Why Nancy Grace Vs 2 Chainz Is The Most Ridiculous Thing I've Ever Seen This Week

HLN screenshot
HLN screenshot

1. Nancy Grace is unbelievable.

Not unbelievable in a figurative sense. (Although, she is that too.) But literally unbelievable. As I was watching her debate 2 Chainz about whether marijuana should be legal, I found it difficult to concentrate because I was distracted by the fact that Nancy Grace is an actual person who actually exists.


I mean, I was aware of Grace's existence before. She's such a prominent figure in American pop culture that a person like me, who never watched more than three minutes of Grace's show, can recognize when a TV or movie character is supposed to be Nancy Grace-ish. The caricature of her is just as prominent as she is.

After a few minutes of this conversation, though, one thing became clear: Nancy Grace is impervious to caricature. Because caricature is supposed to exaggerate and embellish existing qualities. And there's nothing you can exaggerate and embellish about Grace. She is already a caricature. Nancy Grace is a caricature of a Nancy Grace caricature. There's no possible way to make her characteristics more exaggerated and embellished than they already are. Even now, an hour or so after watching the interview, I'm still finding it difficult to grasp that a person like Nancy Grace actually exists in the actual universe.


2. "Tity boi" — 2 Chainz's original rap name — is said aloud at least three times. The etymology of Tity Boi is also explained. Which is perfect. Because no one is not interested in the etymology of Tity Boi.

3. Presumably, this clip is going viral because 2 Chainz — a rapper whose most famous line is "she got a big booty, so I call her big booty" — gives a sober and articulate defense of marijuana use; a stark contrast to Grace's hysterics and misplaced marijuana hysteria. He refutes each point Grace attempts to bring up, and dismisses or outright ignores each time Grace does something like post a sample of his lyrics or a clip from one of his videos — a transparent attempt to disqualify everything he's saying.

And this is kinda, sorta, racist. Not what Grace is doing — although that's kinda, sorta racist too — but that this clip is so popular.

You don't have to try very hard to make a convincing argument for the legalization of marijuana. It is happening in several states, and it will continue to happen until it is legal in every state. This is inevitable. Even those who still vehemently argue against it realize it is inevitable, and only still argue because it makes good theater.


2 Chainz did acquit himself nicely in this interview. Which, for those familiar with his background, was no surprise. But the sharing and retweeting of this clip is less about "2 Chainz wins unloseable argument with human Pez dispenser" than "Holy shit. This Black rap guy can actually form coherent sentences." And this is kinda, sorta, racist.

4. Due to certain biological and physiological restrictions, I am not, and will never be, a grandmother. And since I am not, and will never be, a grandmother, I will never be a "grandmother who plays Bingo at the American Legion banquet hall the first and third Friday of every month."


But, if I were a grandmother who plays Bingo at the American Legion banquet hall the first and third Friday of every month, I imagine that I'd wear the exact same thing to Bingo that 2 Chainz is wearing in this interview.

5. Grace began with a story about a young couple whose baby died because they were getting high, and interspersed the interview with clips of parents giving their young children marijuana. She also makes reference to his children and the fact that, since he's a rap star with a large audience, he's a role model for young people. The point she's attempting to convey is that marijuana abuse is a serious subject with serious consequences.


Yet, the clip she shows at the 8:15 mark, of a toddler smoking weed with a football helmet on and doing the running man on his back while in bed with the football helmet on — all while Grace is shrieking "Look! Look! Look!" — is one of the five or six funniest things I've ever seen. Is it not possible to look at that clip and not laugh. You can even see 2 Chainz attempting not to smile.

This bit is a perfect synopsis of this entire conversation. It's just not possible to have a serious conversation about marijuana and seriously argue for its criminalization. Because even if you invite a rapper who's dressed like George Contanza's mom and used to be called "Tity Boi" to have a debate, you're going to be the one who looks ridiculous. Like a high two year old doing a horizontal running man with a football helmet on.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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Agatha Guilluame

My building has central air. And what that means is that every time another tenant lights one up the smell wafts into my apartment, into the stairwells, into the hallway and I hate that smell. I hate it with a passion. And the person doing the smoking, smokes all hours and most days (does any weed smoker smoke only occasionally?). A few weeks back, I woke up, head spinning, the air was so thick with it. It's been so normalized that smokers act like everyone smokes and like it's not a big deal. But it's seriously affecting the quality of life for myself and the other (non-smoking) tenants in the building. And it's not like you can call the cops about it, I sat in the back of a cop car once while a complaint like that came in on their radio and the cops laughed. So if they legalize it or not, I need it to have the same social rules/stigmas applied to it that cigarettes have, i.e. no smoking in apartment buildings, no smoking near entryways, no smoking in places where people gather or eat. In fact, I can't remember the last time I even smelled cigarette smoke but more and more people are lighting up in the most conspicuous of places. I wish the same social rules applied to weed.