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Vote for Joe Biden & Kamala Harris

I clearly remember the November day four years ago, waiting in a line stretching around the block to vote for what would/should have been the first woman President of the United States. Very late that evening, we sat at home weeping in front of the television.

I know it amuses Trump supporters to picture “libs” being “triggered”, to use their lingo. U mad? Yes, I mad. But if Biden & Harris win this election, I do not wish for Trump supporters to weep. I hope against hope that as a competent, compassionate administration takes over and begins to undo the damage of the past several years, that Trump’s supporters will slowly notice their lives improving, and perhaps they may come to reflect on their mistake.

My wife & I are of course among the most lucky and privileged. We wish we could visit family without fearing we will sicken them, but we have not been too directly affected by the Trump administration’s actions or inactions. We had no children taken from us, we did not get sick or lose our jobs during this mismanaged pandemic, we probably won’t immediately lose our healthcare if the corrupted Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act, and we were not beaten or teargassed. But we could literally see and hear some of these things outside our windows, and it pains me to know that our friends and neighbors are hurting. It’s all the more appalling that this administration’s many crimes were cynically disguised in false patriotism and christianity.

In my thoughts today are the state where I grew up, Pennsylvania, where the Trump campaign and administration (for they are the same thing) say they will sue to stop the vote count. The state where I went to school, North Carolina, where police teargassed voters on their way to the polls. And my now-home state of 24 years, New York, which created the disgusting parasitic charlatan that has destroyed our international standing, solicited bribes from his properties, orphaned migrant children, rejected science & expertise, mismanaged a pandemic, is a credibly accused rapist, and… I could go on but we all know who he is.

Please vote for Joe Biden & Kamala Harris. Perhaps your life doesn’t depend on it, but many others do.

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2 Stars Movies

The Hunt is weak tea, at a time that calls for strong coffee

I watched Craig Zobel’s The Hunt mostly out of curiosity, to see what the red hats were so worked up about. Turns out it is not what the American fascists assumed, but neither is it otherwise. There is potential for satire somewhere in the premise, but it’s too confused and unfocused to be anything other than just more both-sides-ism. Besides, Kevin Smith already covered similar territory in 2011 with Red State.

The Hunt‘s gentle caricature of Trumpism is weak tea, at a time that calls for strong coffee. The movie seems more interested in taking shots against political correctness — a pitifully tired target in 2020. Does anyone find it funny anymore that it’s polite to try to refer to people as they identify, and not how someone else identifies them? This is especially infuriating when Trumpism is currently leading to police rioting in the streets, government inaction while a pandemic is killing thousands, a resurgence of overt racism, and eager submission to authoritarianism. But no, let’s make jokes about how libtards like NPR, har har.

The Hunt seems to equate liberalism with wealth, which looks just plain retrograde at a time when Americans are marching in the streets for equality and to please not to be murdered by Officer Friendly. If I were to stretch and strain to give this movie more credit that it deserves, perhaps the point is to frame America’s current divisions as primarily class driven, with ideology as performative cloaking. But I doubt it’s being that clever.

Also, I must say the shared DNA with Donnie Darko was unexpected, and Hillary Swank and Betty Gilpin are superstars that deserve better showcases than this.

Categories
4 Stars Movies

The Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsberg champions intelligence and equality in the documentary ‘RBG’

One of the greatest living Americans. If anyone deserves to be lionized in a feature-length hagiography, it’s The Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

In these dark times, it’s heartening to see this unapologetic celebration of one woman’s lifelong championship of American values like fairness, justice, and equality. Glimpses of her personal life prove she also lived by these values, especially in how she plowed a pioneering course through formerly male-only spaces like Harvard law school, and how she and husband Marty modeled a successful marriage of equals.

But an obvious but unspoken dark subcurrent runs through Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s documentary: Ginsberg is not getting any younger, and it’s unbearably terrifying to contemplate American life without her. She was instrumental in many of the anti-discrimination rulings that protect Americans today, against the powerful so-called “conservative” forces that expressly believe that Americans are not equal, that women should be paid less than men and excluded from male spaces, and that non-white people should not vote. The film makes the point that she was not long ago considered a moderate, but the rise of far-right forces have recast her relatively straightforward moderation as leftism.

After West and Cohen’s film rests its case, the dissenting opinion is delivered by Professor Helen Alvaré of the Scalia Law School. Try not to puke as you sit through the staggering hypocrisy of someone associated with one of the most notorious right-wing ideologues in recent American history, voice the surface-level, rational-sounding criticism that a Supreme Court Justice should not voice personal political opinions.

In ordinary times, with ordinary politicians, I might agree that justices ought to tread lightly in the public forum. But these are not ordinary times, and Trump is not an ordinary politician. Alvaré’s argument boils down to: liberals should not enjoy the same freedom of speech as the rich and powerful. Today, with predatory nationalists and criminals sullying the White House and dominating Congress, I counterargue: anyone who does not have open antipathy for the Trump Administration is either ignorant or somehow profiting.

In a national climate that elevates uninformed opinion over knowledge and expertise, we need this celebration of raw, burning intelligence. The serious, reserved Ginsberg is now endearingly pleased to find herself a pop-culture icon and inspiration to young people, but especially to young women. More like her, please.

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