If you live outside of major film markets like New York or Los Angeles, this weekend marked your first opportunity to see Steve McQueen’s much-lauded 12 Years a Slave. But it’s probable that you’ve already heard early buzz, either from fawning reviewers or from friends who’ve caught advance screenings. Perhaps you’ve heard that its commitment to historical accuracy has resulted in graphic depictions of violence and torture. Maybe your best friend still can’t shake the cracking urgency in Chiewetel Ejiofor’s voice or a haunting expression on Lupita Nyong’o’s face.
If you’ve experienced any of this as a member of the black movie-going public, you’re already in the cycle. You’ve entered the Seven Stages of Important Black Film Fatigue, a tiring exercise in decision-making whenever films like 12 Years a Slave are released.
The stages are doubt, guilt, self-preservation, annoyance, anger, vulnerability, and acceptance.
You may have never heard these stages named, but you’ve likely experienced most of them.”
And Wall Street? Oh, them. Well, Wall Street is more profitable than it was before the collapse. The top 1 percent collects 97 percent of the benefits of restored growth, and it dominates political debate. Its paladins like Druckenmiller even instruct the rest of us on why it’s salutary to cut what’s left of social insurance, and have Tom Friedman to do their PR. Poor Wall Street.
Seniors, Wall Street, and unions. That’s a bit like putting in the same power category the Red Sox, the Brandeis baseball squad, and the Brookline High J.V. (They all play ball, don’t they?) Or maybe China, Uruguay, and Malta (all U.N. members.)”
Listen up, class. World War I never happened.
It didn’t happen because nobody wanted it, and everybody grasped the horrific risks. In the event, the common European civilization was destroyed, three empires fell, 16 million people died, and 20 million were wounded. So World War I couldn’t happen because everyone knew how awful it would be.
In August 1914, virtually all leaders anticipated a short set of skirmishes, a readjustment of borders as in other recent wars, and everyone would be home for Christmas. But, you know, stuff happens.
Then there was the American Civil War. It didn’t happen either. Many Southern leaders knew that staying in the Union and accepting some limitations on slavery in the territories and new states would allow them to keep their “peculiar institution” and avoid the economic catastrophe of a war on their soil. Oops.
Thus the Republican game of chicken with the debt default. It can’t happen because its consequences would be too unthinkable, right?”