Hello, and welcome to the birth of a new column! If you have been following us for any length of time, you have likely caught on that we here at Heavy Blog are an opinionated bunch. Yes, we obviously have many many feelings when it comes to all sorts of music-related topics, but unsurprisingly this also carries itself well over into the realms of other forms of art, media, culture, sports, and, yes, politics.
Sometimes these opinions would find a way to leak out into our other work and columns, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, given the nature of modern existence and its many discontents, it is very therapeutic and sometimes necessary to relinquish the many thoughts and rants that are bouncing around inside our heads onto a page. And given the response we’ve received from readers when we actually do speak about non-music things that we are passionate about, we figured perhaps it was time to give those thoughts, musings, and rants their own special space!
Hence how we have wound up with this, The Void Screameth, where on the internet, nobody can hear you scream, but we can at least pound the keyboard until something legible comes out and hope that one or two other people read it! Our inaugural issue touches upon some political points (unsurprising given the season), protest in sports, how not to conflate surprise with disappointment, and an incredibly in-depth take down of a classic part of the 80s film canon. We hope you enjoy it and come back in the future for more grade-A opinions, be they noble or petty. Either way we will continue to scream into the void, because when you scream enough, sometimes the void screams back.
We Need Ranked Choice Voting, Like Yesterday
Over the summer I dedicated a good chunk of my life to a congressional campaign. For whatever reason in Massachusetts the primaries for Congress and state offices are held on a completely different day (September 1) than the presidential primary was this year (March 3), which was also different from all of the local town elections held throughout the state. Massachusetts is archaic and weird, what can I say. Anyway, this congressional campaign I volunteered for was for an open seat in MA’s 4th district, which is currently held by Joe Kennedy (grandson of Robert F Kennedy). Kennedy decided to challenge Ed Markey for Senate, meaning he had to leave his seat in the House of Representatives. This opened the door for a free-for-all, as anyone in the area with any higher political ambitions decided to jump in.
At its height, we had around a dozen candidates competing for the seat. By the time people were starting to vote by mail, we still had 9 candidates, 2 of which would drop out in the last remaining couple of weeks prior to the election. Of those remaining candidates, 3 were running in the “progressive” lane (i.e. supporting Medicare for All, Green New Deal, etc. etc.) and 4 were women attempting to court the votes of other people concerned about reproductive rights. One candidate in particular became the “big bad” of the race because he was a registered Republican until 2014, as recently as 2016 supported students who were suspended for displaying the Confederate flag, and was taking a ridiculous amount of money from corporate interests.
The final vote percentage split for the top 6 candidates once all mail-in and absentee ballots were counted was such: 22.4%, 21.1%, 18.1%, 11.6%, 11.1%, 9.6%. The winner was the former Republican in one of the most liberal-leaning districts in the country. The three progressive candidates would make up about 44% of the total, and the women candidates over 60%. The 4th district is almost certainly sending this man to Congress for at least the next two years.
In what universe does this look like any way to run and declare the winner of an election?
Take another example. In 2016 Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania by 44K votes, Wisconsin by less than 23K votes, and Michigan by less than 11K votes. In all three states Green Party candidate Jill Stein received more than those vote differentials. Wouldn’t it be great instead of having to harangue people for “spoiling” the election by voting for the candidate of their choice they instead could do so without ultimately helping the candidate they likely almost all agree was the worst option?
We can achieve all of that and avoid results like in the recent MA primary with one simple solution: ranked choice voting. If you are unfamiliar with how this works, basically the idea is that voters rank candidates by preference on their ballot. Then, if no candidate reaches a majority of votes (50% +1), the candidate who received the fewest #1 votes is eliminated, and those voters’ #2 votes are distributed among the remaining candidates. This process is repeated until one candidate reaches the majority threshold.
It would revolutionize the way we choose our representatives to truly represent the will of the people, and it would also open the door wide open for more and different kinds of people to run without being afraid of spoiler effects. If this system sounds in any way familiar from recent elections, it’s because we already have one state in the country that allows for it. Maine ran its first ranked choice voting elections for Congress in 2018, and it resulted in a Democrat ultimately defeating the Republican after third-party preferences were taken into account.
This November, among the countless other important races, there is an opportunity to add a bigger state that conducts most of its elections through ranked choice voting: Massachusetts. The Yes On 2 campaign (RCV will appear as a ballot measure as “Question 2” for voters in the state) has a ton of support from grassroots as well as elected officials within the state, but it’s still not a sure thing mostly due to lack of information for voters.
