[Chronique d’Odile Tremblay] Plea for nuance
In our era of polarization of ideas, there is something to sigh about in the name of nuance being undermined. In culture too. Films and shows are judged on the basis of pro-woke or anti-woke, according to the medium that houses their voices. The tremors of time push everyone to straddle entrenched positions. Judgment loses its bearings.
The horses race. Where is the path going? Too many minds only point out the perverse effects of the adverse current without perceiving the blind spots of their own position. Those who denounce the excesses of the left remain too blind to those of the right. However, conspiracy, abuse of power…
This word, woke, brandished by its informers as sparrow scarecrows, does not do justice to its goal of awakening minds. Without this leftist movement, so many injustices against women and minorities would continue with impunity. The #MeToo has finally released the voice of the victims. We are grateful to him. But the minute denunciations on social media lead in counterpoint to the downfall of personalities without proof or trial. And there is reason to panic.
Understanding this does not preclude grasping that. At the time of inventing new ways to build fairer and less ossified societies, should we wear blinders? It would be better to compete in vigilance on all sides, on all sides. Institutions need to be reinvented, mentalities to be changed, but memories to be preserved. Lots of bread on the board.
Didn’t see the show by comedian Guy Nantel, who caused so much talk, but I see that each camp, woke or anti-woke, defends its ideological sign. This solo attacks everything that moves, if I understood correctly, and now serves as a hostage to marry the vision of the world of the belligerents, who defend it or boo it. Quebecers like to laugh. The frenzied wind of the day brings discomfort to be defused. Humor brings a valve. Who invites the public so much to reflect?
Haven’t seen this show by Guy Nantel, but The 8 deadly sins — uneven and disheveled, sometimes brilliant — by Christian Bégin, yes. And I appreciated in his lament of the « white, cisgender, straight and privileged fifties » the quest for nuances precisely. His way of juggling microaggressions, the wild sharing of intimacy and the cult of the self is not always perfect, but how relevant. And he makes us understand how comedians walk on eggshells.
That works testify in fiction, in documentary or in humor of the concerns of each one is an excellent thing. The world is changing fast. Advances in society also involve broken pots. Creators espouse divergent points of view on our accelerated changes. Let’s listen to them. But here is art transformed into a minefield. For or against creative freedom? And how far? What to say ? What not to say? What to show?
Not that easy. A show to laugh at women, blacks, gays or aboriginals could hardly be produced today. Minds have evolved. And the Jeremy Gabriel-Mike Ward affair, over which the courts were torn, ultimately teaches that mocking a minor handicapped person is probably not the best way to go for gag hunters. But drawing the line is a tricky business, and how tricky.
So much ideological excess leads to worrying censorship. Books deemed questionable disappear from libraries. Other works are foolishly prohibited or cut off. Thus by Netflix, an episode of Daughters of Caleb for a case of blackface, absurd in context. The whirlwind of panic sweeps away common sense like a pile of dead leaves in the fall.
For his movie white dog, according to the novel by Romain Gary, which opened the Cinemania festival on Wednesday, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette had asked herself many questions. Could she appropriate this story of the 1960s which put, in Los Angeles, the black community on stage through the story of a dog long trained to attack its members? After all, the filmmaker adapted the book of a white author who denounced all racism. I support his quest for sincerity, while assuming that others will challenge it. Two camps face each other.
We can denounce the whitewashing of the great works of museums, by understanding the importance of the environmentalist cause defended by the young activists who are tackling it. And in a world as torn as ours, why not seize the opportunity to sharpen your discernment rather than let yourself be hypnotized by only one side of the coin?
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