LGBTQ, Politics

THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF AMERICAN RESISTANCE

According to an article on LGBTQ Nation, President Donald ‘The Don’ Trump could be signing an executive order opening up discrimination against LGBTQ people very soon, possibly this week, possibly this moment. Actually, maybe do a quick Google search to see if it’s already happened. The order would allow for discrimination in employment, social services, and adoption. Yay!

Trump already signed in several other executive orders, some of his Greatest Hits™ disbanding the refugee program for several months and putting a ban on nationals from several Muslim-dominated country entering the U.S. for the foreseeable future.

The country has, thankfully, responded appropriately towards what is aptly being called the Muslim Ban. Trump signed the executive order Friday afternoon, with it going hastily into effect. By Saturday, people were occupying airports, and on Sunday, a protest gathered in Boston’s Copley Square. People are rising up to the occasion and fighting back against discrimination. Because immigration makes us stronger, not weaker.

So if Trump does sign into effect an anti-LGBTQ executive order, I know that people will rise up similarly and fight alongside the queer community. Because signing in these orders that divide and discriminate weaken us, rather than protect us.

I think what I find so repugnant and odd is that Trump made a concentrated effort post-campaign to be all “I’m gonna create jobs” but all he’s done so far is just ostracize the press, alienate voters, destroy relations with other countries and, the latest, try to block immigration flow.

Maybe just focus on the jobs, and leave the rest of us alone?

And even though I don’t want Trump to sign anything against queer people (because I like having rights, ya know? I’m so random like that), I almost, in the darkest, most macabre parts of my soul, want to know how people will react. I want people to fire back, to get louder and angrier. But I also know that fire kills no matter what direction it leans, and so I hope that we can avoid the whole thing, but I know that’s exemplary of my privilege and that I’m allowed to hope that it doesn’t happen.

An NBC article tied together LGBTQ and the immigration ban by pointing out that many LGBTQ immigrants leaving the banned countries—Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya—are fleeing countries that have criminalized homosexuality. Sudan, Iran and Yemen punish homosexuality with death; Libya, Syria and Somalia punish homosexuality with up to ten years in prison; and Iraq has witnessed killing sprees of people perceived to be queer but have never held someone responsible. By locking the borders, Trump is essentially sentencing them to death.

And that intersectionality, that queer people across the entire globe, stand to be affected negatively by Donald Trump really puts me into perspective. I am from a liberal state, from a liberal family, from a liberal university. In the grand scheme of things, I am pretty much as privileged as you can get. So this executive order will affect me, but it could ruin other people’s lives. We could be going backwards, deeply backwards, where our identities become the biggest targets on our backs.

I refuse to be cowed. I refuse to be afraid. If Trump does sign an executive order, I will fight him. I won’t be quiet, I won’t be ignorant.

There is something uncrushable in the spirit of America, and we’ve been seeing it rise up in the past week-and-a-half (only a week and a half, omg). These marches and protests speak to the fact that at our core, we care about democracy, we care about each other. Trump may try to divide us, belittle us, demean us, hurt us. But he can’t dampen our spirits, because that is our soul. Our. Soul. United, one, together.

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Review, television

REVIEW of RIVERDALE EP. 1, “The River’s Edge”

Grade: A-/B+

I’ve never really been a fan of the Archie comics. I mean, I’ve been aware of them in the way that you’re aware of everything tangentially that existed in your life. But I was always more of a Calvin and Hobbes kid. I was made aware of the newest adaption from the podcast Who? Weekly. But I think the premise—comic remade into sexy murder-y thriller—would’ve been enough to eventually put it on my radar.

The cinematography is clean, lush and hazy. It’s filmed in Vancouver, so it has that “better than any forest, any town, any place you’ve ever been” combination of familiarity and dissidence.

Let’s start with the light stuff. This is the CW, so we’re expecting certain tropes. And we’re gifted them. There’s the Gay Best Friend who’s proves that somehow gay people are just cloning each other because I swear if I’ve seen one attractive gay with a severely-gelled hairstyle I’ve seen a thousand.

“Is being a cheerleader still a thing?” asks Kevin Keller (the gay).

“Is being the gay best friend still a thing?” responds Cheryl Blossom (the ginger).