There are so many things about our politics and system of governance that are out of our control, but this is something tangible and real that could have an enormous impact on how we view democracy in this country. Massachusetts adopting RCV could very well pave the way for many other states to present the option to their voters. I strongly encourage anyone in the US reading this to consider donating money or time to the campaign, even if you don’t live in MA, because this issue affects us all.
Stop Confusing Disappointment With Surprise
This is one of my biggest pet peeves: you express disappointment with some awful thing happening (and there’s no shortage of those these days) and someone replies with “wow, are you really surprised this happened?” Guess what, it’s still possible to be disappointed with something you saw something from a mile away because what you’re actually expressing regret or sadness for is what you think should have happened and not what you were expecting to actually happen.
When we mourn, it’s actually rarer that we mourn something we are surprised by. Surprise usually creates shock and shock usually creates silence. But when we sigh deeply, or yell against the state of things as they are, we knew it was coming. We just wish it didn’t have to happen like that, even though we knew it probably would. Yes, it’s not surprising that right wing politicians are horrible hypocrites. Yes, it’s not surprising that black and indigenous people are still second rate citizens in countries all over the planet. Yes, it’s not surprising that capitalists and their companies are accelerating pollution even as the planet literally burns.
But it is disappointing because we wish it could have been different and sharing that disappointment is, first, a great coping mechanism, and, second, a great way to rally like minded folks to face what is happening and think about what could be done next. This is what gets me most about the “are you surprised?” sort of reply. What exactly does it achieve except a false sense of superiority? Oh wow, you saw this really basic thing coming and instead of trying to image a different future where it didn’t you just willfully accepted it as a fait accompli so you wouldn’t be disappointed (“surprised”) when it happened? Well done, here’s a cookie.
Bottom line: when you see someone else expressing disappointment, anger, or sadness at the way things are, don’t respond in such a snide, cynical way. Thinking about the ways things are is counterproductive and pointless. Thinking of the way things ought to be and, yes, being disappointed when they don’t happen that way, is revolutionary.
You Do Know What “Boycott” Means, Right?
Other than music, my greatest passion is following American team sports to an unhealthy degree. I love all of it: offseason and midweek storylines, sports talk radio and podcasts, advanced statistics, and (of course) the games themselves.
So as you can imagine, the ripple effect of Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID-19 was one of the hardest aspects of the pandemic for my mental health. Suddenly, looking forward to grabbing a beer and watching a game after work every night were gone, and we were all forced to watch reruns of games we’d already seen as we waited for the leagues to figure out a safe way to return to the field, court, ice, etc.
To be clear, this was 100% the right thing to do, and I think a prominent NBA player like Gobert testing positive was a powerful signal in the early days of the pandemic hitting the U.S. From a practical perspective, we’ve seen examples of why leagues shut things down in the first place once they resumed play. While the (mostly) sealed NBA bubble format worked, the relatively “normal” approach the MLB took presented issues all season, let alone what’s going to happen once college football is in full swing. FiveThirtyEight made a great video at the start of the pandemic explaining why sports are a disastrous perfect storm for potential infection.
With that all that said, COVID hasn’t been the main story surrounding sports now that live games are back. LeBron is revisiting his former South Beach days in the NBA Finals, the Lightning finally hoisted the Stanley Cup after several underachieving seasons, and the first few weeks of the NFL season have offered some of the most exciting games in recent memory (even with minimal or no fans). Oh, and the MLB playoffs are underway, but given how the regular season unfolded, we’ll see what happens there.
So what’s there to complain about? If you’re a proud, heartland American, apparently there’s a LOT wrong with these privileged millionaires having the audacity to exercise their First Amendment rights. Shocking, I know!
Ok, so you probably know what I’m referring to, but here’s a quick recap. For the last several years — and especially after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery — police brutality and our broken criminal justice system have been at the center of American discourse, with varying degrees of progress and inaction as a result. In response to these most recent tragedies, each of the major sports leagues has worked with players to donate to social justice causes or promote in-game messages. This culminated with a leagues-wide boycott of play following the shooting of Jacob Blake, starting with the Milwaukee Bucks walking off the court before a playoff game.
As you can imagine, this has caused a repeat of the outrage we saw after Colin Kaepernick started taking a knee during the national anthem. Literally every sports-related social media post I’ve seen has a bevy of comments from the “shut up and dribble” crowd, who proudly proclaim that their household is NOT watching any [insert league name here] games until further notice. This is almost exclusively driven by a reaction to pro-Black Lives Matter messaging, with a fun subplot being their insistence that real Americans are making their voices heard and causing leagues’ TV ratings to drop (which isn’t really true and has never been completely tied to social justice demonstrations from players).
Despite my snappy title, the misunderstanding of “boycott” is actually the smaller of the two points I want to make. But it’s worth asking why someone would be so incensed by peaceful protests that they’d stop watching a sport, only to go out of their way to follow and comment on sports pages week after week. You could say I “boycott“ folks like Tucker Carlson, but I would never waste my time going onto his social channels and announcing to his subscribers that I don’t watch his program. It makes you wonder whether they’re showing up to say they don’t care, only to stick around and see how their team is doing.
I consider this a relatively minor annoyance, but it stems from a larger issue that ties into my main point. The folks in this demographic are almost exclusively white conservatives, who often have one trait in common: unjustified confidence. Through both observing this kind of online discourse and from personal experience, it’s clear that this group is somehow woefully under-informed about the issues they care about, yet unwavering in their belief that they’re correct and ought to broadcast that truth to others.
In this instance, they have a narrow view of police officers as pillars of their safe suburban or rural communities, which is probably an accurate portrayal of their experience. But their total self-assurance that this is the “correct” perspective causes a complete lack of empathy for people unlike them who are pleading for the US to at the very least acknowledge their own experience with law enforcement. And when they see a protest or message that challenges that safe, limited worldview, their immediate response is to remove themselves from the conversation, while simultaneously shouting from afar that they’ve left.
Just look at the contrast in what conservatives (and usually white) people have protested or boycotted in comparison to what communities of color have been fighting against. On the one hand, you have mostly peaceful protestors gathering in public places to call for police reform in the wake of unarmed black people being killed at the hand of law enforcement. On the other, you have frequently armed people storming the steps of state capitol buildings to protest having to wear a mask when they go grocery shopping amid a global pandemic.
What do those misaligned priorities tell you? To me, the main takeaway from how conservatives have responded to these types of demonstrations on and off the field is clear proof they simply don’t want to listen. Why else would people scoff at a phrase like “Black Lives Matter,” or boo when players locked arms before a game and called for an end to racism? Since when are these controversial stances? Are they of the opinion black lives don’t matter?
Unfortunately, I think it speaks to implicit biases that people hate confronting. In my view, when most people hear “racism,” they think of Klansman and lynching in the Civil Rights era, not anything happening today in our communities. If a white person asked another white person if racism is bad, they would almost certainly agree. But when it’s a black athlete interrupting our sacred American pastime to ask the same question, suddenly that’s a bridge too far.
I don’t necessarily have a direct, actionable point to close things out with. This mindset is deeply ingrained in our culture; we frequently judge our own communities in the best way possible, while holding others to impossibly high standards. Worse, we expect to never have our beliefs challenged, certainly not when we’re just trying to enjoy a game. But that’s the thing: white folks don’t have to worry about their well-being at the hands of police once they leave the arena or shut off their TV. Yet, for people of color, even if you’re a professional athlete, you can’t automatically expect the same kind of treatment once you step off the court.
There Really Ought to Be a Punishment for Publicly Lying
I’ve worked in politics for many years. I’m a pretty dyed-in-the-wool progressive these days, but I like to think I can have objective opinions about how democracy should work. I think the Orange Asshole is requiring us to rethink a lot of things we took for granted. Much like the Unwritten Rules of Baseball, there are a lot of norms about politics and political life and speech we clearly need to codify and put on paper. The list of those things is probably far longer than I have time or space for here, but there’s one thing I think we can all agree on: if you purposefully lie on television or mass media, you should be held accountable for that and there should be a specific punishment for it.
The old ways of holding folks accountable just aren’t going to work anymore. Journalists used to take pride (and a bit of professional satisfaction) in asking “gotcha” questions and speaking truth to power. Sometimes, you need to treat people with hostility in order to get the truth out of them. In 2020, it doesn’t seem like many mainstream media journalists are more concerned with losing guests and access than they are with getting the real information out. For the life of me, I will never understand why, “That is a lie, sir” is such a difficult thing to say when we all know damn well what is bullshit and what isn’t.
On the flipside, there is a very obvious group of (*COUGH*crotchety old saggy-skinned conservative white men*COUGH*) politicians who not only don’t care that they spout nothing but horrible bullshit all day, but they actually seem to enjoy it when everyone gets up in arms about their lies. Shame is not something that comes to these people at all. Getting called out for lying is a badge of honor to them. Even if journalists were doing what we need them to be doing, it wouldn’t do anything because these people don’t seem to know what shame is, let alone feel it. To these people, Richard Nixon’s handling of Watergate wasn’t something to avoid but a blueprint for success (however one might define that in this situation). And goddammit, enough is enough.
I don’t know how you’d enforce it, but there needs to be some group or organization that has the legal authority to charge politicians’ campaigns or organizations when they knowingly lie. The perfect example right now is the revelation from Bob Woodward’s book Rage that the Moldy Carrot in the White House knowingly covered up the effects of COVID-19 despite the imminent pandemic. Recordings show that Trump was telling Woodward how bad it could be and how contagious it was while at the same time telling the American people it would simply disappear before anyone in the country could be infected. 203,000 deaths later (at the time of writing), we’ve clearly learned that simply wasn’t remotely the case.
Obviously in this very specific circumstance, Trump could potentially be punished by not being re-elected. But that punishment doesn’t fit the crime. That does not rise to the kind of accountability we hold everyday criminals to, and your common liquor store robber doesn’t have the insane ability to influence the decisions of every American. Because of his statements, there are people in America who are proud to not wear a mask or threaten to cough on people because the President said the pandemic is fake. People are attempting to go about their normal daily lives despite the rising mountain of evidence saying that the entire concept of “normal daily lives” is going to have to be redefined post-COVID.
While that’s all true, think about it this way: would the President have lied knowing his re-election campaign could be fined $10 million for his knowingly untrue speech? Well, normally I’d say he likely would’ve thought twice about such a decision, but normal people aren’t Donald Trump and vice versa. However, maybe a senator or a representative or a city councilor would probably hold their tongue before letting such nonsensical drivel fly from their mouths. Again though, I’m making a lot of assumptions based on how politicians acted before Donald Trump made it cool to be actively ignorant and stupid.
I’ll completely grant that this idea is pretty controversial. In America, the only real way you could hold people accountable if there was an entire new law enforcement agency focused solely on speech in the media. Let’s also not forget what a nightmare it would be to regulate social media (as far as I know anyway, but technology seems to find a way). And that’s not even addressing the idea that “America” and “freedom of speech” are essentially synonymous. Saying we need to start regulating the one right everyone in America knows about is going to ruffle a few feathers to say the least.
But political leaders, along with business leaders, artists, athletes, and many others, have a specific responsibility to treat their platforms with respect and feel the weight of responsibility to their words. Sure, it would be super nice to hope and pray that we don’t have to do anything to regulate it because “everybody gets it,” but that’s a bullshit assumption that doesn’t mean jack shit anymore. “Thoughts and prayers” is the most virulently offensive thing I can even think of right now. We write laws when there’s a problem that needs to be corrected. A lot of the laws we’ve written over time are meant to address this very idea: we didn’t need the rule until it became obvious that we did.
I think I can sum it all up thusly: we want to believe that people are inherently good and will make logical decisions when given all of the facts. We need to dispense with the idea that people are inherently good or evil. It’s irrelevant to begin with, and life is far too complicated to narrow things down into these big tent-style groups. People can’t be defined so narrowly, but it’s logical to say that people are inherently self-interested above all other things. Some folks are more self-interested than others, and it’s the egomaniacal people we should be primarily concerned with. These are folks for whom good and evil or right and wrong mean nothing. They will say anything and do anything in order to keep power and hold everyone else down. We can’t just sit around any longer and hope people will do the right thing. They won’t, and things are happening right now that reward people who reject the notion of doing the right thing. Something must change, and it needs to happen now.
I Know This Isn’t As Consequential As Everything Else, But Seriously, How The FUCK Does Anyone Actually Like Top Gun?
