-The Hollywood Reporter got in front of the inevitable controversy that was bound to spring up out of their annual Actress Roundtable, a long-standing tradition where they assemble eight white women competing for the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Oscars this year, and while I truly wish I could shame the Hollywood Reporter for not including an actress of color this season, I just can't, as there are no women of color who are in serious contention for an Academy Award this season, at least for acting. Names like Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Concussion), Phylicia Rashad (Creed), and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez (Tangerine) are all in movies that may be in the Oscar conversation, but you wouldn't dream of putting them even in the Top 10 most likely contenders, and they would stick out compared to women like Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kate Winslet as someone who clearly is being added just for tokenism as part of the Oscar conversation. The reality is that this is on Hollywood, and in particular the film industry (television and Broadway have gotten the joke on this front), and they need to step it up for fear of being thought out-of-sync with the growing diversity of film audiences.
-Zayn Malik's continued push to condemn One Direction was all over the news this week, with Malik calling 1D's music "generic" and basically bashing his time in the band. Here's the deal-Malik is still big news until his new album comes out at least, and I get the coverage and he was my favorite member of the band prior to their break-up too, but he's been kind of a tool lately. He has every right to quit the band, but let's not pretend he didn't become wildly successful from this group, and I am sick-to-death of celebrities coming out and berating past success when they clearly were fine with it at the time. The same thing happened a few months ago when Natalie Portman bemoaned her Oscar even while she was campaigning constantly for it when she was nominated. Being too cool for something after it's made you millions of dollars isn't really genuine, so stop pretending.
-I am not going to weigh in on the Jenny McCarthy/Charlie Sheen feud that is raging right now in social media, as I can't really stand either of these two, and I am sick-to-death of the media giving McCarthy's views on medicine more publicity. However, I was curious about Entertainment Weekly's surprisingly solid overview of where Charlie Sheen's career goes from here, because it was kind of tanked before he announced he was HIV+. I think they are dead-on in terms of the two avenues he really has here, career-wise: tell-all memoir or reality show (or probably both). Sheen's erratic behavior after a decades worth of success (yet another actor who made millions, or in Sheen's case tens of millions of dollars and then bemoaned the quality after cashing the checks) and essentially throwing away his wildly successful television career is not going to be forgotten anytime soon, and I suspect no one's going to work with him again, particularly after he turned down the ability to do a final scene in Two and a Half Men's finale. The HIV announcement isn't going to change that. However, it's impossible to deny that Sheen still demands public interest, and this week showed that, and either a reality show or a tell-all both would be places where Sheen's erratic behavior would be a benefit. I suspect he does at least one, if not both.
the New York Times points out how much trouble Republicans might be in soon, as Trump continues to dominate in New Hampshire, which is generally the voice of GOP reason to those much more caution-to-the-wind Iowans. It's worth noting that Trump is still ahead by a country mile in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and the elections are getting closer and closer. The last candidate to win the nomination of a major party without taking either of those two states was Bill Clinton, and in that case Iowa and New Hampshire still picked different candidates (Tom Harkin and Paul Tsongas, respectively). The only time that a candidate won both of these two races and eventually lost the nomination is Edmund Muskie in 1972, and that race is an absolutely bizarre one where comparisons are hard to make (the campaign included a candidate who wasn't running but still got the most total votes, a candidate who survived an assassination attempt, and a forged document that was part of the other party's candidate's eventual downfall and resignation). As a result, if Donald Trump wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, the Republicans are going to have to either push hard for the guy who got second place in those races (read: Ted Cruz) or potentially get "huge" (or grumble for four years of a Clinton administration).
-Rep. Jackie Speier, 37 years after the fact, recalls surviving the Jonestown Massacre, a really riveting read about the only confirmed assassination of a member of the United States House of Representatives, her then boss Leo Ryan. It's a riveting read (I don't know if I've ever seen Speier, who ran for Ryan's seat and lost after the trip, but then many years later won a seat of her own in Congress, discuss the events so thoroughly). It's a riveting read, particularly if you aren't familiar with this aspect of US History.
-Roll Call also had a conversation with the only two Muslim members of Congress (Reps. Andre Carson and Keith Ellison), discussing language and getting their thoughts on the rather racist and xenophobic lines of rhetoric from the Right that have come up in the wake of the Paris attacks. I have to admit that I haven't written about the attacks at length yet (I still might-I need to give myself some time to give it a proper due and my day job has not allowed that lately), but I am alarmed by the rhetoric used by multiple people running for Congress, and in particular Donald Trump, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz, and I am frustrated by the number of governors who have denied refugees into their states (and yes, Maggie Hassan, that D behind your name doesn't excuse you from my disappointed glare). I am not going to get more into this in a link roundup, but if I have time later this week I will probably devote an article to this conversation.
-Attorney General Kamala Harris, currently the frontrunner to take Sen. Barbara Boxer's seat in California, is apparently struggling on the campaign trail. She's not fundraising the way she was expected to, and isn't great on the stump. This doesn't actually surprise me-anyone who saw her DNC speech in 2012 will be aware that she's not the great speaker that President Obama is (the two are frequently compared for their seemingly meteoric rises to the top), nor does she have Barbara Boxer's retailing skills. I am curious how this race goes if, as some have speculated, it will be both Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez in the general next November (Republican votes are splintered, and Democrats have only two real options, so it's possible that two Democrats will land in the general in California's odd new open primary system). Without the risk of the seat exchanging hands, Harris vs. Sanchez could be a generally interesting debate, and it's hard to see organizations like the DSCC and Emily's List (which did technically go with Harris but has endorsed Sanchez in the past) spending any money on a seat the Democrats are guaranteed to win when other races in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Ohio are actually going to win back the Senate, and both are progress elected officials with long ties to the national party. If that's the case, Sanchez could gain as she seems to be doing extremely well amongst Hispanic voters, who may be moved to get a Latina elected statewide in California. If the race is Harris v. Sanchez, though, the real winner would be the DCCC, as Hillary Clinton would surely be dominating statewide and with a vested reason for Democrats to get out in the Senate race and almost no reason for the Republicans to get out and cast a ballot, the DCCC could be able to pick up and hold even more House seats from disproportionate turnout.
Shameless Self-Promotion of the Week...
-I'm aware that I haven't discussed Louisiana-all in good time this week. But know that I'm excited about the Democrats' new favorite silver lining, John Bel Edwards.
YouTube Video of the Week...
-Prank videos make me physically uncomfortable, but this is Smosh's tenth anniversary, and in this case it was Anthony and Ian getting pranked by none other than Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence, so I'm cool:
-My favorite story of the week from a makes-me-smile angle was surely my beloved Andy Murray's mid-match haircut, where he attempted to hold back Rafael Nadal (it didn't work at the ATP World Tour Finals) by cutting his hair mid-match, as he claimed it was in his eyes. The link has a video of the event.