Anger is an interesting emotion, isn’t it? As it turns out, you can’t be mad about every single thing all the time. Your body will just say: “No, sorry, please stop! Let’s buy an overpriced candle!” This is not something that was necessarily clear to us prior to November 2016, but these days, when every hour or so offers a generous continental buffet of enraging news content, one simply must learn to prioritize.
Below is a list of things that stopped pissing off the Jezebel staff in 2017. It’s true—our generosity knows no bounds.
Shawn Mendes is the pop singer whose song you hear on the radio and wonder “Who’s that?” and it’s probably Shawn Mendes. This year, instead of recoiling, I started to enjoy “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” and I feel fine about that choice.
For a very long period of time, whenever someone asked me if I liked yoga, thought about yoga, or wanted to do yoga, I would respond by hissing “I hate yoga!” and stalking out of the room in a huff. I have no issue with anyone doing yoga, but it has never, ever been for me—please don’t make me “om” and I will certainly never whisper “Namaste” at the end of a class with my hands clasped over my heart. Yoga made me “mad” insofar as anything really does—I wouldn’t write expletive laden-screeds about why I hated it, but I would still clench at the thought of say, attending a sunrise yoga class on the beach as part of a dreaded bachelorette weekend. In 2017, I attended my first restorative yoga class and any anger I had about yoga melted away. Laying down in a warm room doing the gentlest of stretches while someone with a soothing voice talks to you about opening your heart or whatever is some shit that 2016 me was not here for. This year, everything changed. Yes, I know it’s a nap that I am paying for. I don’t care. I’m no longer mad and that feels nice. The light in me recognizes the light in you.
This year I finally stopped being mad at The Chainsmokers, a popular pair of sentient Bud Lite koozies who have spoken before about getting into music for the pussy. Do I respect them any more than I did in 2016? No. But I’ve made peace with them and that says a lot. I think my skin is better because of it? And, fine, “Closer” is catchy.
Here is what I decided this year: If you want to buy a healing crystal, fine. I honestly won’t judge you. I have a rose quartz next to one of my plants, in fact. Things are terrible, and therefore crystals are no longer an object of derision for me. Who cares? Also, who knows what they do? Who knows about literally anything anymore, okay? If my crystal waddles over to me tonight and asks me to call her Sharon, I would be like, “Ahh!” but then I would be like, “Whatever, hi!” because nothing matters and it’s not that weird or bad if you’re into crystals, as long as you’re not like, spending your kid’s college fund on them.
I spent a long time angrily resisting Glossier’s too-appealing marketing campaign with its powder pink color scheme and fresh-faced models—all poreless, dewy, and giving off the vibe of the kind of girl with an apartment full of thriving, NOT half-dead plants, who sits criss-cross applesauce in ripped jeans on her artfully distressed velvet sofa (“from an antique store in Cold Spring!”) while sipping whatever turmeric tea her boyfriend (so loyal and sweet) recently brought back from his trip to India. But then Trump happened and I found real things to be mad about. And then I started to find Glossier’s branding soothing. And then I broke down and ordered Boy Brow and really liked it. And now I have a velvet couch, a box of turmeric-ginger tea bags (from Trader Joe’s because I still have to aspire to SOMETHING), take restorative yoga classes, and set a daily “intention” of gratitude. My plants are still half-dead, though, as am I.
When it was announced in May that Danielle Bregoli (a.k.a. the Cash Me Outside Girl) would be charging people to watch her “vibing to records,” conducting a Q&A, and sharing one-on-one moments with fans live onstage in the form of some kind of “show,” I was mad! How dare they charge to watch a modern-day minstrel who’s famous for nothing do less than nothing? But then she started rapping, and you know, I have to applaud this wayward child for embracing structure in her life, for daring to do a little bit more than nothing. Also...she isn’t terrible? Her squeaky voice reminds me of Roxanne Shante (who was also 14 when she started rapping) and her hooks are often kind of catchy? I’m not saying she has a crucial voice that’s worth listening to, I’m just saying I’m not mad anymore when I happen to hear it.
Damien Hirst is an artist that has made millions simply by embodying the worst stereotypes of genius and masculinity that have fueled the art world for centuries. His ideas are bland and his controversial gestures are empty. I think I’ve spent hours of my life rolling my eyes and railing against Hirst and his successes. This year, supposedly his spectacular “comeback,” he staged a sizable show in Venice, an exhibition spun from a fiction of his own creation called “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable.” I read a few reviews of the widely-panned show and couldn’t even take pleasure in its critical trashing. I simply stopped being mad at Damien Hirst and chose complete and utter apathy instead. I found that I now feel the same about Banksy, street art, and Jeff Koons.
I am not a grinch; I enjoy all winter holidays, and especially Christmas, the winter holiday of my childhood. But in years past, it has pained me to see Christmas march earlier and earlier in the calendar, overrunning Thanksgiving and threatening to swamp Halloween and greedily eying “back to school” territory—and all for the sake of wringing more dollars from something that really can be a nice festive time, a break in the late-fall darkness. The sound of seasonally inappropriate sleigh bells in a CVS was enough to fill me with a short but very intense moment of irritation. Don’t spoil it! Don’t open the presents too early! Gorging yourself on eggnog just makes you barf! Not this year. This year, I started listening to Christmas music the minute Halloween was over, and I began pondering my celebratory plans even earlier. This year, I welcomed Christmas creep with open arms.
A woman with whom I was friends when we were 13 counts down the days until “the burn” each year. Her Instagram feed drove me up the fucking wall because she’s always “chasing adventure” and having “ecstatic experiences” and showing off her ecstatic abs on the “playa.” As far as I can tell she works in tech or marketing (we’re not in touch) and pays to “embrace the newness of unfamiliar faces in a familiar land of wonderment” with very Bay Area paychecks. That whole scene always struck me as phony; you can’t go into the desert for one week a year and reject material things or whatever if the rest of the year you plug away at technocratic capitalism while calling it “changing the world.” I always thought I’d be “#grateful for the #journey” too, if I were making making $300K a year at a results-oriented company (that’s more like a family) that optimized blockchain solutions for other companies (that were more like families). In my mind, those half-naked love warriors tagging all their Black Rock City posts #holyshitwerealive were people who were all about the miraculous beauty of a woman’s body until it came time to give their employees decent maternity leave. I beat this drum for many years. But this year, I have made room in my heart for the possibility that maybe they’re perfectly fine people who want to spend their vacations in different ways than I do. Trump’s president! Why do I care how other people vacation? I’m no longer mad at Burning Man, I just don’t want to go.
His culturally white, racially insensitive, cloying twee shtick has pissed me off in the past (and I quite enjoy some of his movies but still, any man who came up with that shit is sus; you too, Owen Wilson). But I watched Rushmore again recently and liked it. More importantly, I only have so much room for hate in my heart, and there were worse people, you know?
—Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
There are so many other things to hate that I can no longer get it up to hate the clogged arteries of the beating heart of the City That Never Sleeps a.k.a. The Great White Way a.k.a. take a bite outta that juicy apple, the biggest there is a.k.a. New York, New York, baby! Give me all-you-can-eat shrimp from Bubba Gump’s shrimperie, or a hug from a bed bug-infested Elmo costume; render me physically trapped in a middle school theater group traveling en masse to see The Lion King! I’m lovin’ it!
Nothing. If anything, I’m more mad about all of it.