hey the 40 hour work week SUCKS ASS
Putting a death date on productivity and thinking about the "Gotcha!" economy.
Doomsday Clock moves closest ever to midnight
It’s always close to midnight somewhere, right?
Safe haven for Asian immigrants shares in tragedy
Half Moon Bay shooting suspect legally owned his gun
January Brings at Least 39 Mass Shootings So Far
The shootings this week, particularly in Monterey Park, were very sad.
A timeline of events in Tyre Nichols arrest, death
Mostly peaceful protests across the U.S. after Nichols footage
After weeks of this story brewing, more information came out about the murder of Tyre Nichols which, unfortunately, plays into a very American reality.
The game studios changing the industry by unionizing
The unions are coming to gaming. This also is going to mean better unions for entertainment in general, which historically treat people poorly and doesn’t pay them for their work. This is also to say: gaming learned this from Hollywood. Cue “I learned it from you, dad!”
Elon Musk’s Flailing Reputation Is Bad for Tesla Stock
Funniest story of the week! (Related: Elon doing what he criticized previous Twitter staff of doing, a la caving to authoritarian governments.)
TikTok’s Secret ‘Heating’ Button Can Make Anyone Go Viral
I know many “don’t like” this news of TikTok basically manually push things viral – but I think it speaks to the power of curators. No algorithm will have as good of taste as you or I. I think this is refreshing!
With In-N-Out, Tennessee double-doubling down on California
Move over Ohio: Tennessee is stealing all the Californians! And they are gonna win that fight!!
The Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow
PSA: most food expiration dates are lies. Waste less!!
Study Finds Link Between Viral Infections, Future Brain Illness
Fascinating research on how viral infections may be the cause of brain issues down the line like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Senators slam Ticketmaster over bungling of Taylor Swift tickets
“Thoughts on Ticketmaster”
Beyoncé’s Dubai performance isn’t just an affront to LGBTQ+
Rebel Wilson's Dubai Trip Has Sparked Fierce Backlash
Imagine if this helps the masses realize we need to eat the rich. Imagine!!
Productivity is on its deathbed. We’ve been holding our breath for this since 2020, with “No One Wants To Work” and “lying down” in 2021 building to pre-recession fears and nepo baby frustrations in 2022, which are coming to a head in 2023 as layoffs further reveal the flimsiness of work. The hustle is dead, the grind is gone, and people are having panic attacks about capitalism.
We’re seeing these conversations emerge in different ways, this week being all about the 40 hour work week. Two big storylines here –
On TikTok, a video from December bemoaning how sick the 40 hour work week is went viral, via a supposed clap-back by a blue-collar worker, which caused a left-wing “Multiple jobs are stupid.” debate which then caused a right-wing pseudo-intellectual gotcha (but also a left-wing and left-blue response). Both are right, both are wrong. We all lose though. (Related: the continuing of a trend where left-wing behavior from the right is pointed out.)
On Twitter, an image (from TikTok) with the caption “Reminder: the 40hr work week sucks ass and if you brag about working a ton of hours you're a sucker” went viral not once but twice. The second time was via the original TikTok poster, who is a teamster who knows his shit. A similar reaction occurred, although more left-leaning.
This has spiraled into conversations about productivity and the trappings of working in hell, which is all to point out that everyone is a loser here, from the tech worker believing their job is family to the person who works in an office that looks like a house. Rising in parallel are Gen Z sharing work thoughts, that they won’t apply for jobs without seeing the salary and that they want to get more for less. Unsurprisingly, a third of workers are disengaged.
Yet, productivity is hacking its brains out, trying to stay alive. But the layoffs, despite record-breaking profits, are getting people to theorizing that this is all to manufacture a recession (which isn’t helped by CEOs saying they’re “kind of excited” for a recession). You have workers who were trained to post about their jobs only to post about their layoffs, exploding the incentivization-to-corporate-propaganda pipeline. You can’t post your way to a promotion – or protect your job in the process! The only way to get off the train is to use the master’s tools, plus a union. Money and the idea of money are dissolving too, as people are debating if $100K is a lot of money and that it’s possible to be rich but broke, as generations and classes clash to make us all losers. There are also big thinkers skewering these subjects – from Cal Newport, who wants to rethink the digital workplace, to Jenny Odell, whose new book is about breaking time (and will be a bestseller), to Thelma Bryant, who is trying to decouple productivity from feeling whole, to the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago, who published a study that working at home gives time back – which all signal a socialist and communist dismantling of “work.” “Toxic productivity,” your days are numbered!
(Naturally, there is counter programming seemingly funded by “Big Jobs,” with stories to propel productivity and the current state of working: AI is going to make you more productive; the rise in “productivity paranoia” by bosses who don’t think workers are working hard enough; the World Economic Forum claiming the four day work week is bad; ongoing debates on remote workers being lazy; the rise in “monk mode” as a hack; layoffs forcing workers to stop advocating for themselves; offering raises for in-office work; the rise in new words about work.)
Where does that leave us? Somewhere between Hunger Games and the French Revolution. Or a polycrisis? Who knows! These problems won’t be (and cannot be) solved or dissolved overnight. But change is baking in the oven – and people are hungry for it.
"Introducing M3GAN 2.0"
I’ve figured it out: the modern SNL is just a recap of TikToks that were fun for 30 seconds or Tweets that were fun two weeks ago, which they turn into 5 minute clips for Boomers. It really, really is desperate behavior.
