Hey what’s up hello, it’s that time again.
In this week’s Shade Court, young men with questionable dye jobs nip at each other, Tim Gunn was born with an extreme deficiency of fucks and Edward Snowden doesn’t strike me as the shading type.
The Case: Justin Bieber and One Direction (minus Zayn) are both releasing new albums on November 13th—which also happens to be the [redacted] anniversary of my birth, so these little crooning suckers better not mess this up for me.
Justin Bieber recorded a Snapchat video where he seems to respond to this little conflict of events.
The Defendant: MTV, Fuse, Sugarscape, E! Online
The Deliberation: Obviously Justin is talking about One Direction’s album because they are really the only other group of people who could release a project on the same day as Justin Bieber and be considered competition. (Nobody is going to be deciding between buying the new Justin Bieber and the new Fetty Wap, is what I’m saying.)
So, in theory, this could have been shade. He was somewhat aloof in the video and doesn’t make any ostentatious declarations about anything. But, on the other hand, the punchline of his little shade attempt was DUMB. When it comes down to it, Justin Bieber was being a dick—which is behavior that should not surprise us at this point. Granted, he was trying to be a funny dick, but his dickishness was quite obviously the prevailing behavior here.
I will say, however, that I’m willing to forgive THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA ever so slightly for this slip up. It was a close-ish call and lord knows they’re confused to begin with.
The Ruling: Not shade
The Case: Tim Gunn sat down for an interview with Meredith Viera and basically checked out Anna Wintour’s book of secrets from the Vogue sample closet and read from it loudly and clearly so the whole class could hear. As E! Online reports, Gunn did not hold back when it came to his opinion of the Vogue editor-in-chief.
“When people misbehave around me I call them out for their bad behavior,” Gunn said of Wintour after admitting he’s had “several” run-ins with the polarizing fashionista.
When Meredith asked for specific examples, Tim happily obliged telling a story about how angry Wintour got after he discussed her infamously being carried down a flight of stairs by bodyguards. Timmy boy then told another story about Anna being rude as hell on a plane because he’s down like that.
“May I say this though, there is so much that happens at that unique publication that is so of another world and another planet,” he revealed, “I’m happy to have a bad relationship with it because I wouldn’t want to have a good one.”
The Defendant: E! Online
The Deliberation: Gahdamn, Tim! Let (emoji clapping hand) me (emoji clapping hand) tell (emoji clapping hand) you (emoji clapping hand) some (emoji clapping hand) thing: Tim Gunn doesn’t give a fuck about shit. The man works in fashion and has no problem calling out the unquestionable Queen of the fashion industry—in detail.
E! Online described Tim Gunn as “trashing” Anna Wintour and then had the bold-ass nerve to turn around and tack shade onto that statement. Please remember, my disciples, if you see the word “trashes,” or “slams,” or “serious shade,” know that those words automatically cancel out any suggestion of shade. HOW MANY TIMES MUST I SAY THIS?
I will say, however, that Tim Gunn would have had one shady line in all this if it hadn’t immediately been followed by straight-up smack talk. Calling Vogue “that unique publication” is glorious. If he had said something like: “Vogue truly is a unique publication. I don’t see myself working there,” then we’re talking shade.
Fortunately for all of us—and unfortunately for E! Online—Tim Gunn did not put on his tactful boots that morning.
The Ruling: Not shade
The Case: Adam Serwer, currently an editor at Buzzfeed, used to work at Mother Jones. He recently discovered, and shared on Twitter, the revelation that his old company had followed him on Twitter. The rub here is that this seems to be what we in the business call a “re-follow.”
The Defendant: Mother Jones
The Deliberation: Although Serwer doesn’t lay it all out, the assumption is that, at some point, Mother Jones followed him on Twitter, unfollowed him and just recently re-followed him.
If you unfollowed someone to begin with, the main reason you’d even bother to re-follow them would be to let ‘em know. I included this case largely as an example of social media-powered shade done well.
The re-follow is a great shade tactic, mostly because of its latency. It tells your shade recipient: At one point, I didn’t fuck with you and you didn’t even know it. So for all this time, you’ve probably just assumed that I’ve been following you but oh, silly boo boo, you have been mistaken.
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: Edward Snowden joined Twitter this week and kicked things off with this little number:
The Defendant: The Next Web
The Deliberation: I BEG OF YOU, nerds, stop calling things shade. You’re good at so many other things. Slang born of the gay ballroom scene does not have to be in your wheelhouse.
Was this a very clever first tweet? Yes. But this strikes me as much more of a joke, simply. Maybe snark. Further, while yes, Snowden did leak NSA documents, I think it’s safe to say that there are a lot of people who don’t like him, whom this tweet could easily be directed towards.
Writers are out here on these streets real confused. It’s like they think that every single slight or clever comeback must be classified as shade because oh, that’s just what we’re doing now. But that’s not what we’re doing, ya goons. Get a thesaurus and stop trying to be cool.
The Ruling: Not shade
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Images via Getty, the NSA, One Direction’s Instagram. Screenshot via the Brookings Institute. Top image by Tara Jacoby, featuring the shade artist at a young age.