Let’s talk about that.

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Cursed image of the author in middle school.

Up until today, I was blissfully unaware that I had the energy of a gifted student. If you are oblivious to what that means, congrats, truly. It means you’re probably not on the cesspool of messiness that we all refer to as Twitter.

There has been an increase in the psychological understanding of the gifted child. Take this tweet by author and self-proclaimed blerd, LL McKinney, for instance, “If you were praised as “gifted” as a kid — especially academically — you’ve likely developed a habit of abandoning tasks and projects you don’t succeed at “naturally,” thus cultivating a complex where even perceived failure sends you into an existential spiral, and in this essay I wi-”. …


This is Trump County, baby!

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Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash

With endless tales of documented voter suppression and voter intimidation, especially in marginalized communities, my story is nothing newsworthy or all-too-important.

My experience voting in rural Missouri wasn’t accompanied by trucks of Trumpies and death threats, it was more so just overwhelming feelings of awkwardness and disdain, and the occasional glare. Oh, and the feelings of existential dread as only half (that’s me being optimistic) of the people in the voting line and inside the building were wearing masks and protective Covid-19 gear.

I have only been a resident of Central Missouri for a few months, both of my extended stays here have been to live with my dad in between college, or jobs, or life, or whatever. …


Gwyneth Paltrow, nonstop drama, and a healthy dose of country-pop, “Country Strong” was a perfect movie.

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(Photo Credit: Screen Gems)

“Loves, lives, and ambitions collide in the high stakes world of big-time country music stardom.”

Country Strong tells the story of the fictional country star Kelly Canter (Gwyneth Paltrow), who has fallen from the high graces of the public and landed herself in rehab for her struggle with alcoholism — which led to the accidental death of her unborn child.

Her husband, James Canter (Tim McGraw), is her disgruntled manager who decides to pull her out of rehab a month early to start her comeback tour. At this point, it’s very clear what the outcome of that will be, but there’s a splash of ambiguity in the shape of an employee at the rehabilitation center, Beau Hutton, who joins the Canters on the short tour as an unofficial “alcohol” watchmen, Kelly’s opening act — fantastic, he also croons country tunes — and her secret beau. …


I’ve never met a young adult drama that I didn’t like.

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Element Pictures

“I guess we just misunderstood each other.”

The Irish drama Normal People chronicles the story of two young adults, around the ages of 18 to 24, and their profound love and admiration for one another. The television show is based on Sally Rooney’s novel of the same name and consists of 12 episodes. Premiering earlier this year in April, the show has bagged itself four Prime-time Emmy nominations and high critic ratings, earning a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Normal People is centered around two characters, Marianne and Connell, played by new “internet-faved” actors, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal.

The two characters find themselves embodying every fandom’s favorite character tropes: the jock and outcast falling in love with one another; the monotone, misunderstood young woman finding security outside of her own traumas and abusers; the soft and sensitive jock who isn’t “like all of the other guys”; a montage of the unrequited lovers biking through an Italian villa. …


What’s something that Chris Evans, Ted Cruz, and Ted Yoho all have in common?

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Image of actor Chris Evans by Roberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images.

Back in July, Captain America actor Chris Evans launched his political organization, “A Starting Point” which is an online “civic engagement platform” developed with the help of actor and director Mark Kassen and entrepreneur Joe Kiani.

The organization’s mission is, “to create a bipartisan channel of communication and connectivity between Americans and their elected officials with the goal of creating a more informed electorate.”

Esquire reported that in light of the release of A Starting Point, Chris Evans would be backing off of his Trump criticisms, disclosing to an interviewer, “I’m going to take my foot off the gas [of social media] for a little bit until we get this thing up and running.” …


A “way-too-personal” track-by-track review

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Alanis Morissette pictured by Shelby Duncan

As Alanis Morissette’s self-proclaimed biggest fan, Such Pretty Forks in the Road has been one of my most anticipated albums of the last year. It comes eight years after her 2012 album Havoc and Bright Lights and 25 years after the release of her most-iconic Jagged Little Pill album.

Although this new album has been in the works since 2017, it was announced at the end of last year that it would be dropping on May 1 — a release date that was then pushed back about three months, to the tail-end of July, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After the immediate release of this album, I was overwhelmed by the amount of male critics reviewing the work, critics who undermined the nuanced woman experiences that Morissette sings about. Full disclaimer: I am not a music reviewer. My writings are typically personal stories and political op-eds, however my “all-too-personal” commentary is a perfectly match for this “all-too-personal” album. …


A Look at Terry Zwigoff’s 2001 Coming of Age Film

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Photo Credit: United Artists

The slow story of a friendship unraveling at every hinge is at the heart of the 2001 movie Ghost World. It is clear from the first fifteen minutes that the two friends, Enid and Rebecca, played by Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson, are not on the same page — however, they have one thing in common: A zero-tolerance attitude towards people and general nonsense.

“You’ll get totally sick of all the creeps, and losers, and weirdos.”

“But those are our people.”

Ghost World is a highly-acclaimed film directed by Terry Zwigoff and written by Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes, the original creator of the graphic novel the film is based on. It earned rave reviews from critics like Roger Ebert and others, and today it is considered to be a cult-classic. …


Hamilton and Blackness on Broadway.

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Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The musical Hamilton is relying on its fanbase to defend the show’s harmful and problematic narrative among its theatrical release on the Disney+ streaming platform.

Although the complications with the Hamilton production are very nuanced, activists and fans who have chosen to highlight them are being gaslit by overzealous supporters (“stans”) of the show, including entertainment journalists and actors.

It is strange for these conversations about race and entertainment to be silenced during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement resurfacing.

Rewind

Hamilton is a musical that premiered off-Broadway in 2015 at the Public Theater in New York City. …


A discussion on performative allyship

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Photo by Michelle Ding on Unsplash

Black Lives Matter has dominated the internet — the hashtags are seen everywhere, major corporations are being coerced into individualizing statements regarding the movement, and White social media influencers are finding themselves at a stalemate concerning what they should be posting on their grids.

Now that the Black Lives Matter movement has reached new heights, it is garnering attention from celebrities, major news sources, and people all around the world — despite the movement being centered in America, we are seeing allies and protests in Tokyo, London, and Paris, among many others. …


The “thumpa thumpa” continues.

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“So the “thumpa thumpa” continues. It always will. No matter what happens. No matter who’s president. As our lady of Disco, the divine Miss Gloria Gaynor has always sung to us: We will survive.”

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Definition of the slang term “thumpa thumpa”, Urban Dictionary.

The American television series Queer as Folk (2000–2005) is an infamous piece of queer media based on a British series of the same name.

Queer as Folk follows five gay men, Brian Kinney, Justin Taylor, Michael Novotny, Emmett Honeycutt, and Ted Schmidt, as they navigate the gay experience in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The show has many supporting characters whose story arcs bring great diversity and importance to the series, including a lesbian couple, Lindsey and Melanie, Michael’s supportive PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) mother, and a character battling HIV, — just to name a few. …

About

Raven Brunner

Culture and entertainment writer. Find me on Twitter and Instagram: @raventbrunner

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