We finally have our tentative moving date: August 18th. Things have opened up enough now that we can enter our new home country. We went through the calendar and made a list of checkpoints between now and then to have a clear map of where we are going and how to get there. There’s a lot of things to do. Some can be done right away; others will take time to get done. Overall, we are both very excited because it’s clear that things in the United States are not going well. As I write this, the Pacific Northwest is being swallowed by a historical heatwave. Residential air conditioning in that region isn’t equipped for that level of heat; I don’t imagine our air conditioning in the Southeast would stand up to temps in the 110+ range either. I don’t think we can outrun the climate collapse, but my wife and I are of the mind that we want to be somewhere where we can live out our lives comfortably for however much longer we have on this planet.
Here’s this week’s Spotify playlist to help you dream of another happier place
We also released the latest episode of the PopCult Podcast this weekend which you can listen to here.
On June 30th, patrons over on my Patreon will get the first of our new monthly patron-exclusive podcasts with our review of F9: The Fast Saga. Those patron-exclusive episodes will remain that way for 12 months and then be released on the free feed.
But we are also adding to the free podcast feed with mini-episodes to come out on those off weeks between the 90-minute ones. On July 3rd, you’ll see our review of A24’s False Positive show up to start those minis.
The extensive series I’ve been working on for July is a deep dive to determine when Saturday Night Live was at its best. I used the IMDb user ratings to determine what the fans consider the best episode of each of the 46 seasons and have been watching them. I just reached season 24, so I’m only around the halfway point. Unfortunately, there has not been much constant laughter until the more recent seasons, so it doesn’t bode well for the older fans.
I also hope you got to see Ariana’s first post on the blog this weekend, a review of The Lovebirds. I’m excited to have her join us here because I like a variety of voices and writing styles. She has another review showing up tomorrow (Wednesday, June 29th), so be on the lookout for that.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how history is taught in American public schools lately. Having only worked at the elementary level, I can’t speak for much outside of that, but I have definitely realized how propagandized I was as a student. My brainwashing was particularly terrible because I was homeschooled, and my mother used textbooks from places like Bob Jones University and Abeka, both rife with fascist Christian fundamentalist garbage. My curiosity always had me seeking out other history books for kids, but I wouldn’t say I ever grew past a primary neoliberal mindset until the last 5-6 years. I have realized that I cannot listen to the pablum surrounding American exceptionalism any longer. A basic survey of world history shows this nation is no more exceptional than any other save a few points, and none of them really something you would want to brag about.
There is no country on this planet with as slick and refined a media industry as the United States. If you go to movie theaters in almost any other country, they will show American-made movies on nearly every screen. Streaming services are all U.S.-based. Our news outlets import themselves, so you have international versions of CNN. It’s clear to many people that we are not being told the truth about what has happened and is happening in our world. As a result, that creates opportunities for fascist sources to manufacture fake news that plays into those doubts. So, instead of helping people better understand the significant issues of our time, right-wing media pushes fear and confirmation bias. The mainstream media mainly pushes complacency. Both will be the literal death of the human species if we don’t shake them off.
My litmus test for my news media consumption is 1) is this source promoting solidarity amongst the working class, 2) is this source promoting true egalitarianism, and 3) is this source aggressive anti-fascist. If it doesn’t meet those three criteria, I am highly suspect of the motivations behind it. Unfortunately, America is the savviest nation when it comes to manufacturing powerfully effective propaganda.
Take the recent condo collapse in Miami. If this had happened in Cuba or Venezuela, there would be the constant talking point from someone across every network that this was a byproduct of communism. Yet, there will be zero discussion about how things like this building collapse are an indictment of the inherent broken nature of capitalism. No one will connect fly-by-night construction companies cutting corners and capitalizing on consumption as what led to this disaster. There are still 150 people “missing,” at this point, we should consider them dead unless rescue crews find them. There’s minimal talk in American media about the fantastic efficacy rate of the Cuban vaccine (over 92%). American media refuses to touch on the inspiring medical ambassadorship of Cuba, sending doctors across the globe over the last year to help regions affected by COVID-19.
American media has one purpose: to make sure you believe everything is fine…until it isn’t, and then it will be too late. They want you to blame individuals for systemic failures because that way, the systems can persist. I think American society has been propagandized for so many generations that there is just simply no way to fix most people. It’s a sad reality and one of the main reasons we are departing. I don’t believe we can resolve the disaster that’s happening in the U.S. at this point. The window closed forty years ago.