Image by Tara Jacoby, featuring the shade artist at a young age.

You have my advanced apologies this week for including so many images of terrible men who look like infected stubbed toes. Not a lot I can do about that.

In this week’s Shade Court, People magazine has no idea what it’s talking about, Bill O’Reilly gets clowned and is Harry Kissinger secretly a shade queen?

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000051

images via Getty

The Case: Fun fact: Mikhail Gorbachev is still alive and he penned a blurb about Vladamir Putin for Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People issue. It’s not particularly interesting aside from the fact he opens and closes the write-up with two somewhat conflicting sentiments.

Faced with a crisis that he inherited from his predecessor, President Vladimir Putin succeeded in stabilizing the situation, preserving the Russian state and strengthening its economic position.

Vlad did a good job! However...

I am convinced that Russia can succeed only through democracy. Russia is ready for political competition, a real multi­party system, fair elections and regular rotation of government. This should define the role and responsibility of the President.

The Defendant: Politico

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: Gorbachev’s statements can summed up as: Hey pretty good job with shit, but also stop being a dictator please. That ain’t cool.


You’ve got to be pretty deft to pull off the subtlety of shade when you’ve specifically been tasked with saying nice things about your subject. Any air of doubt about who you’re talking about is already completely eliminated and I doubt the editors would let anything too questionable remain. It is truly a feat achievable only by those who are masterfully schooled in the art of petty. (As we’ll perhaps see later.)

While the “Russia is a democracy” line could be read as sort of vague, it’s mostly pretty damn pointed. This is not shade and now is a good time to remind Politico to stay in your lane. Your lane is there, it is defined, it is nice and comfy and wide and you should be in it at all times.

I have to believe that since no one there probably understands what shade means, they’re just deferring to each other in regards to the correct usage. As Gandhi (probably would have) said (if he knew about shade): The blind leading the blind leaves the whole world blind.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000052

Images via Twitter and Getty

The Case: Bill O’Reilly’s punk ass finally got thrown out of Fox News and those who respect women, detest racism and generally aren’t shitty people were thrilled. Mic compiled a list of tweets from black people celebrating O’Reilly’s unemployed.

The Defendant: Mic

The Evidence:

sThe Deliberation: I’m just going to say, as much as I love Black Twitter, this really isn’t some of their best work. I mean, it’s fine, but it’s pretty standard stuff—a racist old white man finally to a touch of karma so let me pull out some gifs I’ve had saved on my desktop for too long.


They were openly celebrating and making fun of his downfall and the only way this could be further away from shade would be if all this had been tweeted out by E! News.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000053

Images via Getty.

The Case: This season, Bravo is subjecting us to the political opinions of the Real Housewives of New York. Literally none of them are interesting or useful aside from the fact that Ramona Singer pretty obviously revealed herself to be a Trump voter and I previously never knew how annoying Carole Radziwill could be.

In the latest episode the women talk politics over $25 salads and Dorinda Medley did not make the conversation nice when she began discussing Melania Trump:

“If I wake up on Wednesday morning, and he is the president and she’s in the White House, I’m going to say to [my daughter Hannah Lynch], ‘You know what, go strip right now. Be done with it all, take your brain out of your head, find a misogynist pig and go strip because you too can be in the White House,’ ” she says.

The Defendant: People magazine

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: So, Dorinda is calling Melania a stripper which obviously isn’t true because you know that woman has no rhythm.


I truly do not believe Dorinda is capable of throwing shade at anyone. Anytime she has something negative to say to or about someone, she gets all the hell worked up and seven out of 10 times will start slurring her words. Further, a woman who dates John Mahdessian cannot afford to be subtle about her dislikes or criticism.

People magazine is perhaps overtaking E! Online for the publication with the least understanding of shade. Here’s a free tip from the hallowed halls of Shade Court: If you’re unable to write what you think is a clever, attention-grabbing headline without sullying the name of shade, perhaps you should consider a new profession, or just pay me to do it.

The Ruling: Not shade

Amicus Briefs

No. 17-004

Images via Getty.

Henry Kissinger vs. Jared Kushner

The Case: The rich kid from that frat that got suspended from your undergraduate campus for one too many displays of criminal douchiness somehow also made Time’s Most Influential list. Jared Kushner’s blurb was written by Henry fucking Kissenger for some reason that I’m sure is a lot less interesting than you’d expect.


The piece has been garnering a lot attention for it’s rather unenthused tone and some possible tinges of shade.

The Argument: For starters, it is very short. Sure, it’s just a blurb, but I feel like he could have eked out a little more. It’s just two paragraphs long and the first graf doesn’t even mention Kushner. When he finally gets to it, Kissinger leads with this anecdote:

This space has been traversed for nearly four months by Jared Kushner, whom I first met about 18 months ago, when he introduced himself after a foreign policy lecture I had given.

Translation: I just met this asshole like a week ago.

We have sporadically ­exchanged views since.

Translation: I barely know this asshole.

Then we get to the most beautiful quotation which reads like dictionary definitions of words Kissinger thought would sound like compliments.

As part of the Trump family, Jared is familiar with the intangibles of the President. As a graduate of Harvard and NYU, he has a broad education; as a businessman, a knowledge of administration.

He knows Trump well because he is part of the Trump family which, yes, that’s often how families work.


He went to Harvard and NYU which are institutions that provide educations so he probably has an education.

His daddy made him a businessman so he’s literally been inside a business before.

Then there’s the kicker:

All this should help him make a success of his daunting role flying close to the sun.


For those of you who don’t remember 6th grade Social Studies and have somehow forgotten this very common allusion: Icarus was an arrogant punk who did not listen to his dad who told them that flying close to the sun while wearing a pair of wings made of WAX was perhaps not a stellar idea. Icarus did it anyway and his wings obviously melted and he drowned. Oops.


There is almost no chance Kissinger didn’t dictate this while waiting to board a plane to an assistant who just typed it into the Notes app and sent the screenshot to Time.

It doesn’t so much seem like Kissinger flat-out dislikes Kushner, but rather considers him inconsequential and not worth much of his time. He could have simply turned down the request but instead pulled a bit of a bait-and-switch, perhaps leading Kushner to believe he had enough respect for him to participate but the undermining that assumption with the finished product.

It’s pretty damn masterful whether those were his intentions or not. Sometimes the best shade comes out of our subconscious. Though he is quite literally one of the last people I ever expected to say this too: Good job with the shade, Henry Kissinger.

The Conclusion: Shade