Culture Feature

Jared Kushner Could Win a Nobel Prize, but BLM Deserves It

The Nobel Prize committee has the chance to signal a better future for a prize with a fraught past.

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice — Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. "Letter From Birmingham Jail" 1963

Nominations have been announced for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

Among notable nominees are Ivanka Trump's husband Jared Kushner, politician and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Depending on your political biases, you likely find at least one of those nominations offensive, though it should be noted that the list of nominees is long, and anyone can be nominated.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy is defined by his pursuit of equal rights for Black Americans through unity and peace.

He is canonized in American history as the patron saint of change through passive measures.

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FILM

Why Kristen Stewart Is Reviving an Actress Who Supported the Black Panthers

In Seberg, Kristen Stewart portrays film legend Jean Seberg, whose support of the BPP led to a horrific FBI harassment

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Actress Jean Seberg began her acting career at the age of 18 with a starring role as Joan of Arc in 1957's Saint Joan.

Director Otto Preminger selected her from over 18,000 entrants in a talent search for the role of the teenage martyr—burned at the stake for fighting for her beliefs. Seberg would later earn a reputation in French New Wave cinema as possibly "the best actress in Europe," but by the 1970s Seberg's career would end in much the way it began: martyrdom. Kristen Stewart's new film, Seberg, seeks to tell that story.

Seberg was 40 years old when she disappeared from her home in Paris in August of 1979. It took Parisian authorities more than a week to discover her body decomposing in the backseat of her parked car with a note that read, "Forgive me. I can no longer live with my nerves." Her death was deemed a probable suicide—the proximate cause being a potent mix of barbiturates and alcohol—but many have traced her downfall to events that preceded her disappearance by more than a decade. Events that involved FBI surveillance and a chance meeting with a member of the Black Panther Party.

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It was on a flight to Los Angeles in October of 1968 that Jean Seberg first met Hakim Jamal—a prominent member of the Black Power Movement. They were both married, but Seberg was drawn to progressive causes and figures of revolutionary struggle more so than she was constrained by monogamy. She and Jamal began a short-lived love affair that reportedly ended when Jamal's wife placed a phone call to Seberg's father in Iowa. But Seberg's connection to the Black Panthers was already established.

She would go on to provide the movement with thousands of dollars in funding and was even arrested on misdemeanor charges thought to be connected to "running guns" for the BPP—not long after then-California Governor Ronald Reagan passed gun-control legislation that targeted the Panthers' open-carry protests (a style of protest that is now popular among gun rights advocates who hold Reagan in the highest regard). This is how Jean Seberg ended up on the wrong side of the FBI's COINTELPRO operations.

Jean Seberg

If you're wondering why anyone would make a movie celebrating a woman who supported a violent terrorist organization, you too have been made the victim of the FBI's smear campaign—though not as acutely as Jean Seberg and the Black Panthers. Along with blackmailing Martin Luther King Jr. and encouraging him to kill himself, the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover sought to quash dissent within the American populace by infiltrating "subversive" organizations to promote infighting and discredit their causes. While those subversive groups included the likes of the KKK, they were not limited to that ilk. Hoover's megalomania would direct the FBI COINTELPRO (short for Counter Intelligence Program) against movements supporting feminist, racial justice, environmental, and anti-war causes.

Whatever became of the Black Panther Party's various chapters—as COINTELPRO encouraged internal schisms and violence—it's important to consider how the organization started. Black communities around the country were being neglected and harassed by the institutions that nominally served them. Poverty was destroying families, and the police often did more harm than good in ways that our country continues to reckon with. The Black Panthers set out to serve their communities with both charitable programs and vigilante groups that were intended to provide the benevolent protection that municipal police forces did not. Jean Seberg's first donation to the organization was in support of the Black Panther's free breakfast program.

Not long after the FBI worked with Chicago PD to drug and assassinate prominent BPP member Fred Hampton in his own home, they decided to take down Seberg with a smear campaign intended to "cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her image with the public." It was around this time that Seberg stopped being offered serious roles in Hollywood, likely as a result of being secretly blacklisted—along with Jane Fonda and others who supported the BPP. But the truly hateful attack came in 1970 in the form of a story that the FBI managed to get published in Newsweek, claiming that Seberg—who was pregnant at the time—was carrying the child of a Black Panther. This libelous story and negative attention that came with it purportedly caused Seberg so much distress that it triggered premature labor. She gave birth to a tiny daughter who died two days later.

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Seberg spent the rest of her life in and out of depressive episodes and under continual surveillance by US intelligence services as she traveled Europe. She was the target of wiretapping, stalking, and burglaries, all at the behest of the US intelligence apparatus. Is it any wonder she had issues with her "nerves?"

Seberg attempted suicide on numerous occasions before her death, though there are circumstances that make her death suspicious. Kristen Stewart's efforts to capture her spirit in Seberg—including shot-for-shot recreations of Seberg's iconic performance in Breathless (1960)—have received praise, while some have criticized the film's treatment of historical events as "superficial." Regardless of the film's success in telling this story, it's important for all of us to maintain a cultural memory of martyrs like Jean Seberg.

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We must never forget the lengths that entrenched power will go to in undermining any threat to their position. They will use petty differences and disinformation to turn us against one another. Only in solidarity can we achieve revolutionary change. Seberg, starring Kristen Stewart and directed by Benedict Andrews, is out now in select theaters.

CULTURE

See the Fake Resume That Got Lori Loughlin's Daughter into USC

The forged document suggests that one of Loughlin's daughters—probably YouTuber Olivia Jade—was a rowing star.

Last March, Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her husband were charged by the FBI in a now infamous nationwide college entrance exam cheating scandal.

Loughlin and her husband were accused of paying scheme organizer Rick Singer half a million dollars to guarantee that their two daughters—one of whom is Olivia Jade Giannulli, a popular YouTuber and social media influencer—would be admitted into the University of Southern California.

A fake resume has since surfaced that was used in the USC application of one of Loughlin's daughters. As Page Six points out, the high school graduation year corresponds with Olivia Jade's. The resume details an extensive rowing career—a sport neither of Loughlin's daughters has any experience in—and claims the unnamed Giannulli sister has medals in the San Diego Crew Classic dating back to 2014, while her top skills listed are "awareness, organization, direction and steering." Smells fishy!

Still, Loughlin and her husband argue that they believed their cool half-million was given as a well-intended donation to USC, and they pled not guilty in the case and were eventually released on a bail bond of $1 million each. Olivia Jade claimed she had no idea about any falsifications in her application, and the USC registrar has since confirmed that she no longer attends the school (it's unknown whether or not she was expelled).

Olivia Jade is now supposedly doing the Internet influencer thing full-time. On the bright side, she was never that excited about higher education in the first place: "I don't know how much of school I'm gonna attend," she announced to her nearly 2 million subscribers before heading off to USC. "But I'm gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone, and hope that I can try and balance it all. But I do want the experience of like game days, partying…I don't really care about school, as you guys all know."

CULTURE

We Are Anonymous: A Brief History of the Internet's Most Elusive Hacktivist Collective

Ideas are indestructible, and Anonymous was always—first and foremost—an idea.

Anonymous is back.

Today, the hacktivist group broke a long silence and delivered a few stunning blows to institutions of power. They briefly took down the Minneapolis Police Department's website and threatened to expose the department's "many crimes to the world". These crimes include the murder of George Floyd, which has sparked a wave of protests across the nation.

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Top Stories

A Look Behind the Scenes of the New "Twin Peaks"

Kyle MacLachlan and the cast of the new "Twin Peaks" build some major hype for the forthcoming reboot.

Following the appropriately bizarre teaser, the Twin Peaks production team has released a new behind-the-scenes video featuring interviews from the cast who can't say enough about the genius of the show.

Featuring fan favorites like Jim Belushi, Kyle MacLachlan, and Kimmy Robertson, the video covers the broader elements of the new "Twin Peaks" experience. Miguel Ferrer, who plays Albert Rosenfeld, even goes so far as to say the show covers "the entirety of the human experience." With all that hype it has to be at least a little bit amazing, right?

Beyond the testimonials, the video features on-brand visuals from the show like lush forests, picturesque towns, and even the beloved Twin Peaks Sheriff's Office. This is comforting for fans of David Lynch, whose unique visual style would be sorely missed otherwise.

Check out the behind-the-scenes below: