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recession "style" should be...fun??
Making the case for getting ~SiLLy~ with our style despite economic woes, and how the loss of shared media may be misshaping us.
Sudan's ceasefire, fighting continues
The situation in Sudan is rapidly shifting, but something to keep an eye on.
What “Electrify Everything” Looks Like
I could shit all day on Biden and the Democrats (and the general United States’) work on climate solutions, but this is a good look at how electrification will help.
Iowa passes child labor bill
Michigan spar over unmarried couples living together
"approved guns on public transit"
Florida Trans Kids to Be Removed From Families
Montana GOP Stop Trans Colleague from Speaking
Dark-sided legislation of the week.
Cheerleaders shot after one got in wrong car
Ralph Yarl released from hospital
“I love being from a rural area”
girl, parents shot after ball rolls into yard
“It’s the guns”
Awful week for shooting again, this way in the more personal and adult-shooting-child way. (Also: at least the kids know how to turn frowns upside down.)
"it's not because of teacher pay"
"how do you do it?"
Speaking of kids, I keep seeing teachers on TikTok who are over it. We know teachers are quitting. What are we going to do about it, both as far as making a better world for kids and treating them as real people?
LeBron, Stephen King deny paying for Twitter
Twitter Blue Checks Gone, Stoking Confusion
"Today that number for those same accounts"
”why I refuse to pay @elonmusk for Twitter ”
Twitter’s “blue checks” ended this week, the result being some very embarrassing behavior, not to mention impersonations. Karma for removing the policy against deadnaming trans people!
There’s a lot being said about what a recession will mean for style.
Two big theories are emerging, both of which go together: we will revert to minimalism while ideas of “quiet luxury” and “stealth wealth” (versus “poverty-core”) will rise, both economic self-flagellating “Don’t look too good.” approaches that say fashion will be more serious because people are (economically) dying.
I do not think this will be true. While I hate to forecast, this seems like an antiquated, misguided view. Yes, fair, we may expect a bounce back from the pandemic-inspired “dopamine dressing” – but more signs are pointing to not-that. First is that, given late capitalism and our hate for the rich, we may see the end of gray, which I’ve written about again and again as we live in an anti-color culture. While living both in California and, now, in Spain, I can tell you that anti-color is very much a worldwide vibe and it is very sad, which makes me – an aggressively colorful individual – very much the exception. There are so many examples of this so-called “Millennial Gray” in our culture and I think many of us are exhausted by it. It’s soulless, generic, and boring – and everyone is starting to realize this aggressively average aesthetics of our times. Why even wear clothes if you’re just going to wear shades of gray?
The second is the undoing of the 2010s sans serif-ication of fashion. Look to the Burberry redesign as proof, which took the “big deal” blanding by Ricardo Tisci and reimagined it as the flourishing, the dramatic, and the opulent. It’s very cute! You also have Valentino’s aggressive and ridiculous over-serif-ing, turning the arms of their V into a lattice of Pac-Persons. It’s fun! Then there’s the Diesel mega-D and the incoming mega-M via Mugler x H&M for the masses. Unsurprisingly, all these efforts come from the most interesting creative directors of the moment – Daniel Lee, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Glen Martens, and Casey Cadwallader – who are leading new luxury in light of huge departures from Alessandro Michele (To…Moschino??) and Jeremy Scott (To…Chanel??), along with the fall-and-re-rise of Demna and deaths of Raf and Ricardo.
So where to? While for the masses this will mean stain swag and homemade elevations, I think by and large things are going to get very silly. Literally: as we culturally build from the wars of the early 2000s, the recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s, the political precarity of the late 2010s to the present, and the pandemic, climate catastrophes, wars, and looming economic precarity on the now, dopamine dressing will evolve to the obvious: dressing to make others smile. We can see color emerging like flowers poking through charred soil, but we’re destined to see the funny, the bawdy, and the “That’s clever.” see a renaissance. The aforementioned – Burberry, Valentino, Diesel, Mugler – are doing this in their own ways already.
Where are we seeing this most? From Jonathan Anderson, who is arguably the most successful designer, creative director, etc. working today. At both his eponymous brand and Loewe, he is creating space for little laughs and snickers to enter our lives through fashion. Shirts with pant-waist collars, clogs like frogs, a pigeon bag, shirts with door hinges, shirt-tags as dresses, upside down pants, sideways pants, sweatshirts you wear over the body, flowers on your boobs, flowers on your feet, balloons on your feet, Minnie Mouse shoes, pixelated hoodies, pixelated pants: his designs are laughable – and that’s the point! Expensive, yes, but the trickle-down will be sunglasses that look like lips being knocked off for $10 which is a win for anyone who wants to smile.
Things can be bad and sad in the world but, as Jonathan and others show, that doesn’t mean we have to be so dark and average. We can and should be our own suns, to shine light on each other: that is where things will go. It’s not about making dopamine for yourself anymore: it’s about making others smile, laugh, and remember the joy we can find in each other outside of “the economy.” Indulge your silly side.is one of my favorite (electronic) music writers for well over a decade, and I am delighted that he just launched a lil Subbie!! Check it out!
Given that Grupo Frontera hijacked Bad Bunny’s set and had a duet with him in one week, I wanted to point out how great and adorably normie they are. Regional Mexican, banda, and cumbia are def picking up, probably at the intersection of reggaeton’s rise and LA cultural runoff.
J-Hope off to military service
New meaning to their song “Dynamite” to drop soon.
AI Wins Photo Contest, Artist Refuses Award
This was major news this week! I know this keeps happening, but this seems particularly interesting as the use of AI was about making a statement on the contest itself.
Why do some look more modern than others?
A very viral story of the week on “smartphone face,” which is and isn’t a thing. (It’s more an example of publications reinforcing the think-piece-to-TikTok pipeline.)
Eagle Who Adopted Rock Becomes Dad
Gay dad of the year.
11 Year Old Stabbed After Calling Man 'NPC'
Honestly, calling people NPCs (or AI) is going to start becoming a bigger burn, as it says that you’re less-than-human, boring, and generally worthless. This is the opposite of being the main character. You know kids are yelling this at each other.
Russian gets 21 years for poisoning of doppelganger
Poisoning cheesecake that is. This story is so wild.
"a dogwhistle not a cryptid fad"
"gnome memes some kind of right wing"
Weird something happening on TikTok with “gnome hunting” being a way to grab the fantastically curious and get them into white supremacy.
"Kylie and Timothée are officially dating"
"Kendall and Bad Bunny spotted together"
I could write a longer piece on this but Kris’ playbook is outdated. Unlike Kim and Kanye or Kourtney and Travis, people (Gen Z.) see moves like this as fully diminishing the clout of both people. Especially for Timothee, there have been so many “Well, he has always sucked.” takes. (Bad Bunny: different story. His fans are fighting for him, likely because he is the lone one of this quadruple who wasn’t born rich.)
Flood City Trax | Nondi
I very much liked this very low-key, dreamy post-footwork album by Nondi_. I feel like no one is talking about it and it’s quite special!
I am old enough to have rented videos. The experiences were all different, but all the same: at the various military posts my family lived, we’d go to the military gas station to rent from a selection of (government approved) movies at checkout; in Georgia, after my father left the army, we became a Hollywood Video family, expanding our selection to thousand and thousands (while also gaining incredible popcorn options); in high school, I worked at a military arcade where soldiers would rent videos from me in exchange for their ID cards; in Atlanta, I’d go to Videodrome as an avant-garde treat; in DC, I stopped renting and started buying used DVDs from FYE; in Los Angeles, at one of my first jobs in Hollywood, I was required to race to Rocket Video – arguably the best video store in the world – to hunt down movies we could rent, rip, and use for sizzle reel B-roll to pitch reality shows.
