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🚫 don't show me Elon's p3ni5 🚫
...or shirtless Zuck. I have had **ENOUGH** of billionaires masturbating on us. Also, a big brained "everything is connected" conspiracy for summer.
Far-Right Rising to Power Around Europe
We’ve been watching this very closely over the past few months and…it seems very likely that Spain is going to go the way of Italy: succumbing to a conservative wave. Can’t wait for the 1930s again!
Zelenskyy attacks Nato compromise
Erdoğan agrees to support Sweden’s Nato bid
Key takeaways from this week's NATO summit
This has been a lot to follow! Ukraine did not make it into NATO, nor did Sweden, but Finland is officially a part of the pact.
The Circle Clarence Thomas Entered
Lawyers paid Clarence Thomas aide via Venmo
Sotomayor's staff prodded colleges to buy her books
I just…don’t understand how the Supreme Court justices’ poor behavior isn’t regulated. These clowns need to be reeled the fuck in!!
Biden Says The Economy’s Doing Great.
State of the economy: The vibes vs. the data
See above. I also think we’re at the point in culture where no “good things” for the economy will matter or be believable until people can do things like buy houses and or see millionaires(+) be held accountable. (Speaking of economy: the recent closing of 127 year old Anchor Steam speaks to the wackiness going on.)
272 enslaved people save Georgetown University
A fascinating story about how the American Catholic church was built upon slavery, despite the (Jesuit) priests believing and knowing that they were using people for profit.
"Text-based social media is superior"
I love Jules Terpak’s tech coverage and this video about where teens actually spend time online is quite elucidating. Spoiler: young people say TikTok is what they use most, but Twitter and text-based items are what all social is built upon.
Not to sound lewd but this whole week felt like being forced to witness the most egregious mutual masturbating circle jerk by billionaires and their ilk. I mean this literally and figuratively.
First, the literal: Mark Zuckerberg forced his “hot” body upon us, which felt very Grindr coded. It was generally an unwelcome addition to the current discourse, as days before, in response to Zuck’s competitive moves, Elon Musk proposed a literal dick measuring contest. Yes, that happened! Happening off Twitter, on Bargain Basement Twitter™ (Threads), Zuck was busy fellating Jeff Bezos before hopping into bed with Sundar Pichai. This was all foreplay to the “summer camp for billionaires” happening in Idaho, a state that is the newest destination for the rich people to evade taxes.
Tired yet? Sorry, no time for that: emerging above and below this were, acts of workers to speak up and out against injustice, which the billionaires decided to address in a few ways. Disney’s Bob Iger outed himself as a fistula by calling the strikes unrealistic and demanding, which built on noted entertainment scab resource center Deadline’s hosting the billionaire’s threats: they’re waiting for the writers burn out before forcing them back to work. Meanwhile, the executives at Vice who fired everyone got million dollar bonuses the day after, beleaguered Discovery CEO David Zaslav had a critical article about him removed, former blood baron and now-convict ex-billionaire Elizabeth “Liz” Holmes got her prison sentence reduced, and Bryan Johnson – the multi-millionaire tech exec who is trying to age backwards – announced he is no longer harvesting the plasma of his son. Lest we forget, just three weeks ago a group of wealthy persons did the submarine-specific Titanic Challenge and subjected us to their Darwin Award win.
Exhausting. ALL EXHAUSTING. It’s shameless, ugly, and so anti-person to do such evil things as such so flagrantly and flatly. They want writers on strike lose their homes. They said that!! As Phil Lewis observed on Bluesky, this is such “comic book villain” shit. This power dynamic (Or imbalance?) has always been frustrating, but at least there was a time when this pissing on (and pissing off) people happened out of sight. Now, because of egos and hype chasing and “good” publicity hunting, we have to take it in the face every day. I am exhausted! I don’t want to swallow this shit anymore!!
The plus of this is that people are rightfully getting so mad that they’re taking it out on them. I probably don’t need to tell you but the actors of SAG-AFTRA are on strike, along with Amazon drivers and (very soon) UPS workers, who join Hollywood writers who are now in their third month of striking. While the billionaires discuss AI in Idaho, the FTC is investigating OpenAI and the comedian Sarah Silverman (and others) are suing OpenAI for using copyrighted works to build their language models. Netflix actors like Luke Cook of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Kimiko Glenn of Orange Is The New Black are sharing brutally honest looks at the life of a working actor, to clear naysayers bemoaning the “riches” of all actors. Union busting behavior like strike nursing is being called out too, as are corporations profiting where they shouldn’t (See: Johnson & Johnson’s tuberculosis saga, which they’re now whining about).
The difference here, in this era of billionaire buttfucking, is we didn’t previously have the understanding or awareness of just how awful and out of touch their behavior was, as they try (and fail) to use publicity and public discourse to convince us that unions and working people are in the wrong. As historian and creator Emily Glankler explains, if we want to learn from history and change this, listen directly to the unions and the little people. Don’t be seduced by the day’s latest billionaire antic.
The Fox is Black
How Author Gillian Flynn Gets It Done
I find this series (and series like these) a bit annoying, but it’s about Gillian Flynn who is my literary thriller queen of queens. Interesting that she’s working on a Gone Girl “sequel” (??).
Drag Performers Transform Into Fairy Tale Icons
I missed this but what a great story! I wish there were more photos though!! The Humpty Dumpty is…so good.
NewJeans (뉴진스) 'Super Shy'
A late, very good contender for song of the summer: NewJeans’ “Super Shy,” which features a Portuguese fever dream music video. (Also, for what it’s worth, NewJeans are the most “for the girls” of all the K-Pop acts.) (iykyk)
a.s.o. by a.s.o.
