By Alexa Day
Pretty big day here in the States. Big enough that I probably don’t have to tell my friends in other nations what I’m talking about.
At long last, today is Election Day. Tomorrow, an election cycle that defies easy description will be over.
Because a great many people spent the last minutes of their lives in terror and agony so that I could vote, I will vote at some point today. And then I’ll go home and studiously avoid election coverage.
The way I see it, I have already done my duty as an American citizen. I researched the candidates, made up my mind, and kept half an eye out for information that might cause me to swing the other way. Today, I’m going to vote. That’s where my job ends.
I don’t need to see any more election coverage. I’m all set. I know a lot of you folks will be all over it for as long as it takes, but to me, watching the news today is going to be like watching a plane crash. From inside the plane.
Sure, my chances of surviving the crash are pretty good. That doesn’t mean I have to keep my eyes open.
I know I’m not the only one who is sick to death of election coverage. I started to see people unplugging as early as Sunday. So I thought I’d share some alternatives with you. If you want a way out of election coverage, I hope you find one here.
I’m going to presume that you’ve already considered some of the alternatives. You don’t need me to tell you that it might be a good time for a nice big glass of wine and a long hot bath. Or an evening of online shopping at The Stockroom or Good Vibrations or with our friends at Unbound. The Stockroom has a delightful sale happening right now, friends. And Unbound has a really cheeky Ballot Box — also on sale — for your enjoyment. Just saying.
If you’re a fan of robot sex (and you should know by now that I am), you’ll want to download Christine d’Abo’s Batteries Not Required. It’s a futuristic Christmas story featuring a heroine who must choose between sex robot and her devoted AI. Deep space has never been so hot. Seriously, if you’re going to say no to robot sex, I’m not sure I know you.
If you’re still feeling civic-minded, you should maybe have a look at Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology. You’ll find four novellas featuring heroines involved in the movement for women’s suffrage. You know how much I love underserved periods in history, and I definitely do not think we’ve been paying attention to black suffragettes. The narrow gaze of popular entertainment certainly prefers the civil rights movement. But this anthology promises some exciting pairings in a variety of time periods, and I’m looking forward to discovering just how hot history can be.
And then there’s Netflix. Netflix has rescued me from so much of this year’s election coverage. Not only is it blissfully free of election news, it’s also enabled me to avoid campaign ads. The only place I see campaign ads these days is at work, and I only see a couple of them during a half-hour lunch break.
(This gives me hope for dodging trailers for the next Fifty Shades movie, but that’s another story for another day.)
Election Day is a perfect opportunity for me to rejoin Luke Cage, which I started watching a while back. When Rebecca Brooks told me that Misty Knight was in this superhero series, I knew I’d have to make room for a mini-binge or three. At first, I figured the series had been bumped over to Netflix because network television wasn’t ready for a superhero show set in Harlem with a predominantly black cast. I still think that’s part of the reason we won’t see Luke Cage on regular cable.
But honestly, Luke Cage is not really a story built for TV. To say that it’s a bit gritty is like saying there’s a little water in an Olympic-size pool. It’s violent. No one shies away from language. And it is spellbinding. Well worth your attention, even if Misty Knight’s hair isn’t anywhere near big enough. At least not by episode five.
I am more likely, however, to spend Election Night watching The Crown. I checked out the first two episodes over the weekend, and it’s taken everything I have to save the rest of the season for tonight. Tina Brown with The New York Times agrees; her recap of the first two episodes praises the drama as an alternative to election news.
The Crown breathes luxury. It’s sumptuous to behold, more so than I expected from a drama about Queen Elizabeth II. Everything looks rich, from the settings to the costumes to the quality of the film itself. The cast is incredible. John Lithgow is working it as Winston Churchill, and watching Matt Smith as Prince Philip made me forget he was ever The Doctor. (In fairness, I don’t think any of the new Doctors was The Doctor. My loyalties lie with Tom Baker.)
But I really want to talk about Jared Harris. I didn’t think it was possible to love Jared Harris more than I do. I’m a big fan of villains and hard-asses, and I love the quiet, understated power he brings to those roles. But as King George VI, a man who understands that his daughter will be queen sooner than anyone else suspects, he is vulnerable and warm in a way that makes his limited time on screen absolutely indelible.
I’m committed to not spoiling anything, but be on the lookout for two scenes. The king’s wedding present for his daughter tugged at me in an unexpected way. And the conversation he has with Prince Philip at the end of the first episode made me stand up and pump my fist. You have got to see that for yourselves.
It’s nice to have something to look forward to on Election Day, but my colleague Elizabeth SaFleur reminded me that there’s something larger at stake, even larger than the future of the country. When I think of Elizabeth, I always think of D.C. at its sexiest. Her series, Elite Doms of Washington, takes place in a capital city that’s constantly smoldering. She shared with me her plans for avoiding the election coverage.
Elizabeth plans to spend the evening immersed in a Black Dagger Brotherhood audiobook. At 20+ hours, that should keep her away from the TV quite nicely. She also plans to do some star-gazing “outside on my screened-in porch … with my dog, both of us wrapped up in a blanket.”
(By the way, if you can’t get outside to watch nature, just know that The Weather Channel is planning nine hours of beautiful, soothing nature images tonight for your viewing pleasure.)
Elizabeth says that watching the stars in their courses “ensure[s] I keep the proper perspective that only star-gazing can bring: this time of discord will pass as it has over the ages. But just in case, I’ll light a candle for this world that no matter who wins we will move forward, gracefully, peacefully, and with unity.”
That’s my hope for the world, too, in the long term.
I just have to get through tonight first.