11/6/18: It’s Election Day in the US

 

four people holding green check signs standing on the field photography
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com 

Let’s Get Out the Vote, Kids!

Voting matters, but, like vaccinations, it only matters if a lot of us participate. This is your chance to affect public policy at every level of government. The votes you cast for candidates at each level will affect your life directly, from the funding of the schools in your neighborhood to the attitudes of the police officers who patrol your city streets, from the amount of college tuition and student loan debt future students will have to live with to women’s right to bodily autonomy in reproductive and sexual issues. These decisions aren’t just made at one level. They are made and carried out by elected and appointed officials and public servants from the town and city level right up to the presidency and the supreme court.

We only vote once a year, and collectively, we can make a huge difference. So if you haven’t voted yet, please get out there!

If you don’t feel informed enough to vote, the League of Women Voters create fantastic, unbiased, succinct local guides at Vote411.org. Enter your address, and they’ll show you your polling place, the races on your ballot, and side-by-side comparisons of the candidates’ positions. Then you can print out a “ballot” with your choices as a reminder to take with you to the polls.

A little inspiration:

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It Can’t Happen Here: Unless It’s Aliens or Has Orange Hair (Audio)/ Or Maybe It Can

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Update 10/28/18: This seems like a good day to repost this audio, based on Sinclair Lewis’ brilliant, prophetic novel that warns against how easily fascism and white supremacism can overcome a country when people fail to take action against it quickly enough. Violence is on the rise against anyone who doesn’t fit the current concept of the master race, and the policies of the president of the United States encourage the violence and separatism. This is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Please make sure you vote in this election cycle.


On October 24, 2016, 2 weeks before Election Day, we both attended a local staged reading of the play It Can’t Happen Here, based on the 1936 novel by Sinclair Lewis. The novel, and the play, describe the rise and rule of a charismatic, dogmatic, conservative politician who is eventually elected president. He promises a return to traditional values, but reneges on his promises soon after he takes office, turning the country into a totalitarian regime within a period of a few months. Anyone who doesn’t offer complete, unquestioning loyalty to the new regime is imprisoned or executed.

This may sound like a drastic scenario, something that “can’t happen here,” but Lewis wrote the novel originally because he was watching this very thing happen in Nazi Germany at the time. The original stage adaptation was created the following year. The original 1983 TV miniseries about an alien invasion,V, was also based on It Can’t Happen Here (and the later reboot series). V’s creator, Kenneth Johnson, was inspired by Lewis’ work, but the network executives at NBC thought the story would be more interesting if the American fascists from the book were turned into aliens for TV.

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Samantha Bee Calls Ivanka Trump Sexist Profanity, Spends the Next Day Dealing with the Repercussions

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On her Wednesday, 5/30/18 episode of the TBS show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Ms. Bee aired a story about the recent immigration issues concerning the separation of children from their parents. During the story, she showed a tweet from Ivanka Trump that included a photo of Trump with her son and called Trump “a feckless c**t”.
The segment was quickly met with harsh criticism from many sources, with some, including Donald Trump, calling for her show’s cancellation. Samantha Bee and TBS apologized for her choice of language. She spent the next day dealing with the fallout from the incident. But by last night, she was complaining that she’d had to waste time on sexism instead of focusing on immigration.
Samantha Bee, maybe next time don’t use vile, misogynist language to make your point, if you want to keep the focus on the issue you intended. I don’t care who the woman or man in question is, that word should never be used because of its implication that female body parts, and women themselves, equal something disgusting. And your implication that the abuse of women isn’t as important as racism is revolting.

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Movie Review: The Post

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The Post * 2017 * Rated PG-13 * 1 Hour 56 Minutes

😸😸😸😸😸 Rated 5/5 Happy lap cats

I was a kid when the Vietnam War and the Pentagon Papers were big news, and in junior high school when the Watergate scandal seemed to go on forever. As an adult, I understand the importance of these events, but, as they were happening, they bored me to tears. At a time when our entertainment options were limited, the struggles of the Nixon administration took over the airwaves for years.

