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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

not capable of anything beyond sputtering outrage at the moment

Guys, I’m sorry. I saw this coming, and I’m still so full of angry horror, in between long periods of numb horror, that I cannot concentrate on much of anything right now. (And judging from the unusual plunge in traffic here since Tuesday, no one is thinking much about movies anyway.)

Maybe later today I’ll have a review to offer. Maybe over the weekend. Maybe I’m done forever. I just don’t know. Stay tuned…

In the meantime, if you’re not already doing so, follow me on Facebook — I have both personal and professional pages — and/or on Twitter if you get any catharsis in joining in on the outrage.

posted in:
maryann buzz
  • Danielm80

    I’m thinking about movies more than ever. I’m thinking, for example, that five of the last six movies I saw had female leads. In many cases, almost the entire cast was not white. Some of those movies are in limited release, but before the end of the year, we’re getting Moana and Rogue One, both targeted to young people who will vote in coming elections.

    Neil Gaiman said:

    Things go wrong, in life and in love
    and in business and in friendship and
    in health and in all the other ways
    that life can go wrong.
    And when things get tough,
    this is what you should do.
    Make good art.

  • I’m with you. For the past couple days I have been in a daze. I’m slowly coming out of it, but it’s not that simple. There is so much potential damage that can be done. It’s depressing.
    This IS why art is more important than ever now. Not only for escape, but as representation. The message needs to get out in whatever medium can be used.

  • althea

    I know how you feel. I’ve been slouching around and playing computer games since Wednesday morning, knowing there are still things to do and I’m out of coffee and the cats need food. I’m going out this afternoon to Starbucks (that’s what I said yesterday) but the truth is I don’t want to see anyone or engage in any conversation. Sometimes I just stare at nothing.

    I am afraid.

  • Bluejay

    I’m a naturalized American citizen; my family and I immigrated here from the Philippines, where I grew up during the Marcos years. As far as I can recall, my family was thankfully insulated from the dictatorship’s worst effects, but everyone around us pretty much kept their head down and there were always stories of people who dared to criticize the government being jailed, tortured, disappeared. The media was muzzled, either focusing on entertainment or towing the party line. The regime jailed, then exiled, then assassinated Ninoy Aquino (father of the recent ex-president), its greatest political threat. When Marcos was overthrown, democracy seemed to flower briefly; but now of course they have Duterte killing thousands of alleged drug dealers and users (including politicians), making dark threats against journalists, and riding high on a sickeningly overwhelming wave of popular support. And Marcos’ preserved corpse is now set to be interred in the “graveyard of heroes,” over the objections of those who survived his regime. Not enough people seem to remember what he did.

    I love being an American. I love this country’s institutions and strong political traditions. And I became a Democrat when I started paying attention to arguments in Congress over immigration, way back in the Bush I years: the Republicans were arguing for restricting it, the Dems for sustaining and expanding it. It was the Democrats who made immigrants like me feel welcome, and it’s remained true ever since: the Dems are the ones who want more people to vote and participate in society, and the GOP are the ones who want FEWER people to participate. The party of the open hand versus the party of the closed fist, and the closed heart.

    America is not a third-world dictatorship — yet. There are worse places to be. But this election has broken my heart, and made me truly fear that we could be headed that way. (And of course I recognize that that fear has long been a reality for many Americans less fortunate than I.) America is an idea, and it only endures if we all agree to live by it.

    I’m not sure yet what to do. I know eventually I have to do something, contribute something, my voice, my skills, my sweat. Do what I can to stand against this.

    But today I’m sad, and tired, and trying to grasp little bits of joy. I’m watching Doctor Strange again, in 3D. And I’ve just figured out how to play “Tiny Dancer” on the keyboard, something I’d been meaning to do for a while. Hooray for small victories.

    “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.”So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

  • I hope you feel like reviewing again at some point. No, I’m not much in a movie mindset right now, but I can’t feel like a clenched fist forever.

  • Owen1120


    We’ll get through this. The world will get through it.

  • Nathan
  • Nathan

    *wince* *if

  • amanohyo

    WARNING: If you’re still in shock, please don’t read any further, but I just want to get some things off my chest while they’re fresh.

    Two years ago, when this election cycle was starting, I commented to someone that rising income inequality was making populist candidates more and more relevant, and finished by stating that although Bernie Sanders was the president Americans needed, Donald Trump was the president we deserved. Everyone laughed including me of course, because the possibility of either of them having a shot seemed slim. A couple people were pissed off at me for suggesting that America deserved a president like Trump.

