In the 1930s radio had been around for a few decades, but it was only just becoming commonplace, and it was still an exciting new technology that was rapidly connecting the world and contributing to social and political change. In the US, radio was defining President Roosevelt's man-of-the-people image, with his inviting and personable fireside chats. In Europe, however, radio's effect was amplifying a much more virulent form of populism.

hitler and mussolini

Fascism was finding its voice. The blended pride and humiliation of national ego, and the simultaneously mocking and fearful portrayal of the weak and terrifying other, were tapping into impulses that were deeply human and capable of immeasurable cruelty. But by the 1950s, the world had adapted to its new interconnectedness, and it seemed certain that we had left true fascism behind for good. It wasn't until recently, with a new technology to connect us more than ever, that the cycle returned and society began finding its way back to those ancient and ruinous tribal divisions around the world.

This is the what comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, best known for his portrayal of Borat in the film of the same name, and for his cutting political series Who Is America?, was speaking to on Thursday night. He was giving a speech at the Anti Defamation League's International Leadership summit, when he said that "all this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history."

borat joke

The incredible communicative power of the Internet has the potential to unite us with the kind of populism that brought us the New Deal—or indeed the Green New Deal—or to divide us with a new era of fascism and hate. If CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, and Jack Dorsey are unable or unwilling to face the tremendous responsibility this power places on their shoulders, we must either wrench this power from them through any regulatory means at our disposal, or face devastation that may well exceed the ravages of World War II.

Music Features

Azealia Banks and the Dangers of the "Angry Black Woman" Trope

After posting cryptic messages on her Instagram story, it's clear that many of Azealia Banks's behaviors were a cry for help.

Content warning: This article contains depictions of suicidal ideation.

Eight years ago, Azealia Banks was positioned to be the next big thing in hip-hop.

The Harlem rapper's debut single, "212," had spread through the Internet like wildfire. Banks was only 20 years old at the time and had just left her record label, XL Recordings, due to creative conflicts. Despite being strapped for cash and admittedly depressed, Banks released "212" as a free download from her website. The unforgettable hip-house track would reinvigorate her tumultuous music career.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture News

Why Trump's National Emergency Might Be a Good Thing

Donald Trump's buffoonery might actually be a boon for liberals.

This morning, Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the Southern Border. He plans to redirect Pentagon and Treasury funding in order to make his border wall a reality.

His actions are in response to Congress refusing to give him funding for his border wall in the first place, and his national emergency is certain to force a constitutional crisis.

Of course, Trump's national emergency is a load of shit. Mainly because there's no actual emergency–the DHS's own data shows that illegal entry into the US is down from what it was two years ago. But anyone with a brain knows that Donald Trump isn't doing this over a real crisis–he's doing it because he made an absurd promise on the campaign trail to build a wall, and the government's checks and balances shut him down. Declaring a national emergency is a hail mary attempt, a prayer that a loophole will get Trump his wall.

So how could Trump's dictatorial actions possibly be a good thing?

These would be some sick duds for Donald.

When Trump's national emergency inevitably goes to court, there are only two possible outcomes. Either he wins, and gets to fund his wall, or he loses. Both outcomes have major upsides for liberals.

If he loses, excellent, we get to re-establish one major line in the sand that Trump's inane presidency can't cross–that when Congress checks the President's spending budget, their say is final. Just because a President might happen to a petulant man-baby who has temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way doesn't mean government structure should bend to fit his will. This is the ideal outcome, completely squashing Trump's fascist power play before it can move further.

But let's say it moves forward in the courts and Trump ends up wasting billions of dollars on an ineffective solution to a largely fictionalized problem. Not only would it most likely fail on every conceivable level (the chance Trump gets his wall finished within the remainder of his term is close to nil), but it would open the door for a future president to declare national emergencies to tackle actual crises, like global warming, that directly affect the future of our species.

That said, this is a very, very bad standard to set. Our entire government system is based upon checks and balances between the three branches, and when one branch tries to exploit loopholes to override the decision of another branch, the system's very fabric gets called into question. Hopefully America can weather this storm, but if not, the least we can do is hope for a dictator with a better understanding of sentence structure.

Dan Kahan is a writer & screenwriter from Brooklyn, usually rocking a man bun. Find more at

POP⚡DUST |

5 Romantic Movie Gestures That Are Actually Super Creepy

Now In Theaters: 5 New Movies for the Weekend of February 15

Why Bad Movies Are Better Than Good Ones