In the constant deluge of pop-culture references streaming forth from the mouths of Gilmore Girls characters, from Heathers to Two Fat Ladies to Tiger Woods, it was easy at the time to miss noticing that the Gilmores had an ongoing preoccupation with a certain someone–namely, the orange-skinned bogeyman currently stalking the halls of American politics, frightening small children with the threat of trying to date them when they turn fourteen.
But if you, like us, are going back to rewatch the seven glorious seasons of Gilmore Girls in preparation for the revival coming to Netflix on November 26th, you may have noticed that a few of those jokes are… no longer quite so funny. That’s always kind of a danger with pop culture references, but who was to know that the strutting reality star from The Apprentice and (shudder) the Miss USA pageant was soon going to be the US’s would-be first fascist dictator?
In honor of the upcoming revival and in… what’s the opposite of honor? Ignominy?… of the upcoming election, here’s a list of all five times Herr Trump was mentioned in the original Gilmore Girls, ranked in order of how the reference sounds to our sadder, wiser 2016 ears–from “slightly awkward” to “tragically cringe-inducing.”
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And by the T-word I mean totalitarianism, of course.
Before they seize power and establish a world according to their doctrines, totalitarian movements conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the needs of the human mind than reality itself; in which, through sheer imagination, uprooted masses can feel at home and are spared the never-ending shocks which real life and real experiences deal to human beings and their expectations. The force possessed by totalitarian propaganda—before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to prevent anyone’s disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome quiet of an entirely imaginary world—lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world. The only signs which the real world still offers to the understanding of the unintegrated and disintegrating masses— whom every new stroke of ill luck makes more gullible—are, so to speak, its lacunae, the questions it does not care to discuss publicly, or the rumors it does not dare to contradict because they hit, although in an exaggerated and deformed way, some sore spot.
–Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
If you have not read this book, this is an excellent time to read it. It has important insights not only on the workings of terror and totalitarianism–as above–but on the horrors of the plight of refugees in the modern world.
Heather Havrilesky, who writes the fabulous “Ask Polly” columns at NYMag, interviews Winona Ryder and discusses the pathologization of female emotion.
Even if the phrase “fag hag” is so 1999, you won’t care while you’re reading this absurdist ranking of the Top 10 Fag Hags of Henry James. (via LA Review of Books)
As, it seems, always, McSweeney’s lit crit is killing it: Quiz: Are you an unlikable female narrator?
Idiocracy director tells The Daily Beast why his movie has become a documentary.
Freud has a field day as the “subtle” metaphors of the James Bond credits are revealed (via Slashfilm).
What with Hillary Clinton’s perceived “white feminism,” the public reaction to the Bill Cosby rape allegations, and even the Black Lives Matter movement to a certain extent, the intersection between different oppressions is at the forefront of social justice, and not always in a positive way. Hillary Clinton’s election to the White House would be an unqualified win for white, privileged women in the US, while people of color and non-Americans might disproportionately suffer from her more illiberal views on economics, foreign policy, and national security. Similarly, those who called Bill Cosby’s victims attention-seekers were being misogynistic, but many of them were partially reacting to a long and painful history of black men being falsely accused of violating white women. And while Cosby 100% deserved to be publicly shamed and ostracized for raping dozens of women, did he deserve it more than Roman Polanski, or even Woody Allen, both of whom still have relatively thriving careers?
A year ago, I wouldn’t have believed that a Lifetime show would be one of the boldest and most nuanced explorations of these complex (and emotionally fraught) political issues in popular culture right now–but it is. UnREAL has always been a feminist show, which has become all the more explicit in its second season, but now, with the addition of the first black suitor, it’s also tackling racial inequality. And even better, it’s showing us the ways in which feminism and anti-racism interact, and often appear to be incompatible with each other. Continue reading →
The third episode of Braindead continued to be enjoyable due to the show’s zany mix of horror and satire, despite some gaping plot holes. Read on for a recap and a brief review!
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We have SINGING PREVIOUSLIES!!! A male voice (which I hoped was Aaron Tveit’s but, tragically, is not) narrates everything that happened last week: the mysterious meteor, the space bugs, the brains, Laurel’s sad documentary, Luke’s job, Laurel’s job, Gareth’s job, Senator Weenus’s job, the government shutdown, Luke’s affair, Scarlett’s “space bug problem,” and the good doctor’s exploding brain. It’s pretty damn catchy too.
Laurel’s listening to pundits discuss the shutdown and trying to spray the ants that are parading in a column right towards her feet. They do not give one shit about the spray, so she stomps on a couple of them with her hipster-masquerading-as-professional-lady clunky boots, and then runs out the door. The camera gets way too close to the ants, who seem to be nudging each other and possibly reanimating. Yikes. OK so it’s been like a day, and already these things are ALL OVER D.C. and in Laurel’s actual apartment. Realistically, does Laurel have a chance of surviving the season with her brain intact? Things are moving way too quickly here.
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The third season finale of The Americans, aptly titled “March 8, 1983,” ends with a quietly seething Elizabeth watching Reagan’s famed “Evil Empire” speech, which took a hard line against the Soviet Union’s nuclear missile installation and almost single-handedly escalated the Cold War. The episode included only a few of the most recognizable lines, ending on the fear-mongering mic drop: “…they are the focus of evil in the modern world.” But when reading the speech in full, it becomes clear that the meaning of its inclusion is multi-layered, as it precisely reflects the ideological conflict–and implicit critique of American culture–that is central to the show.
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