2018, Politics, television

SAMANTHA BEE AND THE THEORY OF PUNCHING DOWN

Header: TBS via Vulture

Two things can be true at once: that’s the case when I’m eating McDonald’s (happy and sad), the case for Schrodinger’s Cat (both alive and dead), and it’s the case with Samantha Bee, comedian and host of TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, calling Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, a “feckless c*nt.”

It is completely inappropriate, wildly disastrous to the point Bee was making about the treatment of migrant children, and annoyingly hypocritical of liberals to be more forgiving; it is also, at the same time, categorically different than Roseanne Barr comparing Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to then-President Barack Obama, to an ape. These two things can both be true.

In the outrage news cycle of coverage surrounding Samantha Bee, many conservative pundits are calling for TBS to cancel Bee’s show, citing liberal indignation and demands for cancellation of Roseanne. The ABC reboot was cancelled a few hours later. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders herself called for TBS to cancel the show.

“Her disgusting comments and show are not fit for broadcast,” she said in a statement, “and executives at Time Warner and TBS must demonstrate that such explicit profanity about female members of this administration will not be condoned on its network.”

Re the Roseanne Barr controversy, Trump only commented to say that he was owed an apology by Disney CEO Robert Iger for the “HORRIBLE statements made and said about [him] on ABC.” When asked about Trump’s statement, which focused on himself rather than Barr’s comments, Sanders said, “The president is simply calling out the media bias; no one’s defending what she said.”

Here’s the thing: I hate what Bee said. I really like her show, and I enjoy her as a comedian, so I was disappointed and upset by the words she used. I was watching CNN this morning, anchor Poppy Harlow and CNNMoney Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcey said that Bee’s wording made the story about that, rather than the policy. I agree with that: I think that was probably part of the reason why Bee said it, but I also think that Bee is smart and cutting enough to have made her point without resorting to the c-word.

However, there are several things that separate what Bee said from what Barr said. First, Ivanka Trump works in her father’s White House administration. Several people were calling for Bee to separate the child from the father, but when the child literally works with the father, I don’t think it’s unfair to call her out. Additionally, Ivanka Trump has made the “working mother” her platform, so a policy that brutally separates asylum-seeking migrant mothers from their children would fall under Ms. Trump’s purview.

Secondly, there is the theory in comedy of “punching down” versus “punching up.” When making jokes, “punching down” refers to making fun of people who are more oppressed than you; “punching up” is making fun of people who are more, categorically, powerful than you. Roseanne Barr, a white woman, making fun of Valerie Jarrett, a black woman, using bigoted racial stereotypes is “punching down” because Barr is a racial majority in power and she is using the same logic used to condone slavery to make fun of a racial minority. Samantha Bee, a white woman with a platform, calling Ivanka Trump, another white woman with a platform, a c*nt is not punching down; it’s punching up, or at least punching sideways. Bee, unlike Barr, does not have the continued support of the President of the United States. And if we are to hold people accountable, we need to hold everyone accountable: including the president. Because while liberals can be hypocritical, if you don’t have an issue with the president bragging about grabbing women by the pussy, then why do you have a problem with Samantha Bee?

Thirdly, there is a difference between using a curse word and invoking a racist, bigoted myth used as justification for oppressing an entire race of people.

What Bee did was crass and unfortunate. What Barr did was racist and evocative of horrors that the United States allowed in the not-too-distant past. Lindy West, a contributing columnist for the New York Times, wrote this: “Chattel slavery in America ended 153 years ago. I am only 36 years old, and when my father was born, there were black Americans alive who remembered being the property of white people. Slavery is not our distant past; it is yesterday.” Racism pervades today, arguably as strong as ever. It’s not even hidden anymore; people are openly racist. It’s the reason why, as West points out, Flint, Michigan still does not have clean water; it’s why Trump took such an issue with black players in the NFL peacefully protesting for Black Lives Matter.

Bee made a horrific, rude joke, but it’s not comparable to Roseanne Barr. You can be outraged by what Bee said but still understand that it’s different to Roseanne. Two things can be true at the same time.

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Review, television, Things Happening RN

“ROSEANNE” IS CANCELED

On Tuesday, ABC announced that it would be canceling the reboot of Roseanne after the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, went on a Twitter rant that included a racist remark against Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, in which Barr compared Jarrett to an ape. Despite tepid headlines calling it “racially charged” or heading into “racial waters,” the remark was just plain racist.

