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where's your meme relations strategy??
Understanding the meme-as-PR move and why Drew Barrymore is so *in* right now.
6 Killed in Nashville School Shooting, Including 3 Children - The New York Times
“red line is when Republicans ended assault weapons ban”
"a woman makes a passionate case for gun control"
"Gen Z is showing up and protesting"
“we’re going to export all the data from the gun violence archive”
The Nashville shooting (Oy.) is very sad and highlights many confusions and frustrations about situations like this. What’s worse here is the added layer of “Is the shooter trans?” which pushed the conversation further into depressive territories, given the political-cultural and geographical context.
Teen overdose deaths have doubled. Blame fentanyl.
A Utah dessert shop violated federal child labor laws
Arguing About 14-Year-Olds Work in Meatpacking Plants
“Why take away all these excellent books?”
More from this week’s bad-news-for-kids.
What does an AR-15 do to a human body?
This story is just awful but also a necessary “look.”
Trump indicted by N.Y. grand jury
I will be honest: I will not clap until this actually pans out, to actually mean something. I have learned my lesson. (And this is also going to be a political gift to the right.)
Britons have more confidence in EU than Westminster
lmao Brits you wild
"This is bill S. 686"
The RESTRICT Act Would Restrict a Lot More Than TikTok
This proposed law is psychotic, basically using TikTok as a trojan horse to force surveillance and bar VPNs. Seems very fascist to me!!
Musk Says Twitter Is Worth Less Than Half the $44 Billion He Used to Buy It
One has to laugh. (Also charging companies $1K a month for Twitter is…unhinged.)
Twitter is dying | TechCrunch
If Twitter finally dies, where do we find the smart people?
Big trend this week was trying to muse upon where the “intellectuals” will go now that Twitter is dying. Cue the violin! (It’s TikTok you elitist morons.)
California reparations amount, if any, left to politicians
This is interesting, as I would love to see reparations in our lifetime!! It would be…a lot of money.
Unless you live in a major city, work in media, or are a public relations expert, the world of advertising and PR isn’t something you really “know about.” These industries, like all industries one is outside of, require interaction without your knowing, rarely making you stop to think about how the sausage is made since the sausage itself is intangible, instead conversations and advertising.
But, like how Hollywood and audiences’ greater understanding of industry machinations results in shakeups, revelations, and questioning, a similar understanding of the divine hands around public narratives is dismantling and erecting fortresses around industries: people now get the philosophies of ads and PR. We have many, many examples of this in recent history, along with big-brained adjacent theories that are forming. This is leading to a rise in a change in public relationships, which is why memes have become the new tabloid: sharing pictures and videos of drama or public intrigue are the new vehicle for spreading ideas.
Let’s look at a few examples of this so-called “meme relations” strategy, all of which require feeding the beast (social media conversation).
Remember Don’t Worry Darling and the drama surrounding it? Perfect example of this. We, as the audience, are drawn into the drama because it is both fake and real, a way to promote a flop-movie via alleged fights and spits, which are still talked about to this day. And? The film was a hit. Like extra content on a DVD, the public relations memdia narrative around the film pushed it into an intriguing talking point that drove awareness. We all knew this and we all loved it, even if we didn’t care for the film.
If you were online this week, you know the next item on the list: the Gwyneth Paltrow trial, which was white wine’d its way to the hearts of girls, gays, and theys. People watched her fashion, theorized about “what she said,” applauded the ridiculous acting, made mashups: what happened here is, as TikTok PR icon Molly McPherson said, was a double meme-as-PR strategy. The tail on this is long because the Gwyn-is-anorexic attempted to distract from the trail by stoking rage, which ultimately led to the trial being a camp moment, which was all really distracting from shilling dubious Covid cures.
Then there are the Kardashians. They helped to make and break the PR rulebook, using dating and children and friendships to stoke conversation. Even as their sun sets, the PR machine – and the questioning of it – continues to maintain relevance. See: North West’s Ice Spice 50M+ TikTok.
Similarly: the queerbaiting celebrity. See Harry, Bunny, Shawn, Taylor, Billie, Charlie, etc.: all queer-coding in some form, which the fans do and don’t buy into, spreading theories and pics that keep their name afloat. Whether baiting is good or bad isn’t the point, it gets at how this is all performative given how other celebrities – Omar, Kit (unfortunately), Noah – with smaller PR teams can easily clear the narrative.
In understanding these narratives and what they are covering up, we enter a space where speculation becomes entertainment, a concept not too far from the world of true crime. It’s how we ended up with the idiot subgenre of court watching influencers cheering Johnny Depp on: a landscape of breaking down and pushing against press narratives, to uncover truths for ourselves while inadvertently pushing conversation via social media.
(If you’re looking for a failed attempt at this, see the the Pepsi rebrand that dropped recently: they went for “We want Gen Z!” but were quickly realized to be attempting to dodge how unhealthy they are.) (See also: deinfluencing)
Where this is going to crash is politics, repeating what we saw happen between Ukraine and Russia. Look at something like Trump’s indictment this week, which has been poked by the left and by the right as an attempt for Democrats to secure the bag, continuing the trend of weaponizing courts, and covering for the loss of healthcare. Then there’s the balloons and aliens, which all may be distractions from…lab leak narratives? Immigration laws? Not taxing the rich? Military movement? Unsure, as they very well may be facts and not distractions. But herein lies the problem with meme relations, as we become smarter and dumber at the same time: the celebrity PR narratives are fun to theorize about and be skeptical of, sharing blithely, until we reach a toxic crunchy-to-alt-right moment that evolved over the past few years. It’s all fun and games until your brain has rotted away.
The 100 most popular art museums in the world
This year’s ranking of the most popular museums in the world is out and it is both exactly what you think and not what you think. The surprises, for me, was how many Korean (Specifically Seoul-based!) museums ranked so high while Los Angeles museums barely made the latter fifty.
“Army pulls ads in wake of actor Jonathan Majors’ arrest”
Jonathan Majors’s Army Ads Being Refashioned For Final Four
The Jonathan Majors thing is very bad but highlighted that he was in…an Army commercial. As Zoé Samudzi put it, his participation in these commercials was “a walking talking red flag.”
Jennifer Aniston says younger set find 'Friends' offensive
"reframe the boring corporate mush as super edgy"
I need celebrities to get a life and actually understand what being a normal person in 2023 means. This is like saying kids are complaining vanilla is spicy. Be for real.
Rosie Perez on Peace With Spike Lee, Bombing 'Matrix' Audition
Anyway, one of the best celeb features in a while. This woman is my tia, I promise!!
Levi’s test AI-generated models to ‘increase diversity’
One of the most unhinged AI-and-business things to happen recently.
”Met Museum Kicked Me Out”
MoMA apologises to artist Heather Agyepong
An interesting micro-trend of New York museums mistreating (artist) visitors for using works of art as they were originally intended to be used.
I Manage a Restaurant. Tips Have Never Been More Volatile.
This is interesting, if true (which it probably is), mostly as I always find myself over tipping these days.
Stumpy steals the hearts of thousands
We are all this struggling cherry tree who blossoming despite being mangled.
Madonna Announces Nashville Trans Rights Benefit Concert
This is actually something. Well done, Madonna!
"the passing of artist and musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto"
After a long battle with cancer, the incredible musician Ryuichi Sakamoto died. The announcement is very touching!! Revisit 12, an album from earlier this year about dealing with cancer.
Jessy Lanza - Don't Leave Me Now
Queen Jessy Lanza has returned, with a song that screams “WARM WEATHER IS COMING!!” and with a video that says “I’m an LA girlie now, Canada.” Obsessed.
♡ (Ricardo Villalobos Remixes)
Where my 40 minute Ricardo Villalobos remix girlies at? Now that I have all three of your attention, this is the best remix in years (A decade??) and Villalobos as his most “him.” There are points that feel like an “Andruic & Japan” sequel, which is to say: masterwork.
After Ellen Degeneres’ miraculous fall in 2020, there was a crater to be filled with kindness by someone in the daytime television universe. The obvious frontrunners are Kelly Clarkson with her folksy charms, which recently have been under pressure by Jennifer Hudson’s daily Super Soul Sunday. While both are perfectly competent to enter homes while the sun is still out, neither have the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent as another daytime host: Drew Barrymore.
It should feel obvious – She’s a former child star! Who is Hollywood royalty! And a Gen X superstar! Who is deeply unproblematic! And loves TikTok! – but Drew has somehow done what neither Kelly nor Jennifer have been able to pull off: being the girl-next-door surrogate for fandom, positioning herself as both audience member and president of the celebrity fan club. No one has done that this well since Rosie O’Donnell had a show! She appeals to everyone too: Boomers see her as that nice, troubled kid; Gen X see her as the wild child that they were too; Millennials see her as Josey Grosey; and Gen Z see her as having amnesia and loving rain. Oh: everyone also remembers her as the one who put E.T. in drag. In her words, she is effortlessly “cool-adjacent.”
And that’s the thing: she and her team have her brand down, which is why she seems to go viral every week, for doing things like having an Ever After reunion, getting John Legend to sing about poop, talking about alcoholism, and having hot flashes with Jennifer Aniston. She’s on the right side of history too, most recently causing a stir by sitting on the floor with trans TikToker Dylan Mulvaney. Atop of this, a platform is mounting for her to transcend beyond Ellen, to enter the realm of Oprah and Martha: she is being awarded with a Webby Special Achievement, has a top-selling magazine in its category, has a product collaboration with Wal-Mart, and is hosting this year’s VMAs.
All this to say: in the way Lee Pace was last year, in the way Pedro Pascal has been earlier this year, Drew Barry’s star is rising for her to rule the summer season. It’s gonna be sunny with a chance of Drew.
“Daddy day care”
Please enjoy a hidden-picture surprise of what or “how” Brooklyn Beckham cooks. (HINT: Read the comments.)
"that man was so unserious”
Speaking of, we’re entering a moment of strange not-not nostalgia of Donald Trump and his fucking stupid antics. It’s very look-back-and-laugh-so-you-don’t-cry.
"Millennial greycore is a traumatized reaction"
New theory on the graying of our world dropped: it because of our parents’ awful Tuscan kitchens.
"Adventures in defining 'biological female'"
Another week, another wild failed attempt to “own” queer persons via TERFs.
“Have you ever heard of a human decanter?”
No, I do not want to do this myself but, yes, I am intrigued and, no, you nor anyone else should do this.
"currently thinking about jenny shimizu"
Someone needs to do an oral (lol) history of Jenny’s power in the nineties. When put this way, she was the lesbian of the 1990s.
“mom can i have a drink please”
Love this drunk AI baby named Slunt.
“I’m from Buttersberg”
I feel like My-Personality-Is-My-City is so 1990 and yet here we are. Every city name gets better and better too!
"this tiktok deserves an oscar"
Happy pre-Mario movie.
"emrata's gigantic blonde son"
The Grad Student Shuffle
These are old but I was thinking about these two biggest hits (To me!) by Chris Fleming that should have gone very viral but did not. The Yubaba’s Baby bit…killed me.
And, finally, me gliding through the weekend.