I feel like that headline needs some context. Back in March when quarantine first began, my girlfriend and I found ourselves constantly running into the problem of scrolling forever looking at movies and never choosing anything, the consequence of too much available content. So, we came up with an idea that has proven to be pretty incredible, and has kept our content fresh and flowing. We gave each other themes, and we would have to choose one film per decade starting in the ‘30s that we hadn’t seen before. Then we would combine our lists and watch them in chronological order. Some themes have included “movies with spooky elements,” “movies with a color in the title,” “movies whose lead actor’s name is John,” and “movies that revolve around music.” The most recent theme I gave her was “blockbusters.” Keeping in mind that we’re each bound to pick films we’ve never seen, the ‘80s ran a bit thin since a lot of the huge movies from that decade are ones we grew up with. So, begrudgingly, she ended up settling on Top Gun, a film neither of us had seen or had much inclination to see. She’s not a fan of Tom Cruise, I’m not a fan of fighter jets. But the rules are the rules, so once we reached the 1980’s in this current marathon we settled in for this movie that is widely considered to be a classic, or at least culturally iconic.
What. The. Fuck? How does anyone love this film? How did anyone love it when it came out? I have to say, it really speaks to some negative aspects of American culture that Top Gun – and specifically Tom Cruise’s main character Maverick – ever ascended into the rarified air of 1980’s pop culture. Has a main character ever been so boorishly unlikeable as Maverick? I can’t think of one, especially one that doesn’t fall under the anti-hero heading. Oh no, despite being an almost entirely repulsive character, it seems Top Gun is attempting to frame Maverick as the hero of the piece. Flawed? Sure. Flawed enough to really have to go through the wringer and come out a changed man? Not so much. I feel like this film is ripe for a Zack Morris Is Trash-style breakdown. Let’s count the ways that Top Gun is the absolute worst:
- You could spread Maverick’s smarm on toast it’s so thick. Maybe it’s just Tom Cruise’s face in general, but every time he flashes one of those million dollar hot shit grins, I want nothing more than to punch his face. His arrogance in this film isn’t the Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction kind of charming, endlessly quotable confidence. It’s at best grating, and at worst almost malicious.
- Maverick’s a wild card in a context in which being a wild card is possibly THE worst thing you could be. It’s said over and over by multiple characters that when you’re flying multi-million dollar jets with team members’ lives on the line, you can’t be a hot shot. Yet that’s what Maverick does at every opportunity. It’s not even like he’s just committing minor missteps and getting away with them because he’s so good at what he does. In the very first scene he recklessly creates a scenario in which a team member becomes so rattled he almost crashes his jet, which likely would have killed him and his co-pilot. This pilot is so shaken by the experience that he leaves the Navy, which costs them one of their most promising team members. It still seems like fun and games for Maverick, even after he’s reprimanded for it. And what happens after his scolding? He gets rewarded with a spot at the Top Gun academy that should have gone to the pilot he just hot-dogged into a nervous breakdown. This is just the first of numerous instances where it seems like the movie not only lets him off the hook, but actively rewards him for bad behavior.
- Maverick is a gross creep with women, entering into what is essentially sexual assault territory. After pulling a stunt to get the attention of Kelly McGillis’ Charlie character and finding his gesture rebuffed, he follows her into the women’s bathroom to continue his pursuit. I don’t need to highlight why this is seriously problematic behavior. But apparently in the world of Top Gun this is a charming move, and while there’s no payoff for Maverick yet, his actions are largely framed as “cute.”
- Maverick spends basically the entire movie undermining and mansplaining to Charlie, despite her high-ranking position with the Navy. The day after their meeting in the bathroom, Charlie is revealed to be a consultant at Top Gun. Maverick wastes no time interrupting her, contradicting her, and basically trying to humiliate her in front of his classmates, complete with that gum-chewing casual sexist arrogance that was apparently totally cool in the ‘80s. How do I know that it’s supposed to be seen as cool? Because not long after, Charlie begins to become increasingly flirty with Maverick, eventually leading to near-intimacy after she invites him over. Oh, and what does he do after Charlie invites him over despite all the ways he’s attempted to demean and defile her? He shows up LATE because he just HAS to get in a game of shirtless volleyball with some other recruits, during which he wears a pair of dangerously tight jeans, because of course he does. What does she do when he shows up late and basically demonstrates once again that he doesn’t take her seriously? Pretty much nothing. She makes a snarky comment about it before moving on to the dinner and romance part of the evening.
