Author Topic: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers  (Read 10108 times)

Offline Metro

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Re: militance
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2013, 03:19:06 pm »
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LDTB is not Precious nor The Help. LDTB focuses little on the actual service of the job and more on the different approaches to political change.  Perhaps if we want more we can join/start a Kickstarter or Indiegogo for Danny Glover's Nat Turner project (or just watch the Troublesome Property production PBS offered a few years ago).


You're being snide ... [snip]

Never. I have respect for you and your work.

Quote
Wolves with spines confront hegemony on its terms, in its home, at its points of origin.  Getting beaten and killed in the streets by its employees and leaving little to change the circumstance for those who love you wastes effort, energy, and lives.  If anyone wants to build or expand your local organizations to confront injustice today, please message me.  I'm going to Oakland/SF, Arlington & Houston, Toronto, Kingston, Orlando, New Haven, Harlem, Newark, and Philly in the next four months to grow membership, funding, and programming to provide jobs, income, and business ownership.  From efforts to provide police oversight to building cells for occupying political and corporate spaces to protest inequality, I do that work every day. 


Good for you. But you do NOT last 30 years  on the White House serving staff by being politically VISIBLE much less confrontational. Any parity drawn between the two "positions" is false and corruptive.

[thinking in binaries is even more problematic.  as e. glaude would gladly tell you.]

Wasted effort, huh? I'm sure Medgar Evers will be happy to know his sacrifice means nothing to you. And there was this loudmouth preacher too. What was his name? I think he has a holiday now. And those three dead kids and the little girls killed at church. And the bus lady. What was her name again?  And stacks of others who ACTUALLY "changed the president's heart."

[Evers, King, SNCC all did substantial work *before* they were killed.  It was not their deaths that changed policy; it was their lives and the lives of their surviving colleagues that transformed the nation and the world.  To emphasize the killings empowers their opponents - both historic and current.]

Quote
History and literature work hand-in-hand to expand freedom - in the past, present, and future.  How can we spread the word on your projects to contribute to the larger freedom movement?


Again, you're clearly trying to imply that this film has something to do with "the larger freedom movement" and that I, at least, am doing nothing in that respect. Both false. I've been active, either monetarily or physically or both, in helping "the downtrodden" for my entire life, not that I need to justify anything to you.

No, I invited you to share thoughts on ways to move forward constructively based on the work that I pre-supposed you do already.

I'm now curious about why you're absolutely convinced that Oprah Winfrey and Lee Daniels *cannot* be a part of a larger freedom movement.  Entertainers have a long history of involvement in advancing the freedom movement, even (perhaps, especially) before the Brown decision.

My only goal in this thread is to recognize people who sacrificed mightily (and often silently) to provide the income and opportunity for others to organize in support of greater freedom.  That story is fictionalized in LDTB, but some groundbreaking research shows how prevalent this relationship between domestic service workers and early civil rights organizations was. 

Accepting the stereotype that all maids, butlers, porters, and other domestics were servile cripples any accurate understanding of history or social change.
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Offline Metro

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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2013, 03:30:55 pm »
http://www.yourblackworld.net/2013/08/black-news/princeton-prof-says-the-butler-has-problematic-politics-and-troubling-images-of-women/


http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/harry-lennixs-take-on-lee-daniels-the-butler-and-it-aint-pretty

food for thought, Butler supporters.


Lennix and Glaude make completely different points.  I agree with Glaude's critical evaluation of women's roles in LDTB.  Those criticisms are the core of my public analysis -- I even go further than most who share that critique by catching the absent wife during the son's post-black power phase.

Lennix, otoh, rejects the premise of the film that domestic service workers in the White House can participate in one phase of civil rights activism and, then, still be actively transformed by the courage and sacrifices they previously saw as too dangerous.

I'm not trying to convince you to see the film or even change your opinion about films that depict people accepting oppression as worthy of focus or emulation.

Most of all, I'm trying to engage you in the serious and continuing work of social change beyond the film, beyond this message board, beyond the idea of complicit people vs. activist people.

My project is reconciliation here - with you.  I regret any tone of snideness or implication of judgment you have taken from my words to this point.

