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Dispatches From the Culture Wars – September 26, 2023

When celebs disappoint, and creators turn against their industries

Maren Morris: “I don’t know what I’m doin’ / Don’t know what I’m tryin’ to find / My only resolution is I’m allowed to change my mind.” Credit, Rich Fury/Getty Images for ACM
  1. Hollywood Squares
  2. Maren Morris Has Had It With Nashville
  3. Menendez and SCOTUS
  4. Alan Moore Has Had it With Superheroes
  5. AOC Heckled By MAGAts
  6. Abortion Patients Flee to Illinois
  7. Fighting Texas Voter Suppression Law
  8. Flatbush Tenants Fight Back
  9. The Black Imagination
  10. Union Blues


Hollywood Squares

By Aja Romano

Several public figures have stepped in it recently by oversharing or making moves they simply didn’t have to make. The list has become so long that it feels less like they’ve committed a series of unforced errors and more like an entire unforced era.

Maren Morris Has Had It With Nashville

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By Nicole Hemmer

There's a battle happening in the country music industry, between those seeking to deepen the industry’s ties to right-wing politics and those seeking to carve out a place for a more inclusive, more representative — and more historically rooted — version of Americana, folk and country music. Maren Morris, who is firmly in that second camp, has been part of the fight to redefine country.

Menendez and SCOTUS

By David Sirota
The Lever

The high court may feel emboldened to use the Menendez case not to counter Americans’ perception that the government is hopelessly rotted through with corruption, but to instead make the rot even worse. Justices could use the case to further whittle down the definitions of terms such as “bribery” and “official act” to almost nothing.

Alan Moore Has Had it With Superheroes

By Chris McPherson

Alan Moore, iconic comic book writer, no longer desires profits from adaptations of his work, suggesting the funds should go to the creative talents. He feels disconnected from comic books, criticizing superhero films for "infantalizing" adults and recycling old characters as adult fare. 

AOC Heckled By MAGAts

By Emily Ngo

Ocasio-Cortez, frequently the target of attacks from right-leaning demonstrators, could hardly be heard above the jeering, and she was forced to leave while her colleagues broke into smaller groups to speak with reporters. The small but loud group of protesters waved signs discouraging migrant work permission, used a megaphone and lobbed curse words.

Abortion Patients Flee to Illinois

By Kristen Schorsch
KFF Health News

Since the Dobbs decision, determining who can get an abortion and where has been complicated by medically ambiguous language in new state laws that ban or restrict abortion. Doctors in those states fear they could lose their medical licenses or wind up in jail. Physicians in abortion havens such as Illinois are stepping up to fill the void and provide care to as many patients as possible.

Fighting Texas Voter Suppression Law

By Leah Tulin and Gabriella Sanchez
Brennan Center for Justice

A major federal lawsuit is challenging a wide-ranging and discriminatory voter suppression law Texas enacted in 2021. While S.B. 1 is one of many antidemocracy laws enacted by 19 states in the year after the 2020 election, it stands out for its sheer number of restrictive and discriminatory provisions, which largely target Latino and Black voters.

Flatbush Tenants Fight Back

By Jess McAllen
The Baffler

The residents of 1834 Caton Avenue, which has over eighty units across six floors, have been asking for adequate living conditions for years. 1834 Caton has more than two-hundred seventy-seven open violations, ninety-two of which are “class C” aka “immediately hazardous.” Nine hundred complaints have been filed over the last two years.

The Black Imagination

By Aisha Shillingford

We are in a time of great transition—a time when the world as we know it is ending and a new world is fighting to be born. There is an opportunity to create new worlds from the Black Imagination, freed from the capitalistic notion that our creativity can and should be exploited.

Union Blues

By Timothy Noah
The New Republic

Trump’s anti-worker stance as president cost him only a single percentage point’s support among working-class voters (defined as voters lacking a college degree), from 51 percent in 2016 to 50 percent in 2020. The Democratic share even of the union household vote—the one working-class demographic where Democrats reliably maintain an edge—has mostly fallen over the past 20 years.