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Pop Culture Explainer: The Tarantino, Tolentino, Teen Tycoon, and Tenderloin Crisis

The hardest I work is when I try to figure out why a meme is trending on social media. I literally drop everything I’m doing whenever someone tweets something along the lines of “I’m not going to repost but you know what I’m talking about and here’s my opinion on it.”

Stop doing this to me, internet.

If you’re avoiding posting something in order to not call attention to it, then I’m here to tell you, this is the opposite of doing that. I will not let it go and will get to the bottom of your vague tease, so essentially you ARE posting it. Imagine having brunch with a friend and she says “I can’t tell you what this person told me.” Clearly she wants to tell you, and the fact that she disclosed there’s something to tell means that she is then required by brunch law to spill the tea.

Bad Poem

What I’m trying to say is that it should not have been this hard for me to find that poem inspired by Jia Tolentino everyone was (rightfully) bashing. (Finally my search “bad poem” brought it up on Twitter.)

It’s a poem by Nicholas Rombes about New Yorker staff writer and essayist Jia Tolentino that was published in 3:AM Magazine (in their defense, nothing constructive ever happens at 3am, so they were just being on brand). My first reaction was “why,” followed by “he is a murderer,” and finally after reading that he wants to come back “into this eely wet/ slippery world/” with her I thought he is a “horny murderer who needs therapy and also writing lessons.” Then I checked to see if Jia is alive. (She is, fortunately.) I know poetry is supposed to evoke emotion, but not a wellness check.

I’ve never been intelligent enough to understand poetry (as you can tell, I am a very literal writer with little imagination or feeling), so if a famous writer told me this travesty of a poem is Nobel Prize worthy, I’d say “okay, sure, what the hell do I know anyway.” (However, if that same person told me Robert Herrick’s “The Vine” is trash I’d fight them. Now that’s a sexy-ass poem.)

But seems like there’s a consensus that Rombes’s poem should never have seen the light of day (or screens) and I’m glad that my initial gut reaction was to be first confused and then grossed out.

Next time someone posts about refusing to post a trending but controversial subject I will trust them and move on. (Probably not though.)

Quentin Tarantino’s Mommy Issues

Speaking of men who need therapy, Quentin Tarantino announced on a podcast that he had vowed at the wise age of 12, when all of us make important lifelong decisions, to never help his mom financially and he is proud to confirm he never has, minus a one-time IRS issue.

I know we’ve been occupied by celebrities who don’t bathe and feel compelled for some reason to tell us about it, but this is worse. Not bathing doesn’t make you an asshole. At least you’re conserving water. And if you’re in California (which I know Mila Kunis is because I saw her at Target buying socks) then you’re actually doing us a favor so God bless. (No, she did not smell.)

But being an exceptionally rich and successful 50-something-year-old director who’s been holding a grudge against his mother for 40-something years does make you an asshole. By this ripe age you should have enough experiences in your life to put things into perspective.

“There are consequences for your words as you deal with your children,” he said. “Remember there are consequences for your sarcastic tone about what’s meaningful to them.”

I’m not disagreeing that words have consequences. Obviously they do. Trust me, I have my own issues and grudges. This just isn’t the hill I’d die on.

The deed and the consequence need to be proportional. If everything you say as a parent has consequences, then my kid will probably never talk to me as an adult because I told him he is not good at drawing people. He’s not. He’s almost 7 and drawing stick figures. It’s something that needs to be addressed. Am I supposed to be punished for what I said if he ever becomes a famous stick figure artist? No. Because of the other million times I’ve done nothing but be obsessed with him and shower him with love, support, and all the mac ‘n’ cheese he can eat.

A lot of people supporting Tarantino’s decision claim “there’s more to it” and there’s “trauma” that he’s not disclosing. But here’s the thing, he didn’t say that. He gave a very specific reason for withholding financial support from her, so no need to put words in his mouth. He’s the last person in the world who needs help with words or their usage in weaving a story. As he’s made very clear, he’s very good at his job.

Had he said “I don’t support my mom financially and it’s none of anyone’s fucking business why,” I’d respect that. That’s your private issue and no one is obligated to give money, or even love or attention to anyone, even to family members if they don’t want to.

But this isn’t the case here. He’s just a super petty man holding a grudge, which works great when he’s channeling it against Nazis or slave owners in his films, but not so much in real life.

