Culture News

Sorry Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi Didn't Fail Because of Coronavirus

Quibi fundamentally misses the entire point of short-form content.


In a recent interview with The New York Times, media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg did his best to contextualize the failure of Quibi, his new mobile streaming app that absolutely nobody wanted.

"I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus," said Katzenberg.
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These Famous Stars Hate Their Own Music

Jimmy Page isn't the only one who found his old songs cringe-worthy.

Legendary rocker Jimmy Page has had a lot to say over the years regarding Led Zeppelin's smash hit "Stairway to Heaven."

In 1988, the rocker told The New York Times that he'd "break out in hives" if he had to perform the song. Page has calmed down since then, but still confirmed to UCR yesterday that he simply "couldn't relate to the track anymore."

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Miley Cyrus Is Not a Queer Icon: Do Better

"I always thought I had to be gay, because I thought all guys were evil, but it's not true."

For those still celebrating Miley Cyrus as a queer icon, may we invite you to take a moment to reconsider.

Yes, she came out as pansexual and genderfluid in 2015, soon proving herself to be an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community by founding Happy Hippie foundation for homeless queer youth. Then, after ending her marriage to Liam Hemsworth, Cyrus briefly dated reality TV star Kaitlynn Carter before moving on to Cody Simpson, with whom she did an Instagram live on Sunday. Here's where things got...dicey, to say the least.

In the midst of the livestream, Cyrus stated, "There are good men out there, guys, don't give up. You don't have to be gay, there are good people with dicks out there, you've just got to find them," She said, while Simpson laughed. "You've got to find a dick that's not a dick, you know? I always thought I had to be gay, because I thought all guys were evil, but it's not true. There are good people out there that just happen to have dicks. I've only ever met one, and he's on this live."

Miley Cyrus: "You Don't Have To Be Gay"! | Perez Hilton

Oof. Miley, honey, it's 2019! Twitter, of course, immediately popped the f*ck off.

Soon, Cyrus wielded a powerful, often misused celebrity weapon: the notes app apology.

So. There's a lot of toxicity to unpack here. Let's start with the easy part: Cyrus' implication that the only good man she has ever met is Cody Simpson. *Cue her father, brothers, and Liam Hemsworth giving the camera a long, Jim Halpert-esque look.* Misandry aside, Cyrus implied that 1.) Being queer is a choice. 2.) Dating men is always preferable to dating women, even if you're queer. 3.) Cyrus herself chose to date women because of a distrust for men, not necessarily an attraction to women. None of these things were addressed in her apology; in fact, she didn't even bother to claim that she misspoke or that it was meant as a joke. All she really did was re-enforce that men are sh*tty.

To be clear, for anyone still living in 1950, being queer is not a choice, dating within the LGBTQ+ community is not an exciting and temporary foray into counter-culture on your way to a heterosexual relationship, dating men as a bisexual/pansexual woman is not somehow inherently preferable to dating women, and you don't get to call yourself queer just because you find men annoying sometimes. Being queer is defined by being attracted to genders other than the opposite gender to your own, and again, it is NEVER a choice. Just a little bit louder for those of you in the back: BEING QUEER IS NEVER A CHOICE.

If you still aren't sure, here's some science for you: A 2019 study by Andrea Ganna, lead author and European Molecular Biology Laboratory group leader at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland, said that while her study did not find a "gay gene," it revealed "there are a number of genetic variations that can influence sexual behavior." Essentially, the research reinforces that queerness is simply "a natural part of our diversity as a species." That means that women being attracted to women is not simply a matter of thinking "all guys were evil" and so resorting to women—it's a matter of bonafide, biological sexual attraction.

Please do better, Miley.

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)

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)

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.


Miley Cyrus Is Doing Just Fine, Thank You

What's a millennial role model, anyway?

Miley Cyrus is doing quite well, thank you very much.

Yesterday, Cyrus posted a long series of Tweets, in which she detailed some of her most scandalous behavior throughout the years.

This list of confessions was intended to clarify one point: She did not cheat on Liam Hemsworth, her (soon-to-be ex) husband of seven months.

While this outpouring of honesty might seem like a cry for attention (or an attempt to promote her new single), if you look closely, Miley actually seems to be doing...great.

Or at least, she's doing just about as well as you'd expect from a woman who just got divorced, and who grew up in the public eye, and who was thrown into stardom at a young age, and who was expected to represent an entire young, impressionable generation.

Miley Cyrus - Slide Away (Audio)

She's doing very well for someone who lived out her teenage traumas and first love on the covers of tabloids. Granted, our expectations are low for celebrities; but also, it takes a lot of guts to come this clean.

Actually, Miley's reaction to this breakup may be the best kind of reaction we can hope for, as millennials and young people live in a culture that glorifies rage and discounts personal and collective growth. The bar might be low, but instead of glorifying a turn to drugs or drowning her sorrows, Cyrus has come clean about her feelings and past, and that's more than many people can say.

With the Internet's culture of hyper-documentation, though, it's extremely hard to hide the mistakes of your past, and Cyrus's tweets imply that she's acknowledging her own truth.

She Says F*ck Being Perfect

If you read her posts, they don't ask for sympathy or leverage blame at others. By refusing to feel ashamed of her past and by defending her own story without unnecessarily lashing out, Miley is taking control of her own narrative. She's refusing to change herself to fit in with the public's expectations of her. Instead, she's growing on her own terms.

Notice that in her Tweets, she didn't say that when she married Liam Hemsworth, she stopped partying or being her vulgar, inappropriate, true self. Instead, she owned her past and her present idiosyncrasies, while also telling us how much she's grown. In this, she's making it clear that her growth trajectory is a sustainable one. That's more than can be said of many celebrities on social media, who engage in bitter feuds with each other for clout or propagate lies about themselves and others.

For most people, growth is not a linear process. Real, lasting self-compassion doesn't happen without accepting parts of yourself that might not be palatable to others. Growth doesn't happen without discomfort.

While her ramblings might seem a bit off-kilter (it's extremely unlikely that she has most nudes of any woman on the Internet), Miley is clearly okay. She's in a healthy state of mind. She's not obsessed with control, or "good" and "bad" press. She's connected to the Earth.

She's Proudly Queer

Despite her erratic career path, she's always been kind, coming out before it was in style and starting her foundation for homeless LGBTQ+ youth. In a world where queer youth compose 40% of the homeless population, this kind of work is vitally important. She's learned to own her broken heart, her queerness, and her big personality. She's been open about being gender non-conforming and not feeling "like a boy or a girl."

She Prioritizes Mental Health

Cyrus has also always been honest about her own mental health, especially about the effects that fame had on her as a kid. "I think people loved Hannah Montana because it was real, and that's because I was under there," she said in an interview. "But what was hard for me was balancing everything. When I started touring as both – I toured as Hannah Montana and as myself – I think that's probably why a little bit is wrong with me now. I mark that up as doing some damage to my psyche," she said.

It seems that she's always found solace in transformation. "I think I have more of an open mind where I'm like, "OK, I can be a bunch of different things every day, I don't have to be so locked into myself because then I'm putting those walls and borders around myself that I tell everyone else not to give in to," she continued. There have been bumps in the road, but what's most important is that she's kept evolving.

In a way, social media can promote the same kind of double life or performative dishonesty that Cyrus was forced to embody as Hannah Montana and as herself, so Cyrus's revelations could come in handy for anyone having trouble bridging the gap between the Internet's simulated world and the real one.

To be fair, Miley is not your average person, not exactly a model of attainability. She's been a culture vulture. She's currently gallivanting around Italy with Kaitlynn Carter, which is all being covered rabidly by the media, and the only things we know about her are the bits and pieces she's chosen to project into the world.

But by promoting a growth mindset and refusing to let the media sl*t-shame her, instead of bitterly accusing her husband or denying her truth, she's letting her pain transform into fuel for her ongoing metamorphosis. As young people in a world that's growing more and more chaotic by the day, when our leaders blatantly lie and ignore the reality of the issues facing our world, seeing someone acknowledge the reality of themselves—and treating themselves and their journey with respect and openness—may be the best we can ask for.


On "Slide Away," Miley Cyrus Reclaims Her Broken Heart

Enchanting, emotional, and magnetic—Cyrus may have finally found her sound.

Vanity Fair

"Slide Away" sounds like it will be the last song dedicated to longtime love Liam Hemsworth. 

Their on-and-off partnership finally led to marriage last December. But eight months later, the pair announced their amicable separation and described their relationship as "ever-evolving, changing." On "Slide Away," Cyrus mystifies with her enveloping voice to break our hearts for the first time since "Wrecking Ball."

"Ever-evolving, changing" is also what Cyrus is as an artist. No one can ever predict her sound. From hip-hop to country to psychedelic-pop, she's always seemed elusive, too "wild" to ever find a lane she can thrive in. But recently, with "SHE IS COMING" and now "Slide Away," she seems to have landed in a middle ground perfectly suited for her—pop-soul.

"Slide Away" is gut-wrenching. Its quiet, contemplative, and bursting production pairs magically with her emotive voice. The ballad is as unique as Cyrus: devastating, frustrating, and full of expression. The powerhouse singer details the evolution of a couple's growing pains, a future lost, and finally acceptance. The lyrics describe the shore and the sea, where Cyrus's inspiration seems to be.

The tragic song is not a breakup song; it's a woman's painstaking reflection of the past and recognizing when to let go of it all, no matter how committed she used to be. Since last week, publications have speculated that Cyrus's separation occurred because of Hemsworth's excessive drinking and "use of certain drugs." Cyrus seems to confirm that, singing, "I don't want the whiskey and pills." The cover art corroborates the lament, as she reclaims the narrative of her own broken heart. Cyrus takes authority by belting, "Move on, we're not 17 / I'm not who I used to be / You say that everything changed / You're right, we're grown now."

The declaration doesn't give much hope for a reconciliation, but "Slide Away" speaks for itself: Cyrus is only getting started now that she's finally found the sound and style to match her controlled, magnetic voice.

Listen here: