Rick and Morty and Nihilism: Embracing a Show That Cares About Nothing – tor.com

When I decided to major in English, my parents thought I might use this highly versatile degree to pursue law or medicine. Little did they know that Id end up applying that (much too) expensive education to analyzing a television show about a drunken, sociopathic mad scientist with a flying space car. Rick and Morty, created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, is pretty much an instant cult classic. Kayla Cobb calls it a never-ending fart joke wrapped around a studied look into nihilism, and personally I think she hits the nail on the head with that description. There are probably a thousand different philosophical lenses through which you could study this show and never get bored. And probably someone who is better versed in philosophy should do just that (because yes please!)

The best I can do is follow my own laymans curiosity down the rabbit hole. What exactly is it about this shows gleeful nihilism that appeals to so many fans, the vast majority of which would not consider themselves nihilists in any sense of the word? The draw of the show is strong for Millennials in particular, which is odd, since were the ones who obsess over Queer Eyes unbridled optimism, Marie Kondos blissful joy, and Steven Universes wide-eyed hopefulness in equal measure. In a society enamored by the concept of self (self-care, self-responsibility, self-love), what is so fascinating about a fantasy world that revolves around the destruction of any sense of individual importance? As Morty so succinctly tells his sister, Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybodys gonna dieCome watch TV.

Rick Sanchez, the aforementioned mad scientist, is the lynchpin of the show in that all of the zany plots and fart jokes are his doing, directly or indirectly. Rick is an anarchist of the highest degree, vocally disgusted by any sort of rules or law, including those of decency and familial obligation. So I think its fair that a dive into the shows nihilistic philosophy should center on him. Im sure he wouldnt have it any other way.

In Rick theres no doubt an element of the (toxic) masculine archetype: Tortured Genius Who Is Lonely and Doesnt Care Because Feelings Are Overrated. Hes a character of frustrating paradoxes. Every act of debauchery or callousness is tempered by a glimpse of grudging generosity or heroism. He relentlessly mocks his grandchildren, using every possible opportunity to convince them how little they matter to him, but anytime someone else tries to take advantage of Morty or Summer, hes quick to avenge. In season one, after a chaotic nightmare of an adventure, Morty leads Rick on an ill-fated quest, determined to prove that adventures should be simple and fun. Mortys fantastical adventure takes a nightmarish turn when hes assaulted in a bathroom by an alien named Mr. Jellybean. Traumatized, Morty is ready to bail, but Rick, clearly intuiting whats happened, helps Morty to bring their adventure to a satisfying conclusionand then hops back through the portal to execute the alien pervert, for good measure.

In a later episode, Summer starts her first job in a shop run by Mr. Needful, aka the actual Devil (voiced by Alfred Molina) selling cursed artifactsyou know, typical high school job. Jealous of his granddaughters admiration for Mr. Needful, though he refuses to admit it, Rick starts a successful campaign to run the shop out of business, much to Summers dismay. But when the Devil pulls a Zuckerberg and screws Summer out of her share of the business empire she helped him build from the ground up, Rick joins her in a plot to get ripped and beat the shit out of her former boss during a TED Talk. Sweet revenge.

In Auto Erotic Assimilation, which is arguably one of the most emotionally fraught episodes of the series, Ricks oscillating character arc reveals a poignant, unexpected moment of the ordinary humanity he despises so much. After a run-in with an ex, a hive mind named Unity (voiced mainly by Christina Hendrix) who has plans to assimilate the entire universe, Rick goes on a debauched, sex- and drug-fueled bender that eventually causes Unitys control over the planet to falter. When Morty and Summer express concern, Rick dismisses them out of hand, explaining to Unity, Theyre no different from any of the aimless chumps that you occupy. They just put you at the center of their lives because youre powerful, and then because they put you there, they expect you to be less powerful.

Rick remains oblivious to the full impact of his words (His next order of business is: Im not looking for judgement, just a yes or no: Can you assimilate a giraffe?), but shortly thereafter Unity dumps him, leaving behind a series of breakup notes telling Rick that its too easy for Unity to lose itself in him, because in a strange way, youre better at what I do without even trying.

Rick pretends to be nonchalant and indifferent, but that night he attempts suicide with a death ray that only narrowly misses the mark. It is without doubt one of the darkest momentsif not the darkest momentof the series thus far, and in my opinion lays bare the crux of Ricks character. With infinite intelligence comes an infinite loneliness that makes you wonder if his borderline sociopathy is cause or effect. Maybe a little of both. The show certainly gives no clear answer.

In fact, if anything, the writers spend a great deal of time building up the trope of the lonely genius, only to poke fun at it every chance they get. In the season three premiere, we get a look into Ricks tragic and somewhat clich backstory, in which a young Rick is visited by an alternate version of himself and doesnt like the lonely, narcissistic future he sees. He announces to his wife that hes giving up science, only for the alternate Rick to toss a bomb through the portal, destroying both his wife and young daughter. After losing his family, Rick throws himself back into science and discovers interdimensional travel. Its another moment of humanity for the otherwise emotionally inscrutable Rick. Or it would be, except that its a totally fabricated origin story that Rick uses to trick Galactic Federation agent Cornvelious Daniel (voiced by Nathan Fillion) and escape the Series 9000 Brainalyzer in which he is imprisoned.

Theres never any solid footing when it comes to Rick Sanchez. Hes impossible to pin down. As Morty tells his sister, Hes not a villain, Summer, but he shouldnt be your hero. Hes more like a demon. Or a super fucked-up god. The show repeatedly suggests that we shouldnt admire Rick, but also constantly undermines itself with evidence to the contraryhe always comes out on top, hes always one step ahead, he always manages to protect his family (except for that one time he and Morty transformed the earth into a Cronenberg-style hellscape and then bailed into a new reality, but alls well that ends well, I suppose).

Screenshot: Cartoon Network

Ricks character is distinctly problematic, which is really a nicely academic way of saying that hes a piece of shit and if he somehow existed in real life I would hate him on principle. But in the fictional world he inhabits, hes a reflection of the darkest part of the human psyche. A safe, harmless way to embrace the shadowy corners of our minds that we otherwise avoid. We can find escapism in the romanticizing of life, the universe, and everything (through shows like Queer Eye or Steven Universe, for example) or in the oppositein the offhand dismissal of all we hold to be true and right. Im no psychologist, but I do think theres an element of cognitive dissonance that is key to our survival, if not as a species then as individuals. We need to be able to lose ourselves in nihilistic shows about demons and super fucked-up gods on occasion without losing who we are or what we believe in.

No disrespect to Nietzsche and his bros, but IRL we truly care about friends and family and cat videos and injustice and global warming. We have to. Its what makes us human, and I wouldnt have it any other way. There are many who would argue that all the fiction we consume must reflect the values we aspire to in our everyday lives, lest we lose sight of our own morality, and I get that. I really do. I try my best to support media that supports a better world, but Im not going to pretend to be a hero, here. As Rick proves time and time again, the universe is a chaotic and crazy place, and sometimes I need a break from the fraught emotional tangle of reality. And for that, I find my escape in shows like Rick and Morty, which are complex enough to analyze for layers of meaning, to study the problematic tropes that get dismantled and the ones that get reinforced. But its also fun and simple enough to kick back with an adult beverage, too much pizza, and just not think about it. Its less of a guilty pleasure and more of a release valve. Watching a show that cares about nothing is a way to siphon off the pressure of caring so damn much about everything.

And at the root of it all, I think its that pure escapism that attracts us most to Rick and Morty and their misadventures (aside from clever writing, complex emotional payoffs, and a character literally named Mr. Poopy Butthole, but I digress). The characters inhabit infinite realities where actions have virtually no consequences. Accidentally ruin this world? No problem. All you have to do is find a new reality, bury your own corpse, and youre back in business. Easy peasy.

I will gladly lose myself (and my clutter) in Maries joyful world, and I love to eat candy and dream big with Steven and the Gems. But some days require an escapism of a different caliber. We are burdened with the not-so-glorious purpose of surviving in a world where even an errant tweet can bear the most devastating of fruit, where assholes who think theyre smarter than everyone else are just assholes (no genius involved), where once we destroy the planet with global warming, there is no portal gun we can use to hop neatly into a new reality.

Rick and Morty doesnt give a shit about Twitter, or feelings, or this universe, or anything at all. And while youre watching it, you dont have to either. Sometimes thats exactly what you need, at least until the next season of Queer Eye drops.

Originally published in August 2019.

Destiny Soria lives and works in the shadow of the mighty Vulcan statue in Birmingham, Alabama. Destinys first book, Iron Cast, was published in 2016 to critical acclaim. Her second, Beneath the Citadel, is available now.

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Rick and Morty and Nihilism: Embracing a Show That Cares About Nothing - tor.com

The nihilism of Mitch McConnell – The Boston Globe

Theres not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations, McConnell was quoted telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

The effort to so clearly and ostentatiously turn a national tragedy into yet another partisan issue was met with an immediate and sharp backlash. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York pointed out that states like Kentucky, which McConnell represents, take in far more federal spending than they return in taxes the opposite of states like New York, which pays more in taxes to the federal government than it receives. But in a plea for decency, Cuomo said, "If there was ever a time for humanity . . . and a time to stop your obsessive political bias and anger, now is the time.

But were talking about Mitch McConnell. This is the man who mobilized his Republican caucus to prevent witnesses from being called in President Trumps impeachment trial; who rammed through, on a partisan vote, Brett Kavanaughs ascendancy to the Supreme Court; and who has shut down the Senate from crucial business except for the confirmation of conservative federal judges. He also strongly resisted efforts to expose Russias interference in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump. I have little doubt he did so because such exposure would have undermined Trumps White House bid and, in turn, possibly eroded McConnells Senate majority.

And if we want to go further back, this is the same senator who in 2009 and 2010 did exactly what hes doing now. In the midst of the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, he used his 41-seat Senate minority to shoot down virtually every effort to pass stimulus measures that would have lessened the toll, because prolonging the countrys economic pain was in the political interests of the Republican Party.

Were seeing a variation of such political nihilism now.

There are lots of theories on why McConnell is resisting money for state and local governments now. Hes trying to cripple Democratic state governments by forcing them to cut basic services, goes one argument. Declaring bankruptcy might force states to default on their pension obligations, which would cripple public-sector unions (which strongly support Democratic candidates).

