From Rihanna’s “satanic” Super Bowl halftime performance to the outrage over the desexualization of M&M’s, the right wing has been obsessed with waging culture wars wherever it can find them. In the latest installment of Inside the Hive, Vanity Fair special correspondent Molly Jong-Fast and staff writer Chris Murphy unpack the right wing’s attention to two of America’s major cultural events.
Those tentpoles of America’s “Cultural Kinsey Scale,” as Murphy calls it, are the Super Bowl and the Oscars. This year, the right’s ire has seemed focused on Rihanna’s halftime performance, in which she revealed that she is pregnant with her second child while decked out in all-red Loewe.
That same impulse was in full effect after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock last year during America’s other main event, the Oscars. After the slap, conservatives seized the moment to push their agenda about the intersection between race and violence in America. As the Oscars approach, conservatives like Tucker Carlson have found new ways to attempt to discredit the “woke” left’s nuanced way of describing Michelle Yeoh’s historic best-actress Oscar nomination. Jong-Fast and Murphy map out the life cycle of a conservative culture battle, from its inception to its dissemination on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
“The right often tries to erase context and erase history because that serves its narrative,” said Murphy. “It’s really important to have context and history and to tell the full story.”