The scariest thing about America

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Event from The Golden Probes website.

Last Saturday night I found myself at The Golden Probes in New York. Only my brilliant friend Sam Roddick could get me free tickets to an event like that.

I have to confess when I said I’d go, I had no idea what it even was. Sam had asked me to meet with the Founder, a woman who runs something called Lady Parts Justice, to give her advice about how to better use digital and design. They are a non profit who “advocate strongly for the reproductive health and rights of women, all genders and non-binary people. Our advocacy has one mission: Whatever your gender identity, we will fight for safe, dignified and affordable reproductive healthcare.” We couldn’t find time to meet for a worky chat on this visit but she did give me comp tickets for the event.

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Photo by Lady Parts Justice — the event at New York’s Town Hall — and me and Kylie on the front row of the balcony just at the bottom of this picture — I’ve got my trainer resting on the ledge!

The event is a satirical awards show “honouring” outstanding achievements in sexism and anti-choice extremism.

The purpose and timing of the awards was to raise awareness of who *not* to vote for in the mid-term elections that are on the horizon, and to fire people up to vote for anyone who has a good track record on women’s rights. In the run up to the 2016 election they’d done something similar and through the live streaming had more than 22,000 people watching across the country, with 80 #GoldenProbes watch parties happening in 30 states.

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The different award categories and the presenters.

The whole evening was cleverly done and each award was announced and different film clips shown of the nominees. The film clips show real events, with people preaching and claiming the most unbelievable things about women and their rights.

Anyway, please watch even some of this, to realise how truly fucked up America is — I sat there watching these film clips, and the show, laughing, but in horror. I couldn’t actually believe they were real. But they are.

See for yourself!

You can see the film here and I’ve picked out some of the most terrifying moments — listed below, so that you don’t need to watch the whole thing.

Best acting like you care about women in a non-supporting role — 24.30 mins in.

Best break out performance — 43.30 mins in.

Best Adaptation of reality — 51.45 mins in.

Best original science — 1.12 mins in.

I’ve spent much of the week since seeing this last Saturday on a road trip through North West Michigan and somehow the vast open landscapes peppered with rural villages and tiny towns felt particularly eerie. Not because of their sparseness but because I realised the locals probably shared some similar views to the people who won Golden Probe awards.

The hold that faith has on people and the extreme (and yet in the US I am not sure these even are extreme- they might be verging on “normal”) views that can arise, are one of the things that we don’t seem to acknowledge enough. If we don’t confront the sheer mass and force of “God’s” influence on the US can we ever design ways to get out of this mess?

Written by

Senior Head, UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund & Co-founder of the Point People. Previously Strategic Design Director at Doteveryone.

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