So, who exactly are the snowflakes?
As you many of you likely know by this point, during the Super Bowl broadcast, Budweiser aired a commercial which celebrates the efforts of one of the founders of the Anheuser-Busch to immigrate to this country and start the business that would be responsible for that brand of beer among other things. And since they dared to show that people in this country didn’t welcome him with open arms, and treated him much like 25% of this country apparently believes we should treat anyone that has opened a Koran in their lives, they lost their collective shit.
Boycott a popular brand of beer because why? They didn’t soft pedal the hatred their founder faced upon landing on these shores? Note to everyone – actually they did soft pedal it. An earlier version of the commercial had someone saying something even “meaner” to young Mr. Busch.
But those rough and tumble conservatives, those salt of the earth, grit of the rust belt base of Trump’s America couldn’t deal with it. Angry Tweets! Boycotts! MAD! MAD! MAD!
Over a commercial.
So, let’s go back in time a few weeks to Park City, Utah, when thousand and thousands of women and men as well marched down the frozen Main Street, organized in a chorus of voices, hoisting countless signs and banners, under a heavy snowfall to proclaim they would NOT shut up, they had eyes wide open, and they would be exploring every option available to make sure that the new administration could not and would not send them back to some sepia-toned, days of yesteryear, where they needed to get a male’s permission to do anything and that their primary purpose in life was to provide a meal and deliver babies.
Those are the snowflakes, we were told. They, and others like them, in several cities across the country, far outnumbering the Trumpettes that turned out – paid or otherwise, for the inauguration festivities, staked a claim to the country they rightfully share in, refusing to be cowed, and insisting that there ideas would continue to be put forth, and fought for.
Those were supposed to be the snowflakes. You know, the so sensitive, delicate little ice crystals that melt at the slightest hint of heat. Precious, precious, snowflakes.
But here is the ironic thing that happens so much in political discourse: That thing you call out and label me with, is oftentimes something you have projected because the reality is that is resides within you. I can not tell you how many political debates I have been on Facebook where Conservatives bemoan the fact that their fellow Trump supporters in the Rust Belt and otherwise were “hurting” this year. Their economic struggles are such that they reject “identity politics.” They just don’t have time or energy or desire to care about anyone that is persecuted or abused or thwarted due to the color of their skin, the altar they worship at, their gender, or their sexual orientation because their lives are just so bad and so hard. They’re struggling, don’t you see.
And yet, lost in those pleas for understanding is the idea that each of those people that have been persecuted, and/or abused, and/or thwarted ALSO have the exact same struggle economically as their white middle of the country counterparts ON TOP OF the crap they receive due to the color of their skin or their religion or their gender or sexual identity. They get that shit twice or three times.
But Trump’s supporters are hurting. And…wait for it…they were called names. Countless times, you hear that every single time they complained about Obama’s policies the only argument offered to counter them was that they were racist. Every single time. They had a contention based on nothing at all other than a dispute with policy, but each and every time they were labelled, tarred, as a racist. Yeah. That was total my go-to. The Big R. Didn’t need to Google any policy papers, didn’t need to research the laws or proposals as written, didn’t need to compare, say what Obama proposed versus what the Heritage Foundation proposed or what Mitt Romney had enacted in another state, didn’t need to bother with any of that – just call them a racist. Because that is what every liberal is instructed to do from the handbook and secret decoder ring we receive from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
They were called names.
And yet, liberals are the snowflakes.
Of course, it is laughable. But that is the cliché that conservatives feel comfort in trading in. It’s an easy picture to paint. It’s simple-minded bumper sticker politics that political operatives on the Right can sell along with a miniature flag Made in China to wave around and prove your patriotism.
But there is a counter to that. And that counter can be found in the Budweiser commercial. And it can be found in the AirBnB commercial. The Coca Cola commercial. Even the 84 Lumber Commercial – though that company’s owner tried to walk it back and do some back bends to justify her support of Trump and claim the commercial didn’t fly in the face of his xenophobic wall boondoggle policy. A brilliant example of a rich CEO trying to snatch bigoted dumbassery from the clutches of culture-aware acceptance. And the Audi commercial – though focused on female empowerment, as well. Commercials that communicated that we are a nation of many different peoples, and regardless of how landlocked you are, either literally or figuratively, regardless of the fact that you may have never had a passport or desired to leave the five-mile square radius of where you were born and live, regardless of your abject and unreasonable fear of anyone that doesn’t look exactly like you or believe like you or is sexually compatible with you – that world exists. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t necessarily mean you any harm, but it also doesn’t have to accept being harmed by you just because you are scared. And frightened. Fearful. A snowflake.
We are filmmakers, we are storytellers, we can illuminate the hopes and desires and motivations we all feel. As documentary filmmakers, we can explore topics much more deeply, we can find greater context, we can tell a fuller, and sometimes very personal story, that the “news” can not.
Another political debate on Facebook discussed the reality of the infamous SILENT SCREAM Pro-Birth propaganda film. In my argument as to the science and the reality that the film does its best to muddy, if not outright lie about, I suggested the person should see 12TH & DELAWARE, AFTER TILLER, or JACKSON. Those films moved me, and informed, and added depth to my empathy for women facing that difficult decision. I have often said that documentaries fall into a couple categories for me: “I had no idea” versus “I thought I had an idea, but I actually had no fucking idea.” It’s why I cherish brilliant documentary filmmaking.
This is how we combat the cynical political messaging aimed at the lizard brain. The reprehensible sleaze developed by the Roger Ailes-types of the world on behalf of Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy and “Law & Order” campaign, the Lee Atwaters of the world with the race hysteria creation of the Willie Horton ads, the Ronald Reagan “Welfare Queen” lies, the John McCain had an illegitimate black baby in South Carolina smears, the Dinesh D’Sousa character assassinations on film of both Obama and Clinton that bore as much reality as any episode of Game of Thrones – that included the dragons. Filmmaking versus marketing and propaganda.
Snowflakes. Female filmmakers, in particular, will fuck some conservative snowflakes up.
And they’ll never see it coming until its too late.