It’s the freaking weekend – links round-up

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Here is a selection of the best things that I have come across on the internet this week:

19 Successful People Who Had A Rough Time In Their Twenties [Buzzfeed] – an inspirational list of famous people who hit a low point during their twenties and went on to greatness later in life. Number one on the list is Jon Hamm, who was dropped by the William Morris Agency aged 27 after he struggled to land acting work. The list doesn’t mention that by the time he was 21, he had lost both of his parents, which is so unimaginably awful that I don’t know how he manages to get out of bed in the morning, much less go out onto the world stage every day and entertain us with his wonderful acting skills and lovely face and aversion to wearing underpants. If you’re a twenty-something who is going through a hard time, keep your chin up, work hard and one day your penis could have its own Tumblr. It’s the American Dream.

… and if things go really, really well, you could end up being so successful that you can get away with making unusual requests of your co-workers – like Marlon Brando, who demanded ‘a bucket hat and a personal dwarf’ during the filming of The Island Of Dr Moreau. Alternatively, why not take a leaf out of Lindsay Lohan’s book (#WWLLD?, as I ask myself every day), who refused to strip naked to film a ‘pivotal orgy scene’ (is there any other kind?) with America’s Sweetheart James Deen unless the film crew took all their clothes off too? Read The 5 Most Hilarious Actor Meltdowns Behind Famous Movies [Cracked] for more great tips.

A couple more little treasures:

The Homer Car From ‘The Simpsons’ Is Now A Magnificent Reality [Uproxx]

Cher Says That Tom Cruise Is in Her Top 5 of All-Time Best Lovers [Gawker]

… and the sadface emoticon of the week goes to the ongoing New Kids On The Block/Backstreet Boys turf wars. Stay safe out there guys 😦

Throwback Thursday: Chaka Demus & Pliers – Murder She Wrote

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Here heralds the beginning of a new segment called Throwback Thursday, where we celebrate some of the best songs you had temporarily forgotten about. The first song to kick off this new series is Murder She Wrote by Chaka Demus and Pliers, which you will all remember from your childhoods as being the theme tune to a classic murder mystery series starring Angela Lansbury [citation needed]. I requested for this to be played at my friend’s house party on New Year’s Eve last year, only to find that my boyfriend’s friend had never heard of Chaka Demus and Pliers before, which I found deeply troubling on a psychological level very surprising.

As the lyrics clearly state, this one is dedicated to the girls with the angel faces and the devil hearts.

New music Monday: Lorde – Royals

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What does a track need in order to become the undisputed song of the summer? What special ingredients need to be thrown together to create a Call Me Maybe-level monster hit? Perhaps a belter of a chorus, a hilarious dance routine, a nice video with lots of pretty young ladies with their breasticles out? Could a sophisticated slow jam like Lorde’s Royals – a grower, not a show-er – ever beat the likes of Get Lucky and Blurred Lines to the top of the charts and into our collective hearts? Probably not, but if you ‘crave a different kind of buzz’, as the sixteen year old New Zealander sings, you could do a lot worse than to download this sparse and soulful finger-snapper. Sometimes it’s the still waters that pull you in the deepest. I felt similar things about Kendrick Lamar’s Swimming Pools, and I was drowning in that one for months.

Paris Jackson, Amanda Bynes and Stephen Fry: the answer we’re all looking for

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Paris Michael Katherine Jackson

According to recent news reports, a judge is ‘demanding answers about suicidal Paris Jackson’s state of mind’, and he’s not the only one. Since Wednesday the Mail Online has been playing sidebar psychiatrist and has published over 20 articles on the subject, trying to work out why a teenage girl they have never met would attempt to take her own life.

The Mail Online asks ‘Did a threat to reveal Michael Jackson WASN’T her father drive Paris over the edge?‘ Or was it because she ‘was under huge strain after being forced to defend her new-found relationship with her mom Debbie Rowe‘? Is it something to do with the fact that she allegedly ‘asked for emancipation from her family before suicide attempt‘? Or is it just yet another example of ‘the terrible proof fame corrodes all it touches‘? A cry for help? An argument with her brother Prince? A delayed reaction to the death of her beloved father? Legendarily shitty guardians (with Uncle TJ having moved far away)?

Same goes for poor Amanda Bynes. While her antics are becoming increasingly predictable (Amanda Bynes calls random celebrity ugly/tweets pictures of herself half-dressed in a raggedy-ass wig/goes to a public exercise class wearing something inappropriate something something Drake SHOCKER), there’s plenty more media mileage in an analysing her every tweet in order to make an expert diagnosis. Is it drugs and alcohol? Amanda says she’s allergic to both. Narcissistic personality disorder? She does love to remind other people of how much more beautiful she is than them. Schizophrenia? She claims there’s an imposter running around New York pretending to be her. The high price of child fame? Possibly.

That’s why it’s so refreshing to see the coverage this week on the news that Stephen Fry attempted suicide last year. If you aren’t familiar with the life and times of Stephen Fry, imagine that the Queen Mother had a baby with Oscar Wilde and that baby grew up to be a lanky genius who knows everything about everything. He knows whether there’s life on Mars. He knows how many roads a man must walk down before you can call him a man. He knows that I’m lying in bed right now eating handfuls of Everyday Value cornflakes and listening to Earth Song. He knows why the answer to the Great Question Of Life, the Universe, and Everything… is forty-two. (Yes. Seriously. He actually does.) But even he doesn’t know what would cause a person to attempt suicide.

For years he has spoken frankly about living with bipolar disorder, and is president of the mental health charity Mind. This week he told the press that there was “no reason” for someone wanting to take their own life. “There is no ‘why’, it’s not the right question. There’s no reason. If there were a reason for it, you could reason someone out of it, and you could tell them why they shouldn’t take their own life.”

Wouldn’t life be so easy if all incidences of mental illness could be traced back to a single cause? If we could all just scan through the Daily Mail sidebar of shame, tot up the headlines and say to ourselves ‘ok, I won’t sell my children into Amanda Bynes-style Nickelodeon superstardom. I’ll let them know who their biological parents are and try not to get accidentally murdered by Dr Conrad Murray’ and that that would be enough to guard ourselves against the unthinkable? The fact is, 5% of all people attempt suicide at some point in their lives. It’s not just Michael Jackson’s daughter and Sherlock Holmes’ brother. Sometimes people’s brains just don’t work properly.

Oh, go blue yourselves

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Portia de Rossi

Also this week in ‘let’s give thin and beautiful famous women a hard time about how they look because oh isn’t it so sad how they feel they need to look a certain way to stay famous and successful’ news, there are apparently some Arrested Development viewers who feel that Portia De Rossi’s weight loss and possible plastic surgery is ‘distracting’ them from being fully engrossed in the new season; as though having a nose job, a bit of botox and an eyebrow lift somehow inhibits her ability to play a 40something spoilt and shallow sexually desperate youth-obsessed rich bitch with more money than sense?

Sound Of Change 2013: banging on about all the wrong things

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In an article headlined ‘”Why does female empowerment need to involve leather knickers and heels?”: Twitter backlash over Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez at Chime For Change concert’ the Daily Mail today asks:

Chime For Change’s Sound Of Change concert was meant to be the event that put women’s rights firmly in the spotlight. But the overall message of Saturday night’s star-studded concert at Twickenham Stadium in London seemed to be lost on some of the performers, according to many critics. Twitter brimmed with harsh but fair questions, including why modern day feminism requires wearing a pair of ‘spiked heels’ and underwear, and if the sexy performances were entirely appropriate.

Why does modern day feminism require wearing a pair of ‘spiked heels’ and underwear? Short answer: it doesn’t. Sound Of Change was just one concert, supported by a major high-end fashion label, featuring performances by a number of very famous pop star ladies who like singing songs about sex, dancing and wearing revealing clothes. Being mad that a concert to support female empowerment sponsored by Gucci features too many thin women in skimpy clothing is like being mad that McDonalds’ Fight Against Famine concert (not a real thing) features too many hamburgers. It doesn’t represent all of modern day feminism. It doesn’t have to.

Feminism means different things to different people. Beyonce’s particular brand of feminism – singing about being an independent woman while dressed like something out of the porn parody of Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome – may not be the same as yours. It’s understandable that some women feel disappointed that such a huge opportunity to raise awareness about global women’s rights issues has been given to represent such a small section of feminism – the booty popping, Brazilian bikini waxed portion. But that doesn’t mean that it is right to try and break down those who are trying to build the rest of us up – no matter how misguided they may occasionally seem.

Even if you believe that leather knickers and heels are the epitome of female oppression, then surely those who feel the need to wear them in order to forge a successful career are the victims of it, and should be given enough love and support from their fans that they feel comfortable walking out on stage in whatever they want. But who’s to say that they aren’t doing so already? Beyonce doesn’t look like an oppressed woman to me. She looks like a superhero.

God forbid women should want to look and feel sexy. As everyone knows, all women absolutely hate sex. Women need to be empowered and freed from the shackles of being able to have sex with any consenting adult that they want, whenever they fancy it, and feeling awesome doing it. Bonus points go to the lovely Twitter users who spiced up their feminist outrage with a dash of slutshaming. ‘Rita Whora sl*t dropping is kinda contradictory of the whole point of chime for change’ wrote one probable Mensa candidate.

Whatever it takes for a woman like Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce or Rita Ora to face a constant barrage of criticism about their every move, wiggle and ass shake – raising twins as a single mother after three broken marriages, being accused of faking a pregnancy, having your ex accuse you over Twitter of cheating on him with ’20 dudes’ – and to keep on coming out on stage in front of millions of viewers and absolutely killing it, is ok by me. If that’s leather knickers and heels, great. If that’s jeans and trainers, that’s great too. If that’s flannel pyjamas stained with ketchup, even better, because I’ve always hoped that one day Beyonce will look up to me as a fashion icon.

Even the one super famous woman who performed at the Sound Of Change who turned up fully covered – Madonna, in trousers, a turtleneck and lace gloves – attracted criticism for her appearance. As she told the audience ”We cannot change this world, nor begin to treat each other with human dignity, without an education. Let tonight be the beginning of this revolution because education is not a luxury, it is a basic human right”, some viewers were ‘distracted’ by her ‘puffy’ face, which looked as though she was recovering from cosmetic surgery.

For those of you who were too busy being horrified by other women’s bodies, faces and sexualities to concentrate on the concert, here’s a little bit more information about what those ladies were trying to raise awareness of (from chimeforchange.org):

  • Around the world, girls and women lack the protection and equal opportunity they deserve. Domestic violence and trafficking disproportionately affect women. And in spite of gains, women hold just 21% of seats in national parliaments globally. But given the opportunity, women empower themselves and improve outcomes for their families, communities and countries.
  • 800 women die every day during pregnancy and childbirth, but 80% of those deaths could be prevented with proven solutions and access to care.
  • 60% of the children not in school are girls, but studies show that investing in girls’ education raises GDP and employment. Providing opportunity for girls improves outcomes not just for them, but also their families, communities and countries.

Were you able to concentrate on that ok? Of course you were, because I’m not wearing leather knickers.