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Shut Up, Tyra Banks May 10, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Observations, Popular Culture, Rants.
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Fig. 1. This woman is the anti-fierce.

Generally, I find celebrities rather annoying. Actors, models, even musicians have a tendency to become insufferably annoying once they achieve a certain level of fame. Perhaps it’s the ridiculously insular world in which they live, but their opinions about the world outside of their fame bubble tend to border on the insane.

Exhibit A

Even if they come down on the “right” side of an issue, their pronouncements tend to be so over the top, so full of hubris and outright foolishness, that it would be better for their cause had they kept their fool mouths shut. Usually, their foolishness reveals itself during an interview. Some nimrod from “Entertainment Tonight” may ask them a question about something happening in the world and then the idiot celebrity will give a response that winds up splashed all over the news. To me, that kind of gaffe is usually forgivable. However, when a hubristic, foolish celebrity gets a platform from which they can spew their foolish bullshit on a consistent basis, then I get irritated.

Enter Tyra Banks.

When “America’s Next Top Model” premiered, I was mildly interested. I watched the first couple of cycles and thought, “Well, Tyra’s a little…doofy; and she certainly seems to think that she’s The Shit, but she’s pretty harmless.” Unfortunately, ANTM got very popular. Prior to ANTM, I knew of Tyra as nearly every heterosexual black man’s wet dream. Fair enough, I suppose. I’d seen her in Victoria’s Secret ads (we’ll get back to that in a minute) and thought she was a serviceably unattainable fantasy. She was mildly entertaining on ANTM.

And then she got a damn talk show.

To watch an episode of “Tyra” is to subject one’s self to 42 minutes of self-righteous, ignorant, sexist claptrap spewing from the mouth a five-headed former underwear model who, given whatever crappy subject is on deck, generally doesn’t have a damn leg to stand on. If there is one thing Tyra Banks loves to do, it’s pontificate. Second to that, she likes to psychoanalyze. And she loves to judge. Oh, does Tyra love to judge her guests.

This might explain why approximately 75% of her episodes are about girls and sex.* A typical Tyra Banks episode might be titled “Girls! Who Like Sex! With Boys!” or “Sex Workers! Who Are Girls!” or “Girls! Who Are Dirty Whores!” Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration–however, the episode that aired on May 6th was about a pregnant girl who works as a prostitute at this place called “The Bunny Ranch.” Hoo, boy, did Tyra pull out all her little pseudo-psychoanalytic tricks:
* Tyra asked the woman what happened in her life to make her want to be a prostitute
* Tyra virtually browbeat the girl into crying–and then used the girl’s crying as proof that she was trapped in a horrible, horrible life
* Tyra then went after the guy who runs The Bunny Ranch
Tyra was really in her wheelhouse; I’d say the only person on daytime television who does judgmental better than Tyra is Oprah. Oh, when you’ve pissed Oprah off, she dons her “special attack weave” and goes after you with the kind of righteous indignation that we haven’t seen since the Spanish Inquisition, or the Salem Witch Trials.

Fig. 2 Oprah uses the Force to choke a bitch.

Back to Tyra, she really tries—-I mean, really, REALLY tries—-to be like Oprah. When Oprah told everyone that she was ending The Oprah Winfrey Show this year, people cried. They rent their clothing. They gnashed their teeth and threw ashes over themselves.

When Tyra announced that she was ending her show, the pizza delivery guy on the other end of the line merely yawned.

Nevertheless, Tyra soldiers on, trying for all that is within her and for all the weave on her head to be Just Like Oprah. She tries to ask “probing” questions, but comes off looking like a ginormous ass. She twists guests’ words and acts as though she’s Katie Couric interviewing Sarah Palin. She tries to make “deep” statements and and winds up sounding more like Brittany on “Glee.”

Fig. 3. This woman is smarter than Tyra Banks.

Plus, Tyra really seems to have a bug up her ass about the sex worker industry. I mean, nearly every show of Tyra’s is about some eighteen year old girl from Nebraska who wants to be in porn. Like I said before, that’s her wheelhouse—-it’s where she gets to be ridiculously sanctimonious. She gets to frown and toss her weave at the poor girl on her couch. Usually, she winds up asking insanely awkward questions about whether or not the poor girl on her couch was sexually abused by her father, her brother, her mother, her grandmother, or any other male relation in the family. She doesn’t stop until she gets a half-hearted response like, “Well, me and a friend played ‘Doctor’ once when we were in the second grade.” Oh, then Tyra pounces! She thinks she’s found an answer, a key to the obvious dysfunction that is plaguing the life of the poor girl on the couch. At this point, I usually grumble, “Shut up, Tyra!” and then change the channel.

Fig. 4 Because no one—NO ONE—should make a living off of their sexualized bodies.

And can we talk about her hypocrisy? This woman made her freakin’ career based on selling her body and being every heterosexual man’s wet dream. She strutted down the runway wearing little more than butt floss and now she sits on a couch, a black female Reverend Dimmesdale with crappy weave talking down to every woman on her couch. Does she think we’ve forgotten how she became “famous”? Granted, I’m not saying that the sex industry is without problems–that’s a whole ‘nother book–but when you sit around judging people left, right, and center, you can expect that someone will Google the fifty thousand pictures of you in butt floss and say, “Um, Tyra? You might need to check yourself.”

Or, as I’d say, “Shut up, Tyra.”
*This is not a scientifically derived figure. However, it is true. Just don’t ask to see any statistical modeling here.

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