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.


Photo: Lauren Dunn

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"Is This the Real Life?" Queen Biopic Will Send Shivers Down Your Spine

I See a Little Silhouetto of a Man, and it's Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury.

Rami Malek was born to play Freddie Mercury.

Queen fans are freaking out over the upcoming release of Bohemian Rhapsody, a chronicle of the early years of the band from 1970 leading up to Queen's appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985. The biopic is set to hit theaters Nov. 2, and if the reaction to the film's trailer is any indication, this movie is sure to be as big as the band itself.

The late great Freddie Mercury is played by an impressive Rami Malek, known for his work in the TV series Mr. Robot among other roles on both the small and big screens. Word is spreading that the 37-year-old's likeness to Mercury is uncanny, from his flamboyant look to the embodiment of his every move. Movieweb remarked, "It really is remarkable how much Malek was able to channel the energy of one of the most iconic figures in rock and roll history. Rami Malek has nailed even the smallest mannerisms of Freddie Mercury, which has been evident even in the still pictures that have been released."

As talented as Malek is, Mercury's voice was next-level. To duplicate such a unique sound would be a challenge for even the most skilled of singers. While Malek did some of his own singing for the film, the vocals used are a combination of the actor's, Mercury's, and another singer with Mercury-like vocal chops. Queen's sound was legendary, so luckily for the not-so-patiently awaiting audience, plenty of the band's music will be featured in the biopic – naturally, "Bohemian Rhapsody" included.

But Malek wasn't the first choice to fill the shoes of the late singer. Sacha Baron Cohen was originally cast, but was apparently cut when the original director, Bryan Singer, was booted too. After watching the trailer, it is hard to imagine anyone other than Malek playing the part. "Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see…" the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer below.

Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G,, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, AMC Daycare, and more.

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