Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party Is Here To Save Us
Stephanie Cangro's not a crackpot; she just thinks the nation needs to come together at Martha and Snoop's for dinner.
Like most of Pantsuit Nation, I've spent the past two weeks in varying states of denial, confusion, outrage, and abject sadness. I'm not a special snowflake, though I apparently looked so dejected that my mother offered to make me a sandwich for literally the first time in my life. If anyone wants to throw a label at me, I'll wear either "nasty woman" or "liberal feminist b*tch" with pride. And yes, I am "overeducated," if that can really ever be a thing -- where is the curiosity, the hunger for information in people tossing that phrase around? -- but I'm also here, on this site and my couch, bearing witness to The Voice, American Idol, The Real Housewives Of Orange County and Orange Is The New Black. What's highbrow is also low, unless we're talking about Vicki Gunvalson at a reunion taping, in which case, she's just high.
The first d'oh! came last weekend, as I was paging through a magazine at my nail place (self-care is real and important), and came upon Gwen Stefani's face: this can all be traced back to the rise of Blake Shelton. Most of the pop culture we create, consume, and popularize acts as escapism; it has a sense of sticky addiction, an "I want to go to there" feeling that permeates our behavior until our DVR is full of back episodes and our Twitter feeds are clogged with #VoteYourNameHere variations that won't make sense in the rearview mirror.
When The Voice premiered in the spring of 2011, it did so at the near mid-point of the Obama years, right after the Affordable Care Act in 2010, but before Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. As the antihero companion to American Idol, The Voice was supposed to be more celebratory of diverse artistic talent. Yet, to date, four of the ten champions have been white men and that stat will probably become six of 11 once this current season is finished (by comparison, Idol closed out with nine out of 15 white guy winners). Shelton's popularity has risen with The Voice, and perhaps should have been our first clue about the current post-truth upside down we find ourselves in. For all of his honky-tonking, good ol' country boy appeal, Shelton is little more than his cowboy hat and boots, offering misogynistic comments with a smile and twang, while raking in millions of dollars a year. Yet he's praised as the everyman, with the ultimate manic pixie dream girl on his arm. Ryan Seacrest is a hustler, but at least he's honest about it.
But I digress. My second "a-ha!" moment came as I was watching Martha Stewart erotically massage a turkey. Yes, really. Here it is: if The Voice signaled our current swing towards deplorability, Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party is just the show we need to actually make America great again, assuming that great still means inclusive and welcoming. I am not a crackpot.
Admittedly, on the surface, it's easy to dismiss Martha and Snoop as an unnecessary spectacle, centered on a ratings-baiting odd couple. But the two have a mutual, well-documented friendship and respect for one another, and are, in fact, perfectly complementary for all of their respective idiosyncrasies. And sure, there's plenty of ridiculous to go around -- Rick Ross hits on Martha and it's sort of sweet! Snoop is scared of a lobster tank and it's also sort of sweet! -- but where else can you see Martha, Snoop, Seth Rogen, and Wiz Khalifa toasting with pineapple-based drinks and celebrating the multi-ethnic origins of fried chicken, all while joking about chains, common street language, and birth control? Snoop uses atomically correct euphemisms to describe unnecessary kitchen contraptions (an ice-ball maker has a "vaginal tunnel"), elevating the conversation by using words our VPEOTUS would eliminate from textbooks. That the show does all this while also poking fun at its very format ("this needs 45 minutes, but we're on TV, so just two commercial breaks") is just an added bonus.
So why does any of this matter? The pop culture we create and consume speaks volumes about our society's mindset. If we're going to let anything permeate our subconscious, we owe it to ourselves during this upcoming abomination of an administration for it to be content worthy of the brain space, elevating intersectional conversation and celebrating common ground. And if we all learn to cook along the way, so be it.