let us be ugly & dumb 😤
Going beyond the soft brained, and a peek at some things I liked.
Maui toll rises to 55, will cost billions
If you’re reading this, I am trusting that you understand and comprehend the severity of climate change. I just don’t know if people in general are connecting the dots on news like this? Awful. Donate to grassroots efforts here.
Ecuador state of emergency after ‘assassination’
An Ecuadorian presidential candidate who was against corruption and crime was assassinated this week. Seems like lots of intense political items have been happening lately!
Is Bidenomics Working? Ask Your Waiter
An interesting theory about the economy and Biden’s work: it has helped people, as restaurant and service jobs are down while “professional” jobs are up. Food for thought! Or something!
Court handed gun groups a defeat
An actually good thing that the Supreme Court did, which curbs the sale of “ghost guns.”
Ohio Voters Reject Constitutional Change
An actual good thing that a state election did, which has helped protect abortion.
Zoom knots itself a legal tangle
Zoom rewrites its policies
First, Zoom says it will use calls and data to teach their AI. Then, they changed their policy to be like “That was a joke! Who said that?” Know that they are entering their flop era, desperate for cash and pushing people back to the office. They are down! (Speaking of wild return-to-office behavior, Amazon is going to try to track employees. Creeps!)
IRS Claims Vice Owes Nearly $41 Million
Is this is the nail in the coffin for Vice? Wild to just not-pay $40M in taxes, after buying Refinery 29.
Google, Universal negotiate deal over AI ‘deepfakes’
A fascinating, potentially useful (or industry-shaping) collaboration between Google and Universal intends to help fans use AI to make, say, music using artist’s voices while maintaining the artists get paid. Sounds good! But I have my doubts this is entirely benevolent.
Amazon Removes AI-Generated Books
Disney Has Task Force to Spread AI
Also: two bad stories about AI. (Shit like this from Disney is…digging their own grave, which is assisted by newly out-of-touch Bob Iger, the subject of a new micro-trend about how he is failing.)
Recycling Symbol Is Misleading on Plastics
So says the EPA! Plastics are so non-recyclable that the recycling symbol may be removed from them. This is your reminder to stop using plastics!!
Heat Waves Are Killing Older Women
A trend of the year: people suing governments and locations for harming their lives due to their inaction on climate. Good! Who knows if any of this will work though.
What to know about EG.5
I don’t want to alarm you but I am seeing A LOT about Covid right now!!
I’ll keep this short as I’m technically “on vacation” – but the Trends™!! They were calling.
Specifically, there’s a thread tying together aspects of feral culture (rat girl summer, girl dinner), anti-capitalism, and the general ennui of our moment: the world is longing for ugly people and dumb people. We’re looking for permission to not-look-good and to not-have-thoughts! There’s too much pressure, and these are means to alleviate things.
Let’s break them down –
All year we’ve tiptoed around how people are looking too similar by eliminating imperfect, “ugly” features. Take veneers: all the character and uniqueness of teeth are disappearing into uniform rows of white. We now have a ubiquity of faces – buccal fat face, ozempic face, filler face, Kardashian face – which means public figures look too similar and too boring. Two viral posts this week came to this conclusion: wondering why Frida Kahlo would be into Diego Rivera, therefore placing looks over his abuse and recalling a simpler, pre-IG time, which collided into people wondering why there are no ugly entertainers anymore. The answer is obvious: everything is a business decision, even your looks. There’s no room to be different given the economic risks, which means entertainment is starved of interest and intrigue. As we lack original, one-off movies and shows in a sea of franchising, we’re losing original looking people too. Things are infinitely boring and infinitely unreal as a result. Cue the “everyone is hot but no one is having sex” story!!
I’ve beat this drum before but there’s too much information, which is starting to catch up to us in an interesting way: we’re demanding to be dumb. “Opinion fatigue” sees this go direct, paired with the a-few-weeks-ago boredom with the alien news: there’s too much shit being thrown at us – and we’re sick of it! There’s a rising genre of head empty-ness – “I’m done with learning new information,” “I’m not passionate about anything,” “I’m Being Crushed Under the Weight of Keeping Track of All These Celebrities” – that speaks to our being both overwhelmed and fatigued by having to withstand the fast-forwarding of everything in life. Death by push notification! You see this with cooking videos too, which New York Times did a great dissection of: while there are cooking videos that champion a host and others that prioritize story, a third category has no purpose other than to elicit emotion. This feels like a reaction to our craving the dumb.
Zooming out, this will mean anti-lookism and waning plastic surgery (a la, more reversal of surgeries) which is going to collide with people no longer suffering the social media and news and economic go, go, go cycle. It perfectly aligns with our eat the rich mentality, that the beautiful and smart will be the death of us because they’re taking advantage of us. Let us live our little, worthless, simple lives! We weren’t meant to see so many people, nor consume this much information. Web3 (and related “future” talk about the internet) is going to be about less-is-more: the age of constant information seems to have hit the ceiling. The growth economy is killing us and the planet and it has to stop.
Life is hard enough. Make things normal again! And by that I mean: make things ugly and dumb.
Large brawl in Alabama
Montgomery Police Investigate Brawl
“I can’t take y’all”
"I’m done now"
“when the fit is nice”
A huge story, which crashes local politics into American macro-racial issues, all multiplied by so many internet memes.
