2. Michael Rogin, Blackface, White Noise (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1996), 14.
3. The hip-hop group Public Enemy’s Professor Griff remarked on the fact that the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony used his group’s song, “Fight the Power”: “The show can’t claim the blackness of Public Enemy’s message.” See http://pitchfork.com/news/63855-oscars-2016-public-enemys-fight-the-power-bookends-ceremony-amid-diversity-controversy-chuck-d-weighs-in/
4. In 2015 the Wu-Tang Clan held an auction for their album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” of which they had made only one copy. See http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-wu-tang-clan-actually-found-someone-to-pay-millions-for-its-secret-album-20151124-story.html
5. The evident business savvy of the Wu-Tang Clan was the subject of a comedy sketch on “Chappelle’s Show.” The joke of the sketch, “Wu Tang Financial,” was that while the Wu-Tang had made smart financial decisions, white investors would nonetheless never entrust their money with them, the gap between the Wu-Tang “street” sensibility and a white middle-class sensibility being insuperable.
6. Steve Jobs is the ur-example of this, for he depended on theater to make a case for his righteousness in the public eye. The difference is that while Jobs’s ethical standards came under fire often enough, he was, unlike Shkreli, largely able to exculpate himself by way of this theater. Shkreli has used his theater only to intensify his “bad boy” image.
7. See Dan Hassler-Forest, Capitalist Superheroes: Caped Crusaders in the Neoliberal Age (Zero Books, 2012).
8. Brent Lang, “‘Straight Outta Compton’: Ice Cube Praises Universal Chief Donna Langley’s ‘Big Balls’,” Variety April 23, 2015.
9. Ghostface made his address to Shkreli in a YouTube post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmJGKtEwomE
10. This is not new. Stephen Metcalf has critiqued Robert Nozick, the canonical libertarian, for pressing his normative claims by recourse to the famous “Wilt Chamberlain argument,” a “cynical” way, Metcalf says, to make capitalism at its purest a matter of “a black ballplayer finally getting his due.” See Metcalf, “The Liberty Scam,” Slate, June 20, 2011.
11. In an early scene, when Donovan meets the accused spy, Abel tells him, “Mr. Donovan, you have men like me doing the same for your country—if they were caught, I’m sure that you would wish them to be treated well.” In a later scene, when U.S. and Soviet agents meet to exchange prisoners, Donovan worries, “I think they have snipers.” His colleague says, “I’m sure they do… because we have snipers.” The movie, that is, makes a consistent point that both sides in the Cold War employ the same tactics.
12. See David Rogers, 110 Livingston Street: Politics and Bureaucracy in the New York City School System (New York: NYU Press, 1984), 232-233.
13. See Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (New York: Picador, 2009).
14. See Michael Billig’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Jews (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 2001) and Eric Lott Love and Theft (New York: Oxford UP, 1995).
15. Phil Rhodes, “Superspy Alliance,” American Cinematographer 96.9 (Sept. 2015), 56.
17. See Jamelle Bouie, “The Crisis in Black Homeownership,” Slate, July 24, 2014. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/07/black_
19. See Pamela McClintock, “‘Batman v Superman’ Plunges 69 Percent in Second Weekend to $51.3M,” Hollywood Reporter, April 1, 2016: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-batman-v-superman-880012 [return to page 2]
20. Natalie Robehmed, “Box Office Billionaire,” Fortune, February 10, 2016: http://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2016/02/10/the-global-mogul/#695b88735700
21. Mark R. Madler, “Almost Legendary,” San Fernando Valley Business Journal, March 23, 2015.
22. Brink Lindsey, “Frontier Economics: Why Entrepreneurial Capitalism Is Needed Now More than Ever” (April 2011): http://www.kauffman.org/~/media/kauffman_org/research%20reports
23. Steve Forbes wrote this endorsement in the Foreword to Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Empire State of Mind (New York: Penguin, 2012).
24. Amy Haimerl, “The Fastest Growing Group of Entrepreneurs in America,” Fortune, June 29, 2015: http://fortune.com/2015/06/29/black-women-entrepreneurs/
25. Trump said this in his primetime interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.
26. Brink Lindsey, ibid.
27. Thomas Frank, “Nor a Lender Be,” Harper’s, February 19, 2016: https://harpers.org/blog/2016/02/nor-a-lender-be/
28. Genre is a key term for discussing both these movies, but it’s a discussion I will forgo here. Suffice it to say, the genres that get contorted are the high-school movie and the boxing movie. Their different itineraries are interesting, no doubt, because they are socioeconomic: the high-school movie subdivides into a middle-class and a poverty-class variant, the former usually being a matter of “youth rebellion” and the latter usually being a matter of “inner city violence.” On balance Dope takes more from the middle-class than the poverty-class variant, making its drug-deal plot feel strangely out of place. The boxing movie, though, has only a poverty-class tradition, it seems to me, and this makes Creed’s middle-class iteration a genre novelty.
29. S. Craig Watkins, “Black Youth and the Ironies of Capitalism,” That’s the Joint!, eds. Murray Forman and Mark Anthony Neal (New York: Routledge, 2011), 698.
30. J. D. Connor, “Making Things Right,” Los Angeles Review of Books, January 7, 2016: https://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/making-things-right-star-wars-episode-vii-the-force-awakens
31. Nathan McAlone, “Here’s Why ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Had Different Facebook Trailers,” Business Insider, March 16, 2016: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-straight-outta-compton-had-different-trailers-for-people-of-different-races
32. The deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Sandra Bland were several of the key incidents behind the rise of #Black Lives Matter. For overviews of these incidents, see the following:
33. Wesley Morris, “The Superhero Franchise: Where Traditional Movie Stardom Goes to Die,” New York Times, May, 19, 2016: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/05/22/movies/in-x-men-apocalypse-and-captain-america-superheroes-versus-movie-stars.html
34. See Joshua Clover, “Get Information,” The Nation, March 9, 2016. https://www.thenation.com/article/get-information/