It’s been a summer of losers, from Conor McGregor to Donald J. Trump. To be honest, all of us have lost this year—but some of us have lost more spectacularly than others. Even more remarkably, a handful of celebrities have managed to emerge from the hell that was summer 2017 both harder and smarter (not you, TayTay). So before we leave this summer behind and try desperately to forget it, let’s take one last opportunity to shout out the winners and mercilessly mock the losers.
When Rihanna was photographed looking amazing in casual-wear this summer, I smiled softly. When Rihanna was spotted making out with a hot millionaire in a pool, I thought, good for you Rihanna. When RiRi met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss global education initiatives, I got excited. When she wore this to Crop Over in Barbados, I got over-excited. And when RiRi’s ex Drake acknowledged Rihanna’s queen of the summer status by posting a forlorn Instagram of himself wearing socks with the singer’s face on them, I was at an absolute loss for words. Rihanna, you did that.
LOSER: Rob Kardashian
I’ve never lived in a matriarchy, but I imagine it would look a lot like the Kardashian family, a coven of powerful women who built an empire by selling raw feminine energy and hideous clothes. In the Kardashians’ Calabasas, men are just superfluous sperm donors. Think Handmaid’s Tale, except the genders are reversed and Elisabeth Moss would never in a million years be part of it. In this world of useless XY chromosomes, no man is more extraneous than Rob Kardashian, who is paradoxically the only dude the Kardashians can never distance themselves from. That’s because Rob is a Kardashian—with none of the work ethic, business acumen, or PR sense that his family is famous for.
Instead of shuffling off into irrelevancy with his stacks of unearned cash and designer sock line, Rob Kardashian took it upon himself to thoroughly embarrass his family with petty drama and social media tomfoolery. His escalating feud with the mother of his child, Blac Chyna, hit a new low this summer when Kardashian published nudes of the reality star to his Instagram, ranting, “I had my daughter out of Love but this woman left the second I paid for her body surgery and then she was out… I got receipts for days and when it comes to doing drugs and fucking dudes in the bed my daughter lays [in.] I don’t play. So I don’t care that this is the mother of my child.” Kardashian was ultimately booted off of Instagram, and Blac Chyna was granted a temporary restraining order against her abusive ex.
WINNERS: Taylor Swift’s Neo-Nazi Fans
This summer’s been a bit of a wash for neo-Nazis. On the one hand, their ideology of hate has edged into the mainstream, aided by a racist president and a bulk tiki torch order. On the other hand, these idiots are going to keep losing their jobs and friends (presuming they had any to begin with), as an increasing number of neo-Nazis have been publicly outed as the worthless assholes they are. Also, their ugly, cheap Confederate statues are coming down.
In the midst of this emotional rollercoaster of a summer, Nazis have one Aryan goddess they can always turn to for comfort/country-crossover pop. That Aryan goddess is none other than Taylor Swift, the tall, cool glass of milk who’s been long-heralded amongst fringe groups as the future queen of the fourth reich. Swift, who coyly refused to endorse a presidential candidate, has also failed to denounce her neo-Nazi fans, who appear to have taken her silence as some sort of coded encouragement. Also, Taylor’s newest single is a diss track against a black man and his Armenian wife. All in all, a great summer to be a neo-Nazi stan boosting Taylor Swift’s trumped-up sales.
LOSER: Angelina Jolie
In the immortal battle of the exes, no one ever thought that Brad Pitt would come out on top of the year’s most tragic celebrity split. After all, post-divorce Brad Pitt is a next level loser. He drinks cranberry juice and fizzy water and makes dad jokes about his sparkling clean urinary tract. He shapes clay for hours and makes fires with his bare hands. He listens to Frank Ocean and says things like “By the way: There’s no love without loss.” And yet, in the midst of all of that gaunt sweater boy nonsense, it’s Angelina who ended up losing the summer when she admitted—and subsequently denied—the cruel methods used to cast impoverished children in her upcoming Netflix film First They Killed My Father.
According to a Vanity Fair profile, “The casting directors set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism: they put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie.” As for the “performance” of the young woman who was ultimately given the part, Jolie recalled, “When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back… when she was asked later what the money was for, she said her grandfather had died, and they didn’t have enough money for a nice funeral.”
While Jolie later insisted, “The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting,” swearing that it was a “pretend exercise in an improvisation,” Vanity Fair stuck by their reporting, releasing a transcript of the interview that appears to tell a different story. Additionally, Jolie was condemned by Human Rights Watch for possibly collaborating with the Cambodian army. All in all, an epic fail of a summer.
WINNER: Justin Bieber(’s dick)
Justin Bieber somehow manages to win no matter how many Ls he takes. It’s like when Donald Trump Jr. colludes with the Russians but still gets to be a good boy, or when Mariah Carey falls asleep onstage and instantly becomes an icon for lazy people and women who are slowly being suffocated by an aspirational wardrobe that’s two sizes too small. Bieber is the pint-size pop prince of failing up. When he goes on a serial dating spree, fans blame his barely legal girlfriends instead of him. When he abruptly flakes on his work obligations, tabloids attribute his lack of commitment to otherworldly religiosity. When he runs over a paparazzo outside of church, Jesus still loves him. And when he (allegedly) goes to the hospital to be treated for testicular torsion, the doctor informs him that he just has swollen balls. But Bieber’s summer 2017 only truly achieved winner status last week, when a dedicated hacker posted the singer’s nudes to his ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez’s Instagram account. Whenever the world (more specifically, Gomez’s 125 millions followers) is reminded of what Justin Bieber’s penis looks like, Biebs wins big. Just ask his dad.
LOSER: Louise Linton
Louise Linton is what would happen if the viral sorority email cunt punch girl convinced herself she had talent and got into acting, only to fail and marry rich. The current wife of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former star of 2015’s Cabin Fever, Linton’s many claims to fame include a deeply offensive memoir about time she spent in Zambia and being married to Steve Mnuchin.
This August, Linton briefly took her place in the center ring of the Trump administration circus when she mocked a social media user who had the gall to criticize her tacky and lavish Instagram post. The controversial post showed Linton disembarking from a government plane in expensive duds, captioned, “Great #daytrip to #Kentucky!” The aforementioned social media user, Jenni Miller, a stranger, wrote, “Glad we could pay for your little getaway #deplorable,” to which Louise Linton promptly went off: “Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country?” Linton continued, “I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours. You’re adorably out of touch. Thanks for the passive aggressive comment.”
Suffice to say, Louise Linton was not actually “lololol’ing,” and neither were the many media outlets who picked up Linton’s bratty clap back before she got a chance to delete the post. To make matters even worse, the brands that Linton so desperately wanted to associate herself with bent over backwards to distance themselves from Mrs. Mnuchin. Sad!
WINNER: Cardi B
Graduating from reality TV show infamy to song-of-the-summer status makes you a winner. But stealing song of the summer from “Despacito” in the process makes you a hero. The Bronx’s own Cardi B has proven herself to be the hero that Gotham deserves, saving the VMAs, shading Ed Sheeran, and gifting summer barbecues with the blessing that is “Bodak Yellow.” How about that glow up.
LOSER: Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is a man whose highs are high and whose lows are very, very low. His latest high came courtesy of a mix of prescription medications, which led him to pass out behind the wheel of his own Mercedes. At 2 a.m. on Memorial Day, the scandalous golfer was arrested by Florida police on suspicion of driving under the influence. Woods subsequently released a statement swearing that alcohol was not to blame. “I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved,” he said. “What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.” Unfortunately, Woods’ highly publicized mug shot wasn’t the only photo of the celeb to go viral this summer. The golfer and his gold medalist ex Lindsey Vonn were among the many victims of a recent string of celebrity nude hacks. Vonn quickly condemned the leak, declaring, “It is an outrageous and despicable invasion of privacy for anyone to steal and illegally publish private intimate photos.”
For the millionth year in a row, misogyny is having the best summer ever. Sexism and Hollywood go hand in hand, like avocado and toast or racism and Hollywood. This summer, Forbes’ list of highest-paid actors revealed a $42 million difference between the most profitable actor (Mark Wahlberg) and the highest-paid actress (Emma Stone), leading columnists to wonder if things are actually getting worse for women, and leading women to scream louder and louder into the void. Also, Alison Brie opened up about having to take her top off for an Entourage audition, James Cameron called Wonder Woman an “objectified icon,” Joss Whedon cheated on his wife and blamed the patriarchy, and prestigious film festivals continued to give female-led or directed films the cold shoulder. But at least we have Girls Trip, right?
LOSER: Charlamagne Tha God
As if pissing off black women and hanging out with Tomi Lahren wasn’t enough, the controversial radio host topped off his year by egging on transphobic rhetoric on his popular morning show. July’s Breakfast Club backlash went down after comedian Lil Duval joked on the show about murdering trans women. Which, obviously, is not a joke. Janet Mock, a former Breakfast Club guest who was referenced in the conversation, wrote an open letter in response, explaining, “Just so we are all clear: On a black program that often advocates for the safety and lives of black people, its hosts laughed as their guest advocated for the murder of black trans women who are black people, too.” Actress Laverne Cox also spoke out, tweeting, “Some folks think it’s ok to joke about wanting to kill us. We have free speech but that speech has consequences and trans folks are experiencing the negative consequences with our lives. It hurts my spirit cause this isn’t funny. Our lives matter. Trans murder isn’t a joke.”
WINNER: Racism/The Confederacy
Out of a list of ascendant actors and aspiring It Girls—Cazzie David, Yara Shahidi, Tom Holland, the higher quality Sprouse, to name just a few—who would’ve thought that the breakout star of summer 2017 would be the ghost of the Confederacy? This failed, pro-slavery enterprise, which has been dead for 150 years, is now having a moment both on and off-screen. Politically, we’re watching Confederacy-worship claw its way back into mainstream rhetoric, in a move that’s sure to stain the Republican party for centuries to come. Meanwhile, in the entertainment world, the traitorous would-be nation has received an honor usually reserved for stories about sibling-fucking or startup culture: its own HBO show. Confederate, an upcoming project from the (white) showrunners of Game of Thrones, is billed as an alternative reality imagining of a world in which the South won the Civil War. Alternatively, it’s a very clever SNL sketch idea highlighting white creators’ inability to imagine black realities beyond slavery and oppression. As The Daily Beast’s Ira Madison III wrote, “Do we need another show from them where the black people are slaves and the threat of rape from slaveowners is ever-present?” He ultimately concluded, “This is white nonsense.”
LOSER: Joey Bada$$
WINNER: Kim Kardashian
No one wins harder than Kim Kardashian West, a perfectly proportioned cyborg lady who was sent to this earth to vanquish Taylor Swift and teach us lesser mortals how to contour. This summer, Mrs. West has been busy as usual: She launched an extremely successful makeup line (with just one little blackface controversy) and took her rightful place as the next Jackie O (with just one little blackface controversy). When she’s not exhibiting masterful control over/cognizance of her position in the national imaginary, our first lady is slowly edging out Melania Trump with her ramped-up dedication to political and philanthropic causes. Kim has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hurricane Harvey relief, subtweeted the Trump administration and, perhaps more importantly, gotten Kanye West under control. Kanye West 2020 may not be a “good” “idea,” but it’s also never felt more inevitable. As first lady, Kim would make sure every overweight kid reached their revenge body goal. She’d only cyberbully people who really deserve it, like Taylor Swift and Ray J. And, most importantly, Kim Kardashian would never wear stilettos to a disaster zone. She would wear Yeezys.
BONUS WINNER: Incest
When Game of Thrones first centered an incestuous plot line, we were all like OK, ya horny nerds. But now, with a hot new couple in the mix, we’re all totally onboard the incest train. Fans have spent the entire last season of Thrones actively cheering on Daenerys and Jon Snow’s aunt-nephew hook up like it’s the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl and someone’s about to score the winning touchdown. Like it or not, incest is hot right now.