1. Chloe Sevigny – First things first, hats off to anyone willing to give Vincent Gallo a beej in an already terrible movie. That girl is a trooper of the highest order, and deserves that respect. That being said, I’ve always been perplexed at the amount of undying respect and love she seems to get from the “artsy” crowd for being, at best, a mediocre actress. Sure, she’s had a couple good roles, but she mostly just seems to have graduated Salutatorian from The Cool Hipster Monotone Girl’s School For Acting (founded in 1865 by Janeane Garafalo). And while she may not have the twee charm and staggering little girl dress collection of Valedictorian Zooey Deschanel, she certainly carries a similar level of admiration from the same crowd. I suppose that people associate her lack of inflection and general feminine appeal as making her intelligent and a “serious” actress, although I have my disagreements (see: Vincent Gallo), but does not really doing a whole lot of acting suddenly put you beyond the Mumblecore Hall of Fame and into the stratosphere of Actress I Totally Want to Hang Out With? Judging by the amount of pictures of her breasts on Tumblr, I would assume that such is the case. I suppose with people like Chloe, the hipster masses just project whatever image they have onto the actor from their slew of cool, artsy roles and imagine that they are the kind of girl that would come to their house party, listen to their favorite LPs and maybe, eventually, bang them (see: Vincent Gallo).
2. Justin Bieber – And I don’t mean that he’s overrated in the positive sense, I mean he is far too overrated in the negative one. People have latched onto him, as people beyond the age of 17 tend to do with any “tween sensation,” as the object of their blind, consuming, often grammatically incorrect hatred. Every internet forum, YouTube video comment section, and self-righteous conversation between struggling musicians cites Bieber as the nadir of the music industry and possibly the first true sign of the Apocalypse. And though I would surely love him myself if I were twelve, (if the actual 12-year-old me who would have gotten all five Backstreet Boys’ names tattooed on my forehead in a heartbeat is any indication) I can’t say that as a twenty-something, I fully comprehend the hatred. Maybe I’m not in step with my generation, but I have to say, of all artists–Justin Bieber? If not writing his own music, being auto-tuned, looking extremely feminine, or being a product of an industry that cares not if he has stage-4 cancer so long as he makes his tour dates is unsettling to you–well, you can pick almost any popular musician today to hate. No, I think it’s his massive popularity that makes him so roundly despised. And yet, if the internet community should hate anyone so much, it’s ironic that it would be Beiber. No, he didn’t just answer some anonymous cattle call asking for 5 angel-faced teenage boys that Lou Perlman could lock in a basement and sweatily exploit until a hit song came out–he gained a cult following on YouTube by…what’s that? Singing! Singing adorable little songs at church functions and state fairs and in his bathroom. People slowly started to catch on, enjoy, and share his work. Eventually, record execs and established musicians caught notice and fought a little over the rights to his lucrative future. Usher won. The rest is history. Hate Britney Spears, that woman has been riding on having no talent and being sexy for about 8 years since she stopped actually being sexy. Shouldn’t you all take more umbrage with that.
3. Taylor Swift – Okay, okay, the girl can write a song. And perform them. And play an instrument. That makes her more talented than most other performers in the pop/country realm. And, yes, she manages to stay somewhat chaste with her public image (at least remembering to put on underwear when she’s going for a 3 AM stroll in a micromini). Although let’s be honest, she can’t afford to slip up and lose all that sweet, sweet Red State money. She’s gotta keep her clothes on, Jesus doesn’t want us to see her cooch. But anyone with more than three brain cells to rub together must have realized by now that literally all of her songs are the same. She likes a boy and there is some unforeseen difficulty, which ultimately resolves itself just in time for him to pick her up on his white horse with the Confederate flag draped over its side and take her to prom. Side note–she’s been going to prom for about six years now. Is she going to graduate from high school at some point? Anyway, it seems to be the consensus in America that she’s a good role model for young girls because she’s a “real” musician who doesn’t need to rely on sexuality or vulgar language to succeed. But somehow I feel that talking endlessly about sex would almost be more empowering to young girls than sending the message that the only thing you should be concerned about is whether or not Tommy likes you. Forget an education or dreams of your own, run to Tommy’s house in the middle of the night and serenade him. Or, better yet, linger on the sidelines at the big game and bat your eyes until Tommy notices. Guys like girls who are coy. But bring eye drops, it could take a while.
4. Kanye West – The tenuous, love/hate, occasionally abusive relationship that white people have with Kanye West is a thing to be admired. He is somewhat artsy and dresses like Bill Nye at a gay pride parade, he shits all over Taylor Swift and exists only as one big publicity stunt–he’s a parody of himself, we like him. But I’ve read so many SUPER SERIOUS articles this past year in everything from Cracked to Rolling Stone about how Kanye West had the greatest album of the year, how he’s a musical genius, how he’s changing the face of hip hop, etc etc. Perhaps I missed the memo that went around society about ten years ago when we decided that taking other people’s music and making it skip again and again while you talked over it was somehow even in the same league as real music. There is incredibly good hip hop out there, stuff that elevates poetry to a visceral level that it sometimes can’t achieve when stuck on paper. However, Kanye writing the lyrical equivalent to masturbating in front of a mirror with shutter shades on and putting it over copies of other people’s songs does not an album make. I don’t care how cool the macaroni art of other people’s music he makes sounds on a movie trailer, there are about a billion other artists who deserve the accolades more than he does
5. Bill Maher – People who love Bill Maher puzzle me. On the one hand, his writers do occasionally use him as a megaphone for some rather incisive jokes. And I think Religulous was an important, hilarious, eye-opening, terrifying documentary. But even that film was somewhat mahrred (pardon the pun!) for me by his (ironically) preachy, condescending tone. His voice drips with superiority and smugness, as if everything he says is the most intelligent, witty, counter-culturally interesting thing anyone has ever heard. And his trained seal show of an audience is happy to laugh sycophantically and clap at every general virulent statement he makes (I’m pretty sure between takes they throw salmon into the stands to joyful cries of “Arf! Arf!”). But regardless of whether you agree with his politics or not, the know-it-all tone with which he conveys every message and the unintentionally hilarious parade of brain-dead celebrities that come on to his show to reveal how uninformed they are must at some point become grating. Ashton Kutcher? Really? I’m sorry, I don’t care how many Twitter followers you and your creepy wife have, I’m pretty sure I’d rather listen to someone who has even a peripheral involvement with the situation in Lybia. And the last thing Sean Penn needs is another place to espouse his smug beliefs and give himself a stroke trying to work up some self-righteous tears to go with his half-baked ideas. But even without the celebrities, Maher’s blind, oversimplified view of the world and his easy, dumb jokes–are just exhausting. That being said, he did date Karrine Steffans for a long time. Credit where credit is due, that girl is gorgeous.
6. Meryl Streep – Just kidding, Meryl Streep’s fucking awesome.