Recognize Literature by Noncitizens
A lot of very respected authors signed an open letter to the Pulitzer Prizes for Literature to stop requiring that writers be American citizens, as this bars many immigrant writers from consideration.
Tory Lanez Sentenced to 10 Years
MEGHAN THEE STALLION FOREVER!!!!!
Survivors Harassed by ‘Sound of Freedom’ Fans
This is so dumb and viewers have zero critical thinking skills.
Surgery after I complained about trans nurse
"the reality is even more ridiculous"
I need this person and their prison-issue ass fit to fuck off. The real story here is how the hospital won: they denied the surgery because this dumbass made such a request. In their (now iconic) words, “We do not share your beliefs and are not able to adhere to your requests.”
The Next Generation of “Lesbian Bars”
A great, cute story about the shifting identities (and names) of lesbian and queer bars by my friend Rax!!
IJBOL Is In. LOL Is Out.
I don’t know about lol being “out” but, in case you wanna know what ijbol means, here you go. (Also it means “I just burst out laughing.”)
JULES | Official Trailer
Ben Kingsley Befriends an Alien
“most normal thing”
Does anyone else wanna have a cute white wine movie night and watch this movie about Ben Kingsley and an alien? Also, randomly, the movie had an unlikely, breakout viral moment this week when the alien wandered NYC.
Some stray thoughts from the past few days, framed by a superlative “Of The Week” convention.
Most 2015 Drama Of The Week: The Lil Tay Is Dead Not Dead saga.
Book Of The Week: Jesus And John Wayne, a fascinating (and kinda duh) 2020 book I’m reading about how evangelical Christianity ruined the political right, by using Hollywood, gender roles, and religious trojan horses to gain power. A must-read!
Conservative Chat Of The Week: There seems to be a growing movement of Christians-who-think-Jesus-was-too-woke. It was a repeated thread emphasized this week, which seems to show the depths to which people have lost their minds, clinging to the safety raft they call religion (and hate).
Cutest Boy Of The Week: I have watched these “Boy Wonder Skin” TikToks – one, two, three – a few too many times and…I just…what a man. He is so beautiful! I want this makeup look and I want more men to look like this. Obsessed.
Drink Of The Week: Cider. I’m in Basque country and got to go to a cider house and now I am a Cider Boy, which is to say: low alcohol, natural vibes.
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Week: I have long said that I’m not scared of those robot dogs because you could 1.) push them over and 2.) throw water on it. This naked felon who adopted a robot dog by pushing it inside a room proves that.
Game Of The Week: The app version of Wavelength, a party game based on the board game where you give clues to hit a goal. For example: if the scale is from “hot” to “cold” but the goal is leans a touch to the cold, the clue you might give is “a plate of spaghetti 20 minutes after dinner started.”and our friend Kate had a lot of fun playing this.
Baby Adultcore Of The Week: This wild TikTok about the values of crawling around when life gets overwhelming. As the top comment puts it, “yellow wallpaper core.” Sadly, this plays into a previous Report™ about the ongoing kidification of adulthood.
Hottest Take Of The
WeekSummer: We’re approaching the “end” of travel. This summer was all about stories related to vacation and climate change, which was combined with the feeling that the 2023 season was 1.) full of not-great vibes and 2.) was very bad for the environment and 3.) generally choked from tourism. If I had to predict where this is going, there’s an incoming shaming of frequent flying and general “I flew to X place this weekend.” because…the world is burning and you threw a log on. Once this thinking hits businesses and the world of work-travel, it’s over. Watch this space!
Incoming Fever Pitch Of The Week: Related to the above, but capturing a house fall into a river in Alaska and hearing lamentations of overheating in Arizona and seeing the charred beaches of Maui feel like multiple nails on heads for climate. Something seems to finally be brewing.
TikTok Song Of The Week: This song about a brave dog, which people are using to express their real and fake bravery. Also, with this and “Planet Of The Bass” and “One Margarita” and “Girl Dinner,” this is officially the summer of TikTok micro-songs ruling culture. There’s a larger trend story here about how TikTok is revamping and recreating jingles, as all of these are a single chorus in search of a song at best.
“was BORN to be a gay man”
“how i imagine”
“how i imagine”
“a pink drink”
Big week for Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis (to be made fun of for being cunty lil queens). (Speaking of GOP presidential candidates serving this week, here’s Vivek Ramaswamy performing “Lose Yourself” in Iowa.)
“should not have come back”
Saying Elon Musk weighs 187 pounds should be a punishable offense.
"this is his son"
I told you people were going to assume Justin Trudeau is gay now!!
“she quit her job”
“only trans Garfield”
Come for the queerness, stay for the inside job.
“out of my face”
This is funny, but also seems to capture a very specific 2010s Tumblr moment that was very earnest but, lawd, soo corny.
“I think I know what this driver does”
In case you missed it: someone drove into…the second story of a house.
“this week on ‘touch grass’”
This is giving me a bit of brain damage.
“We asked 100 fries”
That burger does look like Steve Harvey.
“can i speak to your heart”
See? This is why I don’t like that city.
"totally normal dance"
Truly unrealistic beauty standards for women. When will we, as a society, learn?
And, finally, the Monday after a vacation coming for me like.