Celebrities

Black Royalty in the Castle of White Privilege?

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By the tone of this article, one would be led to believe that Meghan Markle has managed to pull a fast one on the Royal Family. That maybe her pathway to the Castle of White Privilege was in part due to the Queen buckling to her Twitter feed bullying her to accept diversity rather than the reality that Her Majesty, at the ripe old age of 92, just simply loves her grandchild. What grandparent wouldn’t be wounded by seeing her grandson walk behind his mother’s coffin in front of millions? Why does race have to enter this equation? She is a grandmother like any other. Queen Elizabeth has served her country with exceptional dignity for  longer than most of us have been alive. She worked in the war as a mechanic before taking the throne in 1952 and has visited most countries in the world to adoring fans, even today. Hardly a sign of an old woman with no grip on world affairs. You might recall, HRH was an ardent supporter of Brexit. Her Majesty is sharp. Yet take a look at this quote from Kalyn Wilson,

Markle is everything the monarchy needs in 2018, a modern woman with a foot in the real world, and one who doesn’t retreat from her life story but embraces it.

Although couldn’t one argue that Harry, the product of a broken home, a person who fought with bravery in the British Army in Afghanistan and one who has faced the long running smear that his father is not Prince Charles but James Hewitt, make for someone that embraces life after many hard knocks? What has colour got to do with it? Why didn’t Harry just head down to Brixton to find a destitute black bride like Eddie Murphy did in Queens, NY in the film Coming to America? Surely he could have helped dispel White Privilege by not only marrying a black woman but one who wasn’t wealthy to start with. How could he be so classist? How insulting Harry didn’t marry a Brit! Wilson goes on,

A hallmark of white privilege, aside from the wielding and exercising of power through political means, is the employment of exclusivity as a means of social control.

Why does the media have to turn this wedding into a circus about identity politics? Could it be that the Royal Family has acted like most whites, blacks, Asians, Muslims, Christians and Hindus who overwhelmingly tend to marry within their social groups? It is not done in all cases, purely as a fix, but most likely because of the circles people they interact with. Population density of whites in Britain 50 years ago was around 90%. It is still 80% today. So even today, one has an 8 in 10 chance of marrying someone that is white. The miracle of flight has now allowed people to travel so they could fall in love with someone from a different background. Interracial marriages are growing, yet further evidence that those who could defend white privilege choose to mix their bloodlines for none other than the love of their partner.

Although, say the Queen had deep reservations about Markle which happened to have nothing to do with her skin colour? Being royalty is about keeping standards. All of the scandals that have surfaced about Megan Markle’s roots have been deeply embarrassing. Should the Queen question the actions of Markle’s father who staged photos of himself for $100,000? Or her sister that has used Meghan’s media status to flog, The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister? It is a given that the Royal protocol office would have gladly given advice on the most tasteful way to promote Meghan’s childhood photos. Wouldn’t this actions by her family give the Queen a preview into the upbringing of her soon to be granddaughter-in-law? The Queen is no stranger to scandal. Her uncle married a divorced American, Wallace Simpson, and abdicated the throne to her father. Several of her children have split up. Her husband Prince Phillip has said some off-colored remarks in his time with respect to race, but does that automatically make HRH bigoted or racist? 

It would be nice for Ms Wilson to acknowledge that the Royal Prince is in love with Meghan Markle and leave it there. He undoubtedly chose her for her. She accepted. One can only hope that she doesn’t live up to any of the sensational headlines, the spiteful press or the silly actions of her family members. For if Meghan Markle ends up divorcing Prince Harry in years to come for some trivial reason, the Queen may well have been on the money with respect to her character not the colour of her skin. One can only hope for the sake of both of them they have a fairytale wedding where they live happily every after. If Markle can achieve 1/10th what the Queen has done in her decades of service we should be only too happy. Don’t worry though Meghan, it is enough that you’re “black” according to Wilson.

Daddy’s little ghoul

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How the left hates. What a slur on the daughter of President Trump to make a front cover depicting her smiling while her hand points to Hamas driven bloodshed on the Gaza border as the US Embassy was opened. What it conveniently forgets is that a decision was made by US Congress in the mid-90s with a clause that had to be signed every 6 months by whomever was President to delay invocation of this act to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Between 1998 and 2017, there were 37 presidential waivers, with the last one being the one Trump acted on.

We don’t have to look too far at the candor that Ivanka displayed on a commercial flight on low cost carrier JetBlue, with her kids no less. Sitting peacefully in economy another passenger ranted uncontrollably at her about her father before being kicked off the flight. The worst thing about Ivanka for the left is that she seems exceptionally well raised for someone who has such an unilhinged lunatic for a father.

Perhaps we should thank the NY Daily for keeping the flag flying for shock jock journalism. If it ever wanted to contribute to the cause to convert the masses to ensure he doesn’t win in 2020 they are writing the advertising campaign.

Imagine if Nikki Haley runs for the GOP in 2024. How could the Democrats outflank the identity of a half Native American/Sikh woman who seems so infinitely comfortable in her own skin as a presidential candidate? How fantastic it would be to have such an intelligent, articulate and iron-willed person run for the most powerful job in the world who just happened to be a woman?

Salma Hayek’s curves are an unfair advantage in a world striving for equality

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She has a point, but not why you think. It’s a bit confusing though. Did Salma talk to Benedict? Do the Hollywood set want women to get pay rises or men to get pay cuts? Will the sisterhood be annoyed that she’s undone Cumberbatch’s gesture to bump them higher? Or should actors be paid a flat unionized rate by the hour, including a one hour lunch break? Equal pay for equal work, right?

The laughable aspect is that Hollywood actors/actresses know full well that track record at the box office acts as a swing factor for pay determination. Kate Winslet was little known before Titanic but immediately after the phone didn’t stop ringing for her to star in new roles. The pay most certainly jumped significantly as she was well within her rights to command top dollar.

Let’s not forget that the movie star agents (mostly male) get paid on commission so it is absolutely in their best interests to get the best deals for female and male stars. In an industry dominated by sycophants it is highly doubtful they’re low balling to spite those striving for gender equality. Or should directors just cast women and save on production costs?

Yet it points back to the real world. Did you bust a gut to finish top of your 1st class honours degree in law to settle for the same pay as someone who didn’t? Surely you did so to get an advantage in life. Do Olympians train for 4 years in the hope of finishing outside the medals? Or should we dispense with medals entirely? Imagine how many records won’t get broken because there is no incentive to see the fastest, strongest or fittest. More and more schools have this “everyone’s a winner at St Barnabus’” mentality on sports days because the fat kid needs reassurance that he is just as worthy of winning a 100m dash as the 50lb stick insect is in the shot put. Differences are a part of life and we should embrace them rather than push to guarantee everyone gets the same outcome regardless of individual effort.

Isn’t the point of buying a nicer house in a nicer suburb all about an individual desire to achieve? Or will you be happy for the state to allot you a Soviet style 2 bedroom apartment in a crappy neighborhood?

No, let’s just listen to champagne socialists go out of their way conducting self promotion activities. Although in hindsight Salma Hayek may have a point on cutting back on male actor salaries as the total revenue performance of the US box office has dwindled back to 1993 levels.  Just like music has gone the way of Spotify, making a date in the diary to see a movie doesn’t cut it anymore. Video on demand is increasingly what matters.

But Salma, please, please, please! If you get roles that pay you more than your male costars based on your talents then all power to you. You won’t hear a peep here. In fact congratulations for being able to maximize the appeal of such genres to audiences that will shell out for them. Maybe you should beat up on the script writers more often for not writing stories that play up to the male dominating sultry voluptuous vixens you play so well! Be careful though, you may get complaints from the less well endowed actresses for having an unfair advantage but surely you’ve never used those differences or your beauty to get ahead in your career?

#SpareMe & #ThankYou

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They say pictures speak a thousand words. One wonders whether there are a thousand threads in these pictures at the Cannes Film Festival. For all of the sanctimony we hear from celebrities about how important the #MeToo movement is, what better opportunity to let down the side than to minimize cloth to skin ratios. These ladies know they are walking billboards, overtly flaunting their assets to gain attention in the hope they are short listed on the next blockbuster given the likelihood of widespread media coverage. Why else would they wear the equivalent of postage stamps held together by dental floss? Who can blame them? Where are the male actors strutting in sequin g-strings? Hardly fair that only women get to show off the flesh!

By all means, these ladies who graze on lentils and alfalfa while completing grueling gym sessions 6 hours a day, have every right to dress as they please given they work so hard cultivating those figures. Isn’t objectification the intention? Appreciating beauty is certainly not a crime and it does not border on harassment. Should red-blooded males be shamed for seeing protruding nipples and exposed cleavage fall into their peripheral vision? Can we honestly say hand on heart that some in the Hollywood set didn’t/don’t willingly trade flesh for a $5mn role? It is not to condone the behavior rather to say that if in the end a budding actor/actress is willing to ‘pay in kind’ to nail a big role that is still consensual. Jokes about Weinstein’s sexual antics were made for years at award ceremonies before he was finally outed. If he is convicted of sexual assault/harassment then may the full extent of the law deal with the crime. However #SpareMe the sanctimony about how none of them knew. Staying on the lucrative gravy train and buying more global property was more way addictive than doing the right thing by standing up for the true victims.

It is surprising that the feminists haven’t been up in arms about Cannes. They managed to take down the F-1 grid girls effectively enough. Isn’t it ironic that the people most upset by the ban were the grid girls themselves. They liked what they did, got paid handsomely to flaunt figures they no doubt work so hard to maintain and welcomed the attention. Now they are out of a job! Yet it’s is we who must get in step with the times. Perhaps the F-1 teams could have been asked to pay a grid-girl tax and donate the funds to promote charitable causes that the girls themselves felt passionately about. It will be interesting to see whether the MotoGP franchise owners, Dorna, go the same route as F-1 which will be pretty hypocritical given the web pages dedicated to the brolley dollies at each round.

Maybe the bigger laugh was the Israeli 2018 Eurovision song winner, Netti Barzilai. She said that in the auditioning process that she overheard whispers about whether they could field someone prettier or skinnier. So sex appeal was preferable to ability? When was the last time we truly heard a properly decent song that didn’t have some singer surrounded by scantily clad women twerking?

Still the virtue signaling continues. Cate Blanchett was on the stairs at Cannes demanding equal pay, when she herself is one of the higher paid actresses in town. Her mate Benedict Cumberbatch is refusing to star in movies unless there is equal pay.  Such actions are nothing but self-indulgent attempts to create free publicity. Say he is offered $25mn for a role and his never seen before female sidekick is not granted the same? Will he protest, divide his own pot or star anyway? One wonders.

Here is an idea for celebrities. CM thinks that Hollywood should be run by a government agency which will ensure equality in all outcomes. Movie roles will be distributed evenly. Each movie will have exactly the same budget. It will have equal numbers of men, women, LGBT, races, religious representation and sexual orientation regardless of how factually incorrect a true story may seem. Movie directors will have no say in who is cast for each part. Box office revenues will be evenly distributed at the end of each calendar year to ensure that flops will get subsidized by the hits. The actors who star in blockbusters will receive exactly the same outcome as those whose films end up almost immediately on Netflix.

All actors and actresses will be required to work exactly the same hours, have the same contract terms and be required to attend the awards ceremony in exactly the same garb. No makeup will be permissible, no eyebrow stylists flown around the world at last minute and no speech longer than 10 seconds. As there is to be equality at all costs, there will no longer be gender based awards at the Oscars. Or alternatively Best Actor – male, female and the 63 other gender categories. “The winner of the Best Actor in the hermaphrodite category is….”

So Benedict and Cate, will you join a union which levels the playing field and calls for equality or do you still prefer that your acting skills determine how the free market sets your prices? If you choose the former, just don’t speak to Jack Nicholson. He is still collecting royalties from Batman. Just what I thought.

These are the Oscar stats. A 40% decline over 5 years. Is this a sign of a format that is no longer sustainable? Is the disintermediation/disruption caused by video on demand such that making a ‘date’ to go to the cinema is no longer a priority? Cinema attendance in the domestic US market is back at 1993 levels. In the 1990s Hollywood made 400-500 films annually. It now pumps out more than 700. The average revenue per film continues to head south. The strategy seems to throw more at audiences and hope it sticks. Are the movies the industry rates itself on actually reflected in the box office? Out of touch with the audience? It would seem so. 9 films in the last 13 have failed to breach $75mn. So instead of Hollywood being so preoccupied with espousing politics, perhaps it should look to the audience it ‘preaches’ to and starts ‘reaching’ them instead otherwise many of them will be staring at massive pay cuts. Or will that mean it is every man and woman for themselves again!?

The marketplace for free speech weighs Wolf & Trump

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Poor old Michelle Wolf. You know, the young lady whose fingernails-down-a-chalkboard voice made off-coloured jokes surrounding abortion, Trump’s bedroom prowess, his daughter being as useful as an empty box of tampons and even portrayed WH Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a fat softball playing lesbian Uncle Tom for white women. Adam Sandler has just shredded her $4mn contract to star in Little Niki via Twitter. While CM is always against boycotts, compelled speech and virtue signaling, we’re struggling to work out whether Sandler terminated it on the basis of tasteless content or awful delivery? A combination perhaps?

Wolf tweeted back that she was fine with that because she was to play a role in the reboot of Bride of Chucky. Unfortunately that film role has also been cancelled, costing her another $410,000.

Freedom of speech is a funny thing. Wolf has every right to express what she chooses but should not complain if her backers (including her liberal mates) retreat because she picked the wrong audience to showcase them. Humour is always about fine lines. Sadly for Wolf she couldn’t even memorize her humour, having the read her jokes (?) out. The best comics don’t need scripts and can shred people off the cuff. That’s what makes them funny.

