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Wishy-Washyngtoon: The Oscar Presenter Who Stabbed Anita Hill in the Back

Ed Rampell: Compounding this egregious travesty and transgression, for one of the few times in Oscar’s nearly 90-year history, the presenter was actually a high-ranking member of the current U.S. executive branch, thus blatantly politicizing an entertainment awards event. (Paging Dr. Goebbels!)
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Ed-Line News: An Occasional Tongue-In-Cheeky Political Satire Column by Ed Rampell

The Cloroxed Academy Awards not only slighted 2015 Black talents and films but gave one of its coveted spots to the man who stabbed Anita Hill in the back when she rather courageously spoke out publicly against alleged sexual predator Clarence Thomas, a wildly unqualified candidate being considered for the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991. To make matters worse, in a move that recalls Gore Vidal’s notion of “the United States of Amnesia,” this Oscar presenter introduced the live performance of an anti-rape song used in a documentary exposing the scourge of sexual assault at U.S. universities.

Compounding this egregious travesty and transgression, for one of the few times in Oscar’s nearly 90-year history, the presenter was actually a high-ranking member of the current U.S. executive branch, thus blatantly politicizing an entertainment awards event. (Paging Dr. Goebbels!)

Compounding this egregious travesty and transgression, for one of the few times in Oscar’s nearly 90-year history, the presenter was actually a high-ranking member of the current U.S. executive branch, thus blatantly politicizing an entertainment awards event. (Paging Dr. Goebbels!)

Ed-Line News is, but of course, referring to Vice Pres. Schmoe Biting, who introduced Lady Gaga at the live awards show telecast. She then went on to perform a rather moving rendition of the song “Til It Happens to You”, which was Oscar nominated in the Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song category. The touching number, which Gaga co-wrote, is used in the anti-college campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground, by two-time Best Documentary nominee Kirby Dick, one of our truly great nonfiction filmmakers.

The Veep known for his bleeps, who never misses an opportunity to grandstand and upstage, urged members of the live and viewing audience to “Take the pledge. A pledge that says I will intervene in situations when consent has not or cannot be given. Let’s change the culture. We must and we can change the culture so that no abused woman or man like the survivors you will see tonight ever have to ask themselves ‘what did I do?’ They did nothing wrong. I really mean this.”

Talk about a flawed vessel delivering a worthy message. By choosing blabbermouth Biting to introduce this song and urge viewers to take this important oath, the Academy undermined and belittled not only the significance of Dick’s doc, but the poignancy and power of Gaga’s otherwise rousing rendition of the anti-abuse song.

Now, career politician Biting, who never met a mic he didn’t like and is known for being prone to guffaw-causing gaffs, actually has a despicable record far worse than his verbal mishaps. The anti-consumer Biting voted to weaken bankruptcy laws in favor of corporations. His brazen plagiarism of UK Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock’s speeches caused the disgraced, power hungry Biting to drop out of the 1988 presidential race after his theft and piracy of intellectual property and copyright (so to speak) was exposed. Of course, like then-Senators Shill-ary Clintonybaloney and John Beriberi, Biting voted to enable Pres. Toosh’s invasion of a country that had not attacked America, opening the gates to hell in the Middle East (which, BTW, are still rather gapingly open, thanks to their support of war crimes - and, oh, BTW, where are those darn WMDs, anyway?).

Candidate O!Bomber’s selection of Biting as his running mate in 2008 was his wink and nod to the establishment and electorate that he, too, was just another phony liberal and was really just another one of the guys (although one with a darker hue, which given America’s history of racism seemed to imbue him with some sort of “legitimacy”). Of course, Biting’s rather dubious record as a war hawk, etc., undercut the “hope” portion of O!Bomber’s campaign. While the fact that Biting was the third-longest serving member of the U.S. Senate - he was actually elected all the way back when Nixon was prez! - proved that the “change” part of O!Bomber’s platform was also an obvious lie, just as his anointing Clintonybaloney and Beriberi - who’d both also voted for Toosh’s Iraq attack - as Secretaries of Hate prove that if O!Bomber wasn’t Black, it’d be obvious that he was just another centrist Democratic hack. (BTW, if anybody is really watching, the main campaign promise O!Bomber kept was to escalate the war in Afghanistan.)

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In any case, after voting to unleash the dogs of war in Iraq, Biting’s most despicable act was vis-à-vis Anita Hill. When she bravely came forward to warn about Clarence Thomas’s sexual harassment of her when he was Hill’s supervisor at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Biting was the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman. Like many women who take a stand against sexual abuse, Hill’s allegations were hotly contested. How did Biting stab the valiant but beleaguered Anita in her back?

As Judiciary Committee chair, when other women, such as Angela Wright, came forward in order to testify that Thomas, too, had sexually harassed them - thus buttressing Hill’s assertions - what did Biting do? As chairman, he refused to call other women witnesses. By refusing to call these witnesses who could have provided corroborating testimony, Biting rather despicably set the stage for confirming the self-justifying Thomas by the Committee (which was deadlocked with a 7-7 vote) and then by the full Senate by the slim margin of 52-48.

Hill, of course, had passed a lie detector test - which Thomas refused to take. Given this and the closeness of the votes by the Judiciary Committee and then by the entire Senate, had Biting allowed Wright and the other women also alleging that Thomas had harassed them to testify, the outcome would probably have been very different. Thus, not only did Biting pull a backstabbing “et tu, Brutus?” move on poor Anita Hill, but Biting opened the door to packing the Supreme Court with Toosh appointees who - in the most spectacular display of conflict of interest in world history - would then go on to vote for Toosh’s own son to become prez in 2000, even though he had lost the popular vote. (Of course, this in turn led to Biting voting to invade a nation that had not provoked us.) Thomas has obviously been such a miserable, reactionary pig of a Supreme Court (In)justice that when he actually deigned to open his mouth while sitting on the bench recently, his gum-flapping made almost as much national news as when he was harassing his subordinate Anita Hill about pubic hair on Coke cans.

While Biting’s appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony may have merited a “Best Re-Writing of History” nomination and, for Biting himself, a “Best Actor in a Two-Faced Role” nod, he was a terrible choice for introducing a song and pledge against sexual abuse. The hypocritical Biting told everyone out in TV-land to “intervene in situations when consent has not or cannot be given” - but when HE had the chance to stand up for Anita Hill and against the harassment of women, he cut the legs right out from under her.

Biting added, “We must and we can change the culture so that no abused woman… ever have to ask themselves ‘what did I do?’” Yes, Schmoe, what DID you do when YOU had a chance? Did you “change the culture” by putting an alleged sexual predator on the highest court of the land (thus becoming in every way one of the worst Supreme Court justices ever)??? Just like the Motion Picture Academy couldn’t find a single Black actor or film to nominate, in a country with a population of more than 330 million inhabitants, the Academy somehow couldn’t manage to find a presenter of an anti-sexual abuse song who did not have proverbial blood on his own hands. Because by enabling the appointment of the obviously guilty Thomas to the bench, aid and comfort was given to sexual molesters throughout the land - and every victim of sexual abuse was symbolically molested yet again.

BTW, the insertion of a sitting V.P. into the Oscars is yet another obvious example of the Entertainment-Military-Industrial-Intelligence-Corporate Complex. In 2013, sitting First Lady Michelle O!Bomber presented the Best Picture Academy Award during a cutaway to the White House, where she was surrounded by military personnel. Not only was this a precedent-shattering politicization of the awards ceremony, but one of the films in contention - Zero Dark Thirty - actually depicted her own husband (talk about conflicts of interest!), while that agitprop, plus Argo, had positive portrayals of the CIA. When Mrs. O!Bomber announced the award for the pro-CIA Argo, this was a symbolic act of the ties between the Oval Office, Langley and Hollywood that it doesn’t take a Dr. Freud or Jung to interpret.

If you log on to the anti-sexual assault website, where people are encouraged to “Take the Pledge” against sexual assault, one of the celebrity endorsers is the wonderful actress Kerry Washington of TV’s Scandal and 2012’s Django Unchained, who has performed at Howard Zinn events. Ironically, Ms. Washington stars as Anita Hill in the upcoming HBO movie Confirmation, about those contentious hearings, when Biting betrayed Hill, America, the judiciary - and, arguably, women throughout America. The film premieres on HBO April 16 and the treacherous Biting is portrayed by - no, not Benedict Arnold or Vidkun Quisling or Jack the Ripper or Brutus - but by Greg Kinnear.

Hopefully, Confirmation will fully reveal Biting’s reprehensible role in that debacle which made him, in a sense, yet another abuser and batterer of women - or, at least, the enabler of such heinous behavior. Let’s hope that Kerry is another Washington who, like our first president (but unlike our current vice president), “will not tell a lie.”

Ed Rampell

Ed Rampell