The PJ Tatler

Why MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Pretends to Hate The Help

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MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry lying about The Help:

This story of a white woman who tells the story of black maids erases and then rewrites a rich and robust history in which black women never needed anyone to speak for them. The true story is that for some white people and the black female domestics who worked for them there really is much closer to a horror film than a lighthearted drama… For black maids the threat of rape was always a clear and present danger. And even as I am appalled at the gross historical inaccuracies of The Help, I’m deeply moved by the actresses in the film who in many ways got it just right.

Harris-Perry cannot have her pie and eat it too. She cannot decry the film as a racist whitewash of Jim Crow fascism and then feel emotional satisfaction from the black actresses degrading themselves to further a Big Lie.

One conclusion for this cognitive dissonance: Harris-Perry doesn’t really believe her own critique. She’s just playing the role of hip, radical chic racial bomb-throwing Nation columnist while enjoying the bourgeoisie lifestyle her MSNBC salary, probable 6-figure university compensation, and generous speaker fees provide. (Toure plays the same character — knowing to use Spike Lee’s cinematic invention of the “magical negro” archetype when attacking The Help.)

I just rewatched The Help last week with my wife. We bought the Blu Ray when it came out since it was her favorite movie of the year. So the plot details are fresh in mind. And Harris-Perry gets something very wrong.

The young, white writer Skeeter (Emma Stone) does not tell the story of black maids. She, Minnie (Octavia Spencer,) and Aibileen (Viola Davis) write the book together and publish as Anonymous. In fact, we see Aibileen with pen to paper the most. They split the royalties three ways. Their success demonstrates that blacks and whites coming together can lift themselves up without government hand-outs. The free market works.

Harris-Perry knows all this. The amount of money she earns confirms everything to herself whether she wants to admit it or not. Just as she knows that Obama-supporting, uber-progressive Hollywood is not churning out white supremacist propaganda. Deep down she enjoys the film. What she dislikes? How The Help undermines her political cult’s goals. She’s well aware that the film presents a multilayered story in which black and white women unite to build each other up without the help of Obamacare or overpaid MSNBC hosts preaching a political theology of permanent victimhood. No wonder Harris-Perry has to pretend to hate The Help in her role on the political world’s version of a reality TV show.