Sunday, August 28, 2011

What the Help Says About America and Obama


The movie "the Help" has of this writing (Friday, Aug 26, 2011) made approximately $82 million at the box office, against a production budget of only $25 million and a publicity budget quite likely of $30 million. The movie is well on its way to being at least mildly profitable, though nothing like the big-budget winners of say, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 or the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. But still, the movie has been successful. It is worth noting the reasons why the movie (and before it New York Times best-selling novel) has succeeded in what the movie says about America ... and Obama's chances of being re-elected.


Of course, a good deal of the movie's success has to do with counter-programming. It is quite simply the only chick-flick available now. Women like to go to see movies too, and the idea of say, sitting through Cowboys and Aliens or some other action film doesn't appeal to them. In the same way that Jason Statham movies often take advantage of being the only action flick around, this movie benefits from savvy scheduling. The success of the novel, of course is reflective that the bulk of the book-buying public are women. No one would argue that Twilight is a work of great mastery, but women ate up that stuff like crazy. Romance novels from Barbara Cartland on have sold well, and if instead of Fabio on the cover there is the thrill of a hunky, glittery-gay vampire lurking inside the novel, well that's just the market working to serve a hungry readership and audience.

And yes, the "help" even in say, early 1960's Jackson Mississippi was far more likely to be named Frigidaire, or Kitchenmaid, or Hoover, than anything else. Few American housewives had domestic servants of any kind, back then, and even fewer today. Those who do tend to be on the rich side of things. The reality is that Rich and Powerful Black Men employ domestic servants, and these servants tend to be illegal aliens from Mexico. Not downtrodden Black women in the 1960's caring for White babies. The real "help" was automation, and machines, that made domestic life entirely different, in rich countries first and then poor nations. Hans Rosling remembers how in Sweden, his grand-mother cried when she got her first Washing Machine:



Washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, garbage disposals, vacuum cleaners, all made domestic life far easier for the 1950's housewife. Allowing her to work outside the home in the 1960's and onward. The help was not oppressed maids in middle class houses. It was machines, that transformed the brutal work of women in the house to one of manageable chores. Meanwhile Desegregation happened not because of some noble crusade by White women and Black people, but because Whites had already left places like Jackson and New Orleans, for suburban places far from Blacks. The cheap automobile, provided by Ford, GM, and Chrysler, allowed people to move far away from the urban life, including far away from Black people, and live in air-conditioned isolation, away from the hustle and bustle.

This process had begun, first in places like New Orleans, when the St. Charles Streetcar started running in 1835. People moved out to the more genteel, and isolated places along St. Charles (originally where just a few Plantations and houses stood). The same was seen in London, where the commuting process along regional railways started around the same time. If you could avoid living in the city, it was better. Less polluted and stinking (before the advent of modern sewage systems, the city meant chamber pots emptied out onto the street, and of course horse manure everywhere), people moved out to the country the way only Kings and Emperors had before. Technology is wonderful, it allows ordinary people to get wealthier!

In the 1950's, people moved out of cities like New Orleans and Jackson, MS for the suburbs. In New Orleans, the White middle class moved to Jefferson Parish, or Metarie (home of Britney Spears), or even North Shore outposts like Slidell. Air conditioning and television replaced sitting on the front porch, desperately trying to catch any evening breeze, and gossiping with the neighbors. The great roaring White Middle Class withdrawal from public life dates to about that time.

So nope, the picture "the Help" paints of an oppressive domestic serfdom in the South in the Sixties was false. Whatever semi-serfdom operates today, is the province of celebrities and powerful people, any number of which are Black as well as White. Nearly all Americans cook their own food, wash their own cars, care for their own babies, and have no desire to change. Their only wish -- more powerful technology to make each task easier.

Rather, the key to understanding "the Help" is the basic plotline. A young White woman, Eugenia Phelan, nicknamed "Skeeter" returns from College to investigate where the maid who raised her has disappeared to, and discovering a systematic series of racial oppression ... writes a gossip book about the mal-treatment of the maids by her mother's friends, and their scandals and secrets to boot!

Yep, no standing up to violent abuse by police dogs and firehoses on national television. No investigation of secret killings and burials of civil rights workers by police, at the risk of her life. No non-violent resistance to segregation's uglier practices, with predictable violent consequences. Nope. The protagonist ... writes a gossip book. The protagonist avoids "getting married" (her mother's big dream for her) and instead succeeds in being an "important writer."

In the movie, things are even clearer. The heroine is played by the much younger and hotter Emma Stone, while the bad women are played by older actresses. If you wanted a clearer picture of what "Civil Rights" today meant, you could not find one. Civil Rights amounts to a constant status-struggle by hip young women to over-turn the older women's status and seize it for their own. This story is why the book sold so many copies, to female readers, and why the movie was successful, apart from chick-flick scheduling in the middle of "testosterone action Summer."

For a significant portion of the White, professional, and female demographic, it is always 1963. But that 1963 is not the real version, but rather a fantasy construction of place where they and their projections are the heroes, defeating the forces of evil by ... writing a gossip book.

That's pretty thin. True, Obama does well with White College-educated Women, and poorly with all other Whites:

College Educated White women: 56% approval.
College Educated White men: 38% approval.
Non-College White women: 34% approval (lowest).
Non-College White men: 35% approval.

But even White College Educated Women, prone to using Black people in internal dramas over status with other White women (there are few male characters in the movie and book "the Help") ... need to eat. Or buy gas. Or clothes. All of which have gone up in price under Obama while wages and earnings remain stagnant.

Obama benefited from a perfect storm in 2008. An economic collapse and a Republican opponent who wanted to lose to gain the respect of the NYT and his daughter, who HATES HATES HATES Sarah Palin (echo of "the Help" by the way, you can see its power). Now instead of running against the Man, he IS THE MAN. Americans want results, not a symbol. Largely, people have tuned him out. His speeches tend to be followed by yet another drop in popularity or approval. Obama lost White men voters, but gained in White women voters in 2008's Presidential election, to carry the day when adding all non-White votes on top of College Educated White women voters.

Yes, there are plenty of White College Educated women willing to play eternal status games, with "enemies" like Sarah Palin, or Michelle Bachman. But as long as say Republicans avoid nominating women who bear a resemblance to say, Sissy Spacek (one of the villains in "the Help") and focus on economics and Obama's responsibility for the same, status-games will not save Obama. No matter how much women like Meghan McCain want to gossip about Sarah Palin types. "Change begins with a Whisper" (the tagline of the movie "the Help") but Hope and Change have left folks without much change ... in their pockets.

Obama seems to be basing his entire re-election campaign on appealing to the inner "Skeeter" of his White College Educated Female supporters. While it is true that he allows them to play moral superior to those they have rivalries with (again see Meghan McCain and Sarah Palin) that's thin soup these days. "The Help" shows how the Civil Rights struggle ends. In farcical idiocy, akin to the severely retarded and deformed Hapsburg Emperor who cried "I am the Emperor, and I want noodles!" at a state banquet.

The Help won't help Obama.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show that modern democracies are the broken down welfare states that they are because of women voters. We're doomed.

Anonymous said...

Britney is actually from Kentwood, which is just south of the Mississippi line in Tangihoa Parish, one of the so-called Florida parishes because they were part of Spanish West Florida, which included the Mississippi, Alabama gulf coasts and the Florida panhandle.

Otherwise, keep up the good work, Whiskey.

Anonymous said...

And people keep complaining more and more about life and its trivial issues as technology gets better and better which I find it an odd combination especially in the younger generation that grew up with the internet, cell phone, Ipod, and other neat gadgets.

I wonder people wish go back to simplicity again - far easier and less complicated than modern world's high expectations out of everything when things are slowing down to a complete stupidity.

Profans said...

While it is true that he allows them to play moral superior to those they have rivalries with (again see Meghan McCain and Sarah Palin) that's thin soup these days.

These two creatures are bimbo airhead idiots. The GOP is nothing more than a neoconservative slash libertarian slash fake "conservative" slash corporate place. Good riddance.

Beta dude said...

Non-College White women: 34% approval (lowest).

Wow. Probably they like "beta" men. =)

feeblemind said...

Re appliances as work savers:

Back in the dark ages when I was a kid, cartoons could educate. At the Youtube link is the old Sylvester cartoon "Heir Conditioned". The cartoon illustrates how savings and investment created the modern appliances/autos and such that resulted in the leisure time 1950s America enjoyed. It is a great 7 minute economics course.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsykEWvkgS8&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

jerry said...

What the hell are you on about, Whiskey? What "The Help" says is that the genocidal Jews and leftists who control Hollywood still want to exterminate white people, that's all, and to shuffle them into the gas chambers with as little fuss possible it's advisable to divide them by age, sex, and region. But look who I'm talking to.

josh said...

I am from Chicago and I can assure you,whiskey,that white chicagoans moved from one neighborhood to another and(eventually for most)out to the suburbs NOT because they wanted to but because they HAD to,because the niggers were coming,pure & simple. My family lived near 55th & Princeton,(just west of Hyde Park)South Shore,Back of the Yards and finally in a hood called Chicago Lawn,near Midway. The civil rights government handing out money to blacks for mortgages they could never qualify for & pay back (creating "churn",which I think is a Yiddish term...) is what drove massive numbers of Y-T's out of Chicago. Huge swaths of beautiful,at one time,and well-loved hoods that few Chicagoans would willingly desert for a boring burb,have been devastated and trashed. Thats an old story,of course. But the mexican surge is exiling even more whites out of the city. (How come that cocksucker Rahm,when he decides he wants to be a congressman,chooses one of the few white disticts left in the city?? His love for blacks is well-known,as the mayoral campaign endlessly featured photo-ops of bug-eyed Rahm,looking like a bewigged Harpo Marx,leering at black children,as if he could barely constrain the desire to kiss them. Yet he didnt want to be a congress man repping them? Wonder why? Would his wife be upset to find she now has "diverse" neighbors??)In sum,Chicago,like most cities of its kind, would be drastically different if Y-T had the choice.

Whiskey said...

Josh -- that's kind of my point. Suburbanization dates to 1835 or so in New Orleans and London. I.E. BEFORE the Civil War.

It is OLD OLD OLD and driven by ... ta dah! Technology. [In this case the steam engine and trolleys/trains.] HOWEVER the view that the Civil Rights movement was some unfettered triumph of the moral (Black leaders, White activists) is false.

There were plenty of brave, selfless leaders like say Homer Plessy who tried valiantly to erase Segregation. Why did Plessy fail and say, Rosa Park's protest succeed.

Because Whites were no longer AFRAID. Black political and social retaliation to those who wronged them was baked in the cake. Detroit, Newark, New Orleans, Baltimore's descent into what they are were entirely predictable and foreseen. But Whites had already started moving to suburbs and post-War technology made it far more rapid and affordable. Thus there was no risk (your house would be worth nothing if say Kwame Fitzpatrick was your mayor).

I stand corrected on Spears. I had read she was from Metaire.

Whiskey said...

As for the view that "the Jews control Hollywood," a guy who actually works there has other things to say. Day to day, Hollywood is run by ... women!

This is not surprising, Hollywood has a customer base of ... WOMEN. Women form something like 85% of Sitcom audiences, about 75% of drama audiences, and watch TV far more than men. Just watch the commercials, Mabelline and Pantene don't advertise to men (excluding the massive demographic say of Drag Queens). The Network heads might be men (and Gay Men like Disney's Rich Ross) but most of the development execs, schedulers, and the like are women. In movies this phenomena is still observed, though less pronounced, because big Summer Action movies still form movie profit centers. [Male audiences are almost entirely absent in TV profits.]

"The Help" is so absolutely female. Fighting "racism" through writing a Gossip Book? Really? No physical endurance, tests of courage, feats of strength, outwitting enemies, nothing of that male-oriented stuff.

There's nothing wrong with a very female story, the best are filled with compassion and understanding for all characters, no matter what their flaws. Compassion and understanding being cardinal female virtues.

But the story hinges on basically status-mongering among two young White women (as the poster shows). That's thin soup for Obama's re-election.

Jeanne said...

well thanks, this college educated female will give the Help a pass..are there any worthwhile movies out there/

Jules said...

I liked secretariat.

Whiskey, just listened to the latest ricochet podcast. They had author Richard miniter on & he explained how decrepit the eu military is. Apparently the British are now going to enter into a time-sharing scheme with the French to use their aircraft carrier. He also explained the reason the Europeans lobbied hard to get the US to enter the Libyan situation was not oil. they feared a refugee influx not just from Libya but from central Africa. Very interesting.
http://ricochet.com/ricochet-podcast/European-Vacation

Jules said...

This article just made me depressed, because I thought the same thing when I saw the trailer for the help.
Btw, big props to you whiskey for the article in which you embedded a clip of James Burke's Connections. I'm now on the last episode of Connections 3, which is the last connections show Mr. Burke did. Got some real effing knowledge.

Nine-of-Diamonds said...

"Desegregation happened not because of some noble crusade by White women and Black people, but because Whites had already left ... for suburban places far from Blacks."

There's nothing funnier than:
1) listening to White Regressives prattle about the benefits of die-versity.

2) Looking at where these same Regressives choose to live, where they send their children to school, who they mix with in their spare time, and who they choose to marry.

"the "help" even in say, early 1960's Jackson Mississippi was far more likely to be named Frigidaire, or Kitchenmaid, or Hoover, than anything else."

Add to that the fact that square-footage of living space between 1900-1970 was tiny compared to modern American standards - hence, little need for Black domestics during that era (and the associated, oh-so-trendy Lefty anguish). But as we know, it's not like facts can be allowed to get in the way of this Hollywood "mean-girl" status-porn.

"Non-College White women: 34% approval (lowest).

Wow. Probably they like "beta" men. =)"

The thing to consider here is church attendance. Largely female and correlated with political conservatism. Particularly White females older than 40, who are a large female demographic due to the baby boom. And, yes, these "old school" women are more likely to be married to men who today would be considered "betas" or lower. No Alpha harems, extended adolescence, or soft polygamy for young people who married in the 1950s. Or even the 1960's, which were still a lot more sexually conservative than most people can imagine.

Nine-of-Diamonds said...

* non-college educated White females older than 40.

Shawn said...

White democrat women love this type of plotline, end of story. My 90 yr old G-ma and 70 yr old aunt went to see this movie. They eat it up.

HR Lincoln said...

"For a significant portion of the White, professional, and female demographic, it is always 1963. But that 1963 is not the real version, but rather a fantasy construction of place where they and their projections are the heroes"

Yep. Probably won't see Help, but I certainly did see Mad Men, which contained an equally fallacious construction of early 1960's America. Caucasian males were portrayed as bigoted, drunken misogynists, and women (white and black) as victims in every which way.

Note to W: It's Kwame KILpatrick.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey, your referral to the Bernero interview had this gem: "Personally, I believe we should all stop putting stuff online."

I agree with him here. I wish the networks would stop putting their stuff online.