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Simone Biles is the best athlete of all time.

Simone Biles on her best night is better than any athlete has ever been at any sport. Ever. Simone Biles on her worst night, like she had at Day One of Nationals this year after putting up three subpar routines for her standards, still ended up in first place by more than two points.

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This is a great article from Slate about the Queen of Athleticism, Simone Biles.

Over the weekend she debuted two new skills at Nationals. On the first night, she landed a double twisting double somersault off the beam, but she flubbed her landing on floor exercise — a triple twisting double somersault that no woman has ever attempted and very few men (zero in the US) can even land.

She stuck it on night two.

Ladies, gentlemen, and friends beyond the binary, allow me to introduce you to the tripledouble: a double back somersault with three twists spread out over the two flips. In men’s gymnastics, it’s called the Ri Jong Song, after the North Korean who debuted it at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Among the few male elites who can land this monster is none other than legendary Japanese twister Kenzo Shirai (who can also, impossibly, do it in the layout position). It’s also been competed by gymnastics’ king, 21-time world medalist Kohei Uchimura—who a few weeks ago gushed in Japanese on Twitter about Biles’ technique. Since Biles already has a floor element named in her honor, when she completes the triple double in Stuttgart, in the Women’s Code of Points it will be christened the Biles II. (If you are eager for it, and why wouldn’t you be, there’s a super-slo-mo video.)

(cont. Slate)

Last year I read something from ESPN calling Simone Biles the most dominant athlete in *any* sport (x), and you can’t really argue with that. Simone has won Gold at Nationals six times, and the only reason it wasn’t 7 in a row is because she took a year — an entire year! — off after the Olympics and didn’t compete at all.

For every person who says Roger Federer is the best tennis player, there’s another who says it’s Rafa Nadal (even Novak Djokovic has his supporters).

For every person who says Lebron James is the best player in the NBA right now, there’s another who will say it’s Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, or James Harden.

Serena Williams is the closest to Simone’s level, but as she’s shown time and time again, she’s beatable. Even if Serena is playing her best tennis, there are players that can keep up with her.

Simone Biles fell (she almost fell on her face) and still beat the next competitor by over four points. She could have fallen four more times and still won. That’s how dominant Simone Biles is. If she is at the meet, everyone else is aiming for second place. Her competitors say that openly — their goal is second place, because beating Simone Biles is almost inconceivable.

Simone Biles on her best night is better than any athlete has ever been at any sport. Ever. Simone Biles on her worst night, like she had at Day One of Nationals this year after putting up three subpar routines for her standards, still ended up in first place by more than two points.

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On Television

Let’s retire the roast for RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Replace the roast with a Design Your Own Show challenge. I wanna see what I’m getting when I buy a ticket.

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I’ll put the bias upfront so you can decide whether to read the rest of these rambling thoughts through that lens or not:

I love Utica. She was my Number Two when Meet the Queens videos came out (after Symone), and she has generally been my Number Three during the course of the season (behind Symone and Gottmik). I don’t think we have ever had a queen this visually talented across the board. There are better painters (Kim Chi), better glam make-up artists (Miss Fame), better fashion queens (Aquaria), and better tailors (reigning UK winner Lawrence Chaney), but there is no one queen who operates at such a high standard in all four other than Utica. She would be better suited to Project Runway than RuPaul’s Drag Race, but I’m excited to see where her career ends up after this.

And, I feel like I understand her. She’s a white queen from the middle of nowhere in a town with less than 500 people who grew up Seventh Day Adventist. My hometown was 409 people and I grew up in a Seventh Day Adventist church (cult, actually) around a bunch of awkward white kids. There was absolutely no way she was going to be able to roast anybody. Utica isn’t even sure of herself enough to say the same things on camera that she says to other queens, because she’s not sure how the “joke” will land, and she’s afraid of the rabid Drag Race fandom online. She’s socially awkward, unsure of herself, and isolated in the fields of Minnesota in a such a way that she’s excited about being around so many queer people. You tell someone like that to be mean and funny, and they will be mean and funny, but the funny won’t land because she’s only funny to herself. You’re just left with mean.

But everyone was a letdown. Because every RuPaul’s Drag Race Roast is a letdown. Because it’s time to let this challenge go and replace it with something else.

We don’t need jokes about the judges anymore.

RuPaul is old and she can’t sing. Michelle is a New Jersey whore who’s made of plastic (even though she got her boobs taken out, so why is that ever a joke anymore?). Ross is very gay and annoying. We got it. There’s nothing left to say about any of them that hasn’t already been said and none of the jokes about the judges have been funny in years. (Except, honestly, Utica telling RuPaul to stand up as a fashion icon, when everybody knows she has on sweatpants under the table, is my favorite roast moment in a long time).  Any queen forced to do the roast from this point on should just completely ignore the judges.

Being mean and funny is hard, and it’s not a skillset drag queens need to keep cultivating.

I would never sign up to be roasted. I have thin skin and I take things very personally. I’m an emotional person, and pointing out my “flaws” to a large group of people, things that I’m embarrassed about or dislike about myself or am actively trying to change, is just traumatic for me. And that is why you don’t see me at too many drag shows when the queen fancies herself a “comedian.” Funny, to a drag queen, means there will be a point where the audience is involved and you may get read, even if you didn’t sign up for that.

The first time I ever went to a drag show was the first year I moved to NYC.  I went to Barracuda with some friends, and Shequida was the drag entertainment. At random points, she would pull a guy up on stage, flirt with him for awhile, and then give him a drink ticket for being hot. I was sitting a little too close to the stage, and Shequida pulled me up. I was really feeling myself — I thought my outfit was cute, my afro was blown out to perfection — because I assumed she was going to flirt with me and give me a drink ticket. She started with “who does this bitch think she is, Diana Ross?” and proceeded to drag me for what felt like half an hour, but was probably a minute. The entire bar was laughing, she didn’t give me a drink ticket, and I walked past my seat and into the bathroom to cry.

It was years before I went to another drag show, and when I finally did, I made sure I stood as far away from the stage as possible. That strategy was working until I was at Kizha Carr’s show one Sunday and she decided to take the mic, walk the room, and tell everybody at Industry I looked like Lil Jon. I left, and I don’t mess with “comedy” queens. Roasting anyone should not be a challenge that determines whether you are America’s Next Drag Superstar, because we shouldn’t go to a gay bar for happy hour with the expectation that a drag queen will walk in and start tearing you apart for the enjoyment of the audience.

Roasting only works between friends.

I understand the concept of the roast and I think they can be funny to watch, but only if the roasters and the roastee(s) are all friends and all like each other. Comedy Central roasts are great. Experts in the field are making fun of people they like and who like them back. It’s all in good fun. Drag Race roasts are awkward because clearly not every judge likes every queen and vice versa. I can call one of my friends a whale in the same tone of voice that Utica used on Loni in rehearsal and it will go over just fine. Utica and Loni do not have that rapport. The line between roasting and being mean isn’t just “a roast has to be funny” — a roast also has to come from a place of respect. Loni doesn’t know if that comment is coming from a place of respect and fulfillment of the challenge, or if it’s coming from a place of fat-shaming from a skinny queen who doesn’t like big girls.

The format is forever changed now.

Once Loni clapped back at Utica, the roast as we previously knew it was dead and gone. For the most part, the roastees don’t engage with the jokes. They laugh, because they signed up to be insulted, so you don’t respond when the insult digs a little deep. Loni was still smarting over the rehearsal, and she had every right to feel that way. If Loni and Utica hadn’t gone into the roast with previously built up tension, she wouldn’t have commented on Utica insulting her career. Instead, we have Loni sitting there watching someone who just aggressively called her fat the day before now insulting her career. She’s a former electrical engineer who quit her job for a successful career in comedy, and someone who is mean and terrible at comedy wants to dig at a thing she’s actually good at? It would be like Tina Burner dragging Violet Chachki for her fashion or Symone dragging Monet Xchange for her singing voice. So Loni let her have it, and that opened the door for everybody to comment while they were getting dragged. Loni clapping back was funnier than the actual roast, so everyone wanted a chance to turn a dig against them into a funnier moment. That’s what the roast will look like going forward, which wouldn’t be a roast anymore.

Most people are not funny.

Ergo, most drag queens are not funny. You’re asking them to do a thing that experts in comedy shy away from because it’s the hardest thing in comedy to do successfully. Even the funniest queens at the roast are mediocre, and they’re usually only great in relation to how terribly everyone else is doing.

So retire the roast. The surprises at how well someone does (Gottmik) do not outweigh the absolute cringe of watching someone fail horribly (Symone) and it’s a boring challenge that shouldn’t be a factor in making a great drag queen anyway. Replace the roast with a Design Your Own Show challenge the way they do the Thailand finale. Let the girls put on a drag show from top to bottom any way they want, so we the viewers can understand what to expect when we go see them after the season is over. And if one of the queens decides that roasting is part of their show, let her take that risk solo, and I’ll be sure to buy a ticket to see someone else.

 

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Hot Takes: Allen vs. Farrow

I always believed Dylan. Now I don’t understand how anyone could believe Woody.

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Every HBO Documentary is good, so this is full of spoilers and it’s more “thoughts on the series” than it is bulletpoints about the quality of the production. So you can skip this Hot Takes entry if you don’t want spoilers.

1. I always believed Dylan from the first time I became aware of the story. However, I never actually went looking for much detail about what happened and I figured it was a He Said / She Said situation where his supporters simply believed him instead of her. I had NO IDEA there was SO MUCH corroboration of various parts of her story from so many people. I refuse to believe that all of the people who support Woody Allen actually know the details. I believe the misogynists and the basement babies and the members of the Woody Cult have the ability to read it all and still side with him, but I can’t wrap my head around so many people in the industry supporting him and knowing the details of what Dylan had to say and the statements by people around her.

2. Dylan isn’t super likeable. It is what it is. It’s much easier to disbelieve a victim you don’t like, and I think part of her uphill battle rests on that. We see it all the time. Likeable victims, The Perfect Victim — they’re more likely to see justice served.

3. Why does Mia have so many kids? And why are they all brown? Including the kids who have passed away, Mia has 14 children. The only white ones are the ones she gave birth to and Dylan. All of the children Mia Farrow adopted were brown, until Woody wanted a white girl baby.

4. Hindsight is 20/20, but sometimes flags are RED right in your face right in the present. When Woody told Mia he didn’t want any children and didn’t want to be a father to the gang of kids she already had, that should’ve told her he wasn’t fatherhood material. Since he didn’t want to have kids, she asked him if he’d be open to adopting a child, and he still said no. And then. He said he might be okay with it if she adopted a little blonde girl. Is that not a red flag???? The man you’re with, who has shown zero interest in any of your children and doesn’t want any children at all, says he’s fine if you adopt a child as long as it’s a blonde girl. WHAT!

5. If ten children say “Mia was a great mom” and two say “Mia beat us” which kids do you believe? What if one of those two kids was married to a child molester and the other was being financially supported by the child molester? I don’t know why people give Moses or Soon-Yi any airtime. They are clearly lying for Woody. Mia’s ten other children are not lying for her.

6. Woody Allen has 40 years of films that say “This old Manhattan twerp has a barely legal girlfriend” because he is an old Manhattan twerp who wanted a barely legal girlfriend. That movie where Mariel Hemmingway is 17? How do people watch that? And hold it up as a classic piece of great cinema?

7. I wholly support the prosecutor who declined to take the case to trial. I had this vague notion that he didn’t push forward because Woody was rich and powerful, but the fact that he didn’t want to put Dylan through a trial was the correct decision at the time. Sometimes all of the options suck, and in his case, he had no good ones. He could retraumatize her — likely to no effect — or he could let it go.

8. I’m glad people who worked with Woody are starting to come around and support Dylan. Unfortunately there aren’t enough of them, but some is better than none, and ten years ago it was none.  Dylan’s determination to speak out is part of the reason there are more supporters now. She has contributed to a climate where we listen to women more and a climate where women are more likely to speak out against powerful men. Props to Dylan Farrow.

 

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Race

Gen Z slang is all AAVE.

Are there any Black people working at Vanity Fair???

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Watch this video please. Some white child I have never heard of has been tasked by Vanity Fair to explain “Gen Z slang” and almost every word is just African American Vernacular English aka Ebonics aka How Most Black People In America Talk With Their Friends And Family. None of these words are new…because I’ve been saying them for twenty years with other Black people.

Bop – AAVE
This is the newest AAVE word on the list because we weren’t really saying bop when I was in elementary school. I think that came about in the early 00s.

Clown – AAVE
Clown/Clowning, at least 30 years in the game on that one.

Shook – Unclear
Shook is not a word I heard in real life until after I started seeing it on the internet. It quickly made its way from social media out into the real world, but I didn’t know that was a Gen Z thing. I thought it was Millennial Gays.

Stan – Millennials
To the best of my knowledge, Eminem did not take stan (a stalker fan) from us, because I didn’t hear it until his song came out. Still, this little boy has mentioned neither Eminem nor the song, because these children apparently think they made everything up?

Doin the Most – AAVE
You play too much, you do too much, she do so much, they always do the most, etc. We’ve had this since the 80s.

Facts – AAVE
Facts is so old it might even belong to Gen X. Definitely spread from the New York area throughout the country with hip-hop.

Hit Different – AAVE
Rule of thumb: if your slang phrase drops an S on the verb,  you can probably assume it was taken from us, because that’s a grammar rule in AAVE. Also, his example where he likes Taco Bell more than the Mexican restaurants on Sunset? Throw this child AWAY.

Deadass – AAVE
Another word from the NYC area that spread with hip-hop. Headass didn’t catch on because white kids weren’t smart enough or creative enough to actually understand how to use that one.

Highkey – AAVE
This one belongs to the Millennial Blacks born in the 90s. They drove the popularity of this one.

Snack – AAVE
Older than dirt. Gen X was definitely using this one. Baby Boomers might’ve even had it. Snack is SO OLD.

Slaps – AAVE
I don’t remember saying slaps until the mid 2000s, so I don’t know how old it is, but I know a white toddler didn’t teach it to me, which is what this child would have been at that time.

Put Someone On – AAVE
I honestly didn’t even know white people said this. I didn’t know this one had reached critical mass in popularity for the white kids to not only say it with regularity but say it so much they claimed it for themselves.

Rona – Internet Slang
It could be a product of who I follow on social media, but I thought the Millennial Gays were the ones that made Rona popular because they were calling it Miss Rona all the way last spring.

Say Less – AAVE
I want this child to say less. I know a 19-year-old white kid who actually says this a lot. I need to ask him where he thinks it comes from…

Extra – AAVE
Maya Wilkes on Girlfriends loved to say extra and that was 20 years ago. Please stop playing in my face.

Fire – AAVE
Old. My daddy damn is well over 70 and says fire.

Bet – AAVE
It’s just getting silly at this point. Bet is so versatile and so popular it’s not even slang anymore.

Lowkey – AAVE
Lowkey doesn’t mean you just want to do it a little bit. It means you want to do it but you shouldn’t, or you want to do it but don’t judge me, or you want to do it but you’re conflicted. I hate when nuance is taken out of our culture.

Receipts – AAVE/Gay AAVE
Every Black woman on reality television says receipts and they got it from their gay glam squads. I don’t know if that’s a fact. I’m just throwing it out there because it is so widely popular for that segment of the population and has been for at least 15 years.

Whole Meal – AAVE adjacent?
It’s obviously related to snack, which is ours, but I’ve never actually heard it.

Yikes – They can have that one. Nobody says yikes anymore.

Anyway.

Vanity Fair. Please hire some Black people. The way y’all just committed this unforced error on a pleasant Wednesday is just ridiculous and confusing. Nobody asked for this and nobody was having this conversation, but y’all bust through Youtube like the Kool Aid Man for absolutely no reason, and now y’all will be dragged for the rest of the week.

Also, Black people over 30 — if you have anything to add, let me know and I’ll add your clarifications in an edit. I mean, obviously I’m brilliant, but I don’t know every word in the world, so correct me where I’m wrong while we discuss this as a family.

This is just another example of how Black people drive culture in this country. What we do is hot and everybody else falls in line behind us. White kids on social media have picked up “slang” from Black Millennials on social media. Then they do their little tiktoks and talk to their friends who aren’t following us on social media, and suddenly a whole bunch of white kids are passing around slang to each other that originally came from us….because they haven’t created anything themselves. It’s the same reason white white kids in Montecito will randomly have a light Southern accent on some of their words.

If it’s hot and you can’t pinpoint where it came from? It’s probably Black people.

 

EDIT: Looks like the video is now private. I guess they did get dragged, just like I thought they would.

 

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