By now, we all know what it means to be a basic bitch. The internet has exhausted the term and its associated cultural trends to such a degree that we might have reached peak basic, the moment when the world can get none more basic and we all just have to stop talking about it. In this period of basic saturation, we decided that it’s time to find the ultimate basic—to choose who will lord over the secret Cape Cod bunker that holds a large cache of capri pants, pumpkin spice lattes, rocket launchers, cases of white wine, Norah Jones CDs, crossbows, M-16s, B-vitamins, Voss water, paperback copies of The Goldfinch, and kale chips in case of an attack on America.
To do that, we asked three expert judges to join our Ultimate Basic Bitch panel: Big Freedia, bounce music icon and a queen in her own right; Julie Klausner, comedian and host of the “How Was Your Week" podcast; and VICE staff writer Dave Schilling. After a painstaking process of elimination, we believe we found the Ultimate Basic Bitch. From 32, there can be only one Queen of Basics.
GWYNETH PALTROW VS. KATE HUDSON –In pre-tournament office surveys, Gwyneth was a strong favorite, thanks to her very posh, very normal life and her penchant for wearing beige. Kate has the sort of face that belongs in a Sears catalogue, but she’s also showbiz royalty and was married to the guy from the Black Crows (weird). She barely skates into this tournament.
WINNER: Gwyneth Paltrow (2 to 1)
Big Freedia says: “Oh God, Gwyneth. Her voice puts me to sleep.”
ANNE HATHAWAY VS. BLAKE LIVELY – Anne Hathaway dated a grifter, which is not basic. But public opinion is not in her favor right now. Women find her very, very annoying and bland. In 2012, Blake Lively was named one of People magazine’s “Most Beautiful at Every Age.” We hope she’s ready to win yet another prestigious award.
WINNER: Anne Hathaway (2 to 1)
Big Freedia says: “Don’t know who either of ‘em are.”
JULIA ROBERTS VS. KATIE HOLMES – Julia has made a successful career out of being relatable to normal people. My Best Friend’s Wedding might be the ultimate basic movie (other than Maid in Manhattan). On the other hand, Katie Holmes’s most well-known film role is the generic doomed love interest in a Batman film—which she didn’t even get to film the death scene for, because she abdicated from the part before the filming of The Dark Knight.
WINNER: Katie Holmes (2 to 1)
Dave Schilling says: “Had to go with Katie Holmes. Marrying Lyle Lovett is somehow less boring than marrying Tom Cruise.”
JENNIFER ANISTON VS. MICHELLE WILLIAMS [WHITE] – Michelle is the Ledger widow, which automatically makes her a dubious choice for this competition. She’s here anyway. Deal. Jennifer Aniston is Jennifer Aniston.
WINNER: Jennifer Aniston (3 to 0)
Julie Klausner says: “Jennifer Aniston, because basic bitches across this crapland still ask for her haircut.”
POP STARS REGION
BRITNEY SPEARS VS. RITA ORA – Britney singlehandedly made carrying a Starbucks cup while wearing sweatpants cool, but also lost her mind in 2007. Losing your mind is not basic. Rita Ora looks fairly wacky, but that also appears to be a bit of a put-on for the sake of alt cred.
WINNER: Rita Ora (2 to 1)
Julie Klausner says: “Rita Ora, by far. If her name weren’t so close to ‘Ore-Ida' I wouldn’t even remember her. I just pay attention to things that might be potatoes.”
MICHELLE WILLIAMS [BLACK] VS. AVRIL LAVIGNE – It’s been hard enough for Michelle these past few years. At least let her win THIS. Avril is married to the lead singer of Nickelback, though it appears they’re about to call it quits. Admitting a mistake is not the same as avoiding making that mistake in the first place.
WINNER: Michelle Williams—the Black One from Destiny’s Child (3 to 0)
Dave Schilling says: “I wanted to vote for Avril but picked Michelle just because her advancing on a unanimous vote made me laugh.”
CARRIE UNDERWOOD VS. HILARY DUFF – These days, “country music icon” is code for “basic.” Yeah, you knew Carrie would be here. If you don’t understand why Hilary Duff is basic, then we question why you are even reading this article.
WINNER: Hilary Duff (2 to 1)
Big Freedia says: “Hilary Duff. She Disney.”
KELLY CLARKSON VS. JESSICA SIMPSON – Kelly Clarkson is like a living, breathing bowl of marshmallows. Jessica Simpson, on the other hand, has a hard-won reputation for ruining football teams with her vagina.
WINNER: Kelly Clarkson (3 to 0)
Julie Klausner says: “Kelly Clarkson, I guess, but if it were Ashlee Simpson vs. Kelly Clarkson, Ashlee would be the basic-est, with a lip-sync jig to match.”
PUBLIC FIGURE/MISC. REGION
KATE MIDDLETON VS. CASEY ANTHONY – Kate Middleton truly is Her Royal Basicness. She is so tasteful that if she showed up in a Katy Perry music video, it would immediately get nominated for a Peabody Award. You might be asking yourself what Casey Anthony is doing in this tournament. She was accused of murdering her daughter, and during her trial, photos of her setting the Orlando nightlife scene on fire were released to the public. I hear your complaints, but every tournament needs an underdog.
WINNER: Kate Middleton (2 to 1)
Julie Klausner says: “Kate Middleton! Obviously! Casey Anthony murdered her daughter! Kate Middleton wears hats! This is not a fair bracket.”
ELISABETH HASSELBECK VS. LAUREN CONRAD – Elisabeth probably owns stock in Lululemon. Still waiting for LC to display any actual talent. Being famous despite a clear lack of charisma is very basic.
