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Category Archives: Political Correctness
Rishi Kapoor wasn’t afraid to be himself, both online.. amid celebrities who thrive on political correctness – Firstpost
Posted: May 4, 2020 at 11:05 pm
Hello people, I have just twittered with these six words, Rishi Kapoor made his debut on Twitter a little more than a decade ago on 17 January, 2010. But he hadnt warmed up to the idea of communicating on the micro-blogging site yet. That took him another five years.
According to lore, it was during the filming of All Is Well with Abhishek Bachchan that the late actor was reintroduced to the site. Thank you ABjr. Mutual admiration society. You truly are chip of the old block. See you on the sets shortly. A rush of tweets followed this from other celebrities welcoming him to Twitter, a rash of new followers and an introduction to the real Rishi Kapoor who was funny, frank, unabashedly opinionated, passionate and more often than not crotchety. In this zero-privacy age, when his fellow celebrities still managed to keep a faade of correctness, Kapoor wasnt afraid to just be himself. And, thats what quickly catapulted him to being a Twitter A-Lister.
Kapoors new public avatar coincided with his second innings in the movies. Since Bobby in 1973, he spent the next two decades being Bollywoods favourite romantic hero. It was only in the last decade or so that he began to experiment and discover my range as an actor, as he told me during an interview post the release of Agneepath. I am having a ball right now. Like I am at a party and there is a huge buffet and I can pick anything, he had added.
Rishi Kapoor. Twitter Image
He was game to play anything from a gay principal (Student of The Year), a Dawood Ibrahim-esque don (D-Day), a cantankerous old man (Kapoor & Sons and 102 Not Out), a middle-class teacher struggling to make ends meet (Do Dooni Chaar) or a pimp (Agneepath).
Even as a whole new generation discovered Kapoor has an actor, his fans old and new began to discover the person behind the actor. Soon he was firing off multiple tweets a day; in interviews he explained that he had replaced his nicotine dependence with Twitter. And, he had a point-of-view on everything from self-styled god woman Radhe Maa to the sacking of Cyrus Mistry as the Tata Sons Chairman; from the emerging trend of Pakistan-bashing in our films to newspaper design. He wasnt above calling out his colleagues for not attending Vinod Khannas funeral (Shameful. Not ONE actor of this generation attended Vinod Khanna's funeral. And that too he has worked with them. Must learn to respect.) or the appointment of fellow actor Gajendra Chauhan as the chairperson of the Film and Television Institute of India. (Advice. After all the protests and controversy, Gajendra Chauhan, the FTII Chairman should voluntarily retire. Will do good to the students.). Even as dissent became a bad word, he wasnt afraid to make public his displeasure at the beef ban in 2015 tweeting, I am angry. Why do you equate food with religion?? I am a beef eating Hindu. Does that mean I am less God fearing than a non eater? Think!!
When he wasnt ranting about the things happening in the world, there were dad jokes (Good news. After CM Phadnis cancels the DP and Hawking plan, he exempts booze too. Now Maharashtra can have TARBOOZE and KHARBOOZE freely!), film trivia (Sweaters.It was a passionate collection,over a period of time,which I used in films without repeating.This info for fans inquiring about it.), sports (Wimbledon Why do the young ball boys scramble/haste as if they have ants in their pants?Normal running to collect the ball could also do it.), self trolling (Confession.The only co star(tried thrice)with whom I did not make a successful film.And what a co star!Sorry Madhuri!), and important Ranbir Kapoor-related information (Another thing. I am Not and repeat NOT Ranbirs Post Box that you can drop messages or post them. Thank you, I remain yours truly-Rishi Kapoor).
Anyone who knew Kapoor well enough could attest to his love for food and Black Label Whiskey and this was reflected in his timeline. There were tweets about memorable crab claws at the JW Marriot, ghar ka khaana at Bombay Canteen, eating at Londons Le Petit Maison with wife Neetu and son Ranbir and a disappointing birthday dinner at Daniel Bouluds New York restaurant. Kapoor loved his foodie avatar so much he even briefly contemplated giving up acting to become a food critic (Showed my tweet to the manager. Refused to give the bill. Think I will make Food Review my profession. Adios acting and Films. This is better!)
Then there were the sometimes inappropriate, sometimes sexist and very often rude tweets. He mercilessly blocked trolls, accused people of not having a sense of humour when he posted tasteless memes featuring Hillary Clinton and Kim Kardashian and slid into peoples DMs to abuse them when the virtual fights got heated.
All this and more was what Kapoor was in real life as well. One of my favourite memories of him isnt from the numerous times I interviewed him on film sets or at his office in RK Studio, but from an after party at Krishna Raj, his beautiful home on Pali Hill. At a film party, Kapoor, who was in high spirits didnt want the night to end. He invited a handful of people home for one last nightcap. I wasnt a part of his inner circle but by virtue of being the last person he was talking to when he decided on hosting the after party, I was added to the group. At home, he was a consummate host and took charge behind the bar while giving very specific food instructions to the house help. He remembered what everyone was drinking, made fun of the only vegetarian in the group (calling him plant-killer and laughing at the joke multiple times) and regaled everyone with stories from the past. At some point, though, he must have decided he was done partying for the night. While everyone was in the middle of drinking, talking, eating the lights in the room went out and a booming voice said Party khatam.
If Rishi Kapoor could tweet one last tweet, hed probably say Party khatam because its just the kind of thing he would say. And Id like to believe hes taken the party upstairs and walked in to that place saying, Party shuru.
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Updated Date: May 04, 2020 14:28:29 IST
The rest is here:
Posted: at 11:05 pm
The following story contains spoilers from the Netflix series Hollywood.
Soon after presenter and screen star Ernest Borgnine takes the stage at the 1948 Academy Awards, a few attendees depart to another corner of the venue for a brief intermission from the nights nervous excitement. One is using the lull to fiddle with a crossword puzzle app on his cellphone.
Oh, this is a good one... cause here we are at the Oscars, David Corenswet says. Eight letters. The clue is snub. It ends in I-N-G.
Ignoring, Samara Weaving replies, without hesitation. (Shes right.)
This is the time- and mind-warp taking place as new has a break from the old on the set of the finale of Netflixs Hollywood.
From Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, the TV drama conceives a more progressive history for Hollywoods Golden Age. The seven-episode season explores showbizs racist, sexist, homophobic past through a parallel universe in which its underdog cast of characters, who are working to get a feature film off the ground, get their fairy-tale ending or close to it.
A production shot of the stage for the Oscars ceremony featured in Netflixs Hollywood.
(Saeed Adyani / Netflix)
The series features portrayals of real-life icons like Anna May Wong (Michelle Krusiec), Rock Hudson (Jake Picking) and Hattie McDaniel (Queen Latifah) alongside fictional characters played by the likes of Corenswet, Weaving, Darren Criss, Laura Harrier, Jeremy Pope, Dylan McDermott, Holland Taylor, Patti LuPone and Jim Parsons.
In the dramas season finale, titled A Hollywood Ending, the shows central film, Meg, becomes a box office hit upon its theatrical release and, subsequently, receives multiple Academy Award nominations. A portion of the episode follows the characters as they attend the 20th Academy Awards and ultimately change the course of Hollywood history with some big wins for its marginalized characters.
I was interested in doing a piece specifically on buried Hollywood, says Murphy, whose grandmother kept him occupied as a child with books on old Hollywood. The darker, more upsetting social-injustice aspects of the town that you really cant believe. I grew up reading about Anna May Wong and Hattie McDaniel and Rock Hudson. And really how they should have had happy endings but didnt. And I wanted to write about giving them a happy ending.
Its bustling inside downtown L.A.'s historic Orpheum Theater in mid-January as crew members dart around between shots and hundreds of background actors take their seats for the episodes Oscars ceremony, the culmination of the dramas revisionist history fantasy.
The whole concept of the show is incredible to see and be a part of, says Pope, who plays screenwriter Archie Coleman, who is black and gay. Its nice to see these outcasts of the time have their moment and for the audience to question the what-if had things played out similarly then, how different things could look now.
Surviving newsreel footage of the 20th Academy Awards in 1948 including Celeste Holm accepting Best Supporting Actress for Gentlemans Agreement, Ronald Colman accepting Best Actor for A Double Life, Edmund Gwenn accepting Best Supporting Actor for Miracle on 34th Street, Francis Lyon and Robert Parrish accepting for Film Editing for Body and Soul, and Loretta Young accepting Best Actress for The Farmers Daughter.
Its not the first time Murphy, who went to the 1989 Oscars ceremony as a reporter, has featured the event in his work. His FX period drama Feud: Bette and Joan, another love letter to old Hollywood, re-created the spectacle of the 1963 Academy Awards. In fact, the Oscars get the Hollywood treatment twice in Hollywood. But its the finales 1948 ceremony that plays a major role.
The actual Academy Awards ceremony in 1948, which was broadcast over the radio, was held at the Shrine Auditorium. Securing the location for the episode proved difficult because filming landed on the same week as the SAG Awards. But the essence of the Shrine can still be felt: The venue was used for exterior shots of the arrivals/red-carpet sequence, which were filmed the following week.
To re-create the night, the shows production designer, Matthew Ferguson, relied on newspaper clippings, books and information culled online about the ceremony because the Academy doesnt typically cooperate with sharing its materials.
It was difficult, but not as difficult as you think, Ferguson says.
While the design of the Academy Awards in the modern era is often ornate and intricate the 2020 stage was decked out with more than 40,000 Swarovski crystals the ceremony of 1948 had a more streamlined look: cream-colored fabric draped around four white columns and, at the center, an Oscar statue resting on an off-white tiered base whose silhouette resembles a chocolate fountain. (Fake statuettes lining the base of the two tiers had to be destroyed within five hours of filming, at the Academys request.) The prop department even replicated the ceremonys program, which lists the order of awards and nominees.
Anytime you do the Academy Awards, if you do it in a cheap way it feels terrible, Murphy says. So we kind of have an obligation to blow it out.
The Orpheum had its lighting rigs and speakers removed from the venue to rid the space of any modern elements.
Jeremy Pope as Archie Coleman in a scene from the season finale of Netflixs Hollywood.
Hollywoods take on the ceremony features many of the years actual nominees and presenters, such as Borgnine and Vivien Leigh. But instead of Loretta Young winning lead actress for her performance in The Farmers Daughter, its Camille Washington (Harrier), who had nearly been prevented from sitting in the theater for the ceremony because of her skin color. And instead of Sidney Sheldon winning for screenwriting for The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, its Coleman, proudly kissing Hudson, his boyfriend, before taking the stage.
We had a lot of repetition because in a situation like that, were getting it from every angle, Parsons says. All I will say is that that we got punch-drunk loopy by the end of the day. They were doing like a six-shot of six different people with us in that front row watching one speech that was happening. And I heard it so many times. ... I was laughing so hard I was crying. I finally had to look right in the lens and mouth, Im sorry, because I dont know that Ive ruined anybody elses shot, but mine is trash.
About 160 background actors, each dressed in period-appropriate attire, are crammed into the first dozen-plus rows near the front of the stage. (To fill in the surrounding empty seats, more were tiled into the frame in postproduction.)
Patti LuPone, left, Dylan McDermott, Holland Taylor and Samara Weaving in the season finale of Netflixs Hollywood.
The color palette of the wardrobe also was very specific. After getting a sense of the styles and designers that were worn for the ceremony, the shows costume designer, Sarah Evelyn, had to mold it to fit Murphys vision of the young casts dreamlike glow: the women in soft sherbet colors, the men in cream jackets.
For director Jessica Yu, the time at the Orpheum was frenetic. In addition to capturing the main ceremony upstairs, the crew was shooting downstairs for the green-room scenes, which feature Taylor, LuPone and McDermotts characters listening to the ceremony over the radio.
It was seven cameras going, Yu says. I was literally running up and down the stairs. And in a weird way, all the chaos felt like we were shooting the Oscars.
Laura Harrier as Camille in a scene from Netflixs Hollywood.
Its the episodes acceptance speeches, though, that distinguish each characters experience of taking home an Oscar.
Wong talks of the significance of winning the award as an actress of Chinese descent for a role that wasnt a caricature. Coleman expresses his love for his boyfriend and signals that his win is proof to everyone whos been othered that their stories are important. In her tearful acceptance speech, Washington points out what the moment means for all young girls.
I think the thing that we were trying to get into speeches was they were shocked that they won, Murphy says. They were not entitled to anything. And when you dont think youre entitled, I think youre speaking in a much more raw, emotional way.
