2018, celebrity, LGBTQ, Politics, social media

AM I A BAD GAY PERSON FOR NOT CARING ABOUT JOY REID’S BLOG POSTS?

I’m young, and I love my computer, so I didn’t come across Joy Reid, an MSNBC host, from her show, A.M. Joy, or guest-hosting on other programs. I discovered her through Twitter, when I noticed that several writers and journalists whose opinions I respect retweeted her. I scrolled through the profile, enjoyed what she had to say, and hit the follow button.

She remained largely out of my mind except for the occasional tweet in my timeline. Her opinions were always valid, sharp when needed, and seemed to be well-researched and reported.

Then, the first story popped up – a Twitter user posted screenshots of blogs using homophobic rhetoric written between 2007 and 2009 on the Reid Report, a now-defunct blog of Joy Reid. I felt disappointed, like “Ugh, someone I liked did something bad.” But I didn’t unfollow her, because I still trusted her political opinion, and expected the story to blow over. There are plenty of journalists who I personally might be annoyed by, but whose reporting proves valuable, so I didn’t give it a second thought.

Until the next story popped up. More screenshots, more homophobia. More crassness.

When I say that this story does not matter, I do not mean, “It does not matter if someone is homophobic.” It does matter; and it matters very much to me. But in the context of everything else going on, I find that I care very little about what Joy Reid said about gay people a decade ago. She does not make policy; she is not in charge of any government programs or bodies. She is not promoting active anti-LGBTQ laws. If she were a lawmaker, or campaigning on a platform of equality, then yeah, it would be good information to know. But she is not. She is a journalist, she had an opinion, she said that opinion. A decade later, that opinion is seen as ugly and inappropriate.

I do not agree with the words she used; I do not agree with her trying to out people, or the way she spoke about Ann Coulter, or Lindsay Graham or Charlie Crist or any of it. I think it was offensive, petty, hurtful and mean-spirited. I think it was a shitty thing to do, even in the social climate in which it was written.

For the record, I also don’t believe Reid’s claim that she was hacked. I think she said those things, and she’s embarrassed now, and because the internet trolls would have a field day if she admitted that. I am not defending her; she was and is an adult who wrote those things, regardless of whatever excuses she’s using now. I think it’s stupid that she’s lying, but I also think this entire thing is stupid.

I also recognize that I, as a white, cisgender, able-bodied queer person, largely have the ability to say, “This story does not matter.” I’m sure it matters to other members of my community, and I do not diminish that, their feelings, or their reactions.

But to lampoon Reid for thoughts she had a decade ago would require us to go back and lampoon every single thing like that. In the early 2000s, most people in the mainstream media were not doing a good job talking about queer issues. Because, frankly, Will & Grace was homophobic – it was femme-shaming and white-centric. Modern Family portrays Mitch and Cam more like platonic roommates than a couple. Golden Girls had a gay cook that mysteriously disappeared after the pilot episode. I will never forget you, Coco (his name was Coco!).

The reason I care about this (and why I’ve spent 700 words saying I don’t care) is that there are queer stories that desperately need to be told. And while I think it’s nice that support has rallied around Reid – no one should be an island – I resent that this still is the story that’s rolling around in everyone’s head. In a world that already prioritizes everything above queerness, there seems to be precious little bandwidth dedicated to covering queer stories. It’s like arguing about the curtains when the house is on fire.

For instance, it’s been a year since news broke that, in Chechnya, gay and bisexual men were being targeted, persecuted and abused. There were stories of concentration camps, luring and violence via social media apps, and many victims are still missing. There has been no significant response from the Russian government, and the leader in Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, denied the allegations by simply stating that there are no gay people in Chechnya. Other than outlets that specifically traffic in queer stories, such as NewNowNext and the Advocate, and papers such as The Guardian, there has not been significant media coverage.

Stateside, there are still seven states with “No Promo Homo” laws on the books – “local or state education laws” that expressly prohibit the “promotion of homosexuality” and, in some cases, “even require that teachers actively portray LGB people in a negative or inaccurate way,” according to GLSEN.

The Human Rights Campaign reported that, in 2018, eight transgender people have already been murdered. Transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by fatal violence. Insider recently reported on the health gaps that the LGBTQ community faces in receiving medical help.

These might seem like separate issues, and you could argue (rightfully) that reporting on Joy Reid’s past blog posts does not mean that we cannot also report on other things affecting the LGBTQ community. And you’d be right, except that that’s not always the case. Too often, we focus on click-driven news, too often we focus on things on little consequence.

What do Joy Reid’s past writings have to do with the very real risks that the queer community is facing today? In reality, very, very little. So why does this continue to be a story? Report on it, lay it all out there, and then move on.


Header source: Vimeo

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social media

WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR ME TO UNFOLLOW PEOPLE ON INSTAGRAM?

Written whilst sitting on a bench in Barnes & Noble. The café is closed for renovations and I refuse to go to Starbucks because I’ve already given enough money to them and I made myself a cup of coffee for the express purpose of saving money, and I am not monstrous enough (yet) to bring my own drink into a Starbucks.
So now I’m sitting on a bench by the window, facing a row of magazines (some of which I’ve written for, twist!) while behind me on the windowsill is a copy of “Women & Guns: The World’s First Firearms Publication for Women”! Not sure which part of this intro is darkest!

Yesterday, I made the plunge of unfollowing several people on Instagram. In exchange for me knowing exactly what you’re about to say, I’ll tell you what I’m about to say.

You’re about to say, “Brave.” And I’m about to say, “I know.”

For something that is ostensibly elective (and hassle-free) there is a lot of weirdness, for me at least, about unfollowing people on social media. It feels, for lack of a better word, mean. But it totally shouldn’t.

This is the result of many smaller moments of skipping rapidly through their Stories and ignoring their posts (I never like anyone’s photos, except celebrities and pictures of hot guys so that Instagram Explore can be notified of my predilections). I also don’t do this to everyone, but a select group of people for whom I simply No Longer Care About. This group includes People Who Annoy Me, People Who I Followed in College But Was Never Actually Friends With (The Obligatory Follow), and People Who Post About Their Boyfriends Too Frequently. Sub-categories include (but are not limited to) People With Good Jobs Who Love to Complain and People Who Love SoulCycle. Almost all of these people I will never, probably, see again or come across in any meaningful capacity. However, it was still intensely difficult to click “unfollow.” Why?

(Pause for ponder.)

Social media promotes a false sense of intimacy – as much as it promotes a falsified and perfected version of reality – so it does feel, in certain ways, that I’m blowing off a friend.

I know about people’s job ventures, their trips to Coachella; I know about what they ate for lunch today, when their mom’s birthday is. These are things that I don’t know about some of my best friends, and yet I know them about people who I haven’t talked to in, sometimes, years. And that’s the trap of social media: even if we’re not close, we’re made to feel close. Social media makes your life into consumable content, and I’m choosing to opt out of that content. I’m saying your content doesn’t interest me, which basically means your life doesn’t interest me. And while that’s not true, it’s the trap social media creates.

Social media accounts for one outlet that increases my anxiety. I find myself comparing myself, often negatively, to other people based on their social media. If they’re having fun, I wonder why I’m not having more fun. If they’re successful, I wonder why I’m not more successful. If they have a boyfriend, I wonder why I don’t have more boyfriends. And if social media presents the best version of something, then that means that I’m allowing a ghost to ruin my day. And unfollowing means admitting that I feel insecure, that I get jealous and that I, yes me, can get a little petty.

To avoid admitting I’m vulnerable to insecurity, I will often rationalize the follows in numerous ways: there’s the “What If I Run Into Them and They Bring It Up” argument; there’s the “What If I Someday Become Friends With Them Again” argument; and there’s the “What If They Think I’m Rude” argument. These are just the first three that popped up in my head – I’m sure there are more. But they all stem from the same irrational fear I have that’s also preventing me from returning a very overdue copy of The White Album to the library: What If, Someday, I Need It?

But here are three easy and simple responses to those arguments.

If you run into them and they mention you’ve unfollowed them on Instagram, then they probably have one of those “follower count” apps and that is Pathetic! I should know, because I’ve had one!

If you become friends with them again, then you’re probably good enough friends to copping to the unfollow. This is probably unlikely.

And finally, if they think you’re rude, then they are kinda lame. Social media is ruthless, and it probably proves your point that they’re not worth following. This doesn’t have to imply any sort of ill will or negativity, but it just means that I have other things to do (like online shopping, or peeling mandarin oranges).

