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RAW VIDEO: “America’s Fascist Brew; Will America Fail?” Sneak Preview

RAW VIDEO: If we missed you at last night’s webcast where we shared our thoughts on “If America Fails?:  The Coming Tyranny” – “America’s Fascist Brew; Will America Fail? – the Sneak Peek” – you can catch up at the link below.

Season 1 of “If America Fails?:  The Coming Tyranny,” airs Thursdays, 8:00 pm ET, starting January, 2022, on YouTube.  This TruthWorks Network production is co-hosted by Janice Graham and L. Michelle Odom.

This panel features Dr. Karen A. Ritzenhoff, Professor, Department of Communication, Central Connecticut State University.  Dr. Ritzenhoff is a co-editor of The Handmaid’s Tale:  Teaching Dystopia, Feminism, and Resistance Across Disciplines and Borders, and many other books.

Joining us in this event were Geo Moses and Suzanne Colson.

“America’s Fascist Brew; Will America Fail?” is an introduction to the “If America Fails?  The Coming Tyranny” webcast series.  It features a two-hour online panel discussion where we shared videos from “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu TV series and summarized the first four seasons of the show, while exploring key themes.  The panel discussion was followed by a one-hour open chat with the audience, found at this link.    

“IF AMERICA FAILS?:  The Coming Tyranny,” is a real-world exploration of a fictional story.  A new totalitarian society is created in the dystopian world of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”  It resonates, frighteningly, with the dramatic efforts happening in the United States today—to suppress voting rights, limit a woman’s right to choose, criminalize free speech, distort education, rewrite history, and other threats taking place in the country now.  Our Black voice collaborative considers the themes presented by the universally-focused web series, from our own perspective—relating them to real-life current events—and warns, the time to fight fascism is NOW!

“Slouching Towards Gilead,” by Megan Garber, The Atlantic

“The Handmaid’s Tale showed the ease with which the unthinkable can become ordinary—a lesson crucial in the age of the Big Lie…

“When the TV version of The Handmaid’s Tale premiered in 2017, the show was a textbook piece of Trump-era resistance art—a direct reply to the preening misogynies of the newly elected president. Both the book and the show were timely parables of gendered violence, reminders that history can also move backwards. And they retain that power today: The Trump administration may have concluded, but its encroaching cruelties have not. State leaders are currently attempting to legislate away the rights of, among many others, trans people, of other LGBTQ people, of women. But The Handmaid’s Tale is urgent again for another reason as well. Lawmakers in several states, empowered by the nearly friction-free spread of Trump’s Big Lie, are attempting to limit people’s ability to vote—and building the power to cast as ‘fraudulent’ those electoral outcomes they find politically inconvenient. They are doing much of this in a way that might be familiar to Atwood’s readers: They are treating these elemental threats to democracy as if they were business as usual…

“One of the paradoxes of this moment of democratic emergency is that the threat, strictly speaking, doesn’t always look like the crisis it is. Laws being passed by lawmakers: This would seem to be business as usual. The whole thing is, for the most part, very orderly. Part of the challenge, for the public, will be to see the emergency for what it is—even if the encroachments are bureaucratic rather than outwardly violent, and even if the changes come slowly before they come suddenly. There are many ways to attempt a coup. And there are many ways for the unthinkable to become, finally, banal.”

— Megan Garber, The Atlantic

“One of the paradoxes of this moment of democratic emergency is that the threat, strictly speaking, doesn’t always look like the crisis it is. Laws being passed by lawmakers: This would seem to be business as usual. The whole thing is, for the most part, very orderly. Part of the challenge, for the public, will be to see the emergency for what it is—even if the encroachments are bureaucratic rather than outwardly violent, and even if the changes come slowly before they come suddenly. There are many ways to attempt a coup. And there are many ways for the unthinkable to become, finally, banal.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale: WHY NOW? Interdisciplinary lessons about Margaret Atwood’s Prophetic Dystopia.” By Karen A. Ritzenhoff, Ph.D.

This is the second of two PowerPoint presentations Dr. Karen A. Ritzenhoff wanted to share when she joined “If America Fails?” for the inaugural episode – “America’s Fascist Brew; Will America Fail? – the Sneak Peek,” on October 14th.  Due to technical difficulties, we were not able to share this PPT in the live event.  For the full PPT, please see link below.

In “The Handmaid’s Tale: WHY NOW?  Interdisciplinary lessons about Margaret Atwood’s Prophetic Dystopia,” Dr. Karen A. Ritzenhoff considers ways in which resistance to the cruel abuses depicted in the show is formed – as well as how the show has inspired real-life resistance efforts, such as responses to anti-abortion bills currently being pushed around the U.S.  She also considers the implications of forcing women out of the workforce and the specter of rape as a sanctified occurrence.

“Writing Women Out of the Public Sphere” (PPT) by Karen A. Ritzenhoff, Ph.D.

Linked below is the first of two PowerPoint presentations Dr. Karen A. Ritzenhoff wanted to share when she joined “If America Fails?” for the inaugural episode – “America’s Fascist Brew; Will America Fail? – the Sneak Peek,” on October 14th.  Due to technical difficulties, we were not able to share this PPT in the live event.  For the full PPT, please see link below.

Dr. Ritzenhoff highlights some aspects of The Handmaid’s Tale story that explore women’s role in the working world outside the home, in this presentation.  She centers on the role of language, news and access to information, with special attention to the role of journalism.

