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There seems to be some kind of quiet rumor going around that there’s going to be a new Star Wars movie. (Don’t quote me on it, but that’s what I’m hearing.) So I got interested in the perennial kvetching point about why so few movies with budgets over $100 million are directed by women.

For example, Maureen Dowd complained at length in the New York Times:

The Women of Hollywood Speak Out
Female executives and filmmakers are ready to run studios and direct blockbuster pictures. What will it take to dismantle the pervasive sexism that keeps them from doing it?
By MAUREEN DOWD NOV. 20, 2015

Colin Trevorrow’s Hollywood fairy tale started at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. The bespectacled, bearded director, then 35, came to Park City, Utah, with an endearingly quirky time-travel romantic comedy executive-produced by the endearingly quirky Duplass brothers, Mark and Jay, and starring Mark. The $750,000 indie film, ‘‘Safety Not Guaranteed,’’ went on to make $4 million in theaters.

The young director soon found a mentor in Brad Bird, who became famous at Pixar directing ‘‘The Incredibles’’ and ‘‘Ratatouille.’’ Trevorrow started hanging out with Bird on the set of his big-budget George Clooney movie, ‘‘Tomorrowland.’’ Bird called his pal Frank Marshall, a producer of ‘‘Jurassic World,’’ to give him a heads up.

‘‘There is this guy,’’ Bird said, ‘‘that reminds me of me.’’

Marshall was so impressed with Trevorrow that he took him to meet Steven Spielberg. That’s where Trevorrow hit the jackpot: He was tapped to direct and co-write the $150 million ‘‘Jurassic World.’’ The movie went on to make $1.6 billion, and Trevorrow was signed to direct the ninth ‘‘Star Wars.’’ …

In August, Trevorrow drew ire by suggesting that the dearth of female directors making films involving ‘‘superheroes or spaceships or dinosaurs’’ was because not many women had the desire to direct studio blockbusters. He had already drawn a backlash for portraying Bryce Dallas Howard’s character as a cold career woman running away from dinosaurs in high heels. ‘‘Would I have been chosen to direct ‘Jurassic World’ if I was a female filmmaker who had made one small film?’’ Trevorrow mused in an email to Slashfilm.com. ‘‘I have no idea.’’

As I pointed out last summer responding to a very similar article in the NYT, starting off an article about Hollywood sexism by complaining about Trevorrow getting the Jurassic World gig seems a little self-defeating since his movie made about $800,000,000 more than the expectations for it.

Anyway, even though female directors have not taken off in Hollywood — the only two to get nominated for Best Director in this century are Kathryn Bigelow (who won for The Hurt Locker — ex-wife of James Cameron) and Sofia Coppola (nominated for Lost in Translation — daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, cousin of Nicholas Cage, ex-wife of Spike Jonze, and I’m sure I’m missing some other connections) — there have been lots of female production executives now for several decades.

For example, a name I’ve seen in credits a million times is Frank Marshall’s wife Kathleen Kennedy — she has 93 production credits, including 8 Best Picture nominations, from E.T. in 1982 through Lincoln in 2013. She’s now president of Disney’s subsidiary Lucasfilm, which is bringing out the new Star Wars film.

I got to wondering about Kennedy’s background. What kind of pull did she have to get launched on such a productive career? It turns out: not much. A nice family (father a judge). But it’s long way from Redding to the Oscar ceremony via local TV in Anchormanville.

Kennedy was born in Berkeley, California, the daughter of Dione Marie “Dede” (née Dousseau), a one-time theater actress, and Donald R. Kennedy, a judge and attorney.[6] Kennedy has two sisters, one of whom is a location manager. Kennedy graduated from Shasta High School in Redding, California, in 1971. She continued her education at San Diego State University where she majored in telecommunications and film. In her final year, Kennedy got a job at a local San Diego TV station, KCST, taking on various roles including camera operator, video editor, floor director and finally KCST news production coordinator.

After her employment with KCST, she then went on to produce a local talk show, entitled You’re On, for the station for four years before moving to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, Kennedy secured her first film production job working as an assistant to John Milius, who at the time was executive producer of Spielberg’s 1941.

So there’s her secret: John Milius liked her.

In fact, I’m starting to think that a secret history of big money Hollywood over the last 45 years could be entitled: The Friends of John Milius: Coppola, Lucas, Spielberg, and the Rest.

Milius, a rightwing gun nut who got Spielberg hooked on shotgun shooting, has himself only been moderately successful: he directed Red Dawn, Conan the Barbarian, and The Wind and the Lion and wrote Coppola’s Apocalypse Now plus Dirty Harry’s 44 Magnum speech and Jaws’ USS Indianapolis speech. That’s an impressive track record; on the other hand, he was already a legend 40 years ago.

