If you thought that the holiday break would provide a reprieve from men talking out of their asses and serving needless offerings of gender politics dripping in equal parts absurdity and asininity, Lewis Hamilton and Bono have news for you.
Hamilton was this week’s first offender after making headlines for taking to social media to mock his own damn nephew. In a since-deleted Snapchat video, the race car bae effectively called out his own kin for not following gender norms. In the clip, we hear Hamilton declare, “I’m so sad right now. Look at my nephew.” We then see Hamilton’s nephew wearing a dress.
“Why are you wearing a princess dress?,” Hamilton asked. “Is this what you got for Christmas? Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas?” He then went on to shout, “Boys don’t wear princess dresses!”
The internet promptly gathered his silly ass for being so goddamn simple. Liam Hackett, founder of anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label tweeted: "Disappointing to see somebody with such a huge platform use it to publicly shame and attempt to undermine a small child." Others poured in to effectively rely the sentiment “What the hell is wrong with you, Lewis Hamilton?”
In response, Hamilton took to Twitter to offer an apology: “Yesterday I was playing around with my nephew and realised that my words were inappropriate so I removed the post. I meant no harm and did not mean to offend anyone at all. I love that my nephew feels free to express himself as we all should.”
Hamilton added in a subsequent tweet: “My deepest apologies for my behaviour as I realise it is really not acceptable for anyone, no matter where you are from, to marginalise or stereotype anyone.”
While Hamilton’s publicist deserves kudos for hastily providing appropriate language for his coerced apology, points are nonetheless deducted for that person’s failure to remind Hamilton that if you’re going to apologize on Twitter, you probably shouldn’t hit “like” on a bunch of posts bemoaning political correctness. That is, if you won’t folks to buy your apology -- which none of us should do considering he gave not so subtle nods to those who felt that Hamilton did nothing wrong and that everyone is just too sensitive nowadays.
I learned in an entry-level anthropology class back in college how actions like those made by Hamilton enforce rigid gender norms into children who genuinely don’t think anything of matters like a boy wearing a princess dress until some jackass adult tells them otherwise. Hamilton was wrong for making fun of his nephew on social media.
He’s wrong for not letting a child be a child. He’s dead wrong for offering an apology that he obviously didn’t mean because he wasted no time negating it by rushing to co-sign posts from other like-minded jackasses.
And by the way, while his career as a race car driver may make Hamilton a “manly man” in the eyes of some (and himself), I’ve seen Lewis Hamilton’s Instagram. Hell, I’ve seen him in person. I don’t try to judge people by those arbitrary standards, but if I were to, let me just say, Lewis Hamilton, you have a lot of damn nerve chastising your nephew for wearing a dress when someone just as small-minded could toss a tiara at you.
In sum, Lewis Hamilton is nice to look at, but Lewis Hamilton can also race right on into the nearest abyss unless he gives his nephew a real apology.
After that happens, perhaps Bono can apologize for the nonsensical drivel he spewed in his Rolling Stone cover story. The U2 frontman expressed concern that too many women have infiltrated radio airwaves with their singing and general instrument playing. Apparently, Bono misses all of the male rage! You know, because we haven’t had enough of that.
“I think music has gotten very girly,” Bono explained. “And there are some good things about that, but hip-hop is the only place for young male anger at the moment and that’s not good.”
Bono went on to add: “When I was 16, I had a lot of anger in me. You need to find a place for it and for guitars, whether it is with a drum machine I don’t care. The moment something becomes preserved, it is fucking over. You might as well put it in formaldehyde. In the end, what is rock & roll? Rage is at the heart of it. Some great rock & roll tends to have that, which is why the Who were such a great band. Or Pearl Jam. Eddie has that rage.”
Hark, I hear an old man grappling with growing irrelevancy turning to sexism for the sake of scoring headlines. Point, laugh, and pity, y’all. Now let’s turn on some Coldplay to further piss Bitter Bono off.
Rock & Roll was invented by Black people, and when you recall its pioneers, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Ike Turner before that powder had power over him, among others, anger is not the first emotion that comes to mind when describing the sound they made and Bono now wants to comment on.
If Bono believes that it’s important for young men with anger to have a medium like music to channel that rage and flip it into art, that’s a fair point (I guess, if I am being generous because it’s the holidays). However, Bono is making that point at the expense of women. Worse, he implies that women are not capable of channeling rage in rock, an ahistorical and bewilderingly dim assertion if I ever heard one.
As my friend and writer Danielle Henderson noted on Twitter: “In 1992 Donita Sparks of L7 took out her tampon on stage and threw it into the crowd at the Reading Festival after being pelted with mud. I believe Bono spent that year shopping for brightly colored lenses for his fancy new sunglasses.”
I’m still laughing, but beyond that, at its core, Bono still opted to scapegoat women for something he felt was lacking from men. It’s sexist, coming from someone who walks around as if he’s arena rock Mother Teresa, embarrassing.
I want people to be better in 2018, but most especially, men. Please think before you speak. Try not to sound so sophomoric on your thoughts about gender. Seriously, stop irritating the ever living hell out of people with your banal, warped views of the world.
And if it’s going to take a while for you to get there, fret not, for silence is golden.
"Thots & Thoughts" is a column in which musings on dating, sex, race, religion, and politics all come togetherfrom a bird's-eye view.