My Humps Black Eyed Peas

It's hard to think about the music that came after 2000 and before 2010.

Filled with a seemingly endless collection of plastic, surface-level pop songs that served no purpose other than to dominate the radio and wriggle themselves into our eardrums, the first half of the 2000s was a special kind of terrible.

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Culture Feature

11 of the Cutest Pets That ​Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Has Lied About

The hashtag #AOCLied has been hijacked by pictures of cute pets, and we love it.

AOC with her dog Deco

In the ongoing effort by conservatives to downplay January's violent attempt to overturn America's democratic process, they have set their sights back on one of their favorite targets — Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York's 14th district.

As an intelligent, charismatic, and progressive young woman of color from a working class background, who is very open and engaged with the public, she represents a significant threat to the core conservative ideal of convincing voters that the Democrats are evil. They therefore work tirelessly to undermine all of these positive attributes that make her such a promising symbol for the future of politics.

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CULTURE

Climate Change Won't Be Solved by Celebrities Flying Coach

At the Golden Globes, Waller-Bridge and Aniston joined a litany of celebrities calling for action in the face of devastating wildfires.

Russell Crowe wanted the world to know that he wasn't at the Golden Globes because his country is on fire.

And what better way to let the world know about something than to get beloved actress Jennifer Aniston to read it out loud?

In the speech she gave in Crowe's honor, Aniston said that Crowe wasn't at the awards ceremony because he was "at home in Australia protecting his family from the devastating brush fires." She continued to deliver a pointed message: "Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based. We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy, and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is. That way, we all have a future."

Crowe had received the award for Best Actor in a Limited TV Series or Movie for his work in The Loudest Voice, but as we all know, all the awards in the world don't matter when your home is on fire. The bushfires in Australia have killed half a billion animals and 24 humans, have displaced six thousand people, and have eviscerated nearly 1.65 million hectares. According to scientists, these fires were driven by a lack of rain and low soil moisture, a direct consequence of climate change.

Crowe and Aniston aren't the only ones taking action for Australia. The mastermind behind Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is auctioning off the sequined suit she wore to the Golden Globes and will donate the money to disaster relief.

"We worked with Ralph & Russo, who are the Australian designers who created this couture suit ... which is the most extraordinary thing I've ever worn, and we're going to auction it," Waller-Bridge said of her decision to sell the suit.

Many other stars have also voiced their support for those affected in the disaster, which is certainly indicative of a much, much larger global problem that is already a reality for so many people. Lizzo pointed out that the fires are part of an interconnected web of decay that is damaging our entire planet.

"Being over here in Australia has really given me a real time view into what's happening with these devastating fires and for all of my followers who are mostly American, I just want to say that this is a global crisis," she wrote on Instagram. "These CO2 emissions will affect the entire earth. All of our atmosphere, all of our air."

Even Paris Hilton had something to say, along with Camila Cabello, Kylie Jenner, Maria Sharapova, and many others.




While it's inspiring to see so many people speaking out, it's also true that many of these celebrities are part of the overarching problems that created this issue in the first place—which is capitalism.


Though it's clearly a problem that celebrities hypocritically take private jets while tweeting about how sad they are about dead koalas, the problem is even deeper than that, and it won't be solved by a few famous people flying coach. The issue is our global reliance on fossil fuels—and our refusal to put laws into place that actually regulate the industry that profits off of them. We have tried and failed to rely on the altruism of the global elite. It's time for the systemic, democratically conceded implementation of processes like the Green New Deal to mandate the redistribution of wealth and a transfer to renewable resources.

In order to prevent more of what's going on in Australia, we shouldn't just sporadically funnel money into disaster relief or content ourselves with a few celebrity platitudes. We need to embark on a global effort to combat climate change on a massive scale before it torches us all.

Millie Bobby Brown SAG Awards red carpet

The world has watched Millie Bobby Brown, star of the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, transition from a prepubescent child with a shaved head to a young woman with 30.1 million followers on Instagram.

There's no denying Brown's talent as an actress or her ability to remain composed and seemingly content despite being so squarely in the public eye. She's become a fashion icon and late night TV mainstay, delighting fans with her evervescence and relatable, wholesome youthfulness, all while managing to avoid the kinds of scandals that so often invade the lives of adolescent stars. She has always come across as just a normal young teenager, posting pouty selfies and silly dancing videos to her social media, crushing on boys, and delighting over cute new clothes. In an age of hyper sexuality and teenagers getting plastic surgery, Millie Bobby Brown feels like a reminder of America's lost innocence.

Perhaps this is why so many found Brown's recent red carpet look at the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards problematic. Brown wore a trouser and coat-dress outfit by Louis Vuitton, and many felt it was too revealing for a 15-year-old.

People took to social media to criticize the star and her team.


And this isn't the first time Brown has come under fire for looking mature. In recent months, a change has begun to make itself known on the actress' Instagram account. Her posts have taken on a more sultry, even adult, nature. For example, the post Brown shared on October 29th shows the actress in a satin, leopard-print mini dress, looking defiantly at the camera with her mouth slightly open. The second photo in the post is a mirror selfie, in which Brown pouts at the camera as the light falls flatteringly on her torso.

To be clear, Brown looks lovely in both photos, and there is nothing wrong with 15-year-olds posting photos of themselves that boost their self-confidence. But controversy soon arose when Paris Hilton commented with her iconic catch-phrase, "That's hot." Evan Rachel Woods, one of the stars of HBO's Westworld, replied to Hilton's comment with, "She's 15."


More debate arose in the comments, with some Instagram users agreeing with Wood and praising her for defending children against premature sexualization, while others defended Hilton, saying her comment was harmless. But others take a turn to shame Brown for the revealing nature of her outfit and praise Wood for "saying something." One commenter said: "My daughter is 15 and doesn't dress like this. Nor does she have friends who do. She tells me all the time that she doesn't want to grow up too fast and I think that is few and far between sometimes in today's kids. Let them be kids first :)" Others expressed that if Brown didn't want to sexualized, she should dress differently.

Ultimately, it's a tricky conversation full of pitfalls. To shame Millie Bobby Brown for dressing how she wants to dress (how many teenagers dress) is definitely the wrong route. Women, even 15-year-olds, should be allowed to wear whatever they want without fear of backlash, sl*t-shaming, or unwanted sexualization. That said, was Paris Hilton's comment really unwanted sexualization? She didn't comment on Brown's body or say anything sexual in nature, and she used a common word that's often used interchangeably with words like "pretty" and "beautiful," a word made all the more innocuous by Hilton's famous frequent use of the phrase. Additionally, Hilton's identity as a heterosexual woman further invalidates the reading of the comment as predatory (not that heterosexual women can't be predators, but women complimenting each other's appearances has always been a much less fraught practice than the often leering, double-edged compliments of men).

Additionally—and hear me out here—isn't Millie Bobby Brown allowed to be, well, hot? Think about yourself at 15. Like most teenagers, you probably wanted to be considered attractive. Millie Bobby Brown is well into puberty and already likely in the process of understanding her own sexual nature, and that process comes with experimenting with her expression of sexuality, which, in 2020, can take the shape of social media posts or a little bit of cleavage on the red carpet. That, of course, does not give permission for adults or anyone to treat Brown as a sexual being, and adults should not sexually look at adolescents under any circumstances, as a teen's sexual awakening by way of an adult's behavior or sexualizing gaze can have traumatic effects. Young people should be protected from premature sexualization until they're old enough and mature enough to have autonomy and control over their own sexuality.

But it's interesting to consider whether, if Kylie Jenner had posted an identical picture at the age of 15 and Paris Hilton had commented "Thats hot," anyone would have raised an eyebrow. Was Evan Rachel Wood so defensive of Brown because of legitimate altruism, or because, like the rest of us, she wants our precious Eleven to stay a sexless, innocent child in order to keep with our uncomplicated cultural view of her? Did people criticize her SAG Awards look for her sake, or because it made them uncomfortable? In the same way that it is absolutely inappropriate to sexualize Brown, is it not also inappropriate and unfair to forcefully ignore her sexuality completely?

It's also important to consider that in a world where Justin Bieber was drooled over when he was merely 14, would anyone have such a problem with Brown's post or SAG Awards outfit if Brown were male? Perhaps a part of all of this is that, as a culture (even in 2020), we still see female sexuality as a dirty and taboo thing that we want to keep our children from embodying for as long as possible. As much as premature sexual awakening can have damaging effects, isn't telling a teenager that it's "inappropriate" for them to be considered an attractive being until the day they turn 18 almost as damaging? Should we further reinforce the idea that breasts are inherently sexual? Are we not furthering a culture of shame surrounding sexuality by not allowing teenagers to grow up at their own pace?

The truth of the matter is that Brown is famous, and she is on social media, and she is 15, which means she's going to post pictures of herself when she thinks she looks hot. She's going to wear amazing designer clothes and not all of them are going to be completely modest. And frankly, it's none of our business to judge that, one way or another.

CULTURE

Why Kylie Jenner Is Allowed to Trademark "Rise and Shine"

How do you think "apple" became a brand?

In 2014, Taylor Swift filed to trademark the phrase "this sick beat" and four other quips repeated in her album 1989.

Paris Hilton still owns the trademark for "that's hot"; in 2007, she successfully sued Hallmark for using the phrase on one of their greeting cards. In May 2019, The Ohio State University applied to trademark the word "the." So it stands to reason that Kylie Jenner can trademark the phrase "rise and shine," but her application at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (which was filed last week) is still pending. After an eight-second video clip of the 22-year-old singing to her daughter became a meme, hashtag, and possibly a TikTok movement, Jenner immediately set to work with the tools of capitalism. After creating "Rise and Shine" merchandise for her KylieShop website ($65 hoodie, anyone?), she filed to copyright the common phrase, which activated Twitter's eternal love-hate feelings about the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan.

KylieShop

Predictably, comments ranged from flippant disgust at the cash grab ("kylie jenner really filed to trademark the term 'rise and shine' she's such a greedy rat") to writer Yashar Ali's cutting remark, "The devil works hard, but @KrisJenner will not only work harder, she'll murder the devil."



But in a media-laden world of TikTok, hashtags, and late capitalism, it's just smart branding. Taylor Swift wasn't approved for three of the trademarks she applied for, but she currently owns two ("Nice to Meet You, Where You Been" and "This Sick Beat"). Besides, a surprising number of common phrases are actually trademarked. Intellectual property and copyright laws create four different types of trademarks, which depend on the purpose of the trademark and the limitations of its use. For instance, Taylor Swift has legal rights over "this sick beat" being used on clothing and stationery, but nothing else.

When it comes to common phrases, lots of seemingly generic words are trademarked. One example: The word "Apple" obviously means two very different things in a grocery store than in a computer store. Years ago, someone who would become very rich thought to trademark the word "Apple" exclusively relating to computer products. Mike Zadrozny, a trademark attorney, explains that if a common word is claimed in connection with specific goods or services, and it's "highly unique and even arbitrary," then the trademark application is sound. Even if it's not, applicants can still be approved for trademarks if they can prove that they've created a secondary meaning of the common word.

So when it comes to "rise and shine," Kylie Jenner may soon hold the trademarks to using the common phrase in: cosmetics, belts, coats, dresses, footwear, gloves, headbands, jackets, scarves, sleepwear, swimsuits and undergarments, among other items of clothing. Maybe she'll follow in her sister Kim Kardashian's footsteps and abandon the application out of public embarrassment (RIP "kimono" shapewear). Maybe the youngest "self-made billionaire" will soon offer an exclusive line of "rise and shine" lip kits. That's hot.

