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What's the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank (2004)

This was an incredibly prescient book when it was written, accurately forecasting the utter cultural division the nation would face, as well as the increasing failure of the democratic party to do anything helpful about it - but 16 years later we know all of this already, and a quick essay or review on this subject will be a better use of time.
Recent posts

dirty harry (1971)

this is a reactionary movie even above and beyond the normal cop movie tropes, from the way it queer-codes the villain to the overall "good strong men don't need to follow the rules" vibe - so why do I like it so much?

farewell my concubine (1993)

installment one of a mini review series about china's collective trauma throughout the 20th century:

a gorgeous, sweeping epic about artistic and queer identity set against forty years of inconceivable change, featuring one of the most harrowing scenes I've ever seen in any film -- but it really did be like that for a billion people, and understanding this shared history is integral to understanding chinese culture and politics today

paper moon (1973)

a delightful easy going feel good romp about a young orphan girl in the great depression; notable themes include gender ambiguity and an atypical relationship (a healthy friendship between a mid thirties dude and a 9 year old girl).

Law & Order: SVU (1999-present)

A sobering morality play about the iron-fisted rituals of state power intersecting with the relentless enactment of normative behavior; the use of SVU subject matters is an especially grotesque medium through which to make an ultimately normalizing and moralizing statement about deference to status quo power relations and structural prejudice (with bonus points for mapping a rough sketch of the evolution of socially acceptable behavior, views, and language through the tumultuous early 2000s; not recommended.)