Politics in pop culture needs a time-out


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(CNN)If there is one thing the people of a beleaguered, weary and divided America could probably agree on right now, it would be the collective need for a break from politics.

Finding respite in popular culture from the stress of recent events, however, won’t be easy. Politics and political figures are intersecting with pop culture, whether we want them to or not.

Kamala Harris: The vice president-elect is on the cover of the new issue of Vogue magazine, and some people aren’t happy with the cover image.

That’s because the selected photo showed Harris wearing a casual black jacket, white top and Converse sneakers, posing in front of a pink and green background (the colors of her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha). Some deemed the choice “disrespectful” and not befitting the first American woman to serve as vice president, let alone the first woman of color.

Vogue is, of course, the fashion bible so the controversy was the topic of much debate on social media.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: The “Terminator” star and former governor of California took Donald Trump to task following the deadly storming of the Capitol in Washington, DC, by a group of the President’s supporters.

Schwarzenegger posted a video on social media in which he said “President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst President ever. The good thing is he will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet.”

And lest we forget Schwarzenegger is a movie star, he used as a prop a sword he said belonged to Conan the Barbarian, the character he played in the 1982 film of the same name.

“Our democracy is like the steel of this sword,” he said. “The more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes.”

Brian Littrell: A few Backstreet Boys fans had some harsh words for Littrell.

That’s because the singer tweeted an invite for his followers to come to Parler, the social media platform favored by the far-right.

“BTLittrell come find me… hahah like where’s Waldo, he tweeted. “Join me on Parler Social Media!”

His mentions sparked plenty of anger and disappointment, with some expressing that they were done supporting the singer, while others argued Littrell had a right to his political opinions.

Those wanting to join him didn’t have long to act on his suggestion. Parler went offline after Google, Apple and Amazon dropped it amid complaints the company hadn’t done enough to stem the violent rhetoric surrounding the Capitol riots.

Parler has since sued Amazon, which hosted it online.

I have gone on record with my stance that celebs have an absolute right to be politically active, as do all citizens, as long as they do so peacefully.

But in the painful days we have already endured, with sadly more probably to come, it would be nice if pop culture could offer more of a distraction that many of us need right now.

For your weekend

Three things to watch:

‘One Night in Miami’

Oscar-winning actress Regina King makes her feature film directorial debut with this movie.

Based on an actual night in 1964 in which Cassius Clay (soon to be Muhammad Ali), Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown gathered to celebrate Clay’s heavyweight title win, it is adapted from a Kemp Powers stage play.

“One Night in Miami” starts streaming Friday on Amazon Prime.


What could be better than a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

In this series, Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) are two beings living idealized suburban lives while concealing their superpowers. That changes when they begin to suspect that everything is not quite as it seems.

“WandaVision” debuts on Disney+ Friday.

‘Bling Empire’

Is there such a thing as too many Kardashian-type reality shows? (You probably already know the answer to that.)

Netflix has a new series that “follows a wildly wealthy group of Asian and Asian American friends (and frenemies) in Los Angeles.” The show promises plenty of glitz and drama.

“Bling Empire” starts streaming Friday.

Two things to listen to:

The boy band Why Don’t We disappeared from the scene for a minute and sparked #WhereIsWDW on Twitter.

The group is back Friday with its sophomore album, “The Good Times and the Bad Ones.”

Let’s hope that title is an omen regarding the new music.

If you love, love, love the British royal family as much as I do, let me hip you to this podcast.

“Royally Obsessed” features co-hosts Roberta Fiorito and Rachel Bowie discussing all news related to the House of Windsor.

There is plenty of discussion about Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and baby Archie, natch, so I’m here for it.

One thing to talk about:

How well will “Sex and the City” age?

That is the question now that HBO Max has announced it’s rebooting the popular series, 17 years later after it went off the air.

Only three of the original stars are returning: Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis.

Their costar Kim Cattrall said long ago she would not be interested in returning for more.

Much has changed since the HBO series (and its big-screen adaptations) were out.

Where have the lives of characters of Carrie Bradshaw (Parker), Miranda Hobbes (Nixon) and Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Davis) led them to this point?

New York City always felt like one of the cast members — and the Big Apple is definitely not the same. So, what does it all mean for the next chapter of “Sex and the City”?

We’ll be dealing with Carrie fever while we wait and see. (HBO Max is owned by CNN’s parent company.)

Something to sip on

Happy 99th birthday, Betty White!

The beloved actress celebrates her big day on Sunday — and aren’t we all the better for it?

There are few in Hollywood who have achieved the level of admiration that White has over the course of her accomplished career.

She truly is our “Golden Girl.”