A panegyric occasion.

All the motivation to write, and yet I can’t get my shit together. Let’s see if this will be an epic shitpost or just an epic post. I’d cross my fingers, but I need to type 😛

Lemme get the personal out of the way, and then we’ll get to the nitty gritty. This weekend was spent pretty productively, and Saturday morning, I woke up from the nicest sleep I’ve had recently. I had a recurring dream which usually starred my late grandfather, only this time he was in it differently. It was like a nice visit from him, and shortly I woke up crying softly. I thought the day was gonna turn out for the worse, but at breakfast, we actually had a nice family meal. And grandpa was mentioned in passing, and it was just a day to miss him. So yesterday, Sunday, we went to visit him. His plot was just tended to and there were flowers to mark him. It was very nice.

(http://zbell3d.tumblr.com/post/152647885336/piper-disney-pixar-short-concept-art-and-movie)

However, aside from Saturday, it’s been restless sleep. Hope that changes soon.

I was excited for today, because Negan’s back on TWD and I’m a bit in love with him (and I can go on a long litany about my taste for psychopaths with Sylvester all damn year, so let’s just not). When I got downstairs, however, the TV was on HBO, showing the Oscars red carpet. As an avid fan of moving pictures, of course, I was gonna watch it.

Unlike last year’s Oscars, it was a much more diverse set of nominations, and I’m very happy with… I guess, half of the results. Most especially about Viola Davis, who I might as well have an altar for, because I just worship the ground she walks on. Also, I’d like to mention that she, and Taraji P. Henson and Halle Berry all looked absolutely fantastic. Definitely my top looks for the event. And need I mention Chris Evans in that dashing suit? Mm mm mmm.

I mostly ignored Jimmy Kimmel’s sub-par humor, almost as much as I tried to ignore Mel Gibson’s nomination for directing Hacksaw Ridge, which was an amazing film, but just because he didn’t win, doesn’t mean it’s any less unbelievable. What I could not ignore was Casey Affleck and just everything about him. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it yet, but I used to have an intolerance for his brother, Ben Affleck, for a while. I since got over that, but now all of my dislike is directed to the younger of the two. Unlike Ben, who actually has a bit of talent and basic human traits like kindness and humility, Casey is the pretentious one whose monotony is inexcusable, especially if he’s nominated for an Academy Award, all the while being linked to extremely controversial allegations, namely that of gross misogyny and sexual harassment. Though I suppose misogyny is still far from being outrageous to some people, the fact that sexual harassment can just be swept under the rug is unacceptable.

For those who aren’t familiar, Casey Affleck was charged with sexual harassment by two women with whom he worked on a project with Joaquin Phoenix on 2010 called I’m Still Here. Affleck allegedly laid next to one woman in her bed, without her consent, while she slept, and the other woman was pressured to stay in his hotel room and was grabbed to intimidate her to stay. The charges were later dropped after a deal was made between the two parties, despite the Affleck saying the complaints against him would be countered. Instead they settled out of court. A more in-depth description can be found on articles by Time and The Huffington Post. In both articles, critics and the writers themselves direct hold the Academy and castors and studios accountable for having nominated and hired, respectively, a controversial actor. After all, isn’t it ridiculous how one can hire prostitutes but not legalize prostitution?

Another article by The Guardian provides a deeper narrative for it, comparing it to another actor, Nate Parker, who was in line for a nomination, controversy also followed him, having been charged with rape, but acquitted of the crime. I guess it was a bit harder to deny the allegations after his accuser committed suicide. Or maybe it was because he was black? Whatever the case, this article then compared Casey Affleck to Bernardo Bertolucci, Bill Cosby, and Woody Allen, saying Affleck’s matter is not as bad as those of the enumerated ones. So I guess one sexual harassment is worse than another sexual harassment. It then alludes to Jeffrey Wells, veteran columnist and blogger, who believes that

there should be a separation of church (cinema) and state (film-makers’ private lives). The media had no business dredging up the Affleck allegations, he said. “It’s not decent to try make a thing about this given the two women involved took the money and went away, so to speak. I mean, its over.”

It must be so nice to not have experienced sexual harassment and therefore not suffer from post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and other effects of such incident. One can just shrug off the matter as if inconvenient dandruff from not having washed one’s hair enough.

The New York Times does a better job of comparing Casey Affleck and Nate Parker‘s cases, mostly referring to the fact that Affleck has more of a weight to him, being the brother of Ben Affleck, and also being white. However, according to a professor, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Jeannie Suk Gersen, a professor at Harvard Law School who teaches criminal law and sexual harassment law, said the reason could be far simpler: Mr. Parker’s case was criminal and Mr. Affleck’s was civil.

“People carelessly conflate rape with the entire range of sexual misconduct that can occur,” Ms. Suk Gersen said. “It’s all repulsive. But both morally and legally there are distinctions — degrees of behavior. Parker was accused of something far more serious.” (Ms. Suk Gersen is particularly attuned to Mr. Parker’s case, having contributed an article in September to The New Yorker, “The Public Trial of Nate Parker.”)

Indeed, having settled the case with his accusers, it would be unfair to paint Casey Affleck with sexual harassment for the rest of time. After all, fake accusations also happen. But in Hollywood, where discrimination and misogyny are just harder to forget with that eternal spotlight, wouldn’t it have been easier to settle the case with true justice, rather than throwing money at it? If Affleck didn’t want this haunting him for the rest of time, they should have considered the controversy it would incite by not counter-suing. And not talking about it just makes people talk about it more. So whether or not Affleck is guilty, the fact is that we can hardly paint him innocent either.

So do we just ignore a person’s “personal life” (but the charge having been allegedly committed on co-workers is hardly personal) and focus on his professional one, lauding him for his talent and skill? Does that mean I can like Mel Gibson for his acting and directing skills completely, despite being an anti-Semi? Is it then justified for college football players to rape their peers because they have such promise and potential? Would it then be legal for police officers to shoot people, despite being unarmed and on their knees, because they were “doing their jobs”? Where is the line? Should there be a line at all?

I don’t think I can excuse such behavior. And at the end of the day, we should persevere to make the world a place where sexual harassment, rape, and anti-Semitic actions are inexcusable. Of course, there’s room for someone to change for the better, but for someone to correct their actions, they must first acknowledge them, not deny or hide them.

In an effort to turn this frown upside down, I do celebrate Mahershala Ali’s win for Best Actor, the first black Muslim to do so, Viola Davis, for being the first black woman to win an Emmy, a Tony, and an Oscar as an actor, Emma Stone, for Best Actress and achieving her dreams to the fullest, Zootopia, for winning Best Animated Feature, and Piper, for Best Animated Short Film, my favorite of the year.

Happy Monday.


panegyric

[pan-i-jir-ik, –jahy-rik]
noun
1. a lofty oration or writing in praise of a person or thing; eulogy.
2. formal or elaborate praise.

I update every Monday-Wednesday-Friday-(and sometimes)Sunday night! I’m always present on social media, @thcynicalnerd on Instagram and Tumblr, @nerdTHEcynical on Twitter and Snapchat 🙂

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