Back in November, the Washington Wizards announced that D.C. native (and grandmaster of the sports reference) Wale would be the team’s creative liaison for the current 2014-2015 season. While the rapper’s FG% has been questionable over the last year or two when it comes to rap relevancy, that’s neither here nor there. The juiciest part of this story came when news broke that Wale would be soliciting Kanye West to redesign the Wizards uniforms. The ugly jersey shown above is from years past, but it’s immediately what came to mind when I heard of Wale’s outsourcing hopes.
I found myself rehashing old thoughts and growing annoyed that someone actually thought these faded-Michael-Kors-watch-after-typing-at-a-computer-for-a-year–looking jerseys were ever a good idea. But after scrolling through my Facebook feed and appetizing myself with positive vibes posts, I realized that I should channel my frustrations into something useful by thinking of other things that could benefit from Kanye’s creative recourse. I really went places.
Kerry Washington’s Mouth
If there’s one thing I dislike more than bad acting, it’s purposeful bad acting. I don’t mean in a satirical, Sharknado kind of way (or a dance flick, for that matter) but instead any niche concept turned production that uses dumbing-down tactics as a means of scaling its audience. That said, when I ask people why they watch Scandal, I usually get some answer that involves Kerry Washington’s character Olivia Pope being the only black female protagonist on network television and how the overlap between her professional life and her messy personal life cooks up these insanely dramatic climaxes. But the few times I tried to watch the show, all I could focus on was Kerry’s mouth – quivering while delivering the corniest, lisp-y-est monologues.
Why would anyone ever want to watch a grill like that speak so emphatically once, let alone week after week? My original thought was that maybe this helps humanize an otherwise unfamiliar character type in Olivia Pope by making her flawed. But once I saw scenes like this, I realized that cheesy acting is pervasive throughout the show; hence, it probably serves a purpose. What’s weird is that this type of labored emotion – often indicative of soap operas – usually involves strongly stereotypical characters, yet Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes elected to put a powerful black woman, a television anomaly, at the center of her melodrama.
Such is also the case for her newest hit series, How to Get Away with Murder, where actress Viola Davis – and her more pleasant looking mouth – stars as a powerful (black, female) defense attorney who becomes entwined in a murder mystery involving her (white) husband. But if Rhimes wished to duplicate the success of her first big hit, Grey’s Anatomy, she had to design the right cadence to expand beyond her suspected audience, namely a cult of persons who probably snap at poetry readings. And what’s the best way to do this? Dress new TV concepts in familiar, innocent corniness. Enter mawkish monologues and boom: “I’d like her even if she were white.”
Far too often have I gone to warm up something in the microwave only to find a surplus of seconds that the last guy left on the timer. What exactly am I supposed to do with :15 of heat? Even if I just needed to soften some refrigerated bread, there’s still the principle of voiding whatever time you don’t use for the next person. When you think about it, leftover time on a microwave is like the Goodwill of food warming.
Personally, I’d vote for a microwave that auto-clears excess time after a few seconds (these don’t already exist, do they?) but I understand that not everyone minds the idea of hand-me-downs. DJ Mustard certainly doesn’t seem to. The hip-hop producer whose catalogue includes almost every club banger of 2014 is now doing something that I’ve long feared he would do: realize and appropriate the “DJ” in DJ Mustard. With EDM having been mainstream for a while now, it doesn’t surprise me that an artist who’s had success elsewhere would seize his opportunity to cross over, but that’s completely independent from how the audience is to judge the artist’s respectability based on what results.
Take Mustard’s recent remix to Beyonce’s “7/11” for example. I didn’t know what to expect before listening, but I came out feeling like I’d heard some hackneyed trap remix by a local college DJ looking to SEO his way to discovery. It felt too desperate, contrived by an artist who is completely out of touch with the tastemakers of that scene. Mustard seems to think he can quickly etch himself a spot in cross-mainstream success without the preheating mechanisms of a conventional oven. Instead he’s using the forgotten :15’s of artists who’ve been eating at a table where he probably doesn’t belong in the first place.
Fitted Bed Sheets
There are essentially two problems I have here. For one, fitted bed sheets are almost impossible to fold because they never really lay flat. Secondly, and probably most importantly, they’re just a pain in the ass to put on your bed. Just when you think you have one side all tucked in, it slingshots back to the center of the bed as you’re fitting the other. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t wash my sheets as often as I should in dread of this painful tug of war.
After listening to Juliet Litman’s most recent Grantland podcast in which she chats with Hipster Runoff creator and online media antihero we only know as Carles, I realized that you can learn to hate your passions for similar reasons. In the podcast, Carles offers a hilariously dejected, yet poignant take on the state of internet culture and, in so many ways, determines that creative sustenance is an incoherent concept in today’s age of scalable content. In other words, Carles is selling his site because he hates online media. I find myself resonating with many of the points he makes, especially as I write this 1,000 word post that won’t make me any money. But what’s really cool about Carles is that he doesn’t preach authenticity to the point where he ignores or defends his own contradictions. In fact, he was completely stoked to talk about Vanderpump Rules at the end of the podcast – so how seriously could he possibly take himself?
I find myself liking this quality in people whose work I admire, as I too have my inconsistencies. The design of things doesn’t always have to stretch the sheet so tight that it doesn’t allow for loose corners. It’s okay to like something even if you know it’s a little dumb; perhaps, as long as you know it’s dumb, but I’m not sure. At the end of the day, everyone has a few gold Wizards jerseys hanging in their closets. Tonight, one of mine will be tuning in to How to Get Away with Murder as it returns from its winter hiatus.