The reaction to it was swift; Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer on the show, announced that she was quitting, Emma Kenney, an actress on the show, Tweeted that she was going to quit. This is after showrunner Whitney Cummings announced last month that she was leaving the show as well.

In a letter, the president of ABC Entertainment Group, Channing Dungey, announced that Barr’s comments were abhorrent and they were canceling her show. Dungey is also the first black American president of ABC.

To talk about this is to talk about how something can be both good and bad at the same time. It is good, categorically, that people had the response to Barr’s comment. It was racist, because Roseanne Barr is racist. It is good that ABC canceled the show, and that people on the show had the reaction they did.

However, Roseanne Barr being racist on Twitter and peddling in racism, bigotry, Islamophobia and conspiracy theories existed before her show was rebooted. Former U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who is black, said that Roseanne also compared her to an ape in a tweet. Roseanne also perpetrated the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring in the basement of a pizza restaurant. That theory led to an armed man entering and threatening the occupants of that restaurant.

ABC did not have a problem with Barr’s past comments, so it’s difficult to assume that this latest remark, even though it is a racist, repugnant comment, was what sent her show over the edge. ABC canceled the show for one reason: because it affected ABC. Without Cummings or Sykes, and with the possibility that several of its actors would leave, the show, and Barr herself, became a financial liability. That is why they canceled the show.

In February 2017, Simon & Schuster dropped Milo Yiannopoulos as a client after acquiring the rights to his book with an advance $255,000. The book deal was tabled after audio surfaced where it appeared Yiannopoulos condoned inappropriate sexual relationships between men and boys. This was decidedly too far for Simon & Schuster, the people signing the same man who was banned from Twitter for inciting racial violence and bullying against Leslie Jones, who called people faggots and derided feminists as “ugly and sexless.” Simon & Schuster did not drop Yiannopoulos because they were offended morally. They dropped him because the bad publicity and optics of keeping him were not worth it. They found worth in him, and subsequently cosigned his words and bigotry, when the benefits of him outweighed the costs.

ABC cosigned Roseanne’s actions because the benefits of her outweighed the costs. When the scales were flipped, they dropped her. It was, and is, business.

This isn’t to say that I don’t think that the people behind these actions, like the executives at Simon & Schuster or Channing Dungey, were not offended by the actions and words of their clients. I think it’s highly likely that they were. But what I’m saying is that everything else, and everything before, they did not have a big enough problem with to stop working with Yiannopoulos and Barr.

I think that there is a place for conservative shows on television, and I think that it’s necessary to have conservative voices in the conversation.  I think it sucks that everyone on the Roseanne show was unceremoniously fired, leaving their jobs and their paychecks in limbo. I think it sucks that Roseanne Barr was given literally a golden opportunity and all she had to do was keep her raging racism barely in check – and she couldn’t even do that.

I think it sucks that the ABC executives who greenlit the show fed into the lie that Roseanne was important because it represented the so-called “silent majority,” white middle-class Republican voters, perpetrating this lie that they are the people who are being marginalized. Losing your status as the only voice can feel like, I’m sure, losing your voice, but that’s not true. Roseanne was not, and is not, the only show that represents white, middle-class Americans. There is, without sounding facetious, countless shows that represent this demographic – The Middle, Bob’s Burgers, Modern Family, The Goldbergs, Family Guy, Fuller House… the list goes on and on.

I understand the push behind reboots; it’s the same reason why I re-watch the same shows over and over against. There is power in the familiar, and there is capital in nostalgia. But the shows being rebooted after remnants, unfortunately, of a time in television where the pre-eminent voices were white, cisgender and straight. What if we put the energy, money and passion that is being directed towards rebooting old shows into creating new ones? What if we created shows that were representations of the present and future of Americans?

The 2016 election uncovered for many Americans the truth of our country: that we are riven with cracks, that we are deeply divided and angry and frightened. I understand the impetus behind rebooting shows like Roseanne, that desire to reach out to different sides of the aisle. But I don’t think Roseanne was the answer. I think the answer is not in encouraging growth from a poisoned root, but in growing something new and wholly its own. There is a way to truthfully and accurately represent what it means to be an American in 2018.

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2018, college, Humor, Life, Millennials

One year on from graduation: EAT, GAY, LOVE

It’s officially been one year since I graduated from college, and I weirdly felt fine about it. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I was working that day – nothing distracts you like an endless array of customers screaming about groceries – but it also could probably be attributed to the fact that I spent literal months stressing and freaking out about the fact that I was graduated that I think I exhausted it out of my body.

But the official end of the first year, even without the heart palpitations, made me take stock of what I’ve accomplished since then. Lol! !!

🙂 EAT 🙂

Part of the unspoken (but passive-aggressive) rule of moving back home was that I was going to responsible for cooking dinner. This wouldn’t be a problem (I’d been cooking for myself for over two years !) except for the fact that my family is both rude and not shy about criticizing my cooking.

So I really tried to be better about cooking (i.e. not burning things and calling it “intentional” or “crispy”), and I’m excited to bring that with me in my next iteration: as a gay monster and University of Southern California Annenberg graduate student. My mom keeps saying, “Your roommate will be so impressed!” which for some reason, like, does not inspire confidence. “My mom thinks I’m a good cook!!” doesn’t roll off the mature tongue.

Before this year, I don’t think I knew what “dredging” was, and now it’s literally my favorite thing to do to chicken and white fish. Also, I never cooked white fish before!! Now I love a good sole!! A year ago, I was microwaving potatoes, and now I’m literally so obsessed with finding the perfect method for making sweet potato fries that I’m going to write a blog post about it.

😉 GAY 😉

The second, and skinniest, thing I accomplished is mah body. I feel weird talking about my body for like 8000 reasons, but one is that I’m thin. I’ve generally always been thin, and – thanks to future medicine and the plastic surgery I plan on getting – I’ll probably stay thin. But to combat depression and a freelance lifestyle, I recommitted myself to the gym and lost 20-ish pounds this year.

I knew going into this body journey that it could be a dangerous path: when I was at my most depressed, the gym was a salve that gradually became a crutch. I was obsessed with going, because when I was there I could zone out and forget everything else.

I think I went into this year of fitness a different way, and I set weight goals, yes, but I also set goals outside of weight loss. I’ve written about this before, but I became obsessed with doing unassisted pull-ups. Upper body strength was never a huge part of my workout-life; in high school, I was a long- and mid-distance runner, where the emphasis was put on stamina and pacing (shorter distances place a higher premium on upper body strength). So I never really thought about pull-ups, and kind of dreaded them.

But as I started working out more – and probably aided by losing a few pounds – I began feeling the unassisted pull-up coming into my grasp. Currently, I can do 4×4 unassisted pull-ups (with 12 lbs dumbbells clamped between my thighs) and 4×4 unassisted chin-ups. My new goal is to do 3×8 pull-ups (I’m currently able to do one set of eight, and can maybe do two sets on a good day).

Setting these goals that existed outside of any weight loss put the emphasis not on cutting calories or excessive cardio, but building up my strength. I began feeling like I was training to be some sort of gay, chic spy. I’ve leaned out more, and I can see the whisper of those 11 abs that lady yoga instructors have sometimes. Goals. Also I’d like to hit (however briefly) 169 pounds for the hilarious joke. It will not be funny to anybody but me.

😀 LOVE 😀

Despite the fact that I’ve gone back – officially – on dating apps, this section is not about my quest for a man. I know that my future husband, wherever he is, is probably in his last year of medical school, and has to gather a net worth of a couple mill before we even meet. And I love that for me, and he loves that for me.

I’m talking about self love. I went back into therapy this year, after a tumultuous few months away from it. and while it has not been easy – it’s actively been very hard – and I don’t think I’m nearly there yet, I feel like the work I’ve done, and the realizations I’ve made, have been very positive and very important for me. A lot of therapy is recognizing patterns you’ve engaged in, how they relate to larger behaviors, and what those behaviors mean in the grand scheme of your psyche. It sounds kinda simple, but lol it is tiring y’all.

🙂  😉  😀

I’ll be honest, I’m sure I would feel very differently about this year being up if I didn’t have my next step planned out. I’m excited to go onto my next step, and I can breathe a little easier on this anniversary knowing that I’ve got at least one thing in the future planned.

It also matters very much to other people. It’s socially acceptable, in what I’ve witnessed, to have something coming down the pike. People like knowing that you’ve got some sort of plan that fits into what they think you should be doing.

I had a customer the other day lean over and say, eyes kind and completely unaware of how condescending her question was, “Do you know what you want to do with your life?” In her eyes, working at Trader Joe’s was not good enough; it had to be a transitional station and not a destination. So I can’t pretend that part of my chillness about being a year out from graduation is the fact that my plan lines up with societal expectations on me.

This took a turn, but it’s all connected in my mind. This year out of school has been emotionally trying; facing professional uncertainty, rejection and trials have really made me think about what I want to pursue. And while I’m currently so excited and happy about where I’m going, it’s important for me to acknowledge that this year was not just about passing time or waiting for the next thing to come along. This year, in its entirety, was meant for me – it was meant for me to grow and to challenge myself and to experience new, sometimes uncomfortable, things.

I’ve included this because it’s a bop and it’s what i’m listening to as i’m editing this. 

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Rambles

ODE TO THE GUY WHO ASKED WHERE THE TUNA WAS

I first saw you walking down past the pasta sauces
Bad skin, good style, you were my kryptonite
We locked eyes briefly, as I stood kneeling before the cashews

 

your hair fell in lank, salty waves around your face
the sleeves of your t-shirt cuffed to reveal sculptural, faint triceps
Glossier Boy Boy tamed and fluffed my boy brows
my bangs rippled and curved like a question mark

 

Later, you would circle back.
“Need anything?”
“Um, yeah, where’s the tuna?”

 

and before I could even tell you where the tuna was, you said,
“Oh, there’s the tuna”
but I think we both knew
despite water being an excellent carrier of electricity
that you weren’t looking…for tuna

 

you kept cycling back through my aisle
it couldn’t be that we don’t have signs
anywhere

 

I saw you talking to a young, blonde woman
I felt an inkling of fear
Were you together?
You couldn’t be; you had a basket and she had a cart
You were simply, I reasoned, beautiful moths flocking to the same flame
Matching slim silverware misplaced in the ladle drawer
Or two hot deer in a field

 

So powerful, and seductive, was my delusion

 

“Need anything else?” I ask when you make another trip around.
“No,” you say. No? Did you not see what I did with the tuna?

 

Later, while you’re on line, I see the truth
You are standing next to the other glamorous deer,
Laughing-laughing-laughing

 

What are you doing asking me for tuna when you have a girlfriend?

 

And why the separation of groceries?
We do do separate checks, you know
Could it be there is a chasm in your relationship?
Is that tuna not for sharing?

 

I hope your arms – spindly little things – got tired from carrying around those shallow metal tins
I found someone new anyway
“Where’s the granola?” was his entry into my heart

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Body Health, celebrity, fashion, LGBTQ, pop culture

THINK TWINK: “welcome to the age of the twink”

T, the New York Times Style Magazine, published a piece yesterday called, “Welcome to the Age of the Twink.” Firstly, I love that title and it makes me think of a Jetson’s-era world of beautiful twinks in Lycra bodysuits and astronaut helmets, jetting around on those little space-cars. Oh! They could go to Hamburger Martian’s for drag queen bingo!

But after I got over thinking about that (a good twenty minutes) and after I realized that T is something I’ve not really gotten around to reading much of (it’s shocking!), I put Troye Sivan’s “Bloom” on repeat, took a hit of poppers and read the article. Just kidding, I didn’t read the article!

The thesis of the piece, the piecis if you will, is this: as women begin to dismantle the “legacy of toxic masculinity,” twinks represent a similar departure from the male shackles. “These twinks, after all, aren’t just enviably lean boys or the latest unrealistic gay fantasy, but a new answer to the problem of what makes a man.”

First, after bingeing several T articles, I’ve noticed that they’re (mercifully, because I can’t handle some long diatribe) short and typically include a final graph that pivots to make some larger, societal point. It’s a cute look, and one that I definitely am guilty of, but I wish that this piece was longer. Give me more, hon!

The piece introduces itself with a scene from Call Me By Your Name, where Oliver (Armie Hammer) steals Elio’s (Timothée Chalamet) drink and gives him a brief, tense massage. The author notes that Oliver’s body – broad, hairy and muscled – is in stark contrast to Elio’s – smooth, lithe. In the negative space, it draws comparison and highlights the youth of Elio as well as the older appeal of Oliver.

The author, Nick Haramis, touches upon the rising popularity of “twink” models in more mainstream culture: Ryan McGinley’s photo-series of slim, sloppily dressed Saint Laurent models; leading men Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One), Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird, Manchester by the Sea), Nick Robinson (Love, Simon); singer Troye Sivan and celebrity-child-savant Jaden Smith. As these men, and their bodies, are being pushed to the forefront of culture and propped up as sexual objects as desire, their twinkiness, and its entrenchments in effeteness and femininity, are similarly propelled.