And there’s the “sexy” lesbian kiss between Veronica and Betty to give their cheerleading audition some “sizzle.” But rather than bask in the awkward and trite sexuality, they call to the moment.

“Check your sell-by date ladies, faux-lesbian kissing hasn’t been taboo since 1994.” YES CHERYL YES.

I think what I like most is that they’re—at this point—subverting expectations. I can handle the hypersexualized clichés but as long as we’re recognizing them for what they are. And I can handle classic tropes as long as we classifying them in their proper sphere: fucking science fiction. Because no sophomore in high school looks like Archie Andrews. And that’s fine, but we need to remember our place.

Side bar: It’s nice to see depictions of hot redheads on screen. We are a group that are largely unrepresented.

Also I’m tired of jocks wanting to play music and their dads being against it. this is 2017—Donald Trump is president—you don’t need any qualifications to do anything anymore. And of course, because Riverdale is trying to show us it’s woke, Veronica points out much the same thing. “Guys, can’t we just liberate ourselves from the tired dichotomy of “jock” “artist?” Can’t we, in this post-James Franco world, just be all things at once?”

I never watched Pretty Little Liars but I assume it’s a similar thing, how can students and teachers who are fucking yell about their illicit affairs in public places and nobody say, “Whowhatnow?” It seems physically impossible that no one immediately discovers their affair because they’re literally screaming about it.

Aside from Reggie and Josie and the Pussycats, Riverdale seems entirely full of people so white they’re nearly translucent. You can almost hear the thoughts echoing in Josie’s head as she looks out onto the crowd of students dancing to the song she’s singing (that’s a cover of the song that the Blossom twins were conceived to), “Why am I here with these idiots?” Like I get this is the CW, but if you’re gonna be woke about the Gay Best Friend, you’ve gotta be woke about everything else too.

Now on to the eeriness. The pop culture references are a little uneasy, at odds with Veronica’s sweater set and the malt shop. But maybe that’s the point? The bizarreness of this place existing both in the ‘50s and in 2017—making references to Blue Jasmine, Mad Men, and Ansel Elgort—mimics the bizarreness of Riverdale. You don’t expect people who live like this to know references like that. It begs more questions: do they use Spotify? Why were the Blossom twins in a Thunderbird? WHY is Veronica wearing a sweater-set and pearls? You’re put off-kilter by the “hereness” and “otherness” of the town. Things are off-kilter here.

The classic cinematography showcases beautifully the ice-white face of Cheryl Blossom against the blackness of her smudged mascara and her red hair. The sharply angled eyebrows of Veronica Lodge. The red lipstick from Veronica’s kiss running across Betty’s lips like a nosebleed and the red gashes on her palms from her tightly clenched fists. There’s a gruesomeness in Riverdale.

But the scenes and the music are tinny and Instagrammy—we’re experiencing through a filter. It’s like we’re someone watching the world unfold in front of them, someone beyond the average viewer. It’s a sentiment made stronger by the fact that we’re brought into the world of Riverdale by the voice of Jughead.

And it’s echoed by the song (“The Passenger” by Hunter as a Horse) rising above Jason Blossom’s waterlogged corpse as it’s carried to the ambulance in a stark yellow body bag.

Someone is watchingsomeone is watching.”

But who?

QUESTIONS FOR NEXT EPISODE:

  • Who shot Jason Blossom?
  • Did someone drag Jason Blossom’s body from the depths of the river?
  • Where did Ms. Grundy get her heart-shaped sunglasses?
  • What is “pouring concrete?”
  • Is Jughead our Dan Humphrey?
  • Does anyone remember The Secret Circle, which was also on the CW? If so, let’s talk.
  • Who is getting arrested for the murder of Jason Blossom halfway through fifth period on Tuesday?
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Source: CW//How extra

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Body Health, Things Happening RN

CALORIE-COGNIZANT: THE TRI-ET

I feel like I’m constantly shaking things. Shaking a leaky red water bottle wrapped in paper towel like maracas to blend a protein shake (chocolate). Shaking a full carton of orange juice after taking the plastic tab—something that fills me with a nameless childhood anxiety—out of the spout. A plastic tub of unsalted cashews into my palm and popping them in my mouth as I look at myself in the mirror before class.

