#Problematic: Nick Loeb’s Entitlement, Stacey Dash’s Stupidity & Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Run
Hey guys, two weeks no see. I took a week off to breathe in spring, contemplate a kitten adoption, <insert real life thing>, and have some glasses of chillable red. Every now and then you have to hit refresh, and tell all the problematic problems to eat you in the hopes that they might appear less dubious once you binge watch “Bloodline” (but seriously do yourself a favor a binge watch “Bloodline”).
If anything is apparent this week, it’s that this world has a whole lot of problems, and they sure as fuck are bigger than pop culture. But, if we’re going to get sociological here, the problematic pop culture feeds the real life problems, then it feeds off them, and spits it all out in the Sisyphean cycle that is the media—every new issue sending that boulder crashing back down to the ground for them to slowly push back up the hill by throwing bullshit at it and telling it it’s a thug.
If the pop culture tea leaves tell us anything this week, it’s that we’re surrounded by idiots. Idiots who think the wage gap doesn’t exist. Idiots who publish the ravings of a celebrity’s ex in the paper of record. Idiots who are trying to diminish social uprising and civil unrest caused by systemic, cyclical and internalized racism as rioting.
Having said that, I’m about to go on a rant about feminism, another social issue that will most likely be assuaged for its more privileged members in the near future, while its POC and LGBT counterparts take on more discrimination. Cause hierarchy is not productive, but I guess I just felt the need for a disclaimer this week that while equal rights, pay and body autonomy for women are huge issues in this country, there’s no way the genders can be equal until the races are. So take what comes after this as either a distraction from the fact that this country that considers itself the leader of the free world still cannot handle issues of race, or as an epilogue for what might happen once they do.
1. Hollywood Considers Remakes Reparations To Women
Movie remakes are to cinema what the Checker’s/Rally’s franchises are to fast food—desperately reinventing what once worked in order to turn a profit, never comes to mind unless its right in front of you, and can only be enjoyed when you are the kind of drunk that requires the closure of one eye. That being said, America will always have a place for a $1 hot dog, and it will always have amnesia when it comes to the fact that no remake has ever done the original justice.
But making the argument that perhaps remakes are a waste of time, money, talent, and an insult to the art of cinema is like making the argument that the Hummer is bad for the environment—true, but entirely un-American. In our culture of excess we will continue to have just that, so there’s no point in insisting otherwise.
What is more problematic than bad taste is the way Hollywood has treated women for so long. First there’s pay disparity—albeit, evidenced by Patricia Arquette’s Oscar comments, the wage gap is a much less weighty argument when put into the perspective of an already incredibly privileged profession. But on the other hand, the fact that America’s most privileged women, Hollywood’s A-list women, are still not getting paid equal to men, highlights how intrinsic this issue really is. I also just think that scrutinizing celebrities for not understanding the great well of society they’ve been shielded from for so long, when they’re using their highly visible platform for good, does nothing but put more distance between the 1 percent and the rest of us.
Moving on, there’s also the general lack of women directors or executives in Hollywood. Rose McGowan this year put that reality into stunning clarity for all of the penis-wielding naysayers when at the New York Film Critics Circle awards ceremony she said, “I ask you to take up the hand of the female director, until we no longer say ‘female director.’” Then there’s the egregious stereotyping and hyper sexualization of women in most films, to the point that a whole test was created, The Bechdel Test, to moderate offenses of the kind. You’d be surprised, or hopefully you wouldn’t be, by how many movies are lacking the simple standard of having two named women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Sometimes it’s as plain as the trailer, like the “Foxcatcher” trailer, in which one woman has one line. And let’s not forget how fucked up it gets for POC women in Hollywood, like Ava DuVernay, who was snubbed at the Oscars very obviously for being a woman of color—there could be no other reason.
That lesson in gilded inequality was meant to point out just how silly it is that now Hollywood has realized, thanks to the hard work of so many women, that the world is coming around, that women can make the studio money, that *gasp* women can even be funny. And in order to capitalize on that, and seem like the benevolent equal rights activists that they would have you believe they are, Hollywood executives have started letting women remake the very movies that led to a male-dominated film world in the first place. God forbid they let women write their own current, relevant comedy—because when that happened, cough, “Bridesmaids,” cough, it was a total failure (not). Instead, they’re letting women remake bro movies, because it’s safe, because it’s copy written, because they still ultimately retain control.
We saw this first when “Ghostbusters” being remade with a female cast made front page news across the nation. We’ve become so used to the boys’ club that is the film industry, that news of the casting was actually able to shock America. It is a big deal that Hollywood was receptive to remaking a cult-loved inherently male film with female leads, seeing as not even the feminazis (as you male tears people like to call them) wouldn’t have had much to say if they’d cast only men—it’s expected at this point. But reports of the casting actually made headline news, right next to stories about global political unrest and the economy, and in 2015 I would hope we’d be more desensitized to women being cast in major roles. But we’re not.
Now it’s another beloved bro franchise, and another step watered down in the bloodline of remakes. Sony is letting women remake, the already remade “21 Jump Street.” “Broad City” writers Lucia Aniello and Paul Downs have signed on, which is hopeful, but it’s just still disheartening that movie houses only trust women with a trusted and tested male brand. Maybe it’s pessimistic to already be calling foul when the remakes aren’t even done filming yet. It is absolutely a huge leap forward for what is becoming a less backwards entertainment world, but it’s also Hollywood throwing an increasingly less misogynistic America a very lightweight bone.