    Well, two years later here we are, income inequality is far worse, and I feel exactly the same. Populist uprisings come in two flavours: the kind that stresses more government spending on social problems affecting all the poor exemplified by Sanders, and the nationalistic, xenophobic type that stresses spending on “true” nationals and scapegoats recently established “others” typified by Trump.

    There are large groups of people in the south and Midwest who are angry and scared – they are finally realizing that a globalized economy has left them behind for good and even low paying service sector jobs are being eroded quickly via intelligent automation (truckers – your days are numbered). The main question in this election was, which brand of populism could motivate more people, or more simply which emotion would Americans be moved by: a willingness to sacrifice short term gains for long term benefits, to be considerate, generous and open-minded? Or a desire to gather up whatever vanishing resources we can find for ourselves, risk it all for a quick big score, and make sure people on our team come out on top and everyone knows it?

    Electoral college issues aside, I think we have evidence when we look at turnout that the second set of emotions won out: the desire to achieve and amass wealth at the expense of others, the desire to win at all costs and ridicule those who disagree with us, the desire to close our minds to dissenting views and say “fuck those guys, they aren’t on our team, our team is full of winners just like me!” One of the main reasons the selfish “winning is everything, we’re awesome, fuck all the haters!” brand of populism won out is because this is the prevailing message in American culture today. I couldn’t help but chuckle when so many musical artists came out in support of Hillary – what brand of populism do you think the average popular song, and I’m not singling out any genre, promotes? People know bullshit when they hear it, and Hillary deciding to adopt a populist stance after Sanders’ strong performance was bullshit, plain and simple. She’s not a bad person, but she’s become a tool of a system that she once tried to fight, she’s Machiavellian and manufactured and a lot of people didn’t like it and stayed home.

    Trump is a confident, opportunistic idiot, everything he says is bullshit, he’s a con-man and a bully, but he isn’t premeditated, he isn’t manufactured and when he talks, the anger and the fear and the insecurity and the bravado are authentic. I’ve said many times that all humans have an emotional reaction first, then rationalize it later (that’s certainly on display here). Trump is emotionally satisfying in the same way (although obviously not to the same people) that Obama was emotionally satisfying in 2004. Obama was also spouting bullshit that people wanted to hear, but when he said it, people felt as though he believed what he was saying. A good politician is like a good used-car salesman. Clinton couldn’t sell a bucket of water to a burning man. Trump has made an extremely good living convincing people to pay him money to put his name on the products of their hard work. Am I scared about the future of our foreign policy? Of course. Am I depressed about how fucked up the Supreme Court is going to be for the rest of my life? Hell yes. Do I think Hillary Clinton would make a much better president than Trump? Obviously. Am I looking forward to four more years of horrible Trump jokes? Not really.

    However, I am fairly certain that Trump is going to do what he always does: hire the best lobbyists and lawyers that money can buy to do all the work, take credit for their successes, claim victory in the face of any failures, ridicule and attack those that disagree with him, and somehow beyond all expectations, emerge richer, more powerful, and more successful than ever. It’s hard to see how the country will avoid some damage in the process though – wealthy, charismatic, protectionist populists in Latin America and elsewhere haven’t fared well. In four years, I suspect the working class will realize that no one man can stop the globalization/automation juggernaut of capitalism and as usual nothing will trickle down but more debt. But for the sake of the country, I wish the Republicans good luck. It’s time for them to put their fantastic free market theories into practice once again. Maybe twelfth time’s the charm? Maybe Trump was the secret ingredient all along? At this point, it feels like anything could be possible.

    Ultimately, I know it’s painful and you’re all in shock, and I know it hurts to admit it, but we did this to ourselves. Maybe in four years, we’ll have earned the right to be represented by someone with some actual substance and compassion, but Trump is our president. He’s the picture of Dorian USA we locked in the attic and thought no one would ever find. Someone here was going to find it eventually – the rest of the world has been looking at it for a while now. Trump is all of us, he was inevitable – not only is he the president that we deserve, he’s the president that best reveals who we are as Americans, so take a long, lucid stare at our true reflection, own it, and try to work together to slowly fix the parts that are broken. That’s all we can do.

  • Bluejay

    I have been rereading — and weeping at, and taking heart from — Rebecca Solnit’s book Hope in the Dark. She wrote it shortly after the start of the Iraq war, and the edition I have contains an afterword from 2005, after the reelection of George Bush. It’s the most powerful, eloquent argument I’ve read for the importance of sustaining clear-eyed hope (coupled with courage and action) even in the most seemingly hopeless of times. For the next few days, she’s giving away the ebook for free, here. I urge, urge, urge everyone to read it.

  • Some of us will not get through this. And the world will not get through this unless there is some action on climate change, which there likely will not be during a Trump presidency.

  • I like Pie, and he makes some good points. But no, everyone knew what they were voting for, and everyone who voted for a racist and a sexist has to own that. And no, everything is not the fault of liberals. (Why don’t right-wingers engage in this sort of self-blame when they lose?)

  • everything he says is bullshit, he’s a con-man and a bully, but he isn’t premeditated, he isn’t manufactured

    I call bullshit on this. When Trump can stand in front of a crowd of people hurting because of the very things he has engaged in himself (such as offshoring), he is nothing but premeditated and manufactured.

  • Owen1120

    I meant to say that the world will get through the next four years, but that may have been a still-in-shock self-consolation.

  • David

    For all of the talk of Trump leading a movement that encourages violence there is only one side that routinely uses violence and intimidation against their political opponents. There is only one side that tries to get people of dissenting views fired and ostracized. It’s not the Trump side. I am so sick of the Regressive Left and it’s brownshirt tactics. I’m ambivalent about Trump winning but I am so happy that the media and the SJWs lost.

    Watching the brownshirts rioting in the streets and attacking people for supporting Trump suggests to me that it was probably a good thing that Trump won, even if a few actually racist fringe groups feel empowered.


  • amanohyo

    Like any good salesman/con artist/megalomaniacal sociopath, Trump convinces himself that what he’s saying is actually true as he says it. In acting terms, he fully emotionally invests and inhabits a character that believes his own lines/lies. Bill Clinton and Obama have a similar ability to a lesser extent, however Trump is much more crafty, manipulative, and self-serving in the way he employs this “talent.” It’s a far more insidious method of deception than Hillary’s more traditional crafted political doublespeak.

    Unfortunately Trump’s method was far more effective. I liked the pragmatist Hillary of the 2008 primary who told Americans that politics was about compromise, finding common ground, and slow progress. That approach is never going to win any elections in this polarized climate, but it felt true to who she was and how she would govern. This time around, she picked up on the populist groundswell sweeping through the country way too late and awkwardly tried to ride a wave that had passed her by. It’s a shame she couldn’t pull it off.

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    And the right-wing populism can through because Bernie didn’t get nominated AND after eight years the right-wingers who felt abandoned were ready to latch onto and frenzy regardless of how fantastic the promises.

    ( I am a Republican, but I’ve been earning over Trump for a year. I also take full responsibility for my own contribution to the unthinking aspects of the right. In 2008 I spent way too much time obsessing over conspiracies and speculations about Obama when I should have spent more time on policy.)

  • Mallard
  • Bluejay

    No, I think that argument is simplistic and wrongheaded.

    The so-called “social justice warrior” thing isn’t just cultural elites whining about frivolous issues. Animosity against women, blacks, LGBT folks, and other marginalized groups is VERY real, and can be a life-and-death matter for those affected. We should never stop fighting for dignity and respect for these people, and we should never apologize for it.

    Consider also that many people in the groups that favored Clinton over Trump — blacks, Latinos, etc — are ALSO working-class, with working-class struggles and concerns. THEY certainly didn’t feel that the Democratic Party has forgotten or abandoned them. Why does only the opinion of the WHITE working class matter?

    Consider that Trump’s campaign didn’t win over voters because of any detailed policies for the economic recovery of the working class. It stirred up voters through white identity and xenophobia. That’s what “Make America Great Again” and “Build the Wall” are all about.

    Consider that, as of this moment, Clinton is leading in the popular vote by 2 million votes, and has earned more votes than any white male presidential candidate in US history. Are all 64 million Americans who voted for Clinton out-of-touch cultural elites?

    The majority of Americans did NOT repudiate the Democratic Party or progressive values. Trump is president-elect because of the fucked-up system of the Electoral College, and because he was able to harness an undercurrent of reactionary hatred that is admittedly larger than many previously suspected. But it has not, yet, claimed America’s soul.

    We should keep that in mind as we fight back. We aren’t isolated, and we’re far from alone.

  • Nope. Read this thread:

    I did not cause Trump to win.— Broderick Greer (@BroderickGreer)

  • Bluejay
  • Bluejay


    We must continue insisting that “identity politics” are simply politics; that a truly civil society requires empathy from all, not self-abnegation of the few; that while it’s easy to write off as frivolous and indulgent that which doesn’t affect you, doing so doesn’t make you a good citizen. Because a logical next step in that direction is writing off entire groups of people whose concerns seem silly to you, or don’t make sense to you, or offend you. The neo-Nazis and white supremacists among us are already hard at work trying to make that happen.Let’s not make their jobs any easier.

  • Danielm80

    Another reason art–including movies–is important right now:


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