Side bar—Theory: hipsters couldn’t exist before blenders because the only way to make a green juice sans Magic Bullet is with literal magic. Mull that over with your friends the next time you’re lost for conversation.

Being on a diet seems to carry with it a lot of shaking—possibly purposefully to incur extra exercise. I take stairs two at a time more when I’m actively working out and with each stretch clench my butt. In general, when I’m on a consistent workout plan, I treat my body with more respect. I eat healthier, I drink more water. When I’m not on a consistent plan, I treat my body like the rest of the world treats Anne Hathaway—like, you know she’s important but you kind of enjoy shitting on her for no reason anyway.

In my post from the 16th (a pre-Trump presidency, what a world) “Healthy, Wealthy or Wise”, I mentioned that I was recently on a new workout plan. Now it’s 10 days later, and I’m 10 days more annoying about mentioning my workouts.

This isn’t new information, but treating your body right is hard. It’s not so much the workout-side of it all—I really enjoy (no sarcasm) having a new workout plan. As a scattered person, having something rigid to strive towards is extremely helpful. It stops me from phoning it in at the gym (although my phone-improv has everyone at the gym laughing).

The hard part comes after, when I trying to make food. On one hand, it’s relatively easy—I try not to buy unhealthy things and stick to roasting veggies and chicken. And there’s there’s not even an other hand because my “other hand” is elbow-deep in a bag of tortilla chips. So what I’m saying is that it’s hard for me to always stick to eating healthy. It’s also hard to account for all the “fun eats”—with friends, or by myself at Starbucks—to factor in.

And I know that while my body is getting very strong, my willpower is still relatively weak. So instead of adhering to a “diet” I’m doing more of a “triet” where I try to be cognizant of how many calories I’m consuming and deciding if something’s worth it. So maybe I won’t get sweetener in my coffee. Or maybe I’ll get soup with a friend rather than Panda Express—which saves my wallet, my stomach, and my butthole.

I like saying “calorie-cognizant” for two reasons. One, it reminds people that I know how to properly use the word “cognizant” and reinforces that I might be pretty, but I’m also wicked smart. But two, it doesn’t carry the shackles of “calorie-counting.” It doesn’t make me a calorie-counter. It keeps me, at least in theory, from becoming obsessive with calories. Which, if you’ve ever seen me talk about the Kardashians, you know how easily I can get obsessed. I once binged four seasons of Snooki & JWoww.

For someone with body image issues and an anxiety disorder, monitoring food can easily veer into an ugly place. Sure, I may have thoughts like, “Wouldn’t it be great if you never had to eat so all the hard work you did at the gym wouldn’t be diminished?” (it would be) or praised the time I got a stomach flu and was “so thin” (it was amazing). But I don’t have a full-fledged eating disorder, and I would very much like to keep it that way. So the cognizant part works on two levels: yes, it’s a way for me to make smarter choices. But it’s also for me to realize that I’m going to fuck up at some points, and it’s okay if I sometimes shove fistfuls of tortilla chips into my mouth at 11:43 p.m.

Yesterday I got drinks with a friend of mine at the university pub. The conversation veered in a lot of directions—jobs, family, transportation systems, boyz—but we talked about “glowing up” (is that even the right way to use that?) and us in high school versus us now.

I take a firm stance that I got hot maybe within the last two years. This is by no means me fishing for compliments—if you know me on any level, you know I’m not subtle enough to fish for compliments—but just what I see as a fact. In high school, I was a lanky, acne-ridden twink who obsessed over plucking his eyebrows. I dressed in too-tight chino pants—the buttons of which I had resewn with pink thread—too-small cardigans and crinkly neoprene-y ties. But I thought I was literally so hot. Like, I really did. And so it goes to prove that delusion is a very real factor.

Since those Dark Times™, I’ve started an exercise regimen, and left my eyebrows (for the most part) alone and also stopped buying pants that I can’t sit down in. I’ve become wise. I don’t know why I included this part, but I feel like it connects in my head to eating healthy. Because while I’d rather just burn all pictures of me from high school—along with that horrid leopard-print belt I would wear TO MY ALL-BOYS PREP SCHOOL—I would love to have the blind body confidence of that little freaky gay-boy who, at his core, was just as delusional as a Real Housewife.