What’s even more upsetting is that the pool of women who industry executives deem acceptable to make movies in this country is very small compared to the amount of high paid male actors. The number of those women who are comedy actresses is even smaller. In keeping with their decisions to let female actresses remake material that they already know is a hit, Hollywood executives will likely continue to cast the same few women they find readily marketable over and over again, because they’re the women that have been able to poke their heads above water in other avenues, and require no further grooming. Whereas casting lesser known men in huge blockbusters, like Chris Pratt in “Guardians of The Galaxy,” is much more commonplace. When we’re no longer tittilated that women are being allowed to simply do the same thing as men, that’s when this won’t be problematic anymore.
As #Problematic as … the strange watchability of Bethenny Frankel:
2. Women For The Wage Gap
I straddle the line often of whether or not it’s alright to disparage other women. I am an advocate of the argument that we are up against enough, it would be a whole hell of a lot easier if we could all just tap into our inner Wendy Davis’s and Elizabeth Warren’s and be fucking nice to each other. But sometimes you just have to call a bitch a bitch, and this fucking bitch is maybe the worst of them all.
This fucking bitch is Stacey Dash, who, after being the coolest best friend ever in “Clueless,” crushes us all with her own cluelessness. The fact that any woman could anchor for Fox News alone is a testament to our ability to swallow semen, because doing that job is pretty much the same in my opinion.
For some unknown reason, probably because producers knew she would get in front of the camera and say some incompetent shit, Dash was a guest on the Merideth Vieira show this week. There she said with unmistakable certainty, “[The wage gap] is an excuse. Stop making excuses. If there are opportunities, seize them. And be prepared for them. and be the best, if that’s what it takes. If you have to be extraordinary, be ext ordinary.” When confronted by Vieira with irrefutable statistics on pay inequality, Dash turned to the 10 commandments of Fox News truth denying and repeated number one, “I don’t know if that’s true.” It goes on from there, but I think it’s already clear for our purposes that this woman is a disgrace to women everywhere. She really is extraordinary.
As #Problematic as … our obsession with MyIdol:
3. The New York Times Is Losing Its Grip
In the most publicized case yet, embryo custody is becoming a thing, because it’s the year 2015 anno domini. Everyone’s favorite latin cartoon, Sofia Vergara, froze embryos with her ex Nick Loeb. They have since broken up, and she is now engaged to America’s favorite werewolf, Joe Manganiello, and they are adorable in the way that two people who are ideals of physical attractiveness devoid of any human quirks can be. Regardless, Loeb is pulling a Lifetime Movie kind of move, attempting to have one of Sofia’s eggs implanted in a surrogate without her consent so that he can be a father (because apparently moving on and impregnating a different woman who wants your penis inside of her is not an option?) For all of the times that men have accused women of trying to get pregnant in order to trap them, well this one is definitely a win for the ladies. If a woman is trying to trap you with conception, as the man, you at least have to be present. This is the kind of crazy men have been falsely accusing women of based on their gender alone for all of time.
To help his cause? To help his cause, Loeb wrote an insufferable op-ed, which undermines his intentions by admitting he signed a contract stating use of the embryos must be consensual. But to add some high falutin neo liberal big money grass to his pipe, The New York Times published his op-ed, thus becoming complicit in this man’s attempt to control a woman who no longer wants to be with him. Vergara’s eggs may be in a lab instead of inside of her body right now, but they are still hers, and ultimately this is just another battle in the war sexist men are waging on female body autonomy. To add to our backwards view of reproductive rights, it’s contentious whether or not a woman can decide to have a child with her own body or not, but a man could potentially make one for her in a test tube on a whim—and the paper of record will buy you a beer and a bubblegum cigar to celebrate.
As #Problematic as … the ASPCA using that Sarah McLachlan song to make us all cry:
4. Speaking of Which…
Kevin Calvey, an Okalahoma state representative (going to show the kind of people we send into government in this fair country), would set himself “on fire!” over abortion if his Christian beliefs didn’t dissuade him from suicide. What comes to mind immediately is Thích Quảng Đức, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who did set himself on fire in 1963 in protest of persecution of Buddhists by the government. I would love to see Calvey’s eyes roll back in his head if confronted with the follow through of a Buddhist, compared with the first world emptiness of his Republican, Christian malaise. This impotent’s man melodramatic threats are an insult to that historical moment, and anyone who’s actually crusaded a cause rather than yelling about from the oak-railed safety of a government room, as ignorant privileged white men are wont to do.
As #Problematic as … anti-abortion laws:
5. And in Other Feminist News
At least Hillary is running for president. There is a lot of negativity swirling around her campaign, and many arguments against her, some a witch hunt (Benghazi), and some valid (the Patriot Act). But can we all just take a moment to light our vagina-shaped candles for this historical breath of fresh air when a woman is being taken seriously as a presidential candidate. You may disagree with Hillary’s past, politics and policies, but you have to at least respect the woman for charting an untraversed path for women everywhere into leadership and government roles.
As #Problematic as … all of the wasted efforts disparaging her campaign logo: