Culture Clips: The ‘House of Cards Indeed’ Edition

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Kevin Spacey

For five seasons now, two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey has starred in Netflix’s buzzy House of Cards. He played a caddish President Francis Underwood who manipulated and murdered his way to power and—if the show’s title means anything at all—would’ve someday been laid low by his own misdeeds.

We may never see Underwood’s comeuppance come to pass, ironically, because Spacey’s own alleged misdeeds has sent the actor’s own career a-tumbling.

Actor Anthony Rapp says the actor sexually harassed him when Rapp was just 14. (Spacey was allegedly 26 and drunk at the time.) In a statement, Spacey said he had no recollection of the incident, apologized profusely if it did happen, and announced that he chooses “now to live as a gay man,” an apparent effort, some said to use the LGBT movement as a shield. It didn’t work. Spacey’s since come under withering criticism. Netflix reacted to the controversy by announcing that House of Cards’ sixth season would be its last, then went a step further and said it was suspending production entirely. (Still, Netflix seems reluctant to say farewell to the franchise entirely: It’s apparently exploring the possibility of a spinoff.)

But frankly, it feels as though the issue of harassment could bring down much of entertainment industry like a house of cards. Allegations upon allegations upon more allegations are piling up in the newsosphere, so many that it’s becoming difficult to keep track of them all.

Meanwhile Producer Harvey Weinstein, the guy whose misdeeds started this avalanche of revelations, has been banned for life by the Producers Guild of America. He and director James Toback (the latter whose accusers number in the hundreds) are now being investigated by the police. And the Motion Picture Academy is apparently creating a code of conduct to help prevent these sorts of stories.

But lest we point at Hollywood’s lechery with too a judgmental finger, Relevant calls the Church on the carpet, too—suggesting that Hollywood has been far harder on its miscreants than we have been on our own. “Why do we tolerate, and at times seemingly dismiss, such abhorrent behavior in the Evangelical church?” asks author Brandon W. Peach.

While Kevin Spacey’s “coming out” moment didn’t go over particularly well, the Disney channel is hoping for a better reaction to a fictional coming-out story—this one on its popular coming-of-age sitcom Andi Mack. “‘Andi Mack’ is a story about tweens figuring out who they are,” Disney Channel said in a statement. “Everyone involved in the show takes great care in ensuring that it’s appropriate for all audiences and sends a powerful message about inclusion and respect for humanity.”

Speaking of humanity, Saudi Arabia recently gave a robot citizenship—a move met with quite a bit of criticism, considering the lack of rights real flesh-and-blood women have there. Even weirder: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to build a city completely staffed with robots. So.

But why wait for the future to worry about technology, right? Hacked devices are obviously a problem, and NBC News issued a probably unnecessary reminder that such devices can spy on you.  But some devices are designed to spy on you: The Google Home speaker apparently records pretty much everything its owners say around it. The MoviePass, a startup that proposes to give users the ability to walk into any movie for a low, low monthly rate, plans to make a profit by gathering data on its users and selling the info to businesses. And then there’s the newly unveiled Amazon key, which’ll allow delivery folks to walk into your house, deliver your packages and … nothing else?

But technology has its uses, too. AI algorithms have proven more effective than doctors in diagnosing Alzheimer’s, and The Daily Beast reports on a machine that might just be able to tell if you’re suicidal. Oh, and another AI bot just may be horror’s next Stephen King.

But at least King, if he is going to be replaced by a bot one day, can go out on top. IT, the movie based on his bestselling 1986 book of the same name, helped make 2017 the best year for horror movies ever. (At least for the moment.)

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Evan Weisensel 16 days ago
Honestly, I agree that the Church does need to step up as well hen abuse like this happens in it instead of hiding it for of making us look bad. I remember a few years ago, a similar incident happened within our church where a high ranking member was found abusing his own family (coincidently, right around the time the Duggar incident happened weirdly enough) and even though the church was kind of hush-hush about it (no big announcements, scandals, or anything) they did do the right thing and quickly got rid of that member. So yeah, the church in general should be more willing to step up to the plate and be as quick to condemn and get rid of that type of toxic behavior within themselves as quickly and as fast as they do when similar things happen outside the church in places like Hollywood. 

Well spoken in that regard, Relevant and PluggedIn. :)
charitysplace 16 days ago
I have seen firsthand how a lie can destroy an innocent person's life, which makes me reluctant to believe some of these allegations. I have no doubt there are a lot of sexual predators in Hollywood, since it's no secret this sort of thing (the 'casting couch') has gone on for decades, but what concerns me is how to sort between legitimate accusations and people hopping on the famous bandwagon to get attention through lies (and or hoping for a financial 'settlement' as 'compensation).

It will take true wisdom to navigate this mind field!

I only saw a couple of episodes of the new "House of Cards" since it proved too filthy for my taste, but I just have to say it, based on the original Ian Richardson series -- "You may think that, but I couldn't possibly comment." ;)
charitysplace 16 days ago
PS: Checked out the horror-writing AI.

After reading what they wrote, I do not feel threatened as a writer or an editor. ;)

"“When I heard the phone ring again, I ran to the stairs. As I was running down the stairs, I started to hear crying. I shone my phone around the corner of the staircase and saw the crying baby getting closer. I crawled over to it and kicked it as hard as I could. The crying from the stairs turned into a soft metallic sound.”

The editor in me says: 4 uses of the same word (stairs) in one paragraph. Over-use of clunky words that slow down the reader. Toneless and without emotion. Passable for a newbie writer but nowhere good enough to print.

In other words, it needs something more like this:

"As the phone rang again, I ran to the stairs and threw myself down them, the crying resonating in my ears. In the light of my phone, to my horror, I saw the crying baby crawl closer, its gaping mouth unable to match the grotesque sound issuing from its innards. I tripped and fell, my legs tangled beneath me, unable to crawl away as the baby latched onto my heel. I kicked out in desperation, connected, heard a crunch... and the crying sent a chill up my spine as it became metallic..."
bobed 16 days ago
That's awful. What is the context of this?
charitysplace 16 days ago
The former is an example of AI's clunky writing; the latter is how me (a real writer) would have written that paragraph. LOL

(Read the article linked to in the main post.)
Evan Weisensel 16 days ago
You forgot the most impotent part of your scary story! 

"And then, just when I thought was safe, A SKELETON POPPED OUT AND SAID BOO!"
bobed 17 days ago
I hope for nothing more than that these awful allegations bring reformation in depraved Hollywood. You trust me when I say that we have only reached the very tip of the iceberg. BRING HOLLYWEIRD DOWN.
bobed 16 days ago
Our replies were deleted. How funny.
Inkfeather1 . 16 days ago
Well, then I'll just repost a summary. You are wrong. Hollywood is not to blame for this. These problems pervade every part of society, even the church that you conveniently forgot to mention in your original post. Society needs to stop blaming media and the "breakdown of the family" since these problems have been going on for far longer than those things have.
Evan Weisensel 16 days ago
Well said, dude. It's like the old joke/phrase says: "It's not guns that kill people! It's the people that kill people!"
bobed 15 days ago
You clearly did not get the chance read my lengthy reply in which I detailed my experience with sexual misconduct in the church - which, unfortunately, is extensive - and readily admitted that these incidents are not isolated. The church is certainly not immune. However, at this moment, we are not talking about the church. We're talking about Hollywood. So why do you feel the need to turn the conversation over to the church? Seems suspiciously atheistic to me, but whatever.
Inkfeather1 . 15 days ago
I read your reply and responded to it. We are not talking about Hollywood we are talking about abusive behavior that is happening everywhere. I don't care what experiences you have had, you left out the church in your first post and are desperately trying to get the subject off of it now. Why? The church is clearly part of the problem and need s to be addressed as much as Hollywood does.
bobed 15 days ago
Old bluegrass was my parents' music of choice. I still have fondness for it today. Sirius radio is my good friend because I can listen to whatever specific taste I want, and bluegrass is often my choice. However, I confess to knowing nothing about kangaroos.
Evan Weisensel 15 days ago
I remember my zoo had a small exhibit over the summer where you could walk a small path in an enclosure without boundaries so Kangaroos could walk along or across the path you were on. It was pretty cool, but when I went there with friend, most of the kangaroos were just chilling in the shade.
charitysplace 15 days ago
I'm curious: if there is a breakdown of the 'family' -- which family are we talking about? What is this myth of the past being better than the present? As a historian / student of history, I can tell you the myth of an ideal family is just that -- a myth. If you want the 'family' of the past, you must accept the truly dreadful things that accompanied past societies. In some ways, the present is better than the past; at least now children have a choice -- to marry for love, rather than to be 'traded' or 'sold' to pursue the family holdings, for example.
bobed 14 days ago
Why was my response deleted??? It was not inappropriate whatsoever.
Inkfeather1 . 14 days ago
I put "breakdown of the family" in quotes because I don't actually believe it exists :) Family is what you make, not where you're born. You don't have to have a blood relation to a person to be their family, and your own blood can be the furthest thing from family ever. I think family is stronger now than ever since people realize it's about love and not just producing an heir. People like to throw the term around a lot though, so I used it as an example.