What worked for The West Wing is viewed with suspicion in Scandal.
Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal on ABC is off to a roaring start with its second season, picking up where the first left off with the unmasking of Quinn’s true identity and subsequent legal troubles. The series seems determined to up the stakes with each episode, though, as illustrated with last week’s ‘Hunting Season,’ which played on a number of media themes and political concerns in an explosive episode about the government spying on its own citizens in a plot that reaches far into the upper echelons of government.
Perhaps in light of the anniversary of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, it would be wise to remind ourselves that neither those attacks nor these new ones happened in a social or political vacuum.
The developments of this week were truly remarkable: Alleged protests outside the US embassies in Benghazi* and Cairo that culminated in the killings of four US diplomats – and all of it allegedly instigated by an alleged two-hour film called “Innocence of Muslims” that no one in the United States had ever heard of, including its entire cast and crew, created by a man no one had heard of – one “Sam Bacile” – who turned out not to exist at all. Subsequent killings in Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza and elsewhere as protests spread throughout the region. The thirteen minutes of footage uploaded to Youtube, clearly a no-budget endeavor said to be funded by $5 million from a strikingly conspiratorial-sounding “100 Jews” – and the fact that no Israelis, let alone Jews, had had any involvement. Ah, yes, and the dubbing of every offensive religious reference, including the substitution of Muhammad for a character the script had called “George.”
As Golden Dawn rises, so does the intensity of sentiment against it among marginalised Greeks, which makes for a potentially explosive combination.
A worrying rise of the far right is occurring across Europe, and not for the many reasons people want to claim it is; while some argue it’s the result of economic disparity and financial distress, this is an issue that runs far deeper than that, as researcher Matthew Goodwin identifies. All nations have the potential to experience a sudden increase in far-right politics if a political party is savvy enough to play on themes of national identity, anti-immigrant sentiments, and ‘traditional values.’ Economic woes simply become a convenient vehicle for exploitation, rather than the cause of extremism.
US network NBC put a lot of energy into developing a strong comedy block with offerings like 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, both of which distinguish themselves by having strong female leads. For a moment, it seemed as though [...]
US network NBC put a lot of energy into developing a strong comedy block with offerings like 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, both of which distinguish themselves by having strong female leads. For a moment, it seemed as though the network was looking forward with its programming, initiating an era of female-driven shows with a fresh take on modern society. Unfortunately, with its pass on The Mindy Project, the network appeared to be throwing itself into reverse gear, as Alyssa Rosenberg pointed out on Think Progress; from being a comedy leader, NBC went to hovering fearfully at the back of the pack, afraid to take a chance on something new. Rosenberg, and others, suggested that NBC might have been unwilling to take on another show with a female lead, as though network officials believe there’s a limit on how many female-driven comedies the network can run.
Are we certain – or uncertain – in our conviction that these are all isolated incidents? Arrogant or afraid?
So, where will next week’s public shooting(s) happen, America?
Or should I be asking about tomorrow? This afternoon perhaps? What precisely is going on these days?
I spent several hours yesterday looking for a timeline that includes every attack we’ve seen since mid-July. I couldn’t find one. I can’t figure out why. Are we certain – or uncertain – in our conviction that these are all isolated incidents? Arrogant or afraid?
While the Olympics are ostensibly an event that brings the world together, the racism that runs through much of the coverage serves to underscore the differences between ‘us’ and ‘them.”
Gabby Douglas’ hair, female Chinese athletes as stoic automatons, ‘plastic Britons,’ and advertisements featuring monkeys on gymnastic apparatus—if one thing has characterised media coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics, it’s rampant racism. While the Olympics are ostensibly an event that brings the world together, the racism that runs through much of the coverage serves to underscore the differences between ‘us’ and ‘them,’ whether commentators are making snide references to African runners or focusing on white, glossy female athletes to the exclusion of the women of colour on their teams. A white-dominated media dictates the tone of coverage of an event held in the capital of a major Western power, and a power that has been struggling with racial tensions of its own in recent years, thanks to the rise of organisations like the EDL.
What if Gaza were not under siege? Is it too radical to suggest that ending the siege on Gaza could be a more apt solution than increased military presence to end structurally based terrorism?
On Sunday, 35 militants attacked a border post with automatic gunfire and grenades in the Sinai Peninsula—killing 16 Egyptian soldiers, and injuring seven others. After attacking the soldiers, the militants hijacked two Israeli armored tanks, which were then destroyed—one exploding, and the other targeted by Israeli fire—killing eight of the militants as they tried to infiltrate the Israeli border.
It is suspected that the militants are Islamist and Salafi jihadists from Gaza and Sinai—though their exact identities are still unknown. Certain sources claim that the militants hijacked the armored vehicles to abduct an Israeli soldier. Some claim that the smuggling operations between besieged Gaza and Sinai are the structural cause for frequent bouts of regional violence. Still others claim that the militants were deliberately trying to incite war between Egypt and Israel.
Taking away the material means of justice while proclaiming one’s government to be tough on crime is an exercise in rhetoric that’s worse than empty.
Sometimes, living in a relatively safe country like Australia, one becomes complacent in expecting one’s government to be out to, you know, do justly by its citizens. (If not its non-citizens; hi, asylum seeker debate!) In March, something rather unexpected happened in the north-eastern state of Queensland, and that illusion of justice could no longer stand.
It was in March that the Labor Party, led by Anna Bligh, who had been rather popular, was defeated by the Liberal National Party, led by Campbell Newman. It wasn’t just a victory, it was a landslide of almost unprecedented proportions, with the LNP gaining the largest majority of parliament seats ever seen in Queensland. The rest of the country was vaguely confused, but we moved on.
It was evident that a crisis was underway in Anaheim, and one that had been created by those in power.
Southern California in July can be suffocatingly hot, the kind of intense heat that drives you indoors for much of the day and leaves tempers simmering at a low boil, waiting for a reason to bubble over. Frustrations are high in communities across the southern half of the state thanks to the relentless heat and ongoing economic woes; Orange County, for example, has an unemployment rate of almost 8% and a foreclosure rate hovering around 2%. The traditionally conservative county has some of the most dramatic economic inequality imaginable on display, from the mansions of the wealthy to the crowded tenements of the poor who serve them.
With its nuanced depictions of politics, spirituality, diversity and solidarity, its rich characterisations and inspiration from ‘Eastern’, Avatar: TLAB presents a vision for an alternative I didn’t know I was looking for.
The first season of Legend of Korra, the follow-up to the ground-breaking animated show Avatar: the Last Airbender (2005-2008), ended just last month. Episodes were aired on TV in the U.S. and webcast on the Nickelodeon website for U.S. viewers, but you could also not be one and still get to keep up if you had a reasonably fast internet connection.
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