2018, feminism, Politics

FEMALE POLITICIANS AND THE CHRISSY TEIGEN CONUNDRUM

A few days ago, columnist Jonathan Chait from New York Magazine published a piece titled, “Democrats Have Great Female Presidential Candidates. They Need to Avoid the Victim Trap.” In it, he described the ways that powerful female politicians, namely Junior Democratic U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), are reported about in the media.

He describes Senator Harris’ June Senate Intelligence Committee interaction with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in which Harris continually pressed Sessions to answer questions that the latter tried to dodge with the excuse of a particular “policy.” Numerous times, Harris was interrupted by her male colleagues, leading to numerous articles reporting on that, rather than Harris’ strength of interrogation.

“The men-interrupting-women theme fell into a familiar source of social media umbrage,” wrote Chait. “And those reactions, initially registered on social media, formed the basis for much of the coverage that followed.”

Chait highlighted the coverage of Harris as an example of “victimhood” in order to make his point that female politicians lean into that victimhood as a way of appealing to the leftist base.

“On the left, victimhood is a prime source of authority, and discourse revolves around establishing one’s intersectional credentials and detailing stories of mistreatment that reinforce them,” said Chait. “Within the ecosystem of the left, demonstrating that you have suffered harassment or microaggressions is a big win.”

He described a recent GQ profile of Gillibrand, who went into more detail of the sexual harassment that she’s endured. “Much of the story followed this theme, describing not only Gillibrand’s leadership on the issue of sexual harassment, but her status as actual victim of harassment.”

He ended his article by saying, “Playing to the most popular tropes in progressive circles on social media is a seductive way for Democratic female candidates to capture attention from activists. It may not be their straightest path to the White House.”

When first reading it, the premise could have been extremely interesting and valid. The argument could’ve been directed at the media, and the ways that we often lean into stereotypical representations of women. It might’ve been a lampooning of the articles that, instead of applauding Harris and Gillibrand for their perseverance, focused on the male interruption.

However, the headline and ending paragraph seem contradictory to what some could say is the meat of Chait’s piece. It took the twist of assuming, or at least implying, that Harris and Gillibrand at least partially to blame for the coverage they received. He never acknowledges the obvious – that Gillibrand and Harris did not create the coverage that portrayed them as victims.

Chait plays into the very thing that he is critiquing. Rather than writing about them as he argues they should be written about, Chait imposes his own world view upon these women by assuming what they must be thinking and doing.

It’s a phenomenon that’s come up recently in an entirely different sphere, a situation I’m dubbing the “Chrissy Teigen Conundrum.”

“if I had my choice, not a single story would ever be written about any tweets of mine. they make people (me) seem like…the most annoying people,” Teigen tweeted, about…I guess the thing I’m doing. “the “clapback” wasn’t “epic”, it was just a fuccccccking tweet – just please stop with these stupid words.”

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It’s a common critique of Chrissy Teigen, that she is annoying or omnipresent on social media. But as she points out, rightfully, that’s not because she’s doing anything. It’s because journalists make the choice to write about everything she does, and use clickbait-y titles to draw readers. But because all we see is “Chrissy Teigen,” that’s all we associate with the deluge of coverage.

We are not annoyed by Chrissy Teigen, we are annoyed by the coverage of Chrissy Teigen, with which she has nothing to do.

Blaming Chrissy Teigen for the coverage she receives is as ludicrous as blaming Harris or Gillibrand for the victim-slanting coverage they garner.

I don’t doubt that people leaning into certain narratives is true in some cases. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening here, or what’s happening at large. Chait views victimhood as a media or political strategy. In his lens, there is no way that Gillibrand could be discussing the harassment she’s received for any other reason than to garner sympathy in a 2020 presidential run. It’s possible that Gillibrand was not ignorant to the fact that she would gain sympathy, but that was in addition to shining light on a malignant and previously hush-hush tenet of politics.

And if that’s his view, it’s bizarre that he does not point out that Trump won on a platform of victimhood, playing up the false victimization of white, middle-class Americans, particularly men. He does not mention this once, preferring to attack female politicians who, as far as we know, did not request such coverage. He does not mention Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), or how she pushed back against Treasure Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s meandering with “Reclaiming my time,” which could ostensibly be considered the antithesis of victimhood or rerouting the “man-interrupting-woman” trope. He also fails to point out that, despite instances of harassment, these female politicians rose to the uppermost echelons of American politics.

