The J-Lo Award for Shameless Greed goes to …

Erykah Badu, for singing “Happy Birthday” to an African despot who, according to Amnesty International, “is a kleptocrat who lives in the lap of obscene luxury while most of his countrymen toil in abject poverty for less than $2 a day.”

More appalling was the preposterous, self-pitying defense Badu mounted on social media.

“All the people were smiling when I sang,” Badu tweeted. “I was smiling. We all felt good in that moment.”

Via Twitter, the singer contested the idea that it was mandatory for the country’s citizens to attend the party. She said that her appearance was a “surprise for the King and the people.” She battled with tweeters, telling one to “go to human rights class” and telling another, who claimed to be Swazi and “directly affected by Mswati’s oppression,” “U on Twitter tho, oppressing me.” She even said she would perform in North Korea. “The people aren’t the government,” she wrote.

“Every time I respond to cruel accusations from my African freedom fighting brothers, I know I’m giving them a platform to further their agenda,” she wrote Thursday. “If one watched closely, we would appear as if we were a team. Good cop, bad cop. . . using my platform to give legs to their brothers in jail. In actuality. They see me as a naive, sensitive whose platform can be used and fluffed at the artist’s expense. Unnecessary Roughness.”

Conclusion: Badu is either astoundingly stupid or staggeringly callous.


Cameron Diaz has written a book about pubic hair

Consistent with my need to inflict unnecessary pain upon myself, I listened to a radio interview with that dipshit Cameron Diaz and the cloying, squeaky voiced wife of Tim Allen-loving bromance auteur Judd Apatow.

They talked about their girls outing to northern California with Drew Barrymore, a trip that, had I been on, would’ve ended in my suicide. But it was empowering, yo, just like those “Charlie’s Angels” movies.

The conversation then turned to Diaz’s new book, which has something to do with empowerment (for really dumb people, I assume). It’s titled The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body, because every woman has an amazing body, even if they don’t. That’s not me being sexist. Most men don’t have amazing bodies, either. I certainly don’t. 

Apparently Diaz tackles such weighty issues as pubic hair maintenance. Finally, a celebrity willing to tackle the tough issues.

Needless to say the  hosts lickspittles were all agog, blinded by the blond.


Judge him by his heroes, and his fans

According to a proclamation commemorating Confederate History Month signed by Georgia’s corrupt governor, the racist traitors who fought for the 1 percent’s right to own slaves were “great leaders.”

But hey, John Rocker likes him, calling Deal “one of the top governors in all of America” after the Republican incumbent signed Georgia’s absurd “guns everywhere” bill into law. 

(h/t Andisheh)


Kareem gets it right

Of course Donald Sterling is a racist asshole, but those suggesting the Clippers refuse to take the court or fans boycott their games are being ridiculous. Why should anyone but Sterling be held responsible for his ignorance?

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar puts the Sterling imbroglio in the proper context:

He was discriminating against black and Hispanic families for years, preventing them from getting housing. It was public record. We did nothing. Suddenly he says he doesn’t want his girlfriend posing with Magic Johnson on Instagram and we bring out the torches and rope. Shouldn’t we have all called for his resignation back then?

Shouldn’t we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media? … The making and release of this tape is so sleazy that just listening to it makes me feel like an accomplice to the crime. We didn’t steal the cake but we’re all gorging ourselves on it.

Make no mistake: Donald Sterling is the villain of this story. But he’s just a handmaiden to the bigger evil. In our quest for social justice, we shouldn’t lose sight that racism is the true enemy. He’s just another jerk with more money than brains.

So, if we’re all going to be outraged, let’s be outraged that we weren’t more outraged when his racism was first evident. Let’s be outraged that private conversations between people in an intimate relationship are recorded and publicly played. Let’s be outraged that whoever did the betraying will probably get a book deal, a sitcom, trade recipes with Hoda and Kathie Lee, and soon appear on Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars.

The big question is “What should be done next?” I hope Sterling loses his franchise. I hope whoever made this illegal tape is sent to prison. I hope the Clippers continue to be unconditionally supported by their fans. I hope the Clippers realize that the ramblings of an 80-year-old man jealous of his young girlfriend don’t define who they are as individual players or as a team. They aren’t playing for Sterling—they’re playing for themselves, for the fans, for showing the world that neither basketball, nor our American ideals, are defined by a few pathetic men or women.


Is there a bigger dick than Wayne LaPierre?

The NRA chairman doubles as leader of the white conservative victim class, bemoaning the “loss” of freedoms in America when his organization gets everything they fucking want, rationality be damned.

“Gun rights, where we are right now in this country, have become a metaphor for a feeling it’s kind of all slipping away,” he continued. “It’s yearning for individual rights — the right to be safe, the right to be secure, the right to protect your family. The Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the right to live the way you choose.”


Rancher Cliven Bundy poses at his home in Bunkerville, Nevada

Shocked to hear racism from anti-government militant

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, hero to the Hannity crowd, sticks his boot up his ass and into his mouth:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.


Self-promoting activist Dustin Lance Black is no Harvey Milk

My more successful nemesis, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Milk” — a phrase likely incorporated in his voicemail greeting — is fond of depicting himself as the lone voice in the wilderness, fighting for justice while others stand on the sidelines.

The sun was warm and the reception from the town even warmer. I hadn’t run across such courteous people since I left Texas when I was 13 years old. As I drove down College Avenue, I passed a school. The sign out front read: Hope College. I smiled. I was supposed to be moving on from Milk, the 2008 film in which Sean Penn portrayed early gay-rights pioneer Harvey Milk. But here was Harvey’s favorite word, “Hope,” finding me once again.

They had simply never discussed gay rights openly before, and here I was, an interloper, threatening to thrust this hot-button issue into their community.

A similar narrative was relayed to the author of a widely discredited new book about the fight for marriage equality.

On March 21, 2009, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black gave a speech at the OutGiving conference for LGBT donors held by Tim Gill’s Gill Foundation warning against gradualism and calling for full federal equality for LGBT people.

“If there was applause, Black didn’t remember any,” Jo Becker writes of the speech in her new book, Forcing the Spring, which details the anger that a planned federal lawsuit challenging California’s Proposition 8 was raising from some more established LGBT leaders. “Instead, he recalled an ocean of pursed lips and crossed arms, and that he was literally trembling as he walked off stage. … Tim Gill … denounced Black outright, telling the crowd he was naive and misguided.”

BuzzFeed acquired a video of that speech and found that Black’s speech was interrupted by applause five times.

At the end, at least some members of the audience gave Black a standing ovation, the video shows. Though Black does look nervous, he is far from trembling — and waves out to the audience with a smile on his face before leaving the stage.

Don’t expect Black to be held accountable. The mythmakers in the Petty Queer Establishment have embraced him as one of their own. DLB should feel right at home, since their version of history often contradicts reality.