For years I’ve braced myself for a potential foreign attack on the Capitol. I never thought the invaders would be U.S. citizens.

Pro-Trump extremists break the windows of the Capitol building. Photo: Pacific Press/Getty Images

As a child of the 9/11 era, there are a lot of headlines I thought I might eventually see. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, I thought I might see that a plane had hit the Sears Tower in my hometown of Chicago. After Barack Obama was elected president, I thought I might see that a white supremacist had assassinated him. The only thing that surprises me about a mass shooting is not the act of violence, but a particularly high death toll.

I was not prepared for this.

On a day in which the leadership of the federal…


In a surprisingly enjoyable film that makes some strange choices, its characterization of its main star stands out as its most bizarre.

I strongly question the wisdom to start a player who’s smaller than the ball, but you do you, Bron. (Warner Brothers)

You know, I really hadn’t planned on Alternate Timeline Movie Reviews becoming a series, but welp, here we are.

I had originally titled this piece “A Hater’s Review of Space Jam: A New Legacy.” Like I said earlier this spring, I was dead-set on grumping my way through this movie, tongue rigidly planted in cheek as I hysterically nitpicked over every possible failing the new film had in comparison to the original — as though the first movie was Casablanca reborn. …


After this week’s backlash to the EURO 2020 final and The Little Mermaid remake, it feels like we’re long overdue for a better class of racist asshole.

Sports Illustrated / The Crowned Heart

As I continue my inexorable march to the grave, something I’ve tried to grapple with is the extent to which decades of pop culture consumption has impacted my development, and trying to deprogram its more pernicious effects. Sometimes those critiques are aimed internally, such as the way that (insert-royal-flush-of-descriptors-indicating-privilege-bingo-except-I’m-Black) men are conditioned to relate to or treat women. Sometimes they’re external, like the presumptive nigh-infallibility of the police.

But recently, I’ve hit on a new one: the idea that villains tend to have some redeeming factor, or otherwise attractive quality if they don’t.

Maybe they abide by a strict code…


Nothing about Marvel’s latest movie, good or bad, can eclipse the sensation of what it meant to finally watch it.

(Marvel Studios)

This could have been. In another (non-Sacred?) timeline, this probably would’ve been.

I would’ve written about how inescapably weird it is that the third hero ever introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t get her own movie until over a decade after her debut, and how sad it is that so little has changed about nerddom’s biases in the years since. …


Any celebration of Derek Chauvin’s sentencing is hollow without acknowledging the woman who made it possible.

If you’ve never read the initial Minneapolis Police statement after George Floyd’s murder, you should. It’s a masterpiece in the art of spin, and in an alternate universe, that statement from the MPD is the first and final word on what happened the night George Floyd was killed.

A suspect, probably under the influence and already in poor health, physically resists his arrest. The arresting officers benevolently notice that he might be in distress and call for an ambulance, where he tragically dies. There is no fault, there is no blame, and most notably, there is no violence.

Because in…


The backlash to a bisexual Loki betrays how little reactionary fandoms care about source material when it no longer suits them.

One of the weirder aspects of living in the United States is seeing how prickly we can be when it comes to perceived attacks on Christian doctrines or values, and juxtaposing that against the ease with which different religions and deities get remixed in pop culture without anyone batting an eye. Take the following examples with a grain of salt; I haven’t crunched the numbers on this, and I don’t know how I’d even start.

But I’d be willing to bet that most people are familiar with Hades as a satanic villain bent on domination, and not a neutral figure…


In a world where “woke” is effectively another racial slur, corporate adoption of AAVE phrasings is beyond insulting.

Hey there, CNN.

I know you’ve had a rough go of it the last few years. To half the country, your name is synonymous with “fake news,” and everything you say is not to be taken with a grain of salt so much as a pillar of it. To a good chunk of the other half, you embody everything that is wrong with corporate journalism in the institutional pursuit of carving out a neutral zone between the FOXes and MSNBCs of the world. …


St. Thomas More Catholic Church — Chicago, IL

One night, you call your mother.

It’s not an especially uncommon occurrence. You’ve called your parents almost every night since the Airborne Toxic Event began, so this conversation is comfortably one out of somewhere in the upper 300s by now. And like anything that anyone does almost every night, it’s become a little rote, with what little conversational French you remember rolling off of your tongue with robotic ease. She asks what you’re having for dinner, you ask how the rest of the family is doing, she tells you what the weather back home is like, you tell her how…


The Marvel Cinematic Universe dominates the cultural landscape. Its latest entry shows how it keeps wasting the chance to change it.

Early in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, set during the height of World War II, there’s a scene where a skinny little nobody from Brooklyn named Steven Rogers attempts to enlist in the US Army. It’s the sixth time he’s tried, having been previously rejected for his small stature and long history of illnesses. When Steve realizes he might get arrested for falsifying his enlistment documents, he tries to book it, before he’s confronted by a doctor who asks him, point-blank, if he wants to “kill some Nazis.”

After introducing himself as Dr. Abraham Erskine and pressing Steve on…


Mortal Kombat (2021) is a bad movie. One of its side characters saves it from being terrible.

There’s a new Mortal Kombat movie out this weekend. It is not a good movie.

I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise to many people; when it comes to cross-media adaptations, video game movies are notoriously and consistently the worst. That’s not to say that there aren’t outliers; I’ve heard good things about Sonic the Hedgehog, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was surprisingly enjoyable, and if you grit your teeth, Prince of Persia isn’t that rough of a sit. Even the first Mortal Kombat movie makes for a decent enough guilty pleasure. But on the whole, there’s something about that particular…

Mickey Desruisseaux

Writer. Nerd. Shithole-American. A monster of many words trying to be a man of all of them.

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