Why I Will Never Stop Writing About Politics
I got an email from a reader not too long ago saying that he loved the website and particularly loved My World of Flops but that pieces like my recent Case File on the Clive Cussler adaptation Sahara were so focused on race and politics as to be unreadable. He said that he came to my website to avoid the ugliness and division of the outside world, not to be continually reminded of it. Couldn’t I just write about cheesy movies? Did I have to bring politics into everything?
To this gentleman I say thank you for the kind words and your readership but also no. No, I will not stop writing about politics. No. No. No. Oh God no. I won’t stop writing about race. I won’t stop writing about sexism and homophobia and Islamophobia and class and gender and Donald Trump. I will never delineate between writing about politics and writing about popular culture because they are inextricably intertwined.
To me everything is political. Indeed, if I were to follow this reader’s suggestion and lay off the politics and/or race that in itself would be a political gesture. To choose not to be political in an age when Donald Trump is President would be, to me, amoral. It would be deeply amoral. To not write about race or gender or bigotry or representation when those issues are at the epicenter of our culture would be irresponsible.
Besides, I am a deeply political human being. I always have been. When I was eleven years old I volunteered for Michael Dukakis. As a child, I memorized the names of every President and Vice President. When I found out a sixth mate classmate was the grandson of unsuccessful Presidential candidate George McGovern it was as exciting to me as going to school with a relative of a pop star or Hall of Fame athlete.
Politics have always fascinated me. That’s the shit that gets my heart racing and blood pumping. Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place is nothing if not an ongoing exploration of my personal obsessions and idiosyncrasies.
It’s not as if I had to awkwardly shoe-horn race and politics in Sahara. As I wrote in the piece, Sahara is a colonialist wet dream about white American goofballs who end up saving Africa while on the hunt for a Confederate battleship in the Motherland. That’s what’s fascinating to me about Sahara, particularly since part of the legal wrangling around the film concerns a dude who wrote a moderately racist novel possibly using racist and anti-Semitic language and rhetoric in his everyday life as well.
I find the colonialist and racial elements of Sahara infinitely more interesting than its mise en scène. When I write about Cussler’s racism, I’m not inserting politics where they don’t belong; I’m acknowledging what’s already there, just barely under the surface.
I understand the frustration of people who feel like writers today see everything, particularly the entertainment of the past, through the harsh, unyielding, identity politics-obsessed prism of contemporary sensitivities, through an almost impossible to meet “wokeness” filter. I know I’m certainly guilty of that sometimes but I also like to think that I’ve been doing this long enough that I’m able to put the art and entertainment of the past and today in an appropriate context.
I write about pop culture in a way that involves writing about everything, including politics.
I will continue to write about race and politics in the weeks and months and years ahead with a small difference: I am a staunch right-wing Republican now and a big Trump supporter. I watched some Candace Owens and Scott Adams Youtube videos over the weekend that made me see things in a new light. Also, if you really LISTEN to Diamond and Silk they make a lot of sense.
So I’m going to continue to be extremely political in my writing but not necessarily in the manner you might expect.
in conclusion, MAGA!
Support independent media, get access to patron-only content and help ensure a robust present and future for the Happy Place over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace