#Problematic: Kanye Kanyes Beck, Brian Williams Lies, Miley Makes Porn & Azealia Banks Redefines “Faggot”

Hello first time readers, and welcome to #Problematic, a cat-infested corner of the internet where every week I will be trying to make sense of all of the finger-pointing, pearl-clutching, “well, first of all,” nonsense assaulting our eyeballs after what has become of journalism in the digital age. I cannot guarantee sanity, subtlety or sanguinity, but I solemnly swear to call bullshit and always have wine on hand (#winemom). So, settle in. The water’s fine. The rose is chilled.

This week was rife with pop culture gum, you know, the kind you chew on and then stick in your hair for later, because you’re just not quite done with it. (Yes, that is a Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood reference. If you too will always be haunted by the brilliance of that book series/film, do find me on Twitter.) All of the talk was due in great part to the Grammy Awards, music’s biggest night, or alternatively a night so full of forced camaraderie it gives new meaning to the word “genre.” We also are saying goodbye to two of America’s most beloved news anchors, and for very different reasons. Joni Mitchell reminded us all that pot is a real drug. Azealia Banks redefined a slur. Miley made porn. But what of that was problematic?

1. Kanye being Kanye

We’re all numbingly aware that Kanye out-smugged himself by storming the Grammy stage to interrupt Beck’s acceptance speech for the Best Album award. He painfully refrained from actually taking the microphone, but he wasted no time articulating his point, telling E! after the show that Beck needed to “respect artistry” and give his Grammy to Beyonce. Simultaneously Kim stood alongside wondering if her vagina needed fresh grease, and a nanny that makes more than a CEO pointed North West’s head at a television screen and said, “There’s daddy.”

The world rightfully raged, to the point that the messiah-complexed mogul had to visit “On Air With Ryan Seacrest,” to let everyone know that the “voices in his head” made him do it. Natch.

Plenty of memes have surfaced illustrating just how much of a jerk Kanye is, and how much Beck deserved to win over Beyonce. Garbage’s Shirley Manson even wrote a comma-irreverent open letter to Kanye, calling him a “ complete twat.” Bravo.

The real problem here is that Beck didn’t tell Kanye to fuck the hell off. Kanye pulls Kanyes because it always works out just fine for him. He trends, he releases a shoe line, he wins. What I want to read is Beck’s open letter in which he tells Kanye that until he can play the bassoon, he can suck a whole bag of microphones. Even Taylor Swift, who was also Kanye’d in 2009, gladly squashed the beef (while forcefully inviting Jay-Z to brunch), because when power meets, it shakes hands. Even pop’s most aggressive princess refuses to tell Kanye to please, stay seated.

As #Problematic as … Lindsay Lohan still acting:

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2. Brian Williams Breaks Our Hearts

This week, every liberal family in America was shocked to find that people other than Republican politicians lie. In this case it was NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, a beloved newsman with a career spanning decades. It seems that sultry deep voice was working overtime to glamorize his reporting from the early days of the Iraq War to be a bit more harrowing than they really were. Williams pulled a bit of a Hemingway, if you will.

He alleged that in 2003 a helicopter convoy transporting him through the desert, was hit by RPG fire, when in fact, he was in the helicopter behind it. Somehow the managing editor of a cable news broadcast didn’t worry about telling these variations on camera either. Proving the rationality-depriving choke-hold of celebrity, Williams put the last nail in his own coffin, telling the embellished story on his own show one final time under the guise of honoring one of the soldiers who was present. Other people who were there that day and have memories and T.V.s, saw the broadcast and alerted the media. Williams then apologized on air, removed himself from his own broadcast for “a few days,” until ultimately being suspended without pay by NBC for six months. Yeesh, just typing all of that made me need wine. I can’t imagine how many bottles of scotch Bryan is draining in the Rainbow Room right now, if they’ll even still let him in.

This story is so problematic that it’s garnered all the sighs and eye rolls most New Yorkers reserve for waiting in line. What’s truly disheartening here though, aside from the fact that we found out that the Sinatra of news anchors is actually a fame-obsessed rich man who raised one of the most boring women in New York, is something that only Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart have had the balls to point out (shocker.) Maddow bravely called out her own network for refusing to give any interviews concerning Williams’ suspension, even to their own network. And Stewart astutely pointed out the glaring hypocrisy of the American media crucifying Williams for telling lies and distortions about the Iraq War.

Adding to the hit of how Democrats get their news, Stewart will also be taking his leave from “The Daily Show,” however he will be honorably discharged from servicing our televisions. What’s problematic about that though is all of the cowardly think pieces scampering for something negative to say about his impact. My favorite of which was this desperate plea for a by-line for the day titled “Why Jon Stewart Was Bad For The Liberals Who Loved Him,” an article that revolves around the argument that Stewart was too cynical. If that is the case you want to make then why not devote a whole piece to how Matt Lauer is too creepy and should be ousted from The Today Show. To operate under the assumption that Stewart’s unique brand of comedy-laden reporting has had the “chief influence [of making] outrage, cynicism and condescension the language of the [young] left ” is not just wholly lacking any perspective on the political landscape of the past ten years, but woefully underestimating the young Americans who voted Obama into office twice.