“Spinning” narratives, particularly ones of hardship or victimhood, is not new, nor is it a particularly female action for politicians to take. However, it is almost always women who are slammed for taking part in that.

“On the left, victimhood is a prime source of authority.”

There is the notion that victims disclosing harassment are doing it with nefarious or shady intentions. The truth is that, often, the intent of disclosure is very clear: to open dialogues about harassment with the aim of minimizing and eliminating those situations. There is power in opening up about being a victim, but that in itself does not constitute a power play.

Pointing out bias (in gender, sexuality, race, class or religion) is often just that, but it also serves to highlight that there are peoples (often of intersecting identities) who are disproportionately affected by biases.

Painting Gillibrand’s discussion of the sexual harassment she’s faced, or critiquing Harris for how she was covered, has a very distinct aim – to discount sexism, racism and other biases as political ploys and grabs at attention. It diverts from any conversation about how these things came about and what might be done about them.

Chait’s argument, under the guise of concern, boils down to this notion: if you have been a victim, then you are weak. If you disclose harassment or abuse, you are seen as weak. And people do not someone weak in the Presidency. Again, it’s telling that he does not bring up Trump, who constantly and consistently affirms his place as a victim – of the media, of the Democrats, of the political system. So perhaps the problem is not the victimhood platform, but the fact that they are not men.

The article ignores that people who have been harassed, assaulted or victimized are survivors; have thrived despite such obstacles; and that those people might actually make better, more empathetic and more driven presidents than, say, someone who has no experience with such hardships.

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Politics

NASTY WOMEN GET SHIT DONE

Written while being inspired by a Nasty Woman!!! #ImWithHer

I haven’t said it in so many words on this blerg, but if you noticed, I haven’t really talked about the presidential election here. I write about it pretty consistently for The Odyssey, but by and large, I’ve just run out of things to say. Unless I want to pick up a different language, there are only so many ways I can say, “Trump is a horrific bigoted misogynist and why won’t you just vote for Hillary so we can get this over with?”.

But the third and final debate was held last night in Las Vegas—btw, it would’ve made the debate 125% better if they had walked out to Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas” because some classique Hillary “boogie-ing down” would’ve brought some much-needed levity to what would undoubtedly be 1.5 hours of pain for Trump, and us—and I feel like even though I might not have anything crazy-brilliant to add, I just want to talk about it.

This debate marks the third time that Hillary has won against Trump. Three-for-three, people—mark it down. And this debate, compared to the madness of the first one and the weirdness of the second one, was possibly the most honest I’ve seen both candidates. Trump was in fine form, accusing Clinton of paying people to get into fights at his rallies, accusing her of rigging the election, of controlling the media, of going into abortion clinics dragging almost-to-term pregnant mothers behind her and forcing them to get abortions.

First of all, let me just say this: If Hillary has done all these things—started ISIS, rigged the election, controlled the media—girl, I do not want to get on the wrong side of her. Let her have this election; she’s a certified witch. And I don’t mess with no witches.

But, of course, she has done none of these things. She supports late-term abortions on a case-by-case basis, when the life and health of the mother is at risk. Donald said that he would appoint a Supreme Court Justice to overturn Roe v. Wade. Hillary has not paid people to get violent at Trump’s rallies. Trump has encouraged violence at his rallies. HILLARY DID NOT CREATE ISIS. I REPEAT, HILLARY DID NOT FOUND THE TERRORIST GROUP ISIS.

This debate made it all the clearer that Trump is intensely focused on being nasty, rude and ignorant. When the candidates were asked—in two minutes—to outline their economic policies, Hillary talked about bolstering the middle class, creating a comprehensive education plan, creating larger taxes for the 1%. Trump used the first 1.5 minutes to talk about Japan, China and Saudi Arabia, before briefly mentioning free trade.

Trump kept twisting Hillary’s words. When she mentioned that she was for late-term abortions—with conditions—he said, “Hillary wants to rip your babies out in the ninth month, the day before they’re due.” Which, honey, is basically just a C-Section. So no, Hillary isn’t sacrificing to-term babies to get to the Presidency. When moderator Chris Wallace brought up a paid-for speech Hillary did in which she mentioned “open borders,” Trump jumped on it saying that she would let the borders loose and there would be hell. Hillary gently reminded everyone that the full quote refers to “open borders re clean energy grids.” So, like, remember context maybe??

