Hey, it’s the weekend apparently. You’re going to want to start this video at the 1:11 mark. It’s much more clever than I expected. (h/t BoingBoing)
A few weeks ago, my family and I fled to a cabin in the woods to get a change of scenery while simultaneously social distancing. On our way there and back, we drove through a number of small towns in Oklahoma and Kansas, towns that felt abandoned, and forgotten years ago, and I’m sure the virus helped contribute to that sense of emptiness. This is going to sound somewhat cruel, though I don’t intend it that way, but these towns’ complete lack of any signs of life reminded me of the small Georgia towns in The Walking Dead that have been ravaged by the zombie apocalypse. As we drove through vacant town after vacant town, I couldn’t help but think about how easy it would be for The Walking Dead to film right now with our entire country resembling that zombie-filled universe.
But it also led me to think about our divided country, this strange nightmarish place we have arrived where most people are doing their best to contain this virus by staying home, distancing themselves as much as possible from other people, wearing masks, and heeding the science, while a small minority refuses to comply for whatever dumb reasons. The problem, of course, is that we are all in this together, and we will never be able to contain the virus until we are all on the same page and in the same reality. The anti-maskers’ insistence that it is their right to expose themselves to the virus doesn’t begin and end with their own health, they make us all more vulnerable. They are the character in the zombie movie — or zombie show, if you will — who has been bitten but hides it from everyone else, putting their entire group in danger. The anti-maskers are going to either turn us all into zombies, or they’re going to eat us.
Which brings me to this: what the Hell is going on with right-wingers fantasizing about cannibalism during this pandemic? The other day, Rush Limbaugh had this to say about reopening society during the outbreak:
Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh: Americans should “adapt” to coronavirus, like pioneers who “had to turn to cannibalism” https://t.co/QudCS7zPZb pic.twitter.com/FfmDattqlb
— Media Matters (@mmfa) July 14, 2020
So, because the Donner Party ate one another during a blizzard, we’re going to have to sacrifice Grandma so that the neighborhood bar can stay open? Makes sense.
Seth Meyers included this bit in a recent “A Closer Look” (beginning at 12:19):
“Finally,” Seth Meyers jokes, “the Republicans have found a message to run on: Trump 2020: Your Neighbors are Delicious.”
The thing is, it’s not much of a joke. A month and a half ago, right-wing lunatic Alex Jones did threaten to kill, skin and eat his neighbors:
everything's fine pic.twitter.com/jjTTdm6pzy
— sam handwich (@samthielman) May 1, 2020
So, what the actual fuck is going on here? I have a theory. Namely, these weird cannibalism fantasies are the natural endpoint for this right-wing religion of self-reliance and individualism. This is where they end up when they follow the path of their own logic that rejects any sort of collective action, or even recognition that we are all on this ship together and therefore must work to protect one another. In their world view, we are each on our own individual journey, and if the virus continues to rage uncontained, there’s literally nothing more we can do but accept our fates: society will collapse, we will have to fend for ourselves, and if that means breaking the last remaining social taboos and eating our neighbors? WELL, SO BE IT. THEY WILL DO IT. THAT IS HOW STRONG (?) AND SELF-RELIANT THEY ARE.
As someone who writes about television, what is fascinating to me about all of this is that one of the reasons The Walking Dead has been one of the most popular — if not THE most popular — television series of the past decade is that it allows people to fantasize about an all-consuming disaster, and how they themselves would survive and protect their families. It’s self-reliance porn. What I could never have imagined is that when the all-consuming disaster actually arrived, the right would identify with the zombies instead of the survivors.
We’re still arguing over whether or not to open schools in a month, and the White House is LITERALLY TELLING US the “science should not stand in the way.”
McEnany: "The president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open…When he says open, he means open and full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this." https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/sJEAJPg2Jy
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 16, 2020
And here I thought “alternative facts” was going to be one of the most outrageous things to ever be uttered out loud by a White House spokesperson.
Hey! You know what the science is showing us? In Florida, 31% of children who have been tested for COVID-19 have been positive.
