Manuela Lopez Restrepo

How Lil Nas X successfully trolled the right

The artist behind the inescapable 2019 earworm "Old Town Road," Lil Nas X, has successfully landed himself at the center of this week's predictable conservative outrage for the music video and promotional show accompanying his new single "Montero," even causing the corporate giant Nike to file suit.

The music video which serves as an anthem of queer acceptance portrays a heavenly Lil Nas X in what appears to be some version of the garden of Eden. As he sings about coming to terms with the fact that he has become infatuated with someone that is not deemed socially acceptable, he is seduced by a snake (also played by Lil Nas X) and ultimately chooses between heaven and hell by descending to the underworld via stripper pole.

The video has accrued over 37 million views since it initially premiered only days ago on March 26th.

"I know we promised to die with this secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist. You see this is very scary for me, people will be angry, they will say i'm pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am. The agenda to make people stay the fuck out of other people's lives and stop dictating who they should be."

Lil Nas X - MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) (Official Video)

As expected, conservative talking heads, whose entire careers are based on creating identity politics hysteria, have found the video to be outrageous, completely missing the point about what the church and modern-day Christianity have said about the acceptance of queer people. Grifter extraordinaires like Candace Owens expressed their distress over the music video on Twitter.

Lil Nas X, who is possibly the greatest celebrity poster to have ever taken to Twitter, responded with a swift clapback:

Many on social media have praised the song and questioned criticism for the video that subverts the notion that the supposed 'eternal damnation' associated with queerness is something that queer people cannot reclaim for themselves.

Nike filed a lawsuit against MSCHF for misleading customers and tarnishing the Nike brand on Monday. The corporate giant alleged that MSCHF's "unauthorized Satan Shoes are likely to cause confusion and dilution and create an erroneous association between MSCHF's products and Nike."

"Decisions about what products to put the 'swoosh' on belong to Nike, not to third parties like MSCHF," Nike said in its lawsuit, referring to its "swoosh" logo. "Nike requests that the court immediately and permanently stop MSCHF from fulfilling all orders for its unauthorized Satan Shoes."

Others who have expressed their outrage include South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, who responded to a tweet promoting the shoes by saying, "We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. We need to fight hard. And we need to fight smart. We have to win."

Most interestingly, Noem is dedicating her platform as a government official to Satanic Panic surrounding sneakers and the value of people's "god-given eternal souls" rather than addressing the fact that her lack of a response to the Coronavirus pandemic, one that included the peddling of conspiracy theories and Trump's hydroxychloroquine lies resulted in one of the worst transmission and death rates in the country at the tail-end of 2020.

Others incensed by the music video they did not have to watch included right-wing character Kaitlin Bennett, who at first shared her thankfulness for being blocked by the rapper. When he responded with an oft-cited (yet unproven) allegation of Bennett soiling herself at a college party, this was her response:

Bennett, who has gained a reputation as a provocateur for filming videos of herself harassing pedestrians in public settings received this prompt reply:

Ultimately the arguments that Lil Nas X is making a mockery of religion or the church fail to realize that as a queer man, he is embracing the narrative he has been fed about the implications of his mere existence. It's almost as if everyone that is digitally clutching their pearls about a music video and a sneaker design are more intently focused on generating empty outrage rather than focusing on issues that actually impact people's quality of life.

Meghan McCain apologizes after she gets called out for anti-Asian statements by John Oliver

In the wake of a shooting rampage in Atlanta that left eight people dead - six of whom were of Asian descent - many Americans have been forced to confront the undeniable anti-Asian narratives that have practically been ingrained in out culture. However, the most recent iterations of this long-held racism and vitriol have been intensified by the false narratives surrounding the origins and spread of the coronavirus. With pundits and political figures like former President Donald Trump referring to COVID-19 with Sinophobic monikers like the "China virus" "kung-flu" or "wuhan virus," there is a clear correlation between the uptick in hate crimes towards Asian Americans with the proliferation of these racist phrases.

And many popular figures have come forward to condemn these attacks and recent events for what they are: hate crimes that stem from ignorance and prejudice; in other words, unwarranted assaults that are caused by just about anything but a "bad day." Among those decrying this disturbing trend, has been conservative talk show host Meghan McCain, who shared various statements on her social media profiles condemning the attacks against Asian Americans.

Curiously enough, McCain did in fact give her thoughts on the idea of enforcing a "politically correct" narrative about the virus last year at the beginning of the pandemic.

John Oliver pointed out this hypocrisy in his show Sunday by rolling a clip of McCain about one year ago sharing her thoughts on the matter. In it, she says, "I don't have a problem with people calling it whatever they want. It's a deadly virus that did originate in Wuhan." Oliver was then quick to point out the glaring contradiction between someone dismissing this harmful language and then denouncing it without an iota of self-awareness or critical thought in between.

After the callout, which highlighted the fact that, of course, a wealthy white woman like McCain would be fine with something like this, she issued an apology:

As Oliver noted as he closed the focus on McCain, there's no issue with displaying some sympathy towards a community, but "there has to be an understanding that saying, 'I don't have a problem with calling it the China virus' is very much giving space for hate to grow."

Meghan McCain complains she hasn't gotten a vaccine yet — calls for Dr. Fauci to be fired

On Monday, the U.S. surpassed 500,000 deaths due to COVID-19. In a discussion of the somber milestone on ABC's "The View," co-host Meghan McCain criticized the U.S's handling of the pandemic and called for the firing of the head of the White House's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

McCain's rant included her dissatisfaction with the "inconsistent" messaging from the leadership of Dr. Fauci, and also included her disbelief in her unique struggle of not knowing when she will receive her vaccine. McCain began her comments with a clip from an interview with Dr. Fauci from this past weekend on CNN. She said she found the clip upsetting, mostly because Fauci's did not feel comfortable offering advice to vaccinated people on when and who they safely could and could not see.

McCain continued reacting by saying, "Next week will be a year since we left the studio, and I have been very responsible in many different ways, as so many Americans have been. And the fact that Dr. Fauci is going on CNN and he can't tell me that if I get the vaccine, if I'll be able to have dinner with my family … it continues to be inconsistent messaging."

She compared the state of affairs in the US to that of Israel, one of the most successful nations thus far in vaccinating their population. Shockingly, McCain failed to acknowledge the high mask usage rates in Israel and the drastic difference in population between the Middle Eastern nation and the United states, which are just a few of the factors that have contributed to the efficiency of the Israeli government's public health efforts.

"The fact that I, Meghan McCain, co-host of 'The View,' don't know when or how I will be able to get a vaccine because the rollout for my age range and my health is so nebulous, I have no idea when and how I get it."

McCain offered a solution to her frustration: getting rid of Dr. Fauci, one of the leading figures in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

"I think we need to have more people giving more opinions and honestly quite frankly, I think the Biden administration should remove him and put someone in place that does understand science or can talk like these other countries about how we can be more like these other places that are doing this successfully."

In true Meghan McCain fashion, The conservative pundit has turned a day in memoriam for the hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths in the United States into a conversation about herself. As the conversation continued, co-host Whoopi Goldberg exasperatedly decided to cut to commercials before McCain could come any closer to becoming a real-life version of Gretchen Wieners.


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