WINNER: Lauren Conrad (2 to 1)
Julie Klausner says: “Lauren Conrad. Hasselbeck is hateful human toilet garbage; Conrad is beige in the form of a person.”
SHERYL SANDBERG VS. KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN – Sheryl Sandberg is a strong, successful woman brought down by how inspiring she is to people who share inspirational memes on Facebook. It’s really not her fault. I’m sorry, Sheryl. Facing off against her is Kourtney Kardashian. Imagine being the least interesting Kardashian. Imagine.
WINNER: Kourtney Kardashian (2 to 1)
Julie Klausner says: “Again, not fair. Kourtney is obviously more basic. Just because Sheryl Sandberg knows what Mark Zuckerberg likes on his salad doesn’t mean her accomplishments need to dissipate in the shadow of a reality star.”
PIPPA MIDDLETON VS. SURI CRUISE – Could we get a mother/daughter showdown in the final? Could we get two sisters in the final four? Can a child who can’t legally drive a hybrid actually be basic?
WINNER: Pippa Middleton (3 to 0)
Big Freedia says: “Pippa, for sure. Suri’s gonna have all kinds of issues.”
AUDREY HEPBURN VS. MOTHER TERESA – The Bob Marley of female celebrities, in that most college girls have her poster on their dorm room wall. Mother Teresa is perfect and good in every way.
WINNER: Audrey Hepburn (2 to 1)
Julie Klausner says: “Audrey Hepburn. Major snooze, and responsible for Upper East Side basic bitches in little black dresses who date sociopaths from Goldman Sachs just because, one day, they want to buy a really expensive stroller.”
EVA BRAUN VS. SHIRLEY TEMPLE – Gotta be a real beta personality to date the most evil man in history.
WINNER: Eva Braun (3 to 0)
Dave Schilling says: “Eva Braun!”
OLIVA NEWTON JOHN VS. SUSAN BOYLE – Olivia is in this tournament strictly for “Let’s Get Physical,” both the song and the accompanying music video tragedy. We weep for Susan Boyle.
WINNER: Susan Boyle (3 to 0)
Dave Schilling says: “I dreamed a dream that Susan Boyle would win this tournament. Don’t sleep on SuBo!”
JULIE ANDREWS VS. JULIA CHILD – This matchup is kinda like Bosnia vs. Iran in the FIFA World Cup group stage. We just need to get it over with.
WINNER: Julie Andrews (2 to 0, with one abstention)
Julie Klausner says: “Neither one of these bitches are basic! I refuse to vote!”
The Fake Abortion Clinics of America
Women across America who are seeking abortions are accidentally booking appointments at crisis pregnancy centers—pro-life, government-funded religious centers that don’t provide abortions, but instead try to talk women out of terminating their pregnancies.
VICE News investigated the misleading practices used by crisis pregnancy centers to draw in women with unplanned pregnancies, and the misinformation that is spread to discourage them from pursuing abortions.
(Source: Vice Magazine)
An Army of Giant African Pouched Rats Are Clearing Mozambique’s Minefields
Land mines, unexploded artillery shells and cluster munitions are every bit as effective during peacetime as they are during war. An estimated 72 countries around the world are still affected by them, and their proliferation throughout former war-torn countries continues to reaphorrific consequences on rural communities from South East Asia to Angola.
“The socio-economic impact of land mines and unexploded munitions are huge. These things massively block economic development, and poor people in remote areas are continuing to suffer because of them,” says Tekimiti Gilbert, head of mine action for the de-mining NGOApopo.
“The knowledge of a single mine in the area is enough to stop locals using that land out of fear. Most of these communities survive on subsistence farming. They’re dependent on that land for agriculture, animals, and forestry—even getting firewood for their homes. And the further you move out of cities, the greater the land mine problem becomes.”
Fortuitously, Belgian-born Zen Buddhist and founder of Apopo, Bart Weetjens, has pioneered a new approach to detecting and eradicating land mines; he’s using rats—hulking, cat-sized rats who’ll go to insane lengths for a slice of avocado. And who, along with other de-mining NGOs and the British Government, are pushing to make Mozambique a mine-free country by late 2014.
“Some people are thinking of this idea as crazy,” he laughs in a heavy Belgian accent. “But for me, connecting the dots between rats and mine action was an alignment of the constellations.”
The Atheist Movement Needs to Disown Richard Dawkins
Atheist author, biologist, pioneer of the term “meme,” and noted sexist curmudgeon Richard Dawkins let fly a firestorm of tweets about rape this past Friday. Those, along with his statements from the past couple of years about this and other issues, make for pretty strong evidence that Dawkins is no longer the figuredhead the atheist movement needs or deserves.
A woman was alleging that a man raped her when she was too drunk to give consent, and Dawkins’ immediate response was the mainstay of all conservatives: what if she’s lying? Plenty of Dawkins’ Twitter followers agreed with him. It’s her word against his, they cried. Rape accusations are serious business, they cried.
Yes, rape accusations are serious business. Actually, accusing anyone of a crime, especially a violent crime, is serious business. That’s why we have court systems in place that determine, to the best of their abilities, whether a given accusation is most likely true or false. We have this for virtually every crime. So why are Dawkins and his ilk so preoccupied about false accusations of rape in a world full of false accusations?
A New Zealand businessman and conservationist wants to help the critically endangered weka, or Maori hen, by turning them into the next high-end delicacy.
‘Hunks, Chunks and Drunks’ – The Booze-Drenched Legacy of ‘Britain’s Own Guantanamo’
Diego Garcia, the British Indian Ocean Territory leased for a US military base, hides the truth over UK involvement in the CIA rendition program.