Pop Culture Mondays/10.26.20

The “NSFW” Edition

Welcome to my brain…

Happy Monday my darling Pop Culture junkies. We have an entire week in front of us…can we do it? WE CAN MAKE IT. Sure, Halloween is effectively cancelled BUT that is not stopping some of us from getting dressed up (and MAYBE dressing up our dogs) and eating all the candy. Last year, I would yell at anyone who brought sugar into my house. This year, I am making it virtually a requirement. I am not that discerning though keep your stupid Mike and Ikes or Milky Ways. Now, I have talked a lot about my love for Haribo Gummy Bears…so much that I MAY even be a Haribo influencer now? (Haribo, call me). But thank you to a reader who I SHALL NOT name who sent me this article from “The Cut” ranking the best of all Halloween Candy and this is what they say about those of us who love Haribo:

If I can be honest with you, I dislike all things Haribo and believe adults who claim otherwise are liars who are desperate to be a part of a group no matter how unremarkable the group’s treats may be. Yes? Of course I don’t mean to be rude, and I never would (!); it just seems that for the Haribo set, “liking Haribo” often replaces — and again, I do not mean this to be rude — “having a personality.” I do understand, though, that many claim to like them, and in deference to those people (I do daily app-based meditation and am trying to radiate love) I have included the bears at №20

OK sooooo….I mean maybe NOT wrong. My personality is all confused these days from collecting tie dye sweatsuits to stalking a 24 year old man-boy because I was obsessed with the jacket he was wearing in some paparazzi photo of him voting and so I turned to the socials to tell me where said jacket was from and then IN LESS than 24 hours — in fact obtaining my very own JACKET. As seen here:

So, I will continue eating my Haribo and stalking man-boys and stealing their fashion and dressing my dog in costumes because WTF ELSE are we supposed to do?? Other than half my Instagram feed who seemingly live in a different world than me and are on their 10th vacation since Covid and are living blissfully unaware existences, I shall devour candy and rejoice in my basicness.

OK so last week…man did my TRUMP-ADJACENT post really piss people off. I HEARD YOU. You’re right…we are Trump-free here so no MATTER HOW MUCH IN POP CULTURE HE IS, I AM AVOIDING IT (sorry 60 Minutes, Fake Melania, Dad Dancing trend on TikTok)…OH FUCK IT I am sorry but this one was TOO funny I have to show you despite my Trump-ban. BUT after this there will be no more but I honestly have watched a million of these videos this week where I cry laugh so hard:

OK so come on…that was worth it no? GODSPEED.

We are going to talk a lot about content on the TELEVISION this week because honestly other than working (I love you clients) and playing Animal Crossing on my Nintendo Switch (told you, BASIC) which is surprisingly helpful while recovering from surgery as hours go by before you know it, I watched a lot of the TV (PS: TV now means movies too just an FYI for you olds). SO sit back and enjoy….

14 years later..


Unless you have been living under a rock…which may be the case these days tbh…you will know that BORAT is back…this time on Amazon — which makes sense because Borat loves penises and Amazon’s logo is basically a penis:


ANYWAY, like millions this weekend, I tucked into my sofa on a chilly LA night and I watched the new Borat movie…14 years since he came blazing onto the scene in the first Borat movie where among other things, he actually DEFECATED in front one of the now President’s buildings. So yeah. It was time. But the thing is, before I sat down to watch the movie, I had been inundated with news FROM the movie…Giuliani being inappropriate with a young “newscaster” where he is caught on camera lying on a bed trying to take his lavalier (that’s a mic that you wear for interviews that has to be underneath your clothes)


….but I have worn a bunch of these mics and no way have I had to lie down and undo my pants to get it off of me…BUT I DIGRESS..though I am hoping for a week where men are not caught with their pants down…I am looking at YOU Jeffrey Toobin.

The point is, I had heard so much about the movie that it sort of took the fun and joy out of it for me. ALSO, highlighting how fucking racist so many people are is not funny…it is terrifying and tragic so even though it was shown in a funny way AKA a baker having no problem writing racist shit on a cake, it just is too close to home. Borat and his crazy racist talk seemingly FITS INTO this America now.