So I don’t seek out movies like The Post. However, silly me, I married a political junkie, and Mr Metawitches loves a political thriller or a political history film. This review will be heavy on his insight, since this is his genre. Given all of that, it’s impressive that The Post kept me engrossed for the entire movie, with its perfectly timed pacing, snappy dialogue, and enough intrigue to turn the story into a political thriller.

The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, follows the story of the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 by The NY Times and The Washington Post. The Pentagon Papers, top secret documents which exposed the futile nature of the US involvement in the Vietnam War, and the lies that were told over the course of various presidential administrations to cover this up, had been leaked to both newspapers by Daniel Ellsberg, who had worked on the study and had access to the finished product.

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Movie Review: Mudbound

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Mudbound * 2017 * Rated R * 2 Hours 15 Minutes

😸😸😸😸😸 Rated 5/5 happy lap cats

Spoiler Free:

Mudbound is a family saga of life in the 1940s Mississippi Delta for two farming families. One family is made up of hereditary black sharecroppers descended from former slaves. The other is a white family of former landowners and slaveowners who’ve fallen on hard times. They’ve bought land in Mississippi hoping to reestablish their wealth. The families become intertwined as their lives intersect and affect each other over the years, until a tragedy changes everything.

Mudbound was directed by Dee Rees, who also wrote the script with Virgil Williams, adapted from the book of the same name by Hillary Jordan. It’s been nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Original Song for Mighty River, sung over the closing credits by Mary J Blige; Best Supporting Actress for Mary J Blige, who plays Florence Jackson, wife and mother of the Jackson family; and Best Cinematography for Rachel Morrison, the first woman to ever be nominated for this award.

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Metawitches Guidelines for Spotting Misogyny vs Female Equality in Entertainment and Media

This is the basic list of questions we ask ourselves while consuming media to help us determine if we’re seeing women being treated fairly or not. It’s not a yes or no checklist, or an easy, one sentence test, like the Bechdel test. But then, Alison Bechdel never meant for her test to become a widely used standardized instrument. This test requires some thinking about what you’re viewing. Misogyny is often subtle, and it’s pervasive. It’s easy to miss with one, casual viewing, but the message still gets into our heads and affects us.

That’s why these are guidelines, rather than a test. Some of these answers will be subjective, and reasonable people can disagree. We’re talking about art and the interpretation of art, after all. It also takes practice to start seeing things like camera angles and positioning, rather than letting it fly by. Hardly any of us can always spot gaslighting, especially when it’s being done by the writers and producers instead of the characters. These guidelines are just aspects of entertainment to keep in mind while viewing, to become more aware of what you’re seeing.

I (Metacrone) started working on this list in the late 80s, and it’s slowly grown. It’s still a work in progress, just like the entertainment industry. There are very few works that would pass every question with flying colors. Figure out how much you can live with watching, and the level that makes you take action. It’s okay to just watch and enjoy the show sometimes without feeling guilty, too. But, the more you can recognize the issues with entertainment and speak out, even if it’s only to one person, the more of an effect we all have on the entertainment industry.

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Movie Review: Wind River

 

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Wind River * 2017 * Rated R * 1 Hour 47 Minutes

😸😸😸😸🌑 Rated 4/5 Happy lap cats, with some reservations

I have very mixed feelings about Wind River. On the one hand, it’s beautifully made, starring a talented group of some of my favorite actors, and tells a compelling story. On the other hand, the story is about the epidemic of sexual assault and violence against Native American women, yet the voices of these women are hardly heard. The story is told from an overwhelmingly male point of view, and the two main characters are white.

Wind River takes place on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Jeremy Renner plays Cory Lambert, a US Fish and Wildlife Service hunter and tracker who works on the reservation. His ex-wife, with whom he has a son, is a Native American from the reservation. They also had a teenage daughter who died mysteriously three years prior to the movie.

As he’s hunting a mountain lion that’s teaching her cubs to hunt livestock, Cory tracks bloody human footprints in the snow to the body of 18 year old Native American woman Natalie Hanson. Natalie was the best friend of Cory’s daughter Emily, so he recognizes the body, and reports her death to the tribal police, headed by Graham Greene as Ben.

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