Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
Friends with Benniferts
Wait, why would I use that meme when this one is available?!
I just need a minute's peace.
Now, I have a lot of nerve acting like I'm not here for a revived Bennifer News Cycle as if I have not been dining out breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Ben Affleck news and Jennifer Lopez news for months now. As I have said before, there is no one who has been more adept at staying in the Celebrity Malarkey headlines during the Panopticon than Jennifer Lynn Lopez except for Lady Gaga. The two of them have basically carried the Low Stakes, High Investment Industry on their backs this year, shouting "let's get loud" at the paparazzi in their wake. I mean, let's look at the evidence. I love JLo and LGa but prior to the shutdown of the Star Schadenfreude Complex due to the global Pret-a-Porter, I really wasn't covering them that much. In the last year I've written probably 6-8 pieces about one or both of them. That's Beyoncé levels of coverage for me! Outrageous! And you may say, "Eric, isn't that an opportunity to investigate yourself and your own editorial choices?" To which I say, "Nope!"
It's just wild how much Lady Gaga and JLo have stayed in the news for the most benign stuff (and also very dramatic things, a mix!). And nipping at their heels is the Extremely Exhausted and Incredibly Ever-present Ben Affleck, who managed to stay in the news this year mostly by walking around with ex-girlfriend Ana De Armas and doing the official leisure activity of Bostonites: getting Dunkies. It's no wonder that Lady Gaga and JLo were able to swoop in and take the crown; in mid-2020 all a star had to do to get coverage was perform a zombie walk around their block with an iced coffee and we were all over it. The darkest timeline.
What's wild is that the erstwhile couple I'm lately dubbing Ben-Ana (pronounced banana) aren't the only stars who decided that "walking with coffee" was "content." As you'll recall, Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes kept food on a number of paparazzi tables by leaving their houses looking like a couple of college students who got locked out of their dorm room and need security to let them back in at least three times a week.
Honey, when I tell you this is an intentional PR stunt. Giving me "Will Smith running through the Harbor Tunnel in his bathrobe in Enemy of the State" on purpose. A team of people were like "What's the best way to sell records? Maybe some Leaving Las Vegas vibes?!"
Every time I see these pictures I get mad all over again. What am I supposed to do with this information?!
Can you imagine Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton trying to drum up attention for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by going out in public like two lower-tier bridal party members coming down hungover to the post-wedding brunch at a Courtyard by Marriott?
Dystopia is wild, babes.
ANYWAY. Apparently, we had to sit through the appetizer course of Nike shorts and apathy to get to the meal which is a dish the chef is calling "The 90s Are Back And They Brought Loose Jeans and Celebrity Couples With Them."
("That's a mouthful," I say to the server when they tell me about the dish. The server responds, "Well, duh. What did you think this was, an intravenous restaurant. Shut up and eat!" [It's one of those restaurants where the staff is rude to you and you pay them for it. I did not choose where we were eating today and I will be salty about it on the ride home.])
Here's the thing about Bennifer: I did not ask for this but I will accept it. I am suspicious, obviously. How convenient that after they've separately been out of the news for a few weeks they just happen to get photographed in the same Uber Pool or whatever is happening there. Y'all. This is not my first rodeo. I don't really think they're dating. I think they're just playing on the phone.
ME: Oh, Bennifer news. Again? I'm not falling for it.
As much as this celebrity couple confuses and perplexes me, I still have so many thoughts, feelings, questions, and comments disguised as questions.
YOU: [Says something completely unrelated to Bennifer]
ME: To quote my favorite Cardi B meme, "I'm glad you brung it up because I've been dying talk about it for a f-ing hot minute."
First of all! I know that Ben Affleck's relationship with Jennifer Lopez preceded his relationship with Jennifer Garner, but I always felt like he and Jennifer Garner should have been Bennifer and that's just something that I'll have to ask God about when I get to Heaven, I guess.
I also think that bother Jennifer Garner and Jennifer Lopez should get top billing in all relationship NataliePortmanteaus. I realize that this would have made their relationship name just Jennifer but I am fine with that.
Also, I just can't picture Jennifer Lopez getting Dunkies.
