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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Has a Toxic Shipping Problem

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max minghella, elisabeth moss

***CONTENT WARNING: This post discusses the plot of season 4, episode 7 “Home”.***

Few television series are as brutal and dark as Hulu’s award-winning The Handmaid’s Tale. The flagship series, based on the classic novel by Margaret Atwood, has never shied away from the violence (sexual and otherwise) and inhumanity of life in Gilead’s fanatical and authoritarian regime. And according to many critics, perhaps it should have. The series has often been criticized for its excessive brutality, which often veers into exploitative torture porn territory.

But many viewers focus less on the series as a social and political allegory. For them, the highlight of the series, and the reason they keep watching, is that they ship the characters June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) and Nick Blaine (Max Minghella). The ship, known to fans as Osblaine (which is a little to close to OfBlaine), began when Serena Joy forced her driver Nick and reluctant handmaid June to have sex in order to get pregnant. That encounter quickly led to a consensual affair between the two, which culminated in the birth of their daughter Nichole. Over the course of four seasons, June has gone from rebellious handmaid to revolutionary folk hero to refugee seeking asylum in Canada. Nick has gone from driver/Guardian to undercover spy for the Eyes to Commander of the Gilead military in Chicago.

june and luke

June (Elisabeth Moss) and Luke (O-T Fagbenle) reunited. Photo by: Sophie Giraud/Hulu.

Now that June is safe in Canada, she has reunited with her estranged husband Luke (O. T. Fagbenle) and baby Nichole. June has been a prisoner of Gilead for 7 years, subject to countless sexual assaults, beatings, and torture. It’s a near-decade of trauma, the results of which are exploding out of June as she directs her rage outward towards the ones she loves.

Osblaine viewers have been quick to point out that June and Luke no longer belong together. And they’re probably right: June is a wholly different person now, and given what she’s done to Luke in last week’s episode, they’re better off apart.

Nick understands June’s plight better than most, having witnessed her suffering firsthand. But let’s not forget that Nick, for all his attempts at saving, hiding, and defending June, is still an active member of Gilead. As a commander, he is executing Gilead law and leading the charge to slaughter the remaining rebelling Americans in war zones like Chicago. And as a commander, he is upholding Gilead’s use of rape and forced pregnancy to repopulate the planet. He is a willing soldier for everything Gilead stands for, but shippers would rather focus on his brooding good looks and chemistry with June than on the ethics of shipping a man who is an insurrectionist and a terrorist.

osblaine shippers

(screenshot of Osblaine fans on Twitter)

Of course, problematic shipping is nothing new, and can range from Draco/Hermione to Joker/Harley Quinn to Rey/Kylo Ren. But few of these ships have such an immediate corollary to current events. There is also a racial element to the Nick/June/Luke triangle at play. Both Fagbenle and Minghella come from multiracial backgrounds, but Minghella passes for white. And for a show that largely ignores racism, we can’t say the same about its audience.

America is still recovering from the violent insurrection at the Capitol that took place on January 6, where fanatical right wing conspiracy theorists radicalized by QAnon and Donald Trump tried to take over the U.S. government to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win. Republicans just filibustered the bill for an independent investigation, paving the way for future insurrections. And in the wake of losing the 2020 election, they are systematically stripping away voting rights and installing election officials friendly to their cause.

In light of the very real radicalization of the republican party, the spate of anti-abortion laws across the country, and a full-on attack on election integrity, these women continue to ship Osblaine and swoon over this star-crossed romance. But let’s not forget that Nick is part of a group that subjugates, rapes and dehumanizes women. And as bad as he may feel over his actions, he’s not doing anything to tear down Gilead from the inside. Nick may be painted as a sensitive sad boy, but he has repeatedly shown that he only cares about June and June only. Everyone else can suffer.

osblaine twitter

(screencap: Osblaine shippers on Twitter.)

Perhaps fans are clinging to this ship because it offers a reprieve from the show’s pervasive darkness. June and Nick’s romance is one of the few bright spots in the oppressively traumatic show, so I don’t begrudge them for taking joy where they can find it. But let’s not act like Nick is some sort of silent hero. He is an architect of not only June’s pain, but of the pain endured by countless victims of Gilead. Maybe we could stop celebrating him as some sort of Byronic hero and call him what he really is.

(image: Hulu)

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Squid Game Star Park Hae-soo Joins Adaptation Cast of Another Popular Netflix Show

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Squid Game star Park Hae-soo has joined the cast of a Korean adaptation for another huge Netflix series! Squid Game has been dominating Netflix ever since it debuted earlier this Fall, and has become a whole new kind of phenomenon at this point. The series might be slipping from the top of the charts, but it’s clear that the series was such a hit that fans will want to see the stars of it move on to other high profile projects. Park Hae-soo, who played Cho Sang-woo in the series, is actually joining the Korean adaptation of Money Heist. 

Netflix has announced that Hae-soo will be playing Berlin (which is a nickname for Andres de Fonollosa, the second-in-command and older brother to The Professor, played by Pedro Alonso in the original) in the Korean adaptation of Money Heist / La Casa de Papel that’s now in the works. It’s yet to be revealed just how much this new version will be taking from the original, but this first cast addition is certainly exciting! You can check out the official announcement and promotional image below: 

Squid Game is now streaming its debut season with Netflix, and series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk has confirmed that a second season is currently being planned. As for the original Money Heist/ La Casa de Papel, the fifth and final season of the series will be dropping with Netflix on December 3rd. Netflix describes the final season as such, “The gang has been shut in the Bank of Spain for over 100 hours. They have managed to rescue Lisbon, but their darkest moment is upon them after losing one of their own. The Professor has been captured by Sierra and, for the first time, doesn’t have an escape plan. Just when it seems like nothing else could go wrong, an enemy comes on the scene that is much more powerful than any they’ve faced: the army. The end of the greatest heist in history is approaching, and what began as a robbery will turn into a war.”

