Hot Takes on The Weeknd Controversy, Cassandra Clare’s Lawsuit, Drag Kids, and More

We’re only halfway through January and so many things have already happened. Perhaps that statement seems obvious, but it seems awfully early in the year for me to already be writing one of my patented many-opinions pieces (not actually patented). And yet, here we are.

This’ll probably take a hot minute, so let’s just cut to the chase:

  1. The Weeknd’s new song gets a big “yikes” from me, dawg.


It was an ordinary drive to work when I listened to The Weeknd’s collaboration with French producer Gesaffelstein “Lost in the Fire.” For the first minute or so, I was feeling it. And then the second verse came around.

It started off inoffensive, with Abel saying of the woman he’s seducing, “You said you might be into girls.” Then he follows it up with, “Said you’re going through a phase.” I had to take a pause.

Yes, sexual experimentation is a thing. It’s just not really a good look for a straight guy to be exploring that in regards to the woman whose pants he’s trying to get into. Still, it’s vague enough that I could probably overlook that.

Besides, Abel’s being supportive. He says, “Well, baby, you can bring a friend/And she can ride your face.” Okay, so he’s not actually being supportive. But this is still within the realm of typical sleaziness that I didn’t feel it was worth a big stink. A lot of guys fantasize about a three-way with two girls. He’d want this whether the woman in question liked girls or not.

And then came the line that made my jaw drop. He adds, “While I fuck you straight.” Oh no. That is… not it. Not one little bit.

There’s a pervasive idea that lesbians only like women because they’ve been hurt by a man and the right man could fix everything. Queer women, especially lesbians, have been raped by men who thought they could “turn them straight.” It’s called corrective rape and it’s disgusting. Why the hell would anyone think it would be a good idea to write lyrics playing off something so horrifying?

I don’t really know anything about Abel as a person. I don’t know how he feels about queer women. But I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I don’t believe he was trying to be lesbophobic (or biphobic or anything-phobic). However, I also don’t believe he has no idea this myth exists.

Aside from being potentially harmful, this line is just plain stupid. In the era of cancel culture and “wokeness,” what person with more than two brain cells would include this line? You’re just going to piss people off.

It’s possible he thought he would use the outrage to promote the song, but not many people are really discussing it. I’ve seen maybe three viral tweets calling these lyrics out and one article discussing the backlash. Does Abel really just think this is sexy?

The other thing I find especially weird about this is all the Weeknd fans saying he says things like this in his older music. As if that suddenly makes it okay. That’s such a bizarre defense. Also, I read the lyrics for The Weeknd’s older stuff and couldn’t find anything like this. Unless they were referring to all the sex and drugs, which just shows they missed the point.

I wouldn’t say I’m offended by these lyrics. I feel more uncomfortable and baffled than anything. But, naturally, this song is quickly becoming a hit. So go figure.

  1. The lawsuit against Cassandra Clare and misinformation surrounding it proves no one cares that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.


Before I get into this, let me give you the TL;DR version of all this lawsuit business. Basically, a few years ago author Sherrilyn Kenyon sued Clare for copyright infringement (not plagiarism). Her complaint went viral.

Shortly after, Clare’s lawyers’ response was released. It reveals that many things in Kenyon’s complaint were factually inaccurate, appeared in Clare’s books before hers, or were fantasy tropes and biblical references she does not own. Kenyon dropped the copyright part of the suit, but continued pursuing the trademark portion. This has more to do with typography, images, and marketing, which is not something authors have control over.

Clare and her team decided to settle this suit (despite the lack of evidence) because of the mental and financial toll it was having on Clare. She “considered committing suicide because [she] was so deeply sunk into despair at the idea that someone [she] did not know was determined to destroy [her] life… destroy or take from [her] all the work [she] had done for ten years.” Clare also “barely slept, couldn’t write Chain of Gold, [and] spent nights shaking and vomiting and crying.”

Anyway, that’s the basic gist. If you want more details, please read Clare’s post addressing both the lawsuit and the fallout. Now it’s time for my opinion.

First of all, I now feel super guilty for all my “The Last Hours is a myth” jokes. I never realized there was more going on behind the scenes. I just assumed it kept getting pushed back because of all the other series and short story collections she was writing. My bad.

I never felt right about this lawsuit. But I hated all the people spreading misinformation even more. Hell, even I thought it was a plagiarism case. The main thing that always irritated me about the misinformation, however, was the number of people who still claimed Clare’s books were plagiarized— even after her lawyers’ response came out and the copyright part of the suit was dropped. People would rather hate Clare than attempt to find out the truth.

