It must be tricky being a celebrity. Like all of us fallible folk, a person in the proverbial “limelight” can make errors or do dumb things. For most of us, those slips are seen by a few and, hopefully, forgiven, as we learn. For celebs, the chances to look foolish in front of millions are real risks, and so it becomes the observer’s burden to try to discern whether that celeb deserves a verbal smackdown, light criticism, or nothing at all.
You can be the judge in the case of well-known “Hulk” portrayer and outspoken leftist, Mark Ruffalo.
As David Ng reports for Breitbart, on October 7, the popular actor used his popular Twitter platform to engage in a sadly popular parroting of Social Justice Warrior mythology mixed with a simply erroneous evaluation of the oh-so exciting Pence-Harris Debate.
And in doing so, he missed some larger points about Ms. Harris that she seems averse to address.
His first “deep thoughts” Tweet on the topic set the table:
Just going over it all in my head. The way Mike Pence constantly interrupted and spoke over @KamalaHarris was the prime example of white male supremacy and its common dismissal and disrespect for black woman.
Which one could judge in, probably, one of three ways.
First, one can look at the objective numbers and see if Pence interrupted Harris “constantly”, or if they might have interrupted each other in about equal amounts – the latter of which is true. Then there’s the third factor, of whether the “moderator” engaged in unbalanced allowances of time to one or the other, which might have a bearing on whether the person being given short shrift might want to, or need to, interrupt.
Here’s the lowdown, from Ng’s piece:
Despite Ruffalo’s claim that Pence dominated Harris, CNN reported that the two candidates had virtually the same amount of speaking time during the debate, with the Vice President clocking in at 36 minutes and 27 seconds, and Harris coming in just three seconds shorter.
And, as Ng notes, despite this, Mr. Ruffalo also Tweeted that:
The best thing about tonight was seeing @KamalaHarris crushing Mike Pence with only a fraction of the time speaking.#KamalaHarris #kamalawon
Now, factually speaking, verbalizing three fewer seconds IS a fraction less – that fraction being a multiple of 0.8888888888888889 less – so Mr. Ruffalo is technically correct, but one suspects his use of the word was meant to have a more powerful rhetorical effect, implying that Harris had a miniscule amount of time compared to that “taken” by the Vice President.
As a result, Ruffalo’s attempt to make Harris look like a victim isn’t really served. But he has a second, larger, and more useful-for-the-left agenda, which is to promote the obnoxious mythology of “systemic white male supremacy” and claim that such “supremacy” was evident in Mr. Pence’s performance.
And perhaps “agenda” gives the wrong impression. Mr. Ruffalo likely believes there is systemic “while male supremacy” and that Pence exhibited it.
But the assumption that there IS “white male supremacy” is:
- Racist, subsuming individual responsibility beneath forcibly applied “group identity” labels.
- Impossible to quantify if one believes it is a legacy of “American history”, because every race, creed, hue, hair-color, or sub-category of “American” – of every HUMAN – experiences advantages or disadvantages, positive or negative biases, acceptance, or exclusionary discrimination. And that, itself, has to be reduced to individual experiences, which are ALL different, and constantly variable within one’s life, and, thus, they make generalization not only impossible, but racist, sexist, and on and on.
- If it's assumed, it's impossible to dislocate from the “group over group” identity politics problem presented by the long run of history. After all, the slave trade in Africa was run by black Africans and Muslims – sometimes one and the same, sometimes not. The English enslaved tens of thousands of Irish. The ancient Egyptians and Romans enslaved the ancient Hebrews. Chinese and Japanese terror and oppression has gone back and forth. The Mongols enslaved native Chinese. Where does it end?
And, sadly, Mr. Ruffalo’s comments overlook real, actual conflicts with liberty that Ms. Harris has exhibited and, if Ruffalo wants to play the “generational blame game," slave-based privilege she “inherited.”
For example, Ms. Harris is infamous for being a person who prosecuted Californians for drug offenses, but who later laughed about smoking pot. As The Washington Free Beacon reported in 2019:
The Washington Free Beacon's finding that Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) had locked up at least 1,560 people for marijuana-related offenses while she was California's attorney general was off, according to California's Department of Corrections, which now says at least 1,974 were admitted to prison under Harris.
Indeed, TownHall’s Beth Baumann watched the same debate that Mark Ruffalo watched, yet she noted something relevant that Mark did not:
’I need to make this point: when you were DA in San Francisco, when you left office, African Americans were 19 times more likely to be prosecuted for minor drug offenses than whites and Hispanics,’ the vice president explained. ‘When you were Attorney General of California, you increased the disproportionate incarceration of blacks in California. You did nothing on criminal justice reform in California.’
And, as we know, in a radio chat, she not only claimed to have listened to Tupac and Snoop before she could have heard their music, she admitted in the same interview that she possessed and smoked pot in college.
Then there’s her running mate’s 1994 sponsorship of a federal crime bill that, in addition to being invalid on a constitutional level because it sent federal tax cash to local and state police forces, saw many advocates for justice justifiably upset. Heck, Donald Trump recently COMMUTED THE SENTENCE of Alice Johnson, a grandmother put away for life after being caught dealing drugs and prosecuted under the strictures of Biden’s statute. As Ebony Bowden notes for The New York Post:
As a single mom of five in 1996, Johnson, now 65, was slapped with five concurrent life sentences without the chance of parole on a first-time non-violent drug charge for her involvement in a million-dollar cocaine ring.
And there’s the Harris family history, which, like the previously mentioned information, Mr. Ruffalo doesn’t mention when he talks legacies and “white male supremacy.”
That would be the fact that Ms. Harris not only grew up in a well-to-do family, but her GREAT-GRANDFATHER owned 121 slaves in Jamaica.
According to Harris’ father Donald Harris, a retired Stanford University economics professor, the Harris family descends from a 19th-century slave owner, Hamilton Brown.
And, as left-leaning Politifact admits:
In ‘Reflections of a Jamaican Father,’ Donald Harris, an emeritus economics professor at Stanford University, recounts both his childhood in Jamaica and visits he made to the country with his own children. Recalling his family history, he also says that he is the descendant of a ‘slave owner’ — Hamilton Brown, a man born in Ireland who enslaved people in Jamaica and managed plantations there.
No wonder folks on Twitter criticized Mr. Ruffalo.
Said the always smart and hilarious “Commander KOENIG (Moonbase Alpha)”:
What the hell is wrong with you?
And said the brilliant Alice Smith:
Just going over it all in my head. The way Mark Ruffalo constantly interrupts and speaks down to anyone to the right of Stalin is the prime example of entitled Hollywood champagne socialism its constant dismissal & disrespect for its own dwindling fan base.
So you be the judge. Does Mr. Ruffalo deserve hard criticism, or soft reproach?
One thing is for sure, he sure could stand to learn a bit more about history, ethics, the US Constitution, and the politicians he admires.