I’d like to treat my body like the world treated Anne Hathway just post-Princess Diaries but pre-Princess Diaries 2 and I’d like to have the confidence of a Nene Leakes from Real Housewives of Atlanta. This is now the second post in a row where I’ve discussed Real Housewives.

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Politics, pop culture

KELLYANNE CONWAY IS THE VICKI GUNVALSON OF POLITICS AND MEDIA

As a journalist, you spend a lot of your time writing about the news. You spend a lot of time thinking about it, dissecting it, following it. And some people have iron heads and they can handle that constant rotation of news. Others—like me—are too pretty to have iron heads (so unflattering) and are not capable of being news robots.

A lot of what I’ve been writing about—for class, for this blog, for the Odyssey—have been centered around politics. It’s impossible to avoid, and as it became incorporated to my brand, it became more and more important for me to cover. That had negative results—after the election, I was so desperately brain-dead that I went completely off the grid and couldn’t even think about anything. Because as much as we cover it, we are consumed with it and we let it ingrain inside of us.

So maybe in a few weeks/days/hours I’ll decide to boycott politics for a while and just write about my NEW CAMEL COAT (ugh so chic) but there’s still things to be said and things to cover, and, y’all, I’m soldiering on.

Someone on my Twitter timeline posted a link to a GQ article. It was primarily in response to the Chuck Todd-Kellyanne Conway interview where Chuck Todd was desperately trying to understand why the new Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, lied about the easily provable facts of Trump’s inauguration.

“You sent the Press Secretary out there to utter falsehoods on the smallest, pettiest thing,” said an exasperated Chuck Todd.

Kellyanne, twirling those ribbons that rhythmic gymnasts in Russia use, flailed around the questions, whipped the curls of fabric in Todd’s face until they coiled around his neck.

“Our press secretary, Sean Spicer, gave alternative facts,” she said as Todd’s face turned purple from disbelief and lack of oxygen. And when he had slumped out of frame, Conway unfurled the ribbons from around his neck, wrapped them up tightly and put them back into her holsters.

Wiping the sweat of her hands off on her blue dress, the eyeshadow smudging darkly around her eyes, Kellyanne caught a glimpse of herself in the window’s reflection as she left the green screen behind. Her face was hollow, mouth tightly set. She pulled out the tiny list crumpled in her pocket and sliced a line through Chuck Todd’s name with the precision of a French Revolution executioner. Squaring her shoulders and applying more eyeshadow to her lids—obscuring them and hiding the windows to her soul—she slinked off to her next target. And so on. And so on. Forever.

Okay, so that didn’t happen—but didn’t it sound like it could’ve?

In the article, NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen proposed on the Recode Media podcast with Peter Kafka that news outlets should no longer have Kellyanne on.

And the implications of that—what they say about where we are as journalists—are staggering.

To disavow and cut off contact with the White House—willingly—seems unbelievable. And if this were a normal world—and not season three of Black Mirror—it would be unbelievable. But Rosen laid out probably the saddest and more logical argument for it.

“It’s not just lying or spin or somebody who is skilled in the political arts of putting the best case on things or not answering a question, which is a pretty basic method of doing politis. It’s that when you are done listening to Kellyanne Conway, you probably understand less. That’s the problem.”

If I’ve learned anything from Scandal (I’ve learned a bunch, thank you Shonda Rimes), it’s that the press secretary is often put in a difficult position. They have to balance the president, the truth and the press. But Abby was able to do it. Sometimes it involves a version of the truth; sometimes it involves moving on to the next question. But the press secretary always does their job.

So what made Chuck Todd, and I and a lot of people, so incredulous was the fact that this was such minutiae. Spicer was lying about the size of the crowds at the inauguration. He said this was the most attended and most watched inauguration of all time. That’s, like, so not true. And there’s photographic evidence to prove it (side by side evidence of Obama’s first inauguration and Trump’s inauguration). It’s so easily provable that it’s ridiculous.

Spicer could’ve walked in, fielded questions and addressed the attendance. He could’ve said, “President Trump (ugh, gag) has more important things to worry about than the size of attendance at his inauguration. He has a country to run.” THAT WOULD’VE BEEN BETTER. Dickish, but better. But to lie proves that it bothers Trump so much that people aren’t falling down at his feet. It kills him that nobody showed up for his inauguration but the NEXT DAY we had the largest march in modern history.

