You’re reading Hung Up, the newsletter from Hunter Harris. This is The Tuesday Post, a weekly essay or interview or deep dive. If you like this kind of thing, you can subscribe here.
I am a Leo, so summer is, as they say, my season. I am obsessed with summer. Seven months out of the year I am frowning because it is not summer. In May I smile because it is almost summer; in September I smile because the last glow of summer is still clinging to my skin, but I am secretly distraught because it’s just so long until we get more summer. When the weather is warm I am, famously, 30 percent nicer. When the sun is out and it is over 70 degrees, I am legally and morally obligated to play “Caught Up” and simply find a way to misbehave. Summer is the season of A Bigger Splash, of Dirty Dancing and Dog Day Afternoon, of the Mamma Mias and the Befores. (A few years ago I bravely defended the season’s honor for Vulture.) Summer is not a game to me. I do not play about it.
Two years ago Megan Thee Stallion brought us the ministry of “Hot Girl Summer.” White people simply cannot leave anything be, so the phrase went through many mutations and scrawled-on-Brooklyn-coffee-shop-chalkboard iterations. Ahead of summer 2021, our first summer vaxxed up, Hollywood Son Chet Hanks has made a pitch: “White Boy Summer.”
Since he went viral two Golden Globes ago, I have spent exactly no time thinking about Chet Hanks, because I simply have no reason to. And so: on Friday night I was minding my business, watching a double feature of Walking and Talking and the Julianne Moore Gloria Bell, and googling “under eye filler risk of blindness?” as I am wont to do. (Yes, I am going through some kind of mid-20s crisis where I look tired literally all the time and going to bed earlier is just, like, not an option.) The first thing I thought of was the genius/writer Sarah Hagi’s tweets about Chet Hanks, and herself, and the You’ve Got Mail adaptation they absolutely should star in:
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is the full transcript of Chet Hanks’s official statement:
Hey guys, look I just wanted to tap in really quick. I just got this feeling, man, that this summer is about to be a White Boy Summer, you know? Take it how you want. I'm not talking about Trump, you know, NASCAR-type white. I'm talking about me, Jon B, Jack Harlow-type white boy summer. Let me know if you guys can vibe with that and get ready, you know? Because I am.
Should we take it line by line? Every single sentence here is funny to me. Every single one! “Take it how you want,” “Jack Harlow,” “I’m talking about me.” I know that so many of the girls are taking this man seriously — “White Boy Summer” sounds like “City of Boston, Yearround” or “Capitol Insurrection” or just “The United States of America” — but I simply cannot engage with this in a serious way. Chet Hanks is a clown; this is his clownery. I did in fact spit out my drink at “NASCAR-type white” — making fun of white people and Bernie Mac in Guess Who for liking NASCAR is certainly not new, but something about the way Chet Hanks rushes to distinguish himself from his brethren is just so insanely funny to me.
On the subject of Jack Harlow: yes, I had to google him and I am even more confused! Chet Hanks couldn’t round out his white boy lineup with Paul Newman’s ghost may he rest in peace (still hot, eternally), the boy with the chain from Normal People in the Rolling Stones video (no, I can never remember my baby’s name), Charlie Puth (yes, I will sneak his name in here, he needs a win), or noted freak Robert Pattinson? Chris Evans — who y’all gas up entirely too much — is filing a lawsuit for erasure. Jake Gyllenhaal is setting up his tripod to do another handstand. (I am preemptively complaining about it, thanks. Another job he’s stolen from Bradley Cooper!) Timothée Chalamet is saying: Where was this support for me in summer 2017? The Justins — Timberlake and Bieber — are panicking. Neither Timberlake’s crazy eyes nor his career could survive more heat so he is sitting this battle out. Bieber, meanwhile, is googling “Bible verses about being left off the White Boy Summer Roster this close to summer” and reminding himself that Chet Hanks, like God, doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.
Later in the day, Hanks posted again, thanking his audience — his “loved ones” — for their support of his charitable cause.
"What’s up loved ones?" he said, once again posting from the front seat of his car. (Also: Did you know you are one of Chet Hanks’s loved ones?) "Wow, white boy summer going up. It's fantastic. I love to see it. Thanks for making that a thing. You know they’ve been asking me, 'Chet, if it's going to be a white boy summer, does that make it a Black Queen Summer for you?' Uh, do you know me? 'Cause if you know me, you know that’s all year round. Respectfully.”
First of all: who in their right mind, with a straight face, asked Chet Hanks if it’s a Black Queen Summer for him? Not to publicly agree with a man, but: “Uh, do you know me?” is demonstrably not a lie. Respectfully.
Throughout the weekend, Chet Hanks dropped the “rules and regulations” for White Boy Summer, but he called them “rules and regs” like this is some kind of hot boy Friday Night Lights and he is their stern but inspiring Coach Taylor. I usually do not like abbreviations because I am not stuck in the year 2015, but “regs” is just what that word is known as now.
The rules and regs, according to Chet Hanks, are:
Rule number one: “No plaid shirts, can't be looking like a picnic table out here boys. You know what I'm talking about, leave that shits at home. The Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren — Leave that shit at home. Put on a black tee, a white tee. Keep it simple.”
Rule number two: “No Sperry Topsiders. That's not the kind of white boys we're talking about dog, ok? Get yourself some Vans, some Chucks, some Jordan's. I'm not really a sneaker head but, you know, feel it out. There will be more rules coming."
Rule number three: “No calling girls ‘smokeshows.’ That term is played out, dude. You can’t just see a chick and be like 'fucking smokeshow, fucking smokeshow, dude.’ Ok, that's over with.”
Rule number four: "Anything salmon coloured in your wardrobe. Burn it. Burn that shit. Don't ever wear that again."
Men, as devoted Hung Up readers will recall, low key fell off. (White men, again with the exception of Paul Newman, may he rest in peace, were arguably never really on!) And so I must issue this ruling: the rules and regs are good. One time I walked past Epistrophy and I saw four different tables of boys on dates wearing the exact same blue button-down. Chet Hanks is speaking from experience: there is a type of person who wears Vineyard Vines and Sperry Topsiders and I promise you I do not ever want to talk to that type of person again. Chet Hanks, benevolent as he is, even gave alternatives: a black tee, a white tee, some Vans. Again: the delivery here is really something to behold. (“There will be more rules coming,” alone is just, my God, dizzying.) He’s tired of being at our nation’s forefront.
It is of course fitting that Chet Hanks has released White Boy Summer merch and it is terrible. I mean it is some really foul discount-bin-of-Hot Topic attire. It is foolish and puzzling to expect more from him: His entire thing is not giving a shit. The winner in all of this is the season summer because she’s that girl and we’re all still running our mouths about her.
But honestly, I’m getting ahead of myself. Like I said, I am fundamentally opposed to taking any of this seriously. There is really only one place to begin and end: this man is named Chester Marlon Hanks.
Expecting this boy to not act out is like naming your child Usher Raymond V and becoming confused when he takes out a box of Crayolas to scribble out some Confessions. I do not like acknowledging the existence of Alec Baldwin, but it does remind me of that great 30 Rock joke: “We are an immigrant nation. The first generation works their fingers to the bone making things; the next generation goes to college and innovates new ideas. The third generation snowboards and takes improv classes." The first generation did whatever Tom Hanks’s parents did (“hospital worker” and “itinerant cook,” according to Wikipedia). The second generation made Big and Cast Away and moonlighted as David S. Pumpkins. The third generation is named Chester Marlon Hanks and does the groundbreaking work of telling other white people that the color salmon should be avoided.
And another word on the matter:
Something else: this weekend I went to the dress rehearsal of SNL. Maya Rudolph was the host. (No, I did not see Paul Thomas Anderson. Yes, I looked actively. No, it’s still not clear to me who Jack Harlow is, despite his own and Chet Hanks’s best efforts.)
This is less of a personal life update — because honestly who cares about me and my weekend — but rather a professional life update because this means that I can cross another Star Is Born location off my list of Star Is Born Shooting Locations I Have Successfully Schemed My Way Into. That list includes:
The Hollywood Roosevelt, where I hosted a Star Is Born singalong in the year 2019, nearly an entire year after this movie lost all but one of the Oscars it was nominated for.
The Virgil, where I begged and pleaded with the bartender to let me into the back room with the stage where Ally sang “La Vie En Rose” for “some fabulous French tips tonight.” The bartender even turned on the lights for me when he realized that, yes, I was serious about this.
The Ally Billboard outside the Chateau Marmont, which was CGI in the movie but very much real, albeit at street level, when I saw it. (I can’t find a picture of this one for some reason. Sorry!)
Next on my list is the cop bar where Ally Maine (née Campana) performed a brave act of white allyship by punching a cop.
That’s all today. Bye!!