The roots of leftist infighting and the path towards healing.

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Photo by Nicole Baster on Unsplash

Recently, there was a heated disagreement in leftist spaces over how to vote for the Speaker of the House. Some leftists wanted leaders such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to threaten to withhold votes from incumbent Nancy Pelosi unless she promised to hold a vote on Medicare for All legislation during the 2021 calendar year.

AOC disagreed with this strategy for a variety of reasons we are not going to be going over here (read Paul Blest’s A Medicare for All Vote Isn’t Worth the Risk as well as Briahna Joy Gray’s The Case for Forcing a Floor Vote on Medicare for All to inform yourself on the pros and cons). She instead voted to affirm Nancy Pelosi’s Speakership, and that earned her a lot of criticism. While some of that criticism was tame, other remarks were far more pointed. “AOC just voted 4 Pelosi as Speaker without getting anything in return… She is not our friend, just another corrupt politician,” tweeted one user. …


The creator of Glee and American Horror Story’s problem with centering awful characters

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(Source: The Decider)

When you think of the word prolific, filmmaker Ryan Murphy is probably not the first person who immediately comes to mind. He likes to discuss how he arrived in Hollywood from Indiana with just $55 dollars in his pocket. With over a dozen shows and movies under his belt and a lucrative deal with Netflix, prolific is exactly what he has become.

The creator of American Horror Story (2011 — present) and Glee (2009–2015) is known for making campy, over-the-top works with a distinctive flair. You can recognize the hallmarks of a Murphy production before his name ever appears on screen: his characters have larger-than-life dialogue; his costumes and set designs have dazzling palettes; his characters’ motivations and desires are all intense as they claw their way to fame, mayhem, and maybe even a little murder. …


The Galaxy Far Far Away set the bar too high for evil.

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Photo by Tommy van Kessel 🤙 on Unsplash

At the core of the decades-spanning space opera Star Wars, sits a cosmic battle between the Light and the Dark Side of the force, the latter of which is led by the evil Sith who have terrorized the galaxy in their pursuit of total conquest.

Sith like Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and Kylo Ren have captivated the popular imagination as ciphers for absolute evil. …


Tech’s obsession with leaving the Earth behind and conquering the stars

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Photo by Nicolas Lobos on Unsplash

When the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, gave his final state of the union address before Congress, he invoked the spirit of the frontier to describe his desire to push America into space. He told them: “In reaffirming our heritage as a free nation, we must remember that America has always been a frontier nation. Now we must embrace the next frontier: America’s manifest destiny in the stars.”

Manifest destiny has always been a loaded term. It was initially used to describe the belief that America had a right to expand westward — the rights of the people who already lived there be damned. …


Online influencers who cashed in on people’s fear and desperation

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Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

When the pandemic hit America in March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to assist the millions of Americans and businesses facing hardships due to the ensuing recession. The law, among other things, set aside grant money for small businesses, temporarily increased unemployment benefits, as well as distributed a one-time stimulus check of $1,200 to all Americans earning under $75,000 a year.

Since the passage of the CARES act, no new major relief has come on the federal level. It’s become a meme at this point for commentators to remark that Americans were only left with less than $5 a day to get through both a recession and a pandemic (that figure comes from $1,200 divided by the number of days since March 27th, 2020). People are desperate. …


Gamers’ hell today might be shoppers’ nightmare tomorrow

A game boy controler with the words “play has no limits” written over it
A game boy controler with the words “play has no limits” written over it
Photo by Just Jack on Unsplash

Sony’s PlayStation 5 hit stores on November 12, 2020, and yet many customers have struggled to obtain a console for themselves. Retailers across the planet have been releasing steady opportunities for customers to purchase one. Still, despite this steady trickle of supply, consumers have experienced by crashing home pages, glitched carts, and in some cases, long nights in line during the height of a pandemic.

Part of this delay has to do with the novelty of the situation. A new console has only been released roughly every seven years, with the PlayStation 4 first dropping in the US on November 15, 2013. The coronavirus pandemic created a time where many people are stuck at home wanting something to do, leading to a massive demand for the console. …


The Twitter handle that blew up & the company that ignored it.

‘Evil Paddington’
‘Evil Paddington’
Source: Digital Spy, edited by author

“oh btw pay no mind to that person in my basement. i took care of them,” tweeted out Evil Paddington on November 23, 2020. In another tweet, they would later clarify that by took care of, they meant murder.

The account, which is run by actress Kelsie K. Fisher, tweeted out dozens of similar comments, many of which earned tens of thousands of likes in a matter of hours. This humorous bit may seem like some harmless fun (and it is). …


Just a click to the left and the queer classic unravels

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Photo by Justin Campbell on Unsplash

I first saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) in high school as a closeted queer. I did so at the dead of night on the family computer. It was one of those films I would secretly watch over and over again. I loved it all — the outfits, the songs, the red lipstick. I was enamored with the villain Dr. Frank-N-Furter (played by Tim Curry) as they terrorized a suburban straight, white couple out of their heterosexuality. It was a powerful experience for me, one of many on my gradual road towards recognizing my own gender dysphoria.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is not so much a movie as it is a phenomenon. The campy science fiction musical has been a facet of queer culture since the late 1970s. The movie and the play, the latter of which is referred to as The Rocky Horror Show, have had a deep impact on pop culture. The movie has enjoyed repeated midnight showing for over forty years, and unlike a lot of cult classics, it is one surrounded by audience participation and ritual. …


The art of loving problematic things.

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Photo by Rhii Photography on Unsplash

For years, I have watched the 2007 film Stardust about a man named Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox) and his fantastical journey to retrieve a fallen star and give it to a woman in his village named Victoria (Sienna Miller). The movie was something I repeatedly watched during some of the darkest moments of my life. In high school or college, whenever I would have a particularly bad day, I would put on Stardust and get whisked away to the kingdom of Stormhold.

Stardust is a work I nostalgically love, but it has also aged terribly. The film doesn’t treat the women in it particularly well. Victoria is portrayed negatively as a woman who is simply “using” Tristan for his possessions. The shooting star, which in the land of Stormhold turns into a woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes), is chained up by Tristan. He still intends to bring her to his love Victoria as an object even though Yvaine clearly has sentience. Stardust also has a cross-dressing character named Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro), who I have begun to perceive less humorously as I have acknowledged my own gender dysphoria. …

About

Alex Mell-Taylor

I write about pop culture, politics, and every in between.

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