What do you think of this crossing of worlds between two of Netflix’s biggest hits? Are you curious to see how a Korean version will be shaking up the original? Let us know all of your thoughts about it in the comments! You can even reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff @Valdezology on Twitter!

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RPT Realty Announces Fourth Quarter 2021 Earnings Release

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NEW YORK, Nov. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RPT Realty (NYSE:RPT) (the “Company”) announced today that it will release its fourth quarter 2021 earnings press release after the market closes on Wednesday, February 16, 2022. The Company will host a conference call on Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 9:00 AM (ET) to discuss its financial and operating results.

A live webcast will be available online on the Company’s website at investors.rptrealty.com. The conference call can also be accessed by dialing (877) 705-6003 or (201) 493-6725 for international callers. A telephonic replay of the call will be available through Thursday, February 24, 2022. The replay can be accessed by dialing (844) 512-2921 or (412) 317-6671 for international callers and entering passcode 13725190. A webcast replay will also be archived on the Company’s web site for twelve months.

About RPT Realty

RPT Realty owns and operates a national portfolio of open-air shopping destinations principally located in top U.S. markets. The Company’s shopping centers offer diverse, locally-curated consumer experiences that reflect the lifestyles of their surrounding communities and meet the modern expectations of the Company’s retail partners. The Company is a fully integrated and self-administered REIT publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”). The common shares of the Company, par value $0.01 per share are listed and traded on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “RPT”. As of September 30, 2021, the Company’s property portfolio (the “aggregate portfolio”) consisted of 57 multi-tenant shopping centers (including nine shopping centers owned through a joint venture) and 30 net lease retail properties (all of which are owned through a separate joint venture) which together represent 14.0 million square feet of gross leasable area. As of September 30, 2021, the Company’s pro-rata share of the aggregate portfolio was 92.5% leased. For additional information about the Company please visit rptrealty.com.

Contact Information

Vin Chao
Senior Vice President – Finance
[email protected]
(212) 221-1752

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‘It’s time for action’: President Joe Biden praises $4 billion boost to Minnesota during stop in Rosemount

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Inside a heavy truck shop at the Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minnesota, the president spoke with Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party leaders, students and others about the school and its role in educating the next batch of skilled laborers. And he made a pitch for Congress to move his proposed Build Back Better Plan.

“Rebuilding America and investing in America, that’s what this is all about,” Biden told the room of about 100 onlookers Tuesday afternoon. The president also listed several road and bridge projects that could be on the agenda in the coming years and said Minnesota and other states shouldn’t face another infrastructure failure such as the 2007 I-35W collapse.

“We know about our infrastructure problems, we’ve known for a long time. And now we’re doing something about it. It’s time for action,” Biden said.

Biden’s visit marks his first trip to Minnesota since winning the presidency in 2020 and his latest effort to tout the bill in swing states around the country that he won. His stop-by on Tuesday took place in Rosemount, a city in the politically split 2nd Congressional District, where Democratic U.S. Rep. Angie Craig narrowly won reelection in 2020.

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President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the recently approved $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the recently approved $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Craig joined Biden for his visit, as did U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, Reps. Dean Phillips and Betty McCollum and Gov. Tim Walz. Craig on Tuesday said the package will create jobs, help ease supply chain issues and lower inflation.

“My hope is that having President Biden here today, young folks and folks seeking a better life and career will see this story and it will help us promote trades across this country as a career choice,” Craig said.

The federal boost is set to fund more than $4 billion in improvements to Minnesota highways, $818 million for public transportation investments and $302 million to help repair and replace bridges, according to the White House. The plan will also fund broadband expansion, port and airport improvements, water quality projects and electric car charging stations in the state.

State transportation officials have said the funds could allow Minnesota to move forward with projects earlier than they’d planned. More than 661 bridges and 4,986 miles of highway in Minnesota are considered to be in poor condition by the White House.

Biden’s visit and the push to promote the massive package spurred split reactions from Minnesota Democrats and Republicans. Minnesota GOP leaders pointed to Biden’s lagging approval ratings and called on the president to address pressing issues affecting Minnesotans.

“The Democrats know Angie Craig is in serious jeopardy of losing her seat in 2022 and are using their deeply flawed infrastructure legislation as an excuse to bring Joe Biden in to save Craig’s floundering political career,” said Republican Tyler Kistner, who ran against Craig in 2020 and is set to again challenge the congresswoman in 2022.

GOP lawmakers said they supported projects that were included in the proposal but felt there were too many non-infrastructure pieces added to it.

“We deserve better and we’re certainly going to push back on many of these failed policies,” said Rep. Pete Stauber, a Republican representing the state’s 8th Congressional District.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the recently approved $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the recently approved $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Minnesota Democrats on Tuesday said the passage of the massive plan was proof that Biden was able to break through partisan gridlock in Washington. And they said the measure’s impact would be profound for Minnesota and its workforce.

“The impact of this will truly last generations,” Walz said. “This is where, literally, the rubber hits the road in many ways.”

Minnesota’s congressional delegation split almost on party lines on the infrastructure proposal. All of the state’s Republicans, along with Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, voted against the proposal, while the other Democrats voted in favor. Omar said she wanted the infrastructure package to come up for a vote alongside a larger spending plan.

Biden in 2020 won Minnesota with a 7-percentage point advantage over then-President Donald Trump. But Biden’s approval rating has declined during his first year in office.

The president also announced that he would roll out additional measures to address the omicron variant of COVID-19 later in the week without shutdowns or lockdowns. Instead, he said the federal plan would focus on booster shots, testing and masking in public spaces.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson, call 651-290-0707 or email [email protected]

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