CULTURE

We Need to Talk About Ben Affleck

The A-list actor has maintained a massively popular social media presence, despite his often-overlooked history of mistreating women.

courtesy of @nivinejay on TikTok

As a regular Twitter user, I've been forced to look at Ben Affleck's face a lot lately.

We gotta hand it to him: the actor, known for films like Gone Girl and Good Will Hunting, has a very memeable presence. He's a master of rather despondent cigarette smoking, which has led to a plethora of hilarious reaction photos over the years. Throughout the pandemic, he was nary seen without a Dunkin' coffee in hand — or spilled over his front doorstep — like the true Massachusetts man he is (watch out, Charli).

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TV News

Are You Dreaming This?: Donald Glover's Amazon Deal Proves That 2021 Is Just a Weird Dream

Why would a remake of Mr. and Mrs. Smith star Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge?

Things just seem a bit off lately, don't they? Not quite real?

If you're not feeling it yet, that might be because you haven't yet looked into the insane eight-figure deal that Donald Glover just signed with Amazon.

Previously we talked about how Armie Hammer's disturbing DMs and Elizabeth Smart on "Masked Dancer" were signs that this whole year might be a fever dream. But with the new details of writer-producer-actor-rapper-comedian Donald Glover's massive deal with Amazon, we can now confirm that the events of 2021 are all in your head.

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Culture Feature

Meet the Man Behind QAnon—America's Fastest Growing Cult

8chan founder Fredrick Brennan believes his former business partner, Jim Watkins, is behind the dangerous conspiracy theory.

Update 1/22/2021: Following the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20th, many believers in QAnon lore have begun to question some of their convictions.

Many saw the inauguration as a final deadline for "The Storm" and the mass arrests they expected to publicly expose the cabal of deep-state Satanists. And both Jim and Ron Watkins have issued statements seeming to indicate the end of the Q era.

Ron Watkins urging his followers on Telegram to "remember the friends and happy memories we made together," and to "respect the constitution," while his father Jim Watkins posted on the reactionary micro-blogging platform Gab about the "historical value" of the Q movement and the fact that "the culture of our country changed because of it."

Ron Watkins Telegram

That much is certainly true. And in the wake of the Capitol Hill insurrection on January 6th — which saw one of Q follower shot dead, another leaving Mike Pence n ominous note, and numerous others arrested — the apparent change of heart may be inspired by concern that these cultural changes will invite unwelcome scrutiny.

Still, there is little doubt that some Q followers — as flexible as the acolytes of any other cult — will find ways to adapt their beliefs to the post-Trump era. Some are already beginning the process. Even if Q never reappears, the disturbed and unhinged worldview of Q followers is likely to remain culturally relevant for years to come.

There is a growing belief system in the US that is beginning to spread around the world.

Tied to a mystical struggle between ancient forces of good and evil that are secretly operating beneath the surface of our society, adherents believe they have been given the key to understanding the world.

QAnon Conspiracy Theory Lands On European Shores | Morning Joe | MSNBC www.youtube.com

They believe that their mysterious prophet has awakened them to a reality that you and I will soon be forced to face: that global elites from Washington DC to Hollywood are part of a Satanic (possibly Jewish) cabal of murderous, cannibalistic pedophiles who torture children in order to harvest their adrenaline-rich blood and oxidize it into the addictive drug adrenocrhome.

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Film Features

Studio Ghibli vs. Harvey Weinstein—How Many Movies Did He Ruin?

Visionary director Hayao Miyazaki stood up to "Harvey Scissorhands" to preserve Princess Mononoke

In his forthcoming memoir, Steve Alpert—the former head of Studio Ghibli's international division—offers some fascinating insights into the beloved Japanese animation studio.

With Studio Ghibli's catalogue recently made available through HBO Max, audiences are revisiting classic films like My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Ponyo, and Alpert's insider-info in Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli (scheduled for publication June 16th with Stone Bridge) adds a new layer of interest to how the studio and founder Hayao Miyazaki worked.

While some of what he shares casts an unflattering light on Ghibli's inner-workings (only female employees were required to clean and serve tea/coffee...,) one of the most dramatic moments in the book involves Hollywood's most infamous sexual predator: Harvey Weinstein.

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Culture Feature

Matt Lauer vs. Ronan Farrow, and the Pushback Against the MeToo Movement

The former "Today Show" host seems to think nitpicking Ronan Farrow's book will relaunch his career

In a new opinion piece published in Mediaite, former Today Show host and alleged rapist Matt Lauer claims that Ronan Farrow abandoned journalistic integrity in pursuit of book sales.

Farrow's book Catch and Kill, which came out last October, details allegations of sexual misconduct against Matt Lauer in two of its nearly sixty chapters—the rest being devoted to Harvey Weinstein and other prominent sexual predators—and the particular challenges involved in reporting on these crimes.

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Culture News

Rose McGowan Is Right about Alyssa Milano and Joe Biden

The former co-stars find themselves on opposite sides of a controversial sexual assault allegation.

Rose McGowan has a history of calling other activists in the #MeToo movement frauds.

Her personal experience as a survivor of sexual assault makes her passionate about these issues, and sometimes that may lead her to make some rash judgments. That is not what happened in the case of Alyssa Milano.

On Monday, reacting to Milano's recent endorsement of Joe Biden, McGowan tweeted at her former Charmed co-star, "You are a fraud ... You go after Trump & Kavanaugh saying Believe Victims, you are a lie. You have always been a lie." What McGowan is referring to is the fact that Biden was recently accused of sexual assault by a former employee named Tara Reade. Reade has given a vivid description of her 1993 encounter with then-Senator Biden when she was working in his offices and has corroboration from multiple people whom she told of the incident at the time.

While this isn't the kind of evidence that could be expected to secure a conviction for the perpetrator, it is the same standard of evidence that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had against Brett Kavanaugh—which Milano and much of the country felt was enough to disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court.

At the time, Milano said of Blasey Ford's testimony, "It made me so proud ... especially remembering Anita Hill in 1991," referring to the sad state of affairs that took place when Anita Hill testified in the Senate to the sexually harassment she had experienced while working for then-Supreme-Court-Nominee Clarence Thomas. Hill was berated and attacked by Senators on both sides of the aisle while a young Senator Joe Biden oversaw the hearing and abdicated his responsibility to maintain order and decorum and provide Hill with a fair hearing.

While some have criticized the timing of Reade's accusation—just as people did with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Brett Kavanaugh—it's worth noting that Reade made a sexual harassment complaint at the time and attempted to come forward with the story of her sexual assault last fall—long before Biden's surprise Super Tuesday resurgence. She was stymied in that attempt by the directors of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, whom she approached at the time for help. Initially told to wait, Time's Up took months to tell her that they wouldn't represent her, citing a dubious claim that targeting a candidate for federal office would compromise their status as a non-profit organization.

While Alyssa Milano apparently thinks that Time's Up's refusal to represent Reade is a refutation of her claim, others have pointed out that Joe Biden has given generously to the organization and that Anita Dunn—the managing director of Time's Up, who also helped Harvey Weinstein prepare before the infamous New York Times exposé broke—was recently made one of Biden's top advisers. The organization never disclosed these ties to Reade while they held her accusation in limbo. In other words, while Time's Up was started as an offshoot of the #MeToo movement to support women standing up to powerful sexual predators, it seems increasingly likely that it has became compromised by established interests that seek to quash stories like Reade's with the same sort of "catch and kill" system that people like Weinstein and Trump have used to great effect.

If Alyssa Milano refuses to see that or to hold Joe Biden—the man responsible for the whole Anita Hill debacle—to the same standard she used for Brett Kavanaugh to, then Rose McGowan is right: Alyssa Milano is a fraud.