The Humanoids: Don’t Hate The Player

It’s been an interesting week in the world. Two sports figures caught some major flak for their Halloween costumes. Another sports figure got divorced. And 12-year-olds have cemented their control over Twitter while their hero gets dragged into his first real scandal. It’s almost the status quo. But no one ever said that the status quo was always boring.

Is Raffi Torres’ costume really that racist?
Well this ought to be fun. A small-town white guy commenting on a hockey player who dressed up in black face for Halloween. What the hell does he know? But maybe – just maybe – I have enough perspective to try to see through the apparent racist overtones of that blackface traditionally carries.

Let’s start with a little background. Torres dressed up as Jay-Z and his wife as Beyonce apparently for the Phoenix Coyotes Halloween party. That photo in the above paragraph was tweeted by Coyotes enforcer slash professional tweeter Paul Bissonette (@BizNasty2point0). Now Torres is Caucasian (the politically correct way to say that he’s white) but in the photo, it’s clear that he isn’t. His costume involved the use of brown makeup which changed the colour of his skin. Naturally, people cried foul because a white guy in makeup to look like a black person must (by default) be racist.

As a white male, I’m probably in the worst ethnic group to comment on this but that’s never stopped me from putting my foot in my mouth before. Then again, the majority of people vocally offended are white so if they’re qualified, so am I. Anyway, there’s a difference between Torres’ “blackface” and those people in blackface that were showing up to the racetrack when Lewis Hamilton was in Spain. Torres was dressing up in a Halloween costume. To say that he was being racist for wearing makeup to complete the costume is a farce. He would’ve been in just as much trouble for dressing up that way if he didn’t wear makeup. Torres was dressing up as Jay-Z. He wasn’t wearing that outfit to perpetuate some black gangster stereotype. He was trying to be Jay-Z.

Where blackface becomes racist is if it’s being done to mock black people and black stereotypes. If someone shows up in blackface while wearing baggy jeans and bling while carrying a fake gun, that’s racist. That guy’s not attempting anything, he’s just being a racist asshole.

The long and short of this is that blackface is just a bad idea. The racist overtones of a white guy dressing up as a black guy will always immediately be considered to be racist regardless of the intent or context in which the makeup is used. Torres dressed up as Jay-Z at a Halloween party not as some stereotypical black guy. His intent wasn’t to be racist but this is such a sensitive issue that people are going to have a problem with this no matter who it is or what they’re doing. So if you’re thinking of doing blackface, just stop.

Did you forget that Andre Agassi dressed up as Mr. T for Halloween too?
Torres did his thing on Saturday night (if memory serves). Andre dressed up in blackface on Monday night. Again, this wasn’t smart by any stretch of the imagination but it also wasn’t racist. Like Torres, Agassi was dressed as a person (Mr. T) rather than a generic black stereotype. You also can’t say he hates black people because his charity gives college scholarships to underprivaledged kids, most of whom are black. Could Andre have used some better judgement there? Yes. Is he a racist? No.

Is Kim Kardashian’s divorce a surprise when we all saw it coming before they got married?
If you actually thought that these two would make it, then you should do the world a favour and earn yourself a Darwin Award. Since it came out that Kim’s producers were behind setting her up with Kris Humphries for her reality show, it should’ve been obvious that a divorce was an inevitable conclusion to this sham of a marriage. That report just proved that the marriage was only for the money. More her’s than his too, I’m sure. After all, Kris was recently rumoured to be asking for more than the $20,000 per episode he was previously receiving to appear on whichever Kardashian show he was on.

The problem with all celebrity relationships, not just marriages, is that they’re essentially fabrications of publicists which are facilitated by payments from gossip magazines and tabloids. Who do you think are the insiders that magazines and tabloids get their info from? That’s how celebrities trying to have a quiet date always seem to get found by the papparazzi. That’s how tabloids are littered with rumours of dating and affairs and break-ups. It’s all a PR sham. Get in/out relationships, get into the news, keep your name out there and maximize your revenue-generating opportunities.

And Kim Kardashian is the biggest and worst creation of the celebrity-focused tabloid culture that dominates our society. Near as I can tell, she’s famous because she has a sex tape. Hell, she wasn’t even the famous one when it came out but damn it all if she didn’t turn that into a life. Granted, I thought she might be able to parlay the sex tape into an acting career. (If you watched the tape, you’d understand where I’m coming from. She’s decent at faking an orgasm.) Instead, she managed to become a reality TV show star and model. She’s a good looking woman but I don’t think she would’ve gotten the modelling jobs without the reality show and sex tape before that.

Think of it this way, between her share of royalties from the sex tape, payments for her two reality series (Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Kim & Kourtney Take New York) and the money made from selling media rights to the wedding, her tabloid fame has earned her anywhere from $20 million to $40 million from those three things alone. The clothing stores, perfumes, photo shoots, endorsements, singing career and other spin-offs wouldn’t have come without the help of the tabloids.

Kim Kardashian is a tabloid fabrication. She is famous solely for being famous. She doesn’t sing or act or otherwise entertain us in a way that warrants her becoming famous in the first place. And don’t say anything about the sex tape. If doing porn makes you famous, then there is a long line of women who should be more famous than Kim. No, Kim has played the media and the mindless drones who eat up everything the media feeds them for saps. Maybe this 72 day “marriage” crafted to get her some attention will help everyone realize that she’s not worth paying attention to.

Can we just shut down Twitter’s trending topics forever?
Gee, isn’t this an appropriate follow up to the last two topics. Look, I loved the idea that Twitter would post and update a list of which topics or subjects were being tweeted about the most at any given time. Before the launch of “new Twitter” (at first glance, a user interface update), trending topics (or TTs, for short) were usually commonly used phrases or key parts of the phrase. For example, if Serena Williams was trending, you could hover over the hyperlink and it would tell you that the trending words were “Serena Williams” and “Serena.” With new Twitter, it got rid of that sort of smart trending topic engine. Instead, whatever was trending was one exact phrase. For example, if enough people forgot the space before the “or” in “trick or treat,” your trending topic would only be “trickor.”

If the failing of Twitter with regard to its TT generator engine thing wasn’t bad enough, any value it had left to get people in one sort of discussion or to get people to connect through TTs has been pissed away by the 12-year-olds that have taken over Twitter. Most trending topics can be boiled down to a few categories: Bieber related (which includes anything Selena Gomez related or other people he is associated with), asking why something is trending or what something is, hashtags started by a musician or actor, celebrity gossip and sports. TTs about Bieber are always started by teens and they make up the majority of TTs you see on the right side of the screen. Fun TTs are few and far between.

Normally I would ignore the trending topics list the way I do everything on Twitter that annoys me and just close it or unfollow it (I’m looking at you @MySecondEmpire and @TwoLinePass) so I don’t see it anymore. However, TTs are mandatory viewing on the new Twitter. I don’t want to read about Bieber or Harry Potter or Twilight or whatever TMZ is covering. I don’t want contrived word games that weren’t funny when they started and still aren’t two days later. For every worthwhile trending topic that I’m interested in (ironically #ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage is one of the worthwhile ones), there are at least 50 that I’d rather not have seen. I don’t need to see “Goodnight Twitter” trend every damn night.

Either let me filter TTs by age group so users under 18 don’t pollute my Twitter or by topic so I could see sports, news and political TTs. Failing that, let me minimize it or close it so I don’t have to see the 24/7 Bieber love-in if I don’t want to. I used to think that the “new Twitter” wasn’t as bad as everyone said it was. Turns out that the 12-year-olds proved me wrong.

Justin Bieber: Babby Daddy?
I was originally going to call this Justin Bieber premature ejaculator but that might imply that he didn’t get the alleged job done right with that random chick that claims to be the mother of his illegitimate child. He just didn’t do it well.

The story goes that Bieber, then 16, met Mariah Yeater, then 19, at a concert about 12 months ago. He had security pull her backstage where he told her that he wanted to have his first time with her (which may not be true if you believe the short-lived rumour of a Bieber liason with Kim Kardashian [though that could’ve been a fabrication as a result of death threats Beliebers sent Kim after their photo shoot]). They went to a backstage bathroom where he apparently became a bit more agressive. Thirty seconds of unprotected sex later, they were done. Nine months later, a little Bieber baby was born… Allegedly.

Yeater’s lawyers have made two things pretty clear. First is that Bieber has yet to deny that they had unprotected sex. Second is that she only wants a modest amount of child support. In other words, they’re saying non-denial is a sign of guilt and that they aren’t golddigging. Of course, with the amount of money that Bieber is rumoured to be spending on dates with Selena Gomez, he may not have that much money to pay an obscene child support settlement.

There are two matters that need to answered with this paternity suit that could provide some fun. First, the actual paternity part is pretty easy to settle. Paternity tests are pretty straight forward. DNA swab and comparison to the baby and it’s pretty well figured out. However, if Bieber’s not the father, can anyone prove that they had sex? There is one person that can do that: Maury. Skip all the legal grandstanding and call up the expert on affairs and paternity. Do a live episode of Maury from the courthouse. Have the judge in attendance to make his ruling on the spot. Get Selena Gomez to come out with Bieber on stage and yell and swear at Yeater. And have Bieber dance if he’s not the father.

Whether this story is true or not, we must come up with a nickname for Bieber. “30 Sec?” Depending on any payout he might make “30 for 30” would fit. “The half-minute half-pint?” Work with me on this one people.

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