• glorbes

    Goddammit people, I need to know what we all watched last night!

    • Drunk Napoleon

      The Shield, Season Three, Part Two
      “Sure thing Nero.”
      “Nero was Roman.”
      “Sure thing, Zeus.”

      The Cuddler Rapist interrogation episode is the show taking an opportunity to articulate an underlying truth – who cares about underlying psychology and history? The C.R. rejects every attempt to fit him into a type or word, and his final rejection of Dutch is ambiguous enough to read as Dutch getting either way too close or completely missing the mark. I prefer to interpret the episode as Dutch learning people are just irrational.

      “You don’t dry-clean Oriental rugs!”

      Me and Ruck agreed on Twitter that Margos is closer to Omar than Armadillo.

      “You will learn the things I know, Juan. The things I can do.”

      I noticed yet another flaw with TT that Shield avoids the longer it goes. When Shield gets going, every action (or at least every action Vic takes) affects not just him, but the people around him. In my story, the consequences were mostly limited to each sphere of influence until they suddenly, violently collided. The Shield’s dramatic players constantly affect each other, which ups the tension.

      “You sure you know what you’re doing?
      “I know what I want.”
      “Just don’t make the same mistakes I did.”

      Brought up Ronnie Gardocki with a friend who’s never even heard of The Shield and she described David Rees Snell as “a bit :heart eyes: :ok hand sign: :splashing sweat symbol: “. I absolutely love his performance, neither doing nothing nor drawing attention to himself – which like a lot of things on this shows shifts from functional to sublime.

      “Come on, you see it! Pick it up you Irish prick!”

      Tarantino gets a lot of shit for making revenge stories, but as Aceveda shows, it’s a hugely dramatic motivation. We know exactly the origin of a person’s actions and it keeps them moving forward.

      • ZoeZ

        In my back pocket for years has been the desire that someone near me will suggest dry-cleaning an Oriental rug just so I can draw on the magnificence of Ronnie’s aghast tone here. (Also, My Highly Important Critical Judgment is Bearded Ronnie > Clean-Shaven Ronnie > Mustache Ronnie, but that Bearded Ronnie is so “heart eyes: ok hand sign: splashing sweat symbol” that he retroactively makes Mustache Ronnie hotter.)

        I’m with you on the CR interrogation, and I think it’s also interesting as a way of showing that Dutch has the tools to get close enough to catch these guys even if he can’t “become” them in some idealized profiling trick. It’s something more realistic and grounded that he can’t quite get into the right head-space here, however much he wants to.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          The writers seemed to have a lot of fun assigning Ronnie almost random traits with off-hand lines like that and I love it. 100% agreed on the Ronnie Ranking – he sits in that gay uncanny valley of “Do I want to be you or do you?” once he grows the beard.

          I like that, and I like the idea that the CR is him finally realising that. The end of season three has him back on Vic’s shitlist, and while I still need to get through season four, I vaguely remember him taking it slightly better than last time because he recognises himself better.

    • glorbes

      Season 4 ends on a delightfully stylish, creepy, and amusing note.

      Season 5 begins on what can best be described as a goofy, trope-laden Hammer homage. It was a light and puffy episode, and not the show’s finest hour, but it made me chuckle throughout. Xander eating bugs was definitely a highlight.

      • glorbes

        Also, has Buffy’s sister EVER been mentioned before? Is this like Patrick Duffy’s return to Dallas or something?

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          You’ll see….also you may come to hate Dawn.

          • clytie

            I liked her, but I also didn’t watch a ton of Buffy.

        • clytie

          Faith makes a remark about like, “Little sister coming soon.”

          • glorbes

            Ahhhhh…..

          • “Little sister wearing big sister’s clothes, counting down from seven-three-oh.” That’s the end of season three,which means it’s 730 days–two years–until Buffy dies.Also in “Restless,”Buffy sees a clock at 7:30 and Tara sez “oh no. It’s much later than that.”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        How appropriate for Buffy that Dracula is powerful but also just pretentious and puffed up.

        • glorbes

          It’s pretty great how poser-like and Eurotrash he was.

        • “I’m right here.”

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Didn’t have much time to watch anything except an episode of AD, S03E08, as I had to edit a horror zine for some extra cash (I edit writing! Tell your friends!). One thing I’ve worked out is that black metal fans really shouldn’t write horror – they’re way way too into their own pretensions.

    • 2010 – as belated sequels to beloved masterpieces go, this was… pretty great? It probably helps that I’m not the biggest 2001 fan (I admire the hell out of it, but it’s not a personal favourite) but I really enjoyed this. It continues the story in an interesting way, has a great cast and some wonderful FX work that mostly lives up to the original and the ending is somewhat corny but in that sci-fi full-of-hope way I can’t help find irresistible.

      • glorbes

        I hate the ending, and the “explanation” for Hal’s behaviour in 2001, but love everything else. The cast is amazing.

        • The only thing that bugged me was quite how much they hammer the “full of stars” line early on. Yes, we remember!

          The HAL explanation worked fine for me but I can understand why the ending isn’t for everyone. I think there’s something slightly broken in my brain but I want basically all stories to end like that. Especially real life.

          • glorbes

            I wish real life stories ended like that too. We could all use abrupt, overly sentimental endings more often.

          • The Ploughman

            I wonder if pushing that line in the intro is it’s way of distancing itself from the Kubrick film and aligning more with the novel? The line doesn’t actually happen in the movie, just the book.

            Then again, most everything else is the second half is evocative of the movie.

          • Huh. It’s been a while since I’ve seen 2001 – long enough that I really appreciated the “previously, on a Space Odyssey…” introduction. Looks like I was working from some imagined memories there. You got me, Peter Hyams!

          • The Ploughman

            It’s the “Play it again, Sam” of 2001.

          • One of the things Hyams had to do–and right away, for the movie he was making–wasn’t so much to evoke 2001 as to explain it. If you’re making a conventional sequel (which 2010 is, and that’s not a problem with it), you have to establish what the precise fuck happened in the original, which 2001 didn’t do.

      • Defense Against The Dark Arts

        When it became 2010 (the year, not the movie) when someone would wish me a happy new year I would say, “It’s the year we make contact.” No one ever knew what I was talking about.

        • The Ploughman

          I see a string of harassment suits.

          • Defense Against The Dark Arts

            Oh, I forgot to mention I’m Bill O’Reilly.

          • In true Harry Potter fashion, the DADA teacher turns out to be a practitioner.

    • ZoeZ

      The pilot of The Leftovers, which impressed me: it starts off looking like a typical HBO show where the characters are spread out and the focus is on the milieu and then slowly reveals that we’re actually looking at a more closely-knit story. Some snappy lines and an appealing sense of foreboding and the depth of the strangeness of the world–not just the Departure, but the wrecked kitchen and the uncanny Guilty Remnant. Also, Kevin is the law enforcement officer most haunted by stags since Will Graham, but in a more down-to-earth way. I’m very intrigued.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        “They’re not our dogs anymore” is so poetic and simple a way to end a pilot (Peter Berg did a good job directing here though Mimi Leder is a big improvement in season two). This is not the old world anymore, and Kevin’s weeping face seems to recognize that in the final seconds.

        • ZoeZ

          It’s a great, almost prophetic moment, especially with the man asking if Kevin has a gun and then saying that if he does, what is he waiting for? It’s elegant and subtle, and it’s still promising “shit is going to hit the fan in a very real way” (especially when coupled with the dream about it being “time to wake up”).

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Like Lost The Leftovers courts enigma but its also more dreamlike and surrounded by a veil of grief. The characters are very aware of what had been and the purgatory they’re trapped in now.

    • The Ploughman

      Newtown, the documentary on the Sandy Hook massacre. Had to watch it in fits and spurts, checking on my sleeping kids throughout. The film chronicles unimaginable grief more than political fallout – or lack thereof. It’s hard not to share the frustration of the characters at the lack of response by congress afterward. I feel like in the past there would have been something done. Would slightly tighter background checks or a limit on automatic ammunition been so difficult? I’m not big on empty gestures but they couldn’t even muster up one of these? Even with general support of some measure of extra checks nationwide?

      More than anything to do with just the gun control debate, or mental health issues, I feel like the real historical significance of Sandy Hook will be as a marker of the moment when congress as a body decided they no longer cared about even appearing to be concerned about the needs and wants of some sections of society. And since there was no particular consequence during elections, why would they?