At this point, I officially don’t care if you think Hillary is a crook or a war criminal or from the goddamn moon. These are the facts: Hillary is wildly competent, wickedly smart, and incredibly savvy. She has thirty years of experience. She is dedicated to her work. She has cohesive plans that she wants to put in place. She has the stamina to withstand having to be in the same room with Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has no plans. He relies on bigotry and violence. He has said that he will “surprise us” on whether or not he will accept the outcome of the election, i.e. he hasn’t decided on whether he is for democracy. He treats women horribly. He is volatile. He has no stamina. He is mean; he is childish. He is a bully.

So stop pretending that both are terrible outcomes. One person might be someone you might not like. But the other person will be horrific for our nation. I’m tired of your bullshit “apolitical” opinions. To not pick a side at this point is to pick the side of Donald Trump. Do you really want to be on that side of history?

I’m a journalist, so I’m supposed to be “impartial” and “unbiased” or whatever. I don’t care. I’m smart; I’ve looked into these issues. That also doesn’t matter. You should know by now who is going to steer our country in a healthy direction.

Stand on the side of that “nasty woman,” who has worked tirelessly, endured your shit and disrespect and judgment for thirty years, all for the love of the country that you so easily disregard while you whine. Imagine that kind of love: the kind of self-sacrificing that Hillary has done, the amount of hours she’s logged, out of a desire to be a public servant. Other opinions aside, you can’t deny that. You can’t deny her deep love and devotion to our country.

I want that kind of perseverance in the Oval Office. I stand with her, fully and forever. I stand behind her, and I’ll follow her, because I trust in the direction that she will take us. Please, join me. Register. Vote. Support. Be passionate. Care.

*****

And to end on a light note, let’s focus on the true leader of America that’s already been crowned.

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Humor, Life, Politics, pop culture, Things Happening RN

THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING RN: DONALD, OBAMA, AND SHAWN MENDES

Some days I am bursting with ideas, and I feel as if I could write for hours. Other days, I stare out of the window—waiting for my husband to return from war—and just can’t get anything done. I can’t actually tell which type of day this is because all I’ve been doing is watching YouTube videos—so it might be the latter—but I figure that I could comment on things that are already happening, thus cementing my position as someone without any creativity but with a lot to say. People love that, right?

WHAT’S HAPPENING RN:

1). Donald Trump vs the Khans: This is kind of already been discussed, but Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a deceased U.S. soldier, spoke at the DNC against Donald Trump and his treatment of Muslim-Americans. The Khans’ son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004. Khizr called The Donald out on his lack of empathy and also his disgraceful conduct. In true Trump fashion, rather than respond gracefully, Donald attacked Ghazala Khan, who did not speak at the convention, implying that, because of Muslim tradition (??) she was not allowed to speak. Ghazala wrote a piece for The Washington Post, saying that she was too overcome with emotion to speak at the DNC and that as a parent, Trump should have had more empathy for someone who has lost a child.

Interestingly, this is one of the few things that is really sticking with Trump. Maybe it’s the combination of misogyny and criticizing a U.S. solider who gave his life for his country and him illustrating exactly what the Khans were talking about, but even some Republicans have criticized him. This, however, has not stopped them from endorsing him, which President Obama completely called them out on.

Obama asked if this is someone that Republican leaders have repeatedly strongly spoken out against, but still continue to endorse, what it said about their party as a whole. Yet again, another reason why Obama is a total rockstar and I am weeping at the thought of him leaving the White House.

2). The Olympics: I’m not like #sporty, so I haven’t been watching the Olympics and I missed the opening ceremonies because I was at a party, but apparently the Olympic Village (which I keep wanting to call “Victor Village” a la Hunger Games) is less than impressive. After maintenance attempted to run a “stress test” to see if the Village could cope with actual Olympians living in it and that test resulted in major issues, some athletes have been relocated to hotels and the US basketball teams are living on a docked cruise ship.

Side bar: They have basketball in the Olympics??

Coupled with the Zika virus issue, this is shaping up to be a little tough for the Olympians. But seriously, they’re all so hot that I doubt any of them have time to do anything other than stare at each other and compete.

