policy that would generate better-than-subsistence-wage jobs for those hinterland honkies who thought voting for him was gonna fix everything. But in this round of winners-and-losers at least somebody who isn't a billionaire won something; also, we get to hear the hardcore wingnuts sputtering that it’s not real conservatism — and their Twitter followers snarling back at them. It's an ill wind that blows no one some laffs!