If you haven’t heard of Chet Hanks, boy am I excited to pull out my laser pointer. Chet is the son of Tom Hanks, known for such iconic roles as Forrest Gump, Captain Phillips, and the first COVID-19 case Americans cared about.
Chet Hanks, one of Ted Cruz’s cornrows come to life, recently reemerged from the underworld to start a movement no one asked for. According to the thought leader, “white boy summer” has officially begun—don’t threaten us with a terrible time, Chet.
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Cinephiles may remember Chet from his big break as Dexter in the 2007 blockbuster, Bratz: The Movie. In 2010, Chet Hanks emerged as the ghost of your neighborhood SoundCloud rapper, but with nepotism. As only a Pi Kappa Alpha brother could, “Chet Haze” famously performed a reworking of Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” featuring his school’s colors—and with that, we’ve already painted a picture of “white boy summer.” In January of last year, he brought us Castaway: The Snyder Cut as he spoke Jamaican patois on the Golden Globes red carpet, to the confusion of literally everyone.
This week, Chet turned to Instagram to mark the start of “white boy summer,” a celebration of the precise type of male who thinks a “Saturdays Are For The Boys” flag is home decor.
His intentions with “white boy summer” aren’t as insidious as they sound. Hanks made it clear “[we’re] not talking about Trump, you know, NASCAR-type white.” Hanks’ summer mood board includes Jon B., Jack Harlow, and of course, himself. Even with this footnote, “white boy summer” is something we cannot endorse. Read the room, Chet. We’ve heard just about enough from white dudes this year, and it’s only March.
Days after the official commencement, Hanks returned to drop some “rules and regs,” including no plaid shirts, no Sperry topsiders, absolutely no Vineyard Vines, and no referring to women as “smoke shows.” (Curiously, no word on referring to women as “females”.) At least that last one we can get behind. Later amendments to the rules included a green light on pedicures and “wife-beater” tank tops. In his words, “I don’t know anything more ‘white boy summer’ than a wife-beater.” He took the words right out of my mouth. An adult-male-blonde in a ribbed tank is as close to insurrection cosplay as I’d like to get.
Beyond the concept, I take issue with the rules of “white boy summer.” Chet has unilaterally banned Natty Ice and Busch Lite, but encourages chasing pre-workout powder with a sip of water. Spot the difference, because I can’t. Choking on pre-workout outside of an LA Fitness has the exact same energy as a skull-crushed can of Natty Lite. Far from an innovation, “white boy summer” is very much serving southern college game day circa 2018. Category is? Frat super-senior.
The online response has been an overwhelming “lol no,” with journalistic highlights including “Why Is Chet Hanks Like This?” and “Oh No, Chet Hanks Is Talking Again.” Most of the internet called the Next bus immediately, but as we know, the voice of one white guy carries loud and far. Despite our best efforts, in some corners of the internet, “white boy summer” is in full effect. Megan Thee Stallion sweetie, we are so sorry.
Since women just don’t understand funny man words, let me be clear: we get the joke. What we don’t need is one of Hanks’ “vanilla kings” mansplaining this one. I know that Chet’s version of “white boy summer” doesn’t exactly mirror MAGA boat parades, but you’re lying to yourself if you think this isn’t a Venn diagram situation.
Not to rain on Hanks’ white supremacy drag—I mean merch sales—but April marks only three months post-Capitol riot, arguably the most disgusting display of whiteness in modern history. We’re currently in the absolute depths of unprecedented hate against Asian Americans across the country, while simultaneously live streaming the half-assed trial of George Floyd’s killer, Derek Chauvin. We’re not ready to celebrate white boys, not ironically nor with a laugh.
While waiting for the fresh coat of paint to dry on the Capitol Building, we can spot some things more worth celebrating than Chet Hanks’ summer plans. Aside from moving straight to the top of my “if I could pick anyone” roster, Giveon landed his first #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 with his feature on “Peaches,” and ended cuffing season everywhere with 151 million streams of “Heartbreak Anniversary.” Beyoncé made Grammy history as the winningest female artist of all time. Resident Hot-Girl Megan Thee Stallion donated $50k to fight anti-Asian hate in America. Lil Nas X played the snowflake reverse card and brought us straight to Hell on a stripper pole with “Montero.”
The solution is clear—for every mention of “white boy summer,” hit unfollow on one “vanilla king.” Every summer since the dawn of time has been white boy summer, and we don’t need any more of them.
Images: FOX Image Collection via Getty Images; chethanx / Instagram