When Pete Davidson avoids wearing stage makeup on Saturday Night Live, it's a decision that I respect, but it concerns me.

Davidson has always rocked a sultry, exhausted, baggy-eyed look, but lately things seem to have spiraled out of control.


Whenever Davidson goes notably absent from SNL, he'll reappear with jokes about getting lost inside Stranger Things' Upside Down. He'll then emerge in his usual spot as a guest on Weekend Update alongside Colin Jost (who appears to be glowing with health in comparison, perhaps because he's married to a tree).

Throughout it all, I can never stop thinking about the sheer size and scope of the vast plum-colored shadows that surround Davidson's eyes. Like black holes or those doorways to the Upside Down, they almost resemble portals to other worlds.

Let's be clear: I'm a fan of Pete Davidson's appearance (against the majority of my better judgment). You have to admit that there's something to the super-tall, bleach-blonde, white-toothed, tattooed, I'm-clinging-to-life-by-the-smallest-thread aesthetic that he so effortlessly displays.

Or there once was. Now, Pete appears to be seriously pushing the boundaries between heroin chic and vampire who's gone vegan to save the planet. Since seeing him on the show, I haven't been able to sleep because I can't stop thinking about how little he's probably slept in the past few weeks. If anything, all this has only made my Pete Davidson obsession worse.

Ariana Grande - pete davidson (Audio) www.youtube.com

Weekend Update: Pete Davidson on Sexually Transmitted Diseases - SNL www.youtube.com

Sometimes I do wonder why I and so many others are attracted to Pete Davidson and similarly bedraggled, frequently bedridden types. There's that old, mostly incorrect stereotype that argues that women are only drawn to bad boys, but even if that stereotype were true, Davidson isn't exactly a James Dean or Ted Bundy. So why do we (and by we I mean me, Ariana Grande, Kate Beckinsale, and probably you, if you've read this far) love him so much?

Pete Davidson scholarship is a growing field, so there are plenty of theories. It could be the BDE, but some thinkers propose that Davidson is so alluring simply because he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Perhaps all his frank openness about his disorders, illnesses, and marijuana addiction make him seem honest, like the kind of guy who wouldn't, say, assault women and then lie about it.

Context could also have something to do with it. Urban Dictionary defines the Pete Davidson Effect as "when women are influenced by their peers in determining if a man is attractive or not."

There's also the innate impulse I have to try to help him, an impulse that I've intellectually transcended but that still lurks in my subconscious, rearing up like a recurring dream. This is absolutely the same impulse that Bailey Gismert, the teenage girl played by Heidi Gardner who appeared later on Weekend Update, thinks she could probably "help the Joker." (Davidson even connected himself to the Joker while on Weekend Update, saying, "And by the way Colin, I don't know if you've seen The Joker, but I think you should start being way nicer to me.")

Weekend Update: Bailey Gismert on Fall 2019 Movies - SNLwww.youtube.com

And perhaps this impulse is connected to an even more misguided and more deeply buried belief that some of us have that says if we only find someone more messed up than we are, we will gain the empathy and understanding that we really should have given to ourselves all along.


Or perhaps it's more. Perhaps Davidson's popularity and continued resonance are indicative of some kind of existential millennial/Gen-Z exhaustion, narrowly hidden under the guise of nihilistic meme-inspired humor—or could it be nothing at all?

In the end, Pete Davidson's dark eye circles have reminded me that I cannot save Pete Davidson or the Pete Davidsons of this life (only structural healthcare reform and a new form of religion that reintegrates meaning into our existence can do that job). I can only love them from afar, write articles about them on the Internet, and convince myself that I'm only ironically listening to "thank u, next." Unless...

Music Features

On This Day: Shakira Liberated Everyone's “She Wolf”

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

By Fabio Alexx

11 years ago, on July 10th, 2009, Colombian singer Shakira released the first single off her third studio album.

"She Wolf" is a synth-pop banger built on a B minor progression. It was, in many ways, an insane song, born out of the singer's own frustration and ennui.

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

Though the music was composed by John Hill and Sam Endicott, lead singer of post-punk band The Bravery, the lyrics were all Shakira's own. "[Shakira] contacted him (Hill), asking if he had any stuff," said Endicott. "We never had her in mind. We just made the thing independently of her, and then she liked it a lot, and she sang over it. She used some of the melodies we put in there and then wrote these crazy lyrics about being a werewolf. And that's how it happened."

Shakira - She Wolf www.youtube.com

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Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Lana Del Rey just dropped their new video for "Don't Call Me Angel," and how you feel about it will differ depending on what kind of fan you are.

So, in order to avoid incurring the wrath of one of these pop queens or her battalion of fans (and to draw attention to the inherently subjective nature of music reviews, but that's another can of worms), we've tailored our review to adapt to the perspectives of each type of listener.

Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey - Don’t Call Me Angel (Charlie’s Angels) youtu.be

1. For Ariana Grande Fans

Ariana fans—today is our day. If this was American Horror Story: Coven, then Ariana would undeniably be the Supreme of this video. From beginning to end, Ariana soars above the rest; like a sun, she illuminates everything around her, and the rest of us are lucky to exist in her stratosphere.

Dressed in ravishing white and glowing with all the magnetism of a heavenly being, she sets the scene for the song and guides it towards its electric chorus. Her silky voice sounds as flawless as ever, and it's not hard to see why she's one of the most successful pop stars of her generation. Between her peerless vocals, her radiant appearance, and her enchanting presence, she has the camera wrapped around her little finger from the first moment she appears.

