This week was full of pop culture WTF moments. Let’s take a look, shall we?
1. Time Magazine’s Banned Words Poll
This week, Katy Steinmetz wrote an article for Time magazine asking its readers which annoying word should be banned in 2015. The options included words like “bae,” “literally,” and “obvi” but the word that sits at the very top of the poll at a whopping 50% is “feminist.”
Rebecca Schinsky sent a tweet to Steinmetz, saying, “Inclusion of ‘feminist’ on your list of should-be-banned words in indefensible and gross.”
@RebeccaSchinsky Please see the blurb for context. The inclusion is responding to trends in the media, not feminism itself.
— Katy Steinmetz (@katysteinmetz) November 12, 2014
Here is the blurb for full context:
feminist: You have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on whether this word applies to them, like some politician declaring a party? Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade.
Context doesn’t help Steinmetz’s argument. First, it implies that politics has nothing to do with feminism, which is blatantly untrue. First-wave feminism was focused heavily on voting rights and what many feminists are concerned with today have to do with political issues like government restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. Second, “feminist” isn’t just a label — it carries a lot of meaning and impact.
For even more context, let’s go back to the beginning of the article which explains that the words included in the poll will make you “cringe” and want to stick a “pair of chopsticks” through your eardrums.
Mashable and Jezebel are also reporting that users on 4chan and 9gag are responsible for “feminist” winning the Time poll. I guess some people have nothing better to do? Does “feminist” winning the Time poll thanks to a bunch of Internet trolls mean there will be no more feminists in 2015?
Furthermore, The Daily Beast points out that many of the other words on the list are associated with people of color, or have roots in hip-hop culture. For example, “turnt” has appeared in rap songs for many years. Just because these are words that have been appropriated by white people and have found their way into the mainstream doesn’t mean they should be “banned”. Seems like this list was a bad idea all-around.
2. Kim Kardashian’s Paper Magazine Cover
Everyone’s talking about it. That (in)famous Paper Magazine cover that showed off Kim Kardashian’s best-known assets. The reality star vowed to #BreakTheInternet with the photos.
Normally, this would be nothing more than a blip on our radar. When we learned that photographer Jean-Paul Goude might have been recreating one of his old racist photoshoots from a book called Jungle Fever, however, that definitely caught our attention. Read Blue Telusma’s article in The Grio to learn more; she does a good job explaining the correlation between Kim Kardashian’s photos and the fetishization/exploitation of black women’s bodies.
Others took issue with the nudity. Glee‘s Naya Rivera wrote a comment on Kim’s Instagram, saying, “I normally don’t. But… you’re someone’s mother.” Oh, Naya.
Would seeing your mom’s naked bum in a “sexy” photoshoot scar you for life? …Probably. But that doesn’t mean Kim Kardashian doesn’t have the right to do whatever she wants with her body, and she certainly shouldn’t be shamed for it just because she’s a mother.
Kim’s alleged BFF Jonathan Cheban — who’s occasionally appeared on her reality show and basically exists to be Kim’s lapdog — decided to jump on the chance to cause some more drama. He wrote a post on his blog accusing Naya of copying Kim’s looks and he even used the phrase “single white female.”
3. Nicki Minaj’s Nazi-Themed Lyric Video
The controversy over the lyric video for Nicki Minaj’s “Only” has been talked about at great length this week. The video (which is still up on YouTube) uses obvious Nazi imagery to portray Nicki Minaj as a dictator, and Young Money as a dictatorship.
In the wake of the controversy, Nicki Minaj has taken to Twitter to say that she would “never condone Nazism” in her art, and oh by the way some of her best friends are Jewish (the videographer and producer for the lyric video, incidentally) and she’s sorry if you’re offended.
And then a few days ago, the director of the lyric video, Jeff Osborne, responded to the controversy on Myspace, of all places:
Before I start, be clear that these are my personal views and not the views of Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, or Young Money.
First, I’m not apologizing for my work, nor will I dodge the immediate question. The flags, armbands, and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazism.
But a majority of the recognizable models/symbols are American: MQ9 Reaper Drone, F22 Raptor, Sidewinder missile, security cameras, M60, SWAT uniform, General’s uniform, the Supreme court, and the Lincoln Memorial. What’s also American is the 1st Amendment, which I’ve unexpectedly succeeded in showing how we willfully squeeze ourselves out of that right every day.
Despite the fact heavy religious and economic themes were glossed over, there’s also Russian T-90 tanks, Belgian FN FAL, German mp5 (not manufactured until 1966), an Italian Ferrari, and a Vatican Pope.
As far as an explanation, I think it’s actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future. And the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it’s not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I’m not sorry. What else is trending?
Osborne’s unapologetic admission that the imagery is representative of Nazism contradicts Minaj’s earlier assertion that she would never condone such imagery — so maybe this team needs to get their stories straight. It’s more than ridiculous that he thinks anyone’s going to swallow the “I’m educating the masses” excuse he seems to have pulled out of his ass.
Osborne has gone on to give another statement to Billboard, explaining “the reason I’m not apologizing is because neither I nor the video are anti-Semitic” and “as far as applying Nazi imagery, 100% me.”
4. Kirk Cameron Thinks Moms Need to Save Christmas
“Don’t let anything steal your joy.”
Are people’s joy being taken away from them? We doubt anyone wants or actively allows for their joy to be stolen but, okay, Kirk Cameron. We women will just keep in mind that poppin’ out babies, decorating a house, cooking all of the food all day for a bunch of lazy asses clustered around a TV, and watching your lame ass movie will make us happy for your lil holiday.
5. New England Patriots’ Twitter Put Racist Slur on a Jersey
To celebrate being the first NFL team to reach a million followers on Twitter, The New England Patriots Twitter account was sending out thank you messages with personalized virtual jerseys to fans who retweeted this:
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 13, 2014
Unfortunately one of the people who retweeted it had a racist, hateful epithet in their Twitter handle, and the Patriots’ account stuck that handle right on a virtual jersey (warning: linked photo contains uncensored slur). The Patriots Twitter quickly deleted the offending tweet and issued out this apology:
We apologize for the regrettable tweet that went out from our account. Our filtering system failed & we will be more vigilant in the future.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 14, 2014
Apparently, the process of sticking Twitter handles on was automated and their filtering system didn’t catch it before it posted, but really? Someone human had to have seen this at some point. Also, did nobody stop to think that, considering the well-known awfulness and trolliness of some of humankind, maybe this automated custom jerseys thing was a bad idea?
Written by Christine Duong and Hera Syed.