Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Good Will Hiding: Ben Affleck and other LOSERs UPDATE

This may well be the grittiest Lego Batman movie ever.
Due to Ben Affleck’s activity off screen and his seemingly good-natured personality, I was willing to overlook his part in Daredevil movie, and in Gigli, and in Paycheck, and Pearl Harbor, and Jersey Girl, and He’s Just Not Into You, and Boiler Room…and possibly Batman v Superman: Lawsuit of Justice. He is quite active in his hometown and abroad, founding or supporting progressive causes, from A-T awareness to community-based support in Central Africa. Sadly, though, I must revoke all passes for Mr. Affleck, as it seems he is a coward. "Man without Fear", my ass.

It came out that Ben Affleck sought censor the part of the PBS show Finding Your Roots that indicated that he had a slave owning ancestor. This did not have to be a big deal. One’s family history is solely his business, and deserves some modicum of privacy. However, once you go on a show whose sole purpose is to investigate celebrities’ histories and broadcast the results on air for the world to see, you relinquish that modicum. White celebrities have been on Finding Your Roots and found out that their ancestors owned slaves, and they dealt with that dark spot (no pun intended) in their history. Hell, Don Cheadle found out some of his ancestors owned slaves! If you are American, and none of your great-great-grandparents came through Ellis Island, there is probably a 50/50 chance one of your ancestors owned slaves or was involved. I already know that I came from a long line of bastards. I didn’t get this light-skinned through some recessive gene in a line of pure light-skinned Angolans. Someone in my lineage is the bastard child of someone who owned him. It happened. We know it. Stop denying it.

This is not the big deal, so it is disappointing that Mr. Affleck sought to hide this information from the broadcast, as if he was sweeping it under a rug so that no one would know. This would not have tarnished his image. It would have tarnished his image if after learning of his people-owning skeletons, he responded with, “WHOO! Wicked pissah! I’m gonna call every darkie ‘Toby’ from now on and high-five Paula Deen!” THAT would have been a good reason to push the producers of the show to omit that segment.

Ben Affleck’s actions speak to a point of contention I have with a number of white liberals and the wielding of their inherent privilege, even though they rail against it privilege. Some like to say all of the left things: they will say they’re pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, pro-equal pay, pro-minimum wage hike, etc. Maybe they’ll throw some money at a colour run that donates money to a charity that helps gay lumberjack couples adopt straight poodles. Perhaps they’ll vote…every four years. Maybe they will stand up and FIGHT for everyone’s rights in front of their local town hall…Facebook page.

The second anyone wants to delve into WHY such causes are necessary, though, they clam up. They repeat the mantra that slavery is over, so we need to look beyond it, or claim that the women’s equality battle is over since the Lilly Ledbetter Act was signed, or they will overuse the phrase “trigger warning” the second that a conversation gets too deep. Mr. Affleck is just richer than the rest of us, so he can throw a little bit more money at that lumberjack colour run than most people. If you are going to call yourself a progressive person, then you need to look back at from whence we came, or else you have no direction in which to progress.

It’s possible that Mr. Affleck’s push to censor was a knee-jerk reaction at the horror of his past. Sadly, the producers accommodated him. That act right there is an example of him exerting rich and white privilege to suppress something he didn’t like. Looking at his philanthropy resume, one would think he would be railing against that type of execution of power. He needs to own what happened in his past; his past involved some people owning other people. I don’t believe in the whole “sins of the father” idea. I highly doubt that Ben Affleck is bad person because of a great-great-grandfather’s bad ideas. Mr. Affleck is probably not a bad person at all. He is, however, a wimp for not following through with a show whose purpose is to possibly show some ugly bits of history. I feel like there should be a term for people who are like this, who claim all the liberal things, but don’t want to get too deep about it. When conservatives are accused of betraying deeper principles of their convictions, they’re called RINO (Republican In Name Only) or “rational human being”. Perhaps we should do the same for liberals who do this. Perhaps “Fiberal”, or “Liberal Only So Everyone Respects” (LOSER).

That looks nice. Ben Affleck is a LOSER.

And he’d better not do to Batman what he did to Daredevil. THAT would be something he should suppress.

UPDATE: Ben Affleck wrote on his Facebook page that he was sorry for trying to hide his ancestors' slave-holding past. Perhaps I deemed him a LOSER too soon. This whole situation is a microcosm for the battle we as humans must make when we express pride for our status and culture, but must also acknowledge that where we are now may have been at the cost of the blood of others earlier. Hopefully there will be a lesson learned from this mess. Ben Affleck is learning that now, with the rest of us.

But he still hasn't apologized for Daredevil, so he's still on one more shit list.

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