Saturday Night Social: Go, Girl! Give Us Nothing!

Illustration for article titled Saturday Night Social: Go, Girl! Give Us Nothing!
Photo: Getty

In an article for Vice published earlier this week, staff writer Gita Jackson, formerly of Kotaku, wrote about the “Who’s next?” meme and how it directly speaks to a moment where abolition, upheaval, and the end of white supremacy seem truly possible.

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The meme, if you haven’t seen it, is a video clip from a kids show called Hip Hop Harry, in which a circle of kids and the titular man in a yellow bear suit cheer on a kid sort of doing the stanky leg at its center. “Who’s next?” everyone shouts, and another kid takes the center. “Who’s next?” they yell, and another one goes in. The cycling of new faces in and out of the spotlight mirrors the greater reckonings with systemic anti-Blackness playing out in the news, Jackson writes: “If you’re afraid of Hip Hop Harry’s Harry the Bear and his pals, then you know that somewhere in your closet there’s a skeleton that your Black colleagues are deciding whether or not to reveal.” In a matter of days, we’ve seen everything from the Minneapolis City Council moving to dismantle its police department to Audrey Gelman stepping down from the Wing following revelations of a toxic, racist workplace from her Black employees. We see all this happen, and we wonder: Who’s next?

As this “Who’s next?” energy has only grown in strength, I’ve noticed a similar competing energy at play, one that can also be described using a meme. Earlier this year, a screenshot of a comment left under one of Dua Lipa’s characteristically stoic live performances made the rounds on Twitter. “I love her lack of energy,” the comment reads. “Go, girl! Give us nothing!”

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Illustration for article titled Saturday Night Social: Go, Girl! Give Us Nothing!

If “Who’s next?” seeks justice through abolition, “Go, girl! Give us nothing!” tries to placate with meaningless reform. It’s black squares to cover up anti-Blackness. It’s Joe Biden instructing cops to shoot people in the leg rather than their hearts. It’s news that Anna Wintour won’t be stepping down from Vogue, despite the cluster of racist scandals plaguing Condé Nast and her own admission that she hasn’t done enough to “elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers, and other creators” in her decades at the company.

On Friday, Page Six reported that Condé execs were standing behind Vogue’s exorbitantly paid editor-in-chief, who also serves as Condé Nast’s artistic director. They promise she’ll do better. She promises she’ll do better. But a promise to do better can easily amount to nothing, and we don’t want nothing right now—we want more.

Freelance journalist (GQ, Esquire, Out, elsewhere), here on weekends

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DISCUSSION

I’m about three margaritas deep so here we go:

I am DONE with these non-masking wearing asshole. People who are entirely unwilling to think about any other person, any other human, their family, etc.

I have always known that a decent quantity of humanity doesn’t give a single solitary fuck about people who work in the service industry. The reactions that I get to saying ‘well, I have to go home to my family and feed my dog’ when I explain why I won’t let people into my museum after we close because they came all the way from 25 minutes away across the bridge have taught me that. That I am there just to do their bidding and me, my family, my significant other, my family, do not matter. But today I got into an internet fight with an acquaintance that they won’t put on a mask if they don’t have to ‘because it’s an undue burden’.

You know what’s an undue burden? My junky lungs getting sick. My 70 year old parents getting sick. Another visitor getting sick. Their family getting sick.

We were told this week that masks will not be required when we return to work. We cannot make visitors put them on. We cannot make staff wear them. We will still be interacting with 100+ people an hour from all over the globe, and probably getting yelled at by more than that because during the summer we normally see 4000+ people a day and we will be limiting it to about 1000. We stress so much the safety of our staff and visitors (so much, I’d say 1/4 of my work is making sure that people go home in one piece) and this is horrendous for all of them in addition to the staff.

But we don’t go back for at least a month and I realize compared to other things in the world this is very selfish. But the margaritas have unleashed the verbal vomit.

Here’s a cute dog: