Stephen King came under Twitter fire for his tweet regarding diversity in Oscar nominations, which broke out suddenly and started running rampant as is only possible in the delicate PC climate that now seems to permeate this social media platform.
Before we go any further, let’s get one thing out of the way – it isa shame that Oscar nominations aren’t more diverse, both this year and in general, and it does seem like not everyone gets an equal shot at the coveted statue. With that being said, anyone with even basic reading comprehension skills should be able to instantly see that King isn’t saying any different, and how could he be – his tweet is about something completely different.
What stands out about the particular condemnatory Twitter outburst that ensued, however, is its source. Unlike usually, when the critics are regular SJWs whose very purpose in life seems to be to spit venom at anyone whose opinion involves any kind of nuance on matters that apparently only allow black-or-white absolutes and extremities, this time, the reprimand comes from accomplished figures in the art space.
So according to this author, the words “diversity” and “quality” can be synonymous, and “they are not separate things.” The Google definition of “synonymous” is:
(of a word or phrase)
having the same meaning as another word or phrase in the same language
with or suggestive of something.
So according to this logic, you can, for example, call some painters to your house, and tell them, “I want you to make this wall a display of paintwork diversity.” Or you can say that an Oscar is the ultimate testament to a film’s diversity, which, as we established, it clearly isn’t. Or you can say that because someone’s diet consists of a diversity of junk foods – pizzas, fatty burgers, french fries, sodas, ketchup, etc. – that person has a quality diet, a healthy diet? See, in this case, “quality” and “healthy” are actually synonymous.
…anyone with even basic reading comprehension skills should be able to instantly see that King isn’t saying any different…
In other words, how can an author, a person who uses the written word for a living, and an accomplished one at that, state that two completely separate things, from both a linguistic and logical standpoint, are not separate things? There is no scenario is which those two terms are not separate things. Yes, something of quality can also be diverse and vice versa, like a set of Oscar nominations, for example, which unfortunately isn’t the case, but that could never mean the two words are synonymous, or interchangeable, and should therefore be considered as such when choosing the nominations.
So nominating contenders according to their quality, or in other words, impartially nominating the contenders that in your expert opinion best represent a category, which is what King was chosen to do, is backward and ignorant?
Not So Simple
It seems as though that both Gay and DuVernay want the same thing, but don’t want to just come out and say it – a quota for underrepresented groups – actors of color, female directors, etc. Is that how anybody would want to be nominated? Would that help the cause of diversity, or would it actually do it a disservice, and respectively do a service to those oppressing it? Kind of like having your mom (or your dad) defend you against a bully in front of the entire school instead of giving you the means to stand up for yourself – the next day that bully will have yet another reason to bully you.
King followed up with this tweet, that is somewhat of an elaboration and rightfully not an apology:
Perhaps achieving diversity in the Oscar nominations, and in mainstream culture and media in general, isn’t as simple as we think or wish it was, and neither is warding off bullies, but one thing is for sure – King is not to blame here, and attacking him for a perfectly logical and objective statement only harms the otherwise worthy cause, which is what outrage and PC culture usually does.