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October 21, 2014
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Progress and Regress 4

For the fourth time, your weekly break-down of pop culture stories that mattered.

Progress: Lupita Nyong’o, who is pretty likely to have an Academy Award less than 48 hours from now, spoke frankly and refreshingly about her journey to accepting the beauty in her black-ness at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon on Thursday (February 27). She described having nearly pursued skin-whitening in her youth, and how seeing women like Oprah Winfrey and Alek Wek helped her to embrace her complexion. Today, Nyong’o is doing the same for an entire generation of young black women.

Regress: Continuing a long tradition of basically just all-around sucking, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton tweeted, “Inside every gay man is a fierce black woman!” achieving the rare double-stereotype perfect storm. To make matters irreparably worse, he summarized the response to his Tweet as follows: “Some present logical arguments but then Hitler attempted to justify the holocaust [sic] too.” Can we please not?

Progress: Comedic actor-producer-director-writer Seth Rogen used his celebrity platform to openly criticize the dearth of federal funding for Alzheimer’s disease research, speaking at a Congressional Committee hearing. Rogen’s mother-in-law is living with the disease, and the comedian has long been an advocate for efforts to improve the lives of Alzheimer’s patients and their families. While actual congressional turnout to the hearing was characteristically low, public and media response to Rogen’s speech has been unanimously laudatory.

Regress: Nine-time Jeopardy champion Arthur Chu, who has changed the game by being the first contestant to play with any sense of strategy in, I don’t know, my entire lifetime?, has almost inexplicably become an overnight internet supervillain. Apparently being well-researched, playing cleverly, and, yes, knowing the answers (or, the questions, as it were) is justification for a barrage of racist Tweets. In interviews, Chu has taken the criticism in stride, while acknowledging that both the “Asian evil genius” trope and his own demeanor on the show have been contributing factors to the social media hatred he’s received. My question is this: why don’t more people Tweet about Alex Trebek’s smug attitude and outright rudeness to the contestants?

Coming this Week: Oscars, Oscars, Oscars