Opinion: How a Faustian bargain with Trump corrupted the GOP

You’re fired, Donald.

After the calamitous events of the last few weekends – the lowest point of which was the unearthing of 11-year-old footage that showed the business magnate and then reality TV star bragging about habitually assaulting women – it has become abundantly clear Donald J. Trump’s presidential aspirations are effectively over.

It was, of course, not a matter of if, but when an October surprise such as the “Access Hollywood” tape would torpedo Trump.

Even before entering the world of politics, when he formally announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, Trump exhibited an appalling inability to tame his tongue. But it has been this very character deficit of Trump’s – an unwillingness to censor even his most puerile and bigoted of thoughts – which has allowed him to soar upon a tidal wave of lunacy all the way to his presidential candidacy.

What absolute delicious irony it is, then, that Trump’s most effective political weapon – his loose lips – would be what delivered the fatal blow to his dream of being president.

So while the media and its parade of political pundits will undoubtedly perform a postmortem on Trump’s presidential campaign in the coming days and weeks, we as Americans, every last one of us, need to ask ourselves one very important question.

How did a man like Trump even come this close to claiming the most powerful office in the world?

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Opinion: Oscars’ race problem more than a black and white issue

Last Sunday at the 88th Academy Awards, the annual celebration of the very best in motion pictures was must-see TV for many cinephiles, fashion fiends and pop-culture connoisseurs.

However, last Sunday’s Oscar telecast was also must-watch television for a very different and serious reason.

Much controversy and debate had been made since the Academy announced the nominees for its 24 categories on Thursday, Jan. 14. Out of the 20 nominees nominated for acting, not one black performer’s name was announced. This was, of course, problematic on a number of levels, but when coupled with the fact no black performer was nominated the year prior, well, it’s quite understandable why the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite became as wildly popular as it did.

So when emcee for the 2016 Oscars and comedian Chris Rock took the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and performed a shocking yet humorous vivisection of the institutional racism embedded deep within the Academy Awards – and by extension Hollywood –  many, myself included, laughed and applauded.

“You’re damn right Hollywood’s racist, but not the racist that you’ve grown accustomed to,” Rock said. “Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, ‘We like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’ That’s how Hollywood is.”

While Rock’s jokes elicited much later from the celebs in attendance, the now two-time Oscar host took a more serious tone to his humor when he said prior black performers did not voice their concerns over underrepresentation at previous Academy Awards as they had larger, more pressing issues to contend with.

“We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer,” he said. “When your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.”

He would go on to joke that the Oscars annual “In Memoriam” staple would consist only of “Black people who were shot by the cops on the way to the movies.”

In a night that was destined to be shrouded in controversy, awkwardness and palpable racial tension, Rock’s humorous yet brutally honest monologue was much needed. Rock should be lauded for his brilliant opening monologue which saw the well-respected humorist perform a precarious tight-rope act of exhibiting righteous anger while also delivering the comedic brilliance he is known for.

While no one expected the ceremony to become a hotbed for racial equality, Rock started the night off right by addressing the concerns of the #OscarsSoWhite movement and holding the Academy’s feet to the proverbial fire.

All was well.

Until a random and crass Asian joke was cracked on the telecast.

Then another.

And another.

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