Brad Pitt (left), Angelina Jolie and their daughter Shiloh go for a walk in their neighborhood on March 20, 2011 in New Orleans. Credit: TNS

Brad Pitt (left), Angelina Jolie and their daughter Shiloh go for a walk in their neighborhood on March 20, 2011 in New Orleans.
Credit: TNS

This is part of a weekly series called “Pop Opinions” where The Lantern offers its take on the week’s pop culture news.

Dear John

Countless media outlets have swarmed to point out the fact that Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, daughter of Hollywood’s own Brangelina, recently wore a mens’ suit to a red carpet event.

Upon first glance at the headlines, I wanted to pull a straight-up Solange Knowles on those vultures and sock it to ‘em for speculating on an 8-year-old girl’s gender identity.

But then I did some digging.

Turns out, Shiloh’s parents — actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie — have spoken about their daughter’s decisions on more than one occasion.

Regarding her daughter, Angie has stated that, “(Shiloh) wants to be a boy. So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys’ everything. She thinks she’s one of the brothers.”

And Brad? He’s mentioned that “(Shiloh) only wants to be called John.”

Anyhow, for the sake of respecting the child’s wishes, I will henceforth refer to the daughter of Brad and Angie as “John.”

Rather than speculating, judging or raising concern, this is being treated as a celebration, no doubt because of the openness with which the Jolie-Pitt’s have spoken on the subject.

No one is saying anything straight-up about John’s gender identity, and with the child being so young, I think that’s fair. But the recent speculation regarding John Jolie-Pitt does highlight changing opinions regarding gender roles and gender identity in children.

So it’s good that we’re talking about this. It’s good that this story isn’t being treated with anything but warm support and admiration. John Jolie-Pitt seems unaffected by the media attention, and hopefully this news will reach other children who might feel less confident with their own thoughts and feelings.

Inflecting bias onto children regarding gender roles and expectations is an effective recipe for long-term confusion and inner turmoil. So it is absolutely refreshing and inspiring that the Jolie-Pitts are treating their daughter’s personal choices as a total non-issue.

Because that’s what they are — a total non-issue.

J.K. Rowling on Nov. 7, 2011 at the University of Edinburgh Medical School in Edinburgh, U.K.  Credit: Courtesy of TNS

J.K. Rowling on Nov. 7, 2011 at the University of Edinburgh Medical School in Edinburgh, U.K.
Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Rowling milks Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling — renowned author of the Harry Potter books — recently came out with a statement that she finds it “unnerving” that so many female fans developed crushes on Draco Malfoy, one of the villains of the series.

Rowling has been releasing these snippets left and right. She also recently came out and said that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was certainly home to a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Additionally, she has released several short stories about the characters, admitted that she is now unhappy with the way the characters paired off and expressed guilt over the killing of a minor character.

I’m sorry, but I’m tired of reading it in my newsfeed, and she needs to give it a freaking rest.

What once came across as a playful tool for connecting with fans has morphed into a twisted method of milking the series for everything it’s worth.

Rowling seems fixated on keeping the series in the spotlight by tweaking it, adding watered-down sub-content and side stories, all the while never spending too much time creating them.

The woman is teasing her fans, garnering excitement and making headlines over petty scraps.

Allow me to offer an analogy.

Imagine a baker. Imagine that this baker baked the most delicious cake you’d ever eaten. You ate the cake every day for years, and it was always just as moist, just as decadent as the first time you had it.

And then one day, the cake is gone. The baker no longer bakes his masterpiece. He does, however, reach out to you and your friends through social media. He reminds you of how delicious that cake was. He tells you how it was made, what he would have done differently and how much he enjoyed baking it for all those years.

But he never bakes the cake again.

It’s a similar situation to that of Rowling and her cruel and constant flaunting of precious childhood memories. She needs to let it go. Harry Potter has ended, and she needs to learn to leave it that way.

Or, sister could help us out and take the time to actually write another book.

Taylor Swift on Dec. 12 at Z100's Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Taylor Swift on Dec. 12 at Z100’s Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Credit: Courtesy of TNS

T-Swift’s ghost from past reappears

An old frenemy of pop sensation Taylor Swift recently spoke out about the “Shake It Off” songstress’ success.

Chelsea Alford, who went to high school with Swift, spoke with the Daily Mail about the inspiration for T-Swizzle’s 2008 hit, “Picture to Burn” and spoiler alert — it’s about Alford’s now-husband, Jordan.

“They dated in freshman year, but then after that, girl code, once you date an ex-boyfriend you’re not friends anymore. ‘Picture To Burn’ is about him. Because he’s always had big old trucks and stuff,” Alford said.

First off, the girl has total crazy-eyes and an artificial orange glow that’s got me jonesin’ for a Creamsicle. But isn’t she eloquent?

It’s unclear why Alford waited until now to release all of this info on Swift, and though she tries her best to come off as supportive and admirable toward her former classmate, the girl just can’t hide the petty bitterness. And it’s hilarious.

The article is filled to the brim with a condescending aloofness that serves to belittle Swift’s world-famous presence.

“I haven’t bought her latest record, but we haven’t got around to it yet. I like ‘Shake It Off.’ I think it’s a good song.”

Not to mention all the back-handed compliments:

“…back in school nobody thought she was actually going to go anywhere.”

And all the times she pretends to know the first thing about Taylor Swift:

“I don’t think she’ll settle down and have a family for a while, she’s too boy crazy not to, but I think she will live it up for a while first. It sounds like she goes between crazy cat lady and dating people.”

And all the times she was so blatantly catty:

“I thought her and Jake Gyllenhaal were really cute together, but that didn’t last long.”

Is this newsworthy? Probably not. But it’s so, so funny. If you get the chance, definitely check out the original article.

Anyway guys, this is all water under the bridge, and Chelsea Alford is so over all the drama.

“But then it was kind of funny. It was so long ago now, who even cares.”

(PS: Just between you and me, Alford’s husband ain’t no Jake Gyllenhaal. And if I had his picture, well, I’d burn it too.)