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I am a cautionary tale for others. Follow my newsletter: https://mikeb98.substack.com/ Follow me on twitter: @98MikeB

The first Game of Thrones’ spin-off performance will show us just how much damage a disappointing finale can wreak

Promotional Photo for House of the Dragon, HBO

On May 5th, HBO has released the official character photos for their upcoming spin-off show, House of the Dragon. The series will cover a major conflict within the House of Targaryan a full three-hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones. The series was ordered by HBO in October of 2019, casting began in July 2020, and it likely won’t air until at least early 2022. …


How ‘Dinner Party’ is a master class of rising tension

“The Dinner Party,” The Office, NBC, 4/10/08

When horror, suspense and thriller writers talk about their inspirations, they often refer to the great, renowned authors and directors like Stephen King or Guillermo del Toro. They pick through the prose and story beats of their works in an attempt to figure out what makes the stories so effectively terrifying.

Although analyzing horror content sure is the most logical way of figuring out the keys to creating a good scary story, there’s also something to be said for analyzing comedy shows like The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, or even It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There’s a very thin line…


The greed and self-delusion that led to the world of Blade Runner, and our own

Sean Young in Blade Runner, 1982. Warner Bros.

One of the most important things to remember, when arguing with people who deny the existence of man-induced climate change, is that their beliefs are not motivated by any kind of legitimate skepticism with the science of the issue. They may attempt to poke holes in scientific studies or attempt to disprove the issue through scientific means, but in the end, their disagreement with the issue is rooted in ideology, not evidence.

You will see a lot of denialists claim that climate change is just a filter for the left to push through a far-left socialist agenda. It’s hard to…


Why I still have hope anyway

Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

A month ago I watched Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez post a live video on Instagram explaining exactly what it felt like for her during the Capital riots on January 6th. It was a deeply brave and moving video, but I couldn’t fully appreciate it at the time. I was too busy imagining the backlash that would inevitably come.

When she started getting emotional, I knew conservatives would call her hysterical. When she mentioned being a sexual assault survivor, I knew they would accuse her of lying, of manipulatively using sexual assault as a shameless political tactic. I knew, watching her video, how…


The case for working with Democrats, not against them

(The Jimmy Dore Show, 12/17/20)

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House from 2007–2011 and then again from 2019 on, is a liberal and Democratic icon. For the left, not so much. Late last year, prominent leftist voices — such as Briahna Joy Gray, Jimmy Dore, and Kyle Kulinski — called on House progressives to hold off on voting for Pelosi to retain the speakership, despite Pelosi facing no real competition for the role, until she calls for a floor vote on Medicare for All.

But some on the left disagreed with this strategy, including Pelosi’s colleague, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. For one thing, a vote on Medicare…


It’s time to question the flawed conventional wisdom driving the minimum wage debate

Demonstrators participate in a protest outside of McDonald’s corporate headquarters on January 15, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

I was 16 when I got my first job at a McDonald’s in upstate New York. It was the fall of 2014; I was paid $8 an hour. It was around this time that I started thinking of my purchases in terms of time. A gallon of milk was around $3, slightly less than half an hour of labor. The cost of the average meal at McDonald’s was around $7, meaning that when a customer ordered a large Big Mac meal, they were spending what would take me just under an hour to earn. …


Lessons from the Trump Era

My slow realization that it’s all theater

Melissa McCarthy on Saturday Night Live (NBC), 2/4/17

The 2016 election was the first Presidential election I was old enough to vote in, and throughout that period I found myself caring a lot about what late night comedians had to say about politics. It’s not that I wanted them to tell me what to think; rather, I truly believed that the satire of comedians like Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver would have a tangible effect at swinging voters towards Hillary.

When John Oliver popularized the nickname “Drumpf,” in March of 2016 on a Last Week Tonight segment, I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I was kind…


Rationalizing away your complicity

Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) and Adriana (Drea de Matteo), The Sopranos, “Denial, Anger, Acceptance.” 1/24/99

The kids on The Sopranos can be hard to like. They’re often described as spoiled, whiny, self-centered, and hypocritical, and a lot of the time they are. On a show filled with murderers and thieves, somehow these two characters managed to provoke the most contempt from viewers.

While I admittedly lost patience with AJ quite a bit over the seasons, I still maintained a lot of sympathy for Meadow. They were both bratty from time to time, but Meadow was smart and often empathetic towards other people. …


How the whiteness of the true-crime genre fuels white supremacist narratives

Facebook profile picture of Haley Anderson, used in the NY Post

By March of 2018, Haley Anderson was a 22-year-old nursing student at Binghamton University. She had a part-time job at an on-campus coffee shop, a full-time job lined up at a Long Island emergency room in her home town, and was set to graduate in May.

Anderson was, by all accounts, a perfectly nice, compassionate, caring person. “She would’ve made an amazing nurse,” her friends said. “She wanted to make people happy, that’s what she always did. She wanted to get out of here and do something, make something of herself.”

The year before, she’d had a strained relationship with…


Learning to understand my Trump-supporting family

Photo: Lionsgate

Growing up, I was always comforted by the idea that my conservative family members weren’t that bad. Yes, they’d always voted Republican, but they were reasonable Republicans, the type that simply had a different way of understanding the world. They liked the idea of universal health care, but they didn’t trust the government’s ability to effectively carry the policy out. They didn’t like the idea of poverty, but they figured raising the minimum wage too much would cause inflation and higher unemployment rates, and would end up harming the poor more than it helped.

These were all valid concerns, ones…

Mike B.

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