MUSIC

Not Everyone Should Have a Music Career: The 10 Worst Celebrity Songs

Just because someone can act, that does not mean they can sing.

Gwyneth Paltrow - Country Strong

All too often, when a celebrity's head gets too big for their own good, their inflated brain decides they have what it takes to have a music career.

Technically, they're right––the only thing anyone actually needs to produce an album is cold, hard cash. But all the money in the world can't buy musical talent, which is why pretty much every celebrity album is screaming ear cancer. Come delight in making fun of people who are so wealthy that they fail to realize they have zero musical ability. These celebrity songs are truly the worst of the worst:

Jeremy Renner - Heaven Don't Have a Name

If anyone ever had a fever dream where Hawkeye from the Avengers sang a ripoff of Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" that was somehow worse than "Radioactive," we're sorry to inform them that their nightmare has become a reality.

Heaven Don't Have a Name www.youtube.com

Brie Larson - She Said

Brie Larson's horrendous attempt at an Avril impression features inspired lyrics like "La dee da, la dee dee," along with a really poor Napoleon Dynamite impersonator in the music video.

Brie Larson - She Said (Radio Edit) www.youtube.com

Lindsay Lohan - Confessions Of A Broken Heart (Daughter to Father)

While "daddy issues" may be a sexist trope at this point, it's hard to describe Lindsay Lohan's music as indicative of anything else. "Confessions Of A Broken Heart (Daughter To Father)" is less a "song" and more a "desperate cry for help."

Lindsay Lohan - Confessions Of A Broken Heart (Daughter To Father) www.youtube.com

Paris Hilton - Nothing In This World

Based on sound alone, Paris Hilton's Nothing In This World is honestly pretty generic pop. But this music video...just wow. It's about a little, toad-faced, creeper kid who gets straight up abused at school and then goes home to spy on his hot adult neighbor (Paris Hilton, of course) while she undresses. Then she grinds on him a bunch in her underwear. This is horrifying because he's like 13-year-old, max.

Paris Hilton - Nothing In This World www.youtube.com

Bruce Willis - Respect Yourself

"Respect Yourself" is kind of like Aretha Franklin's "Respect" except instead of being sung by one of the most talented vocalists to ever live, it's sung by action star Bruce Willis and also has kind of weird religious undertones.

Respect Yourself ~ Bruce Willis www.youtube.com

Steven Seagal - Girl It's Alright

Steven Seagal has been hit with multiple accusations of sexual assault over the years, and this song is not helping his case at all.

Stiven Seagal "Girl it's alright" www.youtube.com

Gwyneth Paltrow - Country Strong

If Gwyneth Paltrow's "Country Strong" were revealed to be a parody of country music that she made solely because she despises poor people and anything that might interest them, it would be easy to believe.

Gwyneth Paltrow - Country Strong www.youtube.com

Heidi Montag - Blackout

Heidi Montag writhing around a pool in a bikini while shouting crappy, off-key, bubblegum pop directly into a camera is somehow the pinnacle of both blandness and grossness at the same time.

Heidi Montag - Blackout (Official Video) www.youtube.com

Robert Downey Jr. - Man Like Me

To Robert Downey Jr.'s credit, these vocals are raw, untouched by fancy audio effects that might possibly make his voice anything close to listenable. Because truly, his vocals are unlistenable. This is homeless man singing on the subway bad.

Robert Downey Jr. sings "Man like Me" www.youtube.com

Hulk Hogan - I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac

Okay, now this is epic. Hulk Hogan's "I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac" transcends the good-bad binary. It is a portal to another era, a simpler time when maybe someone really did want to be a "Hulkamaniac" but wasn't sure how to make that dream a reality. Luckily, Hulk Hugan was there to talk-rap instructions, encouraging listeners to take vitamins, say no to drugs, and have fun with family and friends. This actually might be the best celebrity song ever.

Hulk Hogan- I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac www.youtube.com