I can’t spend my life watching the lives of people I Do Not Care about. If I counted every second I spent flipping through their stories, or calculated every minute unit of energy my eyes spent on their content, it would probably amount to a small, but significant, portion of my day and focus. If I added into that all the tiny dollops of negative emotions of jealousy and insecurity that were incurred by social media, that would also being collated into something pretty significant.

I did really bad in AP Macroeconomics but I do know that if the energy I’m putting into something is not reaping good enough returns, then it’s probably a bad investment.

At the end of the day, life is too short, I’m too pretty, and my forehead real estate is too precious to waste potential wrinkles over people who I don’t really care about.

So I suppose the moral of this article is don’t you dare unfollow me. I need this more than you do.

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2018, celebrity, Movies, pop culture, social media

2018 GOLDEN GLOBES: MEN, WE NEED TO BE DOING BETTER

Header source: MIKE NELSON/EPA-EFE via USA Today


Last night was the 2018 Golden Globes. I did not watch, but *shocker* I have opinions.

While scrolling through Twitter because Keeping Up with the Kardashians was boring – if it’s not a pregnancy confirmation, I’m rapidly losing interest – I saw that Greta Gerwig, the writer and director of Lady Bird, was snubbed for a Best Director nomination. One could always make the argument, “Oh maybe she wasn’t the best director?” which would be valid if not for the fact that she was nominated for Best Screenplay and Lady Bird was nominated, and won, for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and Saorise Ronan, the actress portraying the lead character in the film, was nominated, and won, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Laurie Metcalf was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture.

Sis, Saorise Ronan won when nominated against Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Margot Robbie and Emma Stone. And while Saorise Ronan is an incredible actress, she was directed by an incredible woman – Greta Gerwig.

There are a lot of reasons why I’m upset that Greta Gerwig wasn’t nominated. Lady Bird was an incredibly beautiful, and personally moving, film. It portrayed Catholicism and high school and youth and parental relations in a way that felt seen, not dumbed down, and funny.

In fact, despite directing passionate, beautiful and interesting films – Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, Dee Rees’ Mudbound (the latter of which Mary J. Blige was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture) – Gerwig and other female directors were not even nominated in that category. Instead, the list of nominees for Best Director were entirely male and entirely white.

Again, you could make the argument that the nominations were based on merit – these are all incredibly talented nominees. But, hon, you’d be wrong. How can a film win Best Picture if it had an awful director and writer? How can a woman win Best Actress if she were not guided by an amazing director?

Natalie Portman remarked on the inequity while presenting the award for Best Director. “And here are the all-male nominees,” she said.

And here’s the thing: this is not the moment to be snubbing talented female directors, and it belies the troubling nature of Hollywood. Sexual abuse, harassment and assault was rampant in the entertainment industry – it is not limited to that industry; harassers and abusers plague every work industry – but Hollywood is quick to applaud their own action. Men wore “Time’s Up” pins on their tuxedoes; Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic replaced their “Who are you wearing” with “Why are you wearing black?” But that’s a lot like politicians offering up “Thoughts and prayers” after tragedies. What we want is action; we want reaction; we want laws and retribution. There were sexual predators, assaulters and abusers in that crowd; some of them probably even received awards. We’re not ~done~ with this movement, and I don’t think we will be done for a long time.

There were highs of the night: women like Debra Messing and Eva Longoria mentioned Catt Sadler’s pay inequality. Seth Meyers, as much as a white, straight man on NBC’s payroll could, addressed the fact that this is the first awards show after the massive saying of names.

Oprah received the Cecil B. DeMille award and gave a speech that touched upon sexual assault, the heartbreaking way it affects black women and women of color in particular – she told the story of Recy Taylor, a black woman who was raped and who Rosa Parks investigated on behalf on; Recy’s white assaulters were never charged. “She lived, as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. And for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up.”

It’s frustrating to see that women are shouldering the burden of reminding us about sexual harassment and assault and urging us to act. It’s frustrating to see that more men have not stepped up to the plate. This culture of harassment, misogyny and sexual abuse was allowed to continue entirely because of the passivity of men. They, we, need to be doing more. We need to be stepping up and showing that we do not co-sign the actions of men like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. We need to be doing more, and I hope that we will.

“In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave: to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome,” said Oprah in her speech.

“I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again.”

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Books, celebrity, Halloween, Politics, pop culture, social media, television

THE CATCH-UP: 9/18-9/25

This is a new little column I’m starting. I read a lot (a lot, a lot) and there are often some great articles and videos that I stumble upon during my week. I thought I would create a space to round them all together.

The Catch-Up

1. Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Donald Trump Is The First White President”

I love Ta-Nehisi Coates. His writing at The Atlantic is always really beautiful and thought-out and timely. The one thing I will say about this piece in particular is it’s a little dense, so I’m linking an interview Coates did with Chris Hayes here.

2. Vox, “Treating hurricanes like war zones hurts survivors”

“The Strike-Through with Carlos Maza” is one of the great explainer series that Vox does. In this one, Maza dissects the way that the media portrays natural diasters as an “us-versus-them warzone.” He also examines the negative effects of doing so, like painting looting as a much more powerful threat than it actually is, which stops people from evacuating dangerous situations.

3. Dahlia Grossman-Heinze, “Who Did the Real Housewives Vote For?” 

This should be dumb, but I read through this entire piece. Nothing is actually confirmed by the writer except for what the Housewives have already confirmed, but it’s still fascinating. We watch these extremely wealthy women live out their lives every week, and it’s a grim fact to realize their politics might not align with yours.

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celebrity, Politics, pop culture, social media

BE OUTRAGED ABOUT SEAN SPICER AT THE EMMYS AND ALSO THE GRAHAM-CASSIDY MEASURE, THE NEW ACA REPEAL

If there’s one thing I hate about the media, it’s the voracious rapidity with which one thing becomes a story across every, single outlet and eclipses everything else. So last night, former Press Secretary Sean Spicer made an appearance at the 2017 Emmys, everyone was (rightfully) pissed-off and weirded-out and annoyed at Hollywood. And while it’s important for everyone to express their outrage and disgust, it’s also super-important to keep an eye on everything else going on, like the new ACA repeal – the Graham-Cassidy Measure.

First, the Graham-Cassidy measure. Put together by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the measure would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. It would be a “last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare before the GOP’s power to pass heath care legislation through a party-line vote in the Senate expires on Sept. 30,” according to Politico.

Apparently Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is seriously considering putting the bill to a vote, if he can be assured of the support of 50 Republicans in the Senate (the GOP has a majority of 52). Currently they do not have the support of 50 votes, but Graham has publicly begged Trump to support the cause and private rallying has gone on. If passed by the Senate, it would require being approved by the House with no changes – a steep ask.

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celebrity, Humor, music, pop culture, social media

TAYLOR SWIFT WON’T STOP MAKING ME LOOK AT WHAT SHE DID BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS

The chorus of Taylor Swift’s lead single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” off her new album Reputation (yes, I’ll still give her promo because I’m weak!! I’m only human!!) triggers in me a reaction I did not think it was possible to have. No matter how many times I listen to it, the chorus manages to surprise me, and not in a sexy way. It surprises me in the way of accidentally stepping in something wet when you have socks on.

This, however, does not mean that I have abstained from listening to it or that I’m not excited for the album or that I would ever turn down the opportunity to work for Taylor (being slim and model-like, I would be an excellent to her squad, but would settle for doing some writing for her or even being a lamp in her office. I’m flexible, Taylor, and that’s one of the many positive qualities I would bring to employment with you).

My adverse reaction to “Look What You Made Me Do” is most similar to eating something that you have a previously unknown allergy for. Not bad, but more…uncertain. It’s like me and avocado: I don’t know if I’m allergic, but my tongue sure does feel funny after eating it.

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celebrity, Humor, music, pop culture, social media

THE RETURN OF SNAKELOR SWIFT

Taylor Swift is serving the world Ouroboros realness.


ALERT: AS I WAS UPLOADING THIS, TAYLOR HAS ANNOUNCED HER NEW ALBUM, “REPUTATION” OUT NOV. 10 AND THE FIRST SINGLE WILL BE OUT ON FRIDAY. THIS IS CRAZY.


If you DID have friends in middle school and DID NOT take up reading Greek mythology because you were gay, un-athletic and (for some reason) deeply embarrassed to talk to girls, then you might be unaware of the Ouroboros.

Originating in Egyptian mythology before being adapted and adopted into antiquity lore, the Ouroboros is an image of a snake eating its own tail (ourá = “tail,” bóros = “devouring”). It’s meant to symbolize introspection, infinite rebirth, or (in blunter terms) constant cycles of destruction and life.

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