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What’s the Frequency, Elinor?

March 8, 2010

Elinor Burkett - Girl, interrupting.

Salon Magazine is running a piece about the Kanye moment involving Roger Ross Williams and estranged collaborator Elinor Burkett, which occurred while Williams attempted to accept his Best Documentary Short Oscar for Music By Prudence.

Burkett told Salon:

What happened was the director and I had a bad difference over the direction of the film that resulted in a lawsuit that has settled amicably out of court. But there have been all these events around the Oscars, and I wasn’t invited to any of them. And he’s not speaking to me. So we weren’t even able to discuss ahead of the time who would be the one person allowed to speak if we won. And then, as I’m sure you saw, when we won, he raced up there to accept the award. And his mother took her cane and blocked me. So I couldn’t get up there very fast.

Did she really just call out his mama? The woman is 87 years old! Even if everything Burkett stated was true – I don’t know much about the case – how does it justify bum rushing the stage, an utter Soy Bombination to what would otherwise have been a triumphant moment for the filmmaker? I can see why Williams wasn’t speaking Burkett. You can’t reason with assclowery.

It’s interesting how this is being framed. Did anyone contact Kanye immediately after his Soy Bombing to get his side of the story? Was he provided a steaming cup of benefit of the doubt? Did he call out Swift’s mom? I don’t think so. I seem to recall an immediate and decisive condemnation of his antics. There were many valid criticisms, to be sure, but a lot of it veered away from the events of the evening and started looking a lot like racism at times.

I suspect Burkett’s obnoxious behavior will be framed in a less hostile manner and she’ll be mentioned in the same breath as the 1974 streaker, as though her behavior was nothing more than an odd Oscar moment. When in reality the attempt to silence a black filmmaker during his speech was all about some seriously unchecked hostility. She doesn’t deserve a forum to air her grievances. Instead she should be using any forum afforded her to apologize to Williams and his mama.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. Robin permalink
    March 8, 2010 2:18 pm

    I think the glaring difference between the two microphone thefts is that most of us have no idea who these two people are, while with Kanyegate everyone at least knew who either Kanye or Taylor Swift is (or rather, what their public personas/images are) so there was some context. This was like trying not to gawk at two strangers who are fighting over the last Cabbage Patch Kid on Christmas Eve at Wal-Mart. But now that I’ve “heard her side of the story”, I’m totally not on her side!

    I think the saddest part of all is that the woman Prudence who the film was made about got tossed aside so this woman could throw a hissy fit, and the hissy fit is probably what the film will ultimately be remembered for.

  2. March 8, 2010 2:30 pm

    But the bottom line is in both cases neither soy bomber had a legitimate reason to get on that stage. Was Kanye any worse or more deserving of the backlash he received? Not really. How dare we puff up our celebrities and then have the cheek to be shocked when they act like assclowns!

    As for Ms. Burkett, I just don’t understand why she felt someone else’s Oscar acceptance speech was the most appropriate forum in which to set up shop and grind her axes.

  3. Robin permalink
    March 8, 2010 2:36 pm

    Oh no, I agree. But when she went up, I wasn’t sure that she didn’t have the right to be up there; I couldn’t remember what the presenter had said (I never do if I haven’t heard of the winner), and I’d never heard of the film before. And I didn’t know the circumstances of the situation, other than that there was some palpable dramz in the air once nut-nut grabbed the mic. It wasn’t like Kanye jumping on the stage for Best Female Video or whatever, where it was clear to all from the get-go that his behavior was uncalled for. I think with this situation most of the blowback is gonna come once people find out what the story is.

  4. March 8, 2010 2:49 pm

    It wasn’t like Kanye jumping on the stage for Best Female Video or whatever, where it was clear to all from the get-go that his behavior was uncalled for. I think with this situation most of the blowback is gonna come once people find out what the story is.

    You’re definitely right! Ha. Do you work for the CIA now? blowback. LOL. Wabin <3.

  5. Robin permalink
    March 8, 2010 2:51 pm

    I think I just put waaaay too much effort into these war-critical history papers I’ve been writing lately. HA ❤ back

  6. March 8, 2010 2:52 pm

    All I know is the first thing I thought was “why is that white woman interrupting his speech?” Part of me wishes he’d have self-righteously nudged her aside and finished his speech, but I’m afraid only a white man could have gotten away with that.

  7. hsofia permalink
    March 8, 2010 2:53 pm

    Don’t know what a soy bomber is. But I missed about an hour of the Oscars when I had to leave home to run an errand around 6pm. I totally did not see this. But I had never heard of either of these people or their documentary. Maybe it will give this director a little more publicity, but that lady certainly made a fool of herself.