Ariana has been through so much and has come through her pain without a hint of bitterness or vitriol. She's the embodiment of resilience, and her strength and beauty is an inspiration to us all. Here, she does a victory lap, confident in what is sure to be a very long legacy.

2. For Miley Cyrus Fans

Miley Cyrus is clearly the strongest and most forceful presence in this video. Finally, it seems that she has found a balance between the chaos of her Wrecking Ball era and the cloistered calm of Younger Now. Here, she's older, wiser, and tougher than ever before. Having shattered the binary restrictions of her Hannah Montana days, now, she's not playing any role except for herself. She's owning all her contradictions, running her own life, and inviting us to follow suit. When she spits out, "I make my money and I write the checks / so say my name with a little respect," it's chill-inducing, and these lines are even more powerful considering that they come in the wake of her separation from Liam Hemsworth (who she may or may not have been calling out).


By challenging gender norms and refusing to comply with any normative aspects of sexuality, and by unapologetically owning her dominance and power, Miley is at the forefront of the modern feminist revolution. While the other two artists remain trapped by old-fashioned ideals of female subservience, Cyrus literally ties these concepts to a chair and beats them bloody.

3. For Lana Del Rey Fans

Lana Del Rey is criminally under-featured in this video, but when she's finally allowed to emerge from the shadows, it becomes clear that she's been in power all along. When her verse kicks in, a song that had previously been a shimmery and forgettable pop tune shifts to a dreamlike and sultry blend of psychedelia and trap, and Lana's whispery drawl eclipses the others' howls and shouts. Here, she's alternatively a devilish seductress illuminated by flames and a leather-clad, knife-wielding powerhouse, manning the computers and sending waves of helicopters out with the click of a button. This might as well be a metaphor for the kind of power she has in pop culture: All of her actions float outwards like soundwaves, spawning millions of copycats and creating indelible impacts on new generations of musicians.

Lana has never felt the need to put on the kind of antics on which Cyrus and Grande have built their careers. Keeping her private life shrouded in mystery, she bides her time and saves her wisdom and energy for her music. Quietly, Lana has carved a space for an entirely new kind of female pop star, and each artist (and the video's overall aesthetic) is indebted to her world-building talents. She has always refused to comply with any preconceived notion of what it should mean to be a woman or a writer, destroying stereotypes and embodying a wild kind of individualism and sexuality that puts her in a class of her own.

4. For Fans of All Of Them

Why do we always feel the need to pit women against each other? Lana Del Rey, Miley Cyrus, and Ariana Grande are some of the most talented pop artists alive today, and we should celebrate the fact that they're all working alongside each other, not compare them. The video is a triumphant celebration of three icons, confident in their strength, completely owning their sexualities, and eviscerating all the forces that hold them back. Together, they destroy their enemies in their own unique ways, embodying different facets of womanhood and power but ultimately each playing an integral role in a gorgeous and cinematic work of art.

Seeing all these artists come together is a blessing in and of itself. Imagine how the set must have felt with all of them in it—with all the force of their creative visions, strength, and magnetism conspiring together to create an explosion of sonic and visual magic.


5. For Social Justice Warriors

Charlie's Angels is a franchise predicated on female sexualization and the glamorization of violence. This video's overt white feminist ethos is completely based on a patriarchal concept of power, and it's ultimately damaging to feminism.

When will we start listening to women's real voices, and stop glorifying white women's ascension to violent, patriarchal positions of power? Feminism must be intersectional, not based on the actions of conventionally attractive white women; and it cannot continue to glamorize phallic symbols of authority like guns and knives. Instead, we must create a new reality that addresses the intersectional nature of third wave feminism, or at least stop praising videos that glorify female sexualization and spectacular violence.

This video is not about female solidarity, as each woman appears in a different frame, and they only come together at the end—whereas Charlie's Angels is, at its best, about the bonds between women, not their fraught relationship with men. (At its worst, it's an archaic and problematic show that has always profited off the subjugation of young women).

Ultimately, the video pales in comparison to Destiny's Child's Charlie's Angels promo song. Also, Ariana Grande's chorus completely copies Rihanna's "B*tch Better Have My Money" (just listen to 1:29)—and at the end, Elizabeth Banks appears and literally calls them angel, driving home the video's hypocrisy, as all these women have just spent the entire video asking not to be called angels. Canceled.

Destiny's Child - Independent Women, Pt. 1 (Official Video) www.youtube.com

6. For Men's Rights Activists

This video shows what will happen if feminism is allowed to progress the way it's going. The Miley Cyrus scene is an example of blatant violence against men, justified by the existence of feminism, and this trash is exactly why Trump needs to win in 2020.

Sure, all three of them are smoking hot, but they don't show nearly enough skin. They're also wh*res who should put more clothes on. Also, these women seem not to want to be called angels, but they're dressed like angels, so obviously they do want to be called angels. Why won't women ever say what they mean? The female species is so confusing, and not only because none of them will sleep with me even though I'm a really, really nice guy.

7. For People Who Don't Care

The Amazon Rainforest is BURNING, there's a global water crisis that's doomed to worsen before the planet dies in 2050, and genocides are going unchecked in China and North Korea. Get off Twitter.