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The politics of the ‘Roseanne’ reboot are more complex than Trump or liberals believe



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A staggering 18.2 million viewers watched the premiere of the tenth season of “Roseanne” (almost exactly 21 years since the show went off the air), making it the highest rated comedy in four years. Team Trump, of whom creator Roseanne Barr has been a vocal supporter, played the ratings as a win for their political side, with Don Jr. tweeting out congratulations, Ivanka following Roseanne on Twitter and the president even calling her.

But the Conners’ politics were mostly just played for laughs in the new season, even if they were more explicit than in the original, when it went unspoken that both Roseanne (played by Roseanne Barr) and her husband Dan (John Goodman) probably voted for Reagan – though GOP policies were what kept their family mired in the lower middle classes. Politics aren’t actually a serious part of the updated story; they’re part of the updated landscape. We all talk politics now, even those of us who never would have thought to do so 30 years ago, and most of us sound like fools when we do.

Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) makes her entrance in a so-called pussyhat and a Nasty Woman t-shirt and proceeds to rattle off a laundry list of “deplorable”-like insults, including accusing Roseanne and Dan of “clinging to their guns,” a reference to then-Sen. Barack Obama’s 2008 gaffe now seen by some as prescient. Roseanne has the typical “Make America Great Again” attitudes, and yells equally ridiculous things like “Snowflake.” These are not serious discussions of our modern politics; but, then, maybe modern politics are bereft of serious discussions at this point.

 Roseanne Barr, Sara Gilbert, and John Goodman on ABC’s “Roseanne”. Adam Rose / ABC

Barr’s own support for Trump polarized viewers before it even hit the airwaves, but the Illinois-dwelling Conner family are the perfect avatar of the Trump-voting family as conceived by liberal coastal media like The New York Times. Much like when the show debuted 30 years ago, wages have been stagnant for a decade or more. The stratification of the classes has worsened. The financial and social struggles of working-class families like the Conners have only gotten harder, particularly in a society obsessed with giant houses, giant TVs and $1,000 iPhones.

“Roseanne,” in other words, returned at a time that the Conners are relevant to the national conversation again.

“Rosanne” was a hit when it first landed, in large part because it did not depict the big-city, moneyed life of so many other sitcoms of its era (like “The Cosby Show” and “Murphy Brown”), but portrayed a struggling working-class family. But, unlike earlier working class family shows (like “All In The Family” and “The Jeffersons”) there was nothing sentimental about the Conners: Roseanne and Dan were all the things that TV had stereotyped as “bad parents.” They yelled at their kids when they weren’t outright ignoring them, and were so consumed with simply surviving they didn’t have much energy to parent.

The reality is that most people’s political or ideological alignment often breaks down when their day-to-day realities don’t fit a party’s policy platform.

But they weren’t bad people. They kept the lights and television on, food on the table (even if it was fast food) and the roof over their family’s heads. In the years since, we’ve but rarely seen this replicated on TV, and never with such mainstream appeal and cultural longevity.

Their kids weren’t the stereotypical strivers of other family sitcoms; their choices let viewers know that Becky, Darlene and D.J. were not the types to break the unspoken class barrier that existed and still exists in America. And, when we meet them again in 2018, they haven’t: Becky (played by Lecy Goranson, aka “Original Becky”) is selling her eggs to make ends meet. Darlene (Sara Gilbert) is “unpartnered” with two kids, out of a job and forced to move back home. D.J. (Michael Fishman) and his wife are in the military; he’s home, and she’s deployed. None of the Conner kids found the upward mobility the American dream supposedly promised, or even a big house to hold over the heads of their parents as a sign of success.

Even the choice to portray Roseanne as a Trump-voter is less stereotypical than the voters seen in media profiles. She begrudgingly supports Becky being able to make reproductive choices, even if she privately — or not so privately — thinks that it’s a terrible idea to be a surrogate, especially to someone she rightly judges as an upper-class twit. (Said upper-class twit, Andrea, is played by Sarah Chalke, aka “Becky 2.0,” in what is perhaps the cleverest double casting in a decade.) Darlene’s son Mark is portrayed as gender-fluid, and the show manages to portray both the shows characters’ support and love for him as an individual while being realistic that such support is not a sign of radical change about the gender norms themselves.

