As the resident multi-racial writer here at The Annual, I was asked to respond to the recent controversy surrounding a Cheerios commercial starring an interracial family and the hatred and racism filled YouTube comments that were aimed at this portrayal of an American family. First I will watch the video and then I will offer my feedback. Feel free to watch along with me.
*Heart melts from all of the adorableness*
*Dies with a toothy grin on her face*
Note from the Editor:
RIP Briana Haynie, The Annual’s resident Multi-Racial Writer.
The term “badass” has made its way into the vocabulary of today’s society. Upon analysis, some may view the word with a negative connotation, believing it to define an “ass” that is “bad.” However, many use the word to describe those who are tough, bring trouble, and do things others simply would not.
The intensity of these traits and acts vary between individuals, both male and female. A high school student stealing the teacher’s laser pointer to distract the class would be located higher on the scale of “badassery.” On the other hand, you may have two younger siblings eating candy and then secretly shoving the wrapper in their mom’s purse. While an accomplishment nonetheless, they have not yet reached the calling.
Although badass people exist everywhere, they all have their own capabilities, placing them in certain areas of society. For instance, I spotted a man of badass-like qualities in a ballroom dance class I took during a semester in college. Flaunting his macho physique, the 22-year-old football player stumbled through class after class, learning less about technique and more about his female classmates’ bra sizes. The man was definitely a badass on the football field, but a flop in the dance studio. However, this doesn’t mean that badass people don’t exist in rough-and-tumble hobbies. I learned this when I met Devin.
With the body of a typical college male and the hip movements of Shakira, Devin pranced his way through every turn, tuck, and spin. While the sight of his shaking hips was rather disturbing due to his skin-tight excuse for pants, it was clear that what stood before me was a badass ballroom dancer. Sure, he might get his ass kicked on the football field, but on his turf, anything goes.
So, any time you’re feeling like your life has not built up to the hierarchy of badassery, just ask yourself, “What kind of badass am I?” Because deep down, there’s a badass in you.
In 2006 a man from Louisiana joined Youtube. Over the years he has garnered over one hundred million views and a following of thousands for his distinctive and often thought-provoking social commentary. He’s expressed his views on everything from sex to politics, from religious conflicts to the Transformers film franchise. Most recently, this man spoke about the rise of atheism in America as a guest on CNN. Born Terroja Lee Kincaid, the Internet knows this man as,
David Luna: What was your first YouTube video about, and what brought you to upload it?
TJ Kincaid: It was really kind of an introduction video, and it was a discussion of how first videos are always awful, and they are. They’re just horribly awkward things, for the most part. No one really knew what to do on YouTube at that time. There’s kind of an expected formula now, but at that time it was kind of like in its very early, punk rock type of stages. No one really quite knew what to do to be entertaining or how to get an audience to pay attention. So it was really a lot of people out there that were just turning on a camera and talking into it, and for most people, it didn’t work. For me, for some reason, it did. The response was pretty immediate. By today’s standards it wouldn’t have been anything major, but at the time it was pretty successful for a first video, but it didn’t really have much of a subject—it was really just very introductory, probably most notable in the fact that I walked into a shadow and said, “I look like a nigger right now.” I said it for shock value purposes, but I kind of wish that I hadn’t because it kind of followed me for a while after that. I took it down because I didn’t want to be associated with that particular joke. It was a very poor video. I really don’t have any sort of affection for it. I don’t look back on it like, “Ah, my first video,” I look back on it like, “Ugghhh, my first video.”
DL: Do you ever feel like you’re not credited as being a pioneer of sorts? You’ve been around for a while and there are other “YouTube personalities” who are much less notable than you, but they have their own Wikipedia pages.
TJ: Well, it’s kind of the price you pay for being the black sheep. There was a time when I was definitely at a crossroads where it was like, “Okay, I can play the game as I’m expected to, or I can kind of still keep doing my own thing, but still use their format to do it in.” And I chose the latter. As long as I’ve been around, I’ve had an audience. I’ve always had a respectably sized audience watching my videos on YouTube, and I’ve seen so many people explode onto the scene, and then I’ve seen the same people fall into obscurity. And yet I’ve had a consistent audience, and I think the reason I’ve had a consistent audience is because I’ve been consistently honest. I still just make the videos I want to see, but I try to put them in a format that I think would be entertaining for others.
DL: The people who are most honest in their work are too often discredited just for being “real.”
TJ:You can’t really complain about it, though. It’s the risk you take when you do that sort of thing. Part of what I do is going to be stepping on toes. I’m not impressed with people in general who have to sit around bitching about how they don’t get the recognition they deserve or anything like that. I get plenty of recognition. I’m fine. My audience likes me. I don’t need a fucking Wikipedia page. I don’t need to be the top “YouTuber.” It would be nice. I wouldn’t turn it down. It would be absolutely lovely. But I’d rather be Bill Hicks than Dane Cook.
I’ve had a great run here at the THE ANNUAL—over ten years filled with some incredible memories. To think that when I started working here my family and friends told me, “There’s no fun in working for a funny magazine.” But they were wrong. Dead wrong.
I still remember the exact moment I realized this was the perfect place for me. The day was September 12th, 2001. I had just returned from a three-week vision quest in the deserts of New Mexico to find the office completely empty. I called around to find out where everyone was, that’s when I discovered that our writers were so organized that they all had the exact same excuse. I don’t remember the specifics, but it had something to do with “plane crash,” saying it was “national tragedy.” Not only did they have the same joke but the same tone of hopelessness in their voices. It was such a great prank that they continued to write material about it for years. I don’t know how many of our readers got it, but it was so funny I had to keep publishing it! Most of those writers have moved on to bigger things, but I couldn’t thank them enough for making me feel welcome.
Then there was the night of 2004 election. We were all sick of doing political humor but you’ve got to celebrate somehow. So, that night we set up an interoffice LAN-line game of Halo: Combat Evolved. Red team represented Bush, and Blue team represented Kerry. Believe it or not, over the course of that 13-hour team deathmatch we correctly predicted the outcome of the election. Even more impressive, only two writers’ hearts exploded as a result of our Mountain Dew-infused beer bong.
I could spend this whole entry cataloging the memories I have working at The Annual. I could waste my time and yours avoiding the subject at hand. But the honest truth is that I feel the time has come to resign. I want to be clear: It’s not because I feel that 57 is too old to run a rambunctious humor magazine. The truth is, on the December 21st I found myself in the midst of a heated love affair. I mean, the world was ending—what was I supposed to do?
I remember every steamy detail. The time was 4:56 in the afternoon and I was making a final withdrawal of all funds (both business and personal) from the local Citibank. Again, the world was ending. Well I just happened to glance over to my left to find the most beautiful woman I had ever seen committing armed robbery at the next window. Deep in my bones I knew this was my last chance at happiness, so rather than pocketing the money I had just withdrawn I got down one knee, held it out to her, and said the words every woman wants to hear:
“Ma’am, I know you’re just a woman with a gun to the head of a local bank teller, and I’m just an innocent witness to one of the last crimes ever committed. But never in my life have I seen such beauty…Will you…fuck me in the courtesy lounge?”
I suppose Quetzalcoatl was smiling down on me that day because she said yes! And there in the courtesy lounge of Citibank I enjoyed the most passionate lovemaking session of my life. She didn’t even take the money. We exchanged information just in case the world didn’t burst into flames in the coming hours. After all, my marriage vows were already broken, and the apocalyptic odds were in my favor, so what harm could exchanging numbers do?
Well, that night, amidst the looting and chaos that went on outside I lay in bed with my wife for what we both expected to be the last time, and in that moment I truly loved her, and I knew what it was to be loved. But then Quetzalcoatl chose to smile down upon all of humanity (the tricky bastard) and humanity was allowed to live on, unharmed.
At 12:01am December 22nd I got the text that would turn my world upside down.
“Guess it’s not over. U up?”
It was the woman from Citibank. I was up, and in more ways than one. I quickly through together a paper mache model of myself, fashioned out of the money I withdrew earlier in the day, and snuck out from beneath my wife’s arms. I have been doing so every night since.
It’s for these reasons that I feel the time has come to resign as Editor-in-Chief of The Annual. It’s hard work hiding an affair. And I don’t feel I can properly devote as much time to this magazine as it deserves, while supporting two women (one very publicly, and the other when she’s in mood for it).
There’s no reason to worry over what will become of The Annual. I am leaving it in the hands Kevin Cole.He’s a real piece of shit, but I mean that in the Yiddish sense, meaning that he’s a real piece of shit.
To those of you hiding your own affairs I wish you the best of luck and to those of you just trying to get into one, Godspeed!
Gerald Steinberg IV
A Letter from The NEW Editor
Dear Ms. Streisand,
At least I hope it’s still “MS. Streisand!” Only kidding, Babs. I was just listening to your Christmas album and thought I’d write you to let you know how much I truly admire your work. Do you still consider yourself to be a funny girl as you once did in your film Funny Girl? And if so, why were you left out of Judd Apatow’s Funny People? I don’t want you to think me rude, but these questions keep me up at night. That and “Papa, can you hear me?”