Milius’ friends from the 1970s, however, including his one time assistant Kathleen Kennedy, have very done well for themselves.

So maybe that offers some insight into the much discussed topic of women and power in Hollywood: you need to be able to get along with guys like John Milius.

 
• Tags: Movies 

Supposedly, the debate-watching party at the Miami HQ of ¡Jeb¡

Any comments on the debate?

 

From Peter Kellner, head of the British polling firm YouGov:

Introducing the most derided ethnic group in Britain: young white men

YouGov data from 48 separate surveys reveals that young white men are seen as the worst ethnic, gender or age group on five negative traits – and the second worst on five positive traits

Whether our views flow from prejudice, the way Britain has changed in recent years or bitter personal experience, many of us judge people by their demographic group. When we encounter a stranger, our initial view will often depend on their age, gender and ethnic group. This is clear from YouGov’s latest surveys for Prospect. It is also clear that these judgements are seldom racist in the traditional sense. The people we regard as the laziest, rudest, most promiscuous, drunken drug-takers are white men in their twenties.

The most poorly regarded demographic slices in Britain:

Screenshot 2015-12-15 15.26.09

The best regarded on these ten measures are white women in their 60s.

White men in their 20s are ranked worst by supporters of all 4 major parties: Tory, Labour, LibDem, and UKIP. You can check out the data here.

 

The basic requirement for most research in economics is the notion of ceteris paribus, or all else being equal. You find some naturally occurring experiment — such as, in David Card’s celebrated study, the 1980 Mariel boatlift of Cubans into Miami that boosted the supply of labor — and see if that, say, drove down Miami wages relative to some other American cities where the Mariel boatlift didn’t happen. Thus, you can see whether the Law of Supply and Demand applies, or if it magically doesn’t in the case of immigration.

But of course you have to choose a control group of cities for Miami in the early 1980s where all else was equal to Miami except for Mariel. But that should be easy right? I mean there wasn’t anything else going on in Miami in the early 1980s other than the Mariel boatlift to make the local economy unusual, right?

Economist Giovanni Peri, a devoted defender of the magical migration exception to Supply & Demand, now reiterates that the 1980 Mariel boatlift should end the debate: immigration doesn’t affect wages! From Business Insider:

Here’s what happened the last time the US welcomed a huge group of refugees
BOB BRYAN TOMORROW AT 3:34 AM

While the debate rages on over the number of Syrian and Middle Eastern refugees to let into the US, or whether to let them in at all, a group of researchers took a look back at the economic impact the last time America opened its borders in a big way.

Spurned on by the current crisis, Giovanni Peri and Vasil Yasenov of the University of California-Davis, analysed the economic impact of the Mariel Boatlift. From April to September 1980, 125,000 Cuban refugees came ashore in Miami in a massive wave of people fleeing their home country.

Looking back on the time period, the researchers found that both in the short and long-term there were no negative effects on the wages or employment status of native low-skill Miamians.

“Running many reasonable scenarios conveys the picture that nothing significant happened to the wage and to the unemployment of Miami high school dropouts between 1979 and 1981, relative to any reasonable control groups,” wrote the researchers in a new study.

According to Peri and Yasenov, most of the refugees coming into the country from Cuba were low-education, generally unskilled, so the most likely impact would be felt among high school dropouts. The basic prediction would be that the increase in Cubans would displace those in the low-skill labour.

“Instead what we observe for all samples and wage measures is no deviation of Miami from control in 1979-81, and also no deviation if we consider the longer period 1979-1983,” said the study. “In none of the Panels of Figure 2 do we observe a systematic large deviation and subsequent adjustment between Miami and synthetic control beginning in the 1979-1981 period.”

To put it simply, none of the terrible predictions came true.

… Additionally, when these factors over the 1979-1982 time period, leading up to and directly after the inflow, are compared to other cities, Miami stays within its historical and projected range. So compared to both a theoretical trajectory of itself and 44 other cities, the Boatlift migrants had no effect.

Since the Boatlift case has been oft-studied, the researchers also ran the tests in a number of ways and considering a wide variety of factors. …

By doing this, Peri and Yasenov hope to end the debate over the Boatlift for good and show that massive numbers of refugees can be integrated economically successfully.

