Content Warning: For posterity, the following article contains uncensored mention of an ableist slur.
Before the torches-and-pitchforks crowd gathers to skewer me, I should let them know upfront: I don’t believe in “great” presidents. Hell, I don’t even believe in “great” leaders. History is chock-full of them.
Was Julius Caesar a great leader? Why? Because we remember his goddamn name? Because we were taught to remember his goddamn name? Because he did “great” things that are ultimately subjective in their greatness? Like conquering the Gauls and subjecting them to Roman rule, oppression, and enslavement?
Further muddying the subjectivity of a leader’s “greatness” is the fact that how we define greatness changes over time and across cultures. For thousands of years, successful conquest was viewed as a sign of great leadership. How many cities and villages you burned, how many peasants you ruled over, and how many women you had in your bed were all once common attributes of greatness. …
On March 1st, 1954, a group of four Puerto Rican nationalists entered the House of Representatives chamber of the United States Capitol, unfurled a Puerto Rican flag, and began firing guns at Representatives while the House was debating an immigration bill. While there had been instances of violence between congressmen before, the most infamous being the brutal 1856 beating of abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner by pro-slavery Representative Preston Brooks, this was the first time an armed group of American citizens had attacked the Capitol building. Five Representatives were wounded, but no one was killed.
When the U.S. Marine Corps announced on June 5th this year that displays of the Confederate flag were no longer permissible on installations, they wrote, “The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps.”
This has been the same sentiment echoed for years by defenders of that blood-red rectangle emblazoned by a blue cross with thirteen white stars most commonly referred to as “the Confederate flag.”
Content Warning: For posterity, the following article contains uncensored mention of an ableist slur and graphic description of the effects of syphilis.
Before I could submit this article for publication, it appears Black Panther star Letitia Wright has deleted her Twitter and Instagram accounts following online backlash for a video she shared. I suppose that’s a frustratingly apt metaphor for what I’m about to discuss.
Content Warning: For posterity, the following article contains uncensored mention of some ableist and racist slurs.
My earliest memories of Forrest Gump came not from the film itself, but from pop-cultural osmosis through my peers. Specifically, I learned about it from people quoting these lines.
“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. Ya never know what you’re gonna get.”
“Ruuuun, Forrest, ruuuun!”
These quotes were usually delivered in bad Southern accents or in exaggerations of the way people with some disabilities and disorders talk.
The film was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards in 1995 and won six, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Eric Roth. Its competition? Oh, nothing special. The Shawshank Redemption. …
Content Warning: For posterity, the following article contains uncensored mention of ableist slurs and descriptions of Nazi atrocities.
Every marginalized group has what I like to call a “root narrative” their oppressors create about them. It’s a very base caricature from which all others branch off that sums up who they are and why they should be marginalized. The symbols — often animals — used to caricature these groups can be very illuminating as to what that root narrative is.
In the 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, while interrogating Perrier LaPadite, a French farmer hiding Jews in his house, the character Hans Landa echoes Nazi propaganda when he compares Jewish people to rats. …
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied Powers. Millions of people from nations all over the world celebrated in the streets.
Flash-forward decades later, after the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville — the largest openly white nationalist march in the United States in decades — that left a woman dead, the Washington Post and ABC News conducted a random sample poll by telephone of 1,014 adults. The poll’s margin of error was 3.5 percentage points. In that poll, the question “Do you yourself think it’s acceptable or unacceptable to hold neo-Nazi or white supremacist views?” …