Movie Big Success! War Good! Freedom Not Free! Hey, Do You Work Out, Bro?

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All weekend, the Drudge report breathlessly screamed the headline, as if putting it in a big enough typeface could prove W. right and destroy the liberal peacenicks forever: BOXOFFICE BLOODBATH!!!!! That’s right, it was a massacre in the cinema, and I don’t mean like when Divine asked “who wants to die for art” in “Female Trouble.” I mean “The 300,” the latest in a long tradition of things whose name is a dramatic combination of a number and a “The.” The movie broke some box office records this weekend, and, if I may join in the thematic word play, pillaged over 70 million smackeroos from the chain wallets of our nation’s slack-jawed youths. What does it all mean? Isn’t America supposed to be weary of warmongering, tired of knuckleheaded pseudo-freedom fighters, sick of meaningless video game-style violence? Sure. We’re over Applebee’s and fast cars too. H. L. Mencken, you just have to keep being proven right, don’t you. Oh, you.

I haven’t seen the damn movie, but I have seen a blog post referencing a dramatically-lit “feature” from Men’s Health on the manly exercise habits of one of the stars. Lift tires, make muscles big for movie! Also the snarky reviews in the liberal media have been pretty entertaining. Hilarious, even. Is this the only way I can enjoy anything these days: by scrounging around in the sarcastic reactions to it? Well, no-one ever lost money overestimating my desire to look at rippling torsos on the internet or read witty put-downs of popular culture.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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