GASLIT NATION WITH ANDREA CHALUPA AND SARAH KENDZIOR
Welcome to the “red state” resistance! This week Sarah interviews fellow Missourian Lindsey Simmons, a former Democratic nominee for Missouri’s gerrymandered 4th congressional district and an excellent analyst of Missouri as the bellwether of national decline.
Film4 is partnering with film distributor Park Circus on a campaign to entice Brits back to the cinema. Under the deal, the duo will offer UK cinemas a season of six classic features from the Film4 library, including Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast.
The films will initially screen in Picturehouse, Everyman, Odeon, Vue, and Showcase theaters across the country from the start of July, with other venues joining the initiative in the coming weeks. It follows cinemas reopening in the UK on May 17 after the most recent coronavirus lockdown.
The four other films in the Film4 season are Mark Herman’sBrassed Off, Stephen Frears’ rom-com My Beautiful Launderette, Bill Forsyth’sLocal Hero, and Bhaji on the Beach, from director Gurinder Chadha.
Film4’s parent Channel 4 will support the season with an advertising campaign across its TV channels, as well as online. The ads will be created by in-house creative agency 4Creative.
Film4 director Daniel Battsek said: “Film4 have a long history of producing films for theatrical exhibition. We felt we should do something to help the sector’s recovery from the pandemic and remind audiences that cinemas remain the best places to experience movies.”
Park Circus CEO Mark Hirzberger-Taylor added: “We’re incredibly proud of our long-standing partnership with Film4, and are delighted to be collaborating with them on this special programme this summer, comprising six of their very best classic films, back on the big screen for audiences to enjoy.”
It is not the first time iconic titles have been brought back to the big screen in the UK to tempt audiences. Disney re-released the likes of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back when restrictions lifted on theaters last year.
Yesterday, David Ignatius had a piece in the Washington Post that uncovered the attempt of the Trump administration to reorder the Middle East along an axis anchored by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudia Arabia (more popularly known as MBS), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and Jared Kushner of the U.S.
To make the deal, the leaders involved apparently wanted to muscle Jordan out of its role as the custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, a role carved out in the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan that was hammered out under President Bill Clinton. The new dealmakers apparently wanted to scuttle the U.S.-backed accords and replace them with economic deals that would reorder the region.
This story has huge implications for the Middle East, for American government, for religion, for culture, and so on, but something else jumps out to me here: this story is a great illustration of the principles behind Critical Race Theory, which is currently tearing up the Fox News Channel. Together, the attempt to bypass Jordan and the obsession with Critical Race Theory seem to make a larger statement about the current sea change in the U.S. as people increasingly reject the individualist ideology of the Reagan era.
When Kushner set out to construct a Middle East peace plan, he famously told Aaron David Miller, who had negotiated peace agreements with other administrations, that he didn’t want to know about how things had worked in the past. “He said flat out, don’t talk to me about history,” Miller told Chris McGreal of The Guardian, “He said, I told the Israelis and the Palestinians not to talk to me about history too.”
Kushner apparently thought he could create a brand new Middle East with a brand new set of alliances that would begin with changing long standing geopolitics in Jerusalem, the city three major world religions consider holy. It is eye-popping to imagine what would have happened if we had torn up decades of agreements and tried to graft onto a troubled area an entirely new way of interacting, based not on treaties but on the interests of this new axis. Apparently, the hope was that throwing enough money at the region would have made the change palatable. But most experts think that weakening Jordan, long a key U.S. ally in the region, and removing its oversight of the holy sites, would have ushered in violence.
The heart of the American contribution to the idea of reworking the Middle East along a new axis with contracts, rather than treaties, seems to have been that enough will and enough money can create new realities.
The idea that will and money could create success was at the heart of the Reagan Revolution. Its adherents championed the idea that any individual could prosper in America, so long as the government stayed out of his (it was almost always his) business.
Critical Race Theory challenges this individualist ideology. CRT emerged in the late 1970s in legal scholarship written by people who recognized that legal protections for individuals did not, in fact, level the playing field in America. They noted that racial biases are embedded in our legal system. From that, other scholars noted that racial, ethnic, gender, class, and other biases are embedded in the other systems that make up our society.
Historians began to cover this ground long ago. Oklahoma historian Angie Debo established such biases in the construction of American law in her book, And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes back in 1940. Since then, historians have explored the biases in our housing policies, policing, medical care, and so on, and there are very few who would suggest that our systems are truly neutral.
So why is Critical Race Theory such a flashpoint in today’s political world? Perhaps in part because it rejects the Republican insistence that an individual can create a prosperous life by will alone. It says that, no matter how talented someone might be, or how eager and dedicated, they cannot always contend against the societal forces stacked against them. It argues for the important weight of systems, established through time, rather than the idea that anyone can create a new reality.
GASLIT NATION WITH ANDREA CHALUPA AND SARAH KENDZIOR
Guess what everybody? It’s still a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government! This week we discuss the unprosecuted crimes of the Trump admin and the man who is protecting the criminals, Merrick Garland! We give a rundown of other terrible decisions Garland has made, delve into his background, and discuss how the DOJ itself is a corrupt and broken institution full of Trump lackeys and arrogant institutionalists who refuse to protect the American people from real threats.