BIG MAD - The Summer of White Boy Summer (4.2.21)

A comprehensive guide on having a "White Boy Summer".

Probably goes without saying that 2020 for most people was utter dogshit. Of course, the degree to which it was dogshit varies. Billionaires seemed to have a pretty good time consolidating wealth at an unprecedented rate, riding out the pandemic hellscape in secluded mansions and compounds. As did toilet paper manufacturers and divorce lawyers and the fine folks at Zoom. But I would venture to say that basically everyone else has been having a pretty bad time. Between the pandemic, the cratering economy, the 2020 election cycle and subsequent attempted coup, things have not been going great. The winter of 2020 was probably the darkest season in recent memory just in terms of wondering whether we are reaching the end of this great American experiment.

But the spring of 2021 has offered many of us a much-needed glimmer of hope. At the time of writing this, more than 90 million Americans have been vaccinated, and we are on pace to reach 200 million by July 4th. The economy is turning around and most Americans find themselves $1,4000 richer. D****d T***p and his cretins have been banished from most social media platforms, slinking back to the deep web incel message boards them came from. Rush Limbaugh is dead. Drake dropped a new album. And the Knicks are finally good?

I think many people share my optimism that if the hopeful spring of 2021 has alluded to anything, it’s that the summer of 2021 is going to be the closest thing we have had to a “real” summer since the Before Times. The pandemic isn’t going away necessarily, but if things go off correctly in the next two months it’s possible it merely fades into the background. Among many of my friends, family, colleagues, and strangers on the internet there is a buzz building about this summer that’s hard to ignore. There is talk of barbeques and get togethers and al fresco dining (the only good think to come out of the pandemic). Folks are planning vacations and getaways without the fear of being vacation shamed.

And then last week, like a tattooed angel speaking patois, Chet Hanks declared the summer of 2021 to be “White Boy Summer”. In an unassuming IG story, the Prophet Chet alerted the masses:

Chet Hanks, youngest son of the great Tom Hanks, is one of the most curious personalities figures on the internet today. “Officially” he’s an actor, although according to IMDB he’s really only got work as a bit player on CBS procedural crime dramas. He gained some notoriety for his incredibly problematic insistence on using Jamaican patois, a perplexing development considering he is the offspring of perhaps the whitest man on the face of the earth. It’s not really clear what his occupation is beyond being among the idle rich.

I honestly don’t know if this is just an elaborate bit, or if Chet is earnestly declaring it White Boy Summer. Either he is an Andy Kaufman level genius of character comedy, or he is just another rich Hollywood failson who’s brain has been completely fried to a crisp by social media. Whatever the case may be, we need to put Chet’s brain into a laboratory for further study. We need to put his ass in a zoo or a museum or something. And we need to figure out what exactly a White Boy Summer is.

First a little context. Not too often in history have there been summers been worth naming. And I doubt that Chet his fully considered the historical precedence that he is undertaking when declaring something a Summer of ______. This kind of event doesn’t happen often. There’s only been a handful in the last 100 years or so:

  • Hippies across America declared the summer of 1967 the “Summer of Love”. It is said that summer a hundred thousand hippies descended on San Francisco to listen to terrible jam bands, drop acid, and publicly defecate 15 feet from where they had unprotected group sex.

  • Bryan Adams proclaimed the summer of 1984 the “Summer of 69”. No, Adams wasn’t singing nostalgically about the summer of 1969. In an interview in 2008 he clarified that he was referring to the sex position. So presumably Adams spend all summer 69’ing which fucking rules.

  • After he was fired from the Yankees, George Constanza declared the summer of 1997 the “Summer of George”, where he never changed out of his pajamas or left his apartment. Costanza might have been the lockdown MVP had Seinfeld been around in 2020, because that sounds almost exactly what most people did all off last year. Personally I haven’t worn pants with zippers since March of 2020 and I don’t intend on going back.

  • The most recent summer worth naming was in 2019, when Megan Thee Stallion proclaimed it “Hot Girl Summer”. July was quite literally the hottest summer on record, according to a dire climate report issued by NOAA. However I don’t think that’s what Megan meant. Urban Dictionary defined HGS as “the summer where girls take over and express their inner hoe.” Hell yeah.

Not surprisingly people online were a little pissed at the prospect of the first real summer in two years being a “White Boy Summer”. Rolling their eyes virtually at yet another white boy summer, as though every summer before hadn’t also been a white boy summer. I get it. For the sake of brevity let’s just say white boys are the cultural persona non grata at the moment, and for good reason. On the whole we’ve kinda been dicks (to say the least) for several centuries now. And the immediate revulsion is totally justifiable.

But I think it’s important to remember that Chet’s call for a White Boy Summer was directed only at white boys and for their sole consumption. Unlike Hot Girl Summer, which everyone was welcome to twerk by the pool and do Hot Girl Shit, White Boy Summer is more of a set of rules white boys specifically should follow. Simply put if you aren’t a white boy, feel free to keep it moving and live your life.

Fortunately for us white boys, after his initial declaration of White Boy Summer blew up and people got big mad, Chet Hanks had the courtesy to lay down a few ground rules about what exactly this White Boy Summer actually means. But it being Chet, it didn’t really make any sense. So in outlining each rule I’m going to go ahead and add a sort of addendum to each of them. Consider Chet’s initial rules and regulations as kind of Old Testament version of White Boy Summer, in all it’s confusing and oddly specific instruction, and my addendum as a sort of New Testament editorialization and clarification and interpretation for modern audiences.

Here is the original video for those who have not seen it yet:

(I also cannot believe there is a Twitter account dedicated to Chet Hanks Updates.)

Rule #0: “I’m not talking about Trump/NASCAR-type white. I’m talking about John B/Jack Harlow type white boy summer.”

I am glad that Chet sort of prefaced these rules with a pretty explicit disclaimer that “White Boy Summer” isn’t some thinly veiled white nationalist call-to-arms, and that those dudes can just fuck right off. Seems to me that the last four years have been a sort of White Boy Summer in that regard, and that was basically a total disaster. So good on Chet for nipping that right in the bud.

I am showing my age in telling you that I had to google who John B and Jack Harlow are. My only familiarity with either of them was seeing Jack Harlow playing 2v2 with 2Chainz at NBA All-Star weekend a few weeks ago. Even after an earnest google, I’m not entirely sure. I guess they are just like chill white guys? I honestly have no idea.

Rule #1: No plaid shirts, Vineyard Vines, or Ralph Lauren - simple black and white t-shirts ONLY

I will be the first to say that plaid is probably the whitest pattern ever created. It has some vague and poorly understood Scottish heritage, like most actual white people do. 60 seconds of googling tell me that each ancient Scottish clan had their own exclusive pattern of plaid, but that could be hogwash. Nobody could tell you why, but white people just love plaid. And as someone who almost exclusively wears plaid flannel shirts between the months of October and February I feel personally attacked by this development. However I understand his angle. Plaid is boring as fuck. It’s a sorry excuse for color. You can’t have a proper White Boy Summer if you are looking like a guitar tech for Pearl Jam.

I also applaud him for outlawing Vineyard Vines. I think most of us know someone named Trevor or Scott or Devin who is a pretentious spoiled prick and is incredibly fond of pastel Vineyard Vines gear. This also dovetails quite nicely into rule #2:

Rule #2: No Sperry Docksiders - Vans, Chucks, or Jordans ONLY

The Sperry Docksider is perhaps the signature accessory for Cape Cod Conservatives and private equity sex pests, and with this proclamation Chet is basically declaring all-out war on them. These people are mostly really annoying, and I for one am happy that they will not be included in White Boy Summer. Good riddance!

I am pretty indifferent about Chet’s verdict on footwear as it relates to Vans, Chucks, and Jordan’s. I tend to look at people who wear Vans and don’t skate as posers. The only people ever to look cool in Chucks is Snoop Dogg and Bill Russell. And the last thing a non-sneakerhead wants is to be grilled by an actual sneakerhead about where they got the Jordan 4s they are wearing. Similarly if you don’t own a boat, don’t wear docksiders. And no, your dad’s boat does not count. So I guess these are all bad options?

Chet implores us to “just feel it out”, a nice rhetorical bow on the rule which I interpret simply as “don’t be a poser”. At the end of the day, Chet wants us to be authentic to ourselves and to live our best lives. Docksiders represent us giving in to the toxic white boy monoculture, and by metaphorically casting them into the ocean we are freeing ourselves from those negative connotations and attitudes.

Rule #3: No calling girls “smokeshows”

According to Chet that term is “played out” and its “over with”. I tend to agree. The proliferation of the term “smokeshow” has it’s roots in the early days of Barstool Sports. Before transforming into the multiplatform multimedia titan that it is today, Barstool was once nothing more than a struggling smut blog peddling lukewarm sports takes to frat boys. For decades, Barstool bloggers scoured social media for their “Smokeshows of the Day”, which was little more than pictures of scantily clad college girls designed to lure the male gaze.

It was shamelessly exploitative and undeniably creepy. But to their credit Barstool knew exactly what 17-24 year old’s want, and that’s soft core porno and sports blogs with swears in it. Once the company went mainstream about 5 years ago the Smokeshow of the Day became untenable, however it’s legacy lives on in the colloquialism now known as “smokeshows”. In my opinion Barstool is a handful genuinely talented people awash in a sea of talentless hacks catering to the lowest common denominator of the 18-30 male demographic, but that’s for another blog another day. Bottomline here is that White Boy Summer is not about objectifying women or reducing them to their potential as Barstool Sports smokeshows.

Rule #4: Anything salmon colored - burn that shit

Going to go out on a limb here and say that salmon is among the ugliest colors in the rainbow. There’s a reason that the fish are gray on the outside and salmon on the inside. It’s not meant to see the light of day. This color is also heavily favored by the aforementioned Vineyard Vines slash Docksider wearing contingent of white boys. Seems to me Chet has an axe to grind with these dudes and wants no part of them during White Boy Summer.

Rule #5: No cargo shorts

The ongoing cargo shorts debate is perhaps the most hotly contested issue in male fashion today. Its emblematic of the timeless fashion dichotomy of form vs. function. The function of cargo shorts is undeniable; it’s like being able to wear a purse. There’s a million little pockets for wallets and phones and lighters and all sorts of other useless shit men carry around. In college I was admittedly an occasional cargo shorts wearer, and had a particular pair I could fit no less that 5 cans of beer in. Many conspiracy theories suggest the cargo shorts hatred was started by women, who are envious that men can have pants that are constituted entirely of pockets while most ladies clothes lack any pockets whatsoever. Of course, we all know that the pockets conspiracy is actually just Big Handbag ensuring women need to buy expensive bags instead of just putting stuff into pockets, but that’s for another day.

But alas, cargo shorts are explicitly not White Boy Summer approved. White Boy Summer is about keeping it simple and getting back to basics. For most men phone/wallet/keys are the bare essentials needed when one has to leave the house, and that all fits nicely in a normal pair of shorts. Anything else is just clutter. Fundamentally cargo shorts are a product of our societies twisted obsession with accumulating meaningless garbage and gadgets and gizmos. Only in a sick, demented society would we have to painstakingly engineer shorts with enough pockets and compartments to satisfy that materialistic obsession. They are an abomination and an affront to God. Fuck cargo shorts.

Rule #6: No ill will towards anyone! Straight vibing ONLY!

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