I guess I should feel pretty special that within a day of launching ReelPolitik, the Rightwing has already begun its attacks. This is, of course, the problem with the current American political landscape: intransigent opposing camps hurling close-minded rhetoric without any reasoned debate. I’d like to think my commentary on Sarah Palin’s new documentary “The Undefeated” was not vitriolic, though, admittedly, it was tinged with critique and irony. But the misinterpretation of my writing on the part of commentators on the Right is astonishing. This seems to be a standard strategy on the part of Fox News, et. al, twisting what people say to serve their own needs and agendas.
This is the sentence that has set off the mini-firestorm:
“For me, the most shocking moment in ‘The Undefeated,’ however, comes with the appearance of a black person about two-thirds of the way through. I’m not sure if it’s what Bannon had in mind when he wanted to seize the audience’s attention, but the arrival of black conservative female activist Sonnie Johnson made me realize just how white everyone appears to be, in both Alaska and Tea Party.”
Now, of course, I don’t really believe that everyone in Alaska and the Tea Party is white. But from what I saw in Bannon’s documentary, there are very few people of color in Sarah Palin’s camp and the Tea Party movement, in general. So my shock is a joke, of course. I’m commenting on the predominant whiteness of the ultra-conservative movement…
But when “Hip Hop Palinista” Johnson saw my post, she turned it into an opportunity to let loose on me in a completely unreasonable and inappropriate way, which was then picked up by Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood blog.
Jonhson writes: “If seeing me in the film was such a shock to your cerebral, then why didn’t you grow a sack and interview me yourself? Or is Breitbart right and your lack of a set is shown in your need to hide behind a blogpost. Are you a Eunuch?”
What’s first strange about this, and I wrote an email to Sonnie Johnson explaining this (which she hasn’t responded to), is that I wasn’t doing a reported piece on the film, so why would I interview her? If I was doing an article about African Americans in the Tea Party movement, now she’d be the first person I’d contact.
The larger point, of course, is that Breitbart’s blog (the writer calls me “Andy Kaufman,” which shows how closely he reads) and Johnson’s comment overlook the main point: That it’s the film that was guilty of tokenism, not me. I would have loved to have seen more people of color in the film, but there were not. Sonnie Johnson is the only black person in the film. And Breitbart, an old white guy, has far more screen time than anyone else. So what does that say to you about the film and the movement?