      What We Do in the Shadows, wherein the concept with the least promise – a mockumentary about vampires – is given to pros and made into something entertaining. I think what I liked best, aside from these dudes just plain being funny, is its commitment to vampire myth and tradition – “Augh! Crucifix! Crucifix!” – and riffing on these tropes without becoming a parody of any particular film.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I love What We Do In The Shadows as much as the vampires love Stu.

      • Babalugats

        The thing that I find most frustrating with the political fall out of Sandyhook isn’t the lack of progress on gun control (that’s been a non starter for a few decades now) but that when the Republicans were finally willing to come to the table on mental health care the Democrats threw it back in their faces because they’d rather make the other team look bad than actually accomplish anything. American politics is two men in one canoe trying to drown each other.

        Also agree on What We Do In The Shadows. Taking the mythology to its absolute extreme is always funnier than undercutting it.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Do you have a link on the mental health care thing?

          • Babalugats

            No. Am I miss informed? I remember some Republicans talking about how we need better mental health care, and then some Democrats saying Republicans don’t care about dead kids, and then we didn’t get any new mental hospitals.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Probably not but once my Democrat friend was ranting about Castro raping thousands of women and realized it was right wing nonsense (not that I like Castro), I want sources for *everything*!

          • Babalugats

            Definitely a wise policy

          • I don’t have a specific link yet, but I think what @disqus_Pvn3kEV3Sl:disqus is referring to is the way that recently, Republicans have had a habit of saying that mass shootings are the result of poor mental healthcare, while Democrats usually counter by accusing the Republicans of only appropriating the mental health conversation to avoid any action regarding gun control (likely, given the Republican response to mental health in non-shooter scenarios).

          • Matt Baume, a noted Seattle hipster, early HRC supporter, Bernie Basher (in the primaries), and Dan Savage mouthpiece, wrote this article in 2015 saying that the GOP only talked about mental health after mass shootings to deflect from gun control…as he is deflecting from mental health to focus on gun control.

        • The Ploughman

          Again, I can’t tell if it’s positive that empty gestures have gone the way of the past. I wouldn’t have said so years ago, but now I see the value anything at least represents a common ground stance that what occurred is a problem that needs to be addressed. If we look at the official record (nice thoughts for the victims on twitter don’t even register as high as “empty” in my mind), the federal government’s position was: “Nah, not a problem.”

          The Orlando nightclub shooting was another baffling example. How about we restrict automatic weapons access for people on terrorist watchlists? Shouldn’t this scratch an itch for everybody (gun control / anti-terrorism measures)? Apparently it’s not a victory if the other side gets anything at all. And if there’s one thing people value more than the safety of their families, it’s whether a political party thinks of themselves as winners.

          No doubt some gun control measures would be useless but so are some anti-burglary laws. Some of it is about setting an expectation for society.

    • I watched the Democrats disintegrate last night. I’m not just talking about Jon Ossoff, a wishy-washy party-line candidate who barely moved the needle past Hillary’s 2016 support.* I’m went to a meeting of my District’s Democratic Party.

      The whole meeting opened up with a bunch of candidates making pleas for our vote. In the mayor’s race, there were two Democrats, our current mayor, Ed Murray (a party hardliner who has failed at police reform, affordable housing, and increased property taxes where poor homeowners are moving out or losing their home), and our last Mayor Mike McGinn (a more left-leaning mayor who had a penchant for picking fights and getting stupid things accomplished). And then there was Nikkita Oliver, who runs with the newly formed Seattle People’s Party as the BLM candidate, correctly pointing out that Seattle’s housing crisis has roots in McGinn’s administration and continued in Murray’s. But, she didn’t announce any solid plans or wish lists yet. And then there was the city-wide council race where, after being screwed over in the last election by the Democrats in favor of the incumbent, Jon Grant (an ultra lefty who was part of the Tenent’s Union and is running on an affordable housing and progressive taxation platform) is now running with the Democratic Socialists. Note that this is also a district that is seriously hurting because Kshama Sawant won the district-locked city council seat twice, and she runs with the Socialist Alternative Party. In other words, the district Democrats are risking losing their influence as the party’s base breaks up over the lackluster D-backed candidates (aka #DemExit). The Precinct Officers (PCOs) (aka: the Boots-On-The-Ground Get-Out-The-Vote soldiers) have noticed this and are trying to figure out ways to stem the flood. One way they devised was to allow the Democrats to endorse non-Democrats in “non-Partisan” races, which are, supposedly, anything below the state level. But, as I’ve illustrated, these are still very partisan candidates who declare parties anyways. Only PCOs could vote and the rule change won a majority but not the 2/3 needed to change the rule.

      This district’s Democratic Party members are trying very hard to push an ultra liberal agenda. They’re trying to change our tax structure from The Most Regressive In The Country (bottom bracket pays over 18% while the top bracket pays less than 6%, mainly thanks to no income tax) to a more progressive one. They’re trying to push for single layer health care. They’re sending resolutions to our congresscritters and council members supporting both. But, the Pols are very stubborn, more conservative and hard to push. It’s frustrating watching the Democratic Party shed members so easily kept because of centrist favorites as favored by the Party Leadership.

      TL;DR: That’s how I spent my evening. Wishing the left could unite for more victories but watching the “leftist” national brand name crumble under its own weight and it can’t even tell why.

      *Before you say but Tom Price won by 20 points, consider that the topmost search for his Democratic opponent Rodney Stooksbury is a blog wondering who who Rodney Stooksbury is and that, according to Open Secrets said Rodney’s “campaign” spent literally $0 in the general but still managed to scare up over 30% of the vote.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Could I quote this to someone? He’s convinced the Democratic leadership is doing better and while I understand his enthusiasm, I don’t think he’s hearing the same things I am.

        • Sure. I don’t say things in public for my own amusement.

          ETA: well, I do. But I prefer making it a conversation.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Also yeah, I could see things in general in the next elections not going well for either party? It could swing one way or the other but people are just fucking fed up.

      • The Ploughman

        A friend recently enthused to me that the turmoil over Trump’s election guaranteed low turnout for Republicans in the future. I think he’s correct, meaning more victories for unpopular Republican candidates over seven squabbling flavors of progressivism.

        • I was ruminating on how we have two distinct socialist parties – the DSA is a capitalist-friendly form while the Socialist Alternative is a hardline Marxist cult – and a BLM candidate (the Seattle People’s Party is a white-friendly name for Black Lives Matter in a heavily white city). And how these people all stand for almost identical goals. If they all united under a single front, so much more could be done. And if that front had state-wide or national candidates, it would be better. The Dems could easily snatch up and utilize these candidates to restore their voter base, but I don’t see that happening.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I went to a Socialist Alternative meeting as a freshman before deciding that Trotskyism sounded like nonsense – I haven’t been to a DSA meeting though what I’ve heard sounds pretty okay (I’m an anarchist who’d happily settle for democratic hard socialism).

          • I was sitting in a cafe, and the two guys next to me were having a SA exam where the guy had to go over all the literature they gave him and report back. It’s like I was watching a Mormon learn how to sell their bible. Apparently, that’s just to become a member.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            That happened to me – I don’t think I even read all of it, but then this is where I’m a terrible activist (oh god I have to go to MEETINGS?)

          • I don’t mind the meetings. I do mind the brainwashing.

      • I fully expect the Dems to run on “We’re Not Trump” in 2018 & 2020, without offering serious pushes to improve their agenda, and still lose.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          My liberal friend is really mad at people who didn’t vote, but jesus its not like the alternative had an amazing platform either.

          • The Ploughman

            After (barely) enough people turned out to vote to make our current situation, I’m seriously rethinking the wisdom of “everybody should vote.”

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            It was insanely small, like 19 percent. Thats a very small percentage of people.

          • The Ploughman

            19% more than I would have thought a year ago.

          • The Ploughman

            Wait, no that would be 100% more than I thought. Shit. Politics and math. I’m out. I fold.

          • Babalugats

            People like to assume that everybody who didn’t vote would have voted for their candidate. I think more people swallowed their conscience to vote for Trump than for Clinton, and I’m not so sure higher turnout would have made a difference. I don’t think adding more uninterested, uninformed voters to an already under informed electorate is going to solve anything. And if you want more votes, you need to go out and get them. You need to offer people something. And if you keep giving your vote to candidates who don’t offer you anything, then they’re never going to just spontaneously start catering to your needs. An election is a transaction, and you get what you bought and nothing more.

            I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked people why they voted for Trump and they’ve said something totally reasonable that is in no way related to Trump’s policy. The worst is a woman I know who spent the last eight years telling me that Obama wasn’t a “real Christian.” All I got out of her was that athletes shouldn’t make more money than teachers. Well, I’m sure gutting their union and slashing taxes for millionaires will fix that. I really wish that woman would quit voting.

          • clytie

            Yup. They also assign third party votes to their candidate. One of the dumbest things I saw last year was a thing about how if every Jill Stein voter and 50% of Gary Johnson voters for Hillary Clinton, she would’ve won. Never even considering that many (all?) of those voters would never have vote for either major party candidate.

          • DJ JD

            Frankly, working in a hospital’s emergency department didn’t do my overall belief in democracy any favors.

          • Babalugats

            People forget why we have a democracy in the first place. It’s not because we believe that mob rule is the best rule. It’s because we believe that if you give one group of people authority over another group, they will inevitably abuse that authority. It’s important that the ignorant, the foolish, the criminal, and the insane have the ability to vote, it’s a necessary protection against oppression. It’s not important for them to actually exercise that right very often, and usually more helpful if they don’t.

          • Don’t forget the dreamers. It’s important that the dreamers vote.

          • John Bruni

            I see your argument, but I question the idea of “offering” people easy, but unrealistic, solutions to their problems. Take the case of coal miners: those jobs aren’t coming back. Trump lied to them. Clinton was being honest with them. Thus what should be done? Should Democratic candidates lie too? The thing is, people don’t want to face reality, which will be increasingly shaped by environmental issues, and the Republicans have sold enough people on an imaginary future.

          • The Ploughman

            Is it possible to be honest and solution-oriented? Instead of promising your old job back, promise to fund education for a place in the future? Some bill to pay to train coal miners as solar panel installers or something?

          • Babalugats

            You either persuade them that you’re right, you lie, or you lose.

            But I was talking less about winning over the opposition and more about appealing to non voters. If you want young people to turn out, you need to address issues that affect young people.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            People like to assume that everybody who didn’t vote would have voted for their candidate. I think more people swallowed their conscience to vote for Trump than for Clinton, and I’m not so sure higher turnout would have made a difference.

            The hardcore Dem loyalists I know would be absolutely shocked to hear some of the people I heard tell me they supported Trump. There are a lot of people who see the Clintons as fundamentally corrupt and self-serving, saw the process of nominating Hillary Clinton as fundamentally rigged, saw her candidacy as pure egotism (“I’m With Her,” etc.) and decided they didn’t give a damn even if the opposition was an incurious idiot who constantly said and did gross things as long as they could break the Clinton / “politics as usual” stranglehold on the office.

          • clytie

            I voted for Dr. Stein and I seriously considered voting for Trump (I had my absentee ballot for a week and went back and forth on it) and never would’ve voted for Clinton.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Did you see the study from, I think it was Wesleyan? Clinton’s campaign ads spent far more content being about her or Trump personally than they did on policy. And when you consider how little she visited some of these swing states or even ran ads in them… This result was not as surprising as it seemed at first. People voted for the guy who visited them and who promised jobs over the woman who didn’t and whose ads were mostly “He’s bad I’m good.”

            Speaking of, Shattered came out yesterday, and there are a lot of fascinating details about Clinton campaign dysfunction therein.

          • clytie

            I live in a swing state. I moved in August and did buy a TV until November and I watched all of my TV online. I also watch a lot of women-centric programming, which I’m sure the Clinton campaign was targeting, so can’t overemphasize how many Clinton ads I saw. I swear, every single one was an anti-Trump one. My favorite was the, “Trump says awful things and your kids can hear,” which, of course repeated all the awful things he said. I’m like, “You’re ruining Nashville for me.

        • Given that the party leadership foisted the HRC-cheerleader Tom Perez over the Bernie-friendly Keith Ellison, just to spite everybody, and that the DCCC completely avoiding the Berniecrat in KS, I can’t help but think you’re right. I hate it so hard because of the way US politics are structured. We need a huge party structure like the DNC. But we can’t commit to the neoliberal policies they’ve pushed since Jimmy Carter.

          • CineGain

            #Resistance Twitter is pretty angry at Tom Perez all because he’s trying to reach out to Bernie crowd by going on tour with the Vermont senator. The commentators seemed to think that only those who supported Hillary in the primary should be the group of individuals who’s concerned should be addressed, that Bernie hates POC and woman/is not a Democrat. They can just be as aggravating as the Bernie “Bros”.

          • My favorite character last night was a crotchety old progressive woman who was also a PCO. She was voting loud and hard to push the party to the left to recapture the Bernie voters who left the party in disgust. She was also grumbling under her breath a lot too. That’s going to be me in 30 years…

          • The most amusing character was a doctor running for city council. He introduced himself as Hasim (sp?), a hot middle eastern muscle-bound gay doctor with a Peruvian boyfriend named Ricardo. He went by Hasim, but did not give a second name nor written literature, so I’m left to think this is a mononym like Prince and Madonna (I also don’t know if Hasim is his first or last name). But, he made a pleading deal about working with elderly and homeless but, because he only got two minutes(!) to make his case, much of it was his emotional background and not much about what he planned to do. Still…Hasim was hot as hell.

          • The Ploughman

            And after all is said and done… isn’t that what really matters?

          • I’ve been trying to find anything about this guy on the intarwebs. But, nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a website. Not what type of doctoring he does. Not any clubs he might belong to. Not him in a jockstrap. NOTHING.

          • I’m envisioning a weekly political show, Review with @JuliusKassendorf:disqus which we all hope won’t be as dark as the original.

          • clytie

            wallflower – Thank you for always being so supportive of me. You helped me feel more confident in some of my more lowbrow tastes. I’ve been studying English in graduate school (I was MIA here and everywhere but Twitter, bc I was taking a class devoted to James Joyce and I had to read Ulysses. I finished the book on Sunday and my final class was last night. I just have to write a final paper). Film is a “text” and so far I’ve taken 2 film classes so far. Between those classes and your comments, I’ve been inspired to explore scholarship devoted to my silly interests.

            I’m sorry that I ruin everything. I don’t mean to or try to. I just do it.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            These same people are like “Bernie’s not a real Democrat and should stop hijacking the party” in the same breath as they say “Why isn’t Bernie trying to help the Democratic candidates in the special elections?!?!”

            I think those people would really rather be a party of elite, well-off coastal Clinton supporters that never wins another election than change.

        • clytie

          My money’s of them running Corey “Big Pharm Whore” Booker.

      • I feel like I should note that my district is supposedly one of the most engaged. I don’t know if the pols are just sucking us off or not, but, every time we have a Town Hall or meet a politician, they say that we send the most pieces of mail (e- and print) and the most phone calls of any district in the state and one of the most engaged in the country. I dunno how true that is, but, in 2016, my county turned out a gigantic 82% of the vote compared with 77% statewide and 57% across the country. If voter engagement leads to engaging the candidates…then, maybe?

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        I went on a bit of a drunken ramble on Twitter last night (hey, if Eric Garland can do it and become a Respected Liberal Thought Leader, why not me?), but a lot of it was about what an incredible time we’re at for both major political parties: The current President essentially discarded/destroyed his party’s establishment on his way to victory, and the most popular opposition politician, who’s leading unity tours nationwide, isn’t even a member of the opposition party.

        I really wouldn’t be surprised if the Democratic Party flat-out disintegrated. It’s no longer achieving any of its goals electorally, and its leadership’s seeming intransigence means it might never figure it out before too many people get fed up and look for an alternative.

        It’s frustrating watching the Democratic Party shed members so easily kept, all because of centrist favorites that are favored by the Party Leadership.

        This is pretty much the major problem with the party IMO. They’ve been trying to pull this “We can be friendly to Wall Street and health insurance companies and endless war but still serve our voters well” balancing act for a long time, and the voters are realizing a lot sooner than the leadership is that no, they can’t.

    • clytie

      Nothing! But I’m reading Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice and Listen Liberal: Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of the People?, so I read from both of those.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        What do you think of Listen Liberal so far?

        • clytie

          Love it. As a longterm hater of both the Clinton Crime Family and the Democratic party, I thought it would simply repeat the stuff I already knew, but there are tons of things I had never heard before. I also like how Frank goes into why identity politics is fucking awful.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I like identity politics just fine, just not if they’re shallow and co-opted.

          • clytie

            Are they ever not shallow and co-opted? Frank talks about how Clinton made a big deal out of having more women and POC in his administration, when he also had the most millionaires and lawyers, who were also the same people.

          • For all the discussion of intersectionality these days, class (or more broadly, what I call “economic identity”) always seems to be left out.

          • John Bruni

            Just repeat to yourself, “There is no class system in America.”

          • Son of Griff

            Depends on the strategic objectives. The early civil rights boycotts and sit ins unified its participants across class lines because all members of localized black community faced the common indignities of racial discrimination. On a national level this sense of overcoming class unity is more difficult to achieve, because identity politics is far more intersectional than uniting.

      • The Ploughman

        We all woke up on the political side of the bed this morning, it seems.

        Have you watched the GoT TV show or are you coming to it cold?

        • clytie

          Weird how that happened. Yesterday all I thought about was soaps

          I have watched the TV show.

          • The Ploughman

            You should have an easier time keeping track of the seven thousand characters, then.

      • I tried reading LL, but it pissed me off too much (my thoughts are similar to yours). I was literally losing sleep over how angry it made me, so I had quit.

        Though I’m not as down on identity politics as you appear to be. I mean, wasn’t the Civil Rights Movement or the LGBT movement all about ID politics?

        • Son of Griff

          Leftists complaining about identity politics is like complaining about the weather. Like it or not, the plurality of discourses shaped by the intersection of race, class, gender and sexuality is the current that progressives swim in. The political objective is to form a political coalition around similar goals while recognizing and respecting diversity. Just wishing that progressives would rally around their economic interests (which Frank would desire, based on his previous book) is quite naive.

          • CineGain

            What the economic left and identity left don’t understand is that you can blend the two together in a cohesive manner without any alienation from either camp. Those who have been marginalized through the white patriarchal hegemony are also the same people who lack behind in financial means, woman earning less then similar qualified man, black community shredded in poverty. Tying the two would make a less harmful and more unified Democratic Party, which will satisfied all the functions of the party.

          • clytie

            Yes, economics issues ARE social issues. There’s a reason that Martin Luther King Jr. talked about them.

          • Son of Griff

            The problem is in creating a vocabulary in which the experiences of poverty and exploitation can bridge the cultural divide of race that keeps patriarchal white hegemony in place. As long as white workers maintain a feeling of entitlement under the status quo, and black activists narrowly focus their issues solely in terms of racism divorced of economic conditions, the notion of a unified progressive wing in the Democratic party will be difficult to achieve.

          • clytie

            I think you hit the nail on the head. I grew up in rural southern poverty (I spent most of my childhood in an actual mobile home! White trash represent, ya’ll!), so I’m all too familiar with that sort of white person.

            Have you read Flannery O’Connor short story Revelation>? It sums up that attitude better than I ever could.

          • Son of Griff

            Flannery O’Connor has given me more insight into the the invisible similarities of Southern communities than any sociologist.

          • clytie

            Again, I’m from that world and she captures it better than any writer I’ve found. Even though my experiences were decades after hers. Dorothy Allison, particularly in her nonfiction stuff, is a close second

            Auburn University offers a master’s degree in rural sociology. When I heard that, I thought, “I’ve been studying that my whole life!”

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            See, you included class, and that’s what the modern center-left “identity politics” leaves out. Indeed, they try to pretend they can achieve equality without addressing the structures that create material inequality.

            Remember in the debates when Hillary Clinton said “If we broke up the banks tomorrow, would that end racism?” That’s modern Democratic identity politics in a nutshell: a weapon deployed to protect the economic status quo while deliberately ignoring and misleading on the role in which those same economic structures play in enforcing material inequality and discrimination.

          • clytie

            When the modern center-left bothers to acknowledge class it’s usually to disparage them thar poor people. Then they wonder why the white working class left them in droves. It’s not because they’re all racist. The left them (us, as I am a poor white) first.

            Your example is one of the most repulsive ways that a high-profile Dem used identity politics to deflect the problem because POC were disproportionately affected by the mortgage crisis.

            http://prospect.org/article/staggering-loss-black-wealth-due-subprime-scandal-continues-unabated

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            And banks often deliberately targeted African-Americans with their onerous fines and wealth-destroying policies. The Democrats have really taken this “pay no attention to the donors behind the curtain and how our economic policies benefit them and make your lives worse, because diversity!” approach to government. People are starting to notice.

            I’ve also noticed a lot of sanctimoniousness about the election results. “The only group we lost was white people, so we obviously only lost because of racism, so we did nothing wrong, it’s the voters’ fault for being backwards pieces of shit.” Well, double fucking news flash for the “pragmatists” and “practical adults,” white people are still a majority in this country, and if you want to win elections and maintain political power, you have to win a certain number of them. “Abandoning them economically then calling them racist for noticing” is a dumb, losing, counterproductive strategy. (And it really galls me that the so-called “practical adults who get things done” have been the most ineffectual group of people at actually winning and maintaining political power. It’s the West Wing-ification of the Party: Preserving The Discourse and Being The Adult In The Room are more important than winning elections and doing things to benefit the lives of your voters and constituents.)

          • clytie

            My issue with identity politics today (as opposed to 50 years ago, which I agree had a good purpose then) is that it’s mostly used as a distraction. It’s a good way to distract. I loathe Obama, but I defended him more than once to people that hated him because he was a black man. I hate him because he’s a cooperate whore that supported mass deportations and dropped bombs on kids.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Obama had a huge mandate when he won office. As Ron Suskind detailed, the bankers were ready to roll over for him. Instead, he put preserving their profits first. When it came to healthcare, he chose to compromise on a Republican plan instead of holding Democratic Senators’ feet to the fire or calling for the nuclear option in order to get what his base actually wanted.

            One of my abiding memories from the Obama presidency will be “We tortured some folks.” what a great summary of his ability to put a regal, dignified, yet human and folksy spin on shrugging, throwing your hands up, and continuing the same terrible policies and holding nobody accountable.

          • John Bruni

            I don’t know if I agree with calling the response to the election results “sanctimonious.” First, it was quite a revelation to some white people when they found out just how racist this country is–and a number of black activists blasted people for funding this out at such a late date.

            Second, there were a number of factors at play here: voter suppression (which Republicans openly said was one of their main strategies), FBI interference, and last, but not least, cyberwarfare waged against this country, with speculations that Trump arranged for a breach in our defenses. We’re still a very long way from getting to the bottom of this–although a member of the intelligence community has claimed that Trump “will rot in jail.”

            Third, and most recently, we’rev finding out that Trump ran a very good campaign, which neither McCain nor Romney did. As always, Charles Pierce is recommended reading; he states that Trump “might have been the perfect candidate for 2016:
            http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a54633/why-trump-won/

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            See, I can’t ride with this because it completely absolves the Clinton campaign of everything they did wrong. It completely absolves them of their backwards campaign strategies, of Clinton picking a team of loyalists regardless of their efficacy, of their unwillingness to make even minor outreaches to the left and independents, of their dismissal of their ground workers in swing states because The Algorithm said they were safe, of their decision to focus on running up the popular vote total rather than making sure they actually won, of everything in Clinton’s track record that made people not want to vote for her, of the fact that her campaign ads contained almost no substance, of the absolute failure of the “for every blue-collar voter we lose we’ll gain two suburban Republicans” strategy, of the fact that she continued to spend time fundraising from wealthy donors instead of speaking to voters even as people in her camp urged her to do that, of the fact that she recruited the endorsement of neocon ghouls who’d pushed for the deeply unpopular wars we’ve fought this century, and on and on.

            A competent campaign would have crushed Trump despite all those things you mentioned. The Clinton campaign wanted Trump as an opponent and they still fucked it up.

            As far as Russia goes, almost everything to this point has been innuendo and speculation that serves mostly to fuel the Democratic desire to believe that they couldn’t have possibly done anything wrong; it was only due to Nefarious Outside Forces that they lost. When they’re promoting complete babbling lunatics like Louise Mensch, who accuses literally everybody (including Black Lives Matter) of being in on a Russian conspiracy, you’ve lost the plot and you’ve lost your tethering to reality. Voters didn’t need Russia to tell them how shitty their lives were, and it’s not like they loved Hillary Clinton for 25 years before a Russian propaganda campaign suddenly changed their minds.

