Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Thursday we’ll review the week's most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce.
It's hard to be a famous white man in the age of Trump. Sure, nobody's threatening to defund the services that keep you alive and healthy, or tearing you from your home and placing you in a detention center, or murdering you in bars because you kinda look like an imaginary person their president said was dangerous. But people definitely want to fuck you less. And that sucks!
Perhaps that goes a small way toward explaining why several famous men have gone off the goddamn rails this past week. From comparing themselves to persecuted Jews to starting nonsensical apps that appear to exist primarily to play samples of their cover of “House of the Rising Sun” on loop, famous white men have truly been wilding the fuck out this week. Let's see if we can identify patterns in these males' behavior and halt this madness before we all end up at a club with Prince William drunkenly draping his arm around us. (Although, wait, maybe that would be fine.)
The famous white man: Jeremy Renner
How he lost it this week: On Wednesday morning, Jeremy Renner released a free mobile app (replete with opportunities for in-app purchases) called Jeremy Renner. According to Renner, Jeremy Renner (the person) launched Jeremy Renner (the app) because he's “always looking for new ways to connect directly with my fans all over the world in our own shared environment.” Same.
Yes, I did download it, and yes, I do feel directly connected to Jeremy Renner, both the app and the person. Here are Jeremy Renner's features:
The homepage: Wherein Jeremy Renner (human) posts updates and photos of himself. So far, he's told us we must “stay tuned for an exciting announcement today for my superfans!” OK. I am tuned.
Renner has also let us superfans know that “this will be the main place I interact with my fans and share a deeper look into my life.” This deeper look into Jeremy Renner's life on the Jeremy Renner app will include “exclusive contests for my superfans, behind the scenes [sic] of what I'm working on, and being able to interact with you guys one on one.” Am I going to be speaking to Jeremy Renner today?
Notifications: It appears I have already received one message from Jeremy Renner. He has sent me (personally) 100 stars. The more stars I have, the more stars ... I can get? I can't read the message in full without being prompted to “boost” something for money, so I'm very sorry not to share what happens when I get 100 stars.
Featured: “Featured” features a single clip of Jeremy Renner, as Hawkeye, singing about his (fake) super powers on Fallon. “Featured” also features portals to Jeremy Renner's various social media channels.
Music: This is a sample of Jeremy Renner's cover of “House of the Rising Sun” that plays automatically and on loop. It is 45 seconds long.
Menu: Over on the "Menu" page, I can review how many stars I have (102!), purchase more stars ($99.99 for 14,800 stars), send feedback (“help”), read about my privacy within the confines of this app (bad), and review my purchases ($1,000 worth of stars). I can also sign up to pay $2.99 a month and become a Standout Jeremy Renner Superfan, which means I will “get [an] exclusive Superfan badge and enjoy a unique experience just for me.” I can't escape this page without quitting the app, so it's time for us to move on.
...Why?: The real question here is “Why not?” Jeremy Renner is going to get Illegal-Oil-Refinery Rich off this completely useless app, which is like if Kim Kardashian's app exploded and somebody sold it for parts. As superfan Camila Santos put it, “This os [sic] the best thing ever! really [sic].” Has Jeremy Renner (person) lost his mind, or is Jeremy Renner (app) the most brilliant thing ever conceived?
The famous (I guess) white man: Tim Allen
How he lost it this week: I haven't thought about Tim Allen since Katy Perry's Home Improvement–themed Grammys performance — and since The Santa Clause before that — but here we are, somehow. This week, Allen appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live (again ... reasons unclear) to make bad, weird jokes comparing his own experiences as a washed-up actor to those of the millions of Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. Talking about attending Trump's inauguration and the experience of being a conservative in Hollywood, Allen told Kimmel, “This town. I’m not kidding. You gotta be real careful around here or you get beat up. If you don’t believe what everybody believes, this is like ’30s Germany.”
The Anne Frank Center responded soon thereafter with the following statement: “Tim, have you lost your mind? [Editor's note: Yes.] No one in Hollywood today is subjecting you or anyone else to what the Nazis imposed on Jews in the 1930s — the world’s most evil program of dehumanization, imprisonment, and mass brutality, implemented by an entire national government, as the prelude for the genocide of nearly an entire people. Sorry, Tim, that’s just not the same as getting turned down for a movie role. It’s time for you to leave your bubble to apologize to the Jewish people and, to be sure, the other peoples also targeted by the Nazis.”
...Why?: As I have previously implied, Tim Allen's only good movie was The Santa Clause, and he spent many years playing a humble carpenter on television. Coincidence? Or has Tim Allen played the long game, slowly pushing Christian propaganda over the course of his career, hoping to eventually get the chance to publicly prove his allegiance to the throbbing black heart of the GOP?
The famous white man: Rob Lowe
How he lost it this week: Rob Lowe has been losing it for a while now. There was that time he tweeted angrily about people being delayed by the Muslim travel ban airport protests. Then he told GQ that his new cologne was really about how he wanted to mentor young men and help them find themselves. “They all wear similar fragrances,” he said. “Finding a way to do that and have your own identity is key.” True.