3). I had a burger yesterday: I’m writing this on Sunday, and yesterday I went with my best friend and his girlfriend (we are also friends, but I need her to understand her place in the food chain) to this dive near their house and it was so good omg. Sometimes it makes me remember that good food doesn’t need a lot of accoutrements and embellishments. This has been reflected in my style and is also a general theme in my life right now, so I’m glad it’s being reflected in my food. Something great is usually also something simple. Except for me: I’m a complex diamond of a human person.

4). The Cursed Child: The script for the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was released in book-form, and I can’t decide whether or not I want to read it. It’s not written by J.K. Rowling (more like J.Slay Rowling amiright ladeez) and I’ve already read all the spoilers—NOT PLEASED—so idk if I should. It’s interesting that this is a year of Harry Potter revival, with The Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts coming out close together. but while Fantastic Beasts doesn’t bother—it won’t affect the original seven books and it gives us a canonized lewk into the American wizarding world (nerdgasm)—The Cursed Child totally bothers me because it RUINS THE EPILOGUE. THINGS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO EXIST PAST THE EPILOGUE.

5). Kylie’s Birthday Surprise: Just shy of her nineteenth birthday, Kylie Jenner released her Birthday Special Surprises for her cosmetics line. An eyeliner—new for her—a new gold metal matte, an entire eyeshadow kit, a new gold gloss, two cream eye shadows, a new matte, and new mini-mattes. She’s, like, a fucking mogul, you guys. Like, we’re all just watching Kylie Jenner take over the world.

Also also also do you think that Kylie will release a highlighter and call it “KyLighter?” Because I might’ve just thought of her newest product. Fucking missed opportunity if she doesn’t, and also a missed opportunity if she doesn’t hire me as Media Consultant/Product Punnist/Thinspirationist.

*****

Shockingly, I don’t have much to say. Well, I have a lot to say, but I don’t know how much of it I can put online without regretting it later. Isn’t it ironic, after all the bullshit I put on this blog, that I have boundaries and standards? I don’t believe it either. Also, like, besides the Olympics—which I’m too busy to watch—and the DNC/RNC—which I’m too dumb to understand—there really hasn’t been much going on. It’s almost Kylie Jenner’s birthday.

Actually omg you know what I have to say? Remember how when everyone was freaking out in anticipation of Kylie Jenner turning eighteen and being #legal?? And it was basically all about how we knew that Tyga and Kylie were together but to avoid the whole “statutory rape” thing, they had to keep it on the DL until she was legal. Ew, I just realized how gross that is, that a 26-year-old left his girlfriend and their son to be with a literal 17-year-old. For some reason, this has made me completely understand Blac Chyna in a way I never did before. My eyes are opened.

Anywayanywayanyway. Well, today is Shawn Mendes’ eighteenth birthday and I feel like it’s a similar thing for the gays that I know. Because he’s literally so hot but I was literally like “Ew he’s literally 17” but now he’s not. This is my Kylie moment. He’s my inspirashawn. OMG THAT’S BRILLIANT I’M A FUCKING POET.

#INSPIRASHAWN

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Celebrity Sunday, Politics, pop culture

WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING: FBI, KANYE AND #FREEKESHA

This week has been somehow slow on news and heavy on bad news. Also I’m fairly certain I’ve blocked out this entire week from my memory for no reason, because I don’t know anything that happened. Why did I do this? Trauma? Drama? Llama? I don’t know if we’ll ever figure it out. But anyway, here’s your lookback and roundup of what you might’ve missed while you were trapped in that bathtub a la Howard Taft.

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING RN:

 

1). #FreeKesha: This is honestly heartbreaking. On Friday, a New York Supreme Court Justice moved to uphold Kesha’s deal with Sony Records for an additional six records. Kesha was asking to have the contract broken amid her allegations that her producer, Dr. Luke, sexually and emotionally abused her for years. She claims he drugged and raped her after her 18th birthday and bullied her so severely that she developed an eating disorder, for which she entered rehab in January 2014.

I think what I find most upsetting is the fact that Kesha, in this case, wasn’t even asking the judge to send Dr. Luke to jail. She just wanted to get out of her contract, because she’s legally obligated to make another six albums with him, which she won’t, and because she won’t, her career and livelihood will falter. Apparently Sony offered Kesha a deal to work with another Sony producer, but she says that that is a placation and that they will not promote her music unless it is made with Dr. Luke. Not to mention, that if she is mired down by lawsuits, her career is effectively over without the opportunity to record, produce and distribute music.