Rosen’s comment was at the end of a conversation about the typical journalistic efforts for impartiality—impartiality relies on reaching out for comment to both sides. But when one side consists of Trump, Conway and Spicer—three people who will give you radically different answers (all wrong) to the same question, actually not even answering the question in the process—it becomes infinitely more muddled. Why are we doing this? We’re not getting any more information. We’re not getting things any clearer.

And journalists are doing backbends trying to cope with having two sides where one side is just a funhouse mirror.

So the answer is simple: if having Kellyanne on just makes the truth more muddled, then you have to cut it off. We, you, journalists, have an obligation to the truth—above all else. Anyone who gets in the way of that is expendable.

Sometimes it’s not worth it. On The Real Housewives of Orange County, Vicki Gunvalson said her boyfriend, Brooks Ayers, had cancer. Turns out he didn’t, and all the other ladies wanted to know how much Vicki knew. She obviously knew a lot, because they were in a relationship and she never went to any of his doctor’s appointments or chemo treatments, etc. And she lied for him, endlessly. She, to this day, has not really admitted that he doesn’t have cancer. She has not admitted that she knew anything.

And so I have a lot of experience with blonde ladies who have a loose relationship with the truth. And this is what I’ve learned: they won’t change (even when you are mean to them in Ireland) and so at a certain point, you have to refuse to engage. Because what they want more than anything else is attention, and even negative attention feeds that addiction. So you cut them off. You don’t let them spew their bullshit. You shut it down.

But the difference between Kellyanne Conway and Vicki Gunvalson is that Vicki Gunvalson doesn’t have the ear of the guy with access to nuclear codes. Vicki is dumb, but harmless, and infinitely entertaining. But Conway has so little regard for the truth and so little respect for the American people that she having access to Trump—who is proven to be volatile and rash—is terrifying.

So maybe we’ve come to the point where we can’t engage with Kellyanne. Where having her on screen puts more danger into the world than good. And it’s scary to admit that this is where we are as journalists, but we have promises to the American people—we must not harm. (I know that’s the Hippocratic oath but stick with me). And she’s definitely causing us harm.

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Politics

WILL YOU WATCH THE INAUGURATION?

“Will you watch the inauguration?”

It’s a question I’ve posed to friends, a question that’s been rolling around in my head.

There are a lot of people who argue for watching something, anything else. It’s a compelling argument. Bill Scher of the New Republic said that viewing, even tacitly, boosts Trump’s ratings and engorges his influence. It’s a fair argument: Trump’s actions garnered him so much free press through unrelenting media coverage. According to a Nov. 9 CNBC article, Trump’s campaign team spent $238.9 million, compared to Hillary’s $450.6 million.

And so if this was still the campaign, I would agree with the argument of looking away for ratings’ sate. But this isn’t. He will be inaugurated. He will be our president. The Trump presidency looms over all of us with the iron heaviness of a train about to hit. But much like looking away at the train comes near, not watching Trump’s inauguration won’t make his presidency hurt any less.

In a great Vulture piece (@Vulture, hire me), writer Kathryn VanArendonk said that this does not apply to any “puff piece” spun around the Trump family. Feel free to boycott everything else the Trump family has touched.

After the election’s results came out, everyone was in shock. It was palpable in the air, heavy and tumultuous. And so for the next three months, we’re been in a purgatory of pseudo-normality. It’s lulled us back into relative complacency. Not anyone’s fault—because to remain in a continuous state of fear and anxiety is completely destructive. But much like having a bad dream, when we had that respite of waking up, we wanted to sink into that comfort.

But this is like the bad dream of giving a presentation in class—you wake up, sweaty and panicked, having just come from a dream where you forgot your laptop and your pants. You flop back against your pillows, your heartbeat stuttering. It’s just a dream. Your eyes flick to the chair, where your pants are, and your desk, where your laptop charges. It was just a dream. But you still have that scary presentation, so your relief is tainted by the awareness that it is temporary.

I’m going to try to watch the inauguration. I might not be entirely successful, but I want to witness of it as much as possible. For a lot of reasons.

