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Sunday Reads: The ‘Bitch’ Revival, the New Bad Hombres and the ‘Dump Him!’ Friend, Explained

“Bitch” is back, baby. As a self-identified dumb/hot/crazy bitch, I’m thrilled to see my vibe back in the spotlight. Don’t get it twisted, men should absolutely still refrain from calling a woman a bitch as an insult. But “bitch” by its lonesome has evolved beyond the negative — just ask Lizzo. Shit, bitch, “bitch” is practically synonymous with “thing.”

Must Read

Meet the Real ‘Bad Hombres’”
In 2016, Donald Trump vowed to rid America of “bad hombres.” In the three years since, restaurants, punk bands, magazines and others have adopted the smear as a badge of honor — and the name of their ventures. Tim Grierson spoke to the self-identified bad hombres who are embracing and re-shaping the term, either as a means of “sticking it to Trump,” or humanizing the real people the president has targeted. READ MORE

The Week In Features

Terror at the Pizza Parlor
Whoever thought a furry band of dead-eyed animatronic rodents was a good addition to a kids’ pizza parlor might have been as deranged as the robots at Chuck E. Cheese themselves. And yet, they existed, and had to come from somewhere. Brian VanHooker spoke to the men (natch) responsible about the history behind these beloved terror-bots — from their Disney-inspired creation, to the furious pizza wars of the 1980s, to their unnerving, dilapidated retirement years

Hawaii on Fire
Things are heating up on Hawaii, and we’re not talking about the islands’ numerous active volcanoes. In recent months, it would appear that the state’s onslaught of tourists and scientists have finally worn out their welcome in the eyes of Hawaiian natives. And now the locals are fighting to take back their state.

Dump Him!
The “Dump Him” Friend — i.e., the naysaying female friend who’s openly critical of her friend’s romantic partner — isn’t as well-known as other pop-culture tropes. But they exist all the same, in films like Toy Story 4 and Midsommar as well as in TV shows, books and even music. And while the “Dump Him” Friend may not be as conspicuous as say the “Mary Sue” or the “Odd Couple,” its influence IRL — and perhaps more importantly, online — is understated. Madeleine Holden investigates where the trope comes from, and why “Dump Him” friends are so unrealistic

Don’t Kill-and-Write
As a writer, when an editor tells you to “write what you know,” they probably don’t mean “confess to a murder you committed.” Somehow, spree killer, aspiring writer and failson Larry Via never got the memo, because confessing to the 1972 killing of a New York family man was exactly what he did in a short story he submitted in 1985 to Outlaw Biker magazine. Had Via never put his poison pen to paper, it seems unlikely that investigators would’ve ever solved the cold case murder on the side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The Future of Dan Savage
In the years since Dan Savage began writing his weekly Savage Love advice column in Seattle’s The Stranger, the gay sex columnist’s star has risen to near Dear Abby levels. But with that fame has come the inevitable backlash; these days, in fact, Savage comes off more like a defensive reactionary than the progressive who was constantly moving the ball forward on sex. So the question now becomes, what will be Savage’s legacy?

Five Things We Learned This Week

  1. You’re better off eating Cadbury Creme eggs than raw real ones, Rocky-style. First off, you can get Salmonella, and that’s just one of the problems with a raw egg cocktail.
  2. The dead outnumber the living 15-to-1. That whole “there’s more people alive right now than have ever died” myth is just another blatant lie about death — like the whole shitting-yourself bit. 
  3. “Bang snaps,” those tiny paper-coated sacks that produce a popping sound when thrown on the ground, are mostly just sand. But the explosive inside packs a punch. 
  4. Being rude to your waiter isn’t just a good way to get your food spat on, it’s also a chance for them to charge you more. Service workers everywhere have sneaky little ways of charging an “asshole tax” on customers who deserve some punishment.
  5. On Reddit, the great war between the r/Tim and r/Tom subreddits is heating up. If their battle will ever end is anyone’s guess, but one thing is clear: Their weapons of choice are memes.

*Sees that r/Tim still exists* from tom

Quote of the Week

The boring line of basics at Everlane, the online clothing retailer for the don’t look-at-me crowd, might not scream “sexy,” but they do say, “I’ll always be here to open jars of pasta sauce for you.” That, in effect, is the Everlane Promise: You won’t get laid wearing these clothes, but you will look boring enough to make great boyfriend material.

But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It…