The Justice, Shirley Kornreich, said Sony would suffer irreparable harm if Kesha were allowed to break her contract. But what about the irreparable harm caused to Kesha? What about the irreparable harm of telling a rape victim that she is legally bound to her rapist? That her career, her everything, depends on a man who emotionally abused her to the brink?

Fans and celebrities alike are gathering around Kesha. Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae, and Kelly Clarkson have thrown their support behind her. And we should all step behind Kesha. This is tragic and scary and heartbreaking, that we could live in such a barbaric world. Because it is barbaric. It is fucking barbaric that we could allow this to happen. I hope that somehow Kesha will get out of her contract, because I know that if she cannot, then the subtle endorsement of rape will have won. And it can’t win.

#FreeKesha.

2). Jeb Bush Is Audi 5000: After disappointing losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Jeb Bush has suspended his campaign for president on Saturday. I think Jeb thought he could ride easy on his family name and easygoing politics, but that came across as bland and uninspired. And against the flaming maxi pad called Donald Trump, Jeb became meek in comparison. After putting $100 million into his campaign, he stumbled and slogged his way through the other candidates.

 

I can’t say that I’m sad to see Bush go, but I’m sad for what it means for the GOP race. Bush provided a somewhat tempering, if passive, presence, and in the last Republican debate, relatively held his own against Donald Trump. Now, the race is largely split between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. Rubio is expected to pick up a lot of dejected Bush supporters, which may turn the tides in his favor, since he’s largely competing with Cruz. But the scariest part is that veritable politicians are dropping out one by one, and Trump is steamrolling his way forward. The hope that he would burn out has faded and soured into a fear that he might be unstoppable. It’s like when Phi Phi O’Hara made it into the top three of RuPaul’s Drag Race, even though she was literally the devil incarnate that season. Somehow, good things are happening to bad people.

3). Hillary Clinton Wins Nevada: More political news, because now I’m a political junkie. Hillary won the Nevada caucuses after losing New Hampshire to Bernie. The votes were split pretty evenly, with Hillary getting almost 53% to Bernie’s 47%. However, while this is a victory to Hillary, it also is kinda of not. Nevada was supposed to be an easy sweep, but with Bernie nipping at her heels, it’s proving that he’s picking up steam.

In her victory speech, Hillary talked about her new plan for immigration—a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and protection from deportation—as well as slicing away at Bernie’s plans. She focused on the young voters, basically saying that Bernie’s ideas of free college tuition are unattainable, but that she wants to work with young voters to create a better future. Bernie used his concession speech to basically say that while he may have lost the battle, he’s gonna win the war. But they were both cordial and nice to each other, which is nice. I like that Mom and Dad aren’t fighting.

4). Kanye West: I feel like I literally keep talking about him, but I’ll stop when he stops doing interesting things in the media. So The Life of Pablo is out, but apparently Kanye’s still tinkering with it, and it’s been called the messiest release in history. People who bought it didn’t get it; some people were charged twice with no product. Some people—me—claim satanic forces are at play. Additionally, he will never, ever, ever put TLOP on iTunes or anything other than Tidal. And I just read an article that said that only Beyoncé putting her album exclusively on Tidal will save the flailing music service. And if that happens, I s2g I will leave the country. Because I need that album.

But what’s the most interesting is Kanye’s Twitter. Apparently, he’s $53 million dollars in debt, and is asking for loans to produce his “art.” And I say “art” in quotes because it’s not music he’s looking to produce, but the jury’s out on what he actually intends to do with the money. Anyway, he reached out to Mark Zuckerberg for a $1 billion investment, claiming that he needs the money more than “a school in Africa” and, frankly, that’s some bad karma. But he wants to lower the prices of textbooks, which I can get behind. He says that he needs the money to provide for his family, but, like, his wife is Kim Kardashian West, who is worth allegedly over $145 million, I don’t think they’re hurting. Also he’s like “I can afford to keep my family in furs, but I still need the money.”

But, to be honest, I really like The Life of Pablo. PUT IT ON ITUNES SO I CAN BUY IT AFTER MY FREE 90-DAY TIDAL TRIAL IS OVER. Pls. I’m ultralight-beaming for your help, Kanye.

5). Deadpool: I don’t know what this is, but everyone’s talking about it. Apparently he’s omnisexual, which is cool, and breaks the fourth wall, which is cool. Also Ryan Reynolds is behind the project, which is cool. What if Deadpool was just a really long, convoluted fever dream sequel to The Proposal? Could that be real?

