On the first night of the Republican National Convention, the party aired a segment featuring Catalina and Madeline Lauf warning of dire consequences if Democratic candidate Joe Biden is elected president.
“This is a taste of Biden’s America,” one sister says in a voiceover as images of protests play onscreen. “The rioting, the crime. Freedom is at stake now and this is going to be the most important election of our lifetime.”
The problem is that one of the images in the segment doesn’t show the US at all — it shows Spain.
As first reported by Catalonian public broadcaster CCMA and independently verified by BuzzFeed News, one of the four images of protests was filmed in October 2019 in Barcelona. Protests broke out in the city after Spanish courts sentenced Catalan separatist activists to prison. The image used during the RNC video showed fires burning in the streets. One of those same streets can be seen as being in Barcelona by using Google Street View.
Other images of protests in the segment show footage of a march in Brooklyn, a car on fire in Chicago, and drone footage of a tree on fire in an intersection in New York. The final, and most striking, shot is the one from Barcelona.
BuzzFeed News was able to find identical footage on Shutterstock, a website that’s a common source for stock images and videos. In this case, the Barcelona footage used in the RNC segment is described as “Young rebel riot revolutionary anarchist.” Although that video doesn’t specify the location it was shot in, another angle shot by Getty Images does.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Protests have been raging around the country and the world since May, spurred by the police killing of George Floyd. Protests being portrayed as cities in chaos is a consistent frame from Republicans and the Trump administration, despite people on the ground saying it does not match reality. While some protesters do vandalize property or set fires, people (in Portland, for example) have said that it’s law enforcement exacerbating conflicts.
In some instances, violent actions have been attributed to white supremacists attempting to cause more violence. Yet the portrayal of the protests as violent has also led to armed counterprotesters taking to the streets and resulted in numerous clashes.
In Kenosha, Wisconsin, protests broke out this week after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot several times from behind by a police officer while his children watched. During the third night of the Kenosha protests, a gunman carrying a semi-automatic weapon shot three people, two of whom died. The suspect was named as Kyle Howard Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who supported the pro-police Blue Lives Matter movement and President Donald Trump. In one video, a person believed to be Rittenhouse confirms that he’s holding a lethal weapon. Rittenhouse was sitting in the front row of a Trump rally in January.
The best culture you may have missed in 2020 | Culture
Southern Journey (Revisited)
In the dark days of lockdown, it’s hard to believe the big outdoors actually exists. But that’s what you get with this lovely music documentary, which followed in the footsteps of celebrated musicologist Alan Lomax and British folk singer Shirley Collins on their landmark 1959 odyssey, recording rural American folk music in the field just as the major roots revival was taking off in urban coffee houses. Film-makers Rob Curry and Tim Plester do their own bit of cultural archaeology, looking up children and grandchildren of the original artists, and filming performances by modern-day folk artists. A breath of musical fresh air. Andrew Pulver
Lynn + Lucy
Any other year, this gritty exploration of violence, grief and betrayal would have been heralded as a masterpiece. But, perhaps understandably, the public mood has veered more towards the safe and comforting, meaning Fyzal Boulifa’s feature debut has passed somewhat under the radar. It’s a shame: set in an Essex of hair salons and too-loud whispers, it’s a fascinating dissection of female friendship and shifting sympathies that will haunt your thoughts for days afterwards. Available to buy on the BFI Player. Kathryn Bromwich
Overshadowed on its release in August by the Netflix sci-fi series of the same name, this wordless animated feature from 26-year-old Latvian one-man band Gints Zilbalodis is a quiet marvel. A boy on a motorbike, with a tiny yellow bird as his companion, races across an island of sweeping landscapes pursued by a mysterious, implacable giant. Simply but atmospherically rendered, Away took Zilbalodis three-and-a-half years to make, but the love in his labour is there for all to see. Simon Wardell
Amy Huberman’s comedy debuted in Ireland in 2018 but arrived in the UK this year on the unheralded Acorn TV streaming service and fitted right in to 2020. She’s Joy, a newly single Dubliner discovering that all her cute Instagram lifestyle fixes are no cure for heartbreak, or for general stepped-in-a-dog-turd awkwardness. Can a new job and a wacky sitcom flatmate (Aisling Bea) help? An easy binge, with a knack for unleashing a rude belly-laugh just when you think it’s getting too pastel-coloured. Jack Seale
Cult US weird-com Childrens Hospital has been spoofing medical dramas for a decade; this 2020 Netflix spin-off takes a bone-saw to macho geopolitical thrillers such as Jack Ryan or 24. A perpetually globetrotting mission to find a secret bioweapon, it is crammed with deft slapstick and daft cameos, including Jason Schwartzman as gregarious fixer “the Goldfinch”. But its secret bioweapon is the chemistry between central duo Erinn Hayes and Rob Huebel, who do deadpan with elan. Graeme Virtue
