NO ONE IS LISTENING 🗣️🙉😭
In this (maybe) last Report™ of 2023, we attempt to define this current moment of communication and explore doom spending.
Thank you for another great year of The Trend Report™ 😭 Somehow, this lil newsletter has been going strong for three years and I…have you all to thank! This will be the last newsletter of 2023, save for a few Best Of posts that I may publish but not email. Stay tuned! If I get bored in the next two weeks and send out a newsletter: do not be surprised. Or maybe…a meme-only newsletter as your holiday gift?? Y’all let me know in the comments. Otherwise: see you January 7!
Another thing: every year, I do a reader poll to see what you want in this newsletter. Fill hat out here! It should hopefully take no more than five minutes. In 2024, I’m hoping to step this lil baby up, as I’m going ~freelance~ which means I will be in hustle mode dot com. Or something! We shall see and I hope to not be too annoying about it.
Regardless, thank you — and back to regularly scheduled programming. Happy Honda Days! I love all of you angels!!
COP28 agreement drops phaseout of fossil fuels
Nations strike deal to transition away from fossil fuels
MORONS. I cannot believe this was on the table. We deserve to boil!
Biden Announces World-Class High-Speed Rail
California Is Getting High-Speed Trains
This is cool but isn’t going to help, Joe. Make student loan debt go away and give people free money!! Also: be more entertaining.
Explicit video recorded in U.S. Senate
“a laura loomer watermark”
The weekend’s top story was about a Democrat twink getting railed on the Senate hearing floor. Right wing hysteria ensued, along with jokes and jokes and jokes and jokes and jokes and jokes and jokes and jokes. This was a breakout year for queer political bad actors!
Supreme Court agrees to showdown over abortion pill
As this TikTok from a state legislator says, the court will protect the pills for a conservative win. Their refusal to block the Illinois weapons ban supports this theory too.
Tesla: Two Million Cars Need Software Fix
“For a software fix” is so flop. Mind you: this is a majority of all Teslas.
Top trending Google searches of 2023
Some interesting stuff!
Teens, Social Media and Technology 2023
Someone’s going to be putting this in their 2024 social strategy!
Cheating Fears Over Chatbots Were Overblown
I’m sorry to these researchers but I don’t believe this at all!!
Hollywood Jobs Down Nearly 20%
Post-Strike, Where Are the TV Deals?
A reminder that Hollywood, like everything else, is a business — and it’s suffering. You can’t fuck people over and then expect them to grovel at your feet. This isn’t the 1990s.
There was a back-and-forth on if Harvard's President Claudine Gay would get the boot or not for her supposed “anti-semitic” stances by allowing students to voice Palestinian support. She ended up keeping the job, while Penn’s president resigned over the limits of free speech. Calls to “restrict speech” and create safe spaces because of protests at universities have some (BIPOC, queer) voices wondering where these people were five years ago when xenophobia was happening to non-Jewish persons on campus. A Colombia professor claims students mentioning “intifada” is a call of violence. An Israel nationalist hung an Israeli flag over Palestinian representative Rashida Tlaib’s Palestinian flag. A 2018 story about Pharrell raising $60M for the IDF has people thinking it’s weird for celebs to raise money for another government’s military. Zara released a campaign of models in crates and wrapping that reminded some of dead Palestinians, which was a matter of intent versus interpretation, that art handling was seen as body bags. The campaign was pulled. The writer Masha Gessen’s Hannah Arendt Prize was cancelled because of an essay they wrote on Gaza. Artists are refusing to work with Bristol’s Arnolfini due to their cancelling events for a Palestinian film festival. The director Steven Spielberg spoke out to say “I never imagined I would see such unspeakable barbarity against Jews in my lifetime.” which got some creators talking about how he “owns” Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches, which was rebuked because he actually only licensed them. The New York Times wondered if the word “colonizer” is a weapon. The Wall Street Journal wondered if its time to retire the word “genocide.” Many were appropriately confused by this whitewashing and sanitizing of the language of murder. Kanye West went on a ten minute rant against various public figures that tripled down on his anti-semitic views. As West was poised to drop an album this week (but that didn’t happen), people like critic Anthony Fontano pointed out that he is very much still pushing Nazi agendas for clout while literally masquerading as a black klansman. People were reminded that Kanye’s anti-semitism is a slippery slope into conspiracy thinking. The logo Kanye is using for the album directly references nazism (or Albania). It was announced that Kanye hired fashion designer Gosha Rubchinskiy to be Yeezy’s head of design, despite the designer’s having literally flirted with minors. Elon gave a platform back to Alex Jones, celebrating with a livestream where Vivek Ramaswammy peed off mute. People found out that seemingly “alt” wrestler The Undertaker is actually pretty far right. An artist claims Olivia Rodrigo ripped her off while a commercial artist noted that ideas, or creative, cannot be copyrighted. There was a little tiff happening on TikTok as an Asian creator is voicing anti-Democrat ideas while people believe this is voter suppression and potential conservative influence. People are saying they are “done” with Abbott Elementary after a few cast members voiced support of Israel while another cast member’s years-old stand-up special went viral because of a part where she talks about her son’s junk in a non-sexual manner. The Sunday Times reported on a study that revealed one in 20 men would have sexual contact with a child if they knew it would be kept secret. A viral TikTok of a creator giving a non-binary person a compliment only to be corrected on how to give a compliment is going viral. Disney covered their signs to prevent their image appearing on images of a pro-Palestine protest (but they didn’t cover their signs when Nazi flags were flown outside the entrance). Rapper Megan Thee Stallion urged people to “read something from a journalist” instead of big fonts, after rumors that someone else shot her.