This was a specific time in culture, one where the intentionality of the search was embedded, where you were making less educated decisions about “what to watch,” a moment where you had to rely on feeling and live to tell if your instincts were off. This was also a time of sharing: the basic premise of video renting was that you borrowed a video and brought it back in the same condition. This relied on trust, on a social contract, that we could share things together. You had to (ideally) return a video rewound, back to the beginning, so no one would put in a movie and find Gwenyth Paltrow’s head in a box. A big part of video renting was thinking about future viewers. What experience would they have? How can you ensure their viewing was as good as yours?
While video stores were of a specific moment, that was their charm, which in so many ways has been lost. Yes, it’s great that we no longer have to dedicated entire walls in our homes to movies – but we also now have both infinite selection and a more limited selection, neither of which we “own,” while losing the soft-community thinking that came with renting. Netflix’s bad week brought this to the front of the mind, thanks to the one-two punch of the botched Love Is Blind reunion and the ending of DVD services (not to mention the incoming writer strike). The DVD item is not at all surprising, but it does highlight what many noted: there are roughly 3K movies on Netflix, while Blockbusters historically had at least 7K movies on-site. While scrolling through 3K movies is fatiguing, walking around 7K was not: you went into a genre, you read titles, you scoped artwork, you read the back of the box, and you picked a movie like a lover, with guarded hope for a good night. Somehow, it was easier to process.
Of course you can still rent movies and shows today, but the experience of looking and sharing with others has been minimized. The same phenomena is ostensibly happening with vinyl records, as this physical ephemera faces yet another existential challenge in it’s up-down-down-down-up history given the financial realities of production limiting what gets physically imprinted. This is not exactly a one-to-one, but there is the same aspect of physically sharing and borrowing, of minding the material. Anyone who has been lent a record to or by a friend knows this! The most obvious comparison are books and the library: as Benjamin Franklin – who started the first public library in America – asserted, libraries helped equal out society, so that the highest and the lowest had the same information. To borrow a book, to learn, is an act of democracy! Unsurprisingly, a push from the right to close libraries is taking with it a culture of educating, sharing, and caring. (You can also apply this thinking to bookstores too.)
When we talk about access and selection, when we talk about the physicalizing of entertainment, what we’re talking about is sharing ideas and sharing values. Of course the internet, messaging, and technology has made this process so easy – but it’s also robbed us of respect, for both each other and the item(s) in our hands. Everything can feel disposable when the things we use have no value or meaning (or even physical presence). It feels so silly and decidedly “old” but, when we stop to think about it, video stores and record stores and bookstores represent people working together in the softest way, using materials to make the intangible a reality. Perhaps this is why video cameras and pottery have seen such rises: something wired in us wants to share in simplified, physical ways. Unfortunately we’re losing our outlets, venues to remind us to care for those around us.
"no. but thank you"
"she was a beautiful woman"
"he's in water"
Old clips of clairvoyant (“clairvoyant”) Sylvia Browne are going viral on TikTok and I am obsessed with every one of them. They’re so absurd, not to mention Jasper-tok adjacent.
"Wes Anderson made the Harry Potter"
"This Reddit thread made me smile."
"Whoever made this is a genius."
This shit is so cheesy. Absolute mid-off, which we’re going to see into infinity as the Balenciaga Potter shadow creeps over culture. Welcome to the vacuous fan fiction-ification of culture!
"another fucking Bud Light meme"
I don’t know if this meme is real or not but I love it either way. (I think it is a parody of this awful right wing meme account, which is also to say that parodying people like this is a win-win.) (Also related: stories of anti-queer people then being revealed to be pedophiles.)
“want to start by acknowledging”
"POV: You're Native"
Seeing a rise in left-on-left jokes about the performative things we do. (But note that land acknowledgments are good, if they are followed by action and information versus the gestural.)
"otter found a phone"
There’s a metaphor in here somewhere.
"look at this pin action"
Should we get into bowling??
“how old are you?”
This is very true, because I would be like “Fuck them kids!!” too.
“i think about aliens”
She’s got a point. Where are our alien saviors?
"Can’t wait to grow old with you"
I have watched this Easter A24 movie so many times. Cannot wait for the sequel.
And, finally, me participating in the gay olympics.