POLITICS

Joe Biden Won the Election by Fewer than 50,000 Votes

Our broken electoral system makes the endless stress and confusion of razor-thin margins inevitable. But we can fix it.

The panic that enveloped the world on November 3, 2020 already feels like a bad dream.

Despite the best efforts of Bernie Sanders and others to prepare us for the inevitable chaos, the partisan divide between mail-in and in-person voting had the predictable effect last Tuesday.

As the in-person votes accumulated in several key states where mail-in totals were always going to be delayed, the sense that Donald Trump was outperforming expectations—and was likely to secure reelection—was pervasive.

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Culture Feature

If Wikipedia Were Honest: American "Democracy"

The shining light of American democracy—a beacon for the world—is actually a smoldering dumpster fire

American "Democracy."

Americans do not live in a democracy.

Right-wing pricks will tell you that's a good thing. They will say that America's founding father's—in their immense wisdom—established the United States as a Republic, not a democracy, specifically to avoid the danger of the unruly masses inflicting their tyrannical will on out-groups and minority populations.

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Culture Feature

Don't Let Kanye West on the Ballot in Wisconsin—14 Seconds Late Is Still Late

Thanks to the arcane nonsense of the Electoral College, Kanye West could swing the whole election in states like Wisconsin.

Kanye West isn't running for president, he's "walking for president."

Those are his own words in response to a question about whether he was trying to hurt the Biden Harris campaign's chances and thus help Donald Trump secure reelection. Some have taken that phrasing as a confirmation that Kanye is running as an intentional "spoiler" candidate.

Another possibility is that Kanye is being encouraged to campaign by various people who don't care about his mental health—who want to use him for Donald Trump's benefit. He could be going with the flow and "walking for president" while Republican political operatives lead him where they want him to go. Maybe Kanye never took off his MAGA hat after all...

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TV

Sean Spicer Is Basically RoboCop

Sean Spicer's character arc on Dancing With the Stars is ripped straight from RoboCop.

ABC

In a dystopian American future, a man who has lost everything and been shamed and brutalized beyond recognition is revived by a mega-corporation and brought back into society as both a hero of the people and a tool of fascism. Welcome to Dancing With the Stars starring Sean Spicer.

As disgraced ex-U.S. press secretary Sean Spicer glorbled his way around the dance floor to "Spice Up Your Life" by Spice Girls, the very fabric of reality collapsed around my computer screen. "Glorbled" isn't even a real word, but there's no other way to capture the alienness of witnessing Sean Spicer gleefully smacking bongos in a frilly, lime green top and dumpy, ill-fitting slacks. This is a man who used his official position as the White House mouthpiece to knowingly lie to the American public, and now that he's left the government in disgrace, we're watching him crotch slide. Excuse my language, but what the f*ck is wrong with us?

Sean Spicer's Salsa – Dancing with the Stars www.youtube.com

Then it dawned on me. This premise is ripped straight from RoboCop, Paul Verhoeven's enduring 1987 cyberpunk-satire that warned against capitalism run amuck.

RoboCop takes place in a dystopian-future Detroit on the brink of collapse until a mega-corporation called Omni Consumer Products (OCP) steps in to save the day. OCP turns the once-downtrodden city into a bustling, high-end utopia and also takes control of the police force. So when Alex Murphy, one of the best officers on the force, gets brutally murdered in the line of duty, OCP uses his corpse as the test subject for an experimental cyborg program, reanimating him as RoboCop.

RoboCop quickly becomes a hero to the public, operating on three Prime Directives: Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, and uphold the law. But there's a secret fourth directive RoboCop doesn't know about: "Any attempt to arrest a senior officer of OCP results in shutdown." In short, RoboCop is designed to be a tool of corporate fascism, capable of reinforcing the ruling party's will while never turning against his creators, no matter what they do.

robocop Orion Pictures

Verhoeven's entire point in RoboCop is that corporations only care about social goodness to the extent of their ability to profit off it. ABC seems to be doing everything in their power to prove him right, and what better way to do that than by stealing RoboCop's character arc for Sean Spicer?

Like RoboCop, Sean Spicer is a man who has been brutalized by society. There are some differences, of course––Alex Murphy was very good at his job, while Sean Spicer was a total nincompoop––but for all intents and purposes, Sean Spicer's public image is battered and bloody, just like Alex Murphy's corpse after being torn apart by shotgun blasts.

Luckily for Spicer, ABC can rebuild him. They have the technology and, more importantly, a primetime TV slot. So just as OCP outfits Murphy's corpse with android technology and sends him out to patrol, ABC outfits Spicer in silly costumes and sends him out to dance. They hope that, in the same way the dystopian Detroit public came to love RoboCop, so, too, will the dystopian American public––most of whom ABC hopes have been lobotomized by the 24-hour news cycle––come to love goofy dancing Sean Spicer.

One would hope people could see through the charade and crush ABC's attempts to normalize a guy who literally defended Hitler. But I'm not so confident we can do that.