The Ford and Kavanaugh hearing was one of the most significant political events in an era rife with chaos. What Trump brought to US politics is much of what he brought to television, namely, shocking twists, moral turpitude, and an insatiable hunger for attention. So it should come as no surprise that the hearing to weigh the sexual assault claims made against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh by Christine Ford Blasey, and his subsequent confirmation, reflected this environment. Just to get this out of the way, I believe Ford, I think Kavanaugh is lying, and he absolutely shouldn’t serve on the Supreme Court based on his performance in that hearing alone (specifically his partisan meltdown and conspiracy mongering). What got me interested in writing this though was the pathology of how many Americans responded to this, particularly the mainstream “respectable” conservatives in America. Some analysis has claimed that it was the anti-Kavanaugh side that was informed by misguided emotions, but it seemed clear to me that the American conservative movement was deeply terrified about what was happening in ways they may not have fully understood. There was palpable fear from huge swaths of of them, a fear that’s been written about before but never put on display like it was those last few weeks.
Continue reading “The Kavanaugh Controversy and the Great Conservative Fear”
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, discussion of sexual assault, and the ways powerful men abuse their privilege, has dominated our cultural discourse. The insidious ways Weinstein leveraged his power to abuse and destroy countless women was disturbing, and the way he hid behind his wealth and dedication to good social causes was a particularly sickening facet to the scandal. The pathology to Weinstein hit such a strong cultural cord because he doesn’t represent an isolated case; he’s just one of many men in Hollywood, in the corporate world, in politics, in every arena men have power and influence over women, who behaves this way. This scandal resonated because men like Weinstein are universal, and the dawning acknowledgement of that in our society has led to… interesting reactions from people. Men in particular have taken this scandal as an excuse to express some of the classic stupid replies to sexual assault scandals, and today I’m going to call out the three that have littered social media that I hate the most. Note that the usual “Why didn’t they come forward sooner?!” response won’t be included here, because I think that question comes less from a place of misguidedness (as the subjects of this list do) and more from a place of malice.
Continue reading “3 Dumb Social Media Responses to Sexual Assault Scandals”
In the age of Trump, millennials, a generation raised by popular culture, have been looking to it to draw meaning and make sense of the world. Everything that happens these days is apparently just like that one moment from Harry Potter, every time someone gets fired it brings to mind a shocking character death on Game of Thrones, every government official is just like that villain from Star Wars; even that horrific Charlottesville march and the President’s equally horrific response to it reminded people of that one time this character did that thing in this book/movie/TV show. We can argue until we’re blue in the face about whether or not this is a dumb way to look at the world, but it’s the way things are now for a lot of people. As we begin to isolate ourselves through technology and media, those things become enormous influences to us. The irony is that pop culture has become less explicitly didactic, TV creators these days aren’t interested in teaching word for word blatant lessons of the day, and more writers are content with trusting audiences to figure things out for themselves. We have such a diverse group of people consuming media in these increasingly confusing times, and in a lot of cases, people are taking the wrong lessons.
Continue reading “Popular Culture Has a New Responsibility, Whether it Likes it or Not”
The Boy King. The image that comes to mind when I think of a Trump presidency isn’t that of a ruthless tyrant, or a xenophobic dictator. Trump is many things, but he’s never exactly what you describe him as. No one who has analyzed what he has said and done for a number of years can accurately assess what he’s going to do on a policy level, because Trump has no coherent policy. Actually, that may be an understatement, as a more accurate assessment of Trump is that he has no ideology. He doesn’t really believe in anything, and has been on every side of virtually every issue, even things he’s known for having a strong stance on like immigration. The only consistent thing about Trump is the level of character he brings to the office, and that character is that of an unpredictable petulant child.
Continue reading “The Best and Worst Case Scenario of a Trump Presidency”
Oh boy, this election huh? This soul crushing, agonizing, overlong stretch of e-mail scandals, groping tapes, false-equivalences, clueless punditry, and general loss of faith in humanity has been trying for a lot of us. It has also been oddly poetic. We’ve got the first female major party candidate in U.S. history up against this great big orange misogynistic buffoon we can’t afford to stop talking or thinking about until election day. It’s been tough sure, but it also taught this Canadian a lot about America and its people. Continue reading “5 Things This Election Taught Me About America”
Ted Cruz has a weird face. You’ve heard your friends tell you this, you’ve heard family members tell you this, and you’ve heard strangers on the internet tell you this as well. From random internet trolls, to even some professional journalists, it’s one of the key things people discuss in regards to him. It was so prevalent that at one time, scientists had to weigh in on why we hate Ted Cruz’s face so much. The point I’m driving at here, is that Ted Cruz’s face has entered the political discourse surrounding him at a level most would consider inappropriate for just about any other candidate. What I’m wondering is if this “Cruz is ugly” discourse is a response to the general awfulness of his personality, or is the hatred for him amplified because of his face. There are definitely worse politicians out there that we hate more, although I have trouble thinking of more than one.
Continue reading “Why is Making Fun of Ted Cruz’s Weird Face OK?”
Bitter enemies hugging it out after a tragic incident. Not relevant to this article, but still a powerful image nonetheless.
Something you get used to while living in Canada is that we are a passionate bunch when it comes to politics. Sure Americans love to complain about how Congress never gets things done, but how many of them really know what they’re talking about? Even the ones that consider themselves “political” fall into a quagmire when it comes time to explain what they mean when they say they’re “fiscally conservative”. Not so with a large amount of Canadians. We get angry, we get involved, we care. Unfortunately, caring deeply for something comes with the risk of being sucked into the drama and the muck of it. This combined with a boat load of money going into campaigning has led to some truly nasty campaign ads over the years. Historically, no one does crushing campaign ads quite like the Conservatives, and if you need a reference, just take a look:
Continue reading “How About That Weird Job Interview Conservative Attack Ad?”