Its a bittersweet reality, Murphy says, to imagine where Hollywood would be today if gains in representation, and recognition of that representation, had been made sooner. He refers to what happened with Wong as an example. In 1937s adaptation of Pearl S. Bucks The Good Earth, about a family of Chinese farmers, Wong was passed over for the female lead, O-lan. Instead, German actress Luise Rainer won the best actress Oscar in the role.
Through the lens of todays political correctness, Murphy says, you literally cannot believe that a white woman played the greatest Chinese part of all time with her eyes Scotch-taped in yellowface, and yet thats exactly what happened.
Posted: at 11:05 pm
Felix Kjellberg, better known as Pewdiepie and owner of the most popular individually operated channel on YouTube, has signed an exclusive deal with Google's ubiquitous video platform to promote its live streaming service, a clear competitor to the Amazon-owned Twitch.
On the one hand, this is a no-brainer. Getting the most popular creator on YouTube's platform and one of the most famous personalities in video games globally to promote YouTube's live streaming service is an obvious choice. On the other hand, much like YouTube itself, Kjellberg has been mired in controversy for years, all of it self-inflicted and easily avoidable. And while YouTube and Kjellberg have often been publicly at odds, with Kjellberg taking shots at the company in his massively popular videos and YouTube previously distancing itself from its most popular creator for numerous controversies, both sides are now doubling down on each other and ignoring many of YouTube's most harmful aspects in the process..
In 2018, Motherboard wrote about the way in which he taught his fans to harass women streamers (we still get hateful emails and tweets from his fans about this story today). A year earlier, he apologized for using the n-word during a live stream, much like the one YouTube just announced they enlisted him to promote. Earlier that same year, YouTube famously canceled an original series featuring Kjellberg over an anti-Semitic joke video he made. The press release announcing the exclusivity deal obviously doesn't mention any of this.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It's not as if Kjellberg has spent time since then rehabilitating his image, or making overtures to YouTube. He's had plenty of controversies since, and has started his "Pew News" series of videos, many of which focus on needling YouTube and the media for political correctness.
YouTube has been my home for over a decade now and live streaming on the platform feels like a natural fit as I continue to look for new ways to create content and interact with fans worldwide, Kjellberg said in a statement. Live streaming is something I'm focusing a lot on in 2020 and beyond, so to be able to partner with YouTube and be at the forefront of new product features is special and exciting for the future.
YouTube, in the past, has made supposedly principled decisions regarding Kjellberg, and Kjellberg in turn has spent much time detailing YouTube's failures in treating creators like himself. But, as we can see, neither side is all that principled when it comes to the bottom line. YouTube can't not use its most powerful creator if it wants a chance in hell in competing with the already-dominant Twitch, and Kjellberg can't walk away from a YouTube channel with more than 100 million subscribers, and whatever YouTube is paying him for this exclusivity deal.
YouTube is Pewdiepie, Pewdiepie is YouTube, and neither will change because they need each other too much.
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Waiting for the Punchline: There is nuance in who gets the power to tell what jokes – Daily Trojan Online
Posted: at 11:05 pm
As Ive stated in this column many times before, stand up comedy, for many reasons, is a much different breed of cat than other art forms. Unlike film, music and visual art, comedy especially stand up comedy doesnt often get the same pretension of subjectivity that these forms do. For one, people tend to think of themselves as intuitively good judges of comedy because its the one art form they participate in every day by telling jokes, even when theyre not that funny.
However, there is another equally important factor for why stand up comedy can be so difficult as both a performer and consumer. The work of comedians is almost entirely judged by the audiences immediate, in-the-moment reaction to it. Audiences are the ultimate judge of whether or not a joke works because theyre who its meant for.
Sure, sometimes a comic might get a bad crowd that seems more inclined to judge than enjoy a performance, but for the most part, the consumer is always right. Its why the notion of political correctness has been such a hot-button issue in comedy its a perceived battle between the audience and the performer.
Still, as Ive discussed in earlier columns, the concept of political correctness means many different things to many different people. Why shouldnt comedians joke about marginalized communities? Why is it that some comedians are able to talk about certain things but others arent?
One of the most obvious, if sometimes unfortunate, rules in stand up comedy is that half of a jokes success depends upon who is telling it. Reputation plays a pivotal role in how well an audience receives a joke from a comedian in the moment. A live audience is much more predisposed to laugh hard at a half-baked joke from Whitney Cummings than a meticulously conceived joke from Joe Schmoe.
Theres no way some of Dave Chappelles material from his recent specials would be lauded as brilliant if he wasnt already grandfathered in as an all-time talent. Some of his jokes especially those about alleged rape victims and the LGBTQ+ community have received a fair amount of backlash from critics and viewers. Yet, audiences were overwhelmingly pleased with what Chappelle put out. Hell, he even won a couple of Grammys for it.
Would these jokes get the same kind of reception coming out of Shane Gillis mouth? Almost assuredly not. We know Chappelle; thats just the kind of humor hes always done and we continue to praise him for it. Audiences and critics obviously love him enough for him to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2019.
Are these jokes bad? Is someone a bad person for laughing at them? Thats certainly up for debate. Whats not debatable, at least to me, is that they definitely sound a lot funnier coming from Chappelle than they do from many other people.
In addition to reputation, context also matters in why we laugh at some jokes versus others. Its always been my belief that certain, darker types of comedy operate on a suspension of belief. When Anthony Jeselnik jokes about dropping a baby, the audience laughs because of their fundamental understanding that hes not being serious.
Its for this reason why I believe Louis C.K.s attempt to come back to stand up has been an ill-conceived dumpster fire to watch as a consumer. Some Louis C.K. diehards might claim that, no matter how he went about it, there was no avenue for him to convince certain audiences to forgive him and allow him to continue performing comedy, and theyre probably right. Many people would not forgive him after he admitted to sexual misconduct.
However, there was a large number of fans and nonfans willing to let the disgraced comic at least try to demonstrate that he had truly learned from his mistakes through his material, which is as dark and self-reflective as one can get.
Unfortunately, his comic response, which is included in his new special titled Sincerely Louis C.K., was so tonedeaf and irresponsible to not only his career but the notion of dark comedy in general.
Again, dark comedy thrives on the suspension of belief you know that the people joking about these subjects arent actually bad people. You wouldnt be laughing at Jeselniks dead baby jokes if he had a history of clumsiness around infants. Its the same reason why Louis C.K.s once-brilliant darkness seemed rebellious, groundbreaking and strangely comforting when he didnt have the reputation of being a real-life scumbag. Its strange that the man whose whole stage persona once revolved around his fragile self-esteem now seems so eager to protect it.
