How quickly can the leftist activist outrage industry take you from hero to goat? Look no further than Patricia Arquette’s last 24 hours. It all started so promisingly for her. She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her marathon performance in “Boyhood,” which was filmed over 12 years. Upon taking the stage and offering a brief nod to the normal thanks, she launched into an utterly predictable, ideologically adherent appeal for “equal pay” for women and equality for women.
“To every women who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time … to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Meryl Streep and J-Lo, neither terribly bereft of pay, screamed with adulation.
In the immediate aftermath, conservatives criticized Arquette, rightly, for perpetuating a bogus narrative, complaining about equal pay from her millionaire’s perch, and hypocritically turning a blind eye to Hollywood’s and the White House’s unwillingness to live up to her equal pay standards. Most of us did so with a routine roll of the eyes, understanding that watching any awards show comes with such proclamations.
Mollie Hemingway lays out the issue simply for our Hollywood friends. It’s an issue from the most gorgeous, bankable actresses down to screenplay writers, suggesting perhaps Arquette, Streep, and Lopez should “turn [their] political zeal inward and fix [their] own house.”
Charlize Theron apparently found out from those hacked Sony emails that she was being paid $10 million less than her less experienced male co-star named Chris Hemsworth.
Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams — whose talent and box office draw are worth a pretty penny — were just flat out given two percentage points less of the back end of American Hustle than each of the dudes in the film…
Hollywood likes to style itself as liberal and progressive and oh-so-much better than those conservatives in fly-over country. But I’d put the hiring, promotion and pay practices of most any small business owner in the country over the general sexism of Hollywood.
But it wasn’t long before the applause ended for Arquette, and not because liberals preferred she focus her fire on the industry itself. No, it was because Arquette did not sufficiently address ALL THE GRIEVANCES in her speech, thereby suggesting the grievances of others were worthy of less attention than those of a rich, white lady who is in perfect agreement with liberal activists about the Lilly Ledbetter Act. This was an unpardonable violation of the hierarchy of grievances, and The New Republic and Slate let her know it:
The feminist project in general tends to be suspicious of attributing women’s political significance solely to their role as mothers, as in old-fashioned reactionary visions of Republican Motherhood. Further, addressing people as taxpayers is a rather unsavory (and typically right wing) habit that advances the notion people are worth what they pay in taxes. Children, among others, are a direct challenge to the pay-in-cash-out way of conceptualizing the destination of resources: people are intrinsically worthy of the necessities of life, regardless of what they pay in taxes. Programs that attempt to distribute resources based on tax payments rather than need generally don’t shake out in women’s favor, as is the case with child tax credits versus child allowances.
“So the truth is, even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women. And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”
And, oh, the outrage. Patricia Arquette must address all of the things or she has disrespected the rest of the things, you see, even though the number of liberal grievances is innumerable and would face the wrath of the Oscars orchestra about 17 more times than even that overrunning Polish director (who was great).
Patricia Arquette sure ruined her nice moment. Fighting against one injustice does not excuse blindness to others. pic.twitter.com/lhlcyk6p7m
— Wende (@webbspinner77) February 23, 2015
Where to begin? Perhaps with pointing out that “gay people” and “people of color” are both categories that include women. Indeed, when it comes to wage inequality, race is as much a factor as gender.
Look, I’m going to say something I didn’t expect. Marcotte is right in that one sentence. Arquette’s quote isn’t perfect. It’s a little self-involved, a little dismissive, a little entitled. Also, it’s coming from A MILLIONAIRE ACTRESS AT THE OSCARS IN AN ENSEMBLE THAT PROBABLY COSTS THE INCOME OF AN AVERAGE AMERICAN. What, pray tell, did they expect? Maybe the press should have, ahem, #AskedHerLess? #AskHerMore was the popular pre-Oscars hashtag, embraced by Reese Witherspoon, Robin Roberts, and much of the media, designed to encourage the press to ask women on the red carpet about more than their dresses. There wasn’t a ton wrong with this campaign. I’m all for more creative questions on the red carpet for men and women alike, though I reject the idea that it’s inherently sexist to ask an actress about her dress at the Oscars. I’d like to see how pissed actresses got if all of them strutted down that carpet and got nary a comment or question about their appearance. If a woman spends three months picking a dress and 10 hours getting ready to wear it, you better damn well ask her about it. But I digress.
Point being, the people who wanted the press the #AskHerMore were the very people who turned on Patricia Arquette because she was asked more about her policy position and didn’t answer exactly as they wished. They have no allowance for disagreement, no grace for an ally, no—what is the word?—tolerance for transgression.
It was around the time of this tweet that Arquette was probably wishing she had just said “Call your mom,” which was the thesis of J.K. Simmons’ uncontroversially sweet, yet unexpected, acceptance speech.
I have long been an advocate for the rights of the #LBGT community. The question is why aren't you an advocate for equality for ALL women?
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) February 23, 2015
Ian Tuttle has a great piece at National Review about the outrage machine sending two liberals in good standing through the wringer Sunday night— Sean Penn the other for a green card joke the Mexican director of “Birdman” found “hilarious.” He concludes:
But the idea of Progress that animates modern liberalism knows no bounds. Things can always grow more “equal” or more “just.” There is always more to be done. And the consequences of that progressivism were on display Sunday night, as genuine left-wingers — Arquette and Penn, and assuredly the Academy at large — fell victim to a faction pushing onward, leftward. Progressivism is a steamroller on your heels, and either you keep pace or you get crushed.
We need not weep for Arquette, who will be just fine. But it’d be more fun to watch liberals turn on each other in this manner if their zeal for turning on anyone right-of-center didn’t outstrip it. Perhaps, in this small area of life, it will discourage liberals from using the Oscar podium as a political platform, which I’m with the screenwriter screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky in saying wouldn’t be a great loss. But it’s emblematic of the stifling influence of the new and ever-tightening rules for public discourse, capriciously wielded by a vocal minority of mostly liberal activists. This strain of intolerance is poisonous and totalitarian in its impulses. If Arquette’s facile, predictable, liberal positions aren’t safe, the danger is far greater for the rest of us. It’s almost as if someone should write a book about this, that you could pre-order. www.EndofDiscussion.com
Hm, I wonder what we should think of the people who did not detect Arquette’s transgressions and gushingly praised her speech, not realizing they were on the side of marginalization and hate and ignorance of intersectionality? For shame.
Update: I corrected this to reflect Arquette won Best Supporting Actress. Apologies!