As #Problematic as … Allison Williams singing:

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3. Miley Made A Porno

Well, not really at all, you pervs. So since America can’t really handle sex, or women or women having sex (even though it’s where YOU CAME FROM, dummies) Miley has managed to shock the masses once again. Miley made a short film with Quentin Jones called “Tongue Tied,” which she used a portion of during her Bangerz tour to feature the Alt-J song she guested on. The video is actually my favorite thing she’s ever done, because it’s hard evidence that her controversial antics, cultural appropriation and new image aren’t just the accident of being a tuned-in famous millennial—but that Miley truly is a performance artist in her own right. Her image has been consistent in terms of who she works with, the kinds of envelopes she’s pushing and the pristine execution of every move.

What got people talking though was when the short film was submitted to NYC’s Porn Film festival, and everyone’s mom in the mid-west was all “I knew Billy Ray’s daughter worshiped the devil!” The film manages to not have any full nudity or sex whatsoever, but its eroticism and ode to bondage would seem to make it completely suitable to a festival of the sort. Dear everyone, we all have sex, even celebrities, even your cat’s mother (except people who don’t have sex, who probably shouldn’t be reading this.)

What’s actually problematic is that none of the millions of fans who went to her show had a problem with the video (probably because of all of the “dancing with Miley” they were doing), but the second she wants to dip a toe in the porn world, hide your kids. The story continued though, in what was likely a PR decision, when the film was pulled just days after the announcement of its inclusion. Her reps told Buzzfeed, “Miley was proud to make a film with acclaimed filmmaker Quentin Jones. Neither she nor Quentin are participating in this ‘festival’ in any way.” Maybe one of the most problematic things you can do, Miley, is puss out.

As #Problematic as … Oprah’s network OWN:

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4. Azealia Banks Gives Interviews

In an interview with QutQ’s Xorje Olivares on Sirius XM (a mere soundbite of which made me want to set the cat free, dig a hole in the yard, lie down and call it quits) Banks decided to take on feminism and homophobia in one convoluted fell swoop. When asked if she felt accepted by the LGTB community, she exclaimed, “The black and the latinos ones, yes!” She went on to explain that “these white gays” are tearing her apart. What’s really terrifying here is that Banks needed isolate the white gay male population as “faggots,” in order to defend herself as a woman. Even the most basic of sorority girl can handle getting “torn apart” by a gay male friend, drink a glass of wine, get on her phone and say, “Thank you for pointing out that it’s too cold for a miniskirt, and no I don’t need to text him.” Also I am 100 percentcertain that the gay sass doesn’t see color.

To make it so, so much worse, she defended her use of the word “faggot.” Banks, in all of her grace, redefined the word as “feminist,” and also gave us the gem of a quote: “The word ‘faggot’ came to me from my mother.” She alleged that her mother taught her to use the word to describe any man who hates a woman. Okay. Got it. She then said that she is not, however, reclaiming the word for herself as a bisexual woman. Nope, she just likes to use the word “faggot,” even though she’s only directing it at white gay men who criticize her, but it’s totally feminist to do that. Hm. But it’s also not homophobic because homophobia in Banks’ terms means she would have to be afraid “Imma catch the gay, but I already caught the gay.” Alrighty then.

As #Problematic as … North Korea:

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5. Zach Braff and Joni Mitchell Are The Same Person

To round out this week’s #Problematic, we’ll combine two instances of white celebrities being so foolishly self-inflated that they forget they’re not exempt from racism.

The first of whom is Zach Braff, a man who saves his millions because middle-class dollars will gladly fund his desperate attempt at being relevant again. During the Grammys Braff tweeted a picture of Finley, the animated flying monkey that he voiced for Oz, next to an image of Pharrell performing “Happy.” Both the animated Finley and real-life Pharrell are wearing bell boy-esque outfits, yes, but Braff seemed to completely forget history, culture, racism, and that part where referencing any black person as a monkey is horribly racist. If one wanted to suspend reality for a moment, we could perhaps imagine poor, pasty Zach, sitting alone in his Hollywood mansion eating a frozen burrito on an L-shaped couch, wondering why none of his friends want to play with him anymore, and be all like “well, the outfits are similar.” Snap out of it! That’s not real. Any real person knows not to draw comparisons between a black person and a monkey because it’s archaic, and offensive.

To make it even better, Braff’s apology tweet read, “I love Pharrell. I thought the outfit he wore was similar to that of my bell hop outfit in Oz. I apologize.” So apparently he is the flying monkey now. Zach Braff is Finley. He wore the animated outfit. Well that leads us to Joni Mitchell then, Braff’s racist doppleganger, who says in New York Magazine newly released Spring issue that she’s “experienced being a black guy on several occasions.”

Consider that pill not swallowed. She goes on to say that she “nod[s] like a brother,” to other black men because she feels so damn akin to being both black and a man. Please take a moment to imagine Joni Mitchell at any age nodding to a black man in forced kinship. Now drink. When prodded further to explain what in god’s name she could be talking about Mitchell notes the cover of her record Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, on which she poses in black face as a magician. So Joni’s experience of being a black man was when she did one of the most out-datedly racist things you can do, paint your face black and pretend to be a black man. And boy has she held on to that taste of blackness. The shoe polish is still fresh in her mouth. She continues that she used to imitate black men “diddy bobbing” down the road. Because if imitation isn’t the biggest form of flattery, I don’t know what is.

As #Probematic as Betty Draper as a mother figure:

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