In the special, C.K. does pull out some classic Louis-isms, including one bit about how he understands how one could be attracted to teenage boys, but these jokes that once seemed unbelievably dark and hilarious now seem strange and sinister. His act used to be so effective because it seemed to be him talking earnestly about his worst demons, the ones you never act on and are scared to talk about.
The jokes hit differently when you know hes the type of person to actually act on some of the disturbing things he talks about. Add the fact that he wont apologize for the horrible things hes actually done, and it becomes difficult to still find his material all that funny.
These situations are obviously all very different, and I am not the ultimate judge of comedys moral line. If I was then Id be killing the open mics (in 2021). Though, if there was any purpose in writing this column, it was to spread one gospel that comedy is an incredibly nuanced and legitimate art form, and it must be treated as such. Its not just the jolt of haha that you get from consuming a funny TikTok (although it can definitely be that as well). Its an art form built upon analyzing the missteps of life and finding truth within them. When it is done well, comedy is as important of a reflection of our culture as any creative interpretation. When it is watered down and weaponized, it only corrodes the medium for everyone who wants to participate in and enjoy it. Its not that serious, but take it seriously ya know?
Matthew Philips is a senior writing about comedy. He is also the wellness & outreach director for the Daily Trojan. His column, Waiting for the Punchline, ran every other Thursday.
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Posted: at 11:05 pm
Even if coronavirus concerns are keeping us at home, we can still explore the beauty of the Oregon landscape, revisit jaw-droppingly strange-but-true history, and remember when locals got their noses out of joint over a comedy series that spoofed politically correct Portlanders. Whether you crave a virtual trip to the outdoors or are feeling nostalgic, streaming services provide a binge-worthy batch of Oregon-related movies and TV shows.
So, sit back, keep up your social distancing, and bring a little Oregon to your living room with our list of notable comedies, dramas, documentaries and animated features.
MOVIES FOR FAMILIES
The Goonies: Viewers who were kids when they first saw this 1985 adventure have shared it with their own children, which is why the Goonies nostalgia train just keeps running. As Josh Gads recent YouTube reunion of the original cast demonstrates, theres truth to the catchphrase, Goonies never say die. The story of Oregon Coast kids who use a treasure map to search for riches that may save their family homes keeps viewers coming back, and draws tourists each year to Astoria, where much of the movie filmed. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video)
Stand By Me: Stephen Kings novella, The Body, inspired this 1986 classic, about four boys who come from different backgrounds, but form a bond as they search for a missing teen in the Willamette Valley. Stars Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry OConnell will make you laugh, make you cry, then make you laugh again. Locations include Brownsville. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video)
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made: Adapted from the bestselling book by Stephan Pastis, this Disney Plus movie tells the whimsical story of an 11-year-old boy whose imagination sends him around Portland investigating cases for his supposed detective agency, with his polar bear partner in tow. The Portland locations are down-to-earth glimpses of the city, and the cast, including Winslow Fegley as Timmy, is sympathetic and likable. (Stream on Disney Plus)
Free Willy: A 1993 family film about a boy (Jason James Richter) who makes friends with a captive orca whale, and hatches a plot to let the whale escape. Keiko, the real orca in the movie, was a crowd-pleasing attraction at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, in Newport for a few years. Locations include Portland, Astoria and the Hammond Marina, where, in the film, Willy jumps to his freedom. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video; stream on Hulu)
Twilight: It seems like 100 years ago that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson starred in the first chapter of the saga about romance between a human high school student, Bella Swan, and the much older, but young-looking vampire, Edward Cullen. While the Twilight movies got sillier the longer the saga went on, this 2008 effort had the benefit of Northwest flavor. Stephenie Meyers novel was set in Forks, Washington, but Oregon was used for many of the movie locations, with scenes filmed in St. Helens, Portland, the Columbia River Gorge, and more. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video)
Kindergarten Cop: Another movie not exactly made to dazzle critics, this 1990 comedy stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Los Angeles Police Detective who, on the trail of a drug dealer, goes to Astoria, where he winds up working undercover as a kindergarten teacher. Sounds plausible, right? Locations include Astoria, the movie star of the Oregon Coast. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video; stream on Hulu)
Mr. Hollands Opus: This 1995 tearjerker is a salute to Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss), an aspiring composer who winds up teaching music at a fictional Portland high school. Its corny, but the movie was filmed on location in Northeast Portlands Grant High School, so students can get a virtual campus feeling even if they cant physically attend school. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video; stream on Hulu)
MOVIES FOR ADULTS
Wild: Portland-based writer Cheryl Strayeds bestselling memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail amid personal turmoil remains a perpetual favorite with readers. The 2014 movie adaptation of Strayeds book is well-made and heartfelt, with fine performances by Reese Witherspoon as Strayed, and Laura Dern as the authors late mother. Locations include Bend, Ashland, Cascade Locks and Portland. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video)
Leave No Trace: After The Oregonian reported on the case of a teenage girl and her father, who were found living in Forest Park, writer Peter Rock wrote My Abandonment, a novel inspired by the true story. This tale of a father and daughter living off the grid was adapted into a touching 2018 movie, directed by Debra Granik (Winters Bone), and starring Thomasin McKenzie and Ben Foster. Locations include the Portland area, Estacada and Newberg. (Free on Amazon Prime Video for Prime customers)
Lean On Pete: British filmmaker Andrew Haigh (Looking) wrote and directed this 2018 adaptation of Oregon writer and musician Willy Vlautins novel. Charlie Plummer stars as Charley, a 15-year-old who comes to Portland with his father, Ray (Travis Fimmel). When trouble arises at home, Charley spends time at a racetrack, where he helps cares for an aging horse named Lean On Pete. Locations include the old Portland Meadows in North Portland, and Harney County. (Free on Amazon Prime Video for Prime customers)
Wendy and Lucy: Portland-based writer Jonathan Raymond and director Kelly Reichardt have collaborated on a number of projects, most recently the quiet, but deeply affecting First Cow. The 2008 movie, Wendy and Lucy, is a characteristically minimalistic work, but one that becomes increasingly poignant as it goes on. Michelle Williams stars. Locations include Portland, Salem and Woodburn. (Free on Amazon Prime Video for Prime customers)
Related: Director Kelly Reichardt on First Cow, and why she makes films in Oregon
Night Moves: Another low-key, tense collaboration from writer Jonathan Raymond and director Kelly Reichardt. The 2013 movie tells the story of a trio of environmental activists who plan to blow up a dam. Its subtle, but gripping, and features striking work by Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard. Locations include Roseburg, Medford and Ashland. (Free on Amazon Prime Video for Prime customers)
Meeks Cutoff: Kelly Reichardt and writer Jonathan Raymond again worked together on this 2011 Western loosely inspired by a historic event, in 1845. The film features a guide named Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood), whos leading a group of settlers across the Oregon high desert. But the settlers begin to suspect Meek isnt all he claims to be. Michelle Williams stars. Locations include Burns and other Harney County areas. (Free on Amazon Prime Video for Prime customers; stream on Hulu)