However, It’s a little too close to Chris Pratt having to totally reinvent his entire body in order to get a leading role in a movie for me to safely see the rising prevalence of twinkish body types as anything more than a trend or the beginning of a movement.

I do agree that prioritizing body types other than the traditional “Leading Man” body – any of the Hollywood Chrises – is a step in the right direction, and the appreciation for androgynous, lithe and sometimes-feminine bodies in men is worthy of attention. But what that made me realize is that, for the most part, twinks still operate within a certain paradigm of toxic masculinity.

Twinks, at least the ones that came to mind when I read the piece as well as the ones who were mentioned in the article itself, are typically portrayed as white or white-passing. The cover photo of “Welcome to the Age of the Twink” includes men of color, but the overarching notion of “twink” is young, cis, white, attractive, slim.

There is the notion that twinks are, inherently, slim. There can be branches:  Haramis discusses “twunks” (he mentions Zac Efron; I counter with Tom Holland), Euro twinks (the BelAmi boys) and femme twinks (Adam Rippon). I would argue that otters – slim, hairy men – exist on the twink spectrum; and who among us has not fallen in love with a tattered-knee skater boy or a stoner, drawn gaunt by the love for their respective crafts?

So twinks can be slim, or muscular, or hairy, but they are never fat. They always adhere to the beauty standard that thinness is ideal. Through the promotion of twinks in mainstream culture, we are saying that we are widening the lens of attractiveness – but not that wide. We will dip outside of our ideals, but just slightly.

An essential part of twinks is the idea of prioritizing youth. I’m not saying there aren’t old twinks, looking at you Charlie Hides, but when you look at that through a critical lens, you realize: if twinks are young, then they are meant to idealize youthful, boyish figures. I wonder if their bodies are prized only because it is implied that they are temporary; no one stays young forever, so the twink body will eventually evolve into something else. You can be feminine, but only because eventually you will become something else.

The point of the piece, in my eyes, was acknowledging and celebrating that different types of bodies are being seen as viable, valuable and attractive. And I loved thinking about twinks and bodies and queerness for an hour, so I’m grateful for the piece. But I love it more for reminding me that we still have a long way to go in terms of body inclusivity. Ugh, I did the T thing of putting my thesis (my piecis!) at the very end!


Alternative titles include, but are not limited to, “Pretty N’ Twink,” “Twink Twice,” “Twinkin’ About You,” “Twinkpiece,” or “Twink or Swim.”
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fashion

MY MET GALA SAINTS AND SINNERS

I normally don’t post on a Tuesday, and I’m not exactly a fashion monster (although I did briefly have a men’s fashion column in college, and I was a fashion writer…wait never mind, I’m Donatella Versace) but the 2018 Met Gala, themed: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” so inspired me that I had to write about it.

I was raised Catholic, and while I don’t particularly subscribe to the religion anymore for a multitude of reasons, I find myself heavily influenced by it in my writing. It centers so much on rich, baroque and intricate iconography, which has definitely had an impact on my poetry at the very least, and my love for things gaudy at the very most (I once unironically wore a ton of zebra print). So I was excited about this theme, and I wanted to go through my best- and worst-dressed, or as I’m calling them, my Saints and my Sinners.

First, before the lists, we have to acknowledge God, a.k.a. Rihanna. Her look, Maison Margiela, was encrusted in diamonds and featured a literal pope hat. She was co-hosting the event, so it makes sense that she went the largest, and most literal, with the theme. I find the length of the coat to be slightly off, especially when seen from any point other than head-on, but I love the poofy, balero-style sleeves that she kept adjusting and the dress underneath. I will never, ever forget Rihanna’s Guo Pei dress from the China: Through the Looking Glass Met Gala; she was one of the only people to actually wear Chinese couture, and it just shows how seriously Rihanna takes fashion and the Met Gala.

Saints

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  1. Lily Collins, Givenchy:

Along with Hailee Steinfeld, Lily Collins is one of those actresses who’s never really in anything, but is consistently invited to red carpets because they fucking kill it every time. This was, without a doubt, my favorite look. The headpiece invoked the gates and wrought ironwork that you see in old cathedrals, and the dress was both evocative of priests and maintaining a structural simplicity. There were a lot of tears during this Met Gala, but I found that Lily’s, along with SZA’s, were done the cleanest and the best.

  1. Chadwick Boseman, Versace

Men really get the short end of the stick with red carpets (hello, toxic masculinity) so whenever a man really steps up his game, it’s noticed. However, I think that even if every other man killed it, Chadwick Boseman would still be the absolute top. His Versace look, caped suit, was the perfect blend of edit and ornate. The pants were amazing, but they were almost an accent. My favorite detail was the delicate chain connecting the crosses on his cape and the red-ombre tassels. He looks like a king going to the Vatican for a blessing.

  1. Priyanka Chopra, Ralph Lauren

I think about Priyanka Chopra roughly four times a year, and I’m so glad that I got to think about her again. Her Ralph Lauren, deep red velvet dress reminded me of confessional booths, and the gold chain hood served to draw the eye upward and made her seem twenty feet tall. She, along with Janelle Monae, also did the smart, and very Catholic, thing of focusing on the face. So much of religious paintings feature women in heavy veils and long dresses, with the most exquisite, often pained, faces.

  1. Kim Kardashian West, Versace

I hated Kim’s Vivienne Westwood look at last year’s Met Gala. I generally hate when people eschew the themes, because this isn’t an excuse to look pretty. But Kim looked so pretty this year that I don’t mind that this is tangentially on theme. She looks like a golden angel, a celestial honey. Her body is so incredibly snatched, probably painfully so, but she does what she does best: makes a simple dress and simple hair into an event.

  1. Cardi B, Moschino

Cardi B walked with Moschino designer Jeremy Scott, which is a massive honor. They were matching in heavily brocaded fashion. I actually love Cardi’s dress, because it’s so Catholic to be so fucking extra. The headpiece was perfectly framed around her face, and the stiff neck choker reminded me a lot of Elizabethan collars. I could’ve probably done without the satin side-pieces coming off her waist, but that’s minor. This look, however, was major.

  1. Zendaya, Versace

Versace won the Met Gala, but Zendaya won Versace, honey. The look, a recreation of Joan of Arc, is perfect. Chain-mail was a big theme this year – thanks, Crusades – but I didn’t see anybody who did it as well as Zendaya. This isn’t surprising; she consistently kills at the Met Gala, but I think I loved this look the best. She has the perfect face for wigs, and this wet, auburn short-bang was perfect. She could’ve just done pretty hair and the dress, but then that would’ve been boring. The Met Gala isn’t just any other red carpet. It. Is. An. Event.

  1. Tessa Thompson, Thom Browne.

Tessa Thompson is my favorite person on Westworld right now, and I loved how fashion this was. There wasn’t a lack of priest references, but Tessa’s was the most artful with the heavily beaded priest collar. I loved her make-up as well, this very drawn, almost alien concept that looked, frankly, celestial. Her designer was Thom Browne, which is surprising because I would’ve guessed, based on the fabric, that it was Chanel. My only qualm is that I wish the jacket was a cape. The pattern is incredible, but there’s something about having it be a jacket that is slightly pedestrian.

  1. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Ralph Lauren

Rosie was serving FACE at this Met Gala. She is so beautiful that she didn’t detract from it at all. The gown is pretty and all, Ralph Lauren, but I almost wish it was all cape, and completely cloaked her like a Christmas tree topper. What seals the deal for me is the halo; it’s so perfectly pulled back and compliments her golden, dewy skin.

  1. Janelle Monaé, Marc Jacobs

In a lot of religious iconography, a celestial halo is represented by a broad, gold disc around someone’s head. I’m assuming that this is what Janelle is referencing, and I love it. Focusing on her face, surrounded by a Crusades mail-coif (look it up) and framed by the halo-hat, is smart. She has such a perfect, angelic face. The rest of the outfit is pretty – black and white – but the styling and make-up is what makes this pop for me.

  1. Greta Gerwig, The Row

Apparently, despite regularly attending the Met, The Row’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen rarely dress celebrities. This, combined with the fact that I love when unexpected people pull off bold concepts, puts Greta within my top ten. This is basically drag: taking something we’ve seen and blowing it up into exaggerated, breathtaking couture. Greta is doing priest drag, and the simplicity of the design, married with its billowing size, is just, simply, fucking cool. She keeps her hair and make-up simple, her jewelry is pared down to a single huge ring, and the effect is remarkably austere for how much of a moment it is.