Also, it was clear a lot of people knew it was him and went with it, or were hired, or were so off the grid it was hard to take what they said seriously. That said…I LOVE Sacha Baron Cohen SO much that despite my annoyance I had already been saturated with stories about the stunts he pulled, I ended up enjoying it because it was purposeful despite being silly. He is a genius…no question. Also his beautiful wife one time told me I had amazing skin and looked like a teenager when we were at a party so I obviously hold her and her man in the TOP of the top positions of fave people. I just hope we don’t get inundated with Boratisms again this time around from guys at bars thinking it’s funny to say in a Borat accent “You look nice…let’s make sexytime..” OH WAIT…we don’t go to bars anymore…PHEW ok. Moving on…

Anyway, watching it reminded me of the genius time Jeremy Clarkson (hi JC!) and his Top Gear co-hosts, back in like 2013, drive thru Alabama in a car covered in well….you just have to watch it for REAL to get it…because this is sort of the same thing as Borat but really real and funny AF but terrifying:

So basically the point is, the Brits are funny. That’s it, that’s all I got. Watch Borat and lmk what YOU think.



OMG I need to breathe…UCLA is still tracking all my vitals each day post-heart surgery and for reals you can tell when I have just read or watched something on THIS guy, Keith Raniere (AKA he went by VANGUARD to his cult members who also celebrated him each year at V Week where they performed TRIBUTES for him), or his crazy cult NXIVM as my heart rate sky rockets and they call me to ask if I am ok. Their analysis…stop watching.


So a while back I wrote about HBO’s “The Vow” which at the time was bananas and gave an inside look into what happened and how this cult worked. It seemingly had unlimited footage due to the fact that documentary maker Mark Vicente was documenting every moment of the day it seemed at NXIVM I guess to create propaganda videos and what not. But “The Vow” is from the perspective of Mark and his wife Bonnie, an actress who had like one line in Star Wars but apparently has an action figure? I digress….It also focuses on Sarah and her hot but clearly damaged husband Nippy. Yes. Nippy.

But “The Vow” also documents the beautiful and heartbroken Catherine Oxenberg, an actress known for Dynasty and her daughter India who we never see or hear from but is the focus of much of the series, as Catherine partners up with Mark Vicente and his merry pranksters who have left the cult en masse as they work together to try to expose it and save India. But here is the thing….as the series goes on, I personally began to really despise the former NXIVM people as they were clearly a big part of the leadership of the cult and seemingly not taking responsibility and seemingly giddy with the media attention they were getting and omg I cannot explain how they irritated me at the end.

In comes STARZ…and can we have a MIC DROP please.

STARZ. NOT what I expected but now I am a loyal subscriber because they dropped “Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult” and OMG I cannot even talk about HOW amazing it is. First of all, you HAVE TO watch “The Vow” first. Because then the Starz series makes even more sense and it will put you into a rage for a few reasons. Let me back up a second and explain this series:

First of all, it is entirely from the POV of India Oxenberg, the very same person from “The Vow” that we hear about but never see or hear from. In “The Vow”, Catherine seemingly partners up with Mark Vicente and team to help get her daughter out of the cult. They hug her. They work from her house and seem at home in her kitchen. They FaceTime her and say they love her.

BUT CATHERINE SEEMINGLY was like yeah whatever, you people are evil, I know you are evil and I am going to expose JUST how evil you bitches are. The STARZ series shows us that not only did India get out and is now safely at home with her family, but also exposes just how responsible for her programing and her manipulation the cast of “The Vow” were. Whether Catherine only learned of this after “The Vow” stopped filming, or knew but was manipulating them…I have no idea but it is INCREDIBLE how the tables turn. It will infuriate you to watch the STARZ series and see just how Mark Vicente and his posse positioned themselves in the HBO series. It is fascinating and terrifying how our brains work and can be manipulated. But the STARZ series really shows what went on in the cult…from brainwashing to horrible NAZI-esque “tests” performed on women, to showing Keith Raniere say that rape is not a real concept.

Yeah…I cannot recommend this show enough (though CONTINUITY people at STARZ please fix the SNOOPY issue you have when India is speaking from her bedroom…sometimes Snoopy is on the bed…sometimes Snoopy is MIA and it is very distracting). BUT I digress…YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS:

Can someone do a series JUST on the physical transformation of Keith Raniere though please? Like how obvious this guys was a narcissist?