As President Trump hinted at Tuesday, when he said that payments to states would be contingent on the removal of laws creating sanctuary cities, perhaps McConnell is using the desperate fiscal situation as leverage. Indeed, his new-found focus on granting liability protection to businesses that force employees back to work and his concession earlier this week that state and local funds will probably be included in the next stimulus package suggests that might be what hes thinking.

But with McConnell, the best explanation for his behavior usually comes back to politics. As I wrote last year, For McConnell, politics is fundamentally about accruing political power for the sole purpose of accruing more political power.

Sure, squeezing Democratic states will boomerang against red states too. Not only will it make the economic downturn worse, which would further undercut Trumps reelection chances, but it will hurt red-state governors in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Ohio too.

But from McConnells perspective, it will have the useful political effect of making the coronavirus pandemic a partisan issue. Already, Republicans have portrayed COVID-19 as a problem that is afflicting blue states more than red ones. Why should the country suffer because of New York City? one insidious line of argument goes. Blue state governors in swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin are enduring the brunt of partisan attacks for their tough line on strict social distancing rules. Why not up the ante?

The specifics of the bailouts matter less than the opportunity to find political advantage and activate Republican animosity toward liberals. Sure, if you can undercut public sector unions or maybe squeeze out some legal protections for Republican donors, all the better.

Its a troubling conclusion, but its also one that those who look closely at McConnells career generally arrive at. As Jane Mayer wrote in a recent profile of McConnell for The New Yorker, For months, I searched for the larger principles or sense of purpose that animates McConnell. . . . Finally, someone who knows him very well told me, 'Give up. You can look and look for something more in him, but it isnt there. I wish I could tell you that there is some secret thing that he really believes in, but he doesnt.

Politics has long been the only motivating factor for McConnell: the explanation for everything that he has done over the past several decades to undercut democracy and enable an authoritarian president, dangerously unqualified for the awesome power he wields.

Why should a deadly pandemic and an economic catastrophe be any different?

Michael A. Cohens column appears regularly in the Globe. Follow him on Twitter @speechboy71.

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The nihilism of Mitch McConnell - The Boston Globe

Coronavirus, the definition of ‘global’ and climate curriculum – Education Dive

Dylan Craig is a high school English teacher in Maryland's Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

For many in a more privileged sphere, the coronavirus has broken the comfortable illusion that a global catastrophe like this just wont happen, at least not in my bubble. Catastrophe is now a reality and "global"means "global,"as in everyone.

With the bursting of this comforting bubble and the definition of the "global"in "global catastrophe"clearer than ever, it is now time to seriously invest in a climate crisis curriculum for our students. We have a new sense of what it means to be affected by and to tackle something globally, and we need to equip our students with the practical and political power to address these challenges, as well as build a sense of global solidarity and shared responsibility.

When people are not informed or prepared, as well as believe catastrophes happen in faraway places, we get reactions like those seen in response to the coronavirus.In my students, for example, I saw disbelief turning to shock, turning to a range of emotional defense mechanisms, such as detachment, humor, denial, nihilism and in some cases, powerful fear.

These reactions parallel those in response to recent climate revelations, with global projections of catastrophic proportions coming within our lifetimes. When Wuhan, China shut down, my friends in Maryland discussed it, but the chances of it affecting us were an abstract notion. When New York City shut down with the coronavirus, in Maryland we mainly thought, "Yikes, but still, what are the chances this will affect me personally?"

These reactions are similar to when we hear about heat waves in Europe, locust plagues in Africa, or more frequent and intense hurricanes in the south. Those are bad, caused by climate change, but this probably wont affect me personally. The "global"in "global catastrophe"often feels like a half-empty word to the more privileged, having a similar meaning to "a lot of people."

However, coronavirus forced many to go through the denial of the "global"definition quickly, as it did make its way to our front door, much like the "in our lifetime"climate predictions, and soon many who were in denial a week ago were out of school or work and sheltering in place the next. We can now learn from this in our approach to climate change, pressing forward with our students new understanding of "global,"and the realization for many that yes, it will impact me. And yes, there is a shared responsibility to address it. From this, we can both show that we are in this together and promote the idea that it shouldnt take a crisis coming to our front door to build global solidarity.

If global solidarity were built from the beginning in the coronavirus, the situation may have turned out much differently, with all our political power and resources going to help China battle what could affect us all. But with the climate crisis we have a few advantages one being time.

Although certain effects of climate change are escalating quickly (side note the release of new viruses is one of those effects), the coronavirus has had a much steeper learning curve. However, we still have time to tackle major effects of climate change, as well as the knowledge of potential solutions and mitigation strategies that are often not in place simply due to a lack of political will and lack of notions of shared responsibility.

With these advantages, a climate crisis curriculum could have a major impact on those who are going to be facing the brunt of the consequences of this global challenge, and coronavirus allowed many to realize that they are not somehow excluded from the "global"definition.

We must now use this realization in order to implement a curriculum that leads to action and solidarity. This curriculum would give students a better understanding of why this climate crisis is happening, what effects have become inevitable, what effects can be mitigated, what effects can be stopped, as well as ways to build political power and global solidarity to address them.

In many ways, it would be a hopeful curriculum, and one that helps keep students from relying on the emotional defense mechanisms seen during the coronavirus.Overall, the curriculum could embody a version of Martin Luther King Jr.s statement, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, as an environmental mantra for global solidarity and shared responsibility, especially now that students see how true this really is.

It is not ideal that it took a global catastrophe for major parts of the population to realize they are not untouchable, and I truly wish the notions of global solidarity were already in place so that we could live in a world that does not commit acts that endanger others who they will never meet and in places that they will never see.

However, we have the opportunity to build that solidarity with a better understanding of global consequences and shared responsibility than ever. The fact that we are already sacrificing so much in the name of coronavirus mitigation in order to help those we will never meet speaks to our readiness to continue, as well as the benevolent aspects of human nature in general. This can and must continue to be fostered in our students to address our next great global challenge to help save our near and distant global future with a renewed sense that we are all in this together.

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Coronavirus, the definition of 'global' and climate curriculum - Education Dive

Thanos Used The Infinity Stones To Make… The Perfect Woman? – Screen Rant

The MCU showed the world thedestructive might of the Infinity Stones, but what could that power be used to create in those same hands? In 1991, Marvel's TheInfinity Gauntletfollows The Mad Titan, Thanos, as he wields the most powerful weapon in the universe. Drunk with power and jaded in love, Thanos creates his vision of the perfect companion: Terraxia the Terrible!

Since hiscreation by Jim Starlin in 1973, Thanos has often been portrayed as a cold, unfeeling megalomaniac. But not without some sympathy, sinceThanos has been outcast his entire life, due to his appearance and his obsession with morbidity and nihilism. Only one being in the whole universe shows him any affection: the avatar of death incarnate,Mistress Death. She sees his potential to deliver her an unprecedented number of souls, and begins manipulating him from his earliest years as a child on Titan. Thanos relentlessly pursues herapproval by decimating Titan's population in a nuclear holocaust, going on a killing spree across the universe, and even going as far as slaughtering his own child. Death is unimpressed by his efforts, as her hunger can never truly be sated.

Related:Thanos Originally Looked Like DC's [SPOILER], Not Darkseid

Afterhis death at the hands of Adam Warlock, Thanos is resurrected by Lady Death for the sole purpose of ending half of all life in the universe. Thanos tricks her into helping him gather the Infinity Stones to aid him in his task, and thereby surpassed even the cosmic entity of Death in his power. Scorned, Death continues to spurns his amorous pursuits, refusing to utter a single word or even acknowledge his presence. Despite Death's cold shoulder, Thanos snaps away half of all life in the universe. Still, Death is unmoved. Thanos, furious and desperate, realizes that no matter his efforts, he will never earn that which he seeks. But he is a god, and will not be denied his quarry. If he can't earn love, then he will create it. To this end, he blinks into existence a "perfect" woman in the form of Terraxia.

Terraxia looks less like an ideal lover for Thanos than his sister. She shares his purple skin, black eyes, and is dressed in a female tailored replica of Thanos's uniform, right down to the gauntlets and horned head piece. It makes sense for an egomaniac such as Thanos to envision the perfect woman as simply an extension of himself who lives only to please him. Even while Terraxia is clinging to Thanos's leg like a harem girl, Thanos is attempting to impress Death with his exploits. As the massive army of Marvel superheroes approach, Thanos knows he must seize this final opportunity to win over his true love. Realizing that there is no bravery in absolute power, Thanos temporarily severs his connection to the Mind, Soul, Time, Space, and Reality Gems, leaving only the Power Stone at his disposal.

Thanos and Terraxia face down the gathered forces side by side, and for a brief moment, it seems as though Thanos is proud of the viciousness with which Terraxia tears through their foes, having decapitated Iron Man and crushed Spider-Man's skull with a rock. But at the climax of The Infinity Gauntlet, when they are banished to the void of space, Thanos quickly realizes he may have forgotten to provide Terraxia the ability to survive in the vacuum. And just as quickly, Thanos moves on, with nary a tear for his lost love.For all his effort, Death still shows no feeling toward Thanos, and eventually goes as far as to make him immortal, so that he may never know Death's embrace. Thanos's true weakness is not his love, but his own hunger for power.

The Infinity Gauntlet shows Thanoswants Death because she is the only thing can never possess, despite his raw might. His lack of vision while he possessed true omnipotence proves that he has no true purpose, save for the accumulation of more power. Thanos had everything he could ever dream of, but lacked the imagination to dream.

More:The Silver Surfer Used The Infinity Gauntlet... For Good (Mostly)

Why Did Batman Actually SLAP Robin, Anyway?

Doug Romshe is a writer, comic book historian, and most importantly a fan. He lives in Durham, North Carolina where he enjoys comics, novels, video games, craft beer, and cheap whiskey. Doug holds a degree in Philosophy with a minor in writing from Kent State University.

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Thanos Used The Infinity Stones To Make... The Perfect Woman? - Screen Rant

Film Adaptation ‘Capital In The Twenty-First Century’ Is An Autopsy Of A Broken System – WBUR

I was working at a bookstore in 2014 when Thomas Pikettys Capital in the Twenty-First Century became a sensation, and if youd asked me what was about to replace Gone Girl as our most requested title, a French academics 696-page hardcover doorstop detailing the history of economic inequality wouldnt exactly have been my first guess. At the time I joked it was about to become the most popular book that people bought and didnt finish since The Satanic Verses, but theres no denying that Pikettys thesis struck a chord with the public. The New York Times bestseller was the biggest blockbuster in the history of the Harvard University Press, and these kind of sales for a book thats extremely difficult to lift, let alone read, are saying something.

Arriving six years later, yet feeling weirdly right on time, is director Justin Pembertons documentary adaptation, which opens this Friday, May 1, at the Coolidge Corner Theatres Virtual Screening Room. A nifty overview as to why everything is terrible, Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a brilliantly assembled, blood-boiling examination of the past 100 years in economics that, viewed during our current disaster, feels like the autopsy of a broken system. Pikettys argument delivered in Pembertons slick, propulsive cinematic style depicts capitalism as a self-perpetuating beast with a natural inclination to bloat the rich and starve the poor to ever-increasing, unsustainable levels. Unless attentively restrained via stiff regulations and progressive taxation to redistribute wealth throughout the economy, itll all get hoarded at the top.

Speaking as someone who used to fall asleep in math class (theres a reason I went to film school, folks), Pikettys book fell pretty far outside my purview. But Pembertons film adaptation turns out to be a dazzling entertainment, putting cogent arguments in laymans terms with witty visual correlations. The army of talking heads is offset with smartly chosen film clips, clever animation and some strikingly innovative use of the overhead drone photography thats become a clich in so many lesser documentaries. The film has a knack for making tricky economic concepts accessible to all, even dummies like me who got a D in algebra.

Beginning just before World War I, Capital charts swelling and plummeting fortunes in various countries all the way up to and through the 2008 economic collapse. Patterns emerge in the macro view, with the aristocracy of various ages doing their best to insulate and further their own interests. The increasing inequality eliminates any middle class and removes opportunity for advancement, resulting in a widespread nihilism that eventually takes the form of either fascist nationalism or violent revolution. Fun.

Pembertons pugnacious approach uses shrewdly selected film clips ranging from Wall Street to The Grapes of Wrath attempting to puncture oft-reported, received wisdom like the stock market having anything to do with the lives of everyday people. The film angrily attacks the mentality were all brought up with, a notion one pundit describes as every American being a millionaire-in-waiting. With 75% of all the money in the world endlessly recycled through a closed system of shell companies and other offshore tax cheats among the 1%, the bootstrap mythology is a suckers bet.

The films most eye-opening segment shows us footage from a psychology experiment at the University of California at Irvine. Two strangers are set against one another in a game of Monopoly. According to a coin toss, one player is given twice as much money than the other to start with. That player also gets the use of two dice as opposed to the other players one, collecting twice as much money whenever they pass Go. It takes almost no time for the players who win the coin toss to dominate the game, and we watch them almost immediately become ruder, mocking their disadvantaged competitors, gloating about their prowess and even eating more pretzels than the losers who never had a chance.

According to psychologist Paul Piff, not a single winner in the entire study credited their victory to the ludicrously unfair advantages provided by the coin toss. To a person, they all think that they won because they were better players. Since seeing the movie Ive been unable to stop thinking about this sequence, wondering if its somehow hard-wired into our national psyche by years of consumerist conditioning, this adamant need to believe that any good fortune is somehow deserved. Acknowledging that it all might be an accident of birth or a coin toss undoes Americas entire idea of itself.

One could argue that 102 minutes isnt enough time to cover a tome the size of Pikettys, and that Capital in the Twenty-First Century gives short shrift to subjects like factory robotics and climate change that will play a huge part in determining the future of our economy. (See also: global pandemics.) But this is urgent, brashly entertaining filmmaking, full of arguments you may have a hard time shaking off.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century begins streaming Friday, May 1, at the Coolidge Corner Theatre's Virtual Screening Room.

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Film Adaptation 'Capital In The Twenty-First Century' Is An Autopsy Of A Broken System - WBUR

Chloe Wyma on Other Points of View – Artforum

The anti-institutional, anti-formal, anti-aesthetic nihilism of the Surrealists, Clement Greenberg wrote in 1944, . . . has in the end proved a blessing to the restless rich, the expatriates, and aesthete-flaneurs in general who were repelled by the ascetism of modern art. Surrealist subversiveness justifies their way of life, sanctioning the peace of conscience and the sense of chic with which they reject arduous disciplines. The implicit target of his words was View, an avant-garde magazine founded in 1940 by the Mississippi-born poet and flaneur Charles Henri Ford, the last protg of Gertrude Stein, and coauthor with the writer Parker Tyler of the banned 1933 gay novel The Young and the Evil.

Curated by Tirza True Latimer, the exhibition Other Points of View employs a loose, associative logic to bring together the various currentsSurrealist, magic realist, modernist, and neo-Romanticthat coursed through the publication during its seven-year run. Treasures on display include Kristians Tonnys quixotic mural sketches of nude horsemen, flying buffalo, and floating castles (made in 1937 for the Avery Auditorium at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut) and Isamu Noguchis carceral brass-wire Spider Dress, 1946, worn by Martha Graham in the role of Medea in Cave of the Heart, first performed that same year. View fixture Pavel Tchelitchew is also represented by his psychedelic renditions of metabolic systems, confectionary sketches for ballets and costume balls, an insouciantly obscene drawing of an all-male orgy, and old-masterish portraits of Ford, his longtime lover. The editor himself appears, in a swaggering 1935 photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson, as a dandified enfant terrible, buttoning his fly outside a Paris pissotire, known as a premier gay sex spot since the time of Rimbaud. Latimers inclusion of Fords later Poem Posters, 196465lithographic montages of Op-art graphics and concrete poetryand hisrelatedexperimental 1967 film reveal linkages between the uptown bohemia of the 40s and the downtown scene of the 60s.Footage, shot by Jonas Mekas, Jack Smith, Stan VanDerBeek, Andy Warhol, and others, of his star-studded opening at New Yorks Cordier & Ekstrom Gallery in 1965 is chopped and screwed to a shrieking free-jazz score. A grid of covers for View by the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Leonor Fini, Morris Hirshfield, Wifredo Lam, Fernand Lger, Georgia OKeeffe, Kurt Seligmann, and Yves Tanguy suggest the untheorized, and, to an extent, cliquish eclecticism (to borrow scholar Stamatina Dimakopoulous apt characterization) of the magazine.

Originally an organ for refugee Surrealists displaced by World War II, View quietly seceded from the official movement with January 1943s Americana Fantastica issue, its collage cover by Joseph Cornell concatenating images of trapeze artists, King Kong, the Empire State Building, and stock depictions of American Indians amid the torrents and vapors of Niagara Falls. In his introductory editorial, Tyler declared the fantastic the inalienable property of the untutored, the oppressed, the anarchic, and the amateur, impervious to academic methodologies and the tyranny of the father and the schoolteacher, taking an Oedipal dig at Surrealisms grand fromage, Andr Breton.

Where Bretonian Surrealism was dogmatic, partisan, and patriarchal, View was commercial, catholic, and, perhaps most problematically for Breton, unabashedly queer. In a particularly nasty, homophobic barb, Breton once referred to the magazine as pederasty international. Greenbergclearly no friend of Surrealismsaw Views putrescent cosmopolitanism as the movements logical conclusion, and savored its undoing with bitter irony: Not all the steadfastness of its leader in protesting against corruption wherever he could see it has prevented this ambivalence in the effects of Surrealism from eating back into and corrupting Surrealism itself. Corruption. Ambivalence. Anthropophagy. If these are Views inheritance, then art historyas Latimers show beautifully arguesis all the richer for it.

Chloe Wyma

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Chloe Wyma on Other Points of View - Artforum

Guinea-Bissau PM and three ministers test positive for COVID-19 – Face2Face Africa

Guinea-Bissaus Prime Minister, Nuno Gomes Nabiam, and three members of his cabinet have tested positive for the novel COVID-19, according to the health ministry. Health Minister, Antonio Deuna, told journalists that Nabiam, Interior Minister Botche Cande and two other ministers were diagnosed on Tuesday and have been quarantined at a hotel in the capital Bissau.

Although the health minister did not reveal details of the officials condition or treatment, he warned that the countrys rate of infection could rise.

So far, the country has confirmed over 70 cases and one death.

Africas case

Infection rates on the continent are low and so is the case count even in comparison to individual countries such as France, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. Many more Africans are recovering from the virus by the day too and yet, many Africans and those who are not, remain unconvinced by less-than-horrific statistics.

The people believe the scourge will be worse for them than theEuropeanshad it because Africas leaders are woefully incompetent. Africas professional class insists that there are a lot of causes for concern and Euro-American spectatorship wonders how the people on the poorest continent arent dying as much.

There has been a 43% jump in confirmed cases over the last week but real numbers tell a highly manageable coronavirus problem in Africa. So why are observers worried?

There are arguments to be made about Africans distrusting their own institutions apsychopathologyof colonization.

They do not teach in a class on philosophy of statistics, the emotional compendium necessary for interpreting any sort of mathematical data set. Put simply, what it means for one to be in theright frame of mindin order to read from given scientific data is poorly conceptualized and sorely under-urged.

Are Africans and outsiders expecting the continents problem to grow exponentially because they are not in theright frame of mind?

But perhaps, we may say that the doom prophesied is as a result of empiric inefficiencies in the modern African way of life.

Probity and accountability have not been selling points of many of the national governments over the decades. It is thus considerably hard to find the best way of accepting such information as Mauritania claiming it is coronavirus-free; Ghana arguing that its infection rate is 1.5% or Madagascar insisting that a new tonic advertised by the countrys prime minister is a coronavirus suppressant.

A coronavirus-ensured doom may also be prophesied of the continent where so much of the economy depends on vis--vis, cash-dependent interactions that happen in crowded and environmentally-questionable surroundings.

This is the same continent with the poorest health networks and healthcare facilities, poor modern communications capacities and where it is more difficult to maintain law and order, according to Ugandas presidentYoweri Museveni. Add the problem of food security to this list.

Statistics, on the other hand, is pliable and results could be predetermined by carefully choosing what to count and how to count it. A question of how governments are arriving at their coronavirus-related numbers is important to ask of authorities in Africa and anywhere else.

The problem with Africa therefore, is not the clichd dilemma of how much water there is in the glass. We are debating whether there is a glass at all and whether there is any water in it.

We are dared to embrace some sort of nihilism forced by endemic pessimism. No belief in the leaders, no belief in the numbers, no belief in the physical structures and no belief in the rules and regulations.

How do a people emerge on the other side of a pandemic when they are being dared to embrace nihilism? This question may seem far-fetched until you realize answering it opens the door to the discussion on what normal times will be in these days of the novel coronavirus.