Sinners

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  1. Kendall Jenner, Off-White

Remember how I said I hate when people don’t come in theme? This was ignited by Kendall fucking Jenner. She’s a high fashion model who could literally wear anything, and is the darling of every fashion house. The fact that she skipped the theme is only made more infuriating by the fact that she’s not even serving a look. I like how the pants end in that mermaid-esque tail, and I like the covered hands, but it’s a look for a red carpet of a movie you’re not in; it’s not Met Gala. Literally, say a prayer, Kendall, because you have been judged by a Higher Power.

  1. Katy Perry, Versace

Wig.

No seriously, why couldn’t you wear a wig, Katy? Weirdly, even though I loved Cardi B’s over-the-top ensemble, this is the wrong direction of over-the-top. It’s far too literal, and looks more like something she’d wear on tour. There’s nothing…bad about it, but it’s just so obvious. Katy is not one for subtlety, and neither are Catholics, so I can’t really describe why this annoys me so much. Actually, I can – it’s because Katy probably thinks she nailed this look. Her delusion annoys me.

  1. Tom Brady, Versace

He looks like a priest, and not in a good way. He looks like an off-duty parish priest that you’ve run into in your local Barnes & Noble. He’s buying The da Vinci code and it’s surprising because you thought priests couldn’t read that. Fashion-y red carpets are not really built for men, so either go big (Chadwick Boseman) or go home (Kanye). It’s just not…anything. It’s not utterly repulsive or a total show-stopper. It’s bland, and it needs to be done.

  1. Ariana Grande, Vera Wang

Too literal, and I hated the bow. She’s so angelic and small-looking that she could’ve worn Katy Perry’s wings with a slip dress, and made the whole thing fashion. If the bow was made into a veil, and covered her face in a sheer, diaphanous waterfall, it would’ve been a little better. But the gown wears her, and that’s never the look you want.

  1. Katharine McPhee, Georges Chakra

Katharine’s only here as the plus-one of David Foster, right? We all agree? Her gown is pretty, but it’s not quite on-theme (or striking enough) to warrant her a spot on the carpet. Maybe if she had done something a little more daring with her hair (either eclipsed by a headdress, or slicked back, or ornately braided) it would be more Met-appropriate. But I’m sure that she’s just happy to be there, and I guess I’m happy that she’s happy.

  1. Shailene Woodley, Ralph Lauren

Shailene is cool, so this should’ve been cool. It’s not, and I think I know why. This looks like her stylist caught a glimpse of what Zendaya would be wearing, and made Shailene the Party City version. The material looks too shiny and cheap, and it’s evident that she’s wearing a clip-on bang. If the bang had been blunter, and the dress more knight-like and structured, this could’ve been a total bomb outfit. But instead, it’s just a little sloppy and more than a little forgettable. Excited for Big Little Lies, though!

  1. Rooney Mara, Givenchy

Rooney looks absolutely beautiful in this dress. It’s structural and fits her perfectly, and I love her make-up and hair. The reason she’s a Sinner for me is that the Met Gala is tailor-made for people like Rooney. Particularly with this theme, she has the pared-back and severe beauty to pull off sepulchral and Catholic. It feels like a missed opportunity, even though on any award season red carpet, this would be a 10/10 for me. I’m sad, Rooney.

  1. Kate Moss, Saint Laurent

I think I don’t like this one because everyone on the E! News round table kept calling it so “fresh” and on “theme.” They had Elaine Welteroth on, so they were doing something right, but overall I find them – Giuliana Rancic, Zanna Roberts Rassi, and Brad Goreski – so tired. Anytime anyone wore a ponytail, they called it “fresh.” Not fresh. Stale, honey, stale. So maybe this is a cute look, but I didn’t find it particularly in theme.

  1. Mindy Kaling, Vassilis Zoulias

I don’t mind the dress, and I actually love the gloves. It’s the crown that I have a problem with. Not the crown in itself, but the fact that it seems too big for her head. It looks like it’s been photoshopped (badly) into place. I wish she had gone with something that sat a little better on her head.

  1. Jonah Hill (and basically every man), Unknown

Okay so this is Jonah Hill but I mixed him up with Seth Rogen and fully had “Seth Rogen” written down as my number ten. Jonah is here as a placeholder for every man who just wore a boring tuxedo/suit to the Met Gala. There’s a reason we are so thirsty for men like Chadwick (well, there are a lot of reasons why we’re thirsty for Chadwick but I digress) and it’s because men think they can get away with a suit. No! Also GQ has this weird fascination with Jonah Hill’s fashion and their write-ups of his looks always confuse me. He wore a camel coat with gym shorts and they thought it was revolutionary. Are we looking at the same person??

