We all have dreams of what we would do with a slightly more infinite sum of money in our bank accounts: some would travel, some would go shopping, others would allocate that money towards their family and friends, in profound acts of generosity and gratitude for their support along the way.
Which brings us to this past weekend, when HBO ingenue Sydney Sweeney threw her mother a 60th birthday “hoedown,” and the reactions quickly strayed from “that’s nice :)” to “sis, ur canceled </3” after multiple photos from the event revealed Sweeney family and associates in red hats and Blue Lives Matter-themed clothing.
First thing’s first: the red hats say “Make Sixty Great Again,” according to Sweeney’s brother Trent Sweeney and also according to the zoom function on my desktop browser. LOL. About as funny as something your extended family thinks is funny, so you know, not really funny. But also not offensive either. Basically normal as far as families are concerned.
Much more umbrage has been directed towards this picture of Sweeney with her family members, in which a man purported to be her father is wearing a Blue Lives Matter t-shirt.
There are a few ways to analyze this Instagram post as a text of the party, from the most generous read of, “That man isn’t related to any of the Sweeneys and stumbled into the picture” to a somewhat generous read of, “I bet there’s something at the bottom of that shirt that says Birthday Lives Matter,” to a completely ungenerous read of, “Sydney Sweeney’s father wants to celebrate his wife by reminding everyone that the lives of cops are more important than others.” I’m going with “Birthday Lives Matter.”
There’s also a whole host of people online being like “with honkers that ginormous, Sydney Sweeney and her family can do whatever they want.” No Olivia Wilde but: can you guys be normal towards a woman?
Sweeney responded as soundly and succinctly as she could in a tweet with a heart emoji, like every good celebrity before her.
At first glance, it’s easy to be suspicious that a party with red hats that said “Make Sixty Great Again” was not intending to be an absurd political statement, but perhaps the Sweeney family is playing a much richer and more nuanced game than any of us realize. Just kidding.
Ultimately, does it matter that Sweeney, who recently came under fire for saying she’s not rich enough to be able to take time off despite attending a $20,000-a-year private high school growing up (that her brother presumably also attended), has conservative family members? Sweeney doesn’t have to take responsibility for her family, weird as it may be for a group of Washington natives to have a “hoedown-themed” party complete with a mechanical bull and faux-Trump paraphernalia. Did people think Sweeney was a blonde actress who fixed up old trucks, like, in a “leftist” way? Anyone whose parents let them move to Hollywood to become a teen actor is probably weird, their family weirder, maybe racist, maybe not, but this is the ecosystem that brings us 16-year-olds who cry on command in soft-lit HBO miniseries.