Trump used the media to his advantage. He provided soundbites, he acted the part, he fed the media’s ravenous hunger for “scandal” and “drama.” Don’t let the media filter the inauguration for you. Witness it yourself. For as much as it will be a Roman Triumph of Trump, it will also be a testament to his rampant incompetence. Witness it in its fumbling glory. Don’t take your eyes off him for a second because the moment you do, you allow him to contradict himself and change the narrative. Hold him accountable.

Like the great Oprah once said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

This incoming administration has shown us who they are. Betsy DeVos had her confirmation hearing without completing an ethics review on how she would avoid conflicts of interest in her business when she came into the position. According to CNN, 14 of the 21 nominees still must have their hearings, and only five of them have finalized their required paperwork. The Senate made a middle-of-the-night movement to begin repealing the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Mitch McConnell painted himself and the GOP as the victim when he said that Democrats said they would block any Trump nominees to the Supreme Court—something the Republicans did just a few months ago, and something the GOP has been doing throughout the entire Obama presidency.

Watch everything. Watch how they address fact that dozens of representatives are boycotting the ceremony. Watch how they introduce Trump. Watch the Women’s March the next day. Watch how the two differ, how from the ground up there is a strength rising that belies the gilded falsities Trump is trying to make us believe.

Watch everything. Witness everything. Don’t let anyone take your right to knowledge away from you. Take it into your own control.

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Life, Things Happening RN

HEALTHY, WEALTHY, OR WISE (FIGURE OUT WHICH ONE I AM)

Guess who has two thumbs, a conspiracy that all birds are CGI, and is going to write/brag about me going to the gym?

THIS ME.

After 10 days in Italy, drinking wine, eating pasta, having desserts every single day, I waddled back onto the plane feeling a little squished. Not just because I was going to be sitting in essentially a toddler’s high-chair for eight hours, but because I had been, as Dove commercials say, indulging.

So to get back to my optimal weight—which is “Not hating myself”—I decided to hit the gym, hard. And that bitch hit back—harder.

When I was just a doughy 18-year-old (hard to believe that was six months ago…just kidding, I’m fifty if I’m a day), I was double-fisting a burrito and a bowl of nachos in the dining hall when my friend mentioned going to the gym.

I looked up dully, eyes glazed over from ground “beef,” and asked what she was talking about. Apparently college tuition includes access to a “gym.” It does not, by the way, include guaranteed job security or a comprehensive academic counseling system, but that’s neither here nor there. No, literally, it’s not here or there.

Anywayanyway, my friend eventually brought me to the gym and introduced me to her workout plan, which was found online at a bodybuilding website. She showed me certain exercises, made me comfortable around the gym, and eventually I started going by myself. It was a 12-week plan, so I did the 12-weeks, then I did the 12-weeks over again. And again.

I’ve never been, like, ripped, but I’ve generally hovered between “acceptable” and “passably fit (if you squint)”. When I was wildly depressed and going to the gym every single day when I was 19, I was so fit. But when I went on medication, stabilized my mood and developed a healthy lifestyle attitude, I gained back some weight and took a more relaxed attitude towards working out.

I haven’t used a workout plan really since sophomore year, because I didn’t really need to to keep my motivation, but at the end of last semester, I was really slacking—mind, body and spirit. Sorry, spirits. So I’ve decided to get back on a workout plan (eight-weeks because I’m in the middle of convincing myself that I have ADD and ADme can’t commit to anything longer than eight weeks) to kick myself back into gear.

Gear is an acronym for “Getting everyone angry (at my) raging (body).” Not an exact acronym, I’ll admit.

I’m actually excited to get back into working out. I mean, I’ve been working out pretty consistently this entire holiday, but I’m excited to get back into a workout plan. There’s something about having a plan that’s thrilling.

The part that’s not thrilling is eating healthy. I have this cute little habit called “night eats.” It’s where it’s 1 a.m. and I make a grilled cheese and eat it while watching luxury hauls on YouTube. Luckily so far while I’ve been home, I’ve been doing pretty well. My sister is eating healthy too, and she cooks, so I’ve been able to resist standing in our pantry—shoving pretzels in my pockets to take upstairs for shame-eating. And also, once I get back to school, it shouldn’t be too hard. I buy my own groceries, and as long as I don’t cave and splurge on eight boxes of chocolate straws or multiple bags of mandarin chicken, I should be able to keep my healthy kick going.