If you are not a professional economist, however, you might remember something that wasn’t ceteris paribus about Miami in the early 1980s: namely, Miami’s economy became red hot from the most notorious Cocaine Boom in the history of the world. Entrepreneurs who moved to Miami in 1980 include Tony Montana and ¡Jeb¡

Outside of the economics profession, the early 1980s Miami Cocaine Boom is not a forgotten event. It was portrayed in 1983’s Scarface, 1984’s Miami Vice, and the new Netflix series Narcos, an extended biopic of Colombian billionaire Pablo Escobar.

Narcos is narrated by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Miami, the narrator in the clip above, who contrasts what his job was like in Miami in (the economists’ control period of) the 1970s — chasing down hippie weed dealers in flip-flops with a kilo of marijuana in their backpacks — to what it suddenly became like in (the economists’ test period of) the early 1980s — firefights with Colombian cocaine traffickers with automatic weapons.

I’ve been pointing out for almost a decade that ceteris was famously not paribus in Miami before and after 1980 due to the Cocaine Boom, but have any economists ever noticed? Do economists ever notice anything that doesn’t appear in other economists’ papers?

Speaking of billionaires, that reminds me that I haven’t reminded anybody of my December fundraiser for about a week now.

I now have seven ways for you to send me encouragement, including Paypal, Bitcoin, and fee-free bank transfers.

First: You can use PayPal (non-tax deductible) by going to the page on my old blog here. PayPal accepts most credit cards. Contributions can be either one-time only, monthly, or annual. Fee 2.9%.

Second: You can mail a non-tax deductible donation to:Steve Sailer
P.O Box 4142
Valley Village, CA
91617-0142

Third: You can make a tax deductible contribution to VDARE by clicking here. (Paypal and credit cards accepted, including recurring “subscription” donations.) Make sure you click the button for “Steve Sailer.” If you send VDARE a check make sure to put “I like Steve Sailer” on the Memo line. Note: the VDARE site goes up and down on its own schedule, so if this link stops working, please let me know.

Fourth: You can use Bitcoin:

I’m using Coinbase as a sort of PayPal for Bitcoins.

The IRS has issued instructions regarding Bitcoins. I’m having Coinbase immediately turn all Bitcoins I receive into U.S. dollars and deposit them in my bank account. At the end of the year, Coinbase will presumably send me a 1099 form for filing my taxes.

Payments are not tax deductible.

Below are links to two Coinbase pages of mine. This first is if you want to enter a U.S. dollar-denominated amount to pay me.

Pay With Bitcoin (denominated in U.S. Dollars)

This second is if you want to enter a Bitcoin-denominated amount. (Remember one Bitcoin is currently worth many U.S. dollars.)

Pay With Bitcoin (denominated in Bitcoins)

Fifth: if you have a Chase bank account (or even other bank accounts), you can transfer money to me (with no fees) via Chase QuickPay (FAQ). Just tell Chase QuickPay to send the money to my ancient AOL email address (steveslrATaol.com — replace the AT with the usual @). If Chase asks for the name on my account, it’s StevenSailer with an n at the end of Steven. (Non-tax deductible.) There is no 2.9% fee like with PayPal or Google Wallet, so this is good for large contributions.

Sixth: if you have a Wells Fargo bank account, you can transfer money to me (with no fees) via Wells Fargo SurePay. Just tell WF SurePay to send the money to my ancient AOL email address steveslrAT aol.com — replace the AT with the usual @). (Non-tax deductible.) There is no 2.9% fee like with PayPal or Google Wallet, so this is good for large contributions.

Seventh: Google Wallet, which I’ll put below the fold because the instructions are kind of verbose. It’s actually pretty simple, though.

Seventh: send money via the Paypal-like Google Wallet to my Gmail address (that’s isteveslrATgmail .com — replace the AT with a @). (Non-tax deductible.)

Here’s the Google Wallet FAQ. From it: “You will need to have (or sign up for) Google Wallet to send or receive money. If you have ever purchased anything on Google Play, then you most likely already have a Google Wallet. If you do not yet have a Google Wallet, don’t worry, the process is simple: go to wallet.google.com and follow the steps.” You probably already have a Google ID and password, which Google Wallet uses, so signing up Wallet is pretty painless.

You can put money into your Google Wallet Balance from your bank account and send it with no service fee.

Or you can send money via credit card (Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover) with the industry-standard 2.9% fee. (You don’t need to put money into your Google Wallet Balance to do this.)

Google Wallet works from both a website and a smartphone
app (Android and iPhone — the Google Wallet app is currently available only in the U.S., but the Google Wallet website can be used in 160 countries).

Or, once you sign up with Google Wallet, you can simply send money via credit card, bank transfer, or Wallet Balance as an attachment from Google’s free Gmail email service.Here’s how to do it.

(Non-tax deductible.)

Thanks!

 

A striking thing about Donald Trump’s campaign is that The Establishment’s hostility to him proposing immigration restrictions is costing him serious money, but unlike so many others, he has yet to flinch.

The term “The Establishment” was a 1960s hippie phrase, but it now seems to be mostly used today on the dissident right. Who exactly is “The Establishment” is debatable, but it seems fair to include The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the ruling body of golf outside the U.S., within any definition of The Establishment.

From The Independent:

Donald Trump’s Turnberry golf club to no longer host The Open tournament amid anger over controversial remarks

The more offensive he is, the more popular he is – but not in Scotland, and not with golf’s ruling class
James Cusick Political Correspondent @indyvoices Sunday 13 December 201575 comments

The Turnberry golf course, which has hosted the Open Championship on numerous occasions, is one of two famous golf courses Donald Trump owns in Scotland

When Donald Trump bought the famous Turnberry golf club in Ayrshire last year, he believed his name would soon be cemented alongside the legends of the game.

But his dream of handing over the trophy at The Open is in tatters, The Independent on Sunday can reveal, after golf’s governing body, headquartered in Scotland, privately decided that his reputation is now so toxic that the newly renamed Trump Turnberry can no longer host the game’s most prestigious tournament.

Controversial remarks made by Mr Trump in his campaign for the Republican nomination – about Muslims, Mexicans, Chinese and women, among others – have given him a near-pariah status in the global game, raising the risk of a boycott by sponsors and international players.

Previously, the new chief executive of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Martin Slumbers, had been expected to endorse Turnberry as a venue for the 2020 Open. …

But his call for a “total and complete shutdown” of US borders to all Muslims, until, as he claimed, “our country’s representatives figure out what’s going on”, appears to have been the final straw for the R&A.

One member, close to the championship committee, told the IoS about recent discussions: “One word was thrown around: Enough.”

The property tycoon bought the Turnberry resort in April last year from the subsidiary owned by the Dubai investment group chaired by Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. It was renamed Trump Turnberry and a £200m upgrade was promised.

And that gives me a chance to talk about golf courses …

Turnberry has the most spectacular site of any of the British Open courses, the Scottish equivalent of Pebble Beach. But its current golf architecture doesn’t take much advantage of its ocean clifftop location.

Fortunately, Trump has announced a host of revisions that would fully exploit the potential of the location, such as this new par 5 10th hole, which would one-up the 18th at Pebble Beach by constructing tees on the rocks by the lighthouse, offering a chance at eagle for those long enough and daring enough to risk the cliffs on both their tee shots and long iron approach shots.

Trump’s taste in golf architecture tended toward artificial waterfalls in the past, but it has improved over the decades, and his plans for Turnberry appear to be outstanding.

The purchase appeared to give the billionaire the near-guarantee that when the Open came to his place, he would be centre-stage at the winner’s presentation party on the 18th green, along with Mr Slumbers and other dignitaries, a ceremony shown to millions around the world.

Trump took time out from campaigning last summer to host the Women’s British Open at Turnberry.

Although the R&A is stuffed full of establishment figures, Turnberry with Trump is now seen as a risk they will not take. Another insider said: “2020 will not happen here. Turnberry will be back. But perhaps not Trump Turnberry.”

Even after his remarks about Muslims, Mr Trump still leads current polls of Republican voters with about 35 per cent, double his nearest rival, Ted Cruz.

However, while he may dream of handing over the Claret Jug having jetted into Scotland from the White House, the R&A doesn’t see it that way. Middle East sovereign wealth is a key element of European Tour golf sponsorship. Leading sponsors include DP World, the Dubai-based marine terminal company chaired by Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.

Jumeirah Golf Estates and the Emirates airline are also leading sponsors of the big-money finale to the European tour. The Damac real estate company in Dubai, currently building a multi-million-dollar golf complex marketed with the Trump signature, this week stripped his name from the project.

I’m always struck by how Trump haters assume that listing other Trump haters, such as Persian Gulf oil princes, will rally the average voter to hate Trump too.

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal called Mr Trump “a disgrace to all America”, saying he should withdraw from the US presidential race.

Mr Trump’s reply indicated his disregard for any consequences. He called the prince “dopey”, saying that he wouldn’t be allowed to control US politicians when he became president.

We can’t have that: it’s unthinkable that US politicians wouldn’t be controlled by Arab oil princes.

Organisations that represent tour players in the United States and Europe, have so far said nothing official in response to Mr Trump’s racist comments. But that is not expected to last much longer….

Perhaps. But touring pros are not all that Democratic. Tom Watson was the only tour pro to vote Democratic in 1972 and he soon became a fervent Republican. Scott Simpson was the only pro to publicly express Democratic leanings in, I think, 2000.

Mr Trump himself has filed estimates which say his golf-related business is worth $1.5bn (£1bn) of his estimated $10bn fortune, though experts claim his golf assets are over-valued.

Trump has bought a bunch of top golf courses in the teeth of what may be a permanent golf recession. Does he know something everybody else doesn’t know? Or does the entrepreneur, whose mother was born in the Hebrides, just really like golf?

 
• Tags: Donald Trump, Golf 

From the Washington Post:

Multiculturalism is a sham, says Angela Merkel

By Rick Noack December 14 at 2:29 PM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy has attracted praise from all over the world. Time magazine and the Financial Times newspaper recently named her Person of the Year, and delegates applauded her for so long at her party’s convention on Monday that she had to stop them.

The speech that followed, however, may have surprised supporters of her policies: “Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie,’ ” or a sham, she said, before adding that Germany may be reaching its limits in terms of accepting more refugees. “The challenge is immense,” she said. “We want and we will reduce the number of refugees noticeably.”

Although those remarks may seem uncharacteristic of Merkel, she probably would insist that she was not contradicting herself. In fact, she was only repeating a sentiment she first voiced several years ago when she said multiculturalism in Germany had “utterly failed.”

“Of course the tendency had been to say, ‘Let’s adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side, and be happy to be living with each other.’ But this concept has failed, and failed utterly,” she said in 2010.

Repeating those ideas on Monday was meant to calm her supporters who have grown increasingly weary of the influx of refugees. Newcomers, Merkel stressed, should assimilate to German values and culture, and respect the country’s laws.

Merkel emphasized that despite her commitment to limit the influx of refugees, she was standing by her decision to open the borders earlier this fall. “It is a historical test for Europe,” she said, adding that other countries in Europe should accept more refugees to take some of the burden off Germany.

 
• Tags: Merkel's Boner 

From The American Prospect:

Bring Back Antitrust

Despite low inflation and some bargain prices, economic concentration and novel abuses of market power are pervasive in today’s economy—harming consumers, workers, and innovators. We need a new antitrust for a new predatory era.

David Dayen

The unaware consumer walks into a supermarket and sees aisles brimming with a daunting array of choices. But the majority of products come from just ten manufacturers. You’re made dizzy by the sheer variety of toothpastes, for example, but 70 percent of sales go to just two companies: Proctor & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive.

One company, Luxottica, makes virtually every different brand of sunglasses in the world. They also own nearly all the eyeglass retail outlets, from LensCrafters to Pearle Vision to Sunglass Hut. Several years ago, Tyco bought up all its competitors and now makes practically every plastic hanger in America. You’d be excused for thinking you have many options for booking airline tickets and hotels online, but when the Expedia-Orbitz merger clears, there will only be two (Priceline is the other).

America gets its cable and Internet service mostly from four companies, after AT&T’s successful merger with DirecTV. There are only three big airlines, four if you count Southwest; four big commercial banks; and five big trade-book publishers, six before Random House merged with Penguin.

Even where you don’t discern market concentration, it lurks behind the scenes. “Underneath GM and Chrysler are the suppliers,” says the New America Foundation’s Barry Lynn, author of the book Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction. “There are different brands, but everyone’s using the same windshield wipers and the same alternator. With cat food there are like 100 different brands, but they’re all coming out of the same plant.”

Other issues are tacit noncompete strategies in which potential competitors avoid entering the other guy’s market in return for the other guy staying out of your market.

It used to be assumed that globalization rendered this impossible because how could you subtly exchange signals with companies that don’t speak English? But now practically everybody other than the Japanese speaks English as a second language. And examples of intercontinental cartel behavior like in that weird Soderbergh movie with Matt Damon as an ADM executive are multiplying.

On the other hand, things like 401-Ks have aligned the interests of workers and management more closely than in the past. How would you like to have your 401-K go down in return for lower prices and higher wages? Worried, right? I mean maybe it would be a good thing on the whole for you, but you could also imagine yourself coming out worse off, right? It’s not an obvious call.

Overall, I don’t really have much of a sense of how much cartel behavior is costing you or me. My intuition, however, says that in an era when the Left prefers to get itself worked up over transgender sensitivity and changing the title of dorm “masters” because slavery than over what giant corporations are up to, it’s potentially a sizable problem. But I don’t know.

 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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