I Dont Feel at Home in This World Anymore: Melanie Lynskey stars as Ruth, a nursing assistant whos already feeling down, and then finds out that her house has been burglarized. When the police dont seem interested in doing anything about the crime, Ruth, along with an unstable-looking neighbor (Elijah Wood), set out on a quest to find the thieves. Macon Blair wrote and directed the 2017 dark comedy-thriller. Locations include Portland, Wilsonville and Lake Oswego. (Stream on Netflix)
Drugstore Cowboy: Director Gus Van Sant lived for several years in Portland, and this 1989 movie is, among its other qualities, a postcard of the way the Rose City used to look. Matt Dillon and Kelly Lynch star in a 70s-set story about drug addicts who rob pharmacies to pay for their habit. Van Sant made other features in Portland, including My Own Private Idaho, Elephant and Paranoid Park, but Drugstore Cowboy remains one of his best. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video)
The Shining: You could get all technical about it, and point out that the 1980 thriller, starring Jack Nicholson, did very little filming in Oregon. Yes, the exterior shots of Timberline Lodge are supposed to be the Overlook Hotel, where lots of bad things happen. But since were likely not getting to Mount Hood anytime soon, well take what we can get. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video)
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest: The late Ken Kesey wrote the novel that inspired the multi-Oscar-winning movie, starring Jack Nicholson in one of his best roles. Set in a mental hospital, the film focuses on the rebellious Randle McMurphy (Nicholson), and his clashes with authoritarian Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). The 1975 movie has elements that may feel offensive to todays viewers, but there are classic moments. Locations include the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, and the central Oregon Coast. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video)
Animal House: For nostalgic Oregonians, this 1978 rowdy comedy (sometimes known by its full name, National Lampoons Animal House) summons memories of toga parties, the outrageous antics of John Belushis Bluto Blutarsky, food fights, and blow-out blasts at the fictional Faber College and Delta house fraternity. More sensitive souls may find the 70s humor has dated, but its a kick to see circa-70s locations in Eugene, Cottage Grove, the University of Oregon, and more. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video; stream on Hulu, with the addition of Starz)
Paint Your Wagon: If youre truly desperate for something to watch, this 1969 musical Western offers more Oregon scenery. Thats the good part. Less great is the fact that Lee Marvin sings -- or tries to. Costar Clint Eastwood also lends his pipes to the tune, I Talk to the Trees. Critics mostly blew raspberries at this supposed blockbuster. The stories about what went on during the filming near Baker City, in Eastern Oregon, makes things sound pretty wild (hippie extras!). As for the movie, its hokey (sample song title: Hand Me Down That Can o Beans), but harmless. And did we mention the gorgeous Oregon scenery? (Free on Amazon Prime Video for Prime customers)
Related: Paint Your Wagon, The Goonies, Grimm and more: The Oregon film and TV office turns 50
Laika features: The Hillsboro animation studio is known for the painstaking care lavished on its stop-motion animated features. Examples include the Golden Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated Missing Link (2019), about a Sasquatch living in a Pacific Northwest forest who joins forces with an explorer for globe-trotting adventures in the 1800s. (Rent on Amazon Prime Video; stream on Hulu.)
Other Laika features include 2016s Kubo and the Two Strings(YouTube Movies); 2014s The Boxtrolls (YouTube Movies); 2012s ParaNorman (iTunes); and 2009s Coraline (stream on Hulu).
Portlandia: Remember the good old days, when locals worried about what message a comedy sketch show was sending, instead of panicking about a pandemic and economic catastrophe? Return with us now to the balmy past, when the IFC series co-created by and costarring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein made Portland look like the world capital of political correctness. Even if youre sick to death of hearing about the feminist bookstore, and Colin the chicken, watching Portlandia -- which aired from 2011 to 2018 -- feels like a trip back to another, less stressed-out era. (Streaming on Netflix; and fuboTV)
Related: Saying goodbye to Portlandia, and the citys love/hate relationship with the show
Grimm: The premise was far-fetched, but the NBC drama about a Portland Police homicide detective who had the power to see the supernatural creatures lurking below the surface of seemingly ordinary folks developed a devoted following. In its 2011-2017 run, Grimm made Portland look like the scene of a dark fantasy you know, like Grimms fairy tales. (Free on Amazon Prime Video for Prime customers)
Related: Grimm may be ending, but its impact on Portland remains
Shrill: In its first two seasons of the Portland-filmed comedy, weve watched as Annie (played by Aidy Bryant, of Saturday Night Live fame) has struggled to deal with her own ambitions to be a writer, her lack of confidence, her messy relationships and a few other neuroses. Bryant is a fine lead, and shes joined by a terrific supporting cast. Catch up now, because the series has been renewed for a third season. (Stream on Hulu)
Leverage: The 2008-2012 series about a group of reformed crooks who took on jobs where they could stick it to fat cats and win justice for everyday people moved its production to the Portland area for Season 2. A rebooted revival is in the works for IMDb TV, with Noah Wyle starring (in place of Timothy Hutton) and other original cast members returning. (Stream previous seasons on the IMDb TV channel, which is available to Amazon Prime Video customers)
The Librarians: A spinoff of a series of TV movies made for TNT, the fantasy-adventure followed a group of gifted eccentrics who used their skills to solve mysteries and, sometimes, save the world. Like Leverage, the series filmed in and around the Portland area. It aired from 2014 to 2018. (Stream on Hulu)
Everything Sucks!: The series about a group of high school kids in Boring, Oregon in the 1990s had a good heart, and cast a compassionate eye on the travails and triumphs of the mostly misfit characters. Unfortunately, it only lasted one season. (Stream on Netflix)
Trinkets: Another moody/sensitive series about high school students struggling to find themselves, Trinkets tells the story of Elodie (Brianna Hildebrand), an unwilling transplant to Portland, who forms surprising friendships with schoolmates, Moe (Kiana Madeira), and Tabitha (Quintessa Swindell). The series will return for a second season, but that will be the last one. (Stream on Netflix)
Wild Wild Country: Oregonians who have lived here for a while already know about the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Ma Anand Sheela, and the followers who descended on Central Oregon in the early 1980s. But everyone else apparently first learned about this bizarre-but-true saga thanks to Chapman Way and Maclain Ways six-part 2018 documentary series. (Stream on Netflix)
Related: Netflix documentary on Rajneeshees in Oregon revisits an amazing, enraging true story
The Battered Bastards of Baseball: Before they dug into Oregon Rajneeshee history, filmmakers Chapman Way and Maclain Way made this entertaining 2014 documentary about the Portland Mavericks baseball team. (Stream on Netflix)
-- Kristi Turnquist
email@example.com 503-221-8227 @Kristiturnquist
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Posted: at 11:05 pm
This book adaption is set ablaze. (Spoilers ahead)
In Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng earnestly presents issues of race, class, and gender in a novel about motherhood. Everyone and their mother loves this book and everyone seems to have an opinion on it. Ng crafts these beautifully honest dialogues into small interwoven plot lines that set her writing apart from that of its book club genre. On March 18th, Hulu dropped Ngs brainchild as a TV mini-series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington as the matriarch leads.
A quick synopsis for you if you havent read the novel: set in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Elena Richardson and her perfect family remain the towns starlet do-gooders-with the exception of her black sheep of a daughter, Izzy. Izzy is Elenas wild child whose rebelling and anarchist ways drive her crazy. New in town, Mia Warren, a reticent artist and her daughter Pearl, rent out the Richardsons spare duplex and begin to share life with the Richardsons. Mias and Pearls unconventional ways of living begin to infiltrate Elenas ever-planned lifestyle. Meanwhile in Shaker, a controversial adoption of a Chinese baby girl reveals Mias past, Elenas values, and the foils of both of their families.
Hulu over-dramatizes everything. Comparatively, the show features way more slamming doors, yelling matches, and crying hysteria than in the book, but personally I eat that stuff up for breakfast. I find that the show is very separate from the book. In the book, the real little fires are the tense conversations between the characters. These conversations are uncomfortable and make you sweat, but also make you turn the page. In the show, theres no real balance of the drama. At the end of each episode the picture sequences move too fast to comprehend with no incline of tension over the series. Every episode feels like the climax. As a viewer, I never really felt like I could come up for air.
Acting does not fall short in this series; the producers stacked the cast. Washingtons steely facial expressions and slow responses capture Mia perfectly. Although, the book differs heavily in character decisions. A scene worth mentioning is how Mia handled Lexis despair over her abortion. Lexi wanted Mias opinion and solace about her choice and instead of giving her sage advice Mia angrily tells off Lexi for acting entitled. Of course, Lexi did put down Pearls name at the clinicstill, there was supposed to be a certain kind of acceptance Lexi finds in Mia. In the shows finale, Mia smugly exposes Lexis secret to Elena. I find this out of character for Mia, I thought she would respect Lexis privacy despite her dislike for Elena.
Opposite to Mia, Witherspoon as Elena is an excellent choice. I was worried her role would be too similar to her character in Big Little Lies. But Witherspoon doesnt disappoint and changes up Elenas mannerisms giving her an uncertain awkwardness. In the book, I think Elena is more put together and unapologetically self-righteous. The show shares more of Elenas backstory and ultimately her cowardness of not going against the grain of a suburban bored lifestyleleaving her to help others to make her life bearable. To no surprise, the show writers let Elena expose the truth about Pearls parents to Pearl (in the book Mia tells Pearl in a calm manner). Pearl lashes out at Mia, sending Mia into a breakdown. In the book, I think Pearl shows more respect to Mia. In the show, she fits in way too perfectly right away with the Richardsons and ends up acting bratty. I size Pearl up pretty quickly because she seems to have more maturity in the books.
Megan Stott, who plays Izzy, has this pre-teen sass down to a T. What differs in the show is that the show plays up Izzys sexuality as a new story line. In the book, Izzy pulls pranks, mouths off to her teachers, and stands up to bullies. In the show, Izzys one-liners contradict her moms biased and patronizing rhetoric. When Elena condemns Izzy for wearing cut off shorts to her violin concert, Elena tells Izzy, If you follow the rules youll succeed. Izzy smartly replies, Succeed in what? Profiling?
Originally the book reveals that Izzy is the one who starts the fire and lights up the house, yet in the shows finale the writers decide to let all the Richardson kids in on some arsonary action.
Izzy starts spreading turpentine all over her unwanted clothes in a moment of panic. And after a blow up fight with Elena revealing that she never wanted Izzy, Izzy makes her grand exit by running out into the snow. Next, Lexie screams at her mom admitting to her abortion then desperately urges the boys to help light the house on fire so they dont become like their mother and lead a similar life to hers. I thought this was an awesome moment of sibling camaraderie. Queue the pyrotechnics!
In the final moments of the show, Elena stumbles upon Mias studio full of stranded art pieces which display Shaker from Mias perspective. The scene is full of close up shots of Elena looking at the photographs and art with a voiceover of Pearl reciting her poetry. The art and poem illustrate a bird in a cage analogy nodding at Richardsons internal realities. I do think the ending provides a dose of hope that the Richardson family can rise from the ashes of their burnt life and start over.
I could write so much more commentary about the show because theres so many other thematic details that were brought to life. From the marital problems between Elena and Bill, to the well-executed court scenes and problematic political-correctness of it all, Little Fires Everywhere achieves its purpose in igniting new, engrossing conversations.
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Posted: at 3:53 am
Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference. [Photo/Xinhua]
The claim that the Chinese mainland requires Hong Kong and Taiwan artists to "declare patriotism" and promise "political correctness" is totally fabricated, a mainland spokeswoman said on Thursday.
The island authority claimed that political factors should not influence art and film creation, after it was said that the mainland is demanding stars from Hong Kong and Taiwan promise to be "politically correct" for 10 years, or they will not be allowed to work in mainland companies.
"It's a complete fabrication," said Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, adding that the mainland has been actively supporting cross-Straits film and television exchanges and always welcomes Taiwan artists to the mainland.
"Meanwhile, we will not allow a few people who make money on the mainland while supporting 'Taiwan independence' separatist activities," she said.
The ruling Democratic Progressive Party on the island and some "Taiwan independence" forces have been spreading fake news and lies in the field of cross-Straits film and television exchanges, Zhu said.
"Their aim is to undermine cross-Straits exchanges and deliberately create contradictions and estrangement between compatriots of the two sides," she added.
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Posted: at 3:53 am
Ted Buss Published 12:00 a.m. CT May 3, 2020
Last week I mentioned 1950-60s radio talk host Paul Harvey and his noted, The rest of the story segment. A friend reminded me of a commentary he did that captured the imagination of the nation in 1965 called, If I were the prince of darkness.
Ted Buss(Photo: c)
You can watch it on you tube or read it online, and it hasnt aged a day. Noticeably, it stands out as a straightforward piece long before the political correctness run amok movement.
If I were the prince of darkness, Harvey said, I would engulf the whole world in darkness.
I would have a third of all real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldnt be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree . . . thee.
So I would set about, however necessary, to take over the United States.
I would subvert the churches first, and I would begin with a campaign of whispers.
With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: Do as you please.
To the young I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince children that man created God instead of the other way around.
And to the elderly I would teach to pray, Our father, who art in Washington . . .
If I were the devil, Id soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves and a nation at war with each other until each, in its turn, was consumed.
And with promises of higher ratings and circulation Id have a mesmerizing media fanning the flames.
If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellect but neglect to discipline emotions. Id tell administrators and teachers to let students run wild and before you knew it youd have metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
I would have prisons overflowing and I would evict God from the courts, schools and the halls of Congress.
In churches I would substitute psychology for religion.
If I were the devil, Id take from those who have and give it to those who want until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.
Id convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that living together is more practical and what you see on television is the way to be.
I would lure you into a world of diseases for which there are no cures.
In other words, if I were the devil, Id just keep right on doing what hes doing.
When Harvey wrote this piece 55 years ago, newspapers reprinted it and television networks shared it in commentary. Despite our warts in this or ages past, thankfully we have not outgrown this kind of story.
Ted Buss is a former sports and business editor at the Times Record News.
Posted: at 3:53 am
With the Covid-19 pandemic creating a Pearl Harbor moment in the West, a furious debate has popped up regarding how to deal with China.
Liberal media continue to imply that it is racist to criticize the Chinese Communist Party over its response, especially if one uses the terms Wuhan or Chinese to describe the pandemic. Some journalists have defended Chinas draconian Mao-era social control measures because they worked; they have even defended the World Health Organization, contending that withdrawing funding from the WHO was a crime against humanity.
This is hilarious, given the fact that they barely criticised President Xi Jinping despite his regime hiding the epidemic from his own people for more than a month.
One egregious example comes from a report of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on April 29. It reported that Canadians were upset after a racist and inflammatory publication was delivered to their doorstep which described the pandemic as a CCP Virus and suggested it might have come out of a Wuhan laboratory. (Experts worldwide have deemed this as misinformation, just for the record, but everyone from US senators to Trump himself continue to be suspicious.)
The CBC interviewed a grand total of one upset Canadian and featured a surreal interview with a single Canadian Post employee who almost decided to censor and not deliver the publication, only to be overruled at the last minute by more sensible superiors.
Besides the ridiculous fact that the CCP is not a race, but a political organization, and the publication itself, the Epoch Times, is owned and written by ethnic Chinese in North America, one has to ask, when will Western liberals wake up to reality and stop their political correctness lunacy?
This is not the first time North American media outlets have targeted the Epoch Times. In 2019, NBC host Rachel Maddow attacked it as one of Trumps most ardent supporters which had spent big on Facebook supporting his campaign.
What is the Epoch Times and who is funding it?
Enter the Falun Gong, an unorthodox and eccentric new religious movement. It was founded by a Northeastern Chinese man named Li Hongzhi, who rode on the popularity wave of qigongan ancient Chinese spiritual exercise practice, which emerged in the 1990s following a renewed interest in traditional culture. Li combined tenets of Chinese Buddhism, Taoism and folk beliefs and created an entirely new belief system. Initially he had the backing of Chinas officials because they thought it was harmless politically. But things quickly soured after they realized Li had created a massive following, almost a personality cult, and had amazing ability to mobilise crowds.
The final straw came in 1999 when Falun Gong practitioners petitioned en masse outside Communist Chinas nerve center, Zhongnanhai in Beijing, after a derogatory news article had attacked their movement. Mass arrests and a crackdown followed, with persecution continuing to this day in China.
As a child growing up in China, I myself remember primary school campaigns and CCTV (Chinas state broadcaster) news clips denouncing the Falun Gong as an evil cult. This worked, as Chinese public opinion decisively turned against the movement by 2002, and Li moved his operations completely to North America.
But it is what happened afterwards that makes their story so fascinating.
In just 20 years, the Falun Gong has built up a vast media empire, spanning from the Epoch Times (which publishes in multiple languages besides Chinese and English), New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV, broadcasts in Mandarin, Cantonese, English), Sound of Hope radio and New Realm studios, a Canadian-based movie and TV studio which makes HD Chinese language drama for NTDTV.
Persecution failed to put an end to the Falun Gong. Instead it managed to get more followers amongst overseas Chinese people and even smuggled out some of its members to resettle in the West. Today, the Falun Gong runs, nurseries, schools and even a college for its believers. A complete parallel society has emerged.
None of this is more revealing than Dragon Springs, a massive 427-acre compound in upstate New York. This is a sprawling campus housing hundreds of Li Hongzhis closest followers (many of whom fled China) and Li himself, complete with an impressive Tang Dynasty style Buddhist pagoda and Fei Tian College. Some of its students graduate to the Shen Yun Art Troupe, specifically created to promote the Falun Gong.
Compare this to the headquarters of the Chinese Democratic Party, a political exile organization founded by students who fled China after the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989. The CDP is based in a run-down building in Flushing, Americas largest Chinatown. It has no media outlet of its own and minimal influence even in Flushing.
Every year, American cities are awash with Shen Yun posters and giant billboards which claim that Shen Yun represents the 5000 years of traditional Chinese culture which has been ruined by Communism. Curious Westerners are impressed by the performance and surprised by a red tsunami carrying an image of Marx which lays waste the shores of China. Shen Yun apparently generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue and huge publicity.