- Once this dinner is over and it appears something is going to happen between them, he gets up and takes off. So… he’s the asshole, and yet he’s also the one who gets to play coy by withholding sex, all while making a joke about having to take a shower, which ties back to the fact that he didn’t shower before coming over since he was already late, despite having gotten the date after doing absolutely nothing to deserve it.
- Val Kilmer’s Iceman is set up as Maverick’s nemesis, except he’s by far the most thoughtful and reasonable character in the film. Iceman digs at Maverick throughout the movie, but there is never a single thing he says that isn’t completely on point. Maverick IS dangerous, he DOESN’T respect the job or his teammates, and he DESERVES to be chastised. If there was one thing I liked about Top Gun, it was the fact that there was at least one voice of reason, even though that character is confusingly framed as an antagonist of sorts.
- Maverick ends up being involved in the death of his partner, except it doesn’t go AT ALL the way you’d want or expect it to afterwards. Since this film is pretty well-tread in popular culture, I was aware ahead of time that Goose was going to die at some point. Not long before the fatal accident that claims his life, Goose makes it a point to get on Maverick about his irresponsibility, pointing out that, unlike Maverick, he has a wife and son to think about every time he goes up in the air. Of course, he dies in basically the next scene, which you would think would be a turning point where Maverick hits rock bottom and has to do some serious soul-searching in order to ultimately become a better person and redeem himself for the consequences of his arrogant, selfish ways. NOPE. The movie instead makes the crash the result of an accident rather than Maverick’s recklessness, despite consistently pointing out his recklessness prior to this event. As such, Maverick is fully exonerated of any wrongdoing at the hearing. Which leads to potentially THE most frustrating thing about the entire movie…
- Instead of absorbing the consequences of his behavior and learning a hard lesson about himself, Maverick is allowed to fully wallow in self-pity, as one by one the various supporting characters come to his side to assure him it wasn’t his fault and that he just needs to get back in the saddle, doing all the heavy lifting of bringing him back from his depression. Which, again, is NOT brought on by his feelings of fault as much as it is by the fact that his friend died and now he just wants to feel bad for himself and quit flying. Even Goose’s WIDOW has to console him! At a moment when she should be grieving her husband, she basically has to push her pain to the side in the interest of making Maverick feel better about himself. It’s maddening, and at no point in the film is Tom Cruise more insufferable. Trust me, that’s saying something.
- Moving ahead to the end of Top Gun, Maverick gets to play-act the “I’m so humble now” underdog routine without ever really being forced to acknowledge his many faults spread over the entire running time. I just can’t express it enough. Maverick is never made to face all of the reasons why he has consistently been the primary problematic individual in every scenario he’s found himself in. He just gets to sulk for a while, then gets lifted up by people who would be well within their rights to allow him to continue floundering on his own, and eventually returns to play the “reluctant” hero role at the end when he saves a mission that’s become endangered. Even poor Iceman is forced to give him that knowing nod, as if to say “you were right, man, I didn’t see it then, but I do now.” Iceman shouldn’t be apologizing for a goddamn thing! He is by far the most likeable and centered character in the film, and every criticism he directs at Maverick is entirely justified.
So, to recap: Maverick, powered by that infuriatingly cocky Tom Cruise grin, openly dismisses ranking officers and team members, treats women like objects, shows zero respect for a woman far more accomplished than he is, defies orders time and again, recklessly endangers the lives of people who depend on him to follow a code, is inadvertently involved in the death of a husband and father he calls his best friend, shuffles around like a pathetic pity party of one, and learns nothing of any real substance or consequence. Then he ends playing the hero and getting the girl, while the movie pretends like the ends justify the means in regard to his behavior, even though the ends and the means really don’t have a whole lot to do with one another. Cue the Kenny Loggins song as Maverick soars into the upper stratosphere of pop culture icons, becoming an inspiration to young men and a crush for young women.
I fucking hated this movie, my girlfriend hated this movie, and without the element of nostalgia playing a role there’s really no way for either of us to see how Top Gun ever connected with such a wealth of audience members. It’s a genuinely loathsome film, and if anyone is wondering how Donald Trump could be elected president after his “grab them by the pussy” comment, or how we’re at an impasse where the SCOTUS may be receiving a new female judge that presents a very direct threat to women’s rights, feel free to trace that shit right back to Top Gun’s positioning as an essential piece of 1980’s American culture.