Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This week on ELLE.com I found myself writing about best friendship. This wasn't by design. But between Viola Davis and Meryl Streep's BFF-ship and the Pres/VP bromance, this week was an mutual affection bonanza. It's tew much!
I loved writing about about people who respect each other, about beautiful, joyful connections, about humanity.
I also love writing about office supplies.
My favorite column from the week is an "interview" I did with one of the manila folders used as a prop during the PEOTUS' press conference. This kind of farcical, slightly barbed, absurd comedy is me 100%. This is the kind of stuff I write that makes me laugh out loud in public. It's embarrassing.
During the contentious spectacle, he dramatically displayed a table full of files he said contained evidence that he was turning over his business to his sons. But, like a leftover prop from the first season of The Apprentice, the pages inside were said to be totally blank. We secured an interview with one of the folders.
Q: Didn't it disturb you that you were defrauding the American public?
A: The way I see it, I was playing a part. The part of "evidence." I play that part really well. "Evidence" is the Hamlet of the manila folder world. Look, you loved me in my breakout role in Erin Brockovich. You believed I had evidence in me. You wanted me to succeed. You wanted to believe and I made it possible. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Viola can't even open her mouth with sending me into a catatonic state of joy. Like, if she were to pull into the drive-through at McDonald's and order a #3 with an apple pie I'd still probably get my entire life. Yas, Cousin Vi, you better get yourself that Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese! You. Have. Earned. It. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Like the best BFFs in the whole world, the president surprised his best friend with the Presidential Medal of Freedom! Every other surprise on Earth is trash compared to this. "Oh, an engagement ring and a fireworks show at Niagara Falls. Nice, but it's no President Obama getting choked up while presenting Vice President Biden with the Medal of Freedom. I mean, sure I'll marry you or whatever." [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
For the past few years, acting powerhouses Meryl "Can't Be Overrated; I Am the Rate" Streep and Viola "Are You Ready to Feel Every Emotion? Cuz You're About To" Davis have been low-key building one of Hollywood's best BFF-ships. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
On one hand, Jeopardy! doesn't have the range. On the other hand, I need Alex Trebek saying "Yas queen" as my ringtone immediately. He is giving you silver fox, fresh off a divorce, first time at Fire Island realness. #WhatIsSugarDaddy
I think Jeopardy! should just lean into this new style of category. Let me write all your internet-related category headlines. #GetYourPaper [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
More than anything, Biden's muted gesture is an inspiration point. Joe-Bi Wan Kenobi isn't our only hope, but he's an integral part of a hope-filled era. His jolly demeanor, boiled down to one jaunty finger, is a signal that everything is going to be just fine. Not since E.T. has a single digit been so magical. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Welcome back to Mariah's World, the reality show that is suddenly about infidelity! This show has taken a turn. After last week's end-of-show preview strongly hinted that Mariah and backup dancer Tanaka were, in the words of Mariah's hit, "feeling emotions" Mariah's World abruptly changed courses. Suddenly it feels like we're watching that Showtime drama about the couple that has an affair. What is it called? About the two people who have an affair? With Ruth Wilson? She has an affair? Don't tell me; it'll come to me. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Last week I also did a guest post on Man Repeller! They have a regular feature called Sunday Scaries where people write about the train-wreck of un-productivity and Monday morning anticipatory anxiety that is their weekends. This seemed like a natural fit for me (although one commenter did grouse that I was too productive during my unproductive Sunday. You can't win.)
I make the conscious decision not to shower so that I am literally unable to leave the house once we get back to the house. I think this is where my downfall begins. I always imagine Sundays as this wide-open field in which I can frolic and play. I tell myself I have so much time. I can do anything! I’ll read, I’ll grocery shop, I’ll cook! What a wonderful life this is.
Spoiler alert: I do nothing, always. [READ THE FULL PIECE]
Random Thing from the Internet
This week, one of my favorite Twitter personalities Jay Versace posted a video of himself and some friends dancing in the middle of the street to "Optimistic" by Sounds of Blackness. It set a bright and beautiful tone for my week. Sounds of Blackness brought me all the way back. They're a gospel/R&B/house music hybrid that came to prominence in the 90s with up-tempo songs bearing affirming messages. They were a staple in my house. As with so many things, I thought we were the only people who had ever heard of them. (#YouLiveInABubble) The cassette packaging seemed kind of DIY; I thought the group was just bunch of my parents' pro-black friends. Of course, this was 1991; everything seemed kind of DIY.
Anyway, out of nowhere, Jay Versace, a 20-year-old comedian living in LA, puts up a video of him and 3 other black men molly-rocking in traffic to this throwback and suddenly past and present and future collapsed into each other. Sounds of Blackness was putting out empowerment anthems into a difficult and uncertain time. And 20 years later, these seemingly carefree black men have found both this song, its message and an inherent joy despite the odds. I don't think it's accidental; I don't think it's insignificant; I know it's not easy. Yes, it's a just a moment of dancing, but it's also a reminder for me that finding optimism is rarely simple but those who came before us have drawn a map. Just as those that came before them did. And today, we draw a new map together.
Click below for the link to the video (it may not show up in your e-mail):
2017 GOT ME FEELING LIKE 🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/kWjQFjM0wD
— JAY VERSACE (@tharealversace) January 13, 2017