Even more amazing is how successful Falun Gong has been online. Its NTDTV division is not a drab overseas Chinese TV channel that no one watches. Quite the contrary. Ben Hedges, a British Falun Gong practitioner who speaks impeccable Chinese, has his own YouTube channel. It is very popular in Taiwan and Hong Kong, with many subscribers (681,000 at last count) completely unaware of his background, despite the big NTDTV logo on his videos.
China Uncensored, another YouTube channel which posts daily exposs of Chinas authoritarian regime, is hosted by Chris Chappell, an American with dark sense of humour. It has 1.26 million subscribers and is also produced by NTDTV. NTDTV even hooked up with Steve Bannon and members of the Trump family, getting interviews with them. It produced a damning documentary in 2019 about Huaweis secrets and the threat it poses to America. Bannon was a producer.
But the most surprising aspect of Falun Gongs media reach is in the Sinosphere. In the past few decades, overseas Chinese media has increasingly come under the influence of Beijing, with little or no coverage of negative news being reported. Media outlets are quietly bought up by the CCP and its network of overseas supporters. Many people disgruntled with the situation increasingly only have Falun Gong media to turn to, because it has often become the only staunchly anti-Communist section of the overseas Chinese media jigsaw.
In December 2019, The Economist did a piece titled Party Poopers which described the curious world of Chinese-language anti-CCP YouTube channels. Wenzhao probably has the most followers, with 500,000 subscribers and 200 million views on YouTube. He operates independently from the official media empire, but he is a member of the Falun Gong as well, although that went unremarked by The Economist.
Other influential anti-CCP video bloggers on YouTube have Falun Gong backgrounds too, and reach vast number of people eager to circumvent censorship and hear the other side of the narrative.
All these arms of the Falun Gong empire have been active in reporting whenever the CCP is in crisis. They have been on the frontlines livestreaming the Hong Kong anti-extradition protests. They have also broadcast video footage produced by independent journalists inside Wuhan when it was locked down. They added some pro-Falun Gong propaganda, but their contribution was still valuable.
The Falun Gong has accomplished far more in 20 years than secular pro-democracy dissidents in exile. More importantly, they offer the only alternative in the overseas Chinese language media against the CCP, apart from a shrinking number of Hong Kong and Taiwan media outlets. And unlike them, Falun Gong media cannot be bought out by CCP money.
Naturally, the Falun Gong has problems. Its operations are not transparent. Li Hongzhi doesnt seem to have a succession plan and no one knows what will happen when he dies. Critics cite cult-like behaviour and rumours of weird beliefs. But after 20 years it seems clear that Falun Gong is not Aum Shinrikyo and Dragon Springs is not Jonestown.
The Falun Gong has alienated liberals in the West due to its conservative teachings regarding homosexuality and its support for Trump. This throwing all the eggs in one basket move might be a brilliant bet since the hyper-partisan Epoch Times English edition has increased its profile tremendously since its pro-Trump shift. But it could backfire if Biden is elected.
Elsewhere in the West, the Falun Gong is also backing the Right. The German edition is batting for the AfD Party and the French edition for Marine le Pen.
The Falun Gong is both fascinating and problematic. But in a world of PC madness and CCP money sloshing around, its media offer a much needed alternative viewpoint. In fact, its existence is the best antidote to anti-Chinese racism in the West clearly not every Chinese is a pro-Communist robot who toes the party line. Love them or hate them, these folks arent going anywhere.
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Posted: at 3:53 am
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Senate Judiciary Committee ChairmanLindsey Graham,R-S.C., had a message for Democrats on Sunday saying, China is the problem, not Trump.
Graham made the comment during an exclusive interview on Sunday Morning Futures three days after President Trump said he has seen evidence suggesting that the coronavirus originated from a laboratory in China.
The Democrats have empaneled a group tolook at Trump, not China, Graham said.
President Trump made very gooddecisions, very hard callsconsistently," he continued. "Not one Democrat has comeforward with any idea to holdChina accountable for killingover 60,000 Americans bywithholding information aboutthe virus and putting 30 millionAmericans out of work becausethats what we had to do to saveprobably 1 million lives.
He then urged Democrats to step up.
Trump was speaking to reporters on Thursday about protecting America's senior citizens when Fox News and othersasked if he knew of anything that gave him confidence that the outbreak originated in theWuhan Institute of Virology.
"Yes, I have," he said, withoutfurther explanation. "And, I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because theyre like the public relations agency for China."
The president announced last month that the United States would immediately halt funding for the health organization, saying it had put political correctness over lifesaving measures, noting that the U.S. would undertake a 60- to 90-day investigation into why the China-centric WHO had caused so much death by severely mismanaging and covering up the coronavirus spread.
Trump had also speculated about whether China knew about the virus sooner than it has led on and withheld information about the outbreak.
"It's a terrible thing that happened. Whether they made a mistake or whether it started off as a mistake and then they made another one or did somebody do something on purpose, Trump said on Thursday.
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Intelligence officials confirmed Thursday that an investigation has been ongoing into whether the pandemic was the result of an accident at theWuhan lab, a contradiction from the broad consensusthat it originated at a wet market in the city.
On Sunday Graham said, Ive got a bill thatsays were going to putsanctions on Chinas economyuntil they cooperate with theinvestigation about how thevirus came out of the lab,if it came out of the lab at all, closing the wet marketsthat create these pandemics, anddealing with the abuse againstthe Hong Kong democracyadvocates.
He went on to say that it doesnt matter what he and other Republicans do unless Democrats join their efforts.
It doesnt matterwhat I do or what [Texas Republican Sen.] Ted Cruz doesor [Arkansas Republican Sen.] Tom Cotton or [Tennessee Republican Sen.] MarshaBlackburn or [Arizona Republican Sen.] Martha McSally.Where is [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [New York Democratic Sen. Chuck] Schumer? Graham asked.
Weve all got good ideas on theRepublican side.The president wants to be tough.Where is the Democratic Party? he continued.
He urged Democrats not to give China a pass.
Graham then had a direct message for Pelosi, D-Calif., and Schumer.
He asked,Why dont you work withme and others to hold China accountablefor killing over 60,000Americans, and having 30 millionpeople lose their jobs?
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Theyreabsolutely AWOL[Absent Without Leave] when it comes toChina accountability, he continued. So none of this matters unless you canget Democrats involved.
Fox News Louis Casiano and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
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