#Problematic: Calvin Harris Capes For Taylor, Alpha Phi Sorority Get Shamed & Perez Hilton Is Dull Now
As the summer peters out, so do a lot of other things. Whatever you assembled as your bikini body is now Tiki Tuesday’d a little fuller, ready to accept the bounty of fall. The bunnies will soon be gone from your yard. Peaches will be dead to you. Your mother is a bad day at work away from wanting to discuss holiday plans three months early, to which you will respond, “Yes, Mom, I will bring a casserole,” while trying to find the perfect end of summer #tbt of when you were younger. It’s not over yet though, so put on your most inappropriate pair of cutoffs, feel blessed that wine is a season-less beverage, and read this…
1. Taylor Swift’s BF Vs. The Guy Who Left One Direction
If you think I have a Lisa Frank binder full of what I consider evidence that Taylor Swift is what used to be inside of Pandora’s box, you would be correct. This week I was able to add exhibit 897: Twitter war with Zayn Malik. Well actually it seems that on the heels of her “If I win, please come up with me,” embarrassment after making Nicki Minaj’s critique of entertainment industry skinny, white girl worship, about her—she’s letting someone else do the Twitter warring for her now, obvious boyfriend Calvin Harris.
As with any un-witty Twitter repartee, the context of the argument is tedious. The short of it: Malik re-tweeted a now deleted bit from the account, @femaletexts, contrasting Miley Cyrus’ comments in her Marie Claire interview about releasing her next record for free, with Swift’s Time interview comments on there being “an inherent value placed on art.” Enter Scottish brute best known for his interpretations of dolphin noises that degenerate youths like to take drugs and dance to.
Harris yelled at Malik like a mother who just overheard some other moms saying her daughter’s pirouettes were off. Harris did make a good point concerning the aristocracy that has become making it in the music industry, “While u kids are refresh voting teen choose awards there’s some poor fucker in a basement making your favorite record.” But the sentiment is transparent—Harris is defending his girlfriend who defended unknown musicians for good press, not unknown musicians. Malik was quick to strike back with some vague insults, and then Calvin Harris kissed his ass in an apology, in order to complete the virtual human centipede that their conversation birthed.
What’s really #Problematic here is that the whole thing wreaks of Taylor Swift evil fairy dust. She didn’t even have to press a 1989 runway-perfect finger to a keyboard to be back in the headlines, reprograming us again with her benevolent, help the struggling musicians Saintdom. You can argue the altruism of both Miley and Taylor’s opposing stances until you’re too tired to “shake it off,” but that’s not the point. The point is that Swift refuses to be criticized, even if she has to sic her boyfriend on a hapless ex-boyband member. You can see it now: Harris just finished with a plate of homemade cookies fresh from Swift’s oven when she begins what seems to be pre-blowjob fondling. He’s about to remove his belt when she perks up, “I forgot I need to shower,” kissing him on the cheek and turning back on her exit just to ask, “have you checked Twitter today?”
As #Problematic as … how all the other “Dance Moms” girls must feel about Maddie’s success:
2. Sorority Girls Are Out
And everyone else is in. In what feels like the end of a movie where a white woman who is made to look homely is bullied by white women who are not made to look homely, and then the bullies get what’s coming to them—the oldest sorority in the country has been very publicly shamed. Now, I do a lot of what I like to call “wine talking” in this column, which includes the above side-eyeing at Taylor Swift, along with making fun of other various things, but it’s all in the name of addressing what is problematic, whether frivolously so or not. But in this case, I believe the internet is being used for reactionary revenge (OK, that is likely its main purpose, but we should at least try and hide it, like when your mom puts her wine in a coffee mug).
The details: the University of Alabama is home to the holy grail of Greek life and people misinformed on the state of white privilege. AU sorority Alpha Phi released a “bid video” promoting their special brand of sisterhood, just before acceptance announcements were made on which pledges got into which cult. The video is kind of like a Rebecca Black music video, in that it’s clear their daddies were probably behind the scenes grilling out, offering casual “lookin’ good sweetheart” comments while insider trading among themselves and footing the bill. The prideful Alpha Phi girls, most of whom are blonde, dance around in bikinis, they sit in lush living rooms, they dance on the football field, they smile with their eyes. All and all it is a gross representation of today’s young, Southern woman.
Justice was quickly served when the internet got a hold of the video and proceeded to ridicule it to death – literally, as it has now been removed from YouTube, and the University released a statement that the video “is not reflective of UA’s expectations for student organizations…”
What is still problematic is the internet’s insistence that we condemn everything that is not intersectional, politically correct and in keeping with progress. I agree 100 percent with the criticisms of the video, but ultimately we have to ask ourselves which battle is worth fighting? This is coming from a person who looked her college counselor in the eye and said, “Keep me away from greek life and sports”—so I am in no way defending the sanctity of the institution of Greek life. But at the same time, it’s still an institution. Has the corner stone of sorority values ever been giving back to the community and pooling a strong selection of women from which to craft the perfect study group? No.
I understand wanting ignorant people to understand how their lifestyles are perpetuating a culture of inherent and oblivious white privilege, but seeing as UA has been a hot bed for racist behavior, a couple of internet articles aren’t going to upend the mentality of pretty much the entire state. Most importantly, I’m pretty sure women of color and women in the LGBT community aren’t clamoring to get in to Alpha Phi. The young women of Alpha Phi were absolutely glorifying a lifestyle that is regressive and an ugly reminder of what this country has become—but is spanking them really a hallmark of cultural change?
As #Problematic as … the undervaluation of “Legally Blonde” as an art house film:
3. Perez Hilton Is Blah Now
You probably haven’t thought about him in a while. The once raunchy, un-filtered, merciless provocateur pretty much paved the way for TMZ and all of the other celebrity info ad nauseam sites. That may sound like a depressing legacy, but when he first hit the internet with pictures of people like Paris Hilton with Microsoft Paint penises ejaculating into their mouths, at least there was some kind of cultural critique, turning America’s useless fanaticism upside down. But as the internet evolved into the troll-roaming, trigger-warning hell mouth that even Buffy couldn’t imagine—PerezHilton.com became Perez Hilton’s own undoing.
NPR ran a Q interview with Perez this past week where he discussed his transformation in a startlingly honest, but also incredibly finessed way. Perez, now a father and about to make his Broadway debut, has made a lot of the changes that age and wisdom often inspire, like healthier eating, less drinking and pursuing next level career goals. But I was startled to hear his dismissal of who he used to be as an internet persona. He discussed his contribution to the wave of “It Gets Better” videos a few years ago, for which he was lambasted with incredulity at the fact that he would address bullying, when he himself could be the biggest one around. Hilton took this response to heart, and proceeded to tell the radio host a lot about growing, and being sorry, and becoming a better person.
I caught the interview by accident, and immediately went home and for the first time since I was probably 18 went to PerezHilton.com. What is there now is a tepid drip of the hot spring that used to be. What was once borderline satire is now, “See who’s rocking a bandage dress!” tabloid magazine drivel. It’s mind boggling that we’ve reached a point that the trolls trolled so hard that the OG troll became Glenda the Good Witch—and I’m certain there are arguments that this is a good thing. But the fact that we’ve reached a plateau online of self-referential criticism, where everything must be taken so seriously that the internet will rise up against one of its first loves, that is about as problematic—in the internet-coined, click bait sense of the word—as it gets.
As #Problematic as … startup Kickstarters: