Politics

Why Everyone — Liberal and Conservative — Should Root for the End of Rush Limbaugh

There was plentiful schadenfreude on the Internet this morning at the news that Rush Limbaugh (along with Sean Hannity) is apparently parting ways with the company that distributes his show on some 40 stations around the country. Limbaugh’s been a liberal bugbear for as long as he’s been a right-wing poster boy, and as such, the former are responding to news of his apparent downfall with glee. But really, this should be a source for celebration for everyone, because Limbaugh both personifies, and has at least partially responsible for, much of what is problematic about American politics in the 21st century. … Read More

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Rosario Dawson Is Making It So Hard to Be a DC Gossip Columnist

When asked which jobs I’d likely never try out, a few come to mind: zookeeper, trash collector, PA on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. One that has never seemed an option was Washington, DC gossip columnist. Having grown up relatively close to the nation’s capitol, there wasn’t much about the city that seemed very exotic or exciting, and one would assume that the gossip would always focus on boring old white men with political power who sleep around. (For me, DC gossip peaked when Nora Ephron broke up with Carl Bernstein, not just because her autobiographical novel Heartburn was made into a great movie starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, but because it was more about the woman on whom a man cheated, rather than a bunch of gossipy details of the boring sex that man likely had.) It looks like we’re in dire need of a Beltway sex scandal, because the DC columnists are setting their claws in a much more unlikely subject: Rosario Dawson. … Read More

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No, Putin Is Not a Hipster: The Meme-ification of Tyrants

Occasionally you read something so eye-wateringly stupid that it makes you want to stand up and hurl your computer out the window, or alternatively sit down and write something angry about it. Thankfully for the sake of my computer, I’m doing the latter, but it was a close-run thing. The article in question this time around was this — a piece on Esquire‘s website by one Adam K. Raymond called “Vladimir Putin Is Becoming a Hipster.” The title should tell you all you need to know, but if not, the proof for this thesis comes from such factoids as: “he wears statement sunglasses,” “he’s as weird as Wes Anderson,” and “he can out-random anyone.”
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Watch Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) Demonstrate What It’s Like to Be Force-Fed as a Guantanamo Inmate

Wow: Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, volunteered to be force-fed according to the standard operating procedure for hunger-striking… Read More

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Pop Culture’s Best Tributes to Badass State Senator Wendy Davis

With her 13-hour filibuster to block Texas’s beyond-archaic SB5 anti-abortion bill, state senator Wendy Davis instantly rocketed from impressive political up-and-comer to the Internet’s favorite feminist icon. And with that newfound icon status comes many, many expressions of (largely virtual) admiration and appreciation. Tributes to Davis in the days following her truly epic marathon speech have ranged from celebrity nods to Amazon review bombing, celebrating her as a bright spot in a battle that it’s depressing to be waging in the first place. We’ve collected the best of them to enjoy while Davis brings the fight to today’s Texas legislature special session, called by endlessly frustrating Governor Rick Perry. Hopefully she’ll bring the baby dragon someone helpfully photoshopped onto her shoulder. … Read More

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Herman Cain Responds to His ‘Arrested Development’ Character

As I watched the new season of Arrested Development, I was immediately stricken by Terry Crews’ bizarre politician Herbert Love,… Read More

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Here Are the Really Lurid Parts of the Michele Bachmann Romance Novel

She might become a news anchor. She might host a game show. She might fall in love with a burly stalker who builds her a Jacuzzi and saves her from a gang of Kalashnikov-toting itinerants in eastern Russia. Most predictions about the future of Michele Bachmann, the divisive Minnesota congresswoman who announced this week that she would not run for re-election in 2014, are rife with reasons to gasp and grimace.

The same might be said about Fires of Siberia, a romance novel inspired by Bachmann’s public persona, released on Wednesday by artist Paul Chan’s e-book imprint Badlands Unlimited. The book centers around the plight of Danielle Powers, a conservative Republican senator whose campaign-season trip from Seoul to Moscow is interrupted when a plane crash leaves her and a mysterious fellow survivor named Steadman Bass stranded in the Siberian wilderness. … Read More

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Flavorwire Interview: ‘We Steal Secrets’ Director Alex Gibney on Julian Assange and the Wikileaks Backlash to His Film

In his riveting new documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, director Alex Gibney (the prolific Oscar winner behind Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer) tells two stories: the thriller-like ascendency of the organization and the troubling questions it asks about government transparency, and the crumbling of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, which plays like something out of Greek tragedy — the transformation of an admirable idealist to a paranoid propagandist, injecting his own legal woes into the lofty aims of his organization, and conflating them. Gibney was unable to procure an interview with Assange; “Julian wanted money,” Gibney explains in the film, though Assange was willing to exchange his interview for information on the other people Gibney was talking to. (UPDATE: The organization has disputed this claim. Mr. Gibney notes that they’re working from an “incomplete and inaccurate transcript based on non-final version.”) The filmmaker refused, and We Steal Secrets has been under fire from Wikileaks supporters since it was unveiled at Sundance last January. I asked Gibney about that backlash, the importance of the story, and related troubling matters of transparency in the Obama administration. … Read More

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Top Five Funniest Moments from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Last night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner offered President Barack Obama the opportunity to poke fun at Washington, Republicans, his detractors, and himself. The event started in 1920 and has transformed into a bit of a roast, with the chance to see some of the funniest comedians and biggest stars all in one spot. Conan O’Brien hosted the ceremonies, but the President wins our vote for funniest of the evening. Last night was no Amy Poehler and Tina Fey at the Golden Globes (hint, hint), but here are five of the funniest moments from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. … Read More

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British Pop Culture’s Ambivalent Relationship with Margaret Thatcher: A Retrospective

As you’ve no doubt heard, Margaret Thatcher died this morning, leading to a flood of internet coverage of her divisive years in power and her legacy. The serious commentary is best left to our friends across the Atlantic (if you’re after such, we recommend David Stubbs’ coruscating obituary for the The Quietus.) We’ll limit ourselves to a survey of how the Thatcher era manifested in popular culture — and for all that plenty of outlets have published articles today about anti-Thatcher songs, etc., the truth is rather more nuanced — for every “Margaret on the Guillotine” or “The Day That Thatcher Dies,” there’s a Thatcherite pop star waiting in the wings. Anyway, here’s a brief look at how the Thatcher years and the woman herself have been depicted in popular culture, both at the time and the benefit of hindsight. … Read More

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