Welcome to Shade Court. Let's resume following a brief hiatus due to the fourth Thursday of November. This week we bear witness to two of the stupidest shade crimes I've ever witnessed, the CIA showing a little sense of humor and the undeniable fact that there ain't no shade like old people shade.
The Case: Everyone's current favorite Sam Smith appears in the November issue of Teen Vogue. In what I assume was an attempt to be cute, some editor invoked shade in the caption of a photo.
The Defendant: Teen Vogue
The Deliberation: This has got to be one of the dumbest misuses of "shade" I've ever seen. Do ya get it? He's throwing shade because he's wearing SUNGLASSES which people sometimes refer to as "shades." And although he's simply holding them in his hand and not throwing them at all, it's kinda like he's literally throwing his shades because, I DUNNO, WE'RE MAKING SHIT UP ANYWAY.
I miiiight be able to understand this if he had said something shady in the actual interview but he doesn't. It's all "blah blah I used to be in love and then I wasn't and then I wrote some songs and now I'm famous."
We are in the year 2014 and the phrase "throwing shade" now means something specific. Teen Vogue does not just get to stretch its meaning into something completely different (and infinitely dumber) simply because they wanted a good caption.
The Ruling: Not shade
The Case: This case comes from a reader who we'll call L.A. She and her family were gathered 'round the table recounting the stories of how they had all met their significant others. L.A. noted that her current husband was very persistent in pursuing her and she was glad he was so patient.
L.A.'s 80-something year-old grandma then chimed in with her own hot take on the subject.
The Defendant: L.A.'s Grandma
The Evidence: Following L.A.'s anecdote, grandma said: "Women in our family marry men for their character, not their looks."
The Deliberation: First off, L.A., your grandma sounds delightful and I would like to sit down with her so she can teach me her ways. The fact of the matter is, old people are mad shady. They are old as hell and they feel like they've earned the right to say and do whatever they please.
Coming from someone else I might not read this as shade. What's especially great about shade from octegnarians is that other people are totally willing to dismiss their behavior for them. Oh, grandpa's just joking. Tee hee, Great Aunt Ruby doesn't know what she's saying. Don't worry about it—everybody knows grandma is senile.
Meanwhile, grandma knew exactly what the fuck she was saying, but what are you going to do about it?
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: NBC's new drama, State of Affairs, has gotten some flack for not making a whole hell of a lot of sense. Katherine Heigl stars as a CIA analyst who delivers daily briefings to President Alfre Woodard while wearing poorly styled outfits and elaborate hairdos.
It seems that the CIA's Twitter account has taken it upon itself to fact check all the errors in the show by tweeting out #wellactually corrections.
Now, I must note that Vulture originally suggested that these tweets were another example of unnecessary mansplaining that is often directed at women anytime we try to live our damn lives. However, they later issued the following correction:
* The original version of this post incorrectly implied that the CIA's Tweets were being written by a man. Though the CIA is 54 percent male, the agency's Twitter account is run by a woman.
The Defendant: Vulture
The Deliberation: Before Vulture even issued the correction I was a skeptical about calling this mansplaining, simply because we didn't know if the Twitter account is actually run by a man. Since we now know that it's not, my original deliberation still stands. As I said before, if you've seen State of Affairs, you know that the show is fairly ridiculous. I have absolutely no insight into the workings of the CIA and even I find these story lines dubious. You could absolutely make the same argument for, say, Scandal, but Scandal is entertaining, so who cares?
I found these tweets rather hilarious. The CIA doesn't even bother mentioning State of Affairs by name, but they're all coming either while an episode airs or the day after, which gives the manner of: Oh what a coincidence that I decided to drop this random piece of CIA knowledge at this particular time. P.S. You're dumb.
The Ruling: Shade and congratulations to Vulture on being one of the few from New York magazine to get it right.
The Case: Along with the rest of the internet-connected world, Cosmopolitan's Twitter account live-tweeted NBC's Peter Pan Live!.
The Defendant: Cosmopolitan
The Deliberation: Whoever wrote this tweet is insane. Peter Pan is throwing shade because he has a shadow... that moves? Whether you're taking the term "shade" literally or figuratively, it doesn't make any damn sense.
Adding insult to injury is the inclusion of the phrase "OG," meaning ORIGINAL GANGSTER. This means that the tweet reads: "Original Gangster Shade Throwing" in reference to a children's story about a boy with a magical shadow.
The Ruling: The least shady thing to ever happen ever.
Top image by Tara Jacoby, featuring the shade artist at a young age.