Chris Beacham

The Oscars And The Politicization Of Everything

Critics and film journalists are expecting “La La Land” to walk away with Best Picture and Best Director tomorrow night at the Academy Awards.

Since the film premiered in Venice last fall, the film has been praised left and right for it’s charm, visual extravagance, passionate music, emotional impact, and joyous energy in an anxiety-ridden post-Trump America.

Now, on the eve of the Oscars, the film has somehow been bastardized into some sort of a win for Trump’s America.

There’s always a backlash. 

And it makes no sense.

“Moonlight”, a great film, is considered the movie that should win by many because of its powerful resonance in today’s times.

Although it’s a great thing for art to be analyzed, I feel the politicizing and tearing apart of nearly everything in our culture is getting out of hand.  

If you didn’t like “La La Land”, no problem.

To each his or her own.

Taste is subjective.

However, the idea that La La Land is racist or sexist is totally absurd and stupid.

As someone who is to the left politically, I think this is indicative of the shallow, hyper-political correctness that has permeated American culture.

It’s gone too far.

The series of clickbait articles about whether or not it is racist that Ryan Gosling’s character, as a white male, wants to save jazz is unbelievably stupid.

Yes, jazz originated as a black art form in New Orleans, where I’m from, but white people like jazz, too.

Shocking, right?

And many of the greatest jazz musicians of all time were white, and made major contributions to this type of music.

Photo Credit: PROThe Conmunity – Pop Culture Geek/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Dave Brubeck, Chet Baker, Herbie Mann, Gerry Mulligan, just to name a few.

Gosling’s character is not a “white savior”.

He just has such an appreciation for traditional jazz, he wants to open up a club that honors it. 

I won’t even engage the articles that claim Gosling “mansplains” too much or that Emma Stone’s character isn’t enough of a feminist, because it’s just not worth it. 

Read More: Meet Daniela Núñez, The 23 Year Old Mexican Who Wants To Change The Way We Bury People

This year has seen an improvement in regards to diversity in film.

Films nominated for Oscars this year include “Moonlight”, “Fences”, “Hidden Figures”, “Loving”.

All of these films deal somehow with race in America.

Other documentaries nominated are “O.J. Made in America”, “13th”, and “I am Not Your Negro”.

These docs also deal with race issues in America, and one of them will win best documentary on Oscar night.

So what if “La La Land” has two white leads?

So what?

As Jerry Seinfeld puts it when speaking out against political-correctness in comedy: “People think it’s the census or something…this has gotta represent the actual pie chart of America?”

The same can be applied to film.

Does every race and ethnicity need to be present in every film?

Does every ethnic box need to be checked off when telling a story? 

Liberals needs to stop crying wolf.

Not everything is racist.

Not everything is sexist.

Use discernment.

Political correctness is diluting the impact of the equality movement that currently needs to be more powerful and dignified than ever. 

This is not to say that there is not a problem of diversity in Hollywood.

There is a well documented lack of minority directors and behind the scene staffers and that is a real systemic problem.

But while that is a problem, does that mean that we can’t enjoy anything until there is total parity?

“Moonlight” is a very good film, but should not be considered the better film simply because it is about identity politics.

This is “ideology trumping aesthetics”, as writer Bret Easton Ellis would call it.

This is the message of a movie, or what it portrays socio-politically, being held in higher regard than the actual craft of the filmmaking.

Just because a film has a good message or has political resonance doesn’t mean it’s a good film.

Luckily, “Moonlight” is also excellent, but that’s what it should be judged on.

The craft.

Giving the Best Picture Oscar to “Moonlight” to spite Trumpism shouldn’t be the goal here.

If it does win, that’s great, and I’d be happy.

But the message that the win would send to America is a byproduct, not the primary reason it should be voted for. 

This Oscars will be political.

Speech after speech will reference the Trump Presidency.

I reject Trump, didn’t vote for him, and agree with most liberal values.

But I also understand the disdain felt by working class Americans towards the liberal elite telling them what they should or shouldn’t believe.

There are issues and concerns related to jobs and trade that don’t effect many of those in Hollywood.

The fact of the matter is, none of the anti-Trump speeches given at the Oscars will have any effect.

None of it will make waves.

It is preaching to the choir.

Voters across the country make their political decisions based on the issues and concerns happening in their immediate environment.

What a celebrity says has no effect.

It is up to the left and political leaders to address those concerns, and change to course of this country.

Stop putting it on the movies.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

For Democrats, Perception Is Reality. They Must Rid The Party Of Elitism

I lean to the left, voted for the Democrat, and wanted her to win.

I’m ashamed that the first black president will be succeeded by someone who led a racist birther movement and is supported by the KKK.

But despite the number of factors that lead to this election outcome, some of which are valid, many which are not, the Democratic Party largely has themselves to blame.

They dropped the ball.

The twist ending to this election is that what was supposed to be a civil war in the Republican Party is actually something that will certainty now take place in the Democratic Party.

Democrats need to recalibrate and figure out what happened, and what they stand for.

From my point of view, there are a number of things that need to be changed going forward.

I think Hillary Clinton would have made a fine President.

But the reality is that she was a truly awful candidate.

Her campaign will become the textbook “what not to do” for future campaigns.

The people around her cared more about protecting her than lifting her up and making her a successful candidate.

In an age where authenticity mattered, she was too scripted, and not human enough.

She carried enormous baggage, made many mistakes, and seemed out of touch with what the electorate was really feeling.

I support a DNC “drain the swamp” effort.

Replace everyone.

Get people who will follow a mandate, be fair, and not become an extension of another campaign.

A sticker found on a transformer box in Juneau, Alaska. Photo Credit: Ryan McFarland/ Flickr (Cc By 2.0)

A sticker found on a transformer box in Juneau, Alaska. Photo Credit: Ryan McFarland/ Flickr (Cc By 2.0)

The way Bernie Sanders was treated by the DNC was shameful.

The way the DNC tried to shoe in Clinton for the nomination is a disgrace.

Clinton was treated as the incumbent nominee by the party before the primaries even began.

The party forfeited a lively, spirited primary process with a number of interesting candidates to back an establishment candidate with enormous baggage and a likability problem.

Why they took the risk on an accomplished but incredibly flawed candidate, when it was so important to conserve President Obama’s progress for a new term, I will never understand.

It was status quo politics, elitism, and people are rightfully sick of that crap.

Clinton’s ideas were generally the right ideas.

She had vast knowledge of world and domestic issues that Trump does not have.

If that wasn’t clear before, it certainly will become so during his administration.

The problem was with communication and perception.

Perception is reality.

If there was one piece of advice I could offer to change this for democratic candidates in the future, it would be this:

Democrats, stay away from Hollywood.

Stay away from celebrities.

Stay away from elites.

Stop associating yourself with big money interests.

Appeal to the average working person that Trump intercepted.

It felt like every other week Clinton was having a celebrity fundraiser in Los Angeles or New York.

Celebrities don’t represent most people.

The Democratic Party needs to shed the perception that it is for elites and minorities only. Photo Credit: Georgia Democrats/ Flickr

The Democratic Party needs to shed the perception that it is for elites and minorities only. Photo Credit: Georgia Democrats/ Flickr

They don’t represent me.

Instead of taking the message to Wisconsin, which Clinton didn’t visit once as the nominee, and then lost, she chose to have a big money event with elites somewhere.

What a missed opportunity.

Wisconsin and Michigan should have been won.

And no one gives a shit about celebrity endorsements by the way.

We don’t care what Eva Longoria thinks about politics, or that Lena Dunham likes Clinton.

No one on the face of the earth should use a celebrity endorsement as a major factor in choosing a candidate.

Stop encouraging it.

No more $30,000 per plate dinners with George Clooney in the Hollywood Hills.

Clinton doesn’t need their money.

She had enough of her own.

No more concerts with Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, or Beyonce.

No one is impressed.

People are tired of elitism, and I am, too.

The bells and whistles do nothing, people just want someone who will listen to them.

Take the message to the people, and make clear that your interest is to stand up for them.

Michael Moore posted on Facebook that the Democratic Party needs to be returned to the people.

He’s right.

Moore has been right about this election all along.

Nearly everyone else wasn’t.

I’m optimistic real change will happen.

I think we are in for some major disillusionment about Trump, and in the meantime, the party will have the opportunity to fix the issues, re-evaluate their strategy, and come back stronger.

It needs to.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Georgia Democrats/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

I Can’t Stand Donald Trump. But The Violence Against His Supporters Is Wrong

The culture of protest in America is out of control.

As someone that does not support Donald Trump, it angers me to see the violence at these Trump rallies.

It peaked yesterday in San Jose, California.

It makes the opposition to Trump look undignified, and also gives the Trump movement more momentum and ammunition on which to further divide the country.

When you see protesters burning the U.S. flag and waving the Mexican flag with pride (and yet residing in the U.S. and potentially benefitting from this country), hitting people (sometimes causing them to bleed), and throwing eggs and rocks at supporters and police, you just feel portions of the electorate turning to Trump’s views. 

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The media loves drama, and they love fighting. When the protestors are out, so are the cameras, and the protestors are putting themselves on the world’s stage for everyone to judge.

Many will choose to judge a whole legitimate anti-racist movement on the behavior of a few bad eggs, but the protestors don’t take the time to consider that.

WATCH: Trump supporter egged 

Although Trump supporters can be very violent and abrasive as well, I honestly don’t think it can be compared.

Trump supporters don’t cause riots at Hillary and Bernie rallies.

What happened in Chicago a few months ago is more ambiguous, but the group opposing Trump in the middle of the rally arguably was the catalyst for what happened.

The only people interrupting and protesting Clinton and Sanders rallies seem to be folks from the left. Ironic.

As someone who leans to the left politically, I’m sick and tired of this hyper-liberal knee-jerk tendency to protest.

There are times when protesting is welcome, and necessary. Protesting with integrity and resolve is powerful, and can have impact.

However, that does not mean you find or create things to protest about, nor does it mean you protest every little issue. We’ve seen that on college campuses with disastrous results.

But in the case of the 2016 election, we should be protesting with our vote.

Trump is the GOP nominee, and throwing rocks won’t change it.

If you want to stop Trump, form a pro-active and peaceful coalition, try to increase voter turnout, and get people to the polls. This is democracy at its purest.

The more Trump supporters are harassed, the more Mexican flags waved as American flags burn, and the more violence caused is points scored for Trump.

If Trump wins the election, these violent protestors will get what they deserve but not what they want. 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

CNN Is Such Shit Now

I don’t pretend to be an expert in journalism. But I know that the 24/7 televised news media in America is a disgrace, with few exceptions. It’s abysmal.

I am a news junkie. My small experience in working for the news department at my university’s radio station has increased my appreciation for good reporting, which is one of the most important things in the world.

In the film “Spotlight”, we see the power of good journalism and the incredibly moral influence it can have. Pursuing the truth at all costs is as noble as it gets. And it’s hard.

Journalists put themselves in danger for the truth. They travel across the world to war zones and third world countries. They hold the powerful accountable. They ask the hard questions. They filter through the noise.

But the days of Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and Dan Rather (despite how you may feel about the events around his resignation) are over.

The trust between the people and their television journalists is practically gone. And for good reason.

There are obviously still sources of television journalism that have integrity, like 60 Minutes and PBS. But these are no longer the core of the tv news world; it’s now the 24/7 major news channels like CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC.

The problem is, they aren’t really news.
FOX News and MSNBC are partisan and foolish in their own ways. They cater to their base that is politically swayed right and left.

But CNN, which I believe tries to be down the middle politically, is the worst of the three.

It’s a shame, because CNN could be the best, but they continuously sell themselves out.

The 2016 election exemplifies this.

Donald Trump is a creation of Tea Party zealots and the media, plain and simple. Channels like CNN have people arguing and scratching their heads, asking how Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee.

They can’t recognize that they have spearheaded the drama that has stuck to Trump like glue and made people attracted to him. For the past year, CNN has become the Trump channel.

CNN will back out of a televised interview with the President of the United States, talking about his Supreme Court nominee at the university where he taught Constitutional law, in order to have more talking heads arguing about Trump for ratings.

Channels like CNN are entertainment channels with a few moments of journalism.

Documentaries on CNN can be informative and interesting. But everything else is straight drama. It’s either Trump, the 2016 rat race drama, or war. Drama, fear, and more drama. Whatever it takes to get ratings.

President Obama, at the White House Correspondents Dinner, said that “Spotlight” was “the best fantasy film since “Star Wars”. He also said “Jake Tapper left journalism for CNN”. There is truth in the humor, and everyone in that room probably knew it.

CSPAN is also the butt of a lot of jokes, but it’s actually closer to what political news should be.

It’s incredibly objective, allows for the voices of the general public, and lets speeches/interviews play out for however long they need to.


Photo Credit: llee_wu/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Watching a recent congressional hearing on CSPAN about what to do with Guantanamo Bay was more exciting and informative than anything I’ve seen on CNN all year.

Watching 30 minutes of Charlie Rose discuss politics is more educational than weeks of CNN.

And listening to the populace is more interesting than any campaign spokesman CNN has had on their programs repetitively. Is CNN really hoping for interesting and nuanced answers from spokespeople that are on the campaign’s payroll?

There are times where 24/7 news can be valuable, like for broadcasting primary and election results, and when there is breaking news.

However, CNN ruins this too, because they seem to be in a perpetual state of breaking news.

The clip from a debate the night before is not breaking news.

Breaking news should be saved for rare moments when something is currently unfolding and has profound implications. That’s Journalism 101, Day 1, and it’s also common sense.

The candidates and politicians watch the media. It influences their own behavior in ways that I believe are not always apparent.

For example, I am convinced that the tone and conduct of the Republican debates was largely created by the dramas and tensions of the media. Of course, Trump also had a great deal to do with this, but he is himself little more than a cable personality.

The candidates, above all, are responsible, but the news media should be above the fray instead basking in it. Covering Trump’s tweets for an entire day does not serve anyone- it is lazy and boring.

I am not above fault. In fact, I watch the 24/7 political media because it can be entertaining, and I feel guilty about it.

The Trump phenomenon is fascinating, and CNN knows that.

But there needs to be more integrity, accountability, and responsibility from the 24/7 news networks.

They are more powerful than they’d like to admit.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: llee_wu/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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