If you see me eating a slice of pizza—hit me in the face. Do not accept any explanation I give you. Unless I look really happy, you guy—NO. I MUST BE STRONG. STRIKE ME ACROSS THE JAW.

Also I spent a good hour yesterday googling the least-horrifying alcoholic drinks. Luckily for me, I like gin and tonics. Could you imagine if I were a slut for margaritas? I WOULD BE DEAD ON THE FLOOR. DEAD. ON. THE FLOOR.

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Politics

PROTECT THE PRESS: SHOW YOUR TEETH

I can’t really write about Russia right now because diving into that is like diving into a swamp (pun intended) wearing a lifejacket made of bricks.

But I watched Kellyanne Conway’s interview with Seth Meyers on Late Night and I saw Donald Trump refuse to answer from CNN’s White House Correspondent, calling CNN “fake news.” First of all, we need to retire that term. “Fake news” refers to legitimately false clickbait news, typically churned out by Facebook, that says things like Hillary Clinton running a sex ring out of a pizza shop. Fake news is a nasty phenomenon, but it is not whenever you don’t agree with the news.

Media is taking a huge hit right now. We’re being called biased, fake, unreliable, vindictive. We are supposed to be the bringers of truth, the backbone of the country, and we’re becoming a target.

Conway was saying in the interview that the media is not giving Trump a fair shake, that we’re taking him at his word when we should be reading his intentions. The problem with that, Kellyanne, is that there is no way of reading his intentions. He has no intentions. He flip-flopped on every issue, lied about things in plain sight, shut out the media, ranted on Twitter, built his campaign on the backs of issues targeting immigrants, Muslims and other minorities.

So if we’re reading his intentions and his words, both have negative implications towards the media, minorities, and America.

In her speech at the Golden Globes, Meryl Streep could’ve thanked her fans and her team, something soft and fluffy. But she didn’t. She said that Hollywood, foreigners and the press belong to the most vilified groups in society right now. She said that disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. She spoke on the handicapped reporter whom Trump made fun of—something he denies ever happened, despite video proof.

The reporter was someone Trump outranked in every capacity. He has a habit of doing that; humiliating someone who cannot fight back properly. He has that—excuse my language—trump card over all of us. He holds the highest position in the country. No one is able to fight back. And so that is why we need the press. We need the press to shine light into dark places, to unveil corruption, to show abuses of power.

“We need the principled press to hold power to account…Join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”

Streep ended with something that Carrie Fisher told her.

“Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

And that’s beautiful and poignant. But there was something that Meryl said that caught my ear. It was when she was discussing the reporter and Trump.

“But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth.”

The last three words: “Show their teeth.”

The phrase is an idiom that refers to animals, typically wolves. They bare their teeth when they are angered, when they are showing their true nature.

When they are about to attack.

And even though she said it in connection to the hateful, hating people who laughed with Trump, I can’t help but think of it as something that we—the media, minorities, Americans—need to take onto ourselves.

But animals bare their teeth in other moments, not just attacking. They show their teeth in the defense of something.

Show your teeth.

The media has been under attack for months, but it’s heated up. Trump shut down the CNN reporter, the one person who is allowed access to him. He wouldn’t take his question because he didn’t like CNN. We are being shut out; we are being prevented from doing our jobs.

If the urge in the face of the Trump regime is to normalize him, get on his good side—resist that urge. Don’t normalize. Show your teeth.

We have to be vicious. We have to be fearless. We must continue doggedly in the pursuit of truth. Don’t let yourself be distracted by the petty squabbles he lobs into the media, letting it distract them while he does something even more nefarious. Get angry. Stay angry. Be smart and passionate and educated. Information is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

Show your teeth. Bare them, and don’t back down. Because if we do, everyone suffers. We are the protectors of the truth. Propaganda is a staple in dictatorships; a lack of freedom of the press means that nothing is free. If we don’t have freedom of information, we have nothing.

Do like Meryl; don’t let yourself sit in the softness and sweetness. Push forward; use your voice. Don’t get complacent.

Show your teeth.

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