‼️Over 31% of #COVID19 tests in children in #Florida are positive, whereas the positivity rate for #Florida's entire population is only ~11%.#Florida is one of the world’s worst #coronavirus hot zones, yet @GovRonDeSantis is reopening schools.🤬https://t.co/M2AGoHYtTX
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) July 15, 2020
Nationwide, 1.7 million children have been infected.
An estimated 1.7 million American children have been infected with #COVID19.
— Adam Rifkin 🐼 (@ifindkarma) July 16, 2020
And I’m seeing a lot of pushback on this, people arguing that kids don’t die from this virus. While it might be true that children are less likely to die from this virus than adults, they are still capable of contracting the virus and spreading it. And I ask you: who will be teaching our children? Answer: NOT OTHER CHILDREN. As someone who has a number of teachers in her life whom she loves, including her younger sister, I am not willing to sacrifice any of their lives or health so that the government can try to pretend that everything has returned to normal ahead of the election. WE DO NOT HAVE TO BECOME ZOMBIES. WE CAN JUST DO ONLINE SCHOOLING.
Laura Ingraham is a goddamned idiot. And leaving aside the fact that TORONTO IS IN CANADA, last I checked, Joe Biden isn’t the President of the United States right now?
Will Joe Biden do more to protect religious liberty than Donald Trump? Not a prayer. “City of Toronto Bans Catholic Churches From Administering Holy Communion” https://t.co/9oR3YI7Zkf
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) July 17, 2020
BREAKING: Jake Paul continues to be a raging asshole with no consideration for others.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will not be premiering in August on Disney+ after all, thanks to production shutdowns.
Here’s how Big Brother is going to handle quarantining the crew.
Production is going forward in Georgia despite the fact that cases are exploding there, and their government is completely incompetent. Good luck, everyone!
Black Lives Matter
OH. COOL. SO NOW WE HAVE UNMARKED ARMED AGENTS GOING AROUND AMERICAN CITIES KIDNAPPING PROTESTORS OFF OF THE STREET. EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE.
Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters. These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end. pic.twitter.com/PE4YfZ9Vqd
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) July 16, 2020
When several men in green military fatigues and generic “police” patches sprang out of an unmarked gray minivan in front of Mark Pettibone in the early hours of Wednesday morning, his first instinct was to run.
He did not know whether the men were police or far-right extremists, who frequently don militarylike outfits and harass left-leaning protesters in Portland, Ore. The 29-year-old resident said he made it about a half-block before he realized there would be no escape.
Then, he sank to his knees, hands in the air.
“I was terrified,” Pettibone told The Washington Post. “It seemed like it was out of a horror/sci-fi, like a Philip K. Dick novel. It was like being preyed upon.”
He was detained and searched. One man asked him if he had any weapons; he did not. They drove him to the federal courthouse and placed him in a holding cell. Two officers eventually returned to read his Miranda rights and ask if he would waive those rights to answer a few questions; he did not.
And almost as suddenly as they had grabbed him off the street, the men let him go.
Pettibone said he still does not know who arrested him or whether what happened to him legally qualifies as an arrest. The federal officers who snatched him off the street as he was walking home from a peaceful protest did not tell him why he had been detained or provide him any record of an arrest, he told The Post. As far as he knows, he has not been charged with any crimes.
I actually saw this story maybe yesterday morning but didn’t post about it because it was — by design — unclear who these men were. DHS head Chad Wolf essentially confirmed that they were federal agents in a tweet this morning:
Here is what I saw in Portland yesterday. pic.twitter.com/B0xvTTYvIj
— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) July 17, 2020
These valiant men and women have defended our institutions of justice against violent anarchists for 48 straight days. We will prevail. pic.twitter.com/Qo9XoCyH2N
— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) July 17, 2020
This is not just something out of a terrifying dystopian sci-fi movie, it’s FUCKING UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Furious. I am furious right now.
American Injustice: The Fight for Police Reform will be hosted by Soledad O’Brien and air on BET on July 22.
Harris Faulkner Presents: The Fight for America will air on Fox News on Sunday. This is particularly rich as in a recent phone call with executives, Black staffers had a thing or 90 to say about the network’s coverage of race issues and discrimination at the network. This is shocking. This is my shocked face.
The upcoming HBO Tiger Woods project is being criticized for a lack of diversity in the above-the-line talent.
Nia Long confirms Thandie Newton’s account of racism in the casting of Charlie’s Angels.
In one Washington state community, you can go to jail for a year for drawing in chalk art, “Black Lives Matter.”
In Selah, city officials profess to be perplexed about the sudden activism. The city administrator, Don Wayman, said he did not see any racial issues to address, calling the Black Lives Matter movement “devoid of intellect and reason” and characterizing the activists as a “mob.”
Selah’s chalk activism began with Gabriel Fabian, 20, who was not politically active until after seeing the video capturing the arrest in May that led to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Fabian, who is Latino, decided he needed to play a role in halting the oppression of Black people and that it would need to start at home.
“I basically said, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” Fabian said.
In early June, he began drawing the words “Black Lives Matter” on the street outside his home, which lies on a dead end. He included references to Black people whose deaths in recent years around the country have sparked protests over racial injustice.
By the end of the week, a city crew came by with a street sweeper to clean it off.
Some friends came by to draw more, and a cleaning crew again washed them off. They did it again. Then again.
At one point, a letter from Police Chief Richard Hayes arrived addressed to Fabian’s older brother. It said the chalk drawing “is, by definition, graffiti” and could result in a citation.
After the letter from the police chief, the family had a lawyer respond, objecting to the city’s handling of the art. Rob Case, Selah’s municipal attorney, responded with a more detailed warning, saying the drawings were a violation of the malicious mischief statute “that is punishable by 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.”
Here’s a link to the ACLU donation page if, for whatever reason, you might feel compelled to throw some money in their direction.
All Other TV News
Buzzfeed has a brutal article on the hostile work environment at the Ellen show. Everything from racist microaggressions to people being fired after taking time off for medical leave or funerals is in here. What is interesting is that it’s not about Ellen, despite the fact that recent stories have been focused on revealing that she is not as nice as she seems — in fact, she’s barely mentioned. It’s actually about the producers and how they foster a toxic environment.
Here’s why Kristian Alfonso is leaving Days of Our Lives.
Lucy Hale is now dating Colton Underwood. Good for him for dating someone unrelated to The Bachelor, I guess.
Padma Lakshmi eats so much during Top Chef — 7,000 to 8,000 calories A DAY — that her doctor put her on a blood sugar medication to help her get through it. GOOD. LORD.
Netflix has added 10 million more subscribers but warned investors that growth will probably slow, causing the stock price to dip.
Stranger Things is being sued again, by someone claiming the story was stolen.
This is sort of interesting: the series finale of Hawaii Five-0 was originally written and shot to just be another season finale, and as such, had a bunch of little cliffhangers throughout that they had to edit out once it was decided to end the show.
Here’s a fairly good list of films available on Peacock. And Gizmodo comes up with the best genre movies on Peacock.
Get better — and some help — soon, Tamar Braxton. (Her new show, Tamar Braxton: Get Ya Life! was scheduled to premiere on WE tv on July 30. No word yet if it will air.)
This isn’t TV-related, but I kinda feel like we could all use a little sweet news right now. A 6-year-old boy protected his little sister in a vicious dog attack, earning 90 stitches as a result. His aunt reached out to the Avengers’ cast to alert them to his story, as they are his favorite superheroes, and they responded by sending him Captain America’s shield and an invite to the filming of the next Spider-Man movie when production resumes.
- Reasonable Doubt has been renewed at Investigation Discovery.
- Briarpatch has been canceled after one season on USA.
- A World of Calm, a series based on the sleep app, is coming to HBO, and will be narrated by Mahershala Ali, Keanu Reeves, Nicole Kidman, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Zoë Kravitz, Lucy Liu, and Cillian Murphy.
- Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure, an animated series inspired by the Apollo mission to the moon from Richard Linklater, is being developed at Netflix.
- Home Sweet Home, a non-scripted family social experiment from Ava DuVeray, is being developed at NBC.
- The Gray Man, an action thriller starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans and directed by the Russo Brothers, has been set at Netflix. It’s Netflix’s most expensive project to date.
- Vanderpump Dogs is coming to Peacock.
- A reboot of In Treatment is in the works at HBO.
- Bombay Rose, another animated series, is also in the works at Netflix.
- 137 Things My Wife Hates About Me is being developed at Quibi.
- Ty Burrell is launching a production company with an overall deal with Fox TV and has set a comedy with ABC.
- Hiro Murai has sigend a deal with FX.
- Robert Irvine has signed a two-year deal with Food Network.
- Wishbone is getting a feature film.
- Caitlin McGee, Karla Souza, and Sasheer Zamata have been cast in ABC’s comedy pilot Home Economics.
- Don Johnson and Chris Redd are joining the cast of Kenan on NBC.
- Diego Boneta has been cast int he lead of Brujo on HBO Max.
- Wiz Khalifa, Rashida Jones, and Joy Osmanski are now series regulars on Fox’s Duncanville.
Mark Your Calendar
- A Mythbusters marathon is airing on Discovery right now to honor Grant Imahara. It will continue on Saturday on Science Channel.
- The Swamp will premiere on HBO on August 4.
- Chucky will debut on both Syfy and USA in 2021.
- Work It will premiere on Netflix on August 7.
- Howard will premiere on Disney+ on August 7.
- Netflix is hyping the release of 17 Indian originals:
- Mystery Lab will premiere on Netflix on August 4.
- The Go-Gos will premiere on July 31st on Showtime.
- Jeopardy! will begin a four-week retrospective on July 20.
- Diesel Brothers: Monster Jam Breaking World Records will premiere on Discovery on August 8.
- Alaskan Bush People will return on Discovery on August 22.
Galyn Görg, Actress on M.A.N.T.I.S. and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Chris Dickey, Journalist
Into the Dark: The Current Occupant: Barry Watson, who I never realized looks A LOT like Timothy Olyphant, stars in this new installment as a man who is either crazy or the President. It’s unclear. Hulu
Cursed: It’s a female twist on the Arthurian legend. For it. Series premiere. Netflix
We Are Love Freestyle Supreme: The documentary about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop group is finally streaming after being paused out of respect for the protest movement. Hulu
Absentia: Season three premiere. Amazon
Father Soldier Son: This documentary followed a single father and soldier and his two sons over a ten year period, including during his deployment to Afghanistan. Netflix
Harriet: The amazing Cynthia Erivo stars in this biopic about Harriet Tubman. 7 p.m., HBO
Jurassic Park marathon: DINOSAURS! 6:30 p.m., Bravo
The Alienist: Sarah is opening her own detective company in the second season and she and the team investigate the kidnapping of a prominent family’s baby. 8 p.m., TNT
United Shades of America: W. Kamau Bell explores white supremacy in season five. Season premiere. 9 p.m., CNN
Black Monday: A plan comes together in the season finale. 7 p.m., Showtime
|CW||Masters of Illusion
|Masters of Illusion
|Whose Line is it Anyway?
|Whose Line is it Anyway?
|FOX||Friday Night Smackdown||Local|
|ABC||AFV: America This is You!
|The Good Doctor
|48 Hours||48 Hours||News/Local|
|NBC||Dateline||Saturday Night Live
|Saturday Night Live
|ABC||America’s Funniest Home Videos
|Celebrity Family Feud
|Press Your Luck
|CBS||60 Minutes||60 Minutes Presents||NCIS: Los Angeles
|NCIS: New Orleans
|Penn & Teller: Fool Us
|FOX||Last Man Standing
|Bless the Harts
|The Titan Games
|America’s Got Talent