Culture Feature

12 of the Best Self-Owns of All Time

Behold these masters in the craft of publicly humiliation.

When my editor asked me to compile a list of "the best self-owns in history," I immediately got to work researching the Blackberry Storm, the Motorola Rokr, the Nokia N-Gage.

I was excited to show her all the info I had found on these classic cell phones, but she wasn't pleased. "Not cell phones, you moron, you worthless cretin, 'self-owns,'" Do you need me to spell that out for you, or would you like to demonstrate a basic level of competency?"

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Culture Feature

14 Celebrities Who Shared Their COVID-19 Stories

The coronavirus clearly cares little for fame.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Coronavirus

When the coronavirus first began to sweep the world in early 2020, few could imagine that in November we'd still be fully immersed in it, living in a world ravaged by fire, disease, and chronic governmental ineptitude.

Today the United States has reported more than 250,000 COVID-19 deaths, and that number shows no sign of decreasing. The virus has spared no one and nothing, and Hollywood and the entertainment industries were hard-hit, with even some of the world's largest and wealthiest stars relegated to their beds, forced to turn to Instagram for sympathy and updates.

Here are some of the most famous people to confess that they received a positive COVID-19 test. It's likely that many other famous people had the virus and either were never diagnosed or chose not to share their stories. The list also doesn't begin to cover the tragedy of all those who died from the virus, or the agony felt by those whose lives were torn apart by the pandemic and other crises in 2020.

But even these few stories are testimonials to a virus that proved itself to be far more powerful than mankind's most renowned figures. And, if the fact that Tom Hanks is still isolating is any proof, it's not over yet.

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Culture News

Rose McGowan Is Right about Alyssa Milano and Joe Biden

The former co-stars find themselves on opposite sides of a controversial sexual assault allegation.

Rose McGowan has a history of calling other activists in the #MeToo movement frauds.

Her personal experience as a survivor of sexual assault makes her passionate about these issues, and sometimes that may lead her to make some rash judgments. That is not what happened in the case of Alyssa Milano.

On Monday, reacting to Milano's recent endorsement of Joe Biden, McGowan tweeted at her former Charmed co-star, "You are a fraud ... You go after Trump & Kavanaugh saying Believe Victims, you are a lie. You have always been a lie." What McGowan is referring to is the fact that Biden was recently accused of sexual assault by a former employee named Tara Reade. Reade has given a vivid description of her 1993 encounter with then-Senator Biden when she was working in his offices and has corroboration from multiple people whom she told of the incident at the time.

While this isn't the kind of evidence that could be expected to secure a conviction for the perpetrator, it is the same standard of evidence that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had against Brett Kavanaugh—which Milano and much of the country felt was enough to disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court.

At the time, Milano said of Blasey Ford's testimony, "It made me so proud ... especially remembering Anita Hill in 1991," referring to the sad state of affairs that took place when Anita Hill testified in the Senate to the sexually harassment she had experienced while working for then-Supreme-Court-Nominee Clarence Thomas. Hill was berated and attacked by Senators on both sides of the aisle while a young Senator Joe Biden oversaw the hearing and abdicated his responsibility to maintain order and decorum and provide Hill with a fair hearing.

While some have criticized the timing of Reade's accusation—just as people did with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Brett Kavanaugh—it's worth noting that Reade made a sexual harassment complaint at the time and attempted to come forward with the story of her sexual assault last fall—long before Biden's surprise Super Tuesday resurgence. She was stymied in that attempt by the directors of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, whom she approached at the time for help. Initially told to wait, Time's Up took months to tell her that they wouldn't represent her, citing a dubious claim that targeting a candidate for federal office would compromise their status as a non-profit organization.

While Alyssa Milano apparently thinks that Time's Up's refusal to represent Reade is a refutation of her claim, others have pointed out that Joe Biden has given generously to the organization and that Anita Dunn—the managing director of Time's Up, who also helped Harvey Weinstein prepare before the infamous New York Times exposé broke—was recently made one of Biden's top advisers. The organization never disclosed these ties to Reade while they held her accusation in limbo. In other words, while Time's Up was started as an offshoot of the #MeToo movement to support women standing up to powerful sexual predators, it seems increasingly likely that it has became compromised by established interests that seek to quash stories like Reade's with the same sort of "catch and kill" system that people like Weinstein and Trump have used to great effect.

If Alyssa Milano refuses to see that or to hold Joe Biden—the man responsible for the whole Anita Hill debacle—to the same standard she used for Brett Kavanaugh to, then Rose McGowan is right: Alyssa Milano is a fraud.


If You Think "Karen" Is a Slur, Then You're Definitely a Karen

A brief history of "Karens" and how to spot them at your local Women's March.

Whether you know someone actually named Karen or not, there's a high possibility that you've met a "Karen."

Not all "Karens" are named Karen, and not everyone named Karen is a "Karen"—but "Karens" are constantly walking (and tweeting) among us. Not too far removed from the "can I speak to your manager?" meme before it, "Karen" has become a catch-all name for the type of white woman with whom we've unfortunately grown all-too familiar. "Karens" live with the idea that their womanhood exonerates them from white privilege, and their day-to-day shenanigans prove they truly don't know how to read the room.

If you're so lucky as to not have dealt with a Karen in real life, then you've probably read about them in stories online. The woman in Oakland who called the police on a black family for barbecuing by the lake? She's a Karen. That time "gun girl" Kaitlyn Bennett said "we don't live in a racist society"? She was being especially Karen-like. Just this week, when Alyssa Milano—starter of the #MeToo movement—said she was continuing to endorse Joe Biden, without acknowledging the sexual assault allegations against him? Peak Karen behavior.

But the most Karen of all Karens is writer Julie Bindel, who tweeted some absolute insanity over the weekend: "Does anyone else think the 'Karen' slur is woman hating and based on class prejudice?" Ah, yes—good ol' class prejudice against upper-middle-class white folks. What could be more nefarious?

As with a lot of slang that's been adopted by the masses over the past decade, this usage of "Karen" was first coined by black people. It's since become canonized in reference to women like Bindel, who are so caught up in their narrow, self-centered view of feminism that they fail to acknowledge their glaring white privilege.

Most of all, Karens don't want to be left out of anything—especially oppression. They will latch onto any inconvenience that gives them the tiniest semblance of systematic oppression, arguing that "Karen" generalizes a specific collection of traits—white, middle-aged, upper-middle-class—as if those aren't the exact traits most frequently found in men of power. What makes Karens so dangerous is that they claim to be feminists but only act on it when that feminism directly benefits them; their racism, homophobia, and transphobia aren't always explicit, but their actions lack all the nuance of intersectionality.

Worst of all, Bindel's tweet seems to liken "Karen" with racial slurs, as if "the K-word" could ever come close to approximating the malicious history of actual derogatory words (plus, FYI, there already is another "k-word").

In summary: Don't be a Karen. "Karen" isn't a slur. If you're innocent and your name just so happens to be Karen, I'm so terribly sorry.


How Fiona Apple and Other Celebrities Are Helping Asylum Seekers

Even overpaid, privileged people who lie for a living have a problem with overpaid, privileged people being monsters to immigrants.

It can be hard to remember that celebrities are humans, but it's much easier now that the Trump administration is forgetting that 30,000 migrants are human, since we don't want to be d*cks like them.

Fiona Apple has made a two-year pledge to donate all the royalties from "Criminal," her "most requested song," to asylum seekers. On Tuesday, the singer published an open letter: "After months and months of reading the news about how my country is treating refugees, I've become gutted with frustration trying to figure out the best way to help. What they need is representation and guidance because these people are being prosecuted as criminals just for asking for asylum." All the funds earned from the 1996 Grammy-winning song being played on TV and film in 2019 and 2020 will be donated to While They Wait, a fund coordinated through Brooklyn Defender Services and RAICES supporting immigrants seeking legal status in the U.S. while their applications are being processed—up to 727 days.

Thankfully, Apple's not alone. These are just a few celebrities who have donated money and time to helping immigrants at the border. Sure, celebrities are propagators and profiteers of a shallow, elitist society that murders art for the sake of capital, but that just goes to show that even overpaid, privileged people who lie for a living have a big f*cking problem with overpaid, privileged people being monsters to immigrants.

Mindy Kaling

In celebration of her 40th birthday, comedian Mindy Kaling donated $1000 to RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), the largest legal aid group dedicated to helping asylum seekers. Kaling took suggestions from her Twitter followers to donate to 40 different charities, which ended up including the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. The actress tweeted, "I'm so grateful to have my wonderful, peaceful life w/ my daughter Katherine. How lucky am I to turn 40? I would love to express my gratitude by donating $1000 to 40 different charitable orgs that help others. Pls suggest some! I will kick it off by giving $1000 to@RAICESTEXAS!"

Mike Birbiglia

Comedian Birbiglia showed he's as socially conscious as he is socially awkward when he also chose to celebrate his birthday by donating to charity. In 2018, he posted on Twitter that he would donate to RAICES, specifically its " Families Together" fund, which is "committed to keep families together as they navigate through the many obstacles presented by our immigration system." For every retweet of his post, he donated $10. The next day, he tweeted, "Thanks everybody for your birthday wishes!! I'm going to give $5,238 (the RT tally as of this moment) to help reunite families. You can keep giving though! Their link is here: RAICES Texas."

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend

Aside from sharing evidence that they have a disgustingly cute life together, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend wisely use Twitter for its ultimate purposes: to spread awareness and to insult Donald Trump. Last year, the couple celebrated Trump's birthday by donating to the ACLU in his honor. After accurately describing his immigration policies as "inhumane," "cruel," "anti-family," and "against everything we believe this country should represent," the celebrity couple announced that each member of their family (Chrissy, John, and their two young children) was donating $72,000 for a total of $288,000 to the ACLU to combat Trump's discriminatory policies.

Evan Rachel Wood

Last summer, the Westworld actress traveled to Texas to donate her time to multiple organizations dedicated to helping immigrants at the border. She used her social media accounts to post updates of her days spent transporting school supplies to local shelters and spending time with detained children using the hashtag #EvanInTX. The actress urged her followers to also donate to Texas-based organizations that fight for immigrants to have their basic needs and their legal rights honored.

Alyssa Milano

Alyssa Milano is pretty confusing. We want to like her for her fierce advocacy of humanitarian issues, but between her weird "sex strike" and that time she asked if detained immigrant children could live with her, we just appreciate her good intentions. In 2018, the actress sent a letter to Cayuga Centers' CEO Edward Myers Hayes to offer her home to immigrant children who were detained at the US Border. According to The Hollywood Reporter published, she wrote, "To them, I offer my home and my heart; my love and whatever stability I can give them until they can be reunited with a parent...I cannot let these children hurt any longer: Mi casa es la casa de ellos." Cayuga Centers is a non-profit organization based in New York that's dedicated to finding foster families for detained migrant children who are separated from their families; they didn't take Milano up on her offer.

Josh Norman

This year it was reported that Redskins cornerback Josh Norman donated $18,000 to a woefully under-funded immigrant detention center in McAllen, Texas. "We all see it, but nobody's moving to action," he told The Washington Post. "And to be honest with you, I would actually like to have done more...It was needed." Norman began visiting centers in person to deliver toys and supplies to detained children last year after he learned of Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy and its unethical treatment of migrant families.

Anne Hathaway

This year, in honor of Father's Day, 36-year-old actress Anne Hathaway used her social platform to publicly condemn Trump's immigration policies and donate to Americans for Immigrant Justice in her father's name. She posted on Instagram, "My Dad and I—not to mention my entire family—are disgusted and rocked to our core by the current administration's shocking decision to separate asylum seeking immigrant families...In appreciation of my father, and in honor of all the fathers torn from their children because of this brutal policy, I am making a donation to @americansforimmigrantjustice in my father's name. I invite you to join me and make a donation of any size in your father's name."

Hathway reportedly donated over $10,000. Americans for Immigrant Justice is a nonprofit law organization that "protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants."

Donating directly to immigration detention centers is proving to be complicated, as ongoing reports indicate that some detention centers are not accepting physical donations or making it difficult to do so. However, there are numerous organizations that are able to provide donated goods and services to detained immigrant children and their parents. Above all, swelling outcry from the public via calling campaigns to local representatives and social media prevent the veil of silence from hiding what Trump's administration is doing to over 33,000 asylum-seekers.