  8. March 8, 2010 3:06 pm

    @hsofia –

  9. hsofia permalink
    March 8, 2010 3:13 pm

    OMG. I think I did read about this a long time ago but I had never seen the video. The look on Dylan’s face when he noticed the guy was just … priceless. LOL

  10. March 8, 2010 3:43 pm

    The anti-Kanye thing seemed a little too immediate and satisfying-to-outraged-whites to me. Kanye was an assclown, sure but… Only a fraction of the Twitter feed is commenting on Elinor. I seem to remember non-stop Kanye roasting for days, everywhere (altho’, point taken about the differences in their relative fame).

    Um, shouldn’t Elinor Burkett apologize? Have I missed it?

  11. March 8, 2010 3:46 pm

    I meant, apologize to Williams. Not to, you know, “everyone”. Which never makes sense to me.

  12. Robin permalink
    March 8, 2010 3:47 pm

    So I checked it out and the award technically went to both of them.
    Documentary (Short Subject):
    ““Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett”

    That’s from the official Oscars website- http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/82/nominees.html

    She’s still a boorish, rude woman, but she’s no Kanye cos she did deserve to be up there.

  13. March 8, 2010 4:28 pm

    Robin, it was my understanding that she removed herself from the project and all of this had been settled out of court. Also docu-short is one of the categories where only one recipient is allowed on stage to collect the award. I say she was a Kayne, because it was already established that Williams would be the accepting the award if the film won the oscar.

  14. Robin permalink
    March 8, 2010 4:40 pm

    But usually when there are dual/multiple winners, everyone is on good terms so they can establish who will accept the award, who will speak for the group, et cetera. Elinor Burkett was as much of a winner as Roger Ross Williams was and since they clearly have beef, I’m not convinced that the people who established that Roger Ross Williams would formally accept the award were, well, Roger Ross Williams. I mean, clearly this woman’s behavior isn’t garnering any sympathy (nor should it), but she did *technically* win this award. Regardless of their personal beef, she produced the film. Kanye was just being a drunken fool.

  15. March 8, 2010 5:00 pm

    Definitely true. I just wish she would’ve aired her grievances in an appropriate forum, and it’s not because she needed to be swept aside, but rather because of what’s happening here. We’re talking about her OOC behavior, rather than the film, which I’m told is quite good.

    Ha.

  16. Robin permalink
    March 8, 2010 5:07 pm

    I know, right?! I Googled her and it turns out she’s this really fantastic journalist, Pulitzer-nominated, wrote a well-received bio of Golda Meir. Now I’m like, “Ugh, I soooo don’t want to read that biography, man. That lady has Bad Manners.”

  17. March 8, 2010 5:26 pm

    I think read that bio! I wondered why her name was not unfamiliar to me. She’s a great writer, but that doesn’t rally erase the fact she lacked a sense of decorum at last night’s oscars.

  18. Bloom permalink
    March 8, 2010 6:36 pm

    While I don’t condone her rude behavior, making this a racial thing by comparing her twitter buzz to Kanye’s is ridiculous. Kanya is a larger-than-life celebrity. This woman is a virtual unknown. Of course there is going to be less buzz. Plus, her name was mentioned as a winner- totally diff situation. So please, enough with claims of racism.

  19. hsofia permalink
    March 8, 2010 7:12 pm

    Well, I have to give kudos to Roger Ross Williams for handling it very well. I thought it was interesting to see the facial expressions of Prudence herself. She did NOT look happy when Burkett got up there. I don’t know who the dark haired, white lady was sitting next to her, but the looks they were exchanging with each other made up a fascinating little story of its own.

  20. March 8, 2010 9:17 pm

    While I don’t condone her rude behavior, making this a racial thing by comparing her twitter buzz to Kanye’s is ridiculous. Kanya is a larger-than-life celebrity. This woman is a virtual unknown. Of course there is going to be less buzz. Plus, her name was mentioned as a winner- totally diff situation. So please, enough with claims of racism.

    You might be in the wrong sandbox, friendo, since the crux of this one is to examine pop culture from a sociological perspective, which often includes exploring how race, class and a host of other -ism inform and play out in various events.

    You’re certainly welcome to read and comment, but you’re not welcome to dictate the way in which I frame my analysis. Though you have the option to do so on your own blog.

  21. Miguel permalink
    March 8, 2010 11:18 pm

    I wish she or kanye (I actually thought that was staged when i first saw it) were as funny as that Bob Dylan clip. :[ I agree that fame and the whole persona Kanye has played a big role in how people reacted, but this was on the front page of AOL and stuff, so its not like it ISN’T getting a fair amount of attention, just not nearly the same reaction.

    Still, all this stuff is weak compared to that Soy Bomber who tackled those Oasis dudes on stage, if that even constitutes Soy Bombing.

  22. March 8, 2010 11:58 pm

    When I saw that Soy Bomber I laughed until I nearly wet myself. People are totally bizarre.

  23. Miguel permalink
    March 9, 2010 5:32 pm

    Maybe one of the Gallagher brothers paid him to do it. Or someone from Blur.

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