Purgatory (My “Whatever’s”)

  1. Olivia Munn, H&M

The look is cute, but I truly don’t understand why Olivia Munn was there. Also while there, she apparently told some news outlet that she got cut on her leg while getting into the dress. And that’s just the kind of quirky little anecdote that makes me annoyed by her.

  1. Kerry Washington, Ralph Lauren

I loved her hair, and I actually love this dress. I like that it’s not belted or particularly form-fitting, because it looks like literal liquid gold. She’s in Purgatory because her look needs…something. It’s not elevated to the degree that she usually brings to award season red carpets. Something about it feels unfinished, and I’m sorry, Kerry. I love you.

  1. Blake Lively, Versace

Apparently people loved this, and I do agree that it’s cool, but I don’t understand the boner that people have for Blake Lively. I also don’t find this dress to be particularly in theme; I think it’s just so big and elaborate that people are confused into thinking that this means it’s thematic.

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Body Health, Humor, Rambles

THIGHS THE LIMIT

Because of the way my face is, I could easily play the cruel son of a British business magnate intent on shutting down a small, mom and pop establishment. And while it’s nice to have that as a back-up if this writing thing does not pan out (or if my plan to snag a rich husband backfires on me) it’s not a look that I seek out on a regular basis.

To counteract my inner scion, I try to dress how I feel: sloppy, a little nineties-inspired, and in love with my thighs.

Belying my skinny frame, I have the thighs that four years of constant running built. These are the thighs that propelled me up countless hills, the thighs that kept my body in forward motion even as crippling muscle cramps doubled me over, the thighs that brought me into the fastest mile I ever ran (and that promptly sealed my running peak in junior year). Even if I’ve had to work on other parts of my body, my legs have never disappointed me. They’ve, pardon the phrase, always held me up.

I have an on-and-off relationship with my body (we’re on speaking terms right now, but she’s tough). Regardless of our fraught relationship, we’ve always put our differences aside and come together for the sake of the thing we can both agree on: my thighs.

I’m moving to Los Angeles in a few weeks (quelle surprise!) and so I’ve been slowly formulating my LA style (as well as thinking of LA-centric puns). I’ve decided that my aim is going to be very skate-centric, despite the fact that my only experience skating was gingerly perching on a longboard going at glacial paces. I’m afraid of skateboarding, mostly because I’m so tall that falling is a two-hour event. I put on the latest Star Wars just to have something to watch while it happens.

Because I’ve got such long legs (brag) shorts can be tricky. If I’m not careful, I look like a flamingo, or one of those blow-up toys at used car lots advertising great deals. I try to break them up with tall socks, which fulfills two purposes: it stops the eye from creating one continuous line, and it makes me feel like the hot, alt boys I had crushes on in middle school. Two birds.

After a barrage of Instagram ads, I broke down and bought a pair of 7’’ Chubbies shorts. They are, no exaggeration, so fucking stretchy. By mentioning them (and praising them, to boot) I’ve basically sealed my fate and I will see a Chubbies ad every single day until I die. Hopefully they sponsor the funeral. But seriously, I adore them and wore them to work. They’re flirty. Like, they’re a brown chino color, but they’re not taking things so seriously.

Speaking of which, yesterday at work I spotted a boy wearing a pair of short, loose gym shorts, ratty Vans, calf socks and a striped t-shirt. As a gay guy, whenever there’s a pull towards someone, I have to wonder, “Do I like him or do I want to be him?” His face was alright (5.6/10) but I was so into his outfit that I stared at him, i.e. “be him.” I don’t wear glasses at work (TMI but I sweat and they slip) so me staring is the absolute most obvious thing. I kept maneuvering what I was working on so I could keep him in my (very blurry) eye-line until I had committed his outfit to memory.

I’m sure I’m not alone, but I’m so swayed towards a certain style when I see someone else pull it off. I bought a lilac t-shirt from Topman because the model was gorgeous. It looks amazing on me, but different-amazing. So this guy at work, who was built along the same lines as me, really hooked me to the style. It was like looking into a brunette mirror (but I’m a 7, so).

I’m nervous about moving, so I’ve kinda focused on some of the sillier aspects of it, like my new style. I’m sure that eventually, I’ll get bored and lax and start wearing socks with my Birkenstocks (I’ve done this, and I do not regret it), but so far it’s been fun to troll online shops and scour the internet for my new threads.

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