Vince McMahon and Donald Trump

Last night on All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal wrestled his first-ever wrestling match.

The four-time NBA champion went head to head with AEW star/Vice President Cody Rhodes in a mixed-tag match. AEW women's wrestler Red Velvet teamed with Rhodes while Jade Cargill made her in-ring debut as Shaq's partner.

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Culture Feature

14 Celebrity Endorsements That No One Asked For

Not every endorsement is about a paycheck.

Jimmy Kimmel Live

The world of celebrity endorsement makes for some strange spectacles.

From Penelope Cruz dressed as Mario, to Snoop Dogg rapping about Hot Pockets, it sometimes seems like celebrity's will back any brand that offers them a paycheck. But that's not the case with the celebrities on this list.

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Finneas Reveals Unusual Sound Effects Hidden in Billie Eilish's Songs

The producer went on Jimmy Fallon to share the everyday noises he used when producing his sister's album.

From the eerie and sometimes comical aesthetics of her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? it's evident that Billie Eilish and her producer brother, Finneas O'Connell, have an affinity for offbeat sound effects in the music they make together.

Some of these are obvious, like the slurp of an Invisalign removal that begins the album, or the Office dialogue that pokes through in "my strange addiction." But as O'Connell revealed in his recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the siblings have gotten extra creative with some of the unusual noises they use to make beats.

"[Billie] was at the dentist, and they were like, grinding down," O'Connell explained, sharing that he and his sister both wore Invisalign. "Whatever ASMR is, it's the opposite of that...She came home from one of those appointments, and she was like, 'I recorded it.' And I was like, 'great!' And we put it right in 'bury a friend.'"

The whirring noise of a dental drill can be heard across "bury a friend," helping the track achieve its especially ominous sound. But that wasn't all; O'Connell also explained that the hi-hat ticks of "bad guy" are actually another everyday item.

"When you're on a street corner in Australia, you press the button, and then when the 'walk' sign turns on you hear this kind of rhythmic sound that I loved," he said. "It's got, like, a groove."

Lo and behold, that propulsive "groove" helps drive the hook of "bad guy." It makes you wonder what other everyday sounds are hidden across Eilish's music and makes O'Connell's Producer of the Year Grammy all the more well-deserved.

Check out O'Connell's interview with Fallon and listen to the weird sounds below.


Ariana, Bernie, Trump, A$AP Rocky, and the Kardashians: How Politics Became Pop Culture

Pop culture can be useful when connected to politics if it inspires tangible action—but the two can be like fire and gasoline when combined in the wrong way.

In a world where the Kardashians and A$AP Rocky have been name-dropped during literal impeachment hearings, it's hard not to wonder if we're living in a simulation.

Of course everything about Donald Trump's regime has had a simulacra-like quality about it, as full of glitches as any beta website. The former reality TV star has often been called the "social media president," after all, and his prolific Twitter usage grows more surreal by the hour.

We've entered an era where pop culture, social media, and politics blur into each other, tangling in every aspect of our lives. In fact, as the Kardashian, Jay Leno, and A$AP Rocky name-drops reveal, the ties between figures in pop culture and politicians have never been stronger and more influential, able to influence actual policy and political decisions.

Bernie Sanders and Ariana Grande Unite

At the same time Trump is discussing the Kardashians in one of the most high-profile hearings of all time, one of Trump's most formidable opponents is making his own ties to certain pop culture deities. Yesterday, Bernie Sanders was photographed beaming with Ariana Grande, and Grande took to Instagram to voice her support. "MY GUY. thank you Senator Sanders for coming to my show, making my whole night and for all that you stand for !" She wrote on Twitter. "@headcountorg and i are doing our best to make you proud. we've already registered 20k+ young voters at my shows alone. also i will never smile this hard again promise."

Sanders responded, "I want to thank @ArianaGrande for not only being a wonderful entertainer, but also for being such an outstanding advocate for social justice. We must all be prepared – like Ariana has shown – to fight for everyone who is struggling. It was great to meet her in Atlanta last night."

The senator has shown abnormal acumen in terms of using pop culture to his advantage, which can't entirely be said of his primary challengers. Previously, he's aligned himself with Cardi B, Susan Sarandon, and the Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. While Hillary Clinton garnered the support of thousands of A-list celebrities to no avail and put on a show of performative allyship that wound up looking like loyalty to Hollywood elites, Sanders' choice of allies feels more purposeful and genuine.

Bernie x Cardi B

Then again, in the eeriest way, the same might be said of Donald Trump. His clear allegiance to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West—both figures who provoke immense ire and loathing among the masses and who, like the worst of car crashes, are incredibly difficult to look away from—aligns well with Trump's general distaste for authority and reason.

We have good reason to question celebrity alliances, as they do seem like excellent marketing for both sides. Celebrities can benefit from appearing more politically engaged through alliances to politicians, and, of course, the latter can reap the adoration of massive fanbases through a few deep connections. In some ways, celebrities and politicians seem united by the sheer amount of money and power they both amass and use to run their platforms.

But there's a long tradition of art blending with political ideology and vice versa. After all, what are politicians and performers, if not master storytellers, capable of rallying hundreds of thousands of people? When has anything been separate from politics?

Political Art vs. Pop Culture Politics

Art has always been political, used as a way of disseminating ideas and ideologies. Pop culture, in particular, is a broad mode of communication between the masses and collective values and ideas. "'Pop-culture' does not belong to just the elites and it is not officially or ideologically acknowledged as the dominant culture any level," writes Ayush Banerjee, "yet its discourse has enormous significance in the formation of public attitudes and values, as well as a profound impact on both domestic and international affairs."

Politics has also always been a theatrical game, and pop culture icons have long endorsed candidates. John F. Kennedy had Frank Sinatra sing "High Hopes" during the 1960s. Nixon famously met Elvis; and then there was Ronald Reagan, who, like Trump, made his way from Hollywood to the Oval Office.

President And King

But in a time when silence is widely equated to taking the position of the antagonist, there's never been a time when it's been so imperative for artists to develop political alliances, and vice versa. Similarly, politicians must rely on social media and its language to channel their campaigns, as being out-of-touch with the online world can tank you as quickly as a meme can go viral.

Are celebrity relationships influential and beneficial? "If a celebrity endorsement just benefits a politician looking to boost their profile and prove their cool, then it's a lame effort to manipulate fans with short attention spans," writes John Avlon on CNN. "But if Poliwood draws sustained attention to a real public policy problem, it can serve as a gateway to civic engagement and spur political action."

Overall, the general consensus seems to be that pop culture can be useful when connected to politics if it's linked to tangible action—but the two can be like fire and gasoline when combined in the wrong way. "Politicians are not celebrities; they do not deserve fawning worship," writes Mark E. Anderson. "They are public servants, who can and should be scrutinized, and must be held accountable for their actions."

Arguably, with the rise of #MeToo and cancel culture, celebrities are being held to higher standards than ever before (which isn't saying too much, but still). Perhaps the intermixing of politics and pop culture doesn't mean that the simulation is breaking. Maybe the walls between the worlds are just falling down.

In some cases, this intermixing of pop culture and politics leads to the kind of apocalyptic cognitive dissonance that's plagued the entire Trump impeachment hearing circus. On the other hand, seeing Ariana Grande and Bernie Sanders beam together—both so full of hope for a better world—feels like the beginning of something, and God knows we all need something to get us through the next 18 months.

Jay Leno went from interviewer to interviewee for Craig Ferguson on Friday night, and opened up about some of his worst guests.

"Did you ever get tired?" Craig asked Jay, now retired. "You ever glass over when they were talking sometimes?"

Jay said he did - but it wasn't his fault that he spaced out while talking to people.

"No, it was the people on the show!" Jay said. "The classic example is I had one of these reality stars on... Trista! From one of these Bachelorettes... So, I'm sitting and I'm looking at the side of her head. I couldn't be less interested. I've never seen this stupid reality show — you know what it was."

Not a fan of reality dating shows, eh? We're sure getting an obscene amount of money to chuckle at the beautiful people on TV more than made up for it, Jay!

What better way to send off a TV legend than Kim Kardashian?

Jay Leno bowed out last night after 22 years on the air—and Popdust has video of his star studded finale.

Billy Crystal, Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Crow, Jim Parsons, Carol Burnett, Jack Black and the great Kardashian were all there for his big moment.

And the highlight—or maybe it was the lowlight—I just can’t decide….

Was, hands down, Kim taking to the microphone and singing along to a specially reworded version of  Auf Wiedersehen from the Sound of Music.

Impressively she managed to hang on to every last bit of her famous nasal squeak.

Don’t give-up the day job KK.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon debuts as the new host of The Tonight Show on Feb. 17.

“It’s fun to be the old guy and see where the next generation takes this great institution,” Leno said before signing off forever by quoting Johnny Carson, wishing all “a heartfelt goodnight.”