Cate Blanchett: White men in power are ‘on the edge of extinction & they’re panicking’

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Cate Blanchett covers the latest issue of Porter Magazine, the in-house digital magazine of net-a-porter.com. She’s currently promoting Don’t Look Up (where she’s part of a huge A-list ensemble) and Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, where I think she’s more of a supporting player as well. It feel like Cate just disappears for nine months at a time and then she reappears in time to promote three or four movies, then rinse and repeat. Cate was actually in a chatty mood for this interview, and she had a lot to say about social media, the environment, politics and a lot more. Some highlights:

Playing a TV anchor on ‘Don’t Look Up’: “Actually, it’s a revolting moment when you wash that makeup off and see the sludge going [down the drain]. It’s quite confronting.”

On global warming: “Everyone is trying to be positive, talking about 1.5 degrees of global warming. But 1.5 would still be disastrous. We need to be f–king scared… and demand change; be collectively courageous enough to face that fear and do something about it.”

On Nightmare Alley: “I definitely think this was something boiling in Guillermo. [The film] is a real dark night of the soul. You watch a man breaking the rules, getting away with it… and refusing to show sympathy or compassion.”

On “disastrous presidents” and populist leaders: “I’m hoping it’s a white-male ghost dance. They realize they’re on the edge of extinction and they’re panicking. We’re witnessing them in their death throes, which is why it’s so aggressive and destructive.” I ask if, on the contrary, such leaders could see a resurgence. “That’s why people have to vote. And exercise their power. I’m sounding like I’m on a soapbox, which I’m not interested in, but it’s important to not give in. I’m not giving up hope. As I say to my kids [on climate change], if we’re going out, how do we choose to go out? It’s a terrible conversation to have with your 13-year-old, isn’t it?”

She’s not interested in agitprop: “I couldn’t be less interested in agitprop [or] telling people what to think,” she says. But she is drawn to films that “ask provocative questions” and she isn’t afraid to get behind causes she believes in, such as Prince William’s Earthshot Prize. She also recognizes how fraught being outspoken in public can be. “You have to be judicious. I’ve been asked to do things by people and I’ve said, ‘I think I’m going to be a liability’.”

On polarized public discourse. “I’m very sad about the loss of genuine debate, where leaders, public intellectuals and everyday citizens try to find common ground, try to understand the issue, rather than try to win… Even in acting, people talk about [how] to ‘win’ the scene. No, we have to make the scene come alive. And we might have to lose a bit here, win a bit there.”

She talks to her kids about social media: “A lot. Because so much of our so-called information comes through social media. I’m old enough to have been taught at school what a primary, secondary and tertiary source is. I say to the children when they mention something, ‘Where did you read it? Who has [authenticated] that? You have to learn how to read an image and article. And if you’re going to share something, you’d better make sure you have checked the sources.’ Of course, they roll their eyes. But when you hear them talk to their friends, I think they’re responsible. My son is studying physics and philosophy, so he is really interesting to talk to about [technology]. I don’t want to become a separated generation, because I also feel responsible for the landscape he is about to emerge into as an adult.”

[From Porter]

“…I’m hoping it’s a white-male ghost dance. They realize they’re on the edge of extinction and they’re panicking. We’re witnessing them in their death throes, which is why it’s so aggressive and destructive…” Yeah, I agree? The politics of disgruntled white men has such an edge of panic to it. But in that panic, there’s a very real strain of nihilistic anarchy. As in, those white men feel, deep in their hearts, that if they can’t be in charge then no one should be in charge and that everything should be burned to the ground. It’s scary. As for social media… I don’t know, I’m not going to judge her for how she’s raising her kids (three of whom are teens) and how she’s trying to teach them to consume information responsibly.

Cover & IG courtesy of Porter.

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44 Responses to “Cate Blanchett: White men in power are ‘on the edge of extinction & they’re panicking’”

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  1. Bettyrose says:

    Problem is I really thought that during the 2016 campaign when GOP discourse devolved to comparing penis sizes. That should have been the end but no their last gasp was to pack the SC with lifetime appointees.

  2. Seraphina says:

    Why yes Cate, they are panicking. I had a boss a hand full year ago who was white in his late 60’s. He actually said that white men are now slowly becoming the minority at work and thought he would get sympathy from me for his plight. I put on my cheshire smile and sweetly said: why yes, yes you are.
    And you know why they are panicking???? Because they don’t want to be treated the way they treated others. That is why.
    Side note – LOVE, LOVE, CATE.

  3. Scout says:

    Yes. I used to work at NASA. There was a saying from the top tiers about the management.

    NASA was too male, pale and frail. The American Republican Party is exactly that now.

  4. mel says:

    Hahaha this is a joke. Take a look at every major corporation and government in the world. Yes, there are a few women (mostly white) up there, but VERY FEW. White men are going nowhere, and even if there are fewer, they still hold all the power and money (hello Musk, Bezos, and Gates).

    • Hmm says:

      Exactly. White men are still very much in extreme power, and no where close to extinction.

    • CROWHOODreturns says:

      Yes. I see this in business travel the most. If
      You are in an executive travel lounge in any airport or hotel, and you are a woman, you’re the only woman in there.

    • vs says:

      @Mel — thanks; I so agree with you; this is a BS statement…..those are the top are inciting the the white men at the bottom to be fearful! the white men at the BOTTOM are the ones who are afraid because they feel even the perceived advantage they have because of the color of their skin might be gone soon!

      How can a white women talk about the edge of extinction without mentioning the role that WHITE WOMEN play in maintaining the status quo? in the US, more than 52% of white women continue to vote for the GOP despite everything…..the ratio is even more skewed if you go state by state! this is nonsense…..I guess she said her part expecting to be applauded!

    • Stephanie says:

      That’s what I was thinking – they’re not going extinct fast enough!

  5. Seaflower says:

    Brene Brown talks about white male power being “their death throes” when she’s promoting her Atlas of the Heart book.

  6. Amy Bee says:

    Yes it’s true but these men are supported by white women who fear the same.

    • Jan90067 says:

      Quick question Cate: You still supporting Woody Allen? Then you’re still part of the problem of propping us these men.

      • Elle says:

        Cate also likes to party with R Murdoch & co

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        Cate Blanchet named her son after Roman Polanski. Can’t get much more “As a man I can do whatever I want” than Polanski. But she’s a really good actress, and I posted this on a different article, but good actors can get away with a lot without harming their reputations because they (as good actors) can present a certain persona to the public, and that’s all we see.

  7. Guest says:

    Yes, they are afraid of losing power but they are also supported by white women who also fear losing power. The Karen’s support the Kens to keep their grip on power. There was interesting Time article that likened what’s happening now to what happened following the Civil War and Reconstruction. Reconstruction was overthrown out of fear of the loss of white superiority. The parallels between then and now are sobering.
    https://time.com/6128421/teaching-reconstruction-study/

    • NewKay says:

      Thank you @Guest, I came to say the same thing about white women and wonder if Blanchett is aware that she is speaking of herself too.

  8. Lucy says:

    I love what she says about teaching her kids media literacy. This is so important. Just because kids are digital natives, it doesn’t mean they have media literacy.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      I do too and the importance of the source of the information. If she’s hanging/partying/friends with Murdoch (like Elle posted), then I’m side eyeing her a bit until I’ve looked into it myself. If she is a supporter of Murdoch & Allen-that’s a hard pill to swallow no matter how much I appreciate her acting. I don’t see any of Murdoch’s media being anything greater than a less than zero source.

      Don’t believe white men are on the edge of extinction. Do believe that they are panicking (and threatened by) women in powerful positions.

  9. jferber says:

    I wish this were true, but alas . . .

  10. Bex says:

    And white women are angling to take their place, which means nothing will change.

    • hmm says:

      That’s not true actually. Racism and sexism are both equally valid problems.

      • House+of+No says:

        Let’s not act as if white women don’t act as foot soldiers to racism which help the men continuing the sexist system holding them back.

        Case in point: “That’s not true actually…” The same tool used to mansplain is the same tool to whitesplain.

      • Emma says:

        I think it’s important to acknowledge white women benefit from racism. That’s why majorities of white women will do things like vote for Trump or — in this case — appropriate and misuse a sacred Indigenous concept to talk about themselves. Or — also in this case — publicly defend white male pedophile rapists.

        So it’s not as simple as saying “racism and sexism are both valid” because racism and sexism intersect in nuanced ways that white women don’t experience the same as Indigenous women, or Black women.

        In 2022, it should be beyond obvious it is gross for a white woman to co-opt a term of Indigenous resistance to talk about her situation. Cate is from Australia — a country whose Indigenous people have been horrifically hurt and denigrated by white colonialism — so she really ought to know this.

      • Emma says:

        Racism and sexism are nuanced and experienced very differently by white women.

  11. Z says:

    I just love her. that’s all

  12. Gubbinal says:

    I love Blanchett. Her work is superb and she does not depend on publicity machines.

    I think the extinction dance will involve the sacrifice of most people as the world’s 10th wealthiest men take out each other in the fight for dominance. Some men thrive on being the “winner” and being at the very top of the heap. It’s not too far a leap to imagine somebody like Musk or Bezos assessing our respective values as if they were pricing merchandise. In the end, the last two will fight each other like dinosaurs in the mud for sole supremacy. Ultimately, this planet will be a NFT (non-fungible token).

  13. Rapunzel says:

    This isn’t about the extinction of white male power. It’s about the fact that white male power resents having to give success or power to others. That they see any attempt to take a crumb as an attempt to steal the whole pie. That they think any ask to share is an attack on them.

    • Lyds says:

      You hit the nail on the head. They don’t want to give up one iota of control or power so by propagating the idea that they’re losing it and becoming extinct (when that couldn’t be further from the truth), they’ve riled up their “base” and turned maintaining the status quo into some fight for survival.

  14. Wilma says:

    I’m not a native English speaker, but is it normal idiom to use the term ghost dance for something that is disappearing? Because I only know about ghost dances as part of the Lakota resistance at the end of the 19th century and it doesn’t add up to use it in this context.

    • Chanteloup says:

      ita it’s a bad choice of words
      White men are so fucking not oppressed or under threat of extinction

  15. Rosalee says:

    “White men ghost dance” after reading that quote I wanted to vomit. The ghost dance was a prophecy of the end of colonialism and would secure happiness in reuniting the living and the dead. Obviously just another privileged white woman trying to show how enlightened she is but failing…

  16. Lory says:

    Nope I just can’t with her. She named her son after Roman Polanski.

  17. Sof says:

    The same thing happens in my country, priviliged women who do the minimum think the world is changing for the best instead of seeing how all these changes are “cosmetic” ones: the positions of power are still held by men, they just add one or two women in the mix to call themselves “allies”. At the end of the day, they are still the ones being praised for being inclusive. Equality is still a long battle ahead.

    I thought only the leads were going to promote this film. Has anyone noticed how Chalamet is not promoting this movie at all? Not even an instagram post? I find it odd.

  18. Ann says:

    Hmm. As a couple of others have pointed out, this is a misuse of the term “ghost dance”. It’s also cultural appropriation, but I don’t know if she realizes that. Is it true that she named her son after Roman Polanski? I hadn’t heard that, but then her personal life is pretty private.

  19. Robyn says:

    Hmmmm….still supporting Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, Cate? Kindly piss off then.

  20. Jaded says:

    I don’t think it’s about white men having one last kick at the can before their supremacy crumbles, it’s about rich white men fighting harder and dirtier to maintain their political and business supremacy over women and POC. They’ve learned to appeal to and appease the male masses by deliberately stonewalling over issues like voting rights, parental leave, covering up bad behaviour or, on the other hand, exaggerating and lying about it if it involves women and POC. Look at how men have gone after AOC, Liz Cheney, Nancy Pelosi, etc. while the Matt Gaetz’s and Jim Jordan’s get away with murder.

    As much as I admire Cate’s acting talent, she speaks from a position of massive wealth and white importance, and sees society through a special lens. It’s different down in the trenches Cate.

  21. Lula+Patula says:

    Not in the field in which I work where it’s still 80% older, white men at the top. They run the academic societies, the allocation of funding and merit-based advancement. While there IS a more diverse cohort coming in and up the hierarchy (also an issue), it’s an uphill battle to get the old, white, patronizing f*rts out of the system.

  22. Robyn says:

    Why does Cate Blanchet get a pass when she openly supports some of the worst men in the industry?

    • manta says:

      I often wonder the same thing.
      I think it’s a mix of different elements. For a long time here she’s been a fave , some sort of fashion goddess (pre Rihanna), and I guess it’s hard to do a 180 on somebody you basically put on a pedestal.
      And she lost to Paltrow in the Oscar race the year she played Elizabeth. A fact that gained her sympathy for years, people rooting for her (how can Gwyneth win over Cate,she was robbed!).

  23. kirk says:

    Cate Blanchett, star of 2013 Woody Allen film, biological mom of 3 children (one named for Roman Polanski), owner of multiple residences around the world, and supporter of PW greenwashing Earthshot prize, who is employed in Hollywood industry notoriously opaque about environmental impacts of productions, is revolted by makeup sludge down the drain and wants us to “demand change” on global warming. Hmmm.

  24. jo73c says:

    Bullshit – white men aren’t even being threatened with extinction. They’re being threatened with maybe having to share some of the power – and they’re still having tantrums like two-year-olds.

  25. Gracie says:

    Until we as a society figure out how to acknowledge that there should be a seat at the table for everyone and take action to achieve that, I’m afraid this isn’t the last of the antics we will see. It is dangerous and disingenuous to twist the concept of equity into a “versus” situation, rather than to promote the fairly basic concept of providing opportunity and support proportionate to privilege (more support for less privilege).

  26. ARHUS says:

    “I’m very sad about the loss of genuine debate, where leaders, public intellectuals and everyday citizens try to find common ground, try to understand the issue, rather than try to win…”