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My name is Björn Jóhann — half-Icelandic, half-American, full-on Scorpio.

I’m fascinated by the world around me. My articles are in-depth examinations of current events, popular media, and queer narratives.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter to see all my latest updates. If you have questions about my work, contact me at bjorn.olafsson@gmail.com.

My work


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is parodied on both ‘The Boys’ and ‘Space Force’. Why?

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AOC strawman ‘Victoria Neuman’ from Amazon’s “The Boys” after assassinating a religious leader| GIF courtesy of Amazon Prime

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a supervillain.

No, this isn’t someright-wing conspiracy theory floating around on Parler (although given Parler, who knows really) — it's a plot point of The Boys, the superhero dark comedy from Prime Video. Its massively popular second season revolved around a central mystery: who’s assassinating powerful figures with a Scanners-esque telekinetic explosion of their noggins? In the very final scene, the assassin is revealed to be Congresswoman Victoria Neuham, a minor character eerily evocative of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, down to the viral dance video and everything. Ergo, AOC is a supervillain.

This isn’t an isolated portrayal. Space Force, the shockingly bad Steve Carrell vehicle, uses its own AOC strawman. Anabela Ysidro-Campos — given the nickname of “AYC” — is a minor antagonist in the first half of the season. She’s a well-dressed minority politician who speaks during congressional hearings against the interests of the principal protagonists. …


Joe Biden wins the US Presidential election. Hatred has been defeated.

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President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Trump has been fired.

Suddenly, the thing we knew to be true — that we knew from the slow voter counts in Georgia, and Arizona, and Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and Michigan — became a reality. The voters (and the electoral college) chose to reject Trump. The world is beginning to look different.

It’s hard to describe how I feel right now. This isn’t joy, no not really. This isn’t happiness., although it’s close.

It’s relief.

It is almost easier to breathe. Like I had just emerged from touching the bottom of the deep end of a pool.

I feel like the burden of the past few years slowly lifting off of my back. I had been carrying it around. Anxiety and stress caused by the man who represented me and who destroy lives with the signing of a single executive order. Caused by the hatred he spewed like spittle. Caused by never knowing what my and my loved ones’ future would hold. …


This isn’t going to be easy.

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Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash

Today is Election Day and I am ready. But I’m also not ready.

The memory of Election Day 2016 hits me. I was drinking champagne with friends the day before my birthday, excited to usher in a new era of a female presidency. But soon, auspiciousness drained from the air faster than the New York Times needle could swing right, and my friends and I began reaching for vodka instead of champagne.

Don’t do that! Don’t be me!

We don’t know for sure what will happen, but we need to be prepared to safeguard our mental health regardless of the outcome. Even if we win, the results will take a long time, and Trump may engage in counterattacks throughout the night.


It might be rough.

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Photo by visuals on Unsplash

For any US citizens out there, or anyone living within the boundaries of the United States of America, or even someone concerned about the fate of the world, listen in. This week will be tough.

Even if we triumph — if the orange-y, anthropomorphized gasket of toxic masculinity we know as POTUS is removed from office — it’s likely we won’t know until much later into the week (or even the month). Disinformation and fake news may spread like wildfire. Doctored images of discarded ballots may flood your newsfeeds. …


Number 2: Chris Messina

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Photo courtesy of Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

If you’re lucky enough not to have a Twitter account, you may not be aware that Chris Pratt has been unceremoniously booted from the Four Horsemen of the Chrispocalypse: Pratt, Pine, Hemsworth, and Evans.

The new twist in the Chris discourse (Chriscourse?) stems from many factors. His refusal to condemn his church’s rampant homophobia. His mocking of voter mobilization efforts.

And while his co-stars rush to defend him, others have pointed out the media’s hypocrisy. As Constance Grady writes in an excellent analysis, while backlash against celebrities is nothing new, the publicized support for Chris Pratt seems unique. …


And no, anxiously refreshing 538’s homepage isn’t one of them.

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Image by B Ban from Pixabay

Look. We’ve all been there. Anxiously refreshing 538's Election Forecast to see how likely Trump’s defeat is. There is something unbelievably satisfying about watching his numbers slowly fall. Seeing that blue line trending upwards. It’s as soothing as a cup of chamomile.

But polls, while sporting robust statistical methodology, are weakened by certain factors. Some people are less likely to respond to polls. Some people who respond to polls are going to forget to vote. Polls won’t capture any last-minute surprises, like last election’s email investigation re-opening.

So much is at stake this election. Human rights. Preventable Covid-19 deaths. Economic stability. …


How can I look bigotry in the eyes when they belong to people I love?

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Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

My grandmother's favorite musical was Wicked.

“Play ‘Popular’! Play ‘Popular’!” I would yell on our carpools to my Catholic elementary school. On the next red light, she would slide in the CD and I would sing my heart out to the magical campiness as we imaged green-skinned witches and flying monkeys. She was a severe woman, a prim and proper southern school teacher with a crisp auburn bob, but sometimes she would sing along too. I was her favorite.

I never told my grandmother I was gay. She knew, of course, through whispers of my aunts or through pictures I posted on my Facebook feed. I imagine that every night — after she took off her perfectly matched earrings and tucked them away into her jewelry box — she knelt by her bed and prayed for me. …


Ruth Bader Ginsburg is resting. But we must not rest.

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Justice “Notorious RBG” | Image courtesy of Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

I, like so many other Americans, am heartbroken by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, affectionately nicknamed ‘Notorious RBG” by her many fervent admirers. Her absence feels like a hollowness inside of me.

It’s difficult to summarize how much she meant to us. To women. To gay people. To anyone victimized by the conservative rule of the United States.

RBG was a feminist champion. In the 1970s, as a civil rights lawyer, she won five feminist cases before the Supreme Court. When she was appointed as a Justice in 1993, she continued to fight for women, ending all-male universities in 1996. …


What psychological studies say on the effect of alcohol on writing

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Photo by Josh Olalde on Unsplash

Write drunk; edit sober.

Back in the fluorescent-lit study rooms inside college libraries, students like me would tout this mantra as we anxiously struggled to finish our essays before time ran out.

It was a simple formula really. Write drunk the night before, fueled by vodka-sodas and the energy of last-minute procrastination. Edit sober the next morning, when the sun’s rays provide clarity (and maybe a headache).

Many people falsely misattribute the quote to Ernest Hemingway, a man, who, contrary to popular belief, likely never wrote whilst drunk. …

About

Björn Jóhann

A queer, herbivorous, leftist Viking. I write about society, justice, and popular media. UChicago grad. Based in Iceland.

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