More and More People are Asking.
When President Trump first suggested that he could "stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose voters," many people thought it was an absurd suggestion.
They were fools. Each week that passes in the Trump presidency, his flagrant corruption and flouting of norms has accelerated at a pace only outmatched by our ability to shrug it all off as typical Trump. His corruption is no longer treated as in doubt, even by his defenders, instead the doubt has shifted to the question of whether corruption really counts as a crime. And if it is a crime, it's definitely not a high crime.
This week, that journey finally brought us to the only logical destination, back where we started, with Trump's lawyer definitively stating that shooting someone in the middle of fifth avenue would not be grounds to charge the president with a crime. We did it! It took us three endless years to get here, but we've finally arrived!
And now that his lawyers have given him permission, just as election season is heating up, it's only a matter of time before Trump decides to throw his base a little red meat by murdering a liberal celebrity in the middle of Fifth Avenue. It's time to look at the top contenders.
9. Michael Moore
Michael Moore hasn't really earned a spot on this list, but he gets one anyway because he has seniority. He's been a punching bag for the right for two decades, treated as a man who is fully out of his mind, set loose with a camera when he should be in a straight jacket. Sadly, as Trump eagerly noted, Moore's Broadway show is no longer running, so he has little reason to be in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue. If any Republican ever does succeed in pumping Moore full of lead, it will probably be via his kitchen faucet, in his home in Flint Michigan.
8. The Pope
If Donald really wants to rile up his base, he won't just flip through his rolodex of old feuds, he'll pay attention to demographics. The typical Trump voter is a 74 year old white evangelical man from Arkansas named Del. And Del has hated the pope since JFK was running for world's h*rniest Catholic. Pope Francis would be a great choice for Donald Trump to shoot in the middle of Fifth Avenue, if not for the fact that he would most likely be found on Fifth Avenue only if he was encased in his bulletproof-terrarium-car. Otherwise, he would be much higher on the list.
7. LeBron James
In 2016, Donald Trump lost Massachusetts by more than 27%, but Trump is a rule-breaker known for flipping democratic strongholds. With the Hong Kong controversy currently propelling LeBron-hate to previously unseen levels, there's never been a better time for Trump to reach out to Celtics fans by shooting LeBron James in the middle of Fifth Avenue. It's something to look out for when the Lakers and Knicks face off in January.
6. Chrissy Teigen
True facts stated
Here's another GOAT that trump may consider assassinating for his fans. Trump's usual weapon of choice is a tweet, but he clearly knows that in this case he is out of his twitter league. He didn't even dare to @ her, and she and her followers still destroyed him. While Trump may be tempted to resort to gun violence as an alternative, he should know that in this case it would backfire, because everyone loves Chrissy Teigen (and also I used to always see John Legend walking their dog in the East Village, and they seem really sweet and fun, and I felt extra-gross writing this one).
5. Whoopi Goldberg
I know you were expecting Rosie O'Donnell, you fool, but you were wrong. Rosie is too valuable as a target of harassment and insults for Trump to even consider murdering her. No, it would make much more sense for him to go after a current member of The View, and while Joy Behar is a contender, too many white women voted for Trump for him to choose her over Whoopi. The one downfall of this scenario is the high likelihood that Trump would be unable to differentiate Whoopi from Two Chainz, or Lil' Wayne, or literally anyone with dreads, including one of those dogs that looks like a flying yarn pom-pom, not because any of these people actually look alike, but because Trump is a flagrant racist.
4. Jim Acosta
There is no media pillar more reviled by Trump and his fans than CNN, and Jim Acosta is the CNN reporter who has inspired the most vitriol. His exile from the White House briefing room was just step one. Step two: exiled from this mortal coil when Trump puts his concealed-carry permit to good use in the middle of Fifth Avenue. That said, Acosta works primarily in DC and Atlanta, so he's not the favorite for this honor.
3. Snoop Dogg
Proof it was self-defense
Snoop Dogg used to deal coke, and Trump hates drug dealers. He has spoken admiringly of Rodrigo Duterte's murderous approach to drug dealers, why not bring it home by shooting one in the middle of Fifth Avenue. Also, Snoop Dogg shot first, so no jury in the state (of Florida) would convict.
2. Ann Coulter
I know it was you, Fredo
Trump hates betrayal more than anything, and there is perhaps no more high-profile Trump-traitor (other than all his former cabinet members) than Ann Coulter. She has joined the never-Trump crew, which Trump just referred to as "human scum." She is technically a white woman (white walkers count as white, right?), but Trump might make an exception for personal revenge.