Yes, many have equated Wolf’s remarks to Trump’s greatest hits saying it’s unfair to pick on her. As a reminder Trump said,

grabbed her by the p*ssy”,

“I moved  on her like a bitch”,

“African countries are sh*tholes”

or

Michelle Wolf was over the top

Yet the market for free speech weighed his and her offensiveness. American voters had every opportunity to make sure he didn’t enter the White House on the basis of his vulgar remarks about women made over a decade ago. (Un)fortunately for them, his election to blow up the establishment was deemed more relevant to Americans than locker-room talk made in private over a hot mic.

Presumably, Wolf, much like Kathy Griffin (of bloodied severed Trump head fame), offer absolutely nothing outside their careers. They’re most unlikely to be able to force two nations to take up peace negotiations or shirt front dictactors. So when they stake their risky actions on going ‘viral’ to boost their careers and it blows up in their faces, the sole responsibility is theirs. No sympathy. In fact if it wasn’t for Trump they’d be virtual nobodies.

So is the marketplace for free speech unfair? Think of the price of people, stocks, bonds or anything else you can think of  varies depending on the market weighted bid/offer of the underlying assets. Sadly for Wolf and Griffin, the bids dried up almost immediately. For Trump, market expectations have long since been priced.

Count Dankula of Nazi salute pug infamy escapes prison term

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Scottish comedian Count Dankula taught his girlfriend’s pug to do a Nazi salute as a prank. The video went viral. Regardless of the level of one’s taste in humour, he clearly never intended it as a hate crime. Luckily for the Count, the courts have ruled that he doesn’t need to do a 12mth jail term as was flagged. The fact that it even saw the inside of a courtroom shows just how ridiculous the legal system is becoming. The Crown initially claimed he was inciting hatred against Jews. Count Dankula was convicted of a crime with an £800 fine.

Unlike Kathy Griffin who has seen her career nosedive since after the Trump decapitation stunt, Count Dankula is likely to see a jump in following because he hasn’t made a song and dance about being a victim of his own making.

Cutting back on the Tesla staff cookie tin

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Where have we heard this before? When companies look to tighten the belt, bosses often pat themselves on the back by cutting back on ‘unnecessary expenses’ like staff coffee room biscuits. That somehow over a 12 month period a company hemorrhaging millions has saved $832.67 on cookie cutting. Maybe $1,239.31 on fewer newspaper subscriptions. Well it seems Tesla’s Elon Musk is getting tough on approvals. Well he might especially after claims he doesn’t need a capital raise and made wise cracks about going bankrupt on April fool’s day.

Musk tweeted that his finance team were going to be out to trim back on any expense deemed not vital to the cause. All $1mn approvals must be solely signed off by the CEO himself. Suchnis the extent of ‘production hell’ he has moved to 24-7 shifts to hit his slated targets.

His email also bragged,

It is extremely rare for an automotive company to grow the production rate by over 100% from one year to the next. Moreover, there has simultaneously been a significant improvement in quality and build accuracy…

Indeed it is extremely rare to have auto companies doubling production year over year because most companies never plan to improvise their manufacturing  methods to start with. Toyota doesn’t meet a week before starting a new vehicle build and have a thought bubble. “Tanaka-san, did you get hold of Fanuc to see if they have any spare robots they can install by Friday?” Moreover the quality improvements are also a celebration of dreadful moving to mediocre. These aren’t achievements in any manufacturers book. They’re a candid admission of ‘amateur hour’

Musk continued,

Any Tesla department or supplier that is unable to do this will need to have a very good explanation why not, along with a plan for fixing the problem and present that to me directly. If anyone needs help achieving this, please let me know as soon as possible. We are going to find a way or make a way to get there.”

Seriously? It is a rather frightening prospect now that the CEO, whom took over the production floor several weeks ago, is sending a  crisis stations email to staff and suppliers.

His levels of lashing out of late seem somewhat concerning. Two weeks ago he accused the NTSB of lacking credibility by kicking off Tesla in the investigation panel into the recent death caused of a driver in California who had relied on autopilot Attaking the regulator is never a wise move. Worse, he blamed the driver in response to a lawsuit launched by the deceased’s family claiming he put too much faith in a system he champions as smarter than humans. Which is it?

Musk’s full letter to employees is here but perhaps he should take a lead out of the Riva Aquarama production line book. Carlo Riva built the Ferrari of yachts with excruciating attention to detail. All the different stages of production crew had different coloured jackets on. When looking out his window if he ever saw colours mingling he knew he had a problem.

Musk talks the confidence game but the pressure is bearing down on him. Senior departures, impending court actions and a production system that has been found wanting after such a short period of time that major changes need to be enacted because the original concept was so poorly thought out. So much for sensible factory capex allocation.

Elon Musk also made surprising remarks about the new found existence of sub suppliers. Musk can’t  lick his finger to find the direction of the wind forever. This is rookie level discovery. Frankly shareholders should be very concerned.