Unhinged White Men.
Issue 7, Volume 112
One of our beloved editors, Dexter Wells, eats chalk. As we watched him cough up white dust clouds of the powdery, Japanese Hagoromo chalk, we thought “this man is unhinged.” In honor of Dexter Wells, we’ve created this list, one of similar unhinged behavior—behavior which can only be displayed with an utter disregard for conventions, both social and artistic—behavior rewarded only in the white man.
What does it mean to be unhinged? If we have a door, and we take the said door off its door frame, it is unhinged. Similarly, if we have a white man, and we take the said man away from any care for social norms or predictability, he is unhinged. His screws, quite literally, are loose. Something about him becomes mildly off-putting, but with an air of intrigue. He is simply an enigma.
First, we have Robert Pattinson, former teen heartthrob turned indie movie icon turned Batman. Ever since his public resentment of the “Twilight Saga” franchise (2008-2012), expressed on various press tours, the world has been intrigued by him. But it’s his erratic behavior that really differentiates him from the average celebrity. A man who can microwave pasta and still model for Dior is one who deserves respect. What’s even better is that he takes roles just slightly more unhinged than himself; I’ve never been more interested in a novice lighthouse keeper with a bad mustache (“The Lighthouse” (2019)) or a scumbag Queens native (“Good Time,” (2017)), until Robert Pattinson decided he would only do movies that required weird accents.
Less inherently likable but more of a curious figure is Jake Gyllenhaal. He’s not necessarily special or weird, but he claims not to shower. Why does he do that? Why is he stinky? Taylor Swift wrote a ten minute song about him. What about this man (who can’t use soap and starred in a historically mystifying movie that people only pretend to understand) possessed Grammy-winning recording artist Taylor Swift to write a ten minute song? I think he should give the scarf back. I think he should trade it in for a washcloth. Even furthering our bafflement behind this man are his eyes. Generally, eyes can be bright, kind, or even dead and malicious, but Gyllenhaal’s eyes convey nothing. They’re hollow, and that scares us.
Matthew Gray Gubler
Matthew Gray Gubler. If the world needed a representative to illustrate the extent to which confidence and good hair can elevate a white man, Mr. Gubler would single-handedly be the best example. No other 41-year-old would be able, wearing a blue floral kimono, to pull human teeth out of a drunk-gnome-style fireplace and somehow have that result in a YouTube comments section praising him for having “Greek God” and “written-by-women'' vibes. Another testament to his unhingedness is the variety of roles and professions Gubler takes on. Aside from playing everyone’s favorite nerd-hot FBI agent on “Criminal Minds” (2005-2020), he is also known for voicing Simon in “Alvin and the Chipmunks” (2007), had a past modeling career, and has recently published a children's book, “Rumple Buttercup: A Story of Bananas, Belonging, and Being Yourself.” Now, these facts may not seem to make sense, but (at least in the public view) neither does Gubler. Everything he does, while odd, also seems innately true to him. Everything he does screams unhinged.
When you think of Kentucky, what comes to mind? KFC? WRONG. Jack Harlow. The Louisville, Kentucky native, best known for his viral song “What’s Poppin” and, more recently, “Industry Baby,” is as unhinged as they come. As evidenced in various social media appearances and press interviews, he consistently holds an aura of shameless confidence that leads him to be just slightly more questionable than your average white man. Whether it be referring to an interviewer (James Corden) as “Big Daddy” or randomly pulling his pants down during an Instagram live, it isn’t necessarily the actions themselves that make Harlow unhinged, but rather his disregard of any pre-established societal standards and his utter self-assuredness. The lack of fear Harlow holds in his masculinity is especially ahead of his time––he simply has no other choice but to appear unhinged to the rest of society. A feat secondary only to his luscious curls.
We actually don’t know if our next entry is unhinged at all. It may be his poise and finesse that sets him apart, but Jeff Goldblum is not normal. Goldblum has achieved a level of refinement that distinguishes him from his peers, but it seems he got this way, not by following social convention, but by appreciating it, then ignoring it. Most recently, Goldblum has been on a press circuit to promote his Disney+ original, “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” (2021). (Yes, a media conglomerate has given Jeff Goldblum the authority to define the entire world). In one televised interview with late night duo Desus and Mero, he began interviewing his interviewers, simply because he can. We’re unsure whether or not Goldblum is aware of his own celebrity; he receives compliments (and thirst tweets) with the frivolity of your favorite drunk uncle. With his peppered hair, thick glasses, and eccentric clothing, Jeff Goldblum has aged like a fine wine—a smooth, robust, and potent one for that matter.
As illustrated by this very comprehensive list: there are certain key characteristics prominent in each of these unhinged men. They are unpredictable. They are, in the best way possible, slightly crazed and somehow able to violate all social conventions in a way deemed socially attractive. They walk the world with a level of confidence and swagger that only a successful white man can hold. And while these characteristics do little to clarify the true nature of their unhingedness, would they really be unhinged if this list made sense?