            Seriously, read some of the reviews and excerpts of Shatterred. It’s alarming how little the campaign was concerned with actually winning the election, alarming how little they understood what was going on with voters. And now the Democrats seem poised to repeat all those mistakes all over again.

          • John Bruni

            I’m not saying, or agreeing with the idea, that people on the Clinton campaign should be “absolved.” It’s beyond common sense to look for ways to move forward in the future.

            But there is one major problem here that has to get equal time–and you said it yourself: “it’s not like they loved Hillary Clinton for 25 years before a Russian propaganda campaign suddenly changed their minds” Why was that? It’s because of a well-coordinated smear campaign conducted for a very long time against her that the media far too often assisted. Who was she running against? A reality TV show star given free air time (they love their own)? Do you really think Bernie (who by the way differed from Clinton on policy by no more than 10%) would’ve beat Trump?

            I trust you know I respect your argument and the way you put things. But what I’ve just said is suggesting really troubling problems for this country that go beyond a 2016 post-mortem.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Why was that? It’s because of a well-coordinated smear campaign conducted for a very long time against her that the media far too often assisted. Who was she running against? A reality TV show star given free air time (they love their own)?

            Well, think about this: If you know a candidate is deeply unpopular nationally, regardless of the reasons, maybe don’t nominate her to win a national election? (That said, I agree that the media was complicit in Trump’s rise, but let’s not forget, the Clinton campaign and the DNC wanted their friendly media outlets to promote him, because they thought he would be the easiest to defeat in the general.)

            But let’s put a pin in that and look into the substance: While Clinton was indeed subject to a smear campaign based in a lot of sexism, the truth is also that her track record contains a lot of negative things, a lot of bad decisions, and a lot of things people disagree with. And those disagreements aren’t based in sexism, but in the real harm those policies caused.

            Do you really think Bernie (who by the way differed from Clinton on policy by no more than 10%) would’ve beat Trump?

            The “10%” is a talking point pushed by the Clinton campaign to gloss over their differences. (It largely relies on their record of shared Senate voting, which is a canard because they were only in the Senate together for two years, and their differences were often on major issues like bank bailouts.)

            I absolutely think Bernie would’ve beaten Trump because he was (and is) tremendously popular with independents, because he comes across as someone authentic and consistent, who has held and fought for the same values his entire career. Sanders would have turned out many typical non-voters. (I was surprised at how many people either told me their voting preference this election was Sanders > Trump, but never Clinton, or who said something to the effect of “The Democrats say we should compromise and stop being so pure, but Bernie is our compromise. We don’t agree with everything he stands for, but he’s as close as we can live with ourselves voting for.”)

            Clinton’s career is one marked with only publicly shifting to progressive positions when it became politically feasible to do so. And that’s the thing: For all the talk about Trump’s racism and sexism, it simply wasn’t that hard for anyone who wanted to justify voting for him to find an example of Hillary Clinton being racist or sexist.

            Trump runs on white supremacy? Clinton promoted the Crime Bill by calling black kids “superpredators” and ran a racist campaign in 2008 against Barack Obama. Even in this campaign, she took money from the private prison industry– arguably the most odious arm of our racist justice system– until she was publicly shamed into stopping. Shit, while Sanders was getting arrested protesting for Civil Rights, Clinton was a proud “Goldwater Girl.” Remember Barry Goldwater? He was the guy Donald Trump often frequently drew comparisons to for his white nativism.

            Trump is bad for women? Clinton publicly smeared all of Bill’s accusers, and even in this campaign signaled her willingness to compromise on abortion rights.

            Trump is bad for LGBT people? Clinton opposed equal rights for them right up until just after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

            Trump is bad for Arab-Americans? True, but Hillary Clinton has no problem bombing their friends and families in the Middle East to no discernible end.

            Trump is corrupt? Well, how much money have the Clintons made by peddling access? How about the Clinton Foundation’s meddling in Haiti or dealings with Saudi Arabia?

            Trump is bad for foreign policy? Clinton voted for the Iraq war, was consistently one of the loudest voices for “regime change” in the Obama administration, and her State department backed a coup of a democratically elected government in Honduras because it wasn’t friendly enough to American capitalist interests. Even in this campaign, she was talking as though she was intent on pushing Russia to the brink of war. Most voters don’t want World War III.

            I trust you know I respect your argument and the way you put things. But what I’ve just said is suggesting really troubling problems for this country that go beyond a 2016 post-mortem.

            I don’t disagree with you here, or even disagree that any of the things you suggested are real or serious problems for the country going forward. I just think the Democrats have become derelict in their duty to prevent the kind of outcomes we saw in 2016. I think the Democrats have, as Julius put it, shifted toward neoliberalism since Carter, and essentially abandoned class and working people while trying to convince voters it was necessary for electability. Their complicity in the policies that have left so many destitute paved the way for a guy like Trump to win, and if the party doesn’t get that and doesn’t re-focus on putting its voters and their rights and well-being first, it will wither and die.

          • John Bruni

            Based on what you just said, I think it’s worth thinking about what would happen had Bernie won the nomination. The GOP were hoping he would have: he was just like McGovern in many ways, who got slaughtered. Trump would have used against Bernie the same strategy, only more intense, that Nixon used against McGovern. Would it have worked?

            Even if I think history suggests that it would have, I’m trying to raise a larger point here–that you can use the results of a failed election against Clinton; because you can’t do it against Sanders makes him, in a certain way of thinking, in hindsight, the better candidate.

            I picked up for sure on the excitement around Bernie–and I supported him. But I accepted that he didn’t get the nomination and then supported Clinton. While I have argued the problems go beyond 2016–and, to add, Trump is the result of the path Republicans have been heading all along since Nixon–I am troubled by the fact that there’s a lack of pragmatism and even more so, ethics. A decisive amount of people were okay burning the house down, with no concern about the people who would be trapped inside. It’s worth noting that the repeal of health care failed recently because enough people thought the problem was the replacement wasn’t damaging enough to the lives of non-rich people.

          • pico79

            I can’t claim to know how Sanders would have done in the general (I voted for him in the primary), but I wouldn’t underestimate just how badly (and badly timed!) the Burlington College debacle might have hurt him had that been publicized more widely, especially with more moderate voters. (There’s an argument against it, but how often do voters listen to arguments instead of buzzwords?) There’s also some … uh.. weird stuff in his oppo file.

            Granted, weird stuff didn’t stop the orange-goop-in-a-garbage-bag from winning the presidency, so who the hell knows. It does seem like Sanders was better positioned against some of the specific weaknesses that hurt the Clinton campaign. He also wasn’t attacked that much, so it’s hard to know how he’d have fared. We’re mostly making guesses in a vacuum.

            Thinking ahead, though: what’s our 2020 roster look like? I’m not very optimistic with the names that keep floating around, but our bench seems awfully shallow right now.

            (haha, look at me, assuming the human race survives that long…)

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Yeah, that’s my thing about all the supposed “oppo research” on Sanders– Trump’s is a hundred times worse, and it didn’t stop him. The regular rules simply weren’t in play.this election, because of the wide discontent with business as usual; it is easy to say in hindsight, but events like Brexit and Trump’s rise in the polls in the first place were early warning signs.

            What was important, in my mind, is that Sanders was leading Trump in polls by double digits at times Clinton was leading by 2-3 points, and that independents were roughly evenly split on Clinton vs. Trump but preferred Sanders to Trump by a 2 to 1 margin.

            A lot of Clinton people seemed to think they could fix her unpopularity in the general, while Sanders’ popularity could be destroyed. As I said at the time, I don’t believe you can make up 25 years in six months.

            I also believe Sanders was better positioned to beat Trump because , as I said, the voters were clearly ready to reject business as usual– his positions aren’t even that far left-wing, but they’re relatively far from the mainstream of DC orthodoxy, and perhaps more importantly, he’s been very consistent with them over the years. (People talked about how he only focused on the economy– oddly enough, the same people who loved “It’s the economy, stupid” when Bill Clinton ran– but if you look at, say, LGBT rights, Sanders has had basically the same position since the 1960s, while Clinton had to be gradually dragged left until she finally came out in support of same-sex marriage in, I think, 2013?)

            My best summary of how the Clinton campaign screwed up can be demonstrated by the following two-act play:

            ACT I
            GOP Primary

            GOP CANDIDATES (CHORUS): Trump’s not a real Republican!
            TRUMP: Damn right!
            (Trump wins.)

            ACT II
            General Election

            HILLARY CLINTON: Trump’s not a real Republican!
            TRUMP: Damn right!
            (Trump wins.)

          • It is troubling, especially when it’s combined with your comments on the environment. All of the discussion takes place under some assumptions: that the problems we discuss can be solved or at least addressed by electoral politics, that there are enough resources for all and it’s only a question of distribution, that wealth and material success should be held as a universal ideal. Those things might stop being true, on a large scale, and within our lifetimes. (To bring this back to, y’know, movies: Neill Blomkamp said that District 9 may be where all cities are headed.) I don’t know what happens then, I’d only repeat the lesson of Che, Night Moves, and Neil Young about going outside the political and moral norms: once you’re gone, you can’t come back.

          • John Bruni

            All I can say Is I’ve wondered what I could ever say to my dead uncles who fought the Nazis in WW II if I had the chance to meet them again. No freaking idea.

          • Defense Against The Dark Arts

            Forget it, John. It’s Bernietown.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I’m not sure what your goal is with this kind of smug dismissiveness.

          • Defense Against The Dark Arts

            No goal. John made a good point, but he’s not going to change your mind. Plus I thought it was clever.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I do appreciate a Chinatown reference. I don’t want John to give up, though, because this is interesting; even if he probably won’t change my mind about the broader picture, I always like to discuss the details from the perspective of others. (And honestly, beyond everything I’ve written here, I’m convinced I’m onto something by the sheer decline in Democratic Party identification nationally, as well as their massive electoral losses– nearly 1,000 seats in the last eight years! Whatever your outlook or ideology, the Party is simply not functioning to its intended end.)

          • “When they go low, we go high” should be written on the Democratic Party’s headstone.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Remember when that North Carolina GOP office caught fire and the Democrats raised a bunch of money to help them? That’s pretty much the ultimate symbol of how the party has lost all principles except “presenting ourselves as the people who are above it all.”

          • pico79

            I don’t comment much on politics here anymore because I know I’m way out of step with most of the commentariat, but here’s a story for you. Los Angeles is, at least by U.S. standards, a pretty left-ish city. Has its problems (massive homelessness, a nightmare of a housing bubble), but it also has some pretty good programs because there’s a strong Democratic presence here, and voters aren’t afraid of raising taxes for better services. Thing is, the benefits of that presence are, to put it mildly, not even distributed. An easy, clear example: while the city provides a pretty good program for municipal services, lo and behold, an audit showed those services go almost exclusively to white areas of town. So two districts in South L.A. launched a massive campaign two years ago just to get something like equitable levels of city services (not even equal levels, but things like “trash pickup” and “occasional sidewalk cleaning” on something more than an ad hoc basis). Imagine: all that energy, all that door-knocking and volunteering, all those hundreds of hours spent, not to make anything that’d register with the “average” voter as “progress” for the city in toto, but just for some areas to approach an equitable level of access to a municipal benefit that other parts of the city enjoy regularly. Now repeat that process upwards, from low-level municipal policy through city and county infrastructure programs, through state-wide and federal development plans, through law enforcement at every level, etc.

            The punchline to all this is that the expansion to more equitable coverage is also likely to increase white voters’ belief that municipal money is being wasted (call it the “ACA for me, no Obamacare for thee” conundrum), that that voter will start to resent that expansion of services and see it as something superfluous and unearned.

            So when candidates or pundits come along and criticize identity politics and complain that no one ever discusses economics and that they have the plan that will help All Americans, then all that energy, all that door-knocking and volunteering, all those hundreds of hours releases itself in an enormous, maybe sanctimonious, but nonetheless deserved eye roll. Today, the most reliable Democratic vote is the black woman. That means, pragmatically speaking, you can ignore her needs and focus your attentions on white voters who think she’s getting benefits she doesn’t deserve. That is, effectively, how Bill Clinton won the presidency, but I don’t get the sense that’s the path you want to return to.

            I don’t expect you to agree with any or all of this – and I’m oversimplifying, obvs. – but I do hope you’ll consider why there’s such deeply rooted skepticism toward the argument you’re making. It’s not that you’re facing hordes of identitarians with no common sense or experience with voters. It’s that they’ve heard it before, and they come bearing receipts.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            One thing I want to emphasize (as per my conversation with clytie) is that many of the economic policies pushed by the left wing / Sanders wing have more benefits for non-white males than white males. Two-
            thirds of minimum wage jobs are worked by women; the Fight for 15, which Sanders supported (and Clinton wanted to compromise down to $12) benefits them more than it benefits white people. Same with the banks; their policies have historically harmed non-white people and operated to steal and suppress non-white wealth. Reforming those institutions does more to help non-white people than white people, which is why some of us find it so pernicious when the “you don’t need to worry about class to be intersectional” liberals accuse economic policy of being white-focused. It’s not about ignoring the needs of black women, for example; it’s about making their material lives better, and not just paying lip service to the Diversity of Meritocracy– Democrats seem committed to the idea that anyone of any race, gender, or background can be a high achiever, but if you aren’t a high achiever, we still don’t care about you. (Related: polling indicates that, among race or gender, Sanders is least popular with– surprise!– white people and males.)

            I do agree there’s a thorny issue where a substantial number of white people see gains by or benefits given to non-white communities as necessarily being less for them. But as I said earlier, you don’t have to win all white voters, just a certain percentage of them. And I think that, as bad as life as gotten for many of them, just offering them a better life would be enough to win their votes. And I think it’s important to remember how, historically, fascism is helped along by economic inequality– those people who become have-nots increasingly look for someone to scapegoat. (It never hurts to remember that in the last 40 years, wages have no longer tracked with productivity but instead stagnated.)

            I don’t think you need to abandon or ignore civil rights to pursue economic policy that helps all poor people. But we have a number of institutions in this country, from our banking system to our justice system and incarceral state to our war machine, that function not only to create growing inequality for everybody but that also prey on non-whites more than whites. (Who was the last Democrat to argue that we need to reform the justice system, the War on Drugs, the loss of civil rights we’ve seen as a result, and the private prison industry, for example? That intersection of institutions is deeply racist, yet we never see any serious opposition to it.)

          • John Bruni

            It becomes an even more thornier issue when white people are willing to vote for a racist old white man, less because of their “economic insecurity,” and more because they share his views of non-white people.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Well, to that point– for all the “economic anxiety” jokes, as I said, economic troubles do fuel fascist movements. (I wish I had the graph handy, but it’s eerie to look at 1920s-30s Germany and see the consistency with which unemployment rates tracked with the rise of the Nazi Party.)

            Maybe I’m an optimist, but I believe enough of those people could drop their racial issues if they knew they had jobs they could count on. I mean, I’m from Trump Country originally and I’ve been back a few times since the election; those people weren’t talking about how Trump was sticking it to the black man, they were talking about how Trump would give them or help them keep their jobs.

          • John Bruni

            I’ve been thinking for a while that history does not side with the optimist: Nazis weren’t just racist; they went along with genocide.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            See, one reason I think in these terms is that we need to find a way to prevent ideas like that from seriously taking hold. And while a ton of it was driven by racial resentment– it is not a coincidence that after America’s first black president, we elected the loudest voice promoting the idea that he was Not A Real American– I think the economic factors are real, and when things are going well for people, they’re more likely to be fine with keeping business as usual.

            In both our time and the early years of Nazi Germany, though, I think the commonality is “people whose fortunes were better in earlier times lose their economic security and look for a scapegoat.” It’s also not a coincidence that this movement came during a time when the financial crisis and foreclosures destroyed wealth for so many. (Here’s another fun graph. Would white nationalism be so popular if the average income of the bottom 90% hadn’t dropped nearly 20% in Obama’s first term? We’ll probably never know, but I think there’s a strong case that “no” is the answer.)

