A Happy Thanksgiving Buffet: 'The Hobbit' story's Deep Throat, Gallup's concession, 80-20's fundraising ploy, and Facing Race 2012

November 21, 2012 2:18 PM

If you're one of the fantasists out there salivating over the Thanksgiving trailers of the upcoming film, "The Hobbit," then you're probably turning a blind eye to the news that 27 animals died in the production of the movie.

Twenty-seven. That's 3 horses, 6 goats, 6 sheep, and 12 chickens.

The movie had a number of fictional deaths, I'm sure. But the actors all got paid handsomely.

The animals? They paid with their lives.

Can one rationalize that away like director Peter Jackson must have done? Twenty-seven is probably more than the number of animals that died for his Thanksgiving dinner (unless he was having Tofurky, but I doubt it).

Jackson has admitted animal deaths occurred. But in a later, obviously lawyered statement, Jackson made it sound as if no animals had died.

My wife Kathy, a VP at PETA, actually broke the story this week through an AP reporter in New Zealand. 
 
I was surprised that after weeks of her talking to whistleblowers and sources and then handing it over to AP's Nick Perry on a Thanksgiving platter, all the mention PETA got was a line about planning some future demonstrations. It struck me a bit like Woodward and Bernstein writing the Watergate story without mentioning they had a "Deep Throat."
 
The AP editors felt the same way and put out this new version.
 
See, activism doesn't always have to be about demonstrations, like this week's Fur Free Friday. It can actually be good journalism. I'd say forget the hyped-up movie. Use the long weekend to start re-reading the novel. Truer to Tolkien's ethics, no animals were harmed in the production of the book.

Is 80-20 for real?
It must be a Black Friday-type fundraising stunt. The group 80-20, vocal in its opposition to affirmative action, has sent out an email about how it was quoted in The New York Times.

Yes, but it was in an article that, if anything, was pro-affirmative action. The story exposes 80-20's argument that would actually destroy the picture of diversity at the University of Texas. I guess that makes sense as a fundraising pitch....for AALDEF, also mentioned in the article but as a defender of diversity.

In the interest of solidarity, that would make perfect sense. The article might help those duped by 80-20 to see the light on what affirmative action really means.

Diversity hits Gallup
Of course, there's plenty to be thankful for after Nov. 6.

Diversity, often hidden under a rug, now seems to count for something. Like the presidency. If you wondered why some pollsters like Romney's and the esteemed Gallup Organization were so far off the mark when it comes to minority voters, here's an explanation. Richard Prince at Journal-isms.com reported how a series of screening questions helped pollsters underestimate the Black and Latino vote on Election Day. And Asian? What's that?

Gallup turns out to be the real dinosaur offender. On Oct. 26 it said the electorate would be 78 percent non-Hispanic White. (That would be any Romney-like white born in Mexico.) The actual number on Election Day was 72 percent.

Frank Newport, the Gallup editor-in-chief, told Journal-isms that "It may be that in this election that those particular questions need to be and will be reviewed by Gallup. We've been using those questions for decades, but times change."

Thank goodness for that. In numerous posts, I've complained how pollsters' assumptions and lack of adequate sample sizes for Asian Americans can make the difference between being visible or invisible in national politics. Until polling becomes more comprehensive, politicos will too easily be able to ignore the new majority. The Gallup poll's concession is a big step toward actually seeing what's really there (or in Romney's case, before it's too late. Really, the guy still acts like he didn't know what hit him.).

Facing Race 2012
The popular vote majority gives all racial justice advocates a real moment to acknowledge the demographic shift that's suddenly hit everyone's consciousness. All those stories written back in the '80s about the majority becoming the minority before 2050? No one heeded the Census as a crystal ball. It was all theoretical until Nov. 6, when the majority flexed and made the difference.

So now what do we do? If it didn't happen in the first Obama term, is now the time for our post-racial facial?

Rinku Sen of Colorlines delivered the opening address at the Facing Race conference in Baltimore this week. It was sort of a state of our state address.

About 11 years ago I hosted and produced a "Meet the Press" sort of TV show throughout California for people of color. "New California Media" was a program dedicated to "the news and views of the emerging new majority." We were clearly before our time. Rinku was a guest a number of times on the program. When I saw her speech, I was reminded of how long the journey has been to the new majority.

As Rinku showed in the conference's opening address, it pays to keep fighting---because our time is now.
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Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, @emilamok.


Posted by:Emil Guillermo

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the views or policies of AALDEF.

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