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Pop Goes The Political Culture Week of July 23

Pop Goes The Political Culture Week of July 23

Lordy! There are tapes!

by Rebekah Kuschmider, MPU co-host

Welcome back, MPU-iniverse! (I invented that last week and I’ve decided I like it. It’s catchy and goes nicely with all the sci-fi stuff DJ and Greg are so into.)

This week has been nothing short of appalling. We got to hear a tape of a mob boss and his toadying underling future President and his attorney discussing, in relatively plain language, a scheme to pay off Trump’s former mistress in a move that may or may not be a violation of campaign finance law. We also had a federal judge agreed to move go forward with the emoluments suit against the Trump administration, essentially saying “Yeah, there’s a strong case to be made that the president is accepting unconstitutional payments from foreign governments in the form of hotel fees.” And the White House announced a plan to pay $12 billion dollars to farmers adversely affected by the trade war with China. A trade war that the president started. On purpose. And which everyone said would hurt farmers.

We’ll be discussing all of this when we get together to record but for now, here’s the rest of the news that’s not fit to ‘cast!

Men (Still) Behaving Badly: Ronan Farrow, the intrepid journalist who keeps taking down famous men who abuse their female employees, has taken down another famous man who has allegedly abused his employees. This time is CBS chief Les Moonves. Reporting in the New Yorker, Farrow writes, “Six women who had professional dealings with him told me that, between the nineteen-eighties and the late aughts, Moonves sexually harassed them. Four described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, in what they said appeared to be a practiced routine. Two told me that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result.”

Stories like this are so common and so dreadful that they inspire a kind of emotional exhaustion when I read them. I bury my face in my hands and wonder how to stop this cycle of male power and male abuse. Then a little voice in my head says “Shonda Rhimes.”

Um, what?

“Shonda Rhimes,” Little Voice repeats. “Shonda Rhimes IS network television. She writes all the best stuff. Been a top creator for years, Everyone loves her. And you know who she’s abused in career? FUCKING NOBODY! Why isn’t Shonda Rhimes running a network? Hmmmm? Or Tina Fey. Tina Fey literally wrote a book on how to be a funny, successful, non-abusive boss and she has Tonys and Emmys lining her office. GIVE TINA FEY A NETWORK! Oprah! Ellen! They are TITANS of television with no abuse in their pasts or presents! PUT THESE BADASS BITCHES IN CHARGE AND LET THESE WHITE BOYS TAKE A DAMN SEAT BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE GETS HURT!”

Oh. That’s a good idea, Little Voice. Can someone get on that? Thanks.

Also? Can we find a way to do to Woody Allen what Ronan has done to every other famous abuser in Hollywood? Because Ronan and his sister Dylan deserve justice for themselves as well.

Feminist Walkback: Little Voice and I need to retract the impression we just set that women in media and entertainment are less douchey than men in media and entertainment. We have just been informed that FoxNews personality Kimberly Guilfoyle has been accused of “showing personal photographs of male genitalia to colleagues (and identifying whose genitals they were), regularly discussing sexual matters at work and engaging in emotionally abusive behavior toward hair and makeup artists and support staff.”

The HuffPo reports that Guilfoyle was under an HR investigation about the charges dating back to last year. She has since let the network and is heading up a pro-Trump PAC.

So women can be abusive and gross in the workplace. No gender is perfect.

As of this writing, there has been no official word on whose genitals she was presenting at work but she’s dating Donald Trump Jr.

Draw your own conclusions.


I’m on A Boat: Someone in Ohio decided to do their bit for equality in US education by unmooring the DeVos family yacht and setting is adrift in Lake Erie last weekend. The crew was aboard at the time and awoke to find themselves floating free. They eventually regained control of the $40 million dollar vessel and re-docked with no injuries.

This prank would have been funnier if there hadn’t been people on the boat. Just sayin’.

But I did some math and figured out that to afford a $40 million yacht, a minimum wage worker would have to work 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, for 2,652.5 years. That’s right. If a person started earning $7.25 per hour the day Jesus was crucified, they’d still have about 550 years to go before they could afford a yacht like the Secretary of Education has.

Income inequality is real. It could be combatted through education but instead of working harder to make sure students at all levels get a fair shake, Secretary DeVos is making it harder for students ripped off by shady for-profit “colleges” to get restitution.

This kind of thing is why there are people muttering “Eat the rich” nowadays.

Everyone’s A Critic: And finally, I want to leave you with this little slice of heaven in the form of an except from a Wall Street Journal review of Sean Spicer’s new book.

We’ll be talking about the rest of the week’s news on The More Perfect Union! Look for it on Monday!

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