How weary do you feel of the 2016 election? How drained were you before we even had to hear the name Anthony Weiner again? How many terrible political arguments have you gotten in, even with people who see the world similarly? How many friends and relatives have you blocked on Facebook?
It’s not pretty out there, folks.
A few good things have come out of this down and dirty season of bad hombres and nasty women though, so let’s revel in them for a moment, before we return to our obsessive social media surveillance.
Pussy Grabs Back
A few years ago I invited Amanda Duarte, a comedian, performer and smart person, to tell at story at a Brooklyn Based event. We became Facebook friends and boy am I glad because she is one of the funniest, loudest voices out there, speaking out against sexual violence and general fuckery. Duarte, along with Jessica Bennett, author of Feminist Fight Club, and artist Stella Mars created the Pussy Grabs Back campaign in the wake of the Donald Trump Pussygate tape. You’ve probably seen their T-shirts, the design for which has been stolen and sold all over (here’s the official vendor).
I asked Duarte about PGB and here’s what she had to say.
I absolutely think that the reason PGB took off is that it empowered women to speak out against sexual assault and the disgusting misogyny that permeates our culture. Just the idea of turning a vagina around from a vulnerable part of a woman that is so often abused and victimized into an aggressive agent of change seemed to really speak to people. It certainly has made me feel much more empowered and badass while walking down the street! Also, it was a really specific way for women to direct their rage at Donald Trump and everything that he stands for, which I think we really needed. And the most inspiring thing about it on a personal level was the fact that it was created by three women who didn’t even know each other, then turned into an anthem by another woman we didn’t even know, then taken up as a rallying cry by thousands and thousands of women all over the country. It has been really exciting bringing so many women together and infusing them with Pussy Power!
If this is a little too much for you, Samantha Bee’s Nasty Woman tee ($25, proceeds go to Planned Parenthood of LA County), or any of this election gear (the pantsuit tee still slays me) are other ways to make a sartorial statement.
The Dixie Chicks are back
First up, if you have the urge to dismiss the Dixie Chicks for any reason, check yourself. They can sing, they can play guitar, and a mean fiddle, and they write the hell out of a song. And consider this: Back in 2003 singer Natalie Maines made a comment at a concert in London saying that she was ashamed to be from the same state as then-president George W. Bush, as we were about to enter Iraq. Country music radio dropped the Dixie Chicks almost entirely. Fast forward 13 years and the same people who turned a promising musician on the rise into persona non grata on the airwaves have featured Trump extensively on their stations, even as he brags about having been against the war in Iraq. (Not that anyone should care about Trump’s opinion at the time–he held no sway over any policy or even any public perception of the war.)
Last night at the CMA’s though, the crowd in Nashville was beyond stoked when the Dixie Chicks performed “Daddy Lessons” with Beyoncé. Sure, this is all just pop music, and not a direct result of the election, but Queen Bey on stage with the Dixie Chicks is surely the best sounding, and most fun way, to work at healing that pernicious urban-rural divide this election has brought to the forefront.
Update: There have been a few smart things written about this since my original posting, one by a friend and former BB contributor, Alex Abad-Santos, at Vox, and one at The New York Times. Also, Beyoncé’s team pulled the video we originally linked to (explanation in the Vox piece), but you can still listen and the awesomeness still comes through.
Halloween may be over but there’s one immersive and genuinely terrifying experience that is still up and running. Doomocracy, now on view at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, is artist Pedro Reyes’s immersive, political haunted house, produced by the public art masterminds at Creative Time. Instead of roaming through corridors full of ghosts and goblins, visitors, who enter 12 at a time, are guided through a hall of horrors that is only a slightly exaggerated version of our current political scene.
Without giving too much away, I’ll just note that a visit may include the world’s fastest doctor’s exam (complete with pills), a national park that through environmental degradation is now explored through virtual reality, and a soccer game played entirely with Clinton and Trump masks. Even the non-sporty among us were running and kicking as if our lives, and the election, depended on it. The actors are convincing, and the sets so well designed that even those of who consider ourselves immune to haunted houses were be shrieking by the end.
More Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama, her intelligence, her grace, her integrity, she’s a national treasure. Her beautiful, smart, passionate speeches have been the highlight of this election cycle and to everyone who is sad to see her go, I say, let’s hope she’s just getting started. #obamabey2020
SNL flirts with relevancy
Sure, sure the better moments show up on your Facebook feed, but when was the last time that Saturday Night Live felt like it has something to SAY? Tina Fey as Sarah Palin? This classic Fey and Poehler bit? The Black Jeopardy skit that ran two weekends ago lives right in that uncomfortable space that we’re awkwardly exploring as Americans right now, where we try to find common ground while also feeling an incredible sense of disillusionment with the government and anxiety about the future. This is the smartest thing SNL has aired since the Fey years.