An observation I have had for months and years: every summer-ish for almost two decades, a typically mixed-gender collab with black-and-white artwork, smooth electronics, and a self-titled name comes out around summer and flies under the radar. This year, it’s a collab between Tornado Wallace and Alia Seror-O’Neill called a.s.o. but, in years before it was: Topical Dancer by Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul, Au Suisse by Au Suisse, Il Quadro di Troisi by Il Quadro di Troisi, Nite-Funk by Nite Funk, Black Is Beautiful by Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland, and Real Life Is No Cool by Lindstrøm & Christabelle. There are definitely more (and the new Natural Wonder Beauty Concept might fit this too).
Taylor album mispressed as '90s UK electronica
This was my story of the week: what was supposed to be Speak Now in the UK was actually Cabaret Voltaire. Incredible. Love this. Let’s send them Ethel Cain next!
Ski Mask The Slump God Failed Stage Dive
I don’t know who “Ski Mask The Slump God” is, but I do know that this is one of the most painful failed stage dives committed to camera.
Miss Major urging trans people to 'stand up'
If you need inspiration, Stonewall veteran Miss Major has some for you.
2023 Lambda Literary Writer's Retreat for Emerging Voices
Support emerging queer writing and please donate to the Lambda fellows!! I was one last year and I donated some money to help a speculative fiction writer (which was my cohort).
I’m in one of those moods, where I want to explore how everything is connected. Join me, as I map a constellation of summer 2023!
This is the year of travel but – Hot take! – traveling sucks. It all started with the very viral New Yorker lightning rod “The Case Against Traveling” (Do I agree with it? Not really – but points are made.) which is colliding into stories of disappointed travelers lamenting that travel takes a lot of labor and places are worse than the Insta pics. Pair that with tourist spot profiteering and we’re in the thick of hot whiner summer.
What’s also bad about travel? Your plane getting struck by lightning. A friend just told me this happened to her causing her plane to be grounded! Lightning is more prevalent in hotter times of year and, given that planes are flying metal, this happens semi-frequently. (Not to mention: lightning seems to be trending right now.) This may not be why travel gets delayed – but the heat definitely can be, as warm weather is when most delays happen as it’s harder to fly planes.
See above but it’s too damn hot and no one knows how to talk or care about it despite the obvious dangers. Very bad! Thankfully, nature is revolting: first it was the orcas and whales and now it’s an angry otter attacking surfers, which seems to have mimicked a placid seal doing the same. Happening elsewhere are birds getting revenge with anti-bird spike nests.
Decidedly not-good for my mental health but definitely a reaction to the heat is the fact that (young) male-types are now navel-baring crop-top aficionados. This trend builds from the shirt cropping trend, which is less about navel-baring and more about DIY tailoring.
There are many bad things in the world, but one that I will continue to decry (mostly to myself) (and here) is the scourge that is drawstring shorts. Not gym shorts but fancy, well-made, “designer” shorts that have fucking elastic waists. Is there anything lazier than this? I ask you, Valentino and Acne and Wooyoungmi and Isabel Marant and Dries Van Noten and so many more: why are you being so lazy? I get comfort. But this is too much! I blame joggers, which have always reminded of baby pants. Now everything is baby pants! I’m sick of it!
Men are lost. Not in the right-wing, “ONLY TWO GENDERS!!” way but in the sense of that the state of men is not-great. Christine Emba’s piece in WaPo captures this best, as does Chloe Hall’s neo-classic piece on Millennial male quote culture. Both seem to fit into the long-standing trend of babying adulthood.
But aren’t we all quote factories now? I’ve mused on this before, but we’re entering a new era of the non-musical earworm. “Attenzione pickpocket” is one example but the rise of Pinkydoll and her peers, creators who mimic AI and Sim stylings to optimize TikTok Live functions, are the most perfect iteration of “this.” The best part? Others are catching on because this is actually quite a profitable activity (which is called “NPC bagchasing”).
Maybe we are all suffering from an infection of technology? Ask the guy who was convinced by his AI girlfriend to kill Queen Elizabeth because he definitely is. This infection runs both ways, as robots have started rolling their eyes. Or is it simply that we’re all sick of technology? Look at the material: the internet is breaking down (non-Bluesky link). We are too!
So we live in a limbo, an in-between space between the growing pains of economic opportunity and class reckoning. Example: offices should be repurposed as their values continue to crash which, naturally, is very, very hard. But…this is the best we got? As the viral office-to-apartment Zillow shows, these efforts currently match the larger landscape: they’re lazy, gross, and executed with an algorithmic lack of creativity.
"good morning America"
“the city that never sleeps”
"what's going on in Las Vegas"
“What america NEEDS to hear”
Send me every sphere meme. I know it is going to be – and is – a giant ad but I love it. I never want to see it in my life, but I think about her all the time.
“i look like a witch”
“every possible lighting option”
“fuck all of you”
“look like i’ve been dead”
“the year 2065”
“Brittany you have to eat”
“too many years on antidepressants”
The old people filter was a big deal this week, particularly for the 1.) ugly and 2.) those who turned it into great jokes.
“Gen Alpha watches this for hours”
"par for the course of 2011 YouTube"
Gen A memes went off which, to the second Tweet’s point, is just early internet behavior. This culture was discussed in 2021, which seems to be colliding with Gen A’s being primed to love scary things.
“had me crying”
Would you like to take out your eyes because they’re too hot? Or take out your spine and rinse it? Well, you’re not alone!
“sign me up”
Who isn’t a pooper? Sign us all up!
"A dead dog tribute"
Just a margarita machine in a living room, with a picture of a dead dog.
And, finally, how I am spending my weekend.