On the one hand, who cares about Shia LaBeouf? It’s not like he’s famous.
On the other his newest stunt raises an issue that has been bothering me a lot recently: apologies and victimhood.
It feels like everyone sees themselves as a victim these days, which is boring and frustrating. It’s especially frustrating when it’s coming from someone who actually has lot of power and influence. When powerful people see themselves as victims they become juggernauts of crap - covering everyone and everything in their wake with steaming piles of ego bullshit. It’s not a sob of “I am hurt,” it’s a howl of “I SHOULD BE THE WINNER!” Not winning =/= being victimzed. So pull your fucking pants on and take care of your shit, powerful people.
What I’m saying is that Shia LaBeouf is not a victim, and he’s acting like one. He is a wealthy grown-up straight white man with incredible influence. He is taking actions to create all this, it’s not falling on him like a piano. People not liking something that he has done doesn’t make him a victim - it makes him a powerful man who has offended people much much less powerful. Boo hoo. Take your lumps, LaBeouf. Apologize or ignore it.
But what is an apology? Is it a hashtag with a campaign to shame and guilt people who didn’t like what you did? Is it making an operatic caricature in reaction to people DARING to say they dislike you or your actions? I’d say no! I’d say it’s humbling yourself honestly, and moving on. Instead, LaBeouf is sitting in a room, crying with a bag over his head, demanding that people confront how much we have hurt him by letting him act like a jerk. These are the actions of a TODDLER, not a grown man.
So I say, grow up and learn how to take care of other people. Demanding everyone in the world takes care of you is only cool in preschool.
Lists on lists on lists
If you are not a comedian, you may not be aware that - for comics - this is a season not just for resolutions, but for soul crushing self-doubt. Thank you, year end/new year lists. Every year at this time all these lists come out of “Best Comedians of last year!” and “Comics to Watch Next Year!” and the problem is: they don’t have everyone on them. In fact, they don’t have MOST people on them. I know, it’s kooky but statistically it checks out. It’s also the time of year that a lot of festivals are starting or announcing line-ups, which ALSO don’t have everyone on them. It all begins to weight heavily on the 99.99999999% of the earth’s population VICIOUSLY excluded.
It is therefore temping to shit on the lists. To take a big steamy dump of “THEY DON’T MATTER AND THE PICKERS ARE STUPID AND THE PEOPLE THEY PICKED ARE WRONG ANYWAY” on said lists. But guys? That’s the devil talking. THE Devil. The same guy that squeezed baby Jesus so hard his little baby eyes popped out and that’s why we have winter for 40 days. Don’t listen to the devil.
Because next year you’ll be on lists and fests that you weren’t on this year. And when someone says “THAT IS SHITTY ANYWAY” it will be sad for you and the work you did to get better and get on that list. It will be like that person just stuck their dirty dogstracher finger in your well-deserved pie. (I mean like pie in the bakery sense, but I guess also in the snatch sense because that really does make it hard to enjoy.)
Instead, think about little baby you from last year, and the accomplishments you were working towards then. I bet you got some, and that is what is important. Then think of the baby hamsters that get eaten by their parents. They didn’t see it coming at all. YOLO.
mediocrepresident asked: Hello, how do feel about fellow comics hanging out with Joan on her new web show? I know you called out eric andre about it on twitter.
I think it’s gross. (Eric and I talked about it, so I don’t include him in that.) And I am grateful to the many comedians who have refused to work with her since we’ve been on strike.
Step up your game, white girls.
During my first week at Totally Biased back in August the “Solidarity is for White Women” hashtag exploded on Twitter. Or at least, on my twitter. We all have our own twitter experiences — maybe that week yours was all CNN, or cats writing like head injury victims. Mine was frustrated women of color pointing out ways they had been excluded from the feminist movement.
And guys? It hurt my butt. Because they were right. Feminism is sometimes used a way to mask saying “but, but, MEEEEE!” Which benefits other women like you - who are happy to pat your back and tell you you’re right - but doesn’t do shit for women NOT like you. That kind of feminism is lazy and shitty and makes for a party I don’t want to go to.
I kept thinking about #solidarityisforwhitewomen during this year’s Saturday Night Live bru-ha-ha. I saw publications/people of color and white male SNL-superfans giving a lot of attention to the show’s lack of diversity, but not many white women. Where are the white female comedians championing this cause? Shouting that women — ALL kinds of women — need to be represented and included. Why is putting a man in drag to portray famous black women any less offensive to women than putting a white person in blackface to play famous black people would be to black people??
Speaking of SNL, R Kelly also just performed on the show - in a duet with Lady Gaga called, “Do What You Want With My Body.” R Kelly, the noted child rapist. I admit, I was a big R Kelly fan, until I started reading more about his sexual offenses. About all the children who had attempted suicide after he traded them a pair of sneakers for sex. I wondered why they don’t get much attention. If R Kelly had raped scores of 13 year old WHITE girls, would everybody be so cool with him? Would Lady Gaga invite him to sing sexy songs with her? And again - where are the white women leading the charge to shame this dude? Gross.
Divided and conquered
Women have to put up with a lot of bullshit. There are public discussions about whether or not we are capable of being funny. Or mentally and emotionally capable of doing any number of jobs. There are published discussions of what kinds and colors of bodies we should want to have. Get a big butt! No, a tight butt! Look whiter! But tanner! Be totally aryan yet completely pan-ethnic! STRAIGHTEN YOUR HEAD HAIR AND SHAVE OFF THE REST, YOU MONSTER! IF YOU DON’T NO ONE WILL LOVE YOU!!!
Magazines and TV shows infuse us with the idea that some other kind of women is just better than us. More deserving. They rank our physical qualities making it easy to see our differences, and hard for us to see ourselves in each other. Then some douchebag comes along and says something like “just don’t buy into it” - as though people choose whether or not to buy into wanting to be loved. So of course we are divided, but its time we pushed back.
There would be no such thing as feminism, if women were truly united. Because there would be no need for it. If we were REALLY together, we would be a force too powerful to be manipulated by patriarchal bulshit.
While I was fussing in my head about white women not being more vocal about this stuff, I realized that I was talking about me. Hey Eliza, YOU are the white woman at the end of this book. Yes, I was writing pieces about these issues for a TV show, but they were being delivered by a black man, not me. So consider this post me stepping up my game.