Author and LA Times Entertainment writer Mary McNamara wrote in her review of the NBC-TV show "Undercovers" that there are too many White people on TV. This attitude is common, among the entertainment business. You find it all the time in the pages of the LA Times, and on DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com stories and comments. Partly, this is because people in Entertainment are mind-bogglingly stupid, but it is also a function of the near total dominance of women and gays in the entertainment sector. [That's a picture of Mary McNamara on top.]
McNamara is the author of two chic-lit mysteries, "Oscar Season" and "the Starlet," both about celebrity, gossip, substance abuse, sex, and wealth. In other words, Us Weekly or Star Magazine as a "mystery" novel. Only of course, dumber. And while it is indeed, not only common but dogma among White, female entertainment people to bemoan "too many White people" it is impossible to imagine Asian and female, or Black and female, or Hispanic and female entertainment people to express that there were too many Asian, or Black, or Hispanic people on TV (or in any forum). Jessica Alba, for example, was shocked and dismayed to find out she was only 13% non-White, and 87% White (well, just look at her). She famously said "I'm excited for my baby to be brown. I just have to believe the dark gene is going to survive. Cash and I are like, please!" One can hardly imagine an Asian actress with a White husband saying she hoped her baby would be White. It is unthinkable. Yet the reverse is always true.
Stupidity plays a part in the attitude among White as well as non-White women in having disdain for "too many White people" on TV (and elsewhere) and "White" being equated with "unworthy." But a good part of the disdain for "White" is the lack of power and status and value in "beta provider" that most White men have, with globalization and the hollowing out of male jobs, making a "boring" beta provider man a poor bet compared to exciting, dominant Alpha A-holes. Roissy has a post in which he explains the related phenomena: chicks dig jerks. Or to put it another way, women find beta providers fairly useless, since only the most wealthy can provide enough wealth to allow her to stay home with the kids until they're old enough (early teens) to be on their own for a while.
At least as important as the free and easy availability of contraception, the anonymous urban living, the lack of shame, has been the failure of the male beta provider to mean anything, as women now earn in professional circles, in their twenties, more than men. If a man is not an obnoxious jerk, how could a woman not feel anything but contempt for him? The writer Roissy cites, one Rachel Dickens, is cute but not a face to launch a thousand ships, yet has many explicit sex columns for University of Wisconsin's student paper, that's her above this text) had this to say:
Curiously familiar hypothetical situation: You’re at a bar with your friends when you spot a guy you recently hooked up with. You’re feeling indifferent about him, but you wouldn’t be opposed to giving it another go. You think, “Ehh, no need to say ‘Hi’ right away.” Twenty minutes later, he still hasn’t approached you. You wonder, “Why hasn’t he said anything to me? Does my hair look bad?” But granted you’re not criminally insane, you brush it off and look for someone else to schmooze. Thirty minutes later, still nothing. Well, he did wink at you from across the bar (or was there just something stuck in his eye?), but then he started talking to some girl wearing a tube dress. Your confusion escalates. “Oh god, she’s way hotter than me. I knew I should’ve worn heels.” Suddenly, your neurosis reaches “Girl, Interrupted” levels and you wonder how you got so nuts. To avoid further humiliation, you turn to a friend and ask if she wants to leave and get nachos.
On a scale of 1-10, how pathetic does this sound? If you’re thinking 25, don’t worry, you’re not even remotely off base. But as desperate as it seems, I won’t hesitate for a moment to say we’ve all been there.
Fact: Girls love guys who are, for lack of a better description, total assholes.
Most girls are turned off by a guy who showers her with attention. It bores us, it seems desperate and it can be a predictor for a slew of undesirable behaviors lurking beneath the surface. Instead, we gravitate toward guys who give us just enough attention to keep us on our toes. Here’s what I mean:
Socially-unaware-nice-guy: Hi Rachel! I saw you from across the bar. You look pretty. Can I buy you a drink? You look like a G&T gal. So, what are your career aspirations? I love kids. You look pretty.
You know what? It’s a cop-out to say only weak girls go for assholes. Self-esteem aside, many girls crave the thrill of keeping up with a jerky guy, or better yet, putting him in his place. While they might not always be better at flirting per se, assholes have a certain knack for conversation that confident girls can’t wait to provoke. When you’re not looking for anything serious, few things are sexier than a well-spoken, quick-talking guy whose comebacks somehow indicate that he’ll be amazing in bed.
Example: If a guy won’t give other people the time of day, but he’s taking a moment of his time to be semi-decent toward you, you might think to yourself “Wow, this guy’s being nice to me. He’s usually such a douche! I must be different.”
What women like McNamara are really saying, is that there are far too many, boring beta White guy provider types, who are socially unaware, not tragically hip, cool, exciting, famous, Tucker Max like A-holes. Yes, she's married, with kids, but the same habits, attitudes, desires, and the beliefs she picked up in her youth, when ordinary, boring White guy beta types were an annoyance, continued as she got older and became an adult.
Black men in particular are not socialized, to be boring beta providers, and Black blogger the Rawness covers some of this in his post the "Myth of the Ghetto Alpha Male." Nevertheless, in entertainment, and in real life, women of all races assume more masculine, aggressive, more "jerky" behavior among Black men, even those who are fairly middle class and "SWPL" in likes and behavior. Coupled with other perceived advantages Black men have over White men, and its easy to see that the disdain expressed is really more of a dissatisfaction with the broad scope of available White guys. Most of them simply too "nice" and boring, not aggressive and jerky enough to stimulate much other than the emotion of disgust among White women.
Yes, it is absolutely true that Harold Myerson in the Washington Post, a White man, wrote:
But the economy is not all; the GOP's last best hope remains identity politics. In a year when the Democrats have an African American presidential nominee, the Republicans now more than ever are the white folks' party, the party that delays the advent of our multicultural future, the party of the American past. Republican conventions have long been bastions of de facto Caucasian exclusivity, but coming right after the diversity of Denver, this year's GOP convention is almost shockingly -- un-Americanly -- white. Long term, this whiteness is a huge problem. This year, however, whiteness is the only way Republicans cling to power. If the election is about the economy, they're cooked -- and their silence this week on nearly all things economic means that they know it.
But Myserson writes for a mostly female audience, in a medium, "journalism" that is mostly dominated by women. Women make up substantial majorities in most journalism programs, and simply perusing most local papers will show bylines mostly by women. As newspapers have become more and more politically correct, stories on things like Global Warming, i.e. warmed-over PC dogma, appeal more to women than men.
And at the heart, of White women's discontent, is too many "nice guys" who have been wrongly socialized. Who lack confidence, swagger, and indeed, jerk-like qualities and massive A-holeness around women. Believe me, if most White guys acted like total jerks around women, there would be no LA Times female columnists complaining about "too many White people" on TV.
We give points around here for trying something new, and in the Year of Our Lord 2010, there are just too many white folks on American TV, and way too many of them are playing lawyers, cops and parents. The leads of "Undercovers" are spies, and while spies are not unheard of these days, they're also married. Who can resist an action-packed, banter-heavy spy show that also explores modern marriage? "Undercovers" is all that and Paris too.
Of course, Sanford and Son was a massive hit back in the 1970's, and shows as varied as Good Times, the Jeffersons, the Unit, Gabriel's Fire, Frank's Place, Moesha, Homeboys in Outer Space, Homicide: Life on the Street, the Secret Diary of Desmond Pffeifer, and Tenafly have all had Black leads, with varying success and failure. Two Black leads are nothing new, much less two married Black leads (Good Times). What is new is the overt Obama-worship ("What if, like, the Obamas were totally cool, rich, married owners of a catering business, and also really cool spies! But uh, fighting White Russian Arms dealers, or something. Not Muslim Jihadis!") A certain class of woman, White, Upper Class, rich, dissatisfied with her life/romance/family, finds the Obama's a romantic fantasy:
The other night I dreamt of Barack Obama. He was taking a shower right when I needed to get into the bathroom to shave my legs, and then he was being yelled at by my husband, Max, for smoking in the house. It was not clear whether Max was feeling protective of the president’s health or jealous because of the cigarette.
The other day a friend of mine confided that in the weeks leading up to the election, the Obamas’ apparent joy as a couple had made her just miserable. Their marriage looked so much happier than hers. Their life seemed so perfect. “I was at a place where I was tempted daily to throttle my husband,” she said. “This coincided with Michelle saying the most beautiful things about Barack. Each time I heard her speak about him I got tears in my eyes — because I felt so far away from that kind of bliss in my own life and perhaps even more, because I was so moved by her expressions of devotion to him. And unlike previous presidential couples, they are our age, have children the same age and (just imagine the stress of daily life on the campaign) by all accounts should have been fighting even more than we were.”
