How To Throw A Solar Eclipse Themed Party

On Monday, August 21 the sun will quit on the United States, and we don’t blame it.

Okay, not “quit” per se, but the moon will pass between the earth and the sun causing a total or partial blockage of the sun, depending on where you live. We think that calls for a themed party!

Total Eclipse Of The Screen

For the times the eclipse won’t be visible, we suggest playing space themed movies in the background. In particular:

  • Zenon, Girl Of The 21st Century
  • Armageddon
  • E.T.
  • Contact
  • Alien
  • The Martian
  • Independence Day
  • Space Camp
  • The Jetsons
  • Any Star Wars film
  • Any Star Treck film or episode
  • The Magic Schoolbus Gets Lost In Space
Total Eclipse Of Your Clothes

What’s a themed party without a themed outfit? If you want to impose a dress code, or are just really feeling the theme, here are some options:

  • black and white – simple, classic, and appropriate
  • polka dots work, too
  • of course, anything with a sun or moon on it would be apropos
  • but I think the best outfit for the day would be a full Miss Frizzle-style eclipse getup.
Total Eclipse Of These Snacks

Snacks are the best part of a theme party. Some suggestions:

  • Moon Pies
  • Black and white cookies, but in various stages of eclipse
  • Cheese (because the moon is made of it, clearly)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sunny D
  • Sun chips
  • Starfruit
  • Regular apples, but sliced in half so you can see the ‘star’ in the middle, which always wows the under-5 crowd the first time they see it
  • I really do feel like you could use sun, star, moon and circle-shaped cookie cutters on any number of foods! For real, this is probably the way I would go.
Total Eclipse Of The Bar

Eclipses can be day-drinking events if you want them to be. We recommend:

Just don’t get so crunk you forget you can’t stare at the sun and burn your retinas.

Total Eclipse Of Some Games

I absolutely love when people get excited about astronomical phenomena, whether it’s a meteor shower, solar or lunar eclipse, unusual visible planets or the northern lights. I was raised by a science teacher and we made a BIG DEAL out of this stuff when I was a kid. For instance, one time before I could read a ticker came across the bottom of the TV screen telling viewers that the northern lights were visible. The rest of my family bounded from their seats because they knew we’d all load into the minivan to try to see it – except for little illiterate me, watching TGIF and wondering what the big deal was.

All that is to say that I think this solar eclipse is a fine time to celebrate the wonders of our solar system – and what better way to do it than with games? Here are a few:

Name That Constellation!

Similar to our map-labeling games in our American and Canadian themed parties, this one is either a chance to show of your knowledge or a chance to get a little funny. Have individual printouts of constellations, or a large map of them on the wall. Let guests label them with their names. It’s fun to get it right, but it’s also fun to make up your own constellation names based on what they look like – which, after all, is what happened many years ago, anyway. The big dipper part of ursa major? Yeah, that’s a Deep Fry Basket.

Solar System Mnemonic Mad Libs

I’m so old that when I was a kid, my very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas. The kids in my life tell me that now, she serves nachos. Sorry, Pluto.

If you learned the order of the planets through mnemonic devices, this all probably sounds familiar to you. If not, forgive me.

You can create wacky solar system mnemonics -and reinforce your childhood space knowledge – with a mnemonic madlib. For instance:

  • My
  • [Adjective starting with V]
  • [Adjective Starting with E]
  • [Noun Starting With M]
  • Just
  • [Past Tense Verb Starting With S]
  • Us
  • [Adjective Starting With N]
  • [Noun Starting With P] [“Dwarf planet” means nothing to me, sorry not sorry.]

Mad Libs are always funnier if the person who is providing the words doesn’t know what you’re creating.

Pin The Moon Over The Sun

It’s like pin the tail on the donkey, but it’s eclipse-themed, and it’s probably better after a few Tequila Sunrises.

Planetary Twister

You can create this board pretty easily with a plastic table cloth. Draw all of the planets in several rows or a small circle. You will be using this as your twister board, so you have to set it up so that it’s plausible that a person could reach from one to the other. You could even do an entire row across of Mercury, an entire row of Venus, an entire row of Earth, etc.

For extra nerd points, don’t label the planets. If you don’t know Saturn from Jupiter, you’re out.

Total Eclipse Of U.S.

Hop over to our America-themed party post, because the total eclipse will only be visible in the United States. Also this is a great way to use up all of your miniature American flags from the Fourth of July.

Total Eclipse Of These Songs

I feel like since the sun and moon are both involved in this one, songs having to do with either of them are fine. Some of the more eclipse-y are:

  • Total Eclipse Of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler
  • Steal My Sunshine by LEN
  • Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers
  • I’ll Follow The Sun by The Beatles
  • Walkin’ On The Sun by Smashmouth
  • Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles (can never have too much Beatles, OK?)
  • Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me by Elton John
  • Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden
  • Bad Moon Rising by Credence Clearwater Revival
  • Dancing In The Moonlight by King Harvest
Total Eclipse Of The Sun

The main thing about your eclipse party is, of course, the eclipse! Just don’t go outside and stare right at the sun, which will burn your retinas. Instead, stock up on verified eclipse sunglasses – your nearest library or science museum may be your best bet, but Amazon is good too (just make sure you get verified glasses).

There are suggestions all over the web for how to view the eclipse, so we won’t get into it. Just know that options include a contraption with a shoebox, tin foil and paper, a simpler cardboard thingy, looking at shadows, or the internet:

 

  • NASA will livestream the event on their website.
  • You can also see the eclipse at the Exploratorium in San Francisco or on their website.
  • All major networks will be covering the event

Here is some help in finding the best time to view the eclipse near you. Non-U.S. folks, don’t despair! First of all, we have cornered the market on despair for now. Second, a partial eclipse is visible in other parts of North America as well.

 

Another Gay Buried… Will It Get Better?

Anyone else watch Kingdom? No, just me? Maybe this isn’t the target demo for the MMA-centered drama, which just had its series finale a couple weeks ago. The Audience Network (yeah, it’s only on DirecTV) show featured a variety of complex and troubled characters, including Matt Lauria (of Friday Night Lights & Parenthood fame) and Nick Jonas (of smokeshow fame).

TBH, these two are the main reasons I started watching in the first place, because fun fact about me: I hate violence – in media and obviously IRL. But then I got sucked in to the family drama of it all and watched all three seasons until the very end. An end that I was not pleased with. On the scale of bad finales, it wasn’t How I Met Your Mother, but somewhere near Dawson’s Creek and Jen’s heart condition.

For some background: Revered MMA fighter Alvey (Frank Grillo) runs his own gym, where his two sons, Jay (Jonathan Tucker) and youngest Nate (Nick) train to keep his legacy alive. Nate is a rising MMA fighter with a lot of promise, but has been weighed down by the fact that he’s gay and constantly trying to hide it. His mom and brother are the only ones who know about his secret since they live in a bubble fueled by testosterone. By the final season, Nate actually finds a match in Will, even though they still keep their relationship (and his homosexuality) on the DL. But his secret starts to make its way around the MMA circle, and in the final season, another fighter passes him in the hallway before a fight and calls his a faggot, giving Nate even more pause in considering his decision to come out.

This brings us to the penultimate episode, in which Nate finally decides to come clean to his father during a drunk night out. So maybe telling your dad you’re gay when he’s absolutely shitfaced isn’t the best idea, but he did it. He finally got the courage to live his truth to the biggest influence in his life, and it doesn’t go well. In fact, Alvey even says to Nate, “You gonna tell me you’re a fucking faggot?”, which clearly hits a nerve. Nate understandably gets mad and walks out of the bar, drunk Alvey attempts to get him to stay, and in their inherent violent nature, Nate takes a swing at his father to let out all that pent up anger and frustration of his Alvey’s lack of acceptance out. Jay butts in and pulls Alvey off, but when Nate thinks Alvey’s going in for a second round and it’s actually the bouncer with a gun, he shoots him. Dead. Right there in a bar parking lot in front of his dad and brother.

It’s a harrowing scene that sets up the series finale, in which we learn that, yes, Nate is actually dead. The entire finale focuses on how his loved ones to cope with the untimely loss of the one truly good guy in their family.

Ok. So. A few things. Let’s get this one out of the way first – Nick Jonas is a fantastic actor. If you’ve only seen him in Camp Rock, Kingdom will definitely change your mind about his skills. His performance is subtle, yet commandeering, natural and not over the top. He’s an animal when he gets in the ring, but plays the purest of hearts when taking care of his drug addict brother and mother. Just look at this scene when he confirms to his brother/idol that he’s gay. The nuances of his acting is comparable to that of any award-winning actor.

Alright, so back to Nate’s death. Let’s discuss how annoying it is in general that his death came in the second to last episode, which inherently meant the finale HAD to focus on his family & how they struggles in the aftermath. Too much time was spent in memorializing a character who didn’t need to die in the first place, when the finale could’ve spent more time giving fans insight on the path each of the main characters was heading, long after viewers leave them behind. To their credit, they did do this to some extent, but most of their character developments were propelled by Nate’s death, not of their own volition.

But most importantly, I couldn’t help but think of one thing while I was watching this all go down – WHY? Why did they decide to kill off a character just moments after he came out as gay to his alpha male father? What is the “lesson” to be learned from all of this? Here’s what Kingdom creator Byron Balasco told EW:

“I wanted there to be real consequences for Alvey in terms of the mistakes he made as a father and as a man. You have to be mindful of the way you treat the ones you love because you do not always get a chance to go back later and fix it… I wanted a tumbling of emotions that gathers momentum where things get away from the control of our characters. I didn’t want his death to be cloaked in any kind of shame. It’s not about Nate being gay; it’s more about the inability of these two men to understand each other and to be honest with how they truly feel about each other.”

Sure, ok. A relationship between father and son is tender and complicated, but does death justify your storytelling? And while he says it’s not about Nate being gay, the truth of the matter is that it is. You can’t tell me that writers during this golden age of television don’t know about the Bury Your Gays TV trope, and if they do, they obviously choose to ignore it.

Just in case you missed the memo, this trope is usually related to lesbian TV characters, but expands to the LGBTQ community as a whole, in which there has been a trend of disproportionate deaths of said characters, and more likely than not, used to advance a main (straight) character’s storyline. In this case, Nate died because Alvey needed to truly understand and comprehend the mistakes he’s made as a dad and general human being, and his resolution comes in the final scene of the series, in which he breaks down alone after winning the most important fight of his life. But none of this was worth it.

In fact, Nate’s death was even more infuriating due to the lack of acknowledgement of his homosexuality in the final episode. Yes, Jay honors Nate before his dad’s fight by confirming Nate was gay and calling out anyone who had ever been homophobic towards him when he was alive. But it bothered me so much that Nate’s boyfriend Will wasn’t even in the episode. Not at his funeral. Not when his family spread Nate’s ashes out on the ocean. He wasn’t even mentioned. No, Nate didn’t “die because he was gay”, but for sure let’s not actually mention anything related to the fact that he was gay with another man.

Of course, there are many TV viewers who wouldn’t be surprised to hear yet another gay character has been killed off a show:

At the recent Television Critics Association summer tour, GLAAD hosted a panel where they revealed research which showed that there are 278 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters on TV, a majority of them (142 to be exact) are on cable (EG: Audience Network), and most of them are gay white men (EG: Kingdom). Of those 278, there have been 62 gay and bi female characters who have fallen to the Bury Your Gays trope over the past two years.

Yes it’s great that more LGBTQ characters are popping up on TV, but why is it so difficult to give them a happy ending? Or at least one which doesn’t result in death? What does that say to viewers who relate to them in a way they never have before? Similarly, I mentioned this in my #FirstTimeISawMe post, but it bears repeating – yes, representation is important, but it’s the accurate portrayals of minorities that must also be given weight. Yes, more black characters! But no thanks on black thugs. Yes, more lesbian characters! But no me gusta tomboys being used as a punchline.

In this era of division amongst America in particular, those who find themselves in charge of creating shows and films shouldn’t make characters just to fill a quota or portray a particular narrative. Falling for harmful tropes such as Bury Your Gays is a disservice to fans who are obviously connecting to a show for a certain reason, and how non-LGBTQ members react to the already marginalized group as a whole. I hope the more backlash showrunners get, the more they realize this type of storytelling needs to stop. It get better? Guess we’ll have to wait see.

One Trick Ponytails (And Other Bad But Punny Business Ideas)

The world is full of bad ideas. About 10% of those are bad business ideas. And about 99% of THOSE originated from terrible puns. Here are just some of the terrible – but punny – business ideas I’ve thought of lately:

One Trick Ponytails

Salon that just does ponytails but they’re really good at it.

Lickety Splits

Banana splits in a cone.

RoTots

Toddler robots. Disobedient and really stubborn. Leave fingerprints everywhere. Hands always a bit moist.

HogsMediation

Couples therapy for couples who think they are from different Hogwarts houses – can a Slytherin-Hufflepuff marriage survive?

¡Pasta Ya!

All-you-can-eat pasta. It comes out of dispensers, like soft-serve ice cream. Pasta pasta pasta. Sauce everywhere. It comes in dispensers too. Like ketchup does. But it’s sauce.

Puppy Tents

It’s a pup tent, but for dogs. Like a dog house, but one that your dog will immediately knock over.

Baby Baby Boomers

A baby clothing boutique where all of the clothes make the babies look like tiny 60-year-olds. If you’re hipster enough to name your baby Barbara or Linda or Ron, you’re hipster enough to shop here.

Li-Beary

A library, but where a child can check out teddy bears. Everyone will surely get bed bugs.

Or: a library, but where an adult can check out actual bears. Insect infestations are really the least of your worries.

Dime A Dozen

This is a cheap but very specific sort of dime store, where they only sell things that you can get a dozen for for a dime. It’s mostly bulk bins full of things like individual Skittles, dried spaghetti, and dog kibble, for instance. You’re going to hate painstakingly counting out everything in denominations of 12, but not as much as your cashier will!

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

It’s like a photo studio, but instead a “word-artist” will write a 1000-word essay about the impression they get from your family. You ever wondered how someone would describe you in a magazine celebrity profile – those kinds where they make much ado about what an actress orders for lunch? Now you don’t have to, I guess.

Prime Time Flies

Imagine a public living-room type set up where you can watch TV with strangers, sort of like your college dorm’s common room that nobody used. Okay, but instead of playing regular TV, it plays the exact prime-time lineup of whatever day it is… but from times past. Including commercials. Will you get a classic ’90s TGIF night, or a classic ’90s SNICK night, or a classic ’90s Must See TV night? Sure, it COULD be from any era, but they know what people like.

 

 

 

 

Orphan Black: In Memoriam

I will remember you (and you and you and you and you and you).

After five seasons of monitoring clones, finding out there were even more clones, reblogging multiple OTP gifsets on Tumblr, and pretending I understand how science works, we must bid a final farewell to Orphan Black tomorrow. We’ve been fans of this BBC America show since the jump, serving as proud members of the Tatiana Maslany Deserves an Emmy Street Team since 2K13. [BTW, remember when Tat won an Emmy? Because that happened. I’ve refused to call her anything but “Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany” ever since.]

With its demise coming this weekend, I feel like it’s only proper to honor a show that has entertained and informed us over the past five years with one last goodbye to everyone and everything that we’ll miss about this groundbreaking show. Thanks for everything, OB. We’ll never forget you.

*cue Sarah McLachlan*

Rachel’s Eye

There have been a lot of gory goings on in Orphan Black (like the time Helena cut a dude’s tail off), but nothing compares to the unexpected demise of Rachel Duncan’s eyeball. After she destroys Kira’s bone marrow in a fit of rage, Sarah retaliates at her clone but using a contraption to shoot a pencil straight in her eye. It was bloody and gory and almost made me feel sorry for Rachel. The result of the incident left her with brain damage, but still, she was alive. Her hollowed out socket was replaced with a prosthetic eye, that is super high tech and makes me wonder just how much more advanced Canada is than us. However, in one of the final episodes of season five, Rachel finds out Dorian Gray wannabe P.T. Westmoreland has actually been using Rachel as a vessel to spy, since her mechanical eye records audio and video that is streamed directly to his tablet. But Rachel ain’t having none of that anymore so she breaks a martini glass (fitting) and JAMS IT IN HER HEAD to take out the eyeball in hopes of being truly freed from Dyad. RIP HER SECOND EYE.

The Tender Friendship Between Scott and Cosima

Since the pilot, the characters on OB have always had an ongoing issue with trust. Can they trust their monitors? Can they trust their family members? Can the clones even trust each other? In some cases, there was little question of a possible betrayal because of the inherent good in that character. Enter cinnamon roll Scott. He had been Cosima’s nerdy scientist friend for years before we meet them. In fact, he had a crush on Cosima but unfortunately for him, she had a crush on Delphine, so he settled to be her closest scientist confidant instead. Because of their genuine (friendship) love for each other, their trust was implicit, which is why he became the go-to scientist guy who Cosima and the rest of the clones went to for help. Sure, I like Cophine, but there will never be a purer friendship than that of Scott and Cosima in the OB world.

The Tender Friendship Between Donnie and Helena

If there’s any clone that has embodied the “look at where you are, look at where you started” mantra, it’s Helena. She was straight up a frightening, non-nonsense murderer, and over the course of five seasons, she’s become one of the most beloved clones who you feel a lot of empathy for. Take Donnie, for example, who was super against this hitwoman moving into his home with Alison. But he eventually gave in and now they’re practically best pals. He’s living a sister sestra wives situation, and I think Helena is all the more better for it. They do say being a mother changes you. Also, this is a good time to share my theory that Donnie is the unsung hero of Orphan Black. Discuss.

Alison’s Community Theater Group

After letting her friend die via scarf in the garbage disposal, Alison needed a distraction from the death, as well as all the clone drama, so naturally, she pursued her passion for the arts. And that came in the form of her joining her local community theater group. Not all her co-stars were pleasant to deal with, but they sure embodied what it’s like to be part of that unique group of artists. Not to mention, the shows they put up were fabulously horrible, including an original piece called Blood Ties – a musical which is surprisingly real. No, seriously.

Helena’s Appetite

Helena, as I previously mentioned, has gone through quite the transformation over the years, but one characteristic that has not changed one bit is her love for food. And by love I mean… passionate obsession. Particularly in the way she shoves it into her mouth, ofter with her hands, I mean, it’s like watching a child consume their favorite food like they’ll never eat again. It’s the little quirks like this that make Helena lovable, and make you forget she’s a trained assassin.

Sarah’s Long Lost Loves

Raise your hand if you’re still not over the death of Paul. Me. I’m not. Sure, he started off as Beth’s monitor, and sure he made a few poor choices with who he trusted, but I never doubted that he had true feels for Sarah. I mean, he also said, “It was never Beth I loved” as he helped Sarah to safety right before he died, so it’s canon. Plus, Dylan Bruce is hot. And together with Tat, they were just hot together. But just when you thought that she would never find love again, we find out who the biological father of Kira is, a fellow by the name of Cal, played by another extremely attractive human, Michiel Huisman. In another time and place, I think Cal and Sarah could’ve been a happy family somewhere in Iceland, but alas, this is Orphan Black, and he had to head back to Game of Thrones, never to be seen in OB World again.

Unrequited Love Between Art and Sarah

That being said, Sarah still has one possible gentleman caller in Art, Beth’s former police partner. Sure, once Art discovered Sarah was just pretending to be Beth, he did not trust this doppelganger stranger one bit. But he eventually turns the tide and becomes one of Sarah’s closest allies and made a conscious decision to help bring down the people that ruined both Beth and Sarah’s lives with a nasty science experiment. But of course, his desire was fueled by the fact that he loved Beth (and even slept with her – sorry Paul), and it’s evident that he feels some sort of connection with her sister Sarah too. Sarah’s also put her trust in Art, even going so far as to let Kira stay with his young daughter in a safe place. She doesn’t let entrust anyone with her beloved kid. Listen, I’m all for women being independent and not needing no man to define her, but I’m just saying, Sarah and Art and their two kids could walk off into the sunset together and try to live as normal a life as possible in the series finale.

Krystal’s YouTube Channel

Krystal EASILY became one of my favorite clones from the moment she appeared in season three, with her blondeness that actually kind of hid the fact that she’s a smart businesswoman. What, like it’s hard? This season, we find out Krystal has become a YouTube star in her downtime, and honestly, I could watch this all day if it were real. Krystal spin-off show, please? Maybe come back in 5 years and instead of a straight OB reboot, just a webseries centering on Krystal.

Multiple Clone Parties

It’s the scene that will forever define the show as a cut above the rest – not only technically, but in its spotlight on Tat. She embodies each of the four main clones just by their dance moves, and it’s stunning to watch. The OB team managed to impress with another multiple clone scene through a family dinner, but this time, with more series regulars. The visual effects on this show have never been hokey or green screeney (technical term), which is part of the reason why it’s so believable that we’re watching multiple actresses play the clones and not just one. It’s a feat that’ll be hard to replicate by any show moving forward.

Still Thinking Tatiana Hasn’t Worked With Certain Actors

To that end, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen interviews with Tatiana and an actor like Kristian Bruun (Donnie), and think to myself, “Oh that’s cool they get to hang out, because they probably don’t see each other much on set since all his scenes are with Alison.” YOU DUMMY. TAT PLAYS ALISON. I think my default Tat character is Sarah, which obviously makes sense because the writers set it up that way in which she’s the protagonist. But it’s taken my approx 4.5 seasons to be fully aware that Tat is all the clones. She has worked with every single character on the show. EMMY WINNER TATIANA MASLANY, Y’ALL.

S

CHICKENS!!!!!!!!!!!

#CloneClub Fan Art

Like with any proper fandom that’s popular on the internet, OB fans aka the #CloneClub, are talented motherfuckers who create some of the best fan art I’ve seen for ANY show/movie, etc. A lot of it is surprisingly emotional (and a lot of it is also crafted by Cophine shippers), but that makes sense given the dynamic we see between each of the clones is emotional in and of itself. These women were created to be science experiments, and not regarded as humans who will find each other and form a bond like no one else can.  I’m sure the fan art will keep going long after we say goodbye to the sestras, but there’s one more connection between the show and the fans that will live on forever.

It Is So Ordered: Orphan Black And The Law

Orphan Black is a lot like the law: it is all about the way people and their objectives and their actions are at odds with “the system.” It’s not really surprising, because law and TV both follow the groundswell of society. Orphan Black and the U.S. Supreme Court syllabus boast many of the same themes: corporate identity, scientific ownership of living things, the right to control your body and life, and the right to exist as yourself, whatever and whoever that is. Here’s a rundown of just some of the U.S. Supreme Court cases that are relevant to the themes of Orphan Black. [While I know Orphan Black is a Canadian production, I’m not a Canadian lawyer – hence the U.S. focus.]

Gene Patents and Myriad

The Issue:

Patents for human products may sound hyper-modern, but in 1906 a patent for isolated, purified adrenaline filed by P.T. Westmoreland was upheld in court. Judge Learned Hand (my long-time favorite name of a legal figure, and maybe of a human) theorized that even “if it were merely an extracted product without change, there is no rule that such products are not patentable.”  By 2011, thousands of unaltered yet isolated human genes had been patented. Some argued that such patents fostered scientific progress – a fat cash incentive for labs and pharmaceutical companies to be the first to isolate a particular gene. Others maintained that these patents deterred scientific collaboration and led to price-gouging for testing of genetically-linked diseases.

The Case:

In Association For Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc, Myriad owned the patent for the isolated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (AKA the breast cancer genes). The company enjoined other genetic testing labs from isolating BRCA DNA, which they challenged. The question: is uncovering the precise location and genetic sequence of the BRCA genes on their chromosomes an invention of “new and useful composition,” or was Myriad staking claim to naturally-occurring phenomena? The answer: mere isolation of a gene or genes is not patentable, although genes that have been altered may be patented, as may complementary DNA, or cDNA, an exons-only molecule created from mRNA.

Meanwhile, On Orphan Black:

In Orphan Black terms: if Dyad merely mapped the Leda DNA, they could not patent the genetic sequences — even if, say, they isolated the genes responsible for Kira’s fast healing. However, if they isolated Kira’s miraculous car accident genes and created cDNA, that could be patented, as could a protein therapy derived from modified cDNA. Even assuming Dyad HAD successfully patented all or part of the Leda DNA back in the ’80s, this would not mean that Dyad owned the clones themselves: rather that they retained the right to create derivative products based on that DNA.

 

The Right To Privacy and Griswold

The Issue:

The worst part about being an Orphan Black clone, for me, would be having to look my own face in the face all the time. The second-worst part would be the invasion of privacy. Finding out your partner is actually a monitor? It’s like the WORST secret three-way call. And secret spy-eyeballs? I don’t even like touching regular eyeballs. The right to privacy involves more than just freedom from looky-loos and spyballs, though. In Constitutional terms it’s the right to make your own medical decisions, parenting decisions, and who-to-spend-time-with decisions without government intrusion.

