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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Image copyright Queen / UMG
Image caption The song reached number one twice – first in 1975 and again in 1991 following Freddie Mercury’s death

Bismillah! They will not let you go… Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody continues to break records as it enters its 44th year.

The song has just become the oldest video to reach 1 billion views on YouTube.

It is the first music video released in the 1970s, or any year prior to the 1990s, to reach the milestone.

Psy’s Gangnam Style was the first video to manage the feat in 2012. It now has 3.3bn views.

However, that pales in significance next to Luis Fonsi’s Despacito, which hit 6.3bn plays earlier this year – making it the most-watched video on the site.

In fact, Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t even make the Top 100 most-played videos on YouTube.

However, Queen’s achievement is not to be sniffed at. Before Monday, the only other 20th Century song to reach 1 billion views was Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain.

Bohemian Rhapsody has seen a surge in streams since the release of the Freddie Mercury biopic, also called Bohemian Rhapsody, last year.

Queen’s two remaining members, Brian May and Roger Taylor, celebrated the song’s YouTube success by uploading a newly-remastered, 4K version of the video – which originally premiered on BBC One’s Top Of The Pops in 1975.

“I still enjoy hearing it,” May told BBC News in 2015, as the song marked its 40th anniversary.

“If it comes on the radio, I’ll turn it up and listen. But no air guitar. I’m too old for air guitar now.”

Other YouTube milestones

First video to reach 100 million

A fan-made video for Music Is My Hot Hot Sex, by Brazilian art-pop band CSS, was the first to break the 100m barrier in 2008.

The song spiked in popularity after being featured in an iPod advert (remember them?) – but some users suspected its view count had been manipulated.

The homemade clip was later deleted; while the band’s official video currently languishes on 220,000 views.

Google’s official history of YouTube now cites Judson Laipply’s Evolution of Dance as the first clip to amass 100m views.

Most views for a live stream

In October 2012, a record 8 million people tuned in to watch a live broadcast of Felix Baumgartner jumping from the edge of space back down to earth.

The Austrian jumped out of a balloon 24 miles (39km) above New Mexico, and became the first skydiver to go faster than the speed of sound, reaching a maximum velocity of 833.9mph (1,342km/h).

Fastest video to reach 100m views

This record falls faster than dominoes in an earthquake but, at the time of writing, the honour goes to K-Pop band BTS, whose single Boy With Luv was watched 100 million times in just 38 hours in April. In other words, 731 people clicked the “play” button every second.

BTS stole the record from K-pop girl group Blackpink, whose song Kill This Love reached 100m views in 62 hours a week earlier.

Adele’s Hello is the fastest video to reach 1bn views – taking just 87 days. It is now the site’s 17th most-played song.

Most-followed musician

Unsurprisingly, it’s Justin Bieber – who started his career as a YouTuber, posting a poorly-lit cover version of Ne-Yo’s So Sick from a local talent show when he was just 12 years old.

Later videos, filmed in his bedroom, were discovered by talent manager Scooter Braun, who’s worked with him ever since.

He’s now the most-followed musician on YouTube, with 45.9m subscribers. However, that’s dwarfed by Bollywood record label T-Series, which has 106m followers, more than any other channel or personality on the site.

First YouTube song to enter the chart

In 2010, a local news report from Huntsville, Alabama, about an intruder who climbed into a woman’s bed and tried to assault her became the basis for one of the most unlikely pop hits of all time.

The news story featured an animated and angry rant by the victim’s brother, Antoine Dobson, which was sampled and auto-tuned by the Gregory Brothers, a quartet of musicians living in Brooklyn.

The resulting track, Bed Intruder Song, was released on iTunes and sold 91,000 copies – enough to enter the Billboard Top 100 alongside songs by Katy Perry and Usher.

“It still feels really strange,” musician Evan Gregory told the BBC at the time.

“This week, I was opening a business bank account and I was trying to explain what our small business is. And the banker was like, ‘Oh, so you guys make videos kind of like that Antoine Dodson video?’ and I replied, ‘That is in fact one of the videos that we made.'”

Most subscribers lost in a single day

Image copyright James Charles / YouTube

YouTuber and makeup artist James Charles lost 1.2 million subscribers in a single day, following a feud with fellow video beauty blogger, Tati Westbrook.

The feud centred around hair supplements, of all things.

Westbrook, who mentored Charles at the start of his career, asked him to endorse a set of “hair vitamins” from her beauty range, but he refused, saying advocating them to his young audience felt uncomfortable. A few weeks later, he posted an advert for a rival product to his Instagram channel and all hell broke loose.

Westbrook posted a 43 minute-long rant accusing Charles of “manipulating people’s sexuality” and using his “fame, power and money to play with people’s emotions”. He eventually lost more than 3 million followers.

Most-liked and disliked video

It won’t come as a shock to learn that YouTube’s most-watched video, Despacito, has received the most thumbs up from users – 34m in total.

But the most disliked video was actually created by YouTube itself.

YouTube Rewind 2018, which was supposed to celebrate a year in the life of the site’s most-popular creators, attracted 16m downvotes, overtaking Justin Bieber’s Baby (10m dislikes) in a little over a week.

Fans were upset that some of the platform’s biggest stars, like PewDiePie, Shane Dawson, and Logan Paul, were omitted from the video; while others were aggrieved that celebrities and mainstream media outlets hogged the spotlight.

“Dethroning ‘Baby’ in dislikes wasn’t exactly our goal,” said YouTube in a statement.

Most-liked comment

Earlier this year, comedian/rapper Lil Dicky released the star-studded environmental anthem, Earth, which featured Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Leonardo DiCaprio, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Shawn Mendes, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Sia and Ed Sheeran (amongst others).

Down in the comments section, natural history magazine National Geographic left him a message reading: “Lil Dicky: ‘We love the Earth’. National Geographic: ‘Same though’.”

It attracted more than 675,000 likes before disappearing – presumably because the profanity-strewn video didn’t fit with the magazine’s wholesome image. Maybe they should have targeted the clean version (above) instead.

Image copyright Reddit

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(CNN)Prior to last week, most Americans had never heard of John Ratcliffe. But in the testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, the second-term Republican Texas congressman put on quite a show.

