Abolition: For Your Consideration

pop justice takes on the 2022 74th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

pop justice is Scalawag's newsletter exploring the intersection of popular culture and justice—namely through abolition. Sign up here.

Scalawag launched pop justice to reckon with the way copaganda distorts our understanding of our criminal-legal system and ultimately stalls abolition. The slate of television shows up for nomination at the 2022 74th Primetime Emmy Awards are no exception. In this special edition of pop justice, we've invited writers to call out potentially award-winning copaganda of the last year—and to highlight abolitionist storylines lurking in our favorite shows.

Watch this space during and after TV's biggest night of the year for even more reviews and critiques of the nominees.

pop justice isn't about policing the media you consume (even you, true-crime bingers). Instead, we see pop culture as a relatable and—even enjoyable—entry point to tough and necessary conversations about abolishing the police state. Subscribe today so we can get free (and kiki) together:

more in pop justice:

Come on Barbie, give us nothing!

The film's hypnosis of capitalism, nostalgia, and lifelessness punts meaningful concepts into the void—but maybe that's the point.

"This is not a sweeping biopic of a beloved figure, but it's clear that we want it to be." Barbie may have no point other than highlighting the irony of the astronomical public value assigned to the entertainment industry compared to that of its creators.

Barbie: Pretty Police

An abolitionist perspective on the Barbie movie's depiction of a larger-than-life, imaginative universe as a reminder to keep fighting to build in our own worlds anew.

What Barbie does get right about oppression brought on by patriarchal violence and gender inequities is that it's something that was created—and therefore, can be destroyed. "As an abolitionist today, imagination is fuel."

"Pull up your pants or go to jail!"

An abolitionist retrospective on the fashion police.

For Black Music Month, a retelling of the moral panic around sagging pants—and how the influences of Southern pop rap and regressive gender politics accelerated efforts to police it.

Another kind of Memphis Blues

Black music has made room for every form of resistance you can imagine—and more. The past century of Memphis policing shows us how.

For as long as police have existed, Black folks have fought for safety. In Memphis, a city marked by racial violence and injustice, blues greats like Louis Armstrong and John Gary Williams harnessed the power of the city's Black music for resistance.