The Cases:

In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut arose because it was illegal for married people to obtain contraception in the state of Connecticut. [Or single people. But a physician who only works with married couples made a sympathetic plaintiff in Mad Men-era New England.] Although the Constitution and Bill of Rights do not explicitly protect the right to privacy, the Supreme Court looked to other cases where a right to privacy was implicit, like Pierce v. Society of Sisters (educating your children as you see fit) and Meyer v. Nebraska (educating your children as you see fit, in German).  The right to privacy lives in the “penumbras” formed by the “emanations” from the guarantees in the first amendment (freedom of association), third (freedom from quartering soldiers in your house which sounds like the ACTUAL WORST), fourth (freedom from unreasonable search and seizure), fifth (freedom from self-incrimination) and ninth (rights retained by the people).

The right to privacy was the basis for the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and still comes up quite a bit in debates over abortion legislation, like that terrifying Arkansas law or the gross Oklahoma bill or this stuff that just went down in Texas. The Supreme Court invoked the right to privacy in Lawrence v. Texas, the case that invalidated Texas’s sodomy law in 2003. You read that right. 2003. Season two of American Idol was on. It wasn’t long ago.

Meanwhile, On Orphan Black:

Where does clone monitoring fit into this?  LEDA isn’t fronted by a government agency, (Castor, on the other hand…). But if the government were somehow involved in any number of the weird bodily invasions and intrusions into autonomy that have happened so far, you better believe it’s an overstep.  Still, the constitutional right to privacy is all over Orphan Black. It’s there in the neolutionists’ right to get weird tails and gross eyes. It is evident in  Henrik’s weird cult’s right to assemble (not to do all the other stuff they do –  but if they want to peacefully remake The Village, have at it). It’s even why Alison’s parents could have a child through in vitro fertilization.

Corporate Personhood And Citizens United

The Issue:

A series about an evil, life-controlling corporation could not be better timed. The titans of industry are a hot topic right now: can corporations generate enough revenue to boost the economy while complying with environmental regulations? (Yes.) Will reducing corporate taxes help or hurt the average citizen? (Meh.) Do corporate policies infringe on free speech? (Ugh.) Also, are corporations even people? (WAIT WHAT.)

The Case:

Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission began, like every problem I can remember having, with a presidential election. A non-profit wanted to air an anti-Hillary Clinton film on TV prior to the 2008 primary, but electioneering funded by corporations and unions was prohibited by law. The Supreme Court ruled that the application of this law violates the First Amendment right to free speech – a right afforded to people, but fine.

The dissent noted that a corporation is at its core creepier than a plain old rich person, having ” ‘limited liability’ for their owners and managers, ‘perpetual life,’ […] unlike voters in U.S. elections, corporations may be foreign controlled […] Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”

So, yikes.

Meanwhile, On Orphan Black

On one hand, the Dyad Institute/Topside (and Big Cosmetics, for that matter) isn’t looking to finance any elections. But it’s precisely the corporate activities listed in the Citizens United dissent that make these corporations so dangerous. An individual doing half of the things Dyad does would be scary enough, but a corporation  has many of the rights of an individual actor with comparatively few responsibilities and WAY more money. Safely hidden behind the corporate veil, Dyad higher ups are not personally responsible for the corporations actions (okay, if courts ever pierce the corporate veil it might be for something like cloning actual humans, not to mention all the murders – so many murders? has anyone counted them all? – but still, the presumption is a lack of personal liability). Even in the non Orphan Black-world, corporations have individual rights like freedom of speech and freedom of religion (Hobby Lobby, your sale section was legit but the rest of you is NOT).

READ ON

I’m fresh out of time, but the history and philosophy of law are full of topics that are relevant to anyone with an interest in Orphan Black – or the world around them – like the legal and medical ethics of research on human subjects. The history of this issue is – like all legal topics – about more than just the law, it’s about who society (and the law, as a tool of society) prioritizes.

Recommended reading:

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

You’ve Got Bad Blood: The Horror Of The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

The Ethics Of Using Medical Data From Nazi Experiments

Where Are All The Female Test Subjects?

That should be just about enough to hold us all over until Saturday night, when I will be crying for a solid hour, and possibly then some. Check back with us tomorrow for some more Orphan Black fun that will be, I promise, a little less academic.

#FirstTimeISawMe? I’m Still Waiting.

“Representation is important.” You hear this message all the time, just like you do with “Climate change is real” and “gender is fluid”. All of which are equally true, but it sometimes feels like they’ve lost their gravitas, merely being used as buzzwords to keep the message in the zeitgeist.

Thankfully, there are initiatives that come around that remind you that these aren’t just slogans sparking political debate – they’re real issues that greatly effect society now and for future generations to come. In this particular case, one such initiative is the #FirstTimeISawMe campaign, which encourages people to reveal which character first represented them in the media.

The hashtag is a collaboration between Netflix and all-around cool organization Black Girl Nerds. They released this video earlier this month, and hundreds of people took to Twitter to share their own firsts.

Answers ranged from older TV characters:

To those that resonate with a lot of millennials:

To the contemporary:

For a lot of people, coming up with an answer to this is viral hashtag is probably easy. Especially if you’re white. And a male. In which case, you probably haven’t thought beyond your answer to a simple question. But when I decided I should chime in too, I realized (or just became completely mindful of) the fact that there hasn’t truly been one character that I felt fully represented me as a female Filipino-American. I was having a difficult time coming up with an honest answer.

I’ve touched on this before in my Fresh Off The Boat post (why aren’t you watching it yet), but the first time I remember seeing an *Asian woman* on TV was in 1994, when Margaret Cho starred in All-American Girl, a short-lived sitcom that was cancelled after one season.

Fun fact: There was a plot line in Fresh Off the Boat in which Emery and Evan want to become actors, but their reluctant mom Jessica (played by the brilliant Constance Wu) says, “You’re not going to become actors. You think they’re going to put two Chinese boys on TV? Maybe if there’s a nerdy friend or a magical thing where someone wanders into a Chinatown, but no.”

Cut to the end credits when they’re watching an episode of All-American Girl, and Emery quips at his mom, “So, no Asians on TV?”

The show centered on U.S.-born Margaret (Cho) who lives with her Korean-American family in San Francisco. Her much more Westernized POV on life is in stark contrast to the traditional, Eastern values her family has, and of course, comedy ensues. Sure, I too am a first-generation child who has arguably taken up American culture more-so than my parents, but I’m not Korean.

This problem kept coming up anytime I’d try to see myself in any of my favorite TV or movie characters. I speak to my parents in English when they talk to me in Tagalog like Jane does with Abuela in Jane the Virgin, but I’m not Venezuelan. I enjoy hip-hop and grew up obsessing over music like Eddie on Fresh Off the Boat, but I’m not a Taiwanese male. I so hardcore related to Dev’s dynamic with his parents in Master of None, but I’m not an Indian male wannabe actor. If you took Lane Kim’s upbringing in a religious household (and tbh, Lorelai’s hot/cold relationship with her parents and knack for pop culture), you’d be pretty close to representing me – but I continue to not be Korean.

In fact, the only example I could come up with of even seeing Filipinos on TV at all is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – and that show just ended its second season. Overall, the show is superb and speaks to my interests of romance, comedy, tragedy, and musical theater, but moreover, for the first time, I saw a Filipino as a main character. And one that didn’t just ignore the fact that he’s Filipino. Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) isn’t even a goofy sidekick. He’s the hot guy who is the one with the “crazy ex-girlfriend”. His name is literally in every episode title.

I already loved the show as soon as I finished the pilot, but what really turned the tide for me was the 6th episode titled “My First Thanksgiving with Josh”, written by comedy writer/actor and Filipino-American, Rene Gube (he also plays Father Brah). In this ep, Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) manages to get herself invited to Josh’s family Thanksgiving, despite the fact he’s still engaged to Valencia, who the Chans do not like that much. Because of this, Rebecca wants to impress his family as much as she can, which is why she teaches herself some basic Tagolog while cooking a traditional Filipino dish called Dinuguan (a stew with pork blood that I even refuse to eat).

Not sure what I was expecting, but I don’t think I ever expected to see a white actress learning Tagalog while making a Filipino dish on network TV. That is not a thing I ever expected would happen. But then the episode continues, and we meet the rest of his family including his dad, mom (played by Amy Hill, who was also the grandma on All-American Girl), and sisters Jayma and Jastenity (who have perfectly ridiculous Filipino names). Not to mention there’s an entire ROOM full of Filipinos, or Asians that act like they’re Filipino at least, eating a mix of American and Filipino food on Thanksgiving, just like I did growing up.

“I saved you the pork adobo and turkey skin, anak (child/something my parents and aunts and older relatives still call me to this day)” Mama Chan to Josh

Plus there’s the other line that Mrs. Chan says to Rebecca in yet another slight to Valencia, by saying, “We are so thankful God sent you to us”, a precursor for when Mrs. Chan later invites Rebecca to mass that same night. This isn’t a thing that I personally did with my family, but I will say that I grew up going to Filipino Bible Study, was super active in my Protestant church, and went to Catholic school my entire life. So yeah, my parents love the Lord and I understand the Chan’s church on Thanksgiving tradition.

Later in the season, we’re introduced to Josh’s aunt, played by Queen of the Philippines Lea Salonga, and we get to see even more of the Filipino culture when Josh’s sister Jayma gets married. The men, including Jayma’s Jewish husband, all wear traditional shirts called Barong Tagalog, which are lightweight and embroidered and worn at formal gatherings. Again, never in my life have I seen so many barongs on American TV. I never could have imagined this.

So all this to say, that’s what I tweeted. I said I’m still waiting for the one person in media that I can relate to wholeheartedly, but the Chans are the closest thing I got. And lo and behold, they responded:

Vinny also tweeted back and I unexpectedly started a Twitter convo between the Chan family. #FangirlGoals, amirite?

But through my own delve into how Filipinos/Asians/Females are represented in the media and seeing all the responses from other POCs on Twitter, it’s just a reminder that we still have so far to go. There are so many more stories to be told, especially in America, where not only are we a melting pot, but minorities are lit’rally taking over the country. According to a 2015 U.S. Census Bureau report, by 2020, “more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group.” By 2060, the minority population is expected to rise to 56%, while the foreign-born population will reach 19% (that stat was 13% in 2014). Plus,  the population of bi-racial, or “two or more races” is projected to be the fastest-growing in the next four decades.

If this is the direction the U.S. is heading, doesn’t it just make sense for the media we consume to reflect the diverse makeup of this country? The more we see POCs in the media, the less likely we as a nation are to be culturally insensitive and racist. Just look at the LGBTQ community. Over the past two decades, the mere presence of characters like Willow and Ellen and Will Truman and Jack McFarland, Cam and Mitchell, have become part of pop culture history and “normalized gays” for those in the South or midwest or any area in the U.S. where being gay is considered against God’s will.

Perhaps most importantly, it’s the accurate portrayals of this community that have helped society embrace the real life gays and lesbians and transgendered folks we meet at work or in the grocery store. The same goes for all the POCs listed above – Brandy proved that she, too, could be a Disney princess in Cinderella (and get the handsome Filipino prince), America Ferrera inspired Latinas in both Gotta Kick It Up! and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as a smart, confident young lady, and Regina King showed in American Crime that wearing a hijab might just be a superpower to become a badass who never gives up on seeking justice. These characters don’t fall into negative stereotypes that have long been shown in film and TV, which can subsequently give viewers a false sense of these minority groups. If you’re a white woman living in a small town in Alabama where the population is 95% white and all you see are black people on TV who are gangsters and drug dealers, I’m going to assume there’s at least a small part of you (if not whole) that believes this stereotype to be true of all black folks. Whether you realize it or not, the negative portrayal of minorities leads to invisible (and possibly outright) racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., which is why we need to keep having conversations like #FirstTimeISawMe.

Not only do we get to see others’ personal experiences with representation in media, but it’s a reminder that when you forget about skin color for just one moment, these are people just like the people in your bubble, who are going through similar trials and tribulations. That’s not to say we should be completely colorblind, but rather encourage the acceptance and appreciation of all cultures, no matter how different they are from our own.

I’m grateful that I live in a time where I can see Filipinos (and minorities as a whole) being portrayed in an accurate light on screen, and it gives me positive reinforcement that we aren’t an afterthought. That we, too, have a place in this society, despite what the horrible actions and hate crimes of other Americans may say. It provides an intangible sense of belonging that no travel ban or affirmative action law can change. It gives us the ability to open up the dialogue and insist that there is always room for representation of all people on TV and film. Despite knowing all this, we can always do better. We have to do better. And we have the power to do so.  If you’re a storyteller, tell your unique story to the masses. Pen a script. Direct a movie. Write a blog post. Yeah, Representation Is Important. And who better to represent us than, well, us?

20 Things You Should Stop Wearing By Age 30

Hi, Adult Ladies!

At 30 years old, I haven’t had this much trouble dressing myself since I was a toddler in the 1900s -and we have internet listicles to blame. Everywhere I look it’s “30 Things You Need To Toss By 30” and “20 Things Women Over 30 Should Stop Wearing Immediately.” Job interview suit? Apparently I should trade it in for some big pants. Body-con dresses? Not my style – but if they were, it would be time to swap it for one that goes all the way down my back for some reason.

I hate to generate more confusion for my 30-and-up pals, but I can write things on the internet, too. Here are the 30 things that I, personally, think you should stop wearing by age 30.:

1. One Half Of A Locket You Were Given At Birth Before You Were Sent To The Orphanage

Hire a private investigator, Ashley. Make a shareable Facebook post. WHATEVER. It’s time.

2. An Ebenezer Scrooge-Style Nightcap

You know those long floppy hats people used to sleep in in the 1700s? SUCH a 20s move. Unless you work in a living history museum or your head is chilly or you like it.

3. Bug Spray

We’re old now. Just let the bugs bite you. Winter will fall soon enough.

4. A Cursed Gemstone

You’ve GOT to get that thing exorcised, Jessica. We’ve told you.

5. Moon Shoes As Regular Shoes

 

Have I wanted shoes that were tiny trampolines for my feet since 1995? Yes. Do I wear them to the office? No, Brittany. The rest of us DO NOT WEAR THEM TO THE OFFICE.

6. Masks On Regular Days

If you wear a mask, and it’s not Halloween or Mardi Gras or a costume party or V for Vendetta, and there’s not medical reason, I’m going to think you have something to hide — and that thing is your face.

7. Your Prom Dress, To Work

8. Your Work Dress, To Prom

9. Brass Knuckles But Made Of Ring Pops

Although getting hit by candy-slobber might be even worse than getting straight-up hit with brass knuckles. Never mind. As you were.

10. Stolen Clothing

Not that I necessary believe in bad karma, but I do and this is.

11. A Smile On Command

Anyone who tells you to smile deserves a frown.

12. Your Childhood D.A.R.E. Shirt, Ironically

They were so earnest, you know?

13. A Skirtless Bathing Suit

Like how little boys would be breeched in Victorian times or how marriageable girls would wear their hair up… also in Victorian times, skirted bathing suits are a fashion rite of passage. Nothing hides a three-decades-old butt like the world’s smallest skirt. I don’t make the rules.

[Note: I find bathing suit skirts cute. It’s happening.]

14. Pants

Oh, you can wear them, but we have to call them slacks now.

15. Old Lady Makeup From A Play

On stage, fine. Off stage, we are TOO OLD FOR THIS. Someone could really think you’ve lived a lot of years.

16. A BE -FRI Necklace If You Aren’t Still ST -ENDS With Whoever Has The Other Half

No one wants to be the ST -ENDS so I assume you’re not wearing that.

17. Your Friend’s Glasses To See How They Look

Why do you keep trying on your friends’ glasses to see how they look when you know you can only see a blur? Molly. You’ve done this since you were 5. Learn a lesson.

[I’m Molly, yes.]

18. A Character Costume As A Disney Guest

This is actually real. Adult guests cannot dress up as characters at Disney. To think I’ll never experience the Bibidi Bobidi Boutique…

19. Kleenex Box Shoes

Find your shoes, your house is a mess.

20. Anything You Don’t Like

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Insecure

A fun thing to do if you’re sane is to pretend you’re just going to watch one episode of a TV show and then just stop cold turkey.

This is exactly what happened to me a couple Sundays ago when I casually decided to watch the pilot of Insecure. My friend suggested it to me a while ago, and of course it’s received all these accolades (hello Emmys), but I finally sat down and watched it. And then I watched the second episode. Then the third… next thing I know it’s four hours later and I’m at the season one finale. Which was perfect because the season two premiere aired that night. Which I also watched.

Obviously I liked it enough to binge watch it in one Sunday night, so I’m here to add to the praise it’s been getting and tell you that if I can (accidentally) set aside 4 hours of my life to watch Insecure, so can you.

Basic Plot

Follows the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman.

That African-American woman is Issa Rae, the co-creator, writer and star of the show. Insecure follows her life in Los Angeles and the people that surround her on the daily.

Watch This If You Like

Atlanta, Girls, Sex and the City, Dear White People

Started From The Bottom

Not to say “the bottom” is the internet, but Issa first gained acclaimed with her popular webseries Awkward Black Girl, and that award-winning series was the reason and basis for Insecure. Like Insecure, Issa wore multiple hats for her webseries, including starring as J, the titular Awkward Black Girl. While a few changes were made for the TV series (she works at a non-profit and not a weight-loss pill company in ABG), the one holdover, and what made the show unique, is how J talks out her thoughts and problems through raps.

Issa’s Raps

These “freestyle” raps are, to put it simply, brilliant. They never come off corny, but rather necessary for how Issa deals with her problems. These are usually performed in some type of mirror, which is super effective because it’s as if she’s hyping herself up or building confidence by looking the problem in the eye (the problem is herself). Plus, it’s a great way to get into Issa’s thoughts without extra dialogue or having a narrator tell us what she’s thinking. It’s modern, usually involves some type of pop culture reference, and always entertaining.

The BFFs

Molly, Tiffany and Kelli, make up the core of Issa’s squad, and their dynamic is what reminds me of a Sex and the City vibe. As seen in the video above, they’re always open with each other and the tribulations in their love lives, giving advice just like your friends would IRL. They’re also constantly supporting each other in their individual endeavors – in the above clip, they’re all on hand to support Kelli’s cousin’s horrible Jesus/gangsta play. Ultimate friend goals right here.

The BFs

In the pilot, we learn that Issa’s been in a long-term relationship with Lawrence, who seems to be unmotivated and unemployed. But good LORD is he a smokeshow. Jay Ellis isn’t new to acting (he was on The Game for years), but new to me. I’m so sorry I had no idea who you were before this, Jay Ellis. You deserve more. You deserve everything. God bless you. Plus the other gentleman callers on this show like Daniel (Y’lan Noel) and Jared (Langston Kerman) are super easy on the eyes and there may or may not be naked bums. Of the male species. God bless Issa Rae.

The Music

At least once every episode, I found speaking into my phone, saying, “Siri, what song is this?”. The soundtrack is spot on and perfectly matches the mood and vibe of the show. Lo and behold, they got a heavyweight to serve as the music supervisor on the first season, enlisting Raphael Saadiq to take charge of every track on the show. Plus, Solange was a music consultant, which makes sense why it was so easy for them to get the rights to Cranes in the Sky. For a song breakdown per episode, go here!

The Realness

One of the most unique qualities of this show is that it isn’t afraid to put real talk into its scripts. The dialogue feels normal and familiar in a way you might think you’ve had the conversation with the characters before, but really, you’ve had it with your friends IRL. Moreover, every character, from Issa to recurring ones, feels real too, from their clothes to their jobs and everything in between. For example, Issa works at a non-profit for disadvantaged youth, while her boyfriend is a struggling tech genius who ends up working at Best Buy. Her BFF Molly is a successful lawyer, and she ends up dating a non-college educated guy who works at Enterprise. AND there’s even a literal Blood. Like member of the Bloods gang (who has a v cute daughter) who lives in Issa’s building. A wide range of people are featured on the show, reflecting not only a lot of people’s friend groups, but shows that a variety of people are represented on screen as well.

The first season of Insecure is OnDemand and streaming on HBOGo. Season 2 is now airing on Sundays at 10:30pm.

Harry Potter Protest Signs: Dumbledore’s Army In The Resistance

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter! Our favorite boy wizard turns 37 today – and the series turns 20 this year – meaning that today’s younger adults grew up alongside Harry and his Hogwarts pals. The messages of Harry Potter have come to define a generation: courage, kindness, acceptance, defending the disenfranchised even if you are not, and standing up to an authoritarian regime. Or rather, those values have come to define the part of the generation that was receptive to the message:

A Potter refresher: Harry Potter was an orphan neglected by his aunt and uncle. He learned that he was a wizard and became a student at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Meanwhile Lord Voldemort, the would-be ruler of the wizarding realm, struggled to return to prominence after falling when he killed Harry’s parents and was unable to bring Harry down.  Voldemort’s followers, the Death Eaters, decried “impure” wizards (those who are born to all- or part- nonmagical families) and used propaganda and hack journalism to spread their message, controlling the presses and what children learn in school. Harry and his comrades formed a resistance movement to defeat Voldemort’s rise, and ultimately succeeded at great personal sacrifice.

In the muggle realm, another resistance movement has grown to counter autocracy, racism, transphobia, anti-intellectualism, and other ills I could not have anticipated when I cracked open my Scholastic copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 1997. Throughout this struggle, something fantastic has happened- a vindication for those who believe that fiction (perhaps children’s fiction above all) can shape a person’s values. The generation that grew up with Harry Potter has adopted the words and lessons of the series as a lingua franca for the ideals many of us hold.

In honor of this, the 37th birthday of Harry Potter (or the 52nd birthday of J.K. Rowling, or the 26th anniversary of Harry getting his Hogwarts letter) we present some of our favorite Harry Potter-related messages from the modern resistance movement:

From the Women’s March: Without Hermione, Harry would’ve died in Book 1. TRUE.

My favorite pop culture references are always the deep cuts: Any HP fan will know that Neville Longbottom proved himself to be a true hero … and he rocked a distinctive cardigan while doing it.

Dumbledore, champion of the underdog, would be unhappy with all of this.

While Potter fans (rightfully) have a lot of opinions about Dumbledore’s sexuality never being mentioned in the book, the fact is that J.K. Rowling has confirmed that he is gay and a policy that hurts wise, gentle Dumbledore hurts all of human- (and wizard-) kind.

This was actually back in ’08, but now I want Harry Potter cannon with married, gay wizard and witch couples. Hogwarts students with 2 moms or 2 dads. A DUMBLEDORE WEDDING THAT MCGONAGALL OFFICIATES, OK.

If you read HP thinking you’d definitely join the DA instead of hiding in the Slytherin basement (#NotAllSlytherins), now’s the time.

Context: this is from a 2010 student protest in the UK re: a rise in tuition fees.

When readers can reach different conclusions from the same series

From the Occupy London protests.

Honestly a bit emotional that kids today are growing up reading Harry Potter and applying it to their real-life situations. Plus those drawings are precious.

womens march banner 9

Are… are we sure this isn’t Hermione?

Straight from the wizard’s mouth: “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”

HA.

Even Voldemort didn’t defund St. Mungo’s. Well, she has a point.

The one that just has Voldemort with an X through it

This one’s for you, Gaddafi.

Your hero and mine, Molly Weasley.

Trump’s Horcruxes! I’ve been convinced his Twitter account is somehow one as well.

And since HP actors truly grew up with the series, here’s Emma Watson at the Women’s March in 2017

Summer Memes Make Me Feel Fine: Pickle

Spicey’s out, The Mooch is loose and Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been at the podium facing reporters every day. Albeit, she started a rather odd tradition in her first White House Press Secretary: reading Donald Trump’s fan mail.

If you missed this amidst the healthcare/Mooch/Russia/general insanity in Washington, here’s a brief recap. On Wednesday, SHS announced she’ll be doing something new at the top of the daily briefing, reading letters from people who write to the president, and incidentally talking about how much they love him. The first is from 9-year-old Dylan Harbin, who also goes by the nickname Pickle. SHS read his letter outloud (and answered his questions – and gave her regards from the president to Pickle). Here is his handwritten letter:

But of course this all seemed fishy (besides feeling like straight up North Korea propaganda shit), and the geniuses of Twitter weren’t letting this Pickle story slide. I mean, is Pickle even real?? After all, Donald Trump Jr. used to have a doll called Captain Pickle AND Mike Pence’s cat is named Pickle. COINCIDENCE?!? The answer is unfortunately yes he’s real, BTW. But before the Washington Post conducted their investigative report, the jury was still out. And here are some of the Twitter jury’s best responses to #PickleGate 2017.