Outside Job: Using the Oscars to legitimize a political theory

By: Zombie
Pajama’s Media

I call it “the Berkeley expression.”

Whenever I visit Berkeley — in particular certain upscale areas populated by academics and wealthy intellectuals — practically everyone I see has this creepy look on his or her face. It’s hard to describe, but once you’ve seen it enough times it’s unmistakable: a special kind of conspiratorial smugness, a faint “knowing smile” coupled with a glance that conveys a sense of not just personal superiority, but of mutual superiority. In an instant, the Berkeley expression communicates to everyone in the vicinity, “Isn’t it great that you and I and all of us here are morally superior to the rest of the world?”

Once you leave the city limits, you rarely encounter the Berkeley expression anywhere else. Which is why I was momentarily startled when I watched the Academy Awards at a friend’s house and the Berkeley expression unexpectedly flashed across the screen. It was radiating from the face of someone named Charles Ferguson, who had just won the Oscar for Best Documentary. Because my friends are all liberals (at best — some are far to the left of “liberal”), I kept my mouth shut as usual, but I thought to myself, “Wow! That guy, wherever he’s from, has really mastered the Berkeley-style smugness.” And then he gave his now-famous acceptance speech, which began with the sentence, “I must start by pointing out that three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail — and that’s wrong.”

Read it all here…

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