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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2013, 03:42:30 pm »
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What that professor said about the black power movement, that's one of the things that I thought was going to happen when I saw that Oprah slap scene. And I wasn't surprised about this film making Obama the end point of the civil rights struggle. Black liberal consensus, is a good term for that kind of rosy thinking.

The slap scene is really fertile ground for discussion.  It's a little funny to be that no one notices that the mother defends the son up to the point that the son actually insults the father for his career. 

It is not a slap when he entered the house or when he told his father that Sidney Poitier was an Uncle Tom figure in Hollywood.  The son continually escalated a confrontation at the dinner table as his guest openly disrespected his mother.

Context is very important to consider any aspect of the story in LDTB.  There are serious dramatic missteps and frequent misrepresentations of Allen's actual life, but I wish more folks engaged the story as a work of historical fiction -- more along the lines of  Oates' Approaching Fury or Shaara's Killer Angels.

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Offline Redjack

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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2013, 03:45:33 pm »
http://www.yourblackworld.net/2013/08/black-news/princeton-prof-says-the-butler-has-problematic-politics-and-troubling-images-of-women/


http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/harry-lennixs-take-on-lee-daniels-the-butler-and-it-aint-pretty

food for thought, Butler supporters.


Lennix and Glaude make completely different points.  I agree with Glaude's critical evaluation of women's roles in LDTB.  Those criticisms are the core of my public analysis -- I even go further than most who share that critique by catching the absent wife during the son's post-black power phase.

Lennix, otoh, rejects the premise of the film that domestic service workers in the White House can participate in one phase of civil rights activism and, then, still be actively transformed by the courage and sacrifices they previously saw as too dangerous.

I'm not trying to convince you to see the film or even change your opinion about films that depict people accepting oppression as worthy of focus or emulation.

Most of all, I'm trying to engage you in the serious and continuing work of social change beyond the film, beyond this message board, beyond the idea of complicit people vs. activist people.

My project is reconciliation here - with you.  I regret any tone of snideness or implication of judgment you have taken from my words to this point.



they make different points, yes. and they are both valid. in fact, they overlap. it's what's called dovetailing. Lennix didn't just see the trailers; he READ THE SCRIPT. At least as far as he could stomach.


i do not agree that those who went-along-to-get-along have equal footing with those who faced the dogs and the bullets. because they do not.


black folks need to wake up about a LOT of what's going on in this nation both in the present and in the future. movies like this are about keeping them asleep. Because they presents a FALSE, subservient picture of reality that has nothing to do with what actually occurred. and they feed the "soft racism" that created stop-and-frisk and every glass ceiling on which people bump their heads.


WILL they wake up?


Nope. I'm betting not.


Ultimately, as the numbers seem to show, I and those like me are in the minority on this. This makes me sad because a lot of folks are drinking the kool-aid.


But just because they're all committing suicide, there's no rule that says I have to. Certainly not because we're all black.


This film is not worthy of serious discussion unless it is the sort of corrective conversation that follows any big lie.


Oprah and Daniels are not incapable of being part of a "freedom movement." They are incapable of identifying or describing it.



As for the rest. You said what you said and the implication of your approach was clear. I'm not a joiner and I don't do second impressions but we can keep talking if you want.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 03:55:24 pm by Redjack »
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Offline Metro

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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2013, 04:12:15 pm »
they make different points, yes. and they are both valid. in fact, they overlap. it's what's called dovetailing. Lennix didn't just see the trailers; he READ THE SCRIPT. At least as far as he could stomach.


i do not agree that those who went-on-to-get-along have equal footing with those who faced the dogs and the bullets. because they do not.


black folks need to wake up about a LOT of what's going on in this nation both in the present and in the future. movies like this are about keeping them asleep. Because they presents a FALSE, subservient picture of reality that has nothing to do with what actually occurred. and they feed the "soft racism" that created stop-and-frisk and every glass ceiling on which people bump their heads.


WILL they wake up?


Nope. I'm betting not.


Ultimately, as the numbers seem to show, I and those like me are in the minority on this. This makes me sad because a lot of folks are drinking the kool-aid.


But just because they're all committing suicide, there's no rule that says I have to. Certainly not because we're all black.

... Few people 'go along to get along' in the film - maybe the Terence Howard character.

