The Weekly What??!!: A GrokNation News Roundup (December 15, 2017)

Net neutrality, politics and more sexual harassment - but also Star Wars treats!
By Esther D. Kustanowitz  Published on 12/15/2017 at 12:06 PM EST

There’s lots of news this week, ranging from net neutrality to an unexpected victory in Alabama to (ucch, yes, still) sexual harassment, misconduct and assault. But we know – Star Wars is out and probably some of you are reading this minutes before you head to the cinema to feast on The Last Jedi – so we’re peppering this week’s edition with some non-spoilery Star Wars-related things, so read on:

Repealing Net Neutrality

Depending on who you ask, net neutrality is either very boring or very complicated – in either case, it’s been an issue that some have seized on but others have dismissed. Basically it means that internet service providers must be neutral on all data on the internet, not charging differently for specific users or platforms. According to Wikipedia, this means that “internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.” Or at least they WERE unable to do so. Just yesterday, the FCC voted “to eliminate a two-year-old rule that classified internet access as a basic utility, a controversial move that will give broadband providers more leeway to sell different tiers of internet service but which critics say will leave consumers and web startups at the mercy of the big telecommunications companies,” according to Business Insider.

Here’s John Oliver’s excellent piece on net neutrality: 

And here’s a really cheesy video from the FCC’s Ajit Pai, who makes fun of people who are upset by the overturn of net neutrality. 

Star Wars Break!

If you have a Google Home unit, you can play Star Wars trivia – hosted by Star Wars show hosts Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni. Check out Andi telling you all about it (around 2:40 in and before that, interviewing new fan favorite Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose in TLJ) here:

Politics Not As Usual

While Doug Jones had been considered a political underdog in the Alabama senate race, he managed to defeat Roy Moore in a special election this week. This means that the seat – once Republican – is now Democratic, which could damage the GOP’s ability to pass future legislation. According to the New York Times, takeaways from this election’s outcome also included awareness that voters from the suburbs rejected Moore; that black voters came out for Jones; and that the GOP is looking for someone to blame.

This Week in Sexual Misconduct, Harassment and Assault

Yes, it’s still a thing. And at this rate, it will probably be a thing in weeks to come, as harassers are revealed and stories continue to emerge. There always seems to be more.

“Harvey Weinstein is my monster too,” actress Salma Hayek proclaimed in the New York Times. “I hid from the responsibility to speak out with the excuse that enough people were already involved in shining a light on my monster. I didn’t consider my voice important, nor did I think it would make a difference.” In her essay, she details the ways she had to say no to Harvey, and how angry it made him, but that he didn’t stop. “The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.’ …In his eyes, I was not an artist. I wasn’t even a person. I was a thing: not a nobody, but a body.”

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) admitted to past sexual misconduct of several varieties, sharing stories of perpetrating harassment, infidelity and engaging in sexual activity where the circumstances are a bit blurry.  “I am part of the problem,” he wrote in a Twitter statement. “We all are. But I am also part of the solution. By recognizing and openly admitting what I’ve done to further this terrible situation, I hope to empower the change within myself. We should all find the courage to admit we’re at fault.”

Three more women have accused Dustin Hoffman, now 80, in predatory incidents, according to Variety. One woman had been in high school when she says Hoffman exposed himself to her in a hotel room; another was a recent college graduate when Hoffman allegedly sexually assaulted her; and a third woman said that Hoffman “assaulted her in the back of a station wagon and manipulated her into a subsequent sexual encounter that left her traumatized.”

And with two additional accusations, ABC’s cooking show lineup is hit by revelations of sexual harassment and misconduct: ABC is pulling “The Great American Baking Show” from its schedule in light of allegations of sexual misconduct against judge Johnny Iuzzini, and terminated their relationship with Mario Batali. “Upon completing its review into the allegations made against Mario Batali, ABC has terminated its relationship with him and he will no longer appear on The Chew,” an ABC spokesperson said in a statement. “While we remain unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with our show, ABC takes matters like this very seriously, as we are committed to a safe work environment and his past behavior violates our standards of conduct.”

The Star Wars Break Strikes Back!

Check out the recorded livestream of the red carpet of The Last Jedi’s premiere, courtesy of The Star Wars Show!

Just for Fun….

Something that’s prettay prettay prettay long, but impressive – Vulture ranked all 91 episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I started reading the piece a week ago and am not finished yet – if I were a college student on winter break, I’d probably start a project watching them all in this order. 

If you love Weird Al as much as we do here (check out that time Mayim and I went to see him perform), you’ll love this retrospective on Mr. Yankovic’s career and how it may be changing.

The Last Star Wars Break

Need a quick review of all the Star Wars movies up to now? Here you go, courtesy of ScreenJunkies:

May the Force – and a spoilers-free weekend – be with you!

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