Discover more from The Trend Report™
are zoomers actually conservative?? 👀
A look at our new puritans and the meaning of the word "museum."
New year, new Trend Report™: enjoy a refreshed look and feel for 2023!! And share thoughts by taking the reader poll.
Republican Kevin McCarthy elected US House speaker
Colorful moments of speaker vote
”McCarthy agreed for a motion to vacate the chair”
”an example of the shit we have to deal with”
This was the story of the week and is so cringe. The latter two are Dem takes on the matter, elucidating some aspects you may have missed.
Maxwell Frost Is Struggling to Rent an Apartment
hmm seems like this story about the 25 year old congressperson and housing captures so many problems in America right now hmmmm
Migrants warmed by the community
Busloads of migrants dropped off near Kamala Harris's home
My mother, who lives in El Paso and works in immigration, was telling me first hand about how tense and inflated this problem has become. Lots of this has to do with the GOP being anti-human, as we know (which is complicated by recent troubles in Juarez).
"sickos who want to eradicate LGBT people"
And you wonder why queer people are worried right now.
18 months, 175 killings of transgender people.
To the last item: some excellent reportage by Insider on the reality of transgender homicides. This is a must-read, highlighting how murders of trans persons have doubled in the past two years – and that these crimes are rarely solved or properly prosecuted.
How deadly will China’s covid get? Answers and more.
Your update on the very sad Covid situation in China.
XBB.1.5: CDC reports new omicron strain taking over
New strain of interest. From New York, too! (This happens as ongoing mask gaslighting occurs by the media, even though most people support masks.)
How Central Ohio Got People to Eat Their Leftovers
A great look at food waste, and how American culture “takes abundance for granted.” Climate protection is an obvious lifetime trend, but food waste is something we are definitely going to see and hear a bigger push on.
Extinction Rebellion’s Resolution: WE QUIT
As the above story gets at, the biggest trend with the climate are the issues stemming from policy. A great capturing of this is how the UK’s Extinction Rebellion is stopping public disruption to deal with political and corporate greed – as those are the items that need to change the most. Well done! (Another item in this trend: many Times readers saying the same thing for their 2023 climate goals.)
Earth currently experiencing a sixth mass extinction
"Europe is experiencing its worst heatwave ever recorded."
“skiers this holiday season are looking bare and green”
"it doesn't mean global warming is over."
"for trying to swim in a ‘whites only’ pool"
"footage of the attack on Black teens at a pool in South Africa"
Many are realizing how racism is still so alive and well in South Africa. This seems to be an emerging storyline, and hopefully leads to the driving out of these practices (and Elon Musk).
Putin’s ceasefire proposal shows he is ‘trying to find oxygen’
“Putin is terminally ill”
Some interesting Ukraine-Russia updates, if true.
With Bing and ChatGPT, Google is about to face competition
I am watching this very closely. A disruption is brewing!
Over the break, Rob was the subject of a viral critique by a younger (Zoomer) gay who saw a post he popped on Instagram Stories, asking if anyone was dtf. “Are Millennial gays are okay?” the person asked. “I’m just happy Gen Z gays did not follow in your footsteps…Millennial gays acted this way because boomer gays acted this way.” The said acting? Cruising. This ignited a bit of a back-and-forth, to which Rob replied simply “I was horny…I would do it again.” which caused the original poster to delete the post.
This exchange says a lot. Primarily, it exposes a fascinating phenomena: a good amount of young people – Even the most liberal, queerest of young people! – have taken conservative bait, viewing normal and tame acts of queer sexuality as grotesque perversities. This is hardly the only recent example of this at the moment as, in the launching of the Real Housewives imitator Real Friends of WeHo, it was alleged that a potential cast member was barred from the show as other cast members didn’t approve of his sex work. (Close but distantly related is a new dating app called Tame, which enforces monogamy and forces reasoning for disinterest.)
These are all people (Zoomers) who, in any situation, would not call themselves conservative. These are people (Zoomers) who are a generation removed from a generation (Millennials) who are getting more liberal as they age. In looking at this situation objectively, you see puritanism running wild, that queer laws and queer courtship have now been heteronormified, sanitized in the name of public respectability. It plays into myriad things, largely the right-wing targeting and villanizing of queerness and queer culture.
It’s absolutely wild. It reminds of the work of Amia Srinivasan and her 2022 book The Right To Sex. In one chapter on anti-porn feminism, she shares how her college students reacted to second wave feminist anti-porn stances. She writes –
I imagined that the students would find the anti-porn position prudish and passé, just as I was trying hard to make them see the relevance of the history of feminism to the contemporary moment. I needn’t have worried. They were riveted. Could it be that pornography doesn’t merely depict the subordination of women, but actually makes it real, I asked? Yes, they said. Does porn silence women, making it harder for them to protest against unwanted sex, and harder for men to hear those protests? Yes, they said. Does porn bear responsibility for the objectification of women, for the marginalization of women, for sexual violence against women? Yes, they said, yes to all of it.
The subjects – both the anti-porn feminism and the students – are more complicated than this as the essay goes on, considering how pornography has become an unwitting sexual pedagogical force in teaching young people about sex. As Srinivasan (and her students) note later in the essay, these understandings of porn and sexual performances in public are more a matter of literacy, that sexual desire in public (or even consensual sexual acts) aren’t the problem: it’s normal and human to be sexual and more a matter of how a gaze is trained to encounter said behavior. If you’re trained to see sexuality and the pursuit of sex as “bad,” as deviant, then that says a lot about the surrounding culture – and that culture is obviously conservative.
Why is this relevant? There’s a growing wave or talking point, feeling or “vibe,” that young people have some creeping cultural conservatisms, that the scales of liberalism have tilted so far that one drifts into a different realm of right-ness. I’ve written about this before, as this is not a new subject and it relates to other items percolating in the cultural ooze: people cannot tell what is or isn’t fetish content; people are having less sex but using more sexual language; people having baseless, chronically online takes on literally anything.
This is maybe a product of youth, that people will one day learn and grow and experience Rob’s experience for themself: performing sexuality, while adapting this to age and circumstance. The kids are great and good and smart – but their sex views are increasingly curious. Who knows where it will go!
Bonus essay here on why everyone didn’t want the holidays to end, which I wrote but didn’t like.
Dwayne Johnson's DC Exit, Black Adam vs. Superman Failed Plan
This was the week that everyone realized The Rock sucks.
Nonalcoholic cocktails are booming, why do sober people hate them?
My friend Ian wrote a great story on the scam that is non-alcoholic drinks! It’s also a good reminder that…we really do drink a lot and we should always interrogate how much we’re drinking, which is why there was such a backlash to the story. People don’t like facing reality that drinking is not-good!
Benedict Cumberbatch's family pressure to pay reparations
Hold slave holders and rich people accountable, 2023. Like this TikToker, I’ve been waiting for this!!
"They don't have access"
This is a great take on why the GOP is trying to take down TikTok: because they can’t influence it.
"Joe Biden…grants only six pardons today"
"MF DOOM prevented from returning to the US by Obama"
These posts have the same energy.
"the response has been so scary omg"
I feel like the talk about the parasocial is mostly a nothing-burger – but this is a good example of a situation where people legitimately are being weirdos.
I bought a Tesla to help the environment. Now, I'm embarrassed.
You fucking moron.
Finding David Miscavige: Why lawyers have been unable to serve papers
Where's Ye? Lawyers can't locate him to say they've quit.
Hot new shit-person trend: becoming un-findable, to avoid legal ramifications. This will definitely lead to an Andrew Tate situation!
"social media management ins and outs"
Even though they are jokes, I read every one and I agree with this one from
First Gadget You'll Actually Want to Drop in the Toilet
I want the pebble you can pee on for your health.
Waffle House Warrior Dines at Scene of Viral Fight
The backstory behind the now-iconic GIF of the woman deflecting a chair.
What is a museum? What is the “job” of a museum? What is the function of a museum?
A few months back, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) redefined the word as a “not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage.” The definition continues, speaking to diversity and sustainability, while stressing education. This makes sense, despite a fluidity of “official” museums happening in places like Los Angeles, where centers dedicated to celebrate and share specific cultures pop up to reflect new and old times. This also reveals the power of various climate protests in museums, as they force museums to be what they say they are – only for them to fail miserably.
The idea of museums is very much on the mind of artist Carrie Mae Weems. Largely working in photography, Weems is a legend whose creations chronicle the Black American experience and the institutions, histories, and cultures that have shaped (and misshaped) a people. Her images are direct, with a tenderness, that are often like loose knots for a viewer to untangle: they’re complicated but accessible enough to anyone curious to do a little work. They’re marked by great humor too, a playfulness that salves the violence and oppression against Black bodies.
She’s most recently the subject of a retrospective at Barcelona’s KBr Photography Center, which features work of hers from the 1970s through today, including selections from American Icons (1988 - 1989), From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, 1995-1996, Framed By Modernism (1996), Not Manet’s Type (1997), Slow Fade To Black (2010), and a series of new works created in 2022. What’s most striking in the show is that, whether her earliest works or works created months ago, they all seek to shift what it means to have a gaze, wondering who is watching, why they are watching, and where they are watching from. What does it mean to have work exhibited? Who is allowed access? Who is outside, waiting to get in? Who is unable to see the works in a literal sense? Who is disallowed art?
When we consider these questions, it’s worth noting the corruption of the word “museum” in the best and worst ways possible. As art historian Seema Rao said so succinctly on TikTok a few months ago, speaking to immersive “experiences” like the Van Gogh Experience, “museums aren't doing their job well because people would rather spend $55 for a screensaver than zero to go to a museum.” This dissolving of what a museum means is years in the making, with commercial efforts like the Museum of Ice Cream capitalizing on mass illiteracy to dissolve the institution, making people think these spaces are legitimate cultural hubs. This isn’t to mention these spaces being sites of thieving, as many museums contend their colonial histories, to figure out whether or not to repatriate goods.
Weems sees this, pointing the finger back to these institutions, to wonder how we ended up here to begin with: a new body of work created in 2022 parodies the structure of framing an exhibit, of putting up works that seemingly have to do with nothing. Clouds appear across the room from each other. A woman looks at a young woman while looking at herself in a mirror, both of whom are ostensibly on a stage. Images of animal dioramas in history museums are placed next to images of city streets. Then there is the bigger picture, the framing of viewer in the middle of the room, positioning you and her, as if the artist is behind her camera, prepared to capture you in the realization that institutions are often playing you. Are museums and “museums” all that different anymore? This is what Weems wonders so well.
So much of our world and so many people in the world are disallowed from culture, from history, from the things that make us us. The job of a museum is to reflect time and place but, when items are stolen and people aren’t allowed in, are they living up to their definition? Time will tell – and so will the artists placed on the walls.
"Years of Preparation"
“They were so excited!”
“be more of a scoundrel”
The best posts related to the new year. (The last one was…literally Bobby and I.) (Also unrelated/related but it seems kind of alt-cool major that David Bryne appeared on the Miley/Dolly New Year’s special??)
Did 88-Year-Old Stick a WWI Shell in Anus, Causing Hospital Evacuation?
I started following Snopes recently on Twitter and I’m obsessed with what they report on.
“your hair is amazing”
”your hair is amazing”
”comments have had me cryinggggg”
”bro what are these comments”
I think this is becoming a new comment meme, that is very funny but will definitely be pitchforked to death as ableist.
"this means so much to me thank you"
A state of the union for both literacy and comedy.
"I just know the voices would win"
I…would be gone forever down them falls.
"brutalist lobster apartment"
I’d live there.
“nipples really pop”
The only Avatar content I care about.
What people tag as “sound of the summer” on TikTok is the same vibe as people who live in North Hollywood and say they’re “in the industry.”
"i would cut my guinea pig eugene's hair"
Best mental health hack.
“voice filter on my sewing machine”
Put the voice filter on everything, please.
And, finally, me to myself when I feel insecure about how I look.