Ratcliffe took particular issue with the second volume of Mueller’s report, which details seemingly obstructive behavior by the President. Here’s the key bit:
“So Americans need to know this, as they listen to the Democrats and socialists on the other side of the aisle, as they do dramatic readings from this report: that Volume 2 of this report was not authorized under the law to be written. It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department. And it was written in violation of every DOJ principle about extra-prosecutorial commentary.”
    And then, suddenly, everyone in the political world had heard of Ratcliffe. Even as the buzz — both good and bad — from his attacks on Mueller began circulating, the news that he was under serious consideration to be the next Director of National Intelligence began to spill out into public view.
    What a coincidence! A guy in the mix for a top job in the intelligence community decides to use the platform afforded him by the Mueller hearing to make a very clear impression on someone he knows was watching the hearing very intently: Donald Trump.
    And here comes the truly amazing part, courtesy of a tweet from Trump himself on Sunday night:
    • “I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence. A former U.S. Attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves.”
      So consider the timeline: On Wednesday, Ratcliffe makes a name for himself by savaging Mueller and insisting that the whole obstruction of justice part of the report is “extra-prosecutorial” and should have never been produced — all of which is absolute music to Trump’s ears. Five days later — whammo! — Dan Coats, the current DNI has decided to resign and Ratcliffe is named in his place.
      What’s amazing about all of this is that there isn’t even any attempt to suggest that a) Ratcliffe was trying out for the DNI job during the Mueller hearing or b) his performance in that tryout is what got him the job.
      This, from CNN’s Nicole Gaouette, Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, is telling in that regard:
      “Ratcliffe had been under consideration for an administration position for a while but was considered by some inside the West Wing to be too nice, according to an official familiar with the dynamic. They didn’t think he was aggressive enough, but his aggressive questioning of Mueller on Wednesday changed the thinking on that.
      What these past five days reinforce is the distinctly performative nature of the Trump presidency. He is someone whose lens on the world is cable TV so the better you perform on that medium, the more esteem Trump holds you in.
      It has ever been thus. A December 2016 Washington Post story headlined “Donald Trump is holding a government casting call. He’s seeking ‘the look’” got to that reality nicely:
      “The parade of potential job-seekers passing a bank of media cameras to board the elevators at Trump Tower has the feel of a casting call. It is no coincidence that a disproportionate share of the names most mentioned for jobs at the upper echelon of the Trump administration are familiar faces to obsessive viewers of cable news — of whom the president-elect is one.”
      Trump isn’t wrong that the ability to perform when the lights go up is of real value for anyone in such a prominent political position. The problem — as has been demonstrated by his unprecedented Cabinet turnover — is that he appears to put stock primarily in the performative aspects of the job, rather than balancing experience, readiness, temperament and the ability to actually do the job. Judging from Trump’s picks as his first term has worn on, he prizes performance and personal loyalty above all else — including qualifications.
        Which brings me back to Ratcliffe. Yes, he has served as a US attorney and a federal terrorism prosecutor. But he is best known — prior to coming to Congress — as the mayor of a town called Heath in Texas, which has a population of under 9,000.
        That’s not to say Ratcliffe can’t and won’t do the job — if he gets confirmed by the Senate (which remains an “if.”) It is to say that none of his past qualifications are what tipped the scales for Ratcliffe. His performance last Wednesday in attacking Mueller played an outsized role in getting him this job. Which tells you a lot — actually everything — you need to know about how Trump looks at the world.

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      Justin Bieber’s Tweet To Donald Trump About Migrant Children Does Not Hold Back

      Justin Bieber is getting political on Twitter about an important issue. On Friday, July 19, the 25-year-old singer posted a tweet directed at President Trump about the current immigration crisis. The singer’s tweet first alluded to A$AP Rocky’s recent arrest in Sweden, but then he used his platform to shine a light on an even bigger issue at hand. Justin Bieber’s tweet to Donald Trump about migrant children does not hold back. In fact, it addresses an important question on many people’s minds.

      To understand the context of Bieber’s tweet, it’s important to take a look at another tweet posted by Trump about the recent arrest of A$AP Rocky, aka Rakim Mayers, in Sweden. On July 19, Trump tweeted about the rapper who is currently being detained in Sweden on “probable grounds for [alleged] serious assault,” per NBC News. Elite Daily reached out to A$AP Rocky’s representation for comment on the allegations surrounding his arrest, but did not hear back at the time of publication. In his tweet, Trump wrote that he had just spoken to Kanye West about A$AP Rocky’s arrest and continued, “I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved!”

      In response to Trump’s tweet, Bieber took to Twitter with some thoughts of his own. First, Bieber tweeted, “I want my friend out.. I appreciate you trying to help him.” Then, he used the moment to address another national issue, “But while your [sic] at it @realDonaldTrump can you also let those kids out of cages?”

      Bieber’s tweet references the current migrant crisis at the U.S. border, which includes reports of troubling conditions for both children and adults. Elite Daily previously reached out to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about the reported conditions in detention centers but did not immediately hear back. However, the National Border Patrol Council (NBCP) released a statement on July 1, which states most Border Patrol agents care for migrants “humanely and compassionately.”

      Though Trump didn’t immediately respond to Bieber’s comment about migrant children, he did post two tweets on Saturday, July 20 with an update. He wrote, in reference to A$AP Rocky:

      Just had a very good call with @SwedishPM Stefan Löfven who assured me that American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly. Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative….Our teams will be talking further, and we agreed to speak again in the next 48 hours!

      Last year, Trump signed an executive order ending child separations and the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy at the border on June 20, 2018, but recent reports concerning the influx of migrants at the border have reportedly revealed poor conditions in the detention centers in which the migrants are being housed. On July 15, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California) shared photos which apparently show a center for migrant women and children in Ursula, Texas, in which, per the the congresswoman’s tweet, “[W]omen [and] children take turns sleeping on mats on the floor.” Elite Daily reached out to CBP for comment on the claims in the posts from Rep. Speier, but did not hear back at the time of publication.

      Bieber isn’t the only celebrity who has criticized the Trump administration’s recent reported handling of migrants at the Mexico-United States border. On June 29, singer Selena Gomez also took a stand against reported detention facility conditions with an Instagram post that said, in part, “Kids in cages! Sleeping on concrete floors with aluminum blankets! No access to simple dignities! How is this still happening??? It’s absolutely inhumane to treat anyone like this let alone children. I can’t even imagine what they are going through.” DHS and CBP previously put out a statement claiming most Border Patrol agents care for migrants “humanely and compassionately.”

      Vice President Mike Pence visited a detention facility in Texas on July 12, and following his experience, he blamed “Democrats in Congress” for “refusing to fund additional bed space.” A few weeks prior, on June 25, the Democrat-controlled House passed a $4.5 billion emergency border aid bill, after reports of poor conditions that especially impacted children.

      Now that even more celebrities are joining politicians in the chorus to fix the reported conditions of detention centers, only time will tell what the next move from the Trump administration will be.