... On what's going on, there is a difference between fighting symptoms and fighting causes - but both are important. That's a major theme in the film.

... On soft racism, I need a little clarification on this point.  Every form of racism I've felt has been hard -- not always violent, but never  soft.  Having smashed more than a few glass ceilings, my approach to G.W. Bush's idea of "soft bigotry of low expectations" is that it is a rhetorical point that betrays the CCC agenda and the failings of small government conservatism more than most phrases.

... Again, my invitation to help wake people stands.

... Phrases like 'drinking kool-aid' and 'commit suicide' rightly imply the dire situation many currently face, but they also communicate a contempt for those who might differ in terms of tactics, not strategy.  My business is building bridges, so I try to avoid that language. 

You and I disagree on the role and value of a film like LDTB.  Hopefully, that disagreement is not cause to equate Stephen from Django with Cecil Gaines in LDTB. 

Worse, it should not cause either of us to avoid discussing films like "10,000 Black Men named George" or "Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property", which address similar topics of historical fiction and representations of black workers in terms of their civil rights work.  Even "The Great Debaters" touches on this topic through Forest Whitaker's performance as Dr. James Farmer, Sr.
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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2013, 04:15:11 pm »
This film is not worthy of serious discussion unless it is the sort of corrective conversation that follows any big lie.

Oprah and Daniels are not incapable of being part of a "freedom movement." They are incapable of identifying or describing it.

As for the rest. You said what you said and the implication of your approach was clear. I'm not a joiner and I don't do second impressions but we can keep talking if you want.

Implications are seldom clear, especially when reading tone online.

Why are Winfrey and Daniels incapable?
What is the big lie?
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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2013, 04:15:28 pm »
There are dozens of non political reasons why Fruitvale didn't do well and most of them are more valid if you ask me.

Relative to it's budget, Fruitvale did VERY well.
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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2013, 04:43:16 pm »
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What that professor said about the black power movement, that's one of the things that I thought was going to happen when I saw that Oprah slap scene. And I wasn't surprised about this film making Obama the end point of the civil rights struggle. Black liberal consensus, is a good term for that kind of rosy thinking.

The slap scene is really fertile ground for discussion.  It's a little funny to be that no one notices that the mother defends the son up to the point that the son actually insults the father for his career. 

It is not a slap when he entered the house or when he told his father that Sidney Poitier was an Uncle Tom figure in Hollywood.  The son continually escalated a confrontation at the dinner table as his guest openly disrespected his mother.

Context is very important to consider any aspect of the story in LDTB.  There are serious dramatic missteps and frequent misrepresentations of Allen's actual life, but I wish more folks engaged the story as a work of historical fiction -- more along the lines of  Oates' Approaching Fury or Shaara's Killer Angels.

I think you're confirming what my concerns were. The black power movement/black nationalism has to be dismissed and considered disreputable, as evidenced by the behavior I read about from the disrespectful son and his female friend. The black nationalists, as symbolized by the son in that scene had to be symbolically slapped down and its adherents had to be described as ungrateful. This is more bashing of black nationalism and I think it does us a disservice to dismiss that strain of thought.

In fact I think our embrace of black liberalism and the dominance of the black liberal consensus (I'm stealing that term now) is one of the reasons why our political debates have become so tired and stale. Black liberals are constantly trying to seek white acceptance through 'conversations about race', conformity, or deracialization, and I think our community has suffered by not upholding and building our culture and supporting our community culturally, economically, spiritually, and politically.

That last statement might sound hypocritical since I'm not supporting the most likeliest fawned over black film of the year but I don't think the ideology pushed by this film is beneficial or that it can generate the debates we need. It just canonizes the black liberal consensus (there I go again) and continues deifying the Civil Rights Movement (there I said it), or the media's take on the movement. We need the creative tension of black liberalism, conservatism, and nationalism.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 04:45:59 pm by Emperorjones »

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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2013, 05:13:40 pm »
This film is not worthy of serious discussion unless it is the sort of corrective conversation that follows any big lie.

Oprah and Daniels are not incapable of being part of a "freedom movement." They are incapable of identifying or describing it.

As for the rest. You said what you said and the implication of your approach was clear. I'm not a joiner and I don't do second impressions but we can keep talking if you want.

Implications are seldom clear, especially when reading tone online.

Why are Winfrey and Daniels incapable?
What is the big lie?


I'm not dancing with you.


I've described it here a couple of times. It's a view that's supported by others though not nearly enough.


Winfrey and Daniels, among others, are not capable of identifying the actual struggle because their real constituency is middle class whites, center, center right and "liberal." The core support of Miss Winfrey comes not from blacks but from middle class white women an that is the audience to whom she caters. THis is why black men get treated poorly in the movies she chooses to act in and produce and why the stories she promotes mostly reinforce the negative stereotypes of all blacks, only softly, wrapped in "Homespun" "down homeyness" that seems pleasant and sweet.


Kool Aid.


Daniels? An entirely forgettable presence who DIRECTLY and SOLIDLY presents modern versions of the worst tropes and stereotypes the rest of us have worked hard to put down and in which too many whites still believe. MONSTER'S BALL? PRECIOUS? Had a white directer presented these films we'd STILL be talking about what a racist he was. Critics LOVED them. Halle got an Oscar.



With friends like these...


You know the rest.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 05:46:49 pm by Redjack »
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Offline Metro

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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2013, 06:17:48 pm »
I think you're confirming what my concerns were. The black power movement/black nationalism has to be dismissed and considered disreputable, as evidenced by the behavior I read about from the disrespectful son and his female friend. The black nationalists, as symbolized by the son in that scene had to be symbolically slapped down and its adherents had to be described as ungrateful. This is more bashing of black nationalism and I think it does us a disservice to dismiss that strain of thought.

In fact I think our embrace of black liberalism and the dominance of the black liberal consensus (I'm stealing that term now) is one of the reasons why our political debates have become so tired and stale. Black liberals are constantly trying to seek white acceptance through 'conversations about race', conformity, or deracialization, and I think our community has suffered by not upholding and building our culture and supporting our community culturally, economically, spiritually, and politically.

That last statement might sound hypocritical since I'm not supporting the most likeliest fawned over black film of the year but I don't think the ideology pushed by this film is beneficial or that it can generate the debates we need. It just canonizes the black liberal consensus (there I go again) and continues deifying the Civil Rights Movement (there I said it), or the media's take on the movement. We need the creative tension of black liberalism, conservatism, and nationalism.

The presentation in LDTB of the Black Power Movement is nuanced, imo.  It begins with the necessity of confronting northern racism and police brutality with tactics beyond the SCLC. 

Glaude's point on the black radical imagination is a huge concern with the later presentation of the son's Black Power commitments and his leaving the Panthers over their acceptance of violent self-defense.  His statement that he is "not ready" to kill is one of the more difficult moments in the film and it does not negate the legitimacy of people who do feel violent self-defense is essential.  However, the son's perspective on the need for more assertive resistance *wins out* by transforming his mother and father to a Pan-African perspective on South African apartheid. 

I can't recall a 'mainstream' feature film that endorsed Pan-Africanism as the political grounds for African-American family reconciliation.


The slapping remains focused on the son's rejections of the father's support and perspective.  The father had an equal part in the problems in their relationship, but the son's actions made the situation worse, not better, in that scene.


I think it is beyond the film's ability to "canonize" or "deify" anyone. 

If it serves to move 50% of African Americans over age 40 to reconsider the relationship between Civil Rights and Black Power (as Dr. Peniel Joseph's amazing work advances), that's a victory.  If it moves 30% over European Americans over age 40 to consider the continuing damage of "benign neglect" (specifically discussed in the film) and "conservative colorblindness" (represented by the Reagan presidency), that's miraculous.


I'd love to see a serious discussion of the differences between black conservatism and black nationalism, especially since 1970.  However, that remains for a future project.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 06:40:23 pm by Metro »
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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2013, 06:33:32 pm »
I'm not dancing with you.

I've described it here a couple of times. It's a view that's supported by others though not nearly enough.

Winfrey and Daniels, among others, are not capable of identifying the actual struggle because their real constituency is middle class whites, center, center right and "liberal." The core support of Miss Winfrey comes not from blacks but from middle class white women an that is the audience to whom she caters. THis is why black men get treated poorly in the movies she chooses to act in and produce and why the stories she promotes mostly reinforce the negative stereotypes of all blacks, only softly, wrapped in "Homespun" "down homeyness" that seems pleasant and sweet.


Kool Aid.


Daniels? An entirely forgettable presence who DIRECTLY and SOLIDLY presents modern versions of the worst tropes and stereotypes the rest of us have worked hard to put down and in which too many whites still believe. MONSTER'S BALL? PRECIOUS? Had a white directer presented these films we'd STILL be talking about what a racist he was. Critics LOVED them. Halle got an Oscar.

With friends like these...

You know the rest.

On Winfrey, her television audience and earlier film content negates any present or future work, despite the actual presentation of black men as full, evolving human beings in LDTB.

On Daniels, past bad acts (MB, worst ever, imo; Precious, generally poor, imo) invalidates any present or future work. 

Got it.

I still can't equate either of them with D.W. Griffith (who also tried to compensate for BOAN) or V. Fleming, let alone Jessy Terrero or Ice Cube.

The earlier point on the limits of Hollywood portrayals (or Marvel/DC, for that matter) is very true. 

I probably take this conversation more to heart because I spend so much of my time uncovering forgotten historical figures who made the brighter lights of the southern Civil Rights Movement possible.  Rejecting the Cecil Gaines character and his story comes too close to negating George White, Lenora Walker McKay, Caleb Oates, and Lillie Hendry for me.
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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2013, 06:38:18 pm »
I'm not dancing with you.

I've described it here a couple of times. It's a view that's supported by others though not nearly enough.

Winfrey and Daniels, among others, are not capable of identifying the actual struggle because their real constituency is middle class whites, center, center right and "liberal." The core support of Miss Winfrey comes not from blacks but from middle class white women an that is the audience to whom she caters. THis is why black men get treated poorly in the movies she chooses to act in and produce and why the stories she promotes mostly reinforce the negative stereotypes of all blacks, only softly, wrapped in "Homespun" "down homeyness" that seems pleasant and sweet.


Kool Aid.


Daniels? An entirely forgettable presence who DIRECTLY and SOLIDLY presents modern versions of the worst tropes and stereotypes the rest of us have worked hard to put down and in which too many whites still believe. MONSTER'S BALL? PRECIOUS? Had a white directer presented these films we'd STILL be talking about what a racist he was. Critics LOVED them. Halle got an Oscar.

With friends like these...

You know the rest.

On Winfrey, her television audience and earlier film content negates any present or future work, despite the actual presentation of black men as full, evolving human beings in LDTB.

On Daniels, past bad acts (MB, worst ever, imo; Precious, generally poor, imo) invalidates any present or future work. 

Got it.

I still can't equate either of them with D.W. Griffith (who also tried to compensate for BOAN) or V. Fleming, let alone Jessy Terrero or Ice Cube.

The earlier point on the limits of Hollywood portrayals (or Marvel/DC, for that matter) is very true. 

I probably take this conversation more to heart because I spend so much of my time uncovering forgotten historical figures who made the brighter lights of the southern Civil Rights Movement possible.  Rejecting the Cecil Gaines character and his story comes too close to negating George White, Lenora Walker McKay, Caleb Oates, and Lillie Hendry for me.


That's not a probelm I have.


Fictional characters are useful or they are corruptive. That's it. This one is not useful and is entirely corruptive and has ZERO bearing on anything that has ever happened in the real world. That's sort of the point.
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Offline Metro

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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2013, 06:44:43 pm »

Fictional characters are useful or they are corruptive. That's it.

Another binary; I understand.
Thanks for making your perspective clearer for me.
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Offline Tanksleyd

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Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2013, 08:27:52 pm »


Ya'know there was a cartoonish image of Oprah and Terrence Howard that made it's rounds about a month ago.
I thought it was a photo-shopped gimmick/joke
Surprise, surprise.
And Oprah's lip stick scene!!!
To die for.



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Re: Why 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Has 41 Producers
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2013, 08:43:45 pm »

Fictional characters are useful or they are corruptive. That's it.

Another binary; I understand.
Thanks for making your perspective clearer for me.


no. i doubt you do.
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