1. Kristen Stewart
Speaking of personal, Trump really does not like Kristen Stewart. Why? We don't know. Would shooting her appeal to his hooting-CHUD base? Probably not. But there is no taming Trump's irrational hatred of the star of the Twilight movies. Maybe he was team Jacob? Please, Kristen! Stay off of Fifth Avenue.
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Meowth is best cat.
Going into Pokemon Sword and Shield, I was unimpressed with the new starter Pokemon.
Meh.The Pokemon Company
I normally gravitate towards fire-type starters, but Cinderace was a little too humanoid-rabbit-wearing-pants for my tastes. Inteleon was just "lol no." Rillaboom hit the closest to my usual favorite powerhouse aesthetic (think Charizard, Blaziken, and Incineroar), but something about him didn't quite feel right (or maybe I just don't connect with grass types?).
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Can fictionalized movies about 9/11 ever be good entertainment, or just exploitation?
For Americans, 9/11 was more than just a horrendous terrorist attack.
9/11 changed the very fabric of American culture. Even for people who didn't lose anyone close to them in the attacks, life seemed to shift post-9/11. Many realized that their world was much darker and much less safe than they had once imagined. Fear of outsiders seeped into public consciousness. Some of it was warranted, but a lot of it was not. Opposing parties briefly united under the banner of American pride and then separated almost as quickly in dispute over how to best move forward.
So, naturally, 9/11 is an incredibly relevant topic in discussions of American culture and media. It's weird to think that many kids growing up now have no real knowledge of the attacks themselves or what America was like before them. HBO's new documentary, What Happened on September 11, which airs on the 18th anniversary of the attacks, aims to fix that by educating kids about the subject in a way they can readily understand.
Documentaries like this are necessary to preserve and teach about history. But what about fictionalized movies that use 9/11 as a source of entertainment? Are those movies positive, too, or just exploitative?
One of the biggest issues with movies based on real-life tragedies is how pandering many of them seem. In most cases, these "real life terrorist attack" movies capitalize on specific instances of human suffering to turn a quick buck from a niche audience who is riled up on a cocktail of patriotism and jingoism but also most likely have no real connection to the tragedy (otherwise, a dramatization would probably be too upsetting). In other words, movies based on real terrorist attacks rarely exist to further any discussion or memorialize the victims––they exist to profit off tragedy, using the suffering of others as a form of entertainment.
But there are a lot of 9/11 movies––a lot––and it would be unfair to lump all of them in the same profit-mongering boat. Some are certainly better than others, but for discussion's sake, let's take a look at two examples: Remember Me and United 93.
Remember Me is definitely one of the worst 9/11 movies (and possibly one of the worst movies ever made). It's a romantic drama starring Robert Pattinson and functions as a pretty standard drama until the end, wherein Robert Pattinson dies in 9/11. It's absolute garbage and essentially turns one of the most tragic events in modern history into an M. Night Shyamalan-type twist.
The biggest problem with Remember Me, though, is that there is no reason for the movie to involve 9/11. It could have used literally any generic "random" tragedy and gotten the exact same result within the context of its narrative. "Life is fleeting, you never know when bad things can happen, yadda, yadda, yadda." Instead, it risks opening relatively recent wounds (the movie came out in 2010) for people who actually lost loved ones in an attack and, presumably, wouldn't have knowingly signed up to watch a 9/11 movie in the first place.
United 93, on the other hand, is probably the closest a 9/11 movie has ever come to being a good film. The drama-thriller depicts the titular flight which was hijacked by terrorists but crashed in a field after passengers fought back. The movie is genuinely very nerve-wracking, presented mostly in real time, forcing the audience to question how they would react in a similarly fraught situation.
With that being said, the movie is still rife with the warts of its genre. It was allegedly made with cooperation from all of the passengers' families, but this was later disputed by one of the passenger's widows. That passenger, Christian Adams, received a contentious portrayal in the film, depicted as trying to appease the terrorists despite there being zero evidence that he did anything of the sort. In spite of the filmmaker's best efforts, United 93 is still prone to Hollywood-esque dramatization that, in this instance, spit on the memory of an actual victim. It's hard to say that making a tense thriller is worth it when it comes at the expense of a real, grieving person whose husband died in the attack.
So should there be movies about 9/11? More importantly, should there be movies about recent terrorist attacks in general? It depends. In the best case scenario, you make a technically "good" movie that's still morally dubious. Worst case scenario: You trigger the families of actual victims of a real-life recent terrorist attack. When it comes to "entertainment," there's a very thin line between drama and exploitation. Filmmakers need to understand that when they use real terrorist attacks as a springboard for their films, regardless of their intent, they risk reopening real wounds.
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