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As we all gear up for the 2020 Presidential race with candidates from the left volunteering themselves as tributes, we have also hit my favorite time of the year every year: Oscar season. This particular ceremony gets lumped into a lot of conversations about taste and value, which considering the show’s raison d’etre prove futile and often boring. An attempt in the 1930s to rebrand and reinvigorate Hollywood during the 1930s, The Oscars were born as a means to entice people back to the movies. The audience might not have been super interested in a film, but a prize winner or a prestige picture, might gain some interest. The awards were and continue to be a smoke screen.

But I love them. I loved them as a kid. Growing up overseas on military bases, they started late on Sunday night, too late for me to stay up on a school night. This lead to a lot of bemoaning on my part to my mother about the injustices of the world – of the Super Bowl being accessible (I can’t remember if it was live or not), but being unable to view the Awards as they happened. Some might call me an advocate and a hero, but I was just a deeply passionate fan of film. I didn’t know what The Crying Game was, but I wanted to be involved regardless. As I grew up and began actually watching more, I became even more obsessive. I screamed at the television when I thought the incorrect choice was made. I was overwhelmed when the person I wanted to win, won. It was as if we triumphed together. More… “‘Tis the (Oscar) Season”

Melinda Lewis has a PhD in American Culture Studies. She knows more celebrity gossip than basic math and watches too much television.

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Does the rise of nationalist populism in both Europe and North America, illustrated by politicians like Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen and others, mean that the Atlantic community now resembles Weimar Germany? Facile comparisons of contemporary Western populists to totalitarian, militarist dictators like Hitler and Mussolini are not only hyperbolic but also misleading. The greatest danger to liberal democracy on both sides of the Atlantic is not its consolidation under neo-fascist dictatorship, but rather its gradual decay into something like the oligarchic regimes that have long existed in many Latin American countries. Fascism? No. Banana republic? Maybe.
More… “Insider Nation v. Outsider Nation”

Michael Lind is a contributing writer of The Smart Set, a fellow at New America in Washington, D.C., and author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States.

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