This Week in Pop Culture

It’s only the second full week of January, and somehow I feel like I’ve read enough news about people around the world to last me at least two months — even before we start getting into political news.

Given that it’s barely day 16 of 366, this year’s already shaking out to be another tumultuous one. I’m still holding onto my optimism that we can all make 2016 better than 2015, though — here are some of my thoughts.

1. Passings

Rickman Passing
Photo Courtesy of Kayryn, Tumblr

For those of you whose trending topics aren’t as pop culture-oriented as mine, you may not have heard of a couple of the others who also passed away this week. First, it was David Bowie. Then it was Alan Rickman. And then Céline Dion lost both her husband and one of her brothers in a span of two days. All of these men lost the battle to cancer.

There is so much that can be said about each of these deaths separately or collectively, and depending on a person’s relationship with each of these individuals, that “so much” can vary wildly.

But what I’d like to say (without being too trite) is something that one of my best friends has already put into words so eloquently:

Alan Rickman is not the first of my heroes to die, but his death has hit me the hardest.

It is scary to me that we are starting to see the adults we look up to pass away. It’s easy to forget that this is a part of getting older: It will happen more and more as we age, and someday it will not be our elders passing away, but our peers. These deaths may be devastating, but they will be nothing compared to those.
—Rachel Carmen

2. Jennifer Lawrence and the “Phone Incident” at the Golden Globes

I have to admit: When I first saw this video of Jennifer Lawrence backstage at the Golden Globes, I was really put off. Like the rest of the Internet, I was 100% on the J-Law train. After watching the video, seeing her unamused expression, and hearing her deadpan tone, I felt that her behavior was uncalled for. Despite her attempted casual tone with the use of the term, “bro,” she didn’t seem to be behaving in a way that was kind, regardless of what her intentions were.

A few days later, Anne Hathaway took to her Facebook page to defend J-Law:

[Lawrence] was dryly joking with a journalist who was indeed using his phone to take photos of her. Let’s not continue the sad but common practice of building people – especially women- up just to viciously tear them down when we perceive them to have misstepped.

Now I’m also a huge fan of Anne Hathaway, so reading this post from her made me reconsider my original interpretation of events.

Perhaps Lawrence was hinting that the journalist should stop taking photos and focus on asking her questions. Perhaps Hathaway knew something (from prior experience, no doubt) that we, lay-people, may never understand. Perhaps Lawrence could have been a bit kinder. Perhaps the interviewer was only asking her how she felt about her chances come the Oscars now that she’s won a Golden Globe for Best Actress and Lawrence misinterpreted.

Perhaps we may never know, and perhaps that’s best — because all we can be sure of is that we’re kind whenever we have the chance to be.

3. Everyone’s new Internet boyfriend, Oscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac
Photo Courtesy of Nathaniel Goldberg, GQ

You’re welcome for the gratuitous photo of Oscar Isaac. (You can thank GQ for the high quality.)

I think can guess a couple of the questions that are going through your head right now:

1. Who’s Oscar Isaac?
Poe Dameron. If you don’t know who that is, you should probably go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens lest someone spoils it for you before Episode VIII comes out in 2017. I’m not going to be that person.

2. What’s an Internet boyfriend?
I wasn’t familiar with this term until just a few days ago, when I stumbled upon this article from NY Mag that explains why the Internet has chosen Oscar Isaac to be their new Internet boyfriend.

The article hyperlinked above is a decently lengthy read, so I’ll sum it up: an Internet boyfriend is a figure in the media who typically isn’t presented in a romantic situation in their work (i.e. an actor who doesn’t play the male protagonist in a rom-com) and can be written to be the [often] unachievable ideal of a boyfriend someone would want in real life.

For those of you who may not already know, I have been/am a part of that female [teenage] demographic who has created the fanbase following of many male celebrities who have taken a sudden, wild rise to fame on the Internet (I’m looking at you, One Direction). I’ve taken quite a liking to some of these men, bypassed others, and even questioned the taste of the general public for a small handful.

But Oscar Isaac? Like the rest of the Internet, I’m unashamed to admit that I’ve taken quite a shine to him.

Since the release of Star Wars, fans have dug up videos of interviews both old and new of Isaac sounding informed and conscious of social [justice] issues that rapidly gained momentum in the past couple years. He independently offers to talk about gender politics in an interview (though the interviewer doesn’t take him up on the offer). On a separate occasion, he also openly talks about his experience in navigating his social spaces, particularly in relation to his being a native of Guatemala and someone who grew up in a predominantly Spanish-speaking household (with an admittedly an “Americanized” upbringing).

“[At Julliard] They call it ‘Standard English,’ the implication being that if you speak something else, you’re substandard. Some minority students might take that as ‘You’re trying to make me speak white.’ But I was able to think of it not as ‘I’m going to change the way I speak’ but ‘I’ll be able to speak this way as well.’”
—Oscar Isaac, GQ Interview with/by Brett Martin

That brings me to question 3: Is he my Internet boyfriend?

Well, I mean, I’m not going to lie: he is easy on the eyes and a very talented musician, so let’s just say that I’m not about to say no to that offer.

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