Trigger warning: suicide
As much as I want to, I don't like recent Star Wars addition Rose Tico. I know I'm far from alone in that sentiment. In theory, the concept of a character who's not this glamorous action hero but just a regular mook who fangirls over her celebrity crush and then gets sucked into the action alongside him is a great one, but mostly I don't like her because I'm pissed at her for [spoiler alert that shouldn't be necessary because if you haven't seen "The Last Jedi" by now that's your own problem] stopping Finn from making a heroic sacrifice and telling him they'll win "not by destroying what we hate - but by saving what we love." Um, what? a.) Saving what he loves is literally exactly what you just stopped him from doing. b.) 99.9% of wars on Earth and, I presume, in a galaxy far, far away, have been and are and always will be won by killing the other side until they give up. So she's annoying that way.
But I have nothing against her actress Kelly Mary Tran, and even if I did, I would have been disgusted to learn that sexist and racist trolls have driven her to delete all her Instagram posts and leave the status "Afraid, but doing it anyway." Of course, it's not as if she's the first Star Wars actor to be severely harassed - young white male Jake Lloyd was bullied so severely that he quit acting, destroyed all his Star Wars memorabilia, and became mentally ill - but the bigotry in this case adds a particularly vile dimension. But what can we expect in an era when self-proclaimed Nazis fearlessly march in American streets without being shot? Disgusting people are no longer afraid to show the world how disgusting they are, because the most powerful man in the world has shown them that disgusting words and behavior carry no meaningful consequences. It's not going to get better anytime soon.
The Miss America pageant is doing away with its swimsuit and evening gown competitions. I have no stake in the matter, since the only beauty pageants I've ever seen are "Miss Congeniality" and "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous", but I do idly wonder, not for the first time, why we consider it less shallow to judge someone for their mind than their appearance. People don't choose how smart they are any more than they choose what they look like, do they? In either case, they're born with something and then they can augment it to some limited extent. If anything, people have more control over their looks because plastic surgery is a thing while brain boosting isn't. These are the things I speculate about instead of sleeping.
The Supreme Court made a rather vague ruling in favor of the Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony on religious grounds, finding that Colorado failed to respect his religious rights, while not clarifying how similar situations should be decided. As unpopular as it is, I agree with this ruling because the Constitution protects religious freedom and does not protect getting a wedding cake from whichever business you want. Whether you consider someone's beliefs to be bigoted or invalid is entirely irrelevant. I believe that generally if you have a problem with a business's practices, unless they include putting human flesh on pizza or something like that, you should just exercise your right to not patronize that business rather than whining to the government to make it do what you want. Of course there are nuances and exceptions and a need for compromise and yadda yadda yadda, and the Court conveniently didn't bother to outline any of those in any sort of detail at this time.
A couple more celebrities committed suicide this week, giving thousands of Americans the opportunity to glean their coveted likes and retweets by pretending to suddenly care about depression and mental health. Most of them have responded with deafening silence to the 123-ish less important people who've been commiting suicide every day, but progress is progress, I suppose. I don't mean to be dismissive of Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain, but I don't know why we need them as wake-up calls for a problem that is not new. It's just too bad that this administration has cut hundreds of millions of dollars of mental health funding and has perpetuated the stigma against mental illness by trying to pretend it's responsible for the United States' exclusive mass shooting problem. It seems like these are exactly the wrong things to do and say in an era when suicide rates are skyrocketing, but nobody asked me.
I think I know why suicide rates are skyrocketing. I think it's because we've created an incredibly shallow, fake, moronic, greedy, self-absorbed, polarized, annoying, unnecessarily and gratuitously stressful society and people, even celebrities who are supposed to be happy because they have lots of money, don't want to be in it anymore. I sure as hell don't. Sometimes the only reason I put up with it is that a new Star Wars movie is coming out every year. Maybe our society could grow up and stop being crappy and see if that helps. But I won't hold my breath. To end on a more pleasant note, here's a soothing song I've listened to a lot this year.