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      If you are a queer person in a rural part of the eastern United States, you might be familiar with Queer Appalachia, a collective fronted by an Instagram account with a radical messagefull of colorful photos, in-your-face jokes, and cheeky innuendosrepresenting LGBTQ life in the regions hills and hollers.

      Since its inception in 2016, the page has become a key way to distribute anarchist, leftist, and radical information, like about the ongoing tree-sitters movement in southern West Virginia. There, organizers have been camped out in trees for months, protesting the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

      The group of people behind Queer Appalachia also draw attention to the plights of individual queer people in the region, particularly transgender people in need of shelter or money, by posting the persons Venmo or Paypal information on Instagram and asking for donations to help them.

      The accounts main goals right now, though, are two-fold: celebrate and cultivate love for Appalachia while engaging in radical queer activism to battle the opioid crisis gripping the region.

      An artist collective born from addiction, grief, and love, Queer Appalachia started as a handmade zine project called Electric Dirt. The social media accounts, like Instagram, were established to draw submissions to the zine, but they grew into an internet phenomenon that currently boasts a quarter of a million followers across the groups collective platforms.

      Gina Mamone, one of the collective founders and Queer Appalachias media curator, who goes colloquially by their last name and uses they/them pronouns, said that when the artists laying the groundwork for the Electric Dirt zine, they envisioned it being a small project.

      Im a first-generation Riot Grrrl, Mamone said, referring to the 1990s underground feminist punk movement that is seen as having launched third-wave feminism. And to me zines are made with loose paper and glue sticks.

      But by the time the group closed down pre-orders for Electric Dirt, it had over $30,000 at its disposal. We ended up being able to have two hundred professionally printed pages, Mamone told me, and that was a game-changer for us.

      The groups Instagram account proved an invaluable asset. The number of responses to their call for Electric Dirt submissions was so overwhelming that they quickly realized the regions queer community needed them to be more than a zine. As Mamone explained, We saw that the Instagram could be sort of social passport to what the community created and needed, a way to bring awareness to whats really going on in the mountains and hollers.

      And whats happening right now is an epidemic of opioid abuse and widespread harm.

      According to a report released by the Commonwealth Fund on June 12, West Virginia had the highest death rate from drug overdoses in 2017, a majority of which stemmed directly from opioid abuse. But prescription painkillers are not solely responsible; neither is heroin. The study found that fentanyl, a synthetic opioid similar to heroin but much more potent, along with other artificial drugs, is becoming more common in drugs like cocaine, exposing unaware users to deadly toxicity levels.

      Queer Appalachias efforts to fight these overdoses center around harm reduction in the region. The aim is to educate the population not only on drug use reduction but on how to safely use drugs in manners that reduce risks. Recent Instagram posts, for example, detail bodily injection sites with colored graphics of least-to-most-safe areas.

      Mamone, along with other trained collective members, has led harm reduction training during various speaking engagements, which detail topics from safe injection to proper use of drugs that counteract overdoses, like Naloxone and Narcan. This June, the group held its first harm reduction pop-up clinic in Charleston, West Virginia, where members handed out Narcan and drug testing strips in addition to clean needles.

      Their efforts doubled down on harm reduction efforts happening elsewhere in the state. The only safe needle exchange program is located in Morgantown, an eight-hour drive from the southern coalfields. Many people, as Mamone pointed out, will not take a road trip to get clean needles, because when youre poor, a tank of gas means a lot.

      With the goal of holding more clinics and training sessions in the future, Queer Appalachia also works to mail out home HIV testing kits to queer people who feel unsafe coming out. While queer people are disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic, they are also more likely to contract diseases like HIV from unclean needles and not seek help out of fear of being outed.

      You can write to us, and well send them [the kits] very discreetly, Mamone told me. When the group first advertised that service on Instagram, the reaction was intense. Requests poured in, and in a matter of minutes, the groups entire supply had been claimed. The demand is so high largely due to the stigma of getting tested in a small town.

      When you grow up with one of your primary care physicians office personnel, HIPAA dont mean shit, Mamone explained, referring to federal laws restricting the release of medical information. Because everyone talks in a small town, the result is that people dont get tested. Even just getting tested is kind of a red flag in small towns.

      Whats worse, AIDS treatment is currently out of reach for the most impoverished victims.

      Its because they dont feel comfortable getting treatment and they often cant. Poor people cant afford the [treatment] cocktail every month. Even with insurance, its $450 bucks. Buying that at a small pharmacy really outs you There really is this underground AIDS epidemic in Appalachia thats not getting any press, Mamone told me.

      View this post on Instagram

      We are super excited to be able to start offering #freehomehivtesting #HIPAA & doctor patient confidentiality mean nothing in a small rural town. HIPAA doesnt make you feel safe when you grew up in the same grade as your physicians staffs sibling. Thats the reality of small town rural life, everybody knows everybody. Often rural queers postpone testing because they fear even being tested could be seen as red flags in their small community. So many rural queers in the region call places home that dont have anti-discrimination / protection laws. They could lose a job, be evicted at any time for no reason. The other side of that coin is the friends / community/ family one might loose from such news ripping through a community like wildfire. Not everyone can be out #ruralqueers often postpone testing & even inquiring about #PrEP. So much of the things we do like this come from yall letting us know your needs, keep letting us know about them! If you would like a home kit mailed to you discreetly email [email protected] We want to thank #Virginiaharmreductioncoalition for making this service possible! #mutualaid #ruralresistance #harmreductioninappalachianow #queerappalachia #electricdirt

      A post shared by Queer Appalachia (@queerappalachia) on

      Geographically, Appalachia stretches from northern West Virginia and the southwestern tips of Pennsylvania to the ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains. Its known for coal mining and bluegrass music, but there are other phenomena specific to the region, like being raised to leave it. Arteries that come in and out of the region are known as hillbilly highways, though they typically flow more steadily in the outward direction.

      It can be hard to stay in touch with the mountains once you leave them, and Queer Appalachias Instagram account is a way for the people of the Appalachia diaspora to access their roots when doing so is difficult, and at times, unsafe.

      Queer Appalachians, Mamone pointed out, are almost an oxymoron to what people generally see when they picture Appalachia. Queerness doesnt coincide with traditionally gendered images of coal miners and country folks, which can prove dangerous for people who dont fit that mold.

      A large social media presence especially comes with complications. The Queer Appalachia Instagram account receives roughly 800 messages a day, and when a platform gets that much traffic, some of it is bound to be negative.

      The organization has been beset by cyberbullying in recent months from individuals involved in some of West Virginias most powerful nonprofitspecifically, Appalshop, which aims to preserve the lasting traditions of Appalachia, and The Stay Project, which works to keep Appalachian youth in their home communities.

      Queer Appalachia as a whole is suffering the effects of a moral lens that ostracizes people with addiction histories. People in the West Virginia queer community who are involved with Appalshop and The Stay Project, Mamone told the Daily Dot, have taken to social media to disparage Queer Appalachias name and the work it does.

      Shit posting, as Mamone put it, has gotten increasingly harsh over the last few months, and in such a small community, more and more unbearable for the people it targets. The Appalshop community, in particular, is very very small, and it doesnt matter that the posts arent coming from the Appalshop [social media] pages when they come from the personal accounts of the people who run these things, they said.

      But things have gone beyond defamatory posts and cyberbullying. Recently, Mamone said, the people targeting Queer Appalachia have threatened to publish what they say is the truth about the collective. While it isnt clear where their information is coming from, or if their threats are valid, the Queer Appalachia members are feeling the weight of whats being thrown against them.

      The way journalists come at us is crazy, Mamone told me. Ive never seen journalism like this the journalist supposedly working with this group of people sends emails, cold calling nonprofits in the region asking if theyve worked with us theyre looking for dirt. They want to shame and humiliate us so everyone knows what a piece of shit we are.

      A lot of what they want to say is about Mamone specifically.

      When Mamone first moved home, they had a brief romantic relationship with another person in the queer community that did not end well, which Queer Appalachia sees as the starting point for the discord. I hurt their friend and I understand that, Mamone said, but I also know that The Stay Project and Appalshop, and the leadership there, is trying to villainize my addictive past and use it against me.

      They later added in an email, we cant handle it getting worse, emphasizing they are trying to make peace and wave a white flag over the conflict.

      Neither Appalshop nor The Stay Project returned the Daily Dots requests for comment.

      The friction is costing mountain communities resources they desperately need. Several Queer Appalachia members have walked away from the collective in recent months because of the stress.

      These are good people who do good work, Mamone continued, speaking of the organizers in Appalshop and The Stay Project. But if they saw us as their community, saw people in addiction as their community, they wouldnt be acting like this.

      A possible upside of social turmoil, though, is that it empowers people to enact change. In Queer Appalachias case, the organization is working to rise above what Mamone terms petty personal problems becoming part of organizations agendas.

      After experiencing the community isolation that comes with navigating addiction and recovery and discovering how that cycle connects to infection rates, the collective recorded the very first data of addiction rates among LGBTQ people in Appalachia.

      The numbers are alarming. It is often impossible to tell if an individual died by suicide or overdose because the rates of addiction and death are so high.

      What we found through the survey, Mamone told me, is that all the resources in Appalachia do not work for queer people in fact, if you are outside the binary in any way, it is not safe for you to seek help Your family likely isnt there for you Nonprofits arent available to you, even though its probably the only free thing in the region, and the queer community will do everything in its power to alienate, isolate, and ostracize you If you are addicted and queer in Appalachia, that is the very definition of you against the world. The community is not there I mean, even straight people have the option of embracing Jesus to be accepted back into their community. But queer people dont have a version of that; we dont have anything equivalent. Were just done.

      Their data collection will be published by West Virginia University Press next year in a book entitled Opioid Aesthetics. The collective is also working to hold more Narcan training and safe needle exchanges and send out more HIV home testing kits.

      The events and resources are part of what keeps Queer Appalachia on social media, too. In a time and place when many queer people dont feel safe reaching out to conventional agencies, platforms like Instagram are vital for communication and resource distribution.

      Its also through social media that the group hopes to gather a larger following and information for their efforts. Their longer-term goals include writing grants to receive state funding and establishing a mobile harm reduction unit that can travel to out-of-the-way locations.

      More than anything right now, though, Mamone wants the social media attacks on Queer Appalachia to stop, not only because it is detrimental to their work and hurtful to their members but because the posts are harmful to the Appalachian queer community as a whole. As Mamone said, there is a cognitive dissonance between the larger queer community and addiction, and that gap needs to get narrower before things can get better.

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      Welcome to WTFunds, where we do what nobody else does and… actually talk about money. Ever scrolled through your Instagram feed, wondering how your friends are affording their lifestyles when they’re making the same amount of money as you and you can barely rub two dimes together? Read on, because we’ll be talking to real people to break down how much things cost, and how they’re paying for it.

      Buckle up, because if you’re engaged and just starting the wedding planning process, this article is going to be a real kick in the ass.

      Between engagement shoots, invitations, the venue, the food, and all of the different vendors you’re likely going to work with, the final bill for your wedding is not going to be easy to swallow. However, speaking from personal experience, neither my husband nor I (nor my parents) went into crippling debt as a result of our giant party. Why? Because although that final number is huge, you’re paying for a lot of these things over the course of a year (or more, depending how long your engagement is). So, it’s pretty easy to forget just how much your wedding will end up costing at the very end, since you aren’t paying that giant number in one sitting. That’s how it gets ya, fam. A couple of notes before we dive into real life costs:

      First, I was working full time and making about $45k at the time; my husband, Kyle was also working full time and making about $85k at the time. My parents’ original budget for us was $29k; everything after that was on us, which ended up being something we all still LOL about. Kyle and I did (and still do) reside in Asheville, NC, where the wedding took place. We consider it a destination wedding, since literally no one on our guest list or in our wedding party lived here at the time. We still hear the off-handed complaints about how expensive hotels were, so be ready for that, too. We also decided to buy a house five months before our wedding, because planning a giant event wasn’t quite stressful enough. We also originally invited around 190 people and had about 115 end up showing, which is pretty decent for a destination affair.

      There are a few items you may notice missing from the lists below. For example, we didn’t pay for a wedding cake because we have a bestie who’s a famous pastry chef in Charleston. We also didn’t pay for 115 mismatched antique China place settings, since Kyle’s mom just happened to have those lying around the house, because, you know, who doesn’t. These are little things, but, as you’ll see as we creep closer to the final number, every little bit helps in the never-ending bill cycle that is wedding planning.

      Pre-Wedding Costs

      As soon as we got engaged in July 2015, the planning process began. Because we weren’t getting married until late October 2016, we had a lot of time to space out costs and knock stuff out that would have otherwise been expensive had we waited.

      Engagement Photoshoot: Kyle had a good friend from college named Anna who wanted to build her photography portfolio. Since we’re cheap, her cost of $400 for six hours of shooting seemed right up our alley. We used those pictures for our Save the Dates, so, essentially, we were able to kill multiple animals with one stone.

