Jan 15, 2014

Things That Are Not Slavery: A Post For David O. Russell

Jennifer Lawrence: Not a Slave
In a recent interview with New York Daily News, director David O. Russell talked about Jennifer Lawrence, one of the stars of his recent movie American Hustle (and last year's Silver Linings Playbook). Speaking about her contract with The Hunger Games franchise, Russell said, "I'll tell you what it is about that girl — talk about 12 years of slavery, that's what the franchise is. And I'm going to get in so much trouble for saying that." Thankfully, the internet exploded in rage, calling out Russell for the ridiculousness of that statement. Jennifer Lawrence was, after all, paid $10 million for being in the second Hunger Games film. Even with inflation, that's $10 million more than almost all slaves were paid during the entirety of slavery in the United States COMBINED (not just the hilarious '12 years' timeline that Russell posits, which is a nod to another film possibly up for Best Picture).

Also, unlike slaves, Jennifer Lawrence is able to make films in between being shackled to her oppressors (who are, again, paying her a relative ass-ton of money to put on costumes and pretend to be someone else when it isn't her stunt double's time to pretend to be Jennifer Lawrence pretending to be someone else). Ultimately, Russell apologized for his comments, saying that it was a poor attempt at humor. Oh, humor, that nebulous region that can excuse all faux pas, a region that, with his film winning Best Comedy at the Golden Globes, Russell knows all too well.

Now, David O. Russell, I'd like to talk directly to you.

David, you seem like an okay-enough person. Sure, your fights with National Treasure Lily Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees have reached iconic status in the Pantheon of Shit-Fits, but let's let bygones be bygones. After all, you did end up making a spectacular movie (I really love I Heart Huckabees - I'm a big fan of you in general).  Dave, I get it. What you probably meant to say was "talk about inconvenient for me, that what the franchise is." It's subtle, but I think you'll notice a difference in what I wrote and what you said. In an attempt to be funny, you were instead dangerously unaware of the offensiveness of certain words. Davey, there's a good chance that the tried-and-true 'humor defense' might not work the next time you act like an uneducated warthog of a human, and I would rather not see your name sullied just because of something offensive that you say or do. So, here is a helpful list of things that aren't like slavery but could potentially be construed as slavery if you're an idiot:

Things That Are Not Slavery:
  • A parent or guardian making you clean your room
  • Being paid to finish a task
  • Having a job wherein you can go home at the end of the day without the fear that your employer will find you and cut one of your feet off.
  • Agreeing to take care of a neighbor's dog while he is out of town and only being paid in one of those tins with three different kinds of popcorn
  • Living a life free from the threat that your children might be sold and you will never see them again.
  • Being a paid service worker, such as a gas station attendant or a maid.
  • Agreeing to act in a 4-film franchise for money, acclaim, and industry clout
Things That Sound Like The Word "Slavery" But Are Not Slavery:
  • Shavery - the art of shaving or a word to describe wood shavings
  • Savory - having a spicy or salty quality without being sweet
People Who Are Not Slaves:
  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • You, David O. Russell
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays a slave in the film 12 Years A Slave but who is not a slave in real life. This one's trickier, David, but I hope you can suss out the distinction.
People Who Are Slaves:
  • Slaves
Things That Are Slavery:
  • Slavery
I hope this helps, Dave-O. Good luck promoting your mediocre movie!
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