"it's just low key"
“fashion primarily for the female gaze”
The Look for Men Is 90s Tech CEO
First, Doja Cat’s appearance at Schiparelli reset what it means to be a celebrity in public. Hands down. She reset something with this Pat McGrath collab! Second,
Adult Swim & Hulu cut ties with Rick and Morty creator
This is bad-bad. False imprisonment?? Wow.
Rick Astley Enlists to Sue Yung Gravy
A twist ending for a beloved (“beloved”) internet hit!
Wall Street’s Streaming Warnings Get More Dire
"Disney has dated it’s upcoming slate"
Was the Andrea Riseborough Oscar Campaign Illegal?
This week in the delegitimizing of Hollywood.
CNET's AI Journalist Committed Extensive Plagiarism
Who is surprised that a system of thinking built on copying works of others, in visuals and writing, is basically plagiarizing? I am not! Unfortunately this will only matter to some.
"you just finished your 10 step skincare routine"
This week in No One Is Having Sex But We All Look Pretty!!! This is the thesis of the 2020s.
(ｍｉｓｅ ｅｎ ａｂｙｍｅ)
Alan Cumming hands back OBE over 'toxicity'
A Murder Mystery With Clothes to Die For
I keep hearing people talk about The Traitors and I am very intrigued, especially given how Alan Cumming is ruling the press tour (and is hosting in general). If you are watching, tell me about it!!
Australians Scour for Capsule Smaller Than Penny
A wild story about the hunt for a tiny, dangerous, radioactive capsule that fell off a truck, along a road as long as California. 100% a dingo ate this and is causing an ecological, Annihilation-style nightmare.
Did you see the viral TikTok about the woman who accidentally found out that co-workers were speaking (sexually) about her via a shared screen mishap? It went hugely viral, pointing out the power of workers and the solidarity of experience.
It’s striking, but one thing stuck out to me: the camera being on. We’re at an “always on” point in culture, where we’re always being filmed. We all know this! Which is why thinkpieces calling to “not film strangers” keep popping up and popping up and popping up. This is not new, as stories about TikTok and surveillance are written every few months, but there is a creeping paranoia that you are filmed anywhere and everywhere. As the exposure of co-workers shows, along with similar get-ready-with-me-to-get-fired videos show, you never see the camera, instead having your words and actions caught along with reactions from those receiving information. This largely happens in the via-Zoom-call remote work setup, but that is hardly the only example as other, in-person firing antics make their way online.
There’s a fluidity and tension here, that it’s important in these moments to witness for the sake of accountability, to hold authorities like corporations and police accountable. Yet, this also leads to softly dehumanizing situations of watching people literally fall down instead of helping. And, with technology like Ring cameras (and cultural products like Ring Nation), we’re trained to be always-on, to always audition, because you never know who or when that moment of discovery will occur. It’s easy to forget the camera is there – That’s the point! – but at any moment you could exposed for doing something slightly wrong, especially since tools like Ring will report you to the police. This surveillance collides into more techno nightmares like Rick Ross’ (wise) observation that Tesla auto-pilot could take him to the police and the very disgusting remote disconnection of HP printers because you didn’t pay for a subscription to use it. Everything with an eye or a brain is a cop in the future.
For background, legally, in Hollywood and in journalism, it is illegal to film someone without consent. Both industries with their flaws, one thing they do well enough is using consent as a fulcrum with which you can do your job, asking someone on the street to sign a paper so we can film them or having someone on a call say that, yes, they consent for a recording. Without this contract, we wade in our Foucauldian nightmare, in the “Gotcha!” economy, where our lives are hidden camera shows. What prize will you win?
"touched my iPhone after getting the Pfizer"
"NOOO RIHANNA GOT THE PFIZER VACCINE"
"I am now a prisoner"
“I got family in Memphis”
The Pfizer memes were funny, but definitely a bit ableist. The fact that Duolingo participated? Not a good look, especially for a brand. Duolingo sucks! And their language learning pedagogy isn’t good either!!
“Taking these boots from my sis"
"the green m&m showing up"
If I Can't F*ck the M&M, What Do I Have to Live For?
"ranking most fuckable cartoon brand mascots"
Best M&M jokes, which is also to say: a Super Bowl stunt is coming up, which I don’t want to see or hear.
"just type their name into Getty"
"Getty Images has been doing the work"
This week’s TikTok hero: Getty Images, who does not allow retouched photos of celebrities.
"if it's dangerous"
Lip reading is a hot new thing on TikTok now, particularly in the shadow of the AOC/Matt Gaetz conversation.
“I’m worried about podcasts”
Honestly? I have never listened to a podcast in my life. I think podcasts are going to be a 2010s item, becoming a neo-ham radio. This reminds: has anyone checked on Clubhouse recently?
“Drag Race was made in the year 3000”
“Futurama as an 80’s Sitcom”
“Sending AI generated memes”
A few AI things I think are good. (NOTE: You can only view these on your phone.)
"rihanna (AI generated) singing a mariah carey song"
A (fake) AI thing that…has me wanting awful AI singing mashups.
"Splash Mountain is a beautiful name"
“seeing the castle”
Just some silly Disney-related posts.
“full of plastic”
“full of lead”
Not a new gesture but generations being “full of _____” has been trending, mostly a backhanded way to speak about sustainability and waste and our bodies.
I’d like you to meet my new dogs!
“three minutes of outtakes”
*Googles Kermit on bicycle outtakes* Ah ha! Here you all go!! Who knew it was a marionette the whole time?
“If you have gym anxiety”
Thoughts and prayers to this gassy man.
“why waste money”
Cannot stop thinking about this whisk behaviors.
And, finally, me wandering to deliver this newsletter to you.
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