Tuesday 20 March 2018

People are talking: Beyonce's Black Power dance

On stage: Beyonce performs live at half-time in the Super Bowl
On stage: Beyonce performs live at half-time in the Super Bowl
Bill Cosby
Gifted: Aniston surely has 'love fatigue' by now.

Anne Marie Scanlon

What an upside down place modern America is. Look at the very different ways Beyonce and Jada Pinkett Smith were treated when they aired their views about racism and discrimination against people of colour.

Jada, a rich, privileged and powerful actress decided to boycott the Oscars because they aren't diverse enough - #OscarSoWhite. Everyone inside the bubble that is Hollywood rushed to mollify her and promised to do better.

Outside of Tinseltown, liberal types kept their respective gobs shut, because in our modern, interconnected, online, offence-and-offensive, black-and-white world nobody wants to be accused of racism.

You can come back from most things these days but not an accusation of racism. As a result, nobody had the cojones to tell Jada to stop throwing her toys out of the pram or to 'take a ticket'. Yes, Hollywood is racist, but it's also sexist, ageist, fattist and plenty more besides.

Maybe Beyonce (again, rich, privileged and powerful) thought that she would get the 'Jada Treatment' when she used the Super Bowl half-time show to highlight the fact that her African-American brethren are mostly unprivileged, poor and powerless and being gunned down at an alarming rate. But no, for promoting #BlackLivesMatter, Beyonce is apparently, get this, a racist!

Beyonce's performance of her new single Formation had backing dancers referencing the Black Panthers, Malcolm X and the Black Power movement.

February is 'Black History Month' in the US, but referencing actual 'Black History' had one outraged group of protesters in New York labelling the routine a 'race-baiting stunt' and one detractor called Bey a 'liberal hypocrite'. Unfair really as the singer and her husband, Jay Z, have a history of putting their money where their mouths are, and supporting less privileged black people.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani called the show "outrageous" and implied it was "unwholesome". "This is football, not Hollywood," he fumed.

Oh, Bey, if only you'd raised a clenched fist for rich people's problems. That's the American way.

Let Dowling go to voicemail, ladies

Is this what friends are for? Brian Dowling revealed  that he asked Pippa O'Connor if she would be a surrogate Mom for him and his husband. She is, of course, his Best Friend Forever. But still, it's a big ask. Particularly since she's pregnant herself having a child with another Brian. Even if the request is a joke, it isn't really a joke. Because the seed has been planted, so to speak.

You'd imagine that other women friends who see Brian Dowling's name on an incoming call might let it go to voicemail. You don't want to say no, either. Instead you'd have to go through all the 'flattered to be asked' palaver, before admitting that you are not worthy of the honour. If that doesn't work, you might draw attention to your weird pointy nose and say that you'd hate to pass it on to anyone else. Anything to try and pass him on to someone else.

Is this the changing face of friendship between gay men in Ireland and their female pals? That a guy might turn around and say, "Look, instead of sending Christmas cards this year, maybe you could have my child." This is going to cause huge tension between gay men and their lady friends. Something should be done to make it easier. Maybe a woman should be able to indicate on her Facebook profile that she is up for a bit of surrogacy, if the right gay man comes along.

Pat Fitzpatrick

The last thing Bill needs

Bill Cosby.jpg
Bill Cosby

For a second there Bill Cosby looked like he might still have a chance of brazening this whole thing out. He'd come out fighting, albeit a little late. He announced that he was suing seven of his accusers. Was there, we wondered, some possibility that he might still get off with the crimes he's accused of. But then this week things went a bit wrong for him. Kanye tweeted "BILL COSBY  INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!" and things all began to look a little difficult again.

According to CNN, Kanye "gave no explanation as to how he got to such a conclusion or any context as to why he made such a controversial comment. In fact, he moved on and posted about another hot topic - NBA star Lebron James' new NIKE sneakers."

It's kind of like when Sarah Palin supported Donald Trump. You're kind of happy someone's up for you but you know it's not really a help. Especially when they're, as Kanye admits, " I am a proud non-reader of books" and a man who thinks he can cover Freddy Mercury vocals and people won't laugh. Let's just hope, for his sake, that Bill's lawyers won't let this shake their confidence.

Donal Lynch

Jose: Portuguese man o' war alert

In the good old days, soccer fans knew their teams weren't doing well if they kept losing games.

But the best way to gauge if your team is doomed nowadays is if Jose Mourinho is being lined up as a prospective manager.

The grim reaper of touchline supremos was given the boot by Chelsea earlier in the season and he's now being used as a spectre for all other under-performing managers.

It really is the Premier League version of 'wait until your father comes home!' If you don't grind a result against West Ham then you can collect your P45 and the job is Jose's.

Man United are the latest club that have the spectre of Jose hanging over them, and current manager Louis Van Gaal isn't taking it too well. He laid into a journalist at a press conference last week for creating stories and writing that he was doomed.

Man United are under pressure to keep up with the Joneses, or should that be Joses. Their mancunian rivals Man City have just appointed flashy new manager Pep Guardiola so United want to do the same.

So if it's hello Jose next season it will be bye bye Man United.

Will Hanafin

Best TDs are behind bars

Two weeks down. Two to go. Stay strong, people. The 2016 election campaign will soon be over - bang on time for the next one, which, according to the latest polls, may be only months away.

It's enough to turn anyone to drink.

Thankfully, here's just the place to get one. It's called the Dail bar, and the latest figures released under a Freedom of Information request show that 14,000 pints of beer were drunk there during 2015.

And that was just by… (insert name of unpopular politician for a cheap laugh).

And to be fair, there are plenty of them to choose from. TDs are unloved enough at the best of times, never mind when their faces are plastered over every lamppost as an unsightly reminder of the people who are running the country and those who aspire to run it instead. These are the choices? Seriously? Are you sure there hasn't been some awful mistake and these are actually pictures of the contestants on the next series of Embarrassing Bodies?

It's all the more annoying when the people who should really be in charge of Ireland's finances are already in the Dail. In fact, they're in that self-same bar. The mistake we've been making all these years is to give the job to the people on the wrong side of the counter.

The most recent figures available show that, despite selling booze at rock bottom prices, the two Dail bars racked up a healthy annual profit in 2014 of €115,466. Fancy that. It seems that stuff works when it's put in the hands of people who know how to run a successful business, rather than the rag bag of former teachers, trade unionists, and "full time public representatives" who normally sit on those hallowed benches. Who'd have thunk it?

Eilis O'Hanlon

Jennifer's Valentine overkill

Gifted: Aniston surely has 'love fatigue' by now.

Spare a thought for poor Jennifer Aniston today as Justin Theroux, her husband of six months, lavishes her with Valentine's gifts. You may be thinking that there's no reason to pity anyone whose husband bothers to make a big deal of this romantic day; but you can get too much of a good thing. And, according to Justin, Jennifer has been "lavished with some good stuff" for a solid two months now. If there's such thing as "love fatigue" surely Jennifer has it by now.

The problem - if you see it as such - is this. There's Christmas, then Jennifer has her birthday on February 11 and then, hot on the birthday's heels comes Valentine's Day.

Now, you could argue that at the ages of 44 and 47, respectively, Justin and Jennifer might have calmed down on the celebrations by now, but clearly not. And, let's face it, they're still in the honeymoon stage, so we'll cut them some slack. But still, it all sounds a bit like overkill. And also, when you're a grown-up woman and not some giddy teen, a little space can be quite romantic, thanks, darling.

Justin's portrayal of his 60 days of showering his wife with gifts conjures up images of him following her around, tossing handfuls of rose petals at her and butting in on her in the bath to feed her Turkish Delight. It sounds like something forced, as from a corny film written by someone who thinks that women are slaves to soppy sentimentality and are convinced of their self-worth, and their man's affection by soft toys and overpriced roses.

Jennifer doesn't strike a person as that much of a ninny and, until now, neither did Justin. One worries, too, about anyone who doth protest too much in the form of presents. Not necessarily a good idea when you're in for the long haul.

Sarah Caden

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