Wu-Tang Clan – Of Mics and Men
This deep-dive docuseries into Staten Island’s finest dropped without much fuss, but it was fascinating, funny and immaculately sourced. Fans of heavy-handed symbolism will be amused to learn that Method Man worked as a cleaner at the Statue of Liberty. Each member gets a backstory and what stories they are. The conclusion? They haven’t always liked each other but there’s still a lot of love. Available to view on Sky and Now TV. Phil Harrison
Cucina Povera & Haron – Plafond 6
If you need to build a psychic cocoon to deal with an incoming winter of jigsaw puzzles, Zoom bantz and other second-lockdown privations, pair some noise-cancelling headphones with this album by Glasgow-via-Finland singer-producer Maria Rossi, AKA Cucina Povera, and Dutch musician Haron Aumaj. The enveloping, static-haunted ambient pieces in the second half are straightforwardly gorgeous, but the real triumph is the opening 22-minute suite Riffittelyä, where vocals drift across church organ chords. Ben Beaumont-Thomas
SG Goodman – Old Time Feeling
From deep in the wilds of western Kentucky comes the righteous SG Goodman, a farmer’s daughter with a punk past whose rowdy, rootsy country music straddles the vintage twang of Patsy Cline and haunted balladry of Angel Olsen. But her striking, swinging debut Old Time Feeling – which dropped over the summer – was a protest album with a difference, looking at how to make change for the better within the rural community that raised her. Leonie Cooper
Hum – Inlet
These Illinois space-rockers had the misfortune of dropping their first album in 22 years into the middle of a pandemic, meaning it was missed by all bar the most assiduous fans of chunky 90s guitar music. A shame, as its shoegaze-meets-Sabbath soundscapes serve as a great release from lockdown claustrophobia. Heavy but never abrasive, these eight tracks are a fine soundtrack to contemplating your insignificance in Earth’s vastness; “an echo left on the mountainside” as vocalist Matt Talbott puts it. Gwilym Mumford
Aluna – Renaissance
At the start of lockdown, Aluna Francis, vocalist and songwriter in dance-pop duo AlunaGeorge, launched an online club billed as “an introvert’s palace of escape”. That sense of introspection carried over into her solo debut, Renaissance, an in-your-feelings party album that celebrated dance’s overlooked black history. Channelling house and dancehall alongside Caribbean dance and slinky R&B, it’s an expertly curated night in, augmented by a top-tier guestlist including Princess Nokia and Kaytranada. Michael Cragg
The Socially Distant Sports Bar
In the absence of bonding over live sport, Elis James, Mike Bubbins and Steff Garrero created a haven where they ramble on about classic clips and random recollections. It’s ideal if you miss the sound of friends mocking each other in the pub, as the trio cry with laughter about Ray Reardon skateboarding, “Wembley widows” out on the town and cows on steroids. Like Athletico Mince, you don’t have to like sport to enjoy it. Hannah Verdier
Mel Giedroyc Is Quilting
If we continue at the current rate, there may soon be more celeb podcasts than actual celebs. Yet, a welcome 2020 effort – and one that flew under the radar – was the beautifully gentle Mel Giedroyc Is Quilting. Despite its Partridge-esque title, this was no joke: just a lovely show about two pals (Mel and radio DJ Andy Bush) making a patchwork quilt from offcuts sent in by listeners. Hannah J Davies
Regardless of class or culture, most childhoods feature some sort of board game shelf, a place usually associated with feelings of joy and togetherness (unless, that is, yours contained only Monopoly, that cleaver of households). Similarly, this is a virtual drawer crammed with 51 classics. Some – chequers, ludo, chess, poker – are familiar, but by plucking examples from different nations and, in some cases, history, this is also a compendium of fresh wonders. With rules, hints and increasingly skilled AI rivals, you’ll soon find competence at mancala and hanafuda via a collection that blazingly exceeds its constituent parts. Simon Parkin
Did we really need another post-apocalyptic RPG? Yes, as it happens. This old-school, top-down adventure throws you into a snow-smothered Colorado years after the bombs dropped, casting you as two Rangers trying to survive, forge alliances and eventually thrive. The writing is strong, the consequences of your choices far-reaching, and it’s marbled with great characters and a likable, larky sense of humour. It’s – wait for it – da bomb. (Sorry.) Luke Holland
You’re dead and on your way to the afterlife in Charon’s boat. Before you go, though, you’ve been given a job: help other lost souls conclude their earthly business so that they can move on, too. Ghibli-esque and fantastical, Spiritfarer is wonderful to look at and thought-provoking to play, as your barge becomes stacked with more and more travellers looking for closure. A game about helping people, building things and saying goodbye. Keza MacDonald
The Keepers Project
For this pioneering archive project, artist David Clegg and photographer Thierry Bal travelled to sites outside mainstream art’s purview to document seven labours of love by self-taught artists, explored through photographs and interviews. Launched online this summer, it’s as much about the creations – be they Italian buildings crafted from cement and chickenwire on a Powys hillside; Brighton beach’s flint grotto; or a replica Roman villa in Birkenhead – as a testament to the conservation struggles of those dedicated to their care. Skye Sherwin
