Sunday, October 11, 2015

Everybody's Linking for the Weekend

It's been a crazy week politically, and yes, a little bit of the entertainment world also got a bit wild, so let's start investigating the stories we missed during the week.

In Entertainment...

-I haven't weighed in yet about Stephenie Meyer's new take on Twilight, so I figured I'd let Buzzfeed do the work for me with its hilarious list of 34 questions about her gender-swapping Life and Death.  Here's the thing-I have a weird obsession with Twilight and actually love the books, even though I can acknowledge there is nothing substantive about them (I am allowed a guilty pleasure now-and-again).  Event series like this or Harry Potter I find insanely exciting and the idea of people getting together for books is probably one of my favorite pop culture phenomena just because I love to read.  However, while I did buy the book instantly, I think it's a little cheap that this wasn't the long-gestating Midnight Sun.  It isn't like Meyer didn't know that the Twilight anniversary was coming up, and it's not like she hasn't had years since she last published a book.  I hear that Meyer is angry about how EL James stole her perspective-swapping thunder with Grey, but Meyer had years and years and could have announced the Midnight Sun release months ago to preempt the Grey buzz.  Instead, I feel like she's sort of given up on writing, but still wanted to make a bit of a cash grab here (which worked-the book is right next to me as I type), and I wish she had rewarded the fans with Midnight Sun like we've been hoping for for since we stood in-line for Breaking Dawn and not a facsimile.

-We'll get into my thoughts on The Martian on Tuesday, but I actually really side with the Bitter Script Reader on this one, that The Martian works as a story in directions I hadn't expected, and is actually a throwback in a way to films like Apollo 13.  Particularly the expository nature of the film, usually a death knell for me, actually works in the moment (even if I will say on occasion it felt like too much, but overall I was behind it).

-IndieWire has a great interview with Big Stone Gap author/director Adriana Trigiani whose film Big Stone Gap seems to be like a Hallmark film that you see on the Hallmark Channel (and not one that used to be on CBS Sundays), but it has a really impressive cast with Ashley Judd, Whoopi Goldberg, and Patrick Wilson so one wonders where the marketing budget was for the film.  Trigiani is interesting both because she seems to be a writer who is making her novels springboards for films she plans on directing, and also because she talks openly about the need for Box Office to fund her projects.  Though the reviews are pretty smelly so far, it's opening much wider than I had anticipated, particularly for a film almost no critics have checked-in on Rotten Tomatoes, so I'm curious how this ends up going.  Audiences did, after all, used to love Ashley Judd at the movies.

In Politics....

-National Journal profiled a growing problem that Hillary Clinton has on the campaign trail, and it has nothing to do with email servers-it has to do with the amount of men who are supporting her campaign. Clinton's campaign has, in my opinion, kind of ignored white men as a demographic group primarily because they aren't their target audience (Clinton is not going to win white men in the general election, and very likely if Biden gets in, not even in the primary).  However, she needs to do better than 28% if she hopes to make it to the White House as African-Americans, Hispanics, and younger voters don't turn out enough even in a presidential election to make up this kind of a deficit and she needs to be at least ten-points better (it's also become quite clear that Clinton, barring something unforeseen on the Republican side, will not win by the same margins as Obama if she wins and so she needs to start finding ways to improve her standings in all demographics as this will be closer than 2008 or 2012).  I wonder if she'll try and pivot a bit as the primary closes and she has the nomination toward wrapping up more white male voters with talks about issues more related to them (particularly gearing toward blue-collar male voters with talk about labor and shipping jobs overseas as that seemed to work in the 2008 primary), but this does appear to be a gap that Clinton will have to correct if she wants to become president.

-Politico looked at a growing problem for the opposite side-of-the-aisle, however, in the primaries.  It's kind of staggering to believe, but while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both have full-time staffs of more than fifty in Iowa already, no Republican candidate has a full-time staff of more than ten in any early primary state.  This is likely being caused by the people with money not having their candidates (Bush, Rubio) at the top of the polls and non-traditional candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson (who don't have that GOTV experience) sitting at the top of the polls not really bothering with such traditional campaigns and trying to run an election through the national window (which won't work in a caucus state like Iowa).  Clinton and Sanders are likely to gain a more experienced field team from their strategies, ready with ways to get out specific pockets of supporters and voters in critical swing states (lest we forget, of the first four primaries, only South Carolina isn't considered a tossup state).  That ability to turn out voters and having experience and readiness with this specific candidate in GOTV could make the difference in a close election, and is something that is going to give the Democrats a leg-up if this ends up being a 2000/2004-style margin of victory.

-Though everyone is focusing on the White House right now, the battle for the Senate continues to rage and could be a major drip-effect of the White House battle as the Democrats try to reclaim their majority.  This week was a good one for them, as unlike their counterparts in the House, their recruiting efforts have been much more robust, with a major coup in Gov. Maggie Hassan joining the battle, running against Sen. Kelly Ayotte in Hew Hampshire.  I am planning a State of the Senate article this week, but know that Hassan's entry into this race makes it perhaps the biggest race of the cycle (two popular incumbents, a notoriously swing-y swing state, and a decent chance this race could get the Democrats to a tie in the Senate all add up to a major political event).  There's also worries and rumblings in Kentucky over Rand Paul's lack of interest in his reelection there, particularly considering that he has anemic poll numbers in his race for the White House.  While I am a little weary after 2014 that a Democrat can actually score here and Adam Edelen will be accused of using his State Auditor race as a stepping stone to the Senate (that is, if he wins there in a few weeks), Paul v. Edelen would be a race to watch if the presidential contender has lost support from those back home who think he's more focused on his own ambitions than on Kentucky's.

Shameless Self-Promotion...

-The Koch Brothers auditions for president are about the most disgusting thing I've ever heard.

YouTube Video of the Week...

I love this video of Hillary Clinton talking about what Bill was like when they moved Chelsea into Stanford:

Just One More...

-Apparently I'm going to be a little obsessed with The Martian for a few days, as I wanted to share this look from NASA of where Matt Damon's character in the film would actually have been on Mars.  I love the renewed interest in space travel that Gravity, Interstellar, and now The Martian have spurred in the populace, and am hoping that translates into real life.

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