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Sexual revolution cannibalism

Culture | The transgender movement cringes at Hollywood’s embrace
by Charissa Koh
Posted 8/10/18, 01:22 pm

Activists and onlookers are still talking about Scarlett Johansson’s withdrawal last month from a movie about a woman who identifies as a man and wondering what it means for future portrayals of transgender characters.

News broke in July that Johansson would play a transgender person in the new film Rub & Tug. Strong public backlash ensued, especially from activists who said portraying transgender characters was not good enough—transgender actors should play the roles as well.

“We need to take the reins here,” transgender actor Scott Turner Schofield said this week. “We need to be a substantive part of this conversation.”

Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote last month for The New York Times that transgender moviegoers often find portrayals of women who identify as men “mannered, studied, and implausible.”

After two weeks of criticism, Johansson gave up the role, telling Out magazine, “I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.”

The situation demonstrates how the sexual revolution “consumes its own,” Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a WORLD News Group board member, said this week on his podcast The Briefing.

“Scarlett Johansson no doubt thought that she was being quite progressive to take the risk of this kind of role, only to face backlash because it is now out of bounds for a non-transgender actress to play a transgender character,” he said. “That’s how the revolution has changed, how it’s intensified in just a matter of months.”

Associated Press/Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision Associated Press/Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision Guillermo del Toro holds Oscars for best director and best picture for The Shape of Water after this year’s awards ceremony.

A flop for the Academy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this week announced three changes to the Oscars in a bid to make the 90-year-old awards ceremony more appealing—but the public was disgusted.

In a tweet Wednesday, The Academy said next year’s Oscars will happen earlier in the year, last only three hours, and include a new award for popular films. The changes come after this year’s record low viewership and a string of hardly successful attempts to bridge the cultural chasm between Hollywood and the American public.

The Academy has long favored artistic, independent films rather than fan favorites. This year’s best picture winner, The Shape of Water, brought in $195 million, while the 2017 box office champion, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, raked in $1.3 billion. The Oscars become significantly less relatable if the average moviegoer hasn’t seen the winners. And nominations don’t count: The Last Jedi received four Oscar nominations—sound mixing, original music score, visual effects, and sound editing—but didn’t win a single gold-plated statue.

So far, the Academy’s most recent attempt to attract more viewers with a popular movies category is only attracting scorn. Both actors and viewers alike took to the internet to express their disgust.

“This is the ‘Good Job, Moviegoers!’ award,” wrote Stephanie Zacharek for Time, “and if nothing else, it tells us one thing: The Academy thinks the public is stupid.” —C.C.

Associated Press/Photo by Andy Wong Associated Press/Photo by Andy Wong A computer screen (left) shows a failure message on China’s Sina Weibo website next to a screen showing U.S. comedian John Oliver with an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh.

Silly old bear

The Chinese government has censored the film Christopher Robin in response to an outbreak of online memes comparing Chinese President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh.

The movie takes a charming new look at A.A. Milne’s classic characters, but the memes go back five years, The Guardian reported, when Chinese web users compared a photo of Xi and President Barack Obama to a picture of Pooh and his bouncy friend Tigger.

Censors started blocking the memes but have had trouble staying ahead of the trend. This summer, they blocked HBO’s website and scrubbed comedian John Oliver’s name from social media after he brought up Poohgate on his satirical news show. “Clamping down on Winnie the Pooh comparisons doesn’t exactly project strength. It suggests a weird insecurity,” Oliver said. —Lynde Langdon

Associated Press Associated Press Donald Trump (left) poses in 2007 at the ceremony honoring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and his star after it was vandalized on July 25.

Don’t tread on me

Some of President Donald Trump’s detractors in Hollywood are taking out their frustration on his star on the city’s Walk of Fame. A few weeks ago, a man took a pickax to the star in the wee hours of the morning. He was the latest of several vandals to target the terrazzo tile, which was installed in 2007.

The West Hollywood City Council passed a resolution Monday asking for the star’s removal, saying Trump didn’t deserve the honor, but it’s not really up to them since the star isn’t in their city.

A conservative artist irked Trump bashers even more by placing at least 50 laminated vinyl lookalike Trump stars along the walk overnight Wednesday. The anonymous artist told The Hollywood Reporter, “Rip up the president’s Walk of Fame star or try to have it removed—like you’re the mayor of West Hollywood or something—and 30 more will pop up.” —L.L.

Charissa Koh

Charissa is a reporter for WORLD.

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Comments

  • RC
    Posted: Mon, 08/13/2018 11:45 am

    If the “Academy” thinks the public is stupid, we the public, will forgo spending money on the trash they produce no matter what they call it.  Soon they will have no advertisers to support their back-slapping self-centered party.  The public will never miss what they are already ignoring.   

  •  Mike54's picture
    Mike54
    Posted: Tue, 08/14/2018 11:23 am

    I have served as a teacher at a school for MK's for 17 of the last 22 years.  This last term was a six year stretch with a total of 3 and 1/2 months back here in the US during that time. So to say I am out of touch with the what's on TV is a vast  understandment. Just this weekend, my wife and I took a short 4 day trip for family events and found ourselves staying in motels for a few nights.  I decided to check the television at one point to pass the time and was surprised to find a pleothora of things listed, but few if any worth watching.  It's not just the Hollywood films, but a huge amount of current programming is either objectionable, gross (lots of dead bodies), or just plain bad.  Most of what I checked (and I admit it wasn't everything) also seemed to be pointless.  There was no real point to the program (other than to have a program) and when there was one, it seemed to be one that was non-Biblical.  I talked with one young lady who watched Anne with and E expecting to see the orignal Green Gables story only to be badly disappointed. I appreciate World's staff keeping us in the know on what might be watchable or enterntaining as well as the truck loads of unwatchable programs the media industry produces.  For those that say the entertainment industry is out of touch with much of America, you might want to expand that to most of the world. 

     

  • RC
    Posted: Wed, 08/15/2018 11:32 am

    I thought “acting” was about playing a role of someone you are not?  I guess the activists/onlookers/protestors/nutcases don’t want to see acting but a reality show character.  They obviously don’t think much of Ms. Johansson’s ability to play the role of something she is not.  She must obviously agree, since she has decided to stand down.

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