Now Rob Lowe is doing a TV show about hunting for ghosts with his sons. He explains why (kind of) in a press release: “Since I was a kid I’ve loved unexplained legends, strange phenomena, and the scary, supernatural stories told around campfires. When I became a father I shared those tales with my two sons. Together we bonded over Bigfoot, UFOs, and every creepy and bizarre story we could find, passionately debating if they were real ... or not. And we swore that someday the three of us would go on our own adventure to find out. That day has come.”
So, yes, if you were wondering who was going to find Bigfoot and UFOs and follow up on every creepy and bizarre story you could find, it's Rob Lowe and his sons.
...Why?: Because that day has come. He just told you.
The famous white man: Prince William
How he lost it this week: Vanity Fair has a deeply British breakdown of what is perhaps my favorite “famous white man losing it” story of all time: Prince William gettin' freaky in the club on a ski trip with his boys. Late last week, Wills skipped some British-ass event (“Commonwealth Day”) to go skiing with his friends in Verbier, Switzerland, sans Kate Middleton and his pudgy-faced progeny. Embarrassing British dad behavior ensued.
The pale prince and his friends were “photographed enjoying a liquid lunch with 24-year-old Australian model Sophie Taylor” and a “30-year-old British former beautician from Blackpool named Rosie Peate who they met during the vacation.” Writes VF, “The group drank British beer, wine, and Jägerbombs and seemed to be in high spirits, with the prince high-fiving Sophie Taylor at one point during the lunch. Later William and his friends met up with the girls at another posh bar where the drinking continued.” Minus the booze, I'm pretty sure this is the plot of an Olsen twins movie? Eventually, William put his arm around one of these women, leading to the balding-dad dancing seen round the globe.
Yes, there is video. Yes, there is roof-raising to “I Got 5 on It.” You knew that already.
Naturally, this behavior was “less than pleasing” to Kate, who, according to VF's source, “wears the trousers in their marriage, and [she] won't be happy with William's antics.” Adds the source, “She thought his partying days and larking around with the boys was a thing of the past. I imagine she’ll find this humiliating and William will have come in for a pasting.”
William. will. have. come. in. for. a. pasting.
...Why?: It's possible that William wants a pasting — that he larked around with the boys in hopes that Kate would paste him. As I have noted, white men are getting fucked on an increasingly irregular basis, and it's possible that a post-lark pasting would reignite the passion in Kate and William's previously passionless marriage.
The famous white man: Brad Pitt
How he lost it this week: According to The Daily Mail (h/t Jezebel), Brad has been sculpting to the sounds of Bon Iver for 15 hours every single day. He's doing so in flannels and skinny jeans at the home of his friend, a British artist whose name is Thomas Houseago, which is apt, considering Brad has gone from his house. The Daily Mail claims, “Brad is joined by Thomas and his team of assistants but once darkness falls everybody else leaves and he stays behind, making the art space his own.” Says a source, “He spends all night working on his art and listening to emotional songs.”
The Daily Mail goes on to specify which sad songs (Waylon Jennings's “Just to Satisfy You,” and Bon Iver, in general, just all of it, you get it) and explain that Brad, while having “cut out most of his bad habits,” is still “big on vaping.” You can tell because “when his car pulls into the studio, it is frequently spotted with plumes of smoke escaping from the windows.”
The best part of the article is buried at the bottom: Apparently, Brad's begun making sculptures primarily because he was going “a little stir crazy” in Santa Barbara. By way of example, The Daily Mail explains that Brad had been “buying new clothes at a local store” (whoa) and “wandering alone around the town looking lost, before bizarrely staring at baskets in a supermarket.”
...Why?: The “why” here is obvious: Brad is trying to get over his very fucked divorce, and rather than do so by continuing to make a goddamn fool of himself in the supermarket, he's trying to do so in private, in the most healthy and productive manner possible.
Which is bullshit. America, currently crumbling to the very ground from which it once so violently sprang, needs a wacked-out Brad Pitt to distract it as it takes its last shaky breaths. As Prince William and Jeremy Renner (person) and Tim Allen and Rob Lowe have all very clearly demonstrated, the least effective and therefore most interesting (to us) way to deal with a roiling existential crisis is not to turn inward, but outward. For our edification, Brad would do well to take a page out of their playbooks, perhaps taking a turn on the local dance floor, creating an app that does absolutely nothing, going on talk shows and saying inflammatory things about the Jewish people, or hosting a television show about hunting for imaginary things.
You know what, my fellow confused Americans? Maybe that's the true, underlying “why” here, after all: Rob, Tim, Jeremy, and William are acting like full idiots in public to entertain us and keep us from panicking about our unholy fates. They are the classical musicians playing cheerful chamber music as we sink into the turbulent ocean of history. In this sense, they are heroes, and deserve our respect and admiration. Thank you, white famous men losing it. We need you now more than ever.