Each week, I ask someone interesting a question at least tangentially related to the subject of humor and request that she/he respond in 50 words or less.
Or somewhere in the ballpark of 50 words. That’s why there’s an “-ish.” I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this site isn’t exactly a bastion of rigidity.
You probably have also noticed that this feature involves the word “Friday” and today is, in fact, Tuesday. If this has not occurred to you, however, you most likely should be using your time in more productive ways.
Anyway, this special, expanded edition of “50 Words or Less(-ish) Fridays” is coming your way because the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, affectionately known as March Madness, gets underway tonight with the play-in games that we’re not supposed to call “play-in” games, and the ladies of Go Fug Yourself (gofugyourself.com) have a special way of celebrating:
If you’re not familiar with Heather and Jessica’s site or their brand of humor, it’s quite wonderful, really. They take celebrities to task for dressing as if they’re, say, auditioning for a speaking part in the WWE or preparing for a manned mission to Mars—in other words, for wearing clothes that transcend “ugly” to become nothing short of “fugly.” It’s sort of like a more intellectual Fashion Police because writing always beats reality TV in that department.
Granted, it’s not exactly a high bar to clear, but whatever.
So what, then, is Fug Madness? It looks like this:
(If you click the image, you’ll be taken to this page on gofugyourself.com, where you can view it at full size.)
What you have here is a 64-celebrity bracket where the fuglier you’ve been over the past year (from Oscars to Oscars), the stronger your seed. That means that just like the NCAA tournament, the four No. 1 seeds are the favorites to “win” due to their unparalleled crimes of fashion, while the No. 16 seeds have tended to dress the most sanely (relatively speaking, of course). The last person standing—as determined by votes at Go Fug Yourself—hoists the trophy as the year’s fugliest.
For Heather and Jessica’s thoughts on whether that’s a compliment or condemnation, see their highly entertaining FAQ.
For my part, I wanted to know where they see the upsets coming from.
“The [NCAA] tournament has never had a 16 seed take out a 1 seed, but we had that happen in the first Fug Madness ever, back in 2008,” Heather says. “So the beauty of it is that the seedings don’t usually reflect what gets stuck in Fug Nation’s collective craw.
“I see No. 10 Lena Dunham knocking out Naomi Watts with ease, and then possibly moving into the Sweet 16 by defeating Katy Perry—who I think will beat Gemma Arterton, but Arterton is a dark horse, too, of the ‘She didn’t go out much but when she did it was WHOA’ variety. And also, watch out for Girls’ Zosia Mamet. Basically, the two ladies of Girls who are No. 10 seeds will probably beat their 7-seed opponents.”
And while Heather isn’t quite ready to pull the trigger on Hansel & Gretel actress Arterton, the No. 15 in the Bjork region, Jessica is going out on a little more of a limb with a No. 14, the former Ms. Sasha Fierce.
“I think it’s possible Beyoncé will upset Anne Hathaway in the Cher bracket,” she says. “And I wouldn’t bet against Halle Berry [an 11] taking down Cate Blanchett [a 6]. Finally, I think January Jones and Elle Fanning [a 12–5] is going to be a very, very close match. Personally, I hope the first round is rife with upsets! That’s what makes Fug Madness—like March Madness—fun.”
Casual fashion observers such as myself might be wondering where the woman who once wore a meat dress fits into all this. True, she didn’t go all pastrami pashmina in the last 12 months, but she still figures to be strong as a 4 seed, right?
Not necessarily, says Heather.
“Some of our readers are predicting that Lady Gaga will lose to Mamie Gummer, a.k.a. Meryl’s daughter, because Gaga had a quiet year. We might have agreed unreservedly with that—Gummer has exhibited some HIGHLY suspect personal taste—but when we did our research, Gaga had a pretty active first half of the eligibility period, before she hurt her hip. So we’ll see if Self-Important Artsy Fug beats out Potentially Genetic Bad Style.
“The debate about that one rages long and hard in Fug Nation, and never with consistent results. Which is as it should be.”
Voting for each round of Fug Madness corresponds with the rounds of the NCAA tournament, meaning everything gets underway in earnest this Thursday.
To get a feel for how it works, go cast your vote in tonight’s play-in game between former Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton and former Cheetah Girl Adrienne Bailon. Thornton got my vote for full-on nipple reveal at an event for Elle, but at the moment, it looks like she’ll be going down.
There’s a joke there, but I’m not going to make it. Except I kinda just did.
Happy brackets, everyone.