 Micheael Fishman, Jayden Rey, Ames McNamara, John Goodman, Roseanne Barr,and Sara Gilbert on ABC’s “Roseanne”. Adam Rose / ABC

The reality is that most people’s political or ideological alignment often breaks down when their day-to-day realities don’t fit a party’s policy platform. It’s that exact contradictory mindset that isn’t being grappled with anywhere else, and clearly, there is a hunger for it both among those who voted for Trump and those who still struggle to understand how anyone could have.

Barr and the show needed to reimagine what the Conner family’s life would be in, as the executive producers pitched it, “The Time Of Trump.” Most revivals and reboots fails because they believe their shows don’t need to change to fit the times. The success of “Roseanne” is a lesson that allowing characters to update to the changing landscape while keeping the original chemistry of the old show will pull in the viewers, no matter how the politics swing.

Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. Regular bylines can be found at Elite Daily, WETA’s TellyVisions, and

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COVID-19: Millions of Indians travel to celebrate Maha Kumbh Mela despite rising coronavirus rates | World News



They have gathered in their millions in the temple town of Haridwar, in Uttarakhand.

Hindu pilgrims have come to celebrate Maha Kumbh Mela, a religious festival that happens once every 12 years.

And today is a very auspicious day in the religious calendar to take a dip in India‘s River Ganges.

Live COVID updates from across the UK and around the world

Millions will gather this month to celebrate a Hindu festival, despite experts warning against it
Coronavirus rates have increased in India the last few months, with the country in the midst of a second wave

All this amid a raging pandemic.

The festival has been been flagged as a super spreader as more than 50 million people are expected to attend this month-long event.

The country registered almost 170,000 new cases in the last 24 hours, the highest number of COVID-19 cases anywhere in the world.

With more than 13.5 million cases, India is second only to the United States.

In the same period, 839 people died, taking the total number of COVID-19 related deaths to 170,209.

Millions will gather this month to celebrate a Hindu festival, despite experts warning against it
Millions will gather this month to celebrate the Hindu festival, despite experts warning against it

Sarasswati Dattani, 56, has travelled over 400 miles (644km) from Rajasthan with her husband.

She tells Sky News: “Our children had tried to stop us because of coronavirus.

“I am not afraid, Mother Ganga is with us all the time.

“People are getting the virus sitting at home. We have to die once, it’s all in God’s hands.”

Raghav, 25, from Jalandhar in Punjab, says “coronavirus could not stop me from my belief in God, our faith is far stronger than anything at the moment.

“I have also come to pray that this pandemic gets over soon.”

The devotees come from every part of the country and a majority are from smaller towns and villages.

The fear among health activists is that rural India will be exposed to the virus.

Speaking to Sky News, Dr Atulya Mishra, who is the medical officer in charge of a section of the banks, said: “People are very irresponsible, they do not follow any of the COVID-19 behaviour protocols.

Millions will gather this month to celebrate a Hindu festival, despite experts warning against it
Health experts have urged people not to travel but people are not following guidance

“We provide them with face masks but people don’t wear them.

“We put our lives on the line while the public takes the virus very lightly. It is very frustrating for us health workers.”

The administration has enforced COVID-19 protocols – pilgrims must wear face masks and are only allowed to attend with a negative PCR test result.

Millions will gather this month to celebrate a Hindu festival, despite experts warning against it
People will take a dip in the River Ganges during the month-long festival

But in reality, social distancing is almost impossible to enforce.

India is in the midst of a second wave.

The low number of cases in the winter months had lulled people into believing it’s over.

Opening up society, a low fatality rate and vaccinations have led to Indians letting their guard down.

The festival will also mean people take a dip in the River Ganges
The festival is seen as a super spreader event

For many weeks the country has been immersed in state elections.

The prime minister, his cabinet and leaders of all political parties are campaigning at rallies with thousands in attendance.

Roadshows expose every nook and corner.

Experts have also said the new variants of the virus are far more infectious but less lethal.

Genome sequencing of all cases in Punjab show around 80% of them are due to the UK variant.

While millions will make their way to the Maha Kumbh over the next few weeks, the rising number of cases are sure of grave concern for the government.

India began its vaccination programme on 16 January but less than 1% of the population have been fully vaccinated.

Though the process had a slow start it has picked up pace over the last few weeks.

India may have one of the lowest fatality rates in the world, but it can ill afford a severe burden on its already inadequate and creaking public health care system.

For decades successive governments have spent just over 1.2% of the GDP on healthcare.

Over 70% of its citizens rely on expensive private health care and one illness can push a family into poverty.

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China deploys jets and bombers into Taiwanese airspace in ‘biggest incursion to date’ | World News



Twenty-five Chinese military aircraft have entered Taiwanese airspace in the largest reported incursion to date, according to officials.

Taiwan‘s government has complained in recent months after repeated missions by China‘s air force near the island.

The incursions have been concentrated in the southwestern part of Taiwan’s air defence zone.

Pic AP
Chinese vessels and aircrafts have conducted drills near Taiwan for several years, but in the last 12 months the actions have stepped up. Pic AP

The latest mission on Monday involved 14 J-16 and four J-10 fighter jets – and four H-6K bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons.

Two anti-submarine aircraft and an early warning aircraft also took part, Taiwan’s defence minister said.

It is believed to be the largest incursion by the Chinese air force into Taiwanese airspace, and officials said combat aircraft were dispatched to intercept and warn the intruders away.

Missile systems were also deployed to monitor the Chinese vessels as the aircraft flew in an area close to Thailand’s Pratas Islands, according to the defence ministry.

It came just three days after the US issued new guidelines that will deepen its ties with Taiwan.

The latest guidelines from the US State Department will mean American officials can meet more freely with their Taiwanese counterparts.

America, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but it has watched on as tensions between Beijing and the island nation have stepped up in recent years.

Pic Reuters
Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu has vowed the island nation will ‘fight to the very last day’ if China attacks

Washington’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last Friday that the US is concerned about China’s aggressive actions against Taiwan – and warned it would be a “serious mistake” for anyone to try to change the status quo in the Western Pacific by force.

Mr Blinken’s statement came after Taiwan scrambled an aircraft to broadcast a warning message after 12 Chinese jets flew over its airspace on 7 April.

The tense start to 2021 comes after a report released by a government-backed think tank found that China made a record 380 incursions into Taiwan’s defence zone last year.

China describes Taiwan as its most sensitive territorial issue and a red line the US should not cross.

Beijing sees the island as a breakaway province that will one day become part of the country again. It has never renounced the possible use of force to bring about eventual unification.

However, Taiwanese people see themselves an independent state and the dispute with their giant neighbour has left relations frayed with the constant threat of violence.

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January 2021: Taiwan military simulates China attack

China has in the past described its missions as being to protect the country’s sovereignty and deal with “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.

Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu has previously said the country will fight “to the very last day” if China attacks.

More widely, China continues to exercise its muscle in the South China Sea.

Over the weekend, military activity near the Philippines spiked as a Chinese aircraft carrier entered the region, and the US military is preparing joint drills with the Philippine military nearby.

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Off-duty Italian police officers find stolen Roman statue in Belgium – a decade after it vanished | World News



A first-century Roman statue has been recovered by two off-duty Italian police officers almost a decade after it was stolen.

The statue was stolen from the Villa Marini Dettina, an archaeological site on the outskirts of Rome, in November 2011 and has now been found in an antique shop in Belgium.

It was discovered by the off-duty officers from the Italian police’s archaeological unit.

The Togatus statue, featuring a headless Roman wearing a draped toga, is valued at €100,000 (£86,000).

The statue is believed to be worth 100,000 (£860,000) and was stolen from an archaeological site near Rome. Pic: AP
The statue is believed to be worth 100,000 (£860,000) and was stolen from an archaeological site near Rome. Pic: AP

The two officers were on assignment in Brussels when they took a walk after work in the Sablon neighbourhood, known for its antique shops.

They spotted a statue that they suspected was from Italy and confirmed their suspicions when they cross-referenced it with their stolen antique database.

An Italian businessman, who used a Spanish alias, has been referred to prosecutors for further investigation. He is alleged to have received and exported the statue abroad, police said.

Italian authorities have been attempting to recover stolen antiques for years.

In 2019, a dozen pieces of artwork were returned to Italy by private auction house Christie’s. The items featured a marble fragment from the sarcophagus in Rome’s catacombs of St Callixtus, a piece worth £50,000.

In June 2020, officials found a stolen Banksy mural in Italy that was taken from the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

The image was created in memory of the victims of the 2015 terrorist attack in the French capital. It was cut out and removed from the concert hall in 2019.

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