It is abundantly evident to me, not just in this situation but in similar ones, that no one cares anymore about justice. They’re just out for blood. In most democracies, the accused party is always innocent until proven guilty. Not only did Kenyon and her lawyers fail to prove Clare’s guilt, they actively proved her innocence.

And now Kenyon is out there suing her ex-husband and claiming publishing companies have a conspiracy against her. She also once threatened to sue Susan Dennard for copyright infringement for using the term “Spirit-Hunters” in her first book. It turns out Clare has been innocent all along and Kenyon has a lot of issues. Imagine that.

Please remember that an alleged crime is not a confirmed crime. While there are a few notable exceptions, you cannot say someone is definitively a criminal until they are convicted (or, in a civil suit, lose their case). The court of public opinion is a powerful thing, but it’s not a court of law. We are not judge, jury, and executioner.

If you choose not to support someone after they are accused of a crime or are sued, that’s your prerogative. But you cannot force people to feel the same way. And you better make sure you have the facts before you start spreading information. Because you could very well be damaging the reputation of an innocent person.

  1. Drag Kids are becoming a thing and I am concerned about it.


I think kids should be free to express themselves any way they want. Children should be allowed to explore their identities. If a little boy likes to dress in girls’ clothing, who am I to judge? But when that exploration becomes exploitation or places a child in inappropriate situations? That’s when I have a problem.

Drag in and of itself is not inappropriate or wrong. But drag shows are not appropriate places for kids. Drag performances are bawdy and raunchy. They’re filled with sexual innuendos and dramatic costume reveals (which typically include disrobing). They take place in clubs and bars. None of this is appropriate for a child, especially not when the child starts taking part in the performances.

I’m speaking, of course, about child drag stars Desmond is Amazing and Lactacia. Both are ten-year-old boys who are taking part in grown up activities. Desmond performed in drag at a gay bar, complete with taking off the robe covering his skimpy costume and having money thrown at him. He has done at least one video with a convicted murderer. Lactacia was pictured with a naked man. While I’m recovering from the revulsion of having to refer to something a child was wearing as “skimpy,” take the time to consider all the reasons this is fucked up.

Okay, I took a break from writing and now I’m okay to keep going. The reasons this is fucked up is because putting children in implied sexual situations is dangerous and gross. Letting them spend time with convicted murderers is also dangerous. Basically, there’s a bunch of red flags everywhere.

Because all of this is so public, Desmond and Lactacia’s parents are basically gift-wrapping them for pedophiles. Why would you do that? Why would you take that risk? Why why why?

Well, we know why. These kids are making bank, so their parents continue to exploit them. I believe it’s likely that both Desmond and Lactacia genuinely like dressing in drag and performing. But they’re not ready for this level. There’s supporting your kids and then there’s this. As a parent, it’s your job to set those boundaries.

Is there a way to allow kids to enjoy all that comes with drag without putting them in inappropriate or dangerous situations? Are family-friendly drag shows possible? Or would they only turn into child pageants (which come with their own host of problems)? I don’t know the answers. All I know is that what’s happening with Desmond and Lactacia emphatically isn’t the answer.

  1. Leave Marie Kondo alone, you kumtwats.


Apparently people are super mad because Kondo has a show about tidying up and she said to get rid of books that don’t make you feel joy (I may be confusing her strategy the KonMari method, but it’s the same principle). A bunch of people got mad because “books are precious things” and “that’s so wasteful” and blah blah blah.

Here’s the thing: her whole program is about her method of tidying up. It doesn’t mean it’s the only way to tidy up or that she expects everyone to use her method. It’s literally just what she suggests. No one is under any obligation to get rid of their books or anything they own.

But people are so incensed over it. Why do you care so much? It’s not like authors have to give back any money they earned on those book sales. It’s not like they’re going in the trash. And, again, it’s just a suggestion. I swear to god, people just want to be mad.

Do what you want with your belongings. Use Kondo’s method or don’t. But don’t attack her and send her hate. That’s just batshit crazy.

  1. The Annihilation movie may actually be better than the book.


You guys know I loved Annihilation last year. Well, last night I finally watched the film adaptation. I absolutely loved it. But why do I find it to be better than the book?

First of all, it’s very different from the book. However, because the book is so focused on the biologist and her experiences, it doesn’t necessarily make for a thrilling movie. So I didn’t mind the changes. The adaptation retains the essence of the novel, so it’s all good.

The film works with themes of identity. It also includes more action and character development for the supporting roles. It’s just… it’s a really good film, guys. I could see it potentially making my best list at the end of the year.

Well, those were some steaming hot takes. Do you agree with any of them? Do you disagree? Let’s discuss it in the comments!

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