There are over 40 vaccines at various levels in trial but we have been warned that we may have to wait until 2021 for the proper treatment of COVID-19. This therefore means that lockdowns, the restrictions employed by many countries to calm the spread of the virus, would have to be lifted at some point this year.

South AfricasCyril Ramaphosaput it bluntly: Our people must eat.

Life must go on but what kind of life are we talking about? How do they live when the people have been beaten into their shelves and asked to entertain solely, pessimism and nothing more?

One could make the argument that life must go on but we should not live as though we are in normal times. Although that is understandable, the gaping problem is that these are unchartered waters and we may not find our way back to the dock, now or ever.

What Africans have always entertained will be their refuge in these unfamiliar times. If the people are in search of new normal times, the pessimism and near-nihilism which have been entertained for so long will provide no comfort.

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Guinea-Bissau PM and three ministers test positive for COVID-19 - Face2Face Africa

‘Normal People’ Streaming: How to Watch the Series Online – Newsweek

Normal People, the 2019 New York Times best-selling novel from Sally Rooney, has been adapted into a 12-part drama by Room director Lenny Abrahamson. The series debuted on the U.K.'s BBC iPlayer service on April 27, and will be available to watch in the U.S. soon on Hulu.

The Hulu release date for the series will be Wednesday, April 29, when the show is expected to air from midnight PT. At that time, all 12 half-hour episodes of the drama will be streaming at once. All of the episodes are streaming in the U.K. on iPlayer now, and on RTE in the show's native Ireland.

As well as streaming the episodes online, Hulu allows users to download episodes of Normal People and its other shows to watch offline. To download episodes, users have to select a show and move onto the "Episodes" tab, where there should be a download button next to each instalment of the show.

New Hulu subscribers can watch Normal People for nothing with a free trial. Users can get 30 days for free, after which time the service costs $5.99 a month for Basic (with ads), or $11.99 for the ad-free Hulu Premium. Users can also save money with a yearly subscription.

Disney+ subscribers are also eligible for a Hulu deal. Users can get a bundle where they can get Disney+, Hulu Basic and ESPN+ for $12.99 a month.

The Hulu synopsis for the series reads: "Based on Sally Rooney's New York Times best-selling novel, Normal People tracks the tender but complicated relationship of Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) from the end of their school days in a small town in the west of Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College.

"At school, he's well-liked and popular, while she's lonely, proud, and intimidating. But when Connell comes to pick up his mother from her cleaning job at Marianne's house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagersone they are determined to conceal.

"A year later, they're both studying in Dublin and Marianne has found her feet in a new social world but Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain."

Director Abrahamson, who helmed the first six episodes of the series, told the Financial Times: "It's about a generation that I think we don't do justice to very often. We either make it cute, or we pathologize itEuphoria does that a bit, where it's all about drugs and nihilism.

"I think that show is brilliant, but it's a well-worn road. Somebody like Sally, who is so close to that generation and treats it really seriously, I found that really great."

Normal People is released on Wednesday, April 29 on Hulu.

View original post here:

'Normal People' Streaming: How to Watch the Series Online - Newsweek

Ricky Gervais interview: They think that every joke is a window to the comedians soul – The Independent

Ricky Gervais generally has reliable comic timing. He helped usher in a renaissance of documentary-style cringe comedy as a creator and star ofThe Office.And he has successfully positioned himself against the well-heeled Hollywood crowd that occasionally invites Gervais to mock them to their faces as host of the Golden Globes. (In his routine in January, Gervais roasted his celebrity peers for their displays of social consciousness while they worked for corporations like Amazon, Apple a company that runs sweatshops in China and Disney. If Isisstarted a streaming service, youd call your agent, wouldnt you? he said.)

But will the current cultural moment be as receptive to season two of Gervaiss dark comedy series After Life, whichNetflix released last Friday?

On this show, which Gervaiswrites and directs, he plays the lead role of Tony Johnson, a widower still mourning his wife, Lisa (Kerry Godliman), who died of breast cancer. In his grief, Tony resolves to become the person hes always wanted to be self-assertive, impolitic and largely resistant to the efforts of friends who hope to steer him onto more positive paths.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

After Lifeis suffused with an existentialism that could make it either an ideal tonic right now or too uncomfortably real and Gervais knows that its tone is tricky even under normal circumstances. As he said in a recent video chat from his home in north London: The big worry for me was, could people go from laughing about something ridiculous to crying about something very real? I think the answer is yes.

How is your quarantine going?

Were in one of the better places called the Vale of Health. I think thats a good omen. Were on lockdown, but youre allowed to exercise every day. Ive turned into that guy when I see people having picnics and stuff like that, I want to call the police: Theres some neer-do-wells having fun and games!

Gervais created and starred in the hugely successful The Office (Alamy)

Are things really all that different for you?

Apart from the gigs that were postponed, my life hasnt changed much. I didnt go out a lot, and theres always enough booze in the house for a nuclear winter. You wont hear me complain. Not when, every day, I see some millionaire celebrity going, Im sad that Im not on telly tonight. Or, I had a swim in the pool, that made me feel a little bit better. [Begins to sing] Imagine theres no heaven

Your comedy is often critical of fame and the people who covet it. Do you think that the pandemic has accelerated our distaste for celebrity culture?

Ive got nothing against anyone being a celebrity or being famous. I think that people are just a bit tired of being lectured to. Now celebrities think: The general public needs to see my face. They cant get to the cinema I need to do something. And its when you look into their eyes, you know that, even if theyre doing something good, theyre sort of thinking, I could weep at what a good person I am. Oh dear.

But when you perform a stand-up routine like the one you did at this years Golden Globes, dont you have to look over your shoulder when the night is over?

No, the world hasnt changed. No one looks at me differently. And Ive got nothing against those people, really. I think thats the mistake people make: they think that every joke is a window to the comedians soul because I wrote it and performed it under my own name, that thats really me. And thats just not true. Ill flip a joke halfway through and change my stance to make the joke better. Ill pretend to be right wing, left wing, whatever wing, no wing. Ive got to go after the richest people in the room, and NBC and the Hollywood Foreign Press [Association, which organises the Golden Globes]. Ive got to be a court jester, but a court jesters got to make sure that he doesnt get executed as well. Ive got to make all the peasants laugh at the king, but the kings sort of got to like it. [Laughs]

A lot of political conservatives became fans of yours after that performance because they felt youd finally stuck it to the Hollywood elite. Do you think any were driven away after they learned you didnt share their viewpoints on other issues?

I didnt notice that on Twitter until a couple of disgruntled liberal elites suddenly said, Oh, Gervais is alt-right now. And I went, what? Whats right-wing about taking the mickey out of the richest, most powerful corporations on the planet? But Ive had this before. People that followed me, if they were far right, theyre probably not atheists like me. They probably dont like some of the language that I use. They probably dont agree with my anti-trophy hunting stance. In general, I think most normal people follow a person for a particular reason or two. If the tweets I hate outnumber the ones I like, Ill unfollow him. No one has to be perfect to have friends. They just have to be, on balance, OK.

The dog, literally and metaphorically, saves Tonys life, over and over again (Natalie Seery/Netflix)

The themes of death and how we deal with loss are pervasive in After Life.Does that make it any more attuned to the current moment? Or does that make it harder to watch?

I think we second-guess people too much. We worry about what the people at home can take. Real lifes worse. They can take all of this. It stuns me that people still think, Oh, you shouldnt joke about that. Were reading about it in the paper why cant we joke about it? With other shows of mine, people come up to me on the street, and they usually say, I love the show.But with this one and this was before coronavirus they come up to me and say, I just want to say, I lost my sister three weeks ago. Or, I lost my husband. No one said, Oh, I had to turn it off because it was too upsetting, or, It reminded me of something bad. You suddenly realise, of course everyones grieving. And the older you get, the more youve got to grieve.

Theres a scene in one of the new episodes when Tony tells another character: Everythings bad for you. Were all dying. Being healthy is just dying more slowly.Do you think about moments like that one differently now?

I think it would be different if I did a show that was specifically about coronavirus[wearily] which there are going to be hundreds. And novels. And weird, fake reality shows. But in the abstract, its a joke about death, and people are dying all the time. People arent going, No one was dying until this year that joke didnt age well. Tonys acting nihilistically. Hes reminding people that hes not over it. He still wants to punish the world. Theres a narcissism to his grieving, in a way. And then he confronts people that are worse off than him and make him feel slightly spoiled. We all go through that.

What gets us out of our nihilism and gets us over attitudes like that?

One of the ideas in After Lifeis about how the mundane saves us. We need those little things. The fact that the dog, literally and metaphorically, saves Tonys life, over and over again. I say to the dog, If you could open a can, Id be dead now. Death is the last taboo. Its imminent. Its going to happen. We just dont want it to be now, whenever it is. But we can still joke about it. I dont know if that makes the show any more or less poignant or entertaining than any other time. But people do all the things theyre supposed to now.They stay in. They wash their hands. They phone their family. And then, I think, they want to watch Tiger King.You know? No ones thinking about coronavirus when theyre watching. And life goes on. Lifes got to go on. Life goes on.

'After Life' is available on Netflix

The rest is here:

Ricky Gervais interview: They think that every joke is a window to the comedians soul - The Independent

What do you watch when you’re in need of a big ol’ laugh? – Fashion Journal

Laugh it up, baby.

Welcome to Ask the FJ Community. Weve tapped our brilliant community of creatives writers, artists, designers, stylists, makeup artists, photographers and asked them some of the questions that have been bouncing around our heads during isolation. For the third instalment, we asked: What do you watch when youre in need of a big ol laugh?. We think we could all do with some lols during this time, and we hope you enjoy their answers as much as we do.

Genevieve Phelan, writer and FJ contributor

Nothing cures nihilism like Kath and Kim. Theyre also very good at oi-solation. Or go international with some virtual partying courtesy of Geordie Shore reruns from the very beginning. Wye aye.

Kaitlyn Bosnjak, photographer and FJ contributor

SNL (particularly Diner Lobster, or Close Encounter).

Rob Povey, makeup artist and FJ contributor

This will really show my age (and lack-of coolness), but I think Ive watched all eleven seasons of Frasier more than eleven times over. It just blends broad and highbrow humour so perfectly and I find myself discovering new one-liners every time I rewatch it.

Hannah Cole, writer and FJ contributor

Seinfeld is on current rotation its easy, mindless and I love Elaines socks and shoe combos. Im banking on a Parks & Recreation binge soon too.

