Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza got what appears to be phenomenal access to the Michele Bachmann team and came away with a very good profile that goes beyond “Bachmann says nutty things” to a far more useful explanation of the nutty things Bachmann believes.
Bachmann’s spiritual gurus include 1970s evangelical thinker
Frank Francis Schaeffer, who was opposed to the Renaissance and went sorta nuts after Roe v. Wade, advocating for violent overthrow of the government and claiming that the elites were poisoning the populace with psychotropic drugs in the water supply.
Sara Diamond, who has written several books about evangelical movements in America, has succinctly defined the philosophy that resulted from Schaeffer’s interpretation: “Christians, and Christians alone, are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns.”
Bachmann was approvingly mentioning the “profound influence” Schaeffer had on her as recently as this spring, and she told the Star Tribune in 2005 that she was reading a “wonderful” book called “Total Truth,” by a Schaeffer follower and prominent creationist named Nancy Pearcey.
And there is her Oral Roberts University professor John Eidsmoe, with whom Bachmann collaborated on a book about how America is a Christian nation founded by Christians:
When Biblical law conflicted with American law, Eidsmoe said, O.R.U. students were generally taught that “the first thing you should try to do is work through legal means and political means to get it changed.”
Sounds a bit like Shariah?
Eidsmoe later got in trouble for addressing a white supremacist organization and celebrating “Secession Day” in Alabama and arguing that “Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than did Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster.”
Then, in the late 1990s, Bachmann began reading David A. Boebel, an actual John Bircher Society member and minister who wrote in insane pamphlets for crazy people with names like “Communism, Hypnotism, and the Beatles.”
Plus, Bachmann recommended a Robert E. Lee biography by a guy named J. Steven Wilkins, who … well, he defends the Confederacy, and slavery, because the South loved God and the North didn’t.
In his chapter on race relations in the antebellum South, Wilkins writes:
Slavery, as it operated in the pervasively Christian society which was the old South, was not an adversarial relationship founded upon racial animosity. In fact, it bred on the whole, not contempt, but, over time, mutual respect. This produced a mutual esteem of the sort that always results when men give themselves to a common cause. The credit for this startling reality must go to the Christian faith. . . . The unity and companionship that existed between the races in the South prior to the war was the fruit of a common faith.
For several years, the book, which Bachmann’s campaign declined to discuss with me, was listed on her Web site, under the heading “Michele’s Must Read List.”
So! That’s just the bits of the profile dealing with Bachmann’s spiritual and ideological mentors and influences. I didn’t even paste the amazing Marcus Bachmann color or the tale of her horrible religious charter school or the many stories of how much Bachmann lies about her own background — go read the whole thing!
Even in a post-Glenn Beck world where far-right extremism has become fairly normalized and occasionally embraced by a Republican Party that used to at least act embarrassed about its neo-Confederates and John Birchers and straight-up theocrats, Bachmann’s ideological background is both radically anti-American (in the sense that America is a pluralist nation founded on Enlightenment values and not a pro-slavery Christian theocracy) and way, way outside the “mainstream.” She’s not just a hard-right-winger — and not just a slightly dim “nut” — but a full-on fringe character, a bigot following a bizarre strain of born-againism that even your average American evangelical would find too conspiracy-obsessed and ahistorical to be palatable.
Meanwhile, Newsweek puts this incredibly, incredibly generic Bachmann piece on the cover (the entire thing, summed up: Michele Bachmann is doing well in Iowa but sometimes she says funny things and her critics say she is extreme) with the crazy-eyes photo, but the NewsBeast actually ran a much more illuminating story on Bachmann’s ideology by Michelle Goldberg — the piece where I first read about Bachmann’s links to Schaeffer and Eidsmoe — back in June, and I don’t think that one was even in the print magazine?
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.