Premature Victory Laps

One consistent modern political narrative, at least in the US, is that of the inevitable leftward trend of society. In this narrative, social liberalism in particular is a certainty, and it’s just a matter of time before current progressive causes become mainstream politics. This Atlantic essay from earlier in the year, titled “Why America is Moving Left,” is a notable example of this idea in action. It’s long and aims to be a pretty comprehensive reflection on the current and potential future state of American politics, and, as such, it also stands out to me as a notable example of what I think this narrative misses about American political realities.

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A Decade Under the Influence: Facebook & Corporate Personhood

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On August 11, 2011, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney talked budget concerns with a small crowd at the Iowa State Fair. It was probably a more lively exchange than he’d anticipated, with some in attendance shouting in disapproval as he stated his unwillingness to raise taxes on corporations. In response to one of those dissenting voices, Romney remarked, “Corporations are people, my friend.” It’d be another 8 months until the RNC declared Romney the presumptive nominee and over a year until the general election, but the comment would help frame the public perception of his entire campaign.

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“Policing the Police”

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The Frontline documentary “Policing the Police,” released in late June, arrives at what feels like a critical moment in the conversation concerning police brutality in the United States. Then again, it is difficult to locate any period in this country’s history in which this documentary, co-written and reported by Jelani Cobb, wouldn’t be timely. Cobb investigated some of the reform efforts made by the police department and the city of Newark, NJ to highlight the difficulties facing police reform in both theory and practice. The resulting broadcast touches on logistical problems, budget constraints, institutional resistance, a community demanding greater accountability for its officers and respect for its people, and police culture.

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Stranger Than Satire

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What-if scenarios involving Hitler and World War II are pretty common in fiction, often involving the creation of alternate histories to account for potential plotholes or timeline problems. In Look Who’s Back, Timur Vermes keeps it simple: everything is exactly as we know it in real life, except that Hitler somehow wakes up in present-day Germany (or 2011, the year of the book’s publication in that country) having inexplicably and unintentionally traveled 66 years through time.

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Millennium Actress (2001)

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At some point, I sort of stopped watching most movie trailers. I didn’t do this intentionally. It developed out of habit: I’m always running like 15 minutes late, even when going to see a movie in theaters, so I miss previews almost entirely, and I don’t spend much time looking for new trailers online. And as a personal preference, I don’t read much about a film before I see it. Afterward, I’ll try to read as many different perspectives as I can find, but before going into a movie, I’m usually aware of its title, maybe some cast and crew, and a few headlines’ worth of story and general critical reception. Blockbuster releases are the exceptions to this practice, as I like to read everything I can find about them in advance so that I might complain better later.

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