      Invitations and Save the Dates: Once you set a date, it’s time to let everyone and their mom know about it. Knowing we’d invite close to 190 people, we sent out 85 Save the Dates from Minted for $209.95. Why only 85? Because we had mostly families of two to four folks coming, which was awesome for our invitation bill, too. For our invitation suite, also from Minted, we spent $643.67 on 85 invitations, reception inserts, and direction inserts.  That’s $853.62 for fancy stationery telling everyone to come spend money on us.

      Wedding Certificate: Luckily for us, for the state to actually recognize that you wanna do the damn thing and get hitched, it will only cost a cool $60 in North Carolina.

      Rehearsal Dinner: Our rehearsal dinner was shockingly cheap, since we decided to have it in a brewery because, ya know, Asheville. Turns out, the brewery we chose had never hosted a rehearsal dinner before, and therefore charged us $0 for the space. So, between the catered food my in-laws had brought in and the beer tokens they got, the total cost sat right around $1,200.

      Big Day Costs

      Although I won’t put a price on pain and suffering, getting to the actual big day was basically a never-ending parade of phone calls and emails to make sure so-and-so was bringing this at this time; Mary Lou knew which hotels she could stay in; my mother-in-law asking if she could bake cookies in our house the day before the wedding, etc. The actual moving pieces that made up our wedding day are long and involved, but not outside the realm of normal. We had a photographer, florist, ceremony space, venue space, and caterers to deal with, like most couples do. Here’s a glimpse into what our costs were for all these very necessary pieces.

      Photographer: $3,763.88 for two shooters and eight hours of shooting (plus an online gallery later). That’s WAY lower than the average cost of two shooters. Why? Because my mother-in-law, Sicilian as she is, pulled some strings and called in some favors. KMI Photography, a husband and wife business, is based in Wilmington and have shot every one of Kyle’s sisters’ weddings. So, when presented with a trip to Asheville, they both said “yas queen” and gave us an amazing deal AND amazing photos. Win.

      Flowers: All together, our flowers came to $2,258.06, which included $2,078.06 for a toss bouquet, nine bridesmaids’ bouquets, a bridal bouquet, a flower girl bouquet, seven centerpieces, a church bouquet, cake flowers, and two delivery/drop-offs from our actual florist. Then we paid Etsy another $180 for ten boutonnieres, made with feathers, dried flowers, and other less expensive sh*t.

      Venue: This gets a bit complicated, so stick with me. Our venue bill included all alcohol and all food except a few desserts, so this is all-encompassing. It also included wedding planning to a degree, decor, the venue itself, and lots of other random sh*t. The final invoice was $27,633.34. That included a long cocktail hour and what ended up being a six hour open bar (which some people really, really chose to abuse). Here’s the official receipt from the final invoice:

      Additional and Outside Food (i.e. dessert): All of the food we had was included in our venue cost, but we did pay for a few extra desserts from French Broad Chocolate, a local dessert spot that literally makes its own chocolate. For brownie bites, cookies, and whatever else, we spent $243.67. Additional desserts were made by our families, who we threatened (kind of), and provided for the low price of free.

      Band: For four hours of music and six musicians plus meals for all band members, we spent $3,695. This was pretty f*cking reasonable, considering the band ruled and played “Shout” until everyone was dead. Plus, I didn’t have to listen to a DJ tell me to PUT MY F*CKING HANDS UP even once during my entire reception which, I think, is really priceless.

      Transportation: Altogether, transportation cost us $1,410.50. That included two limos for my giant wedding party (bridesmaids and myself; hubby walked from his hotel with the guys) at $648 and two old-school trolleys at  $762.50 to take the entire wedding party and some guests from the church to either the botanical gardens, where we had pictures done, OR to the venue. Is your head spinning yet? Because I’m getting a migraine knowing how much money we blew on one day. Let’s move on.

      Ceremony: For the Basilica where we got married, the organist, and reserving the actual church, our grand total was $2,360. That included $1,500 for the Basilica itself, $125 for a cantor, $60 for an altar server, $200 for the priest, $250 for the Basilica wedding director, and $350 for music. Turns out God is pretty reasonable in terms of pricing for fall weddings in the mountains. Huh. What a guy.

      Favors: Because we got married in the mountains and I am, at my core, a very basic bitch, we decided to buy tiny Mason jars and fill them with assorted collections of trail mix. Between the 100 tiny Mason jars and bulk trail mixes we grabbed from Target, we came to about $400. That doesn’t count the pain and suffering my mom and I experienced when we hand-filled tiny Mason jars.

      Additional Decor: Because I’m a psychopath, I decided at the last minute that the venue needed a few extra touches. We went to Michaels and Pier One and bought bundles of eucalyptus, frames, table numbers, signage, and other assorted decor to brighten up aspects of the venue space that felt a teeny bit bare. That came to about $350.

      Doggo Boarding: If you don’t want to count this as an expense, then fine, but it did add in to our final cost. We have a schnauzer mix named Grover who would not be able to hang out around nine bridesmaids in long dresses, several hair and makeup people, a frighteningly collected mother-of-the-bride, and a near-freakout bride. We boarded Grover for two nights, which cost $100 total.

      Personal Costs And Extras

      There are a lot of things that you, personally, need for the wedding, way outside the realm of the day itself. You’ll need shoes, to get your hair did, to make sure your bridesmaids are happy, etc. Kyle and I kind of shot ourselves in the foot by having such a giant f*cking wedding party, which led to higher costs for makeup, hair, and gifts. So, if you do want to cut costs at your own wedding, maybe don’t be like me and insist you have nine bridesmaids. Or, just marry someone with less siblings. Either way.

      Wedding Party Gifts: I bought robes and earrings for my nine bridesmaids, which came to $289.5o for robes and $178.20 for earrings. Kyle decided to get each of his nine groomsmen a custom tux. Let that f*cking sink in. He found some company in China that came very highly recommended for the fine work done by, I assume, tiny child fingers. For ten tuxes (his included), cost was $2,500. We also got a few little bits here and there for flower girls and ring bearers—let’s call that $150. So, altogether, gifts cost us $3,117.70.

      Wedding Dress, Alterations, Shoes, and Accessories: My shoes were Blue by Betsy and were $159.80. My dress and alterations, although I can’t find the exact receipt, came to right around $2,100 which is a goddamn steal if I do say so myself. My veil was $264.47 (thanks, Etsy); hair piece was $200 (f*ck you, Etsy); and my earrings $63.50. I also bought a little purse for the phone I didn’t look at all day for $20 because I’m a jackass. That comes to a grand total of $2,647.97.