6). An Apple A Day Keeps the FBI Away: So here’s the hot gossip. The FBI is asking Apple to create a back door—dirty—into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, after they accidentally reset the password to the shooter’s iCloud. This means that the normal way Apple accesses data, which they’ve done in past investigations, has been blocked for them. Additionally, the iPhone was set with a special precaution by the shooter Syed Farook’s government employers to self-destruct after ten failed attempts at guessing the password.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said no, that it would set a dangerous precendent, and that Apple has prided itself on its security, and to follow the FBI’s orders would negate that security claim. The FBI is asking FBWhyyyy and saying that it’s “just one time.” Also, they originally blamed the password reset on a San Bernardino county official, when it was later revealed that this official did it on the behest of the FBI. So not cool.

7). Big Ang Dies: Big Ang died on Thursday. She was previously diagnosed with Stage IV brain and lung cancer, and after a false alarm earlier in the night, Big Ang passed away. This honestly hit me so hard, and I think it hit the world hard. Love her or hate her, Big Ang was vibrant and shocking and bold and funny. She was the breakout star of Mob Wives, she became a household phenomenon, and she was the icon of my senior year in high school. I’m sad that she had to go so soon, and that her decline was so rapid. I think we can only pray that it was quick and painless and that her family will, someday, be okay.

Side bar: I went digging through my old blog and the archives of old photos, until I found a cartoon I had drawn of Big Ang my senior year. I’ve been a Big Ang stan since 2013.

Rest in peace.

*****

This has been sort of a heavy news week, but it sometimes can’t be avoided. The world can be a really tough place, and not even I can spin it into something with levity all the time. But I think that that’s a good thing—that some things aren’t meant to be touched by comedy. Some things are just sad. Singularly heartbreakingly sad.

I hope that everyone who reads my blog has a nice week coming up. I hope everyone who doesn’t read my blog burns their tongues on a really hot Starbucks latte. But they won’t even know it’s coming because they don’t read my blog.

Also, to end things on a nostalgic, lighter note, here are some photos I found while digging through my past. Revel in High School Me. Also I’ve been looking through the photos and there are an uncomfortable amount of photos of hot guys that I’ve just saved to my computer. What was I saving them for?

 

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Celebrity Sunday, Politics, pop culture

WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING: VALENTIME-TO-GO

Okay, so if you live under a rock—PLEASE LET ME JOIN YOU. I CAN’T HANDLE THE PRESSURES OF MODERN SOCIETY—then you might not know what’s been happening this weekend. And luckily for you—PLEASE I’M JUST A CHILD—I have the scoop—literally, my mother brought me up an ice cream scooper from my house this weekend—on what the hippest, hoppest happenings are.

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING RN:

 

1). Formation: No surprise, but I listened to “Formation” more and discussed it with people. I even discussed it a little with my mother, which involves a lot of avoiding talking about the Illuminati and me not playing her the song because I refuse to witness my mother hearing anything about Red Lobster.

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Source: Danny McCarthy

2). I’m a target for the Illuminati: I downloaded Tidal to get “Formation.” And I might be paranoid, but I gave them access to my Facebook to sign in—because I’m too lazy to type out a username and password. I’m afraid that Queen Bey will see that I tweeted about Kanye on SNL last night, so frankly I have a limited time left. They’re not going to kill me, but I feel like they’re going to very Kirstie Alley to my Leah Remini.

Even though I love Beyoncé, I’m concerned that my outspokenness on the Illuminati will make me soon disappear. In all likelihood, they’ll just take away my phone. BUT I WOULD RATHER THEY TAKE AWAY MY FREEDOM THAN MY PHONE.

3). The GOP Debate: As a pop cultural junkie, advocate, altar boy and anthropologist, I’m obviously drawn to messy, scandalous situations, and right now, the presidential race is more appealing to me than the Twitter beef between Yolanda Foster and Lisa Rinna about the most recent episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I’m actually alternating between listening to Kanye’s new album and watching last night’s GOP debate.

The GOP candidates seem to me like the biggest pack of Mean Girls. When they discuss Justice Scalia’s recent death, they are all of the opinion that Republicans need to block Obama from nominating anyone, because they’re afraid of losing a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. But like isn’t that so shady? This is how we end up with a fucked-up country and a heavily polarized government, because the parties are so consumed with getting their way that they completely forget to do what’s actually good for the country. And not directly undermining the President would be good for the country.

