Culture News

In Defense of Jeff Goldblum's "Stupid" Islam Comments on "Drag Race"

Unlike most Americans, Jeff Goldblum had some humility on the issue

Actor Jeff Goldblum appeared as the guest judge on Friday night's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race and got himself into some hot water.

After Iranian-American contestant Jackie Cox walked the runway in a red and white striped kaftan with a blue hijab rimmed in stars—in keeping with the episode's "Stars and Stripes" theme—Goldblum asked her if she was religious. She responded that she is not but that her outfit "represents the importance that visibility for people of religious minorities need to have in this country."

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CULTURE

These Celebrities Want You to Register to Vote

Your favorites all want you to exercise your civic duty.

Today is National Voter Registration Day.

What does that mean? It means that if you've recently turned 18 or moved, you need to register to vote.

If you're not sure whether you've registered to vote, you can check in under a minute here. If it turns out that you're not registered to vote, you can figure out how to register here. If you're in New York, you can register online, and all you need is your driver's license. Unfortunately, you can't register online in all states, but you can find a voter registration station or fill out and mail paperwork everywhere; just make sure it's not at the last minute.

Exercising your civic duty is the hip, chic thing to do now, after all. All your favorite celebrities want you to do it.

Ariana Grande has been registering fans to vote at her Sweetener world tour events.

Blake Lively's husband (Ryan whatshisface) also wants you to vote.

So does Grace of Will & Grace, I mean Debra Messing.

Meek Mill wants you to register to vote.

Zooey Deschanel put her usual cheery, dare I say summery, spin on voter registration.

Dear indie kids who are now old enough to vote but still young enough to worship Brendan Urie: enough said.

Country fans, take heed: Faith Hill is calling you.

The man who brought Alexander Hamilton to Broadway wants you to exercise the democratic right that the Founding Fathers worked so hard to endow us with.

Ellen wants you to vote. Do you really want to disappoint Ellen?

Tom Hanks wants you to vote, and he used a lot of exclamation points to prove it. #HANX.

Elvira, Queen of Halloween, wants you to vote.

The newly politicized Taylor Swift wants you to vote, too.

RuPaul used his Emmys acceptance speech to advise everyone to vote.

OK, so this was admittedly from 2018, but Rihanna said it best: "There's no greater responsibility than being in control of your future and it starts NOW!! REGISTER TO VOTE TODAY!"

Check back here later today, as we'll keep updating this list as more celebrities voice their support for democracy. You have till September 30th to register for the November elections!

MUSIC

Taylor Swift Only Sees the Glitter in LGBTQ+

While her intentions are well-meaning, the "You Need to Calm Down" video is a missed opportunity to highlight the narratives represented by the queer icons.

Taylor Swift telling us to calm down.

Just when Taylor Swift gives us hope, she lets us down.

Her latest music video features almost every mainstream queer celebrity you could imagine. While her intentions are well-meaning, the video is a missed opportunity to highlight the narratives represented by the queer icons. Instead of throwing a trans flag at Laverne Cox, Swift could center the video on the activist and her perspective rather than on her own.

Taylor Swift - You Need To Calm Down www.youtube.com

The Todrick Hall production capitalized solely on the culture of the LGBTQ+ community— celebrating it and taking the song a bit too literally. But uplifting these voices means more than a feature in a video or tagging them on social media.

The music video highlights the visual aesthetic that "signifies" gay culture. There are rainbows and dancing and glitter. We follow a white cis, straight woman parade around with her LGBTQ+ friends. It's a party, a celebration of being yourself, fighting against "barbaric" homophobes with love and positivity. Yet, here, the biggest takeaway from this video is that at last, pop's biggest feud between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry is over. They embrace in the video— which will be sure to cause conversation. It overshadows the video's intent. It's also marketing genius.

The video ends with an image of text advocating for the Equality Act. The Equality Act was passed by the House of Representatives but now sits idle in the Senate. The law would extend civil rights protections to people of any sexual orientation and gender identity. Swift urged supporters to sign her petition asking for Senate support. The petition already has over 200,000 signatures, converting the single's success into political support for LGBTQ+ issues.

While Taylor Swift has contributed to the LGTBQ+ community through donations and recent political support, she's misinterpreted what an ally should be. Leading up to the video's release, Swift addressed a rumor that she would share a kiss with Perry:

"That is ABSOLUTELY false. To be an ally is to understand the difference between advocating and baiting. Anyone trying to twist this positivity into something it isn't needs to calm down. It costs zero dollars to not step on our gowns."

It's difficult to forget the days when Taylor Swift refused to comment on politics, to the point she threatened to sue over white supremacy allegations. Now, she's attempting to be a part of the conversation while lacking the language to be effective. What Swift cannot seem to grasp is that advocating for and offering a platform to the LBGTQ+ community should be greater than featuring them in a music video. Uplifting their stories and normalizing their experiences goes a lot further than a straight woman's celebration of pride. Expecting an immediate embrace from LGBTQ+ members after years of silence and quiet donations is asking for more credit than she deserves. It takes time to earn the trust of queer people, and just maybe, Taylor Swift should take several seats and listen.