We begin this week where we began last: with the election. Even though President-Elect Donald Trump was a former reality star himself, that doesn’t mean that Hollywood was thrilled with his win.
The Los Angeles Times gathered celebrity reactions on Twitter and discovered that while Scott Baio and Kirstie Alley were cool with the results, most of the entertainment industry was not. Lady Gaga protested outside Trump Tower in Manhattan, comedian Taran Killam was blasted for calling rural Americans “stupid,” and Amy Schumer had to backtrack on her plans to leave the country if Trump won. (She now says she was joking.)
But if celebs were tweeting their frustration, some experts were examining how Twitter and other social networks might’ve influenced our votes. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that the fake news disseminated on his site didn’t sway the election, and to say that it did was “a pretty crazy idea.” But some prognosticators say that new technology is bound to have a massive influence and is never, ever neutral: “The problem is we can never figure out which way it’s going to cut until it arrives,” says Silicon Valley forecaster Paul Saffo. Others allege that, because it insulates from opposing ideas, social media makes our political divisions all the deeper.
Amid an extraordinarily fractious election, some folks sought diversion. So what did they do? They stood perfectly still while people filmed them and posted the results online. It’s called the Mannequin Challenge, and everyone from Adele to Paul McCartney have gotten in on the act. Former musical group Destiny’s Child—Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams—even reunited briefly to freeze on camera. Not exactly a reunion tour, but their fans’ll take what they can get.
The Guardian’s Arwa Mahdawi finds it interesting that the Mannequin Challenge has found such robust support in our harried age, and she gave me one of my favorite quotes of the week: “The fact that just being quiet and still for a moment has been so enthusiastically embraced by everyone from high schoolers to imminent presidents is a sign, I feel, that we are all very, very tired, and we would like a little rest, please.”
And some of us found a couple hours of R&R where we often do: In the movie theater. Moviegoers turned Doctor Strange into a rare mid-fall blockbuster despite the fact that it was indeed a very strange superhero movie. There wasn’t a single gun in the flick, for one thing. And instead of a city getting destroyed, as we’ve come to expect in superhero movies, one was—thanks to a bit of time-reversal magic—built back up. “I really wanted to have set pieces that were not about mass destruction and gunfights,” Director Scott Derrickson said. But as we’ve noted in this space repeatedly, one of Strange’s most interesting elements is its complex notions of spirituality. Derrickson, a Christian, has plenty to say about God, film and Doctor Strange in this Relevant Magazine profile.
Who needs elections when you’ve got a monarchy? Well the British, bless them, have both, and Netflix’s lavish series The Crown examines England’s royal family in painstaking and sometimes problematic detail. We’ve already told you last week that it was perhaps the most expensive television show ever made. But according to MTV’s Teo Bugbee, The Crown’s popularity will be far more dependent on coitus than cost. “If I must watch royals, then by god, let them be slutty,” she writes.
Is it possible that that attitude might be a contributing factor to the sudden rise in sexually transmitted diseases among teens? While we at Plugged In may suspect a correlation between media and entertainment, far be it from researchers to suggest such a link. Scientists have found, however, that teens who take unprescribed opioid painkillers often use marijuana, too. And here’s another correlation that will surprise practically no one: Teens who vape are not just more likely to smoke, but to smoke heavily.
We hate to leave you with a bad, smoky taste in your mouth, so let’s end on this pleasant thought: Pretty soon, your smart appliances could track pretty much everything you do. Isn’t technology wonderful?
Culture Clips are compiled by Paul Asay, Adam Holz and Bob Hoose