When Philip Roth published his novel The Plot Against America it was 2004, shortly before George W. Bush’s re-election. The novel tells the story of an alternate history in which famed aviator and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh was elected President in 1940 and took America to the brink of its own anti-Semitic fascist regime. At the time, critics saw the book as a broadside against Bush, a warning of what could happen if America gave in to patriotic fervour and forgot its multiethnic roots.

In the winter of 2020, HBO aired a miniseries version of Roth’s novel, adapted by The…


Fan art by Eagle Scout Brandon Pederson

Martin Urbano is the most miraculously uncancelled man in comedy. Every week, he goes live on Twitch and talks about his fondness for the works of Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, his good friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and Allen Dershowitz, his assorted criminal enterprises, and of course his interest in pedophilia, bestiality, incest, and everything else under the problematic sun. What’s more, he does it to the delight of a fandom known for being progressive and sensitive, once described as “obscenely nice.”

The show in question is called Who Wants $2.69? (say it out loud), a comedic game show b̵a̵s̵e̵d̵…


The Anti-Politics of Joe Biden

There is a certain stink which losing US presidential candidates give off. They are typically senior figures within their party, people who have put in their time and have a long list of credentials. They likely won the primary after the party establishment rallied together against a perceived more radical candidate. They don’t have a strong personality, and run mostly on revulsion towards their opponent. This is John Kerry, John McCain, Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton. This is also Joe Biden.

In contrast to this, presidential winners are typically either incumbents or those who are…


In Mur Lafferty’s Heaven, protagonist Kate dies and finds herself in heaven along with her best friend Daniel. Daniel, who she always had an unrequited crush on in life, tells her he loves her and they set about spending their after afterlife together. However, Kate gradually realizes that this is not the person she knew on Earth, but a simulacrum created to match her desires, and finds this profoundly unsatisfying. …


Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite has proven to be that rarest of objects: a foreign language film that crosses over to mainstream success in the English-speaking world. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and has received a round of plaudits not just from the usual credentialed critics but the rich and famous. Supermodel Chrissie Teigen and possible supervillain Elon Musk both took to Twitter to praise the movie.

These responses drew a wave of revulsion from the Twitterati. The laudatory reviews of Parasite have largely focused on the film’s discussion of class. Parasite is the story of…


These guys were pretty cool.

In what may have been a moment of madness, I decided to watch the most recent (fourteenth) season of America’s Got Talent, the US’s favourite (?) summer-season performance competition show. Now, normally I’m a pretty elitist guy when it comes to my TV watching, preferring dour cable dramas and bizarre anime, but I have been known to enjoy reality competition shows like Survivor and Top Chef in the past. And I figured that if I wanted to try a more performance-driven show, the variety of acts in AGT would make it more interesting than one of the numerous singing competitions.


When I was eight, I was selected for my school board’s gifted program. I would spend the next nine years of my life taking early-morning buses across town, undertaking weird projects with a small group of other precocious kids. It set me on a winding track through university, grad school, and now to my current precarious writing lifestyle. It was something I took a kind of pride in.

But recently, the existence of programs like these have come into question. This summer, aschool diversity task force in New York issued a report recommending the abolition of its own gifted and…


An article by Andrea Denhold critiquing the recent popularity of the true crime genre, using the example of the popular podcast My Favorite Murder, made the rounds on social media lately. Denhold seems to have struck a chord with many progressives suspicious of the genre’s rise. (Of course, true crime has always been popular, but only recently has it become both popular and culturally respectable through formats like Netflix documentaries and public-radio podcasts.)

In some ways, however, Denhold’s argument strikes me as odd. She argues that true crime ultimately upholds the criminal justice system, using as examples moments in My…


My farm always has too many trees

For the past six months I’ve immersed myself in the world of Stardew Valley, the popular farming simulator. The game deposits you on a weed-choked plot in the small Pelican Town and invites you to transform it into a functioning farm. Along the way you can make friends with the local townspeople, try out your hand at fishing, and explore the monster-filled mines. I’ve put about 50 hours into the game, but recently I stopped to wonder whether I was actually having fun. And, if so, why?

Stardew Valley has its obvious charms — the amiably retro pixel art, the…


In the late 1990s, Pokemon redefined what a multimedia craze looked like. There had long been cartoons with toys and comic book tie-ins, but nobody had ever been successful across quite so many media and product lines. There were Pokemon movies, stuffed animals, jigsaw puzzles and waffle irons. Unlike other cross-media narratives, there was never really a core text of which all the rest were adaptation or spin-off. But at the centre of it all lay a kid holy trinity: the Game Boy games, the anime show, and the collectible card game.

What’s more, all of this core media was…

Rob Hutton

A guy hiding underground shouting at the TV.

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