New on NewsReal – Feminist Writer Tries to Put Natalie Portman in Her Place

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The last time NewsRealBlog checked in on Natalie Portman, the actress was selling some new, decidedly-PC ideas about sex and love. But since her appearance at the Academy Awards accepting the Best Actress award for Black Swan, Portman has found herself on the other side of the feminist divide. LifeNews.com reports that part of her speech didn’t sit well with everyone:

After thanking fellow nominees, her parents, and the directors past and present who guided her career, Portman saved her concluding praise for “my beautiful love,” dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied.

Then, as if to underscore how the bright and promising career and the accolades she’s received up to that very moment paled in comparison, a visibly pregnant Portman thanked Millepied for giving her “the most important role of my life.”

The problem, according to Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams:

“At the time, the comment jarred me, as it does every time anyone refers to motherhood as the most important thing a woman can possibly do,” she wrote today. “But the reason why didn’t hit until I saw the ever razor sharp Lizzie Skurnick comment on Twitter today that, ‘Like, my garbageman could give you your greatest role in life, too, lady.’”

“When you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, there are a lot of amazed and awed moments in between the heartburn and insomnia. But is motherhood really a greater role than being secretary of state or a justice on the Supreme Court? Is reproduction automatically the greatest thing Natalie Portman will do with her life?” Williams wondered […]

“Why, at the pinnacle of one’s professional career, would a person feel the need to undercut it by announcing that there’s something else even more important? Even if you feel that way, why downplay your achievement?” a clearly befuddled Williams writes.

“Why compare the two, as if a grueling acting role and being a parent were somehow in competition? And remind me — when was the last time a male star gave an acceptance speech calling fatherhood his biggest role?

Yes, how dare Portman celebrate bringing a child into the world? Doesn’t she realize that ignorant political lectures are the only non-industry topics allowed by Hollywood etiquette at major functions?

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

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New on NewsReal – Who Asked You? "Inception" Cinematographer Decries "Madness" in Wisconsin

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Just because you did good work on a great movie does not mean your political opinions matter. Somebody should have told that to cinematographer Wally Pfister before he accepted Inception’s Academy Award for Best Cinematography; that way we might have been spared a lecture about Wisconsin’s horribly oppressed unions. Jim Hoft has the scoop on Pfister’s acceptance speech shout-out to his union crew, and his backstage elaboration:

“I think that what is going on in Wisconsin is kind of madness right now,” Pfister says. “I have been a union member for 30 years and what the union has given to me is security for my family. They have given me health care in a country that doesn’t provide health care and I think unions are a very important part of the middle class in America all we are trying to do is get a decent wage and have medical care.”

Actually, the country has given you health care, and a whole lot more. It’s given you a wage that’s much better than “decent” and the opportunity to work on movies and accept awards for them. What you really mean is that the government hasn’t provided healthcare (there’s a reason for that which has nothing to do with its heartlessness: widespread government healthcare doesn’t work).

And considering that only 6.9% of private-sector workers belong to a union, the average American isn’t getting that decent wage or medical care from one (dare I suggest they might be getting them from evil businessmen like the Koch brothers?). So much for being “a very important part of the middle class.”

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New on NewsReal – The X-Men Get Political in "First Class"

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For the better part of the past decade, moviegoers have gotten a new batch of comic-book adaptations every summer. The trend continues in 2011 with Captain America, Thor, Green Lantern, and the latest film in the X-Men franchise, X-Men: First Class.

Set in the 1960s, First Class goes back to the origins of the mutant team, before leader Professor Xavier and archenemy Magneto became foes. And as the just-released trailer for the film reveals, this prequel has an unexpected political twist.

It seems that the X-Men intervene in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Now, there are a couple different directions this could go: a) President John F. Kennedy is, for whatever reason, unable to stop Soviet aggression himself, so it’s up to our heroes to save the day, or b) the X-Men have to get involved because the United States and the Soviet Union are both hell-bent on settling their differences in the most violent way possible rather than talking to each other. Either scenario could pan out—we all know how Hollywood feels about America and Communists, but we also know how much leftists revere JFK, and may be reluctant to portray the country as too evil under him.

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New on NewsReal – Maybe America Could Use a Muslim Sitcom After All

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Remember Katie Couric’s insipid suggestion that Americans needed a Muslim version of The Cosby Show to help us get over our seething Islamophobia? It earned derision in the blogosphere for its condescending view of the country as a hive of bigotry and its refusal to give the Islamic world any share of the blame for Islamic image problems, but PopEater reports that the idea is picking up steam among Muslims in the television industry:

“We want to see a typical Arab-American family that is just like every other family in America,” said Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah, who has developed a pilot for Comedy Central. “Television has had the ability to demonize Muslims and Arabs, but we realize that it also has the ability to humanize us.”

Couric’s suggestion might not be as radical or as far off as her critics decried. In fact, Muslim-American writers say that broadcast and cable networks are starting to be more receptive to scripts prominently featuring both Arabs and practitioners of Islam. A decade-removed from the September 11th terrorist attacks, television may finally be ready to portray Muslim-Americans as more than terrorists and taxi cab drivers.
Hollywood would definitely embrace a Muslim ‘Cosby Show’ with one caveat: It would have to be really good. It’s the one factor that has linked shows about minorities like the ‘Cosby Show’ or even ‘Will & Grace.’ Currently, I believe Americans are open to any minority as long as the show speaks to universal human truths and makes them laugh,” said Muslim-American Hollywood television and movie producer Tariq Jalil, the executive producer of the comedy ‘Marmaduke.’ [Emphasis added.]

That’s true—as we discussed on January 3, neither the words nor the deeds of the American people indicate hostility toward American Muslims—and it’s nice to hear Jalil acknowledge what Couric didn’t, but that also undermines the alleged need for more Muslim programming in the first place.

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New on NewsReal – GLAAD Condemns "The Dilemma’s" Gay Joke: Justified Offense or Political Correctness Run Amok?

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Carl Kozlowski at Big Hollywood hails Ron Howard’s new film The Dilemma as “an instant classic for the conservative comedy lover,” so it’s fitting that some leftists don’t think it’s so funny. Rob Shuter reports that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is blaming the movie’s less than stellar opening weekend on a joke about electric cars being gay:

“Although there are a million reasons why a film can fail, we hope that Ron Howard and Universal will recognize from this that alienating audiences isn’t a recipe for success,” said Herndon Graddick, deputy director of programs at GLAAD, who oversees GLAAD’s work with TV networks and film studios.

Back in October, CNN’s Anderson Cooper started a firestorm when he said he was offended by a movie trailer he had seen wherein an actor repeatedly used the word “gay” in a derogatory way.

“I was shocked that not only they put it in the movie, but that they thought that it was OK to put that in a preview for the movie to get people to go and see it,” he told Ellen DeGeneres without naming the movie. “I just find those words, those terms, we’ve got to do something to make those words unacceptable cause those words are hurting kids.”

Both Howard (not exactly a right-winger) and star Vince Vaughn (a Republican) have defended the joke, with Howard noting that his movie is “a comedy for grown-ups, not kids” and that if “storytellers, comedians, actors and artists are strong armed into making creative changes, it will endanger comedy as both entertainment and a provoker of thought.” Vaughn says that “joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together,” but “[d]rawing divided lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us.”

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New on NewsReal – The Real Story Behind Kathy Griffin’s War on the Palins: The Media Laps it Up

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There are few personalities which more perfectly embody Hollywood’s decency deficit than alleged comedienne Kathy Griffin. Known more for attacks on Sarah Palin’s family than for anything resembling a career, Griffin’s latest bid for the spotlight is her New Year’s resolution that “it’s [sixteen-year-old] Willow’s turn to go down. In 2011, I want to offend a new Palin.”

Incredibly, Griffin is trying to pass her attacks on a politician’s teenage daughter off as a moral crusade:

Griffin’s publicist told ABCNews.com, “When any public person puts ‘your such a f****’ on their Facebook wall, they are guaranteed to make it into Kathy’s act.”

The backstory: on Jan. 1, Griffin told The Hollywood Reporter that Alaska’s former first family is on her radar. “I’ve already gone for Sarah, Todd and Bristol obviously,” she said. “But I think it’s Willow’s year to go down. In 2011, I want to offend a new Palin.”

Griffin’s reasoning: Willow Palin reportedly posted homophobic slurs on Facebook in November, and “You don’t throw around the f-word without hearing from me about it.”
The Palins did not immediately respond to ABCNews.com’s requests for comment.

Griffin has been vocal about stopping gay bullying since the apparent suicides of several gay teens in 2010. She donated her income from a Dec. 16 show to The Trevor Project, an organization aimed at helping teens deal with depression and thoughts of suicide.

Willow Palin is the daughter of a “public person”; to most people with a basic sense of decency and restraint, that does not make her a “public person,” too. And while this certainly makes for a cautionary tale about thinking before you post anything anywhere on the Internet, the Facebook pages of minors are not public forums.

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