Whoo wee. That was all this week. Increasingly, it feels like online conversation is like being trapped within a scribble. Everyone has something to say — and rightfully so! For the most part. Some are right, some are wrong, but everyone should be “allowed” to say what they say. It feels like everyone’s voice is a weapon and everyone wants to shoot at something. Springs coiled, ready to pop.
If the 2010s (or late 2010s) was about cancelling and reckonings via digital means, what does that mean for the 2020s? As we firmly enter the middle of this decade, it feels like we’re starting to see what this decade’s “trend” of communication is: it has to do with “free speech” and the confusion of the speech act. Cancelling was about orders of power and reclamation. What we’re experiencing now — especially with the Israel-Palestine conflict — is that respectability politics are breaking down and yielding a back-and-forth deafness of emotional truths: that is what this moment in communication is about.
While this should mean introspection and connection, distances are carved deeper. Yet again, compassion, paths to reconciliation, and care are not options. The volume may rise but listening only gets more and more difficult.
Civil War | Official Trailer
This A24 movie is definitely not what my heart or your heart needs during an election year. That said: I do think that this can be a culturally catalysing moment to mobilize people to vote. But…isn’t that sad, if we have to resort to a movie to wake people up?
Krampus: HE'S ALREADY HERE.
Who is surprised? As Halloween culture ostensibly seems to eclipse Christmas culture, as secularism reigns and people terrorize their kids with elves, it’s only right that this is happening.
Australia bans engineered stone
Due to health risks. A reminder to stop being cheap!!
"Thanks for the memories."
E3’s dead! Pour one out for that messy baby.
Are Studios Shy to Market Musicals as Musicals?
A fan conspiracy theory has been confirmed: musicals aren’t being marketed as musicals. Why? Everyone knows musical / musical theater is lame. Singing? In a movie? Never gonna be cool. Anyway, Wonka has officially outed Timothée as a theater kid.
Hajime Sorayama Takes Issue With Beyoncé
I live for trivial dramas like this.
"we're not drinking enough"
Young Adults Drinking Less Than in Prior Decades
This Gallup study is not new, but look at the comments on this post asking why the wine industry is down and you’ll find interesting proof that Gen Z and Millennials are drinking less due for health reasons and finances.
Carla's Gift Picks for Cooks and Kitchens
There are many great gift giving guides out now, but I very much enjoyed this video (And all the items!) from
The Best New Artists Of 2023
The 100+ Best Movies Of 2023
The Most Disliked Celebrities Of 2023
To me, Ranker is cultural democracy and these three lists are 1.) very voted on and 2.) seem to offer a peek into our cultural psyche this year.
“I’ve made it my mission”
“ im on a nine month long world cruise.”
“I’m on a trip of a lifetime.”
“Come board with us.”
There is a nine month cruise happening and TikTok is turning it into an interactive reality show.
"a cry for help"
People on TikTok are enabling a vulnerable creator to drink dangerously. There’s a larger story here about creators-who-drink and the need to get fucked up for views.
“craziest fan theories EVER”
Speaking of theories, please watch this Ghostbusters and Die Hard and Family Matters theory.
Speech may be compromised — but who needs speech when you can shop?
In these times, to buy is to voice support, to save money is to be polite, and to boycott is to “speak up.” The Dow may have hit a record high, yet most people feel awful and claim to be in a “silent depression.” And? Consumer spending soars. Why is that? Why are we broke as the economy “booms” despite our feeling like shit about our finances?
Let’s be honest: we’re all depressed in one form or another. Have you seen the news? Are you actively looking at our culture? Dissatisfaction is the attitude à la mode. Moreover, everything in our lives and culture is a dopamine hit, from every aspect of life being gamified to social media rewarding endless scrolling to new drugs being invented to correct our indulgences and keep us not-unhealthy. But here’s the thing: these things just aren’t “hitting” like they once did. When your life is work but the work doesn’t pay, you’re left broke and powerless as wars and viruses creep upon you: the only way to “feel good” is giving yourself gifts, shopping and spending. And when you say no to spending? You’ve done something worse than, say, refusing a drink at a happy hour. Are you sick? Are you so irresponsible that you can’t shop? Are you suffering from something-something? Are you a vegan?
Such, a coming to terms with our steroidal consumerism. Some are calling this doom spending. Some attribute our buying to obtaining the visual semiotics of adulthood (fancy clothes, nice food, cool couches, etc.) because we cannot afford the true markers of adulthood like homeownership or raising children. Some will enter inflationships, a (joke) relationship formed so you can get cheaper rent (which will certainly be-a-thing). Some spend money on old age hobbies because they want to die. But why die? That just gives money back to corporations. Especially when life expectancies are eh, why would we wait to have a good time? Why would we not buy the fancy dress right now? We are deep in buy-$200-candle-happily-but-stress-over-$200-healthcare culture. What is there to buy, anyway? Yet another Louis Vuitton purse designed by someone like Frank Gehry? A Fendi bag with some Pokemon on it? Hypebeast minimalist Uggs? Balenciaga Erewhon merch? A Piguet watch from Travis Scott? Any of the myriad cheap shit from Temu? Yet another thing to make Jeff Bezos richer?
We’ve talked about product kid-ification years ago, but doom spending is about sad adults buying kids stuff to heal their inner child’s idea of adulthood that was stolen from them. We intellectually understand that shopping is 1.) a consumerist addiction and 2.) that there’s too much stuff in this world and 3.) there’s a (plastic) waste crisis. And yet! Here we are, spending our way to happiness which does not work. This is an of-the-moment something, which is why brands like Shein and Temu are thriving: we have no power over our politics or our planet. We’re helpless! But what we can do is spend a handful of dollars in exchange for a slap of happiness, whose palm print fades from the cheek as fast as the blow was dealt.
If you are reading this, you probably are of the majority of people who don’t need anything. And yet. We spend! We glut ourselves with stuff. To have is to feel. To spend money is to blind your third eye. Shall we all take vows of consumerist celibacy and turn to the church of the gift economy and circular economies?
Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa
This is a reminder to myself to watch this awful animated holiday special from 2002.
"je joue le oompa loompa"
Said a bedraggled Hugh Grant, speaking in French with a German accent.
"I refuse to believe this is reality"
"explaining to why Prometheus is my favorite film"
Just some Kamala Harris videos that tickled me.
“one too many dollaritas”
We should slow down all Nicki raps.
“Meryl Streep being relatable”
“Imagine being Dream Kardashian”
Imagine your grandmothers are Kris Jenner and Tokyo Toni.
“Melissa Joan Hart as granny”
A 47 year old grandma is crazy. That said, I was talking to some friends and realized that, if I had a kid at 18 or even 20, they would be of-age and I could ostensibly be a grandpa. Rotten food for thought!
“haters said I couldn’t do it”
Wild to think the billionaire submarine thing happened this year.
"been climbing these stairs since 2014"
She, like us, are on this treadmill called life.
Out for the night…looking at my phone…get some news…well crap.
“jesus, the son of a carpenter”
This is real Freshman In College Deep Thoughts content but…wow.
“zenith of happiness”
Is this a socio-cultural thing unique to our times? Or is this more generational, that the older you get the less intense emotions you have? Funny but woof. Give me a pill to be emotionally free again!
"ooohhhh big stretch"
This is vulgar but I laughed.
“life is about ups and downs”
Being a big boy is HARD. Adult life! Not easy.
“Alexa. How come”
Important question. Important answer.
Best movie I watched all week.
And, finally, a song to torture you this holiday season.