FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Joking About Slavery at the Oscars

During the last night’s tedious Oscar telecast, host Seth McFarland was talking about portrayals of Abraham Lincoln in film. He first noted Daniel Day Lewis in Steven Speilburg’s Lincolnand then Raymond Massey in the 1940 film Abe Lincoln in Illinois. “Of course,” McFarland said, “the actor who really got into Lincoln’s head best was John Wilkes Booth.” The crowd gasped and groaned, to which McFarland smirked in reply: “I guess 150 years isn’t long enough to get over it yet.”

John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln because Lincoln ultimately implemented John Brown’s strategy: Arm the slaves to destroy slavery. John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln because Lincoln planned to give the vote to a section of African-Americans. There will never, in this year or any other, be any humor in any of that.

This is not some dusty old history. At the February 11 State of the Union address, a United States Senator brought as his special guest musician Ted Nugent, who openly proclaims that the South should have won the Civil War. Nugent has been embraced and defended by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is a close friend of actor Russell Crowe, who appeared on stage at the Oscars this evening and whose band has often played at functions for Governor Perry.

This is not a case of white against black. At the Oscars, Daniel Day Lewis won as Best Actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in a film which has been well-received by tens of millions of Americans of all colors.

This is a case of the vast majority of decent Americans versus a relatively small group of powerful men and women who want to drag America back to the 19th century South when the majority of Southern whites, despite certain petty privileges (often not including the right to vote), were hurled into the ditch of the slave and sharecropping systems right on top of the blacks. Today the one per cent intends to push everyone there except themselves.

It was hardly a coincidence that Seth McFarland went on from his joke about killing Lincoln to make fun of the homeless and of people who speak Spanish.

Lee Ballinger, CounterPunch’s music columnist, is co-editor of Rock and Rap Confidential author of the forthcoming book Love and War: My First Thirty Years of Writing, interviewed Honkala for CounterPunch. He can be reached at: Rockrap@aol.com

 

 

More articles by:

Lee Ballinger, CounterPunch’s music columnist, is co-editor of Rock and Rap Confidential author of the forthcoming book Love and War: My First Thirty Years of Writing, interviewed Honkala for CounterPunch. RRRC is now available for free by emailing Ballinger at: rockrap@aol.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
December 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
The  FBI: Another Worry in the National Security State
Rob Urie
Establishment Politics are for the Rich
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: That’s Neoliberalism for You
Paul Street
Midnight Ramble: A Fascist Rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Joan Roelofs
The Science of Lethality
Joyce Nelson
Buttigieg and McKinsey
Joseph Natoli
Equally Determined: To Impeach/To Support
Charles Pierson
The National Defense Authorization Act Perpetuates the Destruction of Yemen
REZA FIYOUZAT
An Outrageous Proposal: Peace Boats to Iran
Andrew Levine
A Plague on Both Their Houses, Plus a Dozen Poxes on Trump’s
David Rosen
Mortality Rising: Trump and the Death of the “American Dream”
Lee Hall
Donald Trump Jr., Mongolian Sheep Killer
Dave Lindorff
The Perils of Embedded Journalism: ‘Afghan Papers’ Wouldn’t Be Needed If We Had a Real Independent News Media
Brian Cloughley
Human Rights and Humbug in Washington
Stephen Leas
Hungry for a Livable Planet: Why I Occupied Pelosi’s Office
Saad Hafiz
Pakistan Must Face Its Past
Lawrence Davidson
Deteriorating Climates: Home and Abroad
Cal Winslow
The End of the Era: Nineteen Nineteen
Louis Proyect
If Time Magazine Celebrates Greta Thunberg, Why Should We?
Thomas Drake
Kafka Down Under: the Threat to Whistleblowers and Press Freedom in Australia
Thomas Knapp
JEDI Mind Tricks: Amazon Versus the Pentagon and Trump
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s War on the Poor
Michael Welton
Seeing the World Without Shadows: the Enlightenment Dream
Ron Jacobs
The Wind That Shook the Barley: the Politics of the IRA
Rivera Sun
Beyond Changing Light Bulbs: 21 Ways You Can Stop the Climate Crisis
Binoy Kampmark
The Bloomberg Factor: Authoritarianism, Money and US Presidential Politics
Nick Pemberton
Ideology Shall Have No Resurrection
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
What Trump and the GOP Learned From Obama
Ramzy Baroud
‘Elected by Donors’: the University of Cape Town Fails Palestine, Embraces Israel
Cesar Chelala
Unsuccessful U.S. Policy on Cuba Should End
Harry Blain
The Conservatism of Impeachment
Norman Solomon
Will the Democratic Presidential Nomination Be Bought?
Howard Lisnoff
The One Thing That US Leaders Seem to Do Well is Lie
Jeff Cohen
Warren vs. Buttigieg Clash Offers Contrast with Sanders’ Consistency
Mel Gurtov
The Afghanistan Pentagon Papers
Gaither Stewart
Landslide … to Totalitarianism
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
How Blaming Nader in 2000 Paved the Way for Today’s Neo-Fascism
Steve Early
In Re-Run Election: LA Times Journalist Wins Presidency of NewsGuild 
David Swanson
If You’re Not Busy Plotting Nonviolent Revolution for Peace and Climate, You’re Busy Dying
Nicky Reid
Sorry Lefties, Your Impeachment is Bullshit
John Kendall Hawkins
The Terror Report You Weren’t Meant to See
Susan Block
Krampus Trumpus Rumpus
Martin Billheimer
Knight Crawlers
David Yearsley
Kanye in the West
Elliot Sperber
Dollar Store 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail