When you think of Tom Hanks, you’re likely to think of the clean-cut, wholesome role model admired for his countless iconic roles in movies like “Big,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “You’ve Got Mail.”
Hanks has a nearly perfect track record when it comes to playing likable roles, with the closest thing to a villain he ever played being Woody from the original Toy Story.
In short, Tom Hanks can be seen as “America’s dad” — something his son Chet seems to take joy in being the antithesis of.
For as beloved and wholesome as his father seems, Tom’s 30-year-old son seems to have come from a bizarro world. Where his father and older brother Colin are accomplished directors, actors and philanthropists, Chester "Chet" Hanks is an abusive white rapper who defends the use of the n-word, speaks in a blatantly offensive Jamaican accent and describes himself as an avid cocaine ‘connoisseur.’
Chet Hanks is an enigma. He presents himself in a way that seems to rail against his family's clean-cut image, while simultaneously using his father’s name and “Hanx” branding on social media to foster clout. He is the epitome of the nepotism in Hollywood that allows one to act like a complete buffoon with absolutely no repercussions.
While Chet has been doing things to further himself from his family’s status as clean-cut Hollywood royalty for years — including blaming the use of racial slurs on his cocaine use — it was his recent proclamation that this summer would be a “White Boy Summer” that brought his antics to the forefront of the cultural conversation.
Chet had a feeling about White Boy Summer. He doesn’t mean Trump or NASCAR-type white; he’s talking about him, Jon B. and Jack Harlow type-white boys. He told his Instagram to “get ready” for his premonition.
Thanks to Chet's announcement, he has been living in my head — and in the heads of countless other Twitter users — rent-free for the last two weeks. Hell, it even forced me to follow a Chet Hanks update account. It’s fair to say I’m obsessed with this strange human being.
A personal favorite moment of mine is a video, most likely from Cameo, where Chet congratulated the “victory [of] all the workers" in Alabama Amazon facilities on their vote to unionize. If this doesn’t signify how ridiculous this man is — speaking on workers’ rights days after explaining his “rules and regs” for White Boy Summer — I don’t know what will.
When Chet released his proclamation of White Boy Summer (and "Black Queen Summer," something he claims is every day for him) he did it with the utmost sincerity. He didn’t seem to realize, later, that when White Boy Summer started trending, it was mostly people mocking him and expressing confusion over how a man with an eye of providence tattoo on his chest could be the genetic offspring of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.
Chet seems so unaware that his antics are being ridiculed on such a massive scale. For Chet, any press is good press, even if the Gothic font on his WBS merch is being called “aggressively racist” by Twitter users — something Chet attempted to remedy by adding a few “Stop Hate" T-shirts to his merch store.
Chet is so naïve to the fact that he is being borderline offensive that it ceases to offend and exists only as a comedic punching bag.
Leftist commentator Hasan Piker — known for his Twitch channel HasanAbi — put it best when he compared Chet Hanks to "a court jester" in a March 27 stream.
Chet Hanks being 100% sincere in his delivery of WBS merch and capitalizing on his newfound success with Cameos starting at $299 is the only explanation I can find for how funny this has all been. Like, it baffles the mind that someone like this not only exists but is the son of Tom Hanks, star of “Castaway” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”
Maybe Chet Hanks is the price the gods have made us pay for the incredible memories his father gave us over the years. Maybe Chet Hanks is the result of childhood neglect, left alone while his father was off making big-budget movies.
Regardless of what caused him to be like this, one thing is certain: Chet Hanks is Twitter’s most recent court jester with not a single ounce of self-awareness in his body.
How can a man who willingly posts a video of himself recreating lines of dialogue from the Joker be anything but a clown?
Domenic Purdy is a 20-year-old journalism sophomore from Prairieville.