You think my parents supported me being a writer? They supported it as a cute little “hobby,” but for Persians unless you are going to be the next Rumi (or Tarantino) you better get yourself a real damn job.

But I don’t hold a grudge and it has never even occurred to me to withhold support if I ever become rich. In fact, I’d buy my mom a house and every time she asks me to come over I’d say “you mean to the house I bought with the money I made being a “writer” [insert exaggerated air quotes]…? OK, see you at 8.” That’s how you punish them. You don’t withhold, you hold it over their heads like the sword of Damocles. You make every second of their life a reminder of just how wrong they were about everything. What good is money if not to be weaponized?

That way you will never be considered ungrateful and will not live with any guilt once they pass away.

As you can see, I’ve thought this through.

Tarantino just had his first child, so he’s in for a rude awakening if he thinks he’s never going to say something offensive or hurtful. I hope his kid aspires to become a comedy magician. We’ll see how much he contains his “sarcastic tone about what’s meaningful to them” then.

16 Year-Old-Entrepreneur Meme Guy

The meme about “16-year-old entrepreneur interested in cryptocurrency” has taken over my timeline.

What is the origin? I lay awake at night wondering. Is there even an origin? There must be.

Finally someone quote tweeted the actual Forbes article about Youssof Altoukhi, “16-Year-old Entrepreneur Aiming To Increase Equality in Decision Making Among Cryptocurrency Projects.” Even then I thought it was a joke. Not because of the headline, but the photo, which I assume is the reason it became a meme and not just the context of the article.

Based on that pretentious photo of him in a private jet wearing a bright blue suit looking totally bored the way rich people can afford to do, he reeks of a lifetime of being catered to, not just with money but with attention and privilege. With parents who, unlike Tarantino’s mom, told him he can do anything he ever wants and never has to worry about failing because there’s a safety net made of gold threads that will catch his fall.

I’m sure Yousoff is smart and resourceful. (Good for him I guess.) But as a Middle Eastern person which I understand Yousoff to be, there are a few rich uncles missing from the story. You know, the one that brings the Costco-sized Patron tequila and then sits down with your brothers to discuss their businesses and see how they can help each other. The uncle with the hook-ups and the bottomless pit of money, the source of which no one knows. Or maybe he has rich parents. Either way, there was some essential information missing in this article but that’s fine.

The author’s angle was that this kid is trying to do something democratic (aka good) when it comes to cryptocurrency. I’ve mentioned this before, I am not going to pretend I understand what this digital monopoly money is. My uncle who brings the Costco-size tequila is not well-versed in cryptocurrency or regular currency for that matter. So I’ve never had the hook-ups to help launch anything.

Had Yousoff been some typical 16-year-old with a Jansport backpack (is that still a thing?) on a skateboard holding a boba drink, then we’d be like “OK let’s hear him out.” Because we’re not monsters who are against innovative teens.

But we are all clearly done with overly rich, privileged people making up their own money and forcing us to play along as if they’ve invented something new that will benefit everyone. Yousoff is only 16, so who knows what other “businesses” he’s got under his designer sleeve. It’s just a matter of time before I end up giving Yousoff all my money like I did to Bezos.

He’s probably planning his trip to space in a penis rocket ship as we speak.

Pork Shortage

On a completely different note, there soon will be a pork shortage in California. Between dealing with an eternal drought and boundless wildfires, we’re already all crisis-ed out.

It’s our own fault. In 2022 California is going to start enforcing an animal welfare proposition that was approved by voters back in 2018. Back then we were young and naïve and didn’t know only 4% of hog operations can comply with the new rules, which are to be nicer to animals by allowing them more breeding space. You can still slaughter them, don’t get me wrong, but are required to let them live their best life while they’re alive.

I didn’t grow up eating pork so I can’t really relate to the panic. However I’m learning that Hispanic and Asian restaurants will jack up their prices because pork is an essential food for them and now I am panicked and would like to take back my vote from 2018 please. But as a consolation we can refer to the PETA anti-animal language chart. If we can’t spare an animal’s life at least we can spare their feelings.

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Written By

Orly Minazad is freelance writer and regrets it every day of her life. She moved to the States from Iran in 1991 with her family seeking better opportunities only to waste them earning a Masters in Professional Writing degree from USC which no longer exists, cost a lot of money and for which she has nothing to show. No, she is not bitter at all. Why do you ask? Oh you didn't, ok. She lives with her husband and son in Los Angeles where she spends the day loading and unloading the dishwasher.

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