#Problematic: Confederate Flag Defenders Weep, Steven Tyler Goes Country & Rihanna Gets Her $$$

Hey guys, are you having a nice summer? Have you worn a tank top yet? Do you have a flip flop tan? Have you had drunk, unsatisfying sex with that bartender you decided with your gal pals one night after too many pickle backs was “totes my summer fling?” Did you decide you weren’t going back to law school next semester while holding hands with a traveling crust punk next to a tapped keg under the full moon while his pit bull licked your toes? I hope so. Since you’ve been so entrenched in summer fun, let me take this opportunity to update you on what may or may not be #problematic right now.

1. Hashtag Flag

I think the last time flags were having such a hot news week, Betsey Ross was still bleeding over those damn 13 stars (needle work is really fucking hard, guys, respect). There’s been good flag news and bad flag news.

Bad: Russia apparently has an anti-gay propaganda flag now. That’s weird.

Good: That Confederate piece of shit is getting slowly spanked out of existence. South Carolina’s Governor signed the bill into law on Wednesday to take that fucker down and it was within 24 hours, which is really cool.

But more bad: Now we’re getting a bunch of other musty flags shoved down our throats like we’re in a bad porno. Southerners will be goddamned if they don’t have some antiquated crap marking their territory, and reminding them that their fucked up daydreams of the antebellum south might become a reality. That if they dig up some scraps of fabric out of a confederate soldier’s grave and wave it over federal ground, the South might rise again.

What’s comical is the desperation to cling to a symbol, as if the fabric of the confederate flag was literally holding the south together with every racist fiber of its being. The reaction of some southerners to adamantly, loudly and viciously refuse to even understand why the flag should not be flown on government property is proof that this country is still at odds with its brutal past.

I live in the South and have had many conversations over the past week about the flag’s place in society. I’ve been surprised by the number of people who I view as both reasonable and liberal defending the flag. The sentiment that seems to be coming through is that the Confederate flag doesn’t mean to them what it means to the Black community—that they view it as a symbol of heritage rather than racism. That word’s been bouncing around a lot, “heritage.” The fact of the matter is that racism is part of the South’s heritage, just as much as front porches, floatin’, fishin’ and cheap beer.

If you do your research (I recommend Congressman John Lewis’ remarks), which I doubt any of these people blindly touting the flag are, you will learn its sinister meaning. The stubbornness required to not reach a level of understanding of our country’s evolution with race, and how progress requires sacrifice, is the same kind of stubbornness that started the Civil War. If you really need to have the Confederate flag in your life to celebrate your psycho interpretation of Southern history, fine, but if you can’t get right with the fact that it should have no place in our government, you can’t sit with us.

As #Problematic as frat boys in black face:

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2. Steven Tyler Is Alive & Well

And beginning his burgeoning country music career. He debuted the first video for his upcoming record under the Big Machine imprint last weekend, and it’s everything anyone wanted it to be.

“Love Is Your Name” is catchy, sweet, romantic and kitchy—the stuff of country success. Tyler nails the vocal performance, and has clearly spent good time finding the middle ground between his old musical inclinations and current ones. He has his own country backing band called Loving Mary, and from the way they bop around together in the video like they’re in a Coke commercial makes it seem like they all really like each other—ah, authenticity.

What’s really inauthentic is the campy, country cliche-obsessed aesthetic of the video. It’s like they took every Etsy-sold, Pinterest-pinned, bohemian bullshit, weak motorcycle, bespoke tin can bar, beardy, ribbons and pocket knives idea of what Nashville is now, and crammed it into four minutes. But you know what, Tyler has never really been a barometer of good taste, so I personally am not going to hold it against him.

What I did find problematic though was the fact that the female love interest in the video cannot be a day over 25, and the way she makes doe eyes at 67-year old Tyler is disturbing. It’s unclear in the video whether she’s his actual love interest, some nymph leading him to love or the physical embodiment of the idea of love, but regardless, for her to not have an age appropriate counterpart, but instead end up in the end kneeling at the feet of crusty, multi-scarved Tyler is incredibly obtuse in the realm of feminism.

As #Problematic as the fact that Steven Tyler, Bob Dylan and Johnny Depp all have grown up to look like rats:

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3. Rihanna Has The Money

If you’ve been too busy doing addictive things like watching the Food Network or Googling the royal family, there is a slight possibility that you missed Rihanna’s latest music video. It is an elaborate montage of fucked up imagery for “Bitch Better Have My Money,” in which she kidnaps, tortures and possibly kills a woman before murdering the woman’s husband, her accountant who, you guessed it, stole her money.

Big, cinematic, narrative music videos are cool and fun for everyone, and I don’t give a fuck that BadGalRiRi was channeling her own version of “Kill Bill”‘s vengeful Bride in her own music video—it makes perfect sense for the narrative of the video, a which is a revenge fantasy more-than-likely inspired by Rihanna’s own real-life accountant mismanaging her money a few years ago. The only thing I saw as particularly problematic about the whole thing was the half-heartedness of it. There wasn’t really any unique imagery or ideas, just a lot of implied gory violence with some hip outfits and a couple nipples. I just expect a little more from pop’s most infamous queen. But then again, maybe the harsh reaction some have had suggests Rihanna was smart to play it safe.

As #Problematic as … mindlessly watching reruns:

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4. Everyone Needs To Leave Chelsea Clinton Alone

It only takes one Google search for “Chelsea Clinton young” to really grasp that the girl deserves a break. She not only had one of the most visually awkward adolescences of all time, but she had to do it in the White House, amidst scandal no less. Chels has gone on to do great humanitarian work, live her life mostly in private and become a mother, and to attack her as a way to capitalize on Hillary’s campaign is extra pathetic.

The National Enquirer did the dirty work to break the “scandal” that Chelsea might be the daughter of Hillary’s former law partner, Webb Hubbell. We all know the tabloid is a publication with the moral standards of Regina George. But to question the paternity of Chelsea Clinton is to question the faithfulness of Hillary. Male politicians tote their families around like blue blood [omeranians during campaigns, and get all of the praise for it, but society fears motherhood and will do anything to diminish it. I know the story doesn’t hold much water, and no one will take it seriously, but it’s still problematic as fuck.

As #Problematic as sporks:

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