I don’t know about you all but I’m settling back into things nicely. The gavel feels smooth in my hand and my robe still fits. Still, as was the case before my retirement, I continue to be trolled by people with delusions of cleverness.
I mention this here becuase it’s truly not worth a full consideration by the court but I also can’t help myself. Take this as a warning from Shade Court to brand managers around the globe. Stop it! Stop it right now!
In this week’s Shade Court, Kate Upton has some barbs, Ryan Lochte exists and we witness politics at its finest.
The Case: Kate Upton was Snapchattin’—as the young, rich and those with murky job responsibilities do—when she cracked a Kardashian joke.
The Defendant: Us Weekly, Huffington Post, Extra TV, Harper’s Bazaar
The Deliberation: Some background on all this: Apparently Kanye West once complained on a radio show about Kate Upton appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair as Marilyn Monroe instead of his wife.
Kate Upton ain’t Marilyn Monroe. Kim is Marilyn Monroe. She was controversial. She [is] controversial.”
And if you’re wondering whether Marilyn Monroe, one of the most successful actresses of her time, would appreciate being reduced to simply “controversial” by Kanye West, the answer is yes. Women love that.
One of the few things I retained from Geometry was the lesson that a square can be a rectangle but a rectangle cannot be a square. Relatedly, I took much of what I learned in math classes as nothing more than useful metaphors for life.
Ergo, please remember that all shade is (pretty) rude, but not all rudeness is shade. Say it. Repeat it. Tattoo it to the insides of the eyelids of gossip editors everywhere.
Here, Kate Upton was being rude and a touch catty for reasons we don’t know, but that probably have something to do with Kanye West even suggesting that Kim Kardashian deserves something more than anyone else
Further, her execution was not the least bit shady. She literally typed out the name and referenced the family nose job plainly. Frankly, I’d be somewhat remiss to even call this rude because all she’s doing is stating facts. The Kardashians do get extensive plastic surgery on their faces and they abuse social media filters with the gusto of a thousand clydesdales. A simple statement of facts can be shade, but this was not.
The Ruling: Not shade
The Case: Ryan Lochte, an Abercrombie & Fitch polo discarded during a keg stand and kicked around the floor of a moldy basement all night, went to the 31st Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and acted a fool.
After lying about it, he tweeted an “apology” on August 19th.
Hours later, Michael Phelps tweeted as well.
The Deliberation: Ryan Lochte, maybe knowingly but almost certainly unknowingly, capitalized on the notion of Rio as some crime-riddled South American version of Grand Theft Auto to bolster his ridiculous lie. (You’re kidding yourself if you think he would have tried to pull this in Athens or London.)
Was Michael Phelps thinking that deeply about the issue? Who knows? I’m not sure what spending that much time underwater does to a person. Still, he was probably thinking: “Wow, this dumb fish-man is overshadowing my victory tour with his asinine bullshit.”
The kicker here is the “friendless of its people” bit since Lochte was villainizing fictional Brazllians for his false narrative. As Michael Phelps pointed out, people in Rio are incredibly friendly as long as you don’t destroy their property!
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: Donald Trump, upon realizing that, holy shit, he’s actually running for President of the United States and he’s probably going to suffer one of the greatest defeats in the history of national politics, has tried to backtrack on the whole “all Mexicans are rapists” thing.
He seems to think he can somehow win the Latino vote after, again, suggesting that an entire nation of people are violent criminals. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s social media editor is here to do what he or she does best.
The Deliberation: Political shade might very well be my favorite kind of shade. It’s usually nerdier and often teeters on the “is this or isn’t it” scale a bit longer because I think politicians tend to be more careful and subtle for risk of inciting an international panic.
But, oh, the petty of politics always shines through.
Let’s put aside the issue of “Mexican proverb” for a moment because, yikes. There are probably a dozen different ways to say exactly what she’s saying and none of them involve a proverb much less a Mexican one. The craft here is that this required some very deliberate research.
I have to assume the author of this tweet worked backwards to arrive at their product. First, they had the idea to use some sort of Mexican-themed wording and then had to search for a quote and weave it into a statement about Donald Trump. That’s commitment and I salute it. This is my America.
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: Britney Spears gave an interview to BBC Radio 1 to promote her new album. She was asked about the possibility of collaborating with Justin Bieber and had this to say:
“No, there’s no truth to that at all,” she said. “Did you see what happened to him the other day? Like, didn’t he, like, expose himself? Yeah, that was insane. Like, I don’t understand what went on there. Was that on the news and stuff?”
The Defendant: Cosmopolitan
The Deliberation: I have no clue what she’s even referring to but yes, Justin Bieber probably did expose himself to someone at some time because that’s what happens when you give 12 year-old boys millions of dollars, adoring fans and no sense of accountability for their actions.
I’ve sat on this court for some time now and it takes a lot to offend me, but I’m pretty steamed, you guys! Can you imagine reading that passage and having the gall to attach the subtlety and skill that is the divine throwing of shade to her words?
Also what is she even saying? That pivot was odd. I say this with love in my heart, but Britney is... Britney has had a rough go of things insomuch as being a multimillionaire, international superstar who never has to actually sing can be rough. I’m not really sure what she’s talking about!
What’s relevant to remember is that Cosmopolitan is one of the places where if they’re calling something shade, poor Dorian Corey is likely doing backflips in her grave and sending the spirits of voguers past to haunt their offices.
The Ruling: Not shade