Post surgery Keith


Here we go kids…buckle up. Because I have watched many female friends OWN their sexuality in ways I am SO impressed with and have found myself looking at these women like HOLY CRAP how are they so confident and self possessed that they are talking about like the most taboo topic and they talk about it with such confidence and grace. And you know what? THEY ARE ALL BRITS! Literally my love for all things UK 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 continues.

Here is the list of women I call friends who are changing the way we think and talk about sex and masturbation:

  • CINDY GALLOP — YES girl…this woman is a trailblazer and I am inspired by her and her MAKE LOVE NOT PORN business every day. She tells it like it is and talks openly about sex, masturbation, sexism, and the list goes on and on and on. She is everything. Check out her TED talk from 10 years ago and a MUST-SEE:
  • Grace Campbell I cannot express how much I love this woman. Activist, Comedian, writer, genius. One of the funniest moments of my life was when Grace performed her set at a wedding of a close friend…the guests were split: half Brits and the other half that New England aka boarding school American. Grace’s parents and friends parents are guests as well. She talks all about sex and masturbation…but she also talks a lot about her “FANNY” and sex and your fanny…you can see the Americans are stunned…shocked..how can she be saying this…in front of her parents? OMG. OMG.

It was only later..aka the next evening..when with Grace and a small circle of us were talking about it…we realize a HUGE cultural divide. And that is:

🚨 FANNY IS VAGINA in the UK 🚨 Fanny is NOT your BUM in the UK. It was a stunning moment to be sure and one I will never forget. So to all you BRITS out there…a FANNY PACK is not a VAGINA pack…hope that clears up a lot. ANYWAY, Grace is just one of many young women talking about sexuality in a way I have never seen and in a way I am SO inspired by:

Also, listen to her podcast with her father, Alastair Campbell, former Tony Blair spokesman and author and awesome human. The pod is AMAZE:

  • Scarlett Curtis — Writer, Activist, my Inspo and my dream of a baby sister. Well I could write an entire post on Scar alone because she is also an inspiration to me and many. She and Grace and other friends like Honey Ross founded The Pink Protest…

And she is a constant advocate for movements directly involving women’s rights and sexuality and periods and I mean there is not enough space here to discuss it. She is also very open about her struggles which we can all relate to and she gives herself to the community in ways none of my friends and I ever thought of doing.

  • Lily Allen — And last but certainly not least, the singer, songwriter, mother, bad ass and another British friend…just launched her very own sex toy. PS: besides tie dye sweatsuits that my friends from around the world sent me as recovery gifts, I am not going to lie…SEVERAL sex toys were sent to me as well. Now this is not something any of us could have imagined a few years ago even. Openly talking about masturbation? Famous women launching their own sex toys? 2020 has SUCKED HARD…but there are glimmers of light. This is most definitely one of them and I am so proud of Lily and all of these incredible women.


OK boys..cool down and take a breath or two. GIRLS TALKING ABOUT MASTURBATION is a lot. I know. Breathe. There was so much more that happened this week but I have to get back to real life and watching TikTok so here you go in summary some of my other fave things this week:

  • The girl in stripes will either grow up to be a CEO or a serial killer:
  • NEVER BEEN MORE EXCITED. WILLOW!! If you are old like me, this film was VERY important to you. But it will now come back to life thanks to the AMAZING JON CHU thank you I love you and I love this:
  • I mean I love this…I am not sure why they did this but I love it. Blake Lively and her husband Ryan Reynolds posted a pic showing they just voted. But people noticed Blake’s shoes…seemingly were drawn on and sure enough…they were!
  • Cher/Alanis Morissette give us all the feels on the Twitter. Cher tweeted to her followers that she was HERE and Alanis followed up perfectly:
  • And all I can say is this is making its rounds on the socials and we are not ready for this NO CHANCE:
  • Not to end on a sad note, but ending on a sad note…this powerful and beautiful column by Kara Swisher is a must read. She normally makes me cry because she is mean to me…but this was a different kind of crying and a harder one to recover from:

OK SO….until next week my pop culture junkies. I have to go work and also obsess over my new show which I cannot write about yet because their is only one episode but NICOLE KIDMAN IS A QUEEN and I know I am going to be UNDONE by “The Undoing” :

If you aren’t already a subscriber (PLEASE PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!!!) and SHARE with all your friends…and IF want this in your inbox please send an email to:





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Brooke Hammerling

Brooke Hammerling

Talk to me about tech, pop culture, cheese or dogs.