Matt Damon, Race and the Anal Probe
The Devil is in the Damon.
There was an apology followed by an enormous cadre of tweets.
That seems to be how it goes these days – if it can’t be said, redacted and commented on in 140 characters of less, you’re SOL.
Except, I come from a long line of talkers – real talkers. We can’t say hello in 140 characters. That’s where this blog post comes in.
For those of you who may not have seen the story – it pretty much goes like this: Project Greenlight, an HBO film project led by Damon, himself, and fellow bromancer, Ben Affleck, was the culprit this time. Damon apparently was caught “whitesplaining” (no, I am not making that up) the concept of diversity to a successful black woman producer (as if her success should have anything to do with it).
The guy apologized. I don’t know Matt Damon and I could be wrong, but he seems like the kind of dude I’d like to hang out with – not Affleck or Clooney, who also seem to make up his posse, but definitely Damon.
Here is where things get sticky for me, personally.
In comedy, no one seems to care what race you are – they really don’t. Basically, it’s about being funny and even aside from that, being an “outsider”. I am so far from Hollywood that I can’t even think of a metaphor to describe it but what if, hypothetically speaking, you would like to have more friends or understanding of a community you are not part of? It’s not that easy. Take my word for it.
We have lots of discussions about race and I think I’m pretty much as open-minded and liberal as they get. That being said, I know that it is hard to establish deep ties with communities that you are not part of. It’s just the truth.
Damon apologized and said he was grateful that it opened up a greater dialogue about diversity, blah, blah, blah. To me, the point is – are we looking for examples of exclusion or opportunities for inclusion? This is what I love about the comedy community. I have never, ever experienced that sort or inclusion, regardless of race, sex or creed anywhere else – not college, not work and certainly not in suburbia.
It is a black thing -I can’t understand. Just like it’s a divorce thing, or a Jewish thing etc. But maybe we could all understand more if we didn’t allow this narrative of diversity to miss the point. We won’t be able to eradicate racism, sexism, or any “ism” if we automatically assume mal-intent. In other words, can we give somebody the benefit of the doubt? Ignorance is curable, if the participant is willing.
I do a joke about being divorced and if you are not, it’s sort of like getting kidnapped by aliens and getting the anal probe. It sounds bad – really bad. It’s scary. But unless you’ve actually experienced it, well, you get the point.
In our conversation about racism, can we all get to the point where we move beyond assuming people can’t understand to the point where maybe they can at least empathize? Empathy goes a long way and sometimes I think we don’t take a long, hard look at what we are doing to keep others out – conservatives, liberals, socialists and others, alike.
I’m not sure this post makes sense or not. I guess what I am saying is that if you really are “open-minded” and want a community based on ideas, beliefs and positivity, then a good starting point would be to start to walk others into understanding what you have declared is not possible simply because they happen not to be born or raised in a particular way.
Makes sense to me. Though, truth be told, I think it’s a comic thing – you wouldn’t understand.
Until next time,
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