Many women — not too surprisingly — were dreaming about sex with the president. In these dreams, the women replaced Michelle with greater or lesser guilt or, in the case of a 62-year-old woman in North Florida, whose dream was reported to me by her daughter, found a fully above-board solution: “Michelle had divorced Barack because he had become ‘too much of a star.’ He then married my mother, who was oh so proud to be the first lady,” the daughter wrote me.
There was some daydreaming too, much of it a collective fantasy about the still-hot Obama marriage. “Barack and Michelle Obama look like they have sex. They look like they like having sex,” a Los Angeles woman wrote to me, summing up the comments of many. “Often. With each other. These days when the sexless marriage is such a big celebrity in America (and when first couples are icons of rigid propriety), that’s one interesting mental drama.”
The reality of course, is that Michelle Obama is public relations disaster, with a penchant for rubbing luxury in the faces of the have nots (itself attractive to the certain class of Entertainment/Media women) in a deep depression. One constantly making belittling comments about her husband, who is the subject of frequent National Enquirer tabloid headlines alleging gay affairs (and who has suspiciously no prominent woman in his life prior to Michelle). But the glamorous fantasy is important, not the reality, to those in the Entertainment/Media complex.
Matching the White female disdain for boring, beta providers, and the boring, nice-guy behavior that most White men unless rigidly conditioned, fall into as a matter of course, is the sheer stupidity and vast social distance people in the "bubble" exhibit. Rachel Dickens may be cute now (and have a "Curiously familiar hypothetical situation: You’re at a bar with your friends when you spot a guy you recently hooked up with."). But in about fifteen years, she'll be invisible to most men. Who will look past her at the cute twenty something at the Supermarket or Coffee spot. At that point, she'll have nothing to offer a prospective jerk.
Just as clearly, most of the country dislikes the Obamas (and Michelle is at least as unpopular due to Marie Antoinette as a role model as her husband) and finds a fantasy of wealth and power and fabulous spending in Paris to be un-connected to their lives. Nor are Whites, hard-pressed economically, told they are being replaced as the majority race, and less "valuable" finding enough space and comfort to embrace non-White TV leads as clearly they did in the past. Fred G. Sanford was embraced thoroughly by White America, only a few short years after the Civil Rights struggles and massive urban riots by Blacks. Because America was 83% White in 1970, and Whites had little fear of demographic replacement. Besides, Red Foxx was funny. Today, as Harvard University Professor Robert Putnam found, demographic weakness provokes "hunkering down" and distrust not only across racial lines but within them. Creating behavior like a "turtle."
The more Whites are displaced by non-Whites in neighborhoods, states (California will soon by majority non-White), and indeed America, the far less willing will White Audiences be to embrace non-Whites. Meanwhile Blacks remain at about 12.5% of the population, and Black and Middle Class describes about 5% of the population, given that 60% of the Black population is urban core or ghetto. Hispanics live in their own, separate and parallel cultural universe, in Univison and Telemundo.
Like "Outsourced," the feel-good NBC comedy about an Ohio novelty company that shuts down its help desk in the US and sends the jobs to India (no, I'm not kidding), "Undercovers" is doomed to failure. Stupidity (and a vast, social distance from ordinary people's lives by the denizens of Malibu, or Bel Air, or the Upper East Side) plays a part in it, matched by "bubble" disdain for boring beta White guys.
With NBC's sale to Comcast, the back-stop of bubble stupidity may soon cease. Unlike GE, Comcast has more limited financial resources, and customers wanting to dump Comcast for whatever reason can do so easily (as opposed to say, boycotting GE's power turbine business in China). Hulu, or Direct TV, provide acceptable alternatives to cable. Meanwhile the constant repetition of the "noble lie" (ala Plato's Republic) of Blacks as dutiful, middle class consumers in commercial after commercial, is annoying. Given that Whites are acutely aware that only 5% of the nation is both Black and middle class.
Too many White people? Not enough. No matter how beta-boring most White guys are to women, and how much of the "bubble" stupid entertainment people live in, eventually the real world comes calling. It will be fascinating to see how many people line up for "the Starlet" and tales of Hollywood "glamour" when TMZ provides real-life tales of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton "glamour" for free.
And perhaps, ordinary White guys will get the message. Start acting like the jerks White women want them to be. So "White guy" is not automatically equated as "worthless, boring, nice." To make White women act like Asian, or Hispanic, or Black women regarding their valuation of their own men of their own race, White men need to act more like them. Embrace their inner jerk. The most valuable role models around are men like Roissy, or Tucker Max, or even Mystery. Giving women what they want, to paraphrase H.L. Mencken, good and hard. Everyone would probably be happier.