Bread and Circuses

Richard Simmons Has a Knee Injury

Niela OrrMarch 10, 2017
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Missing Richard Simmons is not a “much-heralded hollow space.” It deserves its acclaim. It mostly succeeds in rounding out the personality of a man who had become in the public eye a caricature, a Halloween costume, a reliable butt of David Letterman jokes before he withdrew into his Beverly Hills mansion.

The Horror of North America

Niela OrrFebruary 24, 2017
Universal pictures
Universal pictures

Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which premieres nationwide this Friday, is one of the few black horror films not about Africa to feature both possessed black people and the deep wilderness. This cinematic tradition can be traced back to the early twentieth century.

The Defiant I Am Not Your Negro

Niela OrrFebruary 10, 2017
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The film’s promotional poster notably features just Baldwin’s eyes and the title, and all through the film are magnetic images of black people staring, looking off, caught in their own subjectivity. The effect of these eyes turned back on the viewer is breathtaking.

Make American Dystopias Great Again

Niela OrrJanuary 27, 2017
Gage Skidmore
Gage Skidmore

It was a bright cold day in January, and the blogosphere was awash in the world of 1984. After senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway took to the airwaves to declare that her White House colleagues operated in a world of “alternative facts” it only seemed logical—and instructive—to liken her spin to the truth-bending protocols that occupy much of the action in George Orwell’s classic anti-totalitarian satire.

Obama Out

Niela OrrJanuary 13, 2017
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This week, the country’s dominant mode of pop-cultural expression was the public speech—something of a throwback trend, given Americans’ patterns of media consumption nowadays. In the smartphone era, we tend not to gather around and listen to our leaders pontificate in the tradition of the FDR fireside chat; the internet and social media provide us with an inexhaustible array of platforms to do so on our own.