And I was about to type, “But that’s none of my business,” but it literally is my business. It’s our business. We’re going to be stuck with this country a lot longer than the old men on that stage.

But “let’s dispel with this fiction” that the GOP does what it’s doing. Omg, am I making a political dig? I’m so smart.

4). SNL slaying the game: I thought that SNL was actually really funny this year. And the short about Beyoncé was so on-point, it’s scary. Because conservative white people who were outraged by Beyoncé were just essentially outraged by her crime of being “black on TV.” Yes, I think there were definitely homages to Black Power, but I think that people are afraid of Beyonce actually utilizing her incredibly powerful platform to be political, strong and unapologetic.

Also, their cold open with Hillary and Jeb was funny and kind of cringey, but in a good way. I miss SNL’s portrayal of Donald Trump by Darrell Hammond. I need to figure out a way to make Hammond playing Trump saying “Yuuuuge” as a phone ringtone.

5). I changed the background on my phone: First it was John Krasinski shirtless because HE’S SO HOT I’M GONNA CRY and now it’s a picture of fries. And I actually Googled “fries” and sifted through the results before arriving at the perfect picture of fries.

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Source: Danny McCarthy

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Source: Danny McCarthy

6). Valentine’s Day: I only thought about dying alone once. Okay, twice. And my family and I accidentally went to the single most romantic Valentine’s Day restaurant in Boston, where I annihilated a crème brulee. No regrets.

7). CRUCIAL NEWS: I NEED SOMEONE TO TELL ME IF KIM KARDASHIAN WEST’S HAIR IS DYED OR NOT; OR I WILL LOSE MY MIND. At first, when I saw the photo of her, alongside her sisters, at the Yeezy season 3 show, I assumed it was a wig. It looked amazing, but it looked like a wig. But I was so happy to see her out and about that I didn’t do my proper research, which I regret. Then I was looking on Kylie’s Snapchat and I saw her in her now-classic braids—not personally a fan, but not what we’re discussing right now—and she was still in her platinum hair and you could see the faint shadow of dark roots mingling with bleach. So what is the truth? How was I not aware of this? Who—of my staff—is to blame? Answer: all of them. I love Kim’s platinum moments, and I hope that this lasts a little longer than the last one.

 

8). King Kylie: Kylie Jenner is making Snapchat masterpieces. I missed her last one a few weeks ago, but if you scurry to tonight’s, it’s veritable cinema. Kim is doing a better job acting than her Drop Dead Diva appearance + “Jam” song combined. She says “staff” more times than a Planned Parenthood employee (staff, STAPH, get it? Amiright?). And although it was supposed to be satiric, I fully believe that Kim takes selfies with an entire entourage of photographers, music guys, light guys, and possibly a hype man (it was quite the group, I can’t be sure). It’s a love story to rival Titantic. Do we have a new director on our hands? A Va-Jay-Jay Abrams? Omg, you have to admit that that’s a hilarious pun.

9). Making Waves: Is what I can’t call this one, because Kanye’s new album is actually called The Life of Pablo. I’ve started listening to it, and I like it, and I’m getting dragged into the deep, swirling black hole that is Tidal. Also, on a completely unrelated note:

10). Einstein (Not the bagels): I’m not too knowledgeable about this, but somehow Einstein was proved right about his theory of space and time being interwoven concerning gravitational waves. A billion years ago, two black holes knocked into each other, causing a ripple effect that has shot across the universe and has finally been picked up by scientists. So basically, Einstein is…well…an Einstein, but we all knew that. It’s actually really cool.

Whew, this was a big one. Hopefully you’re all caught up with things. How are things with you? Good? That’s good. Tell your mom I said hi. Kk. Cool.

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Source: Danny McCarthy

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Politics

THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

On Tuesday in the New Hampshire primary, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump emerged victorious for their respective parties. Trump won 35.3% of the vote, with John Kasich following behind with 15.8% and Ted Cruz with 11.7%. Sanders won 60.4% of the vote, with Hillary getting 38.0%.

I was originally pro-Hillary, but as Bernie has risen in the polls and I have learned more about him and his politics, I have begun to research him and his politics, and I find that I agree with him on a lot of issues. And I think it was actually Bernie who said it best when, at the end of the Democratic debate against Hillary, he said that either he or Hillary would make a better choice for the country than a Republican. And I don’t even necessarily agree with that, but I do agree with his respect and general classiness towards Hillary and towards the entire presidential race. If he won the nomination, I would be sad because I support Hillary, but I wouldn’t be distraught.

A few weeks before the election, I went to a local bus station in Boston and interviewed New Hampshire residents about the upcoming primary. I asked them primarily why they thought Donald Trump was so popular, and whether or not that popularity would translate into votes in the election.

The answers were interesting. He was popular because of name recognition—The Apprentice—because of his strong opinions about border control and ISIS. Because he wasn’t a pushover. Because he wasn’t a career politician.

(Also this a total side note, but why is it bad if the President is a career politician? I know that the government can be corrupt sometimes, but in general, I want to believe that the people who dedicate their lives to civil service are doing it out of a desire to be helpful to their country. So what if someone has spent their career in politics? Shouldn’t they be well-versed in politics if they’re going to be, like, the head person in politics? I need someone to explain to me why that would be a bad thing.)

Most people laughed—uncomfortably—and said that while he was popular, they hoped that he wouldn’t gain votes in the election. As a journalist, I don’t think I’m supposed to have any sort of opinion, but I’m a bad journalist and a good human, and it makes me distinctly uncomfortable to know that Trump has the majority vote in New Hampshire.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t know everything about politics. I probably know 15% of what there is to know, but as a millennial coming to age in America in 2016, it’s fucking terrifying to think that a celebrity bully could garner the majority in any state. And that’s what Trump is; he’s a bully. He’s a bulldozing, immature, graceless bully, who’s used to getting what he wants.

Personally, I look at a few categories to see what I need to know about a candidate: civil rights, tax reform, gun control, abortion and drugs. As of October 2015, Trump would move to defund Planned Parenthood. Only a few months previous, he said that in general, he supported Planned Parenthood, but that abortions needed to stop. In a few short months, he went from qualifying to outright damning.

On same-sex marriage, Trump says it’s fine “for now.” But that, frankly, threatening statement is almost more terrifying than an outright damnation of same-sex marriage. At least with people who outright oppose it, I know where they stand. With Trump’s “for now,” I have the feeling that like a villain in a movie series, it’ll rear its head in the near future and come back with a vengeance.

I find it scary that I can live in a country where the leading presidential candidate for his party can propose to take away basic human rights—that we just got—and that that is not an immediate deal-breaker. How would people react if Trump tried to re-segregate schools? Or take away women’s votes? By threatening to take away one group’s civil liberties, it shadows over everyone’s civil liberties. Because when Trump threatens same-sex marriage, he challenges the idea that these basic human rights are up for negotiation.

It’s a common fact that to run for president, candidates often become more radical and more of an outlier than they would normally. And so it’s not necessarily surprising that the far-left option—Sanders—and the far-right option—Trump—gained the votes in New Hampshire. What is surprising is that we are allowing Trump to gain strength and momentum.

I want two nominees who are respectful and strong in their opinions and classy. I want nominees who respect the general population, who protect my civil liberty and who have my best interest at heart. I wouldn’t be comfortable if Trump gained the nomination. I would be afraid. What country has a leader who is banned from entering other countries—like the UK and Canada? What country has a leader who proposes banning an entire religious group, branding them as terrorists? What country has a leader who labels an entire population entering the country as rapists, criminals, and terrorists?

By engaging in hate-speech and fear mongering, Trump proves that he is not in this race for the interest of the people. I want nominees who, if they get into office, I wouldn’t have to worry about what would happen to me, or my friends, or my peers. I want a President who, even if we have differing politics, I can trust to protect me on the most basic levels. We shouldn’t live under the threat of something happening to us. And this isn’t just worrisome for same-sex couples, or Muslims, or Mexicans. This affects all of us. Because who our President is says who our country is. We can’t have a country that casts doubt and aspersions onto vast swaths of its population. We can’t have a country that threatens to take away the most basic, human rights.

And so as the primaries continue and the race gets tighter, I suppose my plea is this. Educate yourselves on the candidates. Educate yourselves on who they are, what they stand for. Separate yourself from the hate-speech, the fear mongering, and the emotional tugs at “a greater America.” Acknowledge that candidates, any candidates, will use things like ISIS and marijuana and gun control and hide behind bluster and savage words and strong promises. Separate the magic from the material. Seek the truth, and make smart decisions.

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