It’s a big, busy week here in Toronto. Our annual film festival, TIFF, is in full swing. Celebrities and filmmakers alike are descending upon our fair city, and local film buffs are losing their shit over it all. Even one of our daily papers is getting in on the fun.
Last week the Toronto Star ran a wine article offering pairing suggestions with films that have premiered at the festival. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Oh no. No no no no no. What happened here? How did this get published??
If you don’t have the same reaction, let’s dial it back and look at why this is not cool.
Slavery is Bad
Do I really need to say it? Yes, apparently, I do. Slavery is bad. Terrible. Horrific. It’s a stain on our collective histories, whether or not our ancestors were personally involved in the slave trade. The fact that a writer could get to a place where they thought it would be ok to talk about slavery and wine in the same paragraph and not acknowledge this is beyond tone deaf. There is nothing, and should be nothing, to offset the “searing discomfort” of slavery – except reconciliation for the damage it’s caused.
Today’s climate doesn’t help
Have you taken a look at the news lately? White supremacy is alive and ferocious, and its flames of hatred are being fanned terrifyingly by the current American president. Talking about how there are “very fine people” on both sides?? Give me a break. Any group that seeks to devalue and dehumanize another is not made up of “very fine people”. The more he talks in such a dangerous way the more opportunity white supremacists have to come out of the woodwork and attempt to legitimize their hatred.
From bad to worse
Back to the article. Unsurprisingly, there was push back. The Root ran a piece explaining what happened, including a response from the writer, where she proceeded to further show how clueless she is about what she did.
“There’s no way I want anyone to think I’m glossing over it or diminishing these movies in any way.”
The movies?? Oh yes, let’s not diminish the movies. Forget about diminishing the scars and ongoing legacy of slavery by pairing with an “understated rosé”.
What should have happened
The writer also says she felt it would have been “less scrupulous” to omit the film from the piece. But you know what? That’s exactly what should have happened. How many films are mentioned in the piece, maybe four or five? (I don’t know for sure because the piece has since been taken down). Of all the films that have premiered at TIFF over the years, this one of the handful you felt the need to comment on and pair a wine with? No, that really didn’t need to happen.
Sigh. Don’t be like this writer, ok?