It's been two weeks since we fucked up, 'Merica. And I'm still not over it. We've got a lying liar who lies as our next President and there are White Supremacists throwing around the Nazi salute in our nation's capital. Don't worry, the next President might not denounce them, but Maggiano's will. To quote someone on Twitter - we could be talking about what Clinton will be doing with minimum wage and paid family leave; instead, we're talking about the proper terms for neo-Nazis.
I desperately need something to distract me. And nothing's working. My usual solace, other people and socializing, is failing me. A couple of colleagues from the States visited last week. We had dinner and did everything but talk about the PEOTUS. Gossip about work, random chitchat about travel. But it was always under the surface for me. Why aren't we talking about the elephant in the room? Meeting a friend in London this weekend, I had to keep stopping myself from bringing up Brexit. How can we survive this nationalist bullshit that has taken over our countries? Today, a colleague I always gossip with, asked me if I was looking forward to returning home next month. I had to be honest - not really. He asked me why. Why? I left my country in the hands of a charismatic, intelligent, well-spoken constitutional lawyer. I'm returning to find it in the hands of a racist, inept, thin-skinned embarrassment.
So people aren't a distraction. Most of the podcasts I listen to and people I follow on Twitter are apolitical, but no one's apolitical lately. Scratch those off. I'm not into a particularly great book at the moment, though I'm one more nightmare-filled evening away from picking up Harry Potter. Even friggin' Wicked in London didn't work (more on that in a separate post). Going for a run is way too much time in my head. I've tried to go to a movie theater three times since the election but everything is in German or terrible.
That leaves television! And we are in the golden age of television, after all. Here are the things that are keeping me from thinking too much about the terror of the upcoming administration.
For television, here's what's really taken up space in my brain, gratefully replacing electoral college statistics and arguments against racist relatives.
Friends. I know, I know. How cheesy and lame. But honestly, this show has been as comforting as tomato soup to me for the past twenty years. Through a stroke of luck and excellent Netflix timing, the show got the license to stream in Germany the week following the election. Sure, it's dated in places and definitely misogynistic and homophobic at times. But I can quote almost every episode and my allegiance to each character change as I get older. Also, you know, tradition.
Game of Thrones. I have all the books on my phone, just in case I have a moment of need. As for the show itself, I watched last season with one eye only. When season six aired, I was distracted with travel and real life. Lame! Now, it's the perfect distraction. There are a couple of excellent GoT podcasts I follow, so I've restarted the latest season, watching the episode and then listening to both podcasts' take on the episode. Immersion in this fantasy world is totally necessary when you're terrified about what's going on in the real world. At least Joffrey isn't in charge in real life?
Westworld. I'm going to be honest here: this show isn't perfect. So far, for me, it creates more questions than it answers. The plot seems to meander. But! You know what it does provide? Opportunity for crazy fan theories! And for that, let's be grateful. It does seem to be narrowing its focus in the past couple of episodes, which is excellent. There are also crazy fan theories and fun, insightful podcasts and articles to pour over. Enjoy this one, you've earned it.
The Crown. First, I'm obsessed with London at the moment. Second, I love both John Lithgow and Winston Churchill. Third, some of my favorite things include Netflix, prestige dramas, period pieces, and fancy costumes. This is tailor-made! Honestly, it's a well-made, fancy soap opera, with some really great actors and incredible real-life figures filling out the show. In addition, The Fug Girls have excellent recaps. What more could you want? Here is where I also note: the US seriously needs a monarchy. In The West Wing, this was floated as an off-hand joke. But the idea has some merit. A bunch of other countries do this for a reason! A queen or king would take all the stately stuff off the President's plate - no more State dinners, no more ribbon-cutting ceremonies or pardoning a turkey. All the pageantry can be shuffled off to the monarchy so the President can go command an army or work with Congress on a budget. Also, it would take some of the attention and drama off the President. With a 24-hour news-cycle and a general need to make everything a reality show, this is necessary. Want someone entertaining who says racist stuff and is a total wildcard? Awesome, go cover Prince Phillip. Want a statesman who probably won't sexually assault Angela Merkel, go get the President. Perfect!
Okay, so television hasn't been a total distraction from the news cycle, but it's better than obsessively reading the NYT or WaPo articles. But until then, remember: stay active. Call your representatives, state and federal. For this, check out re:act or flippable for serious steps you can take. Donate to causes you care about, and think the new administration will screw over. Subscribe to a newspaper (NYT seems to have picked up a spine this week!). But then log off Twitter, get off Facebook, and find something to feel something about. Excuse me while I wallow in TV and Netflix.