The curse of the middle-aged white man


Pity me! I’m part of the most oppressed demographic in the world! I know because my fellow middle-aged white men tell me they’re suffering.

Look! Here’s James Patterson!

James Patterson, a best-selling author with an estimated net worth of $800 million, opened up about how difficult it is for white men to find work in publishing and Hollywood.

The thriller novelist said white male writers experience “another form of racism” in an interview with The Times published Sunday, lamenting the plight of older white males. “What’s that all about?” Patterson mused. “Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes. It’s even harder for older writers. You don’t meet many 52-year-old white males.”

It’s so hard to be a mystery writer who churns out formulaic pot-boilers that grace the shelves of every airport bookstore in the country.

And what about Christopher Eccleston?

Christopher Eccleston, star of Doctor Who, Thor: The Dark World, and The Leftovers, said in a new interview that straight white males are “the new pariahs of the industry,” though he also acknowledged that more diversity in film and television is a good thing.

In a conversation with Times Radio (via Deadline), Eccleston noted, “Quite rightly I’m a dinosaur now. I’m white, I’m middle-aged, I’m male, and I’m straight. We are all seen through the lens of Harvey Weinstein et al. And I can feel that the opportunities are shrinking, as they should do.”

I love how these articles always set the stage by first telling us how many hundreds of millions of dollars they have or what movies and TV shows they starred in, before quoting their sad little whimpers. You know, this isn’t a case where these people have lost opportunities or are making less money — they’re just finding that now they might have to rub elbows with people who are not middle-aged straight white men. Patterson is correct, it is another form of racism…it’s just that the racist here is himself. Maybe it’s just the same old racism?

If we’re seen through the lens of Harvey Weinstein, though, you have to recognize that one reason is that a lot of straight white men enabled him and profited from him and tolerated his behavior.

Comments

  1. says

    But putting his own money into a movie or TV project might put his fortune at risk. He might have to live on 700 million bucks instead of 800 million.

  2. ardipithecus says

    Guys like this are strong evidence that The Great Replacement isn’t happening fast enough.

  3. Artor says

    I assume that pic is of Patterson? How can he be the same age as me, yet somehow look 15 years older?

  4. says

    The Eccleston comments are a bit interesting where he seems to almost admit that less white male dominance is a good thing, but can’t quite accept the impacts that has on him. I wonder if it is because he can’t quite emphasize with women and people of color who have faced worse uncertainty in their careers. That’s unfortunate.

  5. says

    @1: Here’s a brief description of Patterson’s charitable activities:

    He and Sue fund 400 annual teacher education scholarships at 22 colleges and universities, many of them historically black. Patterson has provided more than 650,000 books to U.S. soldiers and 250,000 to public school students in multiple cities. He has given millions to school libraries and more than a million to independent bookstores.

    It would be a sad mistake on his part if all this “poor suffering multimillionaire white authors” drivel is what he’s remembered by, and the decent things he’s done get forgotten. He’s doing himself and his image more damage than any alleged PC-diversity-cult could ever do, even if it did exist.

  6. Tethys says

    White man discovers that Hollywood has a bias toward youth, blames everyone but the rich white men. Wow, how perceptive of him!

    He then goes on to lament the fate of the pedophile Woody Allen, which is a freezespeach problem in his stunted mind.
    Then the other guy brings up Weinstein. It’s pretty easy to get the impression that they truly believe that rich men have the right to sexually abuse whomever they choose.

    He looks closer to 80, and his latest book is being made into a movie with Dolly Parton, but the poor, poor man is being oppressed by those ‘lack of opportunities’ for old white men.

  7. billseymour says

    I, too, am a cis het white male who’ll be 74 in August.  On the 31st of May, I was still gainfully employed as a computer programmer; on the 1st of June, I was one o’ them damn rentiers.  I am so oppressed!

    I’ll accept your thoughts and prayers. 8-)

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’m a white, straight, middle-aged man and I would kill to have a fraction of the privilege that a hack writer and Dr. Who enjoy. Stop complaining!

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    At least middle-aged white men don’t burst spontaneously into flames as often as, say, Teslas and cryptocoins.

  10. drsteve says

    @6. Unless you are referencing explicitly thoughts he voiced about women and people of color in his industry (I didn’t have time to check the entire interview), I would say that’s an unfair reading of his comments, and that from what I’ve heard about him, I think he deserves the more charitable reading: his quoted marks should be taken as sincere and at face value, in the context of his persona of radical honesty.

    I am speaking of a fan of The Leftovers, but more primordially, as a fan of Eccleston as my first Doctor. That is to say, my introduction to Doctor Who was one of his episodes, a two-parter that is one of the common picks for best Who story of the the 21st century. That episode also introduced an iconic character played by John Barrowman, whose Who legacy is marred by the fact that he has more recently become notorious in fandom for his transphobic views. I’ve never heard of behavior nearly as bad as Barrowman’s coming from Eccleston.

    Of course I also speak as a fellow cis white male, though a queer one.

    But with Patterson and Barrowman setting the scale, is there any way we might agree to just chalk Eccleston up as not-unexpected cringe from a basically well-meaning older white actor who already has a reputation for this sort of tone in interviews?