      Hair and Makeup: Because I’m so f*cking nice, I paid for hair to be done for all nine of my bridesmaids plus a flower girl, her mom, and my mom for a total of 12 people for$1,220. If they wanted makeup, that was on them to pay for. Makeup altogether was $850 for nine people; of which I only paid $94. So that’s $2,164 for hair and makeup. We all looked really good, tho.

      Rings: If you want to count rings, we can. I wouldn’t necessarily, but while I’m performing the sadomasochistic exercise of going through all my receipts for a one-day party, we may as well tack this on. My engagement ring was $2,500; my wedding ring was $1,500; and my husband’s ring was $300. That isn’t counting the money I spent on a replacement for him the first time he lost it or the time after that. That’s $4,300 on classy jewelry.

      The Final Total

      If you add up all of these f*cking expenditures, you’re greeted with a grand total of $56,957.74. That’s a down payment on a decent house, or a nice car, or a lot of things that didn’t have to be a one-day party. I am sure I missed a couple hundred dollars here or there that I blocked out for whatever reason, but it’s a pretty close figure.

      That being said, I don’t regret our wedding one bit. Considering it was almost three years ago and people still talk about how much fun they had, I’d consider it a win. I’m sure people will @ me in the comments about how stupid it was to spend this amount of money, and you’re right. But let me live my life.

      There are definitely things I’d go without and cut cost on if I had to do it all over. After the whole wedding whirlwind, we took a mini-moon and headed to Charleston, SC, skipping a giant trip until just last year, when we spent 10 days in Bordeaux and Lyon. The trip to Charleston didn’t require a plane ticket; we knew where to eat and what to do; and it kept the stress level over how much money we’d just spent to a minimum.

      Images: Andreas Rønningen, Unsplash; KMI Photography (5); Anna Maynard Photography (1)

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      Ariana Grande graces the cover of Vogue’s August issue with a tiny dog, huge hat and a major story about love, loss and music. 

      The pop star powerhouse has endured more than her share of heartbreak in the past two years and in the accompanying interview she touches on the deadly Manchester Arena bombing that left her traumatized, her short-lived engagement to Pete Davidson and the death of rapper and ex-boyfriend Mac Miller. 

      “I’m a person who’s been through a lot and doesn’t know what to say about any of it to myself, let alone the world,” she told the outlet. “I see myself onstage as this perfectly polished, great-at-my-job entertainer, and then in situations like this I’m just this little basket-case puddle of figuring it out.”

      Grande is particularly forthcoming about her “all-consuming” grief over Miller, who died of an accidental drug overdose in September 2018, months following their split after two years of dating and many more of friendship. 

      “By no means was what we had perfect, but, like, fuck. He was the best person ever, and he didn’t deserve the demons he had,” she explained. “I was the glue for such a long time, and I found myself becoming . . . less and less sticky. The pieces just started to float away.”

      Since his death, Grande has sought solace in the studio, recording songs that would become anthems of her record-breaking album “thank u, next.” 

      The 26-year-old said that she was “so drunk” and “so sad” during the studio sessions for the album, which she wrote and recorded in just two weeks in October. But the experience gave her a new perspective about the power of being alone.

      Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande attend the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards.

      “I’ve been boo’d up my entire adult life. I’ve always had someone to say goodnight to. So ‘Thank U, Next’ was this moment of self-realization,” she said. “It was this scary moment of ‘Wow, you have to face all this stuff now. No more distractions. You have to heal all this shit.’”

      And, of course, one of those aforementioned boos was the “Saturday Night Live” comedian, whose whirlwind romance with Grande continues to make headlines long after the two called off their engagement following five months of dating. 

      Grande describes Davidson as an “amazing distraction” at the time but hints that she might be more cautious when love comes knocking the next time around. 

      “It was frivolous and fun and insane and highly unrealistic, and I loved him, and I didn’t know him,” she explained. “I’m like an infant when it comes to real life and this old soul, been-around-the-block-a-million-times artist. I still don’t trust myself with the life stuff.”

      To read Grande’s full interview, head over to Vogue

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      “I’m a weird, humorous person, but my sense of humour wasn’t taken well… Then I thought, do I want to be known as the a**hole?… I wasn’t an a**hole, in my opinion, but I did use social media like it was a joke. Then it became very real. What’s funny now is that I don’t even know my Twitter login. Someone else just Twitters for me.”

      Diplo to ES Magazine on how criticizing Taylor Swift‘s music was “the worst decision of [his] career.”

      [Image via Dave Bedrosian/Future Image/Judy Eddy/WENN.]

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      Image copyright Getty Images

      Ed Sheeran’s No. 6 Collaborations Project has just become the year’s fastest-selling album.

      As you probably know, it’s full of A-list featured-artists including Justin Bieber, Eminem, Camila Cabello, Cardi B and Bruno Mars.

      What you might not know is that No. 6 Collaborations was preceded by – you guessed it – the No. 5 Collaborations Project.

      Released all the way back in January 2011, it featured some of the leading names in UK rap and grime, including Wiley, Ghetts and Jme.

      It was the final EP of five that Ed self-released around that time. This was all prior to him being signed to a major record label and releasing his first full studio album, + (Plus).

      Image copyright Getty Images
      Image caption A fresh-faced Ed Sheeran back in 2011, after No. 5 had been released

      “Number five was a concept idea,” Jake Gosling, the EP’s producer, tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

      “We wanted to make songs that weren’t your standard ‘Ed songs’. I was working with Wiley at the time and we looked at sorting collaborations with artists in the grime genre.”

      There are eight tracks, each bursting with honest and personal lyrics.

      Track one – Lately – features Devlin rapping about insomnia: “Overtired, pale-faced like Michael Myers. Bags underneath my eyes can show the baggage I’ve acquired.”

      On You, Wiley raps about his grandmother: “I’m 31 now, I’m still saying ‘Yes nan’. You had to replace my mum, dad… two parents in one.”

      Image copyright Getty Images
      Image caption Ed Sheeran and Wiley at the 2017 Q Awards

      Track five, Little Lady, is perhaps the most difficult to listen to, with a heartbreaking story at its centre.

      With verses from Mikill Pane, it’s a reworking of The A-Team, and tells the story of a young girl, forced into sex work and eventually murdered by her pimp.

      “Little lady, you’re trembling with fear. Your skinny frame kinda resembles a deer,” he raps.

      Mikill Pane met Ed in a clothes shop on London’s Oxford Street.

      They became mates, gigged together and discussed Little Lady as they walked to the house where the singer was staying.

      “I told him I’d written these lyrics when I was a lot younger… years before I met him,” he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

      “I rapped them for him and he decided there and then we should do a remix to The A Team and call it Little Lady.

      “At first I wasn’t even meant to be on the record. He only wanted his grime heroes on that EP. It was nice to sneak on to what would become a classic.”

      Image copyright Getty Images
      Image caption Mikill Pane says – unlike some of the artists on No. 5 – Ed hadn’t heard of him before they met

      Mikill says Ed wanted to touch upon the “more sensitive side of a lot of these grime MCs”.

      “It worked,” he says, as well as impressing with his fusion of musical styles.

      “Ed’s ability to shift between his folk songs and then a Gyptian cover or 50 Cent cover or a Tinie Tempah cover was remarkable. No-one else was doing it.”

      “Ed was perceived as a singer-songwriter,” says Jake Gosling. “But he loved rap music and it showed a different side to what he was doing. It opened up the doors to a completely different scene.”

      Behind the scenes, Jake reveals the pair worked to a tight deadline, so it wasn’t always possible to get Ed and the collaborator in the same room.

      “It was pretty fluid,” he says. “There wasn’t too much external pressure so we just got on with it. But it was quite hard to pin everyone down.”

      Jake thinks the EP, which charted at number 46 in the UK Album Chart, helped elevate Ed’s profile and lead to his subsequent success.

      “We didn’t have a record label, it went out on (digital music distribution platform) Tune Core and it was charting. The rest is the rest. It leveraged the whole situation into Ed signing a record deal and becoming the artist he is today.”

      Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

      Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.

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      Alright fam, this episode of The Handmaid’s Tale was a rollercoaster. It swung wildly from amazing (Aunt Lydia flashbacks!!!!!) to absolutely terrible (stillborn baby close-up), and I’m just going to go ahead and say right now that yes, it does end with June looking directly to camera while kitschy music plays. How many times are the writers going to do this? At this point, every time it happens I can’t help but think of this video and start laughing uncontrollably:

      Can someone show the writers of The Handmaid’s Tale this video so they realize this trope is over and they can move on to something else? Please?

      Back In Gilead

      We open on a handmaid named OfAndy giving birth. It is truly hard to keep all these handmaids straight. I had no idea OfAndy was even a thing. Since OfMatthew revealed that she narc-ed on Frances the Martha and got her killed, OfMatthew must now face the snitch’s fate of getting stiches. What did she expect?

      In this case, the stitches are emotional, as Gilead has been transformed into North Shore High School, with June acting as Regina George.

      June: That was a really good prayer, OfMatthew. You’re so religious.
      OfMatthew: Thanks!
      June: …so you agree? You think you’re really religious?

      The other handmaids are literally bullying OfMatthew while OfAndy gives birth. And when I say literally bullying, I mean literally. They’re shoving her. They’re snickering behind her back. At one point someone breaks something and blames it on her. It’s a whole-ass mess. And June is just standing there like:

      The only person who is not into the bullying is poor, sweet Janine. She’s that one popular girl who always sticks up for the nerds because she’s low-key in all the AP classes with them and would probably be a nerd herself if she weren’t so hot. It’s not her fault she’s so popular.

      This scene is difficult because, on the one hand, it’s tough to watch someone get bullied, especially when that person is pregnant and scared in Gilead. On the other hand, she totally snitched and got someone killed.

      June sums this up best when she says “She got someone executed. She doesn’t feel sorry about it. She should have kept her f*cking mouth shut. Also that’s the ugliest effing skirt I’ve ever seen.”

      Even Aunt Lydia takes notice of the bullying and tells June to “tell your friends to cool it.” Between Aunt Lydia saying “pumped” in the DC episode and her saying “cool it” in this episode, I think it is safe to say she’s been perusing Urban Dictionary.

      At The Red Center

      As with all cases of girl-on-girl bullying, the handmaids have now been assembled in the gym for trust falls. June is in the middle of the shame circle, but just like the kid who gets detention every day, it has lost its effect.

      That is, until Aunt Lydia pulls out the Hannah card and makes June admit that her actions led to Hannah (who she calls “Agnes” because that’s her new name, unfortunately) losing her Martha and having to move. This clearly f*cks June up for a second, but just like Regina, June has a few pages of her burn book yet to reveal, and she’s not going to go down without a fight.

      June: Yeah, well OfMatthew told me she doesn’t want her baby.

      Clearly, June has taken it too far. Keep OfMatthew’s baby out your mouth. Like, I know she’s kind of tragic, but she’s Janine’s friend, so be nice to her, okay??? Also, harming a child and/or endangering a child in any way is a big f*cking deal in Gilead (except that one time Janine did it) so saying this puts OfMatthew’s life in genuine danger. Very uncool.

      Speaking of Janine, she’s watching all of this go down like:

      The group then turns on OfMatthew, who is already on the brink of a mental breakdown after all the bullying she endured at OfAndy’s birth. Hats off to actress Ashleigh LaThrop for conveying OfMatthew’s genuine terror here, and hats off to the cinematography for really putting us in this scene. I felt like I was the one getting bullied here, and frankly, I did not appreciate it.

      At this point I start to realize that this episode has gone from Mean Girls to Heathers real fast (esp. with the red outfits) and that can only mean one thing: a lot of people are going to die.

      Aunt Lydia Flashback

      The best thing I can say about this episode is that it blesses us with the one thing we’ve all been wanting since season one: an Aunt Lydia flashback, complete with a sex scene. Didn’t actually know we needed that second part until it happened, but thank God it did. We’ll get to it later.

      The first thing we learn about OG Aunt Lydia is that she was a teacher at a school. Makes sense. Her hair is down, she has a blow out, she’s rocking sensible flats and a flowy top, presumably from Chico’s.

      Lyds has stayed late because one of the children in her class has yet to be picked up by his mother, whom Aunt Lydia clearly does not like. The principal of the school stops by and she immediately quotes the Bible at him, so clearly she hasn’t changed too much since the old days. The principal clearly digs this Bible reading, and the two of them have distinct sexual chemistry.

      Can Aunt Lydia spit game?, I wonder.

      Unfortunately, the flirting sesh is interrupted by the boy’s mother, who is clearly a struggling single mom. Aunt Lydia invites the two of the over for chili, but only so she can keep judging them and making shady comments. I have also done this many times to my dinner guests, so I get it.

      At the chili cookout, Single Mom curses in front of Aunt Lydia, which would get you tased to death in today’s world. Since it’s not today’s world, Lydia’s only weapon is a vicious side-eye, which she uses often.

      We end this scene with a couple more pieces of Lydia info:
      1. Her full name is Lydia Clements.
      2. She used to be married but he “was a mistake.”


      In Gilead

      We cut back to the Red Center, where Aunt Lydia is fulfilling her dream of making struggling women pay. She releases all the girls from the auditorium and thanks June for “telling what you know about OfMatthew,” but we know what she really means is “I’m on to you, bitch.”

      Back at Commander Zaddy’s, June is trying to figure out where the f*ck Hannah moved to. I guess she should have thought about the fact that moving exists before she tried to break into her home and school. Hindsight is 20/20.

      June: I need to know if you’ve learned anything about Hannah and the Mc—
      Commander Zaddy:

      Like most bullies, June’s home life is extremely f*cked up right now. Her Commander is mad at her. She doesn’t know where Hannah is. She’s struggling and lashing out at her peers. You hate to see it.

      They get called to help with OfAndy’s birth again. I guess I didn’t realize that she never actually gave birth the first time. Shows where my priorities are at. The handmaids are all hands on deck for this baby, except for June, who is just chilling in the doorway. Maybe her parents wrote a note saying she could sit out?

      Ultimately, the baby is stillborn and has the cord wrapped around its neck, which the director chooses to show us in vivid detail. Not something I necessarily needed to see on a Wednesday, but okay.

      June sits out of the post-stillbirth group hug and instead pops over to go stare at the dead baby, which is some pretty extreme antisocial behavior from our girl June Osbourne. What’s her issue? Other than like, everything that has ever happened to her.

      Finally, June returns to the Lawrence home, where the Commander inexplicably wants her to start hanging out with his wife again. Pretty sure that didn’t go great last time, but whatever.

      June, who is clearly having some sort of mental break, responds to this attempt at friendship by laying into Commander Lawrence about the world he built, and how it affects his wife. Is she wrong? No. Was this the best moment to convey this sentiment? Probably not.

      At The Aunt Office

      And now for another glimpse into the daily life of Aunt Lydia, who apparently is in charge of deciding which handmaid goes where along with two other Aunts. They do this using a giant lazy susan and not like, computers, for some reason.

      Do computers still exist in Gilead? They have to, right? I feel like a shared Google Doc could be helpful here.

      At one point, Aunt Lydia refers to a family that “doesn’t want a handmaid of color”, which is significant in that it is the first time Handmaid’s Tale has addressed racism at all. Prior to this, you kind of got the impression that all racism was magically cured in whatever war happened. In my mind I rationalized this by saying that perhaps the fertility crisis has made people so desperate for babies it overrode hundreds of years of racial bias, but if that’s the case, this show should probably like, say that at some point. Just a thought.

      Once the Aunts are done excusing racism, they go onto their favorite activity: sh*t talking June. Clearly, Aunt Lydia is not impressed with her mean girl turn, and the Aunts can’t help but notice that her walking partners keep going insane. Maybe it’s time to send her to military school?

      Aunt Lydia Flasback #2

      Wow. This next scene was a wild f*cking ride, so strap in because we’re about to cover a lot of ground. We start with Aunt Lydia at Single Mom’s house. Clearly they have become close, even though Lyd is still making condescending comments about her roughly every 30 seconds. Single Mom is unfazed by this (she’s got a lot of other sh*t on her plate) and decides that what Aunt Lydia really needs is a makeover. And starts sensually applying makeup to Lydia’s face. For a second I’m like…are they going to hook up? But they don’t. This is just a standard makeover. Lame.

      Beat for the gods, Aunt Lydia goes out for a night on the town. Yes, you read that right. Aunt Lydia goes clubbing in this episode and yes, she is wearing a sequined top.

      And who is she at the clurb to meet? Oh, just the hot principal from one flashback ago, of course! Not only are they hitting it off and looking amazing, it is also New Year’s Eve. Bold choice for a first date, but Aunt Lydia is a bold woman. She enjoys a single glass of champagne and then we cut straight to them doing drunk karaoke. Who among us hasn’t had the exact same night? One minute you’re enjoying a glass of champagne, the next you’re screaming “No Scrubs” to a room full of strangers. Life comes at you fast.

      Speaking of fast, Aunt Lydia and Hot Principal go home together ON THE FIRST DATE. Now of course, there’s nothing wrong with going home with someone on the first date, but given Lyd’s entire personality, this is pretty surprising. The two start making out and it’s like…what’s gonna happen here? Is he gonna try to go too far and get pepper sprayed? Will this be Aunt Lydia’s first taste of blood?

      Quite the opposite! Aunt Lydia goes to give Hot Principal a casual first date hand job and HE TELLS HER THEY ARE MOVING TOO FAST!!! He slut-shames Aunt Lydia!

      In his defense, he does say that he wants to see her again, but Lydia is already heartbroken. And what does a heartbroken Aunt Lydia do?


      And by “sh*t” I mean the lives of two innocent people by reporting Single Mom to whatever the Gilead version of CPS is for “moral weakness.” Hot Principal watches all this go down with a sad look in his eye.

      Where is the woman who tugged his dick just a few months ago? Or do hand jobs not count as moral weakness, just like they don’t count as cheating?

      In Gilead

      Back in Gilead, June is standing in the snow to meet up with OfMatthew who is not. doing. great. Like, she’s crying before they even get to the bus stop. They’re really layering this bullied child motif on thick.

      They make it to the grocery store, and within five seconds we see OfMatthew losing her sh*t in the seafood aisle over a can of lobster bisque. The combination of the bullying, the pregnancy, and her natural narc-iness are too much to bear. Like many bullied youths before her, she is about to lose her f*cking sh*t in a public place.

      Then, OfMatthew does the one thing you’re never supposed to do: she physically attacks Janine! Like, really beats the sh*t out of her! This is why you can’t be nice to people. Within 30 seconds, OfMatthew has gone full Carrie on everybody at Loaves and Fishes.

      To make matters worse, she attacks a guard and steals his gun. So now she has a gun. Basically, OfMatthew was bullied so badly it drove her to buy a gun and open fire at a grocery store. I see no parallels to our current world there! None at all!

      Just as we think she is going to shoot June (who is so crazy at this point, she just kind of stands there smiling), she turns her gun on Aunt Lydia. I know Aunt Lydia survived being stabbed seven times and falling down the stairs, but can she survive being shot at close range in the grocery store?

      Sadly, we do not find out because the guards kill OfMatthew (who we learn is really named “Natalie”) right there next to the frozen shrimp. Damn. RIP OfMatthew. You mostly sucked, but I did feel bad for you at the end there.

      As I mentioned before, the episode ends with June looking to camera while Nancy Sinatra’s version of “Que Será Será “plays in the background. Yawn.

      Images: Hulu; ChrissySh / Twitter; Giphy (7)

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