Famously, Banana would get Dunkies on their walks around the neighborhood or sometimes have it DoorDashed or something. If it was the latter, Ben Affleck would then perform a one-man Mr. Bean show by failing to pick up all the coffees on the doorstep. Every. Single. Time.
Also, those Dunkies are SO LIGHT. Ben Affleck said "MILK IT DOES A BODY GOOD."
[Here is the place where I would have put a milk ad featuring Ben Affleck, but would you believe he's never done one! Wild. I then searched for JLo, Matt Damon, and Jennifer Garner. None of them have done milk ads! Don't people care about building strong bones and calcium and whatnot anymore? Anyway, here's Marg Helgenberger drinking milk and trying to avoid some light flooding in a basement.]
Jennifer Lopez is a famed comedienne, of course, but I don't see her participating in this iced coffee ballet at Chez Baffle. Jennifer Lopez is from New York, famously. She used to drink coffee in a little paper cup that she bought from a bodega cat.
Actually, that's what she used to drink. Now she had her morning brew from a BEDAZZLED INAUGURATION THERMOS!
This is literally the best thing I have ever seen. I don't know whether it would be better if this is some official swag that Joe Biden handed out like he's was head of the prom committee or whether this is something JLo ordered herself. I really don't know. Another thing I'm going to have to talk about with God!
In conclusion, one of the things I can't get over about this new Jennifer news is that neither JLo nor BAffle have a project to promote right now so I don't understand why they're making news. I see Ben Affleck getting out of a white Escalade with a backpack like he's getting dropped off at carpool and I'm like "Okay, what am I supposed to purchase for this information?" As someone who had a doctors note that says I need more attention than the average person, I understand wanting to getting a little tabloid hit just to feel something, but this is a lot of trouble to go to.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are dating and I don't understand what that means for me and that's the real issue here. I'll stream On the 6 and watch The Town and await further instructions.
You're reading Here for It, a weekly humor newsletter by R. Eric Thomas. To find out more or to subscribe, click here.
In other news, Christian camp counselor Justin Bieber has a new line of Crocs out? They are lilac colored and have little cartoon figures on them--a Wile E. Coyote type figure and a skeleton on a skateboard--and good LORD I'm tired. I am not the target audience for them, so it's fine even though I have a doctors note that says I look very good in purple.
This is the second Crocs-related development that I've read about this week, after Questlove wore gold Crocs to the Oscars against my wishes. I am not trying to shade anyone who wears Crocs (I'm not trying to get canceled by my 7-year-old nephew) but I just have to say the Crocs Industrial Complex is really pushing this agenda and it's a lot. I really might have to go out and buy a pair of the shoes to see if they're all they're Croc'd up to be.
In any case, I am obsessed with the fact that Justin Bieber sent a pair of his Crocs to Victoria Beckham and she was didn't just throw the box away, she put up a poll on her Twitter, then told him "I'd rather die than wear these". AND SHE TAGGED HIM. Iconic RSVP, to be honest.
This exchange has huge Wilhelmenia Slater from Ugly Betty vibes and the world is better for it. I'm absolutely taking this energy into the world whenever it's safe enough to make plans you absolutely have no interest in following through on again.
Some Folks: Would you like to go to a birthday dinner at one of those restaurants where the servers are mean at you with a group of 25 people who are going to insist on separate checks at the end of the meal and then spend a whole hour trying to figure out who ordered "gratuity"?
Pre-2020 ME: Sigh. I guess.
Post-2021 ME: I'd rather die but thank you anyway!
Mrs. Harrison at Indiana Repertory Theatre
Last week I told you about how Mrs. Harrison will be streaming this month at IRT but like a PR genius I did not include a link. If you want information about that play, I guess catch me on my daily zombie walk around the neighborhood? That's how things work, right? Anyway, here's Mrs. Harrison!
Random Thing on the Internet
The wonderful podcast Poetry Unbound does a deep dive into one poem every week and this week's episode was on Hanif Abdurraqib's "When We Were 13, Jeff’s Father Left The Needle Down On A Journey Record Before Leaving The House One Morning And Never Coming Back". It's so wonderful.
Famously, Banana would get Dunkies,