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    Leo Buzalsky @6:

    The Eccleston comments are a bit interesting where he seems to almost admit that less white male dominance is a good thing, but can’t quite accept the impacts that has on him.

    He doesn’t seem to almost admit it. He explicitly admits it. Twice!

  12. macallan says

    If we’re seen through the lens of Harvey Weinstein, though, you have to recognize that one reason is that a lot of straight white men enabled him and profited from him and tolerated his behavior.

    Which he seems to acknowledge, “…as they should do.”

  13. drew says

    And Rob Grigjanis @13 stands out in the group, demonstrating both reading comprehension and some semblance of numeracy. Congrats, Rob!

  14. consciousness razor says

    I would say that’s an unfair reading of his comments, and that from what I’ve heard about him, I think he deserves the more charitable reading: his quoted marks should be taken as sincere and at face value, in the context of his persona of radical honesty.

    That’s how I understand it too. And I’m not sure he would have put it that way or made a big deal out of it, if he were not prompted in the interview. It’s good to remember that that sort of context isn’t like publishing some indignant op-ed about it or what have you.

    Of course, Eccleston was already middle-aged (etc.) by the time he was in The Leftovers and Thor: The Dark World, both of which were fairly high-profile. So, he was getting good work as a middle-aged person not very long ago. I mean, I can understand that he would want even more, but most artists never even get anywhere close to that. So it’s a little strange that he would really think about it in those terms.

  15. JustaTech says

    drsteve @12: Oh crap, when did Barrowman go and start saying transphobic stuff? (Not doubting you, just want to read it for myself.) Since I first became aware of him from Dr Who and Torchwood he (and his characters) have been so very out and proud. It’s really sad that he would attack the trans community.

  16. Nomad says

    Okay I’m pretty annoyed at this. Eccleston did not say middle aged white men are pariahs.

    If you trace back to the article that the yahoo article cited as its source, the Deadline article, you find the “pariah” quote only appears in the headline, and then once in the opening paragraph as a few words ripped out of all context, words that I’m not certain he even uttered at all. The rest of the article uses entire sentences in quoting him, but when they want to deploy the pariah thing, all they can do is quote “the new pariahs of the industry”. I’ve looked everywhere, I even found a video clip on the BBC of part of this interview, and there’s no pariah talk anywhere except “the new pariahs of the industry” (and not at all in the video clip where I can actually see what he said). Every other article cites that one Deadline article as the source, not the interview itself, so every other article I can find is relying on nothing but that headline and the six word quote in the first paragraph. The quote is so short that every single writer, including the Deadline writer, has to specify who he was supposedly calling pariahs, because the quote doesn’t include that context. This should get all of your skeptical antennas twitching.

    It was clickbait! I question whether he really said the word pariah at all, and if he did, it was in some other way. I mean an even slightly skeptical reader would have noticed that in the provided quotes he says that his opportunities should be shrinking as other kinds of people get roles, and he says “quite rightly I’m a dinosaur now”. Does this sound like a man who believes he’s being treated unfairly? He’s saying that this is how it should be, damnit, and I’m pretty annoyed that a self professed skeptic would fall for the clickbait and even quote the evidence that shows that Eccleston was not saying that.

    And by the way. Starting out saying how many millions of dollars he has? Hardly. He said “But I still have to pay my mortgage, I still have to support my kids, so I don’t welcome the uncertainty at all. The unpredictability was far more welcome to a younger person.” PZ must have read some other article about Eccleston that began talking about how fabulously wealthy he was.

    So here’s what I think Eccleston was on about. Based on the clip of the interview that I watched, and yes, it was only a clip and it didn’t include any of the talk about his opportunities narrowing, he was upset about his career. He felt that he squandered the opportunities he got when he was younger. He declared that he felt like a failure, and he made clear that he felt it was his choices that made him a failure, he wasn’t blaming anyone else. He talked about wanting to go back and do better with the opportunities he had in his youth. It was in that context that he said he felt his opportunities narrowing. Not only because other kinds of people are getting roles, but because he didn’t establish himself as a good enough actor in his youth to get more opportunities as he aged.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cdmrpx

    I welcome anyone who can provide the full text of the interview, I’d like to know what he actually said. But based on what little is available, I do not believe he said it in the way it’s being interpreted, if he said it at all. And seriously, everything else he said was the right thing.

  17. Reginald Selkirk says

    Somewhat off-topic, but delicious:

    Lehi (Utah) shop criticized over chocolate treat name
    LEHI, Utah — A Lehi chocolate shop issued an apology and changed the name of one of their items after a viral Twitter post complained of racism.
    The item in question was a chocolate-covered twinkie, with the store titling the milk chocolate variety a “Hill Cumorah Nephite,” and the dark chocolate version the “Hill Cumorah Lamanite.” …

  18. birgerjohansson says

    James Patterson – I stopped reading him long ago, he did not have any new ideas. And yet he is raking in millions.
    Yeah I bet he is terrified of getting pulled over by cops every time he drives a car.
    And gets searced for guns and drugs on the sidewalk

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