Es Devlin and Machiko Weston – I Saw the World End
Amid all the tribulations of 2020, this meditation on the use of atomic bombs against Japan in 1945 was derailed for the strangest of reasons: planned August screenings on the screen at Piccadilly Circus, at the exact times of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were postponed due to the accidental disaster in Beirut. Moved to September and also available to watch online, this digital lament splices quotes from prophets, designers and victims of the bomb into a moving montage of sound and light. Jonathan Jones
This ambitious festival of work by theatre-makers from across eastern Europe was set to play Berlin’s Volkbühne Theatre in May. When it was clear that would no longer be possible, the artists (from countries including Germany, Lithuania, Hungary, Kosovo and Ukraine) hastily and ingeniously remade their work for new formats – video, audio, one piece took the form of a virtual birthday party, another an online “blind date” – and the results can be viewed on the festival’s website. Natasha Tripney
Small Acts – The You Play
An audio play – but make it interactive! You, the listener, play the main part in Rafaella Marcus’s inventive piece, with Katherine Parkinson’s voice guiding you through a sensory adventure taking place around your own home. Loosely based on The Winter’s Tale, it also speaks to our socially distanced times. Part of the digital storytelling project Written on the Waves, The You Play is available online. Holly Williams
Best known for a stint on The Voice, singer-turned-comic Jordan Gray has mined her vocal skills in the winning Transaction, where she plays snarky supermarket shelf-stacker Liv. You could call its five-minute episodes (available on Comedy Central’s YouTube page) nuggets of fun, or you could call them a step forward for diversity, breaking down tired old stereotypes in the representation of trans people. Either way, it just won a Broadcast Digital Award for best short-form comedy. Brian Logan
Middleditch and Schwartz
Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch and Parks and Rec’s Ben Schwartz team up for a Netflix series of three, hour-long, unplanned improv pieces, filmed in front of an audience. The risk with this sort of thing is that the viewers can often have less fun than the performers, but the pair manage to keep everyone onside with the sheer energy of their imaginations. That they can improvise coherent stories is impressive; that they can do it while trying to throw each other off balance is incredible. Stuart Heritage
Epic fall: the joy of autumnal video games | Games
There is something about the clocks going back that I inextricably associate with video games. Perhaps it is the prospect of all those long evenings, hiding from the weather, snuggled up in an easy chair with a joypad and a mug of tea, lost in some fantastical role-playing adventure. This is also the period in which the year’s biggest games are released in time for Christmas, so there is the extra pleasure of discovering new characters, new worlds, as the endless drizzle falls outside.
There are games that simply provide us with beautiful autumn environments. Firewatch envelops us in the rolling, red-tinged forests of Wyoming; the mountain walks in A Short Hike present the soft auburn hues of the season in an almost impressionistic style; and Forza Horizon 4 perfectly replicates the wet, leaf-scattered roads of October country lanes. The richness with which modern visuals capture the reds and oranges of the season, the way HDR technology simulates that particular low, coppery sunlight as it glints across the screen, gives these games the cosiness of an open fire.
But there are also games that capture more than the look of autumn; they are autumnal in their themes and tone. The apocalyptic adventures The Last of Us and Fallout 4 make the most of their rugged settings, using the stark rural scenes to emphasis the feelings of solitude and loss. The quest at the centre of wordless PlayStation title Journey is bathed in burnished orange colours, but it is also a game about the cycle of life that autumn represents; the death and rebirth of nature. One thing I really love about the adventure Life Is Strange is its authentic autumnal setting – this game, about teenage girls discovering friendship amid fear and depression, takes me back to new school years beginning – those worrisome days, walking back home in the low light, breath visible in the cold air, the Wedding Present playing on my Walkman.
When I tweeted about the joy of autumnal games last week, I was inundated with people’s favourite examples. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Night in the Woods, the swirling burgundy leaves in the wind around Ghosts of Tsushima, the Paris of Broken Sword … Video games are nostalgic artefacts anyway – we spend so much time in their worlds, wrapped in their stories and dramas, and I think autumnal video games hit us extra-hard, because this season tells us that the game, like all things, has a course to run, and the end hovers close. As Shakespeare wrote, “This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long.”
Time is fleeting – autumn tells us this much. And that is what gives games, and everything else we experience, such value.
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