WE’RE JUST A FEW SHORT HOURS AWAY from the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, and many of us who won’t be on our way to Washington or participating in active protests on Friday wonder what the best way is to protest Trump’s inauguration from home. If you aren’t taking to the streets to protest Trump, his cabinet picks, and the GOP’s plan for the future of our country this weekend, you might believe you can’t make yourself heard. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many of us Lefties have a plan: to tune out of Trump’s inauguration celebration. A graphic circulated on social media this week, encouraging progressives to tune into any channel not broadcasting coverage from D.C., the theory being that driving other shows’ ratings up would drive Trump’s down. That plan may not be as effective as we want to believe, however.
Television “ratings” are not determined by the raw number of people who tune in. Instead, the Nielsen Company selects families across the U.S. as a representative sample of the population, and tracks their viewing habits to determine which shows and specials are popular during a particular period of time. Because of this, as Snopes points out, “a non-Nielsen family member’s individual viewing (or lack thereof) of Donald Trump’s inauguration would have virtually no impact on the event’s overall television ratings.”
If tuning in to something else was all you had planned for January 20, don’t fret. I have five great things you can watch instead of Donald Trump’s inauguration.
1. Literally Anything Else on TV, Especially If You’re in a Nielsen Family
Hey, maybe you’re part of a Nielsen family! If that’s the case, you should absolutely watch anything else on television, even if it’s nothing but HGTV reruns. Even if your TV-viewing habits aren’t tracked, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t watch something else on the tube. Pick something that won’t make you feel terrible, and give yourself permission to vegetate.
2. The Love-a-Thon
Beginning at 12:30 PM EST on January 20, Crowdrise will host a Love-a-Thon on Facebook Live. The broadcast aims to raise $500,000 for Planned Parenthood, Earthjustice, and the ACLU, with speeches from the following celebrities: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jane Fonda, Robert Reich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Tom Morello, Adrian Grenier, David Duchovny, Misha Collins, Michael Franti, Andrew Bird, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tim Robbins, and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Other prominent Love-a-Thon supporters include Rashida Jones, Penn & Teller, Weird Al Yankovic, Martin Sheen, and Jillian Michaels.
3. The 2017 Indoguration
If you’re up earlier than lunch, you can tune in to The 2017 Indoguration at 9:30 AM EST. The broadcast will be available on The Attack’s Twitch channel and on The Presidential Indoguration website, and will last for three hours. Proceeds from the event will go to benefit animal shelters in the Los Angeles area. Billed as “the Puppy Bowl of Politics,” this is not something you want to miss.
4. A Few Great Documentaries on Netflix
If you’ve been meaning to trim down your Netflix watchlist this year, Inauguration Day is a great time to start. Film School Rejects recommends 13th and I Am Not Your Negro, both of which focus on racism in the U.S., but The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 and Welcome to Leith are also excellent choices.
For a look at what’s going on around the globe, check out Winter on Fire and The Square, which take on uprisings in Ukraine and Egypt, respectively. By focusing on a small family in Pyongyang, Under the Sun offers an eye-opening glimpse at the inner-workings of North Korea.
Want to watch something about economics? Queue up Inequality for All, Robert Reich’s exposé of the shrinking middle class, or A Place at the Table, which focuses on the state of food security in the U.S. Or try out Detropia, a microhistory of Detroit, MI, or Citizen Koch, a documentary covering the unfortunate legacy of Citizens United.
History buffs have more than a few options for great documentary-viewing on Inauguration Day. We Were Here and How to Survive a Plague tell the story of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the early 1980s. Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train examines the life of the A People’s History of the United States author. And Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing recalls the 2003 controversy over singer Natalie Maines’ dissenting comments about then-President George W. Bush.
Finally, there’s Network. This 1976 satire centers on a failing news network and its put-out journalists, who are ousted in favor of more eye-catching, controversial broadcasters. After soon-to-be-fired anchorman Howard Beale (Peter Finch, who won a posthumous Oscar for the role) rages against his network’s bow to sensationalism, he’s given his own show, driven by his aggression and outspokenness, which draw in viewers.
With Trump’s anti-journalist comments and agenda, Network may be more important than ever in the post-truth age. Rent it online for $2.99.