          • John Bruni

            I agree, but I would still argue race is a factor. No one cared really at all when black urban communities were decimated during the crack epidemic in the 80s. There is by contrast, far more concern about poor white people who are facing an opiate epidemic (full disclosure: my cousin died of a heroin OD). I’m not the first person to argue that the disparity here has to do with the fact that at the core of white identity (whether a person resists it or not) is the historical belief that they have the right to be on top: from Native American genocide, to slavery, to Reconstruction, to the Nixon law and order silent majority crowd, to the Reagan (counter-)revolution, to W’s “you’re with us or against us” (an early flirtation with Nazi fascist sloganeering), to Trump. This is a problem of American history.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Well, yeah. It’s America. Race is a factor in everything. (And I don’t mean that to be glib– I do think race is a strong factor here; where my disagreement is regards the liberal/left divide re: class in intersectionality.)

            Regarding drug addiction, I guess when you say “no one cared” and “far more concern” I’m curious as to who that concern is coming from. If you mean from white communities? Then yes, you’re right, although I’d also suggest that maybe some of it isn’t strictly racism but that sort of libertarian isolationism common in some of these communities– they simply don’t care about problems until those problems affect them. (Then again, I’m reminded that Trump’s support was strongest among middle-class suburban white people, and I want to tell all those people to go fuck themselves.)

            Of course, even that not caring belongs in a certain framework that the crises that befall non-white communities usually come about because those communities “deserve” it. There’s definitely a racist ignorance to these things, although I’m not sure it’s of the malevolent Richard Spencer variety as much as the baked-in assumptions of white supremacy in America that most people don’t even question. On this I agree with you.

            Further, I’d indict the the media and the way they frame these issues: Their coverage does a lot to frame some of these people’s perceptions and encourage a white supremacist mindset. Even today we see it, for example, in the divergence of coverage between white criminals and non-white victims, especially of state power.

          • John Bruni

            I’m probably being too mild. White people’s response to the crack epidemic was to imagine black super predators who should be locked up for the public good. With the opiate epidemic, it’s like, “that poor kid; he deserves a second chance.” This, to me, is more than “baked in” racism (albeit less the purely evil Spencer variety); this is about claiming that white people deserve things that have been denied black people, and then have the sheer gall to complain that blacks are fighting for these things, because black people are damn tired of asking for them nicely.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I don’t disagree, other than I might say that “baked in racism” might be more malicious than my phrasing gave it credit for.

            I will say that 1)The media is very much responsible for pushing these ideas into the public, and 2)The “superpredators” line was Hillary Clinton, and the Crime Bill in response to the crack epidemic was Bill Clinton. That’s the sort of thing someone like me (and I suspect many other Sanders supporters or even non-voters) looks at and say “That’s what I can’t abide more of in my president.” That’s the sort of thing that makes me say the Clinton supporters are full of it when they call the left-wing overly focused on white economics, because things like that are major issues for us, and the Clintons enabled them to happen.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I also feel like I drifted a bit here between “How do we win enough white voters to keep the GOP and Trump types out of office?” and “How do we motivate nonvoters?” I think voter suppression is an easy and obvious target; automatic registration would be smart; and vote by mail seems to work pretty well in Oregon. But even then, I think it’ll take someone who has ideas outside of the neoliberal two-party consensus to really motivate non-voters to the polls.

          • pico79

            I don’t think I’ve told this story before, but here’s my 2016 in a nutshell. Every MLK weekend, there’s a parade in South L.A. that ends in Leimert Park (one of the city’s major historically black communities). Lots and lots of local politicians, community organizing groups, unions, etc. taking part, and I’ve marched a couple of times with a community group. During that year’s parade, I saw only one group of Bernie supporters, and it was three or four middle-aged white folk clumped together at an intersection. I saw only one Clinton sign, and it was a billboard sponsored by a local businessman. If this were a movie, both would be too on-the-nose.

          • clytie

            I want that black woman to get the benefits she needs.

            My issue is the “woke” people are tricked into thinking that voting for a black woman will make that more likely, which as the video I posted of earlier of Stephanie Rawlings shows isn’t always the case.

          • pico79

            That’s not Stephanie Rawlings.

          • clytie

            Fixed. Yeah, Rawlings was actually halfway decent. And doesn’t look like a cartoon witch. I’m sure I’m gonna get called “sexist” for commenting on a woman’s looks, but Catherine Pugh really does look like a cartoon witch!

          • Son of Griff

            A lot of progressives I talk to suffer from an assumption that racism is false consciousness promoted to divide the working classes. Economic exploitation and racism are separate but interconnected. I think it’s a mistake to assume that economic consciousness will bridge racial animosity and suspicion, but working towards a genuine populist vocabulary of economic interest would allow people of different identities of race, gender, and sexual orientation to challenge the corporatist drift in national politics without disrespecting diversity.

            As a side observation, the noticeable silence of the white male blue collar work force at the numerous anti-Trump demonstrations marks a pretty dramatic re-alignment in contemporary American progressive politics. American factory workers have become the equivalent of 19th century French farmers when it comes to crippling social reform (not that there was a particularly radical choice in 2016).

          • clytie

            I remembered something: Last year, someone (not anyone here or anywhere connected to here so far as I know), told me that I “deserved to be raped so that” I, “will understand how important it is to have a female president” for not supporting HRC in the primaries. On election night on Twitter, me and other women were trading stories about sexist stuff thrown at us, and one said, “Is having a female president going to stop rape?”

        • clytie

          That was decades ago. More recently identity politics seem to be used to provide coverage for awful behavior. I’ve seen people defend really gross portrayals of homosexuality on screen with, “at least they’re showing and not ignoring gay people.” Like that makes it better.

          Look at how Bernie Sanders and his supporters were treated (of which I was one). I was actually told that I was sexist AND (I swear I’m not kidding) racist for not supporting Clinton. The current mayor of Baltimore is a black woman and when she ran people made a big deal out of how “woke” they were to support her, but she’s no progressive.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yc6K4GGwL8

          • I’m not saying that ID politics are the end-all, be-all of liberalism. I think the left’s relegation of economic & labor issues was a huge misstep, and over a generation of Americans have paid for it. And MLK himself was moving towards a more explicit call for socialism as a means of countering racism in the US. Race and class are deeply intertwined, and as others here have pointed out, we’re not allowed to talk about class aloud in this country. So we’re left with race, which on its own isn’t always good enough. Cue Tom Hanks on Black Jeopardy!

            Again, I agreed with the arguments of LL. It just made me too angry to read.

          • clytie

            The problem with today’s identity politics is that it’s extremely shallow. It’s the “I have a black friend” of the 20th century. It’s more about promoting wealthy POC and women as figureheads than helping ordinary women and POC.

            Too many liberals treat it as the “end-all, be-all of liberalism,” which is why if you didn’t support Clinton you wuz a “sexist Bernie bro.”

          • John Bruni

            Well if the reason, or reasons, a person did not support Clinton can be traced back to patriarchal ideology, then yes that person, male or female, is a “sexist Bernie bro.”

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            “Bernie Bro” was a smear devised by the Clinton campaign and their friendly media surrogates, and it was a spin on the “Obama Boys” line they tried in 2008 (to less success, obviously).

            The entire point of the term is to erase the differences in ideology and record between Clinton and Sanders, and paint the only reason a person would support the latter over the former as sexism.

          • My favorite joke along these lines is that when Trump creates concentration camps, liberals will want to make sure there are equal numbers of men and women guards.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Yeah, I love that joke too. I’ve cited it several times. And then of course a few weeks after I saw it, the articles about “the commander who launched the missiles at Syria… is a woman!” ran.

    • Finished Toni Erdmann–THAT scene at the end of the movie was fucking hysterical, a weird, R-rated version of the Stateroom Scene from A Night at the Opera. The following scene with the hug was super moving, a nice payoff of the development between the two principal characters. Otherwise, I’m not sure what the hubbub was about this movie. It’s good, but everyone was screaming “masterpiece” when all I saw was a pretty generally average European drama (no soundtrack, handheld camera, long silences, etc.–you know the drill) infused with just a few moments of wacky comedy and flavored with some remarkably trite truisms about enjoying life one moment at a time or whatever. Good, but outside the comedic moments, nothing all that special.

      • pico79

        I don’t know if it was THAT scene I liked the most, or the earlier one, re: The Greatest Love of All. One of the finest cringe comedy setpieces I’ve ever seen, and good lord does Sandra Huller sell it.

        I’m not sure I agree that the movie is all that trite, though. Ines’ problem may be how uptight she is, but Ade is also pretty cutting about the reality of what Ines’ professional environment (and by extension, the political and social effects of austerity economics) does to people emotionally, and I think the end of the movie is clear that she’s not her father, and she probably won’t be able to break out of the personal and professional void she’s stuck in. (The thing with the teeth is to make him happy for a moment, not something she’ll take with her as a ‘changed’ woman.)

        • She’s also quit her former job, though, so even if she isn’t a changed woman emotionally, there does seem to be some movement toward change in the direction of her father’s sensibilities. But maybe “trite” was too strong a word to characterize the movie; it just wasn’t as smart or different as I was expecting it to be.

          The “Greatest Love of All” scene is great, and also weirdly moving. Third best scene of the movie besides the two scenes I already named above.

    • The Narrator

      The Grifters: A nicely ruthless con-man thriller, executed with flair by Stephen Frears and very well-acted by its three leads.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Very good movie. Pat Hingle is really really scary and I didn’t know this til I saw it.

        • Son of Griff

          As a Southern Californian, He certainly gave me some ideas as to how to make use of all the surplus oranges that the neighbors give us.

      • glorbes

        You’re on an Annette Bening kick?

        • The Narrator

          More on a kick for all three leads of 20th Century Women.

      • clytie

        After The Last Seduction that is my favorite of the many great neo noirs of the 1990s.

    • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

      Better Call Saul, from Monday. I’m still rooting for Jimmy to kill Chuck. This episode was mostly fine, but I think the people who complained that Mike’s story is too much slow burn and not enough characters acting kinda have a point.

      Veep, season six premiere. The episode had its moments, particularly with Jonah and Dan, but it really has lost something with Armando Iannucci gone, and while it’s still good, I’m not sure how much they can wring out of having the whole cast scattered like this.

      • It would be an interesting experiment to re-cut Better Call Saul so it was only about Mike. I wonder how that would play. Right now, I’m enjoying the hell out of his slow-burn thing, though.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          Better Like Mike?

        • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

          I generally enjoy watching Mike, but this episode also introduced Gus, and between the two of them there can be a little bit too much, uh, Unexplained Superhero Powers for doing what they do. (Compare to last week’s episode, where we saw Mike’s procedural stuff every step of the way.)

          I think this is also a symptom, once again, of The Shield ruining TV for me: I’m not as impressed by cinematography, visual metaphor, and slow burns as I am by characters acting and dealing with the consequences of those actions.

          • I sometimes think watching The Shield should be part of an entrance exam for commentary on this site. I would flunk that exam hard, because I have never watched it. (I know, I know…)

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I feel like a lot of “prestige TV” exists mainly to engage our minds, and then maybe a bit of our hearts (Mad Men) or guts (Breaking Bad). The Shield engages our guts to tear out our hearts, and only later do we realize how much it’s engaged our minds as well.

          • It’s funny–of that rarefied group of first-string prestige dramas, The Shield always seems to be regarded as the least of them. I honestly didn’t have a lot of impulse to watch it until this group started touting it so much.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Every other one of the great shows does something to signify its Importance pretty early. The Shield starts out giving the appearance of merely being a cop show about the guys who Get Results You Stupid Chief, and it gives way to being one the deepest and most powerful character tragedies ever.

          • This makes me want to watch it even more.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Well, uh… good! It’s on Hulu (or at least Hulu Plus; I’m not sure). Start, read everything wallflower writes as you go, and hey, you can even listen to my podcast (although it’s only three episodes in).

          • I will! One of these days!

            (This is my standard line for so many shows… Angel, I will get to you one of these days, too!)

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Ha, I’m about half a season into Angel myself. My wife wants me to finish both it and Buffy, but it started to drag at some point and I put it aside. Picked up an episode of Angel last week, but I think a real watch is gonna have to wait until we’ve gotten our impending move and some other things sorted out.

          • I’ve watched Buffy all the way through twice, so I really do feel like I should get to its highly regarded spinoff. The same things goes for Frasier… one of these days, Dr. Crane.

          • The first time I made an argument for The Shield was back on TODDDDDDDDD!!!‘s reviews for The Sopranos, end of season 2, and the first reply I got was “it’s hard to take someone seriously who thinks The Shield is better than The Sopranos.” (ZMF nicely spiked that one with THE SHIELD OWNS ALL YOUR ASSES) As I sez, it’s all drama, no prestige. Listening to the first-season commentaries, there was no intention to make anything but an L.A.-based, basic-cable Homicide, but John Landgraf (then director of programming at FX) told Shawn Ryan in season two “you’ve written the first act of a three-act tragedy here.” It’s because Ryan so honestly committed to the form of a sleazy cop show that he could build the structure of tragedy from it.

          • That’s cool–I love the feeling of someone creatively having greatness dawn on them rather than setting out to make something great to begin with.

          • Part of what drew me to Aristotle in writing about The Shield was the way it made tragedy seem like a natural development of storytelling, rather than a structure imposed by the author. If you stick to the question “what has to happen next?” with great rigor, this is the story you’ll get.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            For me, Mad Men and The Shield together have ruined things. If you’re going to do the slow-burn character-driven literary thing, you’d better be showing me a tapestry of characterisation and theme and not just Cool People Being Awesome. Either way, it’s clear story is primarily about people acting, whether it’s as an overall pattern of behaviour or in a sequence of cause-and-effect.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        Speaking of BCS, I had this thought on why so many people (me included) side with Jimmy over Chuck, beyond mere relative charisma:

        Jimmy’s up front about who he is.

        Seriously, take a look at the guy, with his brash behavior and tacky suits, and how he handles his clients. He looks and acts like a guy who’s a little sleazy and might bend the rules, but has his client’s interests at heart first. Which is what he is.

        Chuck presents himself as an upstanding guardian of the law, driven only by his pure motives as an officer of the court. What is he really? A bottomless pit of spite and resentment, to the point it might actually be driving him mentally ill.

        Jimmy is dishonest when he cuts corners, but he’s never dishonest about being the kind of guy who cuts corners, if that makes sense.

        • Son of Griff

          Chuck is in many ways this show’s version of Walter White: The guy who sacrificed personal happiness by playing by the rules, doing his his job well, met his personal obligations, but was never really loved or respected of it because he stood up for abstract notions of processes rather than people. He’s breaking up, in a number of ways, because his illness, perhaps brought on by his unlimited capacity for spite and resentment, is making him crave a power that he previously denied to himself.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            There’s a big drive of self-pity to both, too; they both feel entitled to that love and respect, since they supposedly did things the right way (which of course was more about maintaining a certain pride than anything. Walter could rewrite his story from “guy who burned out / gave away his chance at billions” to “genius who had to sacrifice grand ambitions to care for his family” by choosing to become a teacher. And Chuck is so fueled by his sense of superiority that his version of “the right way” has quickly curdled into “whatever holds Jimmy down”).

          • Son of Griff

            There is definitely a sense of bitterness in these characters at not getting love and respect for playing by the rules and living by doing what is expected of them via their social roles.

    • pico79

      Continue to be pleasantly surprised with this season of Agents of SHIELD, which came up with a pretty nifty arc and is (mostly) sticking the landing. I didn’t like all the writing/directing choices made in this episode, and I do wonder if they can keep this up an entire season. The heady paranoia of the first couple of episodes is already kinda dispelled.

      Also: Hush, which I didn’t like as much as I hoped. I spent most of the movie imagining what I’d do with the material instead, which is never a good sign.

      • edibletalkingchairs .

        That movie just could not wrap it up. I do like that the default weapon of impenetrably evil killers has become the crossbow.

        • pico79

          It almost feels too retrofitted to create the necessary villain. “If he’s so intent on killing people, why not guns? Too loud? Well, he could still find something more efficient? He wants to toy with her? Well okay, but if he’s just there to play games, why doesn’t she just run away? He needs something that can work over a distance? Is there a weapon that can solve all these construction-related problems for us?” (This works for other evil-killer-with-crossbow movies, too.)

      • clytie

        Until your post I was only aware of one movie called Hush.

        https://filmdagbok.no/site/assets/files/172830/hush-filmdagbok.jpg

        • pico79

          I think most people will forget this other one exists in a few months, so Jessica Lange is safe for now.

    • edibletalkingchairs .

      Rogue One

      Don’t know what movie I watched five months ago, but this thing was wonderful.

      Assassins Creed

      Slightly moving, and completely ridiculous; This movie milks every second of its concept but can’t seal the deal on what its trying to communicate.

      Those fight scenes though.