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You Don’t Give a Shit About ______ of the Year… so stop pretending…

You might have noticed it’s nearing the end of the year. And like, if you didn’t notice this… well, what’s wrong with you? Anyway, a weird thing starts happening at the end of the year. Magazines start giving out the “_____ of the Year” awards. I find these fascinating in general and that’s no surprise. I’m a pop culture junkie “scholar”; I live for this stuff. But what I’ve found all the more interesting is the internet response to them. As far as I can tell, the primary purpose of magazines giving out ______ of the Year awards is so that people who don’t actually read them can bitch about them.

Here’s the thing… you don’t give a shit about _____ of the year… so stop pretending you do.

And I’m not just talking about the TIME Person of the year award. But yes, I mean that too… especially since His Royal Orangeness decided to take a break from his very busy schedule of presidenting to pretend that TIME had called him to offer him the chance to be Man of the Year for a second year in a row. Apparently they said that he was “probably” going to win and so they needed to know when he was available for his photoshoot. And The Donald is such a stud that he said “fuck that, probably isn’t good enough” and turned it down. Big pimpin’ yo!

Spoiler alert. They did not. The president is a liar. And he’s a dumb liar. Because he actually thought that he’d be able to tweet that and the actual magazine wouldn’t call him on his bullshit. And of course they did. TIME immediately tweeted back at him that that is NOT how Person of the Year works… which Trump totally knows because he “won” it last year. You find out when the magazine comes out. They don’t ask your permission. It’s not really an award. This is why when people were all mad about Trump winning last year, other people pointed out “you know Hitler won too, right?” and he did. Because it’s not “winning.” It just means that you were in the news enough to where they feel like you’re important to talk about at the end of the year.

So like, it’s entirely possible that Trump COULD be Time Person of the Year again. It could also be Colin Kaepernick (more on him later) or Steven Bannon, or Robert Mueller,  or Harvey Weinstein or some non-specific ethereal person or object. That’s happened before. “The computer” has been Person of the Year. “The whistleblowers” have been person of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if the person of the year this year is “the protestor” or “the social justice warrior” or maybe even just “women.” It’s not an award… But it’s very important to Trump that he wins it anyway. Even if it means that TIME goes out of their way to subtly imply that he IS Hitler by the choice of image they used for the cover. He just REALLY REALLY REALLY cares… And if that’s not a good enough reason for you to not care about it, I don’t know what it is. He cares a lot! But you don’t give a shit. And you shouldn’t give a shit.

And by you… I mean YOU… yeah, you right there! I mean both liberals and conservatives. I mean white people and black people and every other race. All genders… all religions… I mean YOU. YOU don’t care about this… any outrage that you have about it is entirely manufactured. Let it go.

You know why? Because it doesn’t matter. AT ALL!

I’ve seen a few of these lately, because… like I said… it’s just that time of year.

The first one I saw in the last couple weeks was the conservatives complaining about Colin Kaepernick being named “Citizen of the Year” by GQ. There were a couple flavors of this. One was people, notably led by pundit Tomi Lahren (who conservatives like to pretend they care about for reasons other than how fuckable she looks… and she totally is fuckable… but seriously stop deluding yourself. Being hot doesn’t make her right… and she’s not going to fuck you… seriously… she just isn’t… so you don’t actually have to pay attention to her… but it’s ok to acknowledge that you liker her because she’s hot. She is hot. I admit it. More on that later.), saying that he doesn’t deserve this because he is anti-American. Lahren tweeted a photoshopped photo of Kaepernick kneeling before the soldiers storming the beaches at Normandy, which Warner Huston of Breitbart then picked up on to explain how poignant this was because Kaepernick the monster is so anti-American that he doesn’t vote and says that America has “never been great.”

I’ve already talked in detail about how dumb you are if you think Kaepernick’s protest is un-American (and seriously… you’re dumb… and racist. Just accept it!). But, both Lahren and Huston both are ignoring the context of the not only Kaepernick’s protest, but the photo. The implication of Lahren’s tweet would be that Kaepernick was protesting the war. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Do you know who was one of the most notable protestors of WWII. Mahatma Gandhi! Yeah, that’s right. Fucking Gandhi. Because it turns out a lot of people just basically oppose war. Gandhi’s stance was that people (including the Jews being murdered) should show peaceful, non-violent protest to the Nazis rather than fighting. That was kind of Gandhi’s whole deal. Furthermore, Lahren and Huston, much like most other people complaining about the kneeling protest, tend to ignore that Kaepernick picked kneeling specifically because it was an alternative way of showing respect, without standing. The idea was that it was showing deference to the flag/anthem while still refusing I’ve seen many people say that Kaepernick should stand with his hand over his heart during the anthem because anything else would be disrespectful. Because that’s what you do. Except, Lahren’s tweet sort of accidentally points something out. That’s not always been what we did. In fact, the original “correct” way to show respect to the flag was to “raise your right hand, flip your palm down, point it toward the flag in a salute.” Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s the same thing the Nazis did. We only changed the flag code in 1942 because we wanted to protest the way the Nazis were treating the Jews and do something different. In other words, the US government specifically changed the way we treat the flag to protest social injustice. Whacky, huh?