Olivia Hart, writer and FJ contributor

Sitcoms! I get hectically into rewatching all the sitcoms available. So far Ive binged Friends, Seinfeld, The IT Crowd and How I Met Your Mother.

Sabina McKenna, writer, artist, curator and FJ contributor

I have just started using TikTok not to make content, just for the funny people! Ghost Honey is my favourite so far, but be warned its very silly.

Indah Dwyer, writer, model and FJ contributor

Ugh, Kath and Kim always! And also my camera roll.

Maggie Zhou, FJ intern

Stupid TikTok videos Or even better, watching back on videos of me trying to learn TikTok dances. Theyre saved in my drafts and Im bringing them to the grave with me.

Original post:

What do you watch when you're in need of a big ol' laugh? - Fashion Journal

I thought I was being safe. Then I found out I had been exposed to coronavirus. – Grist

the illusion of certainty

This essay was first published in our semi-weekly newsletter, Climate in the Time of Coronavirus, which you can subscribe to here.

A few weeks ago, I got sick. My whole body ached so persistently that the only place I could really be comfortable was in a bath, which isnt really sustainable over long periods of time unless youre one of those merpeople. My lymph nodes protruded so far out of my neck that the skin around my jaw felt tight and painful. I was so tired I ended up sleeping between 12 and 18 hours a day.

While I was writhing around between my couch and my bed, the only other human Id seen up close in a month told me that hed been diagnosed with COVID-19. So the coronavirus had in all likelihood found me!

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I thought I had protected myself reasonably well mask on, limited trips to the grocery store, a few walks on quiet streets, and seeing exactly one(!) other person. That felt safe enough; we both lived alone, worked from home, didnt see anyone else barring basic errands. I thought I was being smart and cautious, taking what felt like a small, garden-variety risk to sustain just enough human interaction to keep me reasonably sane. But it turns out theres no place you can be truly safe from coronavirus.

As Grists advice columnist, a substantial percentage of the questions I receive are from readers seeking certainty about the threat of climate change. What will happen? When will it happen? Where will it happen? And what can I do to ensure that it will not happen to me? It is a completely reasonable human response to a huge, difficult-to-comprehend threat. You want to know how to protect yourself; what the risk to you is.

I dont attempt to answer any of those queries. There is no way to do so; these readers are seeking an impossible assurance. Climate change and coronavirus are inescapable for the same reason: They will each transform society, wholly and against our will, and humans can do our very best to prepare and adapt. But even with the very best preparation and adaptation, the utmost cautiousness, you have no idea what or when or where you will experience its impacts.

I think every generation believes they are living through unprecedented change, and I dont think mine is particularly special. This change, the pandemic, is certainly really sudden and strange. The warming climate isnt sudden at all, and yet its no less threatening. I will continue to do my best to prepare for and adapt to and mitigate, where I can, the impacts of climate change. I thought I had done what I reasonably could to mitigate at least for myself the risks of contracting coronavirus, and that went out the window so spectacularly I have to laugh.

All things considered, I was fortunate. After three days of feeling wretched, I feel completely fine now. My friends experience was much worse. Our illnesses started on the same day, but his symptoms were more severe and lasted much longer. I waited fretfully for his symptoms to subside, prickly with the guilt that I had had it so much easier.

Im aware we were both lucky to recover at all.

I might never be 100 percent certain that I ever actually had It, as I was denied a test (my doctor said Im young, healthy, and my treatment would have been the same regardless) and antibody tests remain elusive. But why does it matter to me now? The promise of immunity, of course, of some form of protection; that its over, I faced the threat, it was fine, and now I no longer have to worry. The badge of having survived COVID unscathed is perhaps the most coveted security blanket of the moment.

And yet, I am under no illusion that I have any real power over whats coming, with regard to climate change. and I dont really think that was ever the goal. Who has ever been able to control the future, anyway? But please do not misunderstand that to be an expression of nihilism or defeat. I have not given up, to the contrary; I am ready for a future that I know I cannot imagine.

The way that humanity tackles this pandemic parallels how it might fight climate change. Sign up for our semi-weekly newsletter,Climate in the Time of Coronavirus.

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I thought I was being safe. Then I found out I had been exposed to coronavirus. - Grist

Is It OK to Laugh During Dark Times? – The New York Times

In Its OK to Find Humor in Some of This, Alex Williams writes:

Unreasonably dark joke, read a coronavirus meme circulating on social media in recent weeks. Shouldnt we wait until after the pandemic to fill out the census?

The joke is dark, yes. But is it any darker than countless other coronavirus memes out there?

Even more pointed is a spoof movie poster for Weekend at Bernies, the 1989 film comedy about two buddies toting around a dead man on their partying adventures, called Weekend at Boris. It cast as the corpse Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, who at that point was still in intensive care for Covid-19, as the corpse.

Since the pandemic took hold, the internet has been awash with coronavirus-centric joke memes, Twitter wisecracks and self-produced comedy sketches shot with smartphones in shelter-in-place kitchens and living rooms. And thats not counting whats happening in private conversations during quarantine.

Laughing while others die may seem inappropriate, even tasteless, like concentration camp prisoners finding humor during the Holocaust. But in fact many did, according to a 2017 documentary, The Last Laugh.

Throughout history, humor has played a role in the darkest times, as a psychological salve and shared release. Large swaths of the population are living in isolation, instructed to eye with suspicion any stranger who wanders within six feet. And coronavirus jokes have become a form of contagion themselves, providing a remaining thread to the outside world for the isolated and perhaps to sanity itself.

Mr. Williams discusses a private Facebook group moderated by Lori Day, an educational psychologist and consultant in Newburyport, Mass., devoted to pandemic-themed videos and memes:

Its the kind of edgy humor people dont feel comfortable putting on their own Facebook wall, for the risk of having their parents say, How could you? Ms. Day, 56, said.

Tasteless or not, virus jokes provide her a fleeting distraction, and a needed smile, as the pandemic has put her life and consulting business on hold. Its very similar to the feeling I get looking at baby animals online, which is another thing I dose myself liberally with these days, Ms. Day said.

The same goes for other members of the group. Some members are ill with Covid-19. Theyre thanking me from their beds, she said. Theyre thanking me from their hospital rooms.

Humor can divide as well as unite generations, made plain on the social media each favors. Baby boomers and Gen-Xers seem to be gravitating toward were-all-in-this-together observational humor in the memes they post to Facebook (Anyone else starting to get a tan from the light in your refrigerator?), or gags that focus on specific villains (foot-dragging political leaders, say) and implicit solutions (throw the bums out!). Calm down, everyone, reads one such meme. A six-time bankrupted reality TV star is handling the situation.

As The Cut recently noted, the outpouring of coronavirus content among Generation Z types on TikTok runs the gamut: disgust, resignation, frustration, despair and hope. One could also add: barely concealed nihilism, perhaps a response to the discovery that members of that generation are coming of age in a world that suddenly seems even more messed up than already thought.

In one TikTok video, by a 20-year-old in California named Andreas, his mother finds him still in bed at 4 p.m. as he sings, Oh hi, thanks for checking in, Im still a piece of garbage.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

Is it OK to joke during dark times? When is it inappropriate, and when is it not? Should any topics be off limits in humor and comedy?

Do you ever laugh at coronavirus-related jokes or memes? Did you find any of the examples in the article funny? Were any inappropriate or offensive to you? Are you drawn to dark humor? If yes, why?

What role do laughter and humor play in your life? Mr. Williams writes that coronavirus jokes provide a remaining thread to the outside world for the isolated and perhaps to sanity itself. Do you agree? Is humor a coping mechanism for you?

What can we learn about the role of humor during the Black Plague, the Holocaust and Sept. 11? What does laughter tell us about what it is to be human?

What makes you laugh these days? Tell us your go-to sources for comedy. What are your favorite comedic movies, television shows and websites? Do you have a favorite comedian?

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Is It OK to Laugh During Dark Times? - The New York Times

Trump Toys With a Let-Them-Die Response to the Pandemic – The Nation

The Nation believes that helping readers stay informed about the impact of the coronavirus crisis is a form of public service. For that reason, this article, and all of our coronavirus coverage, is now free. Please subscribe to support our writers and staff, and stay healthy. (Patrick Semansky / AP Photo)

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On Sunday night, 10 minutes before midnight eastern time, Donald Trump tweeted, WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO! As so often, the exegetical mystery of Trumps comments can be clarified by returning to the most important source of his worldview, Fox News. Earlier in the evening, Fox News Host Steve Hilton ranted against Trumps medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who advocated draconian social distancing measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus until the medical system can be strengthened to deal with it.Ad Policy

Hilton argued that these measures would cause more damage than the coronavirus itself. You know that famous phrase, The cure is the worse than the disease? Hilton asked. That is exactly the territory we are hurtling towards.

The push for social distancing measures, including closing schools and restaurants, is relatively new. Closure of these institutions was only announced in New York on March 15. Yet there are signs that many on the political rightand even centrist business leadersare already sick of the public health emergency. They want the economy to go back to normal and are promoting fringe ideas in an attempt to discredit mainstream epidemiologists.

Its unclear whether Trump can actually roll back any of the existing quarantine measures, which are set by governors and mayors. But Trump can certainly affect the behavior of his supporters. If millions of Trump fans think that quarantines arent worth the aggravation, they are much more likely to violate them. Thats the most likely danger of Trumps tweet and his potential shift in policy. MORE FROM Jeet Heer

Fox News has already helped poison policy on the pandemic. The network was a major promoter of the idea that warnings about a pandemic were a hoax designed to derail Trumps presidency. Trump initially went along with that until he was persuaded by a dissident in the Fox ranks, Tucker Carlson, to take the pandemic seriously.

But its clear that an influential faction at Fox still believes the coronavirus threat is oversold. On Friday, a bevy of Fox personalities, including Laura Ingraham and Brit Hume, were hawking on twitter a Medium post by Republican operative Aaron Ginn arguing that the government was over-reacting to the coronavirus. Ginn is not an epidemiologist, and his post was riddled with analytical errors. It was quickly taken down by Medium, but not before being seen by millions

On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial arguing, If this government-ordered shutdown continues for much more than another week or two, the human cost of job losses and bankruptcies will exceed what most Americans imagine. This wont be popular to read in some quarters, but federal and state officials need to start adjusting their anti-virus strategy now to avoid an economic recession that will dwarf the harm from 2008-2009.Current Issue

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In the United Kingdom, Boris Johnsons government initially followed a hands-off strategy along this line, with the idea that it might be best to let the coronavirus spread quickly in order to minimize social disruption. This idea was abandoned once Johnsons government came to realize the dangers of overwhelming the health care system.

Its not just the far-right that is talking like this. Former Goldman Sachs CEO and Hillary Clinton supporter Lloyd Blankfein tweeted out on Sunday night, Extreme measures to flatten the virus curve is sensiblefor a timeto stretch out the strain on health infrastructure. But crushing the economy, jobs and morale is also a health issue-and beyond. Within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work.

The problem with these arguments is twofold: They underestimate the dangers of scuttling social distancing programs too soon; they also disregard the tools needed to return to cushion the economic shock. As evident from the examples of both China and Italy, extreme measures are needed to slow the spread of the virus or it will overwhelm the health care system, leaving a potential death toll in the United States in excess of 10 million. If the virus is slowed down, theres a real chance that the health care system can get the medical equipment (ICU beds and ventilators) needed to keep the death count to a minimum. Giving up on social distancing too early will doom countless Americans to a painful and unnecessary death.

The economic costs of the coronavirus are real, but they can be dealt with through robust intervention: a combination of universal basic income, mortgage, and rent forgiveness, bailouts for small business and a Keynesian booster shot at the end of the pandemic.

If you like this article, please give today to help fund The Nations work.

The problem is that the political right, along with centrists like Blankfein, dont want such a heavy intervention in the economy. As a result, they indulge in a truly grotesque display of self-interested reasoning and argue that there can be a quick and easy end to quarantines, shutdowns, and social distancing campaigns.

What they are arguing for goes beyond Social Darwinism and is, in fact, a kind of cult capitalism. The existing system is viewed as so sacred that it is worth sacrificing innumerable human lives to keep it going. Even nonrevolutionary changes to the system are anathema.

Economics and medicine have always been intertwined, sometimes in strange ways. Under the surface of economic ideas, there are often metaphors taken from medicine and psychology: We talk about curing a depression, which can refer to both a person and an economy.

There flourished in Vienna from 1850 to 1870 a school of medicine some historians have dubbed therapeutic nihilism. This school held that most medical interventions did more damage than good and advocated that doctors simply oversee the natural process of recovery. There was some logic to this: It was the era of quack remedies.

Therapeutic nihilism had a curious afterlife. As William Johnson notes in The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History, 1848-1938 (1972), therapeutic nihilism lived on even past the 1870s in the pessimism of many Austrian thinkers, ranging from Freud to Wittgenstein. Therapeutic nihilism was also an influence on the Austrian economics of Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek, the foundational thinkers of the modern libertarian right. In his book The Viennese Students of Civilization (2016), intellectual historian Erwin Dekker makes a compelling case that von Mises and Hayeks opposition to government interventions in the economy was a manifestation of therapeutic nihilism.

Von Mises and Hayek were major opponents of John Maynard Keynes, who believed that economic depressions shouldnt just be allowed to run their course but could be shortened by active government measures.

As in the great disputes between the Austrian school and the Keynesians, we now face a fundamental divide in both medicine and economics. Do we embrace therapeutic nihilism and just shrug our shoulders in the face of a pandemic, hoping that it will quickly extinguish itself? Or do we believe that human ingenuity and social cooperation can work together for solutions, ones that involve real sacrificesbut that can also help limit human misery?

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Trump Toys With a Let-Them-Die Response to the Pandemic - The Nation

9 dystopian apocalyptic films that capture our current mood – i-D

Still from Melancholia.

With a global pandemic underway, the ongoing struggle of empathetic, left-leaning political movements to gain a foothold in places like the UK and US, and climate change still raging, its understandable that many people are turning to film for pure escapism and relief. But -- for better or worse -- the last few decades have proven something of a golden age for apocalyptic and dystopian filmmaking, as brilliant directors like Michael Haneke, Lizzie Borden and Kinji Fukasaku explore life either fundamentally remade or in the midst of being reshaped for the worse.

Not all of these movies feature a world-ending cataclysmic event, but many of them grapple with the effects of nihilism and apathy that can emerge when we think about the existential threats to both our planet and our society at large. Even the more action-packed flicks like Battle Royale and 10 Cloverfield Lane can easily be linked to contemporary problems like intergenerational conflict and gaslighting.

Below are nine films that offer lessons, warnings or parables that can be applied to many of the hardships were enduring on a global scale, and potentially help us figure out a way forward -- or at least to be more mindful. Who needs escapism after all?

First ReformedWhile were constantly bombarded with the perils of climate change, the horror of an irreversibly damaged, eventually uninhabitable planet is so vast and terrifying as to be basically incomprehensible. Paul Schraders First Reformed filters that existential dread into a character study of Ethan Hawkes Reverend Ernst Toller, the pastor at a sparsely attended church in upstate New York. When a parishioner confides in him that her husband wants her to abort her pregnancy due to climate change, Toller enters into a full-on crisis of faith. First Reformed deals carefully with how we reimagine foundational concepts like religion and childbirth in the face of an existential threat. The films ending, though hardly uplifting, does offer a brief moment of relief from a grim present and an even bleaker future.

Battle RoyaleA masterpiece of youth-in-revolt cinema, Battle Royale focuses on the bitter divide between Japans young people and a totalitarian government that rose to power in the wake of a major recession. Kinji Fukasakus final film is something of a lightning rod for its pervasive violence, but it is most affecting as both a depiction of typical teenage melodrama with trumped up, life-or-death consequences, and as a portrait of the kind of intergenerational conflict we see in societies around the globe. All over, we see young people rallying together for things like climate change, LGBT+ rights, and a widespread social safety net, but struggling against the inertia of Boomers and Gen Xers and the cruelty inherent in global capitalism. The youth of Battle Royale ultimately earn a pyrrhic victory at the films conclusion, which also feels dispiritingly like what so many young activists are facing today.

10 Cloverfield LaneAs an alien invasion movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane is so-so, with an extremely modest budget and pretty boilerplate action. But as a story of gaslighting, extremism, and the distorted relationship between gender and power, the film is efficient and disturbing. We spend much of Dan Trachtenbergs movie wondering if theres even an invasion going on at all, or if John Goodmans Howard -- played with an Alex Jones-ian verve for the apocalyptic and a chilling manipulative streak -- has simply captured Mary Elizabeth Winsteads Michelle using the idea of an alien attack as a false flag. The movie also speaks to the franchisification of modern cinema, as 10 Cloverfield Lane was originally written as a lean indie horror flick called The Cellar that had nothing to do with Matt Reeves 2008 monster movie. The strongest and most frightening parts of the movie have little to do with CGI aliens, and everything to do with humanitys capacity for cruelty in the name of their warped beliefs.

NocturamaBertrand Bonellos film offers a decidedly bleak portrait of modern youth, following the actions and subsequent fallout from a group of young Parisians carrying out a series of coordinated terrorist attacks around the city. The lack of a given motivation for the protagonists actions makes it difficult to find Nocturamas moral center, though as the AV Club notes, Bonello draws the line at violence, which is always abrupt and sobering. As the extremists hole up in an empty department store following the attacks, the film also highlights the hollowness of consumerist comforts in the face of true horror. The characters play with and discard expensive makeup, stereo equipment, and clothing. With memorable and eclectic needle drops of Shirley Bassey, Chief Keef and Willow Smith, Nocturama also highlights the power of music as a salve for trauma, though in this case the listeners are the perpetrators, not the victims.

I Think Were Alone NowThough slow and plagued by shoddy chemistry between its leads, Reed Moranos I Think Were Alone Now is a thoughtful flick that deals with ideas often eschewed in splashy, big budget apocalyptic cinema. Through Peter Dinklages Del, Morano highlights both the importance of work and routine, as well as the tedium that persists, even in an empty world. As the film goes on, Elle Fannings Grace appears and I Think Were Alone Now reckons with the best way to move forward after trauma, a question that will affect countless people in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

Time of the WolfMichael Hanekes 2003 apocalypse flick picks up well after the world has ended, and offers a snapshot of a family trying to hold together and maintain their dignity and decency in increasingly dire straits. As the world grapples with pandemic conditions and people struggle with the fearful impulse to hoard vs. the altruistic impulse to help, Time of the Wolf is a somber reminder of what happens when our basic social fabric erodes. Even beyond our present frightening circumstances, Time of the Wolf offers a message worth heeding. As The New York Times noted back in 2004, the constant hardships endured by Isabelle Huppert and her family are not dissimilar from the daily reality faced by so many.

Born in FlamesMore dystopian than apocalyptic, Lizzie Bordens Born in Flames is a powerful collage that shows how even a theoretical socialist America can still be rife with problems. Told largely through faux documentary footage and radio broadcasts, Born in Flames features a pair of feminist revolutionary groups, combatting rampant sexism on the New York City streets through a mix of direct action and community organizing -- in the wake of a purported socialist revolution. And in a bit of eerie prescience, the 1983 movie shows a shoddy police conspiracy related to the death of a black woman in custody, conjuring up memories of recent situations like the deaths of Diamond Ross and Sandra Bland. As far-left youth movements continue to grow in the U.S. and U.K., Born in Flames is a crucial reminder that a revolution that leaves some people behind will ultimately perpetuate many of the problems that made one so essential in the first place.

MonosThere is an outside world in Alejandro Lanes Monos. Its where the movies teenage militia soldiers get their orders and where their prisoner -- an American engineer -- came from. But for 100 incendiary minutes, we watch a makeshift society cooperate, bicker and eventually crumble as its careful military structure is turned on its head. The superb cast of mostly unknowns functions like a group of apocalyptic survivors, as tempers flare, power struggles ensue, and school-age crushes come and go. Like Nocturama and Battle Royale, the stakes are made all the greater by the groups isolation and its survivalist tone, but the human drama is what makes this very alien story so emotionally resonant.

MelancholiaIn addition to being one Bernie Sanders favorite films, Lars Von Triers Melancholia is a hypnotic exploration of how depression corresponds to the world around us. Featuring an all-time performance from Kirsten Dunst as Justine, and an effectively cast-against-type Charlotte Gainsbourg as her sister Claire, Melancholia explores the differences between depression and despair, as well as the ripple effects of mental health. Though there isnt a colossal planet on course to collide with the Earth, it does feel like the world is ending several times per month, and if Melancholia isnt exactly a blueprint for how to behave, it does offer an intimate character study of one such situation.

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9 dystopian apocalyptic films that capture our current mood - i-D

Threshold Resurrects the Angry, Ambitious Young Man – The New York Times

When it comes to reading in an emergency, in a moment of crisis and uncertainty, comfort seems to be the order of the day old favorites, regressive pleasures, cozy classics.

What happens if they fail you? Mine have (et tu, Wodehouse?), so I am here to champion the opposite: the enlivening, more absorbing distractions of disagreement, argument and pure pique, of being profitably at odds with what you are reading; the deep diversion of a good, cleansing quarrel, especially with a book that is game and gleefully provocative. Threshold, a nettlesome new novel surly, ambitious, frequently annoying has been my treasured companion of late.

Zachary Leaders biography of Saul Bellow contained the indelible fact that one of Bellows trusty modes of seduction was to read aloud to women from his own work for hours at a time (horrified italics mine). Its the sort of detail that can inspire smug pity for the past: Who would attempt such a gesture now? What woman would tolerate it?

I had yet to meet Rob Doyle.

Rob the loafer and the mope, the impressively successful Lothario and pretentious little troll is the protagonist of this book, which could be called autofiction (the author is also named Rob Doyle), anti-woke polemic or obsessive riff. It isnt much interested in classification in fact, it would rather like to annihilate pointless distinctions outright, much like the character himself, who is on a fervent spiritual quest with the aid of acid, meditation, magic mushrooms and ayahuasca.

The idea was that, by gaining access to the weirder potentialities of consciousness, my basic stance towards existence would be altered: shorn of the tedium and banality, Rob tells us. I hoped I could come to experience consciousness itself.

Or at least shirk work for a long spell, and run from his roots: a charmless childhood in Ireland, which he depicts with characteristic delicacy as a backwater of banal, misshapen people. Rob drifts, from Paris to Thailand, Croatia and Sicily. He overdoses on ketamine in New Delhi and smokes DMT in Ireland, which inspires his most delirious visions. DMT is a psychedelic that condenses a six-hour ayahuasca trip into 10 mind-melting minutes. (You can still be an atheist up to 40 milligrams, Doyle writes.)

Every time his passport is stamped, a new girlfriend, another pliant, unnamed creature materializes at his side, endlessly willing to loiter with him at the graves of his literary heroes (the usual suspects: Cioran, Bataille) and let him drone on about his despair and indecision. Shall he write the great Berlin Techno novel? The great backpacker dropout novel? A novel of sex, death and clubbing in post-Bataclan Paris?

Are you wincing with irritation yet? Good; irritation is this narrators specialty. Hed like to be a hate figure, a Shylock, but he wonders if he has the nerve. For a time he used social media as a pressure valve, raining scorn on the trendy sentiments and masturbatory indignations that cascaded so risibly down my screen. He suppurates with rage, especially at those who have reduced art to a variety of social work. Painfully woke fare had left me craving art whose intentions were purely corrosive, art that went against democracy and virtue, glorified evil, wallowed in destruction and chaos, art whose only dictate was hostility to the notion that art should ameliorate, edify, mold better citizens.

Rob is a relic of sorts, the kind of character youd once reliably encounter in a Martin Amis novel, the angry, ambitious young man whose literary and sexual ambitions are coiled together, the type of character Henry Miller made famous and who now just as often appears as a figure of gentle satire (as in Adelle Waldmans The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P or Andrew Martins Early Work). Doyle enjoys poking fun at Doyle, his habit of making sure his books are stocked at various bookstores, his dour pomposity. At one point, Rob embarks on a sadomasochistic relationship with a woman; for a safe word, they settle on creative nonfiction.

Speaking of Miller, there is a character in Tropic of Cancer, a writer who is notorious in his circle for concealing what he is reading, lest his friends figure out his influences. Doyle, the novelist, has the opposite problem. Large swaths of Threshold the would-be writer making pilgrimage to the homes of his heroes, in order to do anything but write feel beholden to Out of Sheer Rage, Geoff Dyers affectionate tribute to procrastination, via an attempted biography of D. H. Lawrence. Sections in which Rob haunts museums hoping for an aesthetically meaningful experience feel heavily indebted to Ben Lerners novels, in one of which a character is tormented that he is incapable of a profound experience of art. At another point, it is one of Karl Ove Knausgaards most famous passages that is channeled as Rob scribbles in his notebook about how civilization forbids me from acting on my violent urges (I smile, shake hands), so my instincts wither inside me, making me unhealthy. Still other scenes recall Milan Kundera.

For all Robs bluster and desire to shock, his pilgrims progress brings him to a place of calm; age proves more effective than drugs in challenging his premises: how safe it is to sneer, how much more risky to create. He begins to regard his cynicism and jadedness as a kind of defeat, a death in life without dignity or valor. We leave this creature of posturing and alienation at books end surrounded by friends, wildly euphoric (courtesy of DMT). There was an ease in thinking nothing matters, the whole Western nihilism rap, Doyle writes. Its so much scarier to think that everything matters, every little thing is of the utmost consequence.

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Threshold Resurrects the Angry, Ambitious Young Man - The New York Times

It’s Absolutely OK to Dump Someone Over Their Awful Pandemic Behavior – VICE UK

Its stupid at this point to play the remember one month ago!?!? game, but, for these purposes, its worthwhile: One month ago, your partners rugged individualism and unwillingness to read an entire article before weighing in were charming personality quirks; the kind of stuff thats either endearing or aggravating, depending on your mood.

But now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, you might be viewing those traits in an entirely different light. Alexs individuality and and fuck it, lets party!!! nihilism isnt just Alex doing Alex when were talking about social distancing and other necessary precautions. Seemingly personal choices are now a literal matter of life and death, and could reveal a significant difference in values within your relationship, making you wonder if this person is the right match for you. (So many people are facing similar dilemmas, theres an entire website dedicated to documenting quarantine partner drama.)

Maybe you were considering breaking up before you got stuck in an apartment with your partner for the foreseeable future, or maybe being stuck with them has made you realize this isnt working for you. While the ongoing pandemic has slowed (or completely halted) most parts of our lives, this one particular thing doesnt have to be put on hold. You can still end a relationship, provided you can do so safely (more on that later).

Conventional wisdom tells us to not make any big, life-changing decisions during times of increased stress, the idea being that our little brains cant think clearly when were processing intense emotions. But the nature of this unprecedented situation may actually provide necessary clarity. There might be no better way to learn how you want to live your life and who you want to share it with than staring down your own mortality.

Rosara Torrisi, a certified sex therapist based in New York, told VICE that this moment is essentially a compatibility test for a lot of couples, old and new. The coronavirus pandemic is going to reveal not just how they respond to this specific situation, but also how they might deal with other rough life moments. Being in a high-stress moment for a long period of time in a relationship thats gonna happen, Torrisi said. Whether its COVID[-19], or someone getting really sick, losing money, or losing a job, theres a million ways that you will be stressed in a long-term relationship. This is one of those moments.

The way individuals react to a stressful situation and react to each others reactions is a fairly big part of their overall long-term compatibility. And if those responses are drastically different perhaps you skew more doomsday prepper, while your partner is more Margaritaville-chillin, stocking up only on weed and video games and telling you to calm down and lead to problems, thats important information to have. Are you cool being with someone who will never be freaking out along with you, or who you think is constantly overreacting?

Alternatively, Torrisi points out that extremely similar ways of coping might be just as bad. Lets say two partners are together and theyre exceptionally anxious and following the news, just kind of amping each other up; thats not really helpful, either, she said. That can be harder to spot, because it typically feels good when someone agrees with you and eggs you on. But if youre getting a nagging sense that the person youre with is not bringing out the best in you, its worth paying attention to that feeling.

The actual logistics of managing a break up right now are where things get a little trickier. If your partner is simply a pain in the ass who you no longer want to be with but can tolerate for a while longer, and youre already secure in your pandemic bunker, Torrisi said you may just want to stay put. If your safety is still intact, you always have to prioritise that, she said.

For the actual breakup, its important to try maintaining the peace in your pandemic bunker. To do that, Torrisi recommended having a radically empathetic conversation. Even if you find your partners behavior to be batshit and wrong, trying to understand it will lead to a calmer conversation than holding up an empty box of rigatoni and screaming, HOW DID YOU ALREADY EAT ALL OF OUR PASTA, YOU FREAK, THIS IS EXACTLY WHY WE CANT BE TOGETHER!!!!

Even if you disagree, you might have a better understanding of where they are coming from, Torrisi said. And then you can say, OK, I understand why, I can empathize with it, but I completely disagree with it. It makes it really clear for me that your decision making is not something I can get on board with, or that I want to be a part of long term.

If youre currently sharing a space and youre worried your partner may harm you if you try to break up with them, but you cant currently go to a shelter or family members house, an appropriate alternative would be to find a friend who lives within walking distance, and will agree to hunker down with you for the foreseeable future. Otherwise, resources like the National Domestic Violence Hotline are equipped to help you, even during a pandemic when theres limited mobility.

The TL;DR here is this pandemic sucks hard enough without adding the unnecessary pressure to stay in a bad relationship into the mix. DTMFA, and soothe your pains with one of your favourite rations.


This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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It's Absolutely OK to Dump Someone Over Their Awful Pandemic Behavior - VICE UK

Nihilistic journalism and the shunning of alternative voices in media – IOL

By Thabo Makwakwa Mar 19, 2020

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Nihilistic journalism, scheming and shunning of alternative voices by some dominant media houses, cozying up to the powerful politicians and influential business people is not doing justice to a country struggling with widespread cheating and corruption, a country failing to hold leaders accountable.

The society relies heavily on media houses to access news that is ethical, unbiased and uncensored. It poses a great concern when media houses in pursuit of profits, by legal or illegal means, suspend their moral compass, accept donations from private funders and increasingly engage in unprincipled news reporting which favour and protect certain individuals while attack everybody else who criticise or differ with them.

Daily Mavericks attitude towards other media houses, journalists, news contributors and politicians, does not only exhibit toxic competition for audience but also the deadening journalistic-nihilism suffocating the breath out of every person with opposing views.

The oppressive practice of shunning other voices through brutal smear campaigns and fake news reporting delegitimizing the majority of black journalists and politicians, is increasingly creating discomfort to news readers and ordinary people who have entrusted media houses with a responsibility to shape public opinion and strengthen the society.

Daily Mavericks exaggerated obsession with political factions has spared no one who dares to have an opposing view about anybody in their receiving end of consistent smear campaigns. The shocking suppression of others right to freedom of speech by Daily Maverick has seen many individuals referred to as "fight-back faction", and SANEF has done very little if nothing to knock ethics into the heads of the editors of this publication.

The quest to dominate and lead the national narrative is overwhelmingly violent. One example is the disillusionment created by nihilistic journalists and editors in the payroll of arrogant big business and abusive politicians, with an aim to delegitimize ones reputation; campaign for the death of other voices in media and bring up any trash against the target by any means necessary. Journalists and editors have succumbed to what they deem necessary demons to possess in order to survive through tight competition. Serious commitment to ethical and truthful news reporting is replaced with simplistic and superficial reportage.

Erosion of vibrant quality reporters and alternative perspectives is betrayal to the commitment to fight for freedom of speech. Bullying of other perspectives will certainly result in many people choosing not to speak of the true depths of horrors of the powerful capital and its political representatives.

Unprincipled scheming journalists and unethical editors who have voluntarily surrendered their principles to the amusement of their political handlers and private funders, threaten the entire press community willing to speak painful truths to the public about real challenges such as wealth and power; misinformation by elites; white collar crime; political and corporate related corruption. The capture of news reporters and media houses means that the very last voice of ordinary people is silenced, and only the voice of those with money can be listened to.

The people of South Africa deserve to know the truth about the degenerating reportage. We must know the drive for wealth and power is the sole reason journalists have become the voice and spokespersons of few powerful individuals instead of being the voice of the masses. It should not come as a shock when veteran and respected journalists disintegrate from their neutral position and slide into dirty political battles where money is a determining variable. The thirst for a funded comfortable life has eaten the souls of press reportage and triggered war between obedient and disobedient voices.

It is true that everything ends. The destructive nihilistic journalism is now in the open for everyone to see, and like every other propaganda, it too shall fall into its own sword.

One of the crucial tasks for news readers and other media houses is to expose bias news reports displaying favouritism and news fixing by news people towards other news reporters, politicians, businesses and other media houses. The people must be confronted and call out these propagandists for what they are, because no one should be subjected to captured media houses spreading false stories and paying individuals to write false stories about certain political opponents.

* Thabo Makwakwa is a f reelance author and social commentator.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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Nihilistic journalism and the shunning of alternative voices in media - IOL

‘Bad Boys For Life’ Digital Release Coming This Month, Blu-ray in April – /FILM

The surprisingly good (maybe even great?)Bad Boys For Life is about to come home. The sequel is due to hit digital at the end of March, almost a full month before its Blu-ray release. This somewhat early digital release is likely meant to coincide with several other big titles that have scored early releases in the wake of the coronavirus. Movie theaters are shut down, people are stuck home, and studios are scrambling to fill the void.

You can score Bad Boys For Life on digital starting March 31, and then on4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & DVD April 21. Theres usually a gap between digital and physical releases, but its traditionally not a nearly month-long gap. Sony is likely hoping to get in on the early digital release trend that several other films have been adopting in the wake of the coronavirus, includingThe Hunt,The Invisible Man,Birds of Prey,The Way Back, and more.

Ill be honest: I had very low expectations forBad Boys For Life. But the movie was a pleasant surprise, abandoning a lot of the cruel nihilism of the second film while letting the characters grow a little. As I wrote in my review:

But its the unexpected amount of heart that ends up makingBad Boys for Lifea pleasant surprise. In the previous two films, one gets the distinct sense that Mike and Marcus really dont give that much of a shit about each other or anyone else. Sure, theysaythey ride together, die together but its hard to buy it in those movies. Smiths Mike Lowery in particular often comes across as a borderline psychopath in those first two movies someone who only cares about his own image. Mike starts like that in this film as well, but as the story races on, he softens a bit. He may not want to admit it we learn hes started dying his goatee but hes getting older now. And some people mellow out when they get older. They slow down, and they realize theyve been taking certain things for granted. If theBad Boysfranchise of all damn things can have actual emotional growth there might be hope yet for all of us.

And oh yeah, the villain of the film is awitch I feel like not enough people appreciated that fact. InBad Boys For Life, Mike Lowry (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), are back. After a string of assassinations and an attempt on Mikes life, he convinces a hesitant Marcus to hold off retirement and partner one last time. Together, they team up with AMMO, the new hotshot division of the Miami PD, to take down the merciless head of the Aretas Cartel.

Here are the special features included with the home media releases:



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'Bad Boys For Life' Digital Release Coming This Month, Blu-ray in April - /FILM

This Is No Zombie Apocalypse Novel, Author Says But We Can Learn From Them – WBUR

I work in a neighborhood building above a chocolate shop that usually smells so good it evokes a predictable wave of nostalgia even patriotism, I guess.

It's an all-American street, with no less than three different places to grab a cup of coffee. Most days, there are kids on skateboards doing tricks in the parking lot behind the bank. Toddlers stop and stare every time the bright-red fire truck cranks up its sirens and lumbers out of its cave to save the day.

That's the kind of street where I work. Youve seen it a thousand times.

But now, the candy shop is closed. It's scentless. No kids on skateboards. There's still coffee to be had, but the coffee shop patrons grab their drinks and make their way back onto the empty sidewalks, using their elbows or the knuckles to open the door.

All of this is new and surreal. At the same time, all of this is also strangely familiar.

You see, I've seen all this before. I wrote this.

Nearly 10 years ago, I published a novel that garnered a bit of notoriety. It featured zombies and viral pandemics, and so the story was riddled with empty and ravaged cities. Zombies were particularly fashionable back then.

In the screenplay version of my story, written by the late George Romero himself, the opening scene shows sidewalks empty of people, littered with unread newspapers, headlines caught in the eddies of the whistling breeze.

George often reminded me that every story was derivative. If youre telling a story about a pandemic, and my novel was exactly that, certain signifiers must be present.

In our current pandemic, these signifiers are rearing their eerie heads. Of course most are absent. We certainly aren't and will not be anywhere near burning cars. There are no gangs of bandits on motorcycles. There are no broken windows. But there are uncollected newspapers, piling up at the entrance to the office building where I've been virtually meeting with patients through the wonders of sterile technology.

Lately, people keep asking me about my book. People seem to think I might have a particular angle on the psychology surrounding our current pandemic. After all, they remind me, I spent a lot of time imagining a world where this sort of thing could happen. I even feel a little guilty. I wrote an entire novel that indulged in a kind of salacious, infectious foreboding.

In fact, I have lots of angles. My first is that I'd much prefer all of this to have remained in the movies. We watch these disaster films in part so we can leave the theater and revel in the normalcy of the off-screen world.

My second angle is that we are not in a disaster movie. What we see in the movies is a lot worse, a whole lot worse, than the unsettling emptiness on the street where I work. That's important to remember. Film scholars have noted that we tend to over-interpret familiar cinematic images when we encounter these images outside of the movies.

Thats the trap of our current predicament, and therein lies the most important lesson from my novel, indeed from all novels and movies and stories that feature the eerie and unnatural trappings of apocalyptic landscapes: We are not in an apocalypse. We are in the midst of a public health crisis that will without question end, and life will go back to normal.

This is not to say that things won't be pretty strange for a while. This is going to be tough. But this isn't about zombies. This is about the cautionary tale of the zombie trope.

My book featured characters who grew bored and frustrated with one another. Ennui was at least as dangerous as the pandemic itself. This very ennui, the lonely, one-note chords that empty streets and closed shops play in our pattern-prone brains, is the sentiment we have to guard most stringently against.

This ain't no zombie novel, but the zombie novels can teach us a thing or two. In the zombie stories, the humans nearly always end up fighting. That's the trap, and we know better.

We tend to defend ourselves by adopting the attributes of our enemies. This is problematic, because a virus literally has no attributes. It doesn't think or feel or love. The cautionary themes of every zombie film feature these tropes. Exactly when we need each other most, we start acting like zombies. And this is not the time for microbial nihilism.

Now, I must apologize. As a psychiatrist, I am going to offer clichs. Clichs are clichs, after all, because they are true. Oddly enough, we tend to ignore clichs when things get weird. I am arguing, therefore, that these clichs are currently especially important.

Play music. Tell stories. Go for a walk. Check in on your neighbor and tip your hat to a stranger. These gestures, so boring, so ordinary, are to my mind right now extraordinarily important. They preserve normalcy even as we hunker down for what looks like a long and unfamiliar haul.

We do not, as a rule, tolerate uncertainty with grace. Current research suggests that in the face of uncertainty, we generalize we decide that everything is foggy and out of focus. But there are constants of humanity, and we need to keep these in mind.We need to live in the moment even as we plan for the future. We need to keep up with routines as best we can. We need to sing and to play.

We got this. It's going to be hard, but we got this. This ain't no zombie novel, but the zombie novels can teach us a thing or two. In the zombie stories, the humans nearly always end up fighting. That's the trap and we know better.

Let's stick together, and we'll get through it.

Dr. Steve Schlozman isan assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist.

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This Is No Zombie Apocalypse Novel, Author Says But We Can Learn From Them - WBUR

Editor’s Column: Viruses don’t care, we have to – Rio Blanco Herald Times

No, we dont get to be excluded from a pandemic. As nice as it would be to have a free pass to avoid everything associated with the coronavirus situation, there is no such pass.

We can feel sorry for ourselves that a stupid virus has upended our lives temporarily (permanently, for the unfortunate ones it kills and their families). We can be angry and stomp and yell and throw things (wine glasses shatter very nicely, by the way). We can yield to sorrow and depression and nihilism. We can stubbornly refuse to comply with guidance from experts and rail against government efforts to control the speed with which this thing spreads as attacks on our personal freedoms, and we can deny not only scientific facts but real-time data from other countries around the world who are also dealing with this. We can do all those things. None of them are helpful.

A virus doesnt care if youre a Republican or a Democrat. A virus doesnt care if you had a vacation planned or a wedding or tickets to a concert or graduation or any other human event scheduled. Viruses simply dont have the capacity to care, and because they dont, we must.

We must care for one another by taking precautions and protecting the most vulnerable among us, by supporting our local business owners and our displaced workers in whatever way we can, by looking after our neighbors and friends if this thing drags on, which its likely to do, given what were seeing in other nations.

This is going to leave a mark, much like the events of 9/11 left a mark, and possibly a much larger one. What did we do in the face of that enemy? We came together as a nation to defend one another, to do what was necessary for the greater good. Will we do that again, when the enemy is invisible and already among us? For all our sakes, I hope so.

Do your part.

By Niki Turner | editor@ht1885.com

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Editor's Column: Viruses don't care, we have to - Rio Blanco Herald Times