“The rights that we enjoy now are not the default status. The default status for anyone who is not white, straight, or male, as history shows, is actually to have no rights at all.” 

— Lauren Macivor Thompson

AFTER-SHOW Chat: “America’s Fascist Brew; Will America Fail?” Sneak Preview

AFTER-SHOW Chat:  If we missed you at the after-show on last night’s webcast where we shared our thoughts on “If America Fails?:  The Coming Tyranny” – “America’s Fascist Brew; Will America Fail? – the Sneak Peek” – you can catch up at the link below.  This one-hour discussion received audience calls reflecting on the evening and exploring themes in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Season 1 of “If America Fails?:  The Coming Tyranny,” airs Thursdays, 8:00 pm ET, starting January, 2022, on YouTube.  This TruthWorks Network production is co-hosted by Janice Graham and L. Michelle Odom.

This panel features Dr. Karen A. Ritzenhoff, Professor, Department of Communication, Central Connecticut State University.  Dr. Ritzenhoff is a co-editor of The Handmaid’s Tale:  Teaching Dystopia, Feminism, and Resistance Across Disciplines and Borders, and many other books.

Joining us in this event were Geo Moses and Suzanne Colson.

FOLLOW TruthWorks Network on Blog Talk Radio

If America Fails?  The Coming Tyranny” chats with our audience after the live webcast, on the TruthWorks Network site at Blog Talk Radio.  Archives of the After Show Chat are found at this site, as well as other programming produced by TWN.  Follow us there and receive notices of live episodes.

“Voting Rights: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)”

“John Oliver discusses the current attacks on voting rights, who’s behind them, and what we can do about it.”  — Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Gaslit Nation

About Katti Ritzenhoff: Oil, Acrylic and Water Color Paintings

“Oil, acrylic and water color paintings based in Litchfield, Connecticut.

“Katti Ritzenhoff discovered her passion for painting while on sabbatical from her full time teaching job at Central Connecticut State University. She is now combining her theoretical background in film and media studies as well as visual communication and television production with the creation of new work. Inspired by the French Fauve movement and German expressionist figures like Franz Marc and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, as well as the Russian Wassily Kandinsky, Ritzenhoff tries to explore using a palette with primary colors.

“The most influential journeys led her in 2018 and 2019 to Namibia and Morocco in Southern and North Africa. Frequent trips to England while on Sabbatical also allowed her to discover the exhibits by Pierre Bonnard, Joaquin Sorolla and Vincent Van Gogh, on view in London. Research on Stanley Kubrick’s films in the London Archives adds to the background of these explorations.

“The first of Ritzenhoff’s painting projects was inspired by a co-edited publication about The Handmaid’s Tale: Teaching Dystopia, Feminism, and Resistance Across Disciplines and Borders (with Janis L. Goldie, Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), a grim reminder that women’s and civil rights are at stake in post-9/11 America. The representation of Margaret Atwood’s ‘Offred,’ based on the image of actress Elisabeth Moss in the Hulu TV adaptation, is now used as the cover of the book.

“In April 2020 Ritzenhoff exhibited oil and water color pictures from a recent trip to Colombia at Marty’s Cafe in Washington Depot (in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic).

“One of the goals for the future is to integrate political content into the art work…”  © Katti Ritzenhoff

“Dr. Karen A. Ritzenhoff, Professor, Department of Communication, Central Connecticut State University.  Co-Chair, the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, as well as Cinema Studies and the Honors Program.  Co-editor, The Handmaid’s Tale:  Teaching Dystopia, Feminism, and Resistance Across Disciplines and Borders.”  –CCSU

“The News is America’s New Religion, and We’re in a Religious War” by Matt Taibbi

When I reached young adulthood in the late 70s, I admired journalists and journalism – even considered it as a possible career choice.  I liked the way journalists appeared to be digging and searching for truth and holding power to account.  Even as a young woman, it made sense to me that we couldn’t really have democracy without the facts, and the role of the “fourth estate” was essential. We’re miles and miles and years and years away from that idyllic vision of the media, but I still think it’s a good idea to keep an image of what the sector could be, and to look for ways to support and strengthen it.

“News in America used to be fun to talk about, fun to joke about, interesting to think about. Now it’s an interminable bummer, because the press business has taken on characteristics of that other institution where talking, joking, and thinking aren’t allowed: church. We have two denominations, both as fact-averse as real churches, as is shown in polls about, say, pandemic attitudes, where Americans across the board consistently show they know less than they think…

“Tales of each other’s stupidity are the new national religion, and especially among erstwhile liberals, we take them more seriously than any religion has been taken in the smart set in a long, long time…By the time Trump arrived, there was only one route left for media companies, who’d lost ad revenue to Internet platforms, to make money: putting content behind a paywall. Essentially, news companies passed a hat and asked for donations, just like churches. Also like churches, they began to sell belief instead of fact. They turned viewers and readers into congregationalists, people who’d be less interested in news than calls to spiritual battle…

“America is a now a nation of warring media faiths, with Fox/OAN/Newsmax preaching a heretic Savanarola-style gospel of corrupt elites lying about everything from election results to vaccine efficacy, while the rival Church of the Mainstream, which describes itself as the (literally) true faith and exclusive arbiter of such things as ‘fact’ and ‘science,’ preaches a coming fascist apocalypse. Its pundits openly rejoice in Covid-19 as an instrument of vengeance against ‘denialism’ and those who don’t ‘believe science,’ and it’s not an accident that people who watch them too much do things like wear masks alone in cars.”  — Matt Taibbi

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