The other tactic I’ve seen people take is to point out other athletes who “deserve to be man of the year more than Kaepernick.” Usually this is some white sports star who did something else notable. Often people point to JJ Watt for his efforts at fundraising for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. And you know what, Watt did a good thing. There’s no doubt about that. Of course the people praising him are missing two important details. First of all JJ WATT SUPPORTS THE RIGHTS OF THE PLAYER’S TO KNEEL! Do you know how I know this? Because he fucking said so. He thinks that the greatest thing about America is the right to free speech and he includes that. He says it’s important to pay attention the point behind the protests and different ethnic experiences the protestors have had. So you know, there’s that. But also, I bet there’s not one person calling for Watt over Kaepernick who can say who GQ’s Citizen of the Year was last year. Anyone? I’ll wait. Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, I didn’t think so. The answer is no one. There wasn’t one. Because that’s not how GQ does things. The GQ Men of the Year awards (and unlike TIME, they’re actually awards. You get a trophy and there’s a banquet and stuff) work like the Kennedy Center Honors. Like a dozen people win one each year. In fact, this year Gal Gadot will be getting “Wonder Woman of the Year” (something that literally ONLY makes sense to give only her… ever… and maybe Linda Carter) and Stephen Colbert will be getting “Bad Hombre of the Year.” And then there are some artists and humanitarians that you’ve probably never even heard of. They pick the people they want to honor every year and then say what they’re for. In other words, GQ decided it wants to honor Kaepernick and then picked a title that says why. And if you were a fan of GQ, you’d probably know that. But you’re not a fan. In fact, you don’t give a shit about the GQ Men of the Year awards. So stop pretending…

It goes the other way as well. This has been evident because soon after I started seeing conservative people complaining about Kaepernick, I started seeing liberal people complaining about Blake Shelton being named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive. This also comes in two flavors. First, was people complaining that Blake just isn’t sexy. Really, this came down to a lot of people just not really knowing who he is, or if he was, not giving a shit. Blake Shelton is arguably the most successful country music star of all time. He’s hella rich. And yeah, he may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Hell, he’s not mine… partly because he’s a dude. But also because he’s just not my kind of dude. But he certainly isn’t bad looking. In fact, for a scruffy looking middle-aged white boy, He’s sure as hell hotter than Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler have ever been. For some reason Adam Driver seems to be a sex symbol right now and he’s just downright scary looking. Seriously, if Adam Driver wasn’t famous and he hit on you in a bar, you’d run away. And with good reason. But Blake Shelton is decent enough looking, if you’re into the rugged cowboy never freshly shaven look. And people are. It’s an enduring look for a reason. If you’re saying that you don’t understand how Blake Shelton is sexy, you sound stupid. Sure, maybe you don’t care for his music. But he’s still a musician. And he’s rich. And he’s got a relatively classic style of handsomeness. It’s not a hard thing to “get.” I admitted earlier that Tomi Lahren was sexy. She is. I don’t like her. In fact, I think she’s pretty deplorable. But if she knock on my door today and is standing there in lingerie and says “One of us is right about flag protests and the other is wrong. Let us settle this in the bedroom. Whoever orgasms first is the loser.” I mean… I’m going to give it the old college try. Because I’m a patriot. Well, and also because she looks like she might be fun to have sex with… and then kick out of bed. So like… for the people who like Blake Shelton… who enjoy his music and aren’t morally opposed to him… which is a lot of people… I get it.

The other tactic is to complain about Shelton being Sexiest Man Alive because he’s white. Seriously, that’s the main gist of it. This is equally stupid. I’ve seen lists of “10 black men who deserve sexiest man alive more than Blake Shelton” and “10 asian men who deserve sexiest man alive more than Blake Shelton.” And this is… stupid. It just is. Sexy is in the eye of the beholder. It always has been. I said I’d fuck Tomi Lahren… but you know who I’d rather fuck? Rihanna. Seriously… I want that a lot. And a bunch of other people too. There are many people on my list that are more sexy than Tomi Lahren. But it doesn’t matter. Because her being in an article saying she is sexy doesn’t affect my preferences at all. And my vision of sexy really doesn’t affect someone else’s. My favorite version of this has been the meme of Jason Momoa (who has appeared on many of the “men of color sexier than Blake Shelton” lists). Lot of people have been resharing this saying “there is no way anyone who thinks Blake Shelton is sexy has ever seen Jason Momoa.” And you’re probably right. Because Jason Momoa would scare the shit out of people who read People magazine. They’d think he was a demon of some sort. I mean, yeah… *I* think he’s sexy. In fact, much like Lahren, if Jason Momoa showed up on my doorstep saying “One of us is right about flag protests and the other is wrong. Let us settle this in the bedroom. Whoever orgasms first is the loser.” I’d still give it the old college try. That’s right, I would absolutely fuck Jason Momoa! And I’m straight. And I have no delusions that I would be the topping in this particular scenario. But I mean, seriously… just look at him! That man will break you… He will make you feel things that you’re just not ready for.That said, the fact that a suburban soccer mom picking up the weekly groceries would rather fuck Blake Shelton than the half-man, half-wildebeest that is Jason Momoa is just not at all unreasonable. And there’s nothing wrong with not wanting that. The people who read People don’t want that. And sticking him on the cover isn’t going to change that. And it’s not going to make other people read People either.

Do you know how I know that? Because the other person I’ve seen people floating most often other than Momoa is The Rock. Because the Rock is clearly a good looking man, and “isn’t it about time we picked a Person of Color who would break down stereotypes and show people that non-white men could be sexy?” or “maybe if they chose a sexy man of color like The Rock, they could increase readership.” But the problem is, no… that wouldn’t actually change much. It wouldn’t change anything. Why do I say that? Because I know who People chose for the award last year. Do you see where I’m going with this? It was the fucking Rock. And clearly no one asking for this bought that issue. Did you buy that issue? Of course not. Because you don’t give a shit about who People’s Sexiest Man of the Year is. So stop pretending you do.

Really what this is about on both sides isn’t so much showing who you think deserves to be the ______ of the year, but proving that the person who isn’t your cup of tea DOESN’T deserve it. Since they started giving the award in 1985, there have been exactly two men of color who have won. The Rock is second. The first was Denzel Washington, back in 1996. So we can expect another in 2036. The rest have all been middle-aged (or sometimes older) white men, usually actors who are hits at that time, generally with scruffy facial hair. It’s a look. It’s the fantasy. And it’s the fantasy they want. There’s a reason that Julia Roberts has been People’s “Most Beautiful Person” five times. There’s a reason that Lena Horne won Ebony’s version of that award 34,297 times.. even at like age 90. Same thing with Kaepernick. This is similar to something I wrote a couple years ago, when Caitlyn Jenner won Arthur Ashe Courage Award for ESPN, something that I maintain til this day 99% of the people complaining about it didn’t know it existed, and don’t remember anymore. Why doesn’t Playboy Magazine ever choose any plus sized women for Playmate of the Year? In fact, all Playboy playmates have incredibly similar bodies. Go figure? Does that mean that you’re not allowed to like women who don’t look like that? Not at all. How many superhero movies have won Best Picture at the Oscars? None. But they make billions of dollars. It’s just that CGI slugfests are not what the Academy is celebrating with that award.

In other words, when you’re complaining about the choices for these things… for magazine’s that you honestly don’t give a shit about and never will, not matter what they choose, what you are really doing is telling people that they aren’t allowed to like what they like. They aren’t allowed to believe what they believe. You’re telling them that they have to like what you like. They have to believe what you believe. And if they don’t, then somehow they are wrong. It’s you’re really standing up for JJ Watt or Jason Momoa. No real thought was even put into those responses. Why Watt and not Mona Patel or any other “Top Ten Heroes of 2017″ that CNN picked and you’ve never heard of? That’s because you don’t give a shit about GQ’s Men of the Year or CNN’s Top Heroes. Why Momoa and not Mahershala Ali or any of the other thirteen non-white men who made their list of thirty sexy men in that issue? Yeah, you didn’t know there was a list and that nearly half of it was non-white, did you? That’s because don’t actually give a shit about who People thinks are the sexiest men of the year. You were never going to buy the book to find out. And Aziz Ansari is probably pissed, because I’m sure he’s thrilled to be in it.

You’re just standing against recognizing people that you don’t like. It’s hard to say Shelton isn’t sexy because he’s a dumb hick and you hate country music. It’s hard to say Kaepernick isn’t a good citizen because One blog I saw asked “SO how could Blake win ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ if Jason Momoa is still alive!? RIDDLE ME THAT, PEOPLE WHO VOTED. Wait, now that I think about it…who votes for this title, anyway?” And they’ve really answered the question there. No one voted. It’s not an election. It is a decision made by the editors of People Magazine based on the story they want to tell their readers. Just like Kaepernick in GQ. Just like Trump in TIME. They’re about as official as a mug that proclaims you “the World’s Best Mother.” And of course none of you